Friday, 31 October 2014

Sweet Emotion

The other day at work I was talking to my friend Dale about gigs we’ve been to. As you can imagine conversations about gigs and music are my favourite types of conversation. Dale is a huge fan of the electronic bass and drums trance clubbing woo woo music. Whilst it’s not a genre I have any particular time for I do find it interesting listening to Dale talk so passionately about it. On this particular occasion we were talking about times we had got emotional at a show. He was telling me about the time he and out friends Charlie and Jordan went to something called South West Four Festival and he saw his favourite act Above and Beyond and in his words “blubbed through most of it.” I thought that it was great that somebody can be moved by music in such a way and it got me thinking about times I’ve got emotional at a gig. Here are two of the times it’s happened.

The first occasion I thought of was at a Joey Cape gig in April last year. He was playing at the Islington Academy with Jon Snodgrass and Brian Wahlstrom as part of the group Scorpios. The late great Tony Sly of No Use For A Name was also a part of Scorpios before his sad and sudden death. Tony Sly is widely regarded of one of the very best songwriters of his generations and was loved by everyone. As a tribute to Tony Scorpios played the No Use For A Name song International You Day and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room. The lyrics in the chorus were so poignant. They go “but without you, my life is incomplete, my days are absolutely grey, and so I try, let your heart know for sure, that I have so much more to tell you every single day.” When Joey sang those lines the emotions that filled the room were deeply moving and something that I will never ever forget.


The second occasion is more of a personal story. A few years ago I was introduced to my best friend Scouse. We bonded pretty much instantaneously talking about music and we discovered we both adored the band Finch and in particular their debut album What It Is To Burn. At the time they had split up and neither of us ever had the chance to see them live. We basically agreed that would be something we do together if it ever became possible. The song we especially wanted to see live for the epic song Ender, a song that was always a road trip song for us and had to be played at full volume, pretty much as a rule. Slowly rumours began to pop up about Finch reuniting and eventually a show at the Brixton Academy was announced for March of 2013. As soon as tickets went on sale we snapped them up and became seriously excited. Finch completely nailed it that night and when Ender came on I was in a trance, I felt myself welling up instantly really struggling to hold back tears. This was a moment I never really thought I’d get to experience, and to experience it with someone I consider a brother was just something else. If I only remember one thing from that night, and it was a pretty eventful night that included getting covered in beer within seconds of the opening song, Scouse upsetting some girls on the tube and hanging out with another friends Nan it will definitely be that feeling of euphoria I felt during the song.



That’s something I really love about music, who would of thought stringing a few guitar riffs, drum beats and words can touch someone in such a way. Amazing.

New Music Additions October 2014

Here are my new additions to me music collection in October 2014


ASTPAI – Burden Calls

Bandit The Panther – 1 Up The Punk Single

Creeper – Creeper

Dan Potthast – Eyeballs

Dan Potthast – Sweets, Meats and Eyeballs

Dillinger Four – Civil War

Finch – Back To Oblivion

Haters – Skip To The End

The Huntingtons – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Jonathan Marriott – The Nature Of Chaos

The Kimberly Steaks – To Live And Die In West Central Scotland

The Lemonaids – Back To The Beach

The Lemonaids – Summer Crush

The Lie Detectors – Monster Munch

Martha – Courting Strong

Moose Blood – I’ll Keep You In Mind From Time To Time

Other Half – Live At Old School Studios

Other Half – Other Half

Old Coyote Club – The Clubhouse Sessions

Only Strangers – Only Strangers EP

Rancid - ...Honor Is All We Know

Red Light Rebels – Rebels

Rob Lynch – Rob Lynch

Roughneck Riot – Out Of Anger

Sink Alaska – Sink Alaska

Sombulance – A Cynic’s Response

Stray Bullets – Ghost Town Rockers

Summerslam 88 – Summerslam 88

Tindall – Things Will Never Be The Same Again

Triple Sundae – The Brainfreeze EP

Vice Like Grip – Never Say Die

Vice Like Grip – None Of The Above

We Come First – Knees Up Of Suburbia

We Come First – The Misconception EP


The Wreck Up – EP 1

Now listening to Tarot by Finch

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Album Review: Death Is Our Client by The Twin Dracula


When the opening riffs of the first song on The Twin Dracula’s new EP Death Is Our Client kick in you know straight away your about to get rocked. Nom De Plume sets out the stall for what the Reading based band are all about. Intense, fast, hard and aggressive music with absolutely no compromise.

