With Spring fast approaching and festival season starting soon, March sees a whole load of noteworthy releases. We take a look at five of the must hear releases this month.
Having only just formed last summer, Leeds punks Brawlers have quickly made a name for themselves for their insane live show. Now the quartet have unleashed their utterly brilliant debut EP 'I Am A Worthless Piece of Shit', an infectious collection of fun punk rock numbers. We talked to vocalist Harry George Johns to find out why the longtime friends formed
Brawlers and what 'I Am Worthless...' is all about.
After delivering one of the early contenders for album of the year, we catch up Modern Baseball to discuss ‘You’re Gonna Miss It All’, their forthcoming debut UK tour and miming
at the World Series.
In the second part of our "Studio Report" feature with Colt 45, the Cumbria punks finish their debut LP producer Romesh Dodangoda by recording vocals and more guitars. Take a look.
In the first of our new fortnightly feature where we highlight some of the most promising
bands in the pop-punk world, we talk to New York's Firestarter.
In the latest instalment of our "Tour Tales" feature, we join Wakefield quartet Morain on their recent tour supporting Durham four-piece Alexander.
With lead vocalist Matt Pryor having recently completed a solo UK tour, we highlight two albums from The Get Up Kids for the latest edition of "Versus". Already Heard writer Tom
Knott explains why 'Something To Write Home About' is "pure gold". Whilst Senior Editor
Sean Reid shows us why 'Guilt Show' shouldn't be dismissed.
Recently Matt Pryor completed a run of UK shows, and in honour of his return to these shores, we thought it’d be good time to pit two albums from Pryor’s most well-known band, The Get Up Kids, against each other.
Formed out of Kansas City in 1995, TGUK became one of the main spearheads of the turn of the millennium emo scene. After the release of a couple of EP’s and their 1997 debut 'Four Minute Mile', a disagreement with the bands label Doghouse Records led them to depart for Vagrant Records, a struggling LA-based independent label. The bands Vagrant debut, 'Something To Write Home About' in 1999 became a breakthrough record for both the band and the emo genre.
With rising popularity due to the success of 'STWHA' and tours alongside Green Day and Weezer, a compilation of b-sides and covers was released in the form of 'Eudora'. Whilst the bands former label (Doghouse) capitalised on the bands new found success by re-releasing 'Four Minute Mile' and combining the bands 'Woodson' and 'Red Letter Day' EP’s as a one-disc release.
2002 saw the release of 'On A Wire' and saw the quintet take a more organic, mature approach that still divides fans and critics now. Two years later 'Guilt Show' arrived and was better received by critics yet the bands personal problems and inner band tensions resulted in the band going on hiatus in 2005.
Over the next three years, the band concentrated on their solo projects, however in 2008 the band reconvened to celebrate the 10th anniversary of 'STWHA' for US and UK dates and a CD/DVD re-release of the album.
2010 saw the bands first new material in six years. An EP titled 'Simple Science' saw the bands sound more towards a more experimental, indie rock sound that was further enhanced on the bands 2011 full-length 'There Are Rules'.
Having built such a cult-like following in their nearly 20 years activity, The Get Up Kids have built an acclaimed worth of material during their time together. Nevertheless this edition of "Versus" sees two members of the Already Heard team putting their case forward their respective TGUK favourite LP’s. First up Tom Knott explains why ‘Something To Write Home About’ is a masterpiece, whilst Senior Editor Sean Reid goes on to tell us why 'Guilt Show' is under-appreciated and is his personal favourite TGUK record.
Something To Write Home About (by Tom Knott)
Is The Get Up Kids’ ‘Something To Write Home About’ the greatest album of all time? I’ll accept a little debate on the matter. It’s a bold claim; I can’t deny that. Is it The Get Up Kids’ masterpiece? Yup, although Sean will no doubt do a great job fighting ‘Guilt Show’s corner.
Forming in Glasgow, Scotland in 1995, Mogwai became one of a few bands to truly define the enigmatic and serene nature of post rock. In 1998, after the departure of Keyboardist/guitarist Brendan O’Hare, the line up has remained unchanged. Since then, this juggernaut comprises: vocalist/guitarist Stuart Braithwaite; bassist Dominic Aitchison; drummer Martin Bulloch; guitarist John Cummings; and multi-instrumentalist Barry Burns.
