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l Esp, a Davies, Pau m : m -Z E A r, e rs w to re bu B ri Co nt dy, Jo . tyne, Alex Bra s, Ed Townend b ib u q S j n Nadine Ballan e B , nneka Sillitoe Vicki Roach, A om pemagazine.c a sc d n u so @ Co nt ac t: info
you If were lucky enough to
see US band
on tour with Paramore and New Found Glory in 2008 , you know they know how to rock hard with quality tunes aplenty. The band hail from Richmond, VA and are a classic example of modern rock. We spoke to Guitarist Alex to chat about the their •How did you get started? new album and why Brandon should Our band started a little over 3 be from the UK! years ago from previous Richmond, VA area bands. We had all known each other from playing shows together around town, so when those bands broke up we decided to join forces.
•What have you got going on at the moment? We most recently released a new EP titled ‘You Are Forgotten’ with the help of our friends at Purevolume. com, so we’ve been touring in support of that. We have been home for a while now around the holiday season and such, so we’ve been working hard to write some new material in hopes of recording a full length this year.
•Favourite music and why? Thrice is my favourite band and has been since 2002 when they released ‘The Illusion of Safety’. I came from a pop punk background growing up on bands like Blink-182 and New Found Glory, but the first time I heard Thrice I heard heavy, passionate music and from there that’s what I wanted to play. They continue to amaze me with every album because they’re all so different. They are constantly experimenting as a band, and I hope to do the same throughout our career.
•Favourite book and why? I honestly don’t read very often, so there is not much to choose from for me. The most recent book I read was A Walk Across America by Peter Jenkins. It’s a great, first hand account of a twenty-something fresh out of college taking a journey of literally walking across the entire country and describing the whole experience. It’s a really great book that I’d recommend to anyone, but it hit close to home for me because of the profession I’m in constantly on the road. •Favourite film and why? I have a ton of favourite movies, but my number one is easily Rad. This movie came out in 1986, the year I was born. I rented it so many times as a kid in my small hometown of Manteo, NC, that the movie store just ended up giving me the movie. It is just so nostalgic for me that it means so much. It’s definitely a cult classic that not many people have heard of.
•Best experience in the business? I think the best experience Conditions has had as a band was touring the UK with Paramore in 2008. It was only our 2nd tour ever as a band. Our bass player at the time, Riley Emminger, is Paramore’s guitar tech, so when we passed through their hometown of Nashville, TN on our first tour they all came out to see him play. They ended up really liking us live and gave us the opportunity of opening for them on their UK tour which was only a few weeks away. It was such an amazing experience playing in a different country in front of so many people, and it’s one we will never take for granted and we always keep it close to heart. It’s playing shows like that that really drive us to push forward and hopefully be the ones headlining them someday.
Words: Paul Esp
“You guys know and appreciate rock n’ roll, unlike the US who is totally stuck on a lot of talentless, bullshit music.” •Why should Soundscape
Because Conditions is an honest band. We want to be a band like the ones we looked up to as teens that made their own way and didn’t rely on Myspace to blow them up. We care about a message and meaning in music. We play our parts live and don’t rely on backing tracks and auto tune to cover up mistakes. We are just a real band! •Tell our readers an interesting fact
I don’t really have any interesting facts coming to mind about us other than the fact that I think our singer Brandon Roundtree should be living over in the United Kingdom! He is a huge football fan, he drinks Newcastle Brown Ale, he shops at Topman, and I just think he needs to join his kind.
•Best thing about playing in the UK? The best part about playing in the UK is the fans. A UK crowd is leaps and bounds more fun than most US crowds. You guys know and appreciate rock n’ roll, unlike the US who is totally stuck on a lot of talentless, bullshit music. It’s very refreshing being a rock band overseas.
•Who are your role models/idols? My dad is definitely my role model. He is just an amazing, stand up guy and I hope that I can be half the man he is. He continues to support me in everything I do and it’s that kind of backbone that I think will continue to drive us further. •Hardest thing about the current
The music business is a tough one to even want to be associated with, but you deal with it anyway for the
love of the art. It’s very hard to sell records these days due to the digital technology of music, but it’s still not necessarily a bad thing as long as people aren’t stealing what you’ve put so much into. I get downloading music, I do it myself, but if you’re going to download something for free and you end up liking it, please go support what these people do for a living. Buy a record, buy a shirt, go see them live, just contribute somehow. If we did everything for free we couldn’t keep doing what we’re doing, and I think people sometimes have a hard time actually comprehending that
Check out Conditions at www.myspace.com/conditionsband and lets cross our fingers they get to come back and tour the UK soon. Soundscape 05
Plus: Outcry Collective
------------------------Clwb Ifor Bach 25th March
onight’s an interesting one, not only does it start fantastically early that many don’t arrive until after the first two acts and miss out on some honest rock n roll. The gig is over before the night feels like it should have only just started.
Outcry Collective ball out their usual barrage of rock n roll and as always, singer Steve confronts the crowd no matter the size and really throws this band forward. Nothing ever seems to put this band off from truly doing what they love and that’s playing live, and that’s what it feels like they’re forever doing after it seems
like they’re constantly on tour. Not that we mind, it’s always a pleasure to see a band lap it up and play so well. We caught The Computers last year supporting Biffy Clyro, no one really knew who they were or that they were even playing and to be honest, we didn’t know what to make of this four piece, white outfitted unknown punk rock slander of a band. Tonight however, in the intimate stage-less floor of Clwb Ifor Bach, our minds are made up. Looking beyond the dirty white
Outcry Collective vs The Computers Steve: On a scale of one to ten, how excited are you about going to America to record your album? Alex: That’d be a solid eight. Steve: A solid eight, explain? Alex: I’m pretty excited, but I’ve been more excited about christmas when I was a kid. I just get really excited about that shit, running around the table trying to tire myself out
to go to sleep. I’m not doing that yet about America, but I’m pretty excited. Steve: Is it true you’re afraid of flying? Alex: Yeah, I’m shit scared of flying! What’s not to be afraid of. You’re in a box in the air, flying. Steve: You actually think you’re going to go down?
suits of The Computers, they stand strong and stand out. Mainly because of their ever so boisterous singer Alex who parades around the crowd on the floor, tangling any wire that crosses his path and all accidentally of course. We’re also enlightened when he amuses us all with a story of the drummer pissing himself. It’s a hell of a difference seeing a band play to a sold out concert hall to a small indie club. But it’s in these clubs where you really see the magic happen, and for The Computers, it was magical tonight. 9/10
We grabbe d Steve, singer of OC and Alex of The Compu ters for a intervie w duel off.
Alex: Yeah, I think it’s a good chance. I’ve been dreaming about it. I’ve been dreaming about ghosts chasing me lately. Like I had a really bad dream last night about a family of black shrouded, hovering sort of ghouls, but human faces, following me walking pace through this cemetery in the middle of the day. It was really eerie. Steve: Sounds eerie! [cont]
Alex: How come you’re so tall, but your dads so short? Milkman? Steve: Next question! Alex: Tell us a bit about your family heritage? Where do you hail from? Steve: My dad’s dad was Polish, my mum’s dad was English and I have a weird American accent. How do you feel coming back to Cardiff? Tell us about the last time you played in Cardiff? Alex: Last time we played in Cardiff was in September and we were supporting a band that we were on tour with that we thought that we should of headlined it, and then we got there they thought we should have headlined it as well. Our name was hardly on the poster and no one came, I think we should of headlined it. Steve: For a man with so many tattoo’s how come you keep them hidden? Alex: I don’t know why I keep them hidden. I just got into a habit where I wear long sleeve shirts. If I’m out on the town I’ll crack them out, crack out the guns, the big boys. Would you ever consider going out with a guy like me?
