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.
The latest release from Donovan Wolfington isn’t really an EP, more a collection of unrelated tracks, clustered together like awkward guests at a party. While you’d expect this disjointed nature to be off-putting, it all seems to come together after a few listens, resulting in an EP that is both fresh and familiar – a wonderful juxtaposition of opposites.
‘Scary Stories You Tell in the Dark’ is undoubtedly a chameleon record. Opening track ‘Sleeping’ leads you to believe you’re listening to a Front Bottoms-esque indie release, with a slick intro and lulling, muddy male and female vocals, before your sense of security is ripped away by ‘Qutting’, a track reminiscent of later Brand New, with screaming vocals, amazing guitar work and a strong post-hardcore sound. Donovan Wolfington are not a band with a comfort zone, and this is what makes them great. ‘Keef Ripper’ switches styles again with up-tempo pop rock, yet despite this none of the styles seem forced; in fact their fluidity makes each song interesting in its own right.
We’ve been fans of Leeds’ Walleater for quite some time now here at Already Heard, so you’ll probably guess we’ll be giving their new self-titled effort a glowing review right? Well nearly.
Don’t get me wrong, 'Walleater' certainly backs up any hype or momentum the quartet have. Throughout the band’s use of effect pedals giveaway to a sonic-sized soundscapes that are throughly pleasing. Opening track 'Give In To Me' is downtrodden in its delivery with a synth-like chorus giving the track resonance.
Having built up a veritable who’s who of former tour mates from the cream of British and International metal, and played Download all before releasing their debut album, Yorkshire’s With One Last Breath look set to finally be considered major players in their own right with hugely accomplished first long player ‘The Fearless Ones’.
The album title is certainly an apt one. ‘TFO’ brims with confidence and self-belief, and see’s the band come out all guns blazing from start to finish. Capturing just the right blend of brash, energetic passion and melodic awareness that a metal act hoping for major success needs to achieve, With One Last Breath have clearly learnt plenty from spending time on the road with such esteemed company.
No matter how oversaturated the scene gets, no matter how tired the tropes of the genre become, deathcore, it seems, steadfastly refuses to die. It may be a different beast now than it was back in 2006 when it was little more than ridiculous MySpace profile photos, chugs and pig squeals - it has had to relentlessly evolve and become more and more extreme to stand out from the competition. Deathcore doesn’t get much more extreme than Sunderland’s Nexilva, whose new record ‘Eschatologies’ is a monolithically crushing work, encompassing elements of djent and progressive metal into their bruising maelstrom of harsh vocals, monumental riffs and pounding blastbeats. However, for all its technical proficiency, and my personal pangs of jealousy at the otherworldly skills of the band at an age range of 20-22 (I’ve wasted my life…), the music feels a little soulless - besides “Wow, you’re really good at your chosen instruments”, it won’t make you feel much of anything.
After a brief intro track, the album gets underway with 'The Misdirection Of God', a tour-de-force of brutality played at an unrelentingly blistering pace. It becomes very apparent very quickly, though, that this album cannot be called out for particular high or low points - it’s all a dazzling spectacle in punishing technicality, like all the fireworks in a display going off at once, but no big bonfire afterwards to warm your cockles, thereby leaving one colder than an early November evening. Nexilva do occasionally temper their constant assault with some “ooky shpooky” synth parts borrowed from black metal, and while they do provide the occasional respite from the constant pummelling 'Eschathologies' doles out, they only serve to add a slight scent of Gorgonzola to proceedings.
Fairly recently, through a series of bizarre events, I found myself at an extremely nostalgic Panic! At The Disco gig. Upon arrival I was instantly taken back by a) the amount of people there, and b) the size of the room that the band were still filling, even with their newer material. Call me ignorant, but I thought that most of Fueled By Ramen bands had largely disappeared into the ether. It seems though that the genre the label patented, you know the one, that so-sweet-it-makes-you-sick-pop-rock, is alive and well. It seems that we might even be leading the revival (probably too soon to call it a revival) with the UK’s own, The Afterparty.
To anyone of a similar age (23) and who followed a similar sort of scene, The Afterparty’s sound will remind you of being around 15/16 years old, it might not be entirely coincidental that during ‘Cover Up’’, lead singer, Nic Matthew, amongst almost signature delayed guitars, references the tender age. ‘Distances’ in itself can come across a little cliched in these type of signatures, but by this point in the mini-album, if you don’t like it you never will. The Afterparty don’t disguise what they are, they do what they do and they do it pretty well, and if it has got you by this point, then the only problem with the mini-album ,for you, is that it only has six tracks.
