#NewMusicFriday: May 10th 2024

May 10th NewMusicFriday

You all know the deal by now. I’ve been doing this (almost weekly) for a year now. It’s been a year that’s kinda flown by. Admittedly it hasn’t been easy running Already Heard as a one-man operation. It can be demanding, yet I’ve somehow persevered with it. I did consider putting out the bat signal and see if anyone wanted to give me a helping hand. However, I kinda like the casual (or “hobbyist”) approach I’ve maintained Already Heard for the past 12 months. Anyway, I digress (and no one reads this, right?)

This week has a handful of noteworthy albums. For starters, new albums from Knocked LooseBig Special, and El Moono aren’t to be ignored. You can read my thoughts on all three below.

Elsewhere, Hot Water Music continue to celebrate their 30th anniversary as they release their 10th album –‘Vows’. Masked nu-metal revivalists BLACKGOLD are simply ‘Back With Another One’, and Like Moths To Flames aim to redefine themselves on ‘The Cycles Of Trying To Cope’.  Incubus revisit 2001’s slightly under-appreciated ‘Morning View’ album with a complete re-recording. Similarly, Bossk re-work some longtime favourites and deliver some re-recordings too on’ .4.’

On the independent/underground level, Bristol quartet HAAL showcase an off-kilter mix of post-rock, trip-hop, and industrial music with their debut EP – ‘Back To Shilmarine’. ‘Pathetic Apathetic’ sees Indoor Pets add a heavier element to their indie-pop sound. There’s also the self-titled debut album from rising Finnish metallers Crownshift.

If that’s not enough, you can also listen to new releases from Friday Night PilotsLes Savy FavTake OffenseSebastian Bach, and several others.

Knocked Loose 2024
Photo Credit: Brock Fetch

Knocked Loose – You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To

If you’re aware of Knocked Loose‘s ascension in recent years, it could be suggested that their third album, ‘You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To’, is their chance to truly break through. After hearing the frantic 27-minute offering, it’s safe to say the Kentucky hardcore mob are smashing any doors or glass ceilings in their way.

Where they could have sacrificed their heaviness in favour of “accessible” melodies, they have merely upped the intensity. From the opening metallic blast of ‘Thirst’ to ‘Sit & Mourn’s final crushing riffs, Knocked Loose strangles you with an array of incredibly dense musical assaults. ‘Piece by Piece’ is relentless through chugging guitars, and Bryan Garris’s claustrophobic yelps. ‘Suffocate’ sees Kevin “Pac Sun” Kaine pummeling the shit out of his drum kit as Garris and Poppy share vocals, before delivering a colourful, reggaeton breakdown. While the steely ‘Don’t Reach For Me’ blasts its way through before temporarily holding its breath, only for Garris to piercingly scream “I never gave a fuck” to giveaway to one of many all-mighty breakdowns.

On the surface, Knocked Loose‘s approach is unrelenting yet there are moments like the pairing of ‘Moss Covers All’ and ‘Take Me Home’ where dynamism is shown. One moment they’re upping the intensity to another level, before ominously bringing in a timid paranoid-induce guitar riff. It’s equally intense, and its build pays off. Later on, ‘Sit & Mourn’ closes the album with its temporarily contemplative guitars and buzzing flies ambience. Garris’ piercing words of angst and regret, proclaiming “This life can be way too much”. Shadowy blackgaze guitars engulf the senses, only to be momentarily interrupted by a degraded voice asking “Why’d you leave?”

The production work of Drew Fulk, AKA Wzrd Bld deservedly needs to be highlighted. Having worked with the likes of Bad Wolves and Motionless in White, he gives the quintet a big, monstrous sound that never neglects their intensity. For example, ‘Slaughterhouse 2’ sees MiW’s Chris “Motionless” Cerulli pop in for a convincing cameo, as he battles Garris in the voice booth against a backdrop of roaring guitars. Likewise, ‘The Calm That Keeps You Awake’ hints at a KoRn-esque groove before chaos resumes, even if Garris’ screams of the title is the nearest Knocked Loose get to any resemblance of a hook.

But they’re not here to give hooks. Despite their virality through playing Coachella and Bonnaroo, it’s clear Knocked Loose are far from cashing in. They’re designed to destroy. ‘You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To’ will beat you down, and have you getting back up asking “Thank you sir, may I have another?” It’s a record that thrives with assured ability, undeterred to go into unexpected territory, and unwilling to be crushed by the weight of expectation.

Photo Credit: Isaac Watson

Big Special – Postindustrial Hometown Blues

West Midlands duo Big Special has a message representing the working class underdog. This debut full-length is full of evocative tales of struggle and perseverance. Wordsmith Joe Hicklin is often blunt in his delivery, from the outset of ‘Black Country Gothic’, he paints a monochrome picture as the concept of the future “is just a dream”.

Hicklin is joined by Callum Moloney, together they create a rigid, dense sound made up of Moloney’s drum work,  bass, and synths (with occasional guitar). They’re hard to pin down stylistically, as there are elements of post-punk, blues, soul, trip-hop, funk, country, and more. When combined with weighty lyrical context, ‘Postindustrial Hometown Blues’ can be a challenging listen, yet there is a magnetic quality to what Hicklin and Moloney do.

