Short of Green Day, it's hard to find a pop-punk band that's kept up a longer productive streak than Chicago's Alkaline Trio. The trio released its still-heralded debut "Goddamnit" in 1998, finding favor with fans who enjoyed bouncy melodies of the Promise Ring and/or Smoking Popes variety. The group eventually hooked up with Vagrant Records for three albums, becoming a cornerstone act of the trend-setting label. Now signed to Epic Records, Alkaline Trio's sixth LP "Agony & Irony" retains the group's youthful exuberance and marries it to stadium-sized hooks tailored for both longtime fans and new recruits.
Omaha's Cursive has been pushing the envelope of heavy indie rock for more than a decade, releasing theme-laden albums loaded with gut-pounding riffage and cathartic dynamics. "Mama, I'm Swollen" is the group's sixth marathon of a record; an emphatic collection of Cursive's trademark discordant guitar stylings as well as some sonically expansive ballads in the the vein of lead singer Tim Kasher's other project The Good Life. Check out our interview with Kasher on Backstage with Kacie Faye.