Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Album Review: Goodness Greyness Me by Goodness Greyness Me (by Richard Mair)

The name Dan Kiener might not be an obvious one to many, however undoubtedly many will have been on the receiving end of his work as a touring sound engineer for The Gaslight Anthem or Bruce Springsteen for that matter, or even as one of the central figures behind the bands Magpies and Vultures and, more recently, The Mixtape Saints.

You could therefore be forgiven for thinking this solo album under the moniker Goodness Greyness Me would be an Americana influenced nostalgic blue colour love affair. Instead Dan offers up a selection of British art-punk (think The Rakes), Weezer cross over tunes that hit all the pop sensibility spots through a synth heavy debut album.

Completely self-produced, Goodness Gracious Me is probably more akin in its perspective and delivery to American Emo / Indie legend Emperor X; it's a one man orchestra producing a rich tapestry of soundscapes that at times can be ethereal and Cure-esque. Such is the case of opener "The Good Old Days Are Gone" or "Hard to Shake", to more straight-up emo influenced songs reminiscent of Clarity era Jimmy Eat World "A Curious Thing" or "Stabiliser", the latter here a real standout that asks for repeated listens to truly appreciate.

“If this love don’t last...” draws on Bloc Party influences especially the guitar work, which reminds me of tracks off of the album “Four”. Likewise showing the mid-00s influence “Tryst and Shout” is a straight-up indie rock song that evokes Franz Ferdinand or the aforementioned The Rakes, again.

Where the album excels is when the pop elements are brought to the fore; “Wheels Come Off” is guaranteed to put a smile on many faces and showcases Dan’s voice and range brilliantly. It’s a great sing-a-long song with a massive hook. It’s also a great example of using loud and quiet moments to build tension and euphoria in a song; akin to how the Pixies “Debaser” works so well.

This is a strong debut solo album and, whilst a little left field at times with some of the sound effects (where less could have been more), shows considerable promise. Given the summery vibes and poppy feel on offer, releasing it in October seems a bit strange. It’s certainly the sort of album you could play on a long BBQ evening; but maybe that’s the point, whilst greyness might be the theme of the seasons now this certainly brings a bit of sunshine in.

Stream and download Goodness Greyness Me here: https://goodnessgreynessme.bandcamp.com/releases

This review was written by Richard Mair.

Hey! Here's A Halloween Treat!

It's Halloween! Check out this great ska punk Halloween covers album from Texan band The Holophonics.

Check out more from The Holophonics here and like them on Facebook here.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Album Review: Living With. Being Without. by Paper Thin (by Emma Prew)

Paper Thin are a four-piece emo / pop punk band from Australia that we’ve been fans of over here at Colin’s Punk Rock World since Colin stumbled across their debut EP on Bandcamp last summer. Colin found Paper Thin first but it was me who reviewed that first release – because I absolutely loved it. Since then I’ve been eagerly awaiting a follow up and the wait was over in September as the band released their second EP, Living With. Being Without. on Lost Boy Records.

Living With. Being Without. kicks off with a track titled When You Call. It’s a fairly slow builder with gentle yet unreservedly melodic guitar. Paper Thin aren’t shy about calling their music ‘emo’ and it’s definitely a sound that is apparent in this track. This is a song about feeling anxious and awkward in general life situations but feeling that you can just be yourself with that particular special someone. ‘I wish the world would just stop, And you and I could be left alone…’ I particularly liked the additional vocals from Grace Turner which I think help the listener to really believe in the words of the song. Female vocals is something that we didn’t hear on their previous release so this is a lovely surprise. Next up we have London. This is slightly more upbeat than When You Call and feels like the volume is cranked up a notch as well. This song features vocals from a different member of Paper Thin to the first track which mixes things up a bit. However when the second verse hits we are treated to a switch in vocalists. One voice is more warm and pop punk sounding while the other is an Australian accented tone not dissimilar to Wil Wagner. Together it is excellent. London is about how sometimes you just have to get away to be able to feel okay again and work out what you’re doing with your life.

Post-It Note is the third track of Living With. Being Without. and it starts with a stripped back, possibly acoustic, sounding guitar before a second electric guitar joins the mix. I’m impressed that so far each song has had a different sound yet it all sounds like the Paper Thin I grew to love last year. For such a new band in the massive world of punk rock, I think this is pretty good going. The opening lines of the song are a good introduction to what this song is about – ‘There’s a post-it on my wall, That says I must try harder, And darling that’s what I’ll do, I’ll try harder to be good enough for you.’  It’s a little bit self-deprecating but it’s also honest and hopeful. I like how this song flits between slower paced verses and upbeat choruses. The bridge is also particularly good as the levels of emotion are ramped up. I bet this is a great song live. A melodic outro leads us into the closing song on the EP, Scared Of Flying. This song was the first to be released into the world ahead of the Living With. Being Without. earlier in the year and perhaps it could be seen as saving the best until last on the EP. This song encompasses all of the great elements that make up the Paper Thin sound – melodic mid tempo verses, faster louder choruses with catchy yet emotional lyrics. Both vocalist feature on this track, each taking different lines and then coming together for a sort of conclusion to the previous lines. Never underestimate how great a song featuring more than one vocalist is! The chorus feels more urgent than on previous Paper Thin tracks and the vocals are a little more raw and strained – but I mean that completely in a good way, this is punk remember. ‘You ask me if I was scared of flying, And I told you I’m only afraid of the fall, Yeah we’ve done this a few times now, And the practice can’t hurt.’ Not a bad end to this EP at all.

