No Sleep Records
Canada’s Pine are the newest signing to No Sleep Records, and it seems the band have wasted no time in brining out their first release for the label, the Pillow Talk EP. The EP is now available on vinyl, on a limited edition pink with green swirl variant, as well as being available digitally. Pine offer a unique mix of post punk intensity that is blended with influences ranging from emo to shoegaze that brings a unique combination that’s as refreshing and cathartic as it is nostalgic.
Dolya opens with a mellow emotive slice of post punk influenced shoegaze, ethereal vocals combine with a gorgeous dream like melody to create a blissed out introduction to Pine that just washes over you. Viable ups the ante, but despite the more strident beat it maintains the dream like quality of the opening number with it’s delicate multi layered vocals, whereas (Un)rest delivers the kind of song you get the feeling the Pillow Talk EP has been building up to, a perfect dreamscape that has a subtle intensity that blends perfectly into the penultimate track, Jilt. Blue Jacket closes the EP with a truly epic and mellow finale that brings the Pillow Talk EP to a subtle crescendo.
If your tastes are towards snarling punk rock then the Pillow Talk EP won’t be for you, but for me this is an EP for those mellow moments after a late night that has unexpectedly become a very early morning, it’s subtle intensity is strangely beguiling and the vocal delivery from Darlene Deschamps is one that is hypnotic and entrancing, and it is backed up by a lush soundscape. There are post punk influences aplenty on the intriguing EP, but it avoids recreating the past and instead they mark out their own territory with an original and blissed out EP, and this is a release that come the right moment will be one that you’ll be glad that you own.
The Pillow Talk EP can be ordered on vinyl from No Sleep Records here and digitally via Bandcamp here
Muskets found their birth in Brighton, UK where they quickly engaged in the city’s always growing music scene. Here, they connected with like-minded peers who held a shared DIY ethos and influence of grunge, punk and emo sounds. Now the band have announced a series of UK dates with Weatherstate that commence on August 11th at Southampton, The Joiners.
Muskets will be releasing a new single shortly, and a full album will follow later this year.
You can view the video for their last single, 17 Years, and Muskets tour dates, below Read More…
Late last year Redwood released their sophomore EP, Blood Moon, that swells in and out of post-rock sensibilities whilst leaning heavily on a mid-west emo sound. Redwood have now released their new single, Night Garden, on the surface it sounds like a lush and positive song with punishing guitar sounds and beautiful vocal harmonies, but under the surface their is substance as it covers the serious issue of domestic violence. Blood Moon is set for a vinyl release through DIY label Blindreader Records in July that will be limited to 300 copies and will feature the two tracks from the Night Garden single, as well as a fold out A3 lyric sheet.
You can order and stream Night Garden here
Italy’s Regarde have signed to Wiretap Records and the band have now released a brand new music video for their new single, Last Summer, that is taken from their forthcoming debut album, that is due out this Fall via Wiretap Records (USA) V4V Records (Italy) and Epidemic Records (Italy).
Last Summer is available via iTunes here and Spotify here
You can view the video for Last Summer below Read More…
Take This To Heart Records
Swordfish are set to release their latest album, Rodia, on the 5th May 2017 on CD, cassette and digital formats via Take This To Heart Records. Swordfish are a band that wear their influences on their sleeves and take their cues from the haunting guitar style of American Football, the vocal urgency of Sorority Noise and the instant gratification of Joyce Manor, this is a combination that covers the anxiety and heartbreak that you’d expect on an emo influenced album, but thankfully it’s one that avoids the self indulgent pitfalls that so many emo bands fall into.
Favourite Clothes kicks things off with a heartfelt and steady opener where the yearning vocals are set against heartaching guitar lines, this is largely the pattern for much of Rodia, but it’s not the whole story. This is not an uptempo punk album by any means, rather it’s one than channels the personal turbulence of emo and combines it with the melody of The Weakerthans and the passion of Off With Their Heads. There are uptempo moments such as the charged lo-fi punker Trenton Garage, but these moments are juxtaposed against the emotionally charged slower tracks such as I’m Okay (x3) and the album’s closing track, Owen, that brings Rodia to a satisfying and melodic finale.
