On first listen we fell in love Noyo Mathis and knew that 'Endure' needed to be heard. It's post hardcore meets emo meets indie meets math rock. Take a listen to the full EP right here.
Without a doubt Neck Deep are one of this years breakout bands. After kicking off the year
with the release of their debut LP, 'Wishful Thinking', the Wrexham pop-punk five piece haven’t stopped touring since. From festival appearances throughout the UK and Europe to 2 months in North America as part of the Vans Warped Tour. We caught up with vocalist Ben Barlow and bassist Fil Thorpe-Evans at the Leeds Festival. They discussed their past festival experiences, supporting Blink-182, their up and coming UK headline tour and being
“leaders” of the UK pop-punk movement.
With the festival season more or less over for another year, it’s time for a whole load of
exciting releases to see the light of day. September sees a plethora of exciting releases, so much so that the Already Heard team were spoilt for choices when it came to picking this months must hear releases. Nevertheless they've completed the tricky task and picked out their five must-hear releases for the coming month.
With their combination of refreshingly introspective lyrics, crisp riffs and bouncy choruses, Homebound tick all the right boxes when it comes to promising UK pop-punk bands. Their debut EP, 'Coming of Age' sees the young band make a confident first mark on the ladder to greater things. We spoke to the band to discuss the importance of a debut release, and the comeback of pop-punk.
Packing stadium sized rock anthems with an incredibly striking emotional punch, and graced with one of the most staggeringly unique vocal talents to have graced the UK Rock scene in a long time, Cambridge’s Lonely The Brave have become one of the single most talked about new bands to emerge in recent years. With their debut album ‘The Day’s War’ finally released this week, Already Heard caught up with lead guitarist Mark Trotter and Bassist
Andrew Bushen at last weekend’s Leeds Festival.
We've got a full review, live photos and interviews from one of the highlights of the summer - Leeds Festival.
Recently, we’ve seen numerous metalcore vocalists take new directions in the music that they create. In this year alone, we’ve seen artists such as Josh Scogin, who ended The Chariot to soon form ’68, who then release their debut album ‘In Humor and Sadness’. Alongside this, we have Caleb Shomo, who after Attack Attack!, went on to form Beartooth, who recently released ‘Disgusting’. Adding to this inevitably expanding list is Spencer Chamberlain, former vocalist of the now recently defunct band Underoath. Blending a hybrid fusion of rock and electronica, Spencer and co.’s new band Sleepwave is reminiscent of bands like Nine Inch Nails, albeit with a similar brooding rock n roll vibe, which encompasses the majority of the album with negative, angry lyricism.
Which I suppose is where I should start. Following the collapse of Underoath, Spencer Chamberlain explores the emotional fallout of the ending of the band, as well as his own personal conflicts. Right off the bat, with lyrics such as, “If everything was raped and taken from my hands, I’d be just fine” being present on the very first track, it’s clear the album is about to twist and turn on the omnipresent emotional rollercoaster that is ‘Broken Compass’. Songs like ‘Rock and Roll Is Dead And So Am I’ and ‘Repeat Routine’ have Spencer mournfully contemplating his life, which offering allusions to thoughts of his old band, as well as the desperation to leave his old metalcore persona behind.
Remember when Frank Turner was fun? Before being seduced by Shakespeare and Dylan, he wrote good old-fashioned songs about drinking and friendship, and that’s exactly what Rob Lynch’s debut is about – albeit slightly better and considerably more whiskey soaked.
In fact, 'All These Nights in Bars Will Somehow Save My Soul' draws comparisons with drinking itself; there are the happy-go-lucky moments of positivity, moments of doubt and introspection, and bold declarations to be a better person. All that’s missing is a morning-after inspired track.
'All These Nights in Bars Will Somehow Save My Soul' is filled with sing-along anthems, the kind best enjoyed with friends and beers. It’s refreshing to hear a relatable album than eschews the salvation of love for the salvation that comes from friendship and family. The album begins with ‘31/32’ which sums up the spirit of the album declaring that “tonight we forget our problems and in the morning we can work them out’, setting the tone for 'All These Nights in Bars Will Somehow Save My Soul'. For those who’ve seen Rob Lynch live before, tracks like ‘My Friends and I’ and the ridiculously infectious ‘Hand Grenade’ will be familiar, except they’ve been refined and polished, crossing the line from good to great songs. ‘My Friends and I’ also features a surprise guest vocal from Transit’s Joe Boyton, giving it a touch of cross-Atlantic authenticity and justifying its re-inclusion.
