punk

Party Muscles - Does It Even Matter? Review

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Party Muscles are a culmination of Philadelphia’s strongest music minds - a kinship between two friends working in a record store, bonding over their love for garage rock, melody, and good freakin’ tunes. Celebrating and riding the high from their August 2nd, 2019 release - Does It Even Matter?, Party Muscles are ready to play shows, make feel good tunes, and keep kickin’ ass.

Thanks to the efforts of current band lineup Colin McCarry, Beau Everett Gordon, Tyler Pursel and Joshua Strange for making up the indie rock infused sound of Party Muscles. A sound one could describe as fun, wildly talented, and always a damn good time. Does It Even Matter? is the bands debut effort - one that is an impressive, well written collection of bops sure to turn your summer around.

Check out the track list below to follow along!

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Does It Even Matter? Tracklist:
1. She Goes To Juuliard
2. Nascent
3. Peruvian Sunshine
4. Photography Raptor
5. I’m The Jaguar
6. Foliage
7. Lorraine
8. Capgun
9. Secret Language
10. Pocari Sweat
11. Inside Out

With inspiration coming from early 2000’s bands like The Strokes, The Libertines, Parquet Courts and The Hives, it’s easy to pick up on what Party Muscles wants their sound to be. Does It Even Matter? is an incredible example of a successful, impactful debut album that sets the standard for everything else to follow. It is well constructed, written with purpose, and performed meticulously. The 11-track album floats between itself, never skipping a beat, but never keeping it the same. The record was truly such a good time to listen to and enjoy, it made writing a review about it difficult.

Enough said.

All songs on the album were written by band creators, Tyler Pursel and Colin Mccarry. It was produced by Tyler Pursel and Josh Strange, and finally recorded at Strange Audio Electronics and Creep Records. A true Philadelphia project, through and through. What I enjoyed most about this album was that it created it’s own space to exist within. It is a breath of fresh air in a space that cultivates a hugely DIY core, and while Party Muscles and Does It Even Matter? are well crafted, and poignant, they never take themselves too seriously. Melodic, and groovy - their sound resonates with a multitude of listeners by culminating a variety of genre-esque sounds. Their draw on early 2000’s indie rock doesn’t over power their message, and my biggest criticism is I wish I could’ve read the lyrics for the tracks while listening.

Either way - this is a good album, and it makes me excited for the future of Party Muscles. Give it a listen, check out a show, buy some merch! The good people in Party Muscles have an August residency at Ortliebs - August 15th, 22nd and 29th, which means you have zero reason to miss out on these talented up & comers.

For more information, follow their social media links down below!

Party Muscles: Bandcamp // Facebook

Halogens - Happy Hour Review

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When it comes to one of our favorite bands, Halogens, we just can’t get enough. In fact, we haven’t gotten enough since we first heard their 2016 Self-Titled EP, so thank god for Happy Hour. Releasing on February 22nd, consider it a belated Valentines Day gift from the dynamic foursome.

Comprised of Zach Henry (Vocals/Guitar), Charlie Throckmorton (Guitar), Tim Wuestneck (Bass/Vocals), and George Saives (Drums), allowing the band to pack a heavy punch. The six track EP is the latest edition to the bands growing discography, and one to surely solidify Halogens in your hearts. It is heartfelt, knit-picking, and typically Halogens-esque in certain moments. We’re talking brash, coarse vocals, heavy hitting instrumentals balanced by a softness that entangles you emotionally, cathartically, and sometimes painfully.

Check out the track list below!

Album Artwork: Chris Wills Flannery

Album Artwork: Chris Wills Flannery

Happy Hour Tracklist:
1. Pretty Enough
2. The Inside
3. Buckle
4. Sometimes
5. O’Gourman
6. The Backwoods



“Pretty Enough” opens up the EP’s melancholy - something I’d describe as an emotional longing that Halogens has always been good at conveying. There is always a sense of cathartic urgency, and every track is an inevitable purging. The band has been showcasing this track at recent shows, switching up their set list and giving listeners a taste of what to come. “Pretty Enough” also bonds the EP together as an opening track, which is one of the most impressive feats of this album.