The trumpet that features on every track compliments the compositions, rather than feeling like an afterthought, and adds depth to Rodia. This is an album that covers everything from the standard subjects that the emo genre covers including mental health, heartbreak and existentialism, but rather than this being an album that wallows in self doubt and selfism this comes across as an upbeat album that embraces the more charged side of the emo scene. The emo stylings on Rodia are combined with a few well chosen punk influences to create an impressive album, and it’s one that makes a welcome addition to the impressive roster than Take This To Heart Records are steadily building
Rodia can be pre-ordered via Take This To Heart Records here
Swordfish‘s Facebook page can be found here
Essex based indie and emo influenced band Bodyheat have released their new single, Awake, today, the 28th April. Bodyheat draw influence from bands like Turnover and Pity Sex whilst tipping their hats to Built To Spill and more popular leanings like Tears For Fears. The new single is now available digitally and the band have also released a video to accompany their new single.
Awake is now available on digital formats via Close To Home Records
You can view the video for Awake below Read More…
The Flaws In Everything
Animal Style Records
From their humble beginnings as an acoustic solo project back in 2012 Northbound have steadily evolved into a fully fleshed-out band. Jonathon Fraser remains at the creative heart of Northbound, his songwriting sits at the core of the band and his style seems at home here, whether he’s armed with nothing but an acoustic guitar and his voice, or with the full band fleshing out his songs with some muscle. Northbound have now bought us their latest EP, The Flaws In Everything, that was released on the 21st April 2017 via Animal Style Records, and it is now available on two different vinyl variants, white and blue and black and blue, as well as on CD and digital formats.
The Flaws In Everything introduces itself with the strong pop punk opening of Fade To Black, the classic pop punk combination of harmonised vocals and strong catchy guitar hooks is well in evidence, on the basis of this you might think you know what you’re in for, but you’d be wrong, Suitor Type still contains the pop punk element, but this time it’s darker with a touch of post hardcore. The opening duo of tracks is then followed by the crunching distorted riff of Well Water, a song that drifts into alt-rock territory, The Flaws In Everything continues to keep you guessing as Lonely Squid boasts a stripped down acoustic quality until finally Tell Me Something Good, with it’s impassioned chorus, brings things to a reflective thoughtful close.
The Flaws In Everything is a varied genre spanning EP that hits the spot nicely, for me Fade To Black and Well Water are the two stand out tracks, both bring a distorted energy to the EP, but that’s not to put down the remainder of this release, but with such a varied blend of styles on display you’re going to gravitate to the ones that appeal to your sensibilities, in my case it’s the noisier contingent of tracks. Whether every track on this EP will be to your taste is debatable, but I can guarantee there’s a good chance that you’ll find something to your taste on The Flaws In Everything.
The Flaws In Everything can be pre-ordered on physical formats here and digitally here
Hidden Home Records
Gingerkicker is the new solo album by Rob Lanterman, the man responsible for founding and running Hidden Home Records, this is his first solo album and his first acoustic album so he’s breaking his cherry on two counts on this release. Rob Lanterman isn’t the first punk alumni the make an acoustic recording, Greg Gaffin (Bad Religion), Nick 13 (Tiger Army) and Matt Skiba (Alkaline Trio), to name a but a few, have all made critically acclaimed albums where they are shorn of their band mates, An obvious concern of a solo album being released on artists own label is that there is a distinct temptation for them to be self indulgent, but Rob Lantermen has avoided this pitfall and in the process he’s delivered an honest and impressive thirteen tracks of heartfelt folk punk.
Rob Lanterman wrote this album three long years ago, but the demands of running an indie label that is developing a heavyweight reputation have meant that it’s remained unrecorded and unreleased, until now. This is just one man and his guitar throughout, you rarely hear any overdubs and there’s no studio trickery to artificially enhance the sound, this is a raw acoustic live recording that reminds me of the melancholy yearning melody of the Smoking Popes. If you were going to level a criticism at this album, and other acoustic releases, is that it leaves little variety across the album, but that’s the nature of releasing an album that is stripped to the bone.