Nom De Plume has a reasonably lengthy musical intro which leads to a great feeling on anticipation when the vocals hit you. When they do it feels like getting smashed in the face with a brick, but in a really great way (if there is such a thing). The vocals are delivered quickly during the verses, keeping up the intense feel of the song whilst the chorus have more of a hook to them to give everyone a chance to sing with the band. Midway through Nom De Plume the band break it down before finishing with a big intense finale.

The second track Occultimate Warrior ramps the aggression up a couple more notches. This is technical hardcore punk rock at its finest. The speed in which the guitars are played is fantastic and really give the song a great amount of energy. At just over two minutes long the song is the shortest by some way on the release but that doesn’t matter. It fits everything it needs to into those two minutes. I really like the atmospheric gang vocals at the end of the song.

Death Is Our Client finishes off with Newtown Jazz Revival. This song has a bit more of an alternative rock feeling to it. Starting out with a bass line before the whole band join make the song instantly recognisable. The vocal on this track are different to the first two songs, it’s more of a slow and deliberate delivery as opposed to the fast, intense and aggressive nature we had heard previously. The use of gang vocals on the chorus is great, gives a fantastic sense of tightness within the band. I really enjoyed the break down towards the end of the song, allowing the band to show off all their musical skill whilst the singer shows off some more of his excellent vocal range.


Death Is Our Client is a very strong release from Twin Dracula. Bandcamp tells me that this is their third release since May 2014, if they can continue to churn out efforts as good as this at such a rate you will see very big things from this band.

Stream and but Death Is Our Client here: https://thetwindracula.bandcamp.com/

Now listening to 1918 by Tindall

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Supporting The Scene (Part Two)

It’s that time of year again, that year when I get annoyed by the TV and newspapers constant coverage of The X-Factor. My gosh that show really annoys me. Fame hungry wannabes trying to get famous by using a sob story to garner votes from the public to make them lots of money. When I see these fools I think of all the bands that I love you travel up and down the country, usually making a loss to play their music to half empty rooms just because it’s what they believe in and what they love. Bands like these will be about long after whatever cookie cutter boy band or RnB diva who will inevitably win this year are gone and forgotten forever. Here is another collection of some of the amazing acts in the United Kingdom that deserve your attention.


Acid Drop are a street/skate punk band from Leeds currently signed to TNS Records and their own Pie Race Records. Their songs are full of fast paced gravelly vocals and big sing along choruses. Check out the songs Polly Piper and My Direction.



Andrew Cream is one of a number of fantastic folk/punk musicians in the underground scene. Hailing from Peterborough this gentleman’s songs are beautifully written and really make you think. This man has some serious talent and needs to be noticed. Check out Celebrate Variety and It’s My Day.



I can’t think of many bands that would fit into the genres of folk, punk and ska but one that definitely does is Bandit The Panther from London. They are a band I really want to see live due to their big chorus. This is fun and unique music that will get you dancing and singing along but also has a message. Check out 1-Up The Punks and Tesco Value Horror.



From Leeds, Big Wow are a three piece power pop band featuring members from The Dauntless Elite and Get Human. I caught them live earlier this year and loved their performance. They played hard and fast but were also endearingly awkward. They have released their debut album Teamwork Makes The Dream Work on Specialist Subject Records. Check out Art Without Plans and Best Intention.



Billy Liar is an acoustic punk musician from Edinburgh signed to Make-That-A-Take Records. Drawing on the influences of the ‘77 punk rock attitude and the story telling balladry of his Scottish roots he has crafted some beautiful songs about standing up for what you believe in and making a difference. Check out Change and All I’ve Got.



Bottler are a four piece melodic punk band from London. Their debut EP Smithereens (put out by their own Disconnect Disconnect Records) is one of my favourite releases of the year. Song topics include being in bands, religion and breaking the law. Check out Ex-Members and Smithereens.



Four piece Watford band Cement Matters play soul punk. Having just released their debut album Drinking Seawater, these gentlemen are set to become big players in the UK punk world. They combine punk rock riffs with heartfelt vocals to create a sound all of their own. Check out Battery Acid and House Fire Heat.



