Tag: Punk-Rock

Now Playing: June 2015

There have been some great releases the last few months, I haven’t been able to cover them all in full so here’s a rundown of some of the records I’ve been enjoying:

fist cityFist City – Everything Is A Mess
This is a very accessible and immediately memorable sophomore album from the Canadian indie-punk four piece. Melodic songs, with excellent off-kilter clipped vocals, are backed by sometimes jangly, sometimes fast and spiky guitars and hypnotic rhythms; the combination is just perfect for rocking out to and will make you want to do just that.  The songs meld with dreamy/spacey rumbling instrumental interludes to add interest and what you get is an accomplished, well rounded record made to last.
(previously published in Buzz mag June)

flesh world
Flesh World – The Wild Animals In my Life

I consider this a grower compared to their 2013 record, but after a few play throughs I’m now fully on board.  Abrasive yet melodic post-punk gems, dark and scuzzy yet also quite accessible in its own way.

 

 

valet
Valet – Nature

A nice bit of super-dreamy shoegaze which also touches on many other genres here and there and has lovely floaty vocals and 90s sounding riffs.  The opener, Sunday, is a favourite, reminding me of Slowdive (if they were covering the Cocteau Twins perhaps).  A decent change of pace.

 

annabel album coverAnnabel – Having It All
While I don’t think this is Annabel’s strongest release,  a new release from them is always welcome so it doesn’t take long for me to get lost in their emo, indie-rock tunes.  This record feels slicker, less immediate and quirky,  however there are still some great tunes here and it is worthy of your time.  The jury is out on whether it will stand the test of time for me against their other records, but I’ll worry about that later.

sweet john bloom
Sweet John Bloom – Weird Prayer
Short melodic punchy tracks, ranging in style from indie rock to post-punk and power pop the album is certainly diverse but not erratic.

 

 

Fleabite cover small
Fleabite – TTYL

Jagged yet melodic girl fronted punky pop tunes from Fleabite who are one of my new favourite bands. They have top tunes and this new record is, if anything, even more melodic than their last. Fleabite always have a layer of harsh blown-out fuzz over everything but on this new EP their sound is richer, a little easier on the ears and has a lovely surf-rock quality. Love this.

 

Telepathic cover
Telepathic – Powers Of Ten EP

The new 6 track EP from the Bleeding Rainbow folks.   This is not a million miles from their old rockin’ shoegaze sound, if you were a fan of the old band you’ll likely be in to this too.  The EP has great melodies and is nicely heavy on the guitars.

 

 

Temple cover
Temple – Kill/Let Die

Just two tracks here but really decent (emo) indie-rock tunes and getting repeated spins from me.  I love the punchy, jagged guitars, strong bass lines and the mix of sung and shouted vocals running over eachother.

Review: Blood Drugs S/T Album

Blood Drugs – Self Titled Album Review

blood drugs debut album coverPleasingly gruff vocals, discordant riffage and hard hit, hypnotic and often complex drum patterns flesh out this great punk rock album from the Seattle based four piece.  I hear hints of Fugazi and Rites of Spring, alongside more contemporary sounds like Fucked Up and Drug Church in the record; a dark mood penetrates, but flashes of melody and some hooky moments keep the album from being bogged down in melancholy.

As well as the stand out dumming, the bass lines are superb, adding so much to each track – rich and rumbling away warmly at the core of each tune, they also add an extra layer of melody. Fast and complex bass riffs when done right are always impressive and Gwen Stubbs really nails it.

There are moments on the record that feel almost timeless, Lowest is one, where classic (Dischord) hardcore style drums and riffs meet a tune that sounds fresh and new and then a flash of odd (synth?) noise takes over the ending before seaguing into the next track.  The album works perfectly well at 9 tracks but the version I have for review includes four extras; a remix of the opener Leaves which doesn’t really add anything essential to an already cracking track to warrant its inclusion and even stranger are 3 radio edits of tracks that are also on the record, all are entirely unnecessary additions and spoil the flow of the LP.