I’ve loved both of Paper Thin’s EPs so I really hope it’s not too long before we get to hear a debut full-length album from the band. Until that time I will happily listen to Living With. Being Without. and the self-titled EP over and over again. This band is great.

You can buy/download and stream Living With. Being Without. from Bandcamp now and find Paper Thin on Facebook too.

This album review was written by Emma Prew.

Friday, 27 October 2017

CPRW Playlist: October 2017

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

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Top Tens: Justin from Kid You Not's Top Ten Punk Rock Influences

Hot Water Music
We’ll start off with our own Florida heroes. Growing up in Jacksonville, not far from Gainesville, I heard a lot about and from this band in the early days. We had a really good local scene at the time, but it was mostly pop-punk bands. When I first heard this, it was a breath of fresh air. It was new, it was exciting, and I wanted to dive more into this specific world of punk rock – a world I didn’t know existed outside of the classics like the Ramones and the Sex Pistols, and the popular punk at the time like NOFX, Pennywise, Greenday, etc. My favorite record of theirs to this day is “A Flight and A Crash”. That album was the game changer for me; when I heard that opening guitar riff and urgent vocals, all I could think of was holy shit – these guys are the real deal, who were only getting better with each album. They were already a huge part of the Florida scene, but I knew that album was the next step up.

All I can say is Everything Sucks. By the time I got around to the Descendents, they were already a punk-household name. I never paid much attention to them aside from a song here and there I’d hear from some friend’s burned compilation CD. I loved my raw oldschool punk rock, but they were a little too raw for me at the time (as far as recording quality). But then I heard all the excitement and hype of this new album of this long-awaited new album, their reunion record. Everyone else’s excitement peeked my interest so I grabbed the album when it came out. Damn! This was not the same band I remembered. Now, I go back in their catalog and know that it was always the same band, but “Everything Sucks” had that extra polish to it that I gave it my full attention.

Jimmy Eat World
This is a band that will always be a favorite. Back in the mid-late 90s, Deep Elm Records (who happen to now be the label we are signed to – talk about coming full circle in life!) put out these compilation albums called “The Emo Diaries”. I was big into comps at the time, as it was the perfect way to discover new bands pre-internet. I remember them being great, but I didn’t pay much attention to them outside of that comp. Fast forward a couple years, and I was just starting high school. I started hanging out with a new group of friends, and was discovering new bands in the scene they were a part of. “Clarity” came out, and that’s all they talked about. I remembered the bands, but also don’t remember being completely blown away. After a while, one of those friends finally burned me a copy of this new album. And that is when my world changed. Everything about “Clarity” is just so beautifully done. This was the one album that I myself continued to pass along – burning copies, telling people they needed to hear this.

This is another band I was first introduced to from that same “Emo Diaries” comp as Jimmy Eat World. I remember thinking they were really great as well. However, that’s where I stopped with them as well. While buying all these comps to find new bands was great, it always left me wanting more. I was too young for a job, so once I found those bands I enjoyed, I couldn’t just go out and buy their albums. And there was no internet at the time like today, so you didn’t have the ability to go find more from these bands. So we would just wear these comps out to death. Just like Jimmy, fast forward a couple years to high school. Samiam puts out a new album called “Astray”. Again, friends share a copy. And I’m hooked. I didn’t know at the time about their short stint on a major label, and I’m sure they never got regional radio airplay where I was. So it was a surprise when I first really started listening to them, hearing all these elements of this emo movement, but they had the grit and polish of something I could hear on the radio.

Jawbreaker, I’m ashamed to say, is one that I really came late to. They were a band I always heard about, but for some reason ignored. My first introduction to them was “Dear You”. I have no excuses as to why I didn’t bother listening to them before that, but I wish I had been one of the cool kids. I know there’s always a lot debate as to which was better – pre-Dear You or after. For me, that album is my favorite. Maybe it’s because I didn’t listen before that and develop that love for them. But I do prefer the vocals on that album.

Face To Face
An all-time great right here. “Don’t Turn Away” was my first by them, and remains my favorite. As a bass player, I really love listening to the bass runs on this album. In the 90s, this was everything I loved about punk rock. It’s just a solid record start to finish. Kid You Not played our first show opening for them, and that moment will stick with me forever.

Less Than Jake
This was another band that I knew about early on because of how close I grew up to Gainesville. While they played the area often, I didn’t pay much attention to them until “Losing Streak” was first released. I remember first hearing that record, and knew there was something special there. It was different than anything I had heard at that time. It’s was punk, but it wasn’t fully. It was ska, but not really. You could just hear so many different things in what they were doing. They didn’t fit perfectly into any box. There was this energy about them, about that album, that to this day still resonates with me. I also always loved how grounded they were in their local scene, evident by the stories in their songs. I can admit that when "Losing Streak" and then "Hello Rockview" came out, I was borderline obsessed with Less Than Jake. This is one band that will forever be at the top of my list no matter when in life you ask me.

I love me some Motorhead. When I was in Jr. High and Highschool, I was listening to lot of different things. While I loved my punk rock, I also loved metal. Motorhead were this amazing blend of punk, metal, and rock ‘n roll. They were at the center of the crossroads that connected them all. I don’t know I know of a band that has more been embraced by both the punk and metal communities. I grew up hearing the normal singles that everyone does, such as Ace of Spades and Eat the Rich. I remember Lemmy in the movie Airheads, and understood the jokes about him being God. But it wasn’t until my teenage years that I really decided I wanted to dive into the catalog of this legendary band I always knew about. The first album I decided to pick up was “Bastards”. As with many on this list, that first album has become my favorite. Although, most Motorhead album don’t sound all that different than each other; they knew what they were good at, and that’s what they did. I remember listening to “Bastards” and loving it from the start. But towards the middle of that record, when I first heard Born To Raise Hell – that was my “oh fuck!” moment. That’s where I got hooked. That’s where I decided I needed to dig deeper into the Motorhead catalog, one that would make me a lifelong fan.