Chairmen Of The Bored are a band that who where their influences of their sleeves, combining their love of band such as Strike Anywhere, Lagwagon and Anti Flag to create an aggressive skate punk sound. Check out Growing Up/Giving In and Stand As One.



Featuring members of former Southampton based punk rockers Our Time Down Here, Creeper are a band going places in a hurry. Musically you can hear how influenced they are by bands like Alkaline Trio and AFI but have also put their own spin on it. Absolutely fantastic band. Check out We Had A Pact and Gloom.



Darko are a hardcore melodic punk band from Guilford currently signed to Lockjaw Records. They take the technical guitars of A Wilhelm Scream and mix with a skate punk sound similar to Strung Out to create some awesome sing along anthems. This year they released their latest EP Sea Of Trees. Check out Timepieces & Locked Shaped Hearts and Chewbacca Defence.



The Dead Anyways are a punk rock band from Bromley. This year they released their debut EP Direct Me Home. It’s an EP containing four songs about feeling lost, drinking anyway your problems and break ups. Check out Lost To The Fog and Oscar Wilde At Heart.



Bolton pop punk band Don Blake are probably one of the best kept secrets in the UK punk scene. They play fast fun pop punk filled with great harmonies. If you’re a fan of bands such as The Copyrights, The Dopamines  or Teenage Bottlerocket (and who isn’t!?) then Don Blake are a band you will love. Check out Legacies and The Ballad Of Bonnie Mcfarlane.



Drones are a hardcore punk band from Camberley, currently signed to Lockjaw Records they have released their debut album Mutiny and a follow up EP Free Marked Kid. Channelling bands such as Anti Flag and Rise Against tey have become one of the most highly thought of bands in the scene. Check out Assassins Of Youth and Burnt Stitches.



Scottish melodic hardcore band Get It Together that play fast and loud. Late in 2013 they released the EP Perspectives which is full of songs about friendship, standing up for yourself, hating your job and living life to the fullest. Check out Unforgettable and Stumble, Fall, Get Up.



Giants are a young up and coming hardcore skate punk band from Essex. The music is fast and aggressive and guaranteed to get the kids in the pit extremely rowdy. Their song contain some fantastic gang vocals that give the feeling of everyone being in this together, Check out Did It Mean So Much To You and Misguided (which has a fantastic opening bass intro).



Signed to Paper + Plastick in the USA and All In Vinyl in the UK are Birmingham’s Guerilla Monsoon. Playing some of the best melodic punk rock this side of the Atlantic the vocals remind me of Ann Beretta’s vocalist Rob Huddlestone, which is a great thing. Check out Summer Romantics and Believers.



Hated Til Proven are a ska punk band from Warrington who formed in 2008 and are signed to TNS Records. Combining break neck punk rock music and aggressive, passionate vocals Hated Til Proven fill the listener with a lot of energy. Check out Don’t Go Breaking My Legs and Going To War.



Haters are a female front pop punk band in Brighton. They formed in 2013 and earlier this year they released their debut EP Skip To The End, produced by known other than Thom Weeks from Gnarwolves. Check out Chuck Your Boyfriend (Have A Sandwich) and Skip To The End.



From Leeds, The Human Project played fast, melodic punk rock. Technical guitars, urgent vocals and fantastic Bad Religion-esque harmonies are what to expect from one of the most highly thought of bands in the scene. Check out Seance Fiction and No Brainer.



From Colchester via the Midlands comes acoustic folk punk Jonathan Marriott. Armed with just an acoustic guitar Marriott passionately sings with his heart on his sleeve. This music is what music should be about, raw, passionate and full of heart. Check out This Is Your Scene and We Are Not What We Own.



To Live And Die In West Central Scotland is the title of The Kimberly Steaks debut album. Released on All In Vinyl it is an album full of pop punk bangers. Played at break neck speed only three songs on the album break the two minute mark in length (one is astonishingly five minutes long, unheard of for a pop punk song). Fast, fun and superbly catchy, check out Career Progression and My Quarter Life Crisis.


The Lemonaids are another pop punk from Scotland. Influenced by bands such as The Ramones, The Beach Boys and The Queers this play fun, light hearted music. The music is fast and tight and there are some harmonies the Beach Boys themselves would be proud of. Check out Surfing Valentine and Beach Blonde Girl.