Musically, the quintet takes inspiration from My Bloody Valentine, Slint, Fugazi, The Cure, Sonic Youth and the Pixies. With such influences, they have created a dynamic contrast of melody, distortion, grace, beauty and sombreness. Mainly instrumental, with minimalist vocals. Their craft and work has resulted in eight studio albums. They’ve worked with the likes of Matador, Chemikal Underground and PIAS Recordings. More recently however, the Scots distribute releases by U.S. label Sub Pop and their own Rock Action Records. For under twenty years, they have been an inspiration to many bands, across many genres.
In honour of the release of their latest LP, 'Rave Tapes', we at Already Heard have felt it only right to answer a simple question. What is Mogwai's best album? To answer this, two individuals have chosen a record each to defend and claim the top dog. On one side, our very own Heather Robertson has chosen to defend fifth album, 'Mr. Beast'. Meanwhile, Pete Bush, from Huddersfield post rock newbies Glass Harbours, backs debut LP, 'Young Team', as a worthy contender.
Mr. Beast (by Heather Robertson)
Mogwai albums for me are divided into pre and post beast. While I adore 'Young Team', Rock Action’ and 'Happy Songs for Happy People', I feel they’re all building towards something, pushing the boat out without as much of a clear purpose in sight. 'Mr. Beast' really feels like some solid ground to build out from rather than experimentation for experimentations sake. It’s a foundation upon which future Mogwai can branch out from.
In the year 1999, three young punks formed The Lawrence Arms. The line up has included to this very day, Brendan Kelly on vocals and guitar, Chris McCaughan on bass and vocals, and Neil Hennessy on drums. They released two albums on Asian Man Records and a further three albums on Fat Wreck Chords. After releasing and touring in support of fifth LP, 'Oh! Calcutta!', (as well as releasing an EP in 2009), the band went to take a break and explore their creativity elsewhere in solo efforts. Eventually, the patience of fans was rewarded, after the band signed to Epitaph and released their sixth album, ‘Metropole’ (which can be heard here!).
Continuing our celebration of their latest LP, we at Already Heard have pitted two albums from their back catalogue against each other to decide which is the best…well sort of. Jay Sullivan holds third LP 'Apathy and Exhaustion' above a pedestal. Assistant Editor Aaron Lohan acknowledges, but writes on how 'Oh! Calcutta!' should also be regarded as a strong record from the Chicago trio.
Read 'Fives: The Best The Lawrence Arms Songs' here.
Oh! Calcutta! (by Aaron Lohan)
When it comes to The Lawrence Arms' best record, without hesitation, I would say ‘Apathy and Exhaustion’. On the other hand, since my fellow writer has chosen that record, I will stand by the band’s second best. ‘Oh! Calcutta!’ was for a lot of people, including myself, the record where the Chicago trio made perfect sense. It has the instant spark to get you into the band, and forthrightly appreciate all of their other outputs. With this point made, I guess I should lay out the blanket called my opinion, and deliver each point out of the picnic basket I carry, unto the rug.
The moniker of this Gainesville, Florida outfit began as the solo project, of an individual whose name was Tom Gabel. Gabel occasionally performed with backing musicians. After several line up changes, by 2002, this moniker became the name of the legendary folk punk anarchists. For roughly a decade, the band featured Gabel on vocals and guitar, James Bowman on guitar and back ups, Andrew Seward on bass, and Warren Oakes on drums. Through this line up, the band released one album on No Idea, and two albums on Fat Wreck Chords. Eventually, the quartet signed to major label, Sire Records, releasing another two full lengths. Both of these were successful on the Billboard 200; 2007’s 'New Wave' at 57, and 2010’s 'White Crosses' at 34. With success, the band went back on the independent road, establishing their own record label, Total Treble Music.
In 2012, Gabel publicly came out as transgender, beginning the transition to living as a woman, and taking the name Laura Jane Grace. Laura’s courage certainly has placed her as an inspirational figure, not just in the music community, but culturally as well.
