Soundchecks: Newgrounds Death Rugby, Windley

Music to listen to this week

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EMO | Newgrounds Death Rugby

There are a lot of bands out there that call themselves "emo," but they very often don't fit that mold. They either spill over into punk-pop (a close relative of the genre) or hold back on the actual, y'know, emotional part of the music. But, in addition to having one of the coolest band names ever, Charleston quintet Newgrounds Death Rugby fits perfectly into their chosen genre. Singer/guitarist Daniel Jourgensen's voice is essentially an aural open wound, bleeding pure vulnerability and anguish. And his lyrics are perfectly suited for the vocals. The first track on the band's latest album, Hideaway, begins with "Sophomore year was a lonely lonely time/I had only my hand to talk to/Junior year was slightly less lonely 'cus/I had only you to talk to." It doesn't get more emo than that, folks. And the band's deliberately lo-fi approach follows Jourgensen's lyrical lead. The music refuses to let its guard up, with shambling guitars, nervous, jittery tempos, and a general sense of churning chaos at all times. That's not to say it's not catchy. Every song on Hideaway has a bittersweet melody underneath the thrashing guitars and lyrical self-immolations like "I shouldn't have cancelled those plans/I would have had fun/I know I would have had fun." In their own words, the band says they "make music that hopefully makes people feel things," which is pretty much the textbook definition of emo music. And they do it effectively, without sliding too far into self-pity or cutesiness. Check them out at newgroundsdeathrugby.bandcamp.com. —Vincent Harris

MELODIC PUNK | Windley

This five-piece band, born out of Myrtle Beach, is just as honest in their music as they are outside of it. Defining themselves as a "punk/emo/whatever" band, Windley's vibe doesn't conform to one genre, and their Facebook page doesn't conform to a typical band's, either. "Want us to play a show? Want to send us hate mail?" the band jokes. Their transparency and realness is what attracts fans to their songs. After releasing their first single, "Billy Shears," in 2018, Windley has continued to produce an eclectic stream of songs. Their debut EP For Sure solidified their unique way of breaking the rules. If you are looking for a distraction during this strange and stressful time, check them out on all streaming services. They are bound to give you something different than your typical punk band: A relatability that will make you think the world isn't so unstable if we can all still connect through outlets like music. Look, Windley lists "hard seltzers" as the band's interest, and if that isn't relatable, then we don't know what is. Listen to them at windley.bandcamp.comAbrie Richison

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