I’ve never listed to a ton of the 90s-style skate punk. But Millencolin have been one of my favorites from day one. The first album I picked up of theirs was “For Monkeys”. Here was this Epitaph skate punk band, but they also had more melodies. I also felt they were poppier than everything else I had heard on the Punk-O-Rama comp (where I first heard them). But on top of all that, they also just had some killer guitars. They are also one of the few bands I feel have just gotten better with every album. While they don’t release albums all too often, they have consistently grown and sounded better each time they do.

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
While this is the least punk band on this list, there’s no denying that Nick Cave is fucking punk. I never really got into his older band The Birthday Party, but I love every single thing he’s done with the Bad Seeds. Again, growing up mostly in the mid-90s, one of my favorite movies was Scream. This is where I first took notice. Nick Cave was another name I had heard for a long time from others, but never paid attention to. Then I saw Scream (as well as picked up the soundtrack), and Red Right Hand just stood out. It was dark, haunting, and suave, and badass all in one. I love just listening to the stories he tells, and getting lost in all the amazing musical arrangements of his albums. Cave’s style has certainly changed and developed over the years on various records, but when you’re listening to one there’s no denying his signature voice and lyrical themes. It’s really hard for me to pin down an album as a favorite, as there are so many at the top. The first one I bought to dive into was “Murder Ballads”. I think “Push the Sky Away” is his most accomplished and rounded out album. There’s so much beauty in the instrumentation on that album as compared to the darker tones that contrast previous albums.

Kid You Not are playing The Fest. Catch them at Durty Nelly's on Sunday 29th October at 4.40pm.

Stream and download Kid You Not's music here: https://kidyounotfl.bandcamp.com/

Like Kid You Not here: https://www.facebook.com/KidYouNotFL/

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Album Review: Funeral Days by Starving Arts

Starving Arts are a three piece emotional pop punk band from Long Island, New York. On the 6th of October the band released their second EP named Funeral Days on Black Numbers Records. Long Island are churning out a lot of quality punk music at the moment so I was sure this would be another favourite from the big apple.

The opening song on Funeral Days is titled Shadow Of Doubt. When I first listened to the song I was immediately reminded of The Queers distinctive surf pop punk sound, you know what I mean, The Beach Boys meeting The Ramones. Gotta love that. The song is about struggling with anxiety and trying your best to get on with your life. I really enjoyed this song, I like the contrast in the cheery sound of the music and the sadness of the lyrics. The second song, Found Me Young is another incredibly sad song. It's about losing a loved one at a young age and how you go about dealing with that. The song is a mid-paced track that for the most part relies heavily on the strong lyrical content to really grab the listeners attention. That said there are some fantastic guitar parts that add a bit of light to an otherwise dark song. Next up is Bad Sign. I loved the guitar at the start of this track, there is a real sense of hope in its sound. This hope quickly vanishes though as we have a track about the bleakness of depression. It's actually kind of refreshing to hear a song about depression that isn't all "it's okay, everything will be happiness and rainbows and marshmallows" at the end. I feel like this song is more relatable for someone going through some dark times, sometime you don't want to hear everything will be okay, sometimes it's okay just to realise that you're not alone in feeling like you do. There is an extended guitar outro on the song which was perfect, it really allows you to take on board what has just been said. Last but not least is the song Nashville Moon. The song is slightly more up tempo than the previous three on Funeral Days and does signify a tiny bit of light at the end of the tunnel. It's about trying to move on with the next chapter in your life. There is a calming feeling thanks to the vocal delivery and soft harmonies in the chorus on "Tonight Under The Nashville Moon" which I adored. Punk doesn't always have to be brash, angry, snotty and in your face. In can also be lovingly crafted songs like this.

Funeral Days is a short and sweet EP. It has a unique sound that you don't hear with emo bands that really helps it to stand out from the crowd. Because of this it is well worth your time.

Stream and download Funeral Days here: https://starvingarts.bandcamp.com/

Like Starving Arts here: https://www.facebook.com/starvingarts/

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Gig Review: Lightyear at The Garage 21/10/17

LIGHTYEAR ARE BACK! Ever since May when the legendary UK punk band announced they were getting back together, not just for a reunion tour but to be a proper band again, I've been overcome with excitement. I'm a massive Lightyear fan and have been yearning for them to get together again since they got together for some shows at Slam Dunk 2015. When they announced the London show at The Garage I bought our tickets immediately and counted the days excitedly for what I was assuming would be one of the best gigs of the year. To give you an example of just how excited I was to see Lightyear again - I was more excited to see Lightyear than I was to see the Descendents for the first time earlier in the year. I was really really excited.

Before we got to Lightyear though we had three support acts to work our way through. First up were London's Eat The Evidence. Being a show in London on a Saturday, there was an unfortunate early start to the show which meant the crowd wasn't as big as it could have been for the five piece. But this didn't stop an excitable and energetic show from these ska punks. The majority of the crowd that had gathered seemed to really enjoy their sound. Something a bit different about Eat The Evidence is that they use an accordion on some of their songs, you don't see too many ska bands who do that - off the top of my head I can only think of the one. Eat The Evidence were so excited to be playing with Lightyear, they actually bought tickets for the show before they got booked on it. The highlights of their set for me were a song about the British Isles named Fruit Of The Loot which included a ukulele with a homemade-looking whistle attachment (DIY or die!), a longer song about old bands you were in named Delusions Of A Grunger and final song Tories Go To Waitrose. This was a fun way to start the show.