In comparison to previous EP’s, I would say that Happy Hour feels stronger. It has a sense of itself, it flows well together, and while the tracks maintain a signature sound that the band has cultivated, the tracks don’t bleed - having the ability to exist on their own allows them the opportunity to utilize the tracks in different, more meaningful ways. Halogens has definitely grown up for this one, maintaining their instrumental complexity while also exploring this new softness that I’m really into.

My favorite track is “Buckle.” Anchoring the middle of an EP can be tricky, but “Buckle” does so in a way that alters the mood of the EP so listeners slide into “Sometimes.” I also really appreciated how the tempo slowed down for this track. By switching into this rhythm, the emphasis moves back onto the lyrics - a problem that Halogens has faced before, losing the lyrics in the instrumentals. “Sometimes” swoops in to dance away all of the sadness. I do wonder what else Halogens can do, though. I wonder, upon listening back on previous work, what growth Halogens can continue to make. What sounds can they cultivate to give the listener even more? How do they allow themselves the ability to step outside of a pre-designed box, one that works well and executes nicely. As the band adds more, I have a sense that I want more.

One thing I appreciate, especially about the lyricism in this album, is that Halogens never fail to make the listener feel included or secure. Halogens simultaneously validates and empowers listeners with commonality, the idea of being relatable is never lost on the band. They know just the way you feel, those oddities of experiencing life, sadness, loss, and most importantly - happiness. Happy Hour succeeds in keeping listeners excited & queued in on Halogens. It leaves little to want, but maybe Halogens next move will be different, or maybe they won’t. Either way, they remain as one of our favorite locals of all time - a band with good intentions, support and kindness that exceeds their music.

We’ve got links down below to access Halogens, so you should definitely be checking them out. Support them by purchasing merchandise and/or their music on Bandcamp, and thanks for choosing The Hook!

Halogens: Instagram // Twitter // Facebook

Hoser - Nosebleeder Review

Our Philadelphia favorites, Hoser, have drudged through those winter blues with a nice little two track EP, and we feel blessed. Nosebleeder was released on February 5th, so we may be late to the party, but we're staying for the celebration.

The 2-track EP was recorded with Mike Britt at the bins, and mastered by Troy Glessner at Specter Studios. According to the band, after their brief hiatus, the EP "was recorded very quickly last summer while in the midst of booking our first national tour. So we pretty much had a gun to our head to finish by August. It was a very crazy insane summer. We finished recording, toured, got home, and than did much needed work in post on the EP. So technically the EP was released on tour but it was a terrible version and we pulled it the day we got home. So we like to think that it was a demo and this is the real release. As you can tell we have gotten heavier and more dynamic. We have added our black/death metal love into the music on Nosebleeder. Kensington and Somerset is about the ongoing struggle of staying clean and the terrible cycle of relapse and lose of hope. I wrote that song when I was really young like 19 or 20. I am and most of Hoser are recovering Heroin Addicts, so the song means a lot to us. We are really happy to finally have a good recording of it, and finally have it out in the world."

Check out the tracklist down below!

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Nosebleeder Tracklist:
1. Nosebleeder
2. Kensington & Somerset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In true Hoser form, the EP is a gritty, rock & roll saga that feels much longer and more intense than just two tracks. While the tempo is fast paced, it doesn’t feel unwarranted. I actually really enjoy this harder Hoser, with an opening track that has an intro to make you shake in your boots.

Their endearment for noisy black metal is prominent in this EP, and we’re perfectly fine with it - opening track “Nosebleeder” is going to give you what you may have been yearning in previous EP’s with Hoser; constantly teetering on the edge of rock & punk.

Check it out below!