Despite losing several members, including recent drummer Jay Weinburg in 2012 and bassist Seward in 2013, the band have been actively busy over the last year recording their fifth album. This will be entitled 'Transgender Dysphoria Blues', a document of Grace’s experience, and will be released next week. You can listen to it here! (It’s great!) Also, the band have new members including Inge Johansson on bass, and Atom Willard on drums.
This week, in celebration of Against Me!'s newest album, we at Already Heard have decided to discuss which is the band’s best album. Senior Editor Sean Reid is writing to defend 'White Crosses', their most successful album to date. On the other hand, Assistant Editor, Aaron Lohan, glorifies the honour of final Fat album, 'Searching for a Former Clarity'.
Searching for a Former Clarity (by Aaron Lohan)
When it comes to Against Me!'s best, many people are stubbornly divided in precise cliques. Most older fans will stand by the band's classic debut '…Is Reinventing Axl Rose'. Fans of their recent output stand fast along with the likes of the polished stadium-esque ‘White Crosses’. In all honesty, I believe the band have yet to make a terrible album…yes even the wishy washy major label debut 'New Wave'. But out of their five outputs, I champion 'Searching for a Former Clarity'.
This would be the band’s second release on Fat Wreck Chords. It saw the band scrap shorter songs, and identified their fiery hunger for bigger punk fuelled rock songs. To gain a better understanding, here are my points as follows.
Formed from the ashes of Chicago punk bands 88 Fingers Louie and Baxter in 1999, Transistor Revolt was born. After releasing a demo in 2000, the band signed to Fat Wreck Chords and changed their name to Rise Against. They would release two albums under the label before signing to a major label i.e. DreamWork Records. Eventually, DreamWorks would be absorbed into Geffen Records. So far the melodic hardcore punk have released four full lengths, with a new album in the making. The punk band have grown from strength to strength, along with several line up changes, morphing into one of the world’s most adored punk bands, politically active in all manner of social conventions. The current line up includes vocalist Tim McIlrath, bassist Joe Principe, guitarist Zach Blair and drummer Brandon Barnes.
This week’s Already Heard versus sees us tackle an important question; what is Rise Against's best album? Having wowed us at the recent Warped Tour show in London and the band heading off to record their seventh album, we thought it would only be appropriate to answer this. Sticking by 'Siren Song of the Counter Culture' is Jay Sullivan, whilst Aaron Lohan defends 'Revolutions per Minute'.
What do you consider Rise Against’s best album and why? Let us know on our Facebook andTwitter pages.
Siren Song of the Counter Culture (by Jay Sullivan)
Remember when you were 14? Apart from having terrible clothes and hair, unless you’re an absolute liar or have rockstar parents, your music taste probably hadn’t evolved to the superior heights that you like to think it has now. Somewhere along the way, you discovered a handful of ‘gateway’ albums, the ones that led you away from the mainstream and into a back alley filled with a brave new world of undiscovered bands and music. For me, Rise Against were one of those bands and ‘Siren Song of Counter Culture’ was one of those albums and for that, I owe them a fair bit.
Back in the early part of this century, when we were starting to see the back of nu-metal and emo was starting to rear its head, something exciting was going on here in Blighty. The BritRock scene was at the forefront of the underground, and at its crux were bands like Biffy Clyro, Hell Is For Heroes, Million Dead, Hundred Reasons and Reuben. Reuben released just three albums (and a compilation), but they are remembered fondly amongst those who ever caught their scintillating live show. A unique mix of melodic hooks and bludgeoning heaviness, they are much-missed.
Continuing our Reuben theme from last week’s Fives, in celebration of frontman Jamie Lenman’s new double solo album, out now on Xtra Mile Recordings, we thought it’d be a good idea to follow it up with an edition of “Versus” on what is Reuben's best album. Ollie Connors hails their culturally iconic debut full length ‘Racecar Is Racecar Backwards’ (despite it’s longevity) as their best, whilst Aaron Lohan stands by the trio’s musically ambitious third full length ‘In Nothing We Trust’.
