We Were Promised So Much...

Sep 08

Album Review: Gnarwolves

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Artist:  Gnarwolves

Title:  Gnarwolves

Record Label: Big Scary Monsters/Tangled Talk

Release Date: 15th September 2014

Rating: 8.0/10

It’s been a long, contested topic for years; did punk originate from America or across the Atlantic on a tiny island known as the United Kingdom? Some may say the States birthed rock ‘n’ roll’s delinquent offspring thanks to CBGB, The New York Dolls and The Ramones - however in Blighty, the safety pin/Mohawk enthusiasts among us would claim Sex Pistols, The Clash and The 100 Club marked a ground zero for guitar music, where the bloated world of prog and stadium rock was stripped back to its raw sinews - as they say; “this is a chord, this is another, this is a third…now form a band”

Working as a conduit for transatlantic punk relations, Brighton oiks Gnarwolves are the bastard sons from an American egg and a British sperm. The three piece echo the pop punk catchiness of New Found Glory, FIDLAR and Blink 182 - the latter being recent touring buddies. The Anglo connection comes in the form of a darker toned slice of punk, recounting Gallows, the now defunct The Ghost of a Thousand and Frank Turner when he’s not flexing his folk muscle. The seaside dwellers have primed a self-titled debut LP which rattles with a Warped Tour appeal but a devastating gut punch closer to their motherland.

'Gnarwolves' is an unrelenting beast, anchored on chugging riffs, scratchy bassline rumbles and drumming that speeds past at a million miles an hour. Vocalist Thom Weeks, possess a voice somewhere between Frank Carter and NFG’s Jordan Pundik. The deployment of a guttural howl or anthemic call to arms injects a depth to the band's debut and maintains a quasi USA/UK union. Sonically, the trio don't stray too far from a pop-punk blueprint, albeit with a slightly more acerbic tone to their cartoonish brethren. When the three piece veer from these jittering realms, they hint at a more considered, expansive sound. 'Hate me (Don't Stand Still)' reels off in a propulsive gritty fashion, much like the rest of its peers however Gnarwolves remove their foot from the gas to deliver a less urgent track of shifting dynamics, from explosive to sparse and back again before completely disintegrating. This melee is punctuated with the sobering words “we're living in a modern hell and it suits you well” as an ode to the disenchanted. LP closer, 'Eat dynamite. Kid' embellishes on the Gallows comparison, as it detonates in a violent scree of noise and metallic riffage. Very much a song of two halves, it announces itself as a darker, frantic cousin to the rest of its kin until a period of silence is decimated by a violent flurry of hardcore punk. The nine tracks that precede 'Eat dynamite. Kid' fizzle like a lit fuse with the album's finale providing the C4, attributing to an explosive set of end credits.

Lyrically, the album deals with a state of detachment and a ubiquitous angst. Gnarwolves do well in avoiding the perpetual adolescent teenager normally associated with pop punk but there are moments when the genre’s clichés rear up but luckily these occurrences don’t soil the album’s raw appeal. ‘Bottle to Bottle’ delves into a blinkered existence clouded by alcohol indulgence “If we start drinking heavily/the walls might stop shrinking” provides the inebriated thoughts of “I got so caught up in a moment I didn’t know I’d changed” which illustrates a theme of being stuck in a downward spiral. The ADHD punk of ‘Smoking kills’ pierces the air with an upfront dart of “We weren’t raised to be fucking morons” but later in the track a tired formulaic line of “I am the product of my father’s burden” is less pie ‘n’ mash grit and more American Pie faux trauma. Separation and longing are the key references on ‘Day Man’ - “Don’t tell me distance gets easier with time” and “You’ll always be much better at saying goodbye”. The impassioned bark of “If you must die/then die for something” whiffs a little of fromage but you can’t help but agree with that parting sentiment.

'Gnarwolves' does nothing to win the battle of who founded punk first and it doesn't reinvent the genre but what the album does well is fuse raw passion and a no bullshit salvo of blistering punk 'n' roll nuggets. 

Sep 07

Album Review: BANKS

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Artist:  Banks

Title:  Goddess

Record Label: Universal/Harvest Records

Release Date: 8th September 2014

Rating: 7.0/10

 It’s a sad world we live in when female artists such as Grimes, Deap Vally, Lauren Mayberry from Chvrches and Laura-Mary Carter of Blood Red Shoes feel compelled to speak out about equality in the music industry in comparison to their male peers. Last time we checked it was 2014 and not the dark ages. Each of the aforementioned artists have strong and justified opinions when it comes to being represented, belittled and the lack of female performers at music festivals. With this burning argument roaring a tumultuous blaze it’s only a matter of time before a truly game changing role model makes everyone’s ears prick up. For the moment, these gals are fighting the good fight.

LA songstress, BANKS, is cut from the same cloth as her fellow sonic sisters. Although, whereas the likes of Mayberry and Carter have made direct, assertive remarks in the public domain, BANKS has opted for a slightly more subtle approach. Notably, bestowing the title of ‘Goddess’ upon her debut LP marks out the intent of her own feminine identity. The album itself is a stirring wash of brittle beats, low slung synth hues and BANKS’ enchanting vocal, which ranges from alluringly aloof to strong and empowering. Such empowerment ripples through the album’s title track; this is a slick number that fidgets and writhes whilst the album’s lynchpin dispenses with breathy, sultry vocal nuances. “Fucking with a goddess and you get a little colder” is how the singer from Orange County warns off any potential bullshit mongers. Not so much ‘sisters doing it for themselves’, ‘Goddess’ hinges on a stealth like poise.

