Those Who Knew formed two short years ago, since that time they have been industriously playing the local circuits and building up an ever growing fanbase, now the Nottingham based alternative quintet are looking to spread their wings beyond their local scene as they are set to self release their debut EP, New Perspective, on Friday 28th April. Prior to the EP’s launch the lead single from EP, Losing Touch, has already racked up airplay on BBC Radio as well as becoming a fan favourite at their live shows. New Perspective can be pre-ordered via all the main digital streaming services and retailers. Those Who Knew have now provided The Punk Site with an exclusive track by track breakdown of their new EP
Indie trio Peaness have released a video for their latest single, Same Place, the video comes alongside news of a special London show with Happy Accidents on 7th May at Thousand Island, for which tickets will be priced at £4 for one week only. Pre-orders are also now live for their forthcoming EP, Are You Sure?, that is set for release on 5th May via Alcopop! Records, including a limited edition Mellow Yellow 12″ vinyl.
Are You Sure? can be pre-ordered via Alcopop! Records here
The video for Same Place, and Peaness‘s tour dates, can be viewed below Read More…
Big DayLame-O Records / Father Daughter Records
By AJ Phink
Pennsylvanian quartet Loose Tooth have released their sophomore album Big Day today, April the 7th 2017, via Father/Daughter Records and Lame-O Records. Big Day is the follow up to their 2015 debut album that was released via Fleeting Youth Records, Easy Easy East, and Big Day will be available on a multitude of formats including the more pedestrian CD and download options, up to the ‘black and baby pink’ and ‘aqua blue’ vinyl variants.
Sleep With The State Concept opens Big Day in fine upbeat indie style, or so you think as at the half way mark it lapses into a laid back jazz and blues jam, this sets the tone for the album, you never really know quite where any track is going to take you, there is a noisy indie base to Loose Tooth‘s sound but the experimentalism takes this sound off into new and uncharted directions. From one track to the next you don’t know what’s coming, I’ll avoid the obvious Forrest Gump quote, but i can confirm that this is an idiosyncratic and unpredictable album that’s unlike anything else I’ve heard this year.
Big Day is an album that sits proudly on it’s own, yes you can hear and identify a few influences such as Pixies, Velvet Underground, Pavement and even, at least to my ears, Captain Beefheart in their sound, but the overall effect is one that is definitely their own. There is no commercial intent with this album, there is nothing in sight that anyone would call radio friendly or destined to be a hit single, Big Day is a unique slice of the more avant-garde side of the indie scene, whilst this isn’t exactly to my tastes you can’t help but admire the spirit of independence and originality that inspired it.
The album can be downloaded and streamed via Bandcamp here
RaysTrouble In Mind Records
By AJ Phink
Rays are a band that is comprised of four Bay area music veterans whose current and past musical projects include local bands of note such as The World, Life Stinks, Violent Change, and Dadfag, that means Rays are something of an underground supergroup that was born of the golden states dark recesses. The band’s self titled debut album was released at the end of last month and is now available on CD and good old fashioned black vinyl via Trouble In Mind Records
The opening plodding discordant chords of Attic bring to mind the more experimental side of the UK’s post punk scene and the fledgling indie scene that followed in it’s wake, Rays have released an album that has come distinctly out of leftfield, there is nothing predictable and the album takes you on a rambling discordant journey across it’s brief run time of a shade under twenty five minutes. Tracks such as Gambler and Theatre Of Lunacy provide the album’s most coherent moments, but for the main part this is a album that channels the more idiosyncratic elements from punk, post punk and the early indie scene.
Rays self titled debut comes across as the troubled offspring of post punk bands such as The Fall and Wire, along with a fair influence from the UK indie scene of early eighties, the whole album has a loose shambolic feel to it and you have to admire an album that seems to give no fucks whatsoever about commercial intent, this is the album Rays wanted to make and there is clearly no compromise. This is not an album that sits easily in your head, there are too many dark and discordant twists and turns for this to be a regular on your playlist, but when the moment is right you’ll be glad this is sitting and lurking in the corner of your collection.
Peter Doherty & The Puta Madres have released a new live video of the song Kolly Kibber, the video was filmed and recorded live by Roger Sargent in Berlin at Huxley’s Neue Welt on the 25th February. There will also be a Limited number of 7″ vinyl singles released on April 28th, featuring the studio version of Kolly Kibber and Weed Smoker’s Dream, an exclusive unreleased cover of the Harlem Hamfats 1936 song.
