So, I now know who Sleeping With Sirens are. Again, everything here (except Falling In Reverse and Transplants) is worth checking out, especially The JCQ, A Great Big Pile Of Leaves, Gnarwolves, Rough Hands and Lemuria to name but a few.
Falling In Reverse – Fashionably Late
Difficult to know if this is a parody or not. You know when people say that an album or song sounds “dated” despite it being a hit when it was released? Well, Falling In Reverse have done it – they’ve actually recorded a song that has started to date as it progresses. For the agonizingly long 3 and a half minutes that Fashionably Late plays out for, this mob of tattooed haircuts manage to bury their sound before it’s even begun. Cringe-factor is set to 11 with the mention of “liking posts up on Facebook“, the awful clichÃ©-riddled lyrics and the fact it sounds so boring…I mean, if From First To Last recorded this back in 2004 they’d be embarrassed.
August Burns Red – Spirit Breaker
As previously featured briefly here, August Burns Red are all clenched fists, teeth-grinding determination in their bruising battering ram of metalcore. Big fan of the spoken word bit over the jazzy-bassline, reminds me a bit of this song by The Chariot. Gets a bit epic, foot-on-monitors at the end; proper tech-metal riffery set to punishment levels – the other shouty guy on this is really good, complimenting the really fucking pissed off one who bellows like a bastard mix of Josh Scogin and Jeff from Poison the Well.
Sleeping With Sirens – Low
Just completely thrown by the vocals on this. Frontman Kellin Quinn has such a unique and disorientating voice it will hold your attention, there’s no doubt about that – mostly you’ll be wondering if Hayley Williams from Paramore is guesting, or that the dude from Straight Lines and yer man from Coheed is joining in on the fun. Packed with melody, Low is actually a great track – especially by a band I wouldn’t normally give a second glance, this is really strong – if you can get over the initial shock of the vocals, then it’s a winner.
The JCQ – Love’s No Good
James Cleaver Quintet isn’t it? Shortened name, but still a bit mad. Actually imagine Eighties Matchbox fronted by someone attempting a Mike Patton impression. It kind of works. That frantic, garage rock riffage with a touch of psychobilly thrown in, some oddball keyboard effects and an expressive and often fairly sassy vocal range = quality.
Boysetsfire – Everything Went Black
AWESOME! New Boysetsfire material – let’s get political, bitches! Vocalist Nathan Gray is as impassioned as ever; his raw, serrated bark is utterly guttural on this, whilst the breaks and builds jolt and stagger with embittered rage. They even manage to thrown some rabble-rousing samples in for good measure and considering I haven’t heard anything by them since 2002’s Tomorrow Come Today, this is utterly seething and chocked full of aggression.
Amon Amarth – Deceiver Of The Gods
Of course Amon Amarth are from Sweden and are named after a mountain from Lord of the Rings. Normally I can take or leave death metal – but this is actually fairly listenable; melodic and to the point, Deceiver Of The Gods raises a smile by being very BRIAN BLESSED big ham in execution, but also heavy and thunderous enough to be an absolute blast. Grab your sword, shield and armour and let’s go kill some orcs.
A Great Big Pile Of Leaves – Snack Attack
Oh god this is absolutely gorgeous. The warm radiating from the guitars and the fuzzed-out bass is delightful, as is the jaunty, somewhat lazy haze of distorted riffs and crisp, fractured emo-rock nods. Frontman Pete Weiland’s matter-of-fact melody-laced voice is enchanting and sounds like drinking ice-cold beer on a summer day, laying by a river. This is what a hug sounds like.
Transplants – Come Around
Just seen a recent picture of Tim Armstrong and he seems to resemble a homeless killer from Condemned 2. This is unfortunately a bit shit. As one of only a handful of people who probably give a flying fuck about Transplants, this is just unmemorable, disappointing bilge from a band, who, whilst had their faults, at least knew how to have a good time. Armstrong sounds like he’d much rather be huffing paint down by a bottle bank and Skinhead Rob is painfully underused and it sounds like he’s phoning it in. Really, really wanted to like this as well – a shame.
Gnarwolves – Tongue Surfer
With an opening riff that reminds me of a Minus album (flashback to the excellent Halldor Laxness) Gnarwolves do some quality punk rock all over your face. “I’M NOT THE SAME GUY YOU KISSED, I’M A MISERABLE SHIT!” is bellowed with such gleeful gusto, over a tinny wave of scrappy, caterwauling three-chords and not much else, it’s an absolute blast – as is the Weezer reference at the end.
Larry and his Flask – Out Of Print
‘For Fans of Gogol Bordello‘ is enough to make me switch off, but Larry and his Flask (of whisky) do that old-foot-stamping, jug-blowing, folky-punk rock some real justice. Out Of Print has legs that flail out of control on a jaunty, bouncing melody that makes me think of Hayseed Dixie, which can only be a good thing and the vocals have a real gritty swagger and charm to them that’s instantly appealing.
Lemuria – Brilliant Dancer
It must be the weather that’s bringing bands like Lemuria out of the woodwork. Crisp, flowing and altogether dreamy indie-pop, with some excellent harmonies between vocalists Sheena and Alex, who’s often overlapping dual vocals are utterly charming.
Nervous Impulse – Wasted Time
Want breakneck speed? Squealing guitars? Maniacal Biafra-aping vocal splutters? Rusty bass chords? Well give Nervous Impulse a blast. Minimal but fiery, this is 80’s-style DC hardcore that’s thrashed past with the speed and determination of an out of control police truck.
Rough Hands – Toska
Fucking hell, no love here it seems. Rough Hands are utterly pulverizing. The sludge-thick bass grooves sound as if they’ve been corroded for years, whilst the vocals are a ragged nightmarish tear of grim distress and terror. The one quiet moment is actually the most unnerving of all this – devoid of vocals; but the chilling ring of the guitar and muted drum beats will give you the shivers. Amazing stuff.
The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – Gig Life
Goddamn, those vocals are breaking apart aren’t they? There’s a ghost-like delicate nature to Gig Life by The World Is… that builds with shuddering warmth and sombre darkness; complete with a haunting emotional depth that only a handful of bands can manage. Think Brand New if they decided to become an orchestra. Truly spectacular on every level.