It’s currently 9 °F where I am, and a Monday. And these are perfect conditions for covering an EP called Friendless Summer by an emo/pop-punk band out of Washington, D.C. named Magazine Beach, who start their album off with a clip of David Lynch telling us that it is “August 21, 2020, and once again, it’s a Friday.”
Right away you’ve got too incredibly well-executed emo troupes to check off your list; 1) a reference to a popular album from decades prior (Beatch Boys hits compilation Endless Summer, and 2) something that references another medium, specifically film (world-treasure and avant-garde director David Lynch introducing the album).
I think both of these things combined should be enough to get any emo kid worth their weight in second-hand cardigans to look up from their tear-stained diary long enough to hit play on the player below, but in the off-chance that you’re not convinced of Magazine Beach’s merits yet, allow me to expound on them below.
While Magazine Beach’s previous EP, 2019’s Sick Day, had a bright, soft, and quizzical quality to it that put it almost in line with the tender punk of the previous decade. I say almost, as the band’s love of big, ’90s pop-punk and alternative rock riffs definitely gives their rosy complexion a thorny texture that prevents it from becoming totally congruent in the ferment of cuddly, concertedly affirmational punk of the pre-Trump era.
Friendless Summer continues to refine the qualities that made Sick Day endearing, demonstrating the band’s growing confidence in their songwriting by allowing tempos to slow and harmonies to blossom in full.
“I Don’t Mind” bucks and rolls on a crunchy, honey-comb riff that structures a story about still loving someone even if they think you both need to slow things down (and despite the fact that they killed all the plants in your bedroom) with some bold, Bleed American-sized leads that glimmer like bowling trophies in disco lighting during the bridge.
“How Many Bees? (3 Pound)” has big, ’80’s choruses and pop-punky gang vocals woven around some bell-shaped synth riffs that will remind you why Return of the Rentals is still a stone-cold classic.
“Twilight Baseball Scene” takes you back to the Ergy buzz-bomb punk of the previous EP, giving you a hint of the bands past before confronting you with their future in the form of the dynamic, new-wave, wash-and-surf-slap of the closing and title track, which feels a little like Ted Leo taking over frontperson duties for Surfer Blood, until the outro when sole, female member Jesse McComas clears room before the mic in order to deliver a swaying, impassioned plea to her lover to stay with her as they are like the “black in her coffee” or like “perfect weather” in that they make her “feel better,” i.e. less alone. You honestly don’t get much more emo than that. Beautiful stuff.
You can check out the entirety of Magazine Beach’s Friendless Summer below: