Okay. As It Is

As It Is – Okay.

Okay. opens with the second track released from the era in the shape of Pretty Little Distance. Its video set out the first filmed interpretation of the style with swing dancers dressed in 50s outfits and the song somehow holds some of that swing within its pop punk beats. The solo towards the end sounds like it is taken straight from a rock & roll track in the period. Fast, tom-heavy drum verse parts fuel the emotive lyrics throughout and the layering of vocals allows for a fuller, more whole sound.

This is followed up with lead single Okay. which gave fans the first taste of the era pre-release. The song features a soaring chorus with a slightly more punchy verse that gives a fuller flavour of the album that contrasts nicely with Pretty Little Distance. The lyrics here are deeper than the previous track as Patty admits how he’s “felt a year’s worth of hurt and sadness catching up” and clearly felt brutally low while turning this track from words on a page to a stage-filler as it has turned out.

One of the standout songs is Hey Rachel, which is written as an apology to one of the sisters of the members of the band (presumably with a name change). The piece has one of the best choruses and emotive lyrics apologising for not being there when she needed someone, admitting faults of being “selfish and stubborn” and “a terrible brother”. The whole song feels like it is in some kind of desperation to close a guilt and move forward in the relationship.

The album closes on a strong sentiment with penultimate track The Coast Is Where Home Is provides a sentimental look back at the roots of As It Is on the UK’s south coast which has provided so many new bands with a shot at the big leagues in recent months and years. This being followed by Still Remembering creates closure for the album. It acts as the slowest-tempo song on the record which asks whether it is “remembering, still remembering or forgetting” in terms of happy memories.

Overall, a step up from anything As It Is have released before. If anything, a whole album viewing of Okay. seems like the natural progression from the EPs before Never Happy, Ever After in the styling of a more centre-spectrum rather than the debut’s more pop-end style. A very good release that sees the band hit their stride more confidently than ever.

Preorder the album here or here on iTunes.

gone is gone

Gone Is Gone announce one-off show, new track

Critically acclaimed Gone Is Gone have announced a one-off show to mark their debut album’s release next year.

The show will take place on the release day 6th January in Los Angeles’ legendary Troubadour.

Preorder the album Echolocation here, and get tickets to the release show here.

The band have also released a new track from the record, titled Gift. The track comes as a follow-up to first single Sentient which debuted recently. Watch the video below:

as it is pretty little distance

As It Is debut ‘Pretty Little Distance’, start preorders

Brighton’s finest As It Is have released another track along with the first video from the okay. era, titled Pretty Little Distance.

okay. comes as the band’s second full-length album following 2015’s Never Happy Ever After and will be released on 20th January via Fearless.

Preorders went live today too, with iTunes available here and physicals here for purchase.

See the video below:

against the current

LIVE: Against The Current – Shepherd’s Bush Empire 30/9/16

Opening up the bill for Against The Current‘s In Our Bones date were Beach Weather, a band who formed last year under the guidance of The Maine by ex-A Rocket To The Moon frontman Nick Santino. Their indie/shabby-chic styling got them huge cheers as they arrived onstage – not to mention a couple of wolf whistles – and they proceeded to play material both from their first EP and upcoming EP Chit Chat, which is set for a 14th October release. Their tunes are incredibly funky and soon came the crowd interaction, despite not many knowing the words to the songs. Nick at one point even instructed the crowd to become acquainted with the people surrounding them to then “sexy dance” to their last track. All in all, a good show and proof that Beach Weather could be one of the up-and-coming bands of the moment. [6/10]

beach weather against the current
Frontman Nick Santino

Next up were Brighton’s finest As It Is, fresh from a video shoot earlier in the day. The band opened with Cheap Shots & Setbacks which set the tone fantastically for the rest of the set, but only after a recorded intro that set out the concept for their new record and referenced it directly. They had the usual energy onstage, yet seemed to be revitalised by this new era coming up and finally being revealed to the fans waiting and this new era got a run out with Okay making its London live debut for the Empire crowd. Needless to say, the band were shocked at the sheer volume of the lyrics coming bouncing back at them. The single had only been released for 8 days yet the crowd were fully into the vibe and getting to grips with how it was being played live, to their benefit. The crowd interaction throughout was creating an electric atmosphere for Against The Current, but overall it was just a pretty usual set for them with little change, though undeniably good quality as always. [8/10]

as it is against the current
As It Is showing off their new 50s aesthetic

Against The Current came out to the biggest cheer of the night to that point, and swiftly burst into a rendition of Runaway that was almost record-perfect which is no mean feat on any tour, let alone one so extensive and draining as In Our Bones has been so far. It soon became apparent however that Chrissy Costanza was not having much fun with her voice being overly painful as she belted out the lyrics, and at one point even admitted to the crowd she was sorry for her tone and performance. In spite of this, the band ripped through hits from not only In Our Bones but early material as well, including a rendition of Infinity in the little acoustic mini-set alongside the tour title track.