This is an impressive debut release from one of punk’s many unsung heroes, those who run the independent labels and support the grass roots movement that enable the punk scene to evolve and thrive. For fans of the solo releases by the likes of Frank Turner, Joey Cape and Tony Sly this would be an essential album, Rob Lanterman has all the qualities of comparable solo releases and he delivers a heartfelt album that would translate perfectly to being played with a full band. His label, Hidden Home Records, is one which has the deserved reputation of supporting the DIY grass roots punk scene, and this release indicates that he’s just at home as a recording artist as he is running a record label.
You can stream and purchase Gingerkicker here
The Hidden Home Records website can be found here
Lightcliffe are a bittersweet emo/indie-rock band hailing from Brighton and London that formed at the tail end of 2015. Mistakes I Seem To Make is a two track cassette release that will be released via DIY bedroom labels Honeypot Records and Backpack Records, the cassette is due out on April 7th and the band will be playing a release show on April 8th at DIY Space For London.
You can stream Mistakes I Seem To Make here and the cassette can be pre-ordered here
Lightcliffe‘s Facebook page can be found here
The London based emo punk quintet, KidBrother have released their new single, A Draught I Want, via Say Something Records. To celebrate the release of the new single, the band have put together a very special single release party, taking place on the Tamesis Dock Boat in Vauxhall, London on the 30th March, support will be from Bellevue Days, Coldbones and Pretty Pistol.
Tickets for the single launch party can be purchased here
A Draught I Want can be ordered here and a the video for the single can be viewed below Read More…
Today Western Daughter released a stream of the track Pillars of Salt from their upcoming album, Driftwood Songs, that promises to deliver an honest blend of emo, folk and rock from the Pacific Northwest that weaves introspective lyrics into every song, Western Daughter will also be playing Treefort Fest this March in Boise, Idaho and Driftwood Songs will be released on the 24th March on vinyl, on black and ‘orange crush’ variants, CD and digital formats, as well as exclusive bundles, via Take This To Heart Records.
You can stream Pillars Of Salt via 36 Vultures here and Driftwood Songs can be pre-ordered here
The Manson Family
You Did This Records / Triple Crown Records
Ohio’s Heart Attack Man originally started as a solo recording project for singer and guitarist Eric Egan back in 2013, since then they have gained a further member, drummer Adam Paduch, released two EPs’, their self titled debut and 2015’s critically acclaimed Acid Rain EP, and now they have released their debut full length, the ominously titled album The Manson Family. The album was released via a partnership between You Did This Records and Triple Crown Records yesterday, the 3rd March 2017, on CD, swamp green vinyl and digital formats.
The Manson Family is an album of restrained downbeat power pop, it varies between hooky fuzz laden riffs that sit alongside introspective touches, often in the same song. It’s not until you’re well and truly into the album that they kick into gear and up the ante with the wonderful Blood Orange Sun. This track was streamed ahead of the album’s release, and you can see why this was the track they chose, although it’s thunder is stolen by the wonderful Surrounded By Morons, for me this is easily the album’s finest moment, it’s a fuzzy dark sarcastic rant against modern society that is a perfect cathartic soundtrack for those that dwell in an urban sprawl.
Heart Attack Man are the first signing of the union between two fiercely independent record labels, and it must be said that their debut full length hits the spot nicely. The Manson Family was recorded with Ian Farmer, of Modern Baseball fame, his influence on the production is certainly present, but his style doesn’t overly insinuate itself into the album, as Heart Attack Man definitely have their own character. The Manson Family is a potent mix of melody and enormous hooks, when this is combined with the rage and grace that is present in their compositions it makes this an album, that like it’s namesake, is best not ignored, but, unlike it’s namesake, this is something that you’d actually want to appear in your house.
The Manson Family can be pre-ordered via Triple Crown Records here
You can now listen to the opening track, Skinny Water, from Western Daughter‘s upcoming album, Driftwood Songs, that delivers a blend of honest emo, folk and rock from the Pacific Northwest that weaves introspective lyrics into every song. Western Daughter will also be playing the Treefort Fest this March in Boise, Idaho.
Driftwood Songs will be released on March 24th via Take This To Heart Records.
