Hodera - "Besides"

11/16/18 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-057

Since forming in 2014, New Jersey’s Hodera have refined an interdisciplinary palette of sounds that balance the grit of heartland rock with the expanse of indie-rock. 2017’s First Things First, while not a debut as the title suggests, threaded misty-eyed nostalgia throughout a patchwork of loss, love, and lingering doubt. And while Besides is an appendix to the same anguish and anxiety, the surrounding backdrops have grown sharper, their boundaries at once more defined and more limitless.

As with previous material, Besides tackles the complications of love, be it in the tender machinations of reaching out to a struggling friend on “Hey Ana”—previously released as a benefit for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention—or the lovesick aftermath of “For the Best” and “If You Want Me To” opening the EP. At the same time, vocalist/guitarist Matthew Smith and his cohorts explore their pastoral surroundings, meditating on browning grass on “Kicking the Dirt” and the great beyond on closer “For Heaven’s Sake.” These dueling thematic elements are both delivered with a millennial bent, peppering in details about emails and bar crawls between rootsy instrumental phrases. It’s the odd coupling of alt-country and alt-rock that might be Hodera’s most mesmerizing quality, but the lastiong reflection of their character sketches promise an intriguing, refreshing spin on well-worn sounds.

Art: Anthony Comi


10/12/18 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-055

Blending together the folksy and the fiery can be cartoonish if not executed properly. On paper, adding a ukulele to a pop-punk band’s arsenal seems like a eyebrow-raising proposition, calling to mind the hair-teasing days of MySpace’s stronghold over alternative music rather than today’s heart-rending version of the same genre. Luckily for The Sonder Bombs, the uke enhances the band’s self-assured humor and balance, creating a dynamic, nuanced counterpoint to frontwoman Willow Hawks’ acrobatic vocals and shimmering guitars. On MODERN FEMALE ROCKSTAR, the band’s proper debut for Take This to Heart Records, Hawks assures her listener base that the ukulele isn’t the product of a cutesy bygone era, it’s a weapon in a battle to be taken seriously in a male-dominated scene.

The Sonder Bombs began as a duo in 2016, with Hawks and her writing partner Jimmy Wilkens trading off abrasive and melodic punches against a DIY universe which places gender politics at the bottom of a list of priorities. After enlisting drummer Eric Heald and bassist Kevin Cappy in order to enhance their messages’ sonic weight, the quartet quickly recorded MODERN FEMALE ROCKSTAR with Steve Perrino and Madeline Finn to accomplish a tone that complements Hawks’ soulful tones and her most biting criticism. Opener “Atom” underscores this duality—vocal control soars to aggressive highs, with her melody splitting apart to shout and howl against a selfish convenience friend. Lead single “Title” features the LP’s most acerbic thesis statement, with the arrangement bending behind Hawks’ proclamation: "I don't want to be your merch girl / I wanna be your goddamn idol / And I don't wanna have to work twice as hard / For the same motherfucking title.”

For these Midwestern upstarts, self-confidence starts when it crosses paths with self-analysis. After a brisk eight tracks burning bridges and rebuilding inner strength (including the sub-minute “Shoot 2 Kill,” which plays out like a winking revenge fantasy), the adventure ends with “Twinkle Lights,” Hawks’ open letter to her former selves, with stopovers at fourteen and nineteen. This is where she charts her bumpy ride to understanding herself and her artistic pursuit, but The Sonder Bombs’ first proper outing already barrels full speed ahead, defining a new era of socially conscious, unapologetic pop punk.

2018 Label Sampler

09/24/18 · Take This To Heart Record · T3H-056

1. Jetty Bones - "Bringing It Up"
2. ManDancing - "Passing Out"
3. The Sonder Bombs - Title"
4. Super American - "Hands Down Olivia"
5. Barely Civil - "Eau Claire? Oh, Claire."
6. City Mouth - "Branches"
7. Rat Kid Cool - "Patagonia"
8. Cheer Up - "Big Hugs"
9. Hodera - "Hey Ana"
10. Ness Lake - "Perfect Spirals

Cheer Up - "Sleep Debt"

9/21/18 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-052

Nicholas Holdorf has been tangled in two Philadelphia rat races for years. The first is obvious — it's a 9-to-5 grind which then loops into the second, a stacked multi-instrumental resume from a handful of area bands, including No Thank You and In the Pines. One might think this dual-gig economy might leave Holdorf cashed out and exhausted, but after years of cobbling together home recordings as Cheer Up, selecting the best bits, and entering the studio with long-time friends Evan Bernard and Kaytee Della Monica, Nick's latest outing is ready. Appropriately, it's called Sleep Debt, and as such, it shows indie rock that burns at both ends. Guitar lines unfold past their point of comfort, with churning percussion and Holdorf's simmering vocals in tow. There are moments of rest on the record, but they're scattered throughout like moments spent nodding off in between driving shifts. it's in this delicate balance between breathing room and buoyancy that shows Holdorf's musical depth.