A beautiful moment of dedicating Roses to a friend that has recently passed away got the crowd fully on the band’s side whether they were or not already, and Blood Like Gasoline and Running With The Wild Things got some of the best reception of the night. However, it’s fair to say that the biggest singalong of the night (perhaps with the exception of Chasing Ghosts where the band brought a minimal sound to allow for the most crowd interaction) was with their recent My Chemical Romance cover of Teenagers. Everyone in the room was completely belting it out at the top of their lungs including parents who had accompanied their children to the show, and the result was something astonishing.

against the current
Guitarist Dan Gow

Sadly, the Against The Current set had to be cut short, with the removal of Brighter and Another You (Another Way) from the setlist due to Chrissy’s condition but the crowd seemed to only be more and more appreciative for what they had just witnessed before they came back on for an encore of Gravity to round off a triumphant set.

A special mention has to go to drummer Will Ferri for his sheer volume of percussion on display in the set and his absolute mastery of all of it. From his massive kit on the pedestal centre stage to his microphoned acoustic kick box, he worked it all with absolute class as brother Mike (drummer of We Are The In Crowd) watched on from the stands.

The night was best described in a tweet by Chrissy herself, with photos of the crowds at their first London show to last night (see below) and it is clear to see just how much headway Against The Current have made. Their pop rock anthems have made their way onto the airwaves and charts, and it doesn’t look like they’ll be stopping any time soon. [8/10]

Real Friends – The Home Inside My Head

Pop punk prodigies Real Friends are back with their second angsty full-length, The Home Inside My Head.

The release comes as the follow-up to July 2014 album Maybe This Place Is The Same… and 2015 EP More Acoustic Songs and marks their third piece of output coming from Fearless Records after signing in December 2013.

The record follows more or less the same path they were following; it has a seriously emotional lyric style from bassist/lyricist Kyle Fasel yet an upbeat and energetic instrumental and vocal melody which brings out a meaning in the words being sung that may not be explored in another manner.

Lead singles Colder QuickerScared To Be Alone and Mess were the best possible options for single releases as they summed up perfectly what the record is about with their distinctive style to let the fans know this record wasn’t going to be the typical “average second” produced by a lot of pop punk bands in the modern market. By no means are they the most technical band ever, they still have that rough-around-the-edges feel that keeps their identity so seperate from anyone else, and these guys really are at the pioneering end of the new wave emo/pop punk revival.

Vocally, second single Scared To Be Alone is the most revealing with its dropping Dan in at the deep end from 0:22-0:33 which even includes a falsetto, which is relatively rare in their past discography but shows the frontman isn’t only talented in shouting and jumping about as he demonstrates most of the rest of the time.

“I’m writing the same song over and over again” (from fifth track Mokena) seems to play true really in terms of repeating the sound of their other records directly but frankly, if it isn’t failing them there’s surely no need to change! They use this to their advantage as they have since the very first EP back in 2011 with their roughness and emotive lyrics, although they have clearly gotten better musicians (noticable through their improved mixing and slightly more polished sound) which plays for the same type of record as their others within their catalogue.

Top picks are Mokena for it’s breaking the fourth wall and the slowed tempo while staying catchy (quite possibly a new encore/set-closer), Mess for its true-to-style writing more than any other on the record and Colder Quicker for adding the perfect close to the record which by no means tails off.

The best video of the tracks released so far though has to go to Mess which was recorded on the $5 US tour they did recently to prove bands can do tiny shows for tiny prices to say thank you, however big they may be:

Finally for those of you wondering, there is not a single mention of “boney knees” anywhere within the 12 tracks!

Overall, the album is a fantastic follow-up to Maybe This Place Is The Same… and keeps them definitely on the road to superstardom within the music industry.

The Home Inside My Head hits stores this Friday (27/05/16)

 

And, of course, catch the band as Slam Dunk Festival this weekend, it should be a stunner of a set…

ISSUES – Headspace

The second record from genre-fusers ISSUES is here, with Headspace as its title. The record is first since the departure of Scout Acord from the permanent lineup of the band though is still produced and played on by him.

