James Leese

Four Year Strong – Some Of You Will Like This // Some Of You Won’t – REVIEW

Hailing from New England the Punk Rockers Four Year Strong are set to release their new record on the 8th of September. The record which is titled Some Of You Will Like This // Some Of You Won’t is set to be a great release with the band playing some of their old songs in new compositions or unplugged and also dropping a few new cuts at the same time. But without further ado let’s break down this new Four Year Strong release.

It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now kick starts this new record. It is a song everyone knows and is possibly FYS’ most recognizable song, but on this record and with its reimagination the song finds a new lease of life with a very beautiful and haunting musical composition that adds a new dimension to the track. Alongside this, the re-work just shows what is in-store for the rest of this record, from the beautiful vocal performances to the well-orchestrated instrumentation it is clear that FYS on this record, are setting out to please with this unplugged rarities album. All together this opening track is a beautiful redesign which opens up the album in a clear and strong way.

following on from this album opener is a duo of tracks which is fronted by Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die. The simple acoustic rendition of this song allows for the vocal performances to come to the foreground and display the ability that Alan Day and Dan O’Connor have. Although the instrumentation is far simpler than the songs original makeup there doesn’t seem to be any loss of quality in between the two very different versions of this song, with each word being just as powerful as they once had been and the new instrumentation allowing for some further internal meaning.

The second half of this duo is Go Down In History; A song which shows FYS taking a different approach to this notion of re-imagining a track, as in this the band find themselves adding in these brief moments of electronic instrumentation. Alongside this, the band switch out from the acoustic to add in this fuller and well toned electric which exists for the most part of the track. Again, as with the first two tracks and any other cuts off of this record the vocal performances are the main thing to keep an eye out for on this song, as with Four Year Strong taking a far more relaxed approach to the vocals they are able to showcase some beautifully crafted vocal melodies whilst also being able to fall back into the rougher vocal performances that they are known for

Following on from this duo is the a trio of tracks which starts with We All Float Down Here. A track which exists as far more than just a simple reimagining of the track that first came on their S/T (Self-Titled) from 2015, as the rendition of the track on this record feels like it is almost a step up from the bands original composition, especially when the band take a step away from the breakdown to focus more on to a country influenced solo.

The second part of this trio is Nice To Know which is not only the first full band song but is also the first new track on the record. The track moves along at a very steady pace with well-orchestrated instrumentation and well-toned guitars which are almost the center piece of the track. At the same time, the band start to mix in some electronic drums and instrumentation. This track is a great addition to the record as the overall composition of the song flows well with the album and what has come before it, but also shows the bands ability to create a cohesive track in and amongst some of their best cuts. The final part of this cut is Who Cares? which is a great unplugged rendition of a song of their 2015 s/t record whose tempo is slightly slower than thre original but also allows for more clarity vocally than what many may be used to from the full band version that sat upon the bands last album.

Let Me Down is another new track that is situated upon Some Of You May Like This…. Musically this track is interesting as it yet again explores more dynamics that the band has shown that they are able to do before. Specifically in this, however, FYS are almost exploring some Alt-Rock ideas whilst sticking to their iconic sound vocally. Overall this song is possibly the best of the new songs that exist on this record as even though the instrumentation feels simple at times none of it is wasted. Everything has a specific purpose.

Following on from the second original track is Stuck In The Middle and so happens to be one of the closest fully unplugged songs that exists on the record. However, even then the change to acoustic forces the band to alter things up, still showing some form of country exploration, which although at first feels odd completely compliments the track and showcases the bands musical ability as the song powers through to the end. Accompanying this is Abandon Ship, which is not only a stripped back version of the title of the song, but also of the song itself. Boiling it down to this very simple and beautifully constructed acoustic track which in a way almost takes on a ballad feeling. Having said that this is unfortunately the weakest track on the record. Even though this by no means is a bad track, as the band explore even more of these country ideas with this waning guitar that occassionaly features in the track as FYS’ vocalists croon on top.

