Better Than Never

Live: Better Than Never – The Black Heart, Camden 14/8/17

Taking to the stage first was Midlands acoustic man Luke Rainsford who brought in a fair crowd considering he was first up and had come a long way. Opening with Home Safe, Luke played through material from both of his full length albums with aplomb as he always does, blowing away both fans and first timers alike with his honest lyrics and catchy hooks. Closing with his personal favourite track FrameLuke looked as though he was going to cry as he screamed out “I know that I’ll never learn” to an already emotional crowd as the cathartic close to a set that always seems to short from his restrictions – just about the only criticism that can be made about his live shows. [9/10]

Better Than Never

ICYMI took to the stage in the difficult situation of following Rainsford, but the energy and vocal ability of frontwoman Elin Allan stood them in good stead for the set to follow. Playing through their tracks proved to be fairly hit and miss up to their cover of NSYNC‘s Bye Bye Bye (yes, really) which turned the whole set around. The version featured heavy guitars and the attitude of Allan shining through to sweeten the crowd up before finishing with their single Get Out to finish off the set. The band have big things coming towards the end of this year, so keep an eye out – they’re one for the future. [7/10]

Better Than Never

As the only local band of the night, pop punkers All These Years took to the stage. It appeared throughout that the band weren’t particularly well known among the onlookers but pretty quickly gained some fans with their more punk-influenced tracks as they hopped about the stage being generally offensive in the best possible way. Playing through the material from both EPs and latest single What Was Left UnsaidAll These Years put life into what was previously a fairly still crowd, perfectly filling their role as a support for the show. [8/10]

Better Than Never

Coming off the back of their debut EP release a couple of weeks ago, touring newcomers Maypine were absolutely filled with confidence hitting the Camden attic’s stage. They played through the EP’s five tracks with a couple of additional originals, but the real gem in the set was their emo rendition of Fix You by Coldplay which they released back in July (if you’re curious, listen here). The set was filled with enthusiasm, talent and hope – qualities that can are lacking in a lot of new touring bands, which are virtually never captured in the same capacity as Maypine have them. [9/10]

Better Than Never

Finishing up the night came Better Than Never who, surprisingly, drew less of a crowd than Maypine though the remaining audience were the rowdiest of the night by some margin. Blasting through both EPs, frontman James Harris bounced around with no visible intention of slowing down as he hyped up the crowd. Later, some growls mid-song produced a few looks of confusion from those not fully aware of Forty Eight from the band’s latest collection Head Under Water as they expected more pop punk tracks, but that didn’t subtract from any enjoyment on anyone’s faces. Towards the end of the set, Luke Rainsford was floating around the front of the crowd making gestures before he (somewhat unsurprisingly) made another appearance to duet Panama with Harris. A good performance to round off the night. [8/10]

Better Than Never  

Coast To Coast – Birmingham – LIVE REVIEW 18/04/2017

Coast To Coast earlier this year released their new EP The Length Of A Smile which was received with a lot of success from critics and fans alike. Following on from this release the band have headed out on tour with label buddies Better Than Never and Pine. This tour promised to be a big hit due to the success of the EP and from past experiences with Coast To Coast’s live shows.

Opening up the night was Pine a band whom had released their own EP just before heading out on the road with Coast To Coast, for many in the room it was the first time seeing Pine live and was a great chance for them to impress people who may have never heard of them before. The band managed to get the evening off to a great start despite their overly short set time. With very strong instrumentation and vocals to match Pine did showcase why they have gained a following thus far.

Part way through their set Pine dropped a cover, one which made the room come alive with even more energy then it already had been during the main chunk of their set, as they powered through Teenage Dirtbag there weren’t many people who weren’t shouting the words back at them, and it was in this moment that the first crowd surfer of the night surfaced. Overall Pine opened up this night well, with a very cohesive performance which was strong instrumentally and vocally throughout, with songs like Barricade and Empty Head truly showcasing their ability in not only creating a cohesive track but also keeping their live performance close to their recorded sound. Pine truly show why they will be a band to watch in the near future. [6/10]

Following on from Pine was Luke Rainsford. During this tour Luke had been filling in on drums for Coast To Coast and during the Birmingham show got his chance to play full band once again. Starting off with Home Safe it was apparent that many people were excited for Luke’s set as the room seemed to have tripled in attendance between Pine and himself, and without a single voice being left out of the crowd it was clear how well Luke’s set was landing with the Birmingham crowd.

