June is upon us, which means it’s also time for us to reflect on the past month in music. It’s the monthly tradition to give a Best O’ From Left O’ run down of everything we covered last month and to publish it about a week late.
We’re also very excited to share that we’ve started a new article series called “Home Studio Stories,” dedicated to interviewing DIY musicians who make music out of their homes. The goal is to demystify the world of music production and show that you can make great art without a bajillion dollar record deal – and to introduce you to some great musicians like The City View and devəlmāˈker in the process.
Now, on to some of the fantastic music we listened to last month.
Our favorite releases of May 2022
Super Champon – Otoboke Beaver
“Otoboke Beaver may not be terribly popular in their home country of Japan, but elsewhere a realization is coming sharper and sharper into focus: they might just be the greatest punk band in the world. A tall claim? Give an example of another band that accomplishes exactly what this foursome does, and to the degree they do.
They speed up and slow down and stop and turn on a dime like rigged Whack-a-Moles. Such proficiency belies a deft musicality that they deploy not only for compositional color but for thematic weaponry. Lyrically they may be deadly serious – and they would need to be, considering the culture they’re up against – but they’re also funny as fuck, using their swift dynamic control to hit punchlines other bands could only dream of.” Read the rest of Rob’s review here.
Something Right In Between – Highwind
” ‘Sugar‘ by Highwind has been stuck in my head since I first heard it back in March. It’s a perfect pop-rock earworm, and the best part about it is I’m never mad when it’s stuck in my head. I hum it to myself on and off and let it stay there. “You treat me like sugar, sugar, sugar…“
Needless to say, I was very excited to hear the band’s full length. The high of “Sugar” was great, but I needed more! And I’m happy to say that the album, Something Right In Between, is much more substantial than sugary fluff. It’s shimmering and coated with plenty of catchy hooks and saccharine synths, for sure, but it’s more like a hearty comfort food meal that’ll leave you satisfied and feeling nice and fuzzy.” Read Jenn’s full review here.
scratching on the 8 – anxioushum
“The new EP from anxioushum, Scratching on the 8, is tagged with “emo,” “queer,” and “sad shit” on the bandcamp release page. I’m a simple gal, so when I see a release described with any of those phrases, let alone all three of them, I’m running to it. If you’re like me and you crave gay emo depression, then you’ve gotta listen to this. Actually, even if you’re not like me, you should listen.
This EP is less than ten minutes long, yet in that short running time, anxioushum proves they have a lot to offer. The Long Island duo consists of Syd Diaz (they/them) and Matt Sherman (he/him), and they really shine on this debut. The release is filled with fuzzy guitars, anthemic lyrics, and best of all, that gay sad shit I crave. Since it’s such a bite-sized release, it’ll leave you craving more, but in the meantime, you’ll be content to replay these tracks over and over.” Read Jenn’s full review here.
Where the Heart Is – Sweet Pill
“In the video for “Blood,” the lead single from Sweet Pill’s debut album Where The Heart Is, vocalist Zayna Youssef enters a boxing ring as the camera adopts a low angle. She swings, she bounces on her toes, she keeps her body low and her fists up near her face. Feet apart, knees bent, hips lowered.
The song’s pace is measured but focused – bassist Ryan Cullen and drummer Chris Kearney hit the second and fourth beats precisely, keeping the song moving, while Sean McCall and Jayce Williams’ guitars snake over the rhythm section like patient predators.” Read Leah’s full review here.
AP2-NIVERSE – America Part Two
“EPs really don’t get enough credit. People will often overlook them in favor of LPs – when I look at music articles that list hot new releases, it’s almost always made up of albums or singles promoting an album. But really, a well-crafted EP that blows you away in the short span of twenty minutes deserves just as much hype as a full-length.
For example: America Part Two’s incredible AP2-niverse. I’m not going to mince words here, I need you to know right off the bat that this is a fantastic collection of songs. The tracks here offer emo, grunge, blues, and post-hardcore; it’s equal parts visceral, humorous, and cathartic. It’s a rallying cry awash with crunchy guitars, acoustic twanging, driving percussion, and versatile vocals.” Read Jenn’s full review here.
Purest Hell – P.H.F.
“On the song ‘Nothing At All,’ Joe Locke (aka P.H.F.) snarls, ‘Sooner or later we must all suffer the same/Loser or major, you will all just die the same way.’ His voice is distorted through a chorus filter and pitched up, which emphasizes the nasal quality of his delivery; he sounds like a robot chipmunk fronting The Stooges.
But the easy melody and the central placement of the vocal in the mix means that this is one of the easiest lines to sing along to on the whole album, cutting a laser beam through the song’s sludgy, grimy guitars and overdriven bass. It’s a microcosm of the record – Purest Hell is dichotomous, punishing and cleansing in equal measure, like getting blasted in a sandstorm.” Read Leah’s full review here.