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Battle Tapes’ “Brand New”

With razor-sharp precision but enough distortion to drown any silence within the zip code at the right volume, Battle Tapes’ “Brand New” begins to envelop us in the warm hum of the amplifiers right from the get-go. The band is moving at a fast and furious pace, but they’re utterly self-controlled in their disbursement of the beats, tones, and melodic faceting that will inevitably comprise the backbone of this track. The wave of intensity they’re bringing is on its way this September, and in “Brand New,” Battle Tapes are sounding the alarm that they’re ready to take on anything and everything getting in their way in 2023. This is a statement song with a solid video to match, and it’s tailor-made for alternative rock tastes.

Battle Tapes’ music has been getting some serious attention lately, and those who are wondering why needn’t spend more than a few seconds with the riff-rock lightning in this track to understand what all of the fuss from fans has been about. Where a lot of other alternative rock groups would be quick to muffle the swarthy fretting that provided some of classic rock’s greatest hits in their work, this band does the exact opposite in “Brand New” and comes out on the other side of the song sounding more in-touch with the rock aesthetic than most any of their contemporaries have in years. They want to rock hard on this track, and they’re not taking any prisoners along the way.

Lyrically speaking, this is a very multidimensional piece of material that you could take a lot of different ways, with the most obvious allusions being made to artificiality and synthetics on both a visual and intellectual level. That aside, I like the unguarded approach taken to the narrative as opposed to the typical quasi-retrospective take that a lot of other artists have been employing when trying to address some of the same themes in their music. Alternative groups always tackle things differently than anyone else does, and even with that being the case, Battle Tapes is telling us through their indie ethics in the design of “Brand New” that following the pack still isn’t something that holds their professional interest.

“Brand New” ends in a deluge of distorted notes colliding with each other only to leave behind a trail of smoke that doesn’t fade away even when the song has concluded. With all the media focus they’ve had, some might wonder what Battle Tapes is going to do next to keep the interest of an American underground they’re captivating at the moment. Many great indie rock bands have come and gone on the charts through the years, but this group seems to be a little more committed to consistency than a lot of their rivals are at this point. They’ve got my respect, and if they don’t already have it, I think they will earn yours with this latest release and those that are likely to follow it before the year has come to an end.

Mindy McCall



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