TENDER DEFENDER: Self-titled: 12” EP

There’s really just something about Mattie Canino’s voice in conjunction over that oh so distinct guitar sound. It’s followed them from Latterman to Shorebirds to RVIVR and most recently here with fellow stalwarts, making up Tender Defender. I can’t ever really explain it, but the melodies and rhythms that lie just underneath those near blown-out squeals—they sound kind. Maybe it’s the feeling of old friends visiting: anticipation, love, hope, calm, gravity. They all mix together in this gorgeous, uncomfortable, butterflies-in-your-stomach kind of anxiety. Phil Douglas is no slouch in the singing department either; I just have spent more time listening to Canino. This record is everything you’ve come to expect from these music makers. Lyrics that are thrown against the same brick walls we bang our heads against just to survive every day. Bass notes that come in warm and rapid bursts. Drums that know just when to take it easy and slow it down before exploding into another heartfelt dance party. And there’s a Bent Outta Shape cover mixed in there, too. Good stuff all around. –Kayla Greet (Dead Broke)