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Erik & The Worldly Savages

Erik & The Worldly Savages

Culture vs. Destiny

Self Released
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

I ran across Erik & The Worldly Savages while in the midst of drafting a review for Gogol Bordello’s disappointing Seekers & Finders album.  The passion and energy that Gogol Bordello seemed so reluctant to produce became an alluring element in my introduction to the Serbian folk-punk act.  Premised on a promising rotation of accordion, violin and traditionally influenced Eastern European folk sounds, the energetic sexet feels like a European-based hybrid of The Dreadnoughts meets Butcher Knives.  

With an early EP, previous LP, and surprisingly strong live album, the band has quietly amassed a formidable discography on the lead up to their formal sophomore full length, Culture vs. Destiny.  As the title implies, Erik & The Worldly Savages have a message, specifically one that explores the inroads of social inequalities and the strength of those willing to resist.  Shortly before Culture vs. Destiny’s release the band expressed their frustration with being shut out from touring in the UK on the basis of nationality in the song “21st Century Racism.”  While the song didn’t make it on the album, the message captures the social agenda that Erik & The Worldly Savages fight for on the disc.

For a lively band with rather serious philosophical underpinnings, opener “Hope” ensures that Culture vs. Destiny’s message doesn’t get bogged down with a burden’s weight.  Punctuated by ample horn blasts and a message of resilience, the song is centred around its optimistic title.  Wide eyed frontman Erik Mut asserts that “life is rigged to bleed you dry, no matter how much you may try to hope / look the darkness in the eye, to the day we die, we hope,” to which the song’s final lead out repeats, “but I still got hope.”  The message soon becomes a recurring theme.  In the neighbouring song, “The Asylum,” the band speaks to the mind-numbing sameness demanded by mainstream society, and the clinical efforts to sedate and reform personality “flaws.”  Anthemic vocal accompaniment makes the song easy to repeat in agreeance, as later echoed in the easily singable album closer, “Take Me Away.”  The steady accordion chatter of songs like “Lost & Confused” is heavily aligned with the gypsy-punk mashups of Gogol Bordello, but venture further into exotic instrumentals in ensuring their own distinctive footprint.  Likewise, “Change Yourself” infuses a heavy dose of traditional Eastern European folk instrumentals – the type you might expect from an old time Serbian folk festival.  The result an exciting album that succeeds by entwining heritage, culture and geography like only punk rock can.

Overall, Erik & The Worldly Savages present a passionate case for counterculture in a world of xenophobia and increasingly closed borders.  Culture vs. Destiny embraces an identity and provides perspective from outsider eyes, affording a voice to the all too often silenced cultural “other.”  An obvious synergy runs through Culture vs. Destiny’s instrumental fusion, uniting “foreign” influences under a punk rock banner.  Erik & The Worldly Savages may not be able to enter the UK in their entirety, but there’s little doubt that Culture vs. Destiny’s message will permeate borders and invigorate citizens globally.

The Decayed EP

The Decayed

The Decayed EP

Self Released
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

The five members that make up the Chicago hardcore outfit The Decayed have been performing in punk bands throughout Chicago and Seattle for over two decades in bands such as Failed Resistance, Vile Display of Humanity, and Last False Hope. The Decayed formed earlier this year with the intent of bringing back a vintage hardcore punk sound, while making it their own by combining influences of metal and hardcore that brings an intense style that’s made possible by the The Decayed‘s diverse backgrounds and collective experience.

From the opening track, Beaten And Battered, it’s obvious that The Decayed are delivering a blast of intense crossover hardcore, this is not an EP where there are subtleties just a refreshingly relentless blast of old school hardcore. Amongst the blistering punk assault there a few touches from the extreme end of metal that surface in breakdowns and the guitar work, but this is delivered with the same intensity and it’s blended into the furious delivery. The six tracks that make up The Decayed EP make up a pulverising eighteen minutes where there is no escape from the relentless assault until the final chords of Better Way fade out.

The Decayed EP is a release that will appeal to fans of the intense side of punk, from The Exploited to Pears, and if you are a fan of hardcore punk then this will be an EP that won’t disappoint on any level, The Decayed EP is six tracks that, as the album cover indicates, is designed to rip your face off. Personally I found that The Decayed EP becomes somewhat one dimensional after a few tracks, but this is brutal hardcore and it’s delivered in such an authentic and intense manner that you can’t help but get a buzz from the fury and adrenaline that surges through this EP.

The Decayed EP can be downloaded and streamed here and their Facebook page is here

Surface Report Stand By

Surface Report

Stand By...

Self Released
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Californian hardcore quartet Surface Report was formed from an impressive collection of past and present members of Californian acts such as Castoff, Fallen Monuments and Strike The Design, and now Surface Report have self released their debut album, Stand By…. This is the latest release that seems to indicate that there is something of a renaissance occurring in the North American hardcore scene, with new band’s on each corner of the continent, including New York’s Scarboro, Texas’s Despero and Canada’s Our Darkest Days to name but a few, all releasing impressive albums in the last twelve months.

One At A Time hits you between the eyes with a furious hit of melodic hardcore, and before you’ve had chance to recover Quid Pro Quo kicks in with a more of a crossover feel. Whilst there’s no respite on Stand By… this is not an album where the short sharp shocks blur into each other as each track brings a different element into the mix. Songs such as the superb Insufficiency are classic melodic hardcore, but these are balanced against the more straight up hardcore elements and slight metal influences, which all combine to deliver an impressive debut album from a band who are a breath of fresh air in the Californian punk scene.