Next to take to the Garage stage were a band named Unqualified Nurse Band who were from Derby. Having never even heard to this three piece before I was interested to see what they would be like. Unqualified Nurse Band played a kind of alternative punk rock music that felt kind of odd to be on this bill. I imagine that happens a lot to them because it was very difficult to pigeon hole them into any particular genre. Whatever the genre might have been, one thing I was sure of that this was a very talented band. With all three members of the band taking turns on lead vocals and the bass player and the guitarist swapping instruments at times, it was clear that these guys knew what they were doing and were definitely one of the more professional bands I've ever seen. I'm not used to seeing bands with such a musical proficiency! I did think it was a bit of a shame that the drummer was so difficult to see on stage because of the lights and smokiness of the room. You didn't really notice it was him singing until you saw that it wasn't either of the guitar players. He had a cracking voice.

Following Unqualified Nurse Band were another band who had recently reformed to play some shows - Fire Apple Red. I'll be honest, I had absolutely no idea who Fire Apple Red were before they took the stage. Clearly I was in the minority as there were plenty of people around me who were screaming out every word with the band. It turns out Fire Apple Red are a five piece hardcore band who were formally signed to Good Clean Fun Records and Visible Noise. This was a set I really enjoyed, I love watching melodic hardcore live even if it's a genre I wouldn't naturally choose to listen to at home. The anger and the rawness of the music works so incredibly well in a live setting and the energy from the band spilled over into the crowd - everyone just had a wonderful time. The band were having the best time as well as some of the biggest grins I've seen from any band ever adorned their faces. It had been ten years since Fire Apple Red had played shows together so it must have felt so good to be together again. Great stuff.

Now it was time for the moment the everyone in the, now packed out, Garage had been waiting for. Bloody Lightyear were about to take to the stage! A part of me thinks that I'm nowhere near good enough at doing words to really describe just how amazing it was and I just want to say "It's Lightyear" and leave it there but I'm going to give it a jolly good go.

Coming on stage after a recorded introduction stating that they'd had no hits and Ice T had once said they were "okay", the infamous seven piece from the golden age of UK punk took to the stage with Data's Double Chin. Iin true Lightyear fashion, Neil managed to break his trumpet within the first thirty seconds of the song and a piece of it when flying into the front of the crowd. Luckily the start of the song doesn't feature too much brass. From there on the Lightyear classics just kept on coming and coming. Lightyear are the kind of band where you sometimes forget just how many songs of theirs there are that you love until you get to see them all live. As much as I enjoy recorded Lightyear the band are truly at their best, and arguably better than anyone, when you get to experience them live. It wasn't long into their set when my all time favourite Lightyear song got a run out. Three Basics is a song about the importance of music in society and is just incredible live. There are so many incredible lyrics in this song that have me shouting back at the band with my fists held high. Everyone else's favourite Lightyear song, A Pack Of Dogs, didn't take long to follow. Taking everyone by surprise by its appearance in the middle of the set as it's usually the closing song. The stage began to fill with brass players from various bands, allegedly it was organised a few minutes before the set began but I'm not so sure - I don't think The Garage stocks so many brass instruments back stage. A Pack Of Dogs, of course, got the biggest reaction of the night with the floor becoming a huge skank pit singing along gleefully to Lightyear's love letter to the 1980s. After hearing my two favourite tracks it was now a bit of "what are they going to play next?" Classics including Twat Out Of Hell, Life Jacket Water Wings, Tread Lightly, Speaking Clearly, Nuff Cuts, Uri Gellar Bent My Heart, Whispering Ron vs Maz and Blindside all went down wonderfully with the crowd. Of course the morris dancing interlude during Blindside, as well as the pantomime horse, got huge cheers from everyone at the Garage. The old jokes remain the best. The main part of the set finished with Positive Outlook, another of my absolute favourites. It's a song about friendships that last forever so it was an apt choice given that one Lightyear are celebrating their 20th anniversary and two because they've been seeing so many old friends on this tour. During this song there was a bit of a switch up on the stage with the guitarist taking over drumming duty, the drummer taking lead vocal duties, Chas swapping places with the soundman who took to the stage to sing with the band. Fire Apple Red's bass player took over Bars' job so he could get to the front of the stage and do some singing himself. It was all a bunch of fun nonsense shenanigans that you would expect from Lightyear. If this main part of the show wasn't quite enough there was an encore which included one of the band's oldest songs Spot Check and lastly That's The Way It Goes, Big Nose which someone on the barrier had been shouting for most of the evening.

Oh and they also played a new song during their set. I'm so excited for some new material.

Lightyear were so so so so good. It's been a long time since I came out of a gig feeling such a high. For the whole journey home I was smiling like a lunatic and humming or whistling their songs. The fact that the band are back properly is the best piece of musical news we've had for years. You might worry that an older band coming back for more than just a reunion might tarnish their legendary reputation. That won't be further from the truth for Lightyear. I can't wait to see what they do next!

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

Album Review: Unfrightened by Hateful Monday

I first became aware of Switzerland's Hateful Monday when the CPRW team collaborated on a playlist featuring bands from all over the world. Hateful Monday were one of the best new discoveries for me on that playlist so I was over the moon when the lovely Lauren Mills of Mills On Wheels PR sent me a copy of their brand new album to review. Titled Unfrightened, the eleven track album was released back in September (sorry, I'm slow) and promised to be an absolute cracker.

