Thursday, 13 December 2018

News: Boxing Day To Release New EP On Boxing Day.

Belgium based emo/pop punk band Boxing Day are getting set to release their second EP on you guessed it, the 26th of December - Boxing Day. Titled Retrospect, the two track EP is being released by the always awesome Real Ghost Records.

Since forming in 2016 Boxing Day have shared the stage with bands such as No Trigger, Not On Tour, F.O.D. and Nowhere, impressing crowds with their beautifully depressing and yet catchy songs. You can pre-order Retrospect from Real Ghost Records here.

Top Tens: Fastfade's Top Ten Moments So Far

10. Call Me Malcolm, Fastfade & Shark Party @ Phoenix Bar, High Wycombe
We got offered a chance to play up in High Wycombe with Call Me Malcolm and Shark Party. There was a small turnout as is sometimes the case with these local punk shows but it ended up being one of our more enjoyable gigs. We got a chance to hang out with Call Me Malcolm and see them play a bunch of their new songs, we smashed a few locals at pool and got heckled by an old geezer named Darren at the bar who was just trying to enjoy his pint.

9. Müg, The Burnt Tapes, Ships Down, Triple Sundae, Cereal Box Heroes, Fastfade @ New River Studios, London
This absolute beast of a line-up was organised by Hassan Afaneh in the early days of Fastfade and it plunged us right into the scene where we pretty much hung out with all the local Umlaut Records/Be Sharp people for the first time. This show was a turning point for us because it revealed something to us that we had thought unlikely; that there was a fresh, energetic and punk rock scene alive and well in London and it had some really awesome bands in it. We also spent some time eating pizza, skating outside the venue with a bunch of people – Ryan even took it upon himself to ollie over our good pals in No Insight. RIP SHIPS DOWN.

8. Rehasher, Eat Defeat & Fastfade weekender
Recently we spent a weekend playing shows with Roger Lima’s Rehasher and one of the best bands in the UK scene right now – Eat Defeat. After the very intimate Brighton show at Sticky Mike’s, we smashed a few beers and scoffed a bunch of pizzas back at Ryan’s place before heading to New Cross Inn where Joe unleashed his inner fanboy and stage-invaded Eat Defeat’s set, signing their song “Nothing’s Wrong”. That weekend was one we’ll never forget; playing with our childhood hero Roger Lima and getting the chance to hang with the lads in Eat Defeat.

7. Filming the Walkie Talkie music video
We wanted to release a video with our first single, ‘Walkie Talkie”, from our upcoming album, ‘Happy If You Aren’t’. We decided to chuck some equipment in Ryan’s spare room and do a standard performance-type video to go along with the song but it quickly devolved into a contest of who could do the stupidest thing on camera for some alternate B-roll footage. We chucked a toaster in the drum kit, kickflipped off an amp and, finally, covered Jake in flour and bread while he was in the shower. See more here.

6. Local Heroes
Some of the best times we’ve had come from the discovery of local bands that give us some really good vibes about the future of the scene. Our time as a band has seriously affected our music tastes for good. It’s quite possible that Joe will be banging out Eat Defeat and Call Me Malcolm until he’s in his late 60s, Ryan will still have Triple Sundae’s ‘Peace of Mind’ EP and Cereal Box Heroes’ ‘Frier’ on repeat even when CDs become obsolete and Jake would rather die than wash his Aerial Salad sweatshirt. The best part about playing around the country with different punk bands is that we have discovered artists that will stick with us for a very long time. Some other honourable mentions Cereal Box Heroes, Saving Sebastian, Müg, SKIV, The SLM, Captain Trips, Sub-Grunk, Negative Measures, The Burnt Tapes and EAT DIRT.

5. International Heroes
We’ve been lucky enough to have the chance to play with a bunch of international bands that simply know how to party different. Back in April we somehow managed to get on a bill with Waterweed (JPN), Rebuke (SWE), Antillectual (NL) and Forever Unclean (DE). (Thanks to Paul Smith.) It was definitely a great feeling to be chosen as the only UK band on that line-up full of international skate punk heavyweights. We’ve had a bunch of shows like this, with the opportunity to play with bands from all over the world such as Counterpunch, Straightline, The Overjoyed, Circus Rhapsody, Fluffy Machine, Trophy Jump, FOD, For I Am and Main Line 10.

4. Joe’s ankle
Just before a relatively long string of gigs, Joe decided to let Jack from Brighton hardcore powerhouses Negative Measures absolutely obliterate his ankle in the pit. After the substances wore off, Joe realised it was serious and went to a doctor. He had to play the next few gigs in a cast with crutches but, while it was a blow to our on-stage energy, it gave us something to talk about and he still smashed out every song – and, despite medical advice, he managed to get on his feet and even jump around a bit for the last few shows with the cast. A true hero.

3. Three gigs in 48 Hours
This is why we need an agent. We somehow managed to book three shows over the course of 48 hours with a show in High Wycombe, then an acoustic set at Sussex Uni and then another show in Hastings the same day. Needless to say the three of us discovered the limits of our endurance that weekend. Functioning on about 2 hours sleep after being reprimanded by beach police for urinating in the Brighton sea at 4am, we somehow managed to play the two shows the next day. We very nearly left Joe in a Hastings car park because he was literally unresponsive and legally deceased. He literally looked like this:

Joe somehow got a second (maybe fourth) wind after being soaked in water and slapped a couple of times and we smashed a quick set before watching Spoilers (who were sick!).

2. Hearing our album
Since we started tracking our album ‘Happy if You Aren’t’ in January this year, receiving the final masters was a long awaited moment for us. Mark Bell did an excellent job getting a sound that we were all proud of and that we felt did our songs justice. Hearing some of the songs we demoed back in Ryan’s garage 2015 turn into songs that sounded tight, rich and heavy was an amazing experience. We are all super proud of how these songs came out and can’t wait for people to hear them on December 14th. None of us had ever recorded an album before so it was a fresh and educational experience for all of us from start to finish.

1. Strawfest 2018 w/ Lyon Estates, No Insight
This summer our good friends Lyon Estates from York threw their annual Strawfest and asked us to play. This completely unique festival takes place on Rich Harrison’s farm in rural Yorkshire. The barn that the stage was set up in was the biggest space we have ever played. The event was so well organised with a pool, barbeques, food and drinks – it was just great vibes all round. Playing a venue with a pool outside isn’t something that happens very often for us so this was definitely a unique experience, one that Ryan didn’t take for granted as he ran off stage mid set for a quick swim only to return and get water all over the stage. This is why we bring wet floor signs to gigs. Just in case. We also got to have a go in John Wace’s (Lyon Estates) DeLorean.

Pre-order Happy If You Aren't here:

Like Fastfade here:

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Album Review: Persona Non Grata by Authority Zero (by Dan Peters)

Wow. It feels like only last year I was writing up a frankly glowing review of an Authority Zero album. Wait, that’s because it was only last year I wrote up a review for Broadcasting to the Nations. BttN was a truly stellar outing, with at least five of my now all time favourite Authority Zero songs. With such an incredibly strong offering still on heavy rotation in my personal playlists, it feels like it’s incredibly early to be able to review another album but this is the situation I find myself in. So bear with me whilst xmas comes early and I dive into a brand new suite of songs by the champions of the modern punk scene.

Persona Non Grata is what I’d consider an “all rounder” in terms of the directions Authority Zero can swing. From the opening A Blind Eye things are dripping with all the charm and charisma that you’d expect from Authority Zero without straying too far to the extremes of punk or ska too often – reggae crooner Shake The Ground followed by 49 second hardcore smasher Mush Mouth being the exception here – and they find a comfortable middle ground on the album as a whole. Those of you hoping to find an album as ska heavy as Broadcasting might be a little disappointed with stats like that but, honestly, it doesn’t matter since there’s far too much to love here to worry about the amount of upstrokes rolling your way.

There’s a lot to love track wise here, we’re talking all killer for the 12 track runtime. If I had to twist my arm and pick out some standouts – which of course I will because otherwise this review would just be a giant thumbs-up emoji – I would go for title track Person Non Grata, which is very Strung Out-y in composition so, of course, I’m instantly in love with it. The Bright Side which is probably the fastest song on the album is fun as hell. And straight after that Back From The Dead which is probably the ska punkest song available and something I find myself skanking to even though I’m sat down while listening to it!!!