For anyone who knows the story behind I Divide, will know this debut full-length has been a long time coming. Two years removed from winning the nationwide Red Bull Bedroom Jam competition, the Exeter quintet have toured relentlessly along with appearing at a range of major festivals; Reading and Leeds Festival, Download, and Slam Dunk.
Now I Divide are set to unleash 'Last One Standing', a record that has to potential the open new doors for them. From the start you’re welcomed by the band’s brand of anthemic alt-rock that easily puts them in the same category of the likes of Mallory Knox and Young Guns. 'Follow Me' is a bold, grandiose number that captures just what I Divide are about; massive hooks with the lyrics that wear their heart on their sleeves.
Despite it being almost two years since their last release, For The Fallen Dreams have not missed a step returning with one of the most brutal records I have heard in 2014 so far.
Straight from the off 'Heavy Hearts' gets underway with a bang. The opening guitar riff and scream from vocalist Chad Ruhlig on 'Emerald Blue' sets the tone for the rest of the album. It is just balls out brutal, filled with great riffs, insane drum fills and one of the best voices in metalcore at the moment.
Even though this is For The Fallen Dreams' fifth full length record, there isn't a whole lot of progression. The band are clearly fans of the saying 'If it isn’t broke, why fix it', and it is this tired and tested method that makes them such an incredible band to listen to.
It doesn’t seem 5 minutes since North-West punk/hardcore band released their 'Why Do My Friends Have To Live Around Here' EP last September. Nevertheless, the quartet are clearly eager to follow it up and have done so with 'Bloom'.
Whilst the band’s last release took an abrasive hardcore approach, on 'Bloom' Scouts opt for emo/grunge sound that could be compared to the likes of Basement and Title Fight. Opening with 'Stay', soaring guitars serve as the background to Bobby Pook’s aggressive-yet-melodic vocals. It’s a good but not great start, yet marks the transition from the band’s last release to 'Bloom'.
Clocking in at just over 20 minutes long, Red Seas Fire's EP 'Confrontation' is an education in brutal, unrelenting music that borders on Industrial in places, but on the whole is a crunching metal experience. This is the second EP in a set of three (‘Exposition’ being the first, ‘Resolution’ being the as of yet unreleased third) which will combine to become the band’s next full length LP.
In the space of 4 tracks, this Bristolian trio lay down a unique sound of thick, chugging guitars alongside some fierce, pronounced, thumping drums and raw, growling vocals that flip from aggressive screams to reverb happy sung lines in an instant. Opening track ‘Tyrants’ starts off with a deceivingly mellow, ambient intro before the band crash in will an all out metal-come-industrial assault. Most impressive on this release is the drum sound and production. Now, they are hyper produced and in places i’m guessing triggered, but it adds to the tone and obviously is a part of their playing style. They are in your face from the off and not buried under layers of guitars, bass and vocals. You can hear this best I think in track 3 ‘The Grand Escape’, which involves some intricate bass drum and tom work that would usually be buried in the mix, but is brought to the fore for this band.
Hailing from Portsmouth, Midday Committee have come a long way since their inception in 2010 with national tours and two releases under their belt. On their third, 'Girls in Open C', they aim to cement their polished sound, with a lot of nods to influences such as The Story So Far, Transit and the like, as well as a lot of the newer wave of English poppy rock that they’ve shared a stage with, like Kids in Glass Houses and Don Broco. They’re in good company and provide.
Sound wise, its very much influenced by pop punk that takes itself a bit more seriously, while talking about the experience of youth and relationships in flux. There are lots of songs about the struggle to escape from small town blues, the kind of thing a lot of us can identify with, with. 'Hometowns' capture this frustration really well, and puts it to a singable chorus that its hard not to bounce along to. There’s also that ‘girl meets guy then messes him around’ relationship drama covered in 'Maybe I Should', with lush vocal harmonies and shouted gang vocals to lure you in. The vocals are well developed and compliment the clean, simple riffs in tracks like 'Casino', and these guys can sing, rather than trying to affect vocals that are a halfway house between singing and shouting.
