I Swear I’m Good at This: the Debut Album from Diet Cig

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My fascination with Diet Cig started when I saw them open for The Front Bottoms and Brick + Mortar last year. At that time, they had one 5-song EP and two singles. Almost exactly one year later, they dropped their first full length album, I Swear I’m Good at This. Frontwoman Alex Luciano keeps it real with her audience and her unbridled honesty makes her lyrics so much more relatable. The opener of the album, “Sixteen”, details cringey moments of dating someone with the same name. Luciano addresses many relationship struggles and problems commonly encountered as one enters adulthood, or at least tries to. 

Among the sweet melodies and talk of relationships are discussions of heavier topics such as gender roles and consent. On “Maid Of The Mist”, Luciano spits out “I am bigger than the outside shell of my body and if you touch it without asking then you’ll be sorry”. Luciano may refer to relationships and seemingly mundane topics, but she remains feminist pop-punk and empowered. “Tummy Ache” and “Link in Bio” is where some of this feminist frustration boils over. 

Overall, Diet Cig nails combining a young innocence with ferocity and empowerment. They blend elements and themes together in a bubbly, dancy pop. I Swear I’m Good at This is an amazing debut album and I’m excited to see where they go from here.

You can listen to I Swear I’m Good at This here.

Diet Cig will be stopping by Seattle on April 28th at Barboza. If you’re able to attend, I highly recommend. The energy present in their music is multiplied by 10 at their live shows. Luciano jumps, kicks, and is an amazing ball of energy. She’ll make you dance even if you’re unfamiliar with their music. You can grab tickets for that show here. 

~Jessica Gloe

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Basement – Album Preview

England’s Basement
are releasing their first new album in four years and the alternative rock
scene is buzzing with excitement. The band went on hiatus in 2012 after the release
and supporting tour of their last full-length, Colourmeinkindness. Since then, they’ve released just one EP, 2014’s
Further Sky.

The five-piece from Ipswich,
England blends pop-punk, emo, grunge, and hardcore. Their sound can switch from
angry and head-pounding to ambient and wistful at the snap of a finger. My
personal favorite song of theirs encapsulates this perfectly. The tune starts
out with vocalist Andrew Fisher
crooning about someone who is regrettably no longer in his life before quickly
turning into a hardcore jam.

Three singles have been released in
anticipation of the new album, Promise
Everything
. The first single and title track of the album picks up nicely right
where Colourmeinkindess left off. The
bass break halfway though the song just slays. 

The next single, “Oversized”, is
a slightly slower, softer, and more melancholy tune. It doesn’t jump out at me
like some other songs in their discography, but it’s solid.

The third and final single, “Aquasun”,
is easily my favorite of the bunch. The chorus is a little more poppy than
anything they’ve done in the past, but at the same time it just feels like a
classic Basement song. The bridge and outro are so chill. I love it. “Aquasun” also features the band’s first music video, directed by their very own guitarist, Alex Henery.

Promise
Everything
will be released January 29th, and it will absolutely
be worth a listen if you prefer your emo with some bite to it.

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RJ Morgan



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The Best 5 Pop-Punk Albums of 2015

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With the year winding down and no huge pop-punk releases on the radar in the near future, I thought I’d go through my top 5 albums of the year for the genre. Let’s do it to it.

5. The Story So Far – Self-Titled

I’ll be honest, this record had to grow on me. The
Story So Far
’s third offering sounded like it was too much of the same, like
the band didn’t show enough growth from their previous albums. I still do think
that to a certain extent, but eventually the album just kind of clicked with
me. The lead single, “Nerve”, and songs like “Heavy Gloom” will get your blood
pumping with vocalist Parker Cannon’s machine gun-like delivery of scathing
lyrics. Hopefully in the future they’ll mix it up a little bit, but for the
time being you can still count on The Story So Far to make you feel a little bit
better about that breakup you’re probably going through.

4. Knuckle Puck – Copacetic

Copacetic is a solid release from Chicago’s
Knuckle Puck. After a string of excellent EP’s, the band finally released their
first full-length this year. Relatively new to the scene, there’s no doubt the
band will see a rise in popularity due to killer tracks like “Pretense” and “Disdain”.
The songs are angsty, emotional, and hard-hitting. The one criticism I have is
that I don’t love the production on the album. I think it’s a little
over-produced. Nonetheless, it’s totes worth a listen if you love pop-punk with
a hardcore influence.

3. Neck Deep – Life’s Not Out to Get You

This is about as “pop-punk” of a record as you
can get. I like the message in the album title. Maybe it’s the demographic, but
sometimes it seems like bands in this genre are in a competition to see who can
feel the sorriest for themselves, so it’s nice to see a decidedly mature
message from Wales’ Neck Deep. They’re definitely the UK’s flagship band in
the pop-punk scene, and that won’t be changing any time soon with this fun
release.