I’m never unhappy to have new AZ to listen to but I can imagine some of you thinking it’s a little quick to come out and if you already own Broadcasting you may be wondering if there’s enough different here for you. Well, production wise things are very similar which I’d say should be fairly obvious considering the two record's proximity to one another. That is not a bad thing of course, both album are beautiful sounding, with everything feeling massive and Jason's voice is to die for. Style wise I’d say the last record was far more specialised while this, as mentioned, travels a more rounded path. Both are their own beasts though and both are unmissable.

In conclusion, Authority Zero have outdone themselves twice in two years and Persona Non Grata is something that had better be on your xmas lists because it’s an instant classic.

Stream and download Persona Non Grata here:

Like Authority Zero here:

This review was written by Dan Peters.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Album Review: Happy If You Aren't by Fastfade

Before last year's release of Roach, Aerial Salad were the north's best punk rock secret. Then Roach came out and the three piece became one of the most popular new bands throughout the entire country. Down south we have our own best kept punk rock secret who, like Aerial Salad, are just about to release an album that all the punks will soon be talking about. That band is London/Brighton super fast skate punks Fastfade. This three piece, Ryan on guitar and vocals, Joe on bass and Jake on drums, have been steadily gaining themselves a reputation of being one of the south's best young bands with their chaotic live performances and Captain Everything inspired songs. On December the 14th, Fastfade release their debut full length Happy If You Aren't through Umlaut Records and I'm expecting it to catapult them to big things.

Happy If You Aren't begins with the song Walkie Talkie which had a video released for it last month. This song so perfectly encapsulates what Fastfade are all about. Fast guitars, fast drums, fast vocals, fast harmonies but so much melody. These guys channel an era of punk rock I'm not sure they were even alive for and do it oh so well. Time Stuck is about exactly what you'd probably expect given its title, feeling as if time is standing still and that you're going around in circles. The song does lack a bit of the melody that featured so heavily in Walkie Talkie but certainly it has lots more intensity. Musically it's so stabby, every note is short and to the point which creates an interesting sound. Ryan's skill on guitar really shines at the start of track number three, Idiot. This is one of those crazy fast songs that just blow you away – I get breathless just listening to it. I do wonder if when these guys reach their thirties will they still be able to play songs at this pace. The energy that omits from the gang vocals and harmonies is so wonderfully infectious and I find myself smiling like an idiot the entire way through the song. From Idiot we move onto Weirdo. Weirdo is much more of a sing-along punk number. Joe's superb bass playing is featured heavily during the verse, in essence taking the lead on the track. When we reach the chorus it's time for us all to join the band in a sing-along. It seems as if Fastfade have taken a leaf from their Umlaut buddies The Burnt Tapes and Triple Sundae with this more mid-tempo approach to their style.

The fifth track on the album is title Will. This bouncy skate punk song surprisingly features some ska upstrokes – is this Joe's attempt to get some attention from his "dad", Paul from Be Sharp Promotions? As you might expect from a Fastfade song, it's a lot of fun and will get you dancing away pretty quickly. A big feature of the Fastfade sound is the use of gang vocals to finish off sentences. This really does a magnificent job of making sure every line hits home. Negative is an older Fastfade song that first featured on the band's first EP Simple Ideals. Re-recorded and remastered for Happy If You Aren't, it has a much fuller sound and going back and listening to the original you can really see how far Jake and Ryan have come along as musicians (Joe wasn't in Fastfade for the original release). I do love hearing a band's progression. Sub Motive is a track that is only just over a minute in length but Fastfade go all out to fit everything that they can into it. It feels like a perfect song to create a circle pit to (if you're into that kind of thing). It doesn't really slow down and it's not so long that you're likely to run out of breath midway through the track.

Seatbelt is a kind of a forty five second building introduction to the following song, Blunt, which also features on Simple Ideals. I believe that Blunt is the first song that Fastfade ever wrote and is a fan favourite when they play live. This is a wonderful piece of early 90s-style pop punk where you can easily hear Fastfade's blink-182 and Green Day influences. There's also a riff midway through the song that really reminds me of No Use For A Name that caught my ear. The final lines of "It's something, it's nothing, I'm telling you we'll be just fine, believe me, I've been there, we'll find another way in time" ensure that the song finishes on positive note. Frontside is a song of two styles, at times sharp and punchy but effortlessly switching to some of the most melodic parts of the entire album. This works well with the theme of the song being mental health and how sometimes things are lovely and sometimes they really aren't. As soon as I heard the opening riffs on the eleventh song, Passtime, I instantly thought of NOFX. Then Ryan's vocals hit, seemingly doing his best Billie Joe Armstrong impression before some big Bad Religion-esque oozinn-ahhs add another layer to the sound. This is going to be one of those songs that I'll listen to a hundred times and continue to find new things I enjoy about it.

Head First is the longest track on Happy If You Want. It's four minutes long which in Fastfade terms is a marathon length song. I listened to this song on repeat for about twenty minutes trying to figure out who it reminds me of and it finally clicked. Chicago pop punk heroes Allister (who happen to be one of my all time favourites), but really old school era Allister – Dead Ends And Girlfriends era Allister. The whole tone of the song has a bit of an older school feeling to it which I really enjoyed. It really took me back to the late 90s/early 2000s when I was just finding pop punk music. The penultimate song on the album is Sink Or Swim which is a cover of the band No Thanx To Paul. I have no idea who No Thanx To Paul are so obviously have no knowledge of the song but I enjoyed what seems like a heavier style from Fastfade. It's pretty relentless throughout with Jake's immense drumming really shining through. Finally we finish with what was my favourite song from the last Fastfade EP, Slingshot. For me, this if Fastfade at their best – fast, bouncy and wonderfully catchy. There's plenty that stands out on the track – the excellent guitar riffs, the hard hitting chorus, the delightful bass solo and that exceptional chorus that'll be ringing in your ears for days.

This is such a good debut full length from Fastfade. As I said at the beginning of this review, these young men are the London punk scene's best kept secret. This won't be the case now. I'd expect to see them popping up all over the country playing shows based on the strength of Happy If You Aren't. I predict that 2019 is going to be some year for Ryan, Jake and Joe.

Pre-order Happy If You Aren't here:

Like Fastfade here:

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Monday, 10 December 2018

News: Airstream Futures and Mean Caesar UK Tour

Little Rocket Records bands Airstream Futures and Mean Caesar are hitting the road together in January. Mean Caesar released their debut EP back in October and Airstream Futures released a brand new 7" Single titled If I / PR Nightmares in July. Check out the details of the tour below.

Thu - 17/01 - Le Pub - Newport
Frid - 18/01 - New Cross Inn - London
Sat - 19/01 - Cavern Club - Exeter
Sun - 20/01 - Mothers Ruin - Bristol
Mon - 21/01 - Conroy’s Basement - Dundee
Tue - 22/01 - Bannermans - Edinburgh
We - 23/01 - Wharf Chambers - Leeds
Thu - 24/01 - The Cherry Moon Shop - Bolton
Fri - 25/01 - Old Town House - Warrington
Sat - 26/01 - Mama Liz’s - Stamford
Sun - 27/01 - The Fighting Cocks - Kingston

Airstream Futures is a rock/punk/alternative band from Chicago, Illinois. The members are Devon Carson (vocals), Jeff Dean (guitar, vocals), Katie Karpowicz (bass), and Michael Soucy (drums).

Airstream Futures recorded a full-length album, Spirale Infernale, released via Paper + Plastick Records in December, 2017. In May, 2018, they self-released a limited-edition cassette, En Avoir Marre, with 2 LP songs, 1 studio outtake, and 3 unreleased live songs recorded at Liars Club in Chicago. This 7” vinyl release is a limited edition of 300 random coloured vinyl available via Little Rocket Records with new songs If I and PR Nightmares.

The tracks were recorded by Guitarist Jeff dean and the record produced by Derek Grant from Alkaline Trio and Rodrigo Palma from Saves the Day.

Airstream Futures has performed in the UK, Canada, and many U.S. cities with bands such as The Descendants, Pegboy, Alkaline Trio, Hot Water Music, and The Bollweevils. Airstream Futures is scheduled to perform this October at The Fest in Gainesville, Florida and most recently at Montreal's premier Festival Pouzza.

The Single is available here:

Video: Airstream Futures - If I

Devon said - The song is about the fight against depression and anxiety, wanting to do all the things you love but can’t. It’s a war in your brain and body, and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.