Unfrightened begins with a song titled As Far As I Can Remember. From the outset I am in love with this song. Beginning with the lyrics "As Far As I Can Remember, I've Always Been A Punk Rocker, As Long As It Keeps Me Alive, I Know Things Gonna Be Alright." Gosh I love those lyrics, I relate to them instantly. The song is about finding strength in punk rock music, something I'm sure we all do. Musically this is skate punk perfection. It's fast and hard hitting and bursting with melody. The song is packed with incredible lyrics with my favourite being "Now That We're Older And Our Hairlines Start Receding, I'm Still Grateful For This Music That Gave My Life A True Meaning." "I Always Have A Place To Go, Looking Forward To The Next Show" is another pretty special lyric. After that incredible start we have the song Monuments To Mediocrity. Starting out with a great one-two punch of guitar and drums before lead singer Reverend Seb's fantastic vocals join the fun. The track is about not being held down and striving to be the best that you can possibly be. The song is a really uplifting number that will also fill you with a motivation that only punk rock can do. Igor Gonzola's drumming on the song is absolutely superb. The third song on the album is 9pm (At The Gas Station). This track is about your friends growing up and their priorities changing from going to gigs and parties to more "grown up" activities such as looking after your kids and getting that urgent email sent on time. It's about longing for those simpler times. The analogies used in the song are perfect for getting across the message in the track. Hateful Monday write some amazing lyrics.

I loved the tempo and the punchy delivery on the fourth song, Dorian Gray Syndrome. The delivery in particular fills the song with an infectious energy that you can't ignore. It's another song that looks at the topic of growing up. In this case realising how much you've changed since you were a child. Stateless Society sees Hateful Monday's 90s skate punk influences really shine through. The sound of this song definitely feels like an ode to The Offspring. As you may have guessed Stateless Society is more of a political track rather than a song about growing up. The guitars at the start are heavy and really give the impression that Hateful Monday really mean business here. This is definitely an angry, fuck you kind of song. It's also a complete banger. After that anger we are treated with a slower and much sadder, perhaps to the point of mournful, song. It's called Not Forgotten and it's a song dedicated to fallen friends. The electric guitar is replaced by what sounds like a ukulele, on my first listen of Unfrightened this really took me by surprise but it quickly grew on me. Not Forgotten is a truly beautiful song. After this poignant moment, next up is the hilarious I.N.I.T.I.A.L.S (The Greatest Song Ever Written). This is a short forty-four second hardcore blast of a song that basically states all of the best bands have just have initials for names except for Bad Religion and, of course, Hateful Monday.

The eighth song on Unfrightened is called Heart & Pen. This song feels deeply personal but it reeks of positivity and is extremely uplifting. I guess that is sometimes the point of a personal song, to help inspire others. Heart & Pen is a midtempo song about finding the strength to write down all of the demons in your head and singing them out loud as a kind of cathartic therapy. The second verse in particular stood out lyrically - "I Could Never Express My Emotions Very Well, The Torments In My Head That Made My Life A Living Hell, I'm Glad I've Had The Chance To Be Able To Write It Down, It Helped Me Stay Alive, I'm Proud I Did It On My Own." Life Events is about the trials and tribulations of living with mental health issues. There is a real douse of the Millencolin skate punk sound we all love. Hateful Monday don't just rip off the Swedish legends though, they take their sound and really make it their own. Igor Gonzola's drumming is again a highlight of the song, with the constant pounding really driving the song forward. Another highlight of Life Events was on the final verse when another singer, I'm assuming guitarist Jean-Rem, takes lead vocal duties before Reverend Seb repeats the verse. This creates a really interesting sound and keeps the listener hooked until the very end. The penultimate song on Unfrightened is named Nuclear Optimism (Is So 50's). The track starts off with quite the punk rock explosion, which is apt given the song is about the damage that nuclear power is causing the world. The shift in song structure is brilliant. From the explosive start to get people's attention to a more calm, melodic approach to try and educate within the song. The last song is La Purge which is an instrumental track to finish off Unfrightened.

Gosh I loved Unfrightened. There is a feeling of nostalgia about the album but it also feels fresh and current. The topics are relatable to the 30 year old punk rockers and do nothing but make you feel better about how your life is going. If this record doesn't make an appearance on my end of year top ten albums list then there have been ten perfect albums released between now and the end of the year.

Stream and download Unfrightened here: https://hatefulmonday.bandcamp.com/album/unfrightened

Like Hateful Monday here: https://www.facebook.com/hatefulmonday/

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Album Review: Accidents by Accidents

Accidents are a five piece punk band from Washington DC featuring John Felter on vocals, Matt Hanson and Nicole Morris on guitars, Dan Boyd on bass and Jill Miller on drums. The band have recently released their brand new self titled EP. Featuring four tracks of silly party punk music, I was keen to check it out.

