Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Album Review: Bad Times Don’t Last by Goalkeeper (by Emma Prew)

Goalkeeper are a pop punk trio from Philadelphia/South Jersey who describe themselves as being stuck in the 2000s. After seeing them (and their shark artwork) pop up on my ‘Discover Weekly’ on Spotify, I decided to give their November 2018 EP, Bad Times Don’t Last, a listen.

Sunshine is the first song of Bad Times Don’t Last and after a fade-in intro we are hit with a slice of Blink-182-inspired pop punk – I can certainly hear what they mean about being stuck in the noughties. Despite the obvious comparisons, Sunshine is a super cheery punk song in its own right. The track is an optimistic one about knowing that things will be alright, particularly knowing that you’re waiting for that special someone to come home. I admit that lines like ‘You’re my sunshine on a cloudy day.’ are pretty cheesy but they still make me smile. Pounding drums and crashing guitars open up the next song, Chances. We soon learn that, in contrast to the first, this song isn’t quite so positive in its outlook. Chances is a plea to someone, presumably a former significant other, to take you back – and give you another chance. It’s not all self-deprecating however as towards the end of the song, it turns out that it was probably for the best anyway as life isn’t so bad without them – I do love a plot twist. ‘Today I have some new friends, a good job and a life, I learned to live without you and it's turning out alright. Life’s too short to be looking into the rear view, I’m speeding towards the future whether or not that includes you.

I was quite surprised when the third song, Lately, kicked off with an acoustic guitar. In fact, the whole song is acoustic. The lyrics are still in a pop punk vein but the acoustic nature reminded me of Garrett Dale (of Red City Radio) – except much less gruff. Lately is an honest and nostalgic song, admitting that you do care about someone who was important to you not being in your life anymore. I enjoyed the change of pace and tone that came from an acoustic tune but equally welcomed the volume and intensity that returns for the penultimate song of the EP. Left Lane feels more bitter and rage-driven than the previous songs on offer and I love this side of Goalkeeper. The song reflects on a particular person in your past who you now know wasn’t good for you. The highlight of the track has to be its chorus that would make for an excellent singalong – ‘Don’t be surprised if your life starts falling apart, I tried my best but my guess is you can’t start, I can’t let it bother me.’ Bringing the EP to a close is an additional Blink-style pop punk banger in the form of Nothing At All. Another of the optimistic variety, this is a bouncy and fast paced tune that vows to put you in a good mood. The final refrain really sums it all up – ‘If I fall down I’ll get up again, I’ll make mistakes but I’ll own up to them, If I let go then I’ll be free, Nothing's stopping me, Nothing at all.’

You can stream and download Bad Time Don’t Last on Bandcamp now and find Goalkeeper on Facebook too.

This review was written by Emma Prew.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Album Review: Singing Like Nobody Is Listening by Quitters

Quitters are without a doubt one of my favourite discoveries of the last few years. Since stumbling across the incredible Good Night Memories, they've been a band I've recommended to anyone that would listen. In January of last year I was fortunate enough to catch them live twice and was blown away on both occasions. Now it's time for the French four piece to follow up Good Night Memories with their next release – the five track EP, Singing Like Nobody Is Listening. I was so excited to hear this.

Singing Like Nobody Is Listening opens with the song My Own Worst Enemy which featured as a CPRW video of the week a few months ago. If you've not seen it yet check it out here – it's so wholesome. My Own Worst Enemy immediately makes you realise exactly why Quitters gave this EP its title. From the start it's a wonderful, fists-in-the-air, big sing-along kind of time. The track is about realising that you always have a choice and that despite feeling frustrated and angry at the world there are always positives to find. A big highlight of the song for me is the small breakdown that builds to a great, gang vocal finale where the band shouts ‘My Own Worst Enemy’ repeatedly. Up next is Better Off Dead. This is, as you might expect, another big sing-along song and has a whole load of whoa-ohs throughout its duration but it also feel more restrained that My Own Worst Enemy. It doesn't sound as if Quitters really get into top gear on this song but that only adds to the power of it. This is one I'm really wanting to hear live with a room full of people shouting every word back at the band.

