Saturday, September 1, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Hold Tight!

The amount of exceptional bands that have been coming out these past couple of years has been overwhelming to the least; particularly in the realm of pop punk/emo. It takes a great commitment to try and keep up with everything that's going on in the music scene, and thanks to websites, blogs and Bandcamp, it's safe to say that most of these bands are receiving a decent amount of recognition. With that said though, there is still a fair amount that are slipping under the radar, or not getting the amount of attention they deserve. Hold Tight! is one of these bands, so I thought I would take it upon myself to give you a brief history of their discography up to this point, seeing as how they are probably the most criminally unknown pop punk/emo bands around right now.

Hold Tight! first came into the scene in 2010 with Can't Take This Away, a debut full-length that will catch the attention of anyone who has even the slightest affinity for pop punk. It's upbeat, emotional and slightly aggressive, everything you could possibly want in such an album. What they quickly proved afterwards, however, is that they are not afraid to throw a curve ball or two, and completely change their sound with each release. In 2011, they put out Call the Zoo, a seven-song EP that barely passes the five minute mark, and is every bit as enjoyable as Can't Take This Away, if not more. I can't imagine it being easy to write such a fast-paced EP and have it not sound like it's being cut off short, but it's something that Hold Tight! is somehow able to do naturally and confidently. And they must have had a blast writing in that style, because they stuck with it in the two split releases that followed. One is a four way split that contains six songs spanning 10 minutes, and the other was alongside punk hardcore band Direct Hit!, where they apparently decided to say "fuck it," and became a punk hardcore band themselves just for the sake of that release. They don't even sound like the same band on this EP. It contains 11 brutally thrashy hardcore tracks that only make it to 12 minutes. How a band is so effortlessly able to re-invent themselves this way, I don't know, but it's awe-inspiring to say the least.

This brings us to the present, where just a couple of months ago, Hold Tight! released their latest full length, Blizzard of '96 through Animal Style Records. With this album, they went back to writing longer songs, without sacrificing any of the emotional intensity that they've been building upon over the past two years. In fact, this is arguably their best collection of material to date. Blizzard of '96 perfectly encompasses everything there is to love about punk and emo in general. It's the kind of album you would have expected to hear back in the early 2000's alongside Saves the Day's Stay What You Are, combining high energy instrumentation, incessantly out of tune and anthemic vocal harmonies, and lyrics that are as comforting as they are self-loathing. Listening to this album is an emotional roller coaster ride that nearly brings tears to my eyes because it's an incredible thing when a band comes around that so truly and wholeheartedly gets it. Even more impressive is how easily it seems to come to them. Four releases in two years is quite a feat, and there is still more scheduled to come out in the near future. Hopefully by the time their next split, EP, or whatever comes out, there will be a larger amount to fans to geek-out over it and help support them.

You can stream the bulk of Hold Tight!'s discograhy at their Bandcamp page, where there are also links to pick up physical copies where available. If like what you hear, don't hesitate to throw them a couple  bucks. Blizzard of '96 is one of my Top Ten albums to come out so far this year, and it's about time more people started to catch on to just how amazing they are.

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