Cool Records From April 2024.

steve cuocci
7 min readMay 13, 2024

I typically like dropping these lists on the first of the month (or at least somewhere in the first week!) but it took me a little bit to be inspired enough to want to put the right words with some of my favorite records of the month. I hope you find something you love!

Restorations — Restorations

It’s great to see another record from these guys after I had all but completely forgotten about them since their third record dropped a decade ago. I had seen them a few times in the Philly area, I believe with Into It. Over It. and maybe Olympia? I think the core of their sound has a melodic punk soul with an edginess and an avant-garde sense of remaining outside the lines, but over time their vibe began to blend in a wink of blue-collar rock which actually started to grant me a bit more of a shine to their music. I don’t often have the nationality or awareness to head in this direction, but I feel like there’s a “working grit” to this record that adds a bit of grime and grease to their music, and the production of the record celebrates that in many ways. Guitars fuzz out a little bit, vocals waver, cymbals clamber on their stands. The songs become more familiar with each listen, like an old bar in your new neighborhood.

Check out: Film Maudit

Maggie Rogers — Don’t Forget Me

I don’t really know what “Adult Contemporary” means, but I imagine this is as close as I get to it. It’s smartly written without being clever. It’s poppy enough that the songs are catchy and they will come with you everywhere you go. They’ll be in movies, they’ll be in commercials. There’s soul in them, though; an actuality that breathes life into it and feels less like a manufactured product and more like a savvy and accomplished songwriter behind the music. This record reminds me a lot of the trajectory that Tegan and Sara followed, having all of their strange and creative and quirky experiments completed in their rearview and using this specific space to explore more austere and mainstream versions of their ideas. It’s strange, because I feel like at some point, categorizing something as “mainstream” or “conventional” almost makes it seem like you’re trying to strip away its identity. Like you’re calling it pedestrian. This record is far from that. I think this record, in fact, proves that there is a talent in the artist that can color within the lines, but they have always (and likely will continue next time) to coloe beyond them.

Check out: So Sick of Dreaming

Greyhaven — Stereo Grief EP

Hearing the first couple of tracks from this record, my immediate reaction was, “they’re still doing it.” There’s such a great feeling about a band that has found a sweet spot in their creative output that they can continue to create music that bleeds from the same vein yet continues to yield quality. A friend messages me about the band when he noticed I was listening to the new EP and noted that he used to refer to them as Every Time I Thrice and I think that’s such a great amalgam of their very clear inspirations. I would say the songs on this record also feel super close to Meridional era Norma Jean, which I mean as a very strong compliment. I do wish there was a way to folter out some of that Stone Sour adjacent sound. A very rad 18 minutes, a solid five song EP that never outstays its welcome.

Check out: Past Material

Big|Brave — A Chaos of Flowers

This is another perfect example of a band where you know precisely what you’re going to get from a release. Since 2015, this band has released 6 records and a collaboration, all of which have had special places in my heart. They all ultimately run along a very similar track, which allows the space AROUND the music to do a ton of the talking and the desperate and yearning vocals of Robin Wattie to carry much of the spiritual and emotional weight. Dense guitars and sparse drums fill the frame in a portrait of abstract chaos and a sound that has always defined itself to me as isolated. The music reminds me of a discovered a bonfire in a dark wood, hearing a disembodied voice singing a hymn in a faraway canyon, like sensing a pack of predators in a dark you just can’t find the shape of. Despite composing a record of almost the opposite of a wall of sound, they still manage to create a record that feels heavy and throbbing with impact.

Check out: Not Speaking of the Ways

SeeYouSpaceCowboy — Coup de Grace

Dude, these guys are so cool. They shamelessly, shamelessly, recreate an era from when I was just cutting my teeth on underground music with screamo and people in bands with big hair that swooped across their face revealing only a lip ring and distracting acne. There is a sophistication to this record that doesn’t use the bygone era as a distraction or a novelty, but instead takes a scene that they were inspired by and protracts it into something modern and evolved. I love Connie’s range with her vocals, going from brutal screams, to animalized shredding howls, to traditional pop-punk singing verses, to then higher pitched almost caricatured distressed bridges. They remind me so much of what made From First to Last and Grace Gale (and countless others) so distinct and so interesting at the time. The songs are absolutely heavy and have fun individual parts, but the thing that keeps this record so memorable is the well-written hooks and catchy ass songs that all of these weights are attached to. I think the biggest thing about this record is the lack of forward momentum, as there are various interludes scattered throughout that seem intent on flowering drama within the work, but instead act as a little bit of a speed bump for me. First half of the album is a blast.

Check out: And the Two Slipped Into the Shadows

Glassing — From the Other Side of the Mirror

I knew this record was going to deliver, but I didn’t realize it was going to immediately present itself as one of my favorites for album of the year. From the jump, Glassing showcase just how heavy they’re going to go, and pummel the listener with a massive spectrum of heft. For a three-piece, I can’t believe how full of a note they manage to create. Bass thrums hit at just the right times, enormous screams bridge chasms of dynamic sound and light. I was lucky enough to be around The Sleeping during so many of their early shows, and the way that Cory Brim is crafting his guitar orchestrations remind me a lot of early Cameron Keym when he was doing things on the guitar that would blow our minds. It is never about “solo’ing”, but instead how they manage to use their singular instrument to stretch and bend time and do things within the space that many other guitarists would rarely consider. It’s vaulting into a universe of pedals and experimentation, of knobs and tools that defy convention. This record creates an entire multiverse of genres and lives up to the name of its title, reflecting parts onto the heads of themselves, revering its heaviest riffs into galactic inversions of themselves. They don’t rely entirely on the heady aspects though, knowing that their boldness and heaviness can pay off in spades with songs like Defacer and As My Heart Rots bringing the group’s most vicious and straightforward assaults to the fore. This is an album I’ve listened to a dozen times already and for someone who will typically spin something three times in a week and never look back for months, having this one on this heavy of a rotation is a thing of legend. Anyone, ANYONE into the most innovative and creative sides of aggressive music needs to set 40 minutes aside to let this one slither into their mind. This one will be in my top ten for sure.

Check out: Defacer