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The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die - Whenever, if Ever

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I’ve always loved the idea of doing an e-zine; easy to design, easy to market, and although I love the smell and texture of freshly printed copy-shop paper, they’re free to make and read. So this is the format I’ve chosen to use for my ramblings about bands that I enjoy, new releases that catch my ear and maybe progress even further in the future? Who knows! This is only the first.

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the world is a beautiful place and i am no longer afraid to die Whenever, If Ever is the first full length offering from one of the household names of modern emo, Cincinnati’s The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die. This huge-sounding 8-piece has always been a little hard to pin down. Their sound on this record is completely eclectic. It’s completely mad, a huge mix of synths, horns, strings, twiddles, jangles, chords, drums…they sound big. Even with the massive amount of instrumentals going on, the vocals are not by any means over shadowed. For me it feels like they take the traditional Cap’n Jazz off-key singing and take it ten steps further. And then throw a lot of shouting into the mix. It sounds strangely amazing. There’s absolutely no consistency in this record at all, with songs that range from just over 90 seconds to seven minutes, a track that starts off meandering and shoegaze-y will no doubt have you bouncing around bob-

bing your head yelling along with the lyrics by the end, and vice versa. Although they fit nicely into the ranks of “new wave” emo bands such as Dads, Joie De Vivre and Pity Sex, TWIABP have something that sets them apart from the pack, that makes them an incredibly special and interesting band and definitely one that shouldn’t be ignored, whether you grew up mailordering your records or “emo” was just a word you saw attatched to Basement gifs on Tumblr. It might not be to everyone’s tastes, but I recommend that everyone listens to Whenever, If Ever just once at the very least, just to really understand how a band can create such a diverse, yet strangely familiar, sound that can leave you feeling isolated and alone, and safe at home, all at the same time.

FFO: Tigers Jaw, Dads, Arcade Fire, Joie De Vivre, Pity Sex.


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C I T I Z E N Personally I’ve been feeling that since Basement split up, Run For Cover Records have been looking for the next band to fill their shoes, and with Citizen, Daylight and Turnover all being the likely candidates there has been a lot of similar sounding stuff coming out of the Run For Cover camp recently. Although Youth may not really break any kind of mould, it does have a lot of things that other offerings this year did not. Energy.

Passion.

Punch.

It sounds angry, heartbroken, miserable and wistful all at the same time. Whether you loved or hated Basement and the fad that they created, you cannot write this off as anything but a good, solid record. It builds on the momentum of their self-titled 7inch and the split that they put out with

label-mates Turnover, both of which gained a lot of well-deserved hype, and whereas Turnover appear to have stumbled with an LP that sounded somewhat lazy and incomplete, Citizen have kept the pace and created something that sounds really good. It’s a great mix of down-beat thrashy chords and clean and shouted vocals that is incredibly reminiscent of bands like Balance & Composure and Seahaven, combined with pop punk hooks and yell-along choruses. It might not be particularly original, but it definitely raises the bar for all “Basement-mo” bands, and overall it is undeniably a catchy album.

FFO: Turnover, Basement (duh), Balance & Composure, Forrest, Seahaven


4 “Iron Chic are a decent band from Long Island, NY. They play songs that are acceptable.” To be honest, if you’re not familiar with Iron Chic you’re probably doing something wrong. Having been spawned from the shards of Latterman, along with RVIVR, Bridge & Tunnel and a whole host of other bands, Iron Chic recently signed to Bridge 9 and released this amazing 7 inch in time for their recent Euro tour, making this review incredibly late. But seeing as I’ve only just managed to get my hands on a copy I don’t care…so here goes: It’s 1

3 tracks, Butthole

2 original and Surfers cover.

The first track, Spooky Action At A Distance will be familiar to every Iron Chic fan, yet there’s something different…for starters it’s more than 3 minutes long, and second, it sounds polished. There’s the stereotypical gruffness going on in the vocals, but the guitars sound incredibly clean. It’s definitely a venture onto the pop punk

i r o n c h i c side of punk rock. It’s still a huge, fast, heartfelt, enjoyable track though! Less Rest for the Restless is a much more traditional Iron Chic song, and is definitely the catchier of the two. Clocking in at just over two-anda-half minutes, it’s another great track from a band that aren’t afraid to just be honest and fun. I can’t really comment on the cover because I’ve never really listened to Butthole Surfers so…? Definitely check this out. Whether you’re a long-term fan, or you’ve never heard of them, it’s two more awesome tracks by a great band!

FFO: ers,

Spraynard, The

BangArteries.


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CHAMPIONS L E A G U E Wolverhampton’s Champions League are a punk-as-fuck 3-piece whose songs all sit way below the one minute mark, make a lot of noise and are incredibly enjoyable. Released in March, it’s currently their only release, apart from a split with fellow Wolf Town band, Wrestling, they offer 4 songs about life, travel and moving on that sit right in the centre of the punk/emo/screamo trifecta and in my experience it’s rare for a band to offer me this feeling of solidarity in less than 4 minutes. The physical record is currently sold out from Wolf Town DIY records, however you can still pick up the 7inch Wrestling/Champions League split and download the Champions League tracks for free from Bandcamp.

plaids. Again, this is long overdue seeing as Plaids (pronounced “plads”) released their debut 7inch digitally in October last year. Since then, the 7inch has been released via Wolf Town DIY records and the band have even gone on to release a split with American emo band Football etc. which is being released by Count Your Lucky Stars in the States and strictly no capital letters in the UK. Plaids are another fantastic example of a n emotive punk band who will appeal to fans of punk, post hardcore and emo. With a vocals that appear desperate and just plain angry and sit apart from the rest of the band and then can just drop back in effortlessly creating smooth transitions between movements, which is exactly what I love about Plaids. This is definitely a band with a huge amount of potential who don’t really ask for anything but should begin to get a lot of attention in the future after their upcoming tour with Football etc. and their awesome performance at Midwest West Midlands.

