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Tuesday, 15 December 2009

5 lost classics that you should re-visit...

1) Kerbdog- On The Turn. This album tops a lot of peoples lost classic lists, and with very good reason. The incredible blend of seering guitars and mile wide choruses, make it and endless joy to listen to. Few albums open released before or since have packed so much punch in their entire length as this beauty does in the opening couplet of Sally and JJ's Song. Sheer brilliance. Re discover this album.

2) Poison The Well- Opposite Of December. OK, put simply, every band you have heard that combines crunching metal with melodic sung choruses, owes a huge debt to this band and this album. Truly one of the albums that defined metalcore as a genre and, more importantly, one of the few albums that sits in this genre that is actually any good. From the machine gun fast drumming of Chris Horbrook to the ungodly roar of vocalist Jeffery Moira, this album is an assault on the ears from start to fuinish. That is not to say that it is lacking in beauty. The startlingly upliftling chorus of songs such as Nerdy see this album transcend every band that tried to replicate this albums genius.

3) Marilyn Manson- Mechanical Animals. OK, a weird choice I know, but bear with me on this one. When this album dropped, half his fambase ran a mile. Gone was their Goth King and in his place stood the bastard son (well kinda, mazza went Androgynous for a bit) of ziggy Stardust. A real shame however, as this album holds some of the most honest and lyrically exciting work of his career. Songs such as "speed of pain" carry an emotional punch most thought Marilyn Manson was completely incapable of. Sonically also, it is an incredibly accomplished album that still sounds exciting to this day.

4) Handsome- Handsome. Hears a band that pretty much no one heard. Made up of a number of hardcore luminaries, this one off album caused a huge stir but the band sadly never got much beyond a few brief tours. Still, whisper this bands name in the right circles and you will be met with an excitable sense of approval. Opener Needles is truly a lost classic and the rest of the album is equally as great.

5) Boy Sets Fire- After The Eulogy. Ahhh, the album that got me into emo before My Chemical Romance turned that word into something horribly synonymous with dyed black fringes, self harming and make up. This album is one of the few in it's scenes to have the broad musical landscape. It's rare (these days especially) that albums can feature tracks so angry and bruising as rousing opener "After The Eulogy" alongside genuinely heart string tugging rock ballads as "my life in the knife trade". The latter has to be one of the most honest and brilliant songs written by a band in this scene. Lyrically, the album is flawless throughout, deftly switching from political assualts to musings on the fragility of human relationships. A hair raiser from start to finish.

A / Kids In Glass Houses @Islington Academy

Kids In Glass Houses have a tough one. Nothing like as hard as the crowd they fought against on the New Found Glory tour earlier this year, but whilst not voicing their dislike, the crowd here is far from receptive. A great shame as the Welsh boys put in a great performance. New tracks from that impending second album n particular sound massive and leave me very very excited for it's release.

Wow, now I remember excitably waiting for 'A' to take to the stage of the Barfly (back when it was at the Falcon in Camden. I was young then, and the members of "A" were certainly younger. It's a strange juxtaposition watching them tonight. Their music so full of youthful exuberance and enjoy the early years of your life now sounds bizzare being belted out by 5 men with families, kids and mortgages. "Old Folks" never sounded so true. That's not to say they put in a bad performance. Every song is as memorable and likeable as it was back then, but this does feel a bit like watching your dad rock out.

All this said, I still find myself singing along to hits such as Starbucks and the aforementioned Old Folks. And the aging crowd certainly lap it up. From the balcony, the sea of beer gut heavy balding men moshing like it's 1999 is strangely endearing as well as amusing!

Paranormal Activity

The new Blair Witch, the scariest film ever. the film that Steven Spielberg banned from his house. A hell of a lot has been said about this film already, so is it any good?!

Well, truth be told it's not a yes/no situation. What will make this film so chilling to some will make it mind numbingly boring to others. It's not about big scares or graphic violence, instead relying on small understated and (most importantly) near everyday events to bring it's chills.

It's the normality of these monents (doors moving slightly, bed sheets blowing up, thumos and bumps etc) that will have some struggluing with sleepless nights and others struggling to stay awake for the films duration.

I personally loved it and felt it only lost it's way at the very end when it does come closer to the physical violence of other more regular horror movies (I will say no more than that). Apparently this end is one of few, and by al accounts, the others sound far better. My opinion however could be easily dismissed or countered by others, and I would probably struggle to disagree. But that is always the way with films like this. Go, see it and make up your own mind, but if it does strike the right chord with you, you will probably be sleeping with one eye open for a long time.

Young Guns @ Birmingham Academy

Trains are a bitch. I have to leave the venue two songs into what looked to be a storming set from Kids In Glass Houses. I'm gutted. Tonight, the band (and Aled especially) look every inch the rock stars they will hopefully become in 2010.

My upset at missing their set is somewhat relieved by Young Guns earlier set. I see these guys play so much, that I try to avoid whittling on too much about them, but it's the end of a great year for them, so fuck it, I'm gonna dish some praise out. Tonight, as usual, they display perfectly why they are garnering so much attention. From the grand opening of incoming single Winter Kiss, to the ringing final notes of fan favourite Daughter Of The Sea, they are on fire. The crowd is clearly in love with them as the girls scream and the boys circle pit. In Gustav Wood, the band have an undeniable star. Charming and engaging, the boy is easily capable of taking on the mantle of Kerrang's next pin up boy. More important though is the songs. In my humble opinion, not since Lost Prophets dropped Start Something has a band managed to combine so well the riff heavy musicianship of the rock and hardcore scene with the mile high choruses and guitar hooks of the pop world. And like tonights headliners, 2010 could very easily see these High Wycombe lads turning into stars.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

We Are The Ocean @ Islington Academy

I miss All Forgotten due to shitty London trains, but get in just in time to witness The Amity Affliction pummel Islington Academy into oblivion. Whilst there are a ton of bands doing this sort of thing, this Australian bunch have the hooks and breakdowns that could see them step beyond the myriad of similar bands.

Flood Of Red, are in essence incredible. Their songwriting displays the ambitious flair of fellow scots Biffy and Twin Atlantic, and they obviously put their heart and soul into all they do. They work hard and are as tight a live band as anyone else on this bill tonight. So why doesn't it quite hit the spot. Well, for me, it just nods a little to obviously to it's influences. There are worse things than sounding like Circa Survive, but I hope that in time they can carve their own niche musically, as there is so much potential in this band.

We Are The Ocean are a band who many threw the same accusations at. They long since dropped the more obvious Alexisonfire-isms, replacing them with a mix of the brutal crunch of bands like Everytime I Die and Norma Jean and the epic rock/metal sounds of bands such as Metallica and Alice In Chains. Tonight they sound incredible. Seasoned tour veterans these days, they cotrol the crowd and pace the stage effortlessly. 2010 is going to be a very big year for this band if all goes to plan. And for once, it's a band that deserves every bit of success that they get!

Monday, 30 November 2009

...And the biggest film letdowns of 2009...

1) Transformers 2- wow! Boy, did they fuck this one up. The critics cries about the first be a bold brash and quality lacking explosion of a movie actually pointed to why this series could be so great. It was never about depth of character and evolving plotlines, it was a fun, dumb action movie, and all the better for it. The second movie is bigger and bolder, so where does it go wrong. Well, it would almost appear that the critics gripes got to the creators as the try to carve out a complicated storyline that aims to add a level of depth to the series, but sadly derails it. Pointless plot twist that make no sense and a complete mish mash of ideas turn this film in to a car wreck of a movie.

2) Terminator Salvaion- You know, I'm gonna put this out there. This film was not as bad as everyone said it was, but it did certainly fall short of what it could have been. Ironically, the biggest contributor to it's failings is Christian Bale, the one person who gave the films fanbase faith when word of peoples invovlement came to light. He puts in the most wooden performance in a long time, admittedly probably not help by the dire script. By no means a bad movie, it is just plainly average where it could have been great.

3) Wolverine- Now this film truly stank. Bad special effects, a stupid plot, awful script and dire acting, there is nothing redeeming about this film. A shame as Wolverine is easily one of the most interesting comic book characters created. Huge shame.

Top 5 films of 2009...

1) Where The Wild Things Are- I haven't even seen this and I know already that it is going to be my film of the year. The children's book it is based on was one of my favourite books as a child, and word is that the film only enhances everything that made that book so great. Can't wait for it!