Letter To Forgotten Friends sees the tempo get increased and also sees the introduction of more jangly guitar riffs that were used so brilliantly on Good Night Memories. This may make it my favourite song on Singing Like Nobody Is Listening. It combines the best parts of this EP as well as the previous album. Featuring an abundance of gang vocals, the song has that inclusive feel to it that I really love. Another track that I just have to witness live. Letter To Forgotten Friends is about trying to reconnect with old acquaintances and trying to figure out what happened to your friendships. The penultimate song is titled Burn Your House Down. Falling more into the indie punk style rather than being a gruff punk sing-along, Burn Your House Down sees a more restrained Quitters showing off some of their sublime musical ability, particularly the lead guitar part. On this track the band show that they're definitely not one trick ponies and can feature a number of different style in their songwriting. Singing Like Nobody Is Listening finishes with Biting The Dust. I always enjoy when an EP or album's final track sounds like a final track. Whether it puts an exclamation point on the release or ends with an epic flourish, a final song needs to leave an impression. Biting The Dust does this. Combining everything I've loved about the EP into three and a half minutes – big singing moments, wonderful musicianship and a sweet ending that has me thinking of the lengthy outro of The Brighter Shades Of Time from Good Night Memories. I love this little Easter Egg.

This is the first release from 2019 that I've reviewed this year and it already has me thinking it's going to place highly on my end of year list – it's that good! I love Quitters.

Stream and download Singing Like Nobody Is Listening from the 18th of January here: https://quittersmusic.bandcamp.com/music

Like Quitters here: https://www.facebook.com/quittersmusic/

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Column: UK Festival Preview 2019

This past week at work I've had to book my holidays for the upcoming year. For me that means, and I imagine a lot of you, working out which festivals I want to go to in the coming year. In the UK and Europe we're so lucky to have so many punk rock festivals available to us. In preperation for writing this column I listed all I could think of and was amazed by just how many there are. This is the first of a two part feature previewing the best punk festivals in the UK and Europe. Today we're going to look at what's going on this year in the UK.

Arrowfest, 22nd–24th March
Our pals at Broken Arrow Magazine are putting on a punk rock weekender towards the end of March. Taking place at Crowley's Bar in Hastings on the south coast, it features a varied line-up of acts from all parts of the punk rock genre. Some of the bands announced for the three day festival include Darko, Call Me Malcolm, Fair Do's, Blind Man Death Stare, Incisions, Aerial Salad, Codename Colin and Misgivings. This weekend looks like a treat.

Washed Out Festival, 12th–13th April
Sticking to the south coast, midway through April Washed Out Festival returns. Taking place in a handful of venues in the vibrant seaside resort of Brighton, Washed Out is a festival that has grown out of the thriving DIY punk community in the town and features some of the most popular bands in the scene as well as some new acts that you're guaranteed to love. Bands to watch out for include Doe, Kamikaze Girls, Triple Sundae, Throwing Stuff, Woahnows, Death By Shotgun, Mean Caesar and The Menstrual Cramps.

Manchester Punk Festival, 19th–21st April
I'm sure you all know about my love of Manchester Punk Festival by now. Back for its fifth year, it's been an absolute pleasure to see this festival grow. This year the festival will be expanding to eight venues and feature more bands than ever before. It is also going to be three full days now so it's going to be a test of endurance – but a test of endurance with so many amazing bands and your punks pals from all over the UK and further afield. MPF now attracts the top bands from all over the world as well as continuing to promote the best home grown talent. Among the bands announced so far are Samiam, Dead To Me, Subhumans, Smoke Or Fire, King Prawn, Tom May, The Bar Stool Preachers, Faintest Idea, The Penske File, Muncie Girls and many, many more.

Booze Cruise Bristol, 24th–26th May
Booze Cruise Festival originated in Hamburg, Germany, and is now expanding to have a weekend in Bristol over the second bank holiday weekend of May. It will take place in a number of venues along the River Avon and, I believe I'm right in thinking, on a boat. Bringing in some top new bands from America and Europe as well as some of the UK's finest, this weekend has the potential to be the festival of the year. Already announced are Tiny Moving Parts, Bong Mountain, The Burnt Tapes, Western Settings, Mobina Galore, Ducking Punches and You Vandal.

Slam Dunk Festival, 25th May (North) & 26th May (South)
Slam Dunk Festival has become a staple of the festival calendar for many fans of alternative music over the past thirteen years. Of course, this being CPRW we're most interested in the punk bands playing the festival and this year the festival organisers have really hit it out of the park. Teaming up with Fat Mike's Punk In Drublic festival this year, punk rock legends NOFX, Bad Religion, Less Than Jake, Lagwagon, Milllencolin, Mad Caddies and Anti-Flag will all be making an appearance, along with newer bands The Interrupters and The Bombpops. Bands such as New Found Glory, The Menzingers, Saves The Day and The Get Up Kids are also playing the festival. Basically if you grew up around 15 years ago really wanting to go Warped Tour, this is probably as close as you're ever going to get.