Video Credit - Derek Grant (Alkaline Trio)

South London juggernauts Mean Caesar have been tearing their way through the grimiest clubs and loudest bars South of the river since the start of 2018. Their debut EP, self-titled ‘Mean Caesar’, deals with London’s darker side and personal loss, attaining nosebleed-reaching dimensions. Asserting an amplified, technically informed, yet polish-free style, the band proves their punk mastery while retaining all of their raw, buzzed-out power.

Opening for the likes of Red City Radio, Apologies, I Have None and The Copyrights, vocalist Danny Lester, guitarists Oliver Ward and David Littlefair, bassist Stu Henson and drummer Stu Morrison have spent their time in the practice room studying the controlled power of their mentors. For the self-titled debut, their goal was to make the music “hooky as hell, with an urgency to it,” as frontman Lester says, and they tasked veteran post-hardcore engineer Joe Watson with helping them achieve a muscular bite. In typical fashion of their former bands, the music rejects any hints of pretention.

First single ‘South London Summer ‘epitomizes this; an insatiable sharpness of a track, about finding a gang where you feel at home. “I’m thankful every day that this bunch of misfits happened to cross my way / We’d prop up the Monty bar where talking endless shit can get you far / We’d toast our failures in the park and wonder reckless streets in the dark,” Lester croons on the rampageous track.

Get the EP here –

Video – South London Summer –

Album Review: Entropic by Hit The Switch (by Dan Peters)

Another month goes by and another band who’ve had a massive hiatus have laid a brand new offering at our feet. In this instance it’s skate punk aficionados Hit The Switch. After a seven year hibernation, the band are back and, not only that, they are on a label that brings joy to my heart with every offering – Bird Attack. With a glowing endorsement like that, I’m going into this review with open arms and the volume up max.

So an entire minute of intro clip seems a little excessive even to someone like me who loves that sort of thing but once that 1 minute mark is passed you’ll be treated to the blisteringly fast riffage and supersonic drumming you’d expect from the band (or you’d expect from a Bird Attack band if this is your first foray into Hit The Switch). ‘Perigee’ seems to deliberately take the 90s skate punk formula and runs with it wholeheartedly with abandon.

Entropic, as a whole, is very much a genre album which will likely, by its nature, be a little divisive. If, on the one hand, if you’re a bit of a skate punk purist and find it difficult to listen to anything without double time drumming then this is an album created especially for you. The template here is very strictly adhered to, if you love that template then this is 30 odd minutes of joy in a bottle. An unending speed trip with chugging guitars, high octane solos and Matt Hawks’ old school melodic vocals. However, if listening to the fastest Strung Out, NUFAN and Lagwagon songs on repeat doesn’t sound like your idea of heaven this may be difficult to get all the way through.

That’s not to say that even if you’re not a diehard there’s not real gems in here that I can’t imagine anyone loving. ‘Down and Out’ is an absolute belter from start to finish and is the track on the album I’ve come to love the most out of the whole record. ‘North Star’ is another cracking tune, with one of the coolest punk solos I’ve heard in a while on it.

Entropic is an album that wants to travel down a very narrow path, and if you’re a fan of that path then you’re going to love this, because it’s start to finish high grade super fast skate punk excellence. But don’t expect any deviation on your way through.

Stream and download Entropic here:

Like Hit The Switch here:

This review was written by Dan Peters.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Gig Review: Junior Battles at New River Studios 3/12/18

So you're full of the world's worst ever cold, you've had a late one the night before because of a gig, you have a busy day at work… the sensible thing to do is to stay in, watch Liam Bakes and get an early night, right? Yeah. Not me though, I decide to head straight to London from work for another gig. The gig in question was one that I felt like I couldn't miss but almost did. The gig in question was Junior Battles’ first ever UK show. It was originally scheduled for Friday the 16th of November, I excitedly brought my ticket and waited patiently. Then I sadly had to bail because Emma had to have her wisdom teeth taken out that day and I had to nurse her back to health. Then as luck would have it, for me at least, Junior Battles had to cancel the show due to a cancelled flight meaning they wouldn't make it to London in time. This meant that the show would be rescheduled to Monday the 3rd of December. This would be the fourth gig from new London promoter Gold Soul Theory Promotions, formed by Hassan Afaneh of Triple Sundae. Taking place at the awesome New River Studios in North London with support being provided by Triple Sundae, The Run Up and Sugar Rush, this was sure to be a great night despite me feeling like death.

I arrived at New River Studios halfway through Sugar Rush's set. I wasn't at all aware of the band's sound before the gig and I was pleasantly surprised by it. Catchy indie pop pun tunes with multiple vocalists and plenty of charisma and charm. Tackling a variety of social issues, it felt like Sugar Rush really were trying to inspire the crowd with their music which was great. Midway through, drummer Laura and guitarist Marcello swapped instruments to finish the set. The set was finished with a great song with the hook "everything's fine, nothing is fucked" which was a delightfully optimistic way to finish things up for Sugar Rush.

Next to take to the stage were London punks Triple Sundae who were making their final London appearance of the year. 2018 has been a good year for Triple Sundae with the release their EP Peace Of Mind on Umlaut Records, supporting the likes of Red City Radio, Consumed, Guttermouth and Pkew Pkew Pkew and getting out of London and playing more shows around the UK. Things are looking bright for these guys! Not a band to rest on their laurels, Triple Sundae have recently been in the studio working on a new EP and they treated us to some new songs from it. These new songs – wow! I loved Peace Of Mind (spoiler alert: it is going to be on my top ten EPs of 2018) but these new tracks blow them out of the water. These are melodic gruff punk rock beauties that really accentuate Hassan's amazing vocal. Also, shout out to guitarist Mike's energy on stage – never staying still for a moment and even popping out a couple of perfectly executed Busted jumps.

Bristol five piece The Run Up have been tour support for Junior Battles for the entirety of the tour. If you're familiar with The Run Up, you will know about their terrible luck with vans. On this tour they managed to use four different ones. It's a long and complicated story, if you ever catch them live – which you should – ask them about it. Because of the issue with vans, normal Run Up drummer Harry ended up not being able to make it to London for the show but a couple of members of the Junior Battles line up stood in to ensure that the show could go on – what fine chaps! At the end of the spring, The Run Up released a brand new EP titled Good Friends, Bad Luck which I thought was their finest release yet. This was the the first chance I've had to hear these songs live and boy was I impressed. Largely tackling the topic of friendship, the songs work so great live when you are surrounded by a group of your buddies. The big highlight for me, and at every Run Up gig, is when they played Learning Loss. Hilariously lead singer Larry (and not stand in drummer Glenn) messed up the start of the song so began to sing on the first chorus, as did I despite my cold attempting to kill me. It's always so great to see The Run Up live, I can't wait for the next time.

I now have to admit I'm not overly familiar with Junior Battles. I'd heard of them and knew I enjoyed the music that I had listened to so was expecting to really have a great time seeing these four Canadians live. Playing energetic sing-along pop punk songs, it wasn't long before a lot of clearly hardcore fans who were so excited to finally these chaps. There were a couple of nice moments where first Larry joined them for one song and towards the end of the set The Run Up's Charlie, Lawrence and Dan joined them on guitar for a song. It's clear that a big friendship has been built up through the tour which is always just so lovely to see. I did end up ducking out of the gig a little early because I was starting to feel pretty much dead on my feet but I was so impressed with Junior Battles and will definitely be listening to them properly and hoping they find their way back to the UK again.

This was a great night and I'm glad I forced myself to go despite feeling so unwell. A massive amount of love to Gold Soul Theory Promotions and the bands for making this happen despite the difficulties with travel.

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Top Tens: The Capital's Top Ten Punk Rock Influences

Rob (drums and vocals)

Beatsteaks – Limbo Messiah
This album is the perfect entry to discover one of your new favourite bands. Since it came out in 2007, they’ve definitely been my favourite band! Beatsteaks are everything that’s right about a band. Melodic, creative, boundaryless, fun, humble and incredible live. Limbo Messiah captures these traits and their personality perfectly. "As I Please" is a brilliant opener. By the time the drums come in, you already know you’re going to make it all the way to the end of the album.