It’s no surprise that Stand By… is on the short side, it clocks in just over twenty minutes, and it’s over before you know it, but unlike many hardcore albums there’s something about Surface Report that had me queuing it back up for another spin. For me Surface Report have the feel of early Suicidal Tendencies mixed with classic Propaghandi, but that’s not to say this is a recreation of either of those outfits, it jut has the same feel of intensity and controlled aggression that not many manage to pull off, and on the basis of Stand By… you can’t help but feel that Surface Report have a bright future ahead of them.

Stand By… can be streamed and downloaded via Bandcamp here and their Facebook page is here

Nicotine Pretty DIY

Nicotine Pretty

The DIY Singles

Self Released
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Nicotine Pretty are a punk laden power pop band from South Wales, their debut single, Who’s Gonna Save My Soul?, was released digitally in April 2017 via Glunk Records to critical acclaim, this was swiftly followed up just a few months later by their equally impressive self titled sophomore single, and now Nicotine Pretty have given their first two digital only singles a limited edition physical release with The DIY Singles EP, with every single copy having an individually handmade and numbered sleeve by vocalist and guitarist Ginge Knievil.

The DIY Singles EP kicks things off with the self titled track, Nicotine Pretty, a sleazy blast of  Johnny Thunders inspired power pop that makes as fine a mission statement for a band as you could wish for, but for me their debut single, Who’s Gonna Save My Soul?, is the highlight of the EP, a hyperactive fist pumping number that embodies punk rock, power pop and the spirit of rock ‘ roll perfectly. The DIY Singles EP marks the first chapter in Nicotine Pretty‘s history, and on the basis of their first two singles I can’t wait to hear what these Welsh rockers have in store for us in the future

Sadly by the time I had even started to write this review the strictly limited edition release of The DIY Singles EP had already sold out, but it’s not all bad news as both of the singles that make up The DIY Singles EP are still available via Nicotine Pretty‘s Bandcamp, and as there is also a three CD EP series in the works, with the first EP planned for later this year and a compilation vinyl release to follow, then the future looks bright for this impressive Welsh rock ‘n roll powerhouse.

Nicotine Pretty‘s Bandcamp can be found here and their Facebook page is here

Counterfit Culture Deathwish

Counterfeit Culture

Deathwish

Self Released
By

Rating: 3/5

 
 

 

 

The members of New Jersey melodic metalcore outfit, Counterfeit Culture, initially met in 2015 while still in high school, they quickly generated a local buzz and over the last few years they have carried on building on this and they are now set to unleash their debut release, the Deathwish EP. The Deathwish EP explores themes around domestic violence and drug abuse, but it’s a release that carries a positive message of hope rather than dwelling on the negative aspects of humanity.

The opening duo of tracks, Apothecary and Second Soul, are as bombastic and heavy hitting as any metalcore release I’ve heard this year, all the technical elements, breakdowns and mix of barked and melodic vocals are present making it an effective is unsurprising start to the EP. It isn’t until you get to the final track, X, that Counterfeit Culture start to express themselves and move away from the expected conventions of metalcore, the piledriving drums and heavyweight riffs are still present but the arrangement and feel of the song marks this down as the most progressive element of the EP.

The Deathwish EP carries some heavyweight credentials having being produced by Ricky Armellino, of This Or The Apocalypse, that adds to the feel that Counterfeit Culture are a band with a bright future ahead of them. Whilst the EP carries all the standard trappings of metalcore, the final track on the Deathwish EP, X, hints at a more original and creative element within the band that will hopefully be developed and will keep them separate from the herd of generic metalcore bands..

The Deathwish EP is due for release on August 1st and can be pre-ordered here

First Wave TRNR

First Wave

Toxic Rock 'N' Roll

Self Released
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Leicester based DIY punk band First Wave have self released their long awaited fourth full length, Toxic Rock ‘N’ Roll, the album follows on from First Wave‘s impressive 2015 release, All Bleed Red, sadly I’m not familiar with the two albums that preceded their latest release, something that I intend to rectify. Toxic Rock ‘N’ Roll continues their commitment to creating incendiary grass roots punk rock that is influenced by the bands that formed the first wave of the UK punk explosion. Toxic Rock ‘N’ Roll was released on the 8th July and the album is now available to order directly from the band’s website.

From the opening track, Ballad Of Billy Red, whose intro offers the only mellow moment on the album, you know that you’re in for some old school punk rock, As with the many of the original punk bands Toxic Rock ‘N’ Roll reflects the world around them, Bataclan Survivors, Gunpoint USA and Refugee all reflect recent events and the political and social upheaval that is currently engulfing the world. The lead single Berlin is an obvious highlight and the album’s title track is a call to arms for the disaffected, whilst Three Chords And The Truth, Eye For An Eye and Last Days Of The Empire embody everything that First Wave stand for. Toxic Rock ‘N’ Roll closes with Stooge, a track that gives a knowing wink to the bands that informed their sound with it’s fist pumping refrain of ‘hey ho let’s go 123’ and acknowledges the past without recycling it.