Losing Sleep are a pop punk band from Kingston who I have had the pleasure of seeing live a couple of times this year. These four young men are fantastic at what they do and could easily give some of their American counterparts a run for their money. Check out This Is My Dillon Now and This Is Kingston Not LA.


Louise Distras embodies what punk rock for this generation is all about, breaking boundaries, standing up for yourself and what you believe in and community. The attitude is fantastic, the music is even better. Raw, powerful and filled with strong, positive messages. Check out Shade Of Hate and Stand Strong Together.


Maid Of Ace are an all female street punk band from Hastings, combining the spirit of ’77 with the aggression of The Casualties to great effect. Fantastic live and recorded they are a band to look out for if you’re a fan of old school or new punk. Check out Enemy Within’ and Bone Deth.


Martha are a pop punk band from Pity Me in Durham featuring both members of ONSIND. As you would expect their songs are fantastically written and are extremely catchy. Something I really love about the band is that all the members take turns to sing lead vocals which makes the band feel really fresh. Their newestalbum Courting Strong is one of the best releases this year. Check out Present, Tense and Sleeping Beauty.


Nathan Detroit are an emo/pop punk band from Trowbridge. Their songs are packed with memorable melodies and big punchy choruses. They are a band with a massive amount of potential and are on the cusp of becoming huge in the UK’s alternative scene. Check out I Will Always Be Part Of This World and Come Home.


Other Half are a punk rock band from Norwich featuring Cal and Sophie from Ducking Punches. Channelling 1990’s indie punk this three piece write some fantastic catchy songs about relationships, youth culture, job and Osker (the band). Check out Loomer and Dimmer, Still.


Gruff punk rock band Only Strangers are from Stoke On Trent. With influences such as The Lawrence Arms, Alkaline Trio and Hot Water Music you can expect well written songs with brilliant shout at the top of your voice, fists in the air choruses. Check out The Amalgamation Of Crispin Glover and Fail To Notice.


Paperjets are a four piece pop punk band from London. Inspired and influenced by the 1990’s Lookout era of pop punk expect, fast pace guitars, hook filled verses and catchy choruses complete with excellent harmonies. Check out Green Eyed Girl and Rescue Me.


Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man are a three piece band from Manchester who formed in 2004. Their music can be described as hardcore thrash punk. I would describe it as a fun whirlwind of noise. The music is fun of aggression and barely comes out of top gear. Check out Ready, Steady Bastard and Get Pissed, Talk Shit And Dance Like An Idiot.


Glaswegian skate punk band Sink Alaska formed in 2013. Combining 90’s UK pop punk with a modern day melodic punk sound these lads play some fantastic music. Why they are a lot bigger I don’t know, the music is punk enough to keep the punk rockers happy but there is also an accessibility to people who wouldn’t usually listen to this type of music to enjoy it. Check out The Path Of Least Resistance and The World Ain’t What It Seems Gunny.


Skank Agenda are one of the most unique bands in the UK’s punk scene. Their latest album Hate This Shit is packed with some raw and wonderful acoustic punk. With topics ranging from drug addiction and politics to George Clooney and playing friends punk music, I’m fully convinced Skank Agenda can write a great song about anything. Check out Pete On Drugs and Educating Richard.


Five piece punk rock band Sombulance are from Portsmouth and London. Like so many bands in the scene they are heavily influenced by the Epitaph and Fat Wreck Chords bands such as Strung Out, Propaghandi, Hot Water Music and Ten Foot Pole. The music is fast and urgent and the mixture of singing and screaming really adds another dimension to their songs. Check out Wake Up Bitch You’re My New Best Friend and Airstrip One.


Brighton’s Summerslam 88 remind me of Maniacal Laughter era Bouncing Souls. Combining some hard punk rock riffs with a pop punk style song writing. Writing songs that need to be sung as loud as possible is something Summerslam 88 clearly specialises in. Check out The Prawn Don’t Know and YOLO.


Tindall are a pop punk band from Slough who play pop punk the way it’s supposed be played – fast, loud and catchy. Having already been compared to established bands such as Weezer, Alkaline Trio and The Ataris it’s clear that Tindall have a massive upside. Check out Song 5 and 1918.


