Named after an ancient philosophical questioning of how the mind operates in relation to the self, Detroit post-punk quartet Protomartyr’s third release, “The Agent Intellect,” is as haunting and moody as you would expect. The band formed in 2010, when vocalist and lyricist Joe Casey needed a band who wanted to be heard as much as he did. Bandmates Greg Ahee, Alex Leonard and Scott Davidson approached each album with the same urgency ever since. Packed with personal stories, Casey brings emphasis upon ugliness boiling beneath the surface of his life experiences. This more brutal approach of charred pop and churned punk, with vocals on the more raspy monotone side, gives the band a unique visceral sound like nothing I’ve ever heard before.
Must Hear: “The Devil In His Youth,” “I Forgive You,” “Pontiac 87,” “Dope Cloud” and “Clandestine Time”
New Beat Fund is a new band straight out of SoCal, and they aren’t afraid to tell you. The fact that they’re signed to Red Bull (yup, the energy drink) Records should tip you off as to the attitude and content of their music. What you’ll find on “Sponge Fingerz” is a collection of pseudo-reggae (a-la The Dirty Heads), techno-driven pop-funk tunes focused on the band’s propensity towards partying, drinking, girls and all other sorts of tomfoolery. New Beat Fund expertly blends the ’90s, Blink-182 aesthetic with the beachy vibes of bands like Dirty Heads or, dare I say, Sublime. This album is very solid for what it is. The overall chill vibes of this album are offset by goofy, often corny lyrics. Despite that, “Sponge Fingerz” is an overall enjoyable album from an interesting band.
Must Hear: “Any Day,” “It’s Cool,” “Sunday Funday,” “Telescope” and “Sikka Takin the Hard Way”