2) Let The Right One In- so close to being my film of the year. In a time where everyone is jumping on the vampire bandwagon, this beautifully quaint and yet darkly sinister film showed the Robert Pattisons of the world how it should be done. Combining elements of horror, romance and coming of age, it is an achingly beautifully shot and brilliantly acted film.

3) Role Models- 2009 was the year that the world got bored of Seth Rogen. Comedy was a tough sell this year, but this laugh out loud, foul mouthed film managed to hit the spot nicely. Generic as they come, the plot was simple and the character arcs predictable, but in Paul Rudd and Sean William Scott (in a massive return to form) they found two actors with the timing and bite to allow the film to transcend it's basic plot.

4) District 9- the surprise hit of the Summer. Whilst Michael Bay was managing to to miss the mark hugely with the second installment in his Transformer series, this turned out to be the little film that could. Unknown director, unknown cast and a completely original but barmy premise, only Peter Jackson's involvement in this suggesting it could be anywhere near as great as it was. Boy was he on the money though!

5) The Hangover- the only other comedy to really hit the spot for me this year. Crude, potty mouthed and brilliant, it was a laugh a minute hoot that made the myriad of Summer Blockbuster stinkers variable. It's also catapulted it's cast into the limelight, and rightly so as each actor created a character unique and watchable in his role.

Chuck Ragan- Gold Country

I picked this album up a few weeks ago, and it's starting to sink in. For those of you not in the know, Chuck Ragan was the gravel voiced singer of post hardcore originals Hot Water Music. Anyone who does not know that band should go out and buy A Flight And A Crash and Caution right now- two classic albums.

Since HWM disbanded, Chuck has gone one to forge a successful solo career. Losing the crunching guitars of his previous act, he know sits firmly in the alt country bracket. Sitting alongside the likes of Ryan Adams, Bright Eyes and the UK's own Frank Turner. His debut solo album Feast Or Famine Was as accomplished an album as any put out by any of the above artists. Gold Country is a little less obvious, seeing Chuck leave big choruses even further behind, instead embracing a lot of the musical heritage of the US over the years. The influence of The Band, The Byrds and Bob Dylan is easy to see alongside the likes of Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson.

It's a slow burner and will take time to truly love, but on a wet evening when you have nothing to do and no one to see, this album is good company.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Top 5 albums of 2009

1) Architects- Hollow Crown. At a time when I find myself caring less and less about metal, this album sticks out like a sore thumb, quite simply because it is incredible. An undeniable step up from a band that have always held promise, this is to me a perfect metal album.

2) Biffy Clyro- Only Revolutions. It's almost too easy for this to be in my top 5, and that's kind of the joy of it- this band can do know wrong. They are the perfect mix of angular muso friendly noise and brilliant pop melodies.

3) Twin Atlantic- Vivarium. The Scots are clocking them up for sure. Twin are new to the game, but judging by this short but sweet mini album, they are already world beaters.

4) The Ghost Of A Thousand- ..................... It takes a brave band to take a sound that every critic seems to love and cast it aside for something new, but then TGOAT have always been about going the hard way, so this doesn't surprise in the slightest. An album full of sweaty mosh friendly anthems. More people should pay attention.

5) Jay Z- The Blueprint 3. A surprise for me how much I love this album. I've always loved a bit of Jay Z, but he's never been a favourite artist of mine. So it speak of the quality of this album that I still listen to it constantly.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Minnie Birch @ Elixir

This is another little band that I'm sure none of you have heard this band, which is a real shame. OK, so they are not the sort of thing I am usually plugging, but they are too good not to talk about. Sitting in a pub watching them perform as part of some sort of open mic night, it makes me realise how criminal it is that they are not playing to a packed room. Sitting somewhere between the proud british youth sound of Kate Nash or even Lily Allen and strong female alternative artists such as Ani Difranco and Tegan And Sara, this duo are simply brilliant. It's a rare thing that someone can pen such openly honest songs about love and heartbreak without sounding contrived or corny, but every song they play (perfectly) tonight somehow adds a new, very relatable, slant to everyday tales of matters of the heart. They do a great cover too! Check them out-, you won't regret it.

Matt And Kim- I love this band!!!

This is just a quick post, basically cause I cannot stop listening to this band- They are currently out on tour in the UK and Europe with The Sounds, and simply they are just awesome. Like a more fun Tegan And Sara, it's pure quirky indie synth pop. I can't stop listening to it, so you should too! And the videos alone are brilliant. Great example of how you can record a great video on a low budget. Check them out!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Rise Against/Thursday/Poison The Well @ Brixton Academy

Tonight's bill is strong, and this is evident from the huge queue that snakes around the building long before doors. The show is completely sold out, and there's a huge buzz from those waiting to get into the venue.

Sadly, a huge number of these people are still outside as Poison The Well take to the stage. A huge shame as they are on their usual good form. Even playing a set which ignores their classic "Opposite Of December", they still display perfectly why the are widely regard as one of the forefathers of the current metalcore scene. It is indeed one of the true trajedies of music that this band are still opening tours like this while bands that have simply aped their sound with half the passion and half the quality are somehow headlining venues this size.

Thursday are in similar shoes. The buzz that broke around the band on release of their second album, Full Collapse, was huge but quickly flattened bu the (unfair) mauling their follow up received. They've never really found their feet since, and despite repeated strong releases and an incredible live show, they've never made it back to the top of the pile. Tonight examples the sadness of this fact, as their all too brief set shows a band that sadly should have been destined to bigger things, but somehow fell short of their dreams.

Which brings us to Rise Against. Now here's a band that appear to have surpassed expectations. Whilst undeniably a great band, who could have predicted that the Rise Against that released "revolutions per minute" on Fat Wreck, would grow to be this monster of a band. For me, Rise Against always sat alongside the likes of Anti Flag and Strike Anywhere, but as the band take to the stage, it's clear they have evovled far beyond this. This is by no means underserved and as video screens flcik through footage of war and other global attrocities, it's clear the band have lost none of their political bite, and if tonight's set is anything to go by, they are still firing on all cylinders musically also. Their aggressive but anthemic songs are sung back at them by everyone in the room and it's brilliant. Moment of the night has to go to the genuinely touching rendition of Swing Life Away. Taking the foot off the pedal briefly, the song tonight stands out as an undeniable classic and perhaps hints at how this band got this big. Fair play to them.

Lostprophets @ Union Chapel

I'm proper gutted to miss King Blues and The Blackout. Apparently both bands do well, with The King Blues in particular putting in a great performance.

Anticipation is high as we wait for Prophets to take to the stage. Even the £40 ticket price (yes, it's for charity, but £40 really?!) Hasn't dampened spirits one bit. I guess my one worry would be Ian's vocals. A few times at recent shows, they've not quite hit the spot and in this up close acoustic setting, such things are far more noticable. However, I have nothing to worry about it would appear as the band take to a beautiful candlelit stage and begin to roll through a very accomplished set. There is a slight sense that their aspirations are sometimes slightly beyond what the manage, but I say this with a huge amount of respect. It's a brave band that cover Alice In Chains and incorporate an 8 piece male vocal choir into their set, so while these grandiose moments sometimes don't quite gel perfectly, absolute credit to them for having the bravery to do it, especially with only a couple of days practice. The general feeling is one of triumph. Ian's banter is second to none, and the songs stripped down sound just as incredible as they do fully amped up. New single, Where We Belong, in particular stands out, and bodes well for that long awaited album.

5 Things to look forward to in 2010

So the end of the year is fast approaching, and beyond the exciting festive season, there is already a lot to look forward to in 2010. Here's just a few of them...

1) Blink 182 return- they've been touring the states for the past year, and if rumours are correct, they will be hitting the UK in 2010. Reports from stateside suggest they are on top form and the production on the tour is like nothing else, so fingers crosseed they make it over here.

2) Kids In Glass Houses- new album. It's beem a long time coming, but finally the Welsh boys are back with a follow up to their undeniably brilliant "Smart Casual". Word from those who've heard it is that it's a bit of a departure sonically, apparently having more in common with Kings Of Leon than all your favourite scene bands. Don't worry though as the word on the street is that it's amazing also!