Throwing Stuff are a hardcore punk band from London, Manchester and Liverpool. To fully appreciate just how good Throwing Stuff are you have to see them live. Everything is turned up to eleven and played at a hundred miles an hour. Lead singer Ben throws himself about the stage as he bellows out Throwing Stuffs songs with a fantastic amount of ferocity. Check out Big Yellow Taxi and Steve's Job.


Triple Sundae are a four piece melodic punk band from the South of England. Taking influence from the old school of punk as well as the new they write songs about social anxieties and personal issues. In April of this year they released their EP The Brainfreeze. Check out Unseen and Recluse.


Vice Like Grip

When most people think of the seaside town of Hastings they think of a famous power, after hearing their newest EP Antidote I will now also think of the melodic punk band Vice Like Grip. With songs packed with massive hooks and even bigger choruses Vice Like Grip are definitely a band to look out for. Check out Punch Drunk and Rise And Fall.


We Come First are a pop punk band from Surrey. These fellas have written some brilliant punk rock that needs to be sung loud with fists in the air. It’s fantastically fun pop punk with a great British feel to it. You can imagine the songs been played in a cockney knees up or at a punk rock gig. Excellent stuff! Check out How Could Anyone Love Me and Knees Up Of Suburbia.


From Colchester, The Wreck Up are a punk rock band featuring three members of the ska band New Town Kings. Clearly influenced by legendary punk bands Rancid and The Clash these boys have written some tightly played punk songs that are dying to be sung along to. Check out Proppin’ Up The Bar and Nothin’ Left To Lose.


Another band from Hastings are Xup-Sup. Who knew so much great punk rock was coming from that town? Xup-Sup play punk of the poppy variety and do it very well. Playing some catchy summer time pop music as well as any of their American counterparts Xup-Sup seem destined for great things. Check out Never See You Again and Shut me Out.



Young Attenborough are a indie pop punk band from Brighton. Something I really love about this band is that all three members take turns in singing. This leads to some brilliantly interesting songs and some cracking harmonies. Check out Cables and Planned Obsolescence. 


Now listening to Temple Grandin Too by Andrew Jackson Jihad

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Gig Review: The Lawrence Arms at the O2 Islington Academy 15/10/14

A couple of weeks ago I called The Menzingers gig at the Electric Ballroom one of the most anticipated gigs of the year. Well if that was true then last night’s gig at the Islington Academy definitely had the same, if not more level of anticipation attached to it. For the first time in four years the kings of Chicago punk rock, Brendan Kelly, Neil Hennessy and Chris McCaughan, collectively known as The Lawrence Arms were in town.

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that support for the gig and the entire tour would be provided by two of the brightest lights in the UK punk rock scene, Bangers and Sam Russo. I really thought this was a great move by the Lawrence Arms, they could have easily brought two American bands over the Atlantic with them but chose to bring to UK acts shows a great amount of support for our scene.


Up first were Cornwalls Bangers. This trio play fast pop punk with guitarist and singer Roo Pescod’s voice being one of the most unique in the scene. I was very curious to see how they would perform on a bigger stage having only seen them at small venues like the Old Blue Last or The Black Heart before. I am happy to report that they absolutely smashed it. A band with Bangers sound belongs on a big stage. Roo’s gruff, gravelling growl fills up the room and when it is accompanied by bassist Andrew Horne harmonies it makes the songs sound huge. Other than not playing my two favourite Bangers songs (Straight Gin Makes You Batshit Crazy and Banging) it was a flawless set from Bangers.


Fresh from a tour with the pop punk criminals Masked Intruder Sam Russo was back on the road again. Like Bangers I’d only ever seen him perform in smaller venues and was again intrigued to see how he would perform on the bigger stage. Mr Russo played it brilliantly, his story like songs really capture your heart. I really believe that Sam Russo is the best “singer-songwriter” this country has to offer and on a night when a certain Ed Sheeran was playing at the O2 Arena (where all his fans packed my train and made it late and generally got on my nerves) he showed to a couple of hundred punk rockers in Islington where the true talent lies. It’s only a matter of time before Sam Russo is the biggest thing in music in this country.