Blood Drugs was released on April 14th 2015 through Good to Die Records.  It’s a release that caught me by surprise, but one I’ve been coming back to quite a bit in recent weeks. Worth a look.

 

Milo’s Planes Single Review

Milo’s Planes – Two feet In A Crowd Single Review

This is the Milos Planes Coverkind of scuzzy, guitar-led, melodic, punky noise I like, so I’m happy to be posting a few words here even just to promote the band’s (free) single launch at Mother’s Ruin in Bristol on 18th July with Gnarwhals.

Two Feet In A Crowd and the four accompanying B-Sides all sport hooky riffs drenched in fuzz and they are super addictive; so much so that i’ve had to put the soundcloud stream on my bookmarks for easy access.  These are tunes you can rock out to; the short and very sweet Harnessed To A kick has a fantastic central riff which gets me moving every time but the song is so short, just a snippet really, that i’m always left wishing there was more.  King is a punky number with layered backing shouts and some great guitar work. Better off feels like a party tune with a slightly surf-rock edge which is probably down to the echoey guitar sound, and again, that layer of fuzz – it feels fun, dreamy and effortless.

The ‘A’ side is meant to be the the main feature here though, taken from the young band’s debut album to be released later this year, it’s a confident track, breezy and catchy; distorted vocals you can shout along with and a finish that builds nicely.  I’m impressed with Milo’s Planes and recommend you check them out.

Pissghetti – So Much For My Happy Ending Review

Pissghetti – So Much For My Happy Ending Review

Pissghetti CoverI was convinced I wouldn’t like this mini album; the band name and awful album cover almost made me consign it to the not-a-chance-bin and based on initial appearances I was expecting some generic pop-punk nightmare but I’m glad I gave it a chance.

So Much For My Happy Ending does actually have a pop-punk twang after all, but at the fore is a 90s feel – it owes a debt to Pavement and Weezer amongst others – fuzzy lo-fi production (which muffles things at times) and jangly guitars backed by gently dreamy vocals make the record feel like something that should have appeared on The Adventures of Pete and Pete and that’s something I can really get behind.  The middle three tracks are the ones that speak to me the most, flowing almost seamlessly – Earth Sucks Without You has a quietly melancholic feel which takes me back; Surf’s Up takes the pace up a notch but retains that sadness and Tiny Hands, my vote for track of the album, has sweet vocals backed by an oh so danceable beat and guitars that bring to mind all my favourite indie bands of the 90s.

The Virginia Beach four piece deliver great melodies but it’s the warm production and sing along vocal lines which are the real winner here – they are like a comfy old sweater and have had me playing this on repeat.

check out Pissghetti at Bandcamp and grab this album at a price that suits your pocket.

Looking Forward To 2014

I’ve been looking at what’s coming up in the new year just prior to my rundown of 2013, which will hopefully be going live towards the end of this week.

First up is Nai Harvest, the Sheffield Indie Punks have a new EP coming next March through Dog Knights Productions and Hold Open My Head  is the title track from it which I’m liking very much at the moment.

HarbourerAlso of note and being released on 31st January is Harbourer’s debut self-titled 7″ single, the Australian melodic-punks have a grunge edge which adds an edge to their sound I really like.

You can take a listen over at their label’s Bandcamp

 

 

Finally, I’m loving Acid Fast, who also have a new release in January, which you can hear a track of over at Punknews.org. The East Bay four piece bring to mind Swearin’ and Jawbreaker amongst others.  ADAGIO830 will apparently be handling the Euro release of this one but so far no info has surfaced on their website so I’m keeping my fingers crossed I don’t have to import from America again.

Swn Festival 2013 Day 3 & 4

Swn Festival Day 3 & 4 highlights

Saturday 19th
this is wreckage
This Is Wreckage opened my Saturday – this is a band that likes to play loud and dirty and the crowd were with them every step of the way.  The Swn guide quoted for fans of Big Black and The Jesus Lizard so this was one I couldn’t miss and I was more than pleasantly surprised. the bass was huge and dirty, the guitar was juicy and jagged and the vocals husky and nicely judged.

