Sometimes the rock world can get noisy, and we don’t just mean in decibels or fuzz. Often the signal-to-noise ratio is more noise than signal. But no worries; we read, listen to and watch everything so we can sort it for you. Here are some of our favorite new songs and videos of June 2014.
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5 SECONDS OF SUMMER – “Kiss Me Kiss Me”
The poppiest of pop-punk are back with another summer jam for us. This time, the guys teamed up with All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth (one of their big influences) who co-wrote the song during a bro-down session with producer John Feldmann. The track’s a bit more breezy (and actually has an ATL feel to it), than their previous, anthemic single, “She Looks So Perfect.” It sounds like a fun preview of what’s to come on their upcoming debut full-length. —Matt Crane
BEARTOOTH - "Body Bag"
One listen through Beartooth’s debut LP, Disgusting, and you may ask if there is anything frontman Caleb Shomo hasn’t been through. Throughout the record, Shomo holds nothing back, by delving into issues like domestic abuse (“Beaten In Lips”), alcoholism (“Relapsing,” “I Have A Problem”) and his personal faith (“Dead”). While the entire record is comprised of blistering, hardcore-influenced metal, it’s on “Body Bag” where everything truly falls into place. Essentially a circle pit just waiting to happen, the track is chock full of breakneck speed drumming and punk chord progressions, which take turns giving way to infectious two-step patterns and bludgeoning breakdowns. —Tyler Sharp
CAYETANA - "Serious Things Are Stupid"
"Serious Things Are Stupid," the first single from Cayetana’s upcoming debut full-length Nervous Like Me, takes its time developing. It fluctuates between quiet, distorted guitars and full-band crescendos, all guided by frontwoman Augusta Koch who manages to sound both plaintive and utterly distinct as she belts out lines like, "Came here alone/And I'm gonna leave that way." The song's subject matter isn't anything new. Everyone has liked the wrong person. Everyone has believed that same person when he or she says, "I swear I'll change." But Cayetana present it in a refreshing, relatable way that touches on all our insecurities about love and relationships. —Brittany Moseley
CONDITIONS - “Missing Hours”
Conditions’ final album Missing Hours is a combination of new songs, covers and acoustic renditions of their previous material. The cover tracks (including reimagined takes on the Killers and U2) sound huge, and the production on the acoustic tracks is super crisp, but the new material is where these Richmond, Virginia natives really shine. The album’s title track is a standout, lush with guitar layers and massive drums. The bridge is probably the heaviest Conditions have ever sounded, and that is definitely not a bad thing. —TJ Horansky
DAISYHEAD - “Can’t Live In It”
Placing themselves on par with the musical heartbreaking abilities of artists like Brand New and Thrice, Daisyhead reflect on the darkness of suicidal thoughts in “Can’t Live In It.” Its lack of a traditional verse-chorus-verse structure paired with crescendos and soft, forlorn, echoing guitars add even more pain to the forthright lyrics (“I tried before/It wasn’t time/Tonight, I will die/I’m finally leaving this place”). The song is vocalist Michael Roe’s imagining of what was happing inside his friend Kasey’s mind the night he committed suicide. The honesty—Roe’s fearlessness to convey such horrifying yet, for many, familiar thoughts—make it one of the most powerful songs this year. —Cassie Whitt
ELEL - "40 Watt"
In their debut music video for infectious single "40 Watt," Nashville newcomers ELEL pay partial homage to Pulp Fiction amid scenes of celebration, while lovestruck frontman Ben Elkins trades verses with his wife. The video's summer vibe perfectly complements the track's uproarious pop sensibilities, and its energetic Afro-Cuban electronic/energetic rock style just dares you not to smile and sing along. I expect we'll be hearing a lot more from this band when their first full-length, Geode, arrives later this year. —Philip Obenschain
EVERY TIME I DIE - "Decayin' With The Boys"
Even if you haven't seen the NSFW video for "Decayin' With The Boys," as soon as Keith Buckley lets out the first of many ragged screams, it's clear this is a song meant for partying. Warm beer, fast music, sweaty people—it's all there, sonically. It appears though that the people in the music video were too busy chugging beers to really listen to the lyrics, which cast a harsh look on ourselves ("But you show me the man I've become/And girl you know I want to tie up a rope and crack my crooked spine") and this fucked up world we live in ("Lord knows I've seen enough/It's crystal clear and uglier than I thought/Desperate and lonely juggernauts/Illuminate the filth with the glow of your righteous heart"). Perhaps the people in the music video have the right idea. Life sucks. Let's party. —Brittany Moseley
THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM - "Rollin' And Tumblin'”
Fans hoping that the Gaslight Anthem will recreate The '59 Sound
(or even American Slang
) on their upcoming album, Get Hurt
, might not want to hold their breath. With their latest single, "Rollin' And Tumblin,'" the group follow the template they set with 2012's Handwritten
, and crank it up to 11. Channeling that same Springsteen-inspired flavor of earnest, heartland rock they've adopted in recent years, but fusing it even more completely with their punk roots, "Rollin'" feels bigger, heavier and more balanced than anything we've heard from Gaslight in awhile. —Philip Obenschain
HEART TO HEART - "A.M.F."
