As the festival season rolls on, this weekend the Hit The Deck Festival returns for its fourth outing. As always with over 40 bands playing across 6 stages, the Already Heard team has picked out 10 must-see bands to see at this weekend’s festival.
This Saturday the 2014 edition of Record Store Day takes place. With wealth of rare
releases to buy, Already Heard and Jon Tolley of Banquet Records have picked out 5 must by RSD 2014 releases.
Next week Philadelphia indie punks The Menzingers release, 'Rented World,' one of the
highly anticipated records of 2014 so far. In parts, it picks up where 2012's 'On The
Impossible Past' left off but it also shows the bands growth as songwriters and musicians. We recently spoke to Greg Barnett to discuss the album, the pressure of following up 'On The Impossible Past', their forthcoming London show and the Grozerock Festival.
Despite only forming last year, Essex rockers New City Kings have already gathered plenty of attention from their debut EP - 'Change.' Their radio-friendly rock sound that has seen them compared to a range of bands; Foo Fighters, Deaf Havana, and The Gaslight Anthem.
Already Heard spoke to Mark Kovic to find out more about New City Kings.
With their return to the UK imminent, the latest edition of "Versus" sees us putting the
focus on Alkaline Trio. Self-confessed Trio MEGA fan Jay Sullivan tells us why 'From
Here to Infirmary' is the band’s finest work. Whilst Alex Phelan explains how 'Maybe
I'll Catch Fire' is a superb example of musical catharsis.
12 months from releasing their debut EP, we speak to Blackpool pop-punk/emo
quintet Boston Manor to discuss their influences, achievements so far and thoughts on their contemporaries.
With their latest EP 'Change Nothing, Regret Everything.', Woking five-piece Employed
To Serve have produced 12 minutes of frantic, unrelenting hardcore that finds the band somewhere between The Dillinger Escape Plan and The Chariot. We spoke to Justine from the band to find out how the band has transitioned from a duo to a quintet and she discussed
being part of the Holy Roar! roster, they chaotic yet contained live shows and more.
In the latest edition of our "Tour Tales" feature, Irish doom-punk band Hornets talk us
through their recent UK tour where they played 8 shows in 7 days.
Leeds-based four-piece Walleater are set to digitally release their debut self titled EP next Monday (14th April) through Close To Home Records. We've got the exclusive first play
right here on Already Heard.
Unless the reader is particularly knowledgeable on the subject of American ska, there is a good chance the name Obi Fernandez doesn’t mean anything to him/her. Indeed, having spent the most notable portion of his career singing, writing and playing trombone for Boston ska outfit Westbound Train, our subject felt it was time to delve into new musical enterprises. Enter debut album ‘Confessions, Waves and the Garden State’, Fernandez’s personal project in which he expands his musical style beyond ska and into reggae and soul. Get your shades out, it’s about to get chill.
Opening tracks ‘It Happens To Me’ and ‘Don’t Turn Away’ don’t stray too far from home. We’re introduced to Fernandez’s ridiculously smooth vocals as he croones over relaxed reggae grooves. Particular attention should be paid to the fantastic work made throughout the album on instrumental tones and textures that evoke the classical sounds of reggae and soul’s finest (on these particular tracks more than ever). The issue with reggae, however, is its inherent tendency to rely on repetition both within songs and comparatively and, as competent a songwriter as he is, Obi Fernandez is unable to avoid these trappings. As such, even finely crafted songs such as ‘Pills’, ‘Get You Through’ andi rely on conventions that are already seem a little tiresome midway through the album.
Consequently, the album’s soul tracks help keep it fresh and interesting. ‘The Color Of Your Voice’ showcases his R&B skills with a sweet soulful love song brought to life through intersperced horns and old-timey background vocals. ‘Only A Fool’ starts soft and smooth with airy keys only to build up with clean staccto guitars and classy horns to create a terrific soul track. Certainly the album’s standout track, ‘Ugly Comes Out’ has Fernandez’s cool vocals the driving force in a near-perfect soul track. Effortlessly alternating between sassy verses and a sensational chorus no doubt helped by an astute deployment of strings, Fernandez is at his strongest here.
‘Confessions, Waves and the Garden State’ closes with bittersweet acoustic number ‘Overdue’ with Fernandez providing another masterful vocal performance of cool restraint and raw potency as well as a couple of interesting chord progressions. To conclude, this collection of perfectly-produced tracks helps showcase both Fernandez’s vocal and songwriting talents within a comfortable range of reggae and soul. While some of the reggae tracks can feel a little generic, the soul efforts are all delivered with supreme confidence and a knack for style. There’s enough here to bring some sun into the fall and some warmth into the winter.
'Confessions, Waves and The Garden State' by Obi Fernandez is available now on Paper + Plastick Records.
Words by James Berclaz-Lewis