James Leese

CKY – The Phoenix – Review

CKY this year are making their return after an 8-year hiatus. The band’s newest release has been highly anticipated since the confirmation that the band would press forward as a trio in May of last year. Since then the band have recorded their newest record The Phoenix and have headlined a highly successful UK tour, with nearly all dates being upgraded. This album is set to be a powerful release and a highly anticipated comeback. So without further ado let’s break down CKY’s new album The Phoenix. 

Opening up CKY’s fifth studio album is Replaceable. This track starts with this rock-centric riff that in the mix feels quite spaced out. Eventually, the track kicks into full swing, with the powerful and well-toned guitar mixing well with the bass and drums that drive the song. As this song continues it is clear to see that CKY haven’t lost their touch and with the groovy bass line that exists throughout the most of the track it is setting a great precedent for what is left to come on this come-back album. Overall Replaceable is a brilliant opener to this album, showcasing beautiful vocal moments from Chad Ginsburg and well-constructed instrumentation.

Following on from this album’s opener is a duo of tracks, the first of which is Days Of Self Destruction. This track is far grittier than the album’s opener, showcasing this powerful instrumentation that is fronted by this muddy riff that helps power the track along. As this song continues the vocals, similarly to the opener are interesting and well orchestrated. Days of Self Destruction then continues to power on through to this strong and well-designed solo that showcases Ginsburg’s playing ability in great fashion.

The second half of this duo is Unknown Enemy, which is not only the strongest cut off of this record but is also a catchy song, from the opening riff to the final few notes this song is a great listen. It has its own instinctive bop and is not only a well-constructed track but is also one that sticks in the mind all the way til the end of the album’s run time

Coming next on The Phoenix is a trio of songs. The first of which is Head For A Breakdown, a song which at first glance feels like it may be exploring a new dynamic with the acoustic guitar, however soon the rest of the band come in to create this fuller sound. This cut is in its simplest form a fun track but it is a lot more than that. As in this track, CKY explores a slightly different musical dynamic which allows for a well-orchestrated track. Head For A Breakdown is a close contender but just misses the mark, which made Unknown Enemy such a strong cut.

The second part of this trio is The Other Ones, a track which picks up the pace again and shows CKY yet again exploring more ideas, with the electronic additions this song the band are allowing for clear exploration with their music which is a nice touch. As this song continues, the band yet again showcase this groovy bass riff that powers the song along. The final part of this trio is Wiping Off The Dead which is heavier than most of what is on this album, even if that comes mainly from the slight excessiveness of the distortion rather than the actual composed riff. Wiping Off The Dead is the weakest cut off of this record due to the fact that there is far less about this track than it first appears.

As the album now starts to draw to a close, the final duo of tracks come into view. The first of which is Lies From You a track that sticks in the vocally, it is an interesting listen as it feels, despite the instrumentation being interesting and the song presenting a powerful and well-constructed riff, that the music takes a bit of a back seat so Ginsburg’s vocal abilities can take centre stage and show just how interesting and powerful his vocals can be.

The second part of this duo is the album’s closer Better Than Get Even. This track is a great closer albeit a little a the long side. However, as it goes this song does present not only some very well constructed riffs but also this groovy bass and drum lines that have existed throughout the majority of this album courtesy of Matt Deis and Jess Margera. 

Overall what CKY present here is a great album and is definetly not one to miss if you were either a fan before or even if you are new to the band. Across this album, there are stand out moments from each member of this band, whether it be in terms of vocals or instrumentation there is a lot to like on this album. However, that doesn’t mean there are downsides, as at times things do feel to run a little longer than they should but having said that the album’s biggest flaw is its length, and this is only because it leaves you wanting more [7.5/10]

Free Throw – Bear Your Mind – REVIEW

Free Throw have been making a name for themselves ever since their debut EP, however, post the release of Lavender Town and Those Days Are Gone the band have gotten a big following and have been playing live solidly with many great names like Sorority NoiseTiny Moving Parts, and Somos. The band is now ready to set out on tour in support of their new release Bear Your Mind, which released on the 26th of May, an album which has been highly anticipated since their debut full length, but without further ado let’s break down Free Throw’s sophomore record Bear Your Mind. 

