Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Album Review: Wherever That Is by Panhandler (by Emma Prew)


Panhandler are a four-piece punk band from Stockholm, Sweden. In December they released a new album titled Wherever That Is on Trash Crusader Records (Sweden) and Whisk & Key Records (Australia). It was through the Australian label that we first heard of Panhandler. Intrigued by why this Swedish band was on an Australian label, I had little listen on Bandcamp and instantly took a liking to what I heard.


The album opens with its title track, Wherever That Is. A blast of energetic guitars and pounding drums instantly lures the listener in. It’s in a similar vein to bands such as Iron Chic and is definitely a style I love. The use of two vocalists is great – Shifty taking the first verse with a slightly rougher vocal and Frieda taking the second with a warmer, perhaps more polished vocal, before both joining together for the chorus. These vocals remind me a bit of RVIVR which is no bad thing. Wherever That Is is about knowing that someone is with you in your head and your heart, despite not knowing when you’ll actually see them again. Don’t Get Out Much is the second song of Wherever That Is. This is a fast paced and shorter tune which packs in plenty of melody. It has a sort of care-free indie punk feel at the beginning but this develops into a screamier fists-in-the-air punk rock banger. At points, the song reminds me of early Menzingers which is never a bad thing. Don’t Get Out Much is about dealing with the anxieties that come with everyday life including, but not limited to, leaving the house. A big guitar solo outro with the closing line ‘Isn’t that just what you wanted?’ finishes the song in style.

Musical styles are switched up further for the third track, Heroes. This is a rousing tune that feels almost folk or country-like. The best likeness I can think of is Dropkick Murphys, but without the inclusion of any typical folk instruments. Heroes is a heartfelt anthem for those unsung heroes in our lives. The song is a slow one for half of its duration before the pace and intensity picks up for the second half, returning to a more typical punk style. Vem Är Du Utan Pengar? (which translates as Who Are You Without Money?) is next up. Opening with crashing drums followed by fast, raspy and raw vocals, it all feels a bit angry but I mean that in the best way. It’s quite the contrast from the folk vibes of Heroes but I appreciate variety like this in an album. Vem Är Du Utan Pengar? feels like one big singalong with the chorus in particular being so cathartic – ‘So you look away to alleviate the guilt, So you don’t have to break up, A little piece of your heart.’ This song feels like the perfect release from the pressures of working your life away everyday.

Bad Daze will get your head nodding along in no time with its speedy guitar-based introduction. The mid-tempo verses where the instruments take more of a backseat allow the listener to fully take in the vocals. Panhandler seem to be quite the storytellers and this is particularly apparent on Bad Daze. The song is about having a bad day, or week, or month… but battling against giving up or giving in to negative feelings as best as humanly possible. Towards the middle of the track everything slows down and there’s a sort of interlude within the song. It’s not something you hear very often so it really grabbed my attention. As did the line ‘I just need to be a little more horizontal for a while.’ – I get you completely, Panhandler. Bitter vocals from Shifty kicks things off before anything else with Pacify Me‘I wanna be distracted…’. This is the first time we’ve heard the vocals take centre stage from the outset and it is something that hooked me immediately with the song. Slow verses compliment a bigger sounding chorus – ‘Pacify me, pacify me, pacify me, pacify me, Until it’s, until it’s gone.’ – and there’s a great sense of building between these, as well as contrasting instrumental sections and vocal parts. A highlight of the album for sure.

More of those huge-sounding, melodic guitars that we’ve come to expect from Panhandler lead us into the seventh song of Wherever That Is, Church. There’s an exchange of sorts between the quieter, mid-tempo vocals of the verses and fast and furious guitars parts on display here. Lyrically, the song is more than a bit self-deprecating but it is also strikingly honest. The line that really stood out to me is ‘I’ll let you down, Just like I used to.’ I’m getting more of The Menzingers-feel here or perhaps Spanish Love Songs. Parasites is the name of the next song which kicks off with some wonderfully warm guitars and a subtly fuzzy bassline. The track is about feeling frustrated and angry but trying to channel those feelings into something more worthwhile. I think the overall message is a positive one and the way in which it’s delivered is certainly effective. The upbeat chorus just might win the award for being most singalongable of the album – at least it would, if I could figure out each exact word.