You can stream Skinny Water here and pre-order Driftwood Songs here
Sundressed have announced spring tour dates with Nominee, as well as an appearance at the So What Fest in Texas on March 26th, the dates will be preceded by a show at Emo Night at Los Angeles the Echo on February 7th. The past two years have been monumentally prolific for Sundressed, releasing two EPs and a split with Nashville’s Secret Stuff in rapid succession between April 2015 and July 2016, recently signed to Animal Style Records, Sundressed will be releasing a new album later this year.
The track Limelight, that is taken from the upcoming album, can we be streamed here Read More…
I’m Fine‘s new album, Never Knowing Best, is now on general release through Wiretap Records. It can be streamed via Spotify and Apple Music, and is available for download via iTunes and Bandcamp.
You can order Never Knowing Best digitally here and on limited edition cassette here
The Punk Site review of Never Knowing Best can be found here
I’m Fine‘s Facebook page is located here
Never Knowing Best
New Orleans, Louisiana’s I’m Fine will release their debut full length album, Never Knowing Best tomorrow, February 3rd 2017, the album was recorded in the band’s hometown of New Orleans by James Whitten with help from Brian Pretus of Pears. I’m Fine combine elements of punk and indie that sit happily alongside post hardcore and emo influences. Whilst this is the band’s first full length I’m Fine have been around since 2011, they released an initial burst of EP’s between 20111 and 2012 and then, at least as far as I can tell, there has been silence, apparently this was due to band members running into personal issues and problems that derailed their initial impetus, but they stayed together regardless of what life threw at them and now it seems they’re back on track with the release of Never Knowing Best.
The album jump starts into life with the lo-fi explosion of Merit Badge, the lead single that was streamed in advance of the release, it carries a raw discordant quality throughout that is reminiscent of an angry hyperactive Dinosaur Jnr, without giving you chance to draw breath the album launches into Dead Eyes, this kicks the pace up a notch and it is swiftly followed by Nabors, this track builds the intensity and incorporates a few math rock flourishes into their sonic assault. Legends In Corners brings a more thoughtful element into the mix that segues into the defiant strains of Cursive before Late Night Talks About Nothing brings an anguished moment to the album. For me Grow With Us and Burma bring the albums finest moments, with fine upbeat and insistent rhythms that are married to their raw discordant style, just as you think I’m Fine are building to a upbeat finale Never Knowing Best has a final twist, it closes with two complex disquieting numbers, Evil Bubbly and Trash Eyes, that brings what has been a wildly fluctuating dissonant debut to a close.
I’m Fine are a band that wear their influences proudly on their collective sleeves, their sound has a resemblances to bands such as Latterman, Gnarwolves, Cursive and At The Drive In, but that isn’t the end of the story, they incorporate different elements and styles into every track making Never Knowing Best an unpredictable beast of an album. It captures the rage of post hardcore, and this is the style that is at their core, but they straddle so many genres you just can’t pin them down, hints of math rock complexity are incorporated, indie and emo sensibilities pervade and it’s all delivered with a punk DIY ethos, with a running time of just over twenty minutes you could argue that Never Knowing Best is somewhat on the short side, but it’s a brief satisfying blast from a band who might not know best, but they certainly know their own minds.
You can pre-order Never Knowing Best digitally here and order the limited edition cassette here
A new limited vinyl pressing of Mae‘s beloved album The Everglow is now available via Spartan Records. The initial 2500 copies sold out, so when the this brand new variant, that is limited to 300 copies, sells out, they will no longer be available. The new pressing features two albums, on teal blue marble and rust orange marble, and a 28 page foil stamped storybook with an epilogue by the band, this pressing is destined to be as classic as the album itself.
You can order the new pressing of The Everglow here
New Orleans, Louisiana’s I’m Fine are premiering the track Merit Badge off their upcoming album, Never Knowing Best, that is due out February 3rd 2017 via Wiretap Records. The new record was recorded in the band’s hometown of Nola by James Whitten (Pears, Thou) with help from Brian Pretus of Pears.
You can pre-order Never Knowing Best digitally here and the limited edition cassette here
You can stream Merit Badge here
Elle hail from California’s Bay Area, they are relative newcomer to the scene, having only formed in 2015, who have now released their debut self titled EP via Conditions Records. The band features members of Loma Prieta, Beau Navire and Yearbooks, it appears that Elle have certainly been true to their heritage, they have created a dark and stormy debut that captures both the fury of their hardcore and punk roots, but also the subtlety of the indie and emo elements that have influenced the creation of their initial release.
