Tag Archives: Terry Malts

Big Ups: Corey Cunningham of Terry Malts Picks His Favorite Records on Bandcamp

Terry Malts

It’s clear from the music he makes—both as Business of Dreams and with Terry Malts—that Corey Cunningham has an encyclopedic knowledge of, and an enthusiastic appreciation for, pop music. On Business of Dreams’ gorgeous self-titled album, he melted down late ‘80s new wave and Britpop to create gently-flowing songs lit up by blinking synths and distant vocals. On Terry Malts’ intoxicating 2016 album, Lost at the Party, he leaned hard in the other direction, using biting guitars and ricocheting drums to recapture the fuzzed-out sound of late ‘90s indiepop.

But for all their reference points, Cunningham’s music never sounds derivative; he’s got an innate knack for pop hooks that makes his music feel instantly classic. He’s also a vocal supporter of other bands, using the Terry Malts Twitter account to boost groups he loves. So he was a natural choice for Big Ups, where we ask artists to select five of their favorite albums on Bandcamp. “I read an article that said that fans have more control than they realize on how well their favorite bands do,” Cunningham says. “A lot of times people will see something on Twitter from a band they love and not even bother to retweet it, not realizing that they’re kind of hurting the band. So I decided that I’m going to use whatever social media platform I have to highlight other people.” As you’d expect from such an evangelistic music fan, the albums Cunningham selected run the stylistic gamut, from moody ambient to obtuse, detuned post-punk.

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The Best Albums of 2016: #60 – 41

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If there’s one thing we learned since we launched Bandcamp Daily this past June, it’s that the world of Bandcamp is enormous—encompassing everything from emo in China to cumbia punk in Tucson, Arizona to just about everything in between. So narrowing our Best Albums of the Year down to 100 choices was a daunting task. This week, we’ll be sharing our picks, 20 at a time, until we arrive at the top spot on Friday.

More “Best of 2016”:
The Best Albums of 2016: #100 – 81
The Best Albums of 2016: #80 – 61
The Best Albums of 2016: #40 – 21
The Best Albums of 2016: #20-1

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Album of the Day: Terry Malts, “Lost at the Party”

Pop-punk is a genre that’s often accused of remaining forever teenage, even as band members themselves age out of that demographic. As Slumberland Records’ premier purveyors of pop-punk, Terry Malts have flirted with this notion over the course of their discography—after all, this is a band that ended their last record of lo-fi bubblegum asking: “Why so serious?” On third LP “Lost At The Party,” they answer their own question.

Lost at the Party is Terry Malts’ most straight-faced record to date, firmly rooted in the moment a person realizes that actions do, in fact, have consequences. But it’s also great pop music; the catchy melodies are the spoonful of sugar that makes the bitterness of grown-up life go down easy. Each song plays like a mini-drama, grappling with self-delusion, over-indulgence, denial, self-pity and quiet resignation—emotions that should be familiar to anyone who’s gone through an identity crisis. “You spent all your days here/ Acting so cavalier,” sings vocalist and bassist Phil Benson on “Playtime,” the album’s longest track. It also offers the album’s thesis statement: “Playtime has gone on for too long.”

Lost at the Party is the first LP Terry Malts recorded at a studio rather than in a practice space, and the band takes advantage of the leap up, employing organs and 12-string guitars to fill out their sound. Still, the album never feels labored over. Like the best pop, it feels effortless—even joyful—as it barrels through painful subject matter. The soft indie pop jangle of “Gentle Eyes” and fragile optimism of “Your Turn” contrast well against the buzzy, defiant feel of “Used to Be” and “Won’t Come to Find You.” Guitarist Corey Cunningham shines here, using various tones to slice through Benson’s thick bass lines and drummer Nathan Sweatt’s propulsive rhythms, underscoring the record’s inner drama with musical references that are enjoyable for both the casual listener as well as the pop scholar. A highlight: the moment the anguished punk crunch of “Come Back” melts into a buoyant Beatles-esque guitar solo, like the sudden arrival of an old friend in a time of need.

Lost at the Party is the rarest of beasts: the adult pop record. It’s only 30 minutes long, but its emotional impact lingers long after the solemn sound of church bells have closed out final track “When the Nighttime Comes.” In context, the sound feels like the start of a new day.

Mariana Timony