Safest Spaces – Safest Spaces – REVIEW

Safest Spaces are an up and coming duo from Milton Keynes who dropped their Second EP of the year on the 4th of November, this new EP under the same name promises to be a great insight for what is to come from the two in the future. Now without furtherado let’s break down this self-titled EP from Safest Spaces

Opening up the EP is Clarity, a song which featured as a demo on their first EP of 2017 Staying In // Freezing To Death which the duo dropped in the beginning half of this year. As an EP opener, this track brings the EP in well, with the powerful and well crafted vocal delivery that Dru Lintott and Jake Taylor produce. Alongside this the instrumentation that the duo present on this track is beautiful and well crafted. Showing not only some musical dynamics but also just what they are capable of. The lyricism on this track is vivid, allowing for a great picture to be painted whilst also allowing for some exploration in the different range of vocal types Dru is able to provide. Overall this first track is a great opener that sets the groundwork for what will be a powerful and great three track EP.

The middle cut on this self-titled release is Thumbs. Again it is clear in this track just how well the duo construct their tracks and especially their lyrical content. However, it is clear through this track what the EP, as a whole, is missing and that is some form of drum to provide it with an extra something. Although this doesn’t detract from the quality of the musical construction and the powerful vocals that lay on this track and throughout, it feels like that extra element will elevate it to a new height.

Closing off this EP is The Death of Crater Face which is possibly the strongest song on this short release from Safest Spaces. The track encompasses all the abilities that the duo bring to the table. With this fast paced guitar work whilst also managing to maintain the crisp vocal delivery that is on the majority of this EP. As the track powers through the mix of clean and shouted vocals is well crafted and provides balanced mix to the song. As this song continues it is clear through the vocal delivery that the words spoken throughout are meant with sincerity, with the track acting as some form of send off to Dru’s solo venture Craterface and almost using this EP as a whole to connote some progression personally and musically. As this track reaches its close the simple stripped back moments truly drive home the song, allowing for a heartfelt and well rounded end to the short EP.

Overall this EP is a beautiful whistlestop tour of what Safest Spaces will provide in the future. The construction from start to finish is second to none and show the abilities that this duo have in creating what are some hauntingly beautiful songs that please both instrumentally and vocally. This being their second venture this year it is great sign that these two show no signs of slowing down just yet. The only true downside of this EP is the length. It feels to end as quickly as it starts. However, each of these tracks are highly replayable, with each listening allowing for another small detail to be recognised. So due to that, even if the length of this EP is short, the songs allow for some lyrics to be learnt for live shows. If there is an EP to listen to the end of this year, then this is definitely the one. [8.5/10]

Frank Iero & The Patience

Live: Frank Iero and the Patience – Rescue Rooms, 16/10/17

Dutch three-piece Paceshifters were first up on the bill with their energetic alt-rock anthems being belted out at the ever-filling venue. Despite being first up, the band has been going longer than any of the other projects by a considerable margin but that hasn’t made them look tired; brothers Paul and Seb Dokman co-fronting the show brings a warm connection with not only each other but with the audience, and a portion of the audience fell in love with the fraternity all three members seemed to have onstage. Drummer Jesper Albers is by no means the odd-one-out alongside the siblings either – his hard-hitting drumbeats and phenomenal energy showed off he was the best drummer of the night’s bill. Finishing off with a guest appearance from The Patience guitarist Evan Nestor to play a Nirvana cover A punchy and momentum-building tour for them, no doubt. [8/10]

Paceshifters Patience

Next up, bringing his stripped-down stage show to the UK stage was Derek Zanetti (better known as The Homeless Gospel Choir) who possesses unique stage presence which just makes every member of the audience feel at ease with his style and grace. Very much the US Frank Turner in terms of song-style, his recorded music varies from acoustic to full-band but his stage show is an incredibly vulnerable, heart-on-his-sleeve affair with breaks mid-song to talk to the crowd. The stop-start nature is anything but a disappointment though, and it felt like he became a friend to every audience member watching on in his time onstage performing songs largely from his latest album The Homeless Gospel Choir Presents: Normal. A fantastic talent with some very poignant opinions and stories to share, someone to never miss if he’s touring. [9/10]

