It was a big year for A Will Away. The band signed to Triple Crown Records and released their first full-length, Here Again, which they supported on a tour with Moose Blood, Trophy Eyes and Boston Manor. The alternative foursome, hailing from Connecticut, have matured significantly since their first handful of EPs. Here Again flaunts more sophisticated riffs that give an edge to the band’s pop-rock sound. In addition to the music, the group released a series of conceptual videos to accompany different songs on the album. The video for “Gravity,” directed by Eric Teti, visualizes abstract concepts like time and gravity through images of clocks, pocket watches and Newton’s cradles. On Here Again and its cinematic extensions, A Will Away truly come into their own as multi-faceted artists.
It’s not easy for an opener to outshine a genre luminary during their last stint of shows for the foreseeable future, which made it all the more surprising when a group of people, standing outside Union Transfer after the first of three final Modern Baseball shows at the venue, shared their favorite part of the evening: Harmony Woods. Led by Drexel University freshman Sofia Verbilla, the project released its debut LP, Nothing Special, in May, which proved to bear an ironic title. Harmony Woods played the album nearly in full at the Union Transfer show in a set that helped propel the band toward a larger stage. The record explores a budding relationship and everything that comes with it: fighting through the anxiety of public transportation to visit your partner, watching Breaking Bad together, and wondering if anyone is actually strong enough to make something real work. Verbilla’s voice shines with the control and maturity of an artist far older than 18. One moment, she’s pushing her range through high-pitched, gentle “ooohs;”the next, she’s shredding both vocally and on the guitar. If Nothing Special is any indicator of Verbilla’s talent, this is just the beginning for Harmony Woods.