Already Heard
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.
As festival season fast approaches, a wealth of notable album releases are happening
in the coming months. We take a look at five must hear releases for April.
This edition of SFTW includes a heavily hyped Canadian punk band, a Philadelphian
lo-fi emo band and a brand new punk rock trio from the States who have recently released their first song.
In the first edition of our new "Industry Insight" feature, we talk to producer Lewis Johns
to find out his beginnings, his recent work with Funeral For A Friend, and Southampton's
Ranch Production House.

Live Review: Marmozets, The Colour Line and Trapped in Autumn - The Deaf Institute, Manchester - 02/04/2014

In what is a bit of a confusing choice of support, Trapped In Autumn open up, and honestly, it’s not great. The band do attempt at some crowd interaction to the handful that are there for early doors, but the band’s pop rock-esque music isn’t exactly fitting for the night ahead (spoiler alert; it’s ridiculously chaotic) and so don’t really get any kind of hype from the crowd. The whole set feels quite amateur, on their own and in comparison to the following acts, and just, well, not fitting really. (2/5)

However, everything is previously forgotten once The Colour Line take to the stage. Having witnessed the band before I actually giggled like a school girl when I knew what was coming; chaos. I absolutely love chaos and these 5 lads from sunny Hull know exactly how to bring it. A few in the crowd were supporting The Dillinger Escape Plan tees and it’s clear to see the influence in the band’s material, with the insane rhythms and the slower, jazzy interludes that only quickly come to light. However, the band take TDEP’s live set to a whole new level. It’s much easier when playing smaller venues, but I still don’t think I’ve ever seen the majority of a set take place in the audience, with other members on the bar and on another level of the venue itself. Vocalist Sam Rudderforth is constantly flailing over the floor and directing every shout and yell to anyone in the circle around him. The whole set is chaos and I can only imagine what it’ll be like when this band have a bigger following with those who know every last word. I’m worried, but also I can’t wait. You might not understand them musically but boy, do they put on a show. (4.5/5)

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Live Review: Code Orange Kids, Twitching Tongues, Broken Teeth and Esoteric Youth - The Star & Garter, Manchester - 26/03/2014

Any concern for lateness is instantly wiped by the thundering horror from Esoteric Youth. This local blackened hardcore mob has been slowly clambering up from the pit over the last year. There are moments when they utterly decimate the air in one fell swoop; straight to the point, fast furious songs. The most impressive parts however, are when they unleash songs with wide scope and influences. One song revels in a pulsating vacuum of post metal and noise. If there was one nagging point, it would be the mix in sound levels; whether this is intentional or not, it doesn’t balance itself well. Regardless, Esoteric Youth do well to impress. With a debut album currently in the works, and based on this performance, the band will capture attentive eyes further. (4/5)

Although I’m not the biggest Broken Teeth fan, I can’t deny the fact that they are a solid live band. The Manchester hardcore crew beef themselves up in a crossover thrash manner; a combo of riffs, riffs and yells. Although a small group of acolytes lap up their fury, you can’t help but feel too familiar with this scenario. Most hardcore bands in this style can only separate themselves from the pack with an added zing, which they seem to lack here. Whilst Broken Teeth keep the embers burning, there’s a sense you expect more from them. This is satisfactory for now though. (3.5/5)

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Live Review: Natives, Bleach Blood and Arches - The Cockpit, Leeds - 27/03/2014

Thursday night’s visit of Natives to Leeds’ The Cockpit, with Bleach Blood and Arches in tow, was an interesting indicator of the current state of live music in this country. The first being that we seem to be in something of a boom period for an exciting and diverse range of rather excellent emerging bands, as this trio of Transmission Records’ finest capably demonstrated. The second, rather more depressing sign, being that the gig going public isn’t doing anywhere near enough to support these bands. Ok, it was a fairly drizzly Thursday March night, but that only around thirty to forty people had bothered to show up to see three genuinely bright rock prospects, one touring their freshly released debut album, was disappointing.

