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Upstate New York indie band Joywave charges their electro-dance grooves with a post-punk rock edge. Emerging in the early 2010s, they had their first breakthrough with their appearance on Big Data's single "Dangerous," which became a chart-topping hit the same year the group's 2015 debut, How Do You Feel Now?, arrived. Their darker, more streamlined sophomore effort, Content, was issued two years later, becoming their second Top Ten appearance on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. In 2020, they kicked off the decade with album number three, the Voyager Golden Record-sampling Possession. The following year, the band released the EP Every Window Is a Mirror, a precursor to their fourth set, 2022's Cleanse.

Formed in Rochester in 2010 by vocalist Daniel Armbruster, guitarist Joseph Morinelli, bassist Sean Donnelly, keyboardist Travis Johansen (later replaced by Benjamin Bailey), and drummer Paul Brenner, Joywave first offered up a sample of their '80s-inspired electro tunes in early 2011 with the single "Golden State." They earned a fair amount of attention through a series of online mixtapes that meshed original tunes with other artists' material, all remixed to include Joywave's signature playing and vocals. In addition to these mixtapes and early single releases, the band released the Koda Vista EP in 2012 and the How Do You Feel? EP in 2014.

Apart from their own releases, Joywave made frequent guest appearances on their friends' singles, showing up in the roles of both remixers and guest performers on standout recordings by Big Data and Betty Who. The Big Data collaboration, titled "Dangerous," reached the top of U.S. alternative charts in 2014, was licensed for multiple screen appearances, including the feature film Veronica Mars, and led to Armbruster performing live vocals for the song on TV's Late Night with Seth Myers.

Recorded back home in Rochester, Joywave's full-length debut, How Do You Feel Now? (which added seven tracks to the four on How Do You Feel?), was released in the spring of 2015 on their own Cultco Music label, an imprint of Hollywood Records. The set featured an appearance by KOPPS on the international dance chart hit "Tongues," which was remixed by RAC, Big Data, and even Giorgio Moroder. The following year, they issued SWISH, a compilation project based on the single "Destruction" that featured an album's worth of reinterpretations alongside the HDYFN? B-side "Life in a Bubble I Blew."

In 2017, Joywave parted ways with bassist Donnelly and started a new album cycle with "Content," the title track from their sophomore LP. Content also featured charting singles "Doubt" and "It's a Trip!" Their promotional tour efforts culminated in 2018 with a national trek alongside Thirty Seconds to Mars, Walk the Moon, and MisterWives. In the midst of the journey, Joywave issued the non-album track "Compromise." Singles "Blastoffff" and "Like a Kennedy" arrived in June of the following year, the first offerings from their third album. Before that LP's arrival, three additional singles were released through 2019. This protracted release schedule eventually culminated with their third full-length, Possession. Issued in March 2020, the set featured samples from Carl Sagan's intergalactic 1977 compilation, the Voyager Golden Record, and touched upon ideas that examined modern distractions and self-preservation. Just days after the album's release, the COVID-19 pandemic forced most of the world into lockdown, which effectively snuffed the band's promotion and touring for Possession. Armbruster took the spark of creativity borne from the uncertainty and global upheaval, turning that into a new collaborative project with Sir Sly called Best Frenz and another Joywave album, which was teased in 2021 with the EP Every Window Is a Mirror. Joywave's 2022's full-length Cleanse balanced self-reflection with cautious optimism on a catchy set that featured the singles "Cyn City 2000" and "Buy American." The band was finally able to tour that year and the jaunt was immortalized on the aptly-titled album Live, which featured tracks from across their catalog, including the fan favorite Big Data collaboration "Dangerous."

The Best Frenz collaboration took up the group's 2023 schedule, with a series of singles rolled out before the project's first full-length, The Mall, landed in August. The following year, Joywave returned with "Brain Damage" and a sold out tour with Two Door Cinema Club. ~ Neil Z. Yeung

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