The Clearing kicks off the self titled EP in a dark, distorted and fuzzy manner, the music, whilst heavy and dark, is delivered with a light touch that is something of a juxtaposition compared to the raw vocal delivery, Mockingbirds and Pulse follows the initial warning shot of the opening track, and these tracks build upon the intensity of their debut EP. Parts And Parcel takes the EP in a completely different direction, subtle ringing guitar notes are interspersed with a delivery that borders on hardcore, then the final track, Cold Hands, takes the EP to it’s logical conclusion. It takes all the elements that have featured on the initial quartet of tracks, and combines them all into an epic five minute finale that encompasses both the calm and the storm.
If you have a love for the stormy distorted side of hardcore and indie and then Elle may well be a band you need to investigate, for me the constant barrage of raw vocals and discordant guitars becomes slightly repetitive, but having said that there is something about Elle that marks them out from the noisy pack of bands that are covering this territory. This is a promising debut and it will be interesting to see where they go when they release their first full length on Conditions Records next year.
Elle‘s debut EP is available for streaming and download here and on vinyl here
Triple Crown Records
Triple Crown Records surprise released this split single from Sorority Noise and The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die at the start of November, it contains a new track from each of the Connecticut based bands that feature on this split. Both of these bands are prolific in their output, and they have both taken the opportunity to unveil new material, despite already having brought out new releases earlier this year with the EP’s It Kindly Stopped For Me and Formlessness respectively.
Sorority Noise occupy the first half of this split single, they have contributed Leaf Ellis. This is a mournful and reflective track for the first two and half minutes, fortunately I managed to resist the urge to skip to the next track as it kicks into a more uplifting noisier sound before they ease back into the sorrowful tone. Leaf Ellis is a track that is dedicated to wrestling with your inner demons and trying to make sense of the thoughts that consume you. In contrast the ridiculously named The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, who occupy the flip side with Smoke And Felt, have contributed a more upbeat number that seems to have a strong influence from The Weakerthans. This band, I’m not typing that name again, have released countless splits, singles and EP’s, as well as two full length albums, since their inception, and for me this constantly expanding and contracting collective have produced the stronger track, it is a fast paced emo tinged indie number featuring dual vocals that hits the spot nicely.
Triple Crown Records have bought two bands together that both originated in Connecticut, like many split singles this is a story of two halves and styles that compliment each other. Whilst the contrast between the two bands approach to their material is marked, both have their merits and I have been introduced to two bands that have previously bypassed me, and that is often they joy of a split single.
The split single can be ordered from Triple Crown Records here
The Things I Never Say
The Things I Never Say is the debut album from California’s I’m Glad It’s You, and it’s due for release today, November 4th, via 6131 Records. This is an intimate and expressive release, whilst this is their debut full length it is is not their first release, they released the Daydreams EP at the tail end of last year that gave a taste of what was to come on The Things I Never Say.
I’m Glad It’s You kick off The Things I Never Say with their trademark blend of indie, punk, emo and alt rock with The Things We Lose, which a frantic discordant number with a slightly jangly indie feel to the guitar, the album maintains this approach across the ten cuts contained on The Things I Never Say, but whilst the musical style remains a constant across the album the writing style and tempo varies across each track, which stops this from becoming repetitive or formulaic. As you’d expect with any album that has an emo element incorporated into it’s DNA this is a distinctly heartfelt and personal album, the tracks veer between downbeat numbers and those that seem to be possessed by a curious mania, but all the while seeming to be haunted by their own personal demons.
The album keeps it’s pace up with a fuzzy alt rock style that is topped off with yearning lovelorn vocals, for me The Things I Never Say owes a great debt to nineties alternative and indie, in particular to the likes of Dinosaur Jnr, as well as the obvious and much commented on parallels between I’m Glad It’s You and Joyce Manor. I can’t shake the feeling that The Things I Never Say is just missing that final key ingredient that would make it sparkle, as finer album as it is at the end of the final track I’m left with a feeling that that it didn’t quite fulfil it’s potential, but maybe that’s just me. This is a fine album, especially if you’re tastes are towards to emo side of the punk world, if that is the case then you’ll probably want to give this album a listen and keep an eye on this band.
