Code Orange Kids' busy 2012 started right out of the gate on New Year's Day. The band held a release show for its debut 7-inch, Cycles, at the Mr. Roboto Project. From there, the band undertook a vigorous touring regimen of the United States and Europe with the likes of Bane, Touché Amore, Defeater and Birds in Row. A split with Maryland hardcore/doom band Full of Hell was issued in the spring by the predominantly emo and pop-punk label Topshelf Records. Perhaps the biggest highlight of the band's year was signing to Deathwish, Inc., the label founded by Converge vocalist Jacob Bannon.
Now, the year is coming to a close and the band's first full-length album, Love Is Love//Return to Dust, is about to see the light of day. Recorded by Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou at Godcity Studios in Massachusetts, the album reveals that although the members of Code Orange Kids are still young, their songwriting is maturing at a rapid pace.
Jami Morgan, who handles lead vocals, drums and lyrics in the band, is content with what Code Orange Kids laid down for its debut.
"We're definitely where I'd like us to be right now," he says. "I'm really proud of this album."
Many other labels, including No Sleep, Topshelf and Rise Records, offered contracts to the band. However, when Deathwish offered to put out an album, the band couldn't resist.
"We've always wanted to do a record through them," Morgan says. He explains that members of Touché Amore helped convince Bannon and company to sign Code Orange Kids.
The album itself is leaps and bounds better than the band's previous offerings, building upon the foundation set in earlier recordings. The album's 10 tracks are all over the place, in a good way: The fast parts are blistering, and the slow parts trudge through murky mires of auditory assault. It doesn't hurt to have a pair of familiar faces gracing the album: Adam McIlwee, of Tigers Jaw, and Guy Kozowyk, of The Red Chord, contribute on separate tracks. The latter appearance, according to Morgan, was a spontaneous affair.
"Jake [Bannon] was supposed to do vocals, but there was a conflict in time. Guy from The Red Chord walked into the studio to borrow a guitar, and Kurt asked him to do it. He spontaneously agreed, and he killed it. Afterward we hung out for a while and he really came to like our band. He hadn't heard of us before coming to the studio."
Love Is Love//Return to Dust will receive the premiere-record-release treatment, with this year's Sincerity Fest in Springdale serving as its release show. Alongside Code Orange Kids will be vegan straight-edge hardcore stalwarts Trial and local favorites including Complete Failure, Steel Nation, Unit 731 and Pray for Teeth. Per tradition, the festival is free of charge and will offer an all-vegan food selection at minimal cost.
"We wanted to have a bunch of bands we care about be a part of it," Morgan explains. "We just get to have a bunch of our friends play and bands we really like, and it all worked out really well."