HIGHLIVES Release New Video

Bristol’s pop-punk outfit HIGHLIVES have recently released their newest single Nothing Left, their previous EP titled Misguided garnered them huge attention and resulted in them sharing stages with bands like Neck Deep and As It Is.

“The track explores how a negative mind-set can push someone away in a romantic relationship whilst reflecting on the feelings that come with the absence of a loved one.” – HIGHLIVES

Check out the lyric video for Nothing Left below:

Catch the band at the following dates:

SEPTEMBER

Wednesday 20th – Exchange, Bristol (w/ Milestones & Gospel Youth)

Saturday 30th – Deadbolt Festival, Manchester

NOVEMBER

Thursday 9th – The Ballroom, Canterbury

Friday 10th – Harvey’s, Luton

Saturday 11th – The Attic, Torquay

Sunday 12th – Crofter’s Rights, Bristol

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  

Northshore – Alternative Futures [EP]

Northshore, formed in the UK in early 2017, have already recorded their debut EP Alternative Futures, due for release on 21st August via Scylla Records. With this in mind, the listener will be surprised and how cohesive Northshore‘s sound is, as a newly formed band. The four track EP takes influences from State ChampsThe Maine and Dance Gavin Dance, to name a few. Northshore draw all these influences together and add their own twist to it, making something new and exciting in the world of UK pop punk.

Opening with Read Between The Lines, the catchy riff immediately grabs the listener. The lyrics are relatable, catchy and flow easily throughout the song. The second track is the debut single, Better Days. The juxtaposing cheerful music with the emotional lyrical content really grabs the listener’s attention and is an excellent example of the rest of the EP, and the best choice from the EP for the debut single. The opening track also uses this to some extent, but it is more noticeable in Better Days.

Coming Home is again a relatable song for listeners, the first chorus slowing down and asking ‘When are you coming home? I’ve got so much to tell you‘. The musical content is more dynamic in this track, building up and dropping out as required. The second chorus is more built up than the first. This track doesn’t use the traditional verse/chorus structure, and actually ends at 2 minutes 20 seconds, after the built up second chorus.

The final track, Alternative Futures, goes back to the usual pop punk feeling, and as the title track of the EP would make the best choice for a second single, if Northshore decide to release another track from this EP. Alternative Futures has the best guitar solo out of the entire EP, using musicality over technique, and really flowing with the rest of the song, incorporating themes from the main riff.

Northshore have really released something high quality for having only been together for less than a year. Alternative Futures spells out a promising future for the group, and they are already thinking about their next release. Although they have a tough act to follow with such a good EP, they are sure to outperform themselves and release something even better next time!

[9/10]

All Tied Up – Breaking Silence

Southern pop punk outfit All Tied Up make their return to the British Pop-punk scene with latest EP Breaking Silence. The boys have racked up an impressive résumé thus far with support slots for British scene mainstays such as Whitmore and [Spunge] as well as bigger American names such as The Ataris. Not a bad start for a bunch of lads from from Milton Keynes and with an album and two EP’s already under their belt, the band look to take that vital next leap on Breaking Silence.

For fans of that early 2000’s pop punk sound, opener So Enthusiastic will hit all the right notes, coming on like a vibrant cross between the unshakeable vocal hooks of the Madden brothers and the jangly cleans of mellower Blink 182 numbers. It’s a cracking start and stands as one of the strongest moments on the EP. While it’s not a bad thing to have a such strong opener, there are a few things that box the EP in a little.

A small issue is the production, which while not terrible at all, tends to compress the mix a tad, leaving little space for the songs to breathe and some of the heavier moments such as the mid-section of Better Day sounding cluttered and stiff. It almost seems a little unfortunate as some of the numbers on here shine through regardless ; with Master of Disguise coming complete with a belter of a chorus reminiscent of The Ataris best work and the title track’s excellent double time riffery. The lyrics are typical of the genre but work well alongside the musical backdrop covering everything from self doubt, road stories and good old fashioned love.

With Breaking Silence, it’s abundantly clear that All Tied Up have worked hard to craft an EP full of catchy choruses, itch-scratchingly fun riffs and singalong lyrics. They show maturity with strong harmonies and bravery with vocalist Dave Palfreyman embracing his accent and in turn adding charm and identity to the music. Aside from the minor complaint regarding production, this drops just in time for you to listen to it all through the colder seasons and memorise these tunes for summer 2018.

Breaking Silence is released September 22nd on Stack in-a-box Records.

Patent Pending Release Video For ‘Wasted/Wake Me Up’

Having just released a cover album titled Other People’s Greatest Hits, which is full of their takes on huge songs from other genres. Patent Pending have just dropped a video for their cover/mashup of Tiesto‘s Wasted mixed with Avicii‘s Wake Me Up. The video shows frontman Joe Ragosta in a bedroom covered in paint and through use of a boomerang-like effect with back and forth camera footage, the video shows how this situation arose. Check out the video below:

Of the thought process behind the idea, Ragosta had the following to say:

It’s very common and very easy for people to overlook EDM music. We wanted to make these two songs rock so people who would much prefer rock to EDM could hear these tremendous melodies and catchy sing along parts it in a more familiar way.”

