I’m back in the office now, but I’d been in Cape Cod for the last six days prior to this one, and during that time I was blissfully disconnected from social media, email, and pretty much every app on my phone besides Spotify, Yelp, and MLB At Bat. I neglected to turn off my Bandcamp push notifications, though, and on Friday, I found myself looking at one such notification from Pure Noise Records, which roughly read as follows: “Counterparts announce new album.”
Considering the Yankees had already dropped that day’s game (to the fucking METS, no less) and great seafood restaurants are not exactly hard to find in that particular part of the country, this was basically the very best piece of information I could have hoped to find on my screen at that moment. And arriving as it did, unexpectedly and out of absolutely nowhere, I half-wondered if I was dreaming the whole damn thing. I’ve had PLENTY of dreams like this, and if you’re reading this site, I’m willing to bet you’ve had those dreams, too.
Little background: Counterparts are a “melodic hardcore” band from Ontario. The scare quotes in the preceding sentence are there to indicate that I’m not overly fond of the “melodic hardcore” tag — because it seems kinda reductive and unhelpful and maybe even serves as a little bit of a turnoff? — but that’s the currently accepted terminology, so I’m reluctantly including it. Also: I don’t have a better name for the type of music played by Counterparts. Sometimes they do real gnarly math-y grind stuff; sometimes Gothenburg-style melodeath with NWOBHM flourishes; sometimes Ballou-school metalcore; sometimes widescreen post-rock; sometimes arena-screamo or poppy post-hardcore or early-’90s-esque proto-emo. “Melodic hardcore”? I mean … fine, sure, whatever you wanna call it is OK, I guess.
Anyway, Counterparts’ 2017 release, You’re Not You Anymore, came pretty close to topping my list of last year’s best albums. I ultimately slotted it in at #2 on my ballot, right behind the War On Drugs’ A Deeper Understanding. Seven months later, I’ve still got both those records in pretty heavy rotation. FWIW, I wrote about YNYA for Stereogum’s list of last year’s 50 Best Albums, and up until the VERY LAST MINUTE I had not one but two tracks from the record on my 10 Favorite Songs Of 2017 list. I couldn’t narrow it down to one! I finally forced myself to do so, however, and I picked “A Memory Misread” over “Bouquet,” “Rope,” and the album’s title track, among other contenders. It was the right choice, but there are 10 proper songs on YNYA, and none would have been the wrong choice. YNYA is fucking godhead, and Counterparts are operating on a whole other level right now.
So anywaze, the “new album” of which I was push-notified by Bandcamp was not a dream. It’s not technically an album, either. It’s actually a three-song EP called Private Room, which will be released a couple weeks ahead of a 24-date US headlining tour that kicks off in New York City’s Gramercy Theatre on September 20. I will ABSOLUTELY be there. Along with the announcement, Counterparts shared the EP’s opening track, “Monument,” which is just shy of two minutes long and heavier than fuck for every one of its 110 seconds. Check out the new song below, and below that, I’m gonna embed “A Memory Misread,” just so you can hear that side of the band, too, in case you’re not already familiar. You should be, dammit!
The Private Room EP is out 9/7 via Pure Noise. Pre-order the digital release here and the physical version here. Tour dates are here. And below is “A Memory Misread” from YNYA. Buy the whole album because it’s fucking perfect.