Straight Outta Bandcamp is a regular feature on BDCwire that digs up solid recent releases from various artists in the wild Internet dreamland known as Bandcamp. A bit too much time spent tag-surfing the bandcamp pages of rockers near and far can yield extremely enjoyable results. Luckily, we’re here to share our discoveries with you.
If you’ve been keeping in tune with the storm of pop punk that has been brewing out of Philadelphia the past few years, chances are you’ve heard of Radiator Hospital, or maybe more specifically, the man behind the outfit, Sam Cook-Parrott. Cook-Parrott has worked with fellow rising acts from the City of Brotherly Love such as Swearin’ and Waxahatchee, all while putting together Bandcamp gems, such as his most recent, “Torch Song.”
I first wrote about Radiator Hospital upon the release of the band’s previous LP, last summer’s “Something Wild.” While that work showed great energy, it stayed tethered to most of the conventions we’ve made synonymous with pop-punk (except for a heartbreakingly lovely acoustic tune called “Big Cloud”). “Torch Song” is a confident stride into more unfamiliar waters for the young songwriter. And he should be labeled that first and foremost– a songwriter. With this album, he can juxtapose his lyrics of heartbreak, reminiscence, and nostalgia over a variety constructions, from polished basement rumblers to inglorious waltzes. Tracks like “Five & Dime” and “Bedtime Story” give the infectious hook treatment to guitar-fueled punk, while “I’m All Right” reflects teenage lo-fi sweetness, “Honeymoon Phase” acts as a powerful duet for Millennial lovers, and “Sleeping House” toys with plugged-in minimalism. It’s quite the effort from Cook-Parrott; one in which it’s almost impossible to pick out a favorite song. I like to think that’s always a good quality.