3) Return of Brit Rock- I hate the declaration of the return of a musical genre, but with the likes of The Xcerts, This City, Spycatcher, Young Guns, Sharks, Twin Atlantic and Your Demise all happily side stepping the idea of copying the formula of the day glow US pop punk scene, there is finally a palpable sense of UK bands that are happy to do their own thing. Just make sure you support them!

4) Bon Jovi- O2 residency. OK, so the new album is an absolute turkey, but really that is no surprise, and it will matter little to the 20+ shows the band are due to play at the O2 in 2010. Guaranteed absolute epic stadium rock, and I cannot wait!

5) Clash Of The Titans- the jury is still out on this one, but I have my fingers crossed. Whilst the original now displays moments of disasterously bad acting, there is still an undeniable charm to the film and purely on the recognition of Ray HarryHausen's pioneering special effects, a remake is going to have to be pretty special. The trailer released already looks strong, and whilst they have done away with the stop motion, the effects and action looks as exciting as I hoped. It appears to have a darker lean to it also which is no bad thing. Here's hoping!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Well, this is cool. I don't make a habit of following bands around the globe, but work has brought me here, so I get to experience two of the UK's most popular bands outside of their UK scene comfort zone.

As Young Guns tear into opener In The Night, it's amazing to think about how far they have come in a year. This time last year, they were completely unknown, and while there is still a long way to go, it's incredible to see a few kids here singing their songs back at them. As usual they put in a powerful performance, Gus commands the audience these days with a confidence that has come from nowhere. The vocals are a little flat tonight, but otherwise this is a great introduction from them to the people of Amsterdam.

The Blackout have been here before, a few times, and the leg work has clearly paid off as the room is rammed by the time they hit the stage. The Blackout have had an incredible year also. Dismissed by some as be all style and little else, they dropped a bomb of an album in Best In Town that laid waste to any such claims. They have also spent the year sharing stages with the likes of N.E.R.D and Linkin Park which has clearly done them well. Their live show was never in question- Gavin and Sean are hugely entertaining frontmen with endless banter to give between songs. The rest of the band are like a unit these days as well, seemingly able to nail down their songs with faultless precision without even breaking a sweat. Another album like the last one and The Blackout could be contending a certain other Welsh led group for their throne as the kings of the UK Alternative scene. Watch this space.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Monday, 16 November 2009

Biffy Clyro @ Brixton Academy

Wow! Biffy overload on the blog today. Sorry, but there was no way this show wasn't getting a mention- it blew my mind. Looking at the stage set up as I walked in, it was obvious the band are out to impress, and impress they did. A towering light show and a truly deafening PA create a monolithic size to tonight's set. Like Muse, this is made all the more exciting by the fact that Biffy Clyro are just 3 men, yet create such an incredible cacophony of noise. But a beuatiful noise it is. As is usual with them, the set takes heavily from last album Puzzle and newie Only Revolutions. This is fine of course, as it means we are treated to a slew of monster tracks that could read like a greatest hits for most other bands- Bubbles, Captain, That Golden Rule, Mountains, Born On A Horse, Saturday Night Superhouse, Get Fucked Stud, Love Has A Diameter... I could go on. Realistically, with that many incredible songs to pick from, this band are never going to be anything short of great. Tonight though they are truly awe-inspiring. And as the huge throng of people pile out into the cold Brixton night, everyone knows they have seen something truly special.

Biffy Clyro- Only Revolutions Album Review.

It's no secret that I adore this band, and so the likelihood of me hating this album was slim, especially as all three singles so far have been belters. All that said, the stakes are high. Previous album was as close to aperfect album as any band in the past 10 years have created, so this one was going to have to be a brain melter, to not fall into the shadow of it's predescessor.

Thankfully, and unsurprisingly, it doesn't. From playful opener "Captain" with it's rocking rhythm and jovial vibe right through to a typically rousing closer in "Whorses", there really isn't a weak track on here.

Single "Mountains" is an obvious standout. It's chorus is in fact the size of mountains and it is with just deserve that it has become the bands most recognised track. Recent single "that golden rule" is less obvious, it's awkwards rhythms, but after a few spins you find more and more to love on it.

For me though the standout tracks on the album come when the band step out of their comfort zone a little. Bubbles is a beautifully simple little pop song, Josh Hommes stamp is all over it. The chorus is as simple as any written, but so infectious it will have you grinning from ear to ear. "Born On A Horse" is equally exciting, riding along on a skittering dance beat that grinds it's way into your brain gloriously. It's odd lyrics also standing out.

So does this top Puzzle? Well, I can't quite decide, but what I can say is that put the two together and Only Revolutions would not get lost. Beautiful and exciting in it's own right, it would appear Biffy have done it again.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Bon Jovi secret show?!

Wow! Let's put this in perspective. I have loved Bon Jovi for years. Fuck, who hasn't?! I've seen them at Wembley Stadium and at Twickenham Stadium. Both shows were amazing. I still have 7 of their albums on my Ipod. Their albums were, and remain, the soundtrack to me growing up. From the copy of New Jersey I bought from an online CD mail order company, to making my work colleagues want to kill me when I played Have A Nice Day for a month straight in the record store I worked it. The thing is, I even like shit Bon Jovi (except Bounce- surely no one likes that album?!)

So if you had told 15 year old that I would get to watch Bon Jovi play infront of roughly 800 people, I would have laughed in your face. This is truly surreal- last time I saw them, they were like ants on a stage with 1,000's of people between us. As brilliant as that spectacle is, tonight is something else. It's like watching a Bon Jovi covers act in a pub, but it's actually them.

Being truthful, the set is pretty dire. Being the promo stunt that it is to push the new album, it's new song heavy, but simply I don't care?! It's Bon Fucking Jovi and they're 10ft away from me. You Give Love A Bad Name sounds massive. An acoustic rundown of Livin On A Prayer is moving, and even recent tracks It's My Life and Lost Highway hit the spot. It really is going to take a lot to top tonight. 15 year old me would be so fucking jealous right now.

3OH!3 @ Electric Ballroom

What can I say about tonight. I went into it with something between utter indifference and straight up contempt for 3oh!3. Their geeky white rap has infuriated me since I first heard them. It's not even what they do or the style of music the play, more that I just don't think they are actually very good at their genre of choice.

Tonight goes someway to proving my previous feelings, but at the same time I find myself entertained and even enjoying the hour set. How?! Well, quite simply, a lot of the charm with this bands comes with the fact that they are not all that good. They are two underwhelming, white guys who in the quaint naffness somehow become charming and a joy to watch. Silly choreographed dance moves and big beats find me laughing and nodding my head. Other people are losing their minds to every song.

So where does it leave me? Well, I don't think I will be putting the record on anytime soon, much less buying it, but given the chance to see them again, I won't be pulling the same faces I did this time around. In fact, I might just go out of my way to be there!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Cancer Bats @ Brixton Academy

I miss the wonderful Canterbury tonight, which I am a little saddened about as their debut album (currently free to download from their myspace- I suggest you do so), is a belter.

Tonight for me is all about Cancer Bats. I love Billy Talent also, but on a Sunday evening I opt for an early one and head after the Bats storm Brixton!

It's an awkward start for the Liam Cormier and co. as guitarist Scobe's guitar fails to kcik in, dragging on their grand entrance. Ever the proffesionals, it is barely noticeable, and as the punishing opening riff of Hail Destroyer spills out, it is all forgotten. What follows is, by any other band sstandards a stormer of a set, but by Cancer Bats', it is merely good. It's by no means their fault as a painfully static audience refuses to respond to Liam's good time baiting banter and the band's monstrous songs. Their loss really as songs such as pneumonia hawk and a massive Lucifers Rocking Chair are undeniably brilliant perfectly combining crushing metal riffs with good time rock and roll vibes. New song Darkness, is a stormer too and bodes well for their iminent third album. It strays little from their tried and tested musical path, but then like AC/DC, why change what is perfect already?!

Fightstar @ Shepherds Bush Empire

Tonight's bill is as eclectic as it comes. It's also nice to see a UK band bringing out and supporting 3 other UK acts (four if you include Deaf Havana that have also been on select dates of this tour).

Prego open the day and go down a treat with a set of empassioned rock that whilst still not perhaps quite holding enough character to see them reach to Fightstar's level of success just yet, but does still display a depth of snogwriting lost on so many other bands around at the moment.

