Songs from Northern Torrance

Songs from Northern Torrance

Pop-punk, emo revival, all-ages indie rock: How one files Southern California’s Joyce Manor depends more on where the listener is coming from than the band, necessarily. Compiled from home recordings circa 2008 to 2010, Songs From Northern Torrance is a succinct evolution: acoustic guitar-and-drums duo (“F**k Koalacaust”) to joyful full-band noise (“Constant Nothing”), imagistic fragments (“Dhfp”) to heartbreaking flash fiction (“House Warning Party”), songs that barely last a minute to songs with the nerve to push past two. Lyrically, frontman Barry Johnson was already who he’d become: chronicler of semi-suburban dramas between parties you can’t identify but relationships you can readily feel. “At the driving range/You shouted ‘fire away’/I started feeling strange/Thought of taking my life,” he yells during the climactic “Five Beer Plan,” splurging on an extra three seconds for the essential caveat: “I fucking told you so.”

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