This week Canterbury emo-rock four piece Moose Blood release their debut full-length.
Entitled 'I'll Keep You In Mind, From Time To Time', the record contains eleven songs that
wear their hearts on their sleeves and is wrapped in a plethora of catchy hooks. We spoke to two fourths of the band as drummer Glenn Harvey and bassist Kyle Todd discussed the
album, working with Beau Burchell, joining up with No Sleep Records, and more.
The new EP from Manchester's Hora Douse, 'Crash' is streaming right here on Already Heard. Give it a listen and relive those older days when post hardcore could be a little bit twangly.
Last month we were spoilt for choice when it came to picking our must hear releases for September, and October is no different. Find out what the Already Heard team picked out as their five essential releases for October.
On Monday November 3rd, Midland hardcore punk band We Fight Like Kids release their
debut EP, 'Superficial Behaviour'. However we're premiering their new video for 'Falconer' right here on Already Heard.
For Scottish quartet Alburn, their latest EP ('Mouthful of Glass') has been a longtime coming. Having undergone a slight line-up since their formation in 2007, 'Mouthful of Glass'
showcases a significant amount of growth and maturity. We spoke to Pete Duthie to ask him about the bands background, that inevitable Brand New comparison, the Scottish music
scene and more.
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.
Melodic hardcore’s rising stars Climates live up to their name with their debut LP 'Body Clocks' - some tracks send shivers down your spine, while others spark a raging fire of anger you forgot you had in you. Each song from 'Body Clocks' differs drastically from the last - there’s no logical order in which to play them, because either way, the rollercoaster from depression to rage will leave you disoriented in all the best ways. You’ve been looking for a band that can transport you back to a time when you couldn’t put your anger into words - never fear, Climates are here to rejuvenate the storm.
Having previously toured with While She Sleeps, Counterparts and Neck Deep, the Lincoln quintet are already working their way up, and rightly so. With only two years’ experience under their belts, Climates aren’t wasting any time in punching out great tracks on this debut - 'Body Clocks' proves they deserve every chance they get.
The LP’s first single 'Leaves Of Legacy' demonstrates vocalist Wes Thompson’s anguished uncleans juxtaposing his beautifully melodic cleans to paint a thousand pictures of despair – quite possibly the best track on the record. ‘The Bigger Picture’ similarly conveys the all-too-familiar conflict of interest between the disparaging uncleans and the dulcet post-hardcore tones. 'Serpents from the Shadowlands' opens with a haunting chant presenting a call to arms for the beaten and betrayed, while 'Heaven' closes with a distinctly ‘80s instrumental followed by a lingering whisper of their unmistakable message - "human nature’s left me for dead."
Following their formation in 2011, this is South Coast trio Noyo Mathis' third EP, and is certainly their strongest yet. The math-rockers, consisting of Savill siblings Jamie and Toby complimented by Daniel England, have here emerged from the shadow of their obvious luminaries and are claiming a sound all for their own; sure, you can still hear the line of influence from genre giants like Minus The Bear and borrowings from fellow Brits such as Tall Ships, Tellison and Gunning For Tamar within 'Endure', but this record is far more than just the sum of those parts. From this showing, it appears the Pomponians are prime to join the upper reaches of the UK math rock scene, members of which have been aforementioned.
From the very start of 'Torn In Two', it shows itself to be no ordinary beast, as drums and guitar sync in perfect harmony, the crisp and clear production job allowing Toby’s vocal to shine through, and the louder chorus displaying their ability to emerge from intricate to abrasive with the greatest of ease. Whilst it does outstay its welcome a little at almost five minutes in length, the band were clearly setting out to make this an attention-grabber, and certainly succeed in that aim. While 'Faults' rather amusingly steals the blueprint of the pre-chorus/chorus of the aforementioned Tellison’s 'Edith', it continues the record in fine fettle, Toby Savill continuing to show the sort of vocal turns that make his other guise in 'Blue Album'-covering band WZR such a joy to witness.
Is post-rock the new math-rock? By which, of course I mean, is the former showing signs of becoming the new “feeder-genre” for emo outfits to sink their teeth in? In recent times, we’ve come across many a post-hardcore band exploring the possibilities of layering their emotional directness onto twiddly guitars and some marginally unusual rhythms and time signatures. If Gates’ 'Bloom & Breathe' is anything to go by, there’s an argument to be made that the latest imperialist emo ventures involve conquering the atmospheric sonic landscapes of post-rock. And for the first half of this, their debut album, the band’s vampirism appears worthwhile. The second half, however, is another story. The sanguine well of post-rock’s novel ideas is unlikely dried up, instead Gates seem not to know what to do with them anymore, at which point they begin to shift their sound towards the safer, more recognizable, ground.
