The Bouncing Souls "Ten Stories High"
From Punk Rock Theory:
NJ punk legends The Bouncing Souls are back with ‘Ten Stories High,’ their first new album in seven years and their 11th full-length overall. Produced by Will Yip ((The Menzingers, Title Fight, Tigers Jaw)), the album comes with – as the album title suggests – ten new songs that include previously released singles ‘Ten Stories High’ and ‘Higher Ground’ and ‘Shannon’s Song’. All three of which have vintage Bouncing Souls written all over them. Think big choruses and even bigger feelings.
Pretty much the only thing that’s different this time around is where the band looked for inspiration. With normal life grinding to a halt during the pandemic, the Souls started using the Patreon platform. In addition to a weekly podcast and other content, the group offered a special tier where fans could have a custom song written for them. They’d do a 30-40 minute Zoom call with the person to try and get to know them and then something would usually pop out that they could focus on in the song. With inspiration being handed to them, they quickly had enough material for another solid addition to their already impressive back catalog.
The album kicks off with the title track, written by Pete Steinkopf, which kind of encapsulates the entire project. ‘Back To Better’ and ‘Another Day In Denver’ are two more tracks that harbor the classic Souls sound. And the hits keep on coming with ‘True Believer Radio’, ‘Magnus Air Organ’ and the moving ‘Vin And Casey,’ feturing 7 Seconds’ Kevin Seconds on guest vocals.
‘Ten Stories High’ finds the Bouncing Souls doing what they do best: drawing from stories of life’s ups and downs and turning them into highly singalong-able punk rock anthems. It’s a formula that has worked for them for over 30 years now and if anything, the band’s new album shows they still aren’t quite done.
Purling Hiss "Drag on Girard"
The colliding circles of time bring us back to the brink of the Hiss at last. Classic rock singing/screaming guitars fuse with Mike Polizze’s hope-n-dreamz feels and explode into fresh heartbreak, happening right now today, as sweet tunes and crushed guitar harmonics pour off the turntable and run out in the street, just like in the old days.
Darren Jessee "Central Bridge"
Darren Jessee is a familiar presence to alternative music fans thanks to his long tenure as the drummer / backing vocalist in Ben Folds Five. (He also co-wrote that group’s biggest hit “Brick.”) Outside of that outfit, he’s logged time touring with Sharon Van Etten and Hiss Golden Messenger, as well as fronting the indie rock ensemble Hotel Lights. But perhaps Jessee’s most affecting work has been the three albums he has released over the past five years under his own name. On these recordings, he scales everything back to the purest pop essentials, with strings, acoustic guitar, and a smart application of vintage keyboards serving to put further emphasis on his languid vocals and plainspoken, yet elegiac lyrics. Jessee’s latest full-length Central Bridge is his best yet. A hushed understated affair recorded primarily in the artist’s North Carolina home, the album revels in the small details of life—a crumpled pack of cigarettes found in an old jacket, a pile of wet swimwear on the floor—that somehow leave a lasting impression on a person or stir up deep seated memories.