The time of year has come for Fearless Records to release their latest instalment in the annual “Coming in” series for the new year.
The announcement includes new albums from Volumes, Mayday Parade, Wage War and August Burns Red as well as the new As It Is release (read our review here) and tour plans for bands including Real Friends, Tonight Alive, blessthefall and our friends in I Prevail. This year sure does look to be Fearless.
Canadian outfit The Flatliners have signed to Rise Records today ahead of a tour also announced today. The tour will be alongside The Menzingers and you can see the dates below. They are also set to release a full-length in the first half of next year. Check the band out on Facebook here.
Set It Off are preparing for the release of their new album Upside Down, out this Friday (October 7th) on Rude Records, which acts as the third full-length in their collection following 2014’s Duality. The recordwas produced in Los Angeles, CA with Brandon Paddock (Panic! At The Disco, Avril Lavigne), Erik Ron (Saosin, Panic! At The Disco) and Mike Green (5 Seconds of Summer, All Time Low). The band set out for this effort to “break down the genre walls” and this is most definitely something they’ve managed to do: the record is absolutely impossible to pigeonhole to one singular style.
Upside Down opens with the latest pre-release track Something New, which is a pop-fuelled piece filled with a drum/bass groove co-written by All Time Low‘s Alex Gaskarth. The song features massive layered gang vocals that create a big sound. Cody Carson’s voice shines through and sets the tone for the whole album from the outset, with almost a Patrick Stump tone to it at times.
The rest of the album however lacks a lot of conviction in terms of songwriting, with tracks such as Life Afraid resorting to Carson singing a line and shouting for “ladies” first then “fellas” to sing it back to him as if playing live, which makes it feel like it is missing something.
Highly characteristic of this album are the echoing, digitalised guitars, backed up with electronic horns and massively layered vocals to create a funky feel to the songs, which unfortunately makes the album sound very similar for a large portion of the record. The stacked vocals are a positive in many places though, to make the musically lacking tracks have some sort of complexity and depth, and it is undeniable that the harmonies are extremely well put-together.
The best track on the album isUncontainable, which sounds like it could have come straight off a new Fall Out Boy record. The guitar riff is very samey but keeps the rest of the track in check, the drums are partially digitalised to give a more pop vibe and there are traces of horns amongst the shouts and melodies of the layered backing vocals. The best part of the song has to be Carson’s voice again which has a very solid pop feel to keep the track growing. Another notable mention is the title track, with a keyboard intro and verse that keeps the track listenable throughout and a far more thorough touch to the writing.
Overall, it seems this record was made to just be played with the backing of a jazz band on stage where the crowd will be there to sing the gang vocals in place of the recorded voices to give some kind of connection but on the record it is missing any real emotion or effect. As an instalment in their catalogue Upside Down is rather a disappointing one, but in terms of a live performance this record could well mark a new height for them.
Opening track Chucky vs. The Giant Tortoise sets the tone well for Mothership in its entirety: a wacky premise yet some moments of real quality that show why Dance Gavin Dance have survived over a decade, as it is now. The clean vocals show from the off Tillian Pearson will be on form in this release and the tapped/sweeping leads of Will Swan bring the auditory mania for which the band have become known over the last decade.
A lot of the tracks have a lot more of a pop feel to the clean vocals than a lot of DGD material previous to Mothership. Tracks like Inspire The Liars and Young Robot have sections that could easily have been devised by Tyler Carter of Issues or even a modern hip hop artist in their own right. The best example of this is closing track Man of the Year, which holds real lyrical gravity sing/raps in the verse add fantastic melody to what would be an uninspiring tune without. The addition of the soulful sections bring an added depth to tracks that would have been otherwise slightly vanilla.
However, the true ability of Tillian Pearson is best displayed in the fifth track Deception: the opening features a strong solo vocal which resonates with the listener strongly. This contrasts to his belted (and sometimes even fried) vocals later on to show his clear versatility, and when coupled with Jon Mess’ aggressive overlays it makes for a good quality mixture. On top of the vocals, the breakdown here is excellent and the controlled shifting between calm and fury shows the duplicitous sound of the band better than the rest of the album. It is a clear marker that this record is another step up from last year’s Instant Gratification.
Here Comes The Winner takes the crown of ‘Best Track’, and standing at 4:47 is also the longest one on the record. It bears clean vocals that stretch Pearson’s range like few others on the album, screams that must have nearly pulled Jon Mess’ lungs out in the studio, multiple lead guitar parts to harmonise with one another to add a depth to the vocal melodies, and a rhythm section that keeps a chugging rhythm ongoing to keep the track well-grounded as a whole. This track is one of the better post-hardcore releases of the year, and it is a shame the band have not yet released this ahead of the full-album.