The album’s main core is constructed on the themes of relationships, generally love of the doomed kind. A reoccurring notion is that BANKS has found herself in a toxic union and ‘Goddess’ is her catharsis. From the off ‘Alibi’ sets the mood; “please give me something to convince me that I am not a monster” BANKS asks while mechanical cogs whir and euphoric synths swell to a state of rapture. ‘Waiting Game’ is an ode to love’s limbo land where a complicated matter of the heart isn’t easily determined as either on or off. ‘Change’ follows suit with more turbulent tales of amore. Finally, on closing number ‘Under The Table’ a point of resolution is almost found with BANKS requesting “my heart could be yours/won’t you make it your home?” in a touching piece of sentiment. Rough seas indeed on the BANKS love boat.

Sonically, ‘Goddess’ excels when electronics lurk in the shadows and beats reverberate off the walls. In saying that, the two moments of organic instrumentation ‘Under The Table’ and ‘You Should Know Where I’m Coming From’ provide a nice change of pace with their stripped back piano led ballads. ‘Goddess’ tends to lose momentum at the album’s epicentre with ‘Stick’ and ‘Fuck Em Only We Know’. The latter is not the barbed attack it’s title purports, while both tracks drift too close into pastiche r ‘n’ b. BANKS’ appeal is where cool, sophisticated beats and synth lines al a The xx merge with smooth vocals of The Weeknd but these two ditties angle themselves as standard chart clogging derivative album filler. 

‘Goddess’ doesn’t capture the raw, visceral BANKS you see on stage but her dark, brooding electronica manages to enchant with a sultry brooding nature. Not quite a ‘bra burning’ declaration but a strong female message of determination nonetheless. 

Sep 05

Introducing…Logfox

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Logfox revel in the sonic world of mathematics; they’re a fidgeting gang of 3 with a lust for messing with noise and time signatures, their discography is now a blossoming trilogy of awkward rhythmic textures, counting EP1, EP2 and latest instalment EP3 in the band’s slippery bag of tricks and finally, the trio can be understood by this simple equation - (Metronomy x Tom Vek)/Deftones = Logfox. 

After laying down the foundations with the first brace of EP’s, Logfox’s next chapter. EP3, realises a wanton impulse to fuse hypnotic low slung basslines with acidic barrages of serrated fretwork. To coin the band’s self-proclaimed categorisation - EP3 is ‘muckyfunk’. ‘Top Lip Tuesday’ rumbles with rubbery bass throbs whilst nonchalant falsetto vocals urge you to “tie it up/and grease it up/and bag it up” with a tongue in cheek risqué sauciness. All this pent up tension climaxes once a feral guitar wail surges at the tracks finale with a searing eruption of sound. 

If ‘Top Lip Tuesday’ is Metronomy and Tom Vek’s jam session being rudely interrupted by Deftones, ‘Fist Filth’ is the metal overlords crushing the skulls of Joe Mount and Vek with an eight minute long ball of mangled static. Filth is high on the agenda and EP3’s closing bruiser couldn’t get any grubbier.

EP3 is ready for your listening pleasure at http://logfox.bandcamp.com along with Logfox’s previous releases EP1 and EP2 all for the cost of precisely zilch. Bargain!



Logfox play The Firebug, Leicester 10th September 2014 supporting El Ten Eleven - http://firebugbar.net/events/el-ten-eleven/

Please get in touch if you like what you hear - for any press/interview/guest list requests for Logfox please contact Adam Williams @ wewerepromisedsomuch@gmail.com 




Logfox are: Three men make noise
 

Jaime D Marlow - Guitar/Vocals/Production 
Richard D Springthorpe - Vocals/Bass
Neil V Taylor -  Drums/Percussion

https://www.facebook.com/logfoxband
http://logfox.bandcamp.com

We Were Promised So Much
 

Contact Adam Williams via - 

Email: wewerepromisedsomuch@gmail.com 
Website URL: http://wewerepromisedsomuch.tumblr.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WeWerePromisedSoMuchUK
Twitter: @Wewerepromised

Sep 01

Introducing…Fizzy Blood

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If you frequent the pages of We Were Promised So Much regularly – and we hope that you do – you’ll know we love two things, noisy rock ‘n’ roll acts and bands that count ‘Blood’ in their names. Royal Blood, Honeyblood and now, Leeds four piece – Fizzy Blood. Although sonically different, each outfit stokes the fire in our bellies reserved for rock ‘n’ roll at its most potent.

