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    Hawthorne Heights

    What? It's no secret that the Hawthorne Heights guys have had a pretty rough go of it lately. So not only is it impressive that the Dayton, OH crew is releasing a new album at all, but also that they're doing so through none other than Victory Records -- the label with whom they've been embroiled in a legal battle of sorts since mid-2006 over things like unpaid royalties and tarnished reputations. But with things seemingly patched up, the door is wide-open for Fragile Future, the band's follow-up to 2006's If Only You Were Lonely (which debuted at #3 on the Billboard charts), to hit shelves on Aug. 5 and for the group to be welcomed back by throngs of outstretched arms full of Hot Topic rubber bracelets.

  • Spin's Year in Music Party

    Whether it was the music, the fact that the stressful holidayswere finally over, or just the free booze a-flowin', something was inthe air at the Highline Ballroom last night (Jan. 15), slapping smileson everyone at Spin's Year in Music 2007 party. Once inside andout of the cold temps and lengthy line, which stretched down the block,good spirits were well in order. The party, presented by Oakley andSlacker, included complimentary beverages courtesy of Heineken andBushmills to warm revelers up while the Virgins and the Raveonettes' Sune Rose Wagnermanned the decks in between sets with stylish selections of rock anddance tunes.

  • Polar Bear Club

    Who? Rochester, NY's Polar Bear Club came to life in the springof 2005, not to swim laps in subzero temperatures, but to spoutdynamic, invigorating post-hardcore. A demo was recorded that July tohand out at shows, and as their fanbase slowly grew, founding membersJimmy Stadt (vocals) and Chris Browne (guitar) watched bandmates comeand go. Polar Bear Club was cemented into a quintet when guitarist NateMorris, bassist/vocalist Greg Odom and drummer Bob O'Neil eventuallycame on board; The Redder, the Better EP appeared in April 2006, after which O'Neil was traded out for Emmett Menke. PBC's full-length Sometimes Things Just Disappear, slated to drop this December, marks their Red Leader Records debut. What's the Deal?

  • Broadway Calls

    Who? Broadway Calls sprang out of the teeny town of Rainier, Oregon in late 2005 after vocalist/guitarist Ty Vaughn and drummer Josh Baird made their exit from Countdown to Life, the metalcore act they'd been tearing things up with for several years prior. Bassist/vocalist Matt Koenig and Josh's guitarist brother Robert Baird signed on to cement the fledgling pop-punk group, and within a year, the quartet had released its first EP, Call the Medic. Broadway Calls' ultra-catchy self-titled long-player followed this earlier summer through the State of Mind imprint. What's the Deal? Too much passing for pop-punk nowadays so easily triggers irritation that it's easy to get down on the entire genre.

  • The Secret Handshake

    Who? The Secret Handshake is the electronic pop creation of Dallas-based Luis Dubuc. Switching things up from the rock bands that dominated his high school years, the habitually hoodie-clad musician began laying down tracks in his bedroom studio, looking past his hardcore roots to embrace Michael Jackson and Daft Punk. Late 2004 brought the album Antarctica, and after a follow up EP, Dubuc's solo endeavor attracted the attention of the Triple Crown label. The Summer of '98 EP marked his label debut in early 2007; One Full Year drops this week, shortly before dates (with a full band) alongside Jonezetta. What's the Deal?

  • LadybiRdS

    Who? LadybiRdS mastermind Tyler Pursel -- who also moonlights as keyboardist for emo's favorite rap act, Gym Class Heroes -- meant to put out an album of sparkling dance pop using a plethora of friends for vocals. But when New Jersey native Teeter Sperber (formerly of Ley Royal Scam) reported for duty, her sweet voice so totally clicked with Pursel's musical vision that instead of one track, he made her LadybiRdS' resident frontwoman. Regional Community Theater, the project's debut album drops Sept. 18 via the Creep label. What's the Deal? Listening to Regional Community Theater is like being trapped inside a Nintendo version of Candyland, where eight-bit blurps, shiny werps and ticks, and apple-colored synth beats entertain the whole way to Candy Castle.

  • Muse Directs Sensory Overload

    To the thousands of New Yorkers packed into Madison Square Garden last night (Aug. 6) -- plus those who'd flown in just for evening -- the only band that mattered was Muse. Some might hesitate to proclaim the British trio anything but Radiohead knock-offs, but there's no denying they put on one incredibly Bombastic Rock Show. California's Cold War Kids started things off admirably, and though it was "Hang Me Up to Dry" that got the biggest response from the arriving crowd, their overall tight and energetic set, which included an Elvis Perkins appearance, made believers out of hype skeptics. However, there was no question whose night it truly was by the time a curious JFK quote about secrecy and covert operations preceded Muse's entrance.

  • The Gaslight Anthem

    Who? Say what you will about Jersey, but it boasts New Brunswick's thriving punk and hardcore scene, which has nurtured bands like the Bouncing Souls, Lifetime, Thursday and now, The Gaslight Anthem. Formed in 2005 and featuring the talents of Brian Fallon (vocals/guitar), Alex Levine (bass), Benny Horowitz (drums), and Alex Rosamilia (guitar), the rough-edged yet heartfelt crew dropped their debut full-length, Sink or Swim, late this spring via New Brunswick-based label, XOXO. The guys are currently supporting it on opening dates for Against Me!. What's the Deal? It's easy to guess the Gaslight Anthem's influences -- No Idea Records, Jawbreaker, Bruce Springsteen -- but it's their ability to combine those loves into something so moving and uniquely their own that makes Sink or Swim one of the best debuts of 2007.

  • Dear Tonight

    Who? Just when you thought the only music coming out of Brooklyn involved cutesy lyrics and toy pianos, the hardcore kids of Dear Tonight -- Ryan Duffy (vocals), Pete Morgan (guitar), Dan Cain (drums), Marc Krupanski (guitar, vocals) and Randy D'Amico (bass, vocals) -- crash the precious party and prove otherwise. Demos first surfaced in 2003, followed two years later by the These Are Wires EP. Dates this past May opening Boy Sets Fire's European farewell tour kept momentum building into the summertime release of their debut long-player, We're Not Men, out now via the Red Leader label. What's the Deal? Expect no makeup or scene posturing from Dear Tonight and these dozen raw, punk-fueled explosions of We're Not Men, for a volatile air of danger instead encompasses five guys seemingly walking forever down that fine line into complete exhaustive collapse.

  • Look Mexico

    Who? Hailing from Tallahassee -- where you're more likely to see a Seminole than the Mexican border -- it's uncertain where Look Mexico got their name, but their pristine indie rock, which nods to vintage emo and post-rock, makes certain more people should know it. Together since 2004, the band currently features Matt Agrella (vocals/guitar), Tyson Kuhlhoff (bass), Josh Mikel (drums), and Ryan Slate (guitar). With two EPs under their belt, 2005's So Byzantine and 2006's well received The Crucial EP, Look Mexico dropped This is Animal Music earlier this month via Lujo. What's the Deal? Like with clear spring days, you can't help but be transported to a happy place with Look Mexico on repeat.

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