First up was Glasgow’s Arches, the relative unknowns of the evening. The band put in a super tight performance, and their expansive and emotionally charged slices of Scot rock is a perfect example of why the Glasgow scene has been so red hot over the last few years. Barry Morrell is already an accomplished frontman, mixing a faultless vocal ability with a strangely compelling awkwardly cocksure stage presence. Morell’s vocals and some belting lead guitar lines take moments of Arches' set absolutely sky high, anthems of this size definitely deserve to grace rooms considerably larger then room three of The Cockpit. ‘Be This Way’ (from Arches' most recent EP ‘Broken Clocks’) in particular stands out, and is the sort of track which should earn the band favourable comparisons to compatriots Biffy Clyro. (4/5)

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Live Review: All Time Low, Tonight Alive and Only Rivals - Academy, Manchester - 13/03/2014

imageEveryone on Oxford Road tonight knows there’s a gig on at the Academy. The big giveaway is the horde of fans that stretches from the entrance of Academy 1 right past the Students’ Union that houses rooms 2, 3 and Club as well as past the museum. And with the demographic ranging largely of females under the age of 16, you could have a wild stab at who’s headlining tonight. Well, who’s headlining two nights in a row, in fact.

With security in place to literally stop the kids from running and breaking their necks, Only Rivals kick off all proceedings of screaming and more screaming; but fair play to the 4 lads from Ireland. Having reformed in the back end of 2013 (previously being known as Homestar Runner) the lads have cemented some pretty decent support slots in place already, only recently having released their EP ‘Details’. Whilst a lot of the crowd are new to the rock/pop punk outfit, there’s clearly enough here who have done their research and are singing every word. The band have got the moves, the looks and the songs to really conquer and this really is only the beginning. A very entertaining set and it’ll be interesting to see how they whip up a storm on New Found Glory’s ‘Pop Punk’s Not Dead’ tour in Autumn of this year. (3.5/5)

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Live Review: Taking Back Sunday and Lonely the Brave - Koko, London - 26/02/2014

A major annoyance of Taking Back Sunday’s handful of UK shows is that it seems to have been received as a nostalgia/anniversary tour, when in fact Taking Back Sunday haven’t exactly shied away from the music scene, or touring the UK in general.  Overseas to promote forthcoming album ‘Happiness Is’, this certainly isn’t a TAYF10 tour like the ones in the US, and those expecting a set like this will be left disappointed, as while Taking  Back Sunday aired their classics, they also displayed some of the best tracks from their more recent releases.

Openers Lonely the Brave, kick things off with guitar-driven anthems, reminding me in a way of a Cambridge Biffy Clyro. Their live performance manages to be both understated and grandiose at the same time, but they struggle to resonate with the huge venue. It’s hard to be the sole opener for a well-established band like Taking Back Sunday, and despite their best efforts, Lonely the Brave failed to make an impact, unable to warm up a crowd who only want to see one band. (2/5)

View photos of Lonely The Brave @ Koko here.

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Live Review: Plaids, Football, etc., Break Character and Papermoons - JT Soar, Nottingham - 23/02/2014

A show is best when everybody means it. Cram those people into a tiny room with a bunch of excited punters for a few hours and you’re on a winner. Tonight features twelve people playing in four bands from three countries. All stuffed into Nottingham’s finest little venue. Opening is Papermoons, currently touring with (and being half of) Football, etc. who will play later. The Texan two-piece plays a gorgeous kind of emo somewhere between American Football and Death Cab For Cutie. Warming the audience as enough people cram inside for the venue to declare the show a sell out.

Coming both out The Netherlands and, for those not already in the know, out of the blue, is Break Character. Following the sweetness of Papermoons with a half hour blast of emotional hardcore magnificence. Being fronted by the universally agreed upon world’s coolest dude, Johan van Hattum, only furthers their cause. There’s nothing not to love about a band giving it their all for the love of it. Heart-on-sleeve honesty and humbled to be so well received so far from home. Break Character prove themselves a wonderful addition to a bill that they might otherwise seem out of place on.

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Live Review: Caves, Wade, Bear Trade, Dinner Time and Holy Pinto! - Wahlbar, Manchester - 22/02/2014

imageClicking into their set with a nervous energy, Manchester duo Holy Pinto! relish in charm and whimsy. They soundly tap into indie punk leanings and lyrically analyse in self-pity and anguish. Duos are a difficult formula to accomplish, but Holy Pinto! do very well here to a warm reception. Guitar and drums with yearning sombre vocals; a tight unit. There are kinks to be ironed out, yet for now they are sweetly poignant in their delivery here. (3.5/5)

Having never listened to them before, it comes to my attention that Dinner Time’s set will be 8 minutes long. This could only mean two things: fast and loud. Featuring 3/5 of local indie emo band Well Wisher, Dinner Time cause a noisy ruckus. Whilst the lack of bass may hinder them, the stripped back garage punk guitar beefs up the noise. It sits alongside hectic drums and pedantic yells rather comfortably. Warning: a grin may pop up from ear to ear on your face when you see this lot, as they’re a lot of fun! (4/5)

