New Years Day
New Years Day At one time or another, each of us has suffered heartbreak—and each person deals with it in different ways. However, instead of moping around or flirting with illegal substances, New Years Day—vocalist Ash, guitarist Mike, drummer Russell, guitarist Keith and bassist Adam—decided to transform their relationship woes into a brand up of upbeat pop-punk that’s as catchy as it is cathartic. “I was going through a really bad break-up two years ago and so was Adam, and we had both ended up at Keith’s house somehow,” Ash explains about how the band formed. “I played both of them the music I’d been writing for my new project and they both fell in love with it—and that night we formed New Years Day.”

Recorded over an eight-month span in a bedroom, New Years Days’ follow-up to last year’s self-titled teaser EP, was completely self-financed and self-produced with local engineer Eugene Pererras—and the fact that the band had no expectations ironically helped them fully realize their potential without having to answer to anyone else. “Whenever we had the time off from work, we would go back to this album and we ended up working on it almost every day,” Ash explains about the rigorous experience of recording My Dear. “My mic was duct-taped together and we had to work with what we had, but the label liked the way the album sounded so we never re-recorded it,” she continues. “I’m really proud of that.”

It’s not hard to see why. The result is an album that’s extremely varied yet retains a distinctive sound that sets New Years Day apart from their pop-punk peers. For example, the ridiculously catchy “Ready Aim Misfire” is perfect Warped Tour sing-along fodder; “My Sweet Un-Valentine” has a swinging, jazz-like feel to it (and horns courtesy of John Christianson and Dan Regan from Reel Big Fish); and the saccharine pop song “Brilliant Lies”—which features lyrics courtesy of Motion City Soundtrack’s Justin Pierre and a melody penned by Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump—is dripping with heartfelt sentiment without sounding like the clichéd soundtrack to another teen movie.

However, despite New Years Day’s occasional collaborations with punk royalty on their debut album, it’s important to point out how organic the band’s relatively quick ascent has been thus far. “Sometimes people see a girl in a band and automatically think a record label put them together and it’s important for people to know that’s not the case with us,” Ash explains. “I really want people to know that we were all best friends before we started this band and we still are,” she continues. “We all hung out anyway, so it was just a nice additive to our relationship; getting to travel the country instead of just hanging out at Keith’s place.”

“I don’t want to say a lot of bands aren’t real and honest, but everything on this album we actually experienced and went through first-hand,” Russell adds. “A lot of the songs have to do with love and heartbreak, but it’s important that we get across that life’s not over after heartbreak—you can get through things.”