REVIEW: Arigarnon Friend’s – Muscle Memories (2021)

Arigarnon Friend’s pop sensibilities and mid-west emo stylings lend themselves to the emotional intensity expelled on each track. Delicate angular guitar sweeps and bubbling sappy melodies sit atop grumbling bass and agile musicianship. Every moment of this album is well utilized to push the emotions behind each song further and further. Arigarnon Friend’s Muscles Memories is the emotions of a good hard cry processed and packaged into a well-used 25 minutes 47 seconds.

Opening tracks Timing and ACCEL come bursting through the speakers; each instrument played with such passion as to feel as if the band could reach out and touch the listener. Use of minor chord eeriness and group backing vocals on track Wallow help expand Arigarnon Friend’s sound while keeping the more straight forward songs on the album still feeling fresh.

There aren’t any drastic stylistic changes on Muscle Memories. It’s mostly pop-punk and mid-western emo, but Arigarnon Friends treat the individual creation of each song with the artistic intent and tailoring needed to keep songs from becoming stale. By doing so, the album as a whole stays interesting and feeling emotionally sincere.

Closing track FRIENDS delivers sparse verses contrasted by wall of sound choruses. Its vocal melody delivering a distinct feeling somewhere near melancholy before the whole song burns up under the accelerating pace of a misty reverb guitar solo.

And as quickly as it burst through the speakers, it went.

For fans of: Hot Hot Heat, Frankie Cosmos, The Fastbacks

Like Arigarnon Friend’s? Give these a listen: Hazy Sour Cherry, Knola, Full of Fancy

REVIEW: Marginal Man – Identity (1984)

Let me break it to you. They’re better than Fugazi, they’re better than Black Flag, and they’re absolutely better than anything coming out of the NYC hardcore scene at the time. They’re Marginal Man, the 5 piece hardcore punk band from DC.

Rising from the ashes of Artificial Peace’s breakup, former members Steve Polcari (vocalist), Mike Manos (drummer), and Pete Murray (guitar) teamed with bassist Andrew Lee and guitarist Kenny Inouye culminating in one of the best punk records of all time: Identity.

Identity is perhaps one of the most under appreciated records in American punk history. With the raw energy of Minor Threat and varying artistic influences of Dead Kennedys, Identity’s unwillingness to stagnate would be refreshing even if it was released in the past 30 years.

Identity precedes the slow grinding emotional struggle of Black Flag’s My War while simultaneously birthing the start of what eventually lead to emo. Songs Fallen Pieces and Torn Apart’s slow grueling rhythm is complemented by Pandora’s Box’s wiry agility, the fast flying punk you might expect from Dead Kennedys or Crucifix. The whole album a patchwork of distinct guitar licks and tricks, drummer Mike Manos and bassist Andre Lee are tuned in and driving, created the perfect rhythmic bed for Marginal Man’s fierce guitar and vocal work.

You can check out an interview with Kenny Inouye from 2012 on This Is Albatross.

For fans of: Minor Threat, Black Flag, Rites of Spring

Like Marginal Man? Give these a listen: Beefeater, Red C, Geisha Girls

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