Hell Hath No Fury Fest 2.0, 31st May–1st June
Hell Hath No Fury Fest first took place in Bristol last year but as organiser Holly as moved to Manchester so has the festival. The festival features the very best of riot grrrl, melodic and hardcore punk led by and inclusive of womxn and non-binary folk. Taking place at the brilliant Bread Shed, Hell Hath No Fury have teamed up with Anarchistic Undertones to put together what looks to be one hell of a good weekend. Among the bands already announced are War On Women, Petrol Girls, Mobina Galore, Drones, Pussy Liquor and Piss Kitti.

Polite Riot Festival, 28th–30th June
Taking place at the home of punk rock in London, the New Cross Inn, Be Sharp Promotions and Umlaut Records are again teaming up for a weekend of skate and melodic punk madness. Last year's debut festival featured Teenage Bottlerocket, A Wilhelm Scream, Darko and Apologies, I Have None and was greatly enjoyed by all that attended. So far only two bands have been announced for this year's festival but they are legendary. Satanic Surfer and the Adolescents are coming!

Level Up Festival, 19th–21st July
Taking place at the home of ska punk in London, the New Cross Inn, Be Sharp Promotions, Fishlock Promotions and El Topo Bookings are again teaming up for a third weekend of ska punk madness. The last two years have been among my favourite weekends of the year with so many wonderful memories made. The festival always features the best of the UK's ska punk scene as well as getting some legends from around the globe to appear. This year will feature The JB Conspiracy, Claypigeon who are playing their first show in five years and Buck-O-Nine, who are making their first UK appearance in eighteen years!

Rebellion Festival, 1st–4th August
I think it's safe to say that Rebellion Festival is the biggest punk festival in the UK. Now stretching over four days, it's become an annual punk rock pilgrimage to Blackpool for punks old and new alike. The amount of bands from all over the world the festival attracts is truly staggering. Bringing in the biggest hitters from all over the world along with giving a platform for new bands to show what they can do, Rebellion really has something for everyone. I believe I read that there have already been over 150 acts announced including FEAR, The Stranglers, Descendents, Cock Sparrer, CJ Ramone, Teenage Bottlerocket, Citizen Fish, The Dwarves and Poison Idea.

Boomtown Fair, 7th–12th August
Aesthetically Boomtown is one of the craziest looking festivals in the world, with many different areas of the festival built up to look like different districts for different musical genres. Nothing is known about the punk and ska stages yet but I'm quite certain that the Last Gang In Town promoters will again pull some great names together for a very special festival.

Wotsit Called Fest, 27–29th September
The dates for this Hastings based DIY festival only got announced as I was writing this piece so again little is known about this year's edition. If the previous years are anything to go by it will be another riotous weekend of punk rock that will put plenty of smiles on plenty of people's faces.

Pie Race Festival, (if it's on I guess it will be sometime in November)
Pie Race Festival is a long running DIY festival based in Leeds. If last year's line-up is anything to go by the 2019 version will be a cracker. Faintest Idea, Millie Manders & The Shut Up, Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man, Nosebleed, Atterkop and Captain Hotknives all played last year's Pie Race, if they can book more bands anywhere close to this calibre then it will no doubt be a fine weekend. There's also a pie eating contest of which I believe TNSrecords' Bev is the reigning champion.

Book Yer Ane Fest, 29th November–1st December
Make-That-A-Take Records will be hosting the thirteenth edition of their festival at the end of November. The Dundee based festival has long been a highlight of the DIY punk rock calendar. The one and only time I've managed to attend the festival I had the best time and Sarah Shout Louder recently named it as her festival of the year for 2018. This has me itching to go again and spoiler alert, I've already got the time booked off. Derrick and his crew always deliver incredible line-ups for BYAF and this year will no doubt be the same.

This column was written by Colin Clark.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Top Tens: Kieran from Crushed Veneer’s Top Ten Punk Rock Influences

1. Beach Slang – Broken Thrills
I first heard of Beach Slang when Brian Fallon (The Gaslight Anthem) tweeted about them. I put on their first record and it blew me away. I was an instant fan. The first song on that record, “Filthy Luck”, is the perfect introduction to Beach Slang – lots of self-deprecation with an equal helping of hope. Crushed Veneer’s initial sound was entirely influenced by Beach Slang. I was really just trying to write Beach Slang songs. We were lucky enough to have Dave Downham (who produces Beach Slang’s music) mix our debut EP!

2. Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else
I got into Cloud Nothings when this record came out and I’ve seen them play live a few times since. The first time I saw them was in Dublin in 2014. They were playing a pretty large venue which was, sadly, quite empty but they still put on a show bursting with energy. It was fantastic. At the time I was writing and recording solo acoustic style music but seeing Cloud Nothings in Dublin inspired me to start a rock band again. If you don’t know them listen to “I’m Not Part Of Me”, “Fall In”, and “Stay Useless”.

