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It’s amazing what can happen when one surrenders to the darkness, floating into the uncertain and the undetermined, trusting in the will of a greater plan in pursuit of the creative muse.
New Years Day went from the “Kevin Says” platform to the main stage on Vans Warped Tour. They went from a tiny corner in the “AP Recommends” section to the cover of Alternative Press.
Ashley Costello had a vision for New Years Day, one conceived by an everyday teen consumed with the music and imagery of trailblazing heroes like My Chemical Romance, Marilyn Manson, and AFI, while equally obsessed with the grand theatricality of the macabre. Costello forged her creative vehicle through blood, sweat, tears, and makeup brushes, clutching and clawing forward with a tight grip on creative control through early lineups, demos, and an obscure debut.
New Years Day fully came into its own in 2013, delivering the goods to a vibrant audience enticed by dynamic live performances, with their Century Media debut, Victim to Villain. The Epidemic EP that followed further cemented their place in the heavy music landscape, offering melodic treats of whimsy wrapped in haunting and devastating rock majesty. Their 2015 album Malevolence showcases the full spectrum of what New Years Day was able to achieve, equally referencing architects of wit and madness like Edgar Allen Poe and Tim Burton, alongside musical forces Rob Zombie, Evanescence, and Alkaline Trio.
New challenges and new worlds beckon, but first, it’s time for a celebratory look inward. This comes in the form of a brand new EP, Diary of a Creep, which follows the tradition of landmark releases like Garage Days by Metallica by paying tribute to the artists who shaped the band, even as they continually redefine their music with each successive bold stage of their evolution.
Having already proven their diverse ability and devotion to a variety of genres with covers of songs by Lady Gaga, My Chemical Romance, and Kehlani, with Diary of a Creep New Years Day offers an even broader take on the molecular structure that strengthened their own signature sound.
There’s “Only Happy When it Rains,” a somber alt-rock anthem by the multiplatinum Garbage, the Shirley Manson fronted band which includes songwriter and performer Butch Vig (who produced landmark albums by Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day, and Foo Fighters). There’s New Years Day’s version of the Linkin Park mega-hit “Crawling,” with Costello putting her own spin on the fierce vocal delivery of the late Chester Bennington. There’s “Don’t Speak,” the smash ballad from No Doubt’s diamond-selling album Tragic Kingdom. Dark new wave finds its way into the EP via New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle.” On the other end of the New Years Day spectrum, there’s Pantera classic “Fucking Hostile,” now a staple of New Years Day’s live show.
With a unique aesthetic identity and a powerful sound honed in clubs, theaters, and global festival stages (like Rock On The Range, Louder Than Life), New Years Day stand ready to claim a dark destiny that has summoned them with warm invitation since their inception. Bigger and wonderfully diverse audiences have already warmed to the band thanks to successful tours supporting Halestorm, Motionless In White, and Birthday Massacre. New Years Day music videos like “Angel Eyes,” “Kill or Be Killed,” and “Defame Me” have amassed over 20 million views. Produced by Mitch Marlow, who has co-written songs with In This Moment and Papa Roach, the Diary of a Creep EP arrives just as New Years Day assembles material for their next full length effort, freeing themselves from the shackles of preconceived expectations and digging in to fully embrace a new chapter.
New Years Day is to be cherished for an “admirable bite and sharp hooks laced with a plentiful amount of [loud] pomp,” as UK tastemaker Rock Sound rightly pointed out. Metal Hammer cheerfully agreed: “Get ready for the unstoppable, spooktacular rise of New Years Day.”
Churning emotional smolder, iconoclastic bombast, savage flamboyance, heady fantasy, and the adventurous spirit of Alice Through the Looking Glass all collide within New Years Day. The band evokes the brightest moments of fellow outsider art, championing melancholy and gloom in the most empowering of ways, demanding respect and recognition from elites and conformists. An intense confidence coupled with a playful cleverness remains the core of what Costello and her merry band of miscreant road pirates can do, ensuring the fulfillment of bold premonitions about their future. From “AP Recommends” to the cover, from Kevin Says to mainstage, indeed.