Written and performed entirely by Holdorf, Sleep Debt finds its primary architect building his worlds around solitary moments. Late in the running order, Holdorf calls out to a person he might know, a friend of a friend whose identity is masked by the snaking guitar around it. It's in these outlines of personal connection where the smallest details of everyday life get exploded into wide-arching, erratic instrumentals, proving things can be larger than appear. Subtle touches of synth and effect pedals free create a center of gravity that's toppled at any moment by another cross-cutting drum fill or elastic guitar, leaving the guesswork in these layered arrangements. But that's the other half of Sleep Debt's mission writ large: it's a document of the unpredictable, the inexhaustible, and the massive. And with it, Holdorf might be able to rest easy knowing his bite-size meditations on love, loss, and the moon speak loudly. That's something to smile about.

Sleep Debt is out now on CD/LP/Digital via Take This To Heart Records

Super American - "Tequila Sunrise"

09/14/2018 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-049

Three years can add up. It’s how long since the seeds for Super American’s debut album, "Tequila Sunrise", were first planted. In that time, the Buffalo indie rockers—duo Matt Cox and Pat Feeley—catalogued their twin romantic fables with a lyrical charm weaving between character study and thorny self-awareness. And like the album title suggests, there’s a sunny disposition shot through with clouds. It’s no wonder Cox and Feeley have written a pop-rock record for punk clubs, with drum machines and shout-along choruses marking the division between polish and pure emotion.

Tequila Sunrise is, at its core, a spectacle for twenty-something identities: the ones built sweating over read receipts, taking rideshares to band practice, neglecting proper self-care for a night on the couch. The loves threaded throughout the LP are complicated and anxious, where something as simple as a shared sweatshirt (like on “Commitment Issues”) becomes a chance to air dirty laundry and appeal for better emotional intelligence. Super American also gives its listeners a crash course in astrology (see “Estoy Eternamente Lo Siento” and “Casino Blonde,” two tracks finishing up the album’s first half), attempting to surrender control to the stars to explain Instagram feeds and unanswered crushes. All the while, Super American blend textures together to move from sparse, acoustic arrangements to full-strength neon pop at breathtaking speed.

And despite its wide cast of characters—the alluring Hands Down Olivia, the gawkish Chris from Walmart, and the loyal, silent Mike Taxi—none of them ride off into the sunset. Super American themselves might’ve gotten the better casting choices, having three years of missteps to correct in future relationships and releases. That’s what makes Tequila Sunrise the perfect next-gen romantic comedy: it’s aware of its shortcomings to create an engrossing narrative for the long run.

ManDancing - "Hands On 3"

07/13/18 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-048

Given the winter the East Coast has just survived, it's appropriate to emerge from the bleakness with a record that eases out of its own icy shell. ManDancing's Everyone Else emerged in winter 2016, prior to political shifts at home and abroad, but carries no less weight than it did when quietly released online. In fact, this record from five New Jersey residents seems more potent than ever with its 2018 reissue. It's at once intimate and ferocious, a windswept combination of hushed pronouncements and gasped confessions.

On their upcoming EP Hands On 3, ManDancing’s emotional compass magnetizes to vocalist and rhythm guitarist Stephen G Kelly, whose voice wavers between confidence and catharsis. The spectral nature of his delivery is a genre in itself. It waxes elegiac on the alt-country sway as percussion spikes and splinters behind it, before breaking free into a desperate wail. It's this upward curve that carries the arrangements forward, a force that could explode any moment into something unpredictable, warped, yet altogether fitting of such visceral songwriting.

Above all, ManDancing promises a narrative that finds its characters trying to define their own independence. Is it more isolating than liberating? Amidst the haze of young adulthood, the beer cans, and the skipped house shows, ManDancing navigates what it's like to feel positively undone and unlimited at the same time. It's hard and it's an impossible thing, but it's always part of growing older.

Hands On 3 is out now via Take This To Heart Records.

Ness Lake - "Kicking"

06/15/18 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-047

Life can often feel like you’ve been stationary for decades, only passively interacting with people and things, and like you’re watching the most drawn-out stop-motion decay. Places and people that used to make you feel alive will eventually become dull, hollow reminders of memories tainted by age and nostalgia until your brain inevitably decides to weaponize them and you get paper cuts from the stills trapped inside your head. The toll taken from living with the emotional turmoil that comes from seeing your whole life turned inside-out that bleeds through the full scope of the label-debut from Ypsilanti, MI’s Ness Lake; a war-torn white-flag called ‘Kicking.’

Where previous projects of Ness Lake mastermind Chandler Lach felt like a vibrant celebration of all the highs and lows of life, ‘Kicking’ feels like a dark room that’s lit only by the specs of light that sneak past the blinds. The songwriting on the record pays close attention to the minutiae of life; opting to make the small moments that we often overlook feel more like the most grandiose and life-altering interactions of Chandler’s young life. “Cheery Menthol” sees his struggling with traditional concepts of masculinity, and hides a little bit of its “too meek to look you in the eyes” attitude with one the album’s scarcely earworm-y vocal melodies, and sees Chandler longing for the smallest of memories that he’s chosen to cling to, practically begging to “watch Fight Club with your dad again on DVD.”