First Wave are authentic old school UK punk rock, the likes of The Clash, Stiff Little Fingers, The Damned, The Adverts and The Ruts can clearly be heard echoing in the compositions, but don’t interpret that as meaning that First Wave are an anachronistic throwback, nothing could be further from the truth. First Wave take their cues from the original punk bands but bring that style and attitude into the modern era, if you want to encounter the original heart and soul of punk in 2017 then you need to catch First Wave as there are very few bands that are producing this style of authentic grass roots punk rock.

Toxic Rock ‘N’ Roll can be ordered directly from First Wave here

Saint Apache WM

Saint Apache

Wolf Machine

Self Released
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Saint Apache are a high octane alt rock quartet that hail from the coastal town of Eastbourne, UK. Their sound is informed by an array of influences, ranging from the venom of Every Time I Die, to the drive of Buckcherry, and the political potency of Rage Against The Machine, that is all served up with a healthy dose of punk abrasiveness and a rock sensibility to creature a turbo charged hybrid. The south-coasters churn out compelling full tilt guitar riffs, distorted driving basslines, hard-hitting drums, and an aggressive gritty edge, served up with a super charged vocal delivery.

Saint Apache are the kind of hard hitting alt rock band that you rarely encounter anymore, from the opening You’re Not A Slave it’s clear that this is a dirty distorted and angry version of alt rock that carries the spirit and defiance of punk, but it’s all delivered in a heavier and hard hitting style that has rock’s self assured swagger in spades. Every single cut on the four track Wolf Machine EP is delivered at full tilt with a hard aggressive approach and energy, this is grass roots alt rock that is a world away from the corporate side of a genre that has been increasingly heading to radio friendly territory. 

Whilst Saint Apache are not radio friendly the EP does have clean versions of the tracks You’re Not A Slave and Wolf Machine included, these make minor edits to the more explicit elements of the songs but you can’t mask their fury and I can’t really blame them for wanting to stand a chance of being heard by a wider audience. Wolf Machine is an EP of alt rock delivered exactly as it oughta be, there are no introspective moments, this is a full throttle adrenaline charged assault that contains all the fury and defiance of Rage Against The Machine in their prime.

Saint Apache‘s Facebook page can be found here

Vault 51 Kid

Vault 51

Kid

Self Released
By

Rating: 3/5

 
 

 

 
Atlanta’s alternative rock quintet, Vault 51, were previously signed to Roadrunner Records but now the group has taken matters into their own hands with the release of their brand new six track EP, Kid, that is due to be released today, July 20th 2017. Over the years the band have faced many obstacles that would have forced many to disband and move on, instead Vault 51 chose to persevere and press on with what they set out to accomplish, with the Kid EP being the first step in achieving their goals.
 
Thirty Six builds up your expectations with a muted introduction that builds into some crunching atmospheric melodic alt rock, the massive hooks you’d expect are juxtaposed against a melodic undertone, and this marks an impressive beginning to the Kid EP. Sadly from this point Vault 51 slip into more familiar alt rock territory with We Don’t Care, Magnolia and Wildfire, until we get to Mourning View, a dark brooding number that stops the Kid EP becoming a repetitive and predictable exercise, and finally things are brought to a close with an anthemic radio friendly rocker in the shape of Sincerely Me.
 
The majority of the Kid EP doesn’t bring anything new to the table, for me it’s when they deviate from the alt rock standards that things become more interesting, the songs that offer a more atmospheric feel or play different styles off against each other are where Vault 51‘s strengths lie, and they seem to be under utilised on this EP. Vault 51 are a band who have ridden with the punches the music industry have dealt them, and they have come back all the stronger for it, but to truly deal a knockout punch they need to ensure they avoid being another predictable heavyweight that ends up claiming that they could have been a contender.
 
The Kid EP can be ordered via all major digital retailers including Spotify and Apple Music
 
Vault 51‘s website can be found here 
 
VVomen MO

VVomen

Moving On

Self Released
By

Rating: 2.5/5

 
 

 

 

Sacramento based expressive quartet VVomen will self release their debut EP, Moving On, in a few days time on July 21st. The six songs contained on the EP are a post hardcore influenced blast of discordant punk rock, but leave any expectations that description generated at the door as this not in any way, shape or form like any post hardcore or punk release I’ve been sent this year. Moving On is an eclectic mix of styles that is built on a identifiable foundation, but after this VVomen have built something that is strange and unique, and not exactly stable.

Catching Flies is a raw uncompromising discordant blast of post hardcore that is delivered with a hardcore attitude, which is followed by Cadence And Carousel that exemplifies the mix of contrasting styles and only goes onto cement the impression that VVomen are heading out into unexplored territory. The narrative style of Blueprint, that is underpinned by chiming guitar riffs, brings another element to the EP, Bad Grammar introduces elements of gruff punk before the math rock fuelled Lessons In Humility adds to the confusion until finally Crutch And A Stoma, which is about as close as you get to a coherent straight up punk track, brings things to a close.

This is post hardcore, but not as we know it, it carries the intense and raw delivery from the extreme end of punk rock, but it’s carried on a backbone of stripped down post hardcore that makes VVomen a band that’s impossible to pin down. At times Moving On is a challenging listen, and others it’s downright difficult, the mix of discordant styles keeps you guessing and VVomen never settle into a rut, comfortable or otherwise. An EP of this nature is never going to be a crowd pleaser, but what Moving On is is a unique amalgamation of punk styles, and that’s not something I get to say very often.