Opening up this sophomore record is Open Window, which is this slow and gentle track which allows for an interesting opening. The main thing I drag from this track is the gentle yet emotive vocal melodies which lay atop of the simple guitar part before the ultimate fuller sound which ends this track. It is in that moment that Free Throw show everything that people loved from the last record, the full band sound alongside the shouted vocals truly make this track a near perfect opener

Following this opener is a duo of tracks which starts with Rinse, Repeat a song which allows the band to show their musical prowess as these blasting drums that open the track are soon accompanied by this energetic Riff which really adds to the tracks opens no before the vocals come through which not only portray the bands ability in writing great vocal melodies but also these well-constructed harmonies which make the main vocals all that more prominent. The second half of this duo is Randy, I Am The Liquor, the first single off Bear Your Mind. It’s in this track that the band really show off their ability to make a cohesive track that explores different dynamics well whilst all being within a 3 minute run time.

Following this first single is a trio of tracks which start with Weight On My Chest, this is a track in which the lyrics truly add to the overall experience of the track as Cory Castro sings gently about not being able to sleep and having a weight on your chest that you can’t remove. It is in this honest yet powerful vocal presentation that the song finds its feet as despite the instrumentation being interesting both in terms of construction but also dynamics the songs weight is truly brought by the vocals. Following on in this trio is Hope Shot a track in which the instrumentation is subtle, simple. The plucked guitar that exists throughout the majority of the track emotion matches the lyricism on this song before we get this slow but worthwhile build that explodes into some form of realization lyrically but is also this well constructed and powerful instrumental moment that feels almost Shoegazy/Alt. Rock.

Ending off this trio of tracks is Weak Tables which is this well-constructed track which feels like it could have been ripped straight off their last record with the guitar tones and vocal presentation being very reminiscent of some of the best cuts off of Those Days Are Gone. Weak Tables is a big juxtaposition to its name as it is possibly the strongest track on this release, with the instrumentation being tight and interesting and allows the vocals to power on top of the track. Alongside this, the lyrical content of Weak Tables is interesting as the words are beautifully crafted and allow for some really beautiful moments from the tracks offset.

Coming next on this sophomore record by Free Throw is a duo of tracks starting off with Andy and I, Uh… a song whose opening feels very different to the rest of the record, however as soon as the main body fo the song kicks in the sound is more recognizable. Despite this, Andy and I, Uh… is a fun song which is full of dynamic changes and well constructed vocal melodies. It is also in this song that the band address the album’s title which allows this song to somewhat act, even if indirectly, as the title track. Accompanying this track is Cal Ripkin Jr. Johnson. Unfortunately, at this point, nothing in this track comes as surprise, even though this song is a strong cut off of the record the Free Throw don’t bring anything new to the table during this number. However, this song does still showcase the band in a positive light as the dynamic changes are still impressive as the song transfers from these subtle muted moments to a full and powerful ensemble moment, still making this track a joy to listen to.

Following on from this duo is what is possibly the weakest song on the record, not due to the instrumentation which is yet again well orchestrated and interesting but due to the vocal presentation that exists on this song. Dead Reckoning as a track displays these soft vocals but add in these far more screamed moments which although adding to the message of the song, unfortunately, drag this particular track down.

As the album starts to draw to a close the final duo of tracks come into view. Better Have Burn Heal is the first of these songs and it is a great throwback as it feels very reminiscent of Slam With the Best or Jam like the Rest off of their EP Lavender Town. However, the band add in these extra moments of interesting instrumentation before they change the dynamics of the song which only add to the overall feel of the track. This track is the closest contender for the strongest cut off this record as the overall presentation of this song in terms of both instrumentation and vocals is second to none.

Following on in this duo is the album’s closer Victory Road which is this somber and slow cut which not only encompasses the messages that Free Throw bring forward time and again across this record but it also shows the bands ability to write a song that can solely exist of slower instrumentation which allows for the vocals to take the forefront and have the instrumentation simply support the song whilst also adding to the feel and presentation of the track. It is again in this track that Cory Castro’s vocals are simple yet effective, partly due to the lyricism on this song but also for the impressive vocal melody.

