Already Heard
EXCLUSIVE EP PREMIER: THE SINKING FEELING - UGLY
We are incredibly pleased to stream 'Ugly', the new EP by The Sinking Feeling. Straight out
of Glasgow, the band combine 90s emo with hints of grunge and dual male/female vocals
for a tastier treat on the ears. It’s a huge wave of 90s nostalgia from this Scottish 3 piece.
FESTIVAL PREVIEW: HEVY FEST 2014 - 10 MUST-SEE BANDS
After taking a break last year, Hevy Fest is back for 2014 and even though it’s downsized
from 3 days to 2, there still loads of awesome bands on offer. With over 40 bands playing
over the 2 days, there’s bound to be some clashes. Already Heard is here to give you 10
must-see bands to see at Hevy Fest next month.
ALREADY HEARD RECOMMENDS: O CAPTAIN
Influenced by the likes of Jimmy Eat World, Saves The Day and The Get Up Kids, Sheffield quartet O Captain have bucket loads of potential of their debut EP is anything to go from. Entitled 'Ghetto Hikes', the bands lyrical sentiment mixed with a stirring indie-pop sensibility quickly won us over. We spoke to bassist Ryan Smith to find out more about the band, their influences, what Sheffield bands we should be listening to and more.
FESTIVAL: UK TECH FEST 2014
Ww've got reviews and a whole load of live photos from UK Tech Fest 2014.
FEATURE: 6 MONTHS IN - ALREADY HEARD'S ALBUMS OF THE YEAR SO FAR 2014
Having reached over the half way mark, July is a good time to reflect upon the smorgasbord
of great albums that have come out so far this year. Read on to find out what the Already Heard team picked as their favourite releases of the year so far.
FESTIVAL: SONISPHERE 2014
After 2 years away, Sonisphere makes it return to the UK. Check out our full coverage of the festival.
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: JACOB ROUND (PURE NOISE RECORDS)
In the latest edition of our "Industry Insight" feature, we speak to Jake Round as his label,
Pure Noise Records, celebrates it's 5th anniversary.


Album Review: Within the Ruins - Phenomena

Taking into mind Within The Ruin's high regard with metalcore fans worldwide and the success of previous album 'Elite', there’s sure to be a sizeable mob of followers who would strongly contend with every blow i’m about to deliver to this band. But music is subjective of course. And this album just so happens to be my personal hell.

From the sheer speed and progressive tendencies of WTR's fourth album it's fair to say that, for the large part, the Massachusetts quartet are undeniably capable musicians from a strictly technical point of view. But from the overly gated guitar chops to the indiscernible screaming to the constant goat-fuck of programmed kick pedal, glitches and bleeps ripping into your ears like a hacked off pitbull, nothing about this album feels organic or original.

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Album Review: Crown The Empire - The Resistance: Rise of the Runaway

Dallas six-piece Crown The Empire have had to take the step of building upon a commercially successful debut album that crept into multiple charts and earned them a place on this year’s Warped Tour. Although a concept album, such as ‘The Resistance: Rise of the Runaways’, has the potential to be weak and drag on, sometimes not actually following a story, this 13-track concept album has been carefully crafted under the watchful eye of producer Dan Korneff (most notable for his work with MCR, Pierce the Veil). Crown The Empire have undoubtedly stepped up to the plate with this album, building upon the success of their sophomore effort.

‘The Resistance…’ opens with ‘A Call to Arms (Act I)’, with its dark spoken voice. This track highlights the growing maturity of the band with their clever deployment of synthesisers and choir vocals to add emotion and tension to the track. It is too often seen with metalcore for bands to simply attach synths that sound out of place rather than complementing the other instruments, yet this is not the case here. By the end of the track we are given a flavour of the vicious guitars and screaming vocals symbolising a literal “call to arms”.

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Album Review: Colt 45 - The Tide Is Turning

With a name like Colt 45, you might expect this band to deliver something powerful, energetic and maybe even something with enough forward momentum that it might bowl you over. Alternatively, you could be hoping for material as good as the Afroman classic of the same name. Once you hear new album ‘The Tide Is Turning’ however, you’ll know it is anything but, as you vow to never let linguistic similarity get the better of you again.