Moving On can be pre-ordered here

Reckless Intentions Lights

Reckless Intentions

Lights

Self Released
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

I’m starting to get the impression that there isn’t anyone left in Brighton that isn’t in a band, over the last few year I’ve noticed a dramatic increase in the number of bands from that southern coastal town, and now we can add Reckless Intentions to their number. The band have spent the time since their formation in 2016 developing their material and building up a local fanbase, now they have self released their debut five track EP, Lights, and are looking to spread their wings beyond the confines of the thriving scene that exists in their home town.

Ghost Town kick starts the Lights EP with a hit of high energy pop punk that carries touches of old school punk rock, an important element that marks them out from the pop punk herd, after this we’re headed into more familiar pop punk territory with Stitches, but it’s still delivered with their own approach and stops them being just another cookie cutter band that blends pop with punk. The EP’s title track takes you into a darker place with a distinct post punk vibe whilst Outcast carries more of a feel of the more ragged edge of indie rock, it has the infectious quality that bands such as The Wannadies have perfected, finally the Lights EP finally bows out with the inevitable soulful reflective number that seems to be almost compulsory for any pop punk band.

Reckless Intentions are a band that owe as much to the likes of The Clash as it does to New Found Glory and Green Day, each track on the Lights EP reflects a different facet of their influences, yes this is at the lighter end of the punk spectrum, but for me that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are some predictable elements to this release, in particular the closing ballad that slowly builds to a crescendo, but Reckless Intentions largely avoid the pop punk by numbers cliché’s and incorporate different strands into the EP, the end result is a diverse and enjoyable EP that indicates that Reckless Intentions have a bright future ahead of them.

Lights is now available via iTunes here

Audible Joes Irrational Anthems

Audible Joes

Irrational Anthems

Self Released
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Audible Joes hail from Cork in the Republic of Ireland in 2010, they released their debut album, Medicine For Modern Living, in 2015 and they will be self releasing their sophomore album, Irrational Anthems, tomorrow, the 14th July 2017. If you’re expecting the more familiar tones of what has become known as Celtic punk rock then you’re in for a shock, this is a million miles away from Dropkick Murphys or The Mahones, Audible Joes serve up bare knuckle punk rock that has more in common with the likes of Bad Religion, The Flatliners, Anti-Flag and Rancid than it does with the punk bands traditionally associated with the Emerald Isle.

Irrational Anthems opens up with all guns blazing on the brutal title track and the album does not relent until the final track, Until I Die, which is the only moment of respite from the full tilt assault. Irrational Anthems has that raw passion that marks out great punk albums, every track hits the mark, but there are moments that border on perfection, tracks like Born Again Cynic, Speaker Submission and Majority Rule demonstrate just how far Audible Joes have come in the two years since their debut album was released. The album is reminiscent of the aforementioned bands that have carved their names in the US punk and melodic hardcore scenes, but Audible Joes have added their own unique passion and grit to make this an album to treasure, and it marks them out as a band who deserve, and need, to be heard by a wider audience.

Where Medicine For Modern Living felt like a blunt object, Irrational Anthems feels like those oblique edges have been sharpened to switchblade precision, the whole album feels more focused but crucially they have achieved this without losing any of the raw aggression that was present of their debut album. For those who like their punk rock to not pull it’s punches then Irrational Anthems is an album you need to add to your collection or playlist. This is the sound of punk protest delivered with an urgent and defiant spirit that makes this easily their best release to date, and it’s one that I’m confident will be amongst my favourite releases from 2017.

Irrational Anthems will be released on July 14th and will be available via all major digital retailers and streaming services.

Medicine For Modern Living is available as a name your price download here

First Wave Release ‘Toxic Rock N Roll’ Album

First Wave TRNRLeicester based DIY punk band First Wave self released their long awaited sophomore album, Toxic Rock ‘n’ Roll, on the 8th July and the album is now available to order directly from the band’s website. Toxic Rock ‘N’ Roll follows on from First Wave‘s impressive debut album, All Bleed Red, and continues their commitment to creating incendiary punk rock that is influenced by the bands that formed the first wave of the UK punk explosion.

Toxic Rock ‘N’ Roll can be ordered directly from First Wave here

You can view the video for the lead single from the album, Berlin, below Read More…

Eat Dirt I

Eat Dirt

Eat Dirt I

Self Released
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Eat Dirt formed less than twelve months ago in the wake of the constantly spiralling storm of political idiocy and rising tensions in the UK, and as a result Eat Dirt are understandably angry. The members of Eat Dirt are have all reportedly served time in well established UK acts in the past, although they are remaining tight lipped as to who those were with even the members names being kept under wraps, seemingly preferring instead to have the focus on Eat Dirt rather than their past endeavours, and who could fault them for that.

Eat Dirt have channelled their frustrations with real life into the bands debut EP, Eat Dirt – I, this is a raging and visceral blast of aggressive punk rock that is fuelled by political and social injustice, and for me this is exactly how things should be with a band of this nature. The brief opening track, that shares the band’s moniker, is a razor sharp blast of intense hardcore that’s followed by the raw and pissed off Pigs, there’s a return old school rousing hardcore with 48 before the EP’s finest moment, Dead, brings things to a satisfying close. This is an EP of intense hardcore punk rock that should be in your collection, when you consider that their debut EP is free to download you have no reason not to introduce yourself to Eat Dirt.

