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Atlanta Punks, Microwave, Bring The Heat

In Music
Switched On: the Atlanta-based Microwave balance pop sensibilities with honesty and pain.

Switched On: the Atlanta-based Microwave balance pop sensibilities with honesty and pain.

The term “pop punk” used to be thrown around derisively. It was deployed with a sneer, meant to emphasize that the glistening vocal harmonies and sheen of big-budget production found on early aughts albums from the likes of Good Charlotte and the then-peaking Blink-182 made the music somehow less authentic or earnest.

The word “pop” become somehow analogous with “corporate,” and the sheer catchiness of a recording could be held up as evidence that the music found within couldn’t possibly be about anything “real” and certainly couldn’t be “punk.”

Thankfully, those days are gone, and there are bands these days are crafting songs that are both catchy-as-hell and undoubtedly authentic, earnest, and, yes, punk fucking rock.

Case in point: Stovall, the 2014 album from Atlanta quartet Microwave. This record absolutely seethes with energy. There are raging guitars, propulsive drums, and lyrics that run the gamut of the emotional spectrum—bounding from quiet confessions, to screeching scorn, to self-flagellation and self-awareness—often all in a matter of seconds.

It’s all delivered with a disarming frankness by guitarist and vocalist Nathan Hardy—apropos, considering their Southern heritage and unpretentious culinary tastes: Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

This 10-song set, behind which Microwave is currently touring, is also concise—clocking in at just over 41 minutes with only a handful of songs exceeding the 4-minute mark (and none of them ever coming close to dragging). The band will be playing the San Jose Rock Shop this Saturday for the second installment of Sadfest, along with locals The Albert Square, Yulia and Koi.

 Microwave play at San Jose Rock Shop, as part of Sadfest, on May 23.

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