I have to admit I was quite slow to the table when it comes to The Lawrence Arms. I think due to the eight year gap between Oh! Calcutta! and newest album Metropole I never really gave them a proper listen. I’ve always enjoyed everything I have heard by them but never really loved them like most other fans of punk rock I know. That is until last night, I now absolutely love The Lawrence Arms. I don’t think you can ever get a true appreciation of how good a band is until you see them perform live and Brendan, Neil and Chris really showed Islington why they are so highly thought of. Brendan’s harsh and urgent vocal styling combined with Chris’s more melodic and relaxed sound complimented each other brilliantly as they played hit after hit from their catalogue of songs. The crowd really ate this up and went wild for The Lawrence Arms, mosh pits, crowd surfs and massive sing alongs happened in abundance. Highlights of the set included the songs Like A Record Player, 100 Resolutions and The Ramblin’ Boys Of Pleasure where Sam Russo joined in with backing vocals. As talented as the whole band is Brendan Kelly really stood out as a performer, stalking around the stage between his vocals you could see how much fun he was having, even laughing mid song when he saw a male crowd surfer clinging on to a tote bag.



This had been an absolutely amazing gig and everyone left in great spirits having just witnessed one of the greatest punk rock bands of our generation as well as two of the best acts England has to offer. On my train journey back to Colchester I was thinking some more about The Lawrence Arms and about why they are so good. Great musicianship and song writing –for sure! But also because there isn’t another band that is quite like them in terms of their sound, something very rare in the punk rock world. Why is that you think? I think it’s because there isn’t another band on earth who can play with the “Lawrence Arms sound” and be anywhere near as good.

Check out The Lawrence Arms here: https://www.facebook.com/thelawrencearms


Check out Bangers here: https://bangersbangers.bandcamp.com/

Now listening to Careers by ASTPAI

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Album Review: Out Of Anger by Roughneck Riot


When a band like the Street Dogs calls you the best punk rock band in the UK it’s quite the compliment. That was the statement made by the legendary Mike McColgan when I saw Roughneck Rio support the Street Dogs back in December 2012. This month the celtic punk six piece from Warrington released a brand new full length on TNS Records titled Out Of Anger. I just had to check it out.

The opening track Animosity serves as a statement of intent of want to expect from the album. Politically charged anthems played with a great deal of passion and skill. Caitlin Costello’s banjo takes the lead in the intro to the song before lead singer Matty Humphries vocals take us down a path describing the frustrations that lie in a lack of community. This is followed by the song Parasites. Starting out with some rapid fire drum roles accompanied by banjo and mandolins before a song calling out the money men running the country comes to life. Resistance is a call to arms to encourage to speak out and stand up for what they believe while you still can. I love the chorus of “Fan The Flames, Rattle The Cage And Fight! We’ll Go Down With This Ship, If We Don’t Start Tonight, Fan The Flames, Rattle The Cage And Sing! All For One And One For All, Never Meant A Thing!”


All That We Know is a slow building song that grows into a frantic finale. It’s about being brave enough to let go of everything you rely on and standing on your own two feet. England’s Desperate Liars opens up with a long musical intro before Mattys vocals attack you at break neck speed. Something that I really enjoy about Matty’s vocals is that he doesn’t try and sing in a faux Irish accent like many singers in the genre do. Englands Desperate Liars is an assault against the EDL party and the propaganda that they spread. Should We? is inspired by and includes the words to the poem Should We by Laura Taylor. The song starts off with a more punk rock feel to it than any of the songs so far on Out Of Anger with Chris Green’s guitar starting off proceedings. The song continues down the theme of resistance being brave enough to stand up for what you believe in. The Green, Unpleasant Land starts off with a sea shanty feel before the full band joins in. Inspired by The Kielder Hunt by James Armstrong it’s an anti hunting songs describing the horrific events of a hunt. A brilliantly written song that really makes you think.

There is another long and slow building intro on Never Silenced, Never Stopped.  It’s an interesting song that bursts into life with a punk rock anthem about never giving up the fight. I imagine that this song would be great as a opening track for a live set. The next song Each Man’s Hell follows on seamlessly. This song strays away from politics and focuses on mental health. It’s about realising that somethings not right with yourself and working out what it is. The song features some great oozing ahs harmonies from the band. The Other Side is a mid tempo song about the selfish Western world culture and making people realising there are people in the world who don’t have anything and need help. I particularly loved the lyric “As Long As They’ve Got Their Big Name Brands, Who Cares About The Land Where Rivers Run Dry?”


