Best New Rock – Horse Doctor, Hyattsvillain, Desert Ships, Equals Conquest

Montreal based Horse Doctor recently released an exciting new single called Playa

  The cut-time arrangement and emotional vocal is reminiscent of early 2000’s crossover emo bands like Thursday.  These bands were able to take an underground sound and pull it into the mainstream.  It should come as no surprise that their singer, Jake, has Philly history, as the tri-state scene was a hotspot for the late 90s indie scene and the modern indie punk revival.  Bands like Modern Baseball and The Wonder Years are revered in the indie punk world with cult fave progressives like Circa Survive rounding out the scope of emo derivatives spilling out of this scene.  Horse Doctor has a little of all of that and more, with hints of progressives like At The Drive In and post hardcore punks like Title Fight’s influence being felt too.  

  Albeit, this all makes perfect sense, as the group formed as a tribute to At The Drive In only to realize that they were so tight and uniform in their taste that it was too good to continue as a cover act.  We are thankful they made the difficult move to work into some original material, what has resulted is a sound all their own that references a lot of what they’re into, but is ripe with originality and collective personality.  

  Revered Philly producer Will Yip would relish in these crystal clear tube-gain guitar tones.  The guitars on Playa jump out of the speakers.  Altogether this is a well executed release, the band sounds tight and you can feel their energy.  The performance is lively and enthusiastic.  And to cap it off, singer Jake really shines on this single release.  His delivery is a nice balance between unhinged emotional and accuracy.  He has good tune but sounds like he is more interested in the emotion than hitting the notes. It sounds natural and it lends well to the emphatic performance by the band. 

  Enjoy Playa now on our Best New Rock playlist.  


DC based Hyattsvillain is as much an indie rock band as it is a project that serves as commentary for the bands personal and political views.  Their IG is filled with imagery that prompts difficult conversations about the state of the Union and how we digest content.  The band themselves are represented by ski-masked men often brandishing firearms and wearing hoodies.  They admit that they are inspired by the Occult and Ari Aster’s short films.  Some might be sensitive to their graphic images, but their music is easier and more accessible to digest.  Recently they released their new single Yolo is a Lie.  The antithesis to the frustrating superficial yolo movement, Hyattsvillain admit that the single serves as a rebellion against the yolo philosophy, but regardless of intention this is just a damn good rock song.  

  On its outset it feels like an STP rendition of Helter Skelter performed by RATM, as syncopating music and vocals grab you straight out of the gate.  The groove is intoxicating, and the subtle use of vocal effects round out the trippy garage psych vibe.  Like Scott Weiland it can feel simple, but masterful in its execution.   The singer knows how to work and weave melodies around the syncopated riff. The evolving vocals frame a motif of a song out of the hypnotic vamping revolutions.  As the song progresses the energy is enhanced, with timely fills, full band pick ups,, drum breaks,  and a tasty solo.  

  Mixed by multiple grammy award winner Andros Rodriguez, mastered by Alan Douches, and live drums played by Jon Jester, this is a solid release from an exciting new project.  Enjoy Yolo Is A Lie now on our Best New Rock playlist.  

Desert Ships

UK rockers Desert Ships return with their new single Fire On the Moon.  The infectious two and a half minute rocker is the 2nd single in advance of their new album release, Heavy Soup.  

  Fire on the Moon is highlighted by a fuzzy bass that gets under your skin.  The backbone bass and grooving drums lay a solid foundation for tremolo guitars and catchy vocals to play around the melody.  Fans of Spoon and Peter Bjorn and John will enjoy the intersection of psych pop and retro rock, as Desert Ships are masters of trippy vibes that get in your head.  

  Desert Ships recorded their last album the infamous Abbey Road Studios, and they’re sound is soaked in the 60s pop aesthetic.  Like the Black Keys and Raconteurs, their indie often refers to its rock blues roots as it revolves between psychedelic and pop alterations.  

  The attention to detail is most noted in the sonic choices on their recordings.  Their catalog is rich with interesting textures packed with T Rex style mid 70s fuzz.  Like the Black Keys, they have an affinity for interesting vintage sounds with a mod aesthetic.  

  In anticipation of their upcoming full length Heavy Soup, enjoy Fire On The Moon, now on our Best New Rock playlist.  

Equals Conquest – Photo Credit: Sean Simmers

East Coast rockers Equals Conquest return with their first album in over 10 years, At The Heart Of The Empire.  The 10 song effort displays the bands breadth of influence and diverse musical taste, a lot of which is featured on the opening track, Less Affected.  On the outset Less Affected is an indie punk anthem, before evolving into a My Morning Jacket style jam section followed by a Costello style reggae-ska breakdown. It’s just a snapshot of the bands versatility as these seasoned underground shapeshifters traverse all colors of the indie spectrum on the ensuing 9 tracks that make up the complete LP.  The artists admit that the album is a product of multiple periods of laser focus, inactivity, and renewed inspiration over a period of roughly 5 and a half years.  That kind of workflow lends itself to considerable deconstruction and adaptation, and there is careful attention to detail that permeates throughout the record.  

  At the Heart of The Empire is akin to the evolution of indie rock over the last 30 years, with every semblance of the bands evolution being represented in this one complete collection.  There’s evidence of influences like Death Cab for Cutie and The Shins. A lot of it is accessible pop polished rock while at times it is more dark and atmospheric with harmony filled acoustic novellas.  There is always one foot firmly rooted in indie punk or some semblance of it, but it permeates with undeniable intellect.  

  Hear Less Affected now on our Best New Rock playlist.  

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