Steve: I think I would definitely considering going out with a guy like you, and I think everyone knows my real love in The Computers is Sonny. Alex: Why is everyones real love in The Computers Sonny? Steve: He’s just so reliably good looking. Every time, eight in the morning he’s just looking gorgeous. If you could either live on the moon or the sun? Alex: I’d live on the moon of course, because it’s closer to the shops on the world. If I wanted to pop down to Tesco’s, well, I know for a fact it’d take me a lot less time to get from the moon to Sainbury’s local than it would from the sun. Steve: That is true... How did you feel about having Chickenhawk on the tour? Alex: I felt pretty good, slash, indifferent. I certainly didn’t mind. I didn’t know them, I hadn’t heard them really so I wasn’t excited to start off with but then I met them and they were all really nice. I was very pleased. Steve: Tell us about your Reading experience? Was it everything a musician dreams of being? Alex: Well, no, because the sounds mental because it’s outside. How was your Reading experience?
Steve: I remember seeing an ex and it was really awkward, Them Crooked Vultures were sick, lot’s of good times, lots of good people. Alex: What’s your favourite band at the moment? Steve: Today, Poison the Well. Alex: What’s your favourite hair colour on a women? Steve: Anything but ginger. Alex: You don’t like ginger? Steve: No. I’m ginger and it’s the most disgusting colour ever. Why are you all vegetarians? Alex: I’m vegetarian ‘cos you know, chicks dig it. And the other guys are vegetarians because they copied me. SSM: To wrap up, If you could go back to any era and embody anyone who would it be? Alex: I’d probably go back to say, the 60’s... Maybe I’ll be Elvis. I’m not the biggest Elvis fan, but he was having a pretty good time. Actually, maybe I’d be Mick Jagger. Not because I really like the Stones, but he had a pretty decent life. Steve: I’d be Keith Richards and then it’d be the two of us in the same band.
Alex: I’ll be Jagger, you be keith, we’d fuck shit up
Words & Photos: Nadine Ballantyne
Cardiff Barfly 24th March
hen the possibility that many of The Milk fans favourite youtube hit ‘Ross Kemp On Gangs’ could actually be heard for the first time live on stage, it’s no wonder tickets flew out and this night turned out to be huge sensation you’d be crying yourself to sleep over if you missed it. This was not a night for the faint hearted, any one that offends easily was most likely offended. But we all know that’s what they do best. They play new material throughout, from already seen and heard Poem Blasts to Nick & Kevin, to never before seen characters, but the sketch that really took no prisoners and downright crude to the bones was the Party Planners sketch. As Alex prances on and leads a big lad in a rather fetching horse mask and thong we all knew this would be the highlight of the show and one that interacts with the crowd in
a way that you’re embarrassed for the participants on their knee’s at Alex’s pleasure, it was only a matter of time before the fake cock came out again. You can guess the rest. With a final end note of most the floor singing along to Ross Kemp on Gangs, really for something that was set in the murks of Barfly on a budget of friends making backdrops and helping out, and on a risk that no one was quite sure what they were going to get live. It went surprisingly bloody well. We can’t imagine the amount of effort put in for this show, and that it went so well that we can only expect bigger shows for these crude loving boys and girls. 9/10 If you missed this, you can catch the new Milk live show June 4th at Cardiff’s Millenium Music Hall. Tickets http://themilk.bigcartel.com/
Words & Photos: Nadine Ballantyne
Words & Photo: Ed Townend
Here Lies The Enemy
Cardiff Barfly 15th March
It’s good to see young bands pull their weight and set up their own gigs. You can’t just sit back and wait for things to happen, you need to get out there and do stuff. Cardiff locals Here Lies The Enemy have done just that. Taking over Barfly for an evening and bringing along their friends to support them.
Athena (who were interviewed in Issue 1 of Soundscape Magazine) are amongst those friends and fall on the darker side of the music on offer tonight. Described as half hardcore, half deathcore it’s easy to dismiss them as another riff-heavy, low screaming metal band. However, the skill and power wielded by the band – who are all still teenagers – is parallel to (if not better than) a lot of successful yet underground metal bands. With songs that rip and blister through genres like ‘Into Ashes’ that shifts from hell-raising death metal to a hardcore breakdown that would put a lot of other bands under the same genre to shame. Each song shifts
gears again and again to add another time signature or gut pounding half-time measure in. The drums are ridiculously fast, almost restrained from going even faster and the guitar strains from low chugging riffs to wailing feedbacked solos. ‘Hypocrisy Of Night’ reinforces these traits and both guitarists take it in turns to play fantastic solos over the other’s striking riffs and comes to a close with another brilliant hardcore cry. Here Lies The Enemy are a Welsh band through and through, but their influences and range outstrip most carbon-copies in the scene. With three awesome voices, from low and guttural to midranged yells and then an epic swooping top register, the combination is powerful enough without the addition of instruments. The guitar and bass lines have obviously been furiously perfected and practised to maximum effect and the drums are heart-wrenching and breathtaking with
double-bass too fast to comprehend. The songs themselves are layered, with screaming refrains matched by crooning choruses and the lyrics are straight from the diaries of a teenager but set to maximum velocity. ‘I’m Not A Monster’ powers straight into the ears from start to finish and its melodies get stuck in your head (and featured a cameo from Athena’s singer on the heaviest line of the song). ‘I’m Taking You Out Of My Top Friends List’ might be a slightly outdated song title, but the lyrics are sound - from “You say I’m bad/I say you’re worse/ Let’s try for once/To make this work!” to “I’m sick of always being your bitch” and includes back and forth riffs to blow your mind. Absolute anarchy squeezed into an awesome pop-metal package. 7/10
This Is Hell
Plus: More Than Life Clwb ifor Bach 25th March
Downstairs at Clwb Ifor Bach. Check. American hardcore band. Check. A bunch of fans more worried about how they look hardcore dancing. Check. There’s something about these gig’s that tickle my fancy, especially when you see a band really throw in real emotion with their music, but at the same time the little flaws of the scene kids make me despise some of real scene out there at the
moment. But fringes aside, there’s not much I can also honestly say about these bands. They’re both your pretty typical hardcore act. They play flawlessly, they rock out, they commit to the crowd and the crowd engage back.Tonight though, it’s really about those dancing windmilling
fans that make the night, and make the band really feel like their needed in the world. It’s a great to see the singer of This Is Hell subtly looking invincible and incredibly happy that these kids do care. Even if they do occasionally rip the mic off him. 7/10
Brixton Academy 6th April
AFI have been around since the dawn of time (or that’s how it feels looking over their back catalogue – some of which I hope will grace my ears tonight). I first heard AFI back in 2000 when they released “Days of the Phoenix” but never really got into it too much (I was a big nu-metal fan at the time) and stumbled upon them by chance again in 2003 when “Girls Not Grey” was nominated for MTV2 VMA of the Year, which they went on to win. Considering I’ve been a fan since then I have absolutely no idea why it has taken me so long to actually see them live. So tonight is the long awaited night and I’m beyond excited as the band take to the stage. All my money spent is immediately worth it as the band launch into new track and first single of the new record, Medicate. The track was used on Guitar Hero 5 and I can see why when they play it live. It’s energetic and so are the band. In all my years of seeing bands live, few have matched the liveliness of AFI. Guitarist, Jade Puget, does not stop moving from beginning to end of the gig! The crowd are eating out the palm of their hands the whole way through.