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Nobody, Ever EP Review

Nobody Ever EP Cover

Nobody, Ever – This Wall Is Dedicated To Liam And His Mates EP

I recently reviewed Leicester (UK) emo-punk-rock four piece Nobody, Ever’s  previous EP for Roomthirteen and this new offering (again an EP) is also very charming and doused in an American sound which doesn’t hurt them one bit.

The opener  When Your Hearts Already Left is a great way to start the record, slightly melancholic but with a fantastic melody which grabs you straight away, you’ll find yourself bopping along by the end of the first chorus, great stuff.  Straight away this record seems more polished than Everyone Stood By The Side Of The Road but still nicely rough around the edges luckily which is the way punk-rock should be.

Delete That is a touch more downbeat and not as memorable, it still has a nice little tune though. The gruffness from their previous ep seems more toned down on this record with The Last Good Thing seeming more straight forwardly rocky rather than emo or punk-rock, in fact it’s a little too poppy for my taste.  Room 505 has more a emotive vocal approach with some cracking and almost-screams which adds a nice touch and pulls the track back from the pop-brink just in time. The closer We Sang “So Long…” is a real gem and possibly my favourite tine here, just the right mix of melody and  riffs with some nice gang vocals, nicely done.       

Check Nobody, Ever out on Facebook and Bandcamp.

MINE @LePub Newport 25th July 13

It was a pretty poor turnout at LePub surprisingly, with four bands playing for free people really missed out on a treat, more fool them.

First up was The Modern Farewell, a local band featuring Jon Greenwood (he of many other bands) and playing straight up melodic punk-rock tunes.  I hadn’t seen them before but they were fun, coming over as relaxed on stage and making everyone feel at ease – they also had some pretty catchy little tunes, a great warm up.

Next on was Bristol mob Caves with a different line up than usual and playing mainly older tunes, great set actually, although the vocals were pretty high in the mix (I noticed a few people putting their fingers in their ears throughout) – their melodic punk-rock tunes are real crowd pleasers and got the tiny audience moving straight away.

MINE were up next, not headlining tonight but it can only be a matter of time. They have a huge sound, fantastic post-rock style epics backed by screamy punk vocals and some really memorable tunes. They played tunes from their last 4 track EP, Crossed Out and Hidden In Drawers in particular sounded superb  – the riffs dark and chunky but shot through with more delicate and uplifting moments all sounding clear and tight and oh so impressive. They also gave us a new track from an upcoming record to be announced officially next week – excellent news. This band continue to impress, let’s hope they come back our way again soon.

Connection Issues

I had intended to post a live review of the Swansea leg of the Annabel & Dowsing European tour (on 7th June at Mozart’s) some time ago, however, the ongoing saga of my crappy Internet connection has put a stop to not just this but all my online activity in the last couple of weeks, which has been frustrating to say the least. Anyway, as it’s a bit late for the review now I’ll sum up…

The gig ended up being one of those shows the band would most likely prefer to forget ever happened which was a real shame – we’d waited months to see them and had been hugely excited in the run up so the fact that the night fell apart a bit felt even worse.  Actually the warning signs started when the venue was changed from Bristol to Swansea which it turns out has the worst rail links in the world – the last train back at 10.30 on a Friday (shudder). On the day it seemed to go well at first – beautiful weather all day and the walk to the venue was faster than expected, unfortunately Dowsing and Annabel got held up in traffic from Brighton and arrived at the venue super late, without time to unload their kit or sound-check and with less than an hour to fit both sets in, which needless to say, wasn’t going to happen.

Luckily Hell Money who supported were excellent and saved the night from being a total wash out – check them out here.  Dowsing played a very short 5 or 6 song set – which considering the circumstances was really decent. Unfortunately the band we’d gone to see, Annabel, came on fifteen minutes before we had to leave and played just three (of my favourite) songs before we made a dash for the train. The set seemed strained at best and although you could see they were really trying to get in the mood, the hours they’d just spent sitting in the van showed.  It’s easy to imagine they picked up towards the end of the set but we were not around to see it which was pretty gutting.  If I was made of money I’d have gone to catch them in London a couple of days later but alas I’m not.

