Already Heard
INTERVIEW: NECK DEEP
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.
FIVES: MUST HEAR SEPTEMBER 2014 RELEASES
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.
INTERVIEW: LONELY THE BRAVE
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.
INTERVIEW: NECK DEEP
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.
FESTIVAL PREVIEW: READING AND LEEDS FESTIVAL 2014 - 20 MUST-SEE ACTS
It’s no doubt it has been an incredible summer of music, and it’s not over yet as the legendary Reading and Leeds Festival takes place this weekend. With dozens of acts playing across 8 stages over 3 days, there is lot to choose from. As always the Already Heard team has got together to pick out what we think are the 20 must-see acts at Reading and Leeds 2014.
HEVY FEST 2014
Check out our full coverage from this years Hevy Fest right here!


Album Review: King 810 - Memoirs Of A Murderer

imageThey say that all press is good press, so I guess when two members of Flint, Michigan’s King 810 were arrested this past June on assault charges ahead of their Download Festival appearance, could be considered just that - good press. Nevertheless this debut record, 'Memoirs Of A Murderer' has been something many have been waiting for quite sometime. Their hometown is dominated by various problems a high murder rate, plenty of poverty, a tiny police presence, and tons of violence. So it’s no surprise frontman David Gunn paints a bleak picture over the course of 16 tracks.

From the outset of 'Kill ‘Em All', Gunn takes us on a personal and disturbing journey through his past and chosen lifestyle, one that is seemingly dominated by gun crime and gang warfare. It makes 'Memoirs Of A Murderer' an uncomfortable listen. It’s a challenging record, especially at over an hour long.

From the pounding, chugging early tracks (‘Best Nite of My Life’ and 'Murder Murder Murder') to the three part 'Anatomy' spoken monologues, to the winding 'Boogeymen', there is somehow plenty to keep you listening but not for the right reasons. It’s a record filled with so much angst and melodrama, it’s nearly unbearable to listen to.

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Album Review: Hunter Ellis - The Healing Power of Laughing

Multi-instrumentalists; I am amazed that such individuals have the skills, the passion, and the capacity, to release albums all of their own making. Are they multi-armed sorcerers from another dimension? I assume so. When the record in question is consistently well made, then you’ve got the concrete evidence which proves they are other worldly beings. L.A. based instrumental “sorcerer” Hunter Ellis is a fine example of this breed of musician. After spending several years since 2003 with various bands including My Dads, The Coma Lilies and Horders, Ellis started writing ‘The Healing Power of Laughing’ in 2010, recording it over several years with help from friends and musicians. Now, after several years of hard work, the album has seen the light of day in 2014, and it is an interesting listen of flavoursome marvels.

Ellis successfully blends jazz, progressive structures and folk frailty into a serenely grand soundtrack. Imagine yourself being locked in your own bedroom on a relaxing Sunday afternoon, yet all the while your ears play tricks on you through various musical tinkerings. The opening title track explains everything that is going to happen on this musical journey rather well. Guitar notes pick at your brain and violins sear through a warm aura of bass and drums, creating a wondrous atmosphere. ‘Eat Rotten Fruit’ ponders itself in mysterious bluesy lounge jazz meets prog ambiance. The full band cover of Aphex Twin’s ‘Fingerbib’ is fleshed out into a real world setting, making it sound endearingly human. A personal highlight is the slow electronic build on ‘Master of Your Domain’, morphing from digital bubbles to a percussive gold mine.

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Album Review: Plough Lines - Plough Lines EP

imageRemember 90s/00s Baltimore emo crew Cross My Heart? The lads in Manchester’s Plough Lines – comprised of current and former members of Doctrines, Me vs Hero and a host of others – certainly do, as the influence of one of emo’s more intense protagonists looms large over this charged three-song EP.

That said, Plough Lines never sink to the self-loathing depths of their US forefathers, and ensuring the EP clocks in at a svelte 12 minutes, means they don’t outstay their welcome. Thankfully, despite the stylistic similarities to Cross My Heart (and Camber and Christie Front Drive and a myriad of other late 90s emo bands), there’s also enough of an individual identity to ensure ‘Plough Lines’ isn’t some rehash or pastiche of an old sound. The vocals in particular add a surprising edge, veering from dreamy and fuzzed out to urgent and compelling. It’s a clever mix, ensuring Plough Lines stand suitably apart from their peers.