The Things I Never Say can be ordered via 6131 Records here
I'm Not Coming Back If You're Not Here
Brave Vultures are a four piece emo tinged punk band who hail from the county of Essex in the UK, the I’m Not Coming Back If You’re Not Here EP is their debut release. There already seems to be something of a buzz around them, and they will be building on their following shortly when they head out on a tour that encompasses not only the UK, but also incorporates their initial foray into Europe. The I’m Not Coming Back If You’re Not Here EP was released earlier this month, so what have this Essex quartet bought us with their first offering?
The EP opens with a sample that contains the words “turn it on and rip the knob off’, this has infuriated me ever since trying to place where I’ve heard the sample but I won’t hold that against them, especially as the first track on the EP, This Is Where I Wanna Be, is such a powerful opener. This is how records should start, this track grabs you and makes you pay attention, its powerful chugging riff and powerhouse drums compete with impassioned vocals, straight away they have a new convert to their cause. Whilst first impressions aren’t everything this song has made a hell of an impression on me. They take things down a fair few notches for Safe Ground, this is more of a slow burner that isn’t as immediate as the opening track, but it’s not lacking in the quality and neither is If You Run which steps the pace back up a few notches. The next two tracks, With Me and Don’t Let Me Down, repeat this pattern of easing you down and bringing you back up again.
This is an impressive debut EP, it never quite hits the highs of the opening number, but that is a seriously impressive song so it is a difficult act to follow. There isn’t a weak track, or any moments that have you reaching to skip to the next track, on I’m Not Coming Back If You’re Not Here. If they can build from this impressive starting point then the future looks bright for Brave Vultures.
You can order the I’m Not Coming Back If You’re Not Here EP here
The Brave Vultures website can be found here
Voyages And Vantage Points
I Fight Fail are a four piece alternative band from Ohio, they formed in 2013 out of the ashes of Where Are You Houston? The Voyages And Vantage Points EP follows on from their debut release, Move Me, in 2014. I hadn’t encountered I Fight Fail prior to writing this review, the name somewhat mislead me as I was expecting something fast, short and angry, what I wasn’t expecting was a mature spacey mix of emo, indie and electronica.
Voyages And Vantage Points is an accomplished and atmospheric six track EP that builds from the brief title track, a sample led spacey instrumental, to the anthemic final track Out Of Oblivion. It’s hard to fault this EP, but I get the feeling they’d never quite got out of second gear and I found myself itching to flip the album over and play next six tracks, Voyages and Vantage Points feels like the first half of an album, some indefinable quality is missing from this EP and I just get the impression they didn’t quite get to where they were heading.
There is a distinct feel of the likes of Thirty Seconds To Mars, Angels And Airwaves and the later pre-reformation recordings of Blink-182. I found this EP falls slightly short as it it contains about twenty minutes of spacey anthemic emo tinged rock, at no point does it step up the pace to inject some adrenaline into proceedings. The majority of the spacier bands I’ve encountered over the years usually had something in their armoury to bring the audience up, and this is what I feel is missing from this EP. Having said this is an impressive indication of the bands potential and I’ll look forward to their debut album.
Voyages And Vantage Points is released today and can be ordered here
Ohio quartet Light Years have released a new four track EP via Rude Records, this is their first new material since I’ll See You When I See You, the band’s sophomore album that was released on Rude Records at the tail end of last year. That was an album that marked a significant musical progression from their 2013 debut release, so what does the Lite Years EP have to offer? Disappointingly it is comprised of acoustic interpretations of three of their favourite songs from their last record, along with a previously unreleased cover version.
The opening track The Summer She Broke My Heart keeps the upbeat qualities of the original, but is a fairly straightforward acoustic version of the song. The track Accidents has been significantly reworked, this is a positive move as a whole EP of straight acoustic versions of songs that were released less than a year ago would be something of a pointless exercise, if you’re going to rework some of your most popular material then I always feel it should bring something new to the party. The Lite Years EP closes out in a more sombre tone, Let You Down is completely stripped down and has a more melancholy tone than the previous version and this four track release closes with a version of Bruce Springsteen‘s Atlantic City, which is recorded with a fuller sound than the original version by The Boss.
