The Alt Weekly Roundup (5/15)

Posted: by The Editor

The Alternative Weekly Roundup is a column where our staff plugs a variety of new releases in a concise, streamlined format. Albums, singles, videos, and live sets. Check back each Monday to see what we were jamming the week prior.

Frog Legs – “The Worst McDonald’s Ever (Pts. 1 & 2)”

Starting out as a swaying folk punk ramble before taking a more “punk punk” turn at “sometimes bad things happen just because,” Frog Legs’ “The Worst McDonald’s Ever (Pts. 1 & 2)” feels like an anxious inner monologue echoing around during a walk over the hills of different Pittsburgh neighborhoods. It’s packed with instantaneous lines like “the future’s predetermined and it wants to fuck with you / it’s just hard to face the fact that there’s nothing we can do” and “don’t think I’m a bad person / I just think about bad things / just hope they finally leave me / when my mouth opens to sing” punctuated with an appropriately wordless chorus pushing into the string of thoughts. The first tune off Frog Legs’ upcoming It’s Been a Hard Year, “The Worst McDonald’s Ever (Pts. 1 & 2)” is a nearly-five-minute track that not only avoids dragging on, but begs for repeat listens.

Aaron Eisenreich | @slobboyreject

Followship – Stigma

Stigma has all the hallmarks of a classic Swancore record: soaring high-pitched vocals juxtaposed against guttural shrieks, dizzyingly technical riffs, loose structures. But Followship is no tribute act, and the Richmond post-hardcore band’s latest EP goes beyond the sum of its influences. Opener “Claire Hale” sets the scene perfectly before “This One’s for the Theater Kids” flirts with metalcore and the six-plus-minute “Netflix and Pills” settles into a hypnotic groove. 

Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison

Charlotte Cornfield – Could Have Done Anything

It seems only right to take Charlotte Cornfield’s reviving new record Could Have Done Anything alongside her wintry Highs in the Minuses. There’s a blossoming of happiness on these songs, but also of reaching the simple-yet-difficult feeling of comfort in your own skin. The addition of shimmering organ and some more adventurous bass lines helps add an extra layer of warmth to tunes like “In From the Rain” and “Gentle Like the Drugs” and “Nowhere,” while also shining more of a spotlight on the quieter tracks like “The Magnetic Fields.” Could Have Done Anything’s connection with Highs in the Minuses is particularly noticeable at the end of closer “Walking With Rachael,” with Cornfield’s gratitude at being “calmer than I was / smarter than I was / stronger than I was / older than I was / less angry than I was / less anxious than I was / more grounded than I was / happier than I was” feeling like an answer to the ending of Highs in the Minuses, where Cornfield asks of her crippling anxiety: “will it destroy me?” It’s a triumphant record where the triumph is found in that calming, centering feeling of acceptance of the mundane day-to-day.

Aaron Eisenreich | @slobboyreject

Grave Secrets – “Anxious”

LA melodic punk/hardcore band Grave Secrets are continuing to make a name for themselves with their latest single “Anxious.” Finding a way to blend nostalgic sounds with a modern touch, this is a band you want to have on your radar as they’ll have a new album out later this year via Wiretap Records.

Jazmin Lemus | @_Jazmin

Safari Room – “The Great Outdoors”

Safari Room’s “The Great Outdoors” feels made to soundtrack a late night drive in a movie as the down-on-their-luck main character prepares to take a huge swing at a different life. The guitars are slick, but not without a grimy bent that matches the bite of lines like “I’m coming out of my cage / sick of feeling older than my age” and “cause I’ve been working far too long to get this far.” The moody lamplit feel and melodic interplay between the guitar and bass lines make Safari Room the band sound like the character in the song—ready to break through.

Aaron Eisenreich | @slobboyreject

sweetmess – everything’s fine

It only takes 20 minutes for Montreal’s sweetmess to prove they’re one of the best bands in indie rock. Their new EP everything’s fine follows last year’s keeping us apart, and it hones their craft even further. Cuts like propulsive lead single “static” and bouncy closer “intertwined” show how far they’ve come in just a year: the riffs are sharper, the vocals more elastic, and the hooks somehow stickier.

Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison

trustfall – “Entropy”

Both a blistering attack and a bit of a slow burning screed, trustfall’s “Entropy” is a whirlwind of riffs and lyrics that are sardonic and antisocial without falling into the “everything sucks” trap. Indeed, some of the darkest moments are hidden behind the song’s most melodic vocal lines, while lines like “that’s why they call it getting high / stoned like Jesus on the cross” get a couple passes and stick out more in the mix. “Entropy” is the second recent single from trustfall, joining the ripping hardcore noodler “Shed is Church.”

Aaron Eisenreich | @slobboyreject

Joyer – “Silver Moon”

New Jersey slowcore duo Joyer’s been one of the most quietly exciting bands in indie rock for years, from their breakout 2020 LP Sun into Flies to 2021’s opus Perfect Gray. They’re back now with their first single on Julia’s War, titled “Silver Moon,” a crushing, warbling shoegaze song that immediately lands among the band’s best.

Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison

Jess Kallen – “Ink”

Jess Kallen’s “Ink” feels like tugging on the end of a ball of yarn in your head and not stopping until the whole thing unspools. In the track, Kallen takes on the days where the monotony makes doing “something close to anything” an insurmountable task, even the decision whether to “exercise my muscles or exorcise my demons” over some fun and varied soundscapes. “Ink” is the fourth single off Kallen’s upcoming Exotherm (for a nice contrast and indication of the different sonic ideas they’re working with, check out the stark and spellbinding “Mile Eleven”).

Aaron Eisenreich | @slobboyreject

The Alternative’s ‘New Music Friday’ playlist

Each week our editor Lindsy Carrasquillo compiles a playlist of songs our staff has been jamming. We post it on Fridays on Twitter and then include it in each edition of the Weekly Roundup to make sure you don’t miss any of the great music we’re recommending.

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