The penultimate song of the album is titled Ache. It’s a slow burner that allows the listener to take a bit of a breather whilst taking in all the bitterness and emotion packed into the song. Ache feels a little alt-country in style which reminds me of punk bands like Timeshares. I initially thought it odd that Panhandler list their genre as being ‘emo country’ on Facebook but I kind of get it with songs like this. The repetition of ‘Someday you’ll ache like I ache.’ that ends the track feels like a huge emotional release for the band. It also leads us perfectly into the final song. I Want To Believe feels like an album closer, not least because with a 4 minute 18 second running time it is the longest track on the album. With a slow start featuring gentle guitar but no drums, this is another Timeshares-esque number with the alt-country vibes staying onboard from the previous song. There is perhaps also a hint of The Hold Steady, musically but not so much vocally. I Want To Believe seems to build as it progresses, the vocals increase in volume and intensity for one last jolt of energy. Towards the end I’m pretty sure there’s some brass alongside some whoa-oh-ohs. What a finale and a triumphant end to an excellent album.

You can stream and download Wherever That Is from Bandcamp (or buy it on vinyl!) and, obviously, you should also like Panhandler on Facebook.

This review was written by Emma Prew.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Album Review: Set Sail by Beat The Smart Kids


Last year I went out of my way to try and discover some underground ska punk bands from America as I felt that my knowledge was severely lacking. I had a lot of success in my search and discovered some really great bands. One of those bands, Chicago's Beat The Smart Kids, put out a brand new EP titled Set Sail towards the end of 2018 and I figured that after spending so much time finding these bands I should give it a listen.


The EP begins with its title track, Set Sail. It starts with some scratchy sounding guitar and some rough vocals, before some trombone hits and the song begins properly. On my first listen of the song I was immediately impressed with how the band implement a few different styles and tempos on the song without the song feeling clunky or clustered. It's also a song that you can pick up very easily and will have you singing along quickly. Set Sail is about doing your own thing and going your own way despite what the naysayers might think. On the second song, It's A Bomb, Beat The Smart Kids show off some diversity with their sound. The song starts with a much heavier tone than on the previous track and has a massive introduction before we get into some high tempo brass that will get everyone skanking. Vocally I'm really reminded of Dave Kirchgessner of legendary ska punks Mustard Plug. That is until Beat The Smart Kids really change things up and we get super skacore, perhaps giving the similarly named UK band Beat The Red Light a run for their money with some fantastic screaming.

Skippin' The Gym starts out quite slowly with more of a bouncy sing-along style about constantly avoiding things that you don't want to do. Soon enough the song picks up some real speed and will quickly get you dancing and getting your cardio before slowing down again to complete the track. I really enjoyed how a song that talks about avoiding exercise will get you doing it. The penultimate song on the EP is named Table For One. Table For One is about living in solitary, not giving up your time for other people and generally being a bit selfish. It sounds like quite a sad way to live and you'd think that musically the song would represent that, but no, this is a ska punk song. The trombone at the beginning of the song in particular put a huge grin on my face and it's another song that you'll be singing along to very quickly. The fifth and final song on the EP is titled Better Than Just Fine. It's a shorter song, at under two minutes in length, and finishes Set Sail off in a real positive way. It's a song about being happy and enjoying your life. The chorus was what really stood out on my first listen with the whole band taking turns to sing about what's making them so gosh darn happy and then combining for a gang vocal shout of "we're doing better than just fine." What a wonderful way to finish this fantastic EP.

If I had spent a little more time with Set Sail before the end of 2018, there's a very good chance that this would have finished up on my end of year list. Yes, it does sound very Mustard Plug but they're one of my favourite bands ever so I'm more than okay with that. I hope Beat The Smart Kids eventually find their way to the UK where they will be very well received.

Stream and download Set Sail here: https://btskska.bandcamp.com/album/set-sail

Like Beat The Smart Kids here: https://www.facebook.com/btskska

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Gig Review: Jake Jellyfish and Arms & Hearts at waterintobeer, London 17/1/19 (by Emma Prew)


Thursday 17th January marked the first (of many) gig of the year for myself and Colin. It was also specifically the first (also probably of many) South London gigs of 2019 – South London being the home of DIY punk rock, of course. Hosted by Gold Soul Theory Promotions at waterintobeer, a small shop selling all things beer, the all acoustic line-up featured Jake of Jake & The Jellyfish, Arms & Hearts, Tommy Simpson and C-Rage.


