Palm Reader Braille

Palm Reader – Braille

Well known for their range of influences across hardcore and punk rock, Palm Reader haven’t been afraid to get stuck right in when they’re recording in the studio and they’re anything but strangers to going hard. Luckily, since the release of 2015 album Beside the Ones We Love they’ve definitely not lost that attitude or identity. Right from the very first notes of Swarm, the pace and power of this third effort are clearly evident. The influence of old-school Gallows is clear throughout the verses, with the hardcore screams having that “couldn’t give a damn” feel conveyed throughout their 2006 debut album Orchestra of Wolves.

Crashing through Internal Winter and Like A Wave, the band show no signs of slowing down. The former has elements of a djent feel with some low-tuned chug and bend work underneath the higher octave distortion to provide a hugely deep tone before moving into a melodic chorus with some quick lead riffs that fill all the remaining space. In the same vein, the latter is a no-holds-barred melodic hardcore tune with some ferocious screams mixed in with very well-mixed clean vocals to provide a fantastic blend as frontman Josh McKeown demonstrates his sheer power and ability in one track.

The highlights, however, sit a little lower down the tracklist. Following more emo-influenced Inertia, the instrumental track Breach splits up the album immaculately. The stuttering delay and rich reverb of the guitars combined with synth sounds creates an atmospheric, almost dream-like pause in the heaviness to leave time to think of where the album has been and the direction it is set to take. A long fade out brings the track to an end, and the calm before the storm is broken by the immense Coalesce. The giant guitar sounds bring the release right back to the track it set before the interlude, and the visceral screams of “wake up, wake up” instantly grab the attention back after the rest. The song by itself sums up the album incredibly well – a bolshy and raucous sound with refined and melodic elements, clearly influenced by a number of different artists.

Parallelling those tracks are another instrumental track Dorothy and the following Clockwork but with one key difference – Clockwork is a phenomenally broad and somewhat surprisingly restrained piece. Featuring no screams until a bridge over two minutes in, the first half of the song relies on lyrical content and the relationship between the dynamic vocal melody and the effect-rich guitar tones before developing into a pulsating, confident and heavy message of encouragement to “keep breathing”. Unlike with many bands though, the two parts of the song are not only blended through the dynamic bridge but somehow Palm Reader manage to retain the integral feel of the emotive first section throughout the heavy second – one of (if not the) best track in their repertoire.

Overall, not only a well-written and performed album but a beautifully crafted record with many, many faces. If anyone had any doubts about the ability or questioned the power of Palm ReaderBraille is set to make them look incredibly, incredibly stupid.

A shoutout has to go to the label Silent Cult as well – they’re giving some fantastic bands a platform to put out some excellent music.

Frauds – With Morning Toast & Jam & Juice – REVIEW

Is punk dead yet? Listening to Frauds’ latest release With Morning Toast & Jam & Juice, there’s still some punk defiance out there that will not give up the ghost just yet.

A cacophony from start to finish, this 8-track haul from Londoners Frauds sounds a bit like someone going through a midlife crisis. It attempts to be nuanced, tongue-in-cheek and idiosyncratic, but ultimately it’s an irritating and bizarre mess. I’m considerably more stressed having listened to this.

Let’s Find Out, doesn’t start the album well but you understand what you’re in for – and I suspect many people will make up their minds quickly to bail at this point. Then again, what did you expect from an album called With Morning Toast & Jam & Juice, which features rotten toast dipped in orange juice as it’s artwork? Odd.

It’s main riff drags on for a minute until we first hear some vocals from Chris Franscombe and Mike Alvarez – who also perform drums and guitar respectfully. What we’re greeted with is like a rambling drunk man getting angrier as the song progresses. We never get the drums the song needs and it glitches out to a finish. Second-up Smooth is perhaps a little more glum in places, but isn’t as the title suggests. Rough and patchy, it’s got a traditional punk gravity and a super irritating vocal hook in it. You can check it out below:

Sandwich is a strange song of two halves: unsettlingly piercing in the former half, unsettlingly mellow in the latter. These halves don’t work together at all but it’s thematic of the running album concepts of combining two unlikely flavours – as the artwork alludes to. Kudos, I guess.

Just Come of Age sounds as it suggests: villainous and cynical. When in full swing, there’s a dark punk vibe which works well with the darker lyrical themes. With a dose of lunacy and probably some conspiracy theories, it’s the pick of the bunch – plus, it’s abrupt ending works really well.