Their anger is unrelenting throughout the EP it’s clear that this is a band that has a lot to say, musically Eat Dirt draw their influences from the likes of The Bronx, Every Time I Die, Gallows and Comeback Kid, but with their own character added that results in a fast and unrelenting punk rock soundtrack of their own. Eat Dirt have stated that they have no interest in “making it” in the music industry, they don’t care for industry politics and refuse to pander to or compromise for anyone, they simply want to play punk rock, have fun and release that pent up aggression that the state of politics in the UK is generating.

Eat Dirt – I can be downloaded for free here

Reckless Intentions Reveal ‘Ghost Town’ Video

Reckless Intentions LightsUK newcomers Reckless Intentions are set to drop their engaging debut EP, Lights, via all digital outlets on Friday 14th July, ahead of the release of their debut EP the emreging pop punkers have now released the new video for the track Ghost Town, a song that amalgamates contagious vocal melodies, memorable hooks and probing power chord rhythms, that indicates that Reckless Intentions have all of the raw fundamentals to be one of the key players within the UK scene.

Reckless Intentions website can be found here

The video for Ghost Town can be viewed below Read More…

A Promise To Forget To Release Debut Album ‘Dying To Live’

A Promise To Forget DTLA Promise To Forget have announced that their debut album, Dying To Live, is now set to be self released on August 11th 2017 on CD and digital download. From start to finish Dying To Live is an album that is packed full of soaring atmospheric choruses from frontman Tim Castle, whose unique and powerful voice is a real jewel in the crown for A Promise To Forget. Lyrically Dying To Live is very personal release that relates to the battles that many young people have to fight today to keep pushing on through life.

You can view the video for the lead single, Sylvia, below Read More…

VVomen Release ‘Cadence And Carousel’ Video

VVomen MOPoetic post hardcore band VVomen have released their debut music video for the new single, Cadence and Carousel, that is taken from the Sacramento quartet’s EP, Moving On, which will be released independently on July 21st. Cadence and Carousel is a lumbering punk song about a couple’s first dance at their wedding, visually, the band conceptualized an alternate Stranger Things-esque world and the need to rescue someone that is trapped there, they also incorporated giant handmade papier mache heads and a grim reaper antagonist.

Moving On can pre-ordered via Bandcamp here

You can view the video for Cadence And Carousel below Read More…

The Madding Crowd Release Short Film

madding-crowd-78th-bridgeThe Madding Crowd have released a short film titled The 78th: Near The Dirt Fields Where The Boys Started Fires, after a line from the poem that The 78th Bridge On The Rochdale Canal EP took it’s title from, the film is a companion documentary that explores the themes of the EP. The Madding Crowd have also announced they will be playing a live session on their Facebook page on the 27th June from 8pm until whenever the band feel like finishing. 

The 78th Bridge on the Rochdale Canal can be ordered here (physical) and here (digital) 

The 78th: Near The Dirt Fields Where The Boys Started Fires can be viewed below Read More…

The Madding Crowd Announce Film Release For 22nd June

madding-crowd-78th-bridgeThe Madding Crowd will be releasing a short film tomorrow, the 22nd June 2017, at 1pm, the film is titled The 78th: Near the Dirt Fields Where The Boys Started Fires, after a line from the poem that The 78th Bridge On The Rochdale Canal EP took it’s title from, the film is a companion documentary that explores the themes of the EP. The Madding Crowd have also announced they will be playing a live session on their Facebook page on the 27th June from 8pm until whenever the band feel like finishing.
 
The 78th Bridge on the Rochdale Canal can be ordered here (physical) and here (digital)
 
The Madding Crowds Facebook page is here
 
Moscow QOS

Moscow

Queen Of Sin

Self Released
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Elizaveta Tursunova struck out on her own from her native Russia at the age of sixteen taking in Cambridge, London, Paris and New York before settling in Los Angeles, where she has seemed to find her spiritual home, with it’s hedonistic history that is steeped in rock ‘n roll folklore. Now recording under the nom de guerre of Moscow she has released her debut EP, Queen Of Sin, that comes across as a modern slice of alt rock that seems to embrace the past of Los Angeles, whilst simultaneously bringing her own worldview into the mix.

Queen Of Sin kicks straight in with the title track that embraces alt rock, but with a more melodic quality to the vocals than I’ve been used to hearing, although it must be said that Moscow can also unleash a hellbound scream when required. The distorted fuzzed out lead guitar dominates the tracks along with the powerhouse drums and soaring vocals, Nowhere To Hide and Black Widow continue in the driving hard hitting vein of the title track before Watch Me Burn brings the tempo down, after all you can’t really have an alt rock EP without an anthemic slow burner, and finally Heartbeat brings us to a pummelling finale.

The result is a debut EP that, along with the likes of Mohawk Radio and Freeze The Atlantic, is bringing something fresh to what was becoming an increasingly stagnant alt rock scene. Queen Of Sin embraces the hedonistic accessibility of the rock scene in it’s eighties prime and the harder distorted edge of alt rock to produce an EP that has the sound of a singer in the early stages of her ascendancy. The Queen Of Sin could be a prophetic title for this EP as on the basis of this impressive debut I have the feeling we’ll be hearing a lot more from Moscow.