“Kensington & Somerset” revives a more European style Punk that, while differing from our old favorites, keeps Hoser right on track with what they want & love about making music. While it’s extremely short, it closes the EP in a potent & meaningful way! This EP is one you don’t want to miss, and while we’ve been sitting on it, you definitely shouldn’t!

You can check out Hoser on their social media down below to keep up with them in the meantime. Otherwise, stream their music above on their bandcamp!

Hoser: Facebook // Instagram

The Broken Few - We Leave Pieces Of Ourselves

As Fall encroaches (hopefully) upon us, we're settling in with a good book and a good band. This time it's Providence, Rhode Island quintet The Broken Few. The post-hardcore screamo band bring out the sad boy in us all, and for the month of October, that's what we're into.

(Shut up, Mom this isn't a phase)

Way back in April, The Broken Few released We Leave Pieces Of Ourselves, a 9-track album that pushes and pulls at the innards of anyone who stumbles upon it. The Broken Few includes members Eddie Cote (Vocals), Joe Landriana (Guitar/Vocals), Chris Cordon (Bass), Jordon Collard (Drums), and Chris Michaels (Guitar) to create a nice slice of what you instrumentally like about post hardcore with the screams to go along with it.

Check out the tracklist below to follow along!

The Broken Few Tracklist:
1. Fuck Yeah, Bob Saget
2. Axe Body Spray
3. Smile
4. Winter
5. Hey Jealousy
6. Rose
7. To Whom It May Concern
8. You Don't Know Me
9. Wander

 



Opening track "Fuck yeah Bob Saget" lures listeners into to something that isn't always going to be very funny, but that's ok. I really dig the vibe of this album, it's soft in nature (or probably just recording), and it sneaks up on listeners in a lot of ways. I prefer this album instrumentally, and when Cote is singing rather than screaming, the tracks feel a little more impactful. Some tracks have an inconsistent type of vocal depth to them, one where I wish they'd choose between the two styles. 

For the most part, tracks 1-5 were preferred over the latter half of the album. They felt the most consistent, heartfelt and well put together. I wanted more tracks like that where I could get lost in sharing those feelings with the band as they pull them out of the listener. Overall, I like The Broken Few. I want to listen to more music for them and I want them to do well. I wonder where their path will take them in the future, and what things they want to hold onto or let go - and We Leave Pieces Of Ourselves is an ode to a time in which they did just that.

To keep up with The Broken Few, check out their social media down below!

The Broken Few: Bandcamp // Facebook

Coffee Breath - I'll Lose Interest In This Review

Photos by John Hills

Photos by John Hills

Coffee Breath may as well just be my newest heartthrobs. With the perfect combo of DIY emo spirit and math rock, the quintet is sure to win you over. Located in the United Kingdom, Coffee Breath are a breath of fresh air (hah) in their respective scene, and their most recent EP, I'll Lose Interest In This is unbelievable. 

If you're a fan of bands like Title Fight and American Football, Coffee Breath is for you. They remind me a lot of local New Jersey band Halogens, which ideally would be a future show if either of them decide to hop across the pond. I'll Lose Interest In This was released on May 26th of this year, and was produced, mixed and mastered by Will Cook (Classically Handsome Brutes) and presents a refinement of the band's sound. It was released digitally by Further Sky records with a cassette release from Honeypot Records

Sam Tidmarsh (Vocals), Matt Reynolds (Guitar), Ryan McCorkell (Guitar), Max Hadfield (Bass) and Cem Ozer (Drums) met while studying at the University of Birmingham and formed Coffee Breath after bonding over a shared love of emo revival, math rock and coffee.

Check out the tracklist below before we dive in!

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I'll Lose Interest In This Tracklist:
1. Summertime
2. Playfight
3. Kites
4. Daydream

 

 

 

 

I'll Lose Interest In This is a dreamy, math-y album that begs you to hold it's hand in a way that you know it's going to break your heart. Opening track "Summertime" introduces listeners to that special Coffee Breath sound, with a guitar that buzzes against the hum of those half-sung, half screamed lyrics.

