Texas tends to be proud of its rock and heavy metal bands, and why shouldn’t we be? We’re known for having the best crowds around, we rock harder and scream louder than anyone anywhere else, and we’ve produced some pretty amazing bands, from ZZ Top and Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble to Pantera and the Toadies. It’s easy to forget, but even these bands started off small. Fueled by big dreams and filled with fire and passion, they paid their dues, going out on the road night after night, hoping that somewhere, someone would see them and offer them a chance at the big time. That hunger is what drives the good to be great, and it’s what you see in the eyes of every member of Finding September, a spunky punk/alternative band from San Antonio, TX.
Formed in 2016 by drummer Jayden Mermella and guitarist Josh Gomez, the band went through a few lineup changes before finding singer Emily Bayardo and bassist Bethanny Palmer in September 2017, cementing their roster and finding a keen balance of personalities and varying musical tastes. They released their first song, “Summer Club” on May 14th of this year, ahead of their debut EP, History, which followed on June 22. You can find it here.
For a young band just finding their footing, Finding September certainly is off to a strong start. Their confidence, versatility, and the joy they get out of playing together is audible from the get-go on History. The title track boasts speedy double-bass fills and rapid-fire drumming from Mermella, as well as memorable power-punk riffs from Gomez, while Palmer lays down a heavy groove that ties it all together. While you may be reminded of the early 2000’s heyday of bands like Blink-182, New Found Glory, and Sum 41, you’ll be pleasantly surprised once leading lady Emily Bayardo begins to sing. Her vocals are clean, honest, and provide a warmth and sincerity to the message of the song, highlighting the hard work her band puts in behind her. On “Inhibitions”, the band flings even more attitude and emotion at you, giving you a heavy dose of heavy metal drumming and clever, concise riffing that give weight to Bayardo’s lyrics. The songs are well-written and performed, and the band has no trouble conveying their message to the listener while still maintaining the edginess of their punk roots.
Their first release, “Summer Club”, is a little more pop/power punk, featuring gang-chorus chants and a multitude of guitar runs that Gomez resurrected from 1999. It’s sometimes a little too sugary, but the band makes no bones about playing to their strengths and being their own band. They sound like Finding September, and that’s badassery to the fourth power. The piano chords that open up “Darkest Greys” threw me off for a minute, but the band quickly speeds up and returns to the chugging punk sounds that Bayardo’s voice floats on top of. Much like a beach ball bounced through a sweaty crowd at Warped Tour, her colorful voice contrasts the often aggressive, edgy sound of her band, and even during the instrumental breakdown at the end of the song, her presence is still felt. The talent the band has is undeniable, but the sum of the parts and how they’ve managed to use them leave a lasting impression on the listener.
The last track on the EP, “Let It Burn”, has the simplicity of punk with a techno-metal edge, and it’s the most remarkable track on the EP. Bayardo reaches a bit further with her voice, channeling Amy Lee and Lacey Sturm at times, while maintaining the honest sound she exhibits throughout the EP. The band is at their most experimental on “Let It Burn”, and they show a maturity and songwriting skill that point the way for their future endeavors. Gomez fires on all cylinders, creating layers of sound and a conservative but powerful solo at the end that serves the song well.
You never know what to expect from a young, eager, hungry band like Finding September. The urgency and honesty in their music and their lyrics speak volumes about their maturity, and the creativity they use to express their truth while still paying homage to their plethora of influences proves they have everything they need to succeed. Nothing More came from San Antonio and, through hard work. great songwriting, stellar live performances, and sheer will, have taken the rock world by storm. If they keep pushing themselves, Finding September could soon be the new little ol’ band from Texas we are all talking about.