The Kolly Kibber 7″ vinyl can be pre-ordered here
The video for Kolly Kibber, and Peter Doherty‘s tour dates, can be viewed below Read More…
Sound Control, Manchester, UK13th March 2017
By AJ Phink
It seems that getting to gigs on time anywhere in central Manchester is becoming impossible, tonight’s surprise was that Oxford Rd, the main road through this side of town, is closed, meaning a hefty stroll through the roadworks is required to get to the venue, this was followed by a few problems on the door before we finally got into Sound Control. These delays meant that we only arrive in time to catch the tail end of Jekyll‘s set, the one song I do hear sounds promising and has me cursing the local council even more than usual. The sole number I’ve heard, and I accept this isn’t really a fair way to judge a band, reminds me of early Muse, before the self indulgence kicked in, I’m hopeful Jekyll will return to Manchester soon and I’ll be able to catch a full set.
Next up on the bill are Critics, this up and coming indie act have bought their twisted alt pop up north from London, there are elements of pretty much everything in their sound, the guitar hooks are huge, sinister keyboards underpin their sound and bring a distinct garagey undercurrent on the early stages of their set, an influence that sits happily alongside the dominant indie sensibilities. The material from the recent Spilt Milk EP sounds vibrant and lively, however, at the midway point their set develops a funkier feel that is a distinct shift away from the material that shone so brightly at the start, thankfully they return to more energetic indie fuelled finale for the close of their set.
Despite the fact the venue has run out of decent draught beer and it seems that everything is shut or awkward in Manchester tonight, things are looking up as tonight’s show has been moved to the main venue in Sound Control, a better experience than the cramped stage downstairs in the bar area, and one that is better suited to Vukovi‘s energy levels. Lets make no mistake why we’re here, Vukovi have just released what is guaranteed to be one of my favourite albums of the year, and the chance of seeing them play on my home turf early on in a tour that’s in support of their stunning debut full length is a temptation that means we have dragged our weary feet to our third gig in four days
Some bass heavy hip hop precedes Vukovi taking the stage, they arrive without fanfare and promptly launch into the lead single from their debut album, La Di Da, live they are even heavier and more urgent than they are on their debut album, something that I didn’t think would be possible. On stage their vocalist ,Janine Shilstone, is a captivating centerpoint, whether she’s applying snake hipped moves around the stage, bouncing like she’s possessed or taking the phones from people that are inevitably filming the show, something that will provide a few fans with some truly unique live footage. She is backed up by three powerhouses that provide a crunching high energy soundtrack for tonight’s show.
Tonight’s show was originally scheduled for the smaller venue, but a blown PA has seen them move into the larger venue, for me the venue where they rightfully belong, and I suspect they will soon be packing out larger venues than this. Vukovi provide a unique balance between Rage Against The Machine and the fuzzy punk soundtrack, even from ten feet back the intense bass riffs are vibrating my ribs and doing strange things to my internal organs. Make no mistake, they are a captivating blast of energy live, if they are coming to a venue anywhere near you then I’d recommend catching them live as they are the best live band I’ve seen so far this year, everything about their set was perfect and it has made the road closures and even the lack of decent beer distant memories.
I’ve never seen a singer embrace mobile phone technology like Janine Shilstone, from encouraging the crowd to light the stage via their phones, to taking them from unresisting members of the crowd and making unique fan footage, this is a band born of the modern age and embracing technology instead of moaning about it, something I’m all too guilty of myself. They leave the stage in a squall of feedback, of course the delirious crowd demand more and Vukovi duly return for two triumphant encores, ending with the frantic Boy George. This has been an unforgettable night, bands that are this good live don’t come along very often and Vukovi are a band you need to see live if you get the opportunity.
