Bury Tomorrow have revealed Feed The Rhino, Empress, and Heart In Hand will be supporting them on their Autumn UK tour.
Panic! At The Disco will be returning to the UK in November for a run of headline shows in support of their forthcoming new album, ‘Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die!’
Touche Amore will release their new album on 24th September and will be called ‘Is Survived By.’ Crime In Stereo are writing and recording a new album, and will be released through Bridge Nine in 2014. With The Punches have announced a hiatus. Eyes Set To Kill will release their fifth album, ‘Masks’ on 17th September. Modern Life Is War have revealed details of their first album in six years. ‘Fear Hunting’ is released on September 9th on Deathwish Inc.
Machine Head have announced Jared MacEachern as their new bass player. Marmozets will be hitting the road in September for a headline UK tour. September 17 Hull Adelphi 19 Newport Le Pub 20 Wolverhampton Slade Rooms 21 Bristol Thekla 22 Nottingham Red Rooms 23 Sheffield Corporation 24 Glasgow Audio 26 York Duchess 30 London Upstairs @ The Garage
Decade, I Divide, Lonely The Brave, and We Are Fiction are just some of the names that have been added to the lineup for this years Reading and Leeds Festival. Decade will be playing on the Lock Up Stage, with I Divide, Lonely The Brave, and We Are Fiction being amongst the names announced for the BBC Introducing Stage.
Last Witness have announced details of their final show. It will take place at The Underworld, London on 19th October. Support comes from More Than Life, Breaking Point, Prowler and Rough Hands.
The Word Alive has announced their first ever UK headline tour, and will take place in December. Support comes from I See Stars and Dayshell. The organisers of the Hevy Festival have announced the half-day festival scheduled for Sunday 4th August has been cancelled. Brighton four-piece Glass City Vice have unveiled details of their new ‘Waves’ EP. The three-track EP will be released for free on 26th August.
Save Your Breath have joined Animal Style Records, and will be releasing their new album ‘There Used to Be a Place For Us’ on October 7th. North-West based UK punk/hardcore band Scouts have announced their new EP, ‘Why Do My Friends Have To Live Around Here’ will be released later this year through Thanks For Nothing Records. Belfast alt-rock quartet More Than Conquerors have confirmed their debut album will be called ‘Everything I’ve Learnt’ and will be released through Smalltown America on 30th September.
Confide will release their new album, ‘All Is Calm,’ on July 30th. Dance Gavin Dance have confirmed their new album, ‘Acceptance Speech’ will be released via Rise Records on 8th October.
Long Lost's debut album, ‘Save Yourself, Start Again’ is released on August 5th via No Sleep Records. A Skylit Drive have officially announced their new album is titled ‘Rise,’ and it will be hitting stores September 24th via Tragic Hero Records.
Stray From The Path will release ‘Anonymous’ on September 17th via Sumerian Records. The new EP from Muncie Girls, ‘Sleepless’ will be released on 12", CD and Digital through Specialist Subject Records on 19th August.
In At The Deep End Records have signed Polar, and will be releasing their recent ‘Inspire Create Destroy’ EP in the coming months. The bands second full-length will be released in November.
Attention Thieves have joined the recently launched Hype.LBL and will release their new EP, ‘Hard Truths’ on Monday September 16th.
Owen (Mike Kinsella of American Football, Cap’n Jazz, Joan of Arc, and Their / They’re / There) will be coming to the UK in December for a run of shows. December 7th Fighting Cocks, Kingston 8th Old Blue Last, London 9th Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff 10th Brudenell Social Club, Leeds 11th Audio, Glasgow 12th The Maze, Nottingham
Night Verses and The American Scene have been announced as support for Letlive.’s forthcoming UK October tour.
Blitz Kids will be heading out for a run of headline shows in late August. Bristol alt-rockers Goodnight Lois have announced their debut album, ‘Immaculate Deception’, will be released on 19th August.
Alcopop Records have signed Cardiff lo-fi slacker pop quartet Radstewart. A new EP is set to be released in October. Having recently revealed Chris Barretto as their new vocalist, Monuments have announced a run of UK shows alongside Dead Letter Circus taking place in the Autumn.
Enter Shikari's debut album, ‘Take To The Skies’ is set to be reissued as a limited edition 2x coloured vinyl LP set.
Me Vs Hero have announced a small run of UK dates alongside Next Stop Atlanta. The mini-tour will consist of three dates in Scotland and one Manchester show. August 16 Sound Control, Manchester 17 Classic Grand, Glasgow 18 Secret Show TBA, Aberdeen 19 Opium, Edinburgh Brighton newcomers In Dynamics have announced they will release a free EP entitled ‘Circle’ on 19th August.
PaperPlane have confirmed their new EP, ‘Rebuild,’ will be released on 12th August. The Blackout, We Are The Ocean, Canterbury, Arcane Roots and The Xcerts have been announced for the Rock stage for the Ringmaster Festival, which takes place on 28th September in Whitbourne, Worcestershire. Other names announced for the stage are Dinosaur Pile-Up, Blitz Kids, Attention Thieves, Big Sixes and Chronographs.
We Are The Ocean have been announced a main stage headliners for this years Butserfest. In addition Arcane Roots, We Start Partys and A Tale Of Two Cities have been added to the main stage. They join the likes of Mallory Knox, Natives, Fearless Vampire Killers, Attention Thieves, Max Raptor and SubSource. The Hampshire-based festival takes place at Queen Elizabeth Country Park on Saturday 14th September. Due to popular demand, The Wonder Years have upgraded the Glasgow date of their forthcoming UK tour. The show has been moved from the King Tuts to Glasgow Garage. In addition a matinee show at Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach has been announced and will begin at 12:30pm. Australian metallers Circles have revealed their long-awaited debut album, ‘Infinitas’ will be released through Basick Records later this year.
New Found Glory will release a live album, ‘Kill It Live’ on 8th October via Violently Happy Records (in conjunction with Bridge Nine Records).
KoRn’s next album will be titled ‘The Paradigm Shift’ and will be released September 30th through Prospect Park/Caroline International.
Carnifex have signed to Nuclear Blast Records. Dave Hause has announced his new album, ‘Devour’ via Rise Records on 8th October. LostAlone and Fearless Vampire Killers have announced a short run of August seaside shows.
So you just released your new EP Canvas, can you tell us a bit about the main themes and influences that run throughout it? Well, it's five songs that we wrote in my basement over the course of about a year and a half. The themes that run through it aren't that complex or anything, it's just a pretty literal account of the things we've experienced, like touring, dealing with dickheads and having to read people's opinions about us.
What was the recording process like for this record? We recorded Canvas over seven days at The Ranch in Southampton with Neil Kennedy. He was great to work with, he really got what we were going for and had a really positive impact on how it came out. Gnarwolves were there at the same time doing their new record which is a banger. The first few nights, we played Street Fighter and watched WWE. It was nice to have another band there because we were all tired from travelling and some other company really helped morale.
Musically, what bands have influenced you since the formation of Lower Lands, and why? We always give the same answer to this and we always will. Reuben, above and beyond anything, are the majority reason for this band's sound and ethos.
What has been the hardest part behind putting this EP together for you guys and why? We all live in different parts of the country so it's hard sometimes even just doing the simplest things like writing the songs and playing them. That's probably the biggest challenge for us in creating something as cohesive as an EP.
With the music industry being as competitive as it currently is, what do you believe separates your band apart from the rest? We're not under any illusions about our strengths or our weaknesses. We'll continue to make music that makes the hairs on our arms stand up when we play it. There's no bullshit, and I think that being really aware of where your band stands with everyone is half the battle.
What else does the future hold for Lower Lands? We're playing a few one off shows and festivals this summer and then touring towards autumn and winter. At the end of the year, we're also going to be releasing something a bit different so keep in touch if you're reading this. Next year, we've got some things in the pipeline which we can't talk about yet but they are really exciting. There's much more from us to come, hopefully.
What made you decide to change your name to the acronym of The JCQ? We were getting called all kinds of stupid things on posters like "The John Leaver Quartet" so it just seemed logical to make things easier for everyone involved.
'Mechanical Young' has just come out, what has been the reaction from fans so far? The reactions from fans so far has been overwhelming! Nothing but positive vibes so far which is great. Hopefully we'll be able to get it out to more people this time than our last album.
How does it compare to your 2011 debut â€œThat Was Then, This Is Nowâ€?? The songs are a lot more cohesive and thought out. Our last album was kind of a mix of songs over four years of our existence so to us it was kind of a jumble. But this album we had a really clear vision of how we wanted it to sound and what we wanted to do with the songs and I think we managed to make it all happen. We've also done a bit of growing up over the past couple of years and I think that comes across in the songs. Hopefully not in a bad way...
The sound on the new album is very different from your previous sound, how did this come about and what would you say were the key influences, if any? Yeah we kind of wanted it to sound different to the last one. But most of all we wanted it to sound different to the over-produced, polished sounds so many bands are coming out with nowadays, because they just seem hell-bent on sucking any glimmer of soul out of everything they do. So we wanted to record live, use vintage gear and just see what came out. A big influence sound-wise I guess was Queens Of The Stone Age, and as far as guitar tones go, I was listening to a lot of surf stuff like Dick Dale and The Cramps, things like that, and their guitar tones are always incredible, so that's something we wanted to aim for on our record.
What is the meaning behind the title of the album? The title is taken from a line in the song 'Aspidistra' and is a social comment on today's youth becoming more robotic-like in the ways in which they consume and create art, music and fashion. Instead of treading new ground it seems a lot of young people are happy to exhume and revive rotting cliches instead of thinking for themselves and pushing boundaries.
Can you tell us a bit about the writing and recording process for the album? So the whole record was written between the time after TWTTIN came out and we finished it off in the studio in Sweden. A lot of the songs started out way heavier, there was lots of screaming and more of a hardcore influence, but over time we came to realise that the whole 'screaming verses, singing choruses' thing has pretty much been done, and will definitely date music way faster than sticking to one or the other, so we scrapped all the screaming, kind of replaced the hardcore bits with surf bits, made it super fuzzy and that's what came out. Previously our records had just been written by myself and Jack, but with the addition of Martin after TWTTIN, he really added to the record as did our drummer Paul. It's certainly a group effort this time which really reflects in the music. We recorded it over three weeks in Umea, Sweden with Pelle Henriccson, which was great. We spent a few days working on the songs, then bucked down and recorded it all live. We'd record music in the mornings and then do vocals in the evenings. It really took it out of us by the end of the three weeks but it paid off.
Have you enjoyed playing your new material on tour? We've loved every minute of it. The reception to the new stuff has been incredible and it translates live so much better than our first record, mostly because we recorded it live I think. We still enjoy playing the old songs but right now we're loving playing the new ones.
You have built quite a reputation for putting on a live show, for those who haven't witnessed this, what can they expect to see, and what makes you stand out? We don't give any bullshit or pretense, and we try and make it a 'show' rather than just a 'gig'. It's hard to get people to notice you live these days, so we do everything we can to help people remember us. There's a lot of energy, sometimes a lot of blood, and lots of tunes. Most of all it's good fun, and we always put everything into it.
As a band you are quickly building momentum, how does it feel to have a growing fan base? It's great! We've been doing it for a good few years now so any recognition is greatly appreciated and not quickly forgotten, we can't thank people enough for checking out our stuff, listening to our music or watching us live. It all means so much to us.
What else is in store for The JCQ? We're going to tour this record as much as we possibly can, hopefully get out to Europe some more, and just generally rock on 24/7. Thanks!
Also, touring is something OWTH do quite rigorously. How do you cope with a relentless schedule of being on the road constantly? I don't really know what else to do. I have no other way of making money at the moment, so this is what I do. My friends and I have worked hard to be able to do it, so we decided to just keep doing it for a while. I'm not sure how much more of the constant touring I'm willing to do. I guess I'll stop when I find something else that makes me happy.
You’re new album, ‘Home’ is written in regards to being away from home a lot. Where do you all consider home? Does it feel strange when you’ve got time off to be at home? It’s about how I haven't felt like I've had a home in years. I'm basically a drifter. I like being in Los Angeles for a while, but then it feels like I'm not accomplishing anything and I turn on myself. Then I get back to it.