The opening track on the EP is titled Do A Barrel Roll and starts out with some fast and hard guitars that I was quite ready for. Soon they drop out and Felter's vocals come in. Immediately I feel captivated by his voice. It is fast paced, full of urgency and has just a hint of theatricality about it. Basically I love these vocals. There is no let up in the song, it's so frantic that I feel breathless just listening to it - I might also be slightly unfit. Great start. Next up is the song Bloodline. Bloodline isn't as frantic as the opening track but is just as fun. Felter's distinctive vocals do a wonderful job of carrying the melody of the song over the top of some great layered guitars. Midway through Bloodline there is a lovely little bass solo and this seems to signal a shift in the song's structure, with the song mellowing out a bit. It builds slowly to the finish which features plenty of gang vocals and some delicious harmonies. The third song is named The One With All The Friends. The track is about looking back fondly on your youth and not regretting anything you've done along the way. The lyric that particularly stands out is "If We're Going Straight To Hell, At Least We Made It Our Own Way." The pace is upped again on the track, I think this is where Accidents are at their best. Felter's vocal really steals the show. It's so hard to ignore and helps take you on a ride through the song. The final song on the EP is named 3 Dates With A Lesbian. When I first listened to the intro of the song I was instantly reminded of The Kids Aren't Alright by The Offspring. That's one of my favourite guitar intros ever so it was very pleasant to my ears. The energy of the song is high immediately, getting heads nodding and toes tapping. Felter's vocals are brilliantly erratic on the song, this adds even more layers of energy to the track. It feels like Accidents are fully intent on giving everything they have left on this final song and have clearly left nothing in the locker room. It's like someone lit the fuse on a dynamite stick and Accidents are trying to finish before the oncoming kaboom. A great way to finish the EP.

Accidents' self titled EP was hugely enjoyable from start to finish. It's short and sweet but does everything that a self described party punk band should. It puts smiles on faces and thoroughly entertains the listener. You'll be dancing come the end of this EP.

Stream and download Accidents here: https://accidentsd.bandcamp.com/album/accidents

Like Accidents here: https://www.facebook.com/AccidentsDC/

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Gig Review: Reel Big Fish and Anti Flag at The Forum, Kentish Town 17/10/17

The Fireball Whiskey Fuelling The Fire tour was back in London last week for what I believe was the third year in a row. Each year Fireball Whiskey grab some of the biggest names in American ska and punk and team them with some up and comers from the UK punk scene. This year's featured Reel Big Fish, Anti Flag and The Mad Caddies teaming up with Fireball's hottest band of 2017, Sweet Little Machine, and a competition winner for each different night of the tour. London was lucky enough to have two shows, two nights in a row at The Forum in Kentish Town. Due to having an all-dayer at the New Cross Inn on the Sunday, Emma and I decided it would be smarter to go to the second London date on the Tuesday Night.

Opening up the night were competition winners The Bottom Line and then Sweet Little Machine. The Bottom Line played high energy pop punk that ticked all of the pop punk boxes. There was hand clapping, in sync jumping and plenty of whoa-ohs. The highlight of the set for me was their cover of the Wheatus classic Teenage Dirtbag. I'd previously seen Sweet Little Machine supporting Me First and the Gimme Gimmes and Masked Intruder back in February and was impressed by their pop rock sound. Now they've released their debut full length album Monsters and played a bunch of songs from it. Sweet Little Machine are clearly a very polished band who seem born to play at big club shows. I can't actually imagine them playing in the backroom of a pub. Frontman Alex is a born showman and expertly owns the stage and, at times, the floor. I feel like it won't be long before Sweet Little Machine are household names.

California band The Mad Caddies have a long time been favourites of mine and, after seeing them at Slam Dunk festival earlier in the year, Emma was now firmly on board the Caddies ship too. The Mad Caddies are now in their 22nd year as a band and probably sound better than ever. Their unique mix of punk, ska, reggae and polka immediately gets the London crowd moving, whether it's skanking, moshing or simply just tapping your toes. It's impossible to remain still when the Caddies are on stage. The Caddies set had a good mix of the band's slow and fast songs. The slower songs included Lay Your Head Down, Brand New Scar, Souls For Sale and Shoot Out The Lights, while the fast ones included Leavin', Contraband, No Hope and of course, the silliest of songs, Monkeys. Monkeys is one that really gets the crowd moving. I always think that the Mad Caddies are of the most underrated bands of their era, often overlooked when people talk about the best bands from that era of punk and ska. That's a shame because they are always incredible when they play live and they have a back catalogue of music of such quality that most bands should be jealous of. I mean they didn't even play two of their most popular songs tonight (Drinking For 11 and Road Rash) and not a single person seemed disappointed. The Mad Caddies could have easily headlined this tour themselves and are complete legends. Hopefully they'll be back in the UK soon for their own headline tour.

Pittsburgh punk rockers Anti Flag seemed like a strange choice to be sandwiched between ska punk juggernauts The Mad Caddies and Reel Big Fish but for some reason it worked wonderfully. I think this was because Anti Flag are simply an incredible live punk band. Taking to the stage and launching into one of their biggest hits, This Is The End (For You My Friend), gets the Kentish Town Forum crowd going crazy immediately. Bass player and co-lead vocalist Chris #2 is like a man possessed as he bounds around the stage between screaming out the words. In the few times that it's possible to take your eyes off of him you see guitarist and other co-lead vocalist Justin Sane dancing around the stage with a similar intensity. Anti Flag have always been a band that spread their political message through their music and they waste no time getting to the hard stuff with the classic Fuck Police Brutality. Anti Flag really are a band that pull no punches with their lyrical content. It's not long before Chris #2 has the crowd screaming the chorus back to the band. A particular highlight for me, and perhaps many others, was when they played Turncoat. A song that first got me, and probably a lot of other people, into the band. Another highlight was when the band played new tune When The Wall Falls which is actually a ska punk song. I never thought Anti Flag would write a ska song. There was a nice moment where the Reel Big Fish horn section took to the stage to add some brass to the track. Other highlights in the set included The Press Corpse, 1 Trillion Dollar$, their cover of Should I Stay Or Should I Go, Die For The Government and set closer Brandenburg Gate. During Brandenburg Gate, Chris #2 and drummer Pat Thetic climbed into the crowd, complete with instruments and microphone to complete the set in some style. It created a fantastic image of solidarity between the band and the crowd. Like I said earlier and like you probably were already aware, Anti Flag are a political band. At times using their set to talk about all the bad things that are happening in the world at the moment and about fighting back. I liked how it never felt preachy - nobody likes to be preached at - it's just inspiring. Justin Sane made a fantastic point by saying that despite all of the atrocities in the world he feels like the people fighting back are winning because of all the positive changes that have happened within society over the past twenty years. I hadn't seen Anti Flag in about five years before tonight and they were well worth the wait. One of my favourite sets of the year.