"Playfight" is going to slow it down a little bit for listeners, but at once of the longer tracks on the EP it can, at times, feel monotonous. However, if listened through completely, "Kites" will pick you back up to float along with Coffee Breath. This track is my personal favorite as it really exudes this fun indie pop aspect that feels good to listen and vibe to. A bop for sure, definitely check out "Kites." "Daydream" closes out the EP in a slow, smooth almost Jazz inspired piece. The closing track is a true testament to what the EP is really aiming for - and may have been the reason I fell in love with Coffee Breath. 

You should check these guys out, and I know I normally say that, but this EP is really concise, exciting and well done. The precision of the EP is a testament to the band's love for their music and also their hard work.

To keep up with Coffee Breath and all that they're going to be up to, check out their social media below!

Coffee Breath: Facebook // Website

Erotic Novels - Debut Review

There’s a new band in town, and they have an awesome name. Erotic Novels is Shannon Perez, Chris Tull, and drummer Bobby C., hailing from New Brunswick, and they pack a punch with their garage-rock sound!

Their first official release, an EP appropriately titled Debut, is available to the public for purchase, and it’s definitely one worth checking out. Debut is a 5-track album that gives the listeners a pretty good idea of what to expect from Erotic Novels in the future.

Check out the tracklist below!

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Debut Tracklist:
1. Maiming Faces
2. Hocus Pocus
3. Revenge Therapy
4. Out West On My Own
5. I’m Not Willing
 

 

 

 

 

My music taste ranges all over the place, but occasionally I do love the heavy rock sound that Erotic Novels brings with this album. Sometimes I just like to put on a song with a thrashing guitar and let the music wash over me and pump me up. This album has some really good instrumentals of the sort that make you want to jump around and flip your hair.  

Erotic Novels makes that kind of music.

The song “Out West On My Own” was likened to The Runaways by The Key on xpn.org, and I’d have to agree. Not just for that song in particular, but the whole band. Erotic Novels has a sound that’s similar to some popular bands of punk rock, and the vocals do remind me of the distinctive sounds of Cherie Currie and Joan Jett, which I really dig. Anything that reminds me of Joan Jett is good. Joan is the queen. My favorite song of the 5 on the album is “Hocus Pocus,” followed by “Revenge Therapy.”

“Hocus Pocus” has a guitar melody that I really like, and there’s something about it that makes it stand out from the rest. I feel like this music is something Kat Stratford from 10 Things I Hate About You would listen to. In other words, it’s great. It’s the best kind of angsty punk rock.

Overall, I’d give this album a 5 out of 5.

They get extra points for their cover art (anybody else recognize the handsome Fabio? The first time I ever saw Fabio was on Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. God, I miss that show). And they also get extra points for their name, because I mean, come on. Erotic Novels. I love that name. 

Check out a streaming sample of Debut above, and you can purchase the full album for an affordable price on Bandcamp. Be sure to keep an eye out for any more releases from Erotic Novels in the future!

Erotic Novels: Facebook

Nervous Triggers - Do The Drool Review

In times of uncertainty, punk rock prevails. 

Nervous Triggers knows this, and the Jersey Shore based punk rock band now has the perfect fuel for their own fire. Four longtime pals from New Jersey who love "all kinds of different punk music, comic books, comedy, pizza, and beer, and hate fascists, war hawks, and slumlords of all stripes. The band began playing in 2015, and are a hodge-podge of members from a bunch of other bands past and present." 

Nervous Triggers are Jay Insult (lead vocals), Patski (guitar/vocals), J Nixon (bass/vocals), and Eric Truchan (drums). The band's most recent release is Do The Drool, which came out in January of 2017, coinciding especially with a certain presidential inauguration. The 4-track EP was recorded & mixed by Christopher "Gobo" Pierce at Volume IV in New Brunswick, NJ, while it was then mastered by Dan Jensen at the Hideaway Studios in Minneapolis, MN.

