Today AltPress is premiering Light On Your End, the debut five-song mini-LP by Los Angeles-adjacent quintet Calmgrove. Now at some point in life, any music fan with any kind of word-rendering device will inevitably enter the phrase “your new favorite band” into it to describe something they find special. But by the sounds of things, Calmgrove have the songs to make that claim a reality.
Calmgrove—vocalist Eric Guzman, guitarists Tommy Maung and Daniel Alvarado, bassist Sean Gonzales and drummer Nolan Hernandez—deliver a special mixture of styles and genre signifiers on Light. The confessional emo lyrics, the pop-punk hooks and the sense of driving musicianship that makes the best alt-rock shine create an alloy that’s genuinely modern but not a soulless piece of product.
Really, if you were building a playlist for your friends of bands rockin’ your world, you’d be hard-pressed to pick just one from Calmgrove’s latest. Tracks such as “Shade” and “Misery” convey some great melodic energy, while Guzman’s vocal prowess sounds refreshingly natural without the histrionics many bands end up going through, because they think they have to.
“We began writing and recording Light On Your End in the spring of 2019 and couldn’t be more excited to share it,” Guzman says. “This EP is a collection of songs that touch on topics such as compromise, conformity, exclusion, losing touch and moving on. ‘Shade’ was written about the lack of confidence I had within my own skin. Growing up, I felt self-conscious of my darker skin and often wished to be or look like someone else. It’s so easy to want to blend in with the norm, and the weight becomes heavy to feel like the odd one out.”
We’d hope you’d take our word for Calmgrove’s appeal, but if you don’t, it’s cool. Calmgrove were chosen by fans of Bayside to open a date on that band’s current Interrobang tour. If you don’t realize the gravity of that endorsement, you might as well watch your X Ambassadors shirt go around in the washing machine for half an hour.
Check out Light On Your End below (it’s out this Friday, Nov 15) and tell us what you think. We think Calmgrove are going to do great things in 2020, and we want you to get in on the ground floor when they do. Preorder it right here, enjoy and practice saying “I told you so” in many different languages when the greater world gets wise to them next year.