Fizzy Blood have garnered interest from tastemakers Jen Long and Ally McCrae at BBC Radio One, Alex Baker at Kerrang! Radio and Sophie K at Team Rock Radio. Plus punk forbearers Dead Kennedy’s requested the unit to accompany them on their August UK tour. We’ve got a feeling this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The foursome mould together the no fuss blue-collar punk rock of The Gaslight Anthem with the muscular might of Queens of the Stone Age. Debut single, ‘January Sun’ projects itself like Josh Homme and Brian Fallon are having a love in whilst they fight over who thwacks the cowbell next. The four piece’s primary outing commences with an assured swagger, attributed to Benji’s deadpan vocals, Paul’s slippery guitar twang and a strutting drum lick delivered by the hands of Jake. As the track gathers pace, a feeling of momentum is hard to avoid, akin to shaking up a bottle of cola and plunging in a tube of Mentos. Before you can blink, Fizzy Blood’s effervescent rock ‘n’ roll froths with an rampant urgency, where those deadpan vocals have transformed into a guttural howl and the Homme/Fallon bromance has turned ugly…oh the aural simulated horror!

Although ‘January Sun’ sonically surges with a confident persona, lyrically the Yorkshiremen are a frazzled bunch “Is it all in my head?/Am I going round the bend?/Still alive, but I’m dead behind the eyes” paints the picture of a troubled protagonist, one at odds with the world. It’s this juxtaposition between musical bravado and an exposed fleshy underbelly that gives Fizzy Blood their depth and poise. 

For more on Fizzy Blood -

https://soundcloud.com/fizzy-blood

https://www.facebook.com/FIZZYBLOOD

https://twitter.com/FIZZYBLOODMUSIC

Aug 28

Interview: Nothing But Theives

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Arguably one of 2014’s success stories, Nothing But Thieves have propelled themselves onto the playlists of Radio 1 – with the likes of Zane Lowe showing early support to the band’s melancholic stadium-indie. Amongst influential support, NBT have been likened to Radiohead and Jeff Buckley. It’s safe to say, Nothing But Thieves are making waves.

We grabbed some time with the band to get a handle on their reaction to the feverous response they’ve received from Mr Lowe and Co, whilst we get under the skin of the band’s creative process and what can we expect for the rest of 2014 and beyond…

Nothing But Thieves have received plaudits from Zane Lowe and daytime Radio 1 - how does it feel to garner such influential support so early into your career?

It was a bit of a surprise to be honest. We uploaded the video for ‘Emergency’ to YouTube and few hours later received an email from Zane’s team asking to play it that week. We used to watch Zane in his MTV days so it was great that he liked our song. 

Jeff Buckley and Radiohead are highly rotated comparisons, how much of an influence are these artists to NBT?

They’re both artists we love and have listened to for years so it’s definitely rubbed off on our music one way or another. We’d hate for people to think we’re a poor copy though, we’ve worked hard to try and create something unique sounding. 

Tell us about other influences that make up NBT that maybe aren’t as obvious?

Bands like Led Zep and Pink Floyd are where all our influences meet. From a vocal perspective, Conor has always listened to old jazz singers such as Ray Charles and Sam Cook. …Pantera?

'Last Orders' documents a tale of a night out turned sour - is this a real life recollection or a general overview of the UK's alcohol obsessed ways?

We like to keep everyone guessing. A lot of our lyrics play on modern day issues viewed from a different/fresh perspective. As a lyrical blueprint it’s taught us to approach songwriting from an original angle. The song was an experiment really. We hadn’t heard a slow, moody song about something like a bar fight before, it turned out kinda cool.

How did you settle upon the name ‘Graveyard Whistling’?

The title is just an odd sounding lyric in the song. It’s a metaphor for purposely showing a nonchalance or indifference. 

Give us an insight into the EPs recording sessions - how was the record formed?

We tend to knock up our demos into good shape before getting into the studio. The idea is to leave enough room for experimentation without turning up with a blank canvas. The EP followed that ethos and as cliché as it sounds, the songs ‘came alive’ in the studio. 

And, finally what does the rest of 2014 and beyond hold for NBT? 

Firstly, a painful wait to release our album. Apart from that, we’re doing a bit of travelling. Sorting out dates for a few shows in the States later this year alongside playing Gibraltar Music Festival. Can’t complain… 

Aug 27

Album Review: Pulled Apart By Horses

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Artist:  Pulled Apart By Horses

Title:  Blood

Record Label: Best of the Best/Sony/RED

Release Date: 1st September 2014

Rating: 8.0/10

Leeds noiseniks, Pulled Apart By Horses are often associated with being a band of jokers, a unit that revel with the application of a tongue firmly placed in the cheek; who else would call tracks ‘I Punched A Lion In The Throat’, ‘E=MC Hammer’ and most recently, ‘ADHD in HD’. In summary, these Yorkshire lads are a bunch of goofballs, or so we are led to believe. Taking past albums as milestones, their self-titled debut and sophomore LP ‘Tough Love’ were both smash and grab affairs, aural ram-raids hell-bent on wanton destruction, powered by savage riffery, caustic vocals and pneumatic drumming, Now on the eve of the four piece’s third effort, ‘Blood’ an evolved collective of steeds stand before us, the tuneage is still face-melting but a more considered approach appears to be a mainstay in ‘Blood’s acerbic DNA. Queens of the Stone Age are a key reference point of late and PABH have turned their native Leeds into a sprawling arid wasteland, somewhere fit for Josh Homme and the gang to roam; furrows are marked out by unrelenting grooves, a horror-movie tension ripples through opening gambit “Hot Squash” and a more assured, less frantic PABH have their hands gripped tightly around the reins of their third record. Saddle up partners, your ‘Blood’ transfusion awaits…

