Heartbreaking Bravery

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À La Mode – Total Doom (Stream)

a la mode

Tuesday saw the release of a slew of notable streams from Francie Moon, Cross Country, Left & Right, Kevin Devine, Curse of Lono, Sighs, Springtime Carnivore, Wovenhand, Avid Dancer, Communions, Peeling, Slow Mass, Bellows, Savoy Motel, and Dangers. In addition to that bounty, there were some strong music videos arriving from the likes of Adir L.C., Dust From 1000 Yrs, Bunny, Sam Evian, Joan Shelley, and Minden. A pair of excellent full streams in Sex Stains‘ self-titled and Skyjelly‘s package product were just the cherry on top.

While many of those acts have earned praise from this site in the past, today’s feature — once again — falls to a group of fresh faces. À La Mode only have one self-titled EP to their name but are prepared to change that in the very near future. Following their 2014 self-titled effort, the band’s made some enormous strides forward and arrive completely revitalized with the first single, “Total Doom”, from their forthcoming debut full-length, Perfection Salad.

Opening with an electronic, dance-ready beat turns out to be somewhat of a misdirect with the band throwing their weight into a more traditional setup after the introduction. At no point does the band lose the sense of fun it established at the top, though, and when the synth returns for the chorus it gives a remarkably bleak sentiment an abundance of life. Longing is a well-worn topic but what makes it a continuing source of fascination is that it can be tailored to match their author’s individuality. Here, chronic unrequited longing is given a bedfellow in all-consuming doom.

The dichotomy of vibrancy and gloom is crucial to the track’s success and helps “Total Doom” become an immediate standout. Exceptionally clever songwriting can go a long way in securing longevity and À La Mode offer it in excess for a little over two minutes. From those deceptive opening bars to the damaged, weirdly triumphant closing moments, “Total Doom” is nothing less than an exhilarating breath of fresh air.

Easily one of the most pleasant surprises of recent memory, À La Mode have set an extraordinarily high bar for their upcoming record. If that record comes anywhere close to achieving the peaks they do on “Total Doom”, they’ll have one of 2016’s most inspired records. In any respect, they’ll be a band to watch as the year goes forward. Until then, the best thing to do is to celebrate the overwhelming strength of “Total Doom” and give in to its considerable charm.

Listen to “Total Doom” below and keep an eye on this site for more updates on Perfection Salad.

Heavy Pockets – (Don’t Wanna Be) One of the Boys (Stream)

heavy pockets

This week got off to a strong start with impressive new tracks from Communist Daughter, Lost Boy ?, Emma Ruth Rundle, Boy Scouts, Goon, Lee Fields & the Expressions, The Royal They, Mono, Cyrus Gengras, and Itasca. On top of that haul, there were also memorable music videos from the likes of Furnsss (who nearly grabbed this post’s featured spot), Ultimate Painting, Berwanger, WL, No One Mind, Cold Cave, and Kissing Is A Crime. Full streams from Ceres and Chook Races as well as summer snacks, an incredible compilation from Deli Cat Records topped everything off with effortless panache.

Today’s feature falls to the emergent Heavy Pockets, who just provided a glimpse at their forthcoming Mopeless with the extraordinary “(Don’t Wanna Be) One of the Boys”. In less than twenty seconds, the band manages to assert a considerable amount of power and echo the very best of the enviable Salinas roster (Swearin’, Radiator Hospital, All Dogs, etc.) while establishing their own identity.

Immediate, accessible, and a perfect example of how basement pop and punk leanings can elevate each other, “(Don’t Wanna Be) One of the Boys” is a surging tide of adrenaline that’s hell-bent on washing over everything in its path. It’s dynamic and there’s a plethora of memorable hooks, which can typically be easy outs and lead to a lack of substance. That’s not the case here, as “(Don’t Wanna Be) One of the Boys” is anchored by an unflinchingly personal narrative that takes exception to infuriatingly pointless societal pressures.In just under three minutes, Heavy Pockets conjure up something that manages to be both outwardly aggressive and surprisingly intimate, making use of its cleverness in the process.

Leading the rollout campaign for the band’s forthcoming Mopeless, “(Don’t Wanna Be) One of the Boys” stands as an extremely promising look at the creative space Heavy Pockets are currently occupying. From start to finish, “(Don’t Wanna Be) One of the Boys” is a joy. Should the rest of Mopeless measure up to the track that’s leading the charge, Heavy Pockets may have a sleeper hit on their hands. All that’s left at this point is to hope that’s the case, wait patiently for the outcome, and keep hitting repeat on one of this summer’s loveliest offerings.

Listen to “(Don’t Wanna Be) One of the Boys” below and keep an eye on this site for more updates on Mopeless.