Throughout Luke’s set the band made up of members of Fullshore and Zak Taylor from Coast To Coast showed their tight instrumentation and flawlessness in replicating what was on Luke’s latest record I Feel At Home With You. It was in these moments in which the band were perfectly orchestrated and well rehearsed that it was evident that there is no difference between Luke playing solo or as a full ensemble as the emotional delivery of the lyrics truly hone in on the messages that are being portrayed through tracks such as I am Melodramatic (A Song About Death). As this set powered on through it was evident that not only did the amount of people shouting back his lyrics mean so much to Luke but the words meant a lot to the members of the audience as by the end of the set there weren’t many dry eyes in the house.

As Luke Rainsford brought his set to a close with Frame, he took a moment to address the issue of mental health with the audience in which he spoke as honestly as I Feel At Home With You does. The words spoken at this moment hit home and accompanied by the messages in Frame it truly made Luke’s set stay in the forefront of the mind for a long time after the band had departed from the stage, and with his tremendously honest vocal delivery and the band’s tight and well orchestrated instrumentation this set felt perfect. [9/10]

Following on from Luke Rainsford was Oxford’s Better Than Never, whom wasted no time in showing just how much energy they would be injecting in to the evening. With an explosive opener in the form of 126, Better Than Never showed just how tight they are instrumentally and how quickly they can get an audience moving. Alongside the tight instrumentation it was in this moment that James Harris and Will Keating showed their coordination and ability to accompany each others vocal melodies well track after track.

Credit: Nick Neuenhaus

As Better Than Never moved on through their set, the amount of energy continued to build coming to a climax during set highlights Fourty Eight and their rendition of Sugar We’re Going Down. These tracks showed a mass amount of audience participation, with a hardcore style space being created by a few audience members and mic grabs galore during the Fall Out Boy number. Despite what seemed a few minor mistakes the band managed to continue creating a strong performance which showcased their ability in recreating their recorded tracks almost beat for beat as they are on their latest EP.

Credit: Nick Neuenhaus

As Better Than Never brought their set to a close with the first single off of Head Under Water, Learning To Swim their set truly came in to fruition, the best parts of their set in terms of tight instrumentation, strong vocal performances and mass amounts of crowd energy came together to end their set strongly. Despite a few slip ups here and there Better Than Never did produce a very entertaining set. [8/10]

Following a 15 minute change over Keiran Hyland of Coast To Coast uttered a slightly different line many people from Birmingham have heard before ‘We are Coast To Coast everyone come down’. Without a second thought the entirety of the audience moved forward for the first track in Coast To Coast’s set Geranium. This track which not only beautifully opened up their set also showcased their clear instrumental ability, as Keiran Hyland effortlessly sang note for note as it is on The Length Of  A Smile. As the band continued on through their set they played hits of off of their first EP Bloom and Cornerstone, which were met with a chorus of voices shouting back every word.

During this set Coast To Coast continually showed their strong instrumentation but also their ablity to control an audience, getting them moving and singing back words from track to track. As the band plowed through AjaxHeredity and set highlight Stale the band continued to put on a performance that was almost flawless, apart from a few slip ups, and showcased just why Coast To Coast may be one of the next big bands in the UK.