The Critics website can be found here
Jekyll‘s Facebook page is here
Photography is by Dean Unsworth, his Instagram account is located here,
You can click on any of Dean’s photos to view a slide show of the images
Fresh off the back of their successful recent string of dates, and the release of their incredible Don’t Get It EP via Hidden Pony Records, Belfast based indie punks, Empty Lungs, have shared the new video for the track Losing It. Finding It and have announced further tour dates for this Spring. Don’t Get It was released on the 10th March on vinyl and download and is available via the usual retailers
The Punk Site Review of the Don’t Get It EP can be found here
The video For Losing It. Finding It, and the Empty Lungs tour dates, can be viewed below Read More…
Sacred Trinity Church, Salford, UK10th March 2017
By AJ Phink
I always feels a bit strange watching a gig in a church as these are not places I’ve made a habit of attending, but religion seems to be on the decline and they have to keep the lights on somehow, so the result is there’s a bar and a healthy turn out for the sold out concert to mark the release of Jess Kemp‘s Vondelpark single at this small historical church that lies on the boundary between Salford and Manchester. David Gorman opens proceedings with a delicate acoustic set, his fine picked guitar work is accompanied by a mournful cello, whilst this isn’t the hyperactive start I’m used to at concerts he manages to get some early evening audience participation, and his thought provoking alt folk marks the start to a genre spanning evening.
Jess Kemp introduces Sound Of Thieves who are a band that offer a distinct contrast to the opening act. They are a duo that offer a set of bass augmented technology, I’m unsure how these things work but live loops and some fine vocals that are accompanied by a dub heavy bass is something I haven’t encountered before. I have no idea where to start trying to describe this duo, the sound they make is one that’s unique and they are also unique amongst the live acts I’ve encountered. The combination of the technical alchemy, ethereal vocals and dub bass is unlike anything else out there, the best description I can come up with is dub infused gothic electronica.
The Sacred Trinity Church has drawn a much bigger turn out than I suspect it’s regular Sunday gatherings attract, and the two foot thick stone walls ensure that the venue is approaching boiling point by the time Jess Kemp takes to the stage. Some mellow acoustic strains mark the start of her set, before the lights flare and the launch party for the Vondelpark single kicks off in earnest. Her emotional vocal growl adds a unique element to her material, and it’s just one of the components that makes the impressive, and deeply personal, material stand out in Manchester’s crowded indie scene.
Throughout her set Jess Kemp blends power pop with other influences that are all delivered with a trademark style, and it’s style that marks Jess Kemp out as one of Manchester’s up and coming singer songwriters, and it’s one that has attracted an enthusiastic and vocal audience for tonight’s sold out show that celebrates the launch of the Vondelpark single. Her music is a soulful mix of rock, power pop and indie with touches of heartland rock, and even hints of country and rock ‘n roll are thrown into the mix, and the whole package is all delivered with her own personal and powerful touch.
Of course new material is revealed tonight, including the anthemic No Shouting, that for me is the kind of song that Jess Kemp does best, a driving power pop number informed by personal experiences. Finally we get the moment that tonight has building up to as she gives the freshly released Vondelpark single it’s debut live airing. This is another upbeat indie fuelled floor filler, it’s a song that catalogues the bands joyous experiences in the fine city of Amsterdam, a city that has a reputation for making a positive impact on anyone who visits it, and on the basis of the new single it would appear that Jess Kemp is no exception to this tradition.
The rowdy vocal crowd demand an encore and they are duly rewarded, in some ways the final song from tonight’s show is the antithesis of the previous track, whereas Vondelpark is a celebration of the positive impact of a city, the title track from her debut Camden EP is definitely not a love letter to that renound part of London, and it marks a fine end to what has been a triumphant showcase for Jess Kemp. Tonight has seen an eclectic mix of acts topped by an impressive headline set, on the basis of my experience this evening maybe I should go to church more often, providing its not too early on a Sunday, and there are bands and a bar.
Jess Kemp‘s Facebook page can be found here
The Camden EP and Vondelpark single are available via Spotify and iTunes
The Sound Of Thieves Facebook page is located here
David Gorman‘s Facebook presence can be found here
Photography is by Dean Unsworth, his Instagram account is located here,
You can click on any of Dean’s photos to view a slide show of the images
Boy Racer / I Don't Wanna Be Like YouJAC64 Records
By AJ Phink
Following in the wake of the first single, Sheena’s Big Night Out, from the eagerly anticipated album, Ego, Andy J. Gallagher has now released another double a-side single featuring the tracks Boy Racer and I Don’t Wanna Be Like You, the single has been released on JAC64 Records today, the 20th March 2017. Ego will be Andy J. Gallagher‘s sophomore album, it follows on from 2009’s Helicopter, Dolphin, Submarine, an album that is now available as a free download via Andy J. Gallagher‘s website.