Overall this new record from Free Throw isnt one to let pass you by, as yet again this band are putting an album out which is not impressive instrumentally but it also a wonder vocally from start to finish. The band’s mix of soft and harsh vocals add to their ability in mixing different musical dynamics that they present time and again on Bear Your Mind. This album isn’t perfect but it feels pretty close, this similar to Remo Drive’s record this year is perfect for any fan of emo music, however, there is something about this record that puts it just above that record. Free Throw defintely get nothing but net with Bear Your Mind. [9/10]

Garin Fitter – Miss Me? – REVIEW

Garin Fitter is a singer-songwriter from Cardiff who has been creating music since late 2014, this year he released his debut album Miss Me? an album which tells a story of transformation, and with his acoustic pop style it promises to be a great album. But without further ado let’s break down Garin Fitter’s Miss Me?

Opening Miss Me? is Hey Mary. A song which starts with this simple yet well orchestrated instrumentation, the acoustic guitar sits well on top of the track with the subsequent instruments supporting the acoustic guitar and vocals. Soon Garin Fitter’s vocals come in to the track which add another layer to this opening number, the well delivered and constructed vocal melodies are well accompanied by the subtle yet effective vocal harmonies that are present on the song. As the song progresses the track takes a brief moment to show some dynamic change in which the track breaks down to a singular guitar and vocals which is a nice touch. Overall Hey Mary is a great opening track which opens up Miss Me? well.

Coming next from this album is a duo of tracks which starts with King Of The Jungle, similarly to this albums opener the track has this simple yet effective instrumentation which is powered along by the acoustic guitar and Garin’s vocal melodies. Whilst having the same instrumental make-up as the track before the song feels inherently different which is something that seems to come more with acoustic albums in which each track can be completely different. The second half of this duo is What Do You Do? a track which not only shows a shift in terms of dynamics but also presents a time signature change, both of these aspects are welcomed to the track and well executed not only through the far simpler orchestration but also through the simple yet careful vocal presentation.

The shortest cut off this album comes in the form of Far from This Town which boils down to Garin Fitter and an acoustic guitar. Far from This Town allows for a clear look at Garin’s vocals as they are the prominent feature of this cut, as the vocals and harmonies power on top of the track. Despite a well choreographed guitar part it feels lack luster in comparison to the fuller sound which exists on the tracks before.

Following from this fully acoustic cut is a trio of tracks which show a lot of dynamic difference. Starting off this trio is Dreaming Of Neverland, a song which has this slow and interesting guitar part which drags the song along this slow journey whilst Garin sings gently atop the track. This song similarly to Far from This Town is a simple acoustic cut however in comparison to the track which comes before the picked pattern adds to the track and allows for a far more interesting listen as the number continues.

The middle partition of this trio is Smile, a song which has a brisk tempo and instrumentation which feels closer to a soundtrack with the piano and drums driving the song whilst the vocals simply lay on top of what is an interesting track instrumentally. However, the vocals which sit on top of the track do fully tie the piece together as the elongated vocal notes add not only to the songs overall make-up but also atmosphere. The final part of this trio is Drained, this track despite the fuller sound is a little bit underwhelming. Despite the well orchestrated instrumentation the track seems to be missing something that is present on the tracks which come before on the record.

As Miss Me? starts to draw towards it close there is another duo of tracks. Sometimes Things Don’t Quite Work Out the Way You Thought They Would is the first of this duo and is unfortunately reminiscent of this track as despite well constructed vocal melodies, clever lyrics and moments of strong instrumentation there are moments where things start to feel a little messy and less cohesive as the could be. Despite this being the weakest cut off of the record it is in no way a bad track as it still does have positives.

The latter of of this duo is Quicksand which is the strongest cut track on the record as the instrumentation that carries the song is interesting and truly adds an extra layer to the overall make-up of the song, alongside this the vocals that are present on the song are not only well orchestrated but show a great amount of range. Quicksand also exhibits Garin Fitter’s ability to write what is a very cohesive and catchy track.