Crazy Arm – Born To Ruin
When you hear your friends new album/EP for the first time, you hope it’s going to be good enough to not have to lie about it. I’m sure our friends know that feeling well!!! On this occasion, our friends in Crazy Arm had genuinely created one of the best albums I’ve ever heard. Perfection from start to finish. You’ll blow your voice out singing along to it and lose count of how many times you punch the air. Not much else to say really. If you’re a fan of music, it’s impossible not to be a fan of this record.

Andy (guitar and vocals)

Audio Karate – Lady Melody
This album is incredible from start to finish. The song ‘Hey Maria’ resonates with me on so many levels. Musically, lyrically and production-wise it has it all for me. There is a raw emotion throughout the album which never gets old. I was so inspired by the vocal takes on Hey Maria that I wrote to the singer (Yeah, I know.) and struck up a conversation about music production. He wrote back with such appreciation and explained that, even though he’d recorded the vocals to this song already, the producer demanded that he re-record the vocals precisely ‘because’ his voice was worn out. Listen to the song with this in mind and I think you’ll agree it was a good move. Unbelievable song, classic album.

Cave In – Antenna
A timeless classic which is both unique and inspiring. I can’t explain why but this album somehow bends the rules. The song ‘Inspire’ has everything; an enormous riff that even a neck-brace wouldn’t hold back the frowning nod and a chorus which would make any band jealous. I was devastated to hear the tragic news of Caleb Scofield’s passing, but his lyrics, vocal melodies and basslines will inspire me forever.

Scott (bass guitar and vocals)

Fighting With Wire – Man vs Monster
Sad to see this band disappear after being held back by their label. After signing with Atlantic, they seemed like they were destined for the big time, but had their sophomore album release delayed and delayed until the strain broke up the band. But their amazing debut record is full of massive riffs and a distinctively dirty guitar tone. It's a passionate record that should have seen them achieve far wider recognition.

Sparta – Porcelain
A great record that strikes the ideal balance between Sparta's punk roots and more artistic ambitions. "While Oceana Sleeps" in particular has everything – atmosphere, raw passion, beautiful lyrics and one of the best bass-driven verses ever written.

Seamus (lead vocals and guitar)

Counting Crows – Recovering the Satellites
Gil Norton took the helm in producing this album as the band went for a heavier sound for their second album. It is miles different to their debut, August, and everything after. Angels Of The Silences and Daylight Fading are two stand out tracks for me as the guitar playing is sublime and it really has a very live feel to the whole record. A Long December is heartbreaking and beautiful as the record’s closing track.

The Frames – Set List
The frames have been one of my favourite bands for years, ever since I caught them accidentally in a club in Dublin around 2001. Possibly one of the greatest live bands I've ever seen. And this record really shows off what the band can do live and how incredible their song writing is. Recorded in 2002 at the legendary Vicar Street venue in their hometown of Dublin, the audience singing every word highlights what the band mean to the people in the room and beyond. A truly great Irish band but with international appeal. Revelate and Santa Maria are insanely good songs and even better presented here live.

Nik (guitar and vocals)

Transit – Joyride
The album boasts a collection of well crafted pop-rock songs worthy of anyone’s attention (subjective). The dark and light contrast between beautiful melodic harmonies and scathing sinister lyrics set this album apart for me. A must listen.

RX Bandits – Gemini, Her Majesty
Underrated but certainly well appreciated. The songwriting, musicianship and production on this album is phenomenal. This is the kind of album that always sounds fresh, no matter how many times you spin it. Funk-punk-rock-soul and r’n’b at its finest.

Like The Capital here and check them out on Bandcamp here.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Album Review: Cheer by Drug Church (by Richard Mair)

Hardcore. Potentially the scene that has shown the least progression, growth and development of any punk sub-genre; yet somehow I love it. It’s like a pair of comfy yet vitriolic slippers. The anger and angst spat forth from many bands is always a cathartic release of aggression. Yet despite my affection for the scene and the music, the bands I truly love are those that try to stretch beyond its strict confines. Bands like Boysetsfire, Grade and As Friends Rust are all stunning examples of what the scene can achieve when pushed, merging punk and emo, marrying melodic moments with brutal beatdowns. More recently the likes of La Dispute and Touché Amore demonstrate that creative hardcore has a place and role to play.

Despite this, Albany, New York’s Drug Church sound nothing like these bands; past or present. Imagine if you will the hits of The Pixies played by Planesmistakenforstars, whilst Bane’s Aaron Bedard half speaks half sings the sharp, witty, insightful lyrics of The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn and you quite possibly might be in the right ballpark.

Cheer, the band's third album, continues their development into a unique band who can straddle genres and pigeonholes whilst retaining the visceral aggression that debut album Paul Walker displayed when they unleashed it back in 2013. Sophomore effort Hit Your Head, whilst still good, lacked the creativeness of the Swell EP of 2015 and suggested that potentially the band had hit a point of identity crisis, from maintaining a clear hardcore focus to branching out into more arty, poppy territory. With Cheer Drug Church have found a perfect balance in the fine line they tread with noisy guitars, hardcore beats, pop infused melody and ear worm hooks. It feels like Cheer is the perfect representation of who the band see themselves as and it certainly doesn’t feel like it’s attempting to play to any specific genre. It feels that this is the album they wanted to make and aren’t concerned with what the scene may think.

Saying this there are still very much straight up hardcore moments on display. Both “Strong References” and” Conflict Minded” are very typical of Drug Church’s output to date for large parts. “Strong References” mellows in the final stages whereas “Conflict Minded” draws on those Pixies nods with the inclusion of female vocals and what my Anglophile ears perceive as Spanish lyrics; it’s like textbook Kim Deal and Frank Black in the heyday of the band in the late 90s. Opening track “Grubby” also provides some familiarity to older Drug Church material, notably “Thinking About Joining Drug Church” from debut album Paul Walker.

Where the album really excels is in the use of twisted melody alongside traditional punk tropes. Having toured extensively with a variety of bands it’s easy to see how external influences have permeated the sound of the band. The best example of this is “Foam Pit”. Strip it down and it’s typical of a straight forward pop-punk tune that you’d expect New Found Glory to trot out. In the hands of Drug Church this becomes something much more; a savage critique on selling out to the 9-5 lifestyle, set to a warped pop melody and beats designed to get people pogoing. Both “Weedpin” and “Unlicensed Hall Monitor” typify this use of what can only be described as aggressive melody with aplomb.

Perhaps the finest moment on the album is closing track “Tillary”. The track is extremely rhythmic with the drums playing a prominent role in propelling the song forward, whilst the guitars evoke a feeling of The Cure at their best (such as “Friday I’m in Love”). It’s an anthem devoted to the hypocrisy that many people in power portray, yes they say they want an equal society but their actions continue to suppress people. It’s a song full of anger and defiance and rounds the album off perfectly with its instrumental coda.

Cheer might be a somewhat ironic album title given the very sardonic nature of the content. One would argue that there is very little to celebrate within Drug Church’s world, yet like all good hardcore the shared belief and values always remind me that we can make a difference and change the world for the positive. Given the accessible nature of the album and the potential for it to resonate in our current socio-political environment, maybe just maybe we’ll see more people thinking about the world around them and how they can bring about positive change… and that certainly would be something to cheer about.

Stream and download Cheer here:

Like Drug Church here:

This review was written by Richard Mair.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Album Review: Hermitage by Misgivings

Sarah Shout Louder has been banging on to me for ages about how good Misgivings debut album Hermitage is. She's often right about this kind of thing so as soon as I found a bit of time to give it a proper listen I made myself comfortable and prepared to be thoroughly impressed. Misgivings are a four piece band from Portsmouth who are described as "combining the hooks of The Flatliners and the rasp of Leatherface with the gut wrenching power of Iron Chic." This is definitely something I know I will enjoy. Hermitage is released on the 7th of December through Lockjaw Records, a label that guitarist Will Pearce worked with last year on his other band Sombulance's release, Lifer.

Hermitage begins with the song Call It Off which Misgivings also made a fantastic video for. Given the description for Misgivings’ sound, it was no surprise that I wanted to throw my fists up and shout along straight away. The way in which every line is delivered makes singing along passionately so inviting. The Artless Life is about what it would be like if the world didn't have free thinkers who take risks to create things. There's a poppier feeling to the track which has plenty of great hooks. There is a hint of Bangers or even noughties punk rockers Fletcher in the song. Those are two bands we love at CPRW towers and it's always nice to hear that sound.