We’re all guilty of making first impressions and judging books by their covers from time to time, so when you’re faced with a band like Motionless In White who have a very prominent aura about them it’s tempting to just brush them off if it isn’t your cup of tea. The band are gearing up to release their follow up to 2012’s ’Creatures’ in the form of sophomore full-length ’Reincarnate’. We turn up the volume and prepare to embrace the quintet’s brand of goth metalcore.
The haunting and aptly named ’Death March’ opens the record, a dark number that blends metalcore chugs with eerie electronics. As much as this combination works, it’s been done before and the addition of the Marilyn Manson style vocals doesn’t do the band any massive favours. Title track ’Reincarnate’, however, offers a glimmer of hope; with an undeniably catchy chorus that features clean vocals, this is a side of Motionless In White that we could get used to.
The big choruses return in the likes of ’Unstoppable’ and ’Everybody Sells Cocaine’ (we weren’t sure on the title either). These sorts of tracks feature boisterous riffs and savage percussion with rockier, more accessible choruses and the quintet display a real musical ability; there just appears to be a lack of focus. Comparing them to the bullet-speed, brutally heavy ’Puppets 3 (The Grand Finale)’ featuring Dani Filth there’s a little too much variation on the record.
As a music writer I have to admit it’s an awful characteristic to judge a band before you hit that play button. Yet that’s what I did with Along Came A Spider's sophomore effort - 'Resurgence'. I had a preconception that it would be another run-of-the-mill US metalcore record hastily put together. Having hit the play button and listened to record on repeat a number of times, I can say 'Resurgence' isn’t quite what I anticipated.
Admittedly their is a strong sense of metalcore from the outset. Tracks like 'A Sirens Call' and 'Wanderlust' have traits that fit the template; sharp riffs, melodic/aggressive vocals and polished production. However they give the album a promising start. The latter track has addictive “woahs” giving it plenty of staying power. Whilst 'The Voice of the Voiceless' provides an early highlight with its catchy chorus.
As you delve deeper into 'Resurgence', there’s a realisation that ACAS have, to a certain degree, versatility. Both 'No Laws' and 'A Link To The Past' are thrashy with soaring vocals. 'Land On' is theatrical with dwindling piano keys and male and female vocals. There’s enough there to keep you interested for the meantime.
The Swedish prog rock titans are back with their 11th full length 'Pale Communion' and the first to feature new keyboardist Joakim Svalberg. With peaks, troughs and very little middle ground, it’s an album that’s sure to divide opinion from the core fans.
Opener 'Eternal Rains Will Come' commences with elongated instrumentals, leaning on folk-rock lulls and the prog eccentricities of the Canterbury era bands like Caravan. 'Cusp Of Eternity' follows in a brooding manner, but its an effort that feels too safe for Opeth and perhaps even disinterested in terms of the vocal delivery. 'Moon Above, Sun Below' once again utilises the prevalent guitars and organs playoffs successfully. A quick solo gives way to acoustic passages, rooting further into the folkier end of the prog spectrum. The symphonic space rock stylings - akin to long time influences Camel - employed in the final couple of minutes are overly theatrical and dated. And yet, for all the grandeur this band usually rests their laurels on, 'Elysian Woes' is an oddly timid effort. Folk tinged acoustic passages eventually reside over a Zero 7-esque bedding of down tempo beats and synthesised strings. It’s certainly not the Opeth we know, and it’s really not a side of them we’re interested to know more of.
American Hi-Fi are one of those bands that get brought up during those “remember them?” conversations you have at house parties or round the table at the pub. Probably you’ll collectively be able to remember about three songs by them and come to the conclusion that they were pretty naff but ‘Flavour of the Weak’ was kind of catchy.
It may come as a surprise then to hear that fast-forward to 2014 and they are releasing their fifth studio album, ten years after their self-titled debut. The key to any band’s longevity is to adapt and evolve, and that means the four-piece outfit from Massachusetts have got a serious task on their hands considering their music wasn’t exactly pulling up trees the first time around.
The problem that you immediately encounter on listening to ‘Blood and Lemonade’ is that it feels like you’re hearing something that was released in 2002. They are very much a band of their that era, a time when pop rock rough around the edges enough for Generation-X to dig was bothering the charts on a regular basis, and American Hi-Fi, along with the likes of Good Charlotte and The Used, were in their element.
While Aldershot doesn’t readily spring to mind as a musical hotbed, it has previously spawned the likes of Hundred Reasons and Reuben. twothirtytwo are the latest to attempt to break out from the garrison town, and they’ve certainly laid down a marker with promising EP ‘The Hope We Had’.
Dark, moody and atmospheric, twothirtytwo play intelligent and literate alt-rock that lies somewhere between the stadium-sized sounds of The National and David Bowie’s warbling theatrics. It’s an odd juxtaposition, but once you can get your head around this you’re in for a treat.