On the first spins of PABH’s latest document of murky rock ‘n’ roll, a seed of doubt is planted – has the raging, chaotic rock of before been replaced by mid-paced homage to QOTSA? A half listen would provide an uncertain yes, but immerse yourself in ‘Blood’s viscous membrane and you’ll discover a rich soundscape of textures, shifting dynamics and a claustrophobic conceptual feel that’s pure Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The worrying notion with a band such as PABH is, come album three, there’s a natural urge to drop the pace and the punishing impact of what has come before. In the aspect of ‘Blood’ the first three tracks could raise alarm bells to those with a short attention span, the previously mentioned ‘Hot Squash’, ‘ADHD in HD’ and recent single ‘Lizard Baby’ saunter instead of sprint, this is PABH combining the dusty rock of QOTSA with Foo Fighter’s widespread appeal, topped off by the band’s own brand of barbed noise. But once the LP rolls out as a whole, the unearthing of the feral ‘You Want It’ illustrates the new depths PABH can mine from. ‘You Want It’ works as a perfect conduit between PABH from back in the day and the more – dare we say it – grown up model that wants to rattle our skulls right now. Gone are the drawn out, sludgy moments and in their place, a frantic, hardcore punk aping sound that’s all unkempt and will more than likely piss on your toilet seat. Plus, there’s an insane breakdown of frazzled fretwork and jarring bass, that’s unadulterated moshpit fodder in the waiting. ‘Bag of Snakes’ follows as ‘Blood’s most dysfunctional moment akin to capturing the aural equivalent of cinematic torture a la Saw; this is one feral beast. 

With the part comedic tag PABH have been bestowed, witnessing the Leeds boys progress whilst maintaining their core sound is testament to the musicianship that’s gone into ‘Blood’ – sweat and tears have also been poured into the album’s discordant melting pot too. As a unit, it’s evident the quartet have stepped it up a notch, vocalist Tom Hudson matches is acidic howl with a deep, menacing growl, there isn’t a song where Robert Lee’s basslines don’t making a rip-cracking contribution and Lee Vincent’s drumming provokes rhythmic earthquake tremors. Equally, the duelling guitar scree of Hudson and James Brown – not that one! – wraps all these components together in a shiny but oh-so grubby bow.

‘Blood’s development pushes PABH towards arena rock territories albeit the group’s sonic maelstrom is being belched out of the urine soaked toilets. ‘Medium Rare’s meaty shtick cooks up something anthemic but definitely not anaemic. Plus there’s a riff that has ‘Foxy Lady’ written all over it, provoking a hip thrusting sauciness. Album curtain call, ‘Golden Monument’ again finds PABH plunging their teeth into enormodome rock proving that Muse’s epic vibes have rubbed off on their former tour partners but any tendencies towards spaceships or lizardmen mind control have stayed reverberating around the walls of Wembley Stadium.

It’s easy for a unit to dilute their wares for radio play but in tweaking their formula, the four horsemen from Leeds are coming for you - Trojan Horse style. 

Aug 26

Introducing…Hockeysmith

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Elaborate, exploratory and innovative, sibling duo Annie and Georgie Hockeysmith trudge an aural highway that forks in the road, with one signpost directing them towards Warpaint-Ville and the other destination being a desolate town called The xx. And it’s in the pair’s sonic no-man’s land where they forge a sound invoking these two musical visionaries to birth an output that’s beautifully jarring, where melody and cacophony have a Siamese kinship, where noise and serenity combine in a beautiful union and where organic song structures prickle to the sound of artificially abrasive burbles.

Annie and Georgie or their collective name Hockeysmith, produced their debut EP, ‘But Blood’ not in an abandoned bunker or a decommissioned insane asylum but in a caravan, on a farm, in Cornwall. Forget odes to surfing and beach life, Hockeysmith are the protagonists of an intense urban sprawl; there’s a claustrophobic quality to the way the pair meld and contort waves of sound into areas of eerie exquisiteness. Across four tracks, Hockeysmith build a feeling of something conceptual, opening instrumental  ‘Phantom Whistle’ writhes and chirps akin to robotic crickets decimating a telephone wire, while the EP’s title track saws and moans under the weight of rumbling bass and guitar yawns. A pulsing sci-fi refrain ripples amongst the serrated jabs of guitar and definite beats. ‘Hesitate’ bewitches as much as it does puts the frighteners up you, a calming undertone is overwhelmed by jagged jolts of guitar and layered, doomy electronica. A subtle lament announces closing track ‘Meanwhile’ before vocal chirps and ethereal voices attempt to dilute the contained horrors that’s preceded it. 

The baffling reality of where Hockeysmith tinker with their aural chemistry is what gives the pair’s musicality a pleasing air of juxtaposition.

Otherworldly and uniquely alien, Hockeysmith convey an intriguing mystic that beckons you forward and urges you to stand at the same fork in the road as Annie and Georgie traverse their idiosyncratic roadmap.  