They rock through classics both old and new and I practically die of excitement when they launch into my favourite track off the new album, Too Shy To Scream. There’s obvious excitement among the crowd when the band encores to the classic, Days of the Phoenix. I suggest you don’t do what I did and wait roughly a decade to see these guys play, get on it, as they are by far one of the best live bands around! 10/10 WORDS: ANNEKA SILLITOE
Glamour Of The Kill -----------------------
Cardiff Barfly 9th April
I got into Barfly just as local band The Missive were finishing off their set, I was disappointed because I’ve heard some very good things about this band and was eager to check them out and from the crowds response they went down well. Yashin bounced onto the stage in the packed Barfly to huge cheers and an instant circle pit with the song ‘Dirty Slut’ led straight into ‘Friends In High Places’ from the bands debut album. The band sounded great, the sound was spot on and dual vocalists Kev and Harry sounded top notch and the crowd were completely into it, singing along and going crazy. Yashin are very energetic on stage with Kev at one point doing a spot of crowd surfing. The band
played a set full of songs from the bands debut album “Put Your Hands Where I Can See Them” and a couple of tracks from the “Miles Away But Getting Closer” EP like ‘The First Rule Of Fight Club’ where the band got the crowd to do a wall of death just as the song kicked in. The band died it down when they played ‘Black Summer’, which went down a storm. Harry’s vocals sounding perfect. They ended the set with a cover of Britney Spears ‘Everytime’ (Yes, really!) and the amazing ‘Get Loose’ which definitely left the crowd wanting more. I’ll be honest I not a huge fan of Glamour Of The Kill, they leave me a bit cold, but I have to say you can see why the kids love them from just their live performance. With a constant circle pit throughout the whole set, the band raised the temperature in the already sweaty-as-hell Barfly by a couple of notches. Each song was more or less the same, a combination of growled vocals, clean vocals, gang shouted choruses and guitar solo’s, the sound clear as a bell and the band played a tight set. Singer/bass player Davey came across as a bloke you couldn’t fault, Barfly now cheering his every word. After an hours worth of material they left the stage to screams and shouts for more. 8/10 WORDS: PAUL ESP
Plus: Eric Unseen, STRAIGHT LINES CARDIFF BARFLY 31ST March
eturning to the musty intimate surroundings of Barfly must be a dramatic change of scenery for a band that once played to thousands at Reading and Glastonbury, but it doesn’t seem to faze The Automatic. Cardiff was the last stop on their current tour and rather than a step down this performance felt more like a homecoming surrounded by long-lost friends. Support for the night came in the form of two fellow Welsh bands. Eric Unseen, who are currently battling for fame in the Live and Unsigned UK competition threw themselves full force at their performance – quite literally as their lead guitarist took an unexplained dive off the front of the stage mid-song, bringing an early close to their performance. A shame really as the boys are a treat to watch live. Straight Lines put in a solid performance that kept the fans milling towards the front end of the room; their rendition of At the Drive In’s One Armed Scissor,
joined by Paul Mullen, bringing in the most interest of the night. But it wasn’t until the main act took to the stage that the audience really pushed forwards. The Automatic have been tagged with a plethora of indie/pop/rock labels since the release of Monster that have become hard to shake off, but shake off is what they’re determined to do. Tracks from new album Tear Down the Signs went down well with the crowd, despite being newly released. Race to the Heart of the Sun was a particular highlight, its mid-tempo beat dragging the audience into a concerted sway. Latest single Run and Hide gave former Yourcodenameis:Milo member Paul Mullen centre stage to show off his vocals which have an occasional air of Placebo’s Brian Molko, while future release Cannot be Saved kicked the remaining audience members into breaking away from the corners of the room to
join the crowd at the front. Mixed in to an hour-long set with classics like Monster, Raoul, Magazines, This is a Fix and a cover of INXS’s New Sensation, the set managed to stay interesting and the boys still manage to capture a freshness and enthusiasm for their music that’s sometimes lost by third album territory. Throwing in a few stage tricks, including a rubber animal mask clad finale rock out reminiscent of Muse’s mid-set Rage Against The Machine reworkings, the band seems to be trying to drop its commercial image and throw in nods toward a heavier sound. And although closing number Steve McQueen proved the most suitable track to lead into this breakdown, something about it jarred a little. With a lot resting on this new album, it might just be the case that they’re trying too hard to impress. With such a solid catalogue of work behind them they really don’t need to worry. 8/10 WORDS: JO BREWER
-------------------------------Plus: I Am Hope
Cardiff Barfly 11th April
Having randomly encountered the ‘And So I Watch You From Afar’ road show on a previous occasion I was rather eagerly awaiting this show at the Barfly, Cardiff. On this occasion however the scene is unfamiliarly busy, the feverish crowd sporting their support for the band quite literally on their sleeves.
Words & Photos: Emma Davies
It’s a refreshing experience in all. Encountering a band without a try-hard frontman is a practical non-event, especially in South Wales. ASIWYFA show us that we need not be concerned with the standard rock and roll arrangement at all. Some things just are, and ASIWYFA fantastical powerhouse is one of them. A much more traditional approach to composition is evident. Notice the lack of the word ‘songwriting’, there’s none of that here, each stunning performance is simply that - Rachmaninoff for guitar or Shostakovich for sweating and shouting. Little more can be said about this band in black and white and need not. If they are near you, be there, otherwise be uninformed and out of luck. On this night though my heart belongs to local support ‘I Am Hope’. I dare to say that with their open and frank approach to pouring hearts into the crowd they may steal the show. Surprisingly charisma and hometown frontmen may tip the scale here. All in all an unbelievably spoiling musical ensemble. If you weren’t at this gig you definitely missed something. 8/10
Words & Photos: Nadine Ballantyne
Plus: The Muscle Club, Exit International, Blitz Kids Clwb Ifor bach 16th April
It’s doesn’t feel too long ago Tiger Please packed out the downstairs of Welsh Club, and back then they could have easily gone for bigger. An early arrival see’s us catching Blitz Kids open and to the twenty people early enough to witness them, it’s no wonder they’re opening. Their music’s like an old patched up to death dirty cloth. Some of it flows without a stitch and carries that dirty rock n roll essence, but unfortunately for the rest, it’s just messy and needs a lot of work. Exit International on the other hand, who’ve been touring with these boys take it to another level. It’s a home show and they know the crowd all too well to play around with. Although in our eyes, these two opening for Tiger Please doesn’t quite feel right. In your face rock n roll compared to melodic indie mummy’s and daddies band is one to question. The Muscle Club take the reins next and are a perfect fit for support. They’re quiet, polite and not too loud for the older and mature crowd.
Tiger Please have gone and packed out the place again so they must be doing something right to grab the attention of the locals. Even before they take the stage all dressed up, there’s already an atmosphere that feels like the room is ready to explode. One thing about their live presence is the way you can tell the band truly admire everyone for coming out and singing their hearts out back to them. They practically smile all night. Now here’s where the evil reviewer part comes in. As much as they love what they do, as much as the crowd does, and as much as their music sounds triumphant live compared to CD, such as track ‘Without Country’ when the majority sing along and hairs stand up on end. There’s bands all over the UK that sound exactly like this, but then again, most indie does these days. We’ll just give them the benefit that they’re the best of the indie scene in Wales right now. 7/10
Plus: Telegraphs, Exit International Camden barfly, London 22nd April
The night kicks off with Exit International (a band we champion here at Soundscape Magazine) and they prove again tonight that they’re more than worth our championing. They’re loud and they’re totally different to anything else that’s out there at the moment. A few people seem impressed, others it’s probably not their cup of tea, but I thoroughly enjoy every second of their hard rock vibes tonight. Next up is Telegraphs and I’m bored from the moment they walk on stage. They have a female bass player/singer (how unusual!). I wouldn’t mind if there were any female bass players/singers out there that were genuinely amazing (I’ve met a few myself, but sadly they’re not out there doing it in the industry, so it appears that they all just sound the same). What happened to
when females were amazine at rock. Look at the 70’s and 80’s, Blondie, Joan Jett, Suzi Quattro. In fact, the 90’s had No Doubt fronted by Gwen Stafini and then we lost it. And don’t tell me Paramore are good, cause that’s like saying Avril Lavigne is anything worth paying attention to! Anyway, Telegraphs. They aren’t bad musicians, it’s not that... it’s just it’s nothing new, exciting or different. They sound like every over band out there. The songs are radio friendly and to be honest, a little insulting. It’s almost as if they’ve not tried to be anything but popular. I won’t be given them another listen for a very long time (if they’re even still around by then). Brigade take to the stage and from the off there’s technical difficulties. I’ve been to gigs with
problems, but this is something else. They have to stop songs and restart songs and it’s really not fair cause they’ve been away for so long. No band deserves this, but especially not them. But they rise above it, apologise for the problems and just get on with it. Most bands wouldn’t do that and it shows a level of maturity that you just don’t see elsewhere often. They play a host of great hits from their first 2 albums and some new tracks (all of which sound heavier than anything they’ve ever done before). The crowd are well in there with them, family, friends and just those hardcore fans. Despite the problems, the gig is one of those you’ll never forget and this band will outlive many others around it currently. 8/10
Words: Anneka Sillitoe
down to deepest Wales again ... It was like something out of a horror film. You turned up and it felt like you were entering Resident Evil levels scenarios”
Bri gade are b ack and ro c king harde r t h a n ever. We caught up with the m at the ir r ec en t London show for a bit of a catc h u p .