Young Guns need no introductions, as they have spent the last six months building a big name for themselves and tonights showing proves it is deserved, with a almighty wall of death and big songs seeing them warm the crowd up perfectly.

Saving Aimee are just not very good. In fact, maybe that's unfair, they just play music that I can't stand, and judging by the reception they receive, neither can the audience.

Fightstar, however, are on top form. They come out all guns blazing in full halloween garb, and pile through a set of hits that has their adoring crowd in fits. For me it is tracks from their latest album such as "Mercury Summer" and "Englsih Way" that really hit the spot, displaying perfectly where the band should be headed. They've proved their metal cred these days, and so can now just work on creating more songs as achingly brilliant as these.

The set feels short, but only in the best possible way, and as the band leave the stage triumphant after their biggest London show to date, it leaves me feeling very proud of the state of the UK music scene.

I arrive too late to catch opening band, The Friday Night Boys, already picking up a huge buzz in the States, judging by how busy their merch stall is they will be doing the same over here very soon.

The Audition are a band that need no introductions to the UK audience having toured here heavily for years. They've picked up a huge following from these repeated tours and it's displayed in the love they receive tonight. A shame then that the sound is so patchy, making it hard to pick out the brilliantly catchy choruses they are known for. Singer Danny's voice still shines through though and the crowd lap it up.

All Time Low are hot shit in the states. Right now it would appear that only Paramore match them for the adoration they receive from the teen pop punk masses over there. It's certainly starting to build over here too. The venue is utterly rammed, and the reception they receive as they hit the stage is deafening. They are often accused of taking all their cues from Blink 182 and between song banter and way around a catchy 3 minute pop tune could certainly supports this, but honestly they add a level of charm and genuine musical ability that banishes such accusations. Recent single Weightless and earlier hit Dear Maria stand out above all, but honestly there isn't a weak moment throughout their set, and the crowd here know it. Every chorus is sung back at full volume by the young crowd, and with the announcement that the band will be back in January on the Kerrang tour, it's a safe bet that they will be repeating their stateside success on these shores, and justly so!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Thrice - Beggars Album Review

I've been trying to write a review of this album for over a week now, and through repeat listens I'm trying to make my decision on it. Everything about how this album sounds is what I love in a band- overwrought dramatic soundscapes, pummelling riffs and a pained but never whiny voice. There is absolutely no denying the musical competency of all the band and Dustin Kensrue possesses one of the most underrated voices of our time, some thing he displayed perfectly on his country tinged solo album.

All this said, I'm still struggling to find a hook that sticks in my head. Obviously this is not what all albums are about, but I'm not looking for mile wide choruses just those moments of charm that make you go back to a song/album again and again. This separates a good album and a great album to me.

On repeat listens, I'm starting to find them. From the staccato drums that pile in opener, All The World Is Mad, to the subtle plucked guitar line that underpins the verse to The Weight (a song that beautifully explodes in the chorus). Circles is the first song to display Thrice's ability to bring the volume down a few notches and still be able to keep you listening. Wood And Wire and Exile also display the softer side of the band. In the case of In Exile, just when you start to get bored of it, the song breaks into the most incredibly lifting chorus of "whoahs". Definitely a stand out.

Talking Through The Glass/We Move Through Swing Sets feels a little one dimensional and lacks anything that makes it stand out, and after so many soft songs, The Great Exchange leaves me a little cold as well, possessing none of the charm of earlier tracks of the same pace. Closer Beggars however ends the album on a high. Opening softly and slowly building into a monster of a song, it displays Thrice, and Dustin's voice especially, at it's best.

Thrice long since took a step out of the scene that birthed them. Much like Brand New, they've created a niche all of their own, and a sound that is so distinctly theirs. After the epic scope of their previous Alchemy Index releases (2 sets of 2 mini albums) and the fact that they are probably never going to better "Artist In The Ambulance", Beggars was always going to be a tough release. It's a good album without doubt, but perhaps lacking the charm that will see listeners going back to it in years to come.

Monday, 28 September 2009

The Used/We Are The Ocean/Hexes - Gig Review

I arrive at the electric ballroom just in time to catch the last few songs of Hexes set and I'm gutted to have missed the rest if it, as they seem to have grown from a band that perhaps sounded a bit to much like their obvious influences to one that has found a sound of their own. Singer Dan Carter, now with caveman esque beard is an engaging and watchable frontman as he barks his way through their final few songs.

Sadly their joyfully rowdy noise falls on flat ears, as the audience stands static and indifferent. I was hoping they would snap into life for We Are The Ocean, but sadly, this doesn't seem to be the case. Regardless, WATO put on their usually incredible show. This band are so good and it's about time more people realise this. Storming through a set of songs lifted from their upcoming debut album along with a few old favourites, they have managed to move beyond the obvious Alexis elements of their sound and now possess a more aggressive, metallic sound, almost verging on Everytime I Die territory. Singer Dan is, as always, a ball of energy with his trademark whipping of his mic lead. Second singer Liam, meanwhile, surely possesses one of the strongest voices around. An aching croon that it is impossible not to love. A shame the majority of the audience here seem to care so little.

The Used just seem tired. Being honest, I leave early on, but purely cause it saddens me to see a band that I once loved and found exciting fall somewhere between bland and plain bad. Early hits bring out a few glimmers of the vitriolic sets of years gone by, but a babbling Bert McCracken and his wavering voice sees me heading for the door. A great shame.

Pearl Jam - Backspacer Album Review

Man, I have been excited about this album. I've always loved Pearl Jam. Vedder's croon is vocal marmite, but I love it.

Being truthful, they are never going to produce anything quite as monumental as Ten or Vs again. No matter what anyone says, this album, or any of theirs for the past ten years just don't come close, but both those early albums were stone cold musical classics, so fall a few marks short of that still means a great album, and Backspacer is definitely such an album. As Yield and their last self titled effort showed, they have got past the awkward rambling phase of albums such as No Code and Binaural. Which is a good thing, and they now create albums of great rock songs, perhaps not quite as instantly engaging as you might hope, but achingly beautiful on repeat listens.

Opener "Gonna See My Friend" almost sounds like a cut from a Rocket From The Crypt album, rolling in on a rock and roll riff and with a punching chorus. Recent single "The Fixer" is even better, and easily the most instantly hummable song on the album. The truly great tracks on this album, however, lie in the quieter moments. Tracks such as "Just Breathe" and "Unthought Known" possess the lo fi sensitivity that made Eddie Vedder's solo effort for the soundtrack to "Into The Wild" so brilliant. Track six "Amongst The Waves" has more a bit more backbone, but is no less brilliant, with it's rousing chorus and driving solos.

One of the really nice things about Backspacer is that it doesn't overstay it's welcome. A comparatively short album, by the time the aptly titled "The End" gently brings the album to a close you will find yourself hitting the repeat button, and you should, as like all the recent Pearl Jam albums, repeat listens open you up to subtle moments that you missed before. It is these moments that set Backspacer out as a great album and solidify Pearl Jam's place as a truly classic band.

Dizzee Rascal - Tongue N' Cheek Album Review

OK, so we predominately cover Rock and punk esque music on this blog, but I've always been a believer that people shouldn't pigeon hole themselves to a genre or scene. Also, there's a strong argument to put forward for the fact that, regardless of sound, Dizzee Rascal is about as punk rock as anyone else these days. Much like the Prodigy before him, he has manage to capture the rebellious sound and confrontational lyricism of punk rock without picking up a guitar. This albums is self released on his own label, it will no doubt be massive and is a defiant two fingers up to all the majors still struggling to make ends meet now kids are able to download the bands they used to be charged too much for.

All this aside, Tongue In Cheek is, quite simply, an incredible album. From massive hit, and opening song Bonkers with it's incredible looping bassline to the darker edged closer Bad Behaviour, this album is just great fun to listen to. Early single Dance Wiv Me never quite hit the spot for this reviewer when it was released, but on the album it fits perfectly, breaking up the rowdier, less radio friendly tracks, such as the rattling rush of Road Rage. Dizzee definitely possess a way with words, and his playful use of current youth sayings and commentary on many of the hot topics of youth culture make for an album that on repeat listens is as topically interesting as it is initially engaging. Check it out.