Rounding off this album by Garin Fitter is Portobello Road. This track is a great closer to this album due to it’s ability to encompass all the dynamics which are present from start to finish on this record. However it also allows for a few new ideas to be played with. Whether it be the gang vocals or the solo thast ends of the track Garin Fitter is still presenting new ideas even as the song draws to its close. Overall Portobello Road is a a strong track and rivals Quicksand for being the strongest cut on this record, as yet again the strength in not only vocals but also instrumentation is clearly present on this number.

Overall this album Miss Me? is a worthwhile listen, whether it be simply because you are in need of a new acoustic album or if you just want a great album to stick on front to back. Despite a few moments where the instrumentation is,  for lack of a better term, ‘samey’ this album by Garin Fitter is a well written and orchestrated album which not only is ripe with well organised vocal performances but is also loaded with strong instrumentation. However knowing  and taking in to account that this is his debut album it bodes well for what is to come. [7/10]

The Family – Welcome To The Family EP – REVIEW

Sheffield based The Family are made up of members from the disbanded Dead Harts. This subsequent band are soon to be releasing their debut EP Welcome To The Family on the 19th of May, which promises to be this venture in grunge rock with their influences sprouting from the likes of Nirvana and Metz. But without further ado let’s break down The Family’s debut EP Welcome To The Family.

Ain’t Gonna Happen Like That kicks this 4-track EP off. At first the instrumentation feels like it could be the lead in to a great indie track, but soon the loud and powerful guitars cut through and take the music down this more rock centric route the band take on this EP. As this track presses on the drums continue to drive the song, sticking to this very controlled and upbeat tempo that the guitars easily sit on top of. As Mathew Baxendale’s vocals come in to the forefront there is this sense of grunge coming through, which adds to the overall tone of the track and allows this song to show just what is in store for the rest of this EP. Despite the vocal performance being strong on this track there are times where the instrumentation and vocals seem to clash but for whatever reason this does work.

Coming next off this EP is My Kinda Scum a song which yet again comes powering through with this very tight and well constructed instrumentation. Unlike the opening track of this EP the vocals on My Kinda Scum seem to not clash as they had done only a song earlier which allows for a far more cohesive experience. Alongside this the far more grunge rock sound comes in to fruition on this track, with the fuzzy and dirty riffs, which allows The Family to fully display their musical abilities as the song powers through its 4 minute run time.

After reaching the half way point on this EP The Family present the song Nightmares and Daydreams which unfortunately is the weakest cut off of this EP. Despite there being moments of interesting instrumentation and well thought out song structure, the overall feel and presentation of the track feels, for lack of a better term, ‘samey’. Which is a shame as Nightmares and Daydreams is a very fun and upbeat track that has an instinctive bop to it.

Ending this short EP is Radio Headphones, which is the strongest cut off the record.  This track that The Family present is one that not only is extremely strong instrumentally but also vocally, as it is on Radio Headphones that the band showcase their ability to not only bring forward a track full of these musical highlights but also their capabilities in writing what is a very cohesive number. Overall this track is a great closer which not only gets its chorus stuck in your head but leaves you wanting more.

This 4 track EP by The Family is short lived, which is a shame as the EP presents the band in a great light and shows the band has and leaves you in the end wanting more. Despite a few brief moments where the instrumentation does feel samey and is almost on the verge of being bland the band are able to rectify it by having this catchy hook shortly after. Welcome To The Family as a whole is a greet introduction for the band and is definitely worth checking out not only because of the tight instrumentation present on the release but also because of the tight and well orchestrated vocal performances [7/10]

Mutation Announce New Album and Tour

The UK Noise band Mutation, fronted by Ginger Wildheart are coming off the back of two albums which were recieved with positive reviews and great fan reaction. Now the trio are coming back with their new record Mutation III: Dark Black, an album which is going to be tackling different issues that the band are  processing personally. Ginger Wildheart has spoken about the upcoming release and has said that album features ‘Anger, disgust in people, frustration at the collapse of human conscience and hatred of the gullible element that makes up society’. 

Alongside the announcement of this new record the band are set to venture out on a UK and Japan.  Check out the tour poster below.