You can order the Queen Of Sin EP via iTunes here

Paul Johnson and The About Last Nights - Give Up The Ghost

Paul Johnson And The About Last Nights

Give Up The Ghost

Self Released
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Mississippi’s Paul Johnson And The About Last Nights have brought us an EP of full blooded power pop, with a distinct emphasis on power, they deliver high energy rock that channels everything from Cheap Trick to the Foo Fighters and The Gaslight Anthem, along with a few touches from the more melodic side of punk rock. Give Up The Ghost was self released last month and is the debut release from Paul Johnson And The About Last Nights, and if you like your power pop then this is a debut EP that really should be on your shopping list.

The EP opens with Underachiever, and the comparison to power pop greats of the past is immediately obvious, with massive guitar hooks that lodge themselves in your mind. Burn It Down, the lead single from the EP, channels a more blue collar quality with a revved up heartland rock feel, and the EP steps things up another level with American Story (Adrenaline), a track that carries the spirit of the original bands that pioneered power pop back in the mists of time. Hollywood hits a rockier note that has the fist pumping beat that all good rock ‘n roll carries and Give Up The Ghost closes, at least on the digital versions, with a raw cover of John Waite‘s Missing You that is shorn of the eighties overproduction of the original.

Give Up The Ghost is a solid five track EP that carries the spirit of power pop and rock, which has more than a nod to their eighties influences but it does this without feeling like an exercise in nostalgia, athough the John Waite cover does close things with waft of that hedonistic decade. In particular Burn It Down and American Story (Adrenaline) stand out on this EP, but whilst those are my two favourite moments from this debut EP there isn’t a bad track on this release. On the basis of Give Up The Ghost you get the feeling that Paul Johnson And The About Last Nights are only just starting to build their momentum.

Give Up The Ghost is available via all the main digital retailers

Paul Johnson And The About Last Nights website can be found here

Medicine Theory Rain Follows ThePlough

(the) Medicine Theory

Rain Follows The Plow

Self Released
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

(the) Medicine Theory have now been with us for the last decade and the duo have now self released their latest EP, Rain Follows The Plow, today, the 16th June 2017, the latest release is the band’s fifth studio recording, and it follows on from their last release, 2014’s Like An Old Man EP. Rain Follows The Plow has taken a distinctly different turn to their last release, it feels more focused and coherent, along with this newfound focus there seems to be something of the night inherent in their new material, their songs have always tended towards darker subject matter but this latest EP seems to be even more foreboding than before.

The Rain Follows The Plow EP contains the raw stripped down combination of post-punk and post rock that (the) Medicine Theory have been developing for the last ten years, the ominous opener, Choke, sets the tone for the EP with claustrophobic and sinister undertones, a feeling that characterises the whole of the Rain Follows The Plow EP. The sparse and stripped down Promise is if anything an even darker number, and it continues with (the) Medicine Theory continuing to take you ever further into their dark narrative, one step at a time. With this portentous and sinister release (the) Medicine Theory have unleashed what for me is easily their finest material to date

With this release (the) Medicine Theory have produced an EP that resembles the soundtrack to the mental anguish of someone descending into their own personal darkness, but don’t take that as a negative, as this is an accomplished EP that manages to capture the darker side of post punk and combines it with a post rock sensibility to create something that is truly compelling and disturbing. Rain Follows The Plow carries more than a hint of menace in the dark narrative style that accompanies the stripped down soundtrack, we all need something to satisfy the dark corner of psyche that whispers to us in the night, and Rain Follows The Plow is the perfect accompaniment to those moments.

The Rain Follows The Plow EP can be ordered and streamed via Bandcamp here

Hollow HINWTHI

Hollows

Home Is Not Where The Heart Is

Self Released
By

Rating: 3/5

 
 

 

 

Hollows released their latest full length, Home Isn’t Where The Heart Is, on June 9th, the band, that were formerly known as Hollow Heart, are already well established in metalcore circles, so it’ll come as no surprise that there are the usual brutal elements that you’ve come to expect from any self respecting purveyor of metalcore, but they promise that this new album will throw a few fresh ingredients into the mix to bring something new to the metalcore table.

Home Isn’t Where The Heart Is is populated by a bombardment of aggressive barked vocals that are combined with brutal guitars, intense riffs and powerhouse drums that blend into melodic sections with a clean vocal delivery. From the opening track, Coward King, to the closing track, (null), Hollows bring an intense and noisy in your face approach across all eleven tracks. Whilst this might sound like a recipe for you average metalcore album, there are atmospheric influences, in particular on the track Tonguespeak, that raises Home Is Not Where The Heart Is above many of their peers.

Hollows have delivered an album that’s as brutal as anything I’ve encountered, although I personally found that I got a feeling of deja vu when listening to Home Isn’t Where The Heart Is, this is an album that does tend to become something of a blur of crunching guitar riffs and intense drumming. But having said that, this is one of the more original releases from the metalcore stable, the production on the album is flawless and the aggression is almost relentless, and if metalcore is your thing then Hollows really should be on your radar as this is one of the better metalcore releases I’ve encountered this year.