The album displays a diversity of styles. ‘Don’t Make Me Go’ is a surprise turn, a soft ballad with twangy riffs compared to the thrashing pace that the rest of the album retains. How does the diverse in those songs come about? I wrote that not really intending for it to be an OWTH song. I just wrote it all in one shot and recorded it in a hotel room. I played it for a couple of people and they thought it was weird. I then recorded several other versions of it. When we were in the studio, I remember not being around when the drums were being recorded. I was fucking pissed about how it turned out at the time. It sunk in a bit and I let it go. We do a live version that is more true to how I wanted it to be.
You’re very much a band that does things your own way. I heard one time you set your band merchandise money on fire… what other crazy memories can you share with us? I stabbed our old european booking agent once. It was kind of an accident? I cant remember how it exactly went down, but we were in his apartment catching up. He got blackout drunk and started throwing shit at me. I grabbed a huge knife out of the sink and waved it at him and said something like "Hey, fuck off. If you come near me, I'm going to stab you." He ran at me, and the next thing I knew there was blood everywhere. I guess I got him in the arm. We woke up the next day and it looked like a murder scene in his kitchen. He's a great guy though.
What would you consider as a major defining moment for the band? Probably when Against Me asked us to tour with them. They were the first band to ever take us out. That was a great trip for us. It was also the first time I got a call from Brett Gurewitz, so that was a cool moment in the band's history.
You don’t really take yourselves seriously, it seems you never have. Which is great, yet your topics in your songs are quite self-deprecating and negative. Does this occur unconsciously or is it to balance each side out? It’s called deflecting (or so I've learned). If you crack jokes all the time about everything, you don't have to let anyone see how you really are. I think I learned that from the old man.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what should attending fans expect? I love playing the UK. I have lots of great friends that I'm always excited to see, and always make more. We play a lot of new stuff, but still mix in all the old as well. We took the time to learn some older songs that we've never played before as well, so that’s been pretty fun.
It seems quite appropriate considering your named Listener that your music is known as 'Talk Music', to those who aren't familiar what is 'talk' music and what made you decide to do this type of music? Early on I had wanted to call what we do something different as a way to just differentiate our music and it stuck. Sometimes it can apply. Most of the time it confuses people and sometimes it makes sense to call what we do talk music. It certainly suggests that we make music with talking vocals, and that's what we do....but it's also just rock and roll music. It can be a plethora of genres.
What has been the overall reaction and feedback to your self invented genre over the years? Not too bad. The folks that come to our shows are usually there to see us play and they may be biased. But a lot of the people that I see listening to our music seem to like it in some ways.
What made you decide to become a three piece band in the end, and dynamically how do you think the music has changed as a result? We had been touring for several years as a two piece and had been wanting to add a drummer so we could play the albums we made live. It's been so much fun to play the songs live this way.
You recently released your third studio album 'Time Is A Machine', can you tell us a bit about the album? From a vocals standpoint it's about encouragements because that's what I was thinking about. Musically I think it can be encouraging too. It is for me. The album is beautiful and has drive.
How did you get to the album title 'Time Is A Machine' and what does it mean to you? Chris was talking about the idea that even if a day feels like it's going by fast, or you have wasted a month or a year is going by slowly that time goes by at the same time. Like a machine....and I was thinking about time being a machine that keeps on, and we get to do a lot of work inside it, or waste our time, or both. Balance is the key I think.
What was the recording process like for the album, and how would you say it compares to how you recorded 'Wooden Heart'? We wrote the songs in Chris's studio and demoed them in about a week then we then went on about three or four months of tours with the songs and recorded them as finals at the music box in Tustin California with Jon Obrien. He did a great job recording and mixing the record. Wooden heart we didn't record in a studio but rather all over the place over the course of a year in various basements and make shift studio areas.
What has the reaction been like to 'Time Is A Machine' so far from the fans? Folks seem to be liking it. We sure like it, and are proud of it.
How excited are you to come over to the UK and Europe in August, and what can attending fans expect from the show? We have really enjoyed our time touring in the UK and itâ€™s been a special treat for us to come over for what will be our fourth tour to the UK in the past 3 years. Attending fans can expect us to play our songs live with our fingers and brains and hearts and we look forward to having the time to talk and meet everyone we can, and spend some time having a proper pint or two.
What else can we expect to see from Listener in 2013? We will tour the record some more in the US as well as Europe and Canada...and then start writing another record....also some New Zealand and Australia tours are in the works.
Youâ€™ve said with Letters Home you wanted to bring your sound back to how it was when you started, do you feel that ED&SN was too much of a departure from this? I'm really proud of how ED&SN came out even still. We make a strong effort to tailor our music to the story and we feel that is why you'll see such a conrast in sounds record to record.
Do you regret the choices you made with that album at all? Definitely not. It may not be as instantly gratifying as "Letters Home" but I think it contains a lot of layers and nuance for the listener to dig into.
Do you think that the inclusion of Joe behind the kit now has lead to you going back to this sound? Joe really nailed it on "Letters Home", but I think of each record as more of a progression as opposed to a throw back. That progression may or may not be linear as the music is written with the story in mind leaving us liable to jump around stylistically however.
How about other influences? Have your musical influences as a band changed at all between this latest album and the last? I don't really think so. Obviously there are new bands we have fallen in love with between the last two albums but most of us all have a pretty independent taste in music from one another and those haven't changed to much. They probably never will!
Can you tell us about how the post-WWII theme first came about, as well as what it is you find the most exciting about working with this concept? This story was the plan right from the get go. Before we even started to record a single vocal we had the general outline and time period in place. My favorite part is how we have an opportunity to include pieces of our own lives sprinkled inside of the story while retaining the creative liberty to just write what we want and how we want it.
Can you tell us a bit about the recording process for Letters Home? I actually own the recording studio we've done all of Defeater's records at (www.getawayrecording.com). We started the process by having Joe come in and record about 30 hours of drum ideas. All the while I'm cataloging and organizing his drum parts so that I can refer back to them later. After that we start demoing over the tracks and the refinement process begins. We work closely with Derek the whole time to insure everything is feeling integrated with the lyric concepts. After we refine the demos over and over we will start a more conventional recording process.
What was the hardest part behind creating Letters Home for you guys, and why? I think actually calling something finished can be difficult. Since I have the recording studio I have a lot of freedom to pick things apart and try out new ideas. A lot of times you can end up with several iterations of a part that could work. On scenarios like that it's best to step away and revisit with fresh ears.
Do you think that youâ€™ll write an album that breaks from the current narrative, and if so, what kind of other themes would you like to explore? No I don't think we are planning on that. I think keeping defeater tight and integrated is really important.
So what do you want Letters Home to do for the 'status' or representation of Defeater? Whatever works honestly. It's amazing to reach new people with our art but we really just take things as they come and try to be grateful that we get to do any of this in the first place.
What else can we expect to see from you guys in 2013? More tours! With the record finally out, it's time to go have fun with it.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what should attending fans expect? Hasu: Pretty excited yeah. With now two dads in the band, we can't really do too much touring. At least not at the moment. So a thing that once was normal becomes exciting again. I sometimes miss the days of being on the road more often. We used to do up to 150 shows a year. At the moment we probably do half that. Another thing with the UK in particular is, that you don't get the usual European treatment of fancy meals, posh hotels and all that. But there are people offering you their floors and they’ll buy you a pint. Over the years we have made a lot of friends, and it’s always good to re-unite with 'em. The gigs are good, so it’s always a winner. I guess people should expect some real no bullshit rock'n'roll shows from us played with heart and passion
For festival appearances does your set and performance differ much, and what do you think makes you stand out? Hasu: Festivals mean mostly shorter sets. We do quite a few of these outdoor open air things, where you get all kinda different bands, and we often perform during daylight. It’s a totally different athmosphere compared to your normal sweaty stinky bar or club gig, it’s a different crowd. People seem to be less focused on the actual bands and music but more into the whole "happening". But we try not to care too much about these things and just play our songs. We pretty much do the same as in a club gig, which doesn't always work. We are a band that works best in small-ish clubs and works ok-ish at festivals!
You released your seventh album, 'Don't Ask' back in 2012, so with this in mind, how happy are you with this album, as well as how it has been received by your fan base? Simon: I'm very proud of the new album, I think it's the best so far. Bands often think the newest is the best, but I really do. It's not easy to make a new album which is worthy of recording after you've done six albums already. It makes no sense to record similar songs, which mostly aren't as good anymore. But on the other hand it should also still be your style, and I think we nailed it. I'm not sure what the fan base thinks, I heard some good comments and there are some people who share my opinion that it's the best album so far. Hasu: Well, I love the new record, and most of the critics by both journalists and fans were equally enthusiastic. There were a handful of people saying what we do these days is too slow and weak. I can see their point, so I no problem with that. Compared to earlier releases where everyone was like 'good stuff', we had more people saying 'great' and 'best album', but a few were also a bit disappointed. 'Don't ask' polarised a bit more.
Would you ever consider taking your music in a different direction or experimenting moreso? Hasu: We always have and will try things out. But it's not like going in some different or other direction. It's more about adding new influences and trying out if it works. Let's face it: We are a three piece with a double bass. There's only so much we can do. Also I think that if you want to change your style dramatically, then it would be better to form a new band or change the name, but yeah we always like to try out stuff. For the next record we will see. Currently we are adding a bit of Soul, Rhythm and Blues, Reggae, Folk and Hardcore to our Rock'n'Roll.
Can you tell us a bit about the song writing process of the band? Hasu: (singer, guitarist) brings new ideas, fragments. We work together on those ideas until we think it's a good song. Usually we record the new stuff then Hasu workâ€™s hard on the lyrics and vocal melody. After listening to the demo tracks for a while we change parts that we think didn't turn out as good as they should have been. Hasu: I let the others do what they want and I am curious what ideas they have. If i like it, I let 'em do it even when I had something else in mind. We are not very democratic when it comes to the music and songwriting. I have a plan and tonnes of tunes in my head, but I won't have no problems if the other two don't like my ideas. In that case we just move on to the next song or idea. When in the bandroom we usually work on plenty of new material. I don't like working on just one song over and over. Sometimes we hit the studio to demo new tunes, and try out to hear if it could work or not.
What are your main influences as a band, and where do you find new inspiration from? Hasu Well there is life, personal problems or surrounding things, thatâ€™s for the lyrics. Musically there is too much to mention, as we all like so much different stuff. Itâ€™s not just Rockabilly and Punk.
What would you say have been the hardest moments for you as The Peacocks? Simon: There have been a few "hard" moments. When I had to decide job/education/career or band, the time we had to find a new drummer, times with stagnation, etc. A tour which wasn't fun made me sad. The shows were ok, but it wasn't fun. That's hard, because it's the thing I or we like the most and then we had to realize it's not fun. Luckily such moments don't stay forever. We know we have to go through it and it's going to be good again. Hasu: There wasn't that one single thing that almost killed us. I mean we almost broke up twice if i remember right. Too many shit shows in the beginning when we weren't really prepared to be a band that goes on the road. Or at the end of the 90's early 2000 when we lost drummer Toni, we also ditched our long-time manager and got offered stupid major label deals and the pressure from wanna be music biz people. Those were moments where we were about to say fuck it. After that we only had the odd day where it was a bit shit. You know the van breaks down, the promoter isnt there or you have no money. Just the usual crap that happens to a lot of bands really!
It has been 10 years since you’ve released anything as a band, what have you been doing in that time? Wow you don’t hang about do you scoop? straight in with the killer Q. We’ve all been ducking and bobbing and riding the punches, weaving the fabric on life’s rich tapestry. There was almost complete radio silence between members until nine months ago, when slowly we pulled together, growing in strength and numbers, three became four became five became seven. It’s futile to discuss the inner sanctum of ones’ everyday tedium and minutiae here though and after all that’s what twitters for! I could tell you some stories though...
For those that don’t know, what was the reason behind the first split in 2003? I’ll set the scene for you, It was a dark ugly time, full of foreboding. Medieval almost. It had gotten to a stage where physical arguments were a daily occurrence, we were the only band I’d known that used to smash up each others instruments, often whilst they were still being worn. Babar’s cricket bat bass was tossed/ridden down flights of stairs pretty regularly, we had found a way of turning Dr Nelly’s cornet into a mobile bong when his back was turned, there was no respect... We had found out the band was utterly bankrupt, unbeknownst to us guitarist Devil Hands had a chronic gambling problem, horses, dogs, cocks – he also had an appalling bestiality problem. I had developed an allergy to travelling with men in a van and Al had shot Babar in the head with an air pistol so the writing was pretty much always on the wall.