Colt 45 has managed to craft 38 minutes of some of the most painfully generic rock in recent times. Full to the brim with unoriginal, uninspired power chord riffs, it would be easy for this album to pass you over. Sadly, it’s so overwhelmingly vapid it’s actually capable of being noticed and heard above the groans it should induce on anyone with functional ears.

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Album Review: Versus You - Moving On

As soon as the opening moments of Verses You’s fourth album ‘Moving On’ kicks in, it immediately brings to mind the bratty sun-soaked bay area punk scene that produced such luminary acts as Green Day among many others. It seems, however, that sounds can be deceptive, as Versus You are now the one thing that this writer can name to have originated in the tiny western European nation of Luxembourg.

How a punk band quite this catchy, or composed have, not broken out of their homeland to enjoy recognition here in the UK, or further abroad, is a bit of a mystery. One thing is for certain though, the band’s attitude, substance and hook laden classic punk sound makes for a perfect soundtrack for the glorious heatwave that we are currently enjoying. Every track on offer here may not be particularly long or complex, but every single one grabs your inner punk kid firmly by the scruff of the neck and makes it want to bounce up and down like a crazy person for every distortion drenched euphoric moment.

The frenetic if oddly named ‘If The Camels Die, We Die’ provides an early powerchord driven highlight as is the super bouncy ‘A Way With Words’. ‘On The Town’ joyfully hammers home the importance of however dull your hometown may be to still live life to the full and enjoy every available moment. ‘Be Better Than Me’ provides a rare reflective moment, eulogising on using loss to inspire yourself to be the best person you can be, before ‘Skinny and Distracted’ takes a punchy if conflicted sideswipe at modern values of attractiveness and body image.

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Album Review: Anberlin - Lowborn

'Lowborn' will be the last prize from Florida band Anberlin. The record will pay homage to their avid fan-base which have followed them since their inception in 2002. The members of the act will go on to create more instrumental music and it’s great they’re not bowing out forever.

The music is everything. Anberlin have never suppressed their sound to fit the mould, they’ve embraced their opuses with the same sincerity and drive. The haunting vocals and powerful riffs have lit the minds of many people. Style and proper attributes and talent have certainly cemented the band as frontrunners in their genre.

'Lowborn' is a record that is calm at times then it rallies home the nails. It’s colossal and euphoric, personal and pessimistic. There are cries, there are emotional bellows. The band tap into new sounds and they experiment enforcing monumental key notes.

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Album Review: You Blew It! - You Blue It

Weezer’s self-titled 1994 release needs no real introduction. Nicknamed 'The Blue Album', it’s responsible for sparking the careers of hundred bands, You Blew It! included. So it seems fitting that during the 20th anniversary of the album’s release that You Blew It! chose to release a covers EP of songs from that iconic album.

Of course it can be a tough challenge to cover such well known songs, so You Blew It! have played it safe. There’s no ‘Buddy Holly’ or ‘Sweater Song’ here, instead they’ve stuck to album tracks ‘Surf Wax America’, ‘In the Garage’, ‘Only in Dreams’,My Name is Jonas’ and a B-Side, ‘Suzanne’.

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Album Review: Allusondrugs - Allusondrugs

Even now, 5 years after its release, Brand New’s 'Daisy' is still a monumentally divisive record. It can never be looked back on in a nostalgic light (or at least not until they record something new), because the debate still rages over whether it was a solid contribution to their excellent canon, or the worst musical decision since Lars Ulrich thought that 'St Anger' snare sound was cool. There are those out there that appreciate Brand New’s most recent effort though, evidently among them Castleford quintet Allusondrugs, who take that album’s template of fiery grunge tempered with expansive, introspective moments, and fuse it with a love of classic grunge/alt rock in the vein of Nirvana and Pixies, much like their West Yorkshire compatriots Dinosaur Pile-Up.