Boy Racer occupies the a-side, it’s a track that channels the spirit of The Libertines with a spirited chunk of power pop fuelled indie rock, and it marks a damn fine start to the single, however for me the star of the show is the flip side. I Don’t Wanna Be Like You is a darker composition, that whilst still carrying Andy J. Gallagher‘s pop sensibility, has an element of menace and discord that possesses more of a punk rock spirit than the a-side, or the previous single.
Once more Andy J. Gallagher has teamed up with former member of The Damned and The Phantom Chords, and more recently solo artist, Roman Jugg, and their partnership is one that seems to almost effortlessly produce a heady mix of punk and power pop that maintains a sparkling pop sensibility. For me Boy Racer, and especially it’s flip side I Don’t Wanna Be Like You, is a step forward from the first impressive single, Sheena’s Big Night Out, from his forthcoming album, and it’s a one that makes Ego an even more eagerly anticipated release.
Helicopter, Dolphin, Submarine can be downloaded for free here
Boy Racer is available on limited edition CD here
The ObsessivesLame-O Records
By AJ Phink
The Obsessives latest self titled album is released today, the 17th March 2017, and it follows on from their debut full length, 2015’s Heck No, Nancy. The Obsessives sophomore album will be released via Lame-O Records in the US, Dog Knights Productions in the UK and Europe and Cooking Vinyl in Australia. The Obsessives will also be undertaking an extensive North American tour this spring with Modern Baseball, Kevin Devine And His Goddamn Band and Sorority Noise.
The Obsessives self titled sophomore album starts with a mournful country influenced introduction, this is short lived as it swiftly segues into the noisier discordant indie number, You’re My God. There’s an obvious Pixies reference with the track Surfer Rosa, and it must be said that there is a fair influence from that quartet on this release, this is exemplified by songs such as Violent, that are reminiscent of their bass led unconventional style. The album continues to veer unpredictably between styles, but all the while it embraces a solid core of influences from the more idiosyncratic elements of the indie scene.
For me The Obsessives self titled album is one that treads a path through territory that has already been covered by numerous well known trailblazers, there are obvious influences from acts such as Violent Femmes and Dinosaur Jnr, as well as the aforementioned Pixies, on this release. But, and this is an important but, having said that, if your tastes lean towards the unconventional and noisier side of the indie scene, or if you have a love for modern emo influenced bands such as Modern Baseball and Sorority Noise, then The Obsessives latest album, and their forthcoming tour, really should be on your radar.
The Obsessives self titled album can be streamed and purchased here
The vinyl issue of The Obsessives sophomore album, including coloured vinyl variants, can be purchased here
Don't Get ItHidden Pony Records
By AJ Phink
Empty Lungs released the Don’t Get It EP yesterday, the 10th of March 2017, via the Canadian imprint, Hidden Pony Records. Empty Lungs are a band that captures the angst and protest spirit of punk rock, and blend it with the hooks and melody born of the indie rock and powerpop of the nineties. They were originally formed in late 2011, since that time there has been a string of self released EP’s and singles, as well as tours across Europe and America, including playing THE FEST in Florida for the last three years, that’s deservedly earned them an international fanbase.
The opening title track smacks you squarely between the eyes with a heavyweight infectious hooky riff, and follows this up with a chorus that instantly embeds itself in your frontal lobes and refuses to be evicted, Losing It. Finding It picks up exactly where the opening number left off, it boasts a perfect pounding riff that is accompanied by urgent vocals. The closing track, Fragile, makes this a perfect trio of songs, it brings the tempo down very slightly, but it retains all the urgency and vibrancy that were the hallmarks of the first two tracks. To say this is an impressive EP would be an understatement, Don’t Get It is that rare beast of a perfect release, there is not a single thing about this EP that I would change.
Don’t Get It contains equal measures of the spirit of Husker Du, Ramones, The Wildhearts and Therapy?, it has the same kind of urgency, energy and melody, but whilst you can hear the influences, Empty Lungs have very much stamped their own personality onto this release. The insistent infectious title track is the best new song I’ve heard this year, a track that’s been playing on repeat since I first heard it, you can see exactly why the Canadian based Hidden Pony Records made them their first European signing. Empty Lungs are a fine addition to Belfast’s proud musical heritage, and are a band that you need to introduce yourself to as Don’t Get It is a perfect three track EP.