How did the idea of a reformation come around? We got offers pretty regularly yet we always turned them down flat like a northern cap. Noone is more surprised than us that this is happening. I truly thought it was dusted. Al called me up one day last year however, we didn’t talk because I saw it was his number so I ignored it, after the 10th time I gave in and picked up. He didn’t even say hello, he just asked if I wanted to play Boomtown Fair. He said it wouldn’t be like it used to be and that we wouldn’t have to hump our own gear anymore, looking at it now it was a blatant lie, but deep down I always knew it was and I said yes anyway.
Why has Babar Luck decided to not be a part of the comeback? I know go figure eh? You’d think he’d be up for another 10 years in the back of a van with us lot taking the piss out of his bass / playing and shooting him in the head wouldn’t you? Anyhow the past is the past is the past. The only time nostalgia is acceptable is when it involves your family, friends or your football team. Nostalgia in music should be outlawed, it’s shit and stifles new music. We got a new bassist in Zac Chang, so we’ve got new vibes, new ideas and new horizons to explore.
You’re playing Reading and Leeds festival this summer, how stoked are you to be playing such a huge event? Are you nervous? Should we be nervous? You’re making me nervous asking if we’re nervous. I wasn’t until you mentioned it, which just shows the power of suggestive suggestions. Sure we’re looking forward to it though, why wouldn’t we? We have songs that other bands would bunga bunga Berlusconi for. It will be glorious.
Obviously 10 years is a long time to mature, like a good cheese. In general, what can we expect from you guys this time around? It will be different no doubt, firstly it won’t be as full on a part of our lives as before, people have other commitments and life gets in the way of artistry as it always does. We won’t be around forever, we won’t be slogging thanklessly in every toilet in every one horse town anymore and when it stops being fun for us then we’ll stop doing it and disappear again without reason or warning for another ten years, whereupon we’ll reemerge again as victorious virtuoso jazz bastards or maybe the world’s oldest fugliest boyband.
Are there any plans for a new record soon? How much will your sound differ from a decade ago? Yes and no. There are plans for a new record but ‘soon’ is unlikely. Prolific was never a word that could be ascribed to us. We spent 9 months alone writing ‘Your worst enemy’ The sound will be a pretty major departure. The 5th Prawn LP will be hated at first then over time it will become to be seen as a work of unparelleled genius held up as the definitive artwork for the 21st century. By which time we’ll be long gone anyway. We spent a wedge on recording ‘Got the thirst’ and that ain’t happening again either, we’re DIYing it all the way, hijacking studios in the night recording some takes then running away come the morning with only a warm desk to give a clue. Our live engineer Jerry TheDutchMaster would be involved, making the tea for whoever we get to record the album.
Your previous lyrical material was very much associated with socio-political issues. Will this be an ongoing concept for future albums? The majority of the music that moulded us came from that ilk of social commentary, there’s something about music that when it’s set to protest, to lyrics that seek to inspire a change for the better it becomes so powerful that anything does seem possible. Having said that it’s got us fucking nowhere so I’m thinking theme wise motorcycles and hard liquor, we’ll be headlining arenas in the space of a year.
In April 2011 you guys announced that your upcoming tour was going to be your last, but in June 2013 you were back, so can you tell us about how this break came about, as well as how you decided to get back together? We Just do what feels right and since the ten year anniversary of the resignation was coming up it seemed like a good idea.
So it has been ten years since The Resignation was released, so with this in mind, how do you feel about this album now, as well as what it has done for the representation/status of RX Bandits? We are still very proud of the record we wrote as 22 year olds. It was most certainly a turning point for us as it was the first step in a new direction.
What do you remember from recording this record, and how would you say recording then, compares to how you would put together a record now? It was a crazy time in our lives and getting ourselves acquainted with the music industry provided a lot of angst which was poured into our music.
How would you say you have grown musically as a band since The Resignation was released? We have just become that much more intuitive creatively with each other.
What's it been like to play The Resignation straight through live? Are there any songs that you haven't played in a while maybe? Oh yes, and those sounds were tough but it's great practice and super fun.
What would you say was the hardest part about putting together the recent covers EP for you guys, and why? The covers e.p. was just about having fun with music and doing something for our fans. We really wanted to show the spectrum of our influences within the rock genre to begin with.
Alternatively, how exciting was it for you to interpret these songs in an RX Bandits way? It's great fun to know anyone would care for our style to be imparted on these songs.
How excited are you for your upcoming performance at this years Reading/Leeds festival, and what should attending fans expect? Very very very excited. This is one of the biggest festivals and for us California boys it is a drem come true!!
For those not rad enough to know who you are yet, tell the world what it is Gnarwolves do best? We're three young people who make punk rock music in Brighton. We have a good band name, we don't take our image too seriously but we try our hardest to write songs with more depth than your average pop punk band. There are no songs about girls, but there are plenty about alienation and lost faith. It's fun, and there are usually beers involved.
How did the band originally form? Me and my brother Max used to play in a hardcore band called Kasa (now resigned to the Kernow hardcore history books). As our band was winding down we decided that we wanted to start a new band in order to start gigging. Around the same time Charlie's hardcore band Rasputin were breaking up (also found in Kernow hardcore history under the letter R) and he put a post on facebook advertising to start a band that "Sound like Weezer". So we did. And we don't. But at least we're trying!
The artwork is awesome, it's as if the animated Teen Wolf and Ren and Stimpy got blazed and collaborated to make an epic movie. Who designs it all? And where did the ideas come from? I like that you think Teen Wolf and Ren and Stimpy animate themselves. It ain't real man! We have a couple of people designing for us. The guy that did the art for both CRU and the repress of Fun Club is a chap called Danny Crombie (Wolf Mask). Max came across his artwork at a show in a zine he did so we approached him from there. Recently we've been working with a chap called James Burgess, who's been a friend for a while. He plays in a great band called Boneyards and is very cheerful. When approaching artwork we usually have a concept to work from and let whoever is drawing it go wild.
You've just released your third EP "Funemployed", how has that gone down with the crowd? We've actually only done a small amount of shows since releasing "Funemployed" but we've definitely seen a steady growth in the amount of people singing along. We've had some really lovely feedback from the tunes which is a relief as much as anything else. This is the first time any of us has made a record where people have any real expectations, and we kind of just did whatever we wanted (which is write punk tunes), so it's nice that people didn't give us any shit. I think it would have been too easy to write a pop record and blend in with all the bog water UK "rock" bands that are about at the moment.
Are there any plans to write and record an LP, or do you prefer sticking with EP's? We never started the band with plans to EVER write a full length. It's odd the amount of people who want to listen to that many Gnarwolves songs in one go! We are actually in the process of writing the album at the moment. I'm excited. There are so many things about writing an album that we have never done. Well and truly out of our comfort zone. So yeah, I think EP's are great and mean you can present your best material without overstaying your welcome. LP's can be dangerous, especially for a young band that hasn't completely honed their sound. If we start writing an album and realise that we aren't quite ready, or the material isn't strong enough we'll just release another EP!
When writing for the next record, do you usually have a concept? What are your songs mostly about? Gnarwolves is a concept in itself as it encompasses our world as people in our 20's. Generally our songs are about feeling alienated, whether that's by society, by your peers or just within yourself. I work in mental health, so my job is essentially to be acutely aware of the way people are feeling and what makes them tick at their most vulnerable. I've found parts of myself and my friends in all the people I've worked with and I like to try and translate those uncomfortable feelings into lyrics. There are elements of positivity in our music though. I think the overall message of the band is that it's ok to be a bit fucked up. It's ok to not know everything, or where you're going in life. It's ok to make bad decisions. Someone's got your back. WE'VE got your back.
You don't seem to take yourselves too seriously, and seem to have a lot of fun with the band in general. It's quite rare to find a band with a sense of humour. Do you think this is one of the reasons why you're getting a lot more recognition? A lot more recognition than who? We're definitely not getting more recognition than Biffy Clyro. Have they been talking shit about us? Yeah, we do have a lot of fun being in our band. But isn't that why people start bands in the first place? We see so many 'Career' bands on our travels and they all look so upset to be in the band. If you don't enjoy sitting in the van why do you do it? If it's because you think you're going to change the world you clearly have some crazy ego, and if youâ€™re doing it for the money then go and work in a fucking bank! There are bands that are definitely funnier than us, more intelligent, better lyricists and better songwriters (Bangers are a prime example). Christ knows why people listen to our band, but to be fair, we do work (play) bloody hard.
There was an article recently about how punk is a gross word in the industry; how the label is thrown around too freely and doesn't have genuine meaning anymore. What are your thoughts on this? And what does punk mean to you guys? I don't care who is saying punk doesn't mean anything "anymore". When did it mean something? When did any label mean anything to anyone other than the person using it to put someone in a box. Have you seen the people from when punk "meant" something? The main players in the original punk movement are either completely fucked up, dead or recieving their fucking OBE. I don't care what punk means to other people. To me and my friends punk is our way of being a community. The music is important but the friendships, and feeling like we belong to something that isn't owned by anyone but ourselves is more important. So basically "Up Da PunX MAYT".
What/who majorly influenced each of you to do what you do today? To be in a band? This is going to sound like a cliche... starting bands is something that everyone we did where we came from because there was nothing else to do. Cornwall is the most beautiful place in the summer, but the winters are bleak. Everything's closed, work is seasonal, nobody wants to leave the house. Making music filled our time, released all those frustations you get from being a teenager (and a person in general). The byproduct of this was we built a pretty impressive scene from the ground up. Cornwall has a pretty thriving scene these days, and I'm really proud that we're a part of it.
What else can we expect to see from Gnarwolves this year? We're playing a million and four festivals (including Reading and Leeds, which is a dream come true). We're also going on tour with the Flatliners in August which should be rad. We have a couple of pretty big announcements for the last quarter of the year, but you'll have to wait. We are also writing our album which may or may not come out at the beginning of next year.
You guys are currently on the Warped Tour, so how's that going, and have there been any particular highlights on the tour that you'd like to share with us? The tour has been amazing to say the least, thereâ€™s just so many talented bands on this year's tour. It's just so great to play for new kids everyday. It's a tough tour, especially because we are doing it in a van. It is totally worth it though. It makes everyone work even harder than normal, and I like that. We always try to be the hardest working band on and off stage, so this tour lets us do that.
Do you prefer the large package tours like Warped or the more personal shows, such as the tour youâ€™re about to do with Candy Hearts and Stickup Kid? At this time I prefer the smaller tours. There's just something about seeing a band in a small setting that really brings out more heart I think. I grew up going to shows at VFW halls and coffee shops, so I've always connected with the smaller venues more.
Okay, so your EP 'Put Yourself Back Together' has just come out, can you tell us a bit about the themes and influences that run throughout this EP? This EP is something we are very proud of. This EP holds a lot of sadness, frustration, and hardships lyrically. I would hope that kids can listen to it and not only relate, but find peace in my words. We dug back to older pop punk stuff for influence on this one. We listened to a lot of Brand New, Taking Back Sunday and The Starting Line for this one.
What made you want to put this release out without the support of a record label, and how was this whole process for you as a band? We have always put stuff out on our own and we saw no need of a label to back this release. We are so fortunate to have the awesome fan base that we have, because without them we wouldn't be able to do it independently. We see no need of a label for us right now. I'm not sure if it will be like that forever, but for now yes.
How excited are you to be a part of the UK leg of Warped Tour and what should attending fans expect? We are beyond excited to be playing the Warped Tour in the UK. When we started this band I never even thought we would tour, especially overseas. so it's going to be the best. Fans should expect five awkward dudes on stage playing sad and mean songs.
You are also doing a tour here with The Wonder Years around the Warped Tour dates, so also how excited are you for that? We are so pumped to tour with them. We have been hanging out with them a lot on Warped Tour so that makes us even more pumped. The band Neck Deep was also just added to the tour as well. Stoked!
What else can we expect to see from Real Friends in 2013? We will be on the road all year long supporting this new EP. So come hang with us at a show. Thanks!
You guys turned WYTTSY into an acoustic record as well, so with this in mind, what do you enjoy the most about transforming your songs into acoustic performances? I enjoy how you can hear some of the tiny nuances in the music that maybe get lost in the huge guitars and raging drums sometimes. Whether that be a guitar riff or a violin part, we are able to highlight different aspects of the songs.
Thinking back, did you ever consider that you’d still be playing/touring music a decade later? I don't know if I thought about it that way. We just kept working as hard as we could to keep the whole thing going. The success of Ocean Avenue definitely helped us along the way.
