This week Lansdale, Pennsylvania’s The Wonder Years released their fourth album - ‘The Greatest Generation,’ a record that sees the pop punk quintet reach their creative peak in a number of ways. With a wealth of material in their discography, Already Heard's Sean Reid and Tom Knott took on the tricky task of picking out the five best songs from The Wonder Years. Find out what we picked and let us know if you agree or disagree?
Following the release of their superb 'Signals' album, Mallory Knox have certainly become ones to watch in recent months. We caught up with the band to discuss joining Search & Destroy Records, how vital the festival season and touring are, what it feels like to be a part
of the expanding British rock scene and much more.
Over The Ocean have crafted a compelling, brooding record with their latest effort ‘Be Given To The Soil.’ With intense specific precision and delicate accuracy that echoes the likes of Explosions In The Sky and Sigur Ros. Jesse Hill from the band to discusses how the
album came together, the importance of precision, being compared to post-rock pioneers and more.
After a top ten UK album and an outstanding UK tour with festival dates on both sides of the Atlantic to follow, Bring Me The Horizon are having a fantastic 2013 and are now featured in the latest edition of "Versus." It's ‘There is a Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There is a Heaven, Let’s Keep it a Secret’ vs the bands latest release, 'Sempiternal.'
We catch up with Newcastle Indie Rock quartet Alexander to find out more about their debut album 'Say Hello' for a “Already Heard Track Guide” feature.
Having briefly returned to the UK for the Hit The Deck Festival before starting a European
tour, we caught up with vocalist/bassist Ned Russin to discuss the bands progression in sound, differences between UK and US festivals, their recent split with Touché Amoré,
having friends on tour and more.
Happy New Year! We’re really excited about 2013 here at Already Heard. We think it’s going to be another excellent year with new albums, new releases, awesome tours, amazing festivals and a whole lot more.
Over the next 12 months you’ll see countless bands and artists mentioned on this very site, but we thought we’d give you a sneak preview by giving you a run down of 50 bands we think you need to know about over the coming months. The list is filled with familiar names as exciting new bands that we’re predicting big things for in 2013.
The Story So Far
If there was one band who ruled the Pop Punk roost in 2011, it was Walnut Creek’s The Story So Far. After a hat-trick of successful trips to the UK, 2013 will see the band returning once again for their first full run of headline shows, and with Gnarwolves and The American Scene supporting it’s an early contender for tour of the year. Not only are TSSF coming back to the UK, their highly anticipated follow up to 2011’s ‘Under Soil and Dirt’ is set to see the light of day. Produced once again by Sam Pura, TSSF have also brought New Found Glory’s Steve Klein on board to produce. 2013 could be the year The Story So Far solidify their place as Pop Punk legends. (SR)
Sell out Wembley Arena, perform at the Olympic Opening Ceremony, launch a hardcore band and tour the UK and US; just another extraordinary year for Frank Turner then. Sure 2012 was fantastic for everyone’s favourite folk-punk lyricist but expect to see Turner’s worth rise in 2013. With a new album set to be released in the Spring, expect to hear more of Turner’s honest, sincere but energetic sound on both sides of the Atlantic throughout the year. (SR) Facebook|Twitter
Chicago’s Real Friends created a buzz in certain circles throughout 2012, and we’ve got high hopes for the Pop Punk group in 2013. With comparisons to bands like The Wonder Years, Real Friends have a vibrant, near-perfect Pop Punk sound that has seen their name spread like wildfire with no label support at all. With three EP’s released in 2012, the quintet are rumoured to be working on a new “solid” EP that is said to be 6 to 7 songs. If they keep on delivering tracks like ‘Floorboards’ and ‘Home For Fall’ then this pizza-loving band could go far. (SR)
Photo by Sarah Louise Bennett.
The Wonder Years
Pop-punk heavyweights The Wonder Years look to be ramping up for another big year in 2013. With the follow up to 2011’s masterful ‘Suburbia I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing’ slated for a summer release and ‘Sleeping on Trash: A Collection of Songs Recorded 2005-2010’ out in February there should be plenty for people to get excited about when the band return to the UK for Slam Dunk in May. Expect a raucous live show and a sense of honesty you won’t find anywhere else right now. If you’re already late to The Wonder Years party get there now. You’re not fashionably late; you’re missing the explosion of a deserving Pop Punk behemoth. (TK)
Once again 2012 has a been another great year for music. It’s been a year full of surprises and disappointments but most importantly brilliant music, and with the festive period quickly approaching, we’re getting all retrospective here at Already Heard, so what better time to reveal our Top 10 Records of the Year!