For example, ‘Desperate Breakfast’ builds with intensity via a chunky bass, while ‘Butcher’s Bin’ combines Moloney’s repetitive beats with neon synth. ‘Trees’ pulsates and flirts with indie pop, partly due to the dry “B-b-b-b-b-b, pow” line and the subtle, fuzzy synth melody. ‘Shithouse’ continues to be as fun as it was upon release last summer. It allows Hicklin to have a positive release amid mental health troubles, complemented by punching drums, fuzzy guitar riffs, and a ticking synth. Likewise ‘This Here Ain’t Water’ strolls in with a bluesy coolness, allowing Joe’s soulful voice to take centre stage.

Away from the monochrome musical palette, tracks such as ‘Broadcast: Time Away’ and the heartfelt ‘ill’s tread on Americana folk, allowing Hicklin’s optimistic singing to take over. Nevertheless, it is his words and the narrative the duo have pieced together that has you on every word. Whether that’s on the brooding ‘Dust Off  / Start Again’ as Hicklin pulls himself through a monotonous working day, or ‘Mongrel’s poetic strength, spitting lines of truth and regret, or ‘DiG’s blend of acceptance and determination, backed by rising keys and brass instrumentation. Elsewhere, ‘My Shape (Blocking The Light)’ captures the hopeless, downbeat mindset of unemployment (“I have forgotten myself”). Backed by atmospheric instrumentation, it allows Big Special to take a minimalist approach with Hicklin’s sleepy melody sending the track into a haze.

If there is anything to take away from ‘Postindustrial Hometown Blues’ is that Big Special are pure. No gimmicks required. It’s threaded together by a notion that the pair have experienced adversity, allowing them to present a raw, and emotional account of present-day Britain, especially in Hicklin’s words. They know things are shit but through their music, they’re able to produce an honest account of themselves with hints of optimism planted throughout.

El Moono

El Moono – The Waking Sun

In the months leading up to the release of ‘The Waking Sun’, Brighton quartet El Moono dropped several enticing singles that ideally gave the impression that the full record would be worth the wait. With a sound rooted in post-hardcore and alt-metal, El Moono‘s debut full-length is full of sprawling, dark, and expansive ideas yet is anchored by lyrical strife and unease.

The dark lyrical narrative told by vocalist/guitarist Zac Jackson allows him to explore issues such as depression and body dysmorphia. It’s musically bounded by sharp guitars, uplifting harmonies, and layered instrumentation. ‘The Charm’ exemplifies this as it uncoils itself through wiry verses, Chirs Cartwright industrious drum work, and Jackson’s soaring, cathartic release. ‘Haunting’ borders on inciting a panic attack due to its string utilisation, yet Jackson and company keep the train from going off the tracks. ‘Chains’ treads in grungy waters with steely might, partly due to Jamie Haas’ sullen guitar and Jackson’s effective vocals.

Understandably, for any band embarking on their first full-length, their influences are sure to rear their heads. For example, ‘Phantom’ battles through with  ‘Around The Fur’-era Deftones paranoia. While penultimate track, ‘Soul Eclipse’, has an air of 90’s alt-rock through its melancholy melodic chorus. ‘Screw Loose’ bounces along with its twisting riffs, escalating guitars, and uneasy vocals. ‘Marionettes’ chugs along early on, building at a steady pace, allowing the various shades of El Moono to appear. One moment they’re relentlessly heavy, the next spacious and reflective. Their ability to ebb and flow might not be unique, but it’s executed with confidence.

While its scope of ideas can appear to be expansive, El Moono‘s musical abrasiveness and range is far from erratic, bringing a sense of control to Jackson’s lyrically unhinged mindset. When paired together, it can make ‘The Waking’ a compelling record that just about lives up to its potential. When it comes to debut albums from emerging UK talent, El Moono has a collection of songs that can only enhance their status.

What is out on #NewMusicFriday?

Knocked Loose – You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To
Hot Water Music – Vows
Incubus – Morning View XXIII
The Plot In You – Vol. 2
Big Special – Postindustrial Hometown Blues
BLACKGOLD – Back With Another One
Like Moths To Flames – The Cycles Of Trying To Cope
Bossk – .4
El Moono – The Waking Sun
HAAL – Back To Shilmarine
Indoor Pets – Pathetic Apathetic
Moskito – G.R.I.M’ Deluxe EP
Friday Pilots Club – Nowhere
Crownshift – Crownshift
Take Offense – T.Otality
Les Savy Fav – Oui, LSF
Sebastian Bach – Child Within The Man
Unleash The Archers – Phantoma
The Pleasure Dome – Liminal Space
Rainbow Kitten Surprise – Love Hate Music Box
Powerman 5000 – Abandon Ship
Missiles – Weaponize Tomorrow
Handheld – Live At 25
Waste – In Bloom
Freedom Call – Silver Romance
Revenant – What A Time To Be Alive
Sunnata – Chasing Shadows
THOT – Delta
Eat Defeat – My Money’s On Me
Clementine Was Right – Tell Yourself You’re Going Home
Arcadia Grey – Casually Crashing

If you think I’ve missed something or have a new album/EP/song to tell us about, tell us about it here.

If you’re looking for the latest tracks focusing on rock, punk, hardcore, metal, emo, and everything in between, then check out our ‘Newish Music’ playlist on Spotify or Apple Music.


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