Having travelled to and across London from Bedford, we only just about made it to waterintobeer on time to see C-Rage open up the show – arriving during his first song, Fenchurch Street. The venue was already busy with plenty of pals, us included, keen to watch him do his thing. Usually found down the road at the New Cross Inn, there were plenty of the New Cross ‘crowd’ in attendance with a lovely chilled atmosphere for C-Rage’s set. The mixture of self-deprecating and nostalgic acoustic pop punk tunes was warmly received with attentive silence throughout the songs and enthusiastic applause after each. The set included a cover of Mixtapes’ Orange-Yellow and, fan/friend favourite C-Rage original, Soundcheck. We couldn’t have asked for a more lovely start to the evening.


Up next was Tommy Simpson, someone who I am most used to seeing as a part of London-based punk trio The Exhausts. I’m a big fan of the band but hadn’t listened to any of Tommy’s solo stuff before so was interested to hear him play and, with everything being unplugged, I didn’t have to wait long. It turned out Tommy Simpson, who frequently performs at waterintobeer, plays sad indie punk songs that are not too dissimilar to a stripped back Menzingers. Think songs about growing older and wondering what you’re doing with your life – it was his 30th birthday the next day so there was a bit of a theme. The songs were great, as was the banter in between, including introducing us to his best pal Buster, the dog, who happened to be outside the venue. I really enjoyed Tommy’s set and I’ll definitely be checking out his solo EP now.


The second part of the evening featured two musicians from a little further afield, the first of which being Arms & Hearts from Manchester. I saw Arms & Hearts last year for the first time, at Manchester Punk Festival no less, and was thoroughly impressed. Being completely unplugged at waterintobeer however gave this performance a different feel. Steve kept the audience captivated from the very first note with his gruff vocals carrying with ease despite not having a microphone. Arms & Hearts plays a sort of Americana-style acoustic punk, in a similar vein to Dave Hause, and was the only act of the night to bring more than just his acoustic guitar, with the addition of harmonica bringing bluesy Springsteen-esque vibes to the evening. Finishing a great set with the brilliant Fortitude, Steve encouraged the waterintobeer crowd to join him for a little singalong of ‘Home is wherever you happen to be tonight.’ Perfect.


The singalongs didn’t end there as it was time for the last act of the evening – Jake Jellyfish aka Jake from Jake & The Jellyfish, from Leeds. I’ve been a big fan of the folk punk stylings of Jake & The Jellyfish for several years now and have seen the band live multiple times, I had never seen a solo Jellyfish show however so this was going to be quite the treat. Jake’s set was choc-a-block with everyone’s favourite Jellyfish songs – hence the further singalongs – including Tunnel Vision, DIY, Dotted Line, Reading List and Same Old. The stripped back renditions of songs in such an intimate setting made for perhaps an even more emotional connection with the crowd than usual. Full band Jellyfish sets often feature an acoustic last song where Jake, and sometimes other members of the band, join the crowd for a final sing-song. So, to have a whole set of unplugged and much-loved Jellyfish songs just like that really felt special. We all loved it so much in fact that Jake agreed to play a bonus song at the end of his set – 23. A wonderful end to a wonderful evening of acoustic punk.


We probably didn’t really need easing back in to another year of punk rock gigs but it was nice to kick things off with something a little different all the same. Thanks to Gold Soul Theory Promotions and waterintobeer for making a Thursday in January thoroughly more enjoyable than staying home.

This gig review was written by Emma Prew. (Rubbish photos also by Emma.)

Album Review: Cubs by Cubs


Cubs are a five piece punk band from Newcastle, England. I luckily stumbled across their debut a few days ago and instantly fell in love with this band. In December they released what I believe is their debut self titled EP. It features three tracks of melodic gruff punk rock in a similar vein to Iron Chic, Red City Radio and Bear Trade. Three of my favourite bands so of course I was going to love it.