After much discussion, the Already Heard team have come up with what we think are the best ten records of the past twelve months. These ten records are a culmination of what each member of the Already Heard team has picked as their favourite releases from this year. From Ohio-based Pop Punk to Prog Rock concept albums to Americana Punk Rock and much more, we think our Top Ten Records of the Year is diverse and truly shows what Already Heard is all about.
10. Our Time Down Here - Midnight Mass
Our Time Down Here’s ‘Midnight Mass’ is an incredible progression in the right direction. Not only do you feel as though the band are now achieving a sound that they set out to a long time ago, it’s exactly the fresh take on music that’s needed. We come across so many bland and average records that to have even just one that’s portraying a sense of something unique is refreshing.
Track to track show how the Southampton band can tackle a little from all genres. ‘The Reckoning’ proves to fans that they can, and could, continue on the hardcore ball they began rolling. Then tracks like ‘Crystal Effigy’ prove how diverse and how much inspiration from all kinds of art this band take.
If you want to listen to an album that doesn’t sound like anything you’ve heard before, ‘Midnight Mass’ is the one, and this is why it takes right of place in the Already Heard top ten of 2012. (RK)
Later this month Walnut Tree Records will be closing it’s doors and be heading into the sunset yet it’ll be going with a bang at The Old Blue Last in London, as the label Punktastic.com and some of the labels alumni will be bidding farewell on October 10th.
For some readers you’re probably thinking “who’s Walnut Tree Records?” Sure during it’s five years of activity WTR never reached cult-like status that other independent labels have done. Yet those who know of Walnut Tree, will tell you two things, the first being WTR is a one-man ship and that man is Tom Beck. The second is that since 2007, like many indie labels, Tom has poured his heart and soul into each and every release the label has put out.
Whilst Tom and WTR hasn’t produced household names, he clearly had an eye (and ear) for talent and spotting up and coming bands. Burn The Fleet, Gunning For Tamar and Tiger Please (now known as The People The Poet) are just some of the bands Tom has worked with in the past, and it’s bands like them that helped WTR gain a solid, appreciative reputation.
From a personal perspective, I’ve had the privilege to work with Tom on a variety of occasions throughout the past four years. As a web-based music writer/journalist/”blogger” (or whatever you want to class me), I’ve always appreciated Tom’s willingness to make good use of online sites like Already Heard and along with his work ethic, Tom has (nearly) single-handedly established Walnut Tree Records as a trust-worthy, well-respected independent label. And on a side note I’d like to personally thank Tom for giving me a chance to work with him when I started in this crazy world of writing.
Unfortunately for fans of the label, Tom has called time of the label citing changes in his personal life and having “nothing left to prove” as the reason for the labels closure.
As we give a fond farewell to Walnut Tree Records, we thought it’d be an ideal time to highlight 5 key releases from it’s discography.
Back for it’s fourth year, Hevy Fest packs an almighty punch of rock, punk and hardcore. Oh, and a bit of everything in between of course. With the ‘typical British summer’ we’re currently having of rain and more rain, the organisers have opted for 3 stages under tents to keep us dry. Following on from that, the first and second stage now alternate. Could they treat us any better? Dry and more bands for our money! Absolutely beautiful.
Probably our favourite weekender of the year and a battle between us as to who should actually attend! Still, we’ve whittled down our must see bands to just 10. Of course we think the line up is pretty damn extraordinary, but here are 10 bands that you have to absolutely must see, rain or shine.
Rise And Fall
Belgian metallic hardcore with sounds that will melt your face off but with elements of innovation to draw you in. With fourth LP ‘Faith’ under their belts, Rise And Fall return to our shores for their only UK appearance of 2012. Expect a snapshot of pure chaos and fury to ensue during their set with circle pits and masses of bodies a plenty. (AL)
When & Where: The Punktastic Stage, Sunday.
