Hello and welcome! This week we’ve got a short burst of bite sized musical goodies as I have had a heavy shooting and “real life” schedule and Nick has been at SXSW (keep an eye on our Instagram for vids from him and one of our newer contributors, Kenzie), but I didn’t want to leave these goodies unmentioned. Take a listen to these songs and stay tuned, we are always digging into new stuff we want to share with you! Also don’t forget to tune into Nick’s radio show, Radiant Point, every Wednesday night for even more music both new and old.
As always, if you’re in a band or from a label, don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know about you! If we dig ya, you’ll get a nod in the column. Read on to find out what we dug the last week or so:
Cave In– New Reality. In their first new recordings since the death of bassist Caleb Scofield, and first from their upcoming album, Heavy Pendulum, Cave In comes in strong with giant riffs chugging throughout and some good old fashioned metal soloing in the final minute of the song. On the title of the track, lead singer Steven Brodsky said “Cave In’s been around for over 25 years now, and the time has come for an album that scales all of our creative peaks. Talk about a wild and weird ride! And here we are with ‘Heavy Pendulum’ — it certainly feels like a remarkable event, given the erratic trajectory of our band. “New Reality” was always the lead-off track — that was pretty obvious during the writing process. New line-up, new label, new album… a new reality indeed, and it all adds up to a new lease on life for Cave In.” The full album arrives on 5/20 via Relapse. [KH]
Cave In performing in 2019 (photo by Kate Hoos)
HYPEMOM– Stairway/Episode 4. This is the latest from the Brooklyn based band that has been described on their Bandcamp as a “Bushwick dirtbag’s wet dream” and in the same paragraph, “They’ll give you a 90s emo hammer-on you’ll never forget.” I don’t know about the wet dream part, but the 90s emo part is for sure accurate. This reminded me of a 90s era demo tape I might have picked up from a proto-emo band at a local show in NJ, wearing the influence of Revolution Summer and Dischord happily on it’s sleeve. [KH]
Julien Baker/Sharon Van Etten– 1979/Hurt. Full disclosure, I’ve only heard half of this, since it currently exists solely as a vinyl pre-order available only from comic shops (I ordered from Frankie’s Comics). Van Etten has previously covered “Hurt” by NIN for SoS in 2020, so I had heard her half already, an echoey and equally as crunchy guitar driven take on the song. The song has been available on YouTube for a while and it’s unclear if the same version from before or a new recording will appear on the 7 inch.
I admit that I am even more intrigued to hear Baker’s take on “1979,” the 1995 track by Smashing Pumpkins, as I do have a soft spot for the Pumpkins early to mid 90s material and have enjoyed many of her interpretations of other artist’s songs, in particular her version of “Fell On Black Days” by Soundgarden (I highly recommend giving it a listen). The split 7 inch is part of the ongoing series of songs recorded to accompany the comic What’s the Furthest Place From Here? and the description reads:
“The end of the world has a soundtrack.
Every issue of this post-apocalyptic coming-of-age series will offer an extremely limited number of Deluxe Editions, featuring an exclusive cover and a 7″ record with two songs from some of today’s best indie and punk bands, recorded specially for this project.
This issue: JULIEN BAKER breaks your heart and SHARON VAN ETTEN makes it hurt.”
Take a listen to “Hurt” below. [KH]
Julien Baker performing (photo by Kate Hoos)
Pictoria Vark– Demarest. We here at FTA are getting very excited for the upcoming Pictoria Vark record, The Parts I Dread, and this latest single it only adding to the anticipation. The song starts out as a warm acoustic confessional, with Vark’s soft croon taking center stage. As the first chorus kicks in, she is soon joined by further instrumentation as the song builds from pleasant solo singer/songwriter territory to a gentle indie rock jam as it continues, electric guitar taking the musical lead by time the midpoint of the song arrives. For the final verse, the music fades and rises again, Vark’s bass playing getting more of the focus here, before ending with a hard stop and the acapella line “there’s more to live for than I know yet”, hopeful and yearning all at once. The Parts I Dread is out 4/8 via Get Better Records. [KH]
Pons– Leave Me To My Work. This is the latest from these noisy no wavers, who are also one of my new favorite bands to see live. This song has a dark and chaotically dystopian feel to it, perhaps bordering a bit on a speedy goth feel even, and features some extra instrumentation from their live set with synth and sax peeking their heads into the mix as the song reaches its harried crescendo and begins to decay into madness. There is often a peppering of many genres in each of Pons’ songs, little elements here and there underneath some of the larger overall themes, and this one sticks with that recipe to blend in perfectly with their existing body of work. No word yet if this is a stand alone or part of an upcoming full length effort but either way, this is a solid showing from one of the most exciting bands in NYC right now. (For the record I’m definitely ready for more and hoping it’s part of an upcoming EP or album.) [KH]
Pons performing (photo by Kate Hoos)
Zora– Runnitup (feat Myia Thornton). The debut single from the Minneapolis based rapper runs right out of the gate, an urgent industrial 90s techno laden beat driving things while the bass pulses underneath and Zora’s nimble verses fly. The song may seem at first like it’s celebrating capitalism but it is in fact the exact opposite, the artist saying “In reality, this song is pretty explicitly about U.S. capitalism and how we need to just overthrow it. I still have hope, at least.” And of her collaboration with Thorton, “We wanted to make a song about metaphorically running up on somebody who didn’t give us what we were owed,” in reference to delays in receiving the 2020 Covid stimulus payment. The full album arrives 5/20 on Get Better Records and cassette pre-orders are available now. [KH]