Sophia Greenberg and Tyler Asay left a Philly open mic night at 4 a.m. and started a band. That nocturnal split decision defines Riverby at its core, a power-pop outfit fueled by teenage optimism and the timeless power of a punchy one-liner. Bassist Doug Keller was scooped up during a smoke break between sets, and Dan Nazario joined soon after on drums. Smart Mouth, the band’s debut album, came together much like their lineup—sporadically, then all at once. And like Riverby’s beginnings, Smart Mouth shows confident noise sometimes emerges from the darkest of hours. [Riverby's Bandcamp bio]

Teenage Halloween recently spoke to us about their favorite albums of 2020, and pianist Jane Lai included Smart Mouth by Philly indie-punks Riverby, an album I hadn't heard yet but have been listening to a lot since seeing it on their list. "Sophia makes refreshing yet nostalgic punk hooks where I imagine I’m in a 2000s high school movie and it’s the first or last day of school," Jane wrote. "Nothing feels more triumphant in youth when the possibilities reset."

Sophia really has a hell of a voice that can go from a hushed singer/songwriter vibe to a roar at the drop of a hat, and their lyrics and melodies stick with you after just a couple listens. As you might expect from a band who formed after leaving an open mic night, there's a folky vibe at the center of these songs (Riverby's very first demo was an acoustic song), but Smart Mouth fleshes those songs out and turns them into loud, driving indie-punk. It was a very good fit for Riverby to appear on the recent Rilo Kiley tribute album (which was put together by former BrooklynVegan contributor Tatiana Tenreyro and Rachel Rossen), alongside Sad13, Mannequin Pussy, Gladie, Adult Mom, Lisa Prank, Anika Pyle, and others. They're in the same general indie/emo/folk/pop punk orbit as many of those bands, and if you like that kind of thing, you should definitely check out Smart Mouth if you haven't already.

The album is out now on Take This To Heart Records, and 100% of album profits go to the Split Bail Fund via ACT Blue. You can also hear Riverby's folky side on the acoustic EP they put out for last month's Bandcamp Friday featuring four originals and a very cool cover of Phoebe Bridgers' "Kyoto." That benefits the Philadelphia bail fund. They're on No Sleep's new holiday comp (which benefits Feeding America) too.