This is very much one of the fans of Light Years, rather than viewing this a new release I would see this a companion to the I’ll See You When I See You album, there is nothing wrong with this EP but as it lacks any new original material it’s hard to get overly excited about this release. Having said that this EP brings a different perspective to their material and fans of Light Years will enjoy this EP of reinterpretations immensely.
Lite Years is available for download from the usual sources, including Amazon and iTunes
InFocus is the debut self released EP from Portland quintet, Acadia, InFocus is a an EP that has no overarching theme or story and it has been described by the band as “a glimpse at pure emotions”. Acadia began life as an acoustic project, as they developed their material the decision to expand the line up was made so that the songs could have a fuller and richer sound. In addition to the five musicians that comprise Arcadia, the EP features guest vocals from Like Pacific‘s Jordan Black and Matty Arsenault from A Loss For Words.
Acadia are no relation to the band of a similat name that was formed in the mid 80’s by former members of Duran Duran, now we’ve got that cleared up we can discuss the Portland band Acadia. This is an EP of six heartfelt and impassioned indie rock numbers that have influences from the emo and alt-rock stables. For me the stand out track from the InFocus EP is Casablanca with it’s refrain of “here’s looking at you kid”, after all, who doesn’t love a good movie reference. In addition to the strength of the material on display the mix on InFocus is perfectly balanced which let’s this five piece shine on what is a very impressive debut EP.
Acadia have made a strong initial statement with their debut EP, they are competing in an overcrowded genre of heartfelt emo influenced bands, but the key difference is that they don’t fall into the trap of mawkishness or self indulgence, the result is that the material is delivered with spirit and originality, if I had the chance to play this for a few more days I have a feeling that the Infocus EP would grow on me even more than it already has.
Acadia will be supporting Like Pacific and Broadside on the Distant Like You Asked Tour on October 12 in Cambridge, MA.
Digital copies of InFocus are available via iTunes and will be available to purchase on CD at their live shows
Tidal Wave is Taking Back Sunday‘s seventh album, while most of their peers have either broken up, faded away or reunited to capitalize on the emo scene’s wildfire revival, Taking Back Sunday have been an ever present on the scene, they’ve consistently ploughed their own furrow and continued to reinvent themselves regardless of passing trends and tastes. Tidal Wave appears to represent yet another turning point in the band’s history, Taking Back Sunday have regularly adopted fresh approaches and styles since their inception, whilst in this past these haven’t always hit the spot this latest album is one that appears to have breathed new life into the band.
Opening number, Death Wolf, takes it time getting going, a full minute of gradual atmospheric build up takes place before the song is jump started, but it’s worth the wait as this it is a fine slice of polished emo tinged punk that boasts some epic riffs. However, there is no such dramatic introduction or polish with the album’s title track, it kicks in and is a short sharp punchy punk number featuring machine gun dreaming and a chorus that just hooks you into the song. Tidal Wave continues to build layers and textures by utilising various tempos and styles, all the while maintaining an impressive level of energy, that is until you hit the half way mark when the album screeches almost to a halt with the introspective I Felt It Too, for me this track just interrupted the flow of the album and it seems to be at odds with the other eleven tracks. Any worries you might have had following this number are dispelled as the second half of the album mirrors the approach of the first half dozen tracks with a variety of styles, but this time there is no sudden halt to the proceedings, whilst the album does end on a slow burner, the epic I’ll Find A Way To Make It What You Want, it is one that fits in with the feel of the album and is a fine ending to an impressive album.
For me Tidal Wave‘s title track is the high point, but that is such a good song that isn’t in anyway a slur on the rest of the album, if you’re a fan of Taking Back Sunday you will probably have already ordered this, in fact by the time this review appears you’ve probably had it playing on repeat for a few days. One of the factors that marks this out from Taking Back Sunday‘s back catalogue is the fact that was written in the studio whilst they were recording it, rather than the album being crafted and overly anguished over beforehand. I think this approach brings a freshness and new found enthusiasm to their sound, whether this is their best album will be a subject of some debate, but what Tidal Wave definitely does bring is a new direction, and it’s one that seems to have re-energised a band that has been with us for almost two decades.