Racecar Is Racecar Backwards (by Ollie Connors)
Coming from someone who grew up in small-town Surrey, it’s shit growing up in small-town Surrey. Borne out of the frustrations of having nothing else to do in Camberley, the band that started life as Angel thankfully changed their name to Reuben. With word spreading like wildfire off the back of their ‘Pilot’ EP, Reuben signed to Xtra Mile Records and released their debut record ‘Racecar Is Racecar Backwards’, an album that fired them to the very crux of the exciting “BritRock” scene, alongside bands like Biffy Clyro, Hell Is For Heroes, Hundred Reasons and Million Dead. My first exposure to Reuben came with watching the 'Stuck In My Throat' video on Scuzz - one listen and I was hooked. A band that mixed a keen ear for melody and a knack for writing a catchy riff with bludgeoning heaviness, they instantly became an object of personal obsession in the formative years of musical discovery. Despite subsequently releasing two excellent albums and a compilation, it’s the cocksure debut I keep coming back to - the sound of a young band firing on all cylinders, and adored because of, rather than in spite of, its imperfections and nuances.
If a debate arose concerning the best first track of a debut, 'No-One Wins The War' would lay more claim than most. A drum fill and a scream by vocalist Jamie Lenman opens the record, and blaring guitars scream into life, and from there on in the song is an exhilarating adrenaline rush, acting as the perfect curtain-raiser. The record is barely 30 seconds old before Lenman, in typically sarcastic style, delivers the line “Hell Is For Heroes, they’ve got another single out, my contemporaries, a Top 40 smash no doubt” - a sign of the kind of status Reuben were striving for from the get-go. It’s fitting that this is succeeded by perhaps the most instant of Reuben’s singles from this album, the aforementioned 'Stuck In My Throat'. It begins with a blood-curdling scream from Lenman, and a growling, lurching riff takes hold, laying over Guy Davis’ powerhouse drumming. Despite its malevolent beginnings, the song unexpectedly breaks into a arms-aloft singalong, perfectly representing the two sides of Reuben within one song.
Formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1986, featuring Black Francis on vocals/guitar, Kim Deal on bass/vocals, Joey Santiago on guitar and David Lomering on drums, alternative rock band the Pixies, helped influence and shape the guitar rock landscape for the next twenty five years. Alongside the likes of Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr., the band certainly laid the ground work for underground punk influenced indie and alternative bands. Their loud chorus and soft verse dynamic paved the way for a lot of big names including Nirvana, Biffy Clyro, PJ Harvey, Radiohead and Brand New.
The band achieved moderate commercial success in their home country, but were significantly more successful in the UK and mainland Europe. After releasing four studio albums and several EPs, tensions between members led the band to split in 1993 before reuniting in 2004. Eventually in 2013, Deal left the band, but this eventually led the remaining members to release their first new material in since 2004, under their new EP, ‘EP1’. Rumours for a new full length next year are still in motion.
Having recently returned to the UK with their new line-up and EP, Already Heard's Aaron Lohan and Antony Lusmore thought it be a good time to highlight two of the bands best albums. First off Aaron tells us why 'Surfer Rosa' is a "timeless, rock ‘n’ roll classic" whilst Antony defends the bands 'Doolittle' LP and explains why it has everything you could ask for in an alt-rock record.
Surfer Rosa (by Aaron Lohan)
Whilst my favourite and the magnum opus Pixies full length is held by ‘Doolittle’, the band’s second full length, I will write about the band’s first. ‘Surfer Rosa’ is without question the band’s most influential; it is a record that stands toe to toe with its sucessor. It was the first record of the bands that I heard and certainly one of the most life-changing. I was turned to the Pixies through recommendation by my aunty who is a huge fan especially since I was a Nirvana fan (Pixies were a huge inspiration for the Seattle trio). Now that I’ve given you a brief insight on how it affected me, I will now explain to you as I type and listen to the record on vinyl (it sounds terrific on this format by the way), why this LP is worth a damn.
Let’s begin with the production by the magnificent Steve Albini. The former Big Black and current Shellac frontman did a fine job of capturing the dynamics and atmosphere of the band. In fact, it was this record that led to working with Nirvana, Jawbreaker, The Jesus Lizard, and PJ Harvey. The drums hit the senses perfectly, whilst the guitars sound crisp and the bass is slick sounding.