Check out the tracklist for Do The Drool below!

Do The Drool Tracklist:
1. Do the Drool
2. Zero State Solution
3. The Final War
4. Bricks & Mortars

 

 

 

 

 

Reminiscent of the B52's in opening track "Do The Drool" it's like punk meets new wave, and we're into it. With a more theatrical instrumental backing, the 4-tracks on Do The Drool never take themselves too seriously. Opening title track is a quintessential opener, one that meets the listener with what to expect while continuing to keep it light hearted.

"Zero State Solution" is a little bit more aggressive and punk than the prior track. It features Sayuri Gomez to bring a nice extra element of screamed vocals to offset vocalist Jay Insult. "The Final War" brings back that organ sound from track 1 which juxtaposes a punk message. Finally, "Bricks & Mortars" reminds listeners that Nervous Triggers are trying to get a message across, that this EP, while it doesn't take itself very seriously, it is attempting to hit hard and fast with a nice punk overbite.

My only criticism is that "Zero State Solution" sounds a little different than the other tracks on the EP. I wondered it's purpose on the EP's progression, as it also feels the most unclear. Otherwise, Do The Drool is a solid EP that is sure to bring out the revolution in anyone listening!

For more on New Jersey's own outspoken punk rockers, check out their social media below to never miss an update!

Nervous Triggers: Facebook // Twitter

Sally Draper - Does Too Review

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Leave it to a New Jersey-ian to have a track called "New York Is A Fucking Headache." With a mix of screamed lyrics and delicate instrumentals, Sally Draper are bringing a whole new grit to Central Jersey's scene - one that's got it's fists up to fight off the sadness.

DOES TOO is Sally Draper's debut album is a 10-track exploration of sound and fury. This album was recorded at the Behr Office LLP and their parents' houses between September 2016 and February 2017. Released for free on March 10th, DOES TOO was Engineered by Bob Osowski, and mixed & mastered by Bill Henderson at Azimuth Mastering. Sally Draper includes duo Ryan O'Leary (Guitar, Vocals, Piano), and Bob Osowski (Guitar, Bass, Drums, Vocals, Piano).

Check out the tracklist below to follow along!

DOES TOO Tracklist:
1. The Air I Breathe
2. Spontaneity Preplanned
3. New York City Is A Fucking Headache
4. Ruthy, Forget Your Pain
5. 87
6. A Walk In The Woods
7. When You Found God, You Lost Yourself
8. Too Young To Be Too Old
9. Landing Strip
10. Can't Handle Happiness

 

This album is a beast of it's own. With instrumentals that are reminiscent of popular NJ local trends, Sally Draper treads a fine line between punk and angry. Most of the songs here are sad songs, the lyrical content feels obtuse against the vocals which feels obtuse against the instrumental presence.

The softness in opening track "The Air I Breathe" is likely to throw listeners off, but I wonder if that means Sally Draper is leaving a lasting impression? In this case, there are some songs where I wish the lyrics were sung at points. It'd make the tracks for more meaningful, but hey Sally Draper may not even be going for meaningful. Let's not get ahead of ourselves here.

The punk style screaming on DOES TOO makes it impactful, it does. I just want it to be more focused with the other things the duo is doing. The emotional gravity makes me excited, and on "87" and "When You Found God You Lost Yourself" I get a hint of the type of vocals I'd wished for more of the half-screamed, half-sung duality that is popular in basements, the voice of the unheard, emo-punk so to speak.

However, besides that, I was super impressed by the cohesive nature of the album. It sounds right together, and the uppity nature of DOES TOO keeps listeners intrigued and wanting. Sally Draper knows how to make me want to stay and listen, and I'm into it.

Check this lion of an album out, and to keep up with NJ pals Sally Draper, check out their social media below!

Sally Draper: Facebook