Jaws' debut album, ‘Be Slowly’, is a dreamy collection exquisitely crafted by the young Birmingham quartet. It’s an album of the kind you’ve perhaps heard a handful of times before. One that usually has you lamenting what could have been as the final jangly track draws to a close. Much to my relief, however, this isn’t the experience that greets the end here. Across 11 tracks Jaws maintain a dynamic approach allowing their hazy summer sound to hook the listener to the very end.
‘Time’ eases the album in, building a stripped down warmth that creeps under the skin, laying a foundation for the next forty minutes. From this point on the formula changes little and doesn’t need to. ‘Cameron’ is a soft track fitted with smooth smart drumming that works hard without ever overpowering the whole. ‘Cameron’ does bring out one of my only complaints with the record (and perhaps my biggest complaint with the genre as a whole) though, in being over four minutes long without ever really mixing it up. Across the record track length matters little, it’s an enjoyable 42 minutes of music. But broken down, almost every song could be a little shorter without losing any of its effect.
For a band that has garnered a fair share of hype over the last 2 years, the debut full-length effort from Brighton skate punks Gnarwolves could be one of two. It could of been a) a quick rehash of previous material with the odd newbie thrown in good measure or b) a whole set of new songs where the band step their game up. Thankfully 'Gnarwolves' is the latter option.
Although this is the band’s first full-length, it still comes in at just under the half hour mark but this isn’t a negative. Anyone who has been following the trio’s career in recent years wouldn’t expect anything else.
Since emerging out of nowhere two years ago, Gnarwolves have grown in popularity, and more importantly, as musicians and songwriters thus making this self-titled effort their strongest release to date. Everything is simply tighter and more cohesive. From the duel vocals between Thom Weeks and Charlie Piper to the bold drum work from Max Weeks.
While attending the ArcTanGent festival two weeks back, I was reminded—as I basked in both a light rain and the gig’s deep blue lighting—of how much I deviate from consensus with regard to Texan post-rock/”doomgaze” outfit This Will Destroy You. To my fellow critics, their self-titled debut is an assured, but also frustratingly conventional, melodic post-rock record, whereas 'Tunnel Blanket' is the free-spirited, noise-y, ambient, album that truly placed the band on the map. Thing is—and I’m no stranger to the genres these peeps dabble in—I found the latter’s drone-heavy tracklist terribly drawn-out, insubstantial and all too often quite dull. On the other hand, many a track from 'This Will Destroy You' remained a staple of my late-night listening before the post-rock fatigue settled in. Coarsely, third album ‘Another Language’ might be described as a superior take on 'Tunnel Blanket', but not without the odd hint of throwback. It has all the adventurousness and darkness of their second, but also a variety in tone and texture it sorely missed.
The band’s beginnings are most obviously felt in 'Another Language'’s opening two tracks ’New Topia’ and ’Dustism’. Those unmistakeable guitar melodies, crystal-clear amongst an ethereal softness of synths and xylophones, the predictable curve of their “set forth towards that climax” structure, all inevitably lead back to that style they claim to be so hellbent on putting behind them. At this point, one might be forgiven for not giving such claims much weight. Yet past the second track, there’s a shift in emphasis back towards the freeform ambiences of 'Tunnel Blanket' and, in truth, far beyond.
First there was crabcore, which is worth remembering if only to bring this wonderful Attack Attack! video back into consciousness. Then there was the crunkcore of brokeNCYDE, lest we forget their rampant misogyny. Then came Risecore with its monotonous array of super-polished chunky-riffed shouty men. Finally we arrive at metalcore’s latest ridiculous fad - crooncore. Brought about by the (genuinely quite fun, I should point out) Issues, the worlds of mainstream R&B and breakdowns have become one, and following in their footsteps are sextet Violet. However, Issues are not the only place from which the Derbeians draw influence; they are clearly fond of the musical ventures of the infamous Jonny Craig, whether that be as a member of Dance Gavin Dance or Emarosa. So, does this confluence of styles make for an enjoyable listening experience? Unsurprisingly, the answer in short is an unequivocal “no”.