‘Kicking’ is life on the longest exhale; it’s shallow breath and the muddy thoughts that fall out of your mouth like loose teeth. It’s losing touch with things that once made you feel like yourself and coming to terms with the way the world seems to keep spinning even when you feel like you’ve been at a stand-still for years.

‘Kicking’ is out now on CD/CS/Digital on Take This To Heart Records.

City Mouth - "Hollows"

4/13/18 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-046

A changing of seasons can often feel like a personal reinvention, specifically the transition from Winter into Spring. The cold, harsh winds of Winter come with a lot of heft; you've trapped yourself indoors for nearly three months and everything around starts to slowly die as you pine for an escape by any means necessary. You're forced to reflect on personal traumas and the twisted thoughts that like to wait until the darkest, coldest nights to rear their ugly heads and torment you until you feel like you might just break. It's in those moments that you search for even a sliver of light -- something bright to cling to, and something that makes you feel both understood and accepted, and nothing has done the trick better than the iridescent pop music of Evergreen Park's City Mouth.

On 'Hollows,' City Mouth offers a kaleidoscopic view of the human condition; focusing mostly on the importance of learning to pick yourself up off the ground and continuing to move forward after being anchored down by personal trauma for what might feel like a lifetime. This comes to a head on songs like the ambitious opener "Lay Awake." The sing-song cadence of the first verse feels playful and full of a youthful energy that contrasts the feelings of jaded bitterness that make up the lyrical content -- the track sees horns that give way to synth and a chorus that ensure listeners that "You are not alone when you lay awake." And again on the brutally honest "Body and Blood," which wastes no time taking listeners to the plunging depths of personal trauma and broken faith, as communicated by the lyrics "Will fear of God send me to heaven?/Or am I gonna need something more?/Because I've been terrified from the beginning/I just wanna know what I should prepare for/The Bible hasn't given me comfort/I was baptized on a bedroom floor/where I taught myself this feeling was my fault/and I don't want to feel the shame anymore."

The EP, which was produced by Dan Lambton of Real Friends and engineered by Dave Knox of Real Friends and AJ Khah of Sleep On It, sees City Mouth wanting to help you to move forward from the depths of personal plaguing, inviting you to revel in the jubilance of early Spring as waves of synth and horns swell around flawless vocal melodies and songwriting poignant enough to make the middle of April feel like the breath of fresh air that kickstarts life anew.

ManDancing - "Everyone Else"

03/23/18 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-045

Given the winter the East Coast has just survived, it's appropriate to emerge from the bleakness with a record that eases out of its own icy shell. ManDancing's Everyone Else emerged in winter 2016, prior to political shifts at home and abroad, but carries no less weight than it did when quietly released online. In fact, this record from five New Jersey residents seems more potent than ever with its 2018 reissue. It's at once intimate and ferocious, a windswept combination of hushed pronouncements and gasped confessions.

ManDancing's emotional compass magnetizes to vocalist and rhythm guitarist Stephen G Kelly, whose voice wavers between confidence and catharsis. The spectral nature of his delivery is a genre in irself. It waxes elegiac on the alt-country sway of “stones (again) ((and again))” as percussion spikes and splinters behind it, before breaking free into a desperate wail. It's this upward curve that carries the arrangements forward, a force that could explode any moment into something unpredictable, warped, yet altogether fitting of such visceral songwriting. Even the song titles match this uncertain nature, tacking on parenthetical comments as notes from the East Coast music scene and Kelly's fumbling conscience.

Above all, Everyone Else promises a narrative that finds its characters trying to define their own independence. Is it more isolating than liberating? Amidst the haze of young adulthood, the beer cans, and the skipped house shows, ManDancing navigates what it's like to feel positively undone and unlimited at the same time. It's hard and it's an impossible thing, but it's always part of growing older.

Rat Kid Cool - "Year Of The Rat"

03/16/18 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-044

Rat Kid Cool seems like a name you’d read in a comic book or hear attached to a rebel on a 1990s family sitcom. It exudes attitude and sarcasm despite just stringing together two nouns and an adjective. Luckily, that assessment matches Year of the Rat, an LP where Ciaran O’Donnell—former touring member of The Front Bottoms—finds more control and cause for celebration on this solo outing than ever before. It’s nostalgic, self-satisfying, and altogether a lesson in progress and recovery.

O’Donnell avoids the trademark charm of his last gig by stitching together a narrative that’s awash with different colors and quirks. This is an experience for those with morning breath and nervous energy, with mental bald spots and bruised egos. “Sharpie,” with its groggy acoustic guitar and tepid percussion, could soundtrack a hangover or an anxious Monday, depending on the listener’s current mood, while “When Things Were Cooler” borrows cues from latter-day Weezer to confirm that almost everything is to blame for a narrator’s lost cool. And although the opener promises a listen helmed by “No Fucks” and reminders that “You Don’t Know Shit,” self-assuredness plays second to a post-adolescent fumbling for his life’s remote control.