How do you think you’ve changed and grown as a band since the release of Ocean Avenue? Oh man. I would have to write an essay to answer that one. I think to sum it up I'd say that we have learned so much from both our successes and failures along the way. I think now we are better, more focused musicians and song writers than we've ever been.
How do you feel the music industry has changed since 2003? Well obviously social networking has changed everything. When Ocean Avenue hit we were still using the yellowcardrock.com message board as our primary communication tool. We didn't have to rely on Tweets or Instagram posts to keep people interested. Back then the music seemed to be enough. But we do our best to ride the waves and change along with it as long as we feel comfortable. I do however wish that good songs were still enough.
You have a very loyal fan base here in the UK and we’re stoked to have you back for the UK version of Warped Tour. How excited are you to be on the bill, and what can attending fans expect from the show? In addition to Ocean Avenue, we owe equally as much to the Vans Warped Tour and Kevin Lyman. Before Ocean Avenue really took off, our biggest goal as a band was still to play the main stage at Warped someday. Now we are doing that on a totally different continent. It's pretty surreal.
You guys bring a lot of energy to a live performance - as you’re playing the acoustic record start to finish, then what will your upcoming live shows be like for you as a band, and how excited are you to bring this idea to the stage? I love the acoustic shows. It provides such a great opportunity to personally connect with the audience. You can almost have a conversation with them in a way. I am really looking forward to hearing everyone sing along to those songs in that setting.
The incredibly talented Longineu Parsons is known for hitting the drums pretty hard – how does he feel about toning it down for an acoustic show? He started in jazz as a young lad. So he loves these types of shows where he gets to lay back and groove a little more. He's really an amazingly versatile drummer.
Thanks for your time guys! Do you have anything you’d like to add? As always thanks to our UK fans for 10+ years of support. We are really looking forward to these shows.
It's been a couple of months since 'Tape Deck Heart' was released now, so with this in mind, how happy have you been with the response to the record so far from your fans? Gneerally speaking, it's been great. The record is selling well, which is nice, but more to the point, people are singing along with the new songs and calling out for them at shows, which is a much more tangible form of appreciation, for me. I'm almost relieved, because I think that, on reflection, this record is perhaps a little deeper, less accessible than some of the albums I've made.
What songs are you really enjoying playing live from the new album at the moment then? Four Simple Words is great. Plain Sailing Weather was a surprise early adoptee, people really seem to like that one. Recovery as well.
'Tape Deck Heart' got to number 2 in the Official Album Chart, and number 1 on iTunes so how exciting was that for you, to have a chart battle with Michael Buble and Will.I.Am whilst also securing your highest position in the charts to date? It was an interesting and slightly amusing time. I can't say I ever gave a fuck about the charts growing up, and it doesn't really mean masses to me to be in them. I didn't know who Buble was until that week. But I'm not totally detatched from the experience, it was interesting and flattering to be briefly in that ballpark.
What was it like to record the album with Rich Costey, and also, as you've always recorded albums in the UK, did you not worry about recording somewhere so far away like Los Angeles? I was a little worried, it's such a cliche for an English act to decamp to Hollywood after a certain degree of success and for them to lose their way, their cultural markings. But I did really want to work with Rich, and his studio is in California, so off we went. In the event we spent so long working that it was immaterial where in the world we were. We barely saw sunlight.
After working with Interscope & Epitaph how happy have you been with the way your audience/fan base has been growing across the sea in the USA? It's lovely. There are more and more people getting involved. Turning heads in the USA is a long and arduous process, you have to put in a ton of work to get people to pay attention. Thankfully most of that involves touring a lot, which coincidentally is my favourite mode of existence, so that's just fine with me. I'm a big fan of America, it's an endlessly fascinating place.
How did you get involved with the South Bank Skatepark project with GIANTS, and how was that process for you, you recorded the track in your living room right?! They emailed me and asked me to get involved. I have spent a lot of time hanging out there in my formative years, so I was happy to. I didn't (and generally don't) have much spare time to work on it, so I just hammered out a simple cover of a song by The Weakerthans (which I also happen to have recently had tattooed on me, love that song and band). It was fun.
The video for 'The Way I Tend To Be' is pretty cool, can you tell us about how it came together, as well as a bit about the concept behind the video? I'm glad you like it. I wanted to do something a little more coneptual, narrative for that video. The director, James, was great, the basics of the idea were his and we worked on it together. Both the song and the video are, by design, open-ended, I don't want to spend too long telling people what to think about it. Interpretation is half the fun.
As a huge fan of tattoos yourself, how humbling has it been for you to see so many fans send in pictures of Frank Turner related tattoos, and also you said on Facebook that you want to 'document and celebrate it a little' so what does this mean, or can you not share it with us just yet? The whole business of tattoos relating to my music is an interesting one. At first I was a little freaked out by it. But then again, I have plenty of band or music related ink myself, and so I can totally understand the motivation - I guess I just don't automatically consider myself to be in the same bracket as the bands I have inked (Black Flag, Hold Steady, Godspeed, Townes Van Zandt etc.). Now that it's kind of picked up its own momentum, it's a cool little community thing. We made a music video relating to it lately for the next single.
What are your memories from playing Reading/Leeds Festival in the past, and how excited are you to be on the main stage this year? I grew up attending Reading Festival, so it has a lot of special meaning to me to be there, year on year. The joint festivals have also been pretty instrumental in my career to date, we played there five years in a row (and last year's year off saw me there with Mongol Horde, my side project). Being on the main stage is awesome, it's an honour, and we are keeping some pretty special company this year!
So you've described 2000 Trees Festival as the 'best festival of the summer' so how do you feel about this festival in general, and what separates this festival apart from the others? I'm very happy to be a part of this festival. I've played (at least) twice and I also helped pick a fair amount of the bill for the fest. Apart from the fact that I know the people who run the fest and have been playing there since it started, it just has the right vibe to me. The motivation behind it, the sound, it all chimes with my musical weltannschaung. I hesitate to use the word "scene" because it's usually a bogus media construct, but I do think there is some kind of underground rock (with hints of folk and punk and indie) world that I fit into, and Xtra Mile Recordings and Two Thousand Trees are both part of that as well.
What else can we expect to see from Frank Turner in 2013? A lot of touring, of course, and I'm also working on both a Mongol Horde record and writing new songs of my own. No rest for the wicked.
How did your recent unplugged tour go? We decided to do a stripped back tour like this because James originally wrote all of our songs on acoustic guitar, we thought it would be a good idea to take them back to their original form. We also felt, being a loud rock band, it is so easy to hide behind your instruments. Some bands today wouldn't dare strip themselves back to just an acoustic guitar and a cajon. We just wanted to prove to our fans, and ourselves, that we can play music without hiding behind any gimmicks, laptops or loud instruments.
You also did an opening gig for Bruce Springsteen not long ago, thatâ€™s major! So, how was that for you guys, and also how did this opportunity come around? Well, the show was part of the Hard Rock Calling Festival, but as Bruce played for three hours, it basically was his headline show! The show was great for us, we love playing to an older audience, and especially an audience that are awaiting one of the greatest rock legends to take to the stage. Older people tend to stand back, enjoy the show and take everything in, which is what I do at shows. I'm not too sure how it came around. We have always expressed a love for Springsteen, so maybe someone who likes us in the industry decided to give us an early Christmas present.
So far then, how happy have you been with the response to the new material from your fan base? I knew when we recorded it that a few of the older fans wouldn't enjoy it as much as our other material, mainly because it has such an older sound. The aim for me was to create an album that kids would buy, take home to their dads, and their dads to fall in love with it! Which I think is the case for Boston Square, so that makes me very happy. Don't get me wrong, loads of existing fans have really got behind the new sound and still love us, but some STILL want us to go back to our old ways. As a band I'm personally, constantly looking to better myself and to broaden my musical horizon, and playing one genre of music forever wonâ€™t tick any of my boxes. There are so many different genres fused into 'Old Souls' itâ€™s insane. For me it makes very interesting listening. You can really see how we've grown as a band, and as individuals.
Some fans have stated that 'Boston Square' reminds them of Bruce Springsteen or even The Who, so how do you feel about that? Yeah, I've read loads of comments saying that, and my response is 'Thanks very much'. If the glorious people of youtube are going to compare my band to two of the biggest bands on the planet, then that can only be a good thing. The Who and Bruce are massive influences on us. My Dad is a chronic 'who' fan, and what was played in my household while I was young, has certainly rubbed off on me.
‘Fools and Worthless Liars’ was much like an ode to nostalgia, underachievement and anxiety. Topics that are highly relatable, what conceptions does this album involve? A lot of the songs on Old Souls are written about other people. There are songs about college friends and old friends and the last song he will write about the glorious county of Norfolk where we grew up. I think James felt very under pressure with this one, as he only knows how to write about experiences he's had, but he used up all of those experiences in FAWL. The experiences that he has written about on OS are way more recent, most of them have happened post FAWL.
How did you get to the album title 'Old Souls' and what does it mean to you guys? We have been working on a feature length film over the last year, explaining the story of our band. So not only did we interview all of the band members, but we interviewed nearly everyone that has worked for us, or helped us a long the way. When we sat down to interview 'Youth', who was one of our producers, he was such an interesting man to listen too. Me and Mattty VG sat in the room and watched Youth get interviewed for about an hour, just because everything he had to say was so interesting. He said a line that stuck in our heads, "The guys are great to work with because they've been together for so long, yet they're still very young. It's strange because they're young guys, but have old souls." We just thought that the phrase 'Old Souls' summed us up, as a collective, perfectly.
How have you have progressed as a band since the release of 'FAWL'? I think we've certainly got tighter, 18 months of touring will do that to a band. During the recording process of OS, Youth really work us hard, we especially me personally. I found myself playing the same drum beat for about eight hours until it was perfect. At the time I was constantly getting annoyed, but the rest of the guys commented on how much i'd improved while being at the studio. The way Youth made me play in the studio has stuck with me, and now when I play live, I feel like a completely different drummer. It's so strange, I feel like I went into the studio being average at best, and have come out being pretty good. I've no idea what he did to me. Maybe it was aliens.
Can you tell us a bit about the recording process for this record? We recorded it at Vale Studios in Evesham, and we mixed it a Regal House Studios in Wisbech. We had two producers, Lee Batuik and Youth, who I felt bounced off each other really well. Lee's knowledge of the equipment and engineering was great, and he came up with some great structural suggestions. Where as Youth came up with all these suggestions and techniques that really brought out the hooks of the song, and glued them all together. We had so much time to record these twelve songs, I think we had about seven weeks. It's so strange because while I was there the time went so quick, but looking back it feels like we were there for a lifetime.
You’ve said before you’d like to hit mainstream, so do you think that this album will have what it takes to achieve that 'status'? I certainly think it has the potential, the songs are way more catchy, a little bit more musically simple and sound timeless. We set out to bring back that timeless rock sound, but keep the songs quite modern. Old Souls is just a wonderful mix of all the different genres we all listen to individually, and I truly believe we've made something special.
How excited are you for your upcoming slot at Reading/Leeds Festival? Yeah, we played last year and it was insane! I hope this year is as good. Fans can expect what they normally would from a DH show, we always put in 100% and we might even treat fans to a couple of new songs.
KIGH returned to the live scene at Slam Dunk, how was it getting back into the swing of things? Yeah it was cracking, it’s great to be back because we’ve been away for a while and haven't really been doing much, we’ve just been working on the new album so we haven’t been playing any shows so it’s awesome to actually get back out there and see peoples faces again.
How were the shows for you? They were awesome, like I said we haven’t done anything like it for a while so it was a bit like hitting the ground running again but I think that was a good thing for us because if we’d slowly built up to it then I think we’d have rested on our laurels a bit. So we got up there, did our thing and it was wicked.
Was there any worry in your mind after the time away that people might have forgotten about you? Yeah I’ve been worrying about that since we stopped playing the shows! It’s hard to say really though because if you go away for a bit and lock yourself in a studio you get bogged down in that sort of thing, but at the end of the day we know our fanbase is loyal and we know that we can come back and play a show, blast out the tunes that people know as well as the new tunes and people will still be up for having fun with us so we’re quite fortunate. Whatever worries were there were swiftly eradicated.