Suck Jobs is one of the few songs that seems to have what resembles a chorus, not just an open-ended disassembly of guitar, drums and wounded shrieks and shrills. Could’ve, Should’ve, Would’ve is a sore listen. If you can persevere past the lumbering guitar riff, it’s got an alright vocal hook and general edginess to it which you can get behind.

Several tracks seem to serve as pure track fodder: The Feeding Frenzy and Doom for the most part make little contribution to the overall album. What connective music is here doesn’t stick around for long, they are mostly padded out with slow guitar parts that drag and drain the album horribly.

The significance of final track Give In is anybody’s guess – although there must be some. It’s builds to a crescendo around the midway mark with a repeating riff being crushed under cymbals, ambient noise and other synthetic effects before cutting off suddenly. Whether this is purposeful is genuinely a mystery to me as it sounds more like an uploading fault than producing intent, the build doesn’t lead cleanly into it. Presumably, it’s public so it must be intentional, especially as the song resumes around the 7 minute mark – about 2 minutes of silence later – for a trivial 30 second outburst. My thoughts are that it’s some pointless hidden excerpt. Why is it here? Confusing and not well executed.

With Morning Toast & Jam & Juice is an enigma, one which clearly wants to stimulate and engage in discourse within its discordant manner – but probably stifles it in reality. Audiences will not be spoon fed, they will have to actively apply themselves to enjoy this record. Fleeting palatable and memorable moments are strewn across the album sporadically and it makes the listen deeply uncomfortable. There’s some real outside-the-box thinking going on here by Frauds, but it’s just a bit too nauseating: [2/10]

With Morning Toast & Jam & Juice is available now via soundcloud and bandcamp, also check out their Facebook.

Lifetight – Self-Tightled – REVIEW

Being birthed from the ashes of what was Lock and Key, Lifetight are set to make a name for themselves with their new EP Self-Tightled an EP which was released on November 3rd is set to produce some “posi” vibes as the band draw from their experiences with mental health and the military to create some positivity. This EP is set to be a great release so without further ado let’s breakdown this EP

Opening up this 4-track self-titled EP is Energy. The track overall is a powerful and great opener for the band, showcasing their ability in creating a well-composed track which easily shows their Hardcore and Punk influences. Alongside this the track lives up to its name providing a mass amount of energy from start to finish on this first cut, from the tight instrumentation to well presented vocal performance the track cracks open this EP well for what else will follow.

Misguided is the second track on the whistlestop tour of what is Lifetight‘s self-titled EP, this track is far heavier in its instrumentation than the track which sat before it. The more aggressive and up-tempo instrumentation powers this track along at a far brisker pace, which allows for more experimentation in terms of the vocal delivery that comes along with this track. This cut is possibly the strongest on this short release in all aspects. Following directly from this is Big Boy House a great cut off of this record that was close to being the strongest on the EP. With a somewhat more Punk orientated makeup, the track does seem to lack something that was present on Misguided which made it as strong as it is.

Closing off this EP from Lifetight is Dreams a track which appears to be the perfect blend of the two genres the band are influenced by the mix of Hardcore and Punk allow for a great overall sound that make this track such a powerful closer for the band, however this track also brings along the main downside of this EP and that is it’s length, the track like the others on this EP, seems to fly by and leaves you wanting more from the band. However, despite this the band yet again showcase their musical prowess on this track from the strong instrumentation and great vocal power that exists in this track.

Overall Lifetight have presented here a great EP which showcases not only their musical ability but also the “posi” vibes that they said it would. From the powerful vocals that speak so clearly to the positive messages that the band wished to portray to the great instrumentation that allowed this EP to, unfortunately, blast through its runtime a little too quickly. This EP as a whole is a great listen that showcases something for nearly all hardcore fans. [6.5/10]

Live: Fireball Fuelling the fire tour, 02 Academy Leeds 15/10/17

A huge show filled with amazing punk and ska bands awaits the 02 Academy in Leeds on this cool October Sunday evening.

 

First up we have local competition winners Eat Defeat, although their set was quite early and not too long after doors the room was reasonably full with more people still coming in due to the extensive searches upon entry. Their unique blend of ska and pop punk sounds resonated with the audience quite well.  Being a relatively small unknown band didn’t stop them from interacting with the crowd throughout their set. They even managed to get a singalong of their lyric “I think we’ll be ok” during their final song.

