Now, you may be asking yourself "Why Tim? (Or Timmy?) (Or, more recently, Mel?) are you divulging this clearly classified and definite not common knowledge? It's because this past Tuesday three bands who could be grouped together sound-wise (it's a stretch, but you can make it work) put out three really fucking great albums.
First, The Menzingers. After they released Chamberlain Waits they started to gain a lot of fans and accolades (album of the year on punknews.org!) and deservedly so. The album is fantastic and showed a ton of growth for the band. As a result this album was getting really, really hyped up, especially after "The Obituaries" and "Gates" were released before the album came out. Unfortunately for them, it leaked about a month before it came out, so most people have had it for a while now.
The band has continued in the path they took between A Lesson In The Abuse Of Information Technology and Chamberlain. They turn down the punk but turn the song-writing way up. The central story of the album is falling in and then out of love with a waitress and all the problems that go along with it. Greg Barnett (One of the band's two vocalists) really goes to town on the record and sounds like he's having the worst time of his life, but in the best way possible for the listener (The "Aw-oh"s in the chorus of "Casey"? Fuck yea.) The songs on this album are very well put together. Another great aspect is the guitar playing, which has bettered itself tenfold. The tone they use is fucking incredible and couldn't fit the album better and pretty much each track has a catchy lick that gets stuck in your head right away. The band clearly put a ton of effort into this release and it really shows.
Also released on the 21st was the third album, Giant Orange, from Cheap Girls. Now, the band tours with mostly punk bands, have been signed to punk labels and play punk festivals like The Fest, but really aren't a punk band sonically at all. They take every good rock and alt band from the 90's and channel it through themselves. There just aren't many bands as good at playing straight-up rock music as Cheap Girls do. A great nasally voice along with fucking stellar guitar playing and fantastic lyrics about love, self-pity, alcohol and cigarettes. If Dinosaur Jr. were young and had just formed, they'd be Cheap Girls.
You can stream it here and I highly recommend doing so. (You should probably put on a over-sizer flannel first though.)
Lastly, The Sidekicks released their third album, Awkward Breeds, on the 21st as well (I just realized each release was also the band's third. WHAT A COINCIDENCE.) I was a little skeptical going into this only because I loved Weight Of Air so much. Like enough to make me think there was no way that the band could top it. But luckily the album turned out be pretty damn good. Like The Menzingers, The Sidekicks have continued in evolving their sound throughout their career. They've gone from folk-punk to power-pop to I-don't-even-know-what-to-call-it-pop-I guess? They tweak the sound just enough to make it sound different from their last release but also similar enough that you can tell it's them right away. A few of the tracks stink of Pinkerton, but in the best way possible. Every song grooves and every song has out of this world vocal harmonies. They are really, REALLY good at writing rough pop songs.