Stream / digital

Bad Moves

Bad Moves is four friends making upbeat power-pop about anxiety and identity. After years knocking around the Washington, D.C. punk scene in bands of their own, guitarists Katie Park and David Combs,bassist Emma Cleveland and drummer Daoud Tyler-Ameen began playing together in 2015, with a few goals in mind: Songwriting would be collaborative, singing would be everyone's job and arrangements would be generously staggered, blending voices and ideas to avoid centering any one member.

On its self titled 2016 EP, the band explored bleak adulthood, writing about bad jobs, corrupt leaders, frustrated dreams and gentrifying cities. Tours of the U.S. and U.K. with friends Jeff Rosenstock, Martha, Nana Grizol and The Spook School brought a widening fanbase and a sharpening sound, with new material that dug into the wilderness of childhood and how its lessons ripple out later in life. As anticipation grew for a full-length album, the band made a breakthrough appearance on the Cartoon Network's Craig of the Creek, voicing their animated selves in an episode about the show's lead characters putting on their first DIY concert.

Tell No One, released in 2018 on Don Giovanni records, was Bad Moves' debut LP: 12 songs about confronting old secrets and stumbling into self-discovery, wrapped in a sound that hometown weekly Washington City Paper called "exuberant catharsis, the type of pop that makes you breathe deep and shout." The album was recorded at Philadelphia's Headroom Studios, and produced by Joe Reinhart (Hop Along, Algernon Cadwallader).

In 2020, the group paired up again with Reinhart to produce its second LP, Untenable, which nudged Bad Moves’ sound to suit a slightly darker outlook. A bit of noise, dissonance and snarl crept into the periphery. Those spikier sounds framed lyrics about the numerous places where instability erodes our lives — tipped wages, service industry jobs, our self-image as groomed for public consumption via social media. The title, Untenable, is a nod to the overwhelming feeling of unsustainability that permeates life right, whether at work, at home, or on the planet. There’s a melodic sweetness there, too, though. And a fair bit of hope. Uncertain times are also an opportunity for change.

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