As Coast To Coast started to bring their set to close everyone in the room was fully involved with the band even taking time to bring guitarist Josh Taylor in to a crowd surf, it was during these moments that the set truly came in to fruition with the entire band playing cohesively, as they have done for the majority of their set. After finishing on Post Graduation the chant of ‘one more song’ began, before Coast To Coast began Bunkbeds to a chorus of people shouting back words as the set came to a close, not only rounding off a near perfect set, but also perfectly ending a show full of emotion and energy [9/10]

Luke Rainsford

Luke Rainsford on ‘I Feel At Home With You’ and maintaining honesty

Luke Rainsford is a midlands based solo artist about to release his second album I Feel At Home With You. We caught up with Luke on a weekend set of shows before his lengthy album release tour co-headlined with Crater Face.

First off, we wanted to know how much Luke was looking forward to the tour.

Oh yeah, really looking forward to it. The last tour I did was with Layover as part of a band, it’s going to be weird just being with one person for ten days but also really cool.

Luckily, Luke and Dru Lintott of Crater Face get on well. “I think most shows he’s ever played have been with me. We’re really used to playing shows together so it should be fun.”

If anything can test friendships however it’s touring, and the duo have decided to take the whole tour via public transport, which is set to be an interesting venture. “It was a really good idea at the time, and now we’re getting closer to it we’re kind of realising it’s gonna kind of suck but I think it’ll be worth it. We had a driver originally but he pulled out on us, but we didn’t want to cancel the tour.

Moving on to discuss the upcoming album, how has he found the response to the two current singles Ties and Home Safe?

I was a bit scared at first but after the stuff I’ve released has had a really good response and people have actually been learning the words already which is really really cool.”

Speaking of nerves, Luke elaborates he’s been treading a fine line between nervousness and excitement in the lead up to I Feel At Home With You.

Naturally I’m really nervous because the songs are so personal to me, almost uncomfortable in a way because it’s putting a piece of myself out there and if people don’t like it that’ll be quite heart-breaking,” explains Luke, “At the same time I think it’ll be worth it because as long as one person gets something from it or if someone relates to something and it helps them out in some way; even if people don’t like it overall I’m happy with it.

Thus, it’s with nothing but good intentions that Luke bares his soul through music. I Feel At Home With You broached a more dynamic, expanded sound to his debut I’m Nothing Like My Dad Turned Out To Be. How did this come about?

Growing up” is the simplest reason. Luke details that his first album was written over a few years of his late teens, not specifically as an album. This record on the other hand was written over a six-month period in his early twenties in a much more focused sense.

The first album was basically, in essence like a break-up record. It does delve into slightly more mature themes just because I’m older and I’ve had more experience growing up. I’ve gone through loads of different things, it’s different perspectives I guess, and listening to different music.

A move away from pop punk and into the territory of more niche, low-fi musicians inspired Luke greatly. Furthermore, it’s undeniably honesty that Luke believes is the most important element of music. He explains how any song can be musically incredible, yet feel weaker through lack of genuine emotion.

Discussing how difficult it was for Luke to recorded his own anecdotal and exceptionally honest songs, he admits it was incredibly challenging.

“It was really hard. Writing them was really different to my first record, I was trying to make it relatable. I was trying to keep it personal but I was trying to word it in a way that people could hear and relate to really easily. With this one I kind of scrapped that idea, I wanted to make it more so it’s not for people to relate to, but for people to understand ‘this person’. My perspective on the way things happened to me.

It’s not about relating to lyrics it’s about understanding your own emotions and yourself. I think having these songs as a reflection of that might help someone more than just having a lyric which is easy to relate to.”

Luke’s insistence on honest bleeds into his advice for any up-coming solo acts. Primarily to be honest and not worry about imitating bands, even those you love. Equally, to be nice, make friends with everyone possible and don’t let it get too serious to have fun. “If you’re not enjoying it, there’s no reason to do it.

I Feel At Home With You will be releasing through Scylla Records, and we spoke about Luke’s partnership with the label. This began when Richard Hughes, the manager of Scylla Records reached out to Luke for a place on a charity Christmas compilation. Later, inspired by his lack of funds to produce physical releases, Luke asked whether Richard could be interested in helping to release the album.

Having established their partnership, Richard has been helping Luke book shows and “in general making me more professional” with an eye for marketing distribution and helping to make the most of the album.

