The members of Infant Island stay busy. Not only did the band release one of the best albums of last year (and an equally great mini-LP), but members also put out music with other bands, including Mattachine and Mikau. Mikau (who count Infant Island drummer Austin O'Rourke as a member) put out the album PHANTOMa, which fuses bone-crushing metalcore with glossy synthpop. If that sounds like something you might've heard blasting in a Hot Topic in 2009, let it be known that Mikau actually tag themselves as "mallcore" on Bandcamp, so they aren't shying away from that; they're leaning into it. But they're also sort of reclaiming it as a valid style of music that doesn't deserve to be as mocked as it once was, and they're putting a fresh, modern spin on it. If you're into, like, Code Orange or 100 gecs, there's no reason you wouldn't like this too.

Another band currently breathing new life into the Hot Topic/Myspace era is Buffalo "danceviolence" band p.s.you'redead, who Mikau are releasing a split called Razor x Blade with this Friday (1/29) via Chillwavve Records (pre-order). Mikau guitarist Adam Stergis explains:

This whole split came about shortly after we released our LP PHANTOMa back in late July when For Your Health tweeted that they need a Mikau x p.s.you'redead split. We had heard their 2020 demo beforehand and were into their stuff, but that was how we really met and started talking about doing a split for real. After PHANTOMa, we wanted to try writing something a bit heavier that leaned a bit more on the electronic side of things with more sampling. There's a whole section in "At the Edge of Fading Consciousness" that's based around a sample from the anime Boogiepop Phantom, and at the very end I sampled some of the background music from Toonami. We're really inspired by that whole era of early 2000s anime and drum and bass music just as much as we're inspired by 2000s metalcore. I feel like our two new songs for this split are a pretty good indication of the direction we're heading after PHANTOMa. This was a great chance to get a couple of new tracks out much sooner than if we were to go straight into making a new EP or something.

ps.you'redead adds, "The songs on this split were actually written almost a year ago. They’re the first couple songs we wrote together as a band around the same time that our demo dropped last March. We definitely revisited and refined them before we went into the studio with them though. We had a demo version that we were gonna release forever ago but decided to stay away from more self-produced releases and get our stuff to sound as good as we could get it."

The split has two songs from each band, and we're premiering one from each in this post: Mikau's "At the Edge of Fading Consciousness" and ps.you'redead's "Baby's First Pyramid Scheme." As Adam described, Mikau's song is a seamless fusion of 2000s metalcore, anime, and drum and bass, and it marks a noticeable progression from PHANTOMa. ps.you'redead's song does indeed have much bigger, cleaner production than the songs on their demo, and it sort of merges The Number Twelve Looks Like You's mathcore chaos with The Blood Brothers' theatrics, and it feels as new and exciting today as those bands did 15 years ago. Give both songs a spin below.

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Best Punk/Hardcore/Emo/etc Albums of 2020

See #45-21 here.