New Jersey emo stalwarts Saves The Day started life in 1994. After a name change their 1998 Record 'Can't Slow Down' and 1999’s sophomore effort 'Through Being Cool' sent ripples through their native music scene, out into the wider american indie scenes. Label interest from Vagrant brought Saves The Day into their fold and released their first major label record, 'Stay What You Are' to much praise and attention from music tv. through tumultuous band lineup changes and a co-release by Dreamworks and Vagrant, their fourth album 'In Reverie' was released and then seemingly abandoned by the record labels in 2003. a trilogy of albums: 'Sound The Alarm' in 2007, 'Under the Boards' in 2008 and 2011’s ‘Daybreak’ followed, with the latest being heralded as a return to form for the band.
After numerous lineup changes, life changes and plenty of side projects along the way the band return this week with a self titled album and fairly settled lineup. To celebrate, we decided to look back and argue the case for the best Saves The Day release.
This week’s ‘Versus’ sees a guest writer enter the ring; Jessi Frick of Father/Daughter Records is writing for 'Through Being Cool' in a battle against ‘Stay What You Are’ by our very own Heather Robertson.
Through Being Cool (by Jessi Frick)
“What’s a bond if it dissolves in water?/ I took a piss that lasted longer / than you and your manipulations”
'Through Being Cool' was Saves The Day’s (and more specifically, Chris Conley’s) rite of passage. After breaking onto the pop-punk scene in 1998 with their debut ‘Can’t Slow Down’, Conley, Dave Soloway, Ted Alexander, Eben D’Amico and Bryan Newman (let it be known that this line-up IS Saves The Day. There are no substitutions) shed the Lifetime-copy scarlet letter and embraced themselves on what I’m defending as Saves The Day’s best album, 1999’s ‘Through Being Cool’.
With the first part of their UK tour kicking off this week, we thought it’d be a good time to pay tribute to Arizona’s emo kings Jimmy Eat World. Since forming twenty years ago, the quartet made up of vocalist/guitarist Jim Adkins, guitarist Tom Linton bassist Rick Burch and drummer Zach Lind have gone to write some of the most mesmerizing emo rock over the past decade and more.
Throughout their career Jimmy Eat World have proved to be thoroughly consistent. From 'Static Prevails' to ‘Futures’ to the bands latest release 'Damage', the Phoenix band have constantly produced album after album of compelling and heartfelt numbers.
For this issue of “Versus”, two members of the Already Heard try and find an answer to a question which has dominated fans for many years. Which Jimmy Eat World album is better - ‘Clarity’ or 'Bleed American'?
On one side we have Aaron Lohan’s defending the honor of the beloved 'Clarity', whilst Sean Reid explains why 'Bleed American' is the bands best work to date.
Clarity (Aaron Lohan)
When it comes to Jimmy Eat World, many will probably describe the band’s best album as being held by mainstream breakthrough ‘Bleed American’ (or the second self-titled in the U.S.). Whilst ‘Bleed American’ was the first Jimmy Eat World record I set my ears upon, it will always be second to what I and others consider being their true magnum opus. ‘Clarity’, the band’s third full length and first to feature Jim Adkin as lead vocalist (Tom Linton sings on ‘Blister’), is truly a cultural masterpiece in the modern era of alternative music.
Now if you’re an avid reader of Already Heard (and so you should be! There’s plenty of blood, sweat and tears crammed into these digital pages) you’ll probably be incredibly familiar with an original feature of ours called 'Versus'. Now, this feature has focused so far on looking at which album is the best with certain bands. However, we always knew there was versatility with such a name and so we deliver to you today a new stance on things; who is the best Reading & Leeds 2013 headliner?
Whilst discussing who would pick which act out of the three main stage headliners, one of our new writers crept up to the table and proclaimed that the best headliner was actually Crystal Fighters! So, 2 main stage arena acts and a Festival Rupublic stage headliner! Who is best? Mikey Brown gives Green Day a good seeing to, Christopher Smith will shout ‘MON THE BIFFY’ at you in the form of some well constructed paragraphs and newcomer Anthony Lusmore will be fighting for Crystal Fighters (see what I did there, using fighting for… yeah, you got it)
Green Day (by Mikey Brown)
Recently, Touché Amoré have gone on record to say that they’ll never play Warped Tour. Thomas Erak, formerly of The Fall Of Troy (R.I.P. my love) and now of Chiodos, made the point that the ‘veterans’ get treated a lot better than those starting out, saying he doesn’t find that fair. I agree. I mean, of course everyone should be treated equally. However, there’s a reason the veterans are treated miles better, get paid more and bring in a bigger crowd and it’s simply that they’re reliable. Everybody knows that they will deliver exactly what people expect and so this closes my introduction and leads nicely onto my following paragraph.