For more on Hockeysmith

https://soundcloud.com/hockeysmith

http://www.hockeysmith.co.uk/

https://twitter.com/Hockeysmithuk

https://www.facebook.com/hockeysmithband

Aug 22

Hot New Track: Dolomite Minor – Talk Like An Aztec

Southampton duo, Dolomite Minor are a bilingual bunch; firstly they’ve managed to become fluent in the mother tongue of grubby, raw rock ‘n’ roll – sonically the twosome provoke images of lonesome drives into untouched wastelands whilst fighting off vampires and the occasional meth cartel. Secondly, their first single has DM communicating with an extinct race of man, namely the Aztecs. 

‘Talk Like An Aztec’ has Joe Grimshaw (vocals/guitar) and Max Palmier (drums) kicking up plumes of sand, and their own stab at desert rock has you wondering if Josh Homme will produce their debut LP. Intense, brooding and downright dirty, it’s with a devastating force that Grimshaw and Palmier thrust themselves forward using the propulsive oomph of savage riffs and ragged drum licks. Grimshaw has a drawl reminiscent of Mark Bolan but only if the 20th Century Boy had never even glanced at glam-rock and all its glitter but devoted his existence to filth guitar slashes and something altogether menacing.

‘Let Me Go’ is the companion track to ‘Talk Like An Aztec’s’ rugged ways. Like it’s partner in crime, the unrelenting chug of rough blues rock is omnipresent but with drawn out fuggy haze that occupies the songs midsection whilst crushing avalanches of sound make up the track’s backbone.

Forget ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’ – Dolomite Minor will have you tripping out and jabbering to the Aztecs – just be sure to pack the holy water and your favourite stake. 

For more on Dolomite Minor 

https://www.facebook.com/dolomiteminor

https://soundcloud.com/dolomiteminor

https://twitter.com/DolomiteMinor

Aug 21

Hot New Track: Single Mothers – Marbles

The wait is finally over, it’s felt like an eternity but it would seem London, Ontario’s Single Mothers have got their shit together and they’re putting out a debut LP. You see the hardcore punks broke up in 2009 but they’ve been playing shows ever since. They’re the most productive non-functioning-functioning band out there. Come 7th October 2014, the Canadian punks will dispense with ‘Negative Qualities’ via Dine Alone Records/Hot Charity.  As a warning shot across the bow (or is that past our lugholes?) Single Mothers have primed the album’s first punk-rock rampage, the static drenched maelstrom known as ‘Marbles’. 

As if the North American’s have pieced together the shards of all of punk’s fury, ‘Marbles’ is a beautifully messy slur against hipster culture and poser mentality. Detonating like a nail bomb, ‘Marbles’ shows no mercy; basslines rumble with a barbed wire roughness, drums cartwheel down rusty stairwells and then there’s the seething walls of guitar noise akin to a transistor radio being stomped to death under the feet of a frantic mosh pit. Vocalist, Drew Thompson has the pipes to match his band’s visceral charge; the frontman unleashes a gravelly bark aimed directly at anyone that’s ‘cooler than thou’ or that is “so self-aware it’s crippling”. With an attack on the in-crowd comes a self-fulfilling prophecy towards Thompson’s own hypocrisy – with the collective’s mouthpiece being more than conscious of this.

Raw, violent and with a rabid bloodlust, this is an anti-anthem to get your heart pumping and your pulse racing. The best thing Single Mothers ever did was find their ‘Marbles’ – let’s see what ‘Negative Qualities’ bring us. We’ll bet our bumbag (or fanny pack for our transatlantic chums) and a chai-tea-mocha-choca-skinny-frappe-low-cal-high-fibre-breakfast-burrito-latte it’ll be the punk album of 2014. 

'Marbles' is From Negative Qualities, out this fall on Hot Charity (world) / Dine Alone (Canada). Pre-order here: shopusa.xlrecordings.com/negative-qualities

https://www.facebook.com/singlemothersparty

http://www.singlemothersgang.com/

https://twitter.com/snglmthrsgang

https://soundcloud.com/single-mothers

Aug 14

Album Review: The Gaslight Anthem

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Artist:  The Gaslight Anthem

Title:  Get Hurt

Record Label: Island Records

Release Date: 18th August 2014

Rating: 9.0/10

There haven’t been many applications for the positon of ‘world conquering wholesome rock band’ since Kings of Leon decided to become pompous, cliché rock stars but if there was a unit to fill the vacant cowboy boots of the Nashville group, it’s New Jersey everymen, The Gaslight Anthem. Slowly but surely, the four piece have been gathering pace, sparking global devotion towards their blue-collar punk ‘n’ roll. Now on the eve of releasing their fifth LP, ‘Get Hurt’ it would seem the stars have aligned and it’s now time for Brian Fallon and his merry men to step confidently into the big time but there’s the assurance that this isn’t a band to disappear up their own arseholes. 