Blackhole - Dead Hearts Album Review

Before you check this album out, two things you should know - 1) ignore the baby Gallows accusations. Yes, Frank and Steph's little brother Rick is the singer. No, it does't mean they are a clone. Like Gallows, they share an angry disposition and some of the best riffs anyone has delivered in years, but they have more in common with the likes of Everytime I Die and Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster. They sound like a good time rock and roll band with the mother of all Hangovers.

2) Believe every single bit of good press you have read about them, 'cause it's all true and this album proves it!

Dead Hearts delivers on every level. From the skittering drums that open the adrenaline blast that is opening track Don't Cry, to the monstrous chorus of Scared To Change, these songs are monolithic pissed off beast and they are awesome. In the best possible way they make you want to punch the person nearest you in the face.

Two things really stand out on this album. Firstly, Rick's voice. He is in possesion of the most incredible of gutteral howls that belies his age and the fact he doesn't smoke. His range is also impressive, making every scream seem effortless and in no way force.

The other thing that stands out is the riffs! Fuck me, the riffs, and the solo's! They sound like they are played by giants with skyscrapers for speaker stacks. I can't remember the last time I heard an album with so many riffs that left me grinning from ear to ear.

This album is massive and deserves to be recognised. It would be a crying shame for it to get lost in the mix of sub standard UK metal acts around right now. So pick up a copy, tell your friends and spread the word.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

The Vans Warped Tour 2009 Hits Vancouver

Ticket, check. Money, check. Water, check. Camera, check. Most importantly, Sharpie, check! And i’m getting a bus in a city i’ve known for half a day. I get to 41st street where I have to change buses, the bus behind throws up a selection of emo kids and tattooed punks. Follow the crowd i say. Upon arrival, bus upon bus empties the growing crowd. The road was decorated with coaches and vans.

Walking up the never ending queue i ran to the end before this loser got there first who is actually a really good friend now. A band called red city burning played for too excited to notice people in the queue. Signs read, no umbrellas, thank god I’m not in England then though the clouds were currently looming over us. No water. My Mcdonalds purchase was downed, well almost. Canadian water. So sweet I’d be glad to get rid of it. Wandered into the venue and just went straight for the mass of people crowding round a guy with a sparkly bum bag (which kind of looked like a Pokemon) was selling the schedule.

Friday, 11 September 2009

The Hold Steady At O2 Academy Islington

After last nights You Me At Six show left me feeling like a pensioner, tonights audience are so old I feel like a spring chicken! Sadly, the audience appears to be exceptionally tall as well as old!

Despite this, there is no way tonight is gonna be anything short of amazing. Quite simply, The Hold Steady don't play bad Shows! Tonight's setlist does fall a little short of perfect as the band drop a healthy does of new songs and obscure covers. The shocking omission of Chips Ahoy and Southtown Girls from their set is also nothing short of criminal! Regardless, the band still have the entire audience in the palm of their hands for the hour and a half they are onstage, and despite the already mentioned missing tunes, they still play an obscene amount of classic Hold Steady songs. From Party Pit to Stay Positive, there is a simple sense that this band can do no wrong. And as singer Craig closes their final song with his well versed mantra about what they do bringing so much joy there is palpable sense of celebration in the air.

Every time I see this band, it makes me want to play them to every person I meet who has never heard of them! So if you are such a person, go and buy Boys And Girls Of America and Stay Positive. If you don't love those albums, you have cocks for ears!

You Me At Six At The Underworld

Nights like tonight always make me feel old. Bar the industry bods milling around, there is surely no one over the age of 18 here! This ridiculously young audience is matched by the young age of the bands playing. Headliners You Me At Six have grown from the perrenial support band for every US pop punk bands to headliners in their own right. It's clear they have been paying attention to those bands as their set shows healthy doses of influence from the likes of The Audition and Fall Out Boy.

First up though are Southampton based Not Advised. They've been picking up some attention of late, but don't be fooled as the have been doing the rounds for a while and it shows in their rock solid performance and strong songs. They are only let down by their undeniable apeing of their US peers, right down to the accents. A shame as the strength of their songs holds promise.

The same argument could easily be levelled at tonights headliners, and perhaps a year ago it would have been justified. You Me At Six have grown up a lot in a year though and their songs and sound now sounds distinctly their own. As the band tear through a set mostly culled from their catchy as fuck debut album, the adoring masses lap up every second and scream back the words to every chorus. New songs such as Kiss And Tell suggest a slightly more considered sound whilst no less catchy. There is hysteria as the band drop their cover of Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" which is unsurprising, but truthfully this is a band that no longer needs to rely on covers as they now possess a strength of performance and collection of songs that should see them lay waste to the competition. I have a sneaking suspicion that they may well be the band of 2010 if they can deliver a stonking second album.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

The Blackout - New Video Shoot

Last Saturday I headed down to Islington Academy at noon to take part in The Blackout's video shoot for their new single, ..this is why we cant have nice things. Essentially a live video, it saw 560 kids pile into the venue to act as a rabid audience for the video. The minute the band took to the stage they were met with deafening screams from the throng of kids, and despite the repeated run throughs of the track their enthusiasm didn't wane for a second.

The video also featured an appearance from You Me At Six frontman Josh, wh features on the track, not to mention a rowdy finale that sees members of Kids In Glass Houses, We Are The Ocean and Young Guns taking to the stage also (Laurent from Gallows arrived just too late to make the shoot!)

The real icing on the cake for the ammassed fans was when the band decided to treat them to a frantic five song set by way of a thankyou. The songs, largely taken from the bands latest album, Best In Town, sounded huge. The crowd also sounded massive, even though they were a fraction of the size the band would usually have at a London show! Just can't wait to see the video now!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Reading: A Review

Reading Day 1:

After arriving back from Prophets at 6am, I end up sleeping in and so do not get to Reading until the late afternoon. A wander around the guest area holds me back even longer, but I finally get into the main area to catch the ever wonderful Alexisonfire on the Lock Up Stage. Playing their second set of the day after an earlier stint on the main stage, the band plough through a rip roaring set that sees them on the best form I have ever seen them. There is something different about them today, a tangible sense of aggression and danger really sets this show off. Singer George seems intent on destroying himself and anything else around him, from stamping around the stage to bending the mic stand around his shoulders. Incredible.

On our way over to Faith No More we catch a bit of Kings Of Leon. They're an incredible band but for me, they never quite hit the spot live. Their songs are great, but there is very little in the way of a visual experience. They are not the kind of band to incorporate a huge live show, and so it is very much a case of watching four beardy men work their way through some really great songs. This kind of makes their set feel a little unimportant. Great songs though.

After a few songs we leave the main stage and take a trip to the NME/Radio 1 stage to catch Faith No More. Within seconds it becomes clear that this is going to be the set of the weekend, and quite possibly of the year. Mike Patton is clearly on good form, playing with the crowd, teasing them and tutoring them to sing harmonies. Twice the band drop into a short rendition of the "Eastenders" theme tune to hilarious effect. There is no other band like them and no one that incorporates a truly exceptional display of musicianship with a very dark, wry sense of humour. Their set at Download was exciting, but it left me a little stilted as they veered away from a crwod pleasing selection of songs. Tonight however, they tear through a set that sees hit after hit rolled out to the great glee of the audience. The sound is perfect and their performance effortlessly brilliant, Patton's voice at times leaving the entire audience in awe.

Reading Day 2:

Enter Shikari are the first band we catch today. Playing the main stage to an already busy crowd, it's a stunner of a set. I've always felt that Shikari have the ability to either play jaw droppingly brilliant sets or ones that can often fall short of the mark. There is no middle ground, and I guess I find this genuinely exciting. Today is a incredible though, from the minute they hit the stage they tear through a set split equally from both of their brilliant albums. The crowd react suitably crazily, throwing up huge dust clouds as they circle pit and mosh throughout the entire set!

Set Your Goals are on the Lock Up Stage next. Despite a mix that pretty much consists of vocals and drums, the band still manage to play a blinder of a set. Weighed heavily towards their recent second album, their songs are so instantly singable and their delivery so excitably likeable that it is impossible not to love them. Just a shame the sound didn't possess that bit more of a crunch in the guitar department.

