Fire Singles for a Cold December

There’s some rule in the industry to not release music in the fourth quarter; admittedly, a few incredible albums in the past few years managed to dodge my best-of lists simply due to their late release dates. But then I consider records like Behold by My Epic which saw mid-December releases, and I’m convinced that “the industry” is not a fair arbiter of creative freedom. Here are a few new releases that prove that Mariah Carey doesn’t have a monopoly on the month.

Frontier Ruckus – On the Northline (Banjo-heavy Indie)

The band that singlehandedly convinced me that banjo can be cool has returned with the first single off their forthcoming LP. This band is a rare gem, combining folk-adjacent arrangements with a certain lyrical approach driven on microscopic detail of Midwestern life and urban decline. It’s thoughtful without being pedantic, and this latest track feels like a return to the group’s earlier works.

Professor Caffeine & the Insecurities – Make Like a Tree (And Leave) (80s influenced math rock)

Few bands can find the strange intersection between video game soundtracks, 80s one-hit wonders, and the mathy side of bands like Protest the Hero. But alas, that’s the best way to sum up what this group has to offer. Their latest single serves as the first preview to their first full record ever, and it boasts a new lineup as well. I can best describe the song as a journey, one that is laced with technicality and nostalgia alike.

Pleasures of the Flesh – I Need a Seminar (Post-punk)

I’ve been following this band to varying degrees since the dissolution of The Foxery. Admittedly, I haven’t kept up as well as I should have, but I do remember a podcast episode where they mentioned having an album with a bunch of one-minute songs and one particularly long one, and if the past few singles tell me anything, it’s that they’re probably actually doing this. That’s insane. I want more now.

Morning Trips – Blue (Digital Pop Rock)

While “Blue” isn’t a standalone single, it’s the only track off the band’s latest EP that wasn’t released as a single in its current iteration. It’s part danceable, part glitchy, showing the group’s ability to straddle the line between the organic and synthetic. Things definitely get noisy toward the end, with a wall of effects weaving through (and washing over) the more traditional rock core. It’s heavier that it seems, though not in the way metal or hardcore variants are. Morning Trips definitely present a pastiche type of sound that gives them a lot of flexibility for pairings for shows.

MYFEVER – Heaven (Folk-tinged Indie Rock)

MYFEVER have dropped their second single off their upcoming record, and it’s easy to see the Americana side of Weston Hine’s solo songs bleed through this time around. Whereas as “Red Sky” was a more layered and upbeat track, “Heaven” is a bit more subtle, more atmospheric and earthy. There’s a bit of a Fleetwood Mac vibe, and Blake Tallent’s lead guitar parts and solo never feel egotistical in light of the rest of the composition. It’s certainly a different angle for the band, though it’s still very much on brand for MYFEVER.

Christian Funk – Awfully Lonely (Grunge)

Christian Funk’s songs to date haven’t done a great job capturing his full-band live experience, but they’re starting to move in that direction. The end of this latest single is perhaps the truest form the recording has taken, and it’s an instant trip back to the halcyon days of grunge. Funk’s baritone voice is a nice contrast to the endless sea of tenors that seem to occupy the mainstream, and it seems he’s very content to play by his own rules. Given he’s only been releasing music for about a year, the output is pretty impressive and I’m sure things will only get stronger as time goes on.

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