‘Get Hurt’ has been spawned from the desire to tread new turf; the band’s purpose to create something new was a key mission statement for The Gaslight Anthem. Speaking with NME, guitarist and vocalist Brian Fallon stated “You get a realisation at some point in your career that whatever it is you do, you can no longer continue to do it. You just realise you can’t put out the same records forever.” While another key turning point can be taken from an unlikely source; The 1975. Fallon proceeded to declare “We were like, ‘well that sounds different – what would happen if a band like us works with a guy who makes records sound like that?” That guy being super producer Mike Crossey who handled the duties of crafting The 1975’s self-titled LP. Lastly, contrast and juxtaposition were high on the agenda, the quartet had the urge for a punk rock band to sound ‘heavy and pretty’ in equal measure. Without much fucking around ‘Stay Vicious’ kickstarts ‘Get Hurt’ with the manifesto of ‘heavy and pretty’ broadly daubed across the song like Fallon’s heavily inked arms. This is a song that erupts to the sound of chainsaw guitars and explosive drum licks – Fallon too adopts a gravelled vocal that recounts Bruce Springsteen after a night smashing back the bourbon. Referencing the track’s moniker, TGA have never sounded so ‘vicious’ – akin to the film Gremlins, this critter is pure barbed malevolence – until a chiming mid-section exposes a soft, fleshy underbelly and the Jersey boys go all Gizmo on us. Fluffy, and indeed ‘pretty’, ‘Stay Vicious’ attests to the unit’s lust to merge the raucous with the delicate. Elsewhere on ‘Get Hurt’ the heaviness is toned down to a more recognisable punk ‘n’ roll you’d expect from TGA, however, the drive to intersperse textures of tender touches are a prominent fixture. Aside from the barbed riffs, spit ‘n’ saw dust rock flecked with sweetly tinged moments, TGA’s new found influence in The 1975 can be heard on ‘Underneath The Ground’. Anchored as the poppiest number on the band’s fifth outing, there’s a considered, chiming quality that bubbles and skips, buoyed by a lonesome hue.

Fallon is the ringmaster of ‘Get Hurt’, it’s impossible not to be swept up in the frontman’s grizzly tones and self-deprecating wordplay. Lyrically, this is an album which could be perceived as being down on its luck but any glum references instead reveal themselves as defiant nods towards survival– it’s a horrible cliché but in the aspect of ‘Get Hurt’ – “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” could have been the LP’s alternative title. Personal effacing is bountiful while key moments crop up on the title track; stripped to its bare sinews, Fallon can be heard reflecting “I keep my wounds without a bandage” as to expose himself to life’s misgivings. Equally, notions of defeat but never submission roll from Fallon’s lips “I came to get hurt/might as well do your worse to me”. Despite TGA’s troubled lyrical content, you’re never too far away from a supportive pat on the back or a reassuring arm round the shoulder. ‘Helter Skeleton’ is another half ‘n’ half march through Americana flecked punk and chiming pockets of beauty. “Why don’t you lean on me for a while” muses Fallon before barking over surging fretwork “there will always be a soft spot in my cardiac arrest”. Future fan favourite and no messing comeback single ‘Rollin’ and Tumblin’ typifies ‘Get Hurt’, this is TGA spewing out dirt under your fingernails American rock ‘n’ roll at a hurtling speed, like they do best. Amongst the grubby tones a bold Fallon announces “You say I’m hopelessly devoted to misery/maybe I ain’t so devoted no more” like a big middle finger to any ‘woe as me’ vibes.

Toying with unpredictable sonic touchpoints and a big name producer could have diluted The Gaslight Anthem’s rugged personality but it’s given the New Jersey gang an added level of vigour to propel them stratospheric.

‘Get Hurt’ is an album to puff your chest out to. A record to set you up for the day. A collection of tracks that’ll pick you up, brush you down and kick you square in the arse.

Aug 12

Album Review: DZ Deathrays

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Artist:  DZ Deathrays

Title: Black Rat

Record Label: Infectious Records

Release Date: 18th August 2014

Rating: 9.0/10

DZ Deathrays haven’t bought into the ‘second album jitters’ it would seem. Sophomore LP, ‘Black Rat’ takes the sonic bedlam of the band’s debut record ‘Bloodstreams’ and pushes it to new levels. This is the Aussie pair propelling their own brand of thrash-pop into fresh and exciting territories. Musically, all the facets of what make DZ such a face melting prospect are present but with pop undertones that have been enhanced, as if they’ve have been subjected to several bouts of steroid injections prior to being committed to tape.  Shane Parsons’ riffs pack a meatier wallop, Simon Ridley’s drumming rattles with a muscular thwack and vocally, Parsons’ has expanded his range from deathly growl to melodic trill. ‘Black Rat’ could quite well be the perfect follow up album, due to the fact it holds the same components as it’s predecessor but everything has taken a giant bound, not just in volume but in song structures, the occasional flirtation with electronics and the all-round feeling of progression.

Confidence is something that seeps from ‘Black Rat’ like a fragrant sewer – this is an album that struts with a hip-hop swagger which is evident in the springing ‘Reflective Skull’ with its beach ball bounce and elastic appeal. Opening onslaught and album title track, ‘Black Rat’ is driven by a stop start combo of razor sharp guitar slices and huge drum licks that attribute to DZ’s new found rap influence. This isn’t Parsons and Ridley going all ‘bitches and hoes’ but merely adding this layer of poise is what you’d want to hear from a duo as vital as this Brisbane pair. 