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Album Review: Field Mouse - Hold Still Life

There’s something about certain movie soundtracks that sometimes stick in your head, and get in under your skin. What self respecting music fan hasn’t decided the soundtrack to those big moments in their life? Who hasn’t wanted their say anything moment? Brooklyn residents Field Mouse's First full length 'Hold Still Life' has that feeling of movie moments being channeled throughout, whilst covering the subjects of a modern 20-something’s confused brain.

The dreamy shimmer of opener 'A Place You Remember in a Dream' feels like an overly upbeat off cut from the virgin suicides soundtrack, light and floaty guitars and keyboards purr like a fuzzy memory of a summer day. Another highlight is rougher indie pop that inspires and reminds one of Metric’s Emily Haines vocally in 'Horizon City', which feels like it should accompany a wild child coming of age film, a bit punk rock and grunge tinged garage rock sounding backed up with the girl group backing vocals. The first single 'Two Ships' has the air of an 80’s bratpack soundtrack (think Simple Minds but without the soaring anthemic shouts). With guitars rippling away like sails throughout and a sultry, cool vocal that has more than an air of the new romantics about it, it’s a treat, and while it doesn’t quite have the killer hook you might want, the synthy keyboards reach some nice heights with the breakdown.

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Album Review: Forever After - Just Another Year EP

Forever After should just about catch the tail end of this beautiful summer we’ve been having when ‘Just Another Year’ drops. An EP difficult to pigeonhole, it falls somewhere between the massive pop punk choruses of early 2000s California and riffs that would fit right in the Pacific Northwest of the early 90s, to give us this 2014 stomper straight out of Essex. Opener ‘She’s Leaving’ is huge. Starting with a riff direct from the Kurt Cobain cookbook before slipping through a neat verse and launching into a sing-along chorus the track sets up for what will follow. ‘Miles Away’ is more of the same but even smoother in its transition from riff to storming chorus.

‘Inhaling, Failing’ is a little reminiscent in parts of Basement’s ‘Bad Apple’, but that’s not a complaint. Sometimes good songs sound like other good songs. It’s another strong offering and as it builds to a mighty final chorus complete with some sweet lead I’m hooked. ‘Throw It All Away’ fills the void and is perhaps the most interesting song on show. The chorus is enormous, the backing vocals a little too low in the mix for me to actually grab my skateboard and run outside, but it’s still magnificent and in my head, for two minutes, I can actually skate.

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Album Review: Punch - They Don’t Have to Believe

In relation to my previous review, it really grinds my skull when I come across a dull, slop of a hardcore band. So it was an absolute pleasure to listen to a hardcore record with the right balance of fury and passion. The third album by San Francisco’s Punch is a 20 minute wrecking ball of socio-political commentary. Compared to their blistering early work, ‘They Don’t Have to Believe’ shows the band at their most confident, focused, and most importantly, their most viscerally impacting. This is how a hardcore record should be in its purest form; no nonsense, just volcanically fuelled human emotions, hailing down upon the ignorant with rapid fire.

The most striking feature by the band is the seamless flow from d-beat blasting tempos to mid-tempo left turns. Songs like ‘Waiting Game’ gives you time to pick yourself up from a seizure after the pummelling temperament. The shorter tracks are the most deadly though; ‘Promises Kept’ leaves you with a fiery stitch, before being sent dizzily along screams and bass, until the final knockout  plants you out cold on the floor. Breakdowns thrive wonderfully on this LP in the most un-clichéd way as found on ‘Personal Space’, sweating all the ferocity out of it.

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Album Review: Dumb - Chew Me Up, Spit Me Out EP

For England’s second most populous city, Birmingham hasn’t had the impact on the landscape of British music that it should. Correct me if you can think of any more considerable, but in the mind of this writer, only heavy metal has been majorly influenced by Brum, having produced titans such as Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. However, looking to join modern indie compatriots such as Peace and Swim Deep are young quartet Dumb, who attempt here to bring the sounds of 80s/90s “slacker” or “college” rock (dependent on which name you prefer) married to the everyday tales and languid vocal style of Wakefield indie rockers The Cribs. Dumb seem destined for the big time, which makes this offering seem all the more cynical in putting so much effort into trying to sound effortless.

Imagine if Pavement, Pixies or even early R.E.M. had a production job that was anything but shonky. It wouldn’t sound right, would it? However, the glossy presentation gives tracks like 'Dive' a shimmer that feels all wrong, in a manner that suggest the Reading mainstage-core sound of bands like The 1975 and The Vaccines. While frontman Dylan Williams’ alternating sigh and sneer (which has more than a little Gallagher-esque tilt to it, especially on 'Two Bottles') attempts its level best to bring some semblance of soul to proceedings, this is a rather staid and beige affair. Even their website handle screams of a wantonly silly affectation - Dumb are here for mass consumption, and don’t care if they have to use “txt speak” to get there.