With the exception of 'Cherry Pie', which throws the cat amongst the pigeons with a snotty blast straight outta ‘92, this eponymous record follows a similar course right the way through, which makes for a solid debut EP singling Allusondrugs out as a band to pay close attention to - in a sea of bands aping 'Your Favourite Weapon'-era Brand New, ripping off their sound from after they became interesting is an attractive USP. However, where musically and in vocal delivery it approaches the New Jerseyites, the lyrical content, at least in the first half of the release, is pure slacker-centric, as evidenced by their name and song titles like 'Ted, What's The Porn Like In Heaven?'.

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Album Review: To The Wind - Block Out the Sun and Sleep

imageTo The Wind bare their souls on new record 'Block Out The Sun And Sleep'. The utter tension and engrossing flair is admirable. The ferocity and brutality burns through like gasoline on a rag, and the temptation to rock that alcohol induced head of yours will become unbearable, just do it!

The band is a collective, a curios beast, that has fortified a brand. Their music sounds insanely different, it has that epic diversity that blows down the normality. Gearing their music forward is what they bleed to do, they’re an act that walk on the cracks of the pavement without feeling anxious or superstitious, they embrace the ruggedness of the cracks. The music is fundamental, obviously, and with the new opus the band haven’t shielded away the screams and glitteringly wonderful guitar sequences that have defined them.

'Block Out The Sun And Sleep' begins with 'Vacant Home'. The triggering guitar blasts out a plea for grace. The drumming is fast and volatile and the screams are littered well. As the listener, you will feel the emotion, you will hear the brutal notes pound in your eardrums.

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Album Review: Anti-Flag - A Document of Dissent: 1993-2013

It’s all too easy to write off Anti-Flag as the poster-boys of point-blank political punk. Their blunt, anti-authoritarian agenda is on the same side of the political spectrum as Propagandhi, but in terms of the depth of their arguments and the complexity of their message the two bands are worlds apart.

For this reason I was ready to pan this album, a commemorative collection of songs to mark the band’s 20 year career, and then I listened through and realised I was wrong. Despite their route one values, Anti-Flag’s music has adapted wonderfully to the passage of time, producing some fantastic songs and never losing focus. The reason I loved this band as a teenager wasn’t just because I was less cynical. It’s because they were damn good.

“You’re gonna die gonna die gonna die for your government, die for your country that’s shit!”  The opening line of first track ‘Die For The Government’ would make an intelligent libertarian weep, but so what? It’s got to be one of the most recognisable lyrics in the whole of punk rock, and that means that Anti-Flag have already won the war.

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Album Review: Betraying the Martyrs - Phantom

Since the release of 2011’s debut album 'Breathe In Life', Parisian metallers Betraying the Martyrs have seemingly been THE name to contend with in the deathcore arena. Continually spoken of in a fevered high that seats them way above many of their peers, they’re back with album number two on Sumerian Records. For a label that boasts some decidedly better acts like Dillinger and Crosses, this band are a total let down.

The majority of sophomore LP ‘Phantom’ feels like 13 tracks of metal by numbers, underscored by the horribly predictable production values which in the age of laptop-metal have lumped the vast majority of new bloods into one giant dizzying game of Guess Who. Is that BMTH? Is that Silent Screams? Is that While She Sleeps? Who knows. Who bloody knows!

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Album Review: Real Friends - Maybe This Place Is the Same and We’re Just Changing

Currently storming the pop-punk scene, Real Friends have released their first full-length album ‘Maybe This Place Is The Same And We’re Just Changing’. Having been criticised for drifting towards a generic pop-punk sound with their EPs, ‘Maybe This Place Is The Same and We’re Just Changing’ signals that Real Friends are beginning to move in a more exciting direction. As such, their first full-length album is a promising beginning for this Illinois four-piece.

After a short introduction, ‘I Don’t Love You Anymore’ gives us the first full taste of the album. The song follows a standard pop-punk template; the builds, the minimalist parts, the big choruses, and so on. It’s noticeable that lead singer Dan Lambton has improved vocally since ‘Put Yourself Back Together’ in both the strength and breadth of his performance. One element that is unavoidably noticeable is the somewhat pop-punk cliché track name. This theme runs throughout the album, and not in the powerful emo sense, but shows the hyperbolic defeat typical of teenagers to dominate the album; for example, one lyric goes, "I’m just a kid with too much lonely space".