Finally it was time for ska punk legends from the 90s - Reel Big Fish! I'd wager that everyone at The Forum has probably seen Reel Big Fish at some point over the years and knows all of the antics the band get up to on stage. I'd also wager that despite knowing the antics, they all loved it just as much or maybe even more than the first time they saw it. Reel Big Fish have been doing the same thing for years and years but fans always flood to go and see them live again and again. Why? Because they are so so bloody good at what they do! Coming on stage to the sounds of Olé before launching into the classic Everything Sucks, the floor at The Forum becomes one huge skank pit with the room dancing along and singing with glee. Having not released a new album since 2012s Candy Coated Fury this was truly a best of set with favourites spanning the band's whole 25 year career and of course the odd cover thrown in for good measure. Led by singer, guitarist and all around entertainer Aaron Barrett, the band go through classic after classic with each song seemingly getting a bigger reactions than the last. Everyone Else Is An Asshole had a huge sing-along followed up by Trendy which just sent the crowd into a wild frenzy. Drinkin' is a song they don't seem to play that often but was obviously a perfect for this Fireball Tour. Your Guts (I Hate You) is just a perfect song to give everyone a bit of a rest and just have a big old smiley sing song. It's actually quite an angry song but you can't help but smile when you hear it. After a brilliant cover of Brown Eyed Girl there was a lovely surprise when Laila from UK ska punk band Sonic Boom Six came out to help the band with the female part of She Has A Girlfriend Now. Ever the show-woman Laila potentially upstaged Barrett during the song with an extremely polished performance of the song. After another extremely happy but impossible not to smile song in the form of Another F.U. Song it was time for the hits. Like at Slam Dunk back in May, the band teased the crowd by playing parts of famous 90s tracks Smells Like Teen Spirit, My Own Worst Enemy, 500 Miles and The Impression That I Get before eventually going into their own song Sell Out. Probably the song that got the biggest reaction of the entire night. Following this up with crowd favourite Toots & The Maytals cover Monkey Man and finishing the main set with Beer was perfect. The fun wasn't finished there though. It wasn't long before Barrett and then eventually the rest of the band returned to the stage for what's probably my favourite Reel Big Fish song, Where Have You Been. Then we did get what I thought was the biggest surprise of the night was when the band started the many versions of S.R. This was surprising given that they'd already played the long version of the 90s songs and we were into the encore. Who plays a 10 minute long song in the encore? Reel Big Fish, that's who. Finally it was time for the show to actually finish but not before one last cover, probably the band's most well known track, Take On Me. What a great way to finish the night.

This was a great night of punk and ska music. All for the incredibly cheap price of £12.50 (the ticket price was actually £10 but then booking fees). There was a great sense of nostalgia around the night with three classic bands that I grew listening to. Seeing them all play together was just a 2002 dream come true.

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

Friday, 20 October 2017

Gig Review: The Bombpops at New Cross Inn 15/10/17

What's the best cure for feeling incredibly rough, full of cold, a banging headache, a sore throat and very little sleep? A punk all-dayer at the New Cross Inn is probably not the most obvious answer but it's the approach I went for. Fat Wreck Chords' The Bombpops were in South London as part of their European tour, so Be Sharp Promotions and Umlaut Records put on an all day show featuring another stacked line up – as a punk all-dayer at the New Cross always does.

Wayfairer was the first act of the day. This was my third time seeing Wayfairer this year and this was arguably the best I've seen him. As he played his acoustic punk tunes I found myself completely captivated by his songs. There is a fantastic storytelling element to his music that really works so well in a live setting. Playing songs from his two excellent EPs, Drifting and Losing My Cool, as well as a customary Alkaline Trio cover to finish things off. Wayfairer is always a great way to start the day.

Next up was Second In Line. I'll avoid the obvious joke about the second band on being named Second In Line, mostly because it's probably been made before and I'm probably the only person who finds it funny. Second In Line are a four piece from the Thames Valley area who have been around on and off since 2002. After the nice acoustics of Wayfairer, Second In Line really woke the New Cross up with their fast, gruff and grumbly punk rock tunes. They are clearly a band who don't take themselves too seriously judging by their song topics. The majority of the songs they played were about pop culture such as Saved By The Bell, Back To The Future, Golden Girls and one song named John Candy Is Dead where singer Gareth reeled off a list of dead celebrities. The final song was my favourite though, I'm not sure of its name but the chorus of "Raise A Beer For Me, Crack A Smile For Me" really put a smile on my face.