[7/10]

Following on from Eat Defeat we have Sheffield based band Sweet Little Machine whom were recently voted Fireballs Hottest band for 2017. Their 90s pop punkesque sound had a large portion of the crowd singing along and egged the crowd on to do a “Yorkshire” chant. The whole performance was very crowd orientated with frontman Alex discussing with the crowd how everyone hates someone and asked an audience member for the person they hate. Which turned out to be his ex-wife Melanie, this was then used as a lyric in the next song to the amusement of everyone in attendance. Ending their performance with Alex jumping off stage and running around the venue with his guitar getting everyone pumped was an amazing way to end an incredible performance.

[8/10]

Ska legends Mad Caddies were next up to take the stage. With very minimal effort these guys had the whole crowd in the palm of their hand. With sing-along’s all the way through the set from the new songs to tracks that were 20 years old such as Monkeys. The First pit of the night even broke out to Monkeys.

[7/10]

Next up we had punk legends Anti-Flag bringing their angry anti-establishment, anti-hatred sound to Leeds. Their huge energy performance filled with jumping guitarists and bassists got the crowd extremely pumped. The band even managing to get a circle pit opening up to almost the whole width of the room. To add to this outstanding performance they even brought out the brass section for Reel Big Fish for a quick guest spot during a song. Bassist Chris also decided to jump into the crowd for one song to the excitement of the devoted fans at the front row.

[7/10]

Now time for the headline act, Reel Big fish enter the stage to the roar of the eager fans of this almost sold out event. The crowd were clearly pumped (the free fireball whiskey shots may have helped) and the band matched them all the way through. The whole set was ridiculously fun for not only the band but for the audience too, with fireball beach balls flying around the venue throughout the whole set. On top of their outstanding back catalogue the band threw in a mash up of covers including Nirvana, Weetus and Journey among others. Their set ended on their infamous cover of Take On Me.

[9/10]

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

keep the coffins coming the patience frank iero

Frank Iero and the Patience – Keep The Coffins Coming [EP]

Frank Iero has always dreamed of working with Steve Albini, and when he finally got the chance he put together a combination of a recent single, an old rarity track, an unreleased song and a cover to give the producer a platform to produce his magic with the band. The EP comes less than a year after The Patience‘s second album Parachutes (which we rated a solid 9) ahead of their European tour over the next few months.

Opening the EP is Parachutes track I’m A Mess which is already a fan favourite before this release, but the Albini-influenced version has the raw feel of a live track with what sounds like a natural reverb underlying the dry recording. That aside, there isn’t much difference between the regular studio recording but a good performance of the song which is made almost more gritty with the odd error here and there as could be expected live. Following up is a piece that Frank released back in 2014 as a solo song which featured his twin daughters Lily and Cherry, titled BFF. This version is far more upbeat as a band version tends to be, giving a sense of gravity to Iero’s pained lyric “things just don’t feel right when you’re not by my side” among others.

The most hardcore-influenced of the four songs on the EP comes under the title No Fun Club third on the tracklist. The signature Frank far away/distorted screaming sound fills any empty space left by the heavy distortion on all the guitar and bass sounds throughout to produce a fast, punky feel for the minute and a half it takes up. Closing up the EP with a classic Johnny Cash cover, Iero has the fuzz-filled guitar tone for which he has become infamous since his My Chemical Romance days. Resting on a lilting tempo, the version has been performed live a fair number of times but the capturing of the emotion in the frontman’s voice ensnares the essential essence of The Patience and everything they do: messy, rough yet perfectly imperfect in the best way.

bronx v

The Bronx – BRVNX (V)

As their fifth self-titled album under the The Bronx branch of their music, fans are expecting the latest album by the LA punks to be refined and high quality – two features which come in abundance in just about every track.

Opening track Night Drop at the Glue Factory is raw and overdriven from the start, before introducing distorted vocals that bring the sound almost to a hardcore-influenced Foo Fighters vibe which is executed fantastically. Fuzz-fuelled solos and hard-hit pacey drum parts. The seamless transition into Stranger Danger is the first but most certainly not the last, as the five-piece glide seamlessly between sub-genres with every track.

The album demonstrates something for everyone: hardcore elements in Sore Throat, a power-blues feel in Broken Arrow, some softer (almost indie) rock aspects in Side Effects that would fit immaculately into any time of day on Radio X among others, and tracks including Two Birds and Channel Islands have tones almost resembling classic 80’s crunch rock sounds to bring the album a retro side with wah ripping up and down through the frequency bands to provide a depth to the riff sounds throughout all of the guitar fill work present on the song.