Homeless Gospel Choir Patience

Punk frontman Dave Hause may have only been with The Mermaid as a band since February, but the last show on the tour before he departed was his 111th of the year with them – not bad going for a new band. The diversity in his catalogue was evident throughout with some songs having hints of Bryan Adams in them and others being far more middle-of-the-road rock and roll styling, but Hause‘s frontman capabilities are completely evident throughout every single song. His display of Rickenbacker, Gibson and Nash guitars showed his experience and commitment to the road after all these years, and storming through songs from each of his solo albums proved his songwriting prowess. Dedicating fan-favourite Dirty Fucker to Donald Trump proved popular, but not as popular as him giving out free shirts throughout the song because he didn’t want to take them back home to the US. A cover of Tom Petty seemed a fitting tribute as members of The Patience came out to make a giant supergroup of the two bands. A classy set from a band that will definitely make their name on the road with ease if they choose to stick together as The Mermaid. [9/10]

Dave Hause The Mermaid The Patience

Now infamous in his own right after 2 stellar albums and fresh of the back of his first EP, Frank Iero and his band The Patience came out to a lot of excited fans and immediately broke into World Destroyer to kick off one of the best punk rock sets Nottingham has seen in recent years. The no-holds-barred, sing-scream-shout blend of Frank’s vocals brings the level of excitement through the roof and the backing of long-time guitarist Evan Nestor brings a stage chemistry to rival many of the biggest bands in the world right now. A The Replacements cover with Dave Hause and a rendition of The Beatles‘ Helter Skelter threw some proof of their cultured influences (as if they needed the proof anyway), and the emotional performance of Best Friends Forever proved a set highlight – a song cowritten with his daughters back in 2014. Between songs, the chats with the crowd and accepting beers from the crowd just demonstrates Frank is one of the last true punk rockers onstage in 2017 –  a sad reality but he is keeping the breed alive. Fantastic set from a fantastic band, The Patience are one of the most exciting touring bands right now. [9/10]

Frank Iero & The Patience

Muskets CHEW

Muskets – CHEW

Following a long period of playing shows with no big releases, emo/grunge mob Muskets are back with their debut full-length album CHEW, which quickly establishes its dominance over the modern grunge scene. Opening track Pond Drop features chunky guitar sounds with altered chords for a slightly eerie tone.  First single 17 Years follows this up, showing the more brutal side of this album which is more reminiscent of 2014 EP Spin. The track itself was released about a year ago before the album prep was complete and this version is a rerecording on the new label to go with the album. The gruff vocals that dominate the chorus and the crunchy bass tone through the bridge show Muskets at their best are a force to be reckoned with.

The guitar and bass tones shine throughout the album on every track; the bass introductions to 17 Years and Decay are distorted and groove-laden but even under the loud, punky Chewing Gum it beats away to underpin the sliding leads. In the same way, throughout intros like Breathing the guitar is a dirty hum of chording with lead sections in You’re So Cool are packed with a shimmery shoegaze tone that sounds fantastic over the top of the rest of the beat.

At the more punk end of the album’s spectrum, Frankie Stable is a fast, dynamic track with a bit more of the “let’s keep this sloppy and see how it goes” feel that defines Muskets in the market today. The first verse is a fairly high, shouted section that breaks into slower, groovy chorus to make a smooth blend of tuned and raw that works to great effect. Closing the album with Umbilical saves the slowest for last but is by no means the least of the tracks. The trippy end piece plays the album out with a mellow guitar feedback section with a slow bassline thudding away to finish off the collection.

Perhaps the most notable thing about the whole album (as with the rest of the band’s discography to date) is the rare addition of Anglicised vocals throughout CHEW which comes as a welcome break from the faux-American accents put on by a lot of UK vocalists across the genres. Hearing the UK origins in a band is particularly satisfying when they have such great natural potential.