‘Black Rat’ twitches and writhes with a fidgeting need to keep evolving, single ‘Gina Works At Hearts’ flits from visceral bombast to sing-a-long choruses with a sweet pop centre, whilst the explosive ‘Less Out Of Sync’ is where you recognise Parsons’ new acidic howl with a song that bursts into barrages of static moulded into a three minute pop song from a parallel universe. DZ hinted at a digital bent on ‘Bloodstreams’ and the burbling ‘Fixations’ is front ended with an electronic influence, akin to Crystal Castles dissolving into a the pair’s effects pedals.

The spectrum of which DZ are playing with has become a broad prospect, ultimately ‘Black Rat’ is a raucous trek through eardrum worrying noise but ‘Northern Lights’ shows a side to these Aussie boys we’ve not seen before. Effectively, Parsons and Ridley quit the skull rattling for one moment to produce a song that could rival Coldplay when it comes to widescreen arena rock antics. Even the band have self-proclaimed that this tune could be ‘DZ Coldplay’. Where ‘Northern Lights’ illustrates a more considered – dare we say it ‘mature’ sound – ‘Ocean Exploder’ denotes like a megaton blast. Easily the heaviest thing DZ have ever created, the way the two piece career through a bevy of twisted fretwork, massive drum beats and Grohl-style screams is mind-blowing. The riff alone is enough to make you shit your pants with glee. 

Cunning, dirty as hell and curiously loveable, this is one ‘Black Rat’ you’d want to save from pest control. 

Aug 08

Introducing…False-Heads

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After setting down roots back in 2011, East London’s False-Heads finally stabilised their band personnel in 2013, with a line up consisting of Luke Griffiths (vocals/guitar), Jake Elliott (bass) and Daniel Delgaty (drums). Today’s guise of False-Heads is the one garnering praise from the likes of Q, NME and hordes of well-respected music blogs, whilst drawing comparisons to early Foo Fighters, Pixies and the inevitable association with Nirvana. These likenesses aren’t unjustified but the trio’s searing alt-rock needs to be judged on its own merit and its own personality.

Sonically, False-Head pack a mighty wallop, this is a band cooking up a cavalcade of sound buoyed by discordant guitar riffs, rumbling bass and Grohl-style avalanche drumming. What’s refreshing about this band of three, is that whilst rock ‘n’ roll is treading water or producing lacklustre anaemic recordings of lo-fi jingle jangle nothingness, False-Heads boast a full-bodied sound that blurs the lines between rough ‘n’ ready and chart threatening.  

False-Heads dropped ‘Tunnel Vision EP’ on 28th July 2014; this body of work is testament to a band willing to merge an acerbic assault with melody, a deft knack for hooks and song writing. A punk energy permeates the grubby mess of ‘Without a Doubt’ which twitches and writhes like an exposed nerve and ‘Anything Else’ is a display of discordance and tunefulness battling to the death. Then there’s opening gambit ‘Fall Around’ a chugging anti-anthem with a Pixies-esque bassline and closer ‘Remedy’ injects a less abrasive approach but maintains the band’s huge sound.

Barraging into your eardrums, the unit’s second EP bristles with a distilled chaos, where it begs the question are False-Heads playing their instruments or are their weapons of choice merely holding the trio hostage so to produce a volley of joyous noise?

There’s no fabrication here, False-Heads are the real deal. 

For more information on False-Heads 

http://false-heads.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/FalseHeads

https://twitter.com/FalseHeads

Aug 07

Introducing…Vancouver Sleep Clinic

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What a life affirming invitation “together, let’s create something beautiful”. With an outstretched hand and promise of disappearing somewhere otherworldly, this is the mission statement pinned to Vancouver Sleep Clinic’s mast. VSC is the brainchild of Tim Bettinson, who hails from not Canada but Brisbane, Australia. Over several months trolling through frameworks of songs, doodles and unfinished sonic sketches, Bettinson birthed the immaculate ‘Winter EP’, a sedate, humming collection of sparse songs held together by threadbare electronics, its protagonist’s sumptuous falsetto and a glowing hue that casts a mystical air across the record’s lifespan. 

According to VSC’s Facebook profile “Vancouver Sleep Clinic as a name in itself conjures up imagery of long cold winters, of isolation and remoteness and the sometimes self-imposed reclusiveness in all of us as the days get shorter and we move into the bitter months ahead”. It is true, Bettinson’s sonic delivery conveys a desolate palette, one that indeed provokes illustrations of wide open expanses of barren landscapes and a feeling of detachment. However, despite the notions towards long cold winters, VSC bestows a gentle warmth that can be found in the Justin Vernon-esque trill of Bettinson and the assembled synthetic/organic marriage of sounds. This isn’t music that echoes Queensland’s tropical climate but Australia’s laidback, hazy ways can be drawn out of ‘Winter EP’ – as if soaking up the winter sun on one of Byron Bay’s beaches. The young Aussie’s subtle affair offers a comforting arm around the shoulders or the feeling of someone draping a blanket over you as you doze on the couch.

And this is all created by the mind and fingertips of an 18 year old. A Prodigal talent waiting to be unearthed, Tim Bettinson wants to construct something of genuine splendour that comes with an open invitation. Will you RSVP? 