We hear you’ve been writing and recording a 4 track EP, when can we expect this to release? Will: Good
question. It’s kind of up in the air at the moment. We’re hoping July/August time. It’s got a summer vibe to it, which is nice. Why did you decide to go for an EP rather than full length album? I think it’s the amount of time we’ve been away. We felt like we’d been off the scene now for 2 years and knowing that it takes times, especially when we’ve all got full time jobs Will:
to write a record that we’re totally happy with. We thought we can probably see ourselves getting it done by the end of this year, but by then it’s 3 years off the scene. So we thought, let’s get something out in the mean time, just something to keep people interested and to say we haven’t gone away, we’re still around. Give people a bit of a teaser and taster. We’ve got to build it back up really. Cause having so long out there’s hundreds of new bands that have come along and we gotta just get back into people’s minds again. James:
And bands have broken up. Andy:
Quickest way to do that was to just do a nice rocking 4 track EP. James:
We see you worked with Gethin Woolcock again. Was this an easy decision to make and did you decide straight away that you would work together again? We have actually loved both people that we’ve worked with. But we knew since ‘Lights’ that we wanted to work with Gethin again. He’d actually been just the engineer on that record, but ended up kinda coproducing it, so we thought we wanted to have an experience recording with him again and so it was a pretty easy decision. Will:
Almost like really close mates going let’s have another go at working together again. He’s a very good friend of ours as well. So it was nice to just be able to do it with him. James:
So off we went, he booked a studio. We went down to deepest Wales again. It was the furthest we’ve ever been in Wales, it took us like 6 hours. It was really out the way, there was no signal. It was like something out of a horror film. You turned up and it felt like you were entering Resident Evil levels scenarios. But it was brilliant. We found a Druid burial site. It looked like something from Stone Henge, not quite as big, but quite creepy. It was like being in Narnia. Will:
Lots of pine trees. Really old house. Nothing you could hear apart from clinging noises and breaking twigs. And I had no phone signal, so I couldn’t even find where I had to go. Just went down this massive gravel path, ended up at this enormous farm building, thought I was in Wold Creek or something. Went to knock on the first available door and luckily they were in there. James:
This tour is just 5 dates covering the major cities of the UK really. Can we expect another bigger tour in the near future? Yes. Definitely. Not having done any touring for like 18 months, it’s like start slowly and gear ourselves back up to it. But we’ve been playing the last few days and it’s been fantastic. James:
What you’ve gotta remember is Jimmy’s got a busted foot. He’s got his moon boot on. Will:
It’s not really easy on me, but it’s nice to get out and play in front of people again. James:
This is the first tour since August 08. Was there any reason you decided to take the break off from the road? The reason for the break was because Will completely lost his voice. It took him a year really from completely losing it to getting back on the horse, so to speak, and starting singing again. Then Naoto had an operation on his back so had to go back to Japan for a couple of months to recoup and get it sorted out. Completely bogged by problems. But yeah, that was why we took so long off. There’s no other reason. But at the same time we were kind of writing as well. Just getting Will back to where he needed to be and Naoto walking upright. James:
I think it was a real testing year for us. But also we really did almost call a day just cause you know when everything looks so bleak. But I think it was a real test to our relationship and we managed to pull through it. Each one of us at different time periods almost kinda said “I can’t do this anymore”. But we managed to get through it and we’re really proud of the new stuff. We wrote it and it just felt really exciting. Almost like we had become a maturer version of ourselves musically, which is always what a band wants to do, get to a point where they Will:
feel they’re writing their best music to date. Sad to start from scratch again. Almost feels like you’ve gotta prove to people all over again that you’re worth listening to, but we’re rising to that challenge, this is just the first of a hopefully long road back into it. If you could go back in time to any time period, what would you pick and why? I thought of this the other day. I’d love to go back to... I went to watch ‘A Christmas Carol’ in 3D and like the shots over London at that time, Charles Dickens time, Jack the Ripper and things, that time period. I’d love to walk the streets of London at that time cause I think it’d be pretty awesome to see. You get a taste of it, if you look hard enough , but to see the streets as they were would be pretty exciting. I love old films where people dress up. Will:
I’d probably just like to go back to the 60s cause everyone bangs on about the greatest decade that’s ever been. So I’d probably go see what all the fuss is about. James:
Same as James. 60’s/70’s. Go to a music festival. Naoto:
I’d like to go back to the 80’s, but be slightly older than I am now so I can really take it all on board, how cheesy it was. Andy:
I’d go back and put money on a horse somewhere. James:
I’d go back to when you could get Digestive Creams... you can’t get them anymore Will:
Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip
Plus: D. Bolan, Sound of Rum Cardiff barfly 20th April
Opening act on were London outfit Sound of Rum. These young lot have come a long way since their humble beginning in 2008. The female fronted Hip Hop outfit sound like Lady Sovereign’s Older, more talented and more relevant sister. Front woman Kim Tempest gives out high fives and splits the audience down the middle. “right so you five this side and you five this side yeah? This is wicked”. It really seems as if this young group just love playing to anyone who will listen to them and you would be a fool not too. Next is Rhode Islands beat poet B. Dolan. As he stumbled around stage in a boiler suit he seemed to become more and more aggravated. He then turned to the audience and explained that the CD player playing his beats wasn’t working and had kind of ruined the illusion as he walked out on stage. He comically stated to the audience what he had planned and everyone kind of chuckled along nervously not really knowing if this was part of his set or not. There then was silence for what seemed like an eternity while the sound men were frantically tried to get the CD player to work. When they did he launched into ‘Reptilian Agenda’, which became the first real highlight of the night. Straight away you could tell this wasn’t just any old hip hop star who was going to talk to you about his cars and riches, this was a real artist who had something relevant
and profound to get of his chest. The CD player then cut out again half way through the song but he carried on as if he wasn’t going to let anything stop him with his speech. As if on cue the next line in the song was “By the time they find this song I’ll already be gone”. As he moved through the set the crowd were really jumping on board and really get into the set. What first started off as polite clapping, then turned into head nodding and quickly into a full on frenzy as arms were being thrown back and forth in appreciation by the end of his set. By the way the night started and the late turnout it was clear who everyone in the building was waiting to see and as the headlines hit the stage there was a rapturous applause that seemed to even take them by surprise. Blasting into there full on party/summer anthems it got the place jumping. And that’s what this set is all about. The set has absolutely no downturns in it and just keeps getting bigger and bigger until they hit their song ‘Get Better’. The only problem on this evening though is that just as its about to get to the last chorus of the song and the crowd is waiting for the bass to kick in the power cuts on Dan Le Sac’s equipment and we are just left with the crowd singing the chorus over and over again until it reaches such heights that when the equipment comes back to life you can almost not even hear it for the audience’s vocals. It was a truly wonderful thing to see and something that is not likely to ever happen again. “If that song blew everything up… well… get ready for this!” They then burst into their biggest hit to date ‘Thou shalt always kill’. If you have never heard this song look it up right now. Never has there been a song that breaks down the walls between artist and fan. Before going into this gig I didn’t even think it was possible for people to go this crazy at a so called “Hip Hop” show. As they walk to stage left with the crowd
gagging for one more song then swiftly turn back and comply with what their audience are demanding and have every person in the venue including the bar staff in their hands. As the light come back on in the venue everyone can leave knowing that they definitely got their moneys worth tonight.
Words: Benj Squibbs Photos: Vicki Roach
Walking into Cardiff Barfly tonight was quite an experience to say the least from the very beginning right till the end of the night. The Poster outside read “Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip Sold Out” yet walking downstairs about 20 minutes after doors opened there were approximately twenty people in the 300 capacity venue.