There’s really something for everyone, here, if everyone’s willing to stay inspired by bold, weird choices. Here’s an example: Ciaran teases out stadium synthpop on “Okay” and horn-flecked adult contemporary on “Always the Same” and lets these two collide on “Patagonia.” Welcome to his Year of the Rat. Sure, that’s not really for another two years, but Rat Kid Cool’s early arrival stands to challenge what pop music can do when it thinks this far in advance.

Barely Civil - "We Can Live Here Forever"

03/02/18 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-042

It’s easy to get lost in Wisconsin. Metropolitan centers might anchor to the Midwest, but patches of sprawling wilderness and bitter weather make for an American outlier. Barely Civil was built from this backdrop—four different dots on the state map. Despite this, their debut full-length We Can Live Here Forever plots a journey home, whatever and wherever that means. Stopovers across genre and structure keep the pace measured and lean, while Matt Riefler’s layered production explodes any breathing room into powerful statements.

Vocalist/guitarist and primary lyricist Connor Erickson leaves plenty of signage trailing to his home base. “Eau Claire? Oh, Claire.” marries Wisco landmarks with a portrait of cautious twenty-something love. “Stark” and “Kent” — a pair of slumbering guitar tracks in the back half — gain their names from his and bassist Ben Forst’s address lines. There’s also an outward mobility as the tracks grow in magnitude, cataloging sleepless nights in Super 8 motels, in others’ houses, in the scattered silence carried through cigarette smoke and whispered confessions. The nomadic scene changes match the record’s morphing between indie-rock’s straight-laced and stratospheric ambitions in minutes.

For Barely Civil, home isn’t really a place. It’s a collection of things—tones, conversations, milemarkers—that will ultimately find a home for you too.

McCafferty // Heart Attack Man - "Split"

02/02/18 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-041

*****Split release w/ the lovely Triple Crown Records*****

Ohio's McCafferty began as most good earworms should: melodies looped into and blended with pop-rock backbeats, a knack for urgent relatability, and a dedication to capturing a universal feeling. McCafferty edges on the quirky emo/rock of The Weakerthans or Rozwell Kid.

Also from Ohio, Heart Attack Man originally started as a solo recording project for singer/guitarist Eric Egan in 2013. Driven by an engrained appreciation for addictive melodies and hard hitting alternative rock, the project quickly evolved into a full band. Shortly after the EP Acid Rain was released the band hit the road playing throughout the US and Canada. Ready to record more the band headed to Philadelphia and began recording Ian Farmer from Modern Baseball at Headroom Studios. The result is band’s debut full length The Manson Family

McCafferty / Heart Attack Man Split is out now on 12”/CD/Digital via Take This To Heart Records / Triple Crown records

Save Face - "Folly: On The Rocks"

11/15/17 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-040

Save Face is back with "Folly: On The Rocks" - a reimagined version of their stellar 2016 EP "Folly".

With "Folly: On The Rocks" the band takes a stripped down, sometimes acoustic, sometimes piano driven, but mostly intimate look into the heart of what makes Save Face. Unique and bare, this version of Save Face showcases their penchant for crafting well-written catchy songs that translate in any genre.

On "Folly", Save Face takes their art to the pinnacle of the bands current evolution. Mixing in smart, rollicking leads with intense vocal hooks that demand your attention. Akin to New Jersey scene godfathers Save The Day, Save Face take on personal examination to another level as Povada goes on to say that “Folly is meant to personify the way in which we derive our self-worth from anything but one’s self. These songs are an examination of a breakdown in communication, both internally and externally.”

Hodera - "First Things First"

10/20/2017 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-037

Effortlessly mixing vibrant indie-rock with the story telling of Americana, Hodera is prepared to be a band that never leaves listeners heads.

Spearheaded by Matthew Smith, Hodera has persisted in forming a unique sound amidst the vast depths of successful New Jersey acts. The group’s first release, 2014’s Reset To Default, was only a glimpse at the songwriting talent possessed by Smith. With 2015’s United By Birdcalls the name Hodera name was put on the map, touring extensively both in the United States and the United Kingdom. From landing showcases at SXSW and set times at The Fest, the honest nature of the songs found the band at the top of Spotify Viral Charts. Hodera will now release First Things First via Take This To Heart Records on October 20th.

First Things First is an explorative album, diving into difficult subjects such as depression, suicide, loss and love. Hodera have weaved a web of progress through their constant work ethic, bettering their songwriting and pushing the boundaries of their delicate dynamics. First Things First is candid with its emotions, unraveling a soundscape that provides listeners with an album full of memory and warmth.

