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!