A Wilhelm Scream
A combination of loud catchy choruses and a fast paced technical proficiency is the perfect formula for a fantastic band, especially in a live setting. This band is A Wilhelm Scream. With a new album on the horizon, the technical melodic hardcore punks from New Bedford, Massachusetts are sure to bring a much needed energy to liven the spirits of the British crowd who are inevitably going to be left in the damp weather. (AL)
When & Where: The Rock Sound Stage, Saturday.
It’s July and that means two things; its summer (even if it has been raining non-stop) and we’re over halfway through the year.
In the music world, 2012 has already delivered some superb albums and we’ve been spolit with great music. Us folk here at Already Heard asked our team to tell us what there favourite album of the year so far.
The Menzingers - On The Impossible Past (Sean Reid)
With a distinct, raw punk rock approach combined with Americana imagery, The Menzingers’ Epitaph début ‘On The Impossible Past’ hasn’t left my ears since the start of the year.
From the opening line “I’ve been having a horrible time” on ‘Good Times’ to the rousing cries of “I will fuck this up” on ‘The Obituaries,’ all the way to the sincerity of ‘Freedom Bridge,’ the Philadelphia band have produced one on the most consistent, refreshing punk rock records in recent years.
2. The Tower and The Fool - How Long
3. Misser - Every Day I Tell Myself I’m Going To Be A Better Person
4. I Can See Mountains - Hope You Never Get It
5. The Winter Passing - Demo
In recent years there has been a downturn music consumers purchasing physical releases, with many choosing digital downloads as an alternative. In the year 2012, this is a common, well-known fact. Year in, year out stories appear announcing the decrease in CD sales and online sales increasing.
However despite this favouritism towards digital downloads, there are some consumers who still prefer to purchase. In recent years, one physical format has continued to increase in sales and that is the vinyl format. In 2011 there was a fourteen percent increase in vinyl sales.
Nevertheless for independent labels, the production cost to produce vinyl releases can be costly, and in the current hard economic times, it can more than often be challenging for small labels to produce such releases and to please music fans.
But there are some labels who are finding away around the demanding production cost and satisfying customer needs. They are doing this by producing cassette releases, a format that, for some, has long been forgotten about since it’s decline in the early 1990’s.
In 2012 several labels are regularly producing compact cassette releases, with the likes of Doghouse Records, Lost Tape Collective, Pinky Swear Records and amongst others being part of the cassette revival
Already Heard asked a handful of labels about the cassette revival; does production cost become a major factor? Is there a nostalgic factor behind it? Has the vinyl boom influenced it?
To begin with, why do you think labels, especially independents, have started producing cassette releases again?
David Conway (Doghouse Records): For me it just took me back to a far more innocent time in my life as a music lover. Cassettes were the first format I bought. I remember very vividly buying Stone Temple Pilots, White Zombie, Morbid Angel, Danzig and Alice In Chains tapes at the mall; going home and putting them in my Sony boombox and just reading the j-card foldouts over and over again. That format and the way it plays really pushes you to sit and listen to the entire body of work. It’s sort of the exact opposite experience to the iTunes/mp3 way of digesting music. This was also pre-file sharing so you cherished a record when you saved up and got it. You judged it as a full body of work and not just a file you can listen to for 30 seconds and make a decision about if it stays on your hard drive or not.
Justin Collier (Lost Tape Collective): I think everyday that digital music comes more of the norm, there is a certain group of people who are romantics and want something physical to hold in their hand… even if they are listening to the MP3’s, they still want the physical copy for their collection…. so whether its vinyl, cassettes, flexies, etc - people like to collect stuff… at least some people.
I sound like a grumpy old man, but to me I really love cassettes because of how clunky they are and because trying to skip tracks almost gives you a nervous breakdown. It allowed the artist to say “here is my album as I intended it to be listened to, good luck trying to fuck with that.” I started doing them for Doghouse and Working Group bands because it’s just something different on the physical side. We’ve stopped making cds for most bands and I always like some physical format for our records, even for the smallest bands. This format is cost effective and always causes a double-take at the merch stand.
Steven Hill (Struggletown Records): Personally I think the cassette is relevant to our label because a lot of the bands we love released their music on cassette back in the late 80’s an early 90’s. That physical aspect is difficult to replicate with digital downloads.
