There are a few things that I just won’t apologize for, and loving punk-pop is one. While I like to read deeply into lyrics, feel guitar chords rolling up my spine, and drown in complex harmonies, sometimes I also just like to open the sunroof and blast something fun and fresh while driving through the city. When I do queue up the iPod with some fun pop, I’m still pretty particular, and I find myself coming back to two local bands quite often. Since Forever and Yours Truly have a lot to offer the punk-pop genre, and I want to be the one to tell you what that is.
Let’s start with Since Forever, whose L.O.V.EP is their second outing. As you might infer from the title, the songs all pull at the heartstrings – but don’t expect maudlin, sappy lyrics and slow-moving tunes. Every offering on the EP will make you want to move, driven by lively percussion from Jason Friedman. The bass, provided by Eric Woodie, sets a solid foundation. The words are clever, fresh, and aimed right at the hearts of teens and young adults, but this grown woman doesn’t have trouble remembering those feelings, too.
The Coast and You is the standout track on the record, and it’s the one I like to drive to. It opens with guitar acrobatics, provided by Taylor Easterwood, letting you know exactly what you’re about to hear. Lead singer (and Taylor’s brother), Zach Easterwood, deftly handles the vocals, which are also quite challenging. The sibling harmony is evident in many places, but Brendan Johnson, also providing background vocals, doesn’t exactly stick out like a sore thumb. It’s a nice blend between the three, and that’s what sets the band apart from many others in the same genre: musicality.
The L.O.V.EP is well engineered – smooth where it needs to be and raw where it counts. I wouldn’t have minded a few more rough edges, but that’s the indie-lover in me. On the whole, it’s a great album, with some powerpop heavy hitters like Nashville Knights, Get Low, and Unforgettable. Crank it up and dance along; you know you want to.
Then switch over and take a listen to Yours Truly, another Nashville band with some punk flavor. Their EP, Audio Love Letters, is some of the most fun I’ve had listening to music in a while. The four tunes on the record all have a common theme, and I’ve been told there are more songs coming in the same vein. Jared Mitchell, lead singer of Yours Truly, reportedly has dozens of songs at the ready – and all written for the same girl.
The story starts with Girl, where we meet the object of his affection…but he doesn’t. It’s a catchy tune, bouncy and full of life, that belies the desperation of the situation. After all, it’s about a missed connection – love at first sight with no chance to pursue the possibilities.
Try Me On for Size continues the tale, followed by In the Dark, and Breakdown. Piano features heavily in the songs, and Mitchell handles his instrument deftly. There are sweeping chords, making use of the entire keyboard, whenever necessary, and then he quickly switches to playful staccatos for effect. He is supported by some seriously talented bandmates, with DJ Adkins providing lead guitar, Tim Price on bass, and Mike Marcario on drums. Louis Fabrizi, who plays rhythm guitar, has recently joined the band will be present on future outings.
The first thing you’ll notice when you listen, aside from some fantastic vocals, is Adkins’ guitar chops. The guy can play. End of. With a background in metal music, nothing is too hard for this guy. Price, on the bass, has a history with funk music, and that’s evident in his style even when he’s tackling punk-pop. And Marcario plays the drums like it’s the only thing he was made to do.
Joy is the final product, even through the heartbreak. It’s hard not to smile when you listen, especially if you’re playing the bouncy Try Me On for Size. I can’t wait to hear what happens next in this love lost saga.
All the guys are lining up some performances, both locally and nationally. You can check out the tour dates for Since Forever on their website. Yours Truly keeps a running list of performances on their Facebook page. Check out the tunes and visit a show. You might find a place for some punk-pop in your heart, too.