Since the release of debut album Still Life in 2012, AMERICAN STANDARDS have lived up to the moniker, delivering a consistently pinpoint blend of hardcore and punk. Sonically, the Phoenix four hone a visceral and emotive soundscape and one which pulls no punches. Fueled by real life tragedy – losing both a founding member of the band and frontman Brandon Kellum’s father in quick succession – the close knit group have channelled this adversity into the music.
With their 4th and most recent album Anti-Melody (Victory Records), American Standards followed the mantra: “don’t wait for things to happen, make them happen”, mixing, producing and releasing the collection independently.
Over the years that followed, the band hit the mark on a national scale and beyond, earning tastemaker acclaim from Kerrang Radio, Alternative Press and Revolver as well as sharing the stage with legends of the hardcore scene, including Every Time I Die, Comeback Kid and Knocked Loose.
Having announced their signing to Manic Kat Records, the Arizona outfit wrapped 2022 with the release of “The Dealer” and have kicked off the new year where they left off, with a new single that hones the best of Brandon Kellum’s resonating lead vocal and pairs it with a raucous interplay of powerful drums and pummelling riffs.
Listen to American Standards’ brand new single “The Tourist” and check out the band’s cool recall of last year’s noteworthy releases that you should check out if you haven;t already!
American Standards is: Brandon Kellum – Vocals, Corey Skowronski – Guitar, Steven Mandell – Bass, Mitch Hosier – Drums
2022 Hidden (and not so hidden) Gems, by Brandon Kellum, Vocalist of the band American Standards
Comeback Kid – Heavy Steps
An open message to any band that has ever wanted gang vocals; Give up. CBK has already perfected it. Heavy Steps has been in the heaviest rotation out of any release from 2022 and it’s title track may rival 2005’s ‘Wake The Dead’.
Recommended Track: Heavy Steps
He Is Legend – Endless Hallway
He Is Legend has only gotten better since their 2004 breakout album ‘I Am Hollywood’. Endless Hallway is no exception. The album is the pinnacle of crushing guitar tones, beautiful production, and dynamics that the band hasn’t previously explored in such a well executed way.
Recommended Track: Circus Circus
Greyhaven – This Bright and Beautiful World
Coming off ‘Empty Black’, ‘This Bright and Beautiful World’ was my most anticipated album of 2022. The album maintains the energy of the prior release while taking occasional steps into the more melodic aspects of the band. For me, the expressive character in Brent’s vocals coupled with the incredibly dynamic musicianship is really what sets Greyhaven apart.
Recommended Track: In A Room Where Everything Dies
SOUL GLO – Diaspora Problems
The thing I love about Soul Glo is they fit everywhere and no where all at once. Diaspora Problems has the energy, delivery, and message that can win over any crowd while sounding utterly unique. Call it punk, hardcore, or whatever. This is the new noise we need.
Recommended Track: Thumbsucker
Skuff Micksun – Various Singles
Although not technically an album, Skuff Micksun put out a series of singles throughout 2022 that run the gamut of emotions. From the tragically optimistic lyrics in ‘Magnificent’ to possibly the only song in my adult life to bring me to tears with ‘Bruises’, Skuff Micksun walks the line between alternative/indie rock and spoken word delivered with pop sensibilities. Truly creative and genuine to the core.
Recommended Track: It Wants Me Dead
Tobe Nwigwe – moMINTs
Energy. That’s all you need to know going into a Tobe Nwigwe album. His lyrics are clever, his videos are innovative, and the energy he brings is unmatched.
Recommended Track: Round Here
Steaksauce Mustache – All Juice, No Noise
Having spent a couple weeks on tour with Steaksauce Mustache, I can tell you that everything they do, they do at 200%. ‘All Juice, No Noise’ elevates the technicality and zaniness of ‘Superwoke’ while finding a new appreciation for songwriting and production. I cannot downplay just how dynamic Taylor’s vocal performance is on this album. There are layers upon layers of ear worms just waiting to be discovered. If lyrics are your thing, don’t let the goofy song titles throw you off either because there is depth for those that want to dig in.
Recommended Track: Floppy Disc Function
Sunflo’er – all these darlings and now me
Feeling the void left in the wake of Every Time I Die? Sunflo’er are here to deliver you a mixture of high energy, sometimes mathy tracks with the occasional big atmospheric parts that really make me love this band. Excited for what they do next.
Recommended Track: straight to VHS
Black Matter Device – Autonomous Weapons
I’ve been following Black Matter Device for more than a few years now and I’m genuinely excited about how far they’ve come. Always technical and often experimental, Autonomous Weapons takes the foundation they’ve built and elevates it to new heights.
Recommended Track: Man vs Man vs Machine
Thoughtcrimes – Altered Pasts
Dillinger Escape Plan drummer Billy Rymer brings us another explosive band that should scratch the itch for any TDEP fan while bringing in new, fresh dynamics.
Recommended Track: The Drowning Man
Kendrick Lamar – Mr Morale & The Big Steppers
Kendrick is and has always been a vibe. It would be a crime not to include ‘Mr Morale & The Big Steppers’ on this list. Although ‘United In Grief’ may not be the biggest banger on this album, it sets the stage for what’s to come.
Recommended Track: United In Grief
Cave In – Heavy Pendulum
Cave In have successfully reinvented themselves from the chaotic, mathcore sound of long ago. Although every subsequent release has been strong, Heavy Pendulum demands your attention. If someone wanted me to introduce them to the Cave In of the past two decades, this would be the album to do it.
Recommended Track: Blood Spiller
American Standards – DOPAMINE DEALER
Dopamine Dealer is conceptual, both musically and in its release approach. We wanted to record a series of songs that progressively pushed the boundaries of what we’ve done previously. Each song brings an element of the live shows that we hoped to incorporate in the recordings. From our dedication to doing mixed-genre shows to the raw energy we get when playing in front of a crowd. Lyrically, it deals with anxiety, depression, and self doubt and the things we do to cope. It only seemed fitting that its release be in the form of a slow and steady drip, premiering each song as a standalone single.
Recommended Track: The Dealer, The Tourist, The Vagrant