Lee Burgess (Pinky Swear Records): To begin with, we feel it’s always nice for bands to have a physical copy of their music to sell, whether it be at shows or online, for fans to pick up and appreciate owning a physical copy over a file sat somewhere on their hard drive. Sometimes, for people to actually buy a physical copy, and it’s unfortunate to put it this way, it has to have a unique, quirky, collectable feel and/or look to it, along with a sensible price tag. This is where cassette tapes fall in nicely. You can have a lot of fun having them make, coming up with colour ideas, artwork ideas, anything and do it with a very affordable budget.
Richard Heaven (Pornography for Cowards): I think it’s down to two things - one is cost, and the other is how we perceive music nowadays. I think the ballpark figure for 100 cassettes duplicated and printed on is around £110 which is considerably cheaper then vinyl and well below the often quoted minimum for CD printing/duplication.
Also I feel that the industry as a whole has come to terms with the idea that - as long as you include a download code - you can sell music in any format. Vinyl, cassette, watch, stickers, frisbee… the possibilities are endless. So if the music suits the format, why not work with cassettes?
Saying that, It does seem that some of the larger labels are jumping on the bandwagon a little. Does Bridge Nine really need to release their music on cassette as well as vinyl and CD? Of course not - if you can afford to press records on multiple colours as well as produce 1000 CDs claiming a DIY format like cassettes could be considered simple posturing.
10 years down the line and Download isn’t showing any signs of slowing down! Bringing a line up of old and new, classic rock and tech metal, there really is a wide range of everything that manages to slip into that family tree of rock music.
We’re too skint to go, but we’ve still gone and compiled a fantastic list of old and new, British and American bands for you to check out. Let us know how it goes and don’t expect too much sympathy when you’re covered in mud! Get your horns out and let loose my friend, let loose!
SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH! Where else do you start than the metal pioneers Black Sabbath? With Download being the bands only UK festival appearance this year and with a back catalog full of anthems; ‘Paranoid,’ ‘War Pigs’ and ‘Iron Man’ there really is no better way to end Download Festival. (SR)
Where & When: 9:00 - 10:45 on the Jim Marshall stage, Sunday.
We Are The Ocean
Many questions are surrounding We Are The Ocean right now following the news that screamer Dan Brown has left. So, what does this mean for the band? Well, after listening to the band’s new song ‘Bleed’ it seems that clean vocals are all the rage right now. Deaf Havana pulled it off and now they’re doing fantastic! Go and see what the band have in store for the future and more new songs from their upcoming new album. (MB)
Where & When: 12:30 - 12:55 on the Zippo Encore stage, Sunday.
Slam Dunk 2012 is on its way and here at Already Heard we love Slam Dunk! The line up this year is especially good and it’s hard for us to choose who to watch, from those old favourites to the new bands and rare UK visits that Slam Dunk have lovingly given to us all.
Debates have come to an end and we’ve tried our best to select just 10 bands that we recommend you should see at either the Leeds or Hatfield date of Slam Dunk. Please note that between us we’re fans of pretty much every band on the bill! Unfortunately though we can’t see everyone. Take our advice if you will and have an awesome weekend. See you down the front!
Their first time in the UK so show them love. Is that not enough? Be welcoming British citizens! Okay okay, here’s more: The band is a side project of Tim Landers from Transit and Brad Wiseman from This Time Next Year. Still need more? Their new album ‘Every Day I Tell Myself I’m Going To Be A Better Person’ was released recently and it’s actually really damn good (I mean, what else did you expect?!) and you can read our exact thoughts on that album here. They’re on early so go and get pumped! (MB)
Where & When: 3:20 (North & South) on the Macbeth Stage.
Some of you may be heading to Belgium this weekend. And for that, we’re very jealous of you. Very jealous, as this weekend sees Groezrock return to the small village of Meerhout for a devastatingly brilliant line up that will shatter the fields and neighbouring countries around for this 21st addition of the festival.
Whilst you may already have ideas on who to watch, Already Heard took on the challenge on who we’d recommend you to see. Complete with persuasive reasons, stage times and locations.