It is often easy to pick some standout pieces from albums to separate the wheat from the chaff ahead of listeners’ first experience, but every song on BRVNX is just as strong as each other – the deciding factor on a favourite for fans is likely to be which subgenres of rock they prefer most and how they like the band’s execution of said style!

Vocally, the album is just as diverse as the instrumental styles. Frontman Matt Caughthran manages to pitch his vocal frequencies to cut through the mix through every style of rock The Bronx display so well, showing his diversity when contrasting more hardcore tracks like Sore Throat which features fairly heavily distorted sounds the whole way through with Side Effects which provides far more melodic and dry vocal work.

In terms of production, the band have gelled amazingly with Rob Schnapf (Beck, FIDLAR) to create a collection that showcases the various points of talent they hold in a style where they seem incredibly comfortable. Seamless transitions between elements in every song illustrate the songwriting capabilities they have been honing over the past fifteen years and it feels like that side of The Bronx has come into fruition now more than ever in this cycle.

Overall, the confidence and songwriting prowess of all involved have made this album a force to be reckoned with – a certain contender for a lot of ‘album of the year’ lists!

frank iero and the patience keep the coffins coming

Frank Iero and the Patience have a new EP

That’s right, Frank Iero and the Patience will be releasing brand new material less than a year after their 2016 debut album (since the name change), Parachutes.

The new songs will collectively be known as the Keep The Coffins Coming EP which will hit the shelves on 22nd September this year via Hassle Records who released Parachutes last year. The collection also features artwork designed by Krokodil guitarist and BBC Radio 1 Rock Show’s Daniel P Carter.

Frank said: “When we were done touring .stomachaches., I talked to my manager Paul about what we should do. I had my bucket list and one of the things on there was to work with Steve Albini. Paul asked how long I’d wanted to work with Steve and I was like, ‘Since I was, like, eleven!’ I wanted to make a Steve Albini record. Paul said he’d call him and I was like, ‘You can’t do that… that would be weird. Don’t do it.’ And he was like, ‘That’s my job!’ He called him, Steve said he could do it and he had three days. Next phone call I made was U-Haul; I fuckin’ packed the U-Haul up and drove the band to Chicago. I got to record an EP with my friends and one of my heroes in this giant firehouse building in Chicago. The EP is this missing link between .stomachaches. and Parachutes. It’s everything I wanted it to be. It’s fuckin’ awesome!”

Preorder the EP on limited edition 10″ vinyl or digital at the Hassle Records store right here.

Frank Iero and the Patience are also set to hit a seriously extensive UK tour through September and October, check out the dates:

Wed 20 Sep 2017 Newcastle Uni – Tickets
Thu 21 Sep 2017 Liverpool Arts Club – Tickets
Fri 22 Sep 2017 Leeds Key Club – Tickets
Sun 24 Sep 2017 Manchester Academy 3 – Tickets
Mon 25 Sep 2017 Brighton Concorde 2 – Tickets
Tue 26 Sep 2017 Bristol Fleece – Tickets
Wed 27 Sep 2017 London Tufnell Park Dome – Tickets
Fri 29 Sep 2017 Wiesbaden Schlathof – Tickets
Sat 30 Sep 2017 Lindau Club Vaudeville – Tickets
Sun 01 Oct 2017 Leipzig Taubchenthal – Tickets
Tue 03 Oct 2017 Zurich Dynamo – Tickets
Wed 04 Oct 2017 Vienna Arena – Tickets
Thu 05 Oct 2017  Nuremburg Dynamo – Tickets
Fri 06 Oct 2017 Cologne Gebaude 9 – Tickets
Sun 08 Oct 2017 Cardiff Globe – Tickets
Mon 09 Oct 2017 Norwich Waterfront – Tickets
Wed 11 Oct 2017 Edinburgh La Belle Angele – Tickets
Thu 12 Oct 2017 Aberdeen Garage – Tickets
Fri 13 Oct 2017 Glasgow Garage – Tickets
Sun 15 Oct 2017 Sheffield Plug – Tickets
Mon 16 Oct 2017 Nottingham Rescue Rooms – Tickets
Tue 17 Oct 2017 Colchester Arts Centre – Tickets
Wed 18 Oct 2017 Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms – Tickets
Thu 19 Oct 2017 Wolverhampton Slade Rooms – Tickets
Fri 20 Oct 2017 Aldershot West End Centre – Tickets