Shameless grabs your attention quickly with the lyrics "when you get up in the morning, I'll be drinking through the night with a poor excuse." The song speaks about needing to sort yourself out but not being quite able to do so. The song uses the example of drinking too much to make its point, particularly being too tired and hung over from the night before to follow through with plans. The fourth track, On Your Tongue, feels like it has a darker tone than the previous songs on Hermitage. It also feels as if the vocals are delivered in a more passionate and urgent manner to really help drive the point home. I enjoyed the subtle harmonies that occur throughout the song, adding a nice little layer, giving the song a more rounded sound.

The New Lows has more of a punchy, stabby musical style with the vocals providing a large chunk of the melody. The chorus is one of the catchiest on Hermitage with the lines "the new lows, new numbers to fear" quickly finding a spot to make a home for itself in your brain. Johnny Come Late is about feeling jaded and bored with your life and not doing the things you love. The chorus on this track is the best on the album – "be a friend to all you see, be the mend to broken trees, even when the tough times call for tough endeavours, I bet I would do it if I was free, if I wasn't tired and salty, if I never fouled this bastard fucking country." This chorus sums up the entire song so perfectly.

Ironically the penultimate song on Hermitage is titled The Last Word. The pounding drum beat and a jangly guitar riff immediately fills the song with energy and when the vocals hit you're itching to sing-along with Misgivings. I preferred this higher tempo style of Misgivings sound, I love when a song fills me with energy – it's why I listen to music. The track uses more harmonies and gang vocals than any other on the album and this adds so much to the song, it makes it sound so much bigger. The final track on Hermitage is I Keep Hoarding Up and it is one of the strongest song on the album. It's about hiding yourself away from the world, keeping clear of the good times and the bad and just being by yourself. It feels like a final song in that it's very vocal heavy, making you listen intently and really take notice. It's one last big sing-along to finish the album.

Hermitage by Misgivings is a good record full of powerful heart on your sleeve punk rock. If you're a fan of bands like Polar Bear Club, The Burnt Tapes or The Loved Ones then this is probably something you need to be checking out. I can see why Sarah Shout Louder is so excited by this release.

Pre-order Hermitage from Lockjaw Records here:

Like Misgivings here:

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Album Review: Lanterns by Moonraker

Moonraker are a band I've been aware of for a while after seeing two of the members help out Not Half Bad at Fest 15. So when their brand new album Lanterns appeared in my inbox I have to say that I was very intrigued to check them out. Moonraker are a band situated in California who have prolifically been releasing music together since 2011. Lanterns is their newest album and it was released in September on Tiny Dragon Music.

Lanterns begins with the song One Trick Phony. After a creepy laughing introduction we jump straight into a fast paced punk jam about everything always going wrong and becoming used to it. The use of dual vocals on the track does a brilliant job of adding an extra jolt of electricity into the song, making sure that the album gets going in some style. I loved It's My Turn To Be Somebody Now, Nathan! from the very first time I listened to it. It's packed full of fantastic lyrics and has this energy about it that just makes it oh so infectious. You will get swept away by this song. My favourite lyrics of the song are "the past always looks bright if you squint your eyes, and the future looks just fine if you lie." Another part of the song I really liked was the dual vocals, with a cleaner and a raw vocal coming together and being ace. The track is about feeling like you are competing with people to have the best life you possibly can and it not going very well. Track three, To The Gills, begins with some quiet spooky lyrics saying "you'll have to pry my cold dead hands from this wagon, when the wheels fall off then we'll just have to drag it" before the song starts properly and then doesn't relent for the entire track. There's an intensity that reminds me of Direct Hit and those dual vocals scream Lawrence Arms. It's all good. Ram The Blade Ship is a piece of pop punk perfection. It goes along at a ridiculous pace but it's so full of hooks and catchy lyrics. Moonraker's Nick Shambra and David Green work together spectacularly well on the vocals, whether it's trading lines or harmonising, it's all superb. Pop punk song of the year?

The fifth song is titled War Were Declared. This song instantly feels like Moonraker have gone down a more mature road. Switching from the relenting pace, this track is more melodic and seems designed to get you to think about its meaning. There's every chance I'm wrong but I think the song is about how people's inability to change and grow causes unnecessary battles. Gin And Jews begins quietly with a chugga-chugga guitar riff that I joked reminded me of the intro of Eye Of The Tiger. Once we get past this intro we get a delightfully wordy track that hooks you in very quickly. "Wordy" is definitely a theme for Moonraker songs and they continue to prove themselves to be superb lyricists throughout Lanterns. The verse that really stands out on Gin And Jews is "I'm so scared you might know everything I'm scared of, and I'm so sorry I can't say it to your face, when six states over on a barstool next to strangers, I can't stop confessing all of my mistakes." The track is about using alcohol to hide yourself from your friends but being able to confess everything to strangers. They Called Me Mr. Glass is a big highlight on an album that seems to provide hit after hit. It begins slowly with a short piano led introduction giving it a sombre start before we are lead into an up-tempo track that puts a nice spin on the Lawrence Arms sound. I imagine this track to be phenomenal live with that slow start getting a big sing along before everyone goes crazy when the song really gets going. It's about always going out and getting drunk and having someone who will look after you, no matter what.

A Memoir really slows things down. It's a sad and sombre sounding track about feeling as if you have wasted your life. Lyrically, again Moonraker are on top form as they paint a picture that I'm sure a lot of people can easily relate to. I'd be shocked if there isn't at least one line in this track that doesn't make you think "that sounds like me." When I first listened to the ninth song, Hurricanes, it had me thinking of 90s skate punk with that melodic guitar introduction. From there, Moonraker move towards their own style musically but the lyrics are delivered in more of a sharp punchy way. I really enjoyed how Moonraker seemingly blended two different influences on the song to create something pretty fantastic. The song is about sticking with something or someone through thick and thin no matter how crazy things get. The penultimate track on Lanterns is named Seven Different Kinds Of Smoke. Looking at the lyrics and the length of the song (one minute twenty seven seconds) I expected the song to be crazy fast. And there are parts that are but interlaced between the speed are some brilliant melodic sections that help to break the song up slightly. Seven Different Kinds Of Smoke is about having a dad who constantly let you down in order to help out other kids and deciding to cut him out of your life. Speaking as someone who is estranged from two fathers this song hit hard and again I'm sure plenty others will relate. Lanterns is completed by The Well. The first half of the song is this brilliant building section. Musically it's so simple and the build gives the track a great intense feeling, leaving you urging the song to shift into the next gear. When it eventually does, you get some of the best raspy vocals on the album again beautifully harmonised with an evener rawer vocal – what an effect this makes! The song and the album ends with the line "you won't see it coming, you'll just hear.… fucking nothing." What a perfect way to finish an album.

Lanterns will no doubt be in my top ten albums of 2018. I think it's incredible. I don't have much else to say about it other than go and listen to it immediately!

Stream and download Lanterns here:

Like Moonraker here:

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Friday, 30 November 2018

Gig Review: Rehasher at New Cross Inn 24/11/18

What a year it's been for Be Sharp Promotions. In 2018 they've booked Teenage Bottlerocket, A Wilhelm Scream, Lightyear, Random Hand, The Toasters, Pkew Pkew Pkew, Red City Radio, The Penske File, Fandangle, [Spunge], Nothington, Vanilla Pod, The Bennies, Get Dead, Death By Stereo and, of course, Goldfinger. It's been absolutely incredible. Now as we're getting towards the end of the year, the brothers Smith had yet another incredible band lined up to play London's best venue, the New Cross Inn. Rehasher were in the middle of their first ever UK tour and boy golly I was excited. If you're unaware who Rehasher are, they are Less Than Jake bass player Roger's other band who play fast punk rock songs rather than the ska that has made Less Than Jake famous. I have loved Rehasher since I heard their debut album Off Key Melodies almost fifteen years ago and have excitedly checked out all of their releases since. Emma and I were also lucky enough to catch them live a few years ago when we visited Gainesville for The Fest. Knowing what a big fan I am of both Rehasher and Less Than Jake, Be Sharp's Paul let slip that he was in talks with the band about five months earlier and that blew my mind. When it was finally confirmed at the beginning of October, I actually did a little jump of celebration. This eclipsed any band announcement of the entire year and I excitedly awaited the day to arrive.