During the writing/recording process, vocalists Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn spoke a lot about it being a risky album with a lot of genre-breaking and irregular tactics employed but the product has come out far differently; it sounds like a progression of the style and musicianship of the members and a further exploration of their individual styles and talents rather than a change entirely. The most remarkable exploration is that of bassist Sky Acord, who until now has been used predominantly to play djent/metalcore-style riffs on his 5-string but you just have to listen to first single The Realest to hear that his funky, rhythmic style is coming out in full swing on this record.

Following the release of the Diamond Dreams EP, the band have incorporated some of the acoustic-sounding electronics in the start of some tracks (most notably to kick off Yung & Dum) and this brings a new feel to the tracks that the mainly industrial and garage electronics of the first full-length never brought; an emotion to a sound that is generated by a machine. In addition, the clean(ish) vocals from Michael mark a move in his role in the band from “screamer/unclean” to just an all round “vocalist”, and his slightly more gruff voice contrasts nicely with Tyler’s pop/hiphop-mastery in his vocals and when combined with the electronics makes for some beautiful moments within the fibre of the tracks.

The album is littered with the metalcore influences especially in the guitar and drum parts with downtuned guitars often as low as drop A# and sometimes even A, with a lot of open chording and dystopian bends, coupled with double-kick beats and cymbal crashes over the top which leave the record being pretty heavy, especially in tenth track Blue Wall.

Looking just from a vocal perspective, the harmonies of Tyler’s cleans, Michael’s semi-cleans and uncleans and backing/gang vocals bring a huge sound that can be matched by very few bands in the modern market and when this is coupled with Sky’s funk basslines and the super heavy rhythm of drummer Josh and djent-style leads from AJ it makes an (in parts) unbelievably heavy yet inherently listenable 13 songs and frankly this is one of the best releases of the last 12 months.

Standout songs from the 13 are first single The Realest for its fantastic opening to the record and setting the tone for the new ISSUES era, second single COMA for its funky opening riff and soaring chorus while having crushing moments, and Hero for being the most soulful and demonstrative song of the lot for showing what this band is and what it can be, proving they can do what they like with aplomb.

Headspace will be released Friday May 20th in stores

 

Pierce The Veil – Misadventures

The long awaited follow-up to 2012’s Collide With The Sky is here in the form of Misadventures and this time Pierce The Veil are back with a vengance and a list of points to prove.

The first taste of the album released back in summer last year was The Divine Zero, which PTV dropped with no real announcement or teasing at all as they went off on their headlining Warped Tour for the whole of the journey. This track got a good reception in general and people had huge faith in the new efforts in the band for what was to come. The song has turned out to be the most Collide-esque track on the whole record and would have fit immaculately into its tracklist with its fierce breakdown and huge amount of screamed vocals and it makes for a fantastic track in general.

The record as a whole features fewer screams than anticipated by many fans, but shows off Vic’s vocal range and Tony’s guitar solos to make up for it. Many of the lines throughout the tracks are backed up with a lead guitar harmony instead of the more common method of backing vocals adopted by most bands, most notably on Floral and Fading. 

Elsewhere in the album, there are fewer breakdowns which leads to a few more emotive tracks (moved from the likes of Hell Above and King for a Day from the previous release to Song For Isabelle and Floral & Fading on this), though there is a pretty heavy track in Phantom Power and Ludicrous Speed and a screamed breakdown in Sambuka, plus the odd moment here and there which together almost make up for the sparser dusting of heaviness throughout the other tracks.

In terms of the drumming, Mike has kept up the tradition of sharp, technical drumming on a huge kit which brings an extra depth to all of the tracks as he crafts the perfect mood with cymbals and kicks in the heavier and angrier parts and toms in the more melodic, vocal numbers like Song For Isabelle; his ability to create a tenderness through hitting things is rare amongst the drumming community nowadays.

Standout tracks are The Divine Zero for being the most PTV-esque track on the record, Phantom Power and Ludicrous Speed for the fun of it and Sambuka for the breakdown which is technical guitar-wise and a great mosh point of the record.

Overall, Misadventures seems a bit safe for the band; there are few brutal moments but the sheer emotion of most of the tracks makes up for it with ease. Considering Tony’s accident during the writing/recording process just before Warped Tour last year, the record has come out immaculately and it will be interesting to see how it fares in the charts!

ISSUES Have Another New Song

The third (and presumably final) track to be released before ISSUES‘ Headspace is released next Friday is here, by the name of Blue Wall, and you can listen to it below!

The track follows the mood set by the first two songs, though is easily the heaviest of the three while it takes on the rap-metal style raps and heavy instrumentals with Michael’s screams over the top.

This record will be huge. Check it out next Friday (May 20th).