Don’t Get It was released on the 10th March on vinyl and download and is available via the usual retailers
The Hidden Pony Records website can be found here
Empty Lungs Facebook page can be found here
By AJ Phink
Vukovi have been with us for a few years, they’ve been leaving a sporadic trail of EP’s and singles in their wake since 2011, but now the Glaswegian quartet have finally released their debut full length today, the 10th March 2017, via LAB Records. Vukovi‘s self titled album seems to have created the definitive snapshot of their technicolour wonder to date, earlier recordings and singles are included on here, but re-recorded and amped up to create a riotous and eclectic debut. Make no mistake, this is a band that demand your attention, both musically and visually, from the outset it’s clear that Vukovi have produced a debut that’s as strong and individual as anything I’ve heard this year.
La Di Da opens the self titled album with a hectic crash of guitars and an forceful emotive vocal delivery that blows away any cobwebs, it’s a fine blast of furious punk energy that lies somewhere between Daisy Chainsaw and Hands Off Gretel, and that’s about as high as praise gets in my book. And He Lost His Mind continues the unique crunching assault on your senses, but this isn’t just a constant punk onslaught, tracks such as Weirdo, Wander and Prey bring a more melodic sensibility to the album, but still maintain the discordant edge that this album carries, whilst the staccato assault of Target Practice brings another dimension to Vukovi‘s impressive arsenal. Amongst the dark subject matter and personal themes the album carries you’ll also find numbers such as Bouncy Castle, Animal and I’m Wired that are guaranteed dancefloor fillers, as the album approaches it finale the full on assault returns on the glorious Boy George, whilst the deceptive introduction of He Wants Me Not precedes another infectious hard edged riff kicking in. Vukovi‘s self titled debut bows out on the comparatively mellow Colour Me In, a song that grows with every single listen and will touch anyone that’s ever lost a loved one.
The twelve songs contained on Vukovi‘s self titled debut take in themes of individuality, drug abuse, depression and suicide, but this is no introspective dour album by any means, these themes sit alongside personal influences and straight up floor fillers to produce an idiosyncratic album that embraces punk, indie and all manner of alternative music to create a unique hybrid of styles, and it’s one that marks Vukovi out as a band to watch in 2017. Vukovi are a welcome noisy splash of colour that is the perfect antidote to the current turbulent political climate, the world needs bands like Vukovi, and they seem to have arrived in the nick of time, this impressive debut bring a heady dose of technicolour energy that celebrates individuality and reflects the good and bad in human nature, and delivers it all in a whirlwind of styles and influences that are irresistible.
You can order Vukovi‘s self titled debut via the band’s webstore here
Vukovi‘s upcoming UK tour dates can be found here
Laser Background are set to release Dark Nuclear Bogs, their latest full length album on April 28th via Endless Daze / Mutual Crush Records. Laser Background‘s latest release picks up where last year’s Correct left off, floating through cosmic realms of warped psych pop and kaleidoscopic indie experimentation. The record is full of sugary hooks, dynamic production and tripped out splendour, It’s a weird, wonderful and hazy look into a subconscious world.
Dark Nuclear Bogs can be pre-ordered here
You can view the video for the track Hymnals, and Laser Background‘s tour dates, below Read More…
The Senseless Things are celebrating their first show since 1995 with the release of a new single Lost Honey, which features artwork by Jamie Hewlett. Since the breakup of the Senseless Things their members have gone onto to play in various other guises and outfits, including Gorillaz, Muse and The Libertines. Having sold out their warm-up show at The New Adelphi Club in Hull on 19th March, there are a limited number of tickets still available for what will be a very special night at Shepherds Bush Empire on 25th March where the limited edition single of Lost Honey will be available
Tickets for The Shepherds Bush Empire show can be purchased here
You can stream Lost Honey here
Jump ShipLame-O Records
By AJ Phink
No Thank You‘s Kaytee Della Monica has been involved in the Philadelphia music scene since she was 16, originally a founding members of Airports, she subsequently went on to pursue a visual arts degree, something that still resonates deeply within her musical endeavours. Last year she teamed up with Nick Holdorf, from In The Pines, and The Superweaks’ Evan Bernard to form a new project, one that became No Thank You, with the aim of making collected her ideas come to life. Jump Ship is their debut full length, that follows on from the 2016 EP, A Nu Start, and was released on the 24th Februray 2017 and is available via Lame-O Records.