Quite a few times these pieces have been started with saying ‘this band is pretty big!’ or something along those lines, but I really can’t imagine people not having heard of Green Day. The punk band formed way back in 1987 and Billie Joe, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool are now 11 studio albums behind them with various compilations, live works and even a broadway musical all tucked nicely under their belt.
'Dookie' is the fan favourite from those who were with Green Day way back in ‘94, whereas 'American Idiot' saw the band achieve mainstream success. However, we want to know which one is the better! What do you think? Sarah Russel digs 'Dookie' and Mikey Brown favours the conceptual nature of 'American Idiot' Read on for all the details.
Dookie (by Sarah Russel)
Although I haven’t been a fan of the past two Green Day albums, it’s fair to say that each of their previous records have all had their significant impact on me. They were the first real rock band I had gotten into and after saving up and buying their records, my love for music really began. I spent practically every day as a teenager listening to Green Day, and 'Dookie'was in particular an album I felt a real connection to.
'Dookie' really is the epitome of adolescence; it just about captures what almost every teenager goes through: frustration, boredom, growing up and love; and for that, it will always be an album full of nostalgia.
With news recently emerging of Long Island, New York hardcore punk band Crime In Stereo beginning work on a new album, we thought it’d be a good time to have the quintet featured on "Versus."
Formed in 2002, the band released a couple of EPs in their early years before unleashing their debut full-length ('Explosives and the Will to Use Them') in 2004. 'Explosives and the Will…' was a thriving, stripped down hardcore record with melodic moments throughout. 2006’s 'The Troubled Stateside' saw the bands progressive melodic hardcore taken to the next level with structured songwriting and poignant observations.
Its follow up, '…Is Dead' saw the band expand their appeal with catchier tracks, complicated arrangements, and exploring new musical territory. The bands latest and final record before announcing a hiatus, 2010’s 'I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone' built upon the foundations made in its predecessor, adding depth and variation to the bands hardcore punk sound. Later on in 2010, they announced a hiatus which lasted until October 2012 with the announcement that the band would be reforming with immediate plans to record new material. Last month the band announced plans to record a new album for a 2014 release.
Now we’ve given you that brief history lesson, two members of the Already Heard have picked their favourite Crime In Stereo album for this installment of "Versus." First of all, Rosie Kerr explains why the band are one of the most underrated bands in the scene and why '…Is Dead' an absolutely essential album. Whilst Ryan Clayton tells us why the bands last record, 'I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone,' is the bands most interesting and unique record.
…Is Dead (by Rosie Kerr)
For those who do not know, I’m telling you now that Crime In Stereo may be one of the most underrated artists “our” music scene has seen. I know that’s a bold statement, but I feel time after time that their efforts were unappreciated. Now, with the news of the band’s “reunion,” I can only hope that people begin to pay attention. And on that note, please first avert your ears to one of my all time favourite records '…Is Dead.'
Versus: Brand New - ‘Deja Entendu’ vs ‘Your Favourite Weapon’ vs ‘Daisy’ vs ‘The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me’
Earlier this month marked the tenth anniversary of Brand New's sophomore album, 'Deja Entendu' and with the Long Island, New York band set to return to the UK next month for the Reading and Leeds Festival*, we thought it’d be a great time to look back on the bands discography.
Since their 2001 debut ‘Your Favourite Weapon’ all the way to 2009’s 'Daisy,' the quintet have grown in style, sound and stature. Starting out as an emerging pop punk band, twelve years on Brand New are seen as a highly influential band whose sound has evolved to an experimental/alternative rock.
With such an progressive back catalog, for this edition of "Versus," four members of the Already Heard team have taken on the difficult task of standing up for all four of Brand New's full-lengths.
Site Founder and Senior Editor Sean Reid defends 'Deja Entendu' whilst Heather Robertson explains why the bands debut ('Your Favourite Weapon') is their best, Aaron Lohan states why 'Daisy' is on par with its predecessors and Ryan Clayton stands up 'The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me.'