You Me At Six are my next stop as they play to a huge crowd on the Radio 1 stage. They have grown as a band immensely over the last 12 months and it certainly shows as they appear entirely confident and comfortable as they woo this huge crowd. It always worry's me though when the biggest response a band gets is for a cover (in this case, Lady Gaga's Poker Face). Their new songs are a huge step up from anything from the Take Off Your Colours debut, and it bodes well for album number two. It's a shame the band feel the need to drop in mini break downs and "metal" moments into their songs. It comes across a little forced. They would just be better playing to their strengths - writing incredibly catchy pop songs- rather than worrying about gaining cred from the rock world.

After a bite to eat, I catch the last half of The Bronx's set. If ever there was a band that you can rely on to impress live, it's The Bronx. They always put on a no frills, white knuckled rock and roll ride of a show, and today is no exception. Singer Matt leading the crowd through their set like a deranged pastor leading his congregation. It is a shame the crowd is so small- a sad indication that not enough people have caught onto the sheer genius of this band.

Bring Me The Horizon's set is sheer carnage. Even before the band take to the stage, there is the pushing and barging of kids trying to get closer to the scenesters biggest hero. When the band take to the stage, it is with an explosion of energy unlike anything else we have seen this day. It is very clear that BMTH are out to impress today, and they do just that. Circle pits are opened up, a wall of death is called upon and there is a sense of excitement and buzz around the set that is not seen anywhere else this weekend.

The Blackout close the night for us, and after such a fervent set on this stage from BMTH before them, they certainly have a challenge on their hands. Their crowd is slightly smaller, but no less excited, and The Blackout are certainly not about to be upstaged. The perfect blend of their anthemic songs and witty onstage banter sees them deliver a set of near perfection. Each song played sounds huge and every chorus is sung back to them with glee from the audience. It's a great end to a great day.

Reading Day 3:

We're up early this morning to catch our friends in Kids In Glass Houses open up the main stage. After their disappointing set with NFG the other day, it is great to see them back on form today. The sound is not amazing as the midday winds blow it from left to right meaning Aled's vocals are almost entirely lost in this mix. This doesn't stop them from playing their hearts out to a surprisingly busy and vocal crowd for this time of the day. New song Sunshine, once again proves to be a the highlight of the set with its massive chorus reminiscent of Feeder back when they knew how to write a rock song!

Lethal Bizzle astounds us today. Always entertaining, he pulls the biggest crowd we have seen all weekend to the Radio 1 stage and gives a performace that shows he is worthy of all the press and hype he gets. The crowd are clearly in the palm of his hand as he rips through his set which includes a couple of new songs that suggest that album number 3 should be a bit of a belter!

Brand New are a band known for being awkward. Their main stage set and the recently announced Wembley show suggests they are ready to play ball a little more and ready to embark on a slightly more commercial period in their career. Today however, suggests it's not all going to be plain sailing and big choruses. The band's set weighs heavily on their awkward (but utterly brilliant) "Devil And God..." album. Despite a great performance it leaves the crowd slightly glum, who were undoubtedly hoping for a few more tracks from their far more accessible Deja Entendu album.

The Gaslight Anthem should be playing the show of their lives today. If any band have had a dream-like year in 2009, it is they. This time last year, they were early on at the Lock Up Stage. Only those in the know were down to see them as the rest of the Festival carried on about their day. This year they are in the cavernous Radio 1 stage which is bustling with punters eager to catch sight of New Jersey's biggest export in recent years. Their set is tight and the songs are there, but something is lacking. Perhaps the fact that I've heard their underdog story before or simply that as great as their songs are, their sound is so unique it does limit variation over a 50 minute set.

Our last set of the weekend comes courtesy of the never boring Gallows. Despite this being a 6/10 set from a band that usually tear anywhere they play a new arsehole, the funny thing is that the usually volatile Frank Carter seems in a surprisingly chipper mood! He's obviously excited to be back in the UK and very happy to be at Reading Festival as he cracks jokes between songs instead of getting into the crowd. The fact that their set today leaves me wanting more is not the sign of a bad show just the fact that this band are so good that a set where they incite a circle pit around a huge sound desk and end the show with 6 people drumming the same military beat as Frank sets fire to his Grey Britain flag is simply average compared to their usual insanity fueled sets.

The Lostprophets Tour 2009

For three days this week I have been out on the road with Lostprophets. Jumping in the Young Guns van on Tuesday morning, we make our way up to Manchester, with Jurassic Park playing on the tv's in the van. When we arrive at the Manchester academy, the site of the venue blows our minds. A giant cavernous room, the guys in Young Guns are visibly in awe of the prospect of todays show. Lostprophets however, roll through the motions of soundchecks like the consumate professionals they are.

Young Guns take to the stage a mere 15 minute after the doors have opened, but it appears they have risen to the challenge. Tearing into opener Dean On Arrival, it's clear they are on form. A short set sees them warm the crowd up perfectly.

Next up are The Dead Formats, who are a brilliant band, but sadly stick out a bit on this bill. Playing music far closer to what Lostprophets probably listen to than the music they play. As a result, they are met with a less than supportive crowd who display there displeasure vocally. This is sad as, despite some technical issues, they really are a great band.

Lostprophets take to the stage to a deafening cheer from the crowd. The venue is hotter than a sauna. Opening with a new song that is sadly lost in a wall of noise, they proceed to plough through an hour and a half set of classics along with four new songs. Of the new songs, a slower number, with a epic chorus stands out the most. They close with a pounding one two of "Shinobi vs. Dragon Ninja" and "Burn Burn". Whilst clearly showing a bit of rust having not played for a year, they make it plainly obvious they are back.

Day two sees us at the Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall, a huge a beautiful venue. Dead Formats open tonight and it's a billing that works a lot better as they go down far better than the night before. Tonight sees Young Guns play the best set I have ever seen them play. The crowd are in the palm of Singer Gus' hand as he gets the clapping, bouncing and singing along en masse!

Lostprophets play an absolute stormer tonight, clearly haven shaken off any of the rust they showed yesterday. Their set is similar to the one they played the night before, though giving a little more room to their earlier material. Opening with "everyday Combat" definitely sees them playing a much more exciting set than the night before. The arrival of members of Kids In Glass Houses and The Blackout to the stage for a rowdy run through of Burn Burn sees them close the set on a perfect high.

Thursday sees us in Newport for something of a hometown show for Prophets. The venue is an odd one- the hall of a leisure centre where most of the audience are seated.

Tonight once again Dead Formats open the show and again the response is great. They really are an awesome band, and probably the sharpest dressed band around. Check them out.

Young Guns are once again on form tonight. Their sound is perfect, and again the crowd lap it up.

Tonight is all about Prophets though. From the opening song to their staple closer Burn Burn, they have their hometown crowd lapping up every note they play. filming for a video, they pull out all the stops, and it pays off. It's an incredible end to a great three shows. Roll on Reading!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

This City - Free Song Download

I could wax lyrical about This City & tell you how I remember standing outside their practice studio in Brighton thinking to myself big things would surely happen to these guys, it would appear I wasn't wrong.

I'll spare you the details & cut to the chase though, they've recently signed to Epitaph (huge congratulations guys!) & after playing festivals in Austria & Belgium late August they embark on a UK tour 18th September with the Xcerts. EBTM will be giving away free tickets to see them play 02 Academy in Birmingham, October so keep an eye on this blog for further details!

Celebrating the launch of their debut album "We Were Like Sharks", Epitaph & This City are offering everyone this free download of their storming song "With Loaded Guns" Be sure to click the link, turn the damn volume up & let us know what you think. Enjoy!!

Thanks guys, we'll catch up with you on tour!!

Monday, 17 August 2009

H20 @ The Underworld - Review

I love a good hardcore show, and tonights performance has all the hallmarks of one. H2O are one of the longest running and most respected hardcore bands around. Running a slightly more melodic edge than many of their NYHC friends, they bring a healthy dose of hooks and positivity alongside the crunch and breakdowns you'd expect.

Playing a mix of tracks from their lenghty discography, the nicest thing about tonight is the brevity of the set. Often bands with such a big back catalogue feel the need to play gigs that sprawl out for an hour or more, so it's a pleasant change tonight to have a 45min set that is packed with energy and singalongs. A typically too cool london crowd is roused by two fans getting onstage for a wedding proposal and the appearance of Napalm Death's Barney Greenway for a frantic run through Nazi Punks Fuck Off. From then on, the crowd is in the bands hand, and a sea of stage dives is met with deafening chanting as the entire audience joins in on gang vocals that have influenced more bands than I could possibly name.