Eyeballs opens Jump Ship with some mellow ethereal indie, that to my ears is reminiscent of The Cocteau Twins, that serves as a prelude before Cold kicks in with a slow deliberate fuzzy riff that kicks into a more playful element before exiting on a return to the fuzz. Old News starts with more strings and ethereal vocals that slowly build to a more strident riff before fading away, it isn’t until Serenity Song that Jump Ship gets properly into gear, this track boasts a gloriously overdriven riff that’s overlaid with keyboards and the ever present ethereal vocal style of Kaytee Della Monica. At the midway point the album returns to the mellow indie stylings that opened Jump Ship, before the lead single from the album, Juicy J, kicks in with the albums finest 90 seconds, a gloriously insistent drumbeat overlaid with a frantic guitar hook that makes you want to bounce round the room, Teeter and The Unbearable Purposelessness of Being end the album in fine style, keeping up the energy levels and building Jump Ship to a fine finale.
I can’t decide whether Jump Ship is a throwback to earlier times, or an album that’s ahead of the game, there’s a fair nod to their influences, quirky keyboards playfully sit amongst some fine intense guitar riffs, that in turn sit alongside moments of tenderness and subtlety. This is certainly one of the most idiosyncratic releases I’ve heard this year, you can pick up the influence of numerous bands from the 80’s on this album, but this is no anachronistic tribute to the indie scene from days gone by. Whilst the influences are many and varied No Thank You have carved out a unique debut album, that despite my initial misconceptions has slowly won me over, and as I play it once more I have the feeling I won’t be the only person that this trio have that effect upon.
You can order the ltd edition vinyl, available on black and splatter variants, of Jump Ship here
Jump Ship is available for download and streaming here
Irish indie-punk quartet, The Winter Passing, have announced their upcoming new EP, Double Exposure, will be released on April 21st, via Big Scary Monsters in Europe and 6131 Records in the rest of the world. The band has also released a stream of the first single from the EP, Significance, and have announced a run of Spring UK tour dates to coincide with the release of the EP
Memphis, TN’s Pillow Talk are streaming a new song titled Sorry In My Mind, the track appears on their upcoming LP, This Is All Pretend, which was produced by Matt Talbot of Hum, and will be released on March 10 via Animal Style Records.
You can stream Sorry In My Mind via CLRVYNT here
You can pre-order This Is All Pretend on vinyl here
By AJ Phink
InVogue Records recording artists Courage My Love have released their eagerly anticipated sophomore album, Synesthesia, the fourteen track album was released last Friday, the 3rd February 2017 and is now available on all formats. The Ontario based trio have spent the past eight years building a loyal following through steady touring across the USA and Europe, including joining the Vans Warped Tour in 2016, and through a series of critically acclaimed EP’s and their 2015 debut, Becoming, that preceded the release of their latest full length. The album’s title refers to a term where senses overlap and the stimulation of one sense leads to an automatic, involuntary reaction in another, which is a lofty ambition for any album to achieve.
Synthesthesia is an album that is a very slick blend of alternative and indie influences that are delivered with a poppy sensibility, the precise beats are overlaid with sparkling keyboards and steady driving bass lines that are topped off with soaring vocals and anthemic choruses. Almost every track on Synthesthesia follows their precise formula, the album only takes a brief detour from it’s formulaic approach on the brief instrumental intermissions, Sight Sound and Taste Touch, that tie in with the albums title that refers to blurring of the senses, but aside from this Courage My Love have released an album that lies very much in their comfort zone, and at the poppier end of the alternative spectrum.
Courage My Love‘s debut album washes over you in waves, whilst everything about this album is impressive, it never quite grabs you and demands your attention, Synthesthesia is an album that marks a logical progression from their earlier material, but, and this an important but, with the rough edges removed, for me it was these elements that gave their earlier material more drive. Their latest release is one that should appeal to their established fans as they’ve maintained elements of their early recordings, but their transition to a poppier approach is one that I can see bringing them mainstream appeal and success, whilst this is not an album that appeals to me, it’s one that I can see taking them to a wider audience.
You can order Synesthesia via InVogue Records here
The Punk Site review of Never Knowing Best can be found here
I’m Fine‘s Facebook page is located here
Patrons have now released their new single, The Art Of Conversation, that is taken from the bands debut album, As Above, So Below, which is set for release on Friday 31st March through Rose Coloured Records, pre-orders for the album will be announced shortly. Patrons will also be playing a lone UK date in Southampton before heading over to France for a six date tour.
The Art Of Conversation is now available via digital retailers and streaming platforms.
The video for The Art Of Conversation, and the band’s tour dates, can be viewed below Read More…
Never Knowing BestWiretap Records
By AJ Phink
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.