As ever with a Be Sharp gig at the New Cross Inn, the line up was stacked from start to finish. Opening the evening were a new band for me – Sharp Bones. This five chaps were only playing their third show as a band but you couldn't tell based on the musicianship demonstrated throughout their set. Playing a heavy form of pop punk, Sharp Bones had the steadily growing crowd at New Cross hooked with a powerful display. The band's frontman really brought the energy and charisma as he prowled around the stage. He also showed off some impressive microphone swinging skills during the set. Side note: I always get worried when a singer starts swinging the microphone around that it might come loose and disaster might strike! Sharp Bones finished an impressive set with the song Sea Of Doubt which features Nick from Hit The Lights on the recorded version.

Up next were London/Brighton-based super fast skate punks Fastfade. Or as Eat Defeat described them, "Captain Everything's sons." Fastfade are going to become one of the most talked about bands in the UK sooner or later, they're that good. Ryan, Joe and Jake are just about to release their debut album We're Happy If You Aren't on Umlaut Records. It's an album that I've been lucky enough to be sent an advanced copy of but I resisted listening to it as I wanted to check out some of the tracks live first. Spoiler, the new songs are sounding incredible. This is my fourth time seeing Fastfade live and I always come away feeling so impressed. The trio are clearly are intent on having the most fun and creating the most carnage they can together on stage with guitarist Ryan and bassist Joe constantly fighting each other on stage – at one point Ryan even fell off the stage. Fastfade are such a great band and this was definitely the best set I've seen them play. It felt somewhat like they were playing the headline set, they put in such a big performance. Keep a lookout on CPRW for our review of We're Happy If You Aren't and if you having climbed aboard the Fastfade train yet I suggest you do but, hang on tight, it's going to be a wild ride.

Fintan Stack were another band playing only their third gig together. We've also attended the other two, supporting Red City Radio and The Penske File at the New Cross Inn. Before the set I'd been telling some new pals, who had yet to see Fintan Stack, how good they are and how excited I was to see them. Of course they didn't disappoint and during the set the pal told me they they're really good. Fintan Stack are really good at highlighting their strengths, with co-vocalists Adam and Duncan really shining. Both these guys have really powerful voices that work really well together. Some of those harmonies make me so happy. Their two singles Nap All Day, Sleep All Night, Party Never and I'm Done are obvious highlights and I enjoyed having a sing-along to two of my favourite songs of the year but I'm itching for these chaps to get back into the studio and record some more music. Fintan Stack are my favourite new band of 2018.

It's not been long since we last saw Saving Sebastian, playing the Fandangle all dayer at the beginning of the month. I enjoyed them then but this set was when I really got on board with the band. This weekend they were recording some new songs with Fandangle's Andy Baker but jumped at the opportunity to get on this bill. I guess this meant they were at their sharpest musically and it really showed. Now I've never been involved in recording music but I imagine it's quite a tiring process, so for the band to play with as much energy as they did was quite something. These guys weren't stationary for a single second as they blasted through their 2000s inspired pop punk gems. We all know how much I love a band with multiple singers and it works so well with Saving Sebastian's sound – it really amps up the energy even more. They're also such fun to watch on stage as they jump around the stage or, at times, in the crowd. There was a cool moment where Cereal Box Heroes Conor Yates, who was only there as a fan, joined the band on stage for a Blink-182 cover which went down a treat with the New Cross crowd.

The main support for the evening and for the UK leg of Rehasher's tour came from Eat Defeat. At this point I think it's fair to say that Eat Defeat are New Cross Inn legends and always provide super memorable moments whenever they take to the stage. Despite vocalist Summers suffering with some illness and drummer Stephen having a couple of cracked ribs, Eat Defeat put on yet another absolutely stonking performance. Starting out with the brilliant Smile from their excellent 2018 album I Think We'll Be OK, the crowd down the front erupted for Eat Defeat with plenty of huge sing-alongs and so much energy. Because Summers’ voice was struggling throughout the set, Eat Defeat had a couple of guest singers join them. CBH Conor again took to the stage to sing DIYTanic and Joe Fastfade sang Nothing's Wrong to great receptions. You do wonder what those not associated with the New Cross family made with these random folk jumping on stage to sing the songs but I thought it was great fun. Of course, they finished with Not Today Old Friend which got the biggest sing-along of the night thus far as the entire crowd as the New Cross belted out “I Think We'll Be Okay!”. Eat Defeat played a set that could have easily been a headline set and sent many people home very happy. I don't think there is a better pop punk band in the UK at the moment, their best New Cross set yet.

It was now time for Rehasher and I can't remember a time when the anticipation was so high for a band at New Cross – and you've read the list of bands that have passed through the door at the beginning of the review. (Unless you have for some reason skipped to the end, I bet you feel quite silly now don't you?) To me, it felt like the room was a bit split. Half of the room were super excited for Rehasher and the other half were excited because Roger from Less Than Jake was playing the New Cross Inn – which was huge, this is ska kid central. A big crowd gathered around the front of the stage ready to go absolutely wild. As soon as they opened with Compass someone did a big stage dive and we were off. Rehasher play fast punk rock that never seems to slow down, this really suited the crowd as they clearly had one speed and that was GO! The band, completed by Tony on bass and Alex on drums, looked so pleased with the reactions they were getting as they blasted through songs from all of Rehasher's discography and we were also treated to a couple of new tracks that are due to be recorded next year. From the two songs that they played, I'm already looking forward to this release. I love that Roger manages to find the time for Rehasher despite his very busy schedule with Less Than Jake. It was also an absolute pleasure to hear some classic Rehasher tracks from Off Key Melodies, with One Shot Deal, Average, Sinking and Lift! all making appearances. With every song there seemed to be more and more people stage diving and the pit just became crazier and crazier and it was clear that the band were loving it. The crowd really lost their minds when they played a sped up punk version of the LTJ classic Dopeman. This was a proper punk rock show, filled with passion, energy and plenty of smiling faces. This was a special moment not just for the fine people in the New Cross Inn crowd but I'd predict for the band as well.

I don't know if Rehasher will ever find their way back to the UK but the UK crowds have definitely shown how much they're loved over here and really appreciated the effort that went into getting them here.

And maybe if Rehasher don't come back, Roger will have seen just how incredible the New Cross Inn is and will suggest his other band play an intimate show there instead.

This review was written by Colin Clark. Photos by Emma Prew.

CPRW Playlist: November 2018

CPRW Playlist: Here's what Brett, Dan, Emma, Jack, Omar, Richard, Robyn and myself have been listening to this November.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Top Tens: Rob from Misgivings’ top ten places to hide when he’s had enough of other people

You know that feeling. We all know that feeling. That feeling when every single person you see is just more than you can handle. That feeling you get around half an hour before it's time to go home and your boss comes in with something urgent. And for whatever reason it’s your problem. Joy of joys.

Or you’re in the supermarket and that person you sort of remember from school has waved at you and said hi… please mother earth swallow me whole.

Maybe you are out with your friends, it’s been three hours and, despite your unconditional love for the people you are with, you need a break.

Well maybe you don’t relate but corresponding with the release of Hermitage, here is my list of the top ten places I go to hide when I’m feeling delicate.

10 My Car:
Not everyone has a car but those who do know the wonderful peace of an empty car. Need quiet? Sure, you’re alone, silence is yours. Need to play something savage and drop tuned to the point where the strings are practically rubber bands? Sure, crack on, turn it up till the empty seats and your ears bleed. Do you want to scream WHY?! over and over again at the top of your voice until you can’t make noise at all… go see a counselor, but other than that fill your boots. It’s your car. Gary Numan was right; also it’s a cracking tune. The one massive problem with this is other people. I personally find myself very frustrated with the fact that nobody else on the road understands what the thing under their right foot is for.

9 The Smoking Area:
I don’t smoke (unless I am completely battered) which actually helps. You are that one guy not smoking in the smoking area, people rarely talk to you in that situation. Obviously this still works if you smoke. It’s worth mentioning this option works way better in the winter so wrap up. Added points if you don’t have a lighter.

8 Salt Lane (according to google maps):
Between Winchester and … Corhampton? Maybe, I don’t know. Either way it’s my old route home from work and it is more often than not blissfully empty. Had a bad day? Get on that winding road and make your smoking, knackered, diesel, Škoda sing. This road is everything that is fun about driving. Tight corners, mixed road conditions, loose gravel, wet leaves and sheep that one time. You need to be focused on what you are doing. This is not a route you take with an absent mind or a phone in your hand. I’m not advising you to drive dangerously, mind you. You can get away with hooning on the motorway because it’s a straight line, there is less to go wrong. You can still have fun. But mess up on this road and you’re going to end up wrapped around a tree waiting a looooooooooooong time for anyone to find you. Don’t be stupid.