FFO: Plaids, Wrestling (the Wol- FFO: Self Defense Family, Thursverhampton one), Human Hands. day, Perfect Future, The Reptilian


l o w e r L a N d s Canvas is the newest EP from Lincoln’s Lower Lands, currently available for “pay what you like” on their Bandcamp. Described as “grungy pop-rock noise” it’s incredibly reminiscent of bands like Lower Than Atlantis, Dinosaur Pile Up and Deaf Havana and is by no means “grungy”. It’s clean, it’s radio-friendly, and has more in common with You Me At Six than Nirvana. There’s not really an awful lot I can say about this, because I can imagine most people can gather an idea of what this sounds like without actually listening to it, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not? The thing that stood out to me most throughout the whole thing were the real angry shout-y bits (listen to Parasite for the best example). That’s when the band displays the most energy and passion to me throughout the whole EP, the rest just drifted along for me a bit without really making me want to sit up and really listen.

6 ously put a lot of thought and effort into making it, but it didn’t do much for me personally. It sounds a lot like the good bits off Lower Than Atlantis Far Q.

FFO: Lower Than Atlantis, Twin Atlantic, The Xcerts

R E A L FR I E N DS Hailing from Chicago’s suburbs, Real Friends have had a lot of attention online, having released three (this is their fourth) EPs of really great pop punk, it is in some respects deserved.

Although pop punk has become synonymous with pizza, friends, and “Hey dudes are you ready to...”, Real Friends are mature and honest and they’re more likely to make you want to cry and punch the wall than “posi jump” (what the hell is that anyway?). They sound almost like a midwest emo band, but they ended up with Jimmy Eat World records instead of American Football and they pull off the emotinged-pop-punk sound really well.

FFO: Jimmy Eat World, Turnover, It’s catchy as hell, and they’ve obvi- Citizen, The Wonder Years.


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let’s talk a b o u t . . . Run, Forever, from Pittsburgh, PA, are a band who, in my opinion, are receiving no where near the level of hype they deserve. I came across them whilst I was having a listen to the new Dikembe record on the Tiny Engines records Bandcamp and they immediately stood out to me. To me, their sound embodies everything that “emo” encompasses. They sit nice and snug within the broad term “emo”, but there are definite similarities between them and indie superstar(s?), Bright Eyes, especially on their first record, 2010’s The Devil, Death and Me, which is a fantastic pre-cursor to 2012’s Settling. The Devil, Death and Me sets off in quite an upbeat manner for a record that is incredibly miserable. Guitarist/Vocalist Anthony Heubel’s voice seems to stammer and waive through the record creating a sound incredibly reminiscent of Conor Oberst, and I

feel it’s particularly evident in For God and Gold which almost sounds like it could’ve come straight off Lifted or The Story is in the Soil (Bright Eyes, 2002) if you ran it by Tigers Jaw first. There seems to be a pleasant mix of scathing statements on society, aswell as personal anecdotes dealing with death and growing up, on their first record and it sits more towards in the “indie/punk” camp than “emo”, albeit sounding very Tigers Jaw-sy. Overall this a fantastic debut album, it’s desperate, thrashing, angsty and heartfelt. Settling on the other hand is quite a different state of affairs. There’s a precursor to this shift in sound with the 4-song EP they released in 2011 titled A Few Good Things, which is a much more incredibly personal set of songs. There’s still the same, almost ironic, quick paced upbeat music with


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R u n, , F o r e v e r deeply personal and somewhat miserable lyrics about losing friends that you still need in your life, for example.

Settling kicks off with a song (Good Enough) that bridges the gap between Settling and The Devil, Death and Me (“It’s been two years, and I only feel worse”) that sounds like an admittance of failure in attempting to overcome depression and just life’s problems. It’s 10 tracks of incredibly personal, sad tracks. Again, it’s thrashy, desperate and angst-riddled, very similar to their debut, but it focuses much more on personal issues. For me, it’s almost like an album that’s caught between youth and being an adult. It’s almost like it’s about that transitional period between the age of 19 and 24 where you desperately try to cling to youth but realise sooner or later you need to grow up and accept your responsibilities as an adult, and all the things that come with truly growing up, like losing friends (Maritime States) and watching the place you live change dramatically (Braddock Beach). Throughout the record there’s a slight

change in lyrical themes, especially in the last three or four songs, and it’s almost as if it’s the changing mindset of the protagonist as he realises that at the end of the day, he will feel better and “tough it out” until the day that it does (Drop Out and Forget). On a personal level, Settling resonates quite deeply with me – having watched all my friends vanish off to various parts of the country for University whilst I stayed at home, which is the same as a lot of other people I guess, and pretending to be fine with that fact, when actually I wasn’t and just feeling left out and neglected. Obviously I’m sure different people can draw different conclusions from Run, Forever’s music and I’m sure the band even have a totally different explanation to the one presented here but I guess that’s the point of a feature, is that it is based on personal opinion somewhat! So here it is, Run, Forever. If you’ve not heard them, please please do give them a listen, support Tiny Engines and buy their records ($20 for the two!)


Dowsing and Annabel recently played a string of shows in the UK for the first time! Here are some photos from their show at Mozarts in Swansea, and at Midwest West Midlands festival in Birmingham


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