Take opening intro 'Everything That Has Ever Been'. What its expansive soundscapes and rousing melodies suggest is a sense of grand scale, of that much-despised, but relevant, “epic” tag. Gates’ best moments involve a good balance between aspiring for post-rock’s deliberately-paced grandeur and emo/pop-punk’s emotional directness. It’s clear from a track like 'Not My Blood', however, that Gates aren’t interested in very gradually moving towards catharsis, as is almost post-rock tradition, preferring instead a hasty and head-on careening towards pay-off. Which isn’t to say that it’s any less effective of course, I’m merely describing here.
Doe’s indie punk sound is definitely very much flavour of the moment with bands like The Front Bottoms, Tigers Jaw, Joyce Manor and Modern Baseball all flying the flag for the genre to one extent or another. On top of this they have the excellent Specialist Subject Records behind them and recently embarked on a mini tour with Bangers. Everything seems to be going very much their way at the moment.
‘First Four’, the band’s debut LP, is a collection of the EPs, cassettes and CD-Rs they have released since their inception at the beginning of last year. As the band themselves confess, they are heavily indebted to the 90s for inspiration, and there are definite shades of thePixies, Weezer, Sleater-Kinney and Hole in their upbeat and melodic sound.
But the band have some fairly evident issues weighing them down. Neither the voice of lead vocalist Nicola nor back-up Jake is particularly strong. Nicola gets the basics right but when the two of them reach a crescendo on a chorus they tend to sound quite strained – and Jake’s can seem particularly grating.
Poster boys for the emo revival, New Jersey two-piece Dads have achieved both critical acclaim and (relative) commercial success on the back of 2012’s ‘American Radass’ and last year’s ‘Pretty Good’ EP.
Now, John Bradley and Scott Scharinger are back, and their thoughts are trained very much on the larger questions in life; on identity, responsibility, loss and everything in between. Lyrically and thematically dense, ‘I’ll Be The Tornado’ is like a deconstructed American literature classic set to pounding drums, intricate guitars and hyper-personal lyrics and, while it doesn’t always work, it’s an exceptional piece of work.
What’s immediately evident, right from the moment you see the muted artwork, is that there’s a whole new sense of purpose – seriousness even – about how Dads are approaching things. Fortunately, the knockabout, ramshackle charm of ‘American Radass’ is still there, but it’s now only part of what Dads are bringing to the table. As a result ‘I’ll Be The Tornado’ is an album which has eyes very much above the scene from which they were birthed – and you get the sense that Dads could just be about to make the jump into the wider landscape.
For a fair old while now Blackpool punkers Boston Manor have been making waves in the UK punk scene, and new EP 'Driftwood' is a cracking encapsulation of just why that is. Showing that there is far more to the seaside hotspot then a tower and some obliterated hen parties, the lads have put out a gritty and hard hitting release that’s equal parties grit, vitriol, hooky melodies and raucous choruses.
There’s a ring of integrity, edginess and unflinching honesty to Boston Manor's writing which too many of their peers sadly lack, with the lyrical content in particular being refreshingly to the point and pulling absolutely no punches.
Musically and vocally the band bring enough melody and tunefulness to be easy on the ear, while maintaining enough raw energy and snarling attack in their performance to know that these boys mean every single crashing note.
Los Angeles duo The Bots are Mikaiah and Anaiah Lei. For those who have been keeping track of their activity in recent years, they’ve been a pretty busy pair. With dozens of festival appearances on both sides of the Atlantic including Coachella, Glastonbury and Sonisphere, as well support slots with Blur, Refused and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. 'Pink Palms' is their long-awaited debut full-length and takes the garage rock basis of past releases and combines with a hint of Americana blues, well that’s what we’re led to believe by the provided bio.
Opening tracks, 'Ubiquitous' and 'Blinded', have a cool indie vibe that reminds me of the Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian. The latter sets the expected tone by being dominated by fuzzy guitars and groove-filled harmonies. 'Won' sees the band’s grungier side coming into play during the chorus yet its delivery is more refrained as you might of hoped.
Hailing from Philadelphia, punk trio Beach Slang have released their latest record in the form of the new EP, ‘Cheap Thrills On A Dead End Street’. And well, despite having a name reminiscent of sunny days and seaside holidays, Beach Slang offer a surprisingly autumnal blend of 90s style emo, mixed with an eerie post-punk influence, similar of bands like The Psychedelic Furs and The Jesus and Mary Chain. Regardless of this however, Beach Slang have created a truly interesting EP.