7 The Work Toilet:
An obvious one and one you can’t over use. But, picture this. That person you don’t like is talking about their weekend or children or holiday plans, partner, boring pointless hobby etc, etc. You can feel your fist clenching, eyes twitching, you think you might be growling like an angry rottweiler but you’re not sure. Every fiber of your being wants to pick up the nearest impractically large object and ram it between their teeth. Now would be a good time to take a shit or pretend to shit. Just enough time to calm down and use the wifi to be baffled by the comments section of a Daily Mash article.

6 Loading Up The Car After A Show:
It’s rare that I’ll do this to avoid people, most of the time I’ll happily stop and chat but it’s a sure-fire way of making every conversation end very quickly. “Hey man do you want a hand with that?” and you answer “Nah mate I’m good, thanks though.”. Done. Such an easy and obvious solution, it brings you neatly back to number 10 on this list. I love gigs, I really do. Seeing people taking an interest in music and appreciating the effort that bands go to for these gigs fills me with real joy. It's just after being around that many people for several hours I think most people crave a little solitude. I know I do.

5 Behind The Couch:
When I was a wee little sprog/nipper/child and I wasn’t feeling all that social I would crawl into the gap between the back of the couch and the wall. It was dark and cramped, there was a strong smell of dog and sometimes our dog would join me. I would sometimes spend more than an hour back there. I felt safe and comfortable despite normally being incredibly claustrophobic. It wasn’t just behind the couch, I’d get under the cushions and stay there for ages as well and I felt safe. The rest of my family found this a little strange but just kinda let me get on with it. I don’t think I ever thanked them properly for that.

I am somewhere under Billy and that pile of cushions and pillows.

4 The Mini Box House:
In one of my old jobs, we had a room full of old stock that was stacked on pallets. For whatever reason it constantly needed sorting. In between other tasks, several of us would be given a list of this stuff to find and then work on. This was boring beyond words. This was around the time we had lots of polished brass table lights we were making for one of Donald Trump's golf hotels. (Fun fact: I folded a little square of paper with the words “made in Mexico” into every single one I worked on.) Eventually we got fed up of this. We found this huge box that even someone my height could comfortably sit in. Someone cut a door into it, then someone else did a window, we got a bit carried away. We ended up taking it in turns to have box time. It was great, I could eek out half an hour of reading when there wasn’t much to do and none of the management knew or cared. It doesn’t scream work ethic but it was the best part of my day.

Home sweet box.

3 Queen Elizabeth Country Park:
I don’t do this as often as I should but I love walking around in the woods. It’s so wonderful to be surrounded by trees. You get to make up your own little stories about how you’ve gone off the grid and become some sort of self reliant hunter gatherer out in… Queen Elizabeth Country Park. But genuinely, fresh air, bird song, crunching leaves underfoot and all that lovely stuff. Living in a city and working in an office you can’t help feeling claustrophobic and trapped. Everywhere there are walls and boundaries, signs, restrictions, people, things, adverts, lights, some sort of sporting event, royal weddings, Tesco value booze, estate agents, drunk people singing 80s classics badly, shops, royal babies, normal babies (just like royal babies except they have far less potential), vape shops, more sodding vape shops, Ed Sheeran!

Jesus Christ, modern life is a complete nightmare. Go out and walk around the countryside, dense woods or rolling hills, it’s really pretty and there is enough space to be alone for a bit.

2 The Library:
I love the library. To me it is this wonderful place where knowledge is stored, quietly. Mum used to read a lot, at some points because of her illness she couldn’t move all that much so she stocked up on books when she could. The whole family would all bundle into the car and go to the library. I remember it way more fondly now than I felt about it at the time. The library helped form a lot of my personality as it is now. I liked knowing things and having that quiet space to learn and think is very important when you are trying to figure out who you are and what you are into. The library gave me access to any fantasy world, brutal dystopia or far flung corner of the world I could want to visit. Any series of books I could want to read was there. In the non fiction section, any set of skills you could want to pick up were there, on paper. Just waiting for you to pick them up and learn. Crucially Portsmouth city library had CDs that you could borrow too which introduced me to music that I otherwise would never have found on my own. I have trouble imagining mum without a book in her hands and because of that being surrounded by books just feels safe to me. I suppose by extension I also like to hide in a good book.

1 Mum’s Garden:
On the 21st of June 2017 my mother died. I was utterly crushed by this. A lot of the time when I was upset or worried I would go to mum and most of the time I would find mum in the garden. She spent all the time she could in the garden planting and growing things, it made her so happy. We used to sit around watching the various animals and insects that came to mum’s little oasis in the city. She asked my dad and I to build her birdhouses.

We had one screwed into the wall, you could see it from the couch in the conservatory. As her health deteriorated she spent a lot of time watching the birds from that couch. Mum used to love watching the birds fly in and out of the house, when it wasn’t birds it was bees and damselflies. We dug out a pond, which attracted frogs and other things. We also found that in the summer Scout (the family dog) would wade into the pond, he loved that. It left us with an excellent smell to enjoy around the house, a subtle blend of wet dog and pond.

After building a greenhouse, we could have fresh tomatoes and chillies amongst other fresh and wonderful things. There is nothing like the peace I could find in mum’s garden. There was always so much green and so much life. Life felt far less hectic surrounded by things mum grew and cared for. On warm summer nights you could hear bats, which we found very exciting. A gentle breeze rustling through the assorted varieties of tall grass, the gentle buzz of many happy bees, bird song and frogs. I felt so calm in that garden, that it is my number one place to hide from people and will probably stay number one for a long time.

You can pre-order Hermitage from Lockjaw Records here and like Misgivings here.

Also make sure to like Colin's Punk Rock World and look out for our review of the album coming on Tuesday.

Top Tens: Will from Misgivings’ Top Ten Punk Rock Influences & Inspirations

Hi, it’s Will from Misgivings everyone. You might know me from being the guy that plays two sets at shows in Portsmouth sometimes, sometimes three.

I thought I’d talk through some of my main inspirations and influences for songwriting and being a musician in the form of a Top Ten on this fantastic website Colin’s Punk Rock World. Some of these are people in bands, some of these are people who are not in bands, some of these things aren’t even people. Try to bear with me.

1. Gordon Ramsay
I do my best work when I’m a bit knackered to be honest. I feel like there’s a sweet spot for how ideas manifest themselves when you’ve just got home from a tiring day at work and your body is telling you to spend the evening napping on the sofa watching Gordon Ramsay’s Hotel Nightmares, but then instead you spend the evening playing your acoustic guitar but still watching Gordon Ramsay’s Hotel Nightmares while pressing record on your phone’s voice memos.

The reason why Rob sometimes shouts obscenities while we’re playing is because he expects to hear Gordon shouting ‘where’s the fucking lamb sauce?’ in the quieter parts of the songs from listening to the demos. I also find watching sports a good songwriting prompt, when Gordon isn’t on.

2. Robert Pollard (Guided by Voices and every other band he’s been in)
I had a Tory mate at school who told me that ‘Thatcher only slept about 3 hours a week’ (or something) and got out of bed super early and then spent the day running the country into the ground. I’m not comparing this total hero to the Iron Lady, but I heard that Robert Pollard gets up at 6am every day, writes songs and makes collages all morning and may end up with a whole album by the end of the day. ‘Uncle Bob’ has appeared on and designed the artwork for around 100 albums and many of them are worth a listen, he’s a songwriting machine. He has the ability to write playful guitar riffs, great melodies that never get old, short concise songs with lyrics that cover a wide range of emotions and does so at a really alarming rate. He also seems to be chronically tequila drunk.

3. My Musical Friends
So this is an important one. I was lucky to grow up in a musical family, but even luckier to have some good pals in Fareham/Portsmouth who I grew up playing rock and punk music with, drinking all night and going on long midnight walks to the woods.

I’ve always been an obsessive music fan and there are maybe four or five bands that I’m the biggest nerd about but none of my friends really give a shit about any of them and vice versa which means the only time we really talk about music is when we’re talking about our own, if that makes sense. So I get a lot of chances to air ideas out with people.

