Future Teens, Barely Civil, The Sonder Bombs

Future Teens

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.”

Barely Civil

The Sonder Bombs

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.

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