2. The Wonder Years – No Closer to Heaven

I’m biased because I think The Wonder Years are
far and away the best band in the pop-punk genre this decade, but this is
definitely one of my favorite albums of the year. No Closer to Heaven is their 5th
album and you get the sense that the boys from South Philly have grown up quite
a bit. Vocalist and lyricist Dan “Soupy” Campbell yet again crafts incredible
lyrics, showcased on songs like “Cigarettes and Saints”. This is not a
feel-good record, far heavier than their previous releases in both lyrical
content and instrumentation.

1. Turnover – Peripheral Vision

I feel like it’s cheating to put this album on a
pop-punk list, but Turnover started out as a pop-punk band, so we’re going with
it. Peripheral Vision, the band’s third album, is just fantastic. There’s no
other way to say it. What’s amazing is that it’s such a huge departure from
their previous work. It’s almost as if The Cure and Title Fight had a baby. Haunting lyrics
and swirling dream pop-esque guitars combine to make one of the most
interesting records of the year. Do yourself a big favor and give it a listen.

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RJ Morgan



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Album Review: Seaway – Colour Blind

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If a new American Pie
movie were to be made today, Canada’s up-and-coming Seaway would write the soundtrack. Colour Blind is the band’s sophomore album and their first full-length
release for Pure Noise Records, and
it’s definitely one of the year’s best pop-punk releases.

Pop-punk exploded in the mid-to-late 2000’s and, like most
of us, you probably got sick of it. But in the past few years the genre has
seen what could almost be called a re-birth. You’ve got everything from bands
like The Story So Far and Knuckle Puck combining the grit of hardcore
with pop-punk to groups like The Front
Bottoms
who put a folk-esque twist on the genre. While the music’s great,
it seems like so much of it lacks the fun
that used to be such a staple of the genre.

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That’s where Seaway’s got you covered.

What makes Seaway unique is that they harken back to the pop-punk of the early
2000’s. Remember the days when you’d hear blink-182
and Sum 41 at the mall? From the
start of Colour Blind you’ll
instantly feel like you’re back in that mall jamming to “Fat Lip” over the PA. These
songs aren’t out to make you sad. They’re for blasting on your way to a party
where you hope you don’t hurt yourself doing a keg stand. A few of the standout
tracks are “Best Mistake”, “Still Weird”, and “Turn Me Away”.

The lead single for the album, “Freak”, is the best of the bunch. It kicks off with a beautiful guitar riff and leads into an intro that will make you want to
stop whatever you’re doing and find the nearest available mosh pit.

For some, the nostalgia-factor may come across a little shtick-y,
but I enjoy it. The video for “Best Mistake” bombards you with everything it meant to be
a Canadian kid growing up in the late 90’s. Some of the video’s references
might be lost on Americans, but those of us south of the border will still eat
up the Drake/Degrassi cameo and the old videogame references.

The lyrics, while undoubtedly catchy, aren’t exactly
groundbreaking. The subject matter for most of the songs is your standard
pop-punk fare (girls, not fitting into the crowd, etc.). Sometimes a strong vocal delivery
can make up for less-than-innovative lyrics though, and I think this is where Seaway
really shines on this record. When Ryan Locke, the vocalist with the deeper register,
belts out the chorus to “Airhead” or the outro of “Stubborn Love”, you can
really feel the raw emotion behind the words. 

In a style similar to Taking Back Sunday or Four Year Strong (Alan Day of Four Year
Strong was actually one of the producers of the album), the band features two
vocalists who often trade lines back and forth throughout the songs. “Turn Me
Away” is the best example of what can happen when the dual vocals are used
right, and when it works it sounds great.

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While this record doesn’t exactly push any boundaries musically or lyrically, it’s just so damn fun. Look for Seaway to make a big splash in the pop-punk scene with this solid release.

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RJ Morgan



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Hungary, Hungry Huskies: WHAT ON EARTH is this?!

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Power-punk has returned in the city of Budapest! Catchy riffs and anthem-like choruses fill the spaces in-between WHAT ON EARTH’s dominating drumline. While Tamás Dalmáci pumps through angst-filled pop lines, guitarists Viktor Mosolygó and Ákos Kocsány build off each other’s classic chordal structures.

Since forming in January, the band’s been writing and recording quite the collection of kick-ass tracks. I had the pleasure of hearing their first single in advance (embedded below), and even in its un-mastered form, a smile came across my face as Ádám Darida’s bass drum caused my legs to shake in raucous rhythm. Sum 41-esque guitar parts mix with alternating melodic tones that call back to the early 2000’s as our ears bled in our parents’ garages. I’m certain that the coming weeks will bring more broken bottles and hearts as philosophic lyrics mold with woes of ex-girlfriends past.

For all that and more, check out the ensemble’s first official song, How We Live (embedded below – after the jump)!

If you liked it, check out their Facebook, Bandcamp and SoundCloud to stay up to date in a country that’s just 9 hours away. And come back every week for more from Budapest and the surrounding area… I’ll be here until December to bring you another look at a world of music that I’ve never seen or heard before!

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DJ Desman