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Live Review: Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake and Zebrahead - Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London - 15/02/2014

Due to a ridiculous queue to get inside, the first band I catch tonight are Zebrahead. A band who has always reminded me of college frat boys, they bring a riotous mix of songs about girls and getting wasted. The crowd likes them, and even though this is nowhere near their best performance, it’s a perfectly good greatest hits set from the band. (3/5)

View photos of Zebrahead @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire here

Next up are Less Than Jake and while I understand the need to mix up the order of the bands, it seems a crying shame that they are forced to perform before Reel Big Fish. Less Than Jake are the sophisticated cousin of their Hawaiian shirt clad counterparts Reel Big Fish, and it ruins the momentum a little. However this certainly doesn’t stop them from blasting through a tight, exciting set, the kind that involves drinks being flung from your hand as you find yourself involuntary bounced by the swing of the crowd. With every Less Than Jake song you’ve ever cared about making a appearance (‘Last One Out Of Liberty City’, ‘Gainsville Rock City’ and ‘Plastic Cup Politics’ were my personal favourites) there was no way anyone could walk away from their performance doubting that Less Than Jake aren’t the masters at what they do. Less Than Jake are so much fun to watch, and an absolute joy to sing-along to – the perfect live band. (5/5)

View photos of Less Than Jake @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire here.

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Live Review: Matt Pryor, Allison Weiss and Lacey - The Bodega, Nottingham - 16/02/2014

imageA cold Sunday night in Nottingham at the end of a week when all anyone has talked about has been the weather. I could probably forgive you not coming out. Matt Pryor himself mentions it a couple of times. The eternal call of Monday morning keeps plenty of people at home with the TV and no one really blames them. On this particular Sunday night, I went out and I watched Matt Pryor and Allison Weiss give two incredible performances. I can forgive you for staying at home, because I was there. You, however, should be kicking yourself.

Local four piece Lacey open. Despite seeming a little out of place as the only full/electric band on an otherwise solo/acoustic bill, they prove themselves worthy of their slot. Never coming close to an explosive energy level, their somewhat subdued performance is probably exactly what is needed to not simply annoy those who arrive early enough to catch them. (3/5)

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Live Review: Kevin Devine and Katie Malco - The Lexington, London - 04/02/2014

Undeterred by the looming threat of tube strikes and horrid weather, many descend upon Islington’s famous Lexington venue this evening to catch Kevin Devine's first visit to these shores in what, comparative to some of his exhaustive tours, has been aeons since the last opportunity to do so. However, before the Brooklynite takes to the stage in front of tonight's sold-out crowd, support comes from London-based singer-songwriter and long-time Already Heard favourite  Katie Malco. The maltreatment of acoustic artists in some of London’s, ahem, “cooler” venues is a prominent issue, but the already busy room is reverent and quiet throughout her set (except, of course, to clap and cheer between songs), allowing Malco's heart-rendering lyrics to take full effect. 'September' from last year’s piano-led EP 'Tearing Ventricles' is a stand-out, but the entire set is simply gorgeous, made all the more charming by her adorably neurotic between-song repartee. (4/5)

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Live Review: RX Bandits and Astpai - Academy 3, Manchester - 31/01/2014

Album anniversary shows are a funny thing. Depending upon however many years that album was released, there is always the big 50/50 chance risk one’s nostalgia could be crumbled to rubble. Progressive ska punk heroes, RX Bandits, for over the past year since their return from hiatus have been dedicating time to playing fourth full length ‘The Resignation’. This was a turning point for the band as it showed they were more than just a ska punk outfit. Its use of unusual time signatures, unpredictable soar and ambition was a masterstroke, in contrast to their Orange County peers. Technically, this tour is dedicated to the tenth anniversary of that record, but the European continent has only just got this by a month later into the New Year. Regardless, the turnout here smells of a nostalgic buzz, eager to see their favourite band play the album in full.