The EP begins with Curse Of The Colonel. After reading the list of bands I mentioned in the opening paragraph, I'm sure you can imagine what we have here – mid-tempo, hook filled sing-along punk rock. It's not reinventing any wheels but it does give the genre a bit of a shot in the arm. From the outset I had the urge to sing along with the band and there were plenty of opportunities. I loved the harmonies and the gang vocals. The song feels like it moves in stages, from the pounding opening, to the melodic chorus, the breakdown and the build towards its finale. The second of the three songs on the EP is named Bone Float. This shorter song really raises the tempo of the EP. At just under two minutes long, it manages to squeeze a lot in. The simple drum beat really drives the song forward and Cubs’ lead singer shows some good skill in delivering the lyrics clearly despite the speed of the track. You still want to sing along even if you can't keep up. The song’s highlight is obviously the gang vocals at the end of the track, getting everyone involved for the big ending. Last up is Haway Man. This song seems to combine a bit of everything I've enjoyed from the previous two songs on the EP. There's melody, there's tempo, the different stages stand out but also interlace with each other perfectly and, of course, there are more gang vocals and harmonies. Anyone who has been a regular reader of CPRW over the past few years must know how much of a sucker I am for gang vocals and harmonies. From the start of Haway Man I'm filled with a unstoppable energy that keeps me pumped up for the entire song. If a track does this, you know it's a pretty special song.

This is some debut from a band I stumbled upon by dumb luck. I was a very lucky boy to discover them. If you're a fan of gruff punk then Cubs are seriously a band you need to be listening to!

Stream and download Cubs here: https://cubsbandne.bandcamp.com/releases

Like Cubs here: https://www.facebook.com/CubsbandNE/

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Album Review: The Subjunctives by The Subjunctives (by Emma Prew)


The Subjunctives are a three-piece from Seattle, Washington, who play hook-laden pop punk tunes. In true pop punk fashion, their debut (or at least what the band describes as their first ‘real’ recording) self-titled EP, released at the beginning of the year, is 6 tracks in 12 minutes – short and fast. Despite its brevity, I loved this EP by The Subjunctives from my first listen. Here’s why…


Opening the EP with pounding drums, fast paced guitar riffage and soon a steady pop punk bassline, Pass It On wastes no time in getting things going and showcasing what The Subjunctives are all about. It’s upbeat, it’s catchy and those harmonies in the chorus – so good! Pass It On is a feel-good tune about having a great time and trying to pass that feeling on – which certainly works in the form of this song. ‘Pass it on, try to let go.’ Next up is a song called Girl Ghost. The speed is upped a notch for this one as the band tear through a tale of a ‘little girl ghost’ who haunts guitarist and vocalist Ean’s house – at least in the song, perhaps also in real life. ‘Little girl ghost you're the audience of one, Little girl ghost I hope that you like my new song.’ Girl Ghost is short but fun song. It also has its own video to visualise the tale and you can check it out here (the clip at the end of the song makes more sense if you watch the video). Kicking off with a lovely slice of bass, Anastasia is the title of the third song of the EP. As soon as the vocals hit for this sweet, snappy power pop song, I am reminded of a specific band – R.E.M., from their early days. Now I know there are probably plenty of specifically more pop punk comparisons I could make (Hüsker Dü for example, who the band mention themselves) but, for me, that’s what I hear. And besides, I love it either way. Things switch up about halfway through the song and the power pop turns shreddy for a rocking outro. Great stuff!

Having not paid attention to the titles of the songs the first time I hit play on this EP, I instantly took a liking to the fourth track thanks to its opening lines. ‘Some girls like to go to parties others like to be alone, Some girls like to stay up late others like to stay at home.’ By the time the chorus hits and I realise this song is both about [a] and titled Introverted Girl, I’m well and truly sold. Why? Because I’m an introverted girl and this song celebrates introverts like Isabella (the girl in the song) and me. Quit is the longest song of the EP, although it’s still less than 3 minutes in length. It also has less of a pop punk feel to it than some of the other tunes but that’s okay because it’s still great. The highlight of the song has to be its chorus with the combination of two vocalists exchanging lines – plus I love a good nautical metaphor. ‘You’re grasping, you’re flailing, Your ship's left, it’s sailing, The captain is bailing, Now.’ The short, fast pop punk style returns for the final song, Rotate. This is, I think, the first song I’ve ever heard that talks about the rotation of the earth. The Subjunctives use this theme to create their own kind of lively love song. ‘Eight more hours would rotate you back around the world to me.’ Sadly the song is over before you know it, as is the EP, but it’s ever so easy to hit play again.

It’s not often I listen to an album or EP and can instantly think of what I’d write in my review, if I was to review it, but that’s exactly what happened with The Subjunctives. I loved it and I want you to too!

Check out The Subjunctives on Bandcamp and on Facebook now.