-----------------------------------------------------Plus: Pulled Apart By Horses, Mariachi El Bronx, The Guns, Shaped By Fate, Exit International Cardiff Solus 2nd May
Not often you come across a day concert in these parts of town anymore and especially not one that involves The Bronx headlining. We got there just in time to catch the end of Straight Lines, one of those bands that seems to be going forever on the local scene. One that’s changed their sound many times, whether for money or musical reasons, it’s not as fruitful as I once recall first seeing them back in 2006.
Next see’s Exit International take advantage of the bereaved crowd and bring them back into the light for some real dirty rock ‘n’ roll. A few adoring fans scream their ever enchanting (and slightly profane) lyrics back at lead singer Scott in delight, whilst Fudge does his best to stare out those brave enough to encounter this bass force that is about to give them a reason to shake their ‘bad’ asses indeed.
From that, we encounter another destroying force of Cardiff metallers Shaped By Fate. You can always tell who’s a SBF fan, they’re down on the dance floor, looking angry and ready to cause some damage. For tonight, a bigger stage simply means more fun right? Obviously, as screamer Paul throws him self over the barrier and finally gets the mood, well... loyal fans kicking off. The Guns on the other hand bring the notch right down, whether they intended to or not. A happy looking Alex banters with the crowd in his ever so charming and cocky way. There’s never a show you won’t catch him not having a good ol’ chat. But it get’s to a point where you’re working out how many extra songs they could have played, and what also let’s the band down on what could have been an enchanting set is their new drummer. She looks unrehearsed and plays out of time. Granted she’s new but that’s no exception after seeing the same thing
happen the last few times we’ve witnessed them. No here’s where it get’s interesting. Mariachi El Bronx. It was quite a sight at first as Bronx members walk out in matching uniforms, serious to the bone and play tradition Mexican music but after all of ten minutes you feeling this is really wasted on the crowd. It kind of feels like you’re at someone’s wedding and you don’t quite know how to react without being rude to the bride and groom. For tonight, it just acts as a breather before Pulled Apart By Horses takes over the stage and for the second time tonight brings the crowd back into reality. Never a flaw with these northern lads, just the flaw that it felt like they were rushed on, played a straight set and hurried off. The Bronx take to the stage finally and it’s clear to see they have hardcore fans here tonight. They in the pit, living it large no matter the tempo of the song. [cont]
The Bronx are a band that like to mix up their set with the various genres they cover, so there really is a little something for everyone tonight. But that doesn’t matter to the hardcore fans because they’re singing along to every word like they were born to do just that and it’s a drastic change to the scene we saw earlier with the band’s Mexician alter egos. The Bronx are an amazing live band and one that we feel you should thoroughly check out. Rock never got so amazing as it did tonight. 9/10
Clockwise: The Bronx, Exit International, Pulled Apart By Horses, Shaped By Fate
Photos: Ed Townend Words: Anneka Sillitoe & Nadine Ballantyne
Draw Me Stories Interview
Words: Nadine Ballantyne
What was it about the tracks Becomes the Hunted and Oars that made you feel they were right for your new ‘Double A Side’ release?
After our EP, ‘The Sky & The Mirror’, was released back in 2009 which we were all very chuffed with, we were keen to put out a couple of tracks that we’d been working on around that time that demonstrated a slightly alternative side to our musical embodiment. We felt that these new tracks mingling with the EP would - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -give - - - -people - - - - - -a- -much - - - - -more -----------------comprehensive idea of our style when visiting our myspace. We tend to head off down somewhat random musical alleyways when it comes to writing and try to avoid getting too blinkered in one style. These new tracks are an idea of where we’re heading with our writing, and are two of our favourites when playing live, so it was an easy choice when heading back into the studio. Why did you choose to only release it online? Is that something the band as a whole prefer or do you prefer CDs/ Vinyls over downloads? We felt that as a Double A-Side it might not be something that people would be as fussed about having as a physical copy. It was a combination of getting it released as quickly as possible – inevitably it’s a much longer process getting physical copies produced – and also the ease of people purchasing two tracks digitally. It’s fairly clear that the industry is heading towards digital media and it felt logical to keep costs down and release it online. [cont]
CDs are still an effective way to package music which is why the EP was released physically as well as online, but we felt the days of people buying physical ‘singles’ of alternative music are quite possibly over. Are you working on any new material at the moment to follow this release? We’re constantly writing new material. We have so many ideas it’s hard to ever know where to start. We’re unsure at the moment as to what sort of release this might take. It’d be fantastic to produce an album but this isn’t an easy thing to do as an unsigned band. With the release of the Double A-Side we felt we had the right sort of material to approach record labels, so that’s something we’ve been concentrating on over the last few months. So you never know, maybe this could dictate what we’ll be releasing next! If you had to choose one song of yours to play over and over again, which would it be and why? That’s a difficult question! Often, the newer the song the more exciting it is to play and listen to.
I suppose there are a few of our older songs that we are all still very fond of, songs like ‘Blindfold’ from ‘The Sky & The Mirror’, that we never seem to get tired of. Perhaps at the moment one of the tracks off the Double A-Side as they still feel very fresh to listen to. ‘Oars’ is an interesting song, quite unusual in its composition and sound, so let’s go with that!
“Cardiff has always been pretty alive with its music scene. There’s hardly a night that you can’t go out and see live music” As you’re all from a variety of places across the UK, how different would you say the local music scenes are? It’s seems fairly similar throughout the UK. Obviously there are cities that have a really vibrant music scene and cities less so. Cardiff has always been pretty alive with its music scene. There’s hardly a night that you can’t go out and see live music, and a number of venues with decent reputations. It seems to be more dictated
by the individual venues rather the city itself. London venues have always been quite accessible for us to play, as there’s so much going on. Venues in many other cities often only want local bands so it’s hard to play in cities that would otherwise be very appealing to us. We recently played a number of shows over in France as Mat (bass) is French which was good fun but again not all that easy to arrange. There is a very good electronic scene (Daft Punk, Air, Justice etc), however, the alternative scene tends to struggle a bit. If bands sing in French it’s difficult to export their music, but they are reluctant to sign bands who sing in English. Maybe things will improve with bands such as Phoenix who are currently doing well. Lastly, Any underground/ local bands you’d recommend people to look out for? We’ve become good friends with a Bath-based band called Port Erin, and shared many a gig with the guys. Really interesting sound, quite unusual these days. Sort of ambient-psychedelic-funk – definitely worth checking out
Marina and the Diamonds
----------------------------------------------------------------------------Words: Ed Townend Plus: Spark Millennium Music Hall 16th May What’s understandable and obvious about music is that everyone has their own tastes. With Marina and the Diamonds’ (otherwise known as Marina Diamandis) rise to fame, opinion has been split regarding her seemingly avant-garde music and image. I shared a little of the scepticism too, wondering how well the incredibly layered and overproduced (in the best sense of the word) music from her debut album ‘The Family Jewels’ would transfer to a live environment. Supporting Marina at the (reincarnated from Sub29) Millennium Music Hall was Spark, strikingly similar to Marina and the Diamonds, she was supported by a bassist, drummer and backing track. The similar vein of music and style in a support was a strange move for an artist who normally tries to do things a little differently, but the choice was still a good one. Spark (otherwise known as… well I’ve no idea, her true identity seems a mystery) is a slip of a character, strong musically but a little naïve and innocent in the face of hecklers yelling “You’re not Marina!”. With songs like ‘Shut Out The Moon’ the new-wave singer-songwriter showed obvious musical and lyrical flair. The similarities between her and the main act are substantial but something about her attitude sets her apart. The overzealous “oh oh”s may grate at first (she seems almost to roll her eyes at the sheer numbers sung) but with songs like ‘Revolving’ the simplicity yet brilliance of the concept of being a wind-up doll bludgeons you over the head with how good it is and then she rips apart all pretence of shyness and conformity comes in ‘Scream’ with a scything chant of “Boy you can’t get rid of me/you don’t want to get rid of me” followed by a well-charged and unabashed chorus of “Gonna scream the house down/ wake somebody, wake somebody”. Perhaps overshadowed by Marina’s