You can purchase Home Is Not Where The Heart Is via Hollows website here

Moscow Release ‘Queen Of Sin’ EP

Moscow QOS

Call her Tsaritsa (queen) like the Russian rockers all do, or call her Moscow, her nom de guerre in the international music scene, but this talented rocker who embodies the rebellious spirit of rock ‘n roll and the class of royalty is destined to grab your attention. The hard rocking muscovite has now self released the Queen Of Sin EP, along with a stunning video for the EP’s title track.

You can order the Queen Of Sin EP via iTunes here

The video for Queen Of Sin can be viewed below Read More…

Foreverandnever Promises

Foreverandnever

Promises

Self Released
By

Rating: 3/5

 
 

 

 

Mississippi born and Nashville based alt-rockers Foreverandnever have unleashed the latest EP, Promises, today, the 2nd June 2017, their latest release follows on from a relentless tour schedule and 2016’s All We Know EP. The EP follows in the footsteps of it’s predecessors, but when compared to their previous EP, and their self titled debut album, this release seems positively polished and refined. The raw edge their previous recordings carried has been replaced with a smoother and less urgent style than their earlier material, this may be related to the deft hand of the Saves The Day guitarist, Arun Bali, firmly on the helm.

The opening title track kicks things off with steady downbeat quality, but it crashes into life on the chorus and builds to an intense finale that then gently fades away, this a pattern that follows with EP’s second offering, Like Wolves, yearning vocals inhabit the verses before a forceful chorus brings waves of distortion and a more impassioned vocal style to bear. One with The Night rounds out the three track EP from the Nashville quintet, it boasts a more forceful style on the verse and maintains the energy levels over the course of the track, for me the more aggressive style, and the fact this didn’t follow the same template as the previous two songs, marks this out as the stand out track.

Foreverandnever are a fine alt rock band but I feel there is now little to distinguish them from the massed ranks, maybe it’s hard to judge a band on the basis of three tracks, but there is a somewhat repetitive feel at the core of the Promises EP. If you’re a fan of the likes of Deftones, Foo Fighters and Brand New, and for me I get a hint of New Found Glory in there as well, then Foreverandnever will be worth checking out, whilst this wasn’t exactly to my tastes I’d expect them to continue building their already sizeable fanbase on the basis of the Promises EP.

Foreverandnever‘s Bandcamp can be found here and their Facebook page is here

Brick + Mortar Release ‘Dropped Again’ EP

Brick And Mortar Dropped AgainNew Jersey’s Brick + Mortar have released their new EP, Dropped Again, and it is now available on iTunes and SpotifyDropped Again is a re-release of the band’s 2015 EP Dropped, including two new tracks and a remix of the track Move To The Ocean. The band is also premiering the final new song from the record, Great Escape.

You can purchase Dropped Again via iTunes here and stream the EP via Spotify here

The Great Escape can be streamed here

Brick And Mortar Dropped Again

Brick + Mortar

Dropped Again

Self Released
By

Rating: 3/5

 
 

 

 

In celebration of acquiring ownership of the masters, Brick + Mortar will be self releasing a fully re-mastered version of their Dropped EP, that was originally released back in 2015, tomorrow, May 19th 2017. The release has been retitled Dropped Again and has been fleshed out to full album length with the addition of two new singles, One Little Pill and Great Escape, and a remix of the song Move To The Ocean. In addition to the release of Dropped Again the band have a current Pledge Music campaign for the debut full length, Dead Moon.

Opening number Train is a gentle introduction with it’s staccato hand clap rhythms and across the whole of Dropped Again Brick + Mortar veer across influences, incorporating electronic elements and skittering beats. For the most part this is a shining upbeat affair but Move To The Ocean and Dark Skies takes the album in a darker direction whilst Brighter Than The Sun brings a strident guitar led element to bear. The new additions to Dropped Again indicate the band have moved forward in the last few years with both One Little Pill and Great Escape bringing a more rounded keyboard led style that hints at what to expect from the band on their forthcoming album, Dead Moon. The final track is the Bauer Remix of Move To The Ocean, I always feel a remix is something of an throwaway option for filling out expanded releases that rarely improve on the original, and this one hasn’t changed my mind on this.

Having not heard the original Dropped EP it’s difficult to assess the impact of the re-mastering process but it does sound like it’s been given a bit of spit and polish. Dropped Again is an album that takes it’s cues from the idiosyncratic side of the Indie and electronic scenes, Brick + Mortar deliver a somewhat unique mix of drum ‘n bass, electronica and indie influences that have a slight punk influence. This isn’t a release that will be to everyone’s tastes but what Dropped Again does showcase is the New Jersey duo’s fluid influences that have led to them sharing stages with a varied array of bands, and as a result they have garnered a widespread and diverse fanbase that reflects the range of influences contained on their recordings.

Brick + Mortar‘s website where you can order the EP and stream One Little Pill is here

You can pre-order Brick + Mortar‘s new album, Dead Moon, via Pledge Music here

The 99 Degree Release ‘Boot Hill Surf Club’ EP

99 Degree BHSC CoverThe 99 Degree have released their debut EP, Boot Hill Surf Club, today, the 12th May 2017, the EP features four demented garage surf punk spaghetti western serial killer tales that you didn’t know you neededThe 99 Degree will also be taking to the stage in a few hours time at the release party for the Boot Hill Surf Club EP at Manchester’s Castle Hotel.