Your Ego Is Writing Checks Your Body Can’t Cash is a song which has existed since the bands EP titled Demo 2006 and despite some slightly higher production the track hasn’t changed all that much. Having said that the instrumentation on this song is beautifully orchestrated which again allows for these chilling vocal melodies to take a hold of the song.  This Summer Session is a similar track which finds its beginnings in the early part of FYS’ discography.

For Our Father’s rounds off what is a spectacular journey through Four Year Strong reimagining tracks and displaying new songs such as this one. For Our Father’s is a powerful and beautifully crafted closer to this record. This song is a haunting cut which sends chills down the spine from the vocal performances which stick in the mind long after this record finishes.

Overall, Some Of You Will Like This // Some Of You Won’t from Four Year Strong has little to no flaws, with them looking back at some of their best songs and them producing three new cuts which are second to none. Four Year Strong do not once drop the ball on this record displaying their ability to create songs out of their normal area of expertise but doing so with finesse. This record is definetly one to check out if you still are or have ever been a fan of the band as there is little to not be loved, from the beautiful vocal performances to the tight and well written instrumentation this album is a joy. [8.5/10]

INTERVIEW – Witterquick

Following on from our review of Witterquick’s New EP Fire and Ice  we got chance to ask the bands bassist Ollie Chanter some questions about this release among other things, here is what he had to say about what we asked him.

What was the overall process for writing this release?
There wasn’t a formal start for most of them, they all came about in different ways. ‘I Need a Friend Tonight’ was written about 6 months before our first EP came out… ‘Shattered Suns’ was a demo that was floating around for a year or so which we never quite got right. One time in rehearsals the “Make me feel alive…” chorus part came out of nowhere and glues it all together. …Hiding Place’ came from our experiences leading up to the first release in 2016, it was a song we needed to get out, mostly to carry out that cathartic energy so we could move on as a new band…

When it does come to writing new songs how do you start?
Most songs start with Will, he’ll have recorded a phone memo of a melody or chorus line, then he’ll demo that up for safe keeping, and often forgotten until much later. He and I will go through ideas and develop demos into full songs if they aren’t already…

What are your personal favourite songs off of Fire and Ice?
Everyone has a different favourite, and that extends to our first EP too. ‘Friend’ has a special place for everyone though, particularly live, it’s probably my personal favourite of anything we’ve done, it’s such an intense song. ‘Shattered Suns’ is one that we’re particularly excited for people to hear too.

Lyrically and Instrumentally this EP was great. One of my personal favourites was Lie To Me. Which came first for that track?
As with most of our songs the music comes first. The music sets the scene and creates the vibe which we then use when it comes to the lyric process.

Although the EP isn’t out yet, what are your plans for future releases?
 We’ve got a few surprises up our sleeves for the near future, we can’t go into that just yet. We have no intention of pumping the breaks.

When it comes to playing shows which song is the most fun?
One of the tracks from the new record ‘Shattered Suns’ is a real fun one to play, as is ‘Fade Out’ from our first EP. One that never fails to amaze though is ‘Wayward Signs’, it’s become that track that everyone sings along to. Nothing quite beats a room full of people singing back and connecting with you in that way…

What do you like about playing live?
Aside from the fun we have on stage (we’re quite an active live band), it’s the interaction with the fans. Touring, for us, is all about getting to see our fans. Talking to people who truly connect with your music is an incredible feeling, and very humbling, particularly meeting fans that have come as far as Germany, France, Poland, and recently we even had a guy travel from Kazakhstan! Hearing from fans that one of our songs helped them get through a tough time, or literally saved their life, is beyond words. Knowing that we’ve been there to help people, even if not physically, that’s more than we could have ever hoped for…that’s job done as far as we’re concerned.

When can people catch you playing live for the remainder of this year?  
We’ve got a few announcements coming up which will cover 2017, and 2018 is going to be a busy one for us too.

If you could have your dream gig lineup who would be on it?
Dream lineup? Biffy Clyro, MUSE, and Guns and Roses.