success, the attitude in which Spark writes is possibly even more left-field and definitely punkier in songs like ‘Blow’ with simplistic and straight to the point lyrics backed up with pounding drums and harsh synth. Definitely one to look up and have a listen to. So, with much fanfare and a breathtaking video introduction filmed in America depicting the star surrounded by diamonds and matching the visuals of a James Bond introduction, Marina Diamandis walks on to the rising notes of ‘Girls’ immediately demonstrating the strangeness she continuously embodies “Look like a girl/but I think like a guy!”. What’s immediate is that she totally underplays her voice on record, amplifying it only through effects and the dreaded autotune (which thankfully doesn’t grate as much as you would think). Devoid of such devices live, Marina staggers the ears with her seemingly unstoppable voice – it’s only until she cracks a note like anyone would do you understand that she’s a fallible force such is the power of her entrance and attitude. Following with the lesser known b-side ‘Seventeen’ is needed to fill out the set after just one album punches through with yet more attitude with the disarming “You don’t know fuck about my family”. It’s an example of how open and honest that Marina is. Before her ubiquitous fame she connected with her fans daily through the internet, but has now become almost a recluse – possibly due to blood, sweat and tears exposed in her music. Following with album tracks like ‘The Outsider’ and ‘Oh No!’ – both brilliant songs – it seems the majority of the audience aren’t that enthused as the few fans constantly moving and singing every single word. So is the appeal of a pop star which Marina is now undoubtedly – even incorporating costume changes and instrumental
medleys in an obviously pre-orchestrated set. She’s gone from an avant-garde DIY singer songwriter to all out pop and fashion icon. Only in the singles ‘I Am Not A Robot’ and ‘Hollywood’ does enthusiasm in the crowd show. However, a reverent respect is paid during solo piano pieces ‘Numb’ and the heartbreakingly beautiful ‘Obsessions’. Marina’s band (not the ‘Diamonds’ as she has said before that she considers her fans as the Diamonds) are brilliant warranting an introduction to all before the encore and being a mouthpiece to Marina’s instrumental side. The backing track is also a big part of the music, and it’s a struggle to take a musician with a backing track seriously, but Marina holds court ferociously as a performer foremost and a musician second, incorporating a great set of gimmicks like UV lipstick, glowing hearts and mini-wind machine (as well as the aforementioned costume changes) on top of a brilliant stage presence through well-thought out dance moves and of course a brilliantly powerful voice. Despite all her newfound pop stardom, she is still humblingly modest, surprised and thankful for the great response the crowd gives after every song – saying she must come to Cardiff more often (the last time being at Swn Festival last year) which seems strange as she was originally born in Wales (and apologises for not still having a Welsh accent, “I wish I still did” she says apologetically). She returns after bemoaning having to be ‘dishonest’ about an encore (which still hints at that early DIY attitude) to play a cover of 3OH!3’s ‘Starstrukk’ and end on the vivacious ‘Mowgli’s Road’. To dismiss Marina and the Diamonds as an over-produced and slightly weird pop act is to pander to the critics’ opinions. In reality, Marina is an unstoppable performer, and a perfect show-off. 8/10
Words: Paul Esp
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Deaf Havana’s debut album ‘Meet Me Halfway At Least’, we loved it. And so we decided to nab guitarist Chris to have a chat with us.
How did you get started?
I joined the band after they had already formed. We all went to the College of West Anglia doing a BTEC National Diploma in Music Practice and Technology. James, Ryan and Japatti were in a band before, and met Tom and original guitarist Seb there.
After a couple of EPs, Seb left and they asked me to fill in.
much of the film adaption of Fight Club as it doesn’t get you as immersed and its not as intense.
Favourite music and why?
I’m loving More Than Life at the moment, and the new Imogen Heap record. I like to try and get into new music that I’m not usually into because it really broadens your writing influences. Favourite book and why?
Anything Palahnuik. Such a captivating writer; although I don’t think
Favourite film and why?
Running Man. Arnie, OTT bad guys and plot. Epic soundtrack as well. Best experience in the business?
Meeting new people, especially new tour buddies. We’ve made some of our best friends whilst touring with guys like Young Guns.
Why should soundscape readers care?
worked ourselves to the bone for a very long time.
Soundscape readers should care because there’s very little left of independent print and zines that aren’t influenced by industry bullshit and propaganda.
Best thing about playing in Wales?
Tell our readers an interesting fact about the band?
We’ve been around a lot longer than people think, and self released a lot more EP’s! Not saying how long and how many though! We have literally
Welsh kids love to have a good time. They cheer the loudest, get involved with more passion than most British kids and show a lot more support for new music. Who are your role models/ idols?
As a guitarist, I don’t really look at huge bands as idols. I’d say two of my
major role models and idols that are pretty big influences to me at the moment are John from Young Guns and Calum from Flood of Red. Hardest thing about the current business?
Music industry politics and trying to find financial backing
Check out Deaf Havana at www.myspace.com/deafhavana
Video Games Music
Who are your favourite musicians? Madonna, Muse, The Beatles? Me, I’m partial to a little Nobuo Uematsu or Martin O’Donnell. Never heard of them? Well maybe you should pay more attention to your video games!
Words: Alex Brady
Too often we forget that music is not limited to the individuals who have been lucky enough to have been signed to a record label, or people who rehearse in garages with their friends praying for their day to come, it is also soundtracks. I’m not talking about film soundtracks, which can often generation as much hype as the film itself; I’m talking about video games. The scourge of parent’s nightmares, the digital world we snatch up the second we have a spare moment, the media that is shaping our 21st Century lives as much as T.V. or the Internet. Here, I shall champion some of my favourites. Halo; since 2001 we have been graced with that unique monk-like chant and mystical music that put a unique stamp upon a game that helped revolutionise the industry and is still going strong today with the soundtrack for Halo 3 being nominated for multiple awards. The pounding drums that signal the
oncoming of The Covenant and Flood echo your heartbeat and bring an atmosphere of urgency and tension to the games, keeping them fresh even when playing the tenth time around. Outside of the game it still makes for excellent listening, the power of the modern classical motif pushing aside many mainstream acts when I stick my mp3 player on shuffle and skip through the unwanted filler. Next up, Assassin’s Creed 2. I use the second instalment of the game quite simply because people will be a bit more familiar with it than the original one. Initially I overlooked this soundtrack, barely noticing it in the game until one point, whilst jumping from
rooftop to rooftop killing archers to steal their pennies, the music simply appeared from nowhere. A subtle yet forceful pattern of notes just hinting from the behind the action of acrobatics, from then my interest was piqued. After purchasing the soundtrack I was pleasantly surprised to discover what it had to offer. Many a music fan, and many a musician, may feel that the core of a song is the lyrics, the vocals, that immediately human element supported by noise-making tools, a concept this soundtrack defies wholeheartedly. Take, for example, the track “Ezio’s Family.” During the course of the story, the protagonist suffers the loss of his father and two brothers to the hands of his enemies
and the gallows, certainly a highly emotional sequence to get across to the player. This track confidently supports what you feel he must be going through; the pain and the memories represented by the acoustic guitar, the frustration and righteous anger brought to live by the electric equivalent, with a lonely chant taking second place to the instruments, but providing an underlying theme of sadness and despair. Every other track is equally as suited to its placement within the game, effortlessly jumping from thrilling chase to stealthy dispatching a ruthless enemy.
If neither of those two is convincing enough, treat your ears to any of the soundtracks for the Final Fantasy series. Each one is a musical delight and lives up to the series name taking you into an undiscovered musical fantasy where emotions become notes. That might sound clichĂŠd but seldom have I come across such composition as to make me scramble around collecting every album released for the games. On top of that there are the piano collections! My ears began to weep with joy upon listen to these.
The gentle grace of that powerful instrument brought a new level of appreciation to sounds I had already fallen in love with. You come to understand that for games that our out of this world, you would need music that is equally as otherworldly. On the face of it, each track appears pretty standard in its form; but pay close attention and you become privy to something almost mystical, as though it is the sounds themselves that construct the worlds that make up this epic game series, a series, let us not forget, that has been
around since 1987! The soundtrack can play just as big a role as the quality of the graphics, or how relatable the characters are, and just as much effort is put in to it as designing all the tiny aspects of that virtual world; so I urge you, when you play your games, please pay more attention to the music in the background, so often forgotten when counting up your achievements or panicking because youâ€™re not reloading fast enough to kill the approaching onslaught.