This review was written by Emma Prew.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Top Tens: H_ngm_n's Top Ten Punk Rock Influences


MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK:
(Chris) – MCS are one of my all time favourite bands. The way Justin Pierre writes really dark lyrics over super catchy pop-punk songs has always been one of those things I've wanted to do. The subject matters of alcoholism and pushing away those closest to you are really honest and bleak, whilst having these big pop hooks and fun energetic songs, create a contrast that I've always been amazed by. I've always wanted to approach my songwriting in a similar way. The drums are insanely good, some of the most creative drumming I've ever heard. And, although I prefer the earlier albums, I don't think I dislike anything they've released. RIP MCS.

SAY ANYTHING:
(Chris) – "Is A Real Boy" has to be up there in my top ten all time favourite albums. Such a creative masterpiece. I don't think I heard it or got into Say Anything until 2012 – very late to the party – but lyrically I've always aspired to try and write like them. I also love how they don't exactly stick to the conventional song structures and mess around with time signatures, tempos etc. Me and James have always tried to put little bits of "weird" in the songs and I feel like Say Anything have a big part in that. Seeing them at Slam Dunk this year was a dream come true.

PARAMORE:
(Chris) – I've been a huge Paramore fan from their first album, I remember seeing them in Kerrang Magazine's "Introducing" feature and I was obsessed with them around the time I started playing in bands and writing. Despite all of their line ups and changes in sound, there's not one Paramore album I don't love. Hayley Williams' vocals are incredible and they're just one of those solid bands that I don't think I'll ever get bored of. I've actually done a couple of acoustic Paramore cover sets!

BLINK 182:
(James) – I have always loved Blink. From a drummer's point of view, Travis Barker is truly phenomenal. Ever since Enema of The State, this band went from strength to strength. From a young drummer, Blink have always inspired me to be in a crappy pop punk band and write music about drunk parties and generally being immature. Both Chris and I haven't grown up completely and we will endeavour to continue this trend. Take Off Your Pants and Jacket has to be up there as one of my favourite albums of theirs, closely followed by their self-titled album.

THE HOTELIER:
(Chris) – I came across these guys when they were "The Hotel Year" via some blog post years ago – awesome band. Their albums were really refreshing to me and it always seemed like they were trying to go for something a bit different. I saw them in London a year or two ago and their live sound was incredible. I can't deny that they've been a huge influence on H_ngm_n's music, I'd probably say they're one of the biggest influences, especially in our newer stuff.

STEREOPHONICS:
(Chris) – I gotta include Stereophonics, probably the first band I got into when I was learning guitar. My older sister was a huge fan and I used to steal her CDs when we were kids. I loved the fact they were a three piece, as was my first band, and the way their songs lyrically told a story. "Word Gets Around" has to be up there in my top albums of all time. I was really into learning full guitar chords rather than just power chords and yeah I don't think I'd write songs in the style I do now if it wasn't for Stereophonics! I know James hates them, hahaha.

UNDEROATH
(James) – I have a always been a huge fan of UnderOath. I'm generally a fan of a lot of hardcore music, but was introduced to them by a friend at school, way back in 2004 with the track Reinventing Your Exit. The cross between singing and screaming really appeals to me. The blend of intricate drum parts, weird time signature parts and heavy hitting is something I try to emulate. I enjoy their open minimalistic middle 8 sections, back into heavy full on choruses. Great for a long drive! I'm not a fan of their latest album, but after having all members changed and Aaron Gillespie leaving, their sound changed dramatically.

TAKING BACK SUNDAY [2]:
(Chris) – Hugely into Taking Back Sunday [2], another one of those bands that despite various line-up changes, I'm a massive fan of every release. I wouldn't be able to choose a favourite album. The whole dual vocals thing was really influential in mine and James' old band and musically they're just bang on. The first time I heard of them was through mates in bands when we were in school who covered "Cute Without The E" and I guess the EMO phase (that I never grew out of) started from there.

THE USED:
(Chris) – Bert McCracken is one of my heroes. Amazing songwriter and vocalist, still to this day absolutely smashing it. Another one of those emo bands discovered in school. "Maybe Memories" and "In Love & Death" are amazing records. If you're not familiar with these two records then you need to get on it. Such a great band.