If you could’ve written any song in history what song would it be?
 The list is long and varied. Halo by Ryan Tedder / Beyonce, Kickstart my Heart by Motley Crue.
This release is a great listen so be sure to check out our review of the record but also make sure you grab yourself a copy when it releases.

White Noise Radio – Cosmos – REVIEW

Following their debut EP Bristol based White Noise Radio have been making quite a name for themselves. Now with their new EP, Cosmos, which dropped on the 1st of July promises to be a EP full of ‘rollercoaster riffs and huge choruses’. Now without further ado let’s break down White Noise Radio’s Cosmos.

The opening track on this EP is Siren. A track which perfectly encapsulates the powerful instrumentation and well organized vocals that White Noise Radio (WNR) are capable of producing. The well-orchestrated instrumentation found on this track allows the band to display their heavier composition, accompanying this are these understated, soft yet rough vocals which are coupled by harmonies which compliment the main vocal line well. Despite Siren being a really strong EP opener, which not only sets up what may lay on the rest of this EP but also displays the musical ability of WNR, the excessively long run time drags the song down weakening the musical performances that lie on the track.

Following directly on from this is Gone Inside which is possibly the weakest cut off of this EP. Despite the band yet again showcasing their ability to write a cohesive track with well-orchestrated instrumentation. WNR fail to bring anything new to the table and Alt-Rock band has done before, and in some cases better. The overall makeup of this track is strong and during the second half of the song the band seemingly get the ball rolling again, but in comparison to the opener and what comes after this track Gone Inside feels lack luster. The strongest cut on Cosmos follows in the form of Dawning a track which presents this overall softer sound. This change in dynamic is welcomed and the accompanying vocals match the far more delicate instrumentation allowing Dawning elevate to a new height. Alongside this, the subtle additions of electronic instrumentation only add to the songs overall feel and helps the song move along to the end of its run time.

Closing WNR’s EP is Wires. A song which encompasses the band’s ability in both the heavier and softer instrumentation. However, similarly to the EP’s opener the track does eventually drag on which again drops the strength of this track quite dramatically. Despite these moments of beautiful and well-orchestrated instrumentation, the songs length makes these sections feel repetitive which is a shame considering the strengths of these musical moments. During Wires the vocal textures which are explored are the saving grace for the track as they add this depth and emotion to the track.

Overal White Noise Radio on this record are showing their musical ability and showcasing their ability in creating a cohesive set of tracks which are loaded with highlights both instrumentally and vocally. However, due to the excessiveness of some of the tracks on this EP the band seem to almost lose steam in places which really harshens the experience of this EP, but this EP is definitely worth checking out if you are an Alt-Rock fan. [5.5/10]

Fangclub – Self-Titled – REVIEW

Following a year in to which Fangclub released two well received EP’s the band are now back this year with their debut full-length record. The Dublin based trio, have continued to make a name for themselves and are here to impress again with this Self-Titled full-length, which released on the 4th of August. Fangclub are yet again promising to provide more of what made their earlier EP’s so great and gave them such critical acclaim. Without further ado let’s break down this Fangclub self-titled debut

Bullett Head opens up this Fangclub album, similarly to how it had done on the band’s debut EP. This track showcases Fangclub’s innate ability to create what is a fun and entertaining track, which is littered with musical highlights. The powerful instrumentation that exists on this track set a great precedent for what else may lay on this album. Alongside this the strength of this song hasn’t dropped since its original arrival on the band’s first EP and continues to show the band in a positive way, opening up this album well and with alot of hope for what else is to come.

Following on from this powerful and strong opening track, a duo of songs take center stage. Starting off with Role Models the band are proving us with more of this heavy instrumentation. Whilst, showcasing the band taking a backseat musically to allow for these well toned and orchestrated vocals to flow over the top of ths track, helping this song push along. The vocal performance throughout Role Models is suberp with subtle harmonies dotted throughout which not only amplify the vocals but also the lyrical meaning of the song. The second half of this duo is Lightining, an upbeat cut off of this record. An infectious track that wouldn’t feel out of place at all if it was sat in a classic teen movie like American PieThis track shows the band popping out an overall fun track which yet again impresses both vocally and instrumentally.