3. Japandroids – Celebration Rock
This is one of those rare, perfect records. I’m constantly inspired by the lyricism of Japandroids (“When they love you, and they will, tell them all they’ll love in my shadow”) and the sound they manage to get as a two-piece is pretty remarkable. I’ve been a fan since “Post- Nothing” but if you’re new to the band start with “Celebration Rock”. Then go see them live because they put on one hell of a show.

4. The Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound
The Gaslight Anthem are arguably my biggest influence. Brian Fallon is one of my favourite songwriters and I often find myself ‘borrowing’ ideas of his. A friend and bandmate introduced me to them when this record came out in 2008 and I’ve been a massive fan ever since. This is another one of those rare, perfect records. If I had to pick a favourite song it would be “Meet Me By The River’s Edge” – mainly because I have some of the lyrics tattooed on my arm.

5. The Menzingers – On The Impossible Past
The Menzingers are one of the best bands around at the minute. Their latest record “After The Party” is a masterpiece and their live show is insane. On The Impossible Past is the record that introduced me to them. I love their lyricism, particularly Greg’s storytelling ability and occasional incorporation of great and obscure literary references. “Mexican Guitars”, “Nice Things” and “The Obituaries” are all a great place to start if you’re new to The Menzingers.

6. Dave Hause – Resolutions
After getting into The Gaslight Anthem I got introduced to Dave Hause. He was in a punk band called The Loved Ones but his debut solo record “Resolutions” was an all acoustic affair. Keeping with the theme of a lot of these artists, Dave’s a master lyricist. “Time Will Tell” is a particular favourite of mine.

7. Northcote – Hope Is Made Of Steel
This is one of those records that connects deeply with a specific time in my life. I originally saw Matt (of Northcote) support Dave Hause in a pub basement in Belfast in 2012. When this record came out in 2015 I saw them play The Old Blue Last. It was a full band show this time and the energy they gave off was incredible. Amazingly we got to play one of our biggest shows to date at The Old Blue Last two years to the day that I’d seen Northcote play there which was really cool.

8. Brian Fallon
I’ve already mentioned The Gaslight Anthem but Brian Fallon is worth mentioning individually. As a writer he’s my biggest influence. One of those people you aspire to be like but know you can never match. His work as The Horrible Crowes is some of my favourite and his two solo albums are almost flawless. I don’t think I can pick a favourite Brian Fallon song but one of my favourite lyrics of his has to be, “Everybody's hurt, and mine ain't the worst, but it's mine and I'm feeling it now” from “Rosemary”.

9. The Smith Street Band
It’s only in the last year or two I’ve really got into TSSB but I’ve fallen in love quickly. Wil’s writing has definitely inspired a lot more honesty in my writing and got me to pull back on the ambiguity a bit. Even more recently, the writing of Camp Cope and Fresh have impacted me in a similar way.

10. Ham On Rye by Charles Bukowski
It was a line in this novel that inspired the name of one of our songs which then became the title track to our debut EP: “What a weary time those years were – to have the desire and the need to live but not the ability.”

Check out Crushed Veneer on Bandcamp here and Facebook here.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Album Review: 10 Years by Last Edition (by Emma Prew)

If you went to Level Up Festival at the New Cross Inn last July then you’ll have a hard time denying that 2018 was the year for ska punk. I certainly saw and listened to a lot more ska bands than in previous years and that was the case for the whole year, not just the summer. One of my favourite ska punk discoveries of the year was the Leicester-based foursome Last Edition, who played the festival as well as returning to London later in the year. They were a discovery for me in 2018 but they actually recently celebrated being a band for a decade and so are not particularly new to the scene. At the end of December Last Edition released ‘10 Years’, a five track EP to celebrate, you guessed it, their tenth birthday. I had a listen.

First up is the title track, 10 Years. The song welcomes us wonderfully to the EP with a vibrant saxophone melody which is a key part of Last Edition’s sound – and a big reason why I love them so much. It’s a fun and catchy tune about not having changed after ten years – as in, in a good way. There is a feeling of knowing that, despite whatever mistakes may have been made over the past decade, given the chance you wouldn’t change a thing. Blame It On The Beer kicks off with some oh-so-skankable guitar upstrokes, before the infectious sax line comes in and gets lodged in your head for all eternity. This is a fairly mid-tempo tune that reflects on how we can sometimes use alcohol as an excuse for poor behaviour. Blame It On The Beer also features a guest appearance from Joshua Barron of Scottish ska punks The Hostiles who sings one of the verses.

