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ISSUES portrait taken in Atlanta

MONSTER MUSIC

Issues

BIOGRAPHY

With their 2014 self-titled debut, ISSUES broke big by infusing their metal-punk hybrid with pop-perfect melodies and the heavy rhythms of hip-hop and R&B. On follow-up album Headspace, the Atlanta-based band takes that genre-bending to a bold new level, pushing further into their kaleidoscopic influences to carve out a sound that’s fiercely inventive and deeply infectious. Named “one of the most anticipated records of 2016” by Alternative Press, Headspace finds ISSUES matching their sonic exploration with daringly honest lyrics that reflect on everything from family strife to toxic relationships. “When I first started writing, I was holding back a bit and making the lyrics more poetic instead of really saying what I was going through,” says vocalist Tyler Carter. “But the emotion behind everything was so powerful, and after a while I realized I needed the lyrics to match that intensity. I wanted to write about these things in a way that would help me let go of them forever and just feel totally liberated.” With its crushing guitar riffs, commanding vocals, and brutally intense drumming, Headspace surges with an untamable energy that’s nothing short of exhilarating. The band kicks off the album with lead single “The Realest,” which Carter explains “is about those situations where you’ve invested a lot of time and energy in someone, and then you end up figuring out it was all just a complete waste.” The album continually shifts moods and immerses itself in both bright and dark—a dynamic embodied by the perpetual trade-off between Carter’s soulful voice and Michael Bohn’s throat-shredding vocals. “Coma,” for example, fuses its massive riffs with tenderly delivered lyrics to dream up an unapologetically romantic portrait of undying love. The album also encompasses moments of fragile beauty (Carter’s ethereal vocal performance on “Home Soon”) and irrepressible joy (the arena-ready sing-along of “Lost-n-Found (On a Roll)”). And closing out the record is “Slow Me Down,” a brave and candid look at betrayal’s destructive effects on family life. “That song was the hardest for me to write,” Carter points out. “I’m a huge Amy Winehouse fan, and I was thinking about how whenever she was dealing with something she’d lay it all out word-for-word, in her own beautiful way. So I channeled my inner Amy and told it exactly like it is.”

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