Dreamcatcher, another track from the bad’s first two EP’s follows, This track, similarly to how it had,  the riff heavy instrumentation the band have now displayed through the entirety of their first EP’s. From the tight instrumentation and strong vocals the band continues to show their musical prowess and display their ability in creating cohesive tracks, however having already had one track from their earlier EP’s on this record it would have been nice to see them change it up and not feature another track from their earlier releases all beit a nice addition.

A trio of tracks is what is next in store for this self-titled record. The first of which is Bad Words its a great track which uses the great vocal harmonies to fill out the verses and slightly more minimal chorus. The band yet again on this song show how well they are constructing their songs lyrically. Bad Words is rounded off well with an instantly catchy hook which is only amplified by the catchy riffs that run throughout the track.

The second track in this trio is Best Fake Friends which, unfortunately, is the weakest cut off of this record. Which is a shame, because, despite it being a strong track it feels quite lack luster in comparison to everything else that lays on this album. Instrumentally Best Fake Friends is bland and the vocals don’t match up to the song which comes before it. The final part of this trio Common Ground doesn’t pick up the ball really from the previous track as it again doesn’t impress as much as what has laid before it. However, the track, is still powerful instrumentally and has this air of early Green Day to it whilst mixing in the distinct Fangclub sound, which is a nice addition to the track.

Loner is possibly the strongest city off of this S/T record with this really simple yet effective vocal line which is accompanied by this almost mirroring guitar lick. The track opts for a slower tempo which helps drive the track home. Alongside this, the song similarly to a few others on this album thus far feel almost ripped out of a teen or coming of age movie which with that mental image truly adds depth to this song. Fangclub on this track showcase their ability to work with different music dynamics which shows their potential for the future.

Better To Forget starts to bring this album to a close with its overly strong instrumentation. Alongside this Better To Forget has possibly the strongest vocal performance on the entire record, even though tracks before it have been presenting strong and well orchestrated vocal melodies. However, on this track, in particular, there is almost this anthemic quality to it, like all of the memorable songs from the 2000’s had. Fangclub yet again on this album are impressing on all fronts

Closing off this debut album is Animal Skin a song which yet again swaps out the heavier instrumentation for this softer approach, at least for the beginning of the track. Similarly to both of their EP’s the band are able to go out on a high note with this well-choreographed instrumentation.  Although this song isn’t as impressive as other ending tracks the band has produced, the nice use of different dynamics and clever instrumentation makes this just as strong as a closer as the rest.

Overall, this debut album from Fangclub is a great listen. Being jam packed full of great vocal and instrumental performances there are little to no bad points on this record. Having said that, the band do still have room to grow and this debut album is a great starting point for them to do that. This album is a great listen with many highlights, so if you need an album to check out this summer or before School and Universities open their doors again make it this one. [8.5/10]

 

Slaughter Beach, Dog Announce New Album

Last year, Jake Ewald from Modern Baseball released a debut album for his new project Slaughter Beach, DogWelcome was a great album which showcased Jake’s song writing style and effortless vocals which weaved together a loose narrative about a group of motley crew characters. This year Slaughter Beach, Dog are back with their new record Birdie, an album which promises to be just as well crafted as their EP’s and this debut record, whilst also showcasing some growth on the part of the Jake Ewald. This album is available for pre-order through Lame-O records site HERE for US orders and from Big Scary Monsters HERE for the UK. Check out Slaughter Beach, Dog’s new single Gold and Green below.