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Album Review: Escapethecult - All You Want To

Featuring members from King Diamond, Uneven Structure, Kamlath and even Primus, supergroup Escapethecult is a progressive metal bonanza, featuring a myriad of established metal musicians. Yes, we’ve seen this countless times before. A group of respected musicians collaborate together to create music of their combined talents. This has proven to be as successful as Down, as wild as S.O.D, or as generic as Hellyeah. So, are Escapethecult the best supergroup that has ever been formed? Probably not. Can Escapethecult be compared with some of the best supergroups that have ever been formed? Maybe, maybe not. Is Escapethecult an interesting enough collaboration to lend an ear to? Absolutely.

At first listen however, I admittedly dismissed ‘All You Want To’, thinking it was enjoyable, yet believing that there was no factor that made it wholly memorable. Upon further listening however, this original view was completely shattered. Rather than grabbing you from the get-go, ‘All You Want To’ subtly weaves the style and sound that each member exhibits, and it is only upon further listening that you can appreciate how intricate and well-crafted ‘All You Want To’ really is.

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Album Review: Blacklist Royals - Die Young with Me

Blacklist Royals' new album ‘Die Young with Me’ captures the essence of southern American Rock and Roll. Founded by twin brothers Rob and Nat Rufus, the heartfelt lyrics of love and loss resonate throughout the album. Such themes are especially poignant here with an insight into the brothers’ story, as Rob battled lung cancer at the tender age of 17. Understandably, a mixture of uncertainty, daring optimism and profound grief take centre stage.

‘Righteous Child’ opens the album with its sole guitar illuminated by the hum of the organ, yet features delicate notes provided by the piano. The loose melancholic guitar strums are permeated by the running bass line allowing the feeling of intimacy to build before the awaiting vocals. The minimalist and repetitive approach draws greater attention to the vocals when they begin. Subtle changes in the track such as frequent tempo changes make the track of greater technical interest. This particularly highlights the growing maturity of Blacklist Royals in their crafting of individual songs. For this album, the approach was to sound “like two brothers in a room playing music together” and the connectivity of this is certainly achieved with ‘Die Young with Me’.

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Album Review: Dry the River - Alarms in the Heart

The serene beginnings of the title track make for a warm welcome to Dry the River's second album 'Alarms In The Heart'. Quickly expanding and evolving into the throws of the East Londoners’ signature reverb drenched soundscapes, it’s an opener that serves as an exemplary foreword to the rest of the album’s unravelling.

In the most exposed moments of the record like the tender ‘It Was Love That Laid Us Low’ and the painfully beautiful ‘Vessel’, frontman Peter Liddle conjures a tranquility comparable to Jeff Buckley’s ‘Lilac Wine’ and Scott Matthews ‘Elusive’. It’s a vocal performance that never falters. A guest appearance from former Delgados singer Emma Pollock lends itself well to the romantic sway and ambience of 'Roman Candle', whereas the more insistent, upbeat ventures like 'Rollerskate' and 'Everlasting Light' shift the focus onto the transcendent leads and folk-rock jangles of Liddle and guitarist Matthew Taylor. It’s a tapestry of sound aided further by the pristine production and some wonderfully sparse, considered string arrangements from Valgeir Sigurðsson, perhaps best known for his work with Sigur Ros and Bjork.

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Album Review: Maybeshewill - Fair Youth

KEYBOARDS! KEYBOARDS EVERYWHERE. Driven, melodic keyboards at the heart of it all, textured ambient keyboards shimmering in the back, dark keyboards, upbeat keyboards, keyboards playing over and over again in your mind long after the final (keyboard) notes of Maybeshewill’s 'Fair Youth' have rung. Not that their prominent use should come as much of a surprise to fans of the band, considering even beloved 'Not For Want Of Trying'’s claim to greatness is in no small part due to Matthew Daly’s hypnotic brand of arpeggiated keys. Nevertheless, there is a sense that their career had thus far been forged on using them as the supporting pillars of their music, a strong foundation on which structure could then be built by way of crunchy guitar riffs and powerful drumming or, alternatively, sweet melodies and the odd vocal section. In that regard, ‘Fair Youth’ stands out as something of a reinvention, an album much less straight-shooting than it is expansive and exploratory, much less grandiose than it is made up of lovingly-crafted subtleties. What it lacks in immediacy, especially compared to their previous efforts, it rather makes up for in depth and coherence.