The third song on 10 Years is Skank Only and it makes you want to do just that – skank. This funky little instrumental number first appeared on Last Edition’s 2016 album Best Foot Forward but I for one have no problem with it being included on this release. I do love an instrumental ska song, it’s much more fun than any other instrumental. This Way begins with some pounding drums and a speedy walking bassline, instantly giving the track more of a punk rock feel than previous songs. It’s great to hear variety in the Last Edition sound, alongside those snappy sax melodies. This is also reflected in the second verse when Sam takes over singing duties from usual vocalist Matty. Bringing the EP to a close is another song that first featured on Best Foot Forward, the live set favourite If Ska Ruled The World. This song has everything you could wish for in ska punk with its infectious melodies that will get stuck in your head for days on end and its not entirely serious lyrics that will also get stuck in your head for days on end. This tune will get you dancing like never before while you sing along with the biggest smile on your face. I don’t doubt that if ska did rule the world it would be a better place for it.

I may have been nine years late to the Last Edition party but I’m definitely here to stay now! You can buy 10 Years here (and stream it on Spotify too). Be sure to like Last Edition on Facebook to find out when you can next see them live.

This review was written by Emma Prew.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Album Review: We Are Disaster by Boom! Civil War (by Emma Prew)

Happy New Year! You read my top ten albums of 2018 list, right? Then you’ll know that my number one album was by the now sadly defunct Australian folk punk band, The Suicide Tuesdays. The band broke up in the summer but it turns out Suicide Tuesdays’ frontman Joe Guiton has a new project that he’s been working on more recently. Obviously I was excited to hear whatever new material Joe had, so when he sent over three new songs by Boom! Civil War in the form of their debut EP, We Are Disaster, I couldn’t wait to hit play.

First up is a song titled Breathe It In. With its slow and building start, this track is reminiscent of The Suicide Tuesdays as I expected it might be. That said, it’s definitely more electric with the sound getting bigger and bigger as the song progresses. Breathe It In reflects on how the past year has been tough – a year to forget – but the overall theme of the song is about not wanting to give up just yet. There are some extra backing vocals at certain points throughout the track which does a great job of showing that you’re not alone if you are feeling this way. In fact, the lyrics themselves use ‘we’ rather than ‘I’ – this is about more than just Joe’s own personal feelings. What a great start. The next offering from Boom! Civil War is super upbeat and melodic from the outset, featuring one of the catchiest guitar riffs I’ve heard in some time. A Letter To Wombat is quite strikingly different to the first song of this EP – it’s faster, it’s punkier I guess but it’s also more obviously positive in sentiment. The song is about always being there for someone when they need you – ‘So don’t hesitate to turn up at my door, You know I’ve got your back…’ The chorus is what really makes this good song a great one however – it’s huge-sounding and will have you wanting to throw your fists in the air on your first listen. Last but not least is My Life Didn’t Start ’Til I Met You. Now, you can probably tell from its title that this is a bit of a love song but what you can’t tell from the title is just how wonderful this song is. It’s not a soppy love as such song but instead reflects on the feeling that, no matter how troubled and complicated your life might seem at any given moment, that one special person can make it all okay – ‘You’re the only thing that’s made sense, Of this chaos built around me…’. Guest vocals from Vetty Vials give us an insight into the other side of the story and add to the intensity of emotion. So damn good!

I can’t even pick a favourite or standout track because all three here are outstanding. I’m so glad that Joe Guiton didn’t decide to call it a day completely on music after his last band didn’t work out because We Are Disaster by Boom! Civil War is every bit as good as what came before it.

We Are Disaster will be available on Bandcamp and Apple Music from 23rd January. Check out Boom! Civil War on Facebook for more details.

This review was written by Emma Prew.

Monday, 7 January 2019

News: Call Me Malcolm Headline Charity Gig At The New Cross Inn

Today this absolute cracker of a gig was announced.Call Me Malcolm are headlining an all dayer at the New Cross Inn on Sunday the 24th of February. The gig was put together by New Cross regular Holli who is running the London Marathon in April in support of the mental health charity Mind. Along with Call Me Malcolm also playing are The Love Spuds, King Punch, Triple Sundae, Just Say Nay, Müg, Fastfade, SKIV, Laurence Crow and Bald Head & The Dreads. Tickets are £5 and can be purchased from the New Cross Inn website here. On the day there will also be a bucket for donations so please bring all your pennies. If you would like to keep up to date with the event on Facebook then go here. You can also donate to Holli directly here.