Owen Announced To Support American Football

American Football are set to head out on a string of UK dates soon. Today the band have announced that their very own Mike Kinsella will be performing solo as OwenOwen is the project that Kinsella took on post American Football’s hiatus. However, Owen will not only be performing at these UK dates, as the solo act is set to perform alongside the main band during their Dublin date at the Button Factory. This string of dates is definitely not one to miss out on. For tickets click HERE, and check out a song from Owen’s last album The King of Whys below.

Witterquick – Fire and Ice – REVIEW

After an abundance of critical acclaim following their Top 10 Alt-Rock debut EP Witterquick are ready to make a big splash with their newest EP Fire and Ice, which from the first single proved to be this big and well orchestrated piece that has a lot of promise before its eventual releasae this coming October. Without furter ado let’s breakdown Witterquick’s Fire and Ice.

Opening this EP by Witterquick is Shattered Suns, a track which starts with this simple moment of electronic instrumentation. This simplistic moment continues until the band kick in with this fuller sound, stacked with well-composed instrumentation. As Witterquick move through with Shattered Suns the vocals quickly follow and showcase just how perfectly the vocals accompany the instrumentation that is present throughout the track.  As Shattered Suns progresses the chorus comes in to view which kick starts this almost anthemic musicianship which continues on until the tracks end run time. Shattered Suns is an extremely strong opening track which not only sets a precedent for the remainder of this EP but also showcases the musical prowess and powerful vocal ability that is going to be present on this EP.

Following up on this EP is Lie To Me, another track which impresses both instrumentally and vocally. Witterquick on this second track are showcasing their ability to create a cohesive and well thought out song which not only explores different musical dynamics but also shows the bands capabilities in maintaining a high level of execution from track to track. Lie To Me also shows the band performing a far slower tempo than the track before and it truly adds to the overall composition and anthemic feeling which yet again is existing during this track, which allows for this song to be the strongest cut off of this record.

Moving swiftly on from Lie To Me is Hiding Place. Which again shows the strong orchestration that has been present time and again throughout this record, but also showcases the band implementing, even more, moments of electronic instrumentation which beautifully compliment and amplify the song. During this track, the vocals of Witterquick’s Will truly take center stage and become the main focal point for the remainder of the track. As during this song not only are there these soaring harmonies which layer the background of the song but there is also this great vocal tone and control being displayed throughout the track.

Closing off this EP by Witterquick is I Need A Friend which despite many highlights falls short of being the strongest cut off of this record. Overall the execution on this final track is outstanding and it truly brings the EP to a strong and well-rounded close. This particular cut off of Fire and Ice feels like it almost ripped from a film soundtrack with the big harmonies that texturize the song, as well as the anthemic feel which truly brings this EP to a satisfying end.

Overall this EP from Witterquick is a strong and well-orchestrated release, filled with highlights in both instrumentation and vocals there are many things to fall in love with on this EP. The anthemic feel that exists throughout most of this EP truly place Witterquick well among other alt-rock bands who are producing similar material. Although this EP is short lived it is a great release filled with well orchestrated instrumentation and vocals [8/10]

American Football Release New Video

American Football have released yet another video for a song off of their sophomore record, yet against being self-titled. In this new release, the band are gracing their track Home Is Where The Haunt Is weith a brand new video which yet again not only shows their musical maturity but also their growth as a band. The band are soon to be gracing UK stages again on a short run of shows and it is definitely not going to be a show to miss. However,  in the meantime check out the new video for American Football’s Home Is Where The Haunt Is below.

Bad Sign – Live and Learn – REVIEW

Hailing from Croydon the three piece Bad Signs have been making waves ever since their 2014 release Destroy, and this time the band are only planning on building to their good name. This debut record Live & Learn promises to be a stacked release filled to the brim with dreamy melodies and angular dynamics, and following on from the release of singles Intermission and Square One it definitely seemed that the record was shaping up that way. But without further ado let’s break down this debut record from Bad Signs.