Need I Remind You starts out with a thumping drumbeat and some fantastic banjo chords that really caught my ears. Samuel Bell’s accordion really stands out during the chorus as Matty sings about going down a bad path and not being able to get off it. The Last Of Us is a working class anthem about going out to work every day and making barely enough to live. A hugely relatable song for anyone in a dead end job living pay cheque to pay cheque whilst the fat cats do nothing and live extremely comfortable lives. The guitar tones at the beginning of Too Late have a dark feeling to them before the banjo and mandolin pick up the tempo of the song. The song itself is a sombre one about living it too late to tell someone who is dying how you feel. Out Of Anger finishes with the song He Never Came Home. Here the band sings about a friend who left and never came back and hoping that they are okay. Matty and Caitlin’s harmonies at the end sound great as they sing “We Watched The Naivety Of Youth Slip Away, All Innocence is Lost Along With Trouble Free Days, We Came To Realise That All There Was Of A Friendship Is Dead.


On Out Of Anger Roughneck Riot prove why they are so highly thought of by their peers. They’ve taken a different approach to this album, slowing it down somewhat to really allow their message to come through but they have still made their best album yet. Fantastic songwriters and musicians Out Of Anger proves that Roughneck Riot are the real deal.


Now listening to Ignorance Is Easy by Roughneck Riot

Gig Review: The Aggrolites at The Garage 14/10/14


The sounds of summer were being brought to the Garage in London on a damp and miserable Tuesday night. The lords of dirty reggae The Aggrolites were playing tonight and they had Intensified and my favourites the New Town Kings In tow.

I had never heard of Intensified before they were added to the bill at the last minute. I was pleasantly surprised by their traditional ska sound. They played incredibly tightly as a band (unsurprising given that have been together for twenty years) and really seemed to love what they were doing. I can’t say enough that how important it is for a crowd to see the band enjoying themselves, it forces them to enjoy it more as well even if you’re not aware of who the band are. Intensified were a really strong opening act.


Up next were Colchester’s finest the New Town Kings. This would be my fourth time seeing them this year and eighth time overall (tying them with Less Than Jake and The Skints as the band I’ve seen the most times) and I was as excited as ever. Despite having seen them so much lately the band surprised me with their opening song. They played the unreleased Francine in a very brave move. Unless you have caught the band live (and if you haven’t you definitely should) you won’t have heard the song and might be a little hesitant to have a dance. The crowd were a little slow to get moving but this just encouraged the Kings to put even more energy into their performance. Front man Dabs is a man full of energy and worked extremely hard to get the crowd moving and soon enough they did. I strongly believe it’s impossible not to enjoy yourself during a New Town Kings set and this performance was as good as any other time I’ve seen them. Songs of the new EP Pull Up & Rewind, Luna Rosa and Grabbed My Hand sounded fantastic as did staple of their set Dynamite, New Town Hop and of course Fire In The Hole. The New Town Kings continue to prove why they are the best ska band in the country.


The Aggrolites are a five piece reggae band from Los Angeles. It was interesting to see the sheer array of different people from different age groups and subcultures who turned up to see The Aggrolites such is the popularity of the band. Jesse Wagner and his crew were unbelievably tight musically. I don’t think I’ve seen many bands play as well together as The Aggrolites do. They were always in sync and never missed a beat. Playing a collection of songs across their entire discography they had the entire garage crowd moving. I was especially impressed by organ player Roger Rivas, his skills at the keys really gave a lot of life to The Aggrolites music. They played a cover of an old Jamaican rocksteady song which also went down a storm. They left one big surprise for the encore though. After playing a cover of UB40’s Red Red Wine they were joined by a very (pardon the pun) special guest. None other than Lynval Golding from legendary ska band The Specials. They covered another old Jamaicam rocksteady track before an amazing cover of The Beatles Don’t Let Me Down. The Aggrolites really showed why they are so respected in the reggae world and Linval himself joked he was officially leaving The Specials to join The Aggrolites.



A really joyous night of reggae and ska from both sides of the Atlantic.