Ed Ap Llwyd of
Black Russia n
If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have 5 tracks with you to listen to, what would they be?
Desert Island Tracklist
First would have to be God Save The Queen by The Sex Pistols, mainly because I grew up listening to them from a very, very young age! And you can’t beat what they brought to the publics eyes and ears.
Isolation from the Mighty Boosh as it would be fitting being on a desert island.
Then it would have to be Future of the Left’s Small Bones, Small Bodies. I don’t know why, I just fucking love that tune!
New Rose by The Damned, Another band I grew up listening to, a burden you have to bear when your Da’ is an old punk! And its got bollocks! Something many bands lack in their music these days.
Finally it would have to be The Smiths - What Difference Does It Make?, because not only is it a great piece of music, but I have been told a story where this song is involved, but I’m not going to tell as I find it really funny a lot of people will think I’m sick!
All the Damn Vampires
Live from the Gutter EP
All the Damn Vampires are like a mix between Gallows and Eagles of Death Metal. They have that rocking vibe with the ability to shout and make it sound immense and not just like some shouty band. Live from the Gutter starts with track ‘Rednecking’ and it’s brash and loud and everything you wanna hear. The EP doesn’t slow down any from there either. All the tracks have this gang vocal feel to them that is just executed in such a unique style by ATDV and pitch perfect too! There’s a driving drum force on track ‘101 Damnations’ until it hits the breakdown and frankly the scream over the top of it is almost as long as that one Dave Grohl does in Foo Fighter’s Monkey Wrench. Towards the end of the track it turns into a ‘Monster Mash’/old skool horror movie vibe and it’s one of the catchiest things I’m heard in a track in a long time. If you’re not sucked into the EP by it’s halfway point then you’ll definitely love it by the fourth
track ‘What Happens at Sea, Stays at Sea’. My favourite track by the band since I first heard it and I often find myself singing it since. Thank god I can now listen to it whenever I want, and frankly if they’d just put this song on the EP it would’ve been worth every penny, so the fact you get 4 other rocking tracks with it is a MAJOR bonus! This track has the fastest paced feel to it and the chorus is just unforgettable. The last track is by no means any worse than the rest. It rocks just as hard as the other tracks. This EP is well worth checking out (especially considering it’s only 5 quid!) as it’s a sucker punch to the gut and knocks the wind out of you the moment it starts and the EP gives such a vibe that you wanna fight this imaginary force back. So that’s exactly what I intend to do, listen to this EP until I feel I have sufficiently rocked and you should too! Words: A. Sillitoe
there’s some real bad ass rock ‘n’ roll left in Wales. Although feeling somewhat American, whether that’s the hardcore vocal style, the edgy guitars or more raw produced recording where I’m often reminded of early ETID work, I’m not sure. But with pacey guitars and screeching shouts of a vocalist (I once saw scream so intense he played the rest of a gig with a bloody nose), there’s just no slowing down on this album. To put simply, it’s just one giant punch of pure rock smacked straight through your ear lobes. Suck it up and enjoy. Tracks to check out: Knife Sex, Back Up, Blowgoat. Words: N.Ballantyne
Draw Me Stories ‘Double A Side’ Digital Release 8/10
Die! Chihuahua Die! LP 8/10
Despite for the first time I’m now able to spell Chihuahua with confidence, I can also come away from listening to this album with confidence that
As an in-between release from there last 2009 EP and deciding what they’d like to conjure up next, these two tracks feel like they could sum up the bands discography entirely, whilst one look at them and I’m thinking ‘oh here we go another Indie wannabe Biffy Clyro band’, but when I hit the play button it’s something I certainly wasn’t expecting. [cont]
Sophisticated and mixed alternatively with complex rhythms, dreary yet soothing vocals, and slightly folk shall we say. During moments it’s like Radiohead on speed. Words: N.Ballantyne
Crystal Castles Crystal Castles
The second eponymous album (confusing right?) has been rushed to an early release because of an internet leak. It just goes to show how eagerly anticipated some music is. The initial reaction to Crystal Castles is aversion – it seems at first like a blitzkrieg of static and sharp electronica with screeching indecipherable vocals. That’s certainly what first track ‘Fainting Spells’ sounds like. If you can battle through the first impressions of Crystal Castles you start to realise why they’re so explosively popular. ‘Celestica’ is track two, smooth and soulful – not traits you would normally associate with the raucous live persona of Alice Glass (vocals). However, ‘Doe Deer’ is a short but scything barb of a track, filled with noise, distortion and piercing screams but it feels
like an instant rave classic with distorted fanfare reminiscent of 90’s hardcore dance. ‘Baptism’ follows in a similar vein, drawing influence on big dance hits but throwing a new modern perspective onto it and sounding at points like an upbeat ‘The xx’ before ascending into pumping beats and screams once again. ‘Year of Silence’ samples the strange language of Sigur Rós and ‘Empathy’ is an infinite r’n’b groove. The songs career from soft to hard and improves the range only touched upon in their first album. Vocal manipulation was a big part of Crystal Castles’ debut and returns again on tracks like ‘Vietnam’. The rather oddly titled ‘Pap Smear’ is one of the highlights of the album, mixing almost normal vocals with constantly shifting beats and synthesisers. ‘Not In Love’ revisits early electronic music and ‘Intimate’ feels like it could continue on forever. The album finishes in much the same way as it started with another impossible mess of noise. First impressions aside, Crystal Castles have kept the aesthetics that created such a buzz and then added some more. Words: Ed Townend
Coheed and Cambria Year of the Black Rainbow 10/10 New York based outfit Coheed and Cambria are back with another rocking album. If anything to me this one sounds a little grittier than previous studio releases. The album opens with an insturmental track (something that seems a distance memory for albums these days) before heading straight into ‘The Broken’. There are no falsetto vocals on this track and vocalist Claudio Sanchez has a much richer voice. By third track ‘Guns of Summer’ the progressive rock fast paced twiddly fancy guitars and keyboard are back. The whole album is a masterpiece from beginning to end. I was never a massive Coheed fan, but this for me has been a whole new side to Coheed and a totally new experience. One which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I might not have been a big Coheed fan, but I’ve done my research for those of you who are. If you’ve been an avid listener since their first studio release you’ll know that they’ve been recording an epic concept album (which is split across the five releases) which is accompanied by a beautiful comic book titled “The Amory Wars”. ‘Year of the Black Rainbow’ completes the tetralogy and is in fact the first in the series. This album is definitely well worth the listen whether you’ve read the comic or not (I haven’t, but gonna pick them up now I think including the novel that is to accompany this album) as it’s simply a fantastic piece of musicianship.