Read on as each member of the Already Heard team state their cases.
*Since this article has been published, Brand New have cancelled their appearance at Reading and Leeds Festivals.
'Deja Entendu' (by Sean Reid)
Where do I start with one of the greatest albums of our time? Sure thats a bold statement but not only is 'Deja Entendu' Brand New's best record, its one of the best records in recent history. Its impact and influential has been substantial and its legacy continues to grow along with its cult-like status year-by-year.
Whilst its predecessor ('Your Favorite Weapon') was rooted in teenage-angst, pop punk, 'Deja' planted the seed for the band Brand New have since become; an abstract, experimental indie rock band. This record took that teenage-angst and was moulded into a record with lyrical yearning, flowing diversity and musical texture. It’s a combination which is rare and hard to execute but from the echoing moments of 'Tautou' to Jesse Lacey’s self-depreciating 'Okay I Believe You, but My Tommy Gun Don't' to the wallowing 'Me vs. Maradona vs. Elvis' to the departing 'Play Crack The Sky,' the quartet grab hold of you on a journey of lyrically glorious and genre-defining, post-Millennium emo rock.
Masks are for life, not just for Halloween. And for Slipknot masks are a huge part of their image as the octet (that’s 8 members!) have taken the world by storm since emerging from their Iowa home with their 1999 Self-Titled album.
Since then they’ve gone on slay everything in their path with their chaotic, unique brand of metal. Incorporating elements of death metal, thrash, and even dance styles such as breakbeats, the band have created and honed a unique sound that has been explored and developed through their four albums; more so in their later work as corporate intervention didn’t restrict any creativity.
This weekend Slipknot return to Download Festival, and if pass appearances are anything to go by, they will probably steal the show once again.
But which album is their best?! Well that’s what we’re here to find out as always with our Versus feature. Our European starlet James Berclaz-Lewis believes that 'Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses' really pushed the boundaries of what Slipknot are. Whereas heavy lovin’ Aaron Wilson thinks the band’s last studio album to date, ‘All Hope Is Gone’ is where they really perfected who they are.
Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses (by James ‘Bearclaw’ Lewis)
There is little point denying the searing impact Slipknot’s ‘Iowa’ left in the alternative metal scene back in 2001, having previously prepared the ground with their accessible debut album, the nu-metal-ish ‘Slipknot’. The latter introduced the core of what the band is about: a combination of relentless, incredibly dense, rhythms and Corey Taylor’s cathartic lyrical explosions. One their sophomore effort, meanwhile, truly cemented the wall-of-sound aesthetic that defined their middle era, as the band’s sound moved further and further away from any recognizable traditions of metal. As strong as ‘Iowa’ was, the sonic consistency on display came dangerously close from simply being a general over-similarity among the tracklisting. A fault the nine-strong posse were quick to correct on third effort ‘Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses’.
20 years is a long time. 20 whole years. 20 doesn’t seem like a big number, but when you consider how long a year is it’s like, “woahhhhh!” So, the realisation that Anti Flag have been a band for 20 of these years is pretty damn crazy. Think about the amount that has happened in the last 20 years! The London Olympics, the deaths of celebrities such as Michael Jackson and even, unfortunately, war.
And that leads us very well onto Anti Flag, a punk band from America who are well known for their left wing views, focusing on topics such as class struggle, human rights and anti-war activism. The band also publicly support Greenpeace, Amnesty International and Occupy Together.
Now then, their MUSIC. They’ve released 10 whole albums since 1996, so it may be a bit of a struggle to decide where to start, right? Wrong! Two of our very own writers have defended their favourite albums, those being 'Underground Network' (courtesy of Tom Knott) and 'The Terror State' (thanks to Aaron Lohan).
Underground Network (by Tom Knott)
‘Underground Network’ was Anti-Flag’s first release on Fat Wreck Chords and is generally considered the one that gave the band their first breakout from an exclusively underground to a much wider audience. The reasons for this are, as is always the case, multiple. Obviously, signing to Fat Wreck didn’t do their appeal any harm but I would argue that above all else, it was the sheer quality of the release that took them that extra step.