Rock Sound CD 145

I’ve been busy writing for two three other sites at the moment, so updates to this one are erratic to say the least. If you want to read about me rambling about computer games, then go here. Also, I write about any old music crap here, with my last post taking the piss out of Iced Earth for having about 9 drummers. Coming up: Mad Mac reviews, plus some other junk.

And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – Summer Of All Dead Souls

I’ve always considered Trail Of Dead to be an incredibly eccentric band; but one that delivers the goods. ‘Summer Of All Dead Souls’ is a grand mix of soaring/crashing choruses coupled with raucous churning guitar lines and smothering percussion, not to mention some brilliantly distorted vocals. A swirling cataclysm of joyful yet unconventional sounds that gives a nod to their snotty-punk roots of ‘Madonna’ and the bonkers epic parts that made up ‘Worlds Apart.’ Superb stuff.

A Skylit Drive – Too Little Too Late

Throughout the three minutes and eleven seconds that make up this track I thought to myself their must be something positive I can glean.  Unfortunately, even if they’d thrown in some fucking trumpets, the fact remains that I’d still be hearing the awful boy-band auto-tune vocals shrilling in my lugholes, coupled with some fifth-rate metalcore wannabes who accidentally lent on a piano during the recording. Hideous music, hideous band.

VersaEmerge – Figure It Out

Vocalist Sierra Kusterbeck has a sweet, dream-like flavour in her voice, wavering between Amanda Palmer style scariness and squeaky-clean, but gutsy pop-punk. Musically….it’s fairly light-hearted rock that threatens at something more and the ethereal passages that shimmer in the background (twitching loops and bubbling synth lines) all add depth and body to a well crafted tune.

Arcane Roots – In This Town Of Such Weather

Arcane Roots are all over the place – if the guitars aren’t stabbing great big prog-shaped holes in the scenery, then the slightly-too-shrill vocal lead (that gets more aggravated and scratchy as the track progresses) is bulldozing it’s way through, not to mention the almost math rock nature past the 3 minute mark, where it all seems to lose control, juddering and flailing everywhere like the ghost of Meet Me In St. Louis.

The Joy Formidable – I Don’t Want To See You Like This

Ritzy Bryan’s voice is a complete joy. Coupled with this swirling, powerful indie-rock it sounds like one of the best things ever. Her breathy whispers are alluring, as is the music which swoops in like a giant eagle, snatching you out of danger with its echoing, shuddering beauty. Hooks so big you can’t even scale them – simply wonderful.

Daytrader – Kill My Compass

Hot damn – before I bothered to look up about Daytrader I thought ‘hey, these guys sound a bit like they’ve listened to Latterman and Crime In Stereo’ – which are two bands Daytrader share members with. Anyway, this is freakin’ ace – think kind of Mineral-style emo, mixed with good-Jimmy Eat World choruses that soar, but still hold an agitated scratch of post-hardcore beneath the surface.

Lemuria –Chautaugua County

I reckon I heard this on the sound track to the latest Michael Cera indie-fluff. I love this; Lemuria make that kind of summery haze of dreamy indie rock that bounces along with uplifting grace and a sense that things aren’t complete and utter shit. There’s a grungy, lo-fi punk element to the recording, as well as an incredibly relaxed, apathetic twinge to drummer and vocalist Alex Kerns, which pairs nicely with the harmonising ‘whooaa oohs’ of guitarist Sheena Ozzella.

Day Of The Sirens – Home Is A Working Title

I reviewed these guys about 2 years ago – I’d love to say that my opinion of the band has completely reversed and that their latest musical exploits are a revelation…. but I’m not because that would be a lie and I don’t tell lies.

Don Broco – Dreamboy

Local boys Don Broco are all about the swaggering groove and hitting big choruses with cheeky gusto. Lyrically it’s nothing to really write home about; all seems a bit New Found Glory 10 years ago. When they find their stride though, the chorus of ‘Dreamboy’ burrows its way in and sets up shop quite nicely inside your brain, which is to be commended – very promising indeed.

Tephra – Chains And Pounding Hooves

“Hey let’s sound evil” must be what Germany’s Tephra were thinking when they decided to make music. It’s dense and kind of unsettling doom-laden metal that touches on Botch-style hardcore growls and a shrugging disgust of throw-away anger, whilst the bass gurgles beneath it all. Disturbing; a bit like listening to Cult Of Luna during a thunderstorm.

Mogwai – Rano Piano

It’s all about the slow-burn with Mogwai. ‘Rano Piano’ is an ambient wall of discordant fuzz; dragged along by a drumbeat that gets progressively louder and more sinister. There’s an eerie atmospheric howl stuttering through in the background as the track finally finds its feet and rises with such over-powering grace, it’s hard not to feel moved by this extraordinary composition.

Amplifier – The Octopus

If Adebisi Shank are the caped-crusader super heroes of space rock, then Amplifier are the evil twisted mastermind who resides in a skull palace carved out of a cliff face. The first 4 minutes of this are unrelentingly sinister, but never seems to tire from throwing new and exciting moments in the mix. It soon spirals out of control though, like a villainous breakdown of lurching riffs and bottoming-out heaviness. Easily the best song this month, hands down.

Black Spiders – Stay Down

The sneer in the voice of Pete Siby; frontman of Black Spiders, is so big it’s threatening to become a corporal entity. Black Spiders are rough, ballsy rock ‘n roll, part Foo Fighters in some areas, part Airbourne in others, with a hefty dose of arrogance and a scuzzy 70s swagger and filthy riffs – lovely, lovely stuff.

Polar – Shanghai Junk

Awesome amounts of breakneck speed and a scratchy, straining voice and bear-like backing vocal roars are always going to be in my good books. Polar have all this, as well as a surprising amount of melody within their scuzzy, hardcore punk that owes a lot to Gallows to some extent; but less whiny and more raw and slavering.

DevilDriver – Dead To Rights

DevilDriver might just be the best name ever for a metal band. Hey, it’s the dude that chauffeurs Satan around, got to be awesome right? Well yeah, to be honest this could have gone one of two ways; thankfully it took the right path – with elements of thrash-hardcore spilling through the more ridiculous moments and some of the most insane drumming ever as well as Megadeth tendencies shining through, former Coal Chamber man does very good indeed.

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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