When asked about his goals, both short and long term, Luke details his ambitions of playing some shows in Europe, and even America, although he reaffirms “I don’t really have anything set in stone, more like ideas.

For the short term it’s just plug my album as much as I can. This record means a lot to me and I want as many people to hear it as possible. If someone needs an honest record like that, because I think sometimes people need some honest music. If one person loved, it and maybe it just helped them out with how they’re feeling that’s me happy. And of course I want as many people to pre-order it as possible. I want it to spread, I want to keep building.

Finally, we asked Luke if there were any solo artists or bands he’s most recommend others listen to. Crater Face of course, as well as Proud Ember as well as James Leese. The bands mentioned were Better Than Never, Coast To Coastespecially”, Pushing Daisies, Tuskens and “any band I’ve ever played with to be honest!”

Essentially, support local bands wherever you might find them.

We’re thankful to Luke Rainsford for taking the time to talk to us and being one of the humblest musicians you could wish to find. I Feel At Home With You releases on February 17th through Scylla Records, and we’ll be catching Luke on tour next month so keep your eyes peeled for all the latest!

PREMIERE: Luke Rainsford unveils happy, yet emotional new song/video ‘Homesafe’

This morning we’ve got the pleasure to be exclusively premiering the new single from Luke Rainsford.

Homesafe‘ is taken from his upcoming full length ‘I Feel At Home With You‘, which is being released early next month by SCYLLA RECORDS. You can pre-order his new album as digital, CD or on cassette over on Scylla’s web store.

So without further ado, check out the latest music video/song below!

Album cover

Luke Rainsford – I Feel At Home With You

Luke Rainsford is a name cropping up more and more in the UK pop punk scene, even if he’s not exactly the sort of act you tend to find there. Luke Rainsford is an acoustic solo artist from the Midlands on the cusp of releasing his sophomore album I Feel At Home With You through Scylla Records. His first album I’m Nothing Like My Dad Turned Out To Be set a precedent for emotional and honest tracks which were well received, launching him into a busy live schedule.

I Feel At Home With You expands on his initial formula by welcoming in minimalist additions of other instruments, such as a subtle drum backing and the occasional violin. It leads the album into feeling much more wholesome, yet as intimate as ever.

The record begins with a song ironically named All My Songs Sound The Same, a quick strum of the guitar and a cheeky “Aw, fuck“. This track is a good introduction to the dynamic of the new album; it’s stylistically similar to I’m Nothing Like My Dad Turned Out To Be while introducing the listener to the expanded landscape of I Feel At Home With You. The lyrics are personal if not excessively deep at this point, and the track is jovial at times.

The somewhat upbeat atmosphere continues through the majority of Fingernails, before Home Safe turns down the tempo introducing themes of death and personal flaws. Home Safe might come across too cliché for some, but forgivably so with an almost tongue-in-cheek reference to finality.

Hell Bent and Nightmares are two of the strongest songs the album has to offer. Hell Bent sees Luke reach up into a stable falsetto, and demonstrates a rare sense of optimism as he croons “I’m hell bent on believing in myself!“. The song also addresses the singer’s desire to make his mother proud, a moment of unbridled intimacy as the song strips back for the phrase “I hope I make you proud Mum“.

Nightmares is one of the most vocally powerful songs on the album, as Luke pushes the strength of his voice to capacity with a sense of euphoria. As with many songs, there’s a flair of moderated self-deprecation, but the song maintains a sense of cautious positivity for the future. Luke expresses his anxiety over being who he feels he needs to be for those around him.

Although Burned does not expand the record much musically, it deals with a sense of mental instability. Moving back to the more downbeat tempo that inhabits most of the album is no bad thing, but leaves Burned feeling somewhat small after the soaring highs of Nightmares. Cliché follows a similar pattern, a minimalist window into the psyche of Luke Rainsford. There’s some beautiful backgrounded vocals here which is a new and interesting style.