By AJ Phink
As with almost every split EP and album I’ve encountered this is a story of two very distinct halves, the first half dozen tracks feature the debut solo release by Philadelphia’s Jake Clarke, who is best known for the two albums that were recorded with Superheaven, whilst the flip side features fellow Pennsylvannians Spur, who bring their impressive shoegaze influenced dream punk sound to the split. This album will be released via the Disposition Collective on the 3rd February 2017, the vinyl edition, that will be issued on black and swirl variants, is now available for pre-order, and the digital version of the album will be available from the release date.
Jake Clarke‘s first solo effort continues where Superheaven left off, Get It Together kicks off Jake Clarke‘s half of the split, this track is the closest to his work with his former outfit as it’s a subdued grunge influenced number, after this things a mellower turn, and in the case of Part 2, a spacier more experimental approach is evident. This is Jake Clarke‘s first solo release and he has delivered a stripped down version of Superheaven‘s trademark sound, this is a much more sensitive recording than his fans will be used to, but it’s one that carries the same sensibilities as his former outfit.
Spur bring their indie influenced dream punk and they bring this release to life, there’s a clear influence from a broad range of styles, including shoegaze, emo, post hardcore and the indie scene of the late eighties on their side of the split, and it’s one certainly carries more energy than the subdued half dozen songs from their counterpart on this split. The stand out track on the album comes in the form of the much darker and heavier number, Freeze, along with this you get three breezy energetic indie influenced numbers and they close their side with the dark and dramatic piano led number, Moon.
With any split release you are going to find yourself falling for one half of the EP, for me Spur‘s contribution was one that had more of an appeal, but that’s not to dismiss Jake Clarke‘s contribution, as the two artists featured on this album do compliment each other nicely. Jake Clarke‘s debut solo release gives you an indication of the direction he’ll be headed in when his debut full length is released, and Superheaven fans will not be disappointed by the road he’s headed down. Spur have marked themselves as a band I’m going to be watching closely, the variation across their five tracks indicates they are no one trick indie pony, the contrast between the light energetic upbeat compositions and their darker fuzzier alter ego has certainly piqued my interest.
The Jake Clarke / Spur Split Album is available for pre-order here
In a gritty industrial area of Van Nuys, California, behind a powder-coating plant, lie a dozen neatly stacked repurposed shipping containers. One of these is home to The Knitts, a band with a surprisingly long history and a short fuse, ready to explode onto the music scene with the release of their upcoming debut full-length album Retreat. The Knitts are not on the grid, don’t play to click tracks, don’t know how to work a sampler or program a drum machine, they don’t growl or scream, they sing, they’re not choreographed, they move. They don’t pose, they just smile and laugh. Retreat will be available on digital and streaming formats March 3rd via Knitting Factory Records.
You can stream the track Sonny from their debut album courtesy of Glide Magazine here
By AJ Phink
Atom Driver have released their debut EP, Slackjaw, via the superbly named Powerbunny 4×4 Records, they are a post-hardcore trio hailing from central New Jersey that are something of a local supergroup. The members of Atom Driver are culled from the wreckage of local bands such as Buzzkill, Boss Jim Gettys and Good Clean Fun. Each member has a distinguished pedigree, associated with many different successful local indie rock, punk, and hardcore outfits. Together, this trio has bundled their deep roots and experience in making music to present a sound both new and simultaneously reminiscent of seminal bands from Barkmarket and Bastro to Fugazi and Drive Like Jehu.
Hate Me Now kicks off the Slackjaw EP in fine urgent style, the refrain of “you may hate me now but wait until I nail you to ground” is a driven cathartic battle cry, the EP’s title track manages to carry an even more frenetic pace and delivers another fist pumping chorus. At the mid way point of the Slackjaw EP Knives Out brings the pace down a tad, but it carries such a punishing riff it keeps the intensity and urgency of the EP flowing nicely before Cowboy takes us into an adrenaline charged technical delivery, one that to my ears is reminiscent of Primus on amphetamines, that breaks down into a pummelling chorus. Finally Best Defense closes the impressive debut, and carries on from where the previous quartet of tracks left off, combining all the elements from their previous outfits and influences into a glorious defiant hardcore inspired slice of alt rock.