The album grows in strength as it goes on, with my favourite tracks featuring in the latter half. ‘Spread Me All Over Illinois’ has a different feel to the rest of the album. It has that same pacey verse yet this is juxtaposed by the build to a slower chorus. This adds far greater and noticeable effect to the song than the lyrics do. The song shows consistency in style with a big outro brought down to palm muting and quiet picking. It is undoubtedly a highlight of the album.

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Album Review: Speaking in Shadows - The Lies We Lead

Contradictory to what their name may suggest (not a “swoopy-fringed” metalcore band), Speaking In Shadows are an English rock band formed in 2010 from the town of Nuneaton. Releasing their new EP, ‘Lies We Lead’, Speaking In Shadows have aptly created a mixture of passionate, alternative rock tunes which fringes on the boundaries of post-hardcore. Needless to say it works well.

Kicking off the EP is the track ‘Splinters’, featuring high-powered drumming and jagged guitar lines.  It’s a disappointment however, that vocalist Alex Smith’s voice sounds too nasally on this track to be enjoyed wholeheartedly. It’s a shame, as I feel ‘Splinters’ is the only shortcoming of the album. Trying to combine the accessibility of the next track ‘Technicolour Trainwreck’, while trying to capture the chaos of later tracks like ‘Breaking Silence’, ‘Splinters’ does nothing more than fall flat on its face.

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Album Review: Illuminate Me - I Have Become a Corpse

Illuminate Me are a hardcore band hailing from South Florida, USA. Having recently signed to Tragic Hero Records, they have now released their album ‘I Have Become A Corpse’. What with their state of residence and zany song titles, it would be safe to expect some fairly rifftastic southern sounding punk. However, in spite of the name of the 4th track, ‘Ouija Board Taught Me Everything I Know’, it appears that Ouija board has neglected to include teaching the band how to make interesting music.

The first track on this album is entitled ‘Voodoo Blues’ and it does set itself apart by featuring Garrett Rapp of The Color Morale, but it’s ultimately a statement of intent in the worst way possible; not one song on this album really sounds much different.

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Album Review: The Summer War - Keep Up, We’re Moving On

imageThe Summer War tread the line between pop punk and indie rock, which is difficult because you’re trying to have the best of both worlds and definitely risk having the worst instead. Pop punk without the attitude and danger and indie rock without the song structures and lyric strength are not ingredients which mix particularly well.

Other bands have managed it with varying levels of success – you could probably look towards The Automatic, although The Summer War actually remind me more of My Awesome Compilation (remember them?) – a band who used very basic pop structures and simple lyrics and just made it work by having really big hooks and relatable themes.

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Album Review: Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again

Returning to your roots, like most things, can be either good or bad, depending upon how it is handled. On their last release, Torrance, California indie punks Joyce Manor took a bizarre, near experimental pop sensibility on ‘Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired’. Now, on their Epitaph debut and third LP, the band slightly treads back to where they started, with the style which hooked their fans in the first place. ‘Never Hungover Again’ is the spiritual follow up to their self-titled first album; it is Joyce Manor at their most mature sounding, without losing their trademark catchy bite.

Opening with ‘Christmas Card’, you can tell this is classic Joyce Manor, yet they sound slicker. All the rough edges have been smoothed out, without losing any grit. Follow up song ‘Falling in Love Again’ dazzles with pop infused alt punk, which blossoms with a synth and a sincere finish. Whilst this song and ‘End of the Summer’ are mid tempo sweethearts, the likes of ‘Victoria’ ups the tempo adding a weighted element to the delightful punk tone. The most beefy number, however, comes from the minute long ‘Catalina Fight Song’ (the video of which sees the quartet in a hilarious predicament involving martial arts). It chugs away in a tough to chew, easy to digest fashion. ‘In the Army’ is another song with bite, though it comes with rapid fire guitar melodies amongst rolling drums, sealing a fine partnership of contrast.

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