Ohio pop punkers Cotter use their debut EP ‘On Sunset’ to deliver a barrage of emotionally charged messages. Its title, agreed on by the whole band, ‘On Sunset’ refers directly to their formation on Sunset Drive, but also – in their own words – how “heartbreak occurred, [the band] started and something beautiful came at the end of from it.” For those who’d rather not get too immersed in the song’s personal messages, most of the songs are loaded with absolutely classic pop punk riffs. Whether they’re tackling the Sum 41-esque bounce of ‘Blackout!’ or the obviously Fall Out Boy derived ‘Clumsy’, their musical talents shine brightly.
Towards the end of 2020, Octopus Montage released three digital singles with accompanying video clips. In November, ‘A Shortcut (To The Unconscious Mind)’ gave their followers and potential new fans a glimpse of their heavier side via various glitchy metalcore riffs. Combined with a deep growling vocal, the track was reminiscent of earlier works by Her Dying Regret. [Watch the video here.]
It took three years for Teenage Halloween to follow up their ‘Eternal Roast’ mini album. Three years seems a long time to wait for just twenty three minutes’ worth of music, but we’re very much talking quality over quantity here. This self-titled disc from the New Jersey punky power poppers brings ten absolute bangers – songs so loaded with hooks and riffs that its power is immediately obvious. Musical originality isn’t high on the agenda, but its mix of 90s influences will positively resonate with any listeners who spent that decade loving Everclear, Lagwagon and SR-71. The music stands up well enough alone, but once you start to absorb the lyrics – largely concerned with mental health struggles, gay unity and standing with others in solidarity – it becomes one of the year’s most important DIY discs.
“[It] touches on the importance of words, their meaning and their power. The lyrics reflect on how words can be used to comfort, empower and encourage. But it also reflects on how they can be used to agitate, hurt and destroy,” says The Phoenix Within’s frontman Omar Feliciano of the band’s new single ‘Tenfold’.
Tackling the themes of using words to build relationships and bridges instead of using them to hurt, ‘Tenfold’ is already a powerful statement, regardless of the music. The track’s arrangement, luckily, has almost an equal power with a set of riffs that very much hark back to the 90s emo movement – specifically bands like Sense Field and Shift – which, combined with a thoughtful vocal performance, results in a fantastic three minute alt-rock tune that should appeal to fans of 90s sounds as well as lovers of bands like Fall Out Boy.