Other notable mentions go to second single Betrayed By The Game which again shows the sheer power of both voices behind the band, and Chocolate Jackalope which has one of the best guitar parts of any track the band have ever released.
Overall, an enjoyable album with some moments of real promise and others proving Dance Gavin Dance are a well-seasoned act in the studio setting. They are clearly progressing their sound further and further with each release and becoming more unique with it. The brutality/mellow contrast is what defines this record’s sound and differentiates it from any other band at the moment.
After yet another quick turnaround, Dance Gavin Dance have released a new track from their upcoming seventh full-length Mothership, set for a 7th October release via Rise Records.
Chucky Vs. The Giant Tortoise is the lead single from the LP, which is projected to be the band’s sixth consecutive Billboard 200-charting album and shows the band are continuing with their experimental fusion sound that defines their past catalogue.
Hear the single below:
The band are also on tour through the UK/EU in support of Mothership and to commemorate their 10th Anniversaryso check out the dates and pay them a visit:
Thu 3-Nov UK Oxford O2 Academy2
Fri 4-Nov UK Brighton The Haunt
Sat 5-Nov UK Birmingham Institute3
Sun 6-Nov UK Southampton Engine Rooms
Tue 8-Nov UK Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Wed 9-Nov UK Newcastle O2 Academy2
Thu 10-Nov UK Manchester Sound Control
Fri 11-Nov UK Glasgow Garage
Sat 12-Nov UK Leeds The Key Club
Mon 14-Nov UK Cardiff The Globe
Tue 15-Nov UK Bristol The Fleece
Wed 16-Nov UK London Underworld
Fri 18-Nov Germany Cologne Underground
Sat 19-Nov Germany Hamburg Headcrash
Sun 20-Nov Germany Berlin Musik & Frieden
Tue 22-Nov Germany Munich Strom
Wed 23-Nov Germany Frankfurt Nachtleben
Fri 25-Nov Netherlands Haarlem Patronaat
Sat 26-Nov Netherlands Eindhoven Dynamo
Illinois post-hardcore quintet The Color Morale yesterday released the follow-up to 2014’s Hold On Pain Ends. The album is titled Desolate Divine, and was released via Fearless Records, the band’s second on the label since signing in April .
The album features the singles Lonesome Soul, Clip Paper Wings and Walls, which all feature the band’s common themes of religion, mental illness and positivity.
After the release of new album Grief yesterday, James caught up with Alteras bassist Zack Orr to get his side of the story as their successes start to rack up.
How has signing to the label changed your work dynamic?
I guess the best thing about being in Alteras while signed to Revival [Records] is that our work dynamic hasn’t changed too much because they’ve been so supportive with all of our artistic ideas we’ve had thus far. The only thing that’s changed is that they’ve given us more of a drive, they’ve given us a bunch of help and backing with merch ideas and stuff like that. It’s definitely given us that bit of fire under our belts.
Has the writing process changed from pre-Grief through the record to now?
Well, the writing process has changed a little bit. Jordan [Wooley, guitar] does a lot of the preproduction, he did a lot of the writing musically for Grief but typically it comes with a concept for a song or a guitar riff of some sort which is thrown onto the table and it grows from there. It becomes what the song is in its entirety everyone’s added their own individual flair.
In terms of the release itself and the reception you’ve got from it as a whole, how would you say that’s differed from the previously released material?
Honestly, we’re blown away by it and we’re humbled by the release that we’ve had so far. We’ve had some great feedback and it’s only been out for a couple of days so we’re extremely excited. We didn’t have any backing or promotion for anything we’ve released before, for Shapeshifter, so releasing Grief with revival and having that support from them makes a huge difference which has been incredible thus far.
Where did you see yourself and Alteras going before you made the step towards Grief and how’s it changed forging the era?
Before, me and Seth [Donchess, drummer] weren’t actually a part of the band. We were asked to join about a year and a half, maybe two years ago so we’ve been sitting on Grief a very long time. It’s been completed forever, it feels like to us (laughs). Now that it’s been released though, we just want to tour, we want to start writing new material and stuff like that.
How did you ‘click’ when you became a part of Alteras?
Me and Seth joined two days, it might have been a week, before a show and the first time we were all in the room together just playing the music. We’d both practiced it, and obviously the other three knew it from playing it before, but once we got in the room together something just clicked. We’re all brothers now, it’s nothing but love and something was always just so right about it all. It’s just clicked so much better than any other band I’ve been in, and it’s turned into this.
What happened with the van incident last week then?