Nonetheless, it is these two styles of music that Beach Slang channel through a flurry of whirling guitars and percussion. First track ‘All Fuzzed Out’ fully captures this style, offering a rhythmic, if not tad repetitive drum beat, similar to more of the British post-punk scene, while displaying a guitar tone that sounds like it could have come straight out of 'Clarity'. This blend of music is prevalent throughout the majority of the EP, yet Beach Slang have used it very effectively. As on the whole, while it is easily accessible, the band still uphold that alternative edge which many people will enjoy.
It is these styles that matches Beach Slang’s lyricism. Ranging from the brooding track ‘Dirty Cigarettes’ to the more poppy chorused ‘American Girls and French Kisses’, Beach Slang confess a wide range of emotions lyrically, despite only being able to show this throughout the small amount of songs. Notwithstanding this however, it’s only the final song which offers a bit of change musically, to the otherwise blended sound of the EP. Acoustic track ‘We Are Nothing’ is certainly more toned down than the previous songs in terms of production, yet displays an uplifting chord pattern, which while coming off as a bit of a cliché anthem, is wholeheartedly enjoyable.
The world of indie-punk is a pretty high stakes these days. With the likes of PUP, Martha, Great Cynics and the fantastic Front Bottoms doing the rounds you better bring your A-game to the table. Southampton three-piece Happy Accidents are game for the challenge, releasing this debut EP only 10 months after they first entered a practise room together.
There’s a real punchy punk simplicity to their tunes with a sharp twist of contemporary pop understanding, which very much evokes ‘American Idiot’-era Green Day. At the same time however, much about their sound feels very rootsy and unembellished, recalling The Clash and The Pogues. The latter comparison comes chiefly with reference to the very nasal vocals which are definitely going to immediately divide opinions about the band.
For me, they are grating and admittedly do diminish my enjoyment of the music. They are distinctive and definitely have more character than 80% of bands out there, but they are as marmite as you can imagine. These tracks are full of smart and sharp melodies but are somewhat lacking from a lyrical point of view with some heard-it-all-before themes.
Some bands produce records to push a couple of singles. Whilst others produce records to create a body of work that represents that band in that moment and time, and that is what Bristol quartet Flights have done with 'History Be Kind'. Over the course of forty-five minutes they take you on a musical journey that transcends numerous genres, giving Flights the opportunity to not be boxed into any genre.
'Storms' provides a grand start with a towering chorus before 'Empire Gone' carries on the momentum with soaring melodies, larger-than-life drums and an anthemic chorus that simply leaves you overwhelmed. Together they provide a strong start that gives the record tons of potential to be extraordinary, yet it’s not quite fulfilled.
The atmospheric 'Archives' plays off the band’s post-rock favourability, bringing the grandiose tone of earlier tracks down to more intimate level. However. the band’s dazzling musicianship shines through making it one of the album’s most compelling numbers.
We Were Promised Jetpacks are one of those truly treasurable Scottish bands in that, unlike seemingly every other alternative rock band hailing from thereabouts nowadays, they boldly dare to NOT emulate Biffy Clyro. Of course, I’m hyperboling, but only because I care. With their first two albums, catchy debut 'These Four Walls' and its much darker follow-up 'In The Pit Of The Stomach', the foursome proved themselves adept at grandiose crescendos, built on the growling depth of their basslines and linear song structures made to unfold like a stream of chaotic instrumental intensity and rousing, emotional, vocals. 'These Four Walls' had the band diligently following the blueprint for almost every track, resulting in a formulaic but nevertheless ruthlessly effective indie-rock mood piece. Their sophomore kept much of their debut’s textures and tone, but there were obvious, and healthy, signs of their decreasing reliance on the successful recipe. If perhaps not as immediately satisfying, 'Unraveling' is yet another step away from predictability and towards musical maturation.
What pleases this writer the most is that WWPJ appear to be taking more and more leaves out of Mogwai’s book, in the sense that they’ve retained traditional song structure and their emotional hooks, but have laid them upon a thick layer of rich instrumentals that, were the songs to be stripped of vocals, might feel right at home on a post-rock album. The tracks have lost some pace somewhat, but only to adhere to something of a pulsating rhythm, one that allows them to delve into much darker, moodier territory. The results include the brooding back and forth of half-grooves on ’Night Terror’, the “marauder in a manor house” of ’Disconnecting’, the effervescent background hyperactivity of the joyous, yet off kilter, ’A Part Of It’. There is little doubt in this writer’s mind that the healthy versatility they display is in no small part due to a greater attention to the detail of sound.
Connecticut quartet Wolves At Bay are just what the post-hardcore scene needs right now - a revival of the nostalgic, emotion-driven atmosphere of the 90s and the early millennium that inexplicably faded in recent years.