You put out ‘Drive’, the first single off the new album a couple of weeks back, it sounds more like a return to your older sound than a continuation of In Gold Blood, is there any reason for this? I think with In Gold Blood we did the whole concept thing and we were pushing ourselves so hard creatively and in every sense musically as well as on a live scale. Everything had to be testing for us and we got to a point where we were like ‘Hang on we’re not really enjoying this the way we used to’. We tried to push ourselves so far that we lost sight of why we were doing it, and I guess we didn’t want that to come across on the new album. We said that we’re just going to focus on writing three minute pop songs and start having fun with it again and try to try to remember why we started the band in the first place rather than it becoming a gruelling process everytime we step out on stage or go to write something. We’re just having fun again, we’re not trying to recreate anything, and we haven’t gone back on ourselves because we’re always looking forward but I think the essence of the band is back.
You’ve mentioned that you set out to record an album of three minute pop songs, is ‘Drive’ a good indicator of the sound of the album or is there a good mix? There’s a good mix, and I think that’s something we’ve always prided ourselves on, we’ve never put out an album that’s just twelve of the same song. It’s a good mix but there’s a good element of pop without being cheesy, the guitars are still there so there’s still the rock thing, that theme runs through everything!
The music video for Drive was released a few weeks ago as well, it was your first shoot in a while, how did it go? It was really good actually, we did one in London for it which turned out really badly and then we got in touch with a mate, he’s awesome and he’s done loads of stuff for Straight Lines and he did our ‘Best is Yet to Come’ video. We were just like ‘Can you help us out, we can’t use this one’ and he said yeah. So it was awesome, we just went around a mates practice room and invited some friends and fans around, we just hung out, listened to music and had some beers and shot the video. I think it looks amazing so I’m really happy with it.
Do you think you’ll ever do another concept album or have you been put off it? Possibly we will, probably actually because we always like to mix things up but i don’t think we’d do it as full on as we did the last one. To be honest it sounds like I’m bad mouthing the album, I’m not though, I’m still super proud of it I just think that we got lost in it and we needed to take a step back. We wouldn’t have made this album had we not made the last one.
How did the recording of Peace go, was it as fun as you’d hoped? Definitely, Dan Weller (Enter Shikari, Young Guns) did the record and we sort of knew him from those guys anyway, we approached him to see if he wanted to do it, he did and he got where we wanted to go with things so we just thought let’s make it class and the experience was amazing. He’s really fun to work with, he can push you when you need to be pushed but knows when you’ve had enough.
Where did you actually record the record? We went up to Lincoln, Chapel Studios, it was amazing because it was in the middle of nowhere, it’s got a farm and there’s no phone signal. The only thing that worked in the studio was the Xbox so we were completely committed to the album.
You’ve been playing a lot of festival shows this summer, what’s it like coming back and straight away playing to all of these big crowds? It’s wicked playing festivals again, playing with people like Bon Jovi and Blondie so it’s stuff that you still can’t imagine happening, when you’re on your fourth album and things like that are still coming our way it’s awesome. We just want to get out there and get the new tunes in peoples heads.
How did you manage to bag the slot supporting Bon Jovi at Cardiff City Stadium? I don’t know actually, we were in practice one day and our manager was just like ‘Erm do you want to do this? I’ve just got offered it’ and we had to ask him if he was kidding, we thought he was taking the piss at first. It’s mental because the only other show to have happened in that stadium is Stereophonics and we were main support on that gig as well so we’ve played Cardiff Stadium more times than any other band!
You’re heading out on a headline tour this September, how stoked are you for it? Yeah that tour and the album are all we keep talking about and probably all we will keep talking about to each other until they’re actually here so we’re excited for it. The reaction to the tour has been quite overwhelming to be honest, we’re really looking forward to getting out there and playing new stuff and not having to push ourselves to the point of unenjoyment. We just want to get out there and have fun with people again, it will be awesome.
The album is being released with the help of fans through Pledge Music, why did you get involved with it? They approached us and we’d seen the stuff that they’d been doing with Bring Me The Horizon and other bands with the whole t shirt bundles, it’s the type of thing that we tried to do on the last album and it got messed up so it’s something we’ve always wanted to do. I just think it makes it more interesting, obviously people can just download things for free these days so it’s like saying here you go, if you buy this record you get a sweet t shirt with it or a handwritten lyric sheet from Aled. I guess the type of stuff that we would have loved to have been able to buy when we were growing up. If I could have been able to buy an album that came with a handwritten lyric sheet by Liam Gallagher it would have been amazing! It’s just making this more interactive, we’re going to be putting up loads of videos and content that will keep people in contact with us, I mean Twitter’s cool but you’ve only got 140 characters so Pledge makes us able to communicate with people better.
What’s the dream scenario for Kids in Glass Houses with the album release and tour? I’m not really sure to be honest, I just hope the tour goes well! We’re pretty much set up now until the end of the year, we’ve got our little plan in place and we’re going to keep releasing videos and singles to just build up interest and excitement in us because we’re an old man band now and we need to show people that we’ve still got it, because we have!
So when did you realize that art was something that you really wanted to do with your life? After being in bands for a few years and becoming a session drummer I got an injury and sadly couldnt carry on, so I had to look at myself and think of what I wanted to be. The only thing that I felt I wanted to be was an artist, I had drawn a few album covers for bands I had been in and I loved drawing in my spare time but I wasnâ€™t any good at it (it was a dream I gave up when I left school as my parents thought there would be "no money in art") but I thought about it long and hard and worked at it.
What is it you love so much about art? I like that there is no limit to what I can do and that I can do anything I want, it really is an open canvas and I can paint on it whatever I like.
When did you realize that you could actually do this for a living? I think when I met my friend Jon Burgerman in Nottingham whilst I was at uni and he was doing it as a living up to that point I had only thought of getting a degree and going to work for a company and just doing the standard 9-5 job.
Who was your first major client, and how was this whole experience for you at the time? I think my first major (well major to me) was a band called Mike TV who I had kinda met over the web thanks to the awesome Jhon who had ripped the piss out of my artwork and I think he felt bad enough that he offerred me to draw something for his band. It soon became me designing their debut album and a load of other stuff which really helped me get into doing this thing they call a job - and soon after I got to work solid with Random Hand which was awesome too and both bands are very close friends of mine now and Iâ€™ve met so many people because of it.
Recently you've been working on the new TBclub range, so can you tell us a bit about that, as well as what we can expect to see from the products? Yeah me and my buddy Paul started TBCLUB in 2011 (releasing our first stuff in 2012) we went in 50/50 where I would do all the artwork (shirt graphics and all graphic design etc etc) and Paul would do the printing and send the shirts out - after a few months we started to grow and started getting a nice family of followers and people who supported us - after a few more months we were growing too fast and we needed to take on another person to help us - that guy was Adam and that is TBCLUB as we stand now - I still do all the artwork, graphic design etc. Paul still does all of the printing and Adam does all of our sales stuff - the range we just released was our best so far I think - I try to design all over the spectrum of t-shirt graphics - I do drawings and mix medias to make stuff fresh and make sure it’s something that other people haven’t got - and people really seem to dig it all - which is nice.
When designing for a client, do you come up with the ideas, or is it a case of working with the client on their ideas to make the best outcome possible? It varies to be honest. I prefer when people have an idea because I can build on it - but sometimes the inspiration just hits and that’s always a good thing.
How did you end up working for Green Day, and what was this whole experience like for you? The experience was awesome. When I was growing up, Green Day were the world to me. The reason I started drumming was because of Tre Cool so to evolve from a drummer who got hurt and never got to play with his idols to becoming an artist who got to draw over his idols was proper cool and I hope it carries on. I have bands and companies I want to work with and I won’t stop until I do.
Over the last year what has been the most rewarding project for you, and why? I think working with my buddy's The Midnight Beast has been awesome. Doing all of the artwork for them and all the crazy stuff that has been going on with them and us has been amazing. Massive highlight
Alternatively, what has been the hardest project for you to work on in the last year and why? I cant say. I’m pretty sure my close friends know, some things are hard because the people are annoying but it doesn’t happen all the time to me.
For anyone else looking to do what you do as a living, what advice would you give to them? Be prepared to work your ass off. My normal day is a good twelve hours if not more working solid and you don’t get to go outside much but it’s worth it.
What else can we expect to see from you this year? Hopefully lots and lots. Loads of Graff, more albums, more illustrations and hopefully a few exhibitons. Basically everything! I’ve worked on a book, got some shoes coming out but I’ve already said too much - I cant wait!
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Light Years - I Won’t Hold This Against You ‘I Won’t Hold This Against You’ is the debut album from Ohio pop punk band, Light Years. Released on the independent label founded by Less Than Jake drummer, Vinnie Firello, the album is A bit like missionary sex; satisfying but nothing spectacular. Opening up with a punchy start, ‘Uphill Battles’ shreds apart that initial anticipation of the first track, and vocalist’s snappy vocals highlight what he is capable of. Throughout the album there are a few tracks that will stand out such as, ‘Nice To Know You’, a summery-vibe track flattered with slick electric guitars, drubbing drums. It’s a definitive ear-hooker. However, a lot of the guitar chords all sound too familiar with each other and at times it’s difficult to differentiate which song is which, and a third into the album it all just becomes background noise whilst you find better things to do; like googling deep-sea creatures. But if you have managed to make it near to the end of the record, you’ll get the acoustic nugget, ‘Hindsight’, rewarding your ears. Although it’s a fun track the origin behind the song is sorrowful, yet positive. It’s produced to flow effortlessly, with Kennedy’s voice complimenting the plucky guitar notes. The album has every potential and for their first full album it’s a progressive start, although it has the feeling of lacking some oomph. It will be interesting to see which direction they take their next album. MH
Real friends - Put Yourself Back Together With 7 tracks ‘Put Yourself Back Together’ is a little way between a long EP and a short LP, however it’s Real Friends’ longest record yet, and the most reflective on their maturation. The album is a definite closure on past heartache, depression and nostalgia of an old self. ‘Old And All Alone’ and ‘Dirty Water’ are entertaining with lyrical attempts at taunting an ex lover; “You wouldn’t know a good thing even if it slapped the makeup right off of your face.” If a sentence could psychically hurt, that one would punch you in the face. But the songs may as well be two of the same, as there isn’t really much differentiating them from each other in terms of sound. The album makes only a slight turn with, ‘I’ve Given Up On You’, a slow, acoustic ballad, with mellow electric guitar and a heartfelt sincerity from vocalist, Dan Lambton. Although it sets itself apart from the rest, it really is a situation of; you either love it or loathe it. There’s a constant reference to sleep eyes and bony knees throughout the album, lead vocalist says it refers to a time in his life back in 2011 when he was depressed and psychically tired from that mental state. As unique it makes the band to have an identifiable point, the lyric gets tedious very quickly. Real Friends have produced such a weighty album, and have undoubtedly grown as a band since their 2012 ‘Everyone That Dragged You Down’. The record remains consistent in direction, lyrically they’ve developed, generally it’s produced tighter than any of their previous material. However, it’s evident that Real Friends haven’t pushed their boundaries, and if they removed themselves from their comfort zone, they could really reach great potential. MH
August Burns Red - Rescue & Restore American metalcore band are back with album number six! The band have said this is their most ambitious album yet... Opening song "Provision" opens on an explosive note, with a sense of urgency throughout which holds you attention excellently. They certainly 'provide' a high quality start with such precision in guitarwork and rhythms.. "Treatment" doesn't let up either, as it opens on a equally powerful note layered with intricate and complex riffs, manic drumming, and badass screaming. The breakdown which they are known for is melodic and atmospheric with the use of violin and piano, building tension and progressing brilliantly! "Spirit Breaker" follows on well treating us again to a bit of violin, which goes from beautiful to brutal in a heartbeat. There are plenty of ear pleasing melodies and superb riffs, perfect placement and strong inspirational lyrics. "Creative Capture" is slower paced than other tracks, offering some breathing space along with a different feel and sound, exploring their 'creativity' through the use of many different instruments, including a trumpet! "Fault Line" opens on a slower melodic guitar riff also, but things quickly pick up pace, with some of the most brutal vocals so far, making for a catchy, great metalcore anthem! "Beauty In Tragedy" is a huge song with strong lyrics and equally strong blazing instruments as well as beautiful slower paced parts to accompany them. The breakdown consists of emotional talking and melodic quiet music, which as you might expect doesn't last too long and twists back to soaring epic instruments! Last song, "The First Step" is relentless and unpredictable, with great ever changing beats and rhythms - and with a nice slick solo followed by a calm breakdown adding more diversity...this is a perfect ending which captures all the best qualities of what is seen throughout the album! I seriously enjoyed every bit of this! Six albums in and still burning strong with ever powerful breakdowns, complex guitars, brutal yet audible vocals and with the addition of more experimental creativity, indeed making this their most ambitious and best album yet! CL
CB6 - Succession Essex metal/hardcore act's debut album artwork depicts what looks like a painting of King Harold being shot in the eye with an arrow. Opening track, 'perfect' immediately has a sense of urgency as it quickly jumps in to shouting, mental drumming and fast paced riffs. It also features down tempo chords, giving a old metal thrash vibe whilst mixing with modern metal in other parts. With a name like 'perfect' the bar is set high but I think they 'suceed' well!