Bowling For Soup Release New Single

Pop punk legends Bowling For Soup have just released their second single from Drunk Dynasty, Don’t Be A Dick is an animated video within which a former member of the bands tour crew has been forever immortalised, becoming part of their history forever. Having recently played a headline slot on Slam Dunk‘s Fireball stage and before that embarked on numerous tours, the next tour will be Jaret’s solo tour in the UK Heartache & Hilarity, tickets available from usual vendors.

Check out Don’t Be A Dick below:

Jack the Envious Release New Single

With their second EP In Your Way due out July 14th, Jack The Envious will release their newest single Guilty on June 16th as a free download.

“On this track, we get more political than we have before. The influence of the song strongly comes from our background. Back home, such subjects revolved around us on a daily basis. Yet it’s all over the world that people with power use it, some for good, some for bad.
We got to a certain point where there are so many problems, and no one takes the responsibility, leaving everything in the air. We aren’t judging, but we just wanted to say what we saw, and make a statement that we’re not a part of it. You can take a listen and draw your own conclusion.”

Check out the trailer:

Whilst comprising their finalised EP track listing, the band had this to say:

We’ve got so many songs in our arsenal at the moment, it’s been crazy to choose only five songs, but we wanted to keep it simple. Bands change all the time, a little here, a little there. With that being said, we wanted to capture it yet give the listeners who already know us that familiar JTE vibe. The songs are, in a way, very different from each other, but at the same time contain the guidelines of a JTE song. We never settled on one style of writing, and every time it’s a different journey but with the same friends.”

The bands first UK show is listed below:

Grab tickets from OurBlackHeart.com

Reckless Intentions open up about upcoming EP ‘Lights’

Reckless Intentions are a pop punk band gearing up to release a new EP, Lights. We decided it was about time we caught up with these gentlemen to have a few words about the band themselves and what they’ve been aiming for with Lights.

Reckless Intentions gave us a valuable insight into their headspace, so see what they had to say!

1. For those unfamiliar, how would you describe Reckless Intentions?

We’re probably nostalgic pop-punk with a new twist. I’m always awful at putting a label on things, but that seems to be the verdict from the people who’ve listened to us!

2. You’re playing a lot of shows over the next few months, what can people expect from them?

Well we properly go for it – by the end of our shows, there’s normally some blood stained instrument or something. We’re really excited to try out some new material as well, and there’s always a lot of variety in our sets, so hopefully everyone will have a good time.

3. Do you have any particularly stand-out moments from previous live shows?

It’s probably going to sound pretty strange, but my earplugs tend to take a lot of the shine away from what we’re playing, so I can never really hear how we sound live, particularly audience reactions etc. We were playing a show at The Hope & Ruin in Brighton, where we couldn’t really see the crowd due to the lighting, and I was convinced that we were playing really badly, so I took my earplugs out midway through a song. Even though we were still playing the track, everyone was cheering and seemed to be having a great time, and that paired with actually being able to hear our band sounding great live, without any self-consciousness or uncertainty was a really sweet moment for me.

I wouldn’t recommend taking your earplugs out too often though, kids, tinnitus is a bitch.

4. You’ll be releasing your EP Lights in just over a month, would you say you’re more nervous or excited?

I think it’s a mix of the two. We’ve had some great responses from reviewers for the actual EP, and the songs get a lot of praise when we play them live, which gives me confidence that if we can find our target audience that we can definitely take some big steps forward; but at the same time, we know that some people won’t like us, and there’s bound to be criticism along the way, which we’ll just have to brush off and keep believing in what we’re doing.

5. What were your main inspirations for writing the EP, and did you have any specific goals going into writing it?

We’d done a lot of experimenting and playing around with our sound when we first started as a band, so we were really keen to have a clear identity as a band by the time we recorded our first EP, which I think we definitely managed to do. A lot of thought went into the details in each track, and we tried to do something that was undeniably ‘us’, and not just another rip-off of a much bigger band. Personally, the inspiration for the lyrics was growing up in a suburb filled with people who cared more about appearance than meaning. The main theme of the release is about feeling lost and trying to find your place.

6. As a band, do you have a collective dream?

Warped Tour has been brought up on quite a few occasions – it’s obviously quite an endurance test, but we love the idea of spending the whole summer travelling and playing shows in the States, especially considering their consistently strong line-ups.

7. Who would be your dream to tour with?

Probably someone like Green Day – a huge artist on both a global and personal level. It’d be amazing to do shows with the bands that made us who we are, and to play some of the venues they play at on tour would be a dream come true for us.

8. If you were to release a split EP with another UK band, who would it be?

We’re really into Penelope Tree’s last EP, who we’re going on tour with this month. They’ve got a really good way of combining ambient emotion with their own brand of powerful pop punk – we’re big fans!

With that, you’re going to have to wait for more info on Reckless Intentions and their exciting new EP Lights! We will, of course have all the latest – so don’t stray far!