While a majority of Heart To Heart’s latest album, Dulce
, captures their pristinely harnessed alt-rock meets post-hardcore edge, the effort’s first track, “A.M.F,” boasts a different feel entirely. The song’s deep bass cuts, crunchy guitar licks and swift drumming, coupled with untouchable clean and aggressive vocal harmonies, merge to make the song an undeniable standout track on Dulce
. Lyrically, while frontman Nick Zoppo takes the track down a pathway filled with hurt and disdain, he briefly touches on a hint of optimism as well (“It takes more to break our home than leaving us alone/I failed to see the man you claimed to be/With or without you our family tree still grows”). “A.M.F.” may slightly differ from its counterparts on Dulce
, but that only adds to its indisputable prowess and vigor. —Tyler Sharp
IN FLAMES – “Rusted Nail”
Oh, the pain of being an In Flames fan. You never truly know what’s in store when the patron saints of Gothenburg, Sweden start their mandatory “evolution” that comes with each album. “Rusted Nail” is a rock song. The barbaric screams of Anders Fridén are entirely absent. (His clean vocals do get quite raspy, though, in the uplifting “Just this once/Listen to the words I say” chorus. Raspy cleans—an ironically positive thing in this new era of In Flames.) The choice of this track as the first single was appropriate, as Sirens Charms is the first official rock album by these melodic death-metal pioneers. The track—which puts a drop of the old In Flames into a bucket of arena rock and industrial influence—is an alarm for fans to either finally jump ship, or accept the band in their new form: the soft lords of arena melodeath. —Matt Crane
SAY ANYTHING - "Judas Decapitation"
I reviewed Say Anything's previous two LPs (Anarchy, My Dear
and Say Anything
) and while there were elements about each I enjoyed, I haven't felt the need to revisit them pretty much since they came out. In essence, they weren't bad
albums; they just weren't as interesting as Max Bemis' earlier work, which I still spin frequently. (In Defense Of The Genre
lived in my old car's stereo for about a year straight.) I'm still digesting Hebrews
, but I can already tell it will have more staying power than the previous two albums simply because
I'm still digesting it. From the stockpile of guest vocalists to the unorthodox instrumentation to the upgraded lyrics, there are a lot more elements here for me to discover and explore. It might not dethrone ...Is A Real Boy
as my all-time favorite Say Anything record, but at least it's keeping me interested
, which is quite the challenge these days for any band. "Judas Decapitation" is currently my favorite track, but I expect that to change with more listens. —Scott Heisel
THE STORY SO FAR - “Navy Blue”
The Story So Far proved could venture beyond their bread-and-butter pop-punk sound with the release of “Clairvoyant” from their split with Stick To Your Guns last year. “Navy Blue” follows in a similar vein; the song is a mellow, stripped-down, finger-picked acoustic track from their new Songs Of
EP. The natural ambience of Parker Cannon’s powerful vocals makes you feel like you’re in the same room as the band. Cannon also has a knack for emoting lines such as “Now I just abuse substances/To drown out your accomplishments/However few” in a way that hits you pretty damn hard. Ah, all the feelings! —TJ Horansky
WALK THE MOON - "Shut Up And Dance"
I found Walk The Moon through something I never use: the radio. While swapping out CDs in the car, this piece of pop interrupted the process, making me remember lyrics so I could hunt it down at home like Dexter Morgan. Turns out it was "Fixin'" from their self-titled album. Not only are WTM touring with Panic! At The Disco
next month, but their new single "Shut Up And Dance" is totally truth in advertising. Hard to believe Patrick Stump didn't produce it. Do I hear a little Phil Collins, too? Maybe I just went too far. Be forewarned: This is one of those songs you'll mindlessly put on repeat. —Brian Kraus
GERARD WAY - "Action Cat"
The first track from the My Chemical Romance
lead singer’s impending album is a mid-tempo rocker with buzzsaw guitars and a handful of chords that's closer to the oeuvre of Pixies, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club or Heroes
-era Bowie than the synthetic vistas (Danger Days
, his deadmau5
collaboration "Professional Griefers") we last heard him fronting. The song feels like it should be playing overtop the end credits to a movie, one whose plot line has been tempered with melancholy and resignation. ("Do you miss me?" Way asks in the chorus as the guitars churn. "’Cause I miss you, too.") It's the kind of metaphor that will make MCR fans ruminate and speculate over for weeks. Why?
Because we all know Way is always ready to embrace the next thing. —Jason Pettigrew