MY MOUTH IS THE SPEAKER – “Your New Apartment”
If you follow me on Twitter (and you should, because I need to have my worth validated by strangers, so please add me: @scottheisel), I've been hyping up the new My Mouth Is The Speaker EP for the past few weeks. They're a Cleveland-area band who have been around for a few years now, opening local gigs for plenty of your favorite bands (i.e. Neck Deep, Weatherbox, Anthony Raneri, Spitalfield and Vacationer), but have just hit their stride with In Focus, and especially the lead track, “Your New Apartment.” It's like I Am The Avalanche covering Hot Rod Circuit, with a dusting of pop-hardcore sing-alongs that the Story So Far have excelled at. Gotta love it when local boys make good! —Scott Heisel

PLAGUE VENDOR – “Cursed Love, Hexed Lust”

Every time I hear the opening line of this song (“She's a preacher's daughter and a sinner's wife”), I'm reminded of that old Dusty Springfield song, “Son Of A Preacher Man.” Of course, the similarities end with mentions of religious career paths. Plague Vendor are frenzied and in-your-face—and one of the most exciting new faces in punk rock. “Cursed Love, Hexed Lust” moves between sultry, wailing choruses and rapidfire verses that harken back to frontman Brandon Blaine's hip-hop beginnings. Outside of the chorus, I can barely keep up with the words Blaine is spitting out, but damn, do they sound good. — Brittany Moseley


On Record Store Day this year, the emo gods descended from the heavens and brought with them a new song from Seattle’s Sunny Day Real Estate. With the “emo revival” being the toast of Tumblr, never has a new track from aging genre pioneers felt so timely and relevant. (It kind of makes you wonder if the band were aware of all this.) The song is a bit more uppity and warm than older, dreary favorites like “In Circles,” but the fact that it’s the band’s first new song in nearly 15 years warrants a listen alone. If you’re a fan of the genre, and you haven’t heard this yet, what the hell are you waiting for? Do you even revive, bro? —Matt Crane

THE USED – “A Song To Stifle Imperial Progression (A Work In Progress)”

The title “A Song to Stifle Imperial Progression (A Work In Progress)” may already have you scratching your head thinking “The Used and politics?”, but don’t worry. I hadn't expected it, but the two go together like Nutella and waffles—which go together damn good. (You’re welcome.) It sounds like it could be a track right off their debut album. The intense vocals initially give off that rough sound heard throughout last summer’s self-produced The Ocean In The Sky EP, but it leads into one hell of a chorus. I’ve long appreciated bassist Jeph Howard’s ability to not use his four-stringed-partner as a rhythm guitar so please pay close attention to that sexy bassline in the dance-worthy chorus. Be prepared to get some awkward stares as you uncontrollably shout “No way, no way U.S.A.!” while you’re walking down the street tomorrow. — Nick Major


Full disclosure: I consider all three people who played on this record—vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Chris Farren (also of Fake Problems), vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Jeff Rosenstock (ex-Bomb The Music Industry!) and drummer Benny Horowitz (also of the Gaslight Anthem)—not only punk celebrities but dear friends. So even if Antarctigo Vespucci's debut EP, Soulmate Stuff, wasn't actually any good, I would still give it the “good dudes, backed hard” label (because I have no journalistic integrity, as our website's comment section frequently reminds me). Luckily, I don't have to lie, because Soulmate Stuff is excellent, and its lead single, “I'm Giving Up On U2,” is pretty much the best Weezer song Motion City Soundtrack forgot to write. That's fancy rock-crit speak for holyfuckingshitthismaybetheperfectpopsongof2014solistentoitalready. — Scott Heisel

WILLIAM CONTROL – “Where Angels Burn”

Driven by a pulsing synthesizer pad seemingly lifted from Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime,” the final song on electro-goth sadist William Control’s Neuromancer is remarkably tender. But when he croons about how he’ll chase the object of his lust/love into Hell, he adequately conveys all of the stupid, crazy, psychotic, wounded things all of us feel in the pursuit and acquisition of love. It’s remarkably tender, grandiose and gothic, and when Control says in the spoken-word soliloquy at the end, “That place, heaven, will never exist as long as you are not by my side,” I believe him. Because I’ve been there. You? And what the hell is it with me and love songs this month. I’m gonna go find something to hate now… — Jason Pettigrew

WOVENWAR – “All Rise”

“You have the chance to rise again,” an empowered Shane Blay sings (not screams) on the debut single from Wovenwar—the new band featuring Blay (also of Oh, Sleeper) and the four members of As I Lay Dying who have not plead guilty to a form of attempted murder. With a title like “All Rise” (the first thing one hears when a judge enters the courtroom), it’s tough not to interpret the song as a commentary on As I Lay Dying frontman Tim Lambesis’ legal troubles. But all thoughts shift to the future as the dazzling duel guitars of Nick Hipa and Phil Sgrosso (silenced for too long) carve out a blazing soundscape of melodic radio metal. Blay also has an M. Shadows thing going on with his vocals, so, yeah, this one’s definitely going to radio. Good for them. —Matt Crane