"I like to keep the storyline in each song raw, so it's not just a general pop song, or anyone else’s memory. It’s my story that I’m telling and letting people connect with,” Smith comments about First Things First. Being transparent is more than an act for Hodera, it's embedded into the very soul of the music, and that's what makes their music feel personal.

Through First Things First’s dynamic ten tracks, we are brought on a journey with Hodera, as Matthew poetically narrates each story. We join them in the confusion and frustration of growing up and trying to find where we belong; the grief of losing friends, family and potential loves; the dark corners depression can lead to, and the measures someone will go to just for a glimpse at happiness’ light again. Ultimately though, it leads us to the realization that no one is alone in the human experience and we can all strive to get better. So, first things first, go give this album a listen.

First Things First is out now on 12”/CD/Digital via Take This To Heart Records

Jetty Bones - "Old Women"

10/6/17 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-039

Emerging from a small town in Ohio, Jetty Bones is the musical endeavor of Kelc Galluzzo, who utilizes a core group of friends that help bring the project to life on stage. For what is technically a solo project with a full band mentality, this project is anything but the efforts of one person.

Channeling the band's namesake, Betty Jones, who broke out of her all girl's catholic school to remove herself from a situation where she wasn't happy, this band exists to encourage people to rise above every day situations and push for a life with better meaning.

Jetty Bones new EP Old Women is a story of progress, growth, and the development of human connection - something often overlooked in today's society. In a world so focused on outward appearances, Old Women takes you on a journey through one girl's mental and emotional attempts to attach to something in a more genuine way, that something being other people. "Written as a means of coping through introspective experiences, this record is really about finding the balance between independence and vulnerability. I'm sharing these songs to encourage the humbling process it takes to really get close to other people, something I've struggled with since my teen years." Kelc responds well to being called an open book. "It's always been less about sharing my own story, and more about creating a place where other people feel connected enough to share their's."

Old Women is out now on CD/Digital via Take This To Heart Records

Kali Masi - "Wind Instrument"

10/6/17 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-036

“Kali Masi carved out a sonic space between the urgency of the punk and hardcore bands that were our foundation and the Midwestern Emo breeze that was sweeping through our towns at the time. But, we wanted to be a counterpoint for the evergreen music scene that thrives in Chicago; to move with the current but never float on the surface. To write as many songs as we could in ways that we hadn’t heard before. So, we dug in our heels and started pushing” says singer/guitarist Sam Porter on where their sound for their debut LP "Wind Instrument" comes from.

He continues, “It sort of feels like you’re piecing together a mosaic of the parts of your life that you want to keep around. Figuring out what fits and using it to sculpt an image of what felt true then and what still feels true now. Little by little, we carve out parts that feel right. As people, we break and grow. Make adjustments along the way. Step back, realize you’re not where you wanted to be, erase, change, break, grow.”

After a handful of EP’s and relentless touring, Kali Masi called upon Jay Maas (Defeater, Polar Bear Club, Vanna) to take the helm and produce Wind Instrument. Porter goes on to say, “We worked with Maas, an astounding engineer, musician, and now great friend to make the record. Together, we set up camp at the legend-of-punk-lore Atlas Studios in Chicago and put pen to paper, piecing the fragmented parts of the past few years into some songs that we felt made sense of it all.”

Kali Masi's "Wind Instrument" is out now on 12”/CD/Digital via Take This To Heart Records.

Future Teens - "Hard Feelings"

9/29/17 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-038

Future Teens started as a joke, and perhaps appropriately, the band played their first show in a sweaty basement while a Fourth of July barbecue raged outside. They played three songs at that 2014 show, each less practiced than the one before.

The group's debut EP Still Afraid of Allston was scruffy and full of hooks, a bedroom-pop gem that was recorded "right into the computer—we didn't even use amps," Radin (Vocals/Bass) recalls. The charming, conversational songs demanded a fuller sound in a live setting at the band's shows in their hometown of Boston and beyond and so drummer Dylan Vadakin, guitarist Nick Cortezi, and vocalist and guitarist Amy Hoffman signed on.

In 2017, Future Teens wrapped Bored And Alone, which was self-produced and mixed by Justin Pizzoferrato (Speedy Ortiz, Krill). The band's hooks and energy are bolstered by the four-piece setup; "when you're with three other people, you can bounce ideas off each other and collaboration is just more fulfilling," says Radin.

Though standalone in itself, Bored and Alone is a precursor to the band’s first full length effort, Hard Feelings. The album title encapsulates how each song toes the line between despair and humor. “Having feelings all the time is hard — but everyone has them in one way or another— my goal with these songs was to write about things that happen to nearly everyone at some point in their lives” Radin explains.

Hard Feelings is out now via Take This to Heart Records features 10 tracks of romantic misadventure, miscommunication and mistakes. The album also features songwriting from Hoffman and Vadakin. Hoffman remarks, “These new songs are happy sad. Though some are sadder than others, singing them is always cathartic.”

Take This To Heart Records - "2017 Fall Sampler"

10/01/17 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-043

Our freaking newest songs to date from 2017! Get stoked!