For more information on Vancouver Sleep Clinic

https://www.facebook.com/VancouverSleepClinic

http://vscsounds.com/

https://twitter.com/vcsleepclinic

https://soundcloud.com/vancouversleepclinic

Download Winter EP: smarturl.it/winter-ep

Jul 29

Introducing…Lxury

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Andy Smith, or his musical alias Lxury, makes the kind of electronic euphoria that is better placed either at the point of the sun going down or when the bright orb of light crops up again to start another day. See, Smith’s digital motifs straddle the lines between contemplation and danceable – there’s a heady blend of techno, NYC house, giddy samples and ricocheting beats that invoke SBTRKT’s melting pot of electronica. 

Like any music, you want to be transported somewhere and it’s with a serotonin-rush that Lxury whisks you off your feet to somewhere with a warm climate but with a dark undertone. Akin to waltzing around Bangkok’s heaving streets, you can suck in the escapism and be absorbed by the colours and flavours but the element of danger or a shady waft of menace is never far behind. Ironically, Smith forged his debut EP, ‘Playground’ whilst living under an M4 underpass situated enroute to Heathrow. Smith himself reflects that ‘Playground’ should sound less than upbeat as his living arrangements were anything but, however, inhabiting such an urban sprawl has ensured the young electronic artist has offered up the antithesis to a concrete jungle somewhere near the world’s busiest airport. 

Smith’s first body of work is available now, right in time for summer getaways and day’s spent lounging in the park. But spare a thought for Lxury, whilst you’re soaking up the rays, those tunes that are accompanying a cocktail or a cold beer are gifted to you from piece of Grey Britain. 

For more on Lxury - 

www.twitter.com/lxurymusic

www.facebook.com/lxurymusic

https://soundcloud.com/luxurymusicuk

Get ‘Playground EP’ here:smarturl.it/PlaygroundEP

Jul 28

Festival and Gigs Aren’t Places To Fight

It’s not at epidemic level yet but since festival season has kicked off, there’s been a steady slew of reported incidents at gigs and festivals where punters have either been seriously assaulted or in the case of Robert Hart at this year’s Parklife Festival, lost their lives. Gigs are a place to immerse yourself in music and to thrive off a communal feeling that everyone is in one spot to have, quite simply, a good time. A Saturday night or any given night for that matter, has become synonymous with a punch up or someone getting a kicking, when this behaviour permeates into the world of gigs and watching music, this is a worrying thing to consider.

The incidents we speak of occurred during pop acts, a metal festival and of course, Manchester’s Parklife which boasted acts such as Foals, Snoop Dogg, Rudimental and Bastille. An Ellie Goulding show as part of the Eden Sessions had us reading on with bewilderment. According to Digital Spy, the pint-sized popstrel had to cease a performance of ‘Anything Can Happen’ (oh the irony) to break up an altercation amongst a group of girls. Once Goulding had the fist-happy gang’s attention, one of her “fans” took it upon herself to throw abuse back at Goulding, as if the headline act was somehow spoiling her punchy time. For the good natured, vanilla music Goulding makes, having to stop a scrap mid-song is just astonishing. Another shocking instance occurred at Sonisphere earlier this month. Metal festivals aren’t for the faint hearted, their attendees drink hard, mosh hard and pretty much do everything hard. However, aside from the bone breaking moshing, metallers are a good natured bunch and there’s always something of a community spirit when you rock up at somewhere like Download or Sonisphere, the latter we can vouch for as WWSPM had the pleasure in seeing The Prodigy earlier this month at the very same event. Sadly for 21 year old George Cook, his festival was marred by a brutal assault that left him needing five hours of reconstructive surgery on his face. In a completely unprovoked attack, a gang of three men set upon Cook and to put it bluntly, smashed his face in. The most disturbing and worrying of all is Robert Hart’s death at Parklife Festival. Hart was beaten unconscious in front of the main stage before Snoop Dogg’s headline set. It’s believed Hart was attempting to protect his girlfriend from being bashed on the head with an inflatable doll, which then lead to him being brutally assaulted. His injuries were so severe they brought upon an untimely death to someone just wanting to enjoy a music festival with his girlfriend. Parklife also counts two knife attacks across its weekend, luckily the two victims received hospital treatment and their injuries weren’t life threatening. 

(skip to 4.44 for incident)

So why are these pockets of anti-social behaviour cropping up in a place where they’re just not welcome? Is it because we live in a time of aggression and antagonism, where it’s better to be the attacker than the victim. Is it because many gig goers see attending a show or a festival as just another piss up and therefore clashes are a prerequisite? Certainly alcohol doesn’t help and that “let’s get shitfaced” mentality is sometimes more important to actually seeing bands amongst a percentage of festival goers. We don’t have the answers but ultimately something isn’t right when a time to celebrate is tarnished by such life ruining behaviour.

This may sound like we’re music purists or we’re wishing for some kind of nanny state, which we’re not - we’re not attempting to scaremonger here. By all means, have a few beers, equally have a good time, dance, mosh, lose your shit; do whatever you want – just don’t be an arse and hurt someone. Remember, everyone in the same venue, field or pub are there for the same reason; to appreciate music and to enjoy themselves. 

We’ll leave it to Mr Dave Grohl to sign off about fighting at shows…putting it simply, don’t fucking do it.

Thanks Uncle Dave, you’re the best.