Cock Sparrer – Forever

It’s certainly interesting when musicians known for such a strong body of work within their genre, release albums so intermittently. In the case of London street punks Cock Sparrer it comes as a real treat for their fans when the band drop a new album – and with Forever, their sixth album in a whopping 45 year long career, the band update their sound without shifting too far from the classic Oi! sound which they helped to define.

The key thing to remember about Cock Sparrer is that, despite their sometimes aggressive, socially questioning lyrics, the band has always managed to deliver the melodies that keep these lyrical barbs stuck in the listeners head. This comes across on lead single Gonna Be Alright with its very British take on pop-punk – sporting a punchy chorus complete with vibrant harmonies.

To be fair to the band, they keep the hostilities at a minimum here, with only a couple of tracks like opener One By One – which recalls youthful scrapping – coming across slightly brutish. The majority of the record deals with themes of unity and even tackles socially relevant issues such as unprovoked attacks on Somebodies Brother, Somebodies Son.

Although the format remains familiar, what separates this record from early releases, even from 2008’s Here We Stand, is the chunky production. Where once they embraced the minimal, buzzsaw guitar approach – on Forever, a meaty rhythm section holds up Mikey Beaufoy’s ultra-melodic lead guitar lines, even frontman Colin McFaull’s cockney snarl is pushed front and center.

With the band now releasing music at a declining rate, it seems that Cock Sparrer has put all they have into Forever and it shows through walloping anthems and their trademark brutally honest lyrics. It’s more than likely that the question on the lips of fans is “Could this be the bands last record?”  If the answer is yes, Forever stands as a fine epitaph for an enduring band.

Forever is available now.

set it off

Live: Set It Off / With Confidence – O2 Islington, 31/5/16

Opening up the show for Set It Off came the only UK-native band in Homebound, who played to a filling room of around 30 people and ending on less than half full. Contrary to this, the five-piece produced a really energetic performance of songs old and new to a crowd who were keen to get warmed up. Unfortunately however, vocalist Charlie Boughton sounded like he was having a really hard time singing to the extent that he just couldn’t hit the notes of his own songs in tune which was pretty gutting considering the energy of the band and his clear ability on record. A very energetic set that just lacked that shine that so regularly makes this outfit stand out – not a criticism so much as a simple “unlucky, it wasn’t your day” because Homebound are definitely one to watch. [6/10] (For fans of any pop punk)

By far the heaviest band of the night came up second in the shape of Kentucky post-hardcore quintet Too Close To Touch. The band have been used to playing mixed bills before – just this year they toured with Creeper and Waterparks throughout the US – but nothing to the level of this show. The band gave it everything they had and nailed every single track with absolute precision, smashing through their career-spanning setlist with the  utmost energy and passion. As was mildly unsurprising though considering the co-headliners, a large portion of the room weren’t interested in them musically with only a slight nod of the head and short applause following each track which was a huge shame for a band who showed even the more experienced groups on the list how intense a show can get, even as a support. Fantastic set from a brilliant band, do not sleep on this lot. [9/10] (For fans of Hands Like Houses)

The first co-headliner to play was With Confidence, who have had a monumental rise through the last year. This is their second UK headline run (if you can call it that playing before Set It Off) since the start of February when they hit our shores with BroadsideSafe To Say and Milestones, yet in that short period their fanbase has gotten even stronger. Playing through tracks from their debut album Better Weather mixed in with a few of EP songs (namely I Will Never Wait and fan-favourite Godzilla) has worked a treat in recent shows and this was no different. The set was played out with a rather large rubber penis taped to guitarist Luke’s microphone stand much to the amusement of the largely-teenage crowd, yet this charisma combined with the tight musical performance provides a charming show. Set highlights came threefold: a performance of London Lights in its hometown proved massively energetic; Keys fronted by guitarist Inigo Del Carmen in the usual emotional state of the song (he wrote it about his close friend who took her own life, hence the huge emotive connection) and the set closer Keeper which is always filled with pure energy from band and audience alike to see out the show. Another great set from a band shooting for the stars. [9/10]

Set it off with confidence
With Confidence

A good five years ago is when Set It Off started to deviate from their pop punk roots to being a straight-up pop band and the main body of their set only went to prove this. With the collection being taken largely from 2016 effort Upside Down came the lack of substance musically and emotionally with huge portions of the track relying on backing tracks for basslines, backing vocals and even the horn section which sounded especially corny live (made mildly better when guitarist Dan Clermont pulled out his trumpet for a live rendition). The crowd were screaming and going absolutely mad for the band lacking substance the most of any of the bands on the lineup with their setlist, though that being said the encore changed everything. Delving back through the catalogue to Cinematics for a guitar/vocal rendition of Swan Song proved even to the critics in the room that the band do have a certain level of integrity however the set may have seemed, and finishing with Hypnotized carried on the freshness of the encore to the end. Overall, a set saved by both the stage presence and outstanding vocal performances of frontman Cody Carson. and the encore song choices. Set It Off are popular yet seem to have lost themselves in a commercial abyss – hopefully soon they’ll show off their musical ability once more rather than leaving it hidden under backing tracks. [6/10]

Set it off
Set it off