Music—and guitar—are therapeutic. The songs we write and riffs we play help reduce the pain, alleviate the stress, and produce some positivity in our lives. Microwave’s singer/guitarist/lyricist Nathan Hardy has been using the studio and stage as his leather couch for nearly 10 years. Stovall, in 2014, saw him question his Mormon missionary upbringing. Two years later, Much Love focused on realities versus the romance of the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle. And 2019’s Death Is a Warm Blanket is a dark, heavier, raging deep dive into his nihilistic thoughts. All three albums are honest, coarse evaluations of the pushing and pulling in Hardy’s head and heart.
Musically, the band has matured alongside Hardy’s contemplative subject matter. Stovall and Much Love harness the teeter-totter dynamics mastered by Nirvana and also felt in Microwave’s post-hardcore contemporaries like early Citizen and Turnover.
While their loudest, most aggressive tendencies were unleashed in Death Is a Warm Blanket, Microwave’s melodies and hooks can still be sticky and sweet as honey. Finally able to tour in support of that album, Microwave packed Nashville’s Mercy Lounge on October 15. Just after soundcheck, Hardy and guitarist Travis Hill introduced PG to their favorite battle axes, walked us through their Odd Couple pedalboards, and Hill explained how an outdated laptop and trial version of Logic Pro provides a universal “poor man’s Kemper” for guitars and bass.