Well this last tour we just got off, we knew that it was a hell of a ride from the start. The two bands we were going to tour with had to drop off somewhat last minute from the tour, so any logical group of guys would have seen we maybe shouldn’t do it but we decided we were going to do it anyway. The first date was in Akron, OH which is pretty close to our home in Youngstown and luckily the van broke down there and not hours away. That was the main van we have and the fuel pump, the fuel filter, the alternator and the battery all just took a shit on us at once (laughs). We took that into the [work]shop right after that to get fixed, then we also have our old van that we were trying to sell and get rid of but thankfully we didn’t so we still had a van (laughs). We took that to Buffalo and played the show, the show was awesome and Buffalo is wild. After we were done playing we were about to load up when we realised the window was smashed and Jake [Clasen, vocalist]’s laptop was gone and Seth’s bag that had some clothes, his toothbrush and retainer and a whole bunch of other stuff needed to be stolen items in it. That was gone as well. After Buffalo, we ended up getting our main van back and we just continued on and other than those two incidents it was a great tour. Other than that we enjoyed it, we had a blast.
What sort of size were the shows you were playing?
The only one that was small, that didn’t have too many people at it was Kittanning, PA just outside Pittsburgh and that’s because when we got there I guess the promoters didn’t fill them in with the fact we were still going to be playing even though the others dropped out but we showed up and we played anyway. I think Buffalo had 130 plus people, Nashville I think had 50, Georgia about 30 so pretty good turnout other than that one show. It was a good time.
Where do you see Alteras progressing from this release into the future?
We’re working on getting tours lined up back to back and getting out to play as many places as we can. We have a ton of new content I mean, we dropped the new record yesterday, a new lyric video yesterday and we have a couple more videos to release sometime soon, and then hopefully nothing but tours into the distant future, to be honest. Oh, and new content too: more videos and new music at some point in the future as well.
When are you coming over to the UK then? (laughs)
We’ve actually had a lot of feedback on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter about coming over there, and I’m dying to come over there and play! (laughs) Hopefully soon we can get something going on.
Cane Hill have been getting their name out and about including an appearance at Slam Dunk before their album release in July, continuing with the release of the video for new song You’re So Wonderful.
The album is to hit shelves 15th July and it will be their debut full length, as well as their first Rise Records release. The band are going off on Warped Tour playing their first date today, so releasing the video to coincide with this commencing.
Aussie pop punkers With Confidence haven’t been around all that long; they only formed in a high school in 2012 and this album is their debut full-length, and only their third collection of tracks in total, yet you wouldn’t expect it for a second.
The lyrics throughout the record pack a serious punch, not falling flat as so many do in the modern community. Keeper has a real tone of bringing light to a desperate time with the “even though it all went south” lyric playing on the mind after every repetition throughout the track. Further excellent lyrics come from Gravity as Jayden sings “I fight through to see tomorrow, I’m so tired now watch me let go” to provide hope along with the pulsating and energy-riddled instrumentals powering through beneath him.
The instrumental parts aren’t the most technically extravagant which is to be expected of any pop punk band, but the sound is a sharp and polished one of a well-produced nature. Particular strengths are the bass in Keys and Gravity, the guitar work throughout the album but particularly in We’ll Be Okay and Keeper, vocal work in Keys and Waterfall which together create a real sense of quite how versatile Jayden Seeley really is, and drums are most standout in Keys and Gravitybut fantastic the whole way through.
Frankly, there are no bad tracks nor are there even “weaker” tracks: every track is a belter. The pure energy this band have from their youth and newcomer status is refreshing and while with some bands this comes out too much and creates an overly-emotionally-driven release, With Confidence seem to effortlessly reign it in to allow the polished sound they get. A clear example of the restraint they have is shown in Long Night with the pure delicacy and beautiful nature of the song which proves their depth and dynamic nature, likely to become a wedding song for any fan of the band.
The standout tracks from the release have to be the first single from 4th January We’ll Be Okay which was released to coincide with the announcement the band had signed to Hopeless Records, and last song previewed pre-release Voldemort which acts as as the opener. The former is a hugely catchy, raw and energetic piece of pop punk mastery with a gargantuan chorus as Jayden’s vocals soar into falsetto; the latter is an opening track of the highest order, lyrically surrounding the concept of the Better Weather metaphor and with guitars pulsating powerfully through the entirety of the 3 minutes.
“This record is the closest a pop punk record has got to perfect since Fall Out Boy‘s 2005 classic From Under The Cork Tree. With Confidence truly are going to a big place, and they’re going there quickly.”
California punk/hardcore band Stay Wild have released a track, Blossom, to raise funds for the victims of yesterday’s attacks.
The track will be available on their Bandcamp here on a “pay what you want” basis, with all proceeds going to the families of the near-100 victims of the disaster. On top of this, their label Panic State Records have said that they will donate $10 of every “Stay Wild: Feminist” shirt they sell to the cause also (available HERE).
Please donate whatever you can, whether you like the song or not, to help these people cover all the costs surrounding premature deaths to make this hard time just a little less crushing. Thank you in advance.