Charlie Simpson Thorns
Over his 24 years Charlie Simpson has more musical endeavours than most will ever achieve in their entire lives. Not all have been to my taste, and I was a little prejudgemental at first (it was my mum who made me watch Fightstar’s first video – I was in love from day 1). But this is nothing to do with a band, this is Charlie all by himself, kicking it solo and frankly this one demo is stunning! Thorns is available as a free demo from www.charliesimpsonmusic.com currently and it’s melodic, mixing the many talents the man possesses from piano playing, drumming and that husky voice that over the years I’ve grown to not only love, but simply adore. It’s a big step away from Fightstar and that’s good, it showcases the multiple talents this man has. Fightstar are heavy and loud and whilst they have some slower songs, it’s mostly a swift kick up the ass. But this is soft, gentle and beautiful. It’s like poetry to a tune and if this is a good example of solo stuff to follow, then we are in for a real treat. Words: A. Sillitoe
Trust Me, Something Beautiful Will Happen 10/10 I was gonna mark this down due to fact that this EP is only 4 tracks and a remix, but it’s quality, not quantity right? And this is top quality! Regular Soundscape readers will have checked out the interview we did with Sam on the website just before this EP was released and
hopefully already picked up a copy of this, his debut EP, if not what are you waiting for? This is 4 tracks of brilliance, well written and well played acoustic pop rock. The EP kicks off with ‘She’s Just Not That Into You’, a song which deserves the 10/10 mark on it’s own. It’s a cracking tune which just gets better with every listen. ‘Watch Your Back’ and ‘Everything’ continue on this amazing EP in style, both catchy songs which show off Sam’s excellent vocals and knack for writing infectious pop rock songs. The EP ends an older track Sam first released under the ‘Eat, Sleep, Attack’ name. There is also a remix of track ‘Fallin’ on the EP too which is pretty good and definitely a bit different. The EP is available for download for just £1.99 from Sam’s Big Cartel store, Go on, it’ll be the best 2 quid you’ve spent in a while. Words: P. Esp
other similar bands are putting out at the moment. Just check out tracks like ‘Letters And Love Notes’ and ‘In Our Final Hour’ to see what I mean. These are brilliant tracks which show the bands class songwriting against a backdrop of riff-heavy rock music. It shows to be commercial the music doesn’t have to be all sugary sweet. That said, the EP ends with piano led ballad ‘Goodnight Moon’, a really great song that shows the band can slow it down and lose none of the power, and a perfect track to end this excellent EP. Words: P. Esp
Slash - Solo Album
Do Overs And Second Chances
Go Radio are the band formed by Jason Lancaster after he left Mayday Parade and this is their second EP. The EP kicks off with ‘When Dreaming Get’s Drastic’ a full-on rock number and great song. What follows then is a collection of cracking edgy, rock songs. Sure, they are commercial, but they are head and shoulders above what
English born, American raised guitar god Slash is back and doing exactly what he does best on this album. The writing is impeccable, the playing absolutely executed to perfection and the guest artists complete the unique sound. As a man I’ve followed career wise for most of my life (I was an avid Guns ‘N’ Roses fan at just 2, even saw them live) his new album astounds me with how well this man can write.
Having penned songs and parts to some amazing tunes over the years, to still come up with 14 fresh tracks that sound immense is simply astonishing. This self titled release features guest vocals from singers both old and new including Ozzy Osbourne, Iggy Pop and Lemmy to Chris Cornell, Kid Rock and M Shadows (Avenged Sevenfold). Not only do the guest spots pose vocalists, but one track features the guitar of fellow friend, bandmate and rocker Duff McKagen and drums by the ever amazing Dave Grohl. Surprise of the album is Fergie of Black Eyed Peas fame taking vocals on track “Beautiful Dangerous” as her husky voice works superbly with the riffing guitar. This album seriously shreds and should be a listen to anyone who loves classic rock, something a bit different and the avid guitarist. It’s a real eclectic mix of some quality written tunes and producer Eric Valentine (Lostprophets, Good Charlotte, Taking Back Sunday) captures what’s needed beautifully. Words: A. Sillitoe
Lecarla Silent City
Regular readers will remember we interviewed Lecarla just before the band’s mini-welsh tour not long ago and ‘Silent City’ is the bands latest EP. The band are a combination almost thrash style riffs and breakdowns with big choruses. It works well, mainly due to the quality of the songwriting. First track ‘DILLIGAF” is the perfect opener, powerhouse
instruments and a great chorus. Second song ‘Violation’ carries on with the same formula, although I’m not sure about the aggressive vocals at the end of the track. It doesn’t quite suit the rest of the track. The guitar work throughout the EP is pretty impressive. Highlight of this 5 track EP for me is ‘Obstacles & Runways’ where vocalist Lizzy Dent really shines. She has a good voice which sounds perfect for the haunting melodies of the chorus of this track. Track ‘This Is The Interval’ finishes off the EP with style. Words: P. Esp
The Morning Of The Way I Fell In
Being a huge fan of The Morning Of’s first record, the wait for this, their second album, seemed like forever. But let me tell you, it was worth every second! It’s a bit early for me to be picking my album of the year but this might just be it. First track ‘Jennasea’ starts with a gospel feel and Justin Wiley’s fragile vocal. But as soon as Jessica Leplon’s voice and the drums kick in, it turns into a real rocking song. Next track ‘What You Cant Control’ is a personal favourite and is, what I feel, one the greatest songs ever written.
What follows is a masterclass in piano based indie/rock, every song is simply brilliant. Check out tracks ‘Like Yesterday’ and ‘Waiting’, both great upbeat pieces of rock with superb choruses, the latter song especially amazing. The production on the record, by Legendary producer Jim Wirt (Incubus, Something Corporate) is crystal clear, not so easy when a lot of the songs contain a whole host of additional instrumentation, but nothing gets lost in the mix. Every song here is something quite special. ‘I Know You Know’ is a beautiful acoustic based song, ‘Dance With Me’ is an upbeat rocker which kicks ass and ‘The Ones That Fall Apart’ has a massive chorus you just cant forget. I really do love this album and I really cant see me getting bored of it ever. The UK version has a bonus track and 2 Live Acoustic songs which makes 15 tracks in total and I really cannot recommend this album enough. Words: P. Esp
Jets to zurich Atmospheric Sound Cycles
Jets to Zurich are an Aberdare/ Merthyr based band who have been around a while. ‘Atmospheric Sound Cycles’ is their debut full length and to be honest it start rather weak. Opening track sounds like it’s lacking in mixing and recorded rather poorly. It’s also unnecessary and doesn’t add any atmospheric impact to the album you’d usually get from intro tracks. The mixing on the record really varies throughout. Track 4 “Ghosts of Arizona” sounds like some care has been taken about mixing the track, but it’s followed by “Murmur” which again just sounds a tad cheap.
In fairness, not a particularly bad bunch of musicians, but certainly not a band I expect to last unless there’s a massive revival of Grunge any time soon. Too often we hear bands trying to revive the ‘Nirvana’ sound. I pushed through all 9 tracks, determined to give it my all, but each track sounded like the previous one and it seemed to lack any drive whatsoever. Words: A. Sillitoe
Deftones Diamond Eyes
Bullet for my valentine fever 5/10 There once was a time BFMV’s music seemed pulsing with energy, creativity and a genuine pleasure to aspire and only push themselves to be the best, along with a cocky attitude. A few years later and they’re one of high players of Welsh music, yet when I go to put this album on all I’m reminded of is some stereotypical band trying to step into a genre of commercial music that quite frankly, after 3 songs sounds the same and denotes your band as sell outs. You only have to listen to Trivium’s latest atrocity albums to figure out BFMV’s plan of action. However, If they’re your recent favourite band of all time, ever, and you’re still young enough to get away with your music taste, then by all means, listen to it. Words: N. Ballantyne
What are Deftones famous for? Well, primarily it’s all about simple metal riffs crossed with epic refrains and fronted with the spectacular voice of Chino Moreno. It all comes soaring back in Diamond Eyes. Whereas with their previous album ‘Saturday Night Wrist’, the album was recorded separately by each member and in doing so formed a distanced and inorganic record, this time the album was recorded as a unit. Tragically without the input of their bassist Chi Cheng (who was involved in a car accident in 2009 and is recovering from a coma) they instead recruited Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega to fill in (and in doing so shelved ‘Eros’, an album written with Cheng). The first single from Diamond Eyes, ‘Rocket Skates’ was a phenomenal return to form – fusing the enigmatic lyrics of Moreno with soaring synth lines and dirty metal riffs. The screaming chorus of “Guns! Razors! Knives!” is breathtaking. The title track ‘Diamond Eyes’ followed with a slightly softer and expansive sound. The rest of the album works its way through the entire back catalogue of Deftones,
picking up the most powerful work and expanding on it. ‘Royal’ and ‘CMND/CTRL’ hark back to the harder roots of ‘Adrenaline’ and ‘You’ve Seen The Butcher’ seems like a continuation of one of their earliest songs ‘Bored’ and contains the lyrics “I don’t want to take it slow/I want to take you home”. Softer tracks such as ‘Sextape’ and probably the best track of the album ‘Beauty School’ are more in line with the recent albums. The album however still doesn’t come close to the classic ‘White Pony’ – but hopefully the eventual release of ‘Eros’ will grant Deftones fans a return to that sound. Deftones live are now a force to be reckoned with, shaking Reading and Leeds up last year and returning to Download this summer. Words: E.Townend
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