If you were to guess what a side-project from members of Converge and Cave In was to sound like you might hit on something close to Wear Your Wounds the album released by Jacob Bannon earlier this year. It’s a dark and unsettling piece of music and while you’d struggle to call it heavy in the way you do Converge, it most definitely is. What you wouldn’t expect, is Mutoid Man.
Us Brits do a hell of a lot of things right when it comes to music. Punk, metal and rock and roll, we have it all. However, if there’s one thing that America nails and we don’t, it’s skate punk bands who discover feelings and get all earnest on us. Which sounds like an insult but is intended as nothing of the sort. There’s something about America’s long roads and tiny towns that breed bands like The Wonder Years and The Menzingers that we just don’t have here. Or at least we didn’t.
The ability to tell a story through music is an incredible thing. There are millions of bands on the planet, but the number who can sit down, play a song and take you on a journey is much smaller. It’s a talent that turns good songs into masterpieces. It allows you, as the listener, to connect with them in a way that a good riff just can’t do by itself. And it’s a talent that The Smith Street Band have.
It’s not unfair to say that Body Count have always been a bit of a joke. Not in a ‘look how stupid they are’ way, but in the sense that in the past they’ve written songs about murdering your mum. Ice-T seemed to view his heavy metal side project as a chance to kick off his shoes and have a laugh. Yet, with the world seemingly intent on shooting itself in the guts for a slow and painful death, a politically fueled Body Count suddenly seems like a great idea. And they’ve delivered.
Bursting with punk rock exuberance and gothic theatricality Creeper’s rise over the last few years has been fascinating to watch. From disappearances to Peter Pan inspired tales they’ve found a way to grab the attention of an already fervent fanbase despite not having a full-length album to their name. Which is where the problem comes in. Will all that work fall apart if Eternity, In Your Arms isn’t good enough?
Finding a box to place Can’t Swim in is not easy. On their debut album, Fail You Again, you can hear the sneer of pop-punk, the emotion of Jimmy Eat World and the soul of The Wonder Years. It’s clear they are in that world but what part of it is truly their home is for you to decide.
Dark, melodic and at times undeniably sexy Dool are one of those bands that you want to know nothing about. Much like Ghost, their dark pop is intriguing in its mystery, and if you discovered it was Bob and Sandra from down the road putting it together, you’d be pretty disappointed. Thankfully, that’s not the case, and these former members of The Devil’s Blood and Gold suit their own mystique nicely.
Xibalba is the name of the K’iche’ Maya underworld and apparently has a nice river of scorpions flowing nearby. I don’t actually know if a river of scorpions would flow, it would maybe be more of a scuttle. It’s also the name of a Californian hardcore band who have just released their EP, Diablo, Con Amor.. Adios. A name that pretty much covers all the bases seeing as it is literally the titles of the three tracks on it.
Despite the internet’s protestations, it’s not actually the end of the world when a musician moves away from rock or metal. In fact, musical experimentation should be encouraged. I imagine disgruntled fans were moaning ‘that’s not blues rock’ at Black Sabbath back in the day, but things turned out alright for them.