The Punk Site review of the Boot Hill Surf Club EP can be read here

Boot Hill Surf Club is now available via all the leading download and streaming sites

99 Degree BHSC Cover

The 99 Degree

Boot Hill Surf Club

Self Released
By

Rating: 4.5/5

 
 

 

 

Following on from last years impressive debut single, Dead Or Alive, Manchester’s The 99 Degree will unleash their first EP, Boot Hill Surf Club, tomorrow, the 12th May 2017, like their previous release their latest offering is a completely DIY affair that’s born of the original twisted spirit of the garage. The Mancunian quartet have been ploughing their own furrow in Manchester’s underground scene, and their latest release indicates that they are continuing to head off down their own dark and dusty trail.

Straight off The 99 Degree pick up where they left off, the opening track The Banshee delivers the western swagger that their debut Dead Or Alive carried, and it possesses a hypnotic primitive drum beat and some glorious heady reverb and treble laced guitar riffs, but it seems that Manchester psych outsiders are out to prove that there’s more in their arsenal. The haunting The Ballad Of Henry Newton Brown carries their spaghetti western hallmark but takes it into a darker place, if the opening track signified that was surf was up then this track indicated that there’s trouble in town. Losing My Mind is already a live favourite, and with good reason, it has a wonderful hedonistic surf riff that dominates this heavy slice of psyche and dementia, whilst the final track, The Pusher, takes things into darker and stranger territory than anything they’ve previously recorded

The 99 Degree occupy the same undefinable territory as The Cramps, but with their own identity rather than trying recreate another bands sound. The 99 Degree‘s mix of primitive rock ‘n roll, fuzzy garage, surf, dark spaghetti westerns, and whatever the hell else it is the fuels the Manchester quartet, creates a unique blend of influences that channels the essence of the strangeness and originality that is born of the garage. The 99 Degree are a truly original mutant surf band from a city that was famously quoted as having everything except a beach, I can’t wait to hear what they’re going to unleash on full length album.

The 99 Degree will be playing a launch party at The Castle Hotel in Manchester on the 12th May to celebrate the release of the EP

Boot Hill Surf Club will be available from all major digital retailers and streaming services from the 12th May

Foreverandnever Release ‘Promises’ Music Video

Foreverandnever PromisesNashville’s Foreverandnever have released a brand new music video for the song Promises, the song is the title track from their forthcoming three song EP that is scheduled to be self released on June 2nd 2017. Foreverandnever have also announced a series of tour dates that kick off on May 19th in Tennessee and continue across May and June in support of the release of their new Promises EP.

The video for Promises, and Foreverandnever‘s tour dates, can be viewed below Read More…

American Standards Anti Melody

American Standards

Anti-Melody

Self Released
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

American Standards have been around since 2011, all the while they’ve been steadily building up a loyal following through their relentless tour schedule and intense live performances, including sharing stages with the likes of Every Time I Die, Norma Jean and The Dillinger Escape Plan. The chaotic hardcore quartet have now announced that their upcoming debut full length, Anti-Melody, that follows on from their 2012 debut release Still Life, is set to be released on April 28th and will be available via all digital music outlets.

Anti-Melody kicks off with the lead single, Writers Block Party, and it’s an instant wake up call of brutal thrash tinged hardcore that’s followed up by the spiky Carpe Diem, Tomorrow. This is not an album that becomes a relentless blur where the tracks merge into each other, each song on Anti-Melody has it’s own distinct character, from the intense Church Burner, that harks back to the crossover thrash of the 1980’s, through the slow burning Bartenders Without Wings and the intense Cancer Eater to the album’s pummelling epic, at least by hardcore standards, finale, Chicago Overcoat.

Anti-Melody is an album that delivers eight tracks that manage to span the differing styles of hardcore that have evolved over the years, all the while maintaining a consistently brutal approach on each track, American Standards maintain the spirit and anger of the first wave of hardcore bands, whilst bringing their own defiant spirit and style to Anti-Melody. Given the state of world politics and the rise of the far right, the defiant protest of the hardcore scene as never been as needed or as relevant as it is right now, and for me American Standards are right there on the front line.

Anti-Melody can be pre-ordered via American Standards Bandcamp here

The American Standards fanlink to all digital services and social media is here

Those Who Knew NP

Those Who Knew

New Perspective

Self Released
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

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 four track 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.

Losing Touch kicks things off with a slice of new wave inspired power pop that breaks down into a satisfying post hardcore inspired finale, Shadow In The Sea builds on impression of the initial track, carrying the sensibility of new wave and power pop but blending this with contemporary influences to create a dark and emotional hybrid that works on every level. Seventeen brings the pace up with a track that channels the darker side of alternative and indie and Nothing Left To Lose brings the EP to an impressive and impassioned close with a number that leaves you wanting to hear more from Those Who Knew.

Those Who Knew have released an impressive debut EP that manages to embrace numerous influences, the energy of new wave and power pop combined with the intensity of post hardcore and emo, that’s all topped off with a shining veneer of alt rock. This is an energetic and melodic debut that walks the line between the underground and commercial side of alt rock perfectly, melodic and poppy enough for the mainstream, yet they’ve kept enough of an edge to keep their fanbase and the DIY scene interested, not an easy trick to pull off on your debut but maybe there’s a reason for their chosen moniker.

New Perspective can be pre-ordered via all the main digital streaming services and retailers

Those Who Knew‘s website can be found here