'Crown' helps to give the artwork meaning and provides some insight into the artwork with lyrics such as 'Every king will lose his crown' and title track, 'Succession' also makes reference to this, keeping things consistent and coherent! 'Illusion' may be short, but packs a hard punch, cramming heaps of energy and brutatilty into a small package! Title track, 'Succession' opens on some nice menacing sounding riffs and beats with equally fitting snarls and shouting! This is a strong and memorable track, making for a well chosen title track to represent the album! Closing song, 'Eye Of The Magpie' is unpredictable and adds more variety in the vocals and tempo changes. Again this track highlights their thrash roots combined with their own fresher modern metal sound..a good summary of what the band offered throughout this debut, making a powerful end to the album! This is a pretty solid debut which pays homage to classic metal and thrash whilst maintaining a modern sound!...So that's where they succeeded, however this album isn't 'perfect' but then again this is hard to achieve for any act, and considering this was recorded in a mere five days, this is quite impressive work for a debut! Just think how they will progress in the future! CL
The Dirt Radicals - Enter Destroyer Singapore based punk rock trio The Dirt Radicals perfectly navigate the tightrope act of feel-good summer vibes and brooding, meaningful guitar music with the elegance of a Russian bear with a ballerinas feet, wearing a fez while juggling fiery swords. Circus metaphors aside, their sophomore record Enter Destroyer is laced with epic hooks, storming drum-lines and the sweet melodies of lead vocalist Sam Cooper. 'I hate' and 'Fingers' provide the highlights of the record. Old-school poppunk at its best, they are reminiscent of early years Green Day, driven by pitch changes, springy guitar riffs and the air-tight drumming of Matt Cooper, who plays with intensity evocative of Travis Barker. The latter track provides the catchiest chorus of the record - "How many fingers am I holding up". Meanwhile, acoustic number 'Pop Punk Put Me In a Pop Funk' echoes the more moving styling's of Yellowcard, and tracks the bands maturity, with lyrics concerning the hardships of getting old and trying to find where you belong. Japanese lead guitarist Mas Kimura's skills provide a power which drives the record forward from start to finish, shining brightest on 'February Scars', where his solo licks tear a hole through the middle of the track with pin-point precision. This band is able to capture wholly how most of us feel at at least some point in our twenties. Enter Destroyer is able to be both poignant and hard-rocking, without spilling into cheesy or clichĂŠd. The Dirt Radicals might just have something to teach the rest of the punk world. RM
Taking Back Sunday - Tell All Your Friends Acoustic Album Review (Video/Live Recording) Eleven years ago, Taking Back Sunday released their debut album Tell All Your Friends. They quickly became the pioneers of emo - each track imbued with passion, hatred and anger directed at an ex-lover and an ex-best friend (one Jesse Lacey of that little band Brand New) who had decided to do the dirty, post-breakup with then co-front man John Nolan. Nearly ten years, three albums and innumerable personnel changes later, TBS reformed with their original 2002 line up. Older, wiser and seemingly less interesting, they released their fifth studio album which was disappointing to say the least. Currently in the process of recording new material, one night in Chicago this year TBS decided to revisit the record which made the band what it is today. The cynic will look at Taking Back Sunday's decision to release a live recording of the TAYF acoustic performance as a tacky way to rinse their fans of a little bit more cash. However, this is one for the die-hard fan, providing explanations and anecdotes for each track which any devotee will cherish. While the recording doesn't quite capture the intensity that the young, disenfranchised Long Island youths bought to the table ten years prior, the acoustic versions of the TAYF tracks aptly capture the growth and changes which TBS have undergone. The addition of violin and piano work particularly well on the reworkings of classic tracks 'Cute Without the E' and 'There's No "I" in Team'. Meanwhile 'Ghost Man on Third' is as captivating as it was when performed a decade ago. While at times the performance comes across as cringe-worthy, as five aging men try to recall a youth which has proved fleeting in the decade which has passed, TAYF acoustic will undeniably make any Taking Back Sunday fan smile and remember the angsty teen they once were. RM
Jimmy Eat World - Damage It's been over 20 years since Jimmy Eat World first came on the scene but the Tuscan quartet still have the power to achieve fist pumping choruses and give adolescent hope despite baring down on their 40's. Power pop, Punk rock or just a little bit emo whatever you want to call it but J.E.W's eighth studio album "damage" is a real meat and potatoes collection. It has all the right ingredients for a classic J.E.W album, distorted guitars, smash face drumming and Jim Adkins' choir boy voice is just enough to make this album stand out from the rest. This is however a very grown up album for a band to have emphasised a passion for fun and humour over the years. There's a sense of hidden loneliness in Adkins' voice as the front man tries to confront his inner demons and express his recent break up. Don't be deterred by this, it's all part of any musician's path and one he or she has to document on the way. The real catch of this album is that sense of pure felt emotion that cries out of every track but despite the softer human side there's still that very generic muscular punch that hits you at all times. Tracks such as "please say no" and "book of love" have an almost Gaslight Anthem feel to them with the semi acoustic touch that few bands have the grace to pull off. It's not the best but it's certainly not the worst. Cult J.E.W fans will treasure this 10 track chapter in the bands already extensive catalogue and those on the outside of that circle will most certainly give it more than a passing glance. CM
Transplants - In A Warzone After an eight year hiatus The Transplants are back up and running with some serious punk swagger. Tim Armstrong and his crew of Rancid – Slacker misfits and one hard hitting blink182 drummer have again caught up to throw some mish mash punk rock rap noise particles into the ear drums of their unsuspecting victims. It’s hard to believe that it’s been eleven years since their debut album eponymous was released and now after numerous hiatuses and an album in between (haunted cities) they have in 2013 given us “In a warzone.” This album is a kick in the jaw straight from the offset. Classic pummelling punk riffs that want to rip into the jugular, crawl down your spine and tear you a new one over and over again. Travis Barker’s dynamic percussion is emphasised throughout the album but it’s truly given the spotlight in the track “silence”. Whilst the majority of the album divulges into Armstrong’s and Aston’s more punk grit “It’s a problem” differentiates slightly adding a more electro sampled sound too proceedings. It’s something we’ve come to expect when these guys get together, experimentation at its finest. The album screams with a lyrical axe, swinging wildly decapitating the government as it goes on and is shown during “just bastards” it’s a huge lyrical punch in the neck to the establishment. In a Warzone really does sum up the transplants over the past decade. Experimenting with new age electro but still wanting to keep that grimy punk flame burning. It’s not their most unique masterpiece and it definitely won’t be turning any heads but as for a few guys wanting to enjoy themselves and make music it fits just fine. CM
Hawthorne Heights - Zero This is the fith album from Ohio based band, and it comes with a concept - a theme set against dystopian, war stricken background and puts forward the idea that no matter how hard life is or what it throws at you, everyone can get a fresh start... First song, 'Skeletons Remain' (Transmission 1) opens on a soft and mellow note with a sense of lost hope, and immediately helps to set the scene for the concept and does so in an strong start despite its short length!..'Memories Of Misery' is seriously catchy with driving guitar riffs and well written lyrics. This is a definite stand out track! 'Darkside' changes things up a bit, displaying a different more sinister sound which is more gloomy and atmospheric, and again its very memorable with powerful vocals..again a easy favourite track! 'Spark' brings more positivity than previous songs, being more a more upbeat and fun sound. Title track, 'Zero' opens on a sombre sounding bass and blasts into strong atmospheric instruments. The chorus particularly stands out, in what is the best chorus featured in the album! A very powerful track, you can see why it was the title track! 'Anywhere But Here' again switches back to a more positive sound through the use of the instruments, but with a mixed message in the lyrics. 'Hollow Hearts Unite' opens with an acoustic intro, giving us more variety. The vocals are soft and beautiful and accompany the instruments perfectly, which begin to increase in sound and build more momentum in this ballad. The interestingly named 'Coalition Of Alternate Living Methods' (Broadcast) helps bring us back to the concept in this short radio type broadcast. 'Golden Parachutes' opens on a solid guitar riff, in one of the most catchy tracks featured with good beats, rthyms and gang vocals, which also echoes earlier sounds of previous songs. This song is right 'up' there with the best of them! 'Taken By The Dark' is the heaviest offering, with prominent distorted guitars and repetitive but strong vocals, and for more emphasis and effect we are given fierce screaming from Micah, which helps make this definite highlight! Ending track, aptly titled, 'Over and Out' helps tie everything back into place with the themes, as at times it feels a bit disjointed, but this makes for a fitting end! All songs featured on this concept are strong and have great qualities, but they can stand on their own, without the need of a concept, as at times it feels like the theme isn't needed or doesn't fit, however when focusing on this, they do it well and have a nice balance of atmosphere, hopelessness and positivity as well. Yet again Hawthorne Heights, do want they do best, produce a bunch of catchy striking tracks! CL
Lower Lands - Canvas Lincoln quartet Lowerlands have this summer released their second EP “canvas”. This is by far a major step forward from their debut EP growing pains. The EP feels more mature and technically sound; we’re really starting to see why these guys are being tipped to be one the big hitters in the next few years. Bands such as Deaf Havana and Kids in Glass Houses have expressed their excitement about the Alt rock band so it shouldn’t be too long till we see these boys rubbing shoulders with the best in the business. Canvas is a concoction of aggressive vocals, blistering riffs and some sweet ass harmonies, this new high level of musicianship seems to bleeding through each track getting better and better with time. There doesn’t’ seem to be a wasted moment or an empty note, each chord is well thought out and placed into the track with intricate precise detail. Such examples include the bands fourth track on the EP “wasted Youth” this gives in to bold lyrics and the message that not every young person’s ambitions should not be to see the bottom of an empty bottle every weekend. Other tracks like “parasite” blend together the musical talent with layers of cool mixs of keys, electronics and heavy riffs. The use of the “woo ohhs” in “line check” get stuck deep in the cranium and you can’t help but sing it a few hours too late, it’s catchy but not in an annoying lady gaga sense . The whole EP is sprinkled with something from today’s era of rock, whether you like the new electro clash of shikari or you want the classic alt jimmy eat world twist there’s something it in for everybody. We now just have to hold on and wait to see if this rocket of a band takes off or if it fizzles out over time and the hype merely evaporates. CM
Letlive - The Blackest Beautiful
So it’s been three long years since Letlive released their critically acclaimed album ‘Fake History’ but finally the Los Angeles four-piece have followed it up which meets the sheer quality which we have come to expect. The first thing that can be confirmed is that Jason Butler and Co aren’t afraid to experiment with a number of different musical styles. The Blackest Beautiful features samples of Punk, Soul, and even a little bit of Reggae. Every one of the eleven songs on this album has its own personality and holds no similarity to its predecessor nor its following track, a very rare quality in a record. Butler’s screams at times are beautifully blood-curdling but the front man has this magical ability to combine these with catchy verses full of vocals which sound like a mixture between Patrick Stump, Claudio Sanchez, Chester Bennington, and even a little bit of Zack de la Rocha. ‘Empty Elvis’ is a clear example of how this band so effectively works with mixed tempos. The track starts like an outright punk number, but as soon as you begin to settle into it, the drums slow and the clean vocals kick in. Every single song on this record is written to keep the listener on their toes, requiring every little bit of their attention. The Blackest Beautiful is full of lyrics which evoke feelings of disgust and repression, which is most clear in ‘White America’s Beautiful Black Market’ with the line “With government sucking the dicks of corporations, it looks like Uncle Sam finally put his mouth where his money is.” The band have really thrown all their frustrations into this record and it makes for an intriguing listen. The album ends on a high with ‘27 Club’, a dark track, with even darker lyrics. Though it’s seven minutes and 29 seconds of pure bliss and acts as a fitting end to a very thought provoking record.