Ties was the lead single for the album, and the highlight of the track is a climactic ending full of over-layed vocals including the iconic “I’m nothing like my Dad turned out to beAnother ironic title in the form of Boy Meets Girl, Writes Song sees Luke playing a ukulele in a high-toned trill. Equally personal but more light-hearted than the majority of the album, it’s a well-timed breath of fresh air in the album.

I’m Bored Of Being Heartbroken relates a story of romance and writing songs. It’s another song that doesn’t push the boundaries of the album, but it carries the album along nicely. Bury Me With Nothing To My Name begins the heavy-hearted close of the album as Luke sings about how he sees his future. It’s a desolate soundscape that will resonate hard with many who feel somewhat lost. Frame is another standout song from I Feel At Home With You considering painful themes of self-harm and morbid metaphors such as “I’m a skeleton, be my skinI’ll be the frame on which you stretch yourself out.” It’s hard hitting and personal but beautifully written. The chorus of Frame is one of the most memorable Luke has written, and is sure to be huge at any live show.

The final song of I Feel At Home With You is I’m The Coward I Never Thought I’d Be. It is emotionally hard-hitting in a way that outstrips any of the other songs on the album. Much of the song has very little instrumental backing, and is delivered in the form of an open letter from Luke to his mother, saying what he never managed to say about his suicidal thoughts and treatment. In terms of being honest and open, it is unparalleled not only by any of his previous work but by almost any music recorded. There’s no metaphor or obstruction here, but a pure perspective on some of the leading themes of this album. Undoubtedly difficult to write, let alone record and release, it’s something that will have any listener feeling the utmost respect for Luke.

I Feel At Home With You is thematically and lyrically darker that Luke‘s previous work, but not without some light-hearted moments. The album is well paced to deliver the listener some emotional relief when it starts to become heavy, but is unafraid to finish off true to form in a transparent self-admission. The few songs which aren’t quite as deep as the rest detract very little from the album, and work to provide contrast. I Feel At Home With You is an album that took unrivalled courage to create, and Luke Rainsford is rewarded with his most spectacular music yet.

[9/10]

Luke Rainsford Announces Sophomore Record

This year has already been a huge success for Wolverhampton local Luke Rainsford with the release of his first solo album Nothing Like My Dad Turned Out To Be and the year has only gotten bigger with his signing to Scylla Records and having been in the studio already for his second album. Today Luke Rainsford has officially announced this second album and its release through Scylla Records on the 17th of February next year. This soppomore album, I Feel At Home With You, is now up for pre-order with two varianrts of tape and a CD. Along with pre-ordering you get two tracks from Luke one of which is the first single. Before you do anything else today definitely check this kid out.

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Support Luke Rainsford and pre-order the album HERE

Luke Rainsford releases “A Song About Alcohol” – Exclusive Premiere

We love brand new music at Musicology, especially when it involves great local talent like Luke Rainsford. After the release of his debut EP I Am Pathetic (Four Songs About A Girl) back in 2015, the Midlands scene have only managed to get a glimpse at new material through his live shows, until now.

A Song About Alcohol is his first single off a huge 14 song acoustic full length which delves into Luke’s more personal song writing, outside of Layover and Fullshore. So without further ado here it is:

If you liked what you heard then you won’t have to wait long until the full album is out. I’m Nothing Like My Dad Turned Out To Be is on bandcamp this Sunday (19th June) for everyone to listen to. It will also be on iTunes and Spotify in the coming weeks. And if that isn’t enough, Luke will be heading out on a huge list of dates over coming months across the UK so be sure to head down to a show:

June 18th – The Artworks, London
June 25th – Charity House Show, Birmingham

Tour with Crime and Punishment 2011

July 14th – The Flapper, Birmingham
July 15th – The Cookie, Leicester
July 16th – Milos, Leeds
July 17th – Fuel, Cardiff

Tour with Crater Face

July 22nd – Rewind, Wrexham
July 23rd – The Church House, Sheffield
July 24th – Walkabout (Printworks), Manchester

July 29th – Undivided Festival, Northampton

August 9th – The Wagon and Horses, Birmingham w/Crywank and Crater Face