Dead Leaves - "Vultures"

08/25/17 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-035

Throughout the creation of the new record from Cleveland trio Dead Leaves, vocalist/guitarist Elliott Blair kept returning to a central theme of vulnerability, and the exploitation of such powerlessness, which he began to call “Vultures.” Hence the title of the record — out August 25th on Take This To Heart Records — with each song conveying its own angle on this theme. In the year that it took Blair to craft Vultures, he wrote approximately 50 songs, with some sections taking between two and three hours to complete. In fact, sometimes Blair would take six or seven hours out of his day to work on a song, before ultimately deciding to scrap them. The final product is 10 songs, which Blair has determined serve as a justification for the moments where he felt a little crazy.

The trio owes a lot to the Cleveland punk music scene, a like-minded group of accepting individuals that allows and encourages freedom to be who you want to be and sound how you want to sound. Dead Leaves is comprised of Blair, alongside drummer Gene Bernardo and bassist Alex Tucker, with Blair and Tucker having previously played together in a band called Call it Fiction. However, it wasn’t until Bernardo booked Call it Fiction at his house that Blair and Tucker invited him to join the group, only weeks before the newly formed Dead Leaves entered the studio to record their debut self-titled EP.

With a new full band, the writing process for Vultures was far from insular. Additionally, Blair was able to share his ideas with friends, who were consistently honest with their thoughts and suggestions. “Throughout writing this record, I would share songs with my friends and get an opinion,” he says. “I'm lucky enough to have friends who can tell me that a song sucks. If I can write something they like, then I know I'm on the right track.”

Recorded and produced by longtime friend and collaborator Dave Piatek at his studio in the Little Italy area of Cleveland, the band went into the Vultures sessions knowing what to expect during production. It's sometimes hard to know which direction to push when you're writing, but it seems like Dave always knows which direction to go and he brought the songs to a new level,” Blair recalls.

All in all, Vultures took about two years to write, record, and prepare for release. “I’m so happy with how this record turned out… We’re so excited to release it into the world.”

Vultures is out now on 12"/CD/Digital via Take This To Heart Records.

Tranquility - "Sonic Propensity"

07/14/17 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-034

“These songs are a reflection of my own self, thoughts, and feelings durning different situations I had been experiencing though out that time.” says singer/guitarist Brett Kaminski. He continues, “I had found that there was a lot of change happening in my life and a lot of new things I had to learn to be okay with.”

Tranquility’s debut album Sonic Propensity is a joyride, a free flowing journey that echoes change from the opening lyrics of their first single Tamarack - “I've been wandering, thinking about all those summer days While your lying in the mess you made take a second to believe in me I will give you everything you need." Along the way you will get hints of 90’s alt rock jangly guitars mixed with the laid back vocals of Turnover on tracks like "Afraid" and the epic closer "Picture Frames."

Sonic Propensity was recorded and produced by Mat Kerekes (Citizen) and is out now on CD/Digital via Take This To Heart Records.

McCafferty - "Thanks. Sorry. Sure."

06/30/17 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-032

Ohio's McCafferty began as most good earworms should: melodies looped into and blended with pop-rock backbeats, a knack for urgent relatability, and a dedication to capturing a universal feeling. The duo quickly amassed an Internet following obsessed with documenting every move the band made across their early material. The chase became harder to continue when the band dissolved as quickly and feverishly as they formed – until the Web gave the band, now college graduates, reason to fine-tune their formula.

The result, originally backed by a GoFundMe campaign that reached its goal seven times, is Thanks. Sorry. Sure. The roots of the two-piece remain intact, sampling voicemails, friends’ drunken shouts, and even the 2000s Britpop band Keane to create a familiar, comfortable baseline. But, the caffeine shot through McCafferty’s first run gets replaced by a darker vice for their second wind, shocking the arrangements – now the work of a four-piece – with a forced inward gaze. Hopefully, there’s no more breaks in the action, just more to rally around.

Swordfish - "Rodia

05/05/2017 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-031

“We’re concerned with trying to be empathetic and trying to understand the impulses and dependencies of those close to you,” says Swordfish singer Chandler Lach. From the basements and living rooms of Ypsilanti, MI Swordfish were formed and their penchant for connecting to their fans comes from their down to earth upbringings. Lach goes on to say “Everything from mental health, heartbreak, existentialism and accidently burning your friends with lit cigarettes is addressed on this album.”

Rodia takes cues from the beautiful guitar licks of American Football, the vocal urgency of Sorority Noise and the instant gratification of Joyce Manor, all while elegantly incorporating trumpet throughout each well crafted song. The eight tracks work together to bring the musings of anxious and heartbroken adolescents to a broader scale.

Rodia was recorded by Nick Diener (Swellers) at Oneder Studios and mastered by Cam Boucher (Sorority Noise) and is out now on CD/CS/Digital via Take This To Heart Records.

