Boston's Aviator were one of the more underrated post-hardcore/melodic hardcore bands of the 2010s, with two very good albums on No Sleep (2014's Head In The Clouds, Hands In The Dirt and 2017's Loneliness Leaves the Light On For Me), as well as some EPs/splits/demos, but they quietly called it quits a couple years ago, and guitarist Mat Morin and drummer Aviv Marotz formed a new band, Pretty/Normal, with Kayla Morin and vocalist Quinn Murphy of Providence hardcore band Verse. Their self-titled debut EP gets released this Friday (3/19) via No Sleep, and we're premiering a full stream of it in this post.

Though Aviator and Verse both learn hardcore, Pretty/Normal is a more melodic and atmospheric band, somewhere between '90s post-hardcore like Far, Quicksand, and Jawbox and newer stuff like Title Fight and Balance & Composure, but their roots still come through in the heavy undertones. The EP puts a fresh spin on this familiar sound, and Pretty/Normal really bring something new to the table. The songs also come with deep, personal lyrics, as Quinn explains:

Mat reached out to me and mentioned the project, I asked him to send me some practice recordings to check out. I had no idea he had me in mind to link up or anything, my interest was just genuinely piqued. I was already a fan of their old band, Aviator—so I was eager to hear what they were working on. Listening to those rough practice recordings kind of blew me away and immediately made me want to somehow talk them into letting me collaborate.

I had been dealing with some serious mental-health issues for a number of years—I was pretty far gone during that time and had been recently diagnosed with Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia to top off my already known PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder. I had been in and out of Psychiatric Hospitals for about 3 years at that point and just could not get it together. I had written a series of roughly 100 poems throughout that time, so I ended up converting some of them into song format to match the structure of the music. Some of them touched on the different medications I was put on and the reactions I had to them, some of them were just cryptic pity-party-esque translations of traumatic events in my life, or just genuine feelings of my own guilt in my role of passing my trauma onto the people I loved. I’ve been a habitual self-saboteur in a lot of aspects of my life and never committed to getting help, seemingly until I had a nervous breakdown. I’m very open about my mental health issues but, it has certainly given some a green light to hyper-focus on my behavior and use my transparency against me, especially in the workplace. These songs reflect a time when I was desperately trying to return to some semblance of an emotionally stable baseline, or at least one that I am familiar with.

Anyways, our world is literally on fire, and we’re living in what is seemingly the most critical moment in the history of humxnity. The entire world is compromised by a pandemic, systemic racism and violent super power, state-sponsored repression (domestic and foreign), a terrifying rise in far-right government, institutional and special-interest takeovers, and the stress of being in limbo, not knowing what the near future holds.

Listen to the EP below...

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28 Essential Songs from the Shoegaze / Heavy Crossover

Listen and/or subscribe to our playlist of all 28 songs (with MBV's "Feed Me With Your Kiss" replacing "You Made Me Realise" because the latter isn't on Spotify):