Indeed, the production side of things is what struck me most on a first listen. Whereas the contrast between the keys and the rest of the instruments used to consistently suggest the first was clashing with the others, 'Fair Youth' has everything blended together in seamless unity. Changes from quiet to heavy instances are no longer the making of sudden shifts but of gradual, one is tempted to say organic, morphing. To put it another way, there was very little of the element of surprise with regard to where a Maybeshewill track would inevitably lead, whereas here the songwriting strikes me as aimed towards contemplation more than directness. The most obvious example of this can be found in album closer, and personal favourite, ’Volga’, in which a simple hopeful melody is repeated, gathering momentum and power as delicate guitars, some genuinely terrific drumming and a backing choir are introduced. There is something infinitely more intimidating about a song’s emotional strength emerging in no apparent rush.

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Album Review: Astpai - Burden Calls

Now this is going to make it sound as if I’ve been living on the moon for the past decade, but reviewing this album was the first time I had ever heard Astpai. This is despite them having been a band for twelve years, this being their fifth full length record, and the fact that they’ve toured the UK extensively and almost always with bands I would normally go to see.

I have heard people afford the Austrian four-piece glowing praise and so got stuck into ‘Burden Calls’ with great anticipation. Opening track ‘Single Use’ did not disappoint, its lightning fast melodic hardcore bouncing haphazardly off the walls like A Wilhelm Scream but if anything with a harder edge as the song explodes into a furious, Dan Yemin-esque vocal refrain of “talkin’ bout degeneration!”

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Album Review: Pay No Respect - Hope for the Hopeless EP

Don’t you just love familiarity? It’s always comforting when you listen to something so safe and predictable…Did I just say predictable? Of course I did! Don’t get me wrong, when a band does follow familiar genre tropes, it only pays off when there’s a spark, making you think, “I must buy everything by this band and I must see them at every show!” If such a spark doesn’t exist, the material falls flat on its arse. At this point, you may be thinking that I’ve written a negative review on the new EP by Kent hardcore mob Pay No Respect. However, I’ll keep my personal preferences at bay, and lay out its few good qualities as well as its bad points.

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Album Review: Warner Drive - City of Angels

Released out of El Hefe’s label Cyber Tracks (NOFX, guitarist), LA rockers Warner Drive have churned out ten, solo-fuelled, sleazy rock n roll jams in the form of their new album, ‘City Of Angels’. While mostly maintaining a hard rock sound, Warner Drive tends to lean towards punk in the form of Alkaline Trio and The Distillers, among other bands. Nonetheless, their well-produced songs accompanied by their overall catchiness, has proved ‘City of Angels’ to be a fairly enjoyable listen.

Perhaps one of the greatest strengths that Warner Drive possesses is their straight-up radio-friendly tone. “How is that an asset?” you die-hard punks may be asking. Well, there is nothing wrong with a commercial sound provided it’s done well, and Warner Drive certainly deliver. Songs like ‘King of Swing’ and ‘West Memphis Three’ consists of many memorable riffs and solos, however, it’s the opening track ‘Rising From The Fallen’, in which the band really shows off their promise as a future arena rock band. Consisting of an underlying synth, the track slowly builds before launching into an anthemic combination of solos and chorus, which is sure to be a live staple for future shows.

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Album Review: Cold World - How the Gods Chill

Hardcore; it’s a genre that has split itself evenly into various different styles over the last 30 years since its inception. Yet, like any genre, there’s often an oversaturation caused by so many bands replicating a certain style. So in this case, I’m referring to what the critics would describe as “tough guy style” hardcore. Let’s face it, use of the same riffs, rhythms, breakdowns, pace, and what have you, is bound to get stale. That’s unless the band in question has a degree of freshness to them, a spark that makes it not so mind numbingly boring to listen to. Cold World appears to have that fire on their long awaited second album, ‘How the Gods Chill’.

Compared to previous album ‘Dedicated to Babies Who Came Feet First’, ‘How the Gods Chill’ excels in consistency and impact. With help from renowned producer Will Yip, the band’s confidence has been captured here, plus it doesn’t feel as flimsy, a tighter affair compared to the output of their contemporaries. The groove and bouncy hip hop influence feels like a natural appendage to the hardcore structure. ‘The Real Deal’ is a good example of this concoction, making you want to lose your shit in the pit completely (pardon my language). ‘Cracks of Hate’ is another strong example, but in the most obvious way as it seamlessly breaks down from hardcore grit into hip hop beats and wordplay featuring rapper Meyhem Lauren. There’s a sense of fun in this style, providing a contrast to the bleak, harsh reality surrounding the lyrics.

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