Before that fiasco plays ahead, the crowd needs tinder to light up the buzz for the night. This is provided by Austrian melodic gruff punks Astpai. The quartet injects a ‘full-speed ahead’ enthusiasm into their set. Shared vocal harmonies, a sharp bite, and toe tapping efficiency enable them to withstand a tightly constructed set. No one is bouncing around sure, but grins and satisfactions can be sensed in the crowd. They’re reserving the appetite until later, whilst watching a confident band plough through. One nit-pick from this writer is the familiarity and creeping repetitiveness, but Astpai are entertaining to behold, which is all that matters. (3.5/5)

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Live Review: Defeater, Caspian, More Than Life and Goodtime Boys – Sound Control, Manchester – 22/01/2014

imageThe key to a great live performance doesn’t always involve a rapturous crowd reaction. The key ingredients in fact involve presence and entertainment, which impacts in grand proportions. Welsh post hardcore troupe Goodtime Boys will have the world at their feet based on this performance. Older songs like ‘Breathe’ and ‘Callous’ display such grace and cathartic shine, it’s hard not to mesmerise yourself in it. On the other hand, it is the new material from upcoming debut album ‘Rain’ which sticks out here. All the grace and poetic catharsis has evolved into a secular, anthemic epitaph. The phrase “music to my ears” couldn’t be more applicable here. ‘Life Moves’ (which is now available for streaming) is a good example of this. All in all, this writer can safely say the impression made by Goodtime Boys has engulfed the idle audience. (4/5)

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Live Review & Photos: Mallory Knox, Blitz Kids and Crooks - O2 Islington Academy, London - 12/12/2013


View on Flickr. Photos by Connie Taylor Photography.

As I enter the venue, first support band Crooks have just taken to the stage, and my initial thoughts are of elements of the sound of metal band Disturbed. Although Crooks themselves are not in the same musical category, they appear to at least have taken influence from them. The thing I like about Crooks is I can hear what vocalist Josh is saying. Also the song ‘Mountain Heights and City Lights’, with its mellow elements before an explosive breakdown, has particularly well written lyrics that are quite moving and could be interpreted in different ways thus giving them the chance to mean different things to different fans, a great skill in song writing.

There were big smiles a plenty as they fed off the very receptive crowd in songs that again pick up on the wintry theme of snow like ‘Nevermore’. Whilst pain is the source of writing material, I do hope though, that with future releases they may make it to other seasons and build on songs like ‘Mountain Heights and City Lights’.

What was overwhelmingly obvious and so nice to see was the shear and utter gratitude of Crooks to Mallory Knox for having them on the tour and allowing them to play to what was a pretty damn full Islington Academy. I have seen headline bands play to less people in this venue. Josh said, “It’s a fucking honour to be on this tour, we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else”. (3/5)

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Live Review & Photos: Touché Amore, Self Defence Family and Dad Punchers - The Underworld, London - 11/12/2013

View on Flickr. Photos by Heather Fitsell

With a name like Dad Punchers, I was expecting something a little heavier than the Weezer-inspired emo’s who opened up tonight’s set. Wonderfully funny and awkward, vocalist (and Touché Amore drummer) Elliot Babin sounds exactly like Kermit the Frog, which makes song introductions to songs about, “accidentally falling in love with your flatmate and having to hear them have sex all the time” seem extra strange. Describing themselves as fairly accurately as “bummer-punk”, Dad Punchers are the kind of band the supposed “emo-revival” will have a field day over. While they didn’t entirely win over the audience, I enjoyed them a lot. (5/5)

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Live Review: Jamie Lenman, Castrovalva and Kill Chaos - The Garage, Islington - 10/12/2013

imageOn a bitingly cold December night, at the point Kill Chaos take to the stage at Islington’s Relentless Garage, most have opted to stick to the comforting climes of the Wetherspoon’s around the corner, leaving the East Midlands trio playing to but a dedicated few early revellers. Fortunately, the band’s BritRock tropes go well with tonight’s general aura of nostalgia, and Jamie Lenman’s hand-picked tour support express gratitude at being able to play a venue the size of The Garage, an opportunity which they admit themselves they are normally rarely afforded. As on their freshly released full-length ‘PromisesPromises’, their more melodic material such as set-closer ‘Crush’ does come off a lot better than their heavier side, though a good crunchy riff does go down well with the steadily gathering masses. (3.25/5)

Leeds noiseniks Castrovalva are next to take tonight’s stage, all clad in their own band t-shirts. If that heinous crime against gig ettiquette wasn’t enough to put you off, the music undoubtedly does the rest. It seems like bands that worship Mike Patton’s weirder projects (Fantomas, Mr Bungle) easily forget that he could pen a belting tune too, but coherent songwriting is forsaken here in favour of obstreperous obliqueness, along with some pale imitations of The Blood Brothers. Sure, they could pick worse bands to be heavily influenced by, and oddness in music is far from a crime, but Castrovalva’s set is an eminently forgettable one - if frontman Leemun Smith spent nearly as much time writing something musically compelling as he does bellowing at the audience tonight, they might be onto something. (2/5)

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