Photo by Elena de Soto
A couple weeks ago, I had the chance to see Microwave open up for You Blew It! and Sorority Noise at Shea Stadium in Brooklyn, NY. It's a show I was waiting to see for a while, a lineup totally representing the best that emo and pop-punk had to offer. As much as I love those other bands, it was the first time Microwave played a show in Brooklyn, a total must see. In the too-sweaty room of Shea Stadium, they lobbed and leaped across the stage, earning the attention of the sold out crowd. Watching their singer Nathan Hardy croon or scream every song out felt like watching Adam Lazzara at age 20 in his intensity and stride (and dreaminess obviously). But it never felt like some kind of tribute act, or half-ass revival attempt. The music is too smart to get caught up in nostalgia or regressiveness. It knows it pushes the genre further
Like others, I stumbled upon the band after a late night of digging through Bandcamp, coming across their record Stovall. Within the first notes of the title track you'll be a believer. The way Nathan's voice twists and pulses in a single line is too much to take, and suddenly you'll realize you've scoured the internet for everything relating to Microwave after listening to the record a billion times.
Today, the Atlanta band announced their split with Head North, their first new music in over a year. Here's a spoiler: everything you heard on Stovall that was great is turned up to the power of incredible. You're going to listen to it and it won't even sound fair, everything coming together to create the base of greatness to come.
The visual for "but not often" is as fun and goofy as the song's sound. Drinking super blue kool-aid, teaching a very cool and kind looking kitty to play the bass, going for a jog and quenching your thirst with coffee, everything required in Microwave's morning routine. It's like taking some version of yourself, and amping it up to a million for effect. The song itself effortlessly flips back and forth between the fun, jammy kind of thing to blast with your friends and that introspective rock you want to keep a secret. In such a short period of time, it embodies the reason why you got into this kind of music to begin with.
This is what pop-punk, emo, whatever the fuck you want to call it, should be at its finest and best. It never goes too far on either tip of the scale, being too corny or too insincere. It's confident, honest, catchy, every other qualifier you can throw on to a band. To be straight up, you can feel something deeper happening when you listen to "but not often." It's all too good, like you're holding a portal to the future of the scene in your hands.
I can literally talk to you all day about why this band is too much, but I'll stop now. Watch the video below, pre-order their upcoming split with Head North, and buy your ticket right now to their upcoming tour with Have Mercy. This is going to be the band that does something special.
Follow John Hill on Twitter at @JohnXHill