4. My House
So Ollie and I started the band in the room that I’m writing this interview, all the way back in 2013. The room has been his room, it’s also been mine and it’s currently my studio room (currently inhabited by boxes of our new record Hermitage, buy it!). We’ve written many of our songs in the very same area of the room. The room doesn’t really have any particular acoustic quality but I’ve recorded crappy demos in here for the past five years and somehow that makes things sound right.

5. Bob Mould
Shocker. It’s been observed before that my guitar sound/style is a bit of Hüsker Dü/Sugar (although I like to think I’m a bit cleaner!) but the thing that inspires me the most about Bob (the second Bob of this list!) is his lyrical honesty, which is surely the reason for his success and legendary status. I’ve been a fan for so long that it’s difficult to separate where his influence begins and ends in me, but his music has always been there. Thanks Bob.

6. Patrick Stickles & Titus Andronicus
So one of my favourite bands of the last decade is this band Titus Andronicus. I wore their T-shirt in the video for ‘Call It Off’ which has the cross and the A on it, which I seem to get some shit for because people think I’m wearing the anarchy symbol like a poser, but anyway, Titus Andronicus are brilliant so it’s worth it. The mastermind behind the band, Patrick Stickles writes concept albums about the civil war, addiction, mental health and everything they do seems to be very joyful and angry at the same time. They’re definitely a band for the lover of a lyric sheet and their records tend to include covers which made me check out stuff like Pulp and Daniel Johnston which probably would have passed me by otherwise.

7. Going on long walks with R.E.M.
So my best buddy Pete and I are totally obsessed with R.E.M. and we always talked about how the singer used to drive around with instrumental tracks and mumble along jibberish lyrics until the lyrics would formulate themselves. I don’t drive, but I often like to walk around listening to instrumental/acoustic demos of my songs and looking for the right notes… but if then that doesn’t work out and I get frustrated, I just put on ‘Reckoning’ and I feel good pretty quickly.

8. Great Shows
A bit cheesy I know, but I genuinely feel really up for writing songs and making music the more I’m surrounded by it. Some of the shows that have been on over the last few years have really inspired me, whether it’s just to show appreciation to the hardworking promoters by writing more music and taking what we do seriously or aspiring to be as good as some of the artists we have in the city and who visit us.

9. Books About Songwriting
This one is probably quite boring but I think I used to pretend that songwriting was something you either had or didn’t have, but like most other things it’s probably a skill that you practice, and I’ve found that to be particularly well challenged by the books ‘Writing Better Lyrics’ by Pat Pattison and ‘Tunesmith’ by Jimmy Webb. If I was ever asked for advice about how to get good at writing songs then this would be my go-to.

10. Rockumentaries
So this is maybe one of my all time favourite inspirations, I mentioned how obsessive I get about bands and records and a good rock documentary really is like Christmas.

XTC’s ‘This Is Pop’ comes to mind, the Descendents film as well as the 3 hour long Tom Petty documentary. Watch a documentary about a band you’ve never heard or aren’t sure about and it’s like a journey. But you don’t even have to move.

Not much more to say on this one really, thank you for reading!

Misgivings release their new album Hermitage on December 7th via Lockjaw Records and Charlie's Big Ray Gun Records. Pre-order the album here. Keep up to date with all things Misgivings here.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Gig Review: Ducking Punches & Spanish Love Songs at Boston Music Room, London 23/11/18 (by Emma Prew)

The 23rd of November was a date that I was very much looking forward to. I would be seeing one of my absolute favourite bands of the past few years live for the first time. It would not only be my first time however, as the band would be making their UK debut on this date so it would be the first time for many. The band I’m talking about is of course Spanish Love Songs! For their first UK tour, the lovely chaps in Ducking Punches have taken them under their wing(s) for a sort of co-headline tour. Joining them at all the UK dates are a full band We Bless This Mess which completes a pretty darn good line-up if you ask me. Not even having (all four of) my wisdom teeth out the previous Friday was going to stop me from making this show…

We arrived at Boston Music Room with time to spare before We Bless This Mess were due on and were pleasantly surprised to see plenty of other folks had done the same. Before too long the band took to the stage and we moved towards the front for our first experience of full band We Bless This Mess. Usually a trio but for this tour joined by an additional guitarist, We Bless This Mess are originally from Porto, Portugal, but the members are now actually all based in London. Colin and I saw singer and guitarist Nelson of the band play solo in Berlin last year and so I was relatively familiar with some of the songs but since then WBTM have released a new album. Understandably their set featured many of these tracks, such as Live For Today, Love This Life, Ocean and It’s Just A Matter Of Practice, and fully electric they sounded brilliant. The main thing I loved about WBTM was just how much they oozed positivity and general feel-good vibes. Many of their songs are about living life to the fullest which is definitely not bad advice.

As we were already positioned just metres from the stage, it only took a few steps forward to be ‘at the front’ – which with no barrier at Boston Music Room literally means touching the stage. I hadn’t intended to be quite so close, especially as it meant standing right next to one of the speakers, but it would mean I’d have no issues with not being able to see (short person problems). Also… Spanish Love Songs! I was excited and, judging by how the room had packed out around us, I wasn’t the only one. From opening lines of Nuevo and Sequels, Remakes & Adaptions – the first two songs on Spanish Love Songs’ 2018 album (of the year contender), Schmaltz – the band had their audience hooked on every single word and note. We were a little uncertain before the gig just how much of the audience would be there for Spanish Love Songs versus Ducking Punches but, based on the singalongs, I’d say a hell of a lot of people were there for SLS. I think the band were a little overwhelmed as well but it was so, so good to see just how happy they were to be there – at last. Much like WBTM, Spanish Love Songs’ set majorly consisted of songs from their newest album including my favourite, The Boy Considers His Haircut – my mouth really ached after singing along to that one. Having never seen the band before, it was nice to hear Mexico – apparently a song they haven’t played in a long time – and Vermont from their debut album, although Colin and I were both a bit disappointed they didn’t play Concrete. I believe the band has a new/stand-in bassist for this tour so I suppose they are limited with which songs they can play. Regardless, each and every song, right through to their set closer Buffalo Buffalo, was more well received by the audience than the last with plenty of fists thrown in the air and cathartic singing. What more could you want from your first ever show in the UK and what more could we ask for? Spanish Love Songs are the best.

Wow, what tough act to follow! But as one of the the UK DIY punk scene’s much loved bands, Ducking Punches were more than happy to give it a go. We do of course have Dan Allen to thank for putting this tour together and for that I am eternally grateful. Completing the theme of the night, Ducking Punches also have a new album, Alamort, released this year and so I expected that we’d hear quite a lot of songs from that. This proved to be the case, as they opened with the chords of I Was Uncomfortable – which, interestingly, is actually Alamort’s closing track. It’s quite a slow song that builds throughout its duration in intensity and passion. The band had me captivated immediately. Ducking Punches have gone through a few line-up changes over the past couple of years (Nelson of WBTM is actually their guitarist now) and their sound has also progressed from folk punk to a more straight-up punk rock style. I do still miss the violin but, at the same time, it’s great to see the band evolve rather than become samey. Following I Was Uncomfortable, Distant Shadows picked up the pace before another slower and incredibly emotional track, I Ruin Everything, before which Dan spoke of his own struggles with mental health. It was a very moving performance. After a succession of four or five newer tracks, it was time for Ducking Punches to throw in a few of the classics which were wonderfully well received by the Boston Music Room crowd. I don’t know if Spanish Love Songs had simply tired the audience out with their set or what but they took a little while to really warm up to Ducking Punches. The slightly older songs seemed to do the trick with God Damn Coward kicking things off, followed by the always emotional and yet hugely cathartic Six Years. This rendition was quite different to the original recording of the song but being fully electric seemed to make the song even more powerful. It really was a standout moment. Completing their set with It’s Been A Bad Few Weeks, Big Brown Pills From Lynn and Smoking Spot granted the band further singalongs and smiling faces. Sure, Spanish Love Songs could have easily been the closing band of the night but Ducking Punches proved that they are and always will be an important part of the UK punk scene. 

What an excellent night of live music that was! And guess what? I get to do it all over again on the 8th December at the Craufurd Arms in Milton Keynes. I’m intrigued to see what the attendance in my hometown will be for the penultimate night of the tour but mostly I’m just super excited to see these awesome bands all over again.

This gig review was written by Emma Prew. Photo also by Emma.