CKY Release New Single and Video

CKY have been pretty quiet since 2009. However, following their 8 year hiatus the band are coming back with their new record The Phoenix on the 16th of June. The album promises to be a huge release for the band and following the release of their new single and video Days of Self Destruction, which features vocals from Brent Hinds, it is clear just how much potential this new album has for CKY. Alongside the release of this new single CKY are just about to head out on their UK Tour, with many of the dates being close to sold out. Check out CKY’s Days Of Self Destruction below.

The Magpie Salute Release New Single

The Magpie Salute are set to release their self-titled debut album in June this year, the band fronted by Rich Robinson have over the past few days released the album’s first single Omission, which not only is the fist insight in to what this band will sound like, bar their two 10″ releases on Record Store Day but is also the only original The Magpie Salute material on the album.

Listen to Omission below.

If you like what you hear, there is a chance to catch The Magpie Salute live on tour soon, you can get tickets HERE. But also look out for their debut record coming out this June

Meatloaf’s Bat Out Of Hell is being Re-Released

2017 marks the 40th anniversary for one of the most successful albums of all time Bat Out Of Hell. The Meatloaf album which was released in 1977 was recently turned in to a musical and has been playing in Manchester since February this year, however to co-inside with the release of this 40th Anniversary Edition the Musical is moving down to London.

On June 9th this year the 40th Anniversary Edition of Bat Out Of Hell will release, as a Collectors edition, with an exclusive cover and 3 live tracks.

Album Tracklist:

  1. Bat Out Of Hell
  2. You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)
  3. Heaven Can Wait
  4. All Revved Up With No Place To Go
  5. Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad
  6. Paradise By The Dashboard Light
  7. For Crying Out Loud

Bonus

  1. Bolero (Live Intro)
  2. Bat Out O Hell (Live)
  3. Dead Ringer For Love (with Cher)

 

Young Hearts – In The Middle You’ll Find Balance – REVIEW

After releasing their first EP in 2015, Young Hearts have slowly been gaining a following in Europe. Being known for the energetic live shows and what was an energetic initial release, this debut album by Young Hearts promises to be a great release. Alongside the release of this record, on the 11th of March,  Young Hearts are also playing Grozerock this year. But without further ado let’s break down this debut record by Young Hearts.

Opening up this debut album by Young Hearts is Roll In The Hay which brings this album in, in a spectacular way. Being solely instrumental it is not something that is normally done, but Young Hearts definitely make themselves heard with this well orchestrated opening that shows off not only this ability to create an interesting track but also show off their tight instrumentation. With blasting drums mixed in the well toned guitars, the track come together for a powerful opening that leaves the floor open for anything to come due to its lack of vocals

Coming next on this album is Animals, the lead single off of In The Middle You’ll Find Balance, this track which is the first indication of what this band will sound like with vocals, is an impressive track. After the songs beginning which feels like it has been ripped from the mid-2000’s,which brings a nostalgia kick, the track slows up a little for Tom Schrey’s vocals to come over and help power the track along up until the instrumentation comes back in full force. Animals truly brings this sense of Young Hearts’ ability to not only create a cohesive track but also showcase their ability to  not only impress instrumentally but also vocally, whilst at the same time sounding like they have been placed on a Tony Hawk soundtrack

Following on from Animals is a duo of tracks, the first of which is Shakes, which opens up with this brief moment of spoken word/sampling. As the track starts to rear its head, soon the band come in to full swing with a track which has a great bass riff running along the bottom of the track which truly adds something else to it and it’s makeup, especially during the moments in the track when the instrumentation simply is bass and drums running underneath the well orchestrated vocals and subtle harmonies. GFY! is the second half of this duo and as an overall track it feels completely different to the songs which come before it, whilst still running with this more Punk Rock structure and composition, it still feels like it could be a completely different band. This far more guitar centric track allows the vocals to be more rough around the edges which although is a subtle change not everyone will be in to, does bring an extra layer to this riff heavy, fun track.