Words - Whispering Eye

Friday, 14 August 2009

Upcoming Tours

So beyond Reading Festival, there are a bunch of exciting tours happening in the Autumn. Here's a few we're looking forward to especially-

1) Eastpak Antidote tour- Alexisonfire, Anti Flag, Four Year Strong and The Ghost Of A Thousand. I was bummed when Fall Of Troy pulled out of this, but FYS replacing them more than made up for it. Alexis have just released their best album yet, Anti Flag are always fun and TGOAT are probably the most exciting live band in the UK right now. (Keep an eye on the Antidote tour, we're about to announce some amazing news with EBTM'S involvement on this!!)

2) All Time Low/The Audition- Whilst All Time Low's new album wasn't quite the pop punk gem I hoped it would be (weightless is still one of the best singles of recent times), there's no doubt that these guys will nail it live. The Audition are always fun too, and undoubtedly whoever else joins the bill, it's going to be a night of pop punk fun!

3) Bring Me The Horizon/A Day To Remember/August Burns Red- Wow! Now that is a killer bill. BMTH silenced all critics with their Suicide Season album and they have been destroying it live around the globe since. A Day To Remember have to be the scene band of the moment, and August Burns Red are one of the only metal/hardcore bands worth giving a fuck about right now!

4) The Xcerts/This City- dual headline tour from two of the best bands in the UK right now. Check them both out, they're ace!

5) Gallows/Sharks- None more British tour. Gallows are, in my eyes, the best live band on this planet and Sharks are really making a name for themselves. This will be a chaotic little tour that will undoubtedly be full of tension, stories, circle pits and good times. Don't miss out.

Also check out- Fightstar (October), Attack! Attack! (September), Twin Atlantic (Sept/Oct), Funeral For A Friend (Oct), Architects (Oct/Nov), The Used/We Are The Ocean (September).

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Riverboat Gamblers - Interview the Band!!!

Underneath the Owl is the Riverboat Gamblers’ fourth full-length album. Those intimate with the Gamblers’ previous output will hear the garage DIY scrap and brawl of their self-titled first record, the balls-out rock backbone of Something to Crow About, and the personalized pop apocalypse of To the Confusion of Our Enemies. Worry not. Your needs will be met. All of them. There is a xylophone and it’s okay!!

The Gamblers share rock’n’roll that helps people forget what a fucktard their boss is and the ways aplenty the world attacks absolutely. They help their fans lose themselves, if even just until the last bit of sweat evaporates from a soaked shirt, even for just the length of Underneath the Owl’s eleven tracks.

Some folks got church. Some got cooking classes or weight lifting. The Gamblers, a collaborative democracy of a band have themselves and you need them to. Our good friends at Volcom Entertainment (the Gamblers record label) have kindly offered this amazing competition exclusively to EBTM customers, one lucky winner & a friend will get to meet the guys, interview them & have a photoshoot with EBTM's very own professional photographer!

The guys are currently destroying stages on a world tour & will be gracing our shores at Reading/Leeds festivals. Between these two dates, they'll be playing a smaller, more raucous set at the Freebutt, Brighton on August 29th. It's at this venue our lucky winner will get to meet & interview the Gamblers.

To be in with a chance of winning you just need to answer this simple question, what record label are the Gamblers signed to? Please follow the comps' link below, title your email Riverboat Gamblers & include your answer, name, age & contact telephone number.

- Please note, due to age restrictions at the venue, our winner MUST be age 18 or over & provide their own transport to & from the venue (Freebutt, Brighton Aug' 29th)
- By entering this competition, you are agreeing to enter our email newsletter.
- All information provided will be safeguarded.

- Band photo courtesy of Gary Copeland

Catch Riverboat Gamblers on tour at the following European venues:
13 Aug - Oya Festival Medieval Park ,Oslo
15 Aug - Sputnik Halle, Muenster, Nordrhein-Westfalen
16 Aug - Chez Heinz, Hanover
17 Aug - Fear & Fury Festival, Essen
18 Aug - 59:1, Munich
19 Aug - Chelsea, Vienna
20 Aug - Dynamo, Zurich
21 Aug - Zwolfsehn, Stuttgart
22 Aug - Highfield Open Air Festival, Erfurt
23 Aug - Tommyhaus, Berlin
25 Aug - Molotow, Hamburg
26 Aug - Melkweg w/BOUNCING SOULS, Amsterdam
27 Aug - Underground W/BOUNCING SOULS, Cologne
28 Aug - Reading Festival, UK
29 Aug - Freebutt, Brighton
30 Aug - Leeds Festival, UK
1 Sep - Cafe de le Peche w/BOUNCING SOULS, Paris
2 Sep - Entrepotw/BOUNCING SOULS, Brugge
3 Sep - Groningen

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Madina Lake - Single Release & Competition!!!

Kerrang! Award Nominees MADINA LAKE released their new single LET’S GET OUTTA HERE this week and announced they will be returning to the UK after their Reading/Leeds festival appearance as special guests to Papa Roach on their upcoming UK tour!

In celebration the guys have given us some goodie bags to give away, each containing a poster, sticker, badge, phone charm and copy of the current album Attics To Eden!!

Check out the video to the new single in the player below and you can also go behind the scenes of the shoot, which took place right here in the UK.



Pick up the new single now...

Madina Lake - Let's Get Outta Here - Single

We have 5 of these goody bags to give away and to be in with a chance of winning simply follow the comps link below, title your email Madina Lake & please leave your name, age & contact telephone number. Nice & simple, we're not even asking you a question this time!!

- Please note, by entering this competition you are agreeing to enter our email newsletter.
- All information will be safeguarded.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Cheer Up! Clothing - Win A Signed Goody Bag!!!

To coincide with the arrival & launch of Cheer Up! Clothing at EBTM we decided to catch up with the guys responsible, Matt Barnes (You Me At Six) and Edward Thomas (Me And The Moon). This sweat-shop free brand combines top quality design and great music and is worn throughout by Hit The Lights, You Me At Six, The Spill Canvas, We Are The Ocean, My American Heart & More!!

The guys have also kindly offered a bundle of goodies to give away to one lucky winner (includes Cheer Up! Hoody, Tee, signed You Me At 6 poster & album). Great stuff, just read through the interview & answer the question at the end, nice & easy :)

Why Fashion and not something else? - Matt
We believe music and fashion go perfectly together. We really try to associate Cheer Up! with music we love and listen to ourselves. Being in bands ourselves, we are essentially the customer so we really feel we know how to appeal to the market perfectly.

How did it all start? Did you have a mega small budget? - Ed
We started the company on a budget of £500. Myself and Matt chipped in £250 each and decided thats all that we could afford. Being such good friends we had always spoken about running some sort of company with one another. Managing a clothing company is something we knew we would be good at so we went with it!

Did you / do you hold down other jobs? - Ed
We both try and give the company as much time as possible. We are both in bands and that alone is time consuming. As we spend so much of our free time together we find our selves working on the company even on a night out. We really do take Cheer Up seriously and consider it our 'Job' alongside from the music.

How Important is the internet to the success of the company? - Matt
Being a online based company that delivers means that anyone, anywhere can get hold of your products. We are able to talk to our customers, find out what they want and just connect with them. It makes things so much easier and really helps things along. Without the internet we would have had to go down a very different route, so as it stands, the internet is very important to the success of Cheer Up!

Most extravagant purchase since making it big in the clothing industry ? - Matt
I have bought the entire collection of Steven Segal DVDs and Ed is saving up for a bed. Exciting stuff!

Ok, so here's all you need to do to be in with a chance of winning the Cheer Up! Clothing & You Me At 6 signed goodies, just tell us the names of the two guys responsible for creating Cheer Up! Clothing. Just follow the competition link below, title your email Cheer Up! and leave your answer, age & contact telephone number.

- Please note, by entering this you are agreeing to enter our email newsletter.
- All information provided will be safeguarded.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Win - Spy Catcher Party Pack!!!

Spy Catcher were let loose in January '09 and write songs that party as hard as they tug on your blackened heart strings. Within a fortnight of it's inception, 'Music That My Dad Likes' received Radio 1 Unsigned Track Of The Week and featured in Kerrang's 'Ten Songs You Should Hear Now'.