One thing which can be said is that this album will require more than a single listen. Don’t just feel the need to dismiss it if you don’t get it on the first take. This band have carefully thought out every syllable of every lyric, as well as every drumbeat and every guitar strum, so spend some time absorbing it and embracing it. AG
Gnarworlves - Funemployed Gnarwolves are what this current music scene needs more of. An honest Pop Punk band and their latest release ‘Funemployed’ is exactly what your car stereo needs. This record consists of four tracks guaranteed to get you bouncing and wailing along word for word. The band hold resemblances to fellow pop punkers Four Year Strong, and after listening to this short but sweet record, it seems they are destined for similar success. Tongue Surfer has the element of humour which makes albums like this make for pleasurable listening. With the lyrics ‘I’m not the same guy kissed, I’m a miserable shit’ we get that sense of teenage angst which we have all experienced and (hopefully) learnt from. The only negative which can be said about ‘Funemployed’ is that it feels like the record is over before it’s even begun. Fear not though because we’re sure that there is a full length and it’s going to be well worth the wait. Brace yourselves. AG
I Can Make a Mess - Enola Ace Enders just never stops does he? The talented songwriter has proven his diversity if it wasn’t already clear to see. His most recent musical movement is that of I Can Make a Mess and they are back with their fourth full-length album, ‘Enola’. Enola is a mixture of soothing acoustic guitars, funky synths, and of course Enders’ more than recognisable pop punk vocals. It seems like Enders’ has attempted to move away from the label of pop punk however, but as the album progresses, song by song the vocalist gets back into his old ways. In the build up to the release of the album, the band released a sneak preview through the seventh track of the record, ‘Lions’. Being probably the strongest song on the album, ‘Lions’ truly demonstrates the vocal ability of Enders. The album certainly holds a similarity to that of Owl City’s ‘Ocean Eyes’, with its synthy samples such as in ‘What Happens Now’. The comparison isn’t an overly bad thing, but it does suggest that perhaps there is little room in the current music scene for these kinds of records. Sure, they make for enjoyable listening, but lyrically they aren’t particularly diverse and the end result is that the listener is unable to differentiate between all the songs. By all means this record is not awful, but neither is it memorable. AG
2000 Tree’s festival returned to Upcote Farm for its 7th year of existence, and held it’s most impressive and consistent line up yet. The site has had a few minor changes with the inclusion of the secret stage in the woods and looks great upon arrival. The most noticeable difference from the previous year was the weather. 2012 was a complete wash out, yet this year the sun came out and stayed out, meaning a huge increase in sun cream and watermelon. Having arrived late and already missing a lot of the Friday afternoon acts, I quickly pitched up my tent, grabbed a cider and ran to the main stage to catch Funeral For A Friend. FFAF tore through their back catalogue of post hardcore tunes, showcasing material from debut ‘Casually dressed in Deep Conversation’ and thrashing out newer songs. Playing the perfect festival set, FFAF get the crowd in a frenzy, urging everyone to open up a circle pit but not to use ‘any kung fu shit.’ The crowd went insane and the kung fu was kept to a minimum. Funeral played a very impressive set, leaving many reminiscing of teenage emo days, whilst showing their newer hardcore side. Next up on the main stage is King Charles who bursts through catchy indie pop tunes confidently and really gets the crowd moving. His set is polished and musically tight, as he plays through songs from album ‘Love Blood’ to a pretty impressed 2000 trees audience who seem to be loving it. ‘Lady Percey’ is a definite highlight amongst songs about panda’s and Nelson Mandela. Over to The Cave now to catch InMe. Tree’s is the perfect festival for a band like InMe, who may have been outshone by some of their contemporises, but still produce great records and have a loyal fan base. However, tonight they fail to make a real impact upon most of the audience. Whilst their set is played well with tight harmonies and clear experience, the choice of set list is defiantly taken from InMe’s heavier material, which fails to gain much of a response from the crowd. This would be great for dedicated InMe fans, but not so good for those who are not familiar with all of their albums. Now for the main attraction! Mr Turner! This was the busiest that the main stage area had been all weekend, and its clear why. Frank Turner has been grafting and playing his brand of folk punk for many years now, and alongside the sleeping souls, displays what mostly appears to be a ‘greatest hits so far’ set. Working his way through his impressive back catalogue and playing songs from latest album tape deck heart, FT is a real performer and makes sure that the crowd are enjoying themselves and having fun. You feel the sincerity in his stories and lyrics and can’t help but feel good when watching this set. This headline performance shows how far he has come, and is a real celebration. Bravo Frank. The slient disco continued into the night, with most campers feeling a little worse for wear Saturday morning, as the sun beat down again on Upcote Farm. Luckily, we had Andy Oliveri to soothe everybodies weary heads over on the main stage. Playing a classy set of folk songs, Andy and his band stepped up to the mark, proving that they can handle the main stage. An excellent start to the day. I quickly made my way to the leaf lounge to see Woahnows, who pulled in a large crowd, especially for a band playing so early on. I was very impressed with Woahnows, as they blasted through their set of emo songs for happy people. The Greenhouse is the acoustic based tent, and many, including myself, trekked up the hill in search of shade and to catch the opening acts. Chalk described themselves as ‘miserable acoustic music’.This was a pretty accurate description. This does not mean it was bad, the songs were short, inventive and interesting, just not the type of band to get you in the light and breezy festival mood.
The Strong Silent Type was a one man acoustic project who played next, and gave the greenhouse a little dose of acoustic emo awesomeness. A very confident performer with well crafted songs and lots of potential. In the Cave, newly hyped rockers Rat Attack bring their brand of pop rock to a relatively empty tent. They played well but were not outstanding, with a highlight being the band joined on stage by the vocalist from We Are The Ocean. Back at the main stage, where TTNG (This Town Needs Guns) deliver some math rock riffage to the mid afternoon crowd. TTNG are an incredibly tight live band, as they weave in and out of different time signitures and boast incredibly technical guitar lines. The vocals where a little shaky in parts and TTNG didn’t hold the stage presence of band you’d expect to see on the main stage, but played a great set regardless. Early evening falls upon Upcote farm and everyone gets a little bit of relief from the scorching temperatures as the sun starts to dip. Perfect viewing conditions for Dry The River. The band play though songs from their debut album ‘shallow bed’ effortlessly, mesmerizing the crowd with delicate harmonies and epic build ups. The band even showed off a new song which sounded like it could be a future single. Finishing with their anthem ‘no rest’, it’s clear to see why Dry The River are going places.
After a bit of a wait, and an apology from the band for the technical difficulties, Stornoway delve into their set, pleasing the crowd and soothing many hungover souls. Using both old and new material, Stornoway sound lovely and really do suit the beautiful setting of which the main stage is surrounded by. Despite this, I felt that their set did get a little boring, and towards the end, had lost my attention, needing a little more variation. Maybeshewill are a 2000 tree’s favourite and their performance at this year’s festival showed clearly why so many people love this band. Purely instrumental, and ranging from the frantically heavy to fantastic melodies, Maybeshewill command the stage and pour every ounce of energy they have into their performance. The crowd adore them, applauding for huge lengths of time after every track. Each song takes you somewhere totally different , and the new song played sounded incredible. Something really special happened when Maybeshewill played at this year’s trees, the best performance of the weekend by far. And So I Watch you from afar take off where Maybeshewill left off, feeding off the crowds energy and delivering a performance full of passion. Diving into the crowd, the guitarist disappears for most of one of the tracks to then reappear on stage, thrashing out riffs and proving why they are headlining this stage. Great performance. Overall, two thousand tree’s is just great. When you walk around the site, you can tell that this festival has been created for all the right reasons. The food is great. The toilets were clean. The secret stage and Camp Reuban areas were lovely and personal. A great ethos and a great festival. Well done tree’s.
Here we go, it’s that time again, pack your tents, your beer, your denim and your leather, we’re heading to the spiritual home of heavy rock and metal, Donington Park, for Download Festival 2013. So, it’s Friday, the weather’s holding up and the metal herd is on the move towards the arena, first stop for us, brutish British metallers, Hang The Bastard. They pull a good crowd, and their riffs certainly cause a stir in the pit and when they rip into fan favourite, Sweet Mother, Download 2013 is well and truly underway. Next it’s Phil Anselmo’s stoner sludge super group, Down. They enter to a hero’s welcome and their heavy grooves are just what the Download doctor ordered, Anselmo has complete command over the crowd and set closer, Bury Me In Smoke, solidifies this as one of the sets of the weekend. Converge are up next and they receive a warm welcome as their brand of calculated noise creates a stir in the pit. Frontman Jacob Bannon’s vocals do suffer though and the performance does not live up to Converge’s ferocious best. Nu-Metal mainstays, Korn, are still a huge draw, twenty years after their inception, recently re-united guitarist, Head, looks right at home and when Blind kicks in the crowd go suitably crazy. Jonathan Davis’ vocals are as haunting as ever as live favourite, Freak On A Leash, finishes things off in eerie style. Slipknot return to Donington after their legendary headline performance in 2009. Dressed in grey jump suits and masks from all eras of their career, they certainly look like they mean business. Corey Taylor commands the crowd and is as appreciative for their amazing response. A barrier break during Left Behind halts things momentarily, but Pulse Of The Maggots, The Heretic Anthem and Spit It Out make sure the rabid crowd‘s energy doesn’t drop. The encore of (sic), People = Shit and Surfacing ends proceedings in merciless fashion and Slipknot slay Download once again. We kick Saturday off with Leeds sludgers, Black Moth. Heavy riffs, beastly drums and one of the best female vocalists in the business, that’s how every Saturday should begin. The heavens open as Mastodon take the stage and burst into the awesome Black Tongue. Not ones for crowd interaction the band stalk the stage in sinister silence as they launch into another sludge, prog masterpiece. Finishing off with fan favourite, Blood & Thunder and the epic, The Sparrow, it’s job done for Mastodon. Heart Of A Coward’s djent tinged, metal goes down well in the tent and inspires some seriously brutal circle pits, Jamie Graham’s vocal range is up there with the best and he keeps energy levels high. It’s clear that Lemmy has been on the Jack Daniels when Motorhead take the stage but his bass playing and vocals are as solid as ever and when you’ve got stalwart classics like Killed By Death, Ace Of Spades and Overkill up your sleeve it’s never going to be hard to win over the crowd. Queens Of The Stoneage slow the pace and dish out a master class in slick, alternative rock, Josh Homme and co mix it up airing songs from older albums as well tracks from the recently released, …Like Clockwork, which are well received. But it’s no surprise when No One Knows, Little Sister and set closer, A Song For The Dead, get the biggest cheers.
We’ve had quite a bit to drink and that may explain why we are watching The Hives instead of Iron Maiden, but we’re not the only ones. The Swedes manage to pack out the tent, and for good reason, their blend of garage rock and straight up rock and roll is perfect for a festival and front man, Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist, whips the crowd into a frenzy. Songs like Main Offender, Die, All Right and Walk Idiot Walk sound absolutely brilliant and set closer Tick Tick Boom, leaves the crowd wanting more. It’s hangover Sunday and who better to shake away those cobwebs than Toronto’s Cancer Bats, they storm the stage and rip through fan favourites like Dead Wrong, Hail Destroyer and Pneumonia Hawk with ferocious precision. Next we check out Swedish retro rockers, Graveyard. Their vintage riffing, psychedelic solos and stunning vocals carry the crowd right back to 1975, great stuff. Up next it’s Aussie metalcore crew, Parkway Drive. They can’t quite believe the crowd that greets them when they take to the main stage, but nerves are quickly put aside as Sleepwalker, Idols and Anchors and Swing absolutely devastate the Download throng. Set closer, Carrion, inspires one of the biggest sing-alongs of the weekend. We mix things up now with a bit of blues rock from San Francisco’s, Rival Sons. Slick guitar solos, effortlessly cool vocals and plenty of swagger wins over an unsuspecting crowd. Like Mastodon’s dirty little brother, Red Fang, provide us with some of the beastliest riffs of the weekend, and they certainly live up to their immense live reputation.
Now, we have to admit that our memories failed us at this point in proceedings, so lets just say we probably saw Stone Sour and The Gaslight Anthem and they were probably both really good. We come back round and are in position to watch the mighty Rammstein close the weekend out. Colossal, industrial guitar riffs, huge pounding drums and big electronic flourishes come together to create music that’s both haunting and unbelievably heavy. Till Lindemann’s vocals are spine-chilling and his stage presence, one that demands the audience’s attention. In true Stein style they have pulled out all the stops and spared no expense as far as stage show and pyrotechnics are concerned. Every where you look there’s fire, explosions, industrial machinery, foam cannons and even a giant sauce pan, that keyboardist Christian Lorenz is unfortunate enough to find himself inside. It’s a true spectacle and one that will go down in Donington history. Sonne, Du Hast and set closer Pussy spark wild reactions from the crowd and as Download 2013 comes to a close we are champing at the bit for more. Bring on next year.
