Rock Sound 100% Volume: 153

From mosh-core punk rock of last month, Rock Sound throw up some hook-laden pop + 3 chords and the truth just to mix things up a bit, or at least inject some sort of theme. Maybe it’s a subtle way of trying to make their readers think it’s summer still. Anyway, some top stuff this month, only a couple of duffers. The best offerings are in the form of Mastodon, who seem unstoppable, whilst New Found Glory, We Are The In Crowd, Transit and This Time Next Year all do a sterling effort with their pop-punk cheek.

New Found Glory – Radiosurgery

How come Jordan Pundik of NFG still sounds so happy? Surely at over 30 he should be a misanthropic bastard, but no – he’s still singing like the world is made of kittens and rainbows. ‘Radiosurgery’ is just under 3 minutes of sugary, pop-punk bounce that wouldn’t sound out of place on their debut self-titled or ‘Sticks and Stones.’ There’s some nice scuzzy bass thrown in, choppy guitars and a great soaring chorus of “aaaaahhhsss” and if I’m not mistaken, a Less Than Jake style bounce to their anthemic sound.

Polar Bear Club – Screams In Caves

Polar Bear Club have been around for 6 years, but I’ve never heard of them, or possibly got them mixed up with some wet indie-side project with a similar name. This is anything but that – gruff vocals that instantly hook you, backed by a weird mix of heavy-Jimmy Eat World melodic emo and passionate post-hardcore rock. It’s honest and incredibly crisp-sounding in delivery and a credit to the genre.

Mastodon – Black Tongue

Apparently the new Mastodon album is called ‘The Hunter’ – quite apt really, considering ‘Black Tongue’ seems to be about the thrill of the chase. Although, they claim it’s not a concept album, this track gives obvious nods to the title. The roar of “you can run to the sea, you can run to the forest, you can hide but you’ll never escape!” Is a chilling warning from the lurching tusked-mammal that is the Atlanta four-piece. ‘Black Tongue’ gallops and rolls with deadly precision and a wailing drone of bludgeoning stoned-out metallic chaos and is easily one of the best tracks I’ve heard from these dudes.

Thrice – Yellow Belly

Thrice went weird ages ago didn’t they? I think their new stuff suits vocalist Dustin Kensrue much more – always felt he was straining a bit on the old chords sometimes when they were all screamy. Really like this; the heavier moments sound massive – the guitars soar and wail like And So I Watch You From Afar and it all goes a bit post-hardcore, with elements of raw-rhythmic noise provided by the over-prominent bass, which gives a slight grunge feel.

Staind – Eyes Wide Open

Hands up if you know anyone who still listens to/likes/acknowledges the existence of Staind in a non-ironic way? Aaron Lewis – why so angry bro? A confused mess of what 2001 sounded like, mixed with an incongruous guitar solo, Lewis shouting and mewling like a petulant child. No brainer-moshcore, nu-metal toilet trash.

We Are The In Crowd – Rumor Mill

You might have to visit the dentist after listening to this lot. Tooth-rottingly sweet; We Are The In Crowd will not only leave you with less teeth than Shane MacGowan but they’ll also lodge the sickly twee-pop punk exuberance of a billion e-numbers in the form of their music stuck in your mind. Despite it being steadfastly American, they don’t half sound j-pop in execution. The kids are going to love this; hooks bigger than New Found Glory (sorry guys) and a singer who yeah, sounds like the chick from Paramore but trades off well with some strong backing vocals meaning there’s some good call and response.

This Time Next Year – Matchbook

Why would you dress up in gasoline? This Time Next Year goes through the pop-punk rule book and pretty much have it nailed down tight. Kind of has that vibe of The Wonder Years, without the intense lyrics, but rattles along nicely with the leaping brackish attitude of The Ataris (before they went weird) and some strong soaring “wooaahhooohs” that give a nod towards NFG. Not very original, as their sound is 10 a penny, but on the strength of ‘Matchbook’, they’re certainly among the elite rather than the shit-munchers.

Transit – Listen & Forgive

I reckon a few more beers down the road and I’d be a broken man listening to this. I’m getting soft I reckon and it’s all Transit’s fault. This kind of reminds me of Brand New, circa-‘Your Favourite Weapon’-era, more along the lines of ‘Soco Amaretto Lime.’  – Must be the backing vocals and that acoustic guitar they cleverly buried in there. I can’t make up mind if it’s really sappy or mature – somewhere between the two, but whatever it is, it’s bloody brilliant.

Dangerous! – Not One Of You

Sounding like they don’t give two fucks, Dangerous! Remind me a bit of The Vines trying to cover early Icarus Line material. Vocalist Tommy pretty much shrieks himself hoarse through a mangled voice box, whilst musically it touches on good time rock and or roll, with elements of sleazy garage punk and rolling around in broken glass. A fist-pumping destructive noise, that maybe slightly too clean when that rough-as-sandpaper voice doesn’t crunch through the mix.

Exit Ten – Curtain Call

Utilising big sweeping cascades of heavy de-tuned guitar, clattering percussion, Exit Ten know how to drop it in choruses. Vocalist Ryan Redman has an imposing and powerful voice that is perfectly matched with the sprawling metallic crash of Exit Ten’s sweeping crush of alternative metal.

Jumping Ships – Broken English

Having given this several listens, I’m just not feeling it at all. It’s not terrible, just feels incredibly strained and try-hard. The vocals are a nasally, irritating whine – and even on the slow bit, there’s a moment of over-the-top flamboyance and posturing that is sadly not cocky enough to be amusing or enjoyable and just sounds embarrassing.

Decade – The Doctor Called (Turns Out I’m Sick As Fuck)

God, every band thinks they’re Set Your Goals nowadays. Only joking guys, but you’ve got a copy of ‘Tomorrow Will Be The Death Of Us’ yeah? CHECKLIST: mosh-core instrumentals? Tick. Gang vocals? Tick. Earnest, youthful vocalist full of hope and passion, mixed with gusto who isn’t afraid to shout? Tick. Seriously though, Decade are basically nailing a formula that has been done before, but they’re the ones to follow, not the followers and on  the strength of ‘The Doctor Called….’ They deserve credit.

Red Enemy – What We Call Home

I AM SHOUTING PAY ATTENTION. Red Enemy do the down-tuned metallic scrape of furrowing metalcore dirge and bury the bastard under shuddering, stop-start guitars the squeal and twitch like a pig being tortured. There’s elements of Emmure present, but not as bottoming-out in execution.

Bleed From Within – The Novelist

Proper chugga-chugga metal right there. Vocally it doesn’t stray much from the path of rasping brutality, occasionally swinging into a weird impression of your man from Black Dahlia Murder – i.e. hilarious high-pitched screech to compensate the rough and ready bash-brother tactic of the music, which feels like it’s pushed you over then stamped on you for good measure.

Octane Ok – Pretty Lady

‘New kings of pop-rock!’ I bet Octane Ok are every band before them are sick of that tag. Fairly standard really; polished until it could blind you, Octane Ok has that crisp, slick sound, with some added breakdowns that are unfortunately fairly tame in comparison to what they could sound like. It’s safe, radio-friendly and will probably sell by the truckload.


See above, it’s time for some sleeps.

By Ross Macdonald

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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