MICHAEL JACKSON:
(Chris) – Not exactly a direct influence on our songs, but Michael Jackson has to be the first music I remember being into as a kid and have always been hugely into pop music since. For someone to have so many great songs is nuts. I remember having some plastic Fisher Price walkman thing as a kid and stealing my mum's MJ tapes from the car. I mean, there were others – David Bowie, David Essex, David Cassidy, all the "David's" in music apparently – but MJ was the one that stuck with me. Cheers mum, I had to listen to something other than The Smurfs album (not hating – that was also sick).

Like H_ngm_n here: https://www.facebook.com/hngmnuk

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Album Review: Nightmare On Misery Street by Question The Mark


The beginning of January is basically that time where I catch up with releases that came out late in the year before and didn't have enough time to spend much time with. One such release came from Welsh punks Question The Mark who released a brand new EP on Little Rocket Records. Titled Nightmare On Misery Street, it features three brand new tracks of distinctive gruff punk rock.


Opening with the EP’s title track, I'm instantly reminded of what I loved about Question The Mark when I first heard them a few years ago on the Smoke Signals EP. The vocal is one of the most distinctive in the UK gruff punk scene and it really adds something a little different to the QTM sound. Nightmare On Misery Street starts out quite slowly with Rich's bass and Lewis' drums introducing us into the EP before the vocals comes in and we're off and running. Like all the best gruff punk, it instantly has me wanting to sing-along. The melody does a superb job of drawing you in and helps the song get caught in your head. In one song I'm already remembering just what a superb band Question The Mark are. The second track on the EP is Perk U Later. This song starts with some lovely guitar work that quickly fills the song with a great energy. It has you thinking we're getting another melody filled track, which we do get for a little while before it switches to more of a stabby and to the point style. By the end of the song you'll be shouting "never gonna get it" back at the band as loudly as you possibly can with your fist high in the air – it's that kind of song. The EP finishes with Where There's A Pill, There's A Way. Not bothering with an introduction to the song, the band launch straight into a song about using prescription drugs to help you live your life. I say this so much but I am always so impressed when a band uses their music to discuss mental health. The more people talk about it the better. The song feels much more urgent than the previous two, probably due to the higher tempo and the strained backing vocal adding an excellent harmony.

I loved all three of these songs. Question The Mark have been going for a little while now and seemed like a bit of a well kept secret in the punk scene in the south of the UK. Nightmare On Misery Street could definitely open a few more doors for them around the country and further afield. A great introduction for new fans as well as an impressive return for older fans.

Stream and download by Misery On Nightmare Street here: https://questionthemark.bandcamp.com/

Like Question The Mark here: https://www.facebook.com/questionthemark/

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

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


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


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

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

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

This review was written by Emma Prew.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Album Review: Singing Like Nobody Is Listening by Quitters


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


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

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

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

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

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

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Column: UK Festival Preview 2019


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This column was written by Colin Clark.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out Crushed Veneer on Bandcamp here and Facebook here.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

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


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


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

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

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

This review was written by Emma Prew.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

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


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


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

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

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

This review was written by Emma Prew.

Monday, 7 January 2019

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


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


Album Review: I Don't Wanna Go Home by H_ngm_n


H_ngm_n are a emo/pop punk duo from the south coast of England. At the end of November 2018 the duo released a brand new EP on Real Ghost Records titled I Don't Wanna Go Home. H_ngm_n are one of the hottest new bands in the country and I expected big things from these four songs.


I Don't Wanna Go Home begins with the song Matchsticks. Starting out with a gentle guitar riff and vocals, we are eased into the song. Straight away I felt like this is a very accessible sounding band for many fans of a few different genres of punk rock. That accessible sound also continues with a wonderfully catchy chorus that you'll be singing along to after one listen. The second track is titled Happy Birthday. It's a slower song but has a much bigger and atmospheric sound. It's one I can imagine being great live with a crowd being completely transfixed by the band. It starts off in a pretty sad fashion with the lyrics "I was lying when I said it, happy birthday, I hope you have the worst day, it's the least that you deserve." From there we go on to a song about a fractured friendship and holding a grudge.

