Formed in New Brunswick, NJ in 2005, Screaming Females are Marissa Paternoster (guitar, vox), Mike Abbate (bass), and Jarrett Dougherty (drums). Over six albums and more than a decade of music making, the band has remained deeply individual and steadfastly DIY. They have also grown into one of the most dynamic and devastating touring bands going today.
Their stadium-indie sound is more variegated on this follow-up, on which Mikel Jollett reflects on death and change. "We grow old all at once, and it comes like a punch in the gut," he notes on the galloping, U2-style title track, while the simple "The Graveyard Near The House" is a touching love song. In between are burly rockabilly depictions of Jollett's troubled family, stadium anthems of chugging sincerity, and less appealingly, a song about the bombing of that Afghan wedding party featuring some ghastly prog-rock keyboards. Overall, it treads an uncertain line between bombast and sensitivity.
Over the span of almost three decades, Scottish indie rock stalwarts Travis have persevered, both holding faithful to the sound that they helped break into the U.K. mainstream in the '90s and rocking long enough to watch their sonic progeny spread their wings and fly off in various artistic directions (see: Coldplay, Keane, Snow Patrol). And through it all, Travis remained reliable, seldom veering too far from the center. On their eighth album, Everything at Once – a long-form commentary on modern life in the 21st century – they revive familiar sounds and also push themselves into more cheerful and unencumbered directions.