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Rad Releases 22 – North End

December 20, 2022

Rad Releases 22 – North End

Our annual end-of-year feature is finally here, we spend the final two weeks of the year discussing the music that made 2022 special. Our special Rad Releases feature is now 12 years old and we love sharing the site with musicians, labels, and promoters as we discuss their year in music. We take a personal look back on familiar names’ most loved releases of the past 12 months. It’s a time we enjoy and look forward to, through the contributions we get to find new music discoveries, and releases we may have missed throughout the year. 

Our next take-over comes from our friends in North End. We were delighted back in Spring when the instrumental rock band climbed back from their hiatus and unleashed their mammoth sixth studio album “Halted”, we adore this ambitious outfit, and for a new release to drop this year reminded us of that love! North End consists of Russ Daniels (guitar), Kevin Burk (drums), Peter Willis (guitar), and Marcus Rodriguez (bass) and we’ve been featuring the band since we started. We chat to Marcus to find out more about his and North End’s year in music.

Top Releases

Animals as Leaders – Parrhesia

This one is a masterclass of technicality and songwriting. Incredibly fun to groove on from start to finish, Parrhesia is definitely the natural evolution of their heavy style. The drumming on this album continues to throw anything out the window that I know about timekeeping. I’d also love to point out the really awesome art style, music videos and theme, the overall package was really well done. I always feel like AAL hangs above the rest of the djent genre, this album is no exception. Favorite Track – Red Miso.

The Mars Volta – Self Titled

So I’m a lifelong, absolute die hard Mars Volta Fan. They shook up everything I ever knew about psychedelic prog rock growing up and the anticipation after a 10 year hiatus was crazy. At first this album was very jarring for me and hard to digest because it shakes up the formula which we all knew. Instead of 10 minute jams the songs are short and concise, but it’s a strong evolution that reminds me of one of their previous releases called Octahedron.  The new lineup is also incredible, seeing them jam some of these songs live was inspiring. There’s also a strong layer of Puerto Rican culture on this release with the emphasis on salsa beats and hand drumming. A slower burn, but one I feel really improves with every listen. Shows their incredible diversity and strength as musicians. Favorite Track – Que Dios Te Maldiga Mi Corazón.

Holy Fawn – Dimensional Bleed

This album has such a great overall mood, the ambiance consistently layers around their signature breathy vocals and heavy riffs. The handful of times they get into screaming really makes those slow builds worth it, this one has been in my rotation since it dropped. Favorite Track – Death is a Relief.

And So I Watch You From Afar – Jettison

ASIWYFA is one of my favorite math rock bands of all time but this album is completely different for them and creatively inspiring from my perspective. They produced a score with an orchestra to accompany an independent film and some of the sections get the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. Love the inclusion of so many strings and accompaniments, it’s moving. Generally the riffs are so damn fun and it still somehow very much feels like ASIWYFA. Favorite tracks – VII Emerge into VIII Jettison.

Rolo Tomassi – Where Myth Becomes Memory

Perhaps 2022 was a very metal year for me as I’m reviewing these top picks! Full of high energy and driving riffs I very much recommend this album. Rolo always executes on the mix of beautiful cleans and some truly guttural screams. Shout outs to their drummer, especially on the track called Drip. Kind of impossible not to headbang to that one.

The best show you have played this year

7/27/22 – Getting to play with Hiroe and Shy, Low in Philadelphia! It was an incredible experience to be able to open for Shy, Low and then get crushed by their wall of sound and light show. Not to mention I had not played a live show with North End in 5 years! So crazy to reflect upon but that whole tour was one for the books. Very motivating to continue to try to do musical things in the future whenever time allows.

Your own highlight of the year

Ending that 5 year North End hiatus man!! Dropping our album Halted to which we received so much support I was taken back. Then getting to fly out to the east coast and play a run of 4 shows with my best friends. Living out your dream for a few days is on the top of my list for highlights of 2022.

Has there been any record that’s got you through this year?

I’ve been consistently circling back to Brontide’s 2014 release “Artery” for my math rock fix this year. I can’t tell you how many times I run through the track “Cabin” every single week! One of my favorites. The section at  1:24 onward is the perfect blend of dancey beats and mathy riffs that I just can never seem to get enough of.

Best musical discovery this year?

Okay I am ridiculously late to the party but I have two bands to put in here (same members though!). I recently discovered Rare Futures and then found their older project, Happy Body, Slow Brain this year. Crazy about them both. Seems like so many of their songs have basically become soundtracks to my life after continuous listens. I encourage you to check out the song by Rare Futures – The Pressure from their 2016 release “This Is Your Brain on Love.” It’s just about everything I’m a fan of in regards to indy rock style and vocals. The section that hits at 2:53 is so dancey and driving it’s probably my favorite thing I accidentally ran into this year. Big recommendation to also check out Happy Body Slow Brain – Up Late from the 2010 album “Dreams of Water.” Super nasty drumming through the whole thing. We ran through the entire album on the way up to NYC to play our show with Shy, Low so it has a special place.

Artist/Band to watch for 2023

After playing 2 nights of shows with them this year I have to say Shy, Low. A few months after our run with them they traveled to Europe for tour so they’re picking up steam fast. They’re incredibly nice dudes and are hard working, they deserve all the success they’re seeing. I really can’t wait for the next release, if you haven’t heard their 2021 album Snake Behind the Sun get on it!

Plans for the New Year

Put the finishing touches on my next Conius side project and Russ has a new acoustic album releasing next year.  Our tour earlier this year was super inspiring so the plan is to take that momentum with us into 2023.  We have at least a new song we’ll record and likely release next year.  Maybe more shows will follow, we will see!

So excited to hear more from North End and their side projects, thanks for making 2022 special

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