Happy Saturday and welcome to another installment of my weekly new music revue. All featured tunes appear on albums released yesterday (January 20). Let’s get to it!
The Heavy Hours/Days Since You’re Gone
My first pick this week are The Heavy Hours, an alternative rock band from Cincinnati, Ohio I first featured in a Best of What’s New installment last February. From their AllMusic bio: The Heavy Hours emerged at the beginning of the 2020s with an organic blend of alt-rock punch and thoughtful folk-driven storytelling. The Cincinnati band’s Wildfire EP helped them earn a label deal in advance of their 2022 debut full-length Gardens. Taking their name from a line by Irish poet William Butler Yeats, the Heavy Hours formed in 2018, though their friendship dates back to their high school years. Inspired as much by folk music as by soaring post-rock, the band’s sound is a rich amalgam of guitar-based rock led by the yearning vocals of frontman Michael Marcagi. This brings me to Days Since You’re Gone, a nice tune from the group’s self-titled sophomore album.
Swedish rock band Katatonia were formed in Stockholm in 1991. Starting out as a death metal studio-only project of Jonas Renkse and Anders Nyström, Katatonia have since not only become a full-fledged group with different line-ups but also embraced a more melodic form of metal and progressive rock – it’s safe to assume I wouldn’t have picked a death metal outfit! Katatonia’s ninth studio album Dead End Kings became their highest-charting to date in Sweden (no. 12) and Finland (no. 4), respectively, and also entered the charts on a broader international scale, including the U.S. (no. 138) and UK (no. 142). In addition to Renkse (lead vocals) and Nyström (guitar), the group’s current members include Roger Öjersson (guitar), Niklas Sandin (bass) and Daniel Moilanen (drums). Atrium, written by Renske, is a track from their 12th and latest studio album Sky Void of Stars. Yes, the music is on the heavier side, but pretty melodic!
The Murder Capital/Return My Head
The Murder Capital are an Irish post-punk band from Dublin, who began performing in 2015. After setting up their own label Human Season Records in 2018, they released a series of singles the following year, leading up to their debut album When I Have Fears, which came out in August 2019. Their music has been compared to several UK post- and art punk bands, including Idles, Slaves, Shame and Fontaines D.C. The Murder Capital are James McGovern (vocals), Damien Tuit (guitar), Cathal Roper (guitar), Gabriel Pascal Blake (bass) and Diarmuid Brennan (drums). Here’s Return My Head, a tune from their new sophomore album Gigi’s Recovery. Not quite sure what it is about this song that drew me in. It’s slightly weird but kind of catchy at the same time!
The Bad Ends/Mile Marker 29
Wrapping up this week’s new music post are The Bad Ends, an alternative rock band from Athens, Ga. According to their website, the group catalyzed when Mike Mantione (vocals, guitar), who gained initial prominence as frontman of popular Athens band Five Eight in the ’90s, had a chance encounter with Bill Berry (drums, guitar, electric sitar), former drummer of R.E.M. The group also features Christian Lopez (guitars, mandolin, banjo), Geoff Melkonian (keyboards, piano, guitars, vocals) and Dave Domizi (bass, vocals). Mantione and Domizi had been friends since 1991, while Melkonian produced one of Five Eight’s previous albums. The Bad Ends “quietly recorded, produced, and mastered what would become The Power and The Glory at Mike Albanese’s Espresso Machine Studio in Athens,” their great debut album that is now out. Here’s the opener Mile Marker 29 – not a bad end at all! And, yep, this band can definitely not deny their hometown!
Last but not least, following is a Spotify playlist of all the above tunes and a few additional tracks by the featured artists.
Sources: Wikipedia; AllMusic; The Bad Ends website; YouTube; Spotify