Though it feels odd to review a record that’s already been out for 6 months, when it’s an album as good as PUP's self-titled debut, a little refresher course in why it demands your immediate attention is warranted. The Torontonians, whose moniker is an acronym for Pathetic Use (of) Potential, originally released this triumphant blast of scuzzy, snarling, belligerent punk rock back in October 2013, and the groundswell of plaudits the quartet have been recieving have seen them sign a deal with prestigious punk label SideOneDummy, unleashing this fantastic LP to a wider audience whom PUP are coming for, whether they’re ready or not.
It’s a rare privilege to come across a debut as accomplished and emphatic as this - throughout the course of this record, PUP achieve a level of consistency where so many stumble, and manage to maintain their stance of being simultaneously anthemic, aggressive, boisterous and biting for the duration of the album. The listener is hooked within the first three tracks purely for the multitude of dimensions they purvey - from brash opener 'Guilt Trip', which has a sway and swagger reminiscent of Titus Andronicus, to the high-octane rocker 'Reservoir', and completing a relentless triumvirate with 'Mabu', which gives Weezer’s geek-rock a 21st century makeover, combining to form an astonishing combo that leaves one breathless.
For some, 'Devil' could be considered Chiodos' “comeback album”, especially with the return of vocalist Craig Owens and drummer Derrick Frost. It's also the band's first LP in four years, and in the current music world that can be a long time. Nonetheless, 'Devil' picks up the momentum from where Chiodos left it.
Personally I’ve hardly spent much time listening to Chiodos yet I’ve always admired the band’s grandiose approach as well as Owens’ vocal prowess. So it’s a good thing these are both very much in tact from the start. 'We’re Talking About Practice' will please old time fans with its infectious chorus, hectic guitar work and subtle theatrical tone.
Afterwards, the band hit their stride as 'Ole Fishlips Is Dead No' and 'Why The Munsters Matter' offer a double slice of adrenaline-filled post-hardcore, with Owens’ harmonious vocals as the centrepiece.
It took a lot of effort to review Kate’s Party, not because it’s a bad effort, but simply due to its uninspiring nature. It’s rare that a band creates a feeling of pure indifference, but this particular release is so middle-of-the-road, I struggled to find the words to sum up how I felt towards it.
Sounding a bit like Blood Red Shoes with a more nostalgic vibe, Kate’s Party are formulaic indie. Their by-the-numbers approach to ‘Hollow’ makes it impossible to find much of note. I tried to listen to it, but after a few repeat plays I was desperate not to hear to it again, not because it’s shockingly bad but because it’s unbearably boring.
A lot of the songs on ‘Hollow’ have a similar 90’s retro-pop vibe, which gives it a dated feel. Using near-identical drum and riff patterns throughout, many of the songs are indistinguishable from each other, which makes ‘Hollow’ grow old fast.
As well as fighting over what remains of Flag/Black Flag, Keith Morris has also been busy producing something worthwhile with OFF!. And for those who want a taste of vintage Black Flag, without the bitter aftertaste of sour grapes, ‘Wasted Years’ is the solution.
An amazing slice of harcore punk-rock, ‘Wasted Years’ has a uniquely Californian skate vibe; a throwback to the long-passed times of tape decks and skate decks, but with a polished, modern twist.
The best thing about ‘Wasted Years’ is the snarling delivery of Keith Morris’ vocals, especially the dripping-with-cynicism lines of ‘Red, White and Black’, where the lines “you’re a living punchline and the jokes on you” and “arrogance is bliss, who gives a shit?” sound like a verbal assault on the listener. The lyrics featured here are great, with “today’s a good day as any, to tell you to go get fucked” from ‘Exorcised’ being one of my favourites. ‘Wasted Years’ is alive with anger and energy, giving it an edge over its current counterparts. It’s not all angst and bitterness though, as ‘Death Trip on the Party Train,’ plus plenty of heavy-handed references to drug dealers, will attest.
You may well not have even the slightest clue who they are, but there’s a three-piece from the humble city of Derby, UK who may very well be about to blow up, big time, like…really fucking famous.
When I started listening to ‘Shapes of Screams’, which is surprisingly the third full length from LostAlone, my reaction was not good. Big, silly auto-tuned harmonies soared over ridiculously OTT power pop-rock that sounded somewhere between Queen and Fall Out Boy. This, I thought to myself, is totally stupid.
Moving into second track and first single ‘The Bells! The Bells!!’, the feeling lingers, for a while at least. Then slowly but surely it begins to alleviate, and you start thinking, “Well, there’s no denying this is a bit different”. “Wow, well this is actually pretty catchy I suppose”. “This should be awful but it’s actually a lot of fun”.