The Other Stars - "The Day We Met"

4/28/17 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-033

You’ve heard the story. Band writes amazing album, stuff doesn’t go well, band breaks up, either no one hears the album or there becomes this really crazy cult following around that album. We're hoping this story becomes the later.

The Other Stars made a statement behind their current hiatus (you can read here) and singer/guitarist Connor Bird even started his own non-profit to make sure people can be more aware and not be scared to take action about their own health.

That brings us to the album at hand. The Other Stars (possibly swan song) new album is entitled The Day We Met, fittingly enough the day that some people get to hear this stellar band may be the last. The words that begin the album in the aptly named song Everyone I Know are "I watched you walk away", possibly eerily signifying what was/is to come. On TDWM you get hit in the face with songs like Castle Hill and Future Distant History while the band also shows they can strip things down with intimate acoustic songs like on their epic album closer Wasted. If you already miss bands like Piebald and Modern Baseball, this album is going to fill your void, but sadly, you may already start missing The Other Stars.

"The Day We Met” is out now on CD/Digital via Take This To Heart Records. The album was produced and mixed by Arun of Saves The Day.

Super American - "Disposable"

04/07/17 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-028

We live in a weird point in time that seems to glorify being said, but you wouldn’t know it when listening to Super American. Disposable is a collection of songs that borrow from and build upon the building blocks laid by the pop rock of the 80s and 90s. One listen to “Sloppy Jazz” and the infectious “Na-na-na’s” that make up the chorus will recall the likes of “Angel is the Centerfold” and leave you singing along, smiling from ear to ear.

There’s a care-free, youthful energy to the songs on Disposable, and although we’ve got two different vocalists and songwriters, these songs build upon one another to create the perfect album to start the new year with. Like “Sloppy Jazz”, the rest of the Matt Cox songs tend to feel more inspired by the likes of 80’s pop rock; huge organ swells and the perfectly wordy hooks lend themselves to some of the most Summery sing-a-longs. The Pat Feeley songs feel like they were ripped from the late 90’s; each of them feels like they could have fronted any of the decade’s handful of coming-of-age movies.

These moments continue to build until we hit “Rebel’s Yell.” The song starts out acoustic and takes you out of the moment, but only for a second. The song feels like a Holy moment; from the chorus running high on “hallelujahs” to the moment when the music starts to pick up. This song is the pinnacle of everything they’ve strived to create, and the perfect note to end on.

Disposable is out now on CD/Digital via Take This To Heart Records.

Western Daughter - "Driftwood Songs"

03/24/17 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-029

The emo kids have finally found country, and it makes complete sense. Both genres—though seemingly disparate—intersect in their pursuit of the truth. Underneath the rhinestone luster, classic country music is trying to make you uncomfortable.

Pinegrove made this marriage palatable to the blogosphere, by injecting pop-punk sing-alongs with tenuous country twang. But they did this from the sequestered, east coast vantage point of Montclair, New Jersey. The gang in Boise, Idaho’s Western Daughter live it. Like early Modest Mouse or Mt. Eerie, Western Daughter’s music feels heavily informed by—and inextricable from—its environment. In this case, the secretly beautiful Idaho—a state that wrongheadedly promotes its potatoes instead of its swaths of rugged, unspoiled wilderness.

It’s tempting to say that the forthcoming Western Daughter LP, Driftwood Songs, is a “bigger” record—the group have expanded their sonic palette considerably. Songs like opener “Skinny Water” and “Pillars of Salt” are buoyant indie rock anthems that highlight the band’s punk heritage. But Western Daughter have managed to make a more “commercial” record without forsaking the homespun charm and signature forlornness that made their early work so raw and alluring. This is best exemplified by tracks like the country-flecked “Busy, Busy, Busy” and slow-burning closer “Control,” which bridge this gap seamlessly. It’s territory that may not have been blazed by Western Daughter, but their unique perspective and commitment to honesty above everything else—a trait they share with both their country and emo forebears—make them invaluable occupants.

Driftwood Songs it out now on 12"/CD/Digital via Take This To Heart Records

The Other Stars - "We Were Kids" (Acoustic)

3/17/17 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-030

Surprise! The Other Stars are back with a brand new take on their stellar debut album “We Were Kids”. See what people had to say about it:

"Think the Front Bottoms covering a Gaslight Anthem song while a Hotelier record plays in the background." Scott Heisel / Substream Magazine

"Well all indie-rock fans can breathe a massive sigh of relief because the saviors are here and their name is The Other Stars."- Originalrock.net

"This album is a snapshot of life, something that is impossible not to relate to, easy to sing along with, and will stick with you for years to come." - The Prelude Press

"This is a genuinely exciting EP that shows a tremendous amount of talent, poise, and heart. We Were Kids is one of the best debut EP’s I’ve heard in a long time."- Casualpunkfan.com

Recorded at the lovely Zing Studios (A Day To Remember, Underoath) in Westfield, MA by Frank Baron, The Other Stars strip down their energetic indie rock tunes and turn the dial down to bring you an intimate vocal driven album that anyone can enjoy.