Opening up this debut record is Liars & Lovers a track which opens up with this strong and powerful instrumentation. There is little to no messing around as this track begins with the band coming into full swing with this well-orchestrated composition. Soon enough the vocals of Joe Appleford come into view and present this extra layer to the bands music, despite it being so early into the album from this complete sound that the Bad Sign present during Liars & Lovers shows not only how much potential the rest of this record has but also just how tight this band are, and how strong they all are instrumentally as the well-orchestrated guitar riff from Johnathan Harris mixes well with the driving beat presented by Kevin Miller. 

Coming directly after this strong opener is a duo of tracks which starts with Covenant. This first track yet again showcases the band in a very positive light. The tight and well-orchestrated instrumentation comes powering through from the offset of this track. During Covenant, the band explores a few different dynamics which not only shows the band exploring some softer moments of instrumentation but also towards the tail end of the track flip the tables into vocal melodies and musical moments which are also heavier. The second part of this duo is Square One  which brings the band back to a similar sound that had been present on the album’s opener. However, in this track, the drums by Miller are truly the driving force and the part of the band’s instrumentation that sticks out and is particularly memorable during this track.

After this duo of songs, Bad Sign then present a set of four tracks which start with the instrumental cut XX, this instrumental cut is short but does act as a direct follow-on to the first full track in this set of four Intermission, this track is very impressive vocally, with Appleford’s vocals gliding gently atop this track which shows off not only his ability in a concise vocal range but also show how well the band construct their tracks which allow for this what does feel soft but powerful vocal melodies.

The second full track in this set of songs is Closure which is, unfortunately, the band feel a little lackluster in terms of their instrumentation, by no means is this song weak, as its overall makeup is still overly strong, there is just something that during this track makes it fall a little flat and winds it up being the weakest cut off of this record. Following directly on from this is XI the second short instrumental moment that Bad Sign present on this debut record, this one is vastly different to XX being that this is solely synth based and it is a nice break from the full throttle music that has existed up to this point on this record.

Moving on from XI is October, which uses the track before as a short intro before the full track kicks in. October is a far different track than everything that sits before it on the album, as it is in this song that the band flip their dynamic entirely and stay down with this far more relaxed and softer instrumentation. Towards the end of this track there is gentle but eventual build which allows for this big and well-orchestrated ending where the band drops back off for the last few seconds. October is the strongest cut off of Live & Learn in a number of ways, from the tight and well-orchestrated instrumentation to the well choreographed vocal melodies Bad Sign on this track showcase all of their ability in what is a well thought out track.

Following on from this is a trio of tracks which starts off with the song Attrition. This track sees the band continue with this powerful and well-planned instrumentation which showcases not only their innate ability to write cohesive numbers but also to present a song which houses different dynamics and an instinctive bop. The following track Certitude allows the band to experiment more with this heavier instrumentation they had teased in the opening half of this record. The final track in this trio is Immutable which unfortunately at this point is bringing nothing new to the table and despite there being great moments scattered across this track, there is nothing really new to sink the teeth into.

Ending this record Paramnesia, this track is the closest contender for being the strongest cut off of this record, as not only are the vocal performances from Appleford on this track spectacular but also the instrumentation on this cut are second to none with amazing moments from start to finish. During this track, the band present different dynamics and well thought out musical textures which add to the overall feel and power of this track. Overall this track is the perfect closer to this album and ends everything on such a high note, even when the music seems to have this odd drop off to end the album on this short and sweet acoustic moment.

Overall this debut album from Bad Signs is impressive, with little to no dull moments this record is an enjoyable listen start to finish. With great vocal performances and well-orchestrated instrumentation from the beginning to the end of this album, there is something for everyone. This band are definitely one to keep and eye out for at their upcoming shows and this album is one to definitely check out when it drops this month. [8/10]

The Cadillac Three Announce Headline Tour

The Nashville-based The Cadillac Three have announced a new string of UK show for November this year. The tour is in support of their new album Legacy which is releasing this August. The tour entitled Long Hair Don’t Care will see the band supported by Broken Witt Rebels for half of the shows and then Brothers Osborne for the second half. This tour won’t be one to miss, check out the poster below

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