Since instantly selling out of their sought after demos, Spy Catcher have self produced their debut release. ‘We wanted to have control over this record and make it sound like us – no gimmicks or studio magic, it’s live, loud and honest.’ Their live shows are played as if each is their last and simply confirm the sincerity that can be heard on record.

If you haven't already heard this band, now's the! Spy Catcher embark on their UK tour August 5th & debut EP "Rock Is Cursed" drops shortly after on August 10th. To celebrate this release, the guys have kindly put up for grabs their very own Party Pack...

To be in with a chance of winning the Party Pack (includes signed EP, "Dentist" T'Shirt, Smokes poster) just send us an email titled Spy Catcher to the link below. Please add your name, age & contact telephone number. Nice & easy!!

- Please note, by entering this competition you are agreeing to enter our email newsletter.
- All information supplied will be safeguarded.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Fightstar - Interview/2000 Trees Festival Review

EBTM were really looking forward to 2000 Trees Festival. We were gonna make a real weekend of it, grab the tents, our girlfriends, some nice bottles of wine and go and lie in the mid July sun listening to a great selection of up and coming bands and more established names in an idyllic setting at one of the UK’s more intimate festivals – all topped off by hanging out with our competition winner Lauren and interviewing Fightstar.

Until God decided to unleash two days of apocalyptic weather on the UK and Snoop Blog contracted swine flu. Festival season and a Great British summer? More like the Ten Plagues Of Egypt……..Not to be deterred I gathered up our in house photographer Alex, kissed goodbye to not so stoic girlfriend and the nice bottles of wine and we were off up the M5 / Moses Parting Of The Seas.

Arriving much later than planned God finally showed some pity and for the rest of the day not a drop of rain fell. Unfortunately, not soon enough to stop the site being extremely muddy and looking a little forlorn. Not that it was going to stop anyone from having a good time as smiley faces and the blitz spirit were in abundance as was the fancy dress competition which totally confused our slightly hungover roving reporter. There is nothing quite like spending ten minutes trying to get your bearings in a mudbath just outside of Cheltenham whilst watching The Cat In The Hat dance around with Fred Flintstone and three Where’s Wally’s all drinking cider. It makes you feel proud to live here, it really does.

As if that wasn’t all confusing enough the first band we saw were Rolo Tomassi (told you we were late). Disarmingly young, full of confidence and energy, they were the perfect start to what was becoming an increasingly surreal day. It was hard to decide what was more confusing – the ridiculously opposing set of genres clashing together to create a wonderful mish mash wall of noise or the sight of the cute, diminutive female lead singer screaming pure hardcore from the bottom of her belly like no-one we have witnessed in a while. There are a plethora of quotes trying to explain this bands sound but our favourite and most accurate possibly is ‘bat-shit mental’. It sounds like it shouldn’t work anywhere, especially a wet afternoon in a field in the middle of nowhere but in a crazy way it did and the crowd lapped it up.

Just as the sheer ridiculousness of the day started to take over a ray of sanity and decorum arrived in the shape of our competition winner, Lauren. A bright and lovely lady that spent the rest of the day being generally cheerful and eventually organising EBTM around a very enjoyable evening.

After a quick break for medicinal cider and making acquaintances the next band were up. The 2000 Trees programme describes Amplifier as their favourite band, going as far as saying it ‘luuuurves Amplifier’. That’s right – four u’s. The highest of praise surely. They didn’t disappoint, doing exactly what they do best, banging out track after track of pure riff laden rock whilst half the crowd sang along to every word. They weren’t EBTM’s favourite act of the day but they performed live at a standard that was set when Kerrang! awarded them a 5K review on release of their first album in 2004. On this performance they haven’t lost anything since. Big sound, happy crowd, lots of luuuurve.

After more medicinal cider the next band were up. Definitely our favourite of the day, The King Blues were awesome. Anyone who hasn’t witnessed their unrivalled blend of acoustic punk and ska needs to. Now. Jonny Fox aka Itch could be the most charismatic frontman in UK music right now. No shit. They killed it. Check their MySpace and get to a gig. Nuff said.

Finally, the big moment arrived when EBTM and Lauren got to hang out in the backstage VIP area (a portacabin right behind the stage) with Fightstar. Here’s the transcript of the interview from our intrepid (and very competent) music journalist……………

Lauren - 3 albums in 3yrs, pretty impressive going...are you guys happy with how things have progressed for you?

Fightstar – Yeah…………I think we’re most happy with the last album we did. I think it’s our most ambitious work to date, probably our favourite record so far. It’s been a whirlwind past four or five years, to be honest. We are happier now than we have ever been as a band, creatively and personally.

Lauren - "Be Human" (released early 09) has received great reviews, how do you feel about the there a particular song on there you’re most proud of?

Fightstar – War Machine followed by Chemical Blood – we love the string element to that song - plus the last track Follow Me To The Darkness. Gimme The Sky definitely deserves a mention too…..

Lauren - Switching labels seems to have given you more freedom, how do you guys feel about moving to the Search & Destroy label?

Fightstar – Search & Destroy is good, it’s a joint venture between us and the management. It’s cool, we get to make our own decisions and it’s a bit more relaxed. In the past we had to ask for cheques to be signed off and we just sign them off ourselves now. It’s allowed us a whole new level of freedom with regards to the music and running our own band the way we want to run it. It’s nice to not have to answer to anyone else. It’s good to have the responsibility. With responsibility comes focus.

Lauren - You played Download last month, how was that experience in comparison to the last few years had a great reception from the crowd….

Fightstar – Download was the best festival we have ever done. The crowd were awesome and the sun was shining, got to listen to some Down afterwards which was awesome. Omar was there for the whole weekend and said ‘It was the best Download ever, music wise and partying wise – not much more I can tell you apart from that!’

Lauren - Are there festivals you haven't played yet but would like to be on the bill for?

Fightstar – Reading and Leeds were the ones we wanted to play when we were younger and we’re playing them this summer. I think we might be the wrong kind of band for Glastonbury. Although, it would be a good one to do one day.

Lauren - What are the bands you've most enjoyed playing with?

Fightstar – Had a lot of fun touring with Funeral. Did a massive tour of Australia, America and Japan with them. Really cool guys and nice to be on tour with them. Also, Reuben, rest in peace, one of the best British bands ever. Not together anymore, unfortunately, but great to tour with.

Lauren - Any funny or embarrassing stories about these bands you can share?

Fightstar – One day we were on tour in Australia when we met Gareth from Funeral after he had drunk a whole bottle of Ranch Dressing, we offered him $10 each and there were twenty of us in the room, he drank the whole thing and mopped his lips with the $200 he had just won.

Lauren - On that subject, any embarrassing stories about each other?

Fightstar – Nothing about each other we can share (lots of giggling and talk of one of the band upside down in a hot tub that EBTM doesn’t catch over the laughter).

Lauren - When on tour, which of you has the most annoying habits?!

Fightstar – More laughter and then finger pointing!
‘Omar snores really loud’.‘Charlies feet stink’.As a band we’re pretty much like an animal pit. It’s like an unclean zoo.

Lauren - Your fans are clearly very important to you, but what's the weirdest thing anyone's done to/for you?

Fightstar – The coolest thing we saw was the other day a guy came to the show and had all our artwork tattooed over his arms, the EP all the way down his back. We asked him where he was gonna put the cow and he said his chest or something!

Lauren - What are your plans for between festivals this summer, writing more tunes or you taking time away to relax?

Fighstar – Firstly, we are going to write some new songs and re-package the album for October alongside the UK tour. That’s an exclusive! (an argument ensues about whether that is an exclusive and whether they should have mentioned it).

Lauren – If you could duet with any other artist who would it be?

Fightstar – Tough one………Chico? Beethoven? Louis Vega?.....................

So. That was the interview with Fightstar and not only did our competition winner hold her own with one of the nicest bands in rock but she got an exclusive!
About five minutes later Fightstar were on the stage thrashing out their awesome new album to a crowd of devout followers that sing along to every word (apart from the youngest moshpit we have ever seen). From where we were stood – about two feet to the side of Omar on stage – they totally killed it. Great interview and a truly awesome set from a band that goes from strength to strength. The perfect end to a day that started off far from perfect.
Thanks to Lauren, Fightstar and 2000 Trees for a proper good day out.

Whiney Crackhouse - Words
Alex Shore - Photos