You can order Tidal Wave here
I Fight Fail is a space rock band from Canton, Ohio, delivering a patented combination of alternative guitar textures, electronica and rock, reminiscent of Thirty Seconds to Mars, Angels and Airwaves, Incubus and Blink 182. I Fight Fail were formed in 2013 from the ashes of their previous band, Where Are You Houston. With an airy, hypnotic vibe, their sound is imminently danceable and trancey, their musical chemistry immediately evident as soon as they hit the stage. A review of Voyages and Vantage Points will be published on The Punk Site in early October.
Voyages And Vantage Points can be ordered on vinyl here and digitally via iTunes
The video for Are You OK can be viewed below Read More…
Down In The Dark
Side One Dummy Records
Down In The Dark is Safe To Say‘s sophomore album, their debut With Everything In Between was released in 2013, and this new album has taken a radically different direction. Their first album was more of a pop punk affair, louder and brasher, this release is more subdued and subtle, it’s almost as if Safe To Say have matured somewhat. However, we all know that growing up isn’t always a good thing in music, we’ve all encountered bands who we wish had stayed in perpetual adolescence as sometimes the very thing that attracted you to a band is lost in maturity. So what direction have Canada’s Safe To Say taken?
Opening number Only Rain hints at a darker and more thoughtful approach than their boisterous debut, this is confirmed by the track From The Top, it has a steady dark fuzzed up riff in between it’s quieter interludes. The whole album boasts a darker tone from their previous efforts, aside from brief throwaway tracks Doves and Crows this is remarkably consistent album. Down In The Dark showcases a darker and more brooding style that has retained some of the energy they previously displayed on their recordings, but it has been channelled and held in check to be released at the critical moments of the song. Yes this a more mature album but in this case it isn’t necessarily a bad thing and I’ve found myself warming to their new approach as I worked my way through the album.
Down In The Dark isn’t as immediate as their early material, it’s more thoughtful and it is a natural progression from the debut album. I can see this being an album that grows on me over time but the nature of writing a review means that you’re dependant on your initial impression. For me this has lost some of the spark that was on display on With Everything In Between and replaced it with a darker brooding style. Whilst growing up isn’t necessarily a bad thing, too much of it is never a good thing, I hope that Safe To Say can retain a chunk of their youthful exuberance as they don’t want to grow up too much.
Down In The Dark can be ordered for download from Safe To Say here
You can order CD, vinyl and bundles from Side One Dummy Records here
We Could Find New Ways To Walk Home
Yorkshire trio Less Deceived came into being in the summer of 2014 when the four original members decided to move away from their heavier roots and shift up a gear to play punk rock, this line up released two well received EP’s, It’ll Never Get Better Than This and Average Songs About The Best Days Of Our Lives. The band then hit a tipping pint as two members left the band and moved abroad. A new guitarist was swiftly recruited and Less Deceived have continued as a trio and have now released the first EP from their current incarnation, We Could Find New Ways To Walk Home.
The three track EP opens with The Inevitable Song About Trains, this is a fine energetic slab of anthemic punk rock with a fine and stirring chorus. That Shit’ll Kill You, my personal favourite from We Could Find New Ways To Walk Home, contains a killer riff and mid way through there’s an epic breakdown, throughout this number there are impassioned vocals and you can sense the same kind of energy that bands like The Bouncing Souls convey. LDNY closes the EP in a mellower fashion, before the brakes come off and it picks up the pace and builds up to a frantic finale.
We Could Find New Ways To Walk Home contains an influence of introspective emo-tinged punk akongside the upbeat infectious energy of punk rock, which is the overriding influence on this EP. The three songs are done and dusted in just under ten minutes, but it’s a damn fine frantic ten minutes. This is in no way just punk by numbers, on the shorter numbers you pick up elements of their punk influences, but the blend of styles and influences, especially on LDNY, means that they have a sound and style of their own that comes across nicely on what is an impressive independent release.
Less Deceived‘s bancamp page can be found here