Looks like we have a working connection again now after engineer number 4’s visit today but we’ll see. If it lasts I’m hoping to post a bit more regularly in the coming weeks so check back for more rambling soon.

Records Of The Year – 2012

This year has seen releases from some big names (Billy Talent, Cancer Bats, Deftones, Every Time I Die et al) and also from some of my favourite artists (Cursive, Latitudes), but for me it has also been a year for discovering great new music so there was so much to choose from it became a really difficult task to pick favourites. In the end though, after much deliberation, I did actually manage to whittle it down to this top ten album list.

Albums
Cursive – I Am Gemini
A new Cursive record is always going to be a big release for me and this album really delivered – again (how do they keep doing it). It’s an ambitious concept record carried by nicely meaty riffage, spectacular tunes and some of the band’s most complex song constructions to date. Tim Kasher’s lyrics are fantastic as always and here he focuses again on preoccupations with spirituality and good & evil which have often been an undercurrent in his writing. Just brilliant.      

Everyone Everywhere – 2012
Everyone Everywhere’s second self-titled album is a grower, not as instant as their debut but, as I’ve discovered, with repeated listens you’ll find it delivers as much on melody and hooks as the former. read more

Annabel – Youth In Youth
Annabel deal in the kind of tunes that make your heart soar; uplifting sing-along melodies, gang vocals, intense and rich guitar sounds and marching drum beats that make you want to move. They walk the line somewhere between indie and emo, a kind of jangly, emotional rock base with some nicely anthemic song structures and the odd twiddly guitar part thrown in for good measure. read more

Goodtime Boys – What’s Left To Let Go
This isn’t just a straightforward, in your face scream fest, Goodtime Boys hook you in with strong lyrical content, layered and atmospheric slow burns and technical proficiency, giving you plenty past the initial rush to keep you coming back to the album. read more

Neon Piss – Neon Piss
This one came out of the blue –  a really interesting punk-rock record, injecting some great tunes into a scuzzy backing, pretty full on but has you singing along after only a couple of listens. This one got some great coverage from Maximum Rocknroll this year too which piqued my interest in the first place but it far outlived all my expectations when I got my hands on it – thoroughly addictive. Check out their bandcamp for more.  

Slices – Still Cruising
Read about this album in MRR too and really liked the sound of it. I spent a couple of weeks listening to the album stream on their label’s Bandcamp before thinking sod it and ordering the vinyl. It’s H/C with a Fucked Up type sound and oh so listenable.

Blacklisters – BLKLSTRS
Blacklisters are superbly nasty; jagged riffs and intense untamed vocals, all underlined by the most compulsively danceable, distorted and rumbling bass lines and heavy hitting drums, OK perhaps not danceable but twitchable at the very least, this is a record that commands your attention from the opening bars and relentlessly batters you but it’s never just a wall of noise there is such a lot more going on underneath that scuzzy, hard exterior. read more

Deftones – Koi No Yokan
Not sure if this really nedds too much of a write up as its Deftones but I think this one deserves a mention in the top ten list. In my opinion this album is more well rounded than their last – a good mix of heavy and dreamy and it feels, finally, that they’re getting their groove back. Since Che’s been out of action there’s been a kind of desperate melancholic tone to their records but this one feels more relaxed and organic than they have in a while.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
A new Godspeed record was something I didn’t actually think would happen but here it is and it’s superb. A really epic sound and some great little snatches of melody – powerful and emotive. A great return.  

Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory
Cleveland based Cloud Nothings new Wichita released album (produced by Steve Albini) is a tuneful ride of jangly noise and melody with beautifully raw vocals; moments of post-rock, post-punk along with surf, garage and indie amongst others all feature (if we must label) – whatever, when it’s this engaging, who cares what you call it, all you really need to know is that it’s charming and memorable and addictive. read more

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