Cover by Kenzy Dion

Fossil Youth - "A Glimpse Of Self Joy"

11/04/16 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-027

After battling the unattainable with the 2015 EP Intertwined With You, Fossil Youth are back and at it again with their new full length A Glimpse Of Self Joy. AGOSJ not only works well as individual songs but, also tells one cohesive story that takes you on a journey from the opening chords of the contagious sing along Watercolor Daydream to the final ring out of the epic closer Linger In My Head, where singer/guitarist Scottie Noonan laments over and over again, “You don’t need me at all.”

Noonan attacks the initial roadblocks, relapses, fond recollections, reminiscing and ultimately, the final resolution of a toxic relationship. Throughout the album, there is consistency in storytelling, that when listened to in sequential order, will bring a sense of apathy to the listener. Personal yet still universal, AGOSJ brings urgency in its songwriting. Noonan persists, “Although you know you shouldn't, you're replaying the best memories you have in the back of your head.”

For the recording of the album, Fossil Youth tapped producer Jay Maas (Citizen, The Menzingers, Somos) and headed to Boston, MA. You can hear hints of the laidback groove of Turnover melding with the quiet/loud dynamics of Balance & Composure. Songs like Minco & Sitting In A Spinning Room showcase the bands penchant for slowing things down and compelling the listener to firmly grasp every melody, while songs like Forest Eyes and Late Night Swim hit you right in the face and force you to bop your head in agreeance with the beat.

A Glimpse Of Self Joy is out now on 12”/CD/CS/Digital via Take This To Heart Records.

Save Face - "Folly"

07/08/16 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-026

Over the past two years, New Jersey Rock band Save Face has been all over the map - literally. They seem to have some sort of disease where the only treatment to is be on the road playing shows every day, as evidenced by their incredibly ambitious tour schedule; embarking on two Full US tours just six short months apart from one another. While they’ve been all over the place geographically, sonically they’ve been more centralized and focused than ever as they hone in tremendously on their distinct sound with their latest EP, "Folly".

On "Folly", Save Face takes their art to the pinnacle of the bands current evolution by mixing in smart, ripping leads with intense vocal hooks that demand your attention. Akin to New Jersey scene godfathers Save The Day, Save Face takes on personal examination to another level, as singer Tyler Povanda explains “Folly is meant to personify the way in which we derive our self-worth from anything but one’s self. These songs are an examination of a breakdown in communication, both internally and externally.”

"Folly" is out now on 12”/CD/Digital via Take This To Heart Records in conjunction with Backpack Records and Open Door Records. Given their constant need to be on the road, you can expect them in your area once every 3 to 5 months.

Locket - "Never There, Never Was"

05/13/16 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-025

Austin, Texas based rock/post-punk band Locket take influences from an extensive amount of bands. Ranging from the harder side of La Dispute and Mewithoutyou but not limiting themselves to more melodic driven bands such as Glassjaw and Brand New. Locket’s all out vocal assault and driving guitars blend eloquently with their pulsing drums as they seamlessly switch from loud to quiet and then back again.

These longtime friends intend to capture the raw emotion of the music that helped shape who they are today. Formed in 2014, and with only word of mouth, DIY booking, and no actual release of music, the band quickly filled local and regional lineups and built relationships and networks with bands and fans. An honest excitement was being built that was reminiscent of bands that helped build our youth.

With the release of their new EP "Never There, Never Was", Locket build on a multitude of sounds that ring throughout their 2015 self-titled debut. Expanding and maturing, Locket take what worked so well for them and mold it into their own unique take on the post-punk/post-hardcore genre.

The Other Stars - "We Were Kids"

04/29/16 · Take This To Heart Records · T3H-023

“I think it’s a pretty important thing for people to feel like they’re at home. Not just where you live, or a sense of stability, but with the people you’re surrounded by too,” says The Other Stars singer/guitarist Connor Bird. Hailing from the small town of Worcester, MA, these sentiments resonate throughout The Other Stars debut release, “We Were Kids,” as Bird deals with a multitude of relationships that shape his life and the record. He goes on to say, “I don’t think it’s necessarily inherent in classic examples like the nuclear family either, like some people expect it to be. It can come in all shapes and sizes. And I think we’ve all had times where we don’t feel at home anymore, which can be pretty lonely.”

Blending modern indie rock with 90’s alternative while layering on top quirky, introspective lyrics - The Other Stars are a breath of fresh air for both new and old ears.

Bird delivers a candor and honesty in his lyrical approach that keeps the listeners engaged. “I don't want to be your radio, tuning in to any station you might like that fits your selfish needs on winter nights, when you would call me on the phone to validate all of the stupid selfish reasons why your house is not a home.” Self evaluation in both the macro and micro sense bleed through on songs like “Green My Eyes” and “Very Okay” while songs like “Home Is Where You Make It” take on a sense of identity and where you belong in the world right now.