New to Me Music: Westing

Before we even dig into this post, I have to say that I love how bizarre the album cover is for Westing’s new EP, I Haven’t Been Feeling Myself. I saw it and immediately wanted to stream the album, which is awesome! I know I’m not supposed to judge books (or albums) by their covers, but I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve gone out of my way to buy certain things just because they looked good. I’ve also picked up a handful of albums in physical record stores just because the artwork intrigued me, and I’ve only been disappointed a few times.

Luckily, I like I Haven’t Been Feeling Myself as much as I like the artwork.

Released Friday, April 14, this EP is loud and angry, peppered by hard-hitting basslines, rough cymbals and gravely, intensely sad vocals. “My brain is skipping beats / when you’re not talking to me / I still believe in everything,” croons lead singer Matt Mascarenas on the opening track “Skipping Beats”.

The song starts the EP off strong, kicking off five tracks of equally sludgy post-hardcore rock.

It’s a big change from Westing’s initial incarnation as an acoustic side project, started by Mascarenas to keep his creative juices flowing. With I Haven’t Been Feeling Myself, the full band sound brings a new dynamism and energy to Mascarenas’ lyrics and performance. He tapped Brett Romnes (I Am the Avalanche) and Gary Cioni (Daytrader) to record this record in the fall of 2016, and the three of them sound fantastic on this album.

I imagine tracks from this EP — especially “With You”, which gets so soft on the bridge that it makes my chest constrict — would sound especially incredible live. I’m a big fan of blasting this kind of music at home when I’m angry and need some time to blow off steam, but I also love feeling the energy of a live show.

Westing honestly reminds me of bands like Story of the Year and A Day to Remember on this release. The sound brings me back, but also has its own uniqueness that makes it stand out. I love it.

You can check out I Haven’t Been Feeling Myself on Bandcamp and pay what you want to download the EP. For upcoming show dates, follow Westing on Facebook.

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