This is an EP that blends their influences together and delivers them with a hardcore intensity, to say Slackjaw is an impressive debut is an understatement, the opening two tracks, Hate Me Now and Slackjaw, are as good as anything I’ve heard so far this year, and if this five track EP is an initial statement of intent then their debut full length is going to be something to look forward to. Based on this EP Atom Driver are another band to watch closely in 2017, this is a collection of five flawless tracks that hit the spot every time, anyone who has any love of alternative music, from alt rock to hardcore, should investigate the Slackjaw EP as this is a near perfect contemporary hybrid that’s informed by their collective influences and past experiences.
I Heart Sharks will be releasing their latest single, Lost Forever, on the 3rd February 2017. Last year saw I Heart Sharks release the Hey Kid EP in January, accompanied by a sold-out spring tour, and in November they released their third full LP, Hideaway, via AdP Records. The new single is taken from their latest album, Hideaway is a sun-drenched, synth-soaked collection of guitar tracks, somewhere between surf-pop and gritty electronica, between California and Berlin, between nostalgia and daydreams.
I Heart Sharks website, where you can order the Hideaway LP, can be located here
The video for Lost Forever, and their upcoming tour dates, can be viewed below Read More…
On Inauguration Day, indie/alt country band Pinegrove released a live EP, titled Elsewhere via Bandcamp, with all sales to be donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Montclair, NJ band are currently riding high on the success of their latest LP, Cardinal, which is out now on Run For Cover Records.
Pinegrove have detailed how they plan to use their music to resist Trump’s agenda over the next four years in an interview with mic.com here
Elsewhere can be streamed and purchased 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
Iris JupiterOpen Door Records
By AJ Phink
Reviewing an album is always going to be a subjective exercise, but sometimes an album can be exactly what you need to hear and can reflect your mood, and there are few things better than finding a band that unexpectedly manages to match your state of mind. With that in mind this Southern Californian trio’s self titled debut landed in my inbox at exactly the right moment, it’s a downbeat, yet energetic, fuzzed out soundscape that is a hybrid of punk, hardcore, post punk and shoegaze that brings something unique and very welcome to 2017. Iris Jupiter‘s seven track offering follows on from 2016’s Zero Cool EP, that was released on Pacific Nature Records, it represents a logical progression from their initial lo-fi offering, everything sounds tighter and more refined, but crucially without losing the spirit of their debut release.
The opening track, Carly Beth, opens with a driven bass line that breaks down into a chorus that reflects pain and anguish, all the while this is accompanied by a twisted fuzzed out guitar line that encompasses punk and shoegaze, along with pulses of intense hardcore. Life Pile lets the bass line take the lead, with more than a hint that there’s a debt owed to Peter Hook‘s low slung influential bass style, before it explodes into heartfelt rage, a style that carries over into Mizar. Eat The Sap takes things into a darker place with a brief ode to isolation before we hit the glorious Ween (V4008), this track carries a hypnotic bass line and a piledriving guitar riff that abruptly segues into Science Is A Liar (Sometimes), this brings the pace of the album down with a melodic riff that builds to a climax with it’s anguished refrain of “feel the weight that’s pressing me down”. Solar Denial wraps things up with the heaviest riff on this impressive debut album, and it brings what has been an all too brief septet of slabs of heady dark fuzz to a close with a satisfying squall of feedback.
There’s a hefty influence from the likes of Joy Division, Smashing Punpkins and Placebo in their sound, but this is married to elements from punk, indie, shoegaze and emo that stops Iris Jupiter from being derivative of the bands that came before them. This impressive self titled album is delivered with a dark disturbed feel, and a genuine yearning rage and pain in the vocal delivery, that delivers something that is very much a product of 2017. Iris Jupiter have delivered the perfect soundtrack to those moments of doubt and introspection, but crucially I found that rather than encouraging you to wallow in dark places Iris Jupiter lift your mood. Their restrained rage is matched against an ominous distorted soundtrack, the end result is that this is a debut full length that is something to be treasured.
Iris Jupiter‘s self titled EP was released on the 13th January 2017 and can be ordered here
Iris Jupiter‘s web presence can be found here
Open Door Records will be releasing the self titled debut album from Southern California’s Iris Jupiter, the debut full length delivers a collision of down tuned power pop riffs and noisy shoegaze, that is shored up by steady beating pulses of hardcore. Iris Jupiter will be playing an album release show at VLHA, Pomona, CA on the 14th January with I’m Glad It’s You and The Total Bettys.
Iris Jupiter‘s website can be found here