Coming off the tail end of GFY! comes a trio a tracks which begins with Today, which is by far the weakest track on the release, despite still being strong instrumentally, the track suffers from this wall of guitars which seem to crash together creating a somewhat difficult listen. Despite the vocals and drums on this track managing to carry this song on the album in comparison to the rest of the songs on here it feels much weaker than most of this albums tracklisting. Coming next in this trio is Start Over and is the first time there is any noticeable dynamic change as it is in the opening of this track the song begins with this soft and slow piano intro which introduces a new layer and element to the track as it feels very juxtaposing in comparison not only to the rest of the album but also to the rest of this track as soon the track comes back in to full swing with this fast paced punk rock sound the rest of the album  entails.

The final part of this trio is Bullet, and following a brief sample the track kicks in to full swing with a wall of sound that feels more Punk in its orchestration. The far more aggressive instrumentation and vocals adds to the overall feeling of the track. As this song progresses, the instrumentation continues to impress and truly showcases Young Hearts ability to create a fast paced, high octane track which encompasses almost a different side of the band, however, with such a short time this moment feels short lived.

Following on from this trio of tracks is The Voice. A cut from this album which although isn’t breaking the wheel or adding any new dimension to the album is a very well written and orchestrated track, with a snappy chorus and decent amount of tight instrumentation, it is a decent track that not only reaffirms Young Hearts’ ability to create a cohesive track but also allow themselves to show off a little more instrumentally, with a solo slotted in part way through the song.

Coming off the tail end of The Voice is another trio of tracks starting with the simply titled  Awesome the band jump in to a track which feels again very reminiscent of this late 90’s Punk Rock, it is evident through this and many other tracks that Young Hearts on this record are replicating a sound which hasn’t been heard in quite a while. Alongside this, Awesome brings along some of the best harmonies on the entire record, with the simplistic yet powerful harmonies bringing an extra punch to the vocals and lyrics. Awesome is one of the strongest cuts off of this record and with this tight orchestration it will leave you playing it over and over.

Guess Again follows quickly after and although the drums on this track are exceptional there is something missing to make this track as strong as others that have followed it, however the introduction of slightly heavier instrumentation and screamed vocals allow for a different texture to this record and make an exceptional addition to what is a strong album. The final part of this second trio of tracks is Low Tidal Wave, which yet again brings a vast dynamic change to what comes before it, with the slower and darker instrumentation coupled with the sample/spoken word running underneath the song has an extremely different feel to it. Almost as if this isn’t the same band, however, at the same time the break from the upbeat Punk Rock the main chunk of this album features is interesting.

With Low Tidal Wave starting to bring this album to a close Young Hearts then come crashing back in with Balance. With the longest run time on the record, it is in Balance that the band seem to give themselves a little more time to experiment as during this track, the most interesting and clever moments of instrumentation come in to play. With changes in tempo and volume the band showcase many different musical abilities. With a Punk Rock opening, an Easycore center and what feels slightly indie ending this track showcases the band in many different lights and does truly make an interesting listen. Overall Balance does make the perfect closer, filled with beautifully constructed vocal melodies and tight instrumentation the band close In The Middle You’ll Find Balance well.

Overall this Young Hearts debut album In The Middle You’ll Find Balance is a well constructed and well executed project that showcases a sound that many maybe missing. With the nostalgia kick of Late 90’s to Mid-2000’s Punk Rock mixed well with a few moments of genre blending the band create a record that never seems to lull apart from a few moments here and there. With Tom Schrey’s well choreographed vocal melodies this album allows for each member to show of their musical prowess in a different way. If you are in need of a new album that brings nostalgia with it or just a strong album to listen to then look no further as Young Hearts are providing it.

Already Heard Release Compilation Album in Aid of MIND

Already Heard’s 5th Birthday is coming up this month and in honor of that they are releasing a compilation album to celebrate. The album Already Heard Recommends: Volume 4 is being released through their bandcamp and features tracks from the likes of Casey, Kamikaze Girls, Luke Rainsford and Tigercub.

This compilation album is pay what you want, however, 100% of the profit will be going toward the charity a MIND. MIND are a charity which offers information and advice to those who suffer with mental health illnesses and lobbies with Local Authorities and the Government on behalf of these people. MIND are also raising awareness and helping others understand the issues regarding mental health.

Support Already Heard and MIND by picking up the album today : HERE

Also find out more about the great work the people at MIND are doing at mind.org.uk