This new album by I Had Plans, named after a quote by Henry David Thoreau, is a post-punk master-stroke, leaps and bounds ahead of much of the work by their peers. Portugal’s I Had Plans takes queues from other European punk/screamo/whatever greats such as Raein and Adorno (with whom I Had Plans shares members) and impregnates a post-rock leaning sound with the angularity of post-punk greats like Drive Like Jehu. I think the fanciful guitar work and pounding drums will back that comparison up quite nicely. I don’t know, decide for yourself. My only complaint is that his album doesn’t break into much new territory beyond what was explored on their demo that came out a few years back (a solid work in its own respect). If one’s perception of beauty is truly a moral test, consider these guys to be operating on a different moral high ground. Download this and buy their records/merch in hope that they’ll tour the states sometime soon.

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– Jack Kerouac, Visions of Gerard

After another dormancy of a few years, Raein is back with another full-length record. The reigning kings of the European screamo scene return with their best material to date. Where other bands within this same vein tend to rely on conventions, Raein discards and looks elsewhere for inspiration. Raein truly proves that on this album. This record sounds more inspired by bands such as Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. than any 90s emo or hardcore bands. Bended notes, feedback, and walls of distortion are as common as the clean guitar parts, and each bit is highlighted by the production of this beautiful record. The prevalent bass adds a certain groove to this record that many within this genre lack. Shared vocal duties work extremely well for Raein. Most lines are done by both vocalists, adding noticeable elements of vocal interplay when one rises above the other. Don’t snooze on this one, it has the potential to be regarded as the magnum opus of European screamo.

Pick up a copy when this comes out. The entire project was self-produced and your support helps to cover some of those pesky production costs.

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So I’ve seen this album popping up all over the place, but until today, I never gave it a listen. That was a mistake on my part. To be honest, I’m not really sure how to best describe Mansion’s (or should I say Christopher Browder’s) sound. At its core, I would say this is an emo/pop album, but there’s really so much more going on than that label implies. Browder’s vocals are almost like a southern croon, but still really passionate. His lyrics are very personal and full of emotion, but it’s tasteful and never too self-indulgent. The instrumentation and compositions are very catchy, but still have a great deal of grit and lo-fi appeal. This guy is a great musician and a great songwriter, and I really suggest picking this album up. If you still have no idea what it sounds like, watch the video for single “City Don’t Care” below.

 

 

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Noises is Adam O’Connor, a friend of mine for some years that I’ve had the privilege of playing music with in numerous bands. The kid is incredibly talented (maybe even frustratingly so) and has taught himself to play multiple instruments. On his newest project, Adam has created a lush ambient album that rivals some of my favorites in the genre. Each song meanders through beautiful melodies and unique textures, reminiscent of This Will Destroy You or Hammock. Occasionally, the songs take on a more structured form with accompanying percussion, but some of the best moments on the album come when the melodies are allowed to drift and slowly culminate into something different altogether. This album falls somewhere between post-rock and ambient (I would say more ambient), and I highly suggest checking it out if you are a fan of either, or if you’re just looking for a really melodic easy-listen.

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