There comes a time when all good things come to an end, and unfortunately this time around it is the Cornetto trilogy’s turn. It seems like only yesterday when ‘Shaun of the Dead’ hit our big screens, but apparently it was nine years ago. I know! ‘Hot Fuzz’ shortly followed and now here we are, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and director Edgar Wright are back for one final time with ‘The World’s End’ The film revolves around an unfinished pub crawl which has Gary King (Pegg) has been unable to forget and has left him in a state of disrepair. In an attempt to get his life back together Gary convinces his partners in crime on that fateful night to once again attempt the Golden Mile. The group embark on Gary’s mission but soon realise that all is not well in their hometown of Newton Haven. With this trilogy it was never going to be the case where ‘Shaun of the Dead’ got trumped. The movie has become somewhat of a cult classic, and so it’s important to watch ‘The World’s End’ with an open mind. However at the same time, there seems to be an element of humour lacking which was more present in the previous two movies. Andrew (Frost) is probably responsible for the majority of laughs and the mention of the Cornetto is well worth the wait. It’s probable that Pegg, Frost, and Wright will work together in the future but ‘The World’s End’ marks the finale of a fantastic triology of movies, and what will prove to be a popular box set choice come Christmas.
The first GOW (Gears Of War) game was released back in 2006, it defined the grittier, bloody and hardcore side of the generation. Bulky dudes and dudettes with big guns, under-slung chainsaws and no end of large terrifying well designed foes in which to dispose of. GOW was a revolution in shooting, it brought new scale to the genre but 7 years and two sequels later can it still capture a generation itching to move onto PS4 and Xbox One? GOW Judgement is prequel set 15 years before the events of the first game so no Marcus or Dom bromancing around the place, besides we’ve had quite enough of that. Instead, the game begins with the familiar Lt Baird (the dude with sunglasses on his head) and his Kilo squad; Augustus Cole, Sofia Hendrick and my favourite the surly Garron Paduk being marched in handcuffs into a rather informal tribunal charged with a number of serious military crimes… The verdict is to be decided once each squad member has given his/her testimony. The narrative is based around playing through ‘what happened’, we start at the end so to speak or do we... Each chapter offers a different characters ‘point of view’ offering their perspective on the past events, it serves to collaborate their testimony. The narrative is average at best with there being no stand out chapters equally none are memorably bad… Despite being set 15years before Gears Of War, there is little in the way of story that would depict a world on the verge of a drastic change… it just looks likes similar to previous GOW outings with slightly brighter colours and a few dead people strewn about the place. There are no signs of significant slaughter. As the story progresses you will begin to notice that quite simply the game captures very little of the terror a world would face at the dawn of it’s potential destruction… This in itself is not game breaking, but you cannot help but feel the developers have missed an opportunity to turn an average story into a great contextual opportunity to enhance and support the entire GOW universe. Instead, what we are left with is an interesting concept of narrated past events, which could not be presented in a more simplistic unimaginative way… The game plays in broken up bite-sized chunks, that feel like a string of survival modes. Very quick mini levels take us through chapters without travelling or exploring anything! It’s just action action action. The game would be relentless if I wasn’t the addition of constant breaks, where you are presented with ‘stars’ and a score… this is not really the story mode we are used to. It was just too difficult to immerse myself because of the stop start nature of the game… It just lacks depth.
So the story left a lot to be desired, so what about the gameplay? Let’s start with the easy part: Shooting is what GOW is all about, tough dudes and dudettes shooting big wibbley things with big guns… boom boom rar rar bleeeegh you get the idea. GOW has always been fast, frantic and all together hardcore! What Aftermath brings to the franchise is polish, faster gun swaps, frequent changes of weapon from the vast arsenal of familiar GOW weaponry, super responsive combat and great variety of terrain in which to wreak havoc on the hordes of locusts shooting stuff rarely feels this satisfying. Computer controlled squad-mates tended to do little damage and I found myself just using them as a distraction or human shields… this is not an issue when playing with friends or in a public/private game via XBL. If you don’t have friends, you may find yourself doing the bulk of the work… If you find yourself to be a gamer that always uses the same gun, or likes to creep through levels taking headshots or doesn’t care if they need reviving every 2 seconds then the ‘Declassified’ option at the start of each section could be just the ticket to break your habits. Narrtively they serve as an account of what happened, in reality they just make that section a lot harder! A few examples; poisonous gas as a result you must complete that section in under 4mins to more simple stipulations such as poor visibility, only pistols and my personal favourite high winds that make your shots go squiffy and movement incredibly difficult. These can make the levels incredibly stressful and slightly overwhelming at times. However, for experienced GOW players they serve as a refreshing challenge that adds a lot to the campaign and with it ‘rewards’, mentioned briefly earlier ‘stars’ are awarded at the end of each section in order to get the maximum 3, you must use the declassified option. What can I use my stars for? After-all I’ve been making life difficult for something surely? Stars essentially boost your XP and serve as boasting rights. As you level up you unlock new character and weapon skins, titles through performing certain feats and medals. Basically, it is some un-original attempt to add replay value to a vert average campaign. I did ‘Declasified’ for the achievements and because the game without them is far to simple on normal mode, and I am not even that good at GOW. For the truly hardcore among you harder difficulty levels unlock higher level stars and more interesting rewards. Presentation is stunning and serves as a great last outing for the franchise in this generation, visuals are crisp, muddy washed out colours are now a thing of the past out with the greys and in with a bright vibrant burning city. Audio is turned up to 11 seriously you’ll need to turn your TV down! But it adds to the hectic frantic playstyle that is synonymous with Gears. Sounds have a great heft to them, as bullets thump into locusts and ricochet off walls, fire fights are truly immersive (remember to blink). If single player quality is lacking, surely Aftermath throws together a great multiplayer? Thankfully it serves as a bench-mark for shooters, this is how multiplayer should be done! To start with there is a great variety of modes from the necessary team Deatmatch, domination (capturing and ‘rings’ of space). To more hardcore modes such as Execution in which every player has one life. You can also participate in specialist events in which games can have specific rules such as ‘only longshots’. Quite simply fantastically designed levels, balanced weapons and a relatively bustling community make this a great platform for online shooter fans. The only notable downside is you cannot play as locusts in multiplayer. Meaning it’s all COG on GOG action. If just killing each-other feels boring there is always survival mode which involves ‘Protecting the E-hole cover’ if the Locusts destroy both covers and your generator you lose. This sounds easy but when confronted with 10 waves of Locusts with ever increasing difficulty it quickly becomes insane! You can play survival alone, but it is at it’s best with a group of 4 other people, preferably friends (Such as our team here at XBLGamerhub) battling together to survive! So what else? Well actually there is a lot of content to get through, the multiplayer modes, survival and of course the Judgement campaign itself. There is also an extra bonus the Aftermath campaign – based in the GOW3 time frame you will note a stark difference is play style it is the familiar fast paced immersive GOW3 experience, with no broken up sections it is an exhilarating chapter that explains how Baird, Cole etc… got that boat they turn up on in GOW3.
Sum-up Aftermath is as expected a testosterone filled shoot fest, that is the most polished addition to the franchise stuffed full of options and exhilarating gameplay. However the generic story with it’s predictable and unexplained ending and a yawn inducing boss, lets the game down… You will no doubt spend your remaining time in the multiplayer without any reason to return to chasing those stars. If you are into Gears Multiplayer this is the game for you, if it’s story you are after that you will not get anything close to GOW3.
As this generation of consoles start to wind down it’s nice to see the games we love still pumping out DLC to keep us entertained. Gearbox had grand plans for their ‘season pass’ holders, 4 major DLC’s each expanding on the already vast campaign of Borderlands 2. Reviews of past DLC’s can be found in previous issues but just in case you are too lazy to go back… (They were pretty good but lacked the depth of story seen in the campaign). This then, the forth instalment of major content marks the end of Season 1 and what many players assumed to be the last DLC. However, breaking news; Gearbox have announced there will be more. So, what is in store for us this time? Contrary to previous DLC’s, Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep exists outside of Pandora as we know it. Tiny Tina decides a great way for us to kick back and relax is to play a game called ‘Bunkers and Badasses’, which is a role-playing Dungeons & Dragons style adventure. With the cast of the main game playing NPC’s, appearances from favourites such as Ellie, Mr Torgue and Claptrap the wizard! Make for some awesome dialogue. So essentially we are playing a role playing game within a role playing game… (my head hurts). Gearbox have taken full advantage of the self referential position they’ve created, from Tiny Tina narrating the story (dungeon master) and often changing things before your very eyes; ‘suddenly a huge dragon appears’ and ‘roll to pick up the gun’. It playfully mocks the genre’s roots and tackles some sub cultural issues, that will have true nerds in stitches. All this, whilst still providing a rich story bursting with content. I won’t ruin any of the gags but the story involves you rescuing a Queen from a Handsome Sorcerer, no prizes for who might play the role of the latter but the former was, well… madness. So, who plays Bunkers and Badasses? The stars of the first game of course; Lilith, Brick etc… in the real world our heroes are ‘downstairs beating information out of a Hyperion spy’. When we enter the game, we are back to the familiar Borderlands play-style, with our main character used as the playable character… (No changes are made by being a different character). With the campaign existing outside of the normal parameters and lore of Pandora, Gearbox have had free reign to get creative with the setting, palettes, moods, music… etc… it’s all completely original never-seenbefore content (unlike the other DLC’s). This is, of course, made even more extreme by having the deign choices made by Tina… so yes lots of rainbows and weird happenings. After all it is a reflection of her imagination! With Bunkers and Badasses also being a fantasy game the world has a ‘Ye-Olde’ vibe with locations and foes to match. That means gone are the gun-wielding bandits and robots of Pandora, instead we have skeletons, Orcs, dwarfs, knights, treants, fairies and yes DRAGONS!
As the campaign develops it becomes clear that it is not just a way to have fun, Tina makes continued references to Roland and as you progress you realise that this is her way of dealing with the tragic events from the original campaign, she has lost her friend and cannot cope. So it’s not just a wacky idea! It has depth… with rainbows and explosions! Game-play is of course exactly the same as Borderlands 2, solid reactive shooting, great sounding guns, clean visuals and very few glitches: despite what some people have encountered, I had zero glitches in 3 playthroughs. Our new foes offer new challenges in combat, some skeletons for example are unbeatable unless you take their health down and pull a sword from their back… not an easy thing to do in the midst of combat. Orcs are tough, fast and their warlords are a force to be reckoned with. All new enemies have unique animations; they are not re-skins of bandits etc… Gearbox have truly given us a wealth of new content. The entire campaign including side missions is completable in around 8 hours, however for loot hunters among us there is of course always a reason to keep playing past that point. Firstly, there is a new raid boss in the form of elemental dragons, that offer a serious challenge! They drop more seraph items and more eridium than you’d know what to do with, or is it...
For the less hardcore among us, there are plenty of less arduous ways to continue loot hunting for example; eridium, that annoying substance we never seemed to have less than 99 of, is now useful! Throughout the campaign, you will see glowing orbs that in exchange for eridium will give you buffs, such as super speed, or ammo. Furthermore, there are now chests with 20 sided dice on top of them and in exchange for eridium you can choose to roll 2 instead of 1 dice. The higher the number the better the loot and the loot is gooood. As with all Borderlands 2 content it is playable with up to 3 other people online (providing they all have the DLC) or 3 others via split screen… then you only need 1 DLC. The DLC also offers a great way to push through level 50 in an enjoyable manner as apposed to repeating the same content again and again!
Sum-up Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep is the best DLC of the series, its hilarious self referential humour, whilst still managing to have a strong serious ending is testament to the quality of Gearbox’s writing. If you thought Borderlands 2 was ready to start collecting dust, think again, this DLC is better than most £40 games.
Issue 20 of Stencil Mag features interviews from the following: Kids In Glass Houses, Frank Turner, Deaf Havana, Yellowcard, Defeater, Real...
Published on Jul 31, 2013
Issue 20 of Stencil Mag features interviews from the following: Kids In Glass Houses, Frank Turner, Deaf Havana, Yellowcard, Defeater, Real...