Overall the only real criticism that can be made of the album is that it lacks stylistic variety, but the fact it’s their debut album just goes to show they’ve found their sound throughout the last few years and have made a mastery of it before releasing the full-length. A fantastic delivery on the promise their single and EP showed, very exciting emerging UK talent on display.

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.

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.

casey butserfest

Interview: Casey, Slam Dunk South 29/5/17

Following their hugely exciting Slam Dunk set (see the review here), we caught up with Tom Weaver, frontman of one of the most promising upcoming British bands out there right now – Casey.

How’s your weekend been so far?
Tom: It’s been really good actually. I managed to catch a couple of bands today which was cool, I was doing merch all day yesterday and at Midlands.

Have you got any good stories from the weekend so far?
Tom: Yesterday, I’d just finished watching The Bronx and I was walking down to Shikari and a guy grabbed me and told me “ska music is exclusively for paedophiles and magicians” and that was it. He just wandered off.

What would you put in a Casey cocktail? (It doesn’t have to be alcoholic)
Tom: Yeah I’ll take you up on that. No alcohol and no caffeine so… I have to be honest, it would probably just be tropical Sunny D.

What’s been your highlight of 2017 so far?
Tom: There have been a few really. Impericon festival in Leipzig is at the top – that was the biggest show we’ve ever played by a considerable margin. That was our first experience of a real festival too, plus meeting the guys in Thy Art Is Murder was cool too. I’ve been a fan of them for a long time so meeting them finally was greit, and on top of that them being so incredibly humble and really nice people was a huge thing. Other than that I think getting feedback on the record has been good, hearing different people’s interpretations on it and everything.

Who would you like to support or support you in the near future?
Tom: There are a load of bands we’ve said we’d love to play with like LydiaPianos Become The TeethTouche Amore…  In terms of smaller bands to support us, we love Movements so if we could sort something with them that would be great. Our friends in Holding Absence obviously, we’ve been trying to sort something out with them for a while so hopefully that will come soon. This year has really opened us up to touring with bands outside our genre and style so that’s always an option again. We all caught Citizen this weekend and thought they’d be awesome to play with so…

How do you feel Casey has changed since we saw you at Butserfest last year?
Tom: Nothing’s really changed, exactly. When we’re on the stage it’s very self-enclosed so the way we performed at Impericon for 8,000 people and the way we performed to a couple of hundred in the rain at Butserfest. Obviously we’ve seen an incremental increase in fan interaction since back then, and today was a perfect example of that. I think that was the first time I’ve ever been able to fully step away from the mic and hear the crowd back which was insane. Other than that, it’s just the gradual spread of fans week on week. We’ll have a look and see a few more in Australia and a few in America picking up on us so the organic increase of the fanbase is cool, but nothing has changed as a band exactly.

Which direction do you see your music going next?
Tom: We’ve never sat down and had a conversation about how we want to sound. Everything we’ve written up to now has been a product of improvisation really so we’ll go to a practice room and see. Sometimes someone has come up with something and say “I wrote this at home, I think it sounds cool”, sometimes someone plays something and we’ll say “keep playing that, I’ll just try this” and it builds. Whether it becomes an interlude in the live set or if it becomes a complete song we don’t know until we’ve built it. We’ve never decided we want to be a post-hardcore band or a post-rock band or a we want to write eleven really atmospheric songs, we just write how we feel. We’ve been messing with some pieces that might become a record but in three or four months’ time we might decide we’re not really fans of that anymore and do something else. What we’ve been doing is more of the same in a way, but more mature. A lot more thought is going into the layering and how we can fill a room with it because of the different shows we’re starting to play now. There are points in big shows like Impericon where about a minute of the set was lost in translation because of the acoustics of the bigger rooms.

 

Thanks to Tom for chatting to us! Casey are a band increasing in size and following rapidly so get on with immersing yourself in their recordings and live shows now to follow their monumental rise that’s just around the corner…

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]