The great thing about Dance Gavin Dance is that they were unpredictable; you never knew when they were going to head into an off-kilter riff that sounded like all their instruments were having an argument. At the other end of the scale, Violet's 'The Love/The Lust' is extremely predictable, the eleven tracks here melding into an homogenous glob of awkward sound-clash, each track becoming more indistinguishable from another towards the end. Violet have evidently used their seven years together to become a taut unit, displayed on tracks such as 'Daydreamer', but with identikit song structures throughout, it becomes trying on the patience to get through this record the whole way through. Singer Jordan Samuel possesses a decent set of lungs, but Jonny Craig he ain’t; Samuel whinnies and wails where Craig would soar and soothe in otherworldly fashion, such as on Emarosa’s 'Relativity'. The contrast between Samuel’s tones and screamer Charlie Bass’ throaty yell works well on occasion, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, and it’s quite clear from this record who Violet see as potentially earning them bill-topping status.
Oakland indie-rockers The American Scene caused great anticipation amongst fans with the announcement of their latest album, ’Haze,’ the follow up to 2012’s ’Safe For Now’. However, will the quartet live up to everybody’s expectations?
’Haze’ kicks off with its title track, a quirky number with an exotic melody and Brand New-esque vocals, setting solid foundations for the rest of the record to follow. The American Scene maintain the head bopping, hip swaying persona of their tropical brand of indie rock, through the continuation of idyllic rhythms and bouncy percussion; the type where if you stand in the sunlight and close your eyes you could totally imagine that you were laid up on a stunning beach in a tranquil location. Lead single ’Royal Blue’ is a perfect example and a true testament to The American Scene’s ability to fully capture their listener’s attention, perhaps a strong contender for standout track on the record.
The third full length album from Rockford’s metalcore brandishers The Color Morale is, at times, a fairly trite offering. 'Hold On Pain Ends' is plagued by those same djent / groove inspired cliches that have been fogging up the genre for some time. For this lack of inventiveness, picks such as opener 'Damnaged' and lead single 'Prey For Me' really don’t deliver in the manner they intend to. A wash of stale guitar licks and nondescript drumming, the same unfortunately applies to many of the albums heavier moments.
This isn’t to say that 'Hold On Pain Ends' doesn’t have redeeming qualities. Most of these are owed to vocalist Garet Rapp whose delivery boasts a lot character than many of the indiscernible frontmen of today’s metal scene. 'Outer Demons' is case and point of this, with a chorus that stylistically lingers somewhere between the ubiquitous vocal work of Letlive’s Jason Butler and the grooves of Aussie counterparts Dead Letter Circus.
With excellent releases from the likes of Goodtime Boys, Vales and promising sounds from bands like Svalbard, not to mention the long-awaited return of Maths, it seems that, following the brief lull period that followed in the wake of the #UKSWELL scene, that British melodic hardcore is set to embark on another inexorable rise. In the same rich vein of form come Cornwall’s Crows-An-Wra, who’ve been plugging away on support bills for quite some time now (they were formerly known as simply Crows), but are ready to step up to the leagues of the aforementioned with their debut full-length, 'Kalopsia'. It’s a refreshing blend of old and new sounds; fans of early At The Drive-In and newer screamo/”skramz” acts like Suis La Lune will both certainly find something to enjoy on this extremely accomplished offering.
An eponymous intro track commences proceedings, which turns into 'Perseus', a stage-setter for what’s to come. As well-employed pedalboards create a foreboding atmosphere, each instrument comes into play before frontman Greg’s distinctive vocal arrives at the fore. It’s an undoubtedly Bixler-Zavala-esque voice, but if you’re going to sound like someone, it may as well be the singer of one of the most definitive post-hardcore bands to have ever existed. These opening jabs give way to 'Vibrant Colours', an apt name as the pacy, jangling riffs could create quite the miasma of hue if one put oneself in the shoes of someone with synesthesia. An excellent quartet of songs is rounded off by 'Constraint In Secrets', which follows the pattern and tropes of a more traditional screamo sound, with some extremely frank lyrics from frontman Greg concerning insecurity in romantic situations.
A living room is typically thought to be a place of comfort. Brooklyn four-piece Living Room produces the exact opposite with their melodic brand of emo. Having previously released an EP, ‘Moonchaser’ is their debut full-length effort. They have been compared to an “impressionist painting”, which is certainly not an unfair comment. Impressively, ‘Moonchaser’ contains dream-like elements, raw emotion, textures and abstract interpretations. Living Room has released a debut album that shows they could grow very quickly within the emo, indie rock genre.
The opening of ‘Moonchaser’, ‘American Levitation’, is surprisingly anticlimactic. Its slow, reverberated guitar and hushed vocals provide a short introduction to the tangible emotion of singer Scott Fitzpatrick. ‘Moonchaser’ is a perfect follow up album moving from a state of pain and exhaustion to a phase of reflection and looking inward. It is clearly the product of this second stage; a listener can sense that there is now more clarity in his life, yet parts still demand questioning. However, the increasing feedback leaves a listener in doubt that this is merely a simple introduction.