NOTCHES: Normal Demo: Cassette

May 20, 2014

I read an ad describing these guys as “alt-infused pop punk,” a description that really sells the band short. That’s sort of like calling Creedence Americana-influenced rock. I wouldn’t even call Notches a pop punk band. There’s some pop and there’s some punk, but nothing of the genre that comes to mind when I hear those words together. Notches is more like ‘90s rock, but with all of its strengths and none of its weaknesses. I’m hearing so much here I love, from the Nirvana riff on the first song and Superchunk on the second to more subtle nods to Archers Of Loaf, Weezer, Rocket From The Crypt, and Dinosaur Jr. It’s full of bouncing bass lines and melody hidden under lots of guitar distortion. The songs are upbeat but simultaneously melancholy in a navel-gazing way. Closer listening reveals most of the songs are about rejection and confusion. His pain, however, is quite a joy to listen to. As this spring continues its wayward course, raining one hour and sunny the next, this is the perfect soundtrack. My guess, it stays in the tape deck through summer, too. 

 –Craven Rock (Hip Kids,