The third track, Ghost, starts is a similar fashion to the EP's opening song. The gentle jangly guitar and the impressive vocal get things going before a thumping drum beat joins the party. Vocally this song sounds much more emotional than the previous two tracks and this is what really grabs your attention as does the chorus. The words "jump off a bridge and come back as a ghost, come haunt your house and nobody will know" immediately found a comfortable home inside my head. The final song on I Don't Wanna Go Home is named Empty. Empty was a fantastic choice to finish the EP with. Starting with some big vocals, the song gradually builds adding more and more emotion as it goes on. It's a song about feeling negative all of the time. The lyric that stands out is "I wish I could live in your world, where everything is totally awesome, but my glass ain't half full, it's empty and cracked at the bottom." Throughout this entire EP I've been really impressed with the songwriting skills of H_ngm_n. Finishing the song with some terrific gang vocals with the words "who am I anyway?" brings the song and the EP to some conclusion.

Based on I Don't Wanna Go Home I feel like H_ngm_n could be the future of UK emo. If you're a fan of emo then don't sleep on these guys.

Stream and download I Don't Wanna Go Home here: https://hngmnuk.bandcamp.com/album/i-dont-wanna-go-home

Like H_ngm_n here: https://www.facebook.com/hngmnuk

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Friday, 4 January 2019

Column: 2018 Was Pretty Great


2018 finished and it was quite a year. Of course the world seems to be crumbling down around us but Palace stayed up for another season and Andros Townsend scored the greatest goal in the history of football so that was lovely. It was also a phenomenal year for punk rock with more album of the year contenders than I can ever remember. It's so amazing to see so many bands, international and local, continuing to put out such fantastic music. My album of the year shortlist originally had 28 albums in it which is quite silly.

2018 has also been a year that has reignited my love of going to gigs. I mean my enthusiasm for three hour round trips to London to go to small pubs to see bands most people have never heard of and probably couldn't care less about never went away but this year I've definitely grown to love it more than ever. A big part of that has to do with discovering the Be Sharp / New Cross Inn scene in the summer of 2017 and then really becoming a part of it in 2018. Emma's mum actually joked that we must have second jobs there as we spend so much time there. In 2018 almost all of my favourite gig memories happened at the New Cross Inn. As Emma says, "it's a magical place."

The New Cross scene wasn't the only musical highlight though. For the fourth year running, Manchester Punk Festival was the best weekend of the year. Aside from the seamless organisation and excellent quality of bands, the big highlight of MPF was definitely the people. It was so lovely to catch up with so many people we've met through CPRW, whether it's folk from bands, labels or promoters, people from other blogs or legends who are fans of CPRW, the whole festival was handshakes, hugs, high-fives and smiles from start to finish. It was also just the best to have CPRW's Robyn and Brett over from South Africa to enjoy the festival with us.

In 2018 CPRW turned four years old and coincidently on our fourth birthday in June we hit the magical 500,000 views. Now when I started doing this blog I didn't really expect to go past four weeks so to get to four years and half a million views is something I'm probably more proud of than any other achievement in my life. The fact that CPRW continues to grow completely blows my mind. With so many other amazing punk rock blogs, zines, websites and such available, the fact that anyone would choose to read CPRW always makes me smile. I can never thank anyone who's supported us enough. And of course the biggest thanks will always go to my incredible team of friends who contribute so wonderfully. Thanks Brett. Thanks Dan. Thanks Emma. Thanks Jack. Thanks Omar. Thanks Richard. Thanks Robyn.

Sadly towards the end of the year Facebook, the site where we get most of our hits from, changed their algorithms which has really affected our reach and has seen our numbers nose dive. This was, as you can probably imagine, really frustrating after four years of working hard building up a fanbase and then seeing it basically get reset and, I won't lie, it did have me debating whether or not I want to keep on doing this but, to be honest, if I write a review and only one person reads it then I'm happy as it means I've exposed an awesome band to at least one more person.

June of 2019 will see CPRW's fifth birthday and we've got some cool secret things planned. It won't be a gig, as much as Paul Be Sharp keeps telling me I should start promoting. Hopefully you stick around to see what we've got in store for you. Hopefully CPRW can continue to grow and we can continue to meet and work with such great people.

I'm fairly certain 2019 will be another big year of punk rock. Festival line-ups for next year are quickly getting released and there looks to be more choice than ever for incredible punk rock experiences in the UK and all over mainland Europe. Imagine if you could get to them all, that would be pretty fun. I'm not as up to date as I probably should be about 2019's release schedule but I would assume that it's going to be another first class year for punk rock music in all its many forms and I'm excited to check out as much as I can – I do love discovering these tiny bands that release some of the most wonderful tunes.

In summary, 2018 was arguably the best year of my life and I'm looking forward to 2019 topping it.

This column was written by Colin Clark.