With the release of EP ‘The Postvention’ earlier this year raising funds for the Prevent Suicide CT charity, this band have proved their devotion to a cause close to their hearts and, ultimately, their worth as an up-and-coming band. Slipping an additional 3 EP’s under their belts in as many years, there’s no stopping this wagon - and long may it roll.
It’s no surprise upon hearing ’When I’m Dead’ that Wolves At Bay consider Thursday to be one of their main influences - those unmistakable heartfelt cries usually attributed to Geoff Rickly echo throughout this time capsule of an EP, transporting you straight back to the glory days of post-hardcore and that feeling of locking yourself in your room with just yourself and your pent-up emotions.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or simply haven’t paid much attention to the international pop-punk scene of late, you’ll be more then aware that Albany NY’s State Champs are one of the genre’s hottest new bands in years. Their debut LP ‘The Finer Things’ was quite literally a damned fine first effort and a superb offering in its own right, featuring a great mix of raw pop-punk energy and razor sharp melodies and emotive song writing; while managing to avoid the overly sheened production which plagues the genre. While at this year’s Slam Dunk Festivals the four piece where pretty much the most over-subscribed and popular band of the weekend.
With all this in mind it won’t just be Already Heard that are stoked to finally hear what’s next from the band. And that comes in the form of new EP ‘The Acoustic Things’. Now before we all get too excited it should probably be made clear that the description new is probably a mite deceptive. Of the six tracks on offer here, four are actually acoustic re-workings of tracks taken from ‘The Finer Things’ with just the last two being completely new acoustic numbers. To get another niggle out of the way, again re-workings is probably pushing it a little. All four arrangements are very, very similar to the originals, for the most part the only major difference seeming to be that more or less the same guitar parts are being played acoustic rather than electric and that there is a minimum of percussion involved. Although to give the band their due in places there are some very neat and commendably used piano fills used to replace guitar solos.
That said the four tracks from ‘The FinerThings’ are the absolute best tracks from what is a record which only features great songs, so it goes without saying that every song on offer hear is excellent. It merely seems like State Champs could have put a little more effort into mixing the songs up a bit, think for example the way Yellowcard or Mayday Parade did on their acoustic reissues.
Triple Crown’s roster is probably the strongest it has been for a number of years and ‘Absent Sounds’, by Californian rockers From Indian Lakes, proves there’s plenty of depth and variety to the bands they’re working with.
Probably the first thing that strikes you about From Indian Lakes is Joey Vannucchi’s frankly ridiculous voice. It’s the sound of a bona fide pop star and has such incredible range and texture that it is the clear focal point on a sprawling and beautifully-constructed record. It’s the sort of voice where you find yourself hanging onto every word or lyric, often to the detriment of the music.
Fortunately, from a musical point of view, ‘Absent Sounds’ is also sufficiently interesting and challenging, so it never feels like a vehicle for Vannucchi’s voice. Instead, you have a record which has clear appeal but which isn’t going to give you everything on a plate and will make you invest to get the most out of what it has to offer.
Emerging from the cultivated stable of Already Heard favourites Alcopop! Records comes one of its newest acquisitions, London-based synth-poppers Emperor Yes. Featuring a familiar face to some in drummer Adam Betts, who normally plies his trade in math-prog extraordinaires Three Trapped Tigers, this outfit present a change of pace for the aforementioned Betts, as the trio play a mixture of psychedelia á la The Flaming Lips, combined with more modern chart-botherers such as Passion Pit, MGMT & Everything Everything. The overriding lyrical theme is that of space, as can be gleaned from song titles such as 'Cosmic Cat', 'Intergalactic Quarantine' and 'Carl Sagan', the latter named for a notable astrophysicist. So, in terms of 'An Island Called Earth', what can the initials “NASA” stand for? “Not “Alf Sounding Amazing”? “Nasty Abhorrent Shitty Album”? Somewhere in between the two, I feel; although it has its moments, this ultimately is “Nice Albeit Slightly Anaemic”.
As lovely and airy as most of these tracks are, this is little more than background music. Not that there’s anything wrong with background music - after all, you don’t need to have your head caved in by riffs whilst you’re painting a room or doing a spreadsheet. Unfortunately though, background music isn’t very engaging to review and while there are a lot of positive features to this record, such as the charmingly bizarre lyrical content of 'Wasps' which imagines a world invasion by the titular furry pests (“I for one welcome our new insect overlords”, etc), too much of it floats by without leaving much of a lasting effect. There’s only so many times one can listen to slight variations on the same synth riff without growing a little tired, despite Summer Camp’s Jeremy Warmsley’s stellar (NPI) production job.