Check out Intensified here: https://www.facebook.com/IntensifiedUK

Check out New Town Kings here: https://www.facebook.com/newtownkings

Check out The Aggrolites here: https://www.facebook.com/theaggrolites

Now listening to My Favourite Song by Dan Potthast

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Classic Album: Cool To Be You by Descendents


When most people think about pop punk the first group of bands that are generally thought of are the like of Green Day, New Found Glory and blink-182. When you think you influenced those bands you automatically go straight to The Ramones but there was another band who was a big inspiration in the early days of pop punk. Of course the band I am speaking of is the Descendents. Ever since I first heard the Descendents I have been in love, they are the underdogs band. They were one of the first punk bands to sing songs about the struggles of growing up and getting girls, something almost every pop punk song is now about. Last year the documentary Filamge was released telling the story of the Descendents and their other band All. Earlier this year reports of a first Descendents album in a decade were confirmed. Here I am going back ten years to review their last album Cool To Be You released on Fat Wreck Chords.

The album starts off with Talking and that trademark Descendents sound is back in full effect. Stephen Egertons technical guitar, Bill Stevenson’s drumming and Karl Alvarez’s inventive bass playing all stand out from the start before Milo Aukerman’s vocal takes the song to a new level. This song about the strains of a long distant relationship is everything you would expect from the Descendents. Milo’s vocals take the forefront from the very start of the next song, Nothing With You. This is a hook filled song about how great it is to sit and do nothing with someone you love. My favourite lyrics are “Cause I All I Wanna Do, It Sit Around And Do Nothing With You, Because Nothing’s Only Fun When You’re There.” Track three She Don’t Care is a darker feeling track about being in a relationship where only one person shows the love. Karl Alvarez’s song writing here is extremely relatable. The darker feelings continue on the next track, the political ‘Merican. It is a song about the frustrations of the way their country is going and feeling embarrassed about some of the bad things it’s been involved in and the glossing over of such facts. Dog and Pony Completes a hat trick of Alvarez songs in a row. This one is another massively relatable song about not fitting in with the cool crowd on a night out.

For someone who is a doctor in biology you would be surprised to know the next song is about farting. That’s something I love about the Descendents, not only can that write incredible songs about not fitting in or the good and bad times of relationships but they can also write fantastic songs about flatulence. Even the most serious among us will have a hard time not singing along to the chorus of “Blast Off At Cape Canaveral, All Systems Go! Blast Off At Cape Canaveral, 4, 3, 2, 1, Blast Off!”


We reach the halfway point in the album with Dreams. The song starts out questioning why people dream and saying that if you dream too big then you will wind up getting burnt. Before flipping the switch with some great gang vocals going “It’s Time to Get Up Off Your Ass, Pull Your Head Up Take A Chance, Grab Whatever You Can Grab.” Title track Cool To Be You is up next on the album. This song is about the frustrations of being an outsider and not feeling like you fit in anywhere and being jealous of people who do. Maddie is the first song written by the legendary Bill Stevenson on the record. This song is about fighting to keep the girl despite everyone else trying to keep you apart. This is one of the slower songs on the album.
The speed picks up during the next song Mass Nerder. Starting out with a complicated bass riff before Egerton’s guitar and Stevenson’s drums join the party in a full on punk rock assault. This song is all about being considered uncool at school for being a good student. The chorus of “Gonna Kick Their Asses In Class, Gonna Kick Their Asses In Class, Gonna Kick Their Asses In Class, Gonna Get Good Grades” is so simple but absolutely brilliant. Bill Stevenson takes song writing credits for the next track One More Day as well. This is a song he wrote after the death of his father about their troubled relationship. This is a very sombre song for the Descendents but more fantastic song writing.


Song number twelve is Tack, in this track Milo sings about trying to get out of a rut and finding a new life path to go down. Karl Alvarez’s bass playing really stands out during the last stretch of the song. Alvarez’s bass and Stephen Egerton’s guitar really stand out at the beginning of Anchor Grill as well . The Descendents can boast having three of the best musicians in punk rock amongst their rank. Anchor Grill goes back to the subject of love and finding the time to spend time together despite the pressures of grown up life. The album closes with the song Dry Spell. This song is about losing your creative spark and the missing the feeling of making something original. Isuspect Milo Aukerman is singing about the feeling he had when he decided to get back with Stevenson, Alvarez and Egerton to make a new Descendents album. Whatever the reason was I’m so glad that they did as Cool To Be You is another fantastic addition to the Descendents already amazing catalogue of work. I do hope the next album is out very soon, ten years is a long time to wait for something new from this legendary band.

Now listening to Sick-O-Me by Descendents