Sadly, Thrice called for a hiatus back at the end of last year. Those who know and love Thrice are all in a unison of being absolutely gutted, especially after latest album ‘Major/Minor’ blew our minds the way Thrice always do. Melodic yet intense and always perfect live. Thrice are really an inspiration and if you don’t know who they are then now’s your time to see what you’ve been missing out on for the past 14 years and then join the rest of us in mourning. (MB)
Where & When: 7.10 on the Main Stage, Sunday.
The Dillinger Escape Plan
DESTROYER. The Dillinger Escape Plan are lethal in every sense of the word. Well, I think there’s only one sense of the word, but it applies to their music and their live shoes. Search ‘The Dillinger Escape Plan Virgin Megastore’ on YouTube to get an insane insight into just what I mean. Go on, watch it now… Done? HOLY HECK! Exactly. Go. And. Watch. Them. (MB)
Where & When: 8.30 on the Impericon Stage, Saturday.
Tomorrow the fifth annual Record Store Day takes place around the world, and sees labels, bands, and music fans celebrating independent record labels.
Since it’s inception in 2008, Record Store Day has rapidly grown with interest getting bigger by the year, with over 200 UK stores alone taking part this year.
As always there are a wide range of special, limited releases especially for Record Store Day. With everyone from Taking Back Sunday to Mastodon to Refused and many more releasing material, Already Heard thought it’d be ideal to recommend 10 essential Record Store Day purchases.
The Horrible Crowes - Live from Fingerprints 7”
With last year’s ‘Elsie,’ Brian Fallon and Ian Perkins produced one of the most compelling albums of 2011. For RSD, the duo are releasing a two-track 7” especially record at Fingerprints Records in California. The two tracks included are ‘I Witnessed A Crime’ and ‘Blood Loss,’ two of the more soulful cuts from ‘Elsie.’ (SR)
Frank Turner - I Still Believe/Somebody To Love (Queen cover)
Take one of the most resounding, anthemic numbers of Frank Turner’s career and put it with a classic Queen track, and you’re left with a must-have purchase for Record Store Day 2012. In other words, Frank Turner follows his triumphant Wembley arena show with an essential 7” for any Frank Turner fan. (SR)
Taking Back Sunday - We Play Songs
Take four classic Taking Back Sunday songs, record two (‘Ghost Man on Third’ and Your Own Disaster’) ‘at California’s Fingerprints and two (Great Romances of the 20th Century and Faith (When I Let You Down)) at Looney Tunes in Boston, and you have a recipe for a special TBS Record Store Day release. (SR)
Lemuria - Varoom Allure
The Buffalo based three piece return with new two tracks for Record Store Day 2012. It’s great to see that they’ve gone for something totally original for this instead of simply re-releasing old material, or providing a live EP like so many before them. (RH)
Refused - Songs To Fan The Flames Of Discontent
I picked ‘Songs To Fan…’ for two reasons. Firstly, I feel that this is a stronger album then the iconic ‘Shape Of Punk To Come.’ Secondly, we had a brilliant re-release of ‘Shape Of Punk To Come’ a year or two back, complete with a live album and the ‘Refused Is Fucking Dead’ documentary. With this version still readily available, do we really need another colorway? (RH)
This weekend Nottingham’s Hit The Deck Festival takes place for the second year running. 2012 sees the festival growing and stretching across five venues; Rock City, the Rescue Rooms, Stealth, Rock City Basement and The Forum, delivering over 40 bands for the one-day event.
With so much to pick from, Already Heard thought it would be ideal to give you the lowdown on the must-see acts at this weekend’s festivities.
The Wonder Years
With the thriving pop-punk scene ever growing, The Wonder Years will be making their return to the UK, and off the back of a ridiculously good year following the release of ‘Suburbia: I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing.’ Expect the Phialdelphia group to truly a deliver an energetic show with choruses boldy sung in unison. (SR)
Where & When: 9:00pm on Big Deal Clothing Stage, Rock City Basement.
Surely these words need not exist? This is Cancer Bats we’re talking about! However, if you’ve been busy on another planet or existing solely underground without any communication to the real world on the surface for 8 or so years then let me fill you in; Cancer Bits always bring the house down. Let me repeat that. Always bring the house down. If you want to a band and audience to go nuts and compliment each other oh so well then go and be a part of it. Oh, and they’ll be playing new songs, so there’s even more reason to check it all out. (MB)
Where & When: 9:00pm on the Front Magazine Stage, The Rescue Rooms.