On A Hiding To Nothing are definitely one of mine and Emma's favourite new discoveries of 2017. Like Wayfairer this was our third time seeing them this year and again this was probably the best. This show at the New Cross was also the final date of their five date tour of the UK. This may have been why they felt so tight, they were in tour shape. Having seen them three times since May it was great to finally be able to really get the songs and be like "yeah, I know this one." Their incredibly fast skate punk is just a joy to watch live and it's clear that the band love what they do. Something I really love about On A Hiding To Nothing's music is how fresh it feels. There are plenty of bands who play fast skate punk but On A Hiding To Nothing make the genre feel like their own with lead singer Ali's distinctive vocals backed excellently by Hassan and Jack. If you've not seen On A Hiding To Nothing Live you must soon, if nothing else to watch bass player Jack's high energy high kicks. It was good to see him making sure he stretched properly before the set too!

Next up were a band that are very important to the history of Colin's Punk Rock World. I won't go into the story again but without Müg it's fair to say that this blog probably wouldn't exist and I'd have much more spare time. Having said that you may be surprised that I've actually only seen Müg play live once, way back in 2013 supporting Elway at the Black Heart in Camden. That night the band played an excellent cover of Lily Allen's Not Fair (I think, please correct me if I'm wrong). I was telling this story to Müg guitarist Mark Bell before their New Cross set and he told me that that was probably the only time they ever played that song to a crowd, so I guess I got very lucky on that night. I've also just discovered what that Lily Allen song is actually about - gosh it's rude!

Anyway, Müg. They were bloody great! Starting out with what is actually my favourite song of theirs, World Of Weirdos, their half an hour set went by far too quickly. It's always lovely to see a band who love what they're doing and enjoy having fun on stage together. It's easy to see the band are all great mates and not just people in a band together. This really helps create an excellent chemistry on the stage. Müg are another band who have taken the skate punk sound and found a way to make it sound distinctly their own. Lead singer Kingly's vocals soar brilliantly and he delivers with every single word. They played a selection of Müg favourites, a brand new song that isn't properly finished yet as well as throwing in covers of NOFX's It's My Job To Keep Punk Rock Elite and Lagwagon's Mr Coffee for good measure. It's a small crime that I went so long without seeing Müg live. They're a great band who do wonderful things for the punk scene in the UK via Umlaut Records.

Up next were in my opinion London's best band - The Burnt Tapes. I feel like I'm not alone in that opinion as while The Burnt Tapes were sound checking, Paul of Be Sharp Promotions came up and shouted in my ear "I fucking love these guys." The man is definitely not alone in those sentiments. The regret punk four piece are easily having the most successful year of their musical careers so far and are picking up new fans wherever they play. After their set finished we popped out for some food and I overheard a couple saying how much they enjoyed the band having never listened to them before. Whenever I write about The Burnt Tapes I feel like I gush a little too much about my love of the band so I will just stick with this was another brilliant set from the band. (Despite Pan breaking a guitar string early on - thank goodness Mark Bell was, as ever, on hand to act as guitar tech.) I've seen the band more than any other this year so I'm pretty used to their set by now so it was a lovely surprise to hear a new song that the band have been working on thrown into the mix. Their last EP was only released in June so I thought it was great to hear the band are still pressing on working on new stuff rather than resting on their laurels. The Burnt Tapes are the best. (Sorry, I gushed a little bit.)

We managed to get back from getting a bite to eat just in time to catch the beginning of Dowzer's set. The four piece pop punk band from the Netherlands are Umlaut's latest addition to an incredible roster of talent and have just put out the band's newest album, So Much For Silver Linings. Despite some technical difficulties, the Dutch quartet played a fast paced set of great pop punk tunes. The use of two lead vocalists is something I always enjoy when I listen to bands, it gives that great feeling of being included. Everyone likes to feel included. It's also always good to see band members with big smiles on their faces - at times bass player Sandra Heeren looked like she was close to laughter as they ploughed through their set. Unfortunately due to the technical difficulties the set had to be cut short but I have to say the last song of the set was my favourite. I think it was called Broken Record but I may be wrong.

Recently reformed pop punk band The Famous Class were on next. The four piece (who are potentially the tallest band I've ever seen) are a pop punk band who I'd previously seen supporting the Mad Caddies in Islington years ago. Now they're back with two new members basically because front man Stu saw Goober Patrol play the New Cross Inn stage and fancied a bit of it for himself. Judging from their set there was no performance rust as they played song after song and put in one hell of a performance. It was quite pleasing to hear they they've also been working on new songs so this isn't a one and done kind of deal - The Famous Class are back for good, for now. The real crowd pleasing moment was for their cover of Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up, joking that they did it way before the Foo Fighters ever did. There was a nice surprise towards the end of their set when a confetti bomb was let off and covered the crowd. It's cheesy but those things always create an awesome sight.

Adding something a bit different to the day's line up were Manchester's Dead Neck. The three piece play technical hardcore punk rock music opposed to the more pop punk sound that had dominated the much of the day. This was also the first time the band have played with this particular line up, with a new drummer joining singer and bassist Andy and guitarist Dan. Dead Neck are always a treat to watch live with their high octane songs sounding even better live than they do recorded. The crowd adored them with two folks in particular, who were obviously big fans and mostly there to see Dead Neck, really giving it some on the dance floor in front of the band. Midway through their set they played arguably their most well known song - the awesome Oriental I. Before starting the song Andy humorously said "if you know the words to this song, then good for you" rather than the usual "sing along if you know the words." This got a chuckle from me. He used the same line for their cover of NOFX's It's My Job To Keep Punk Rock Elite. I found this funny not just because I found the joke funny the first time but also because they were the second band of the day to cover the classic track. I'm very easily amused. Dead Neck finished their set with a hugely positive song named Cooking With Nunchucks, a song about trying things that you think are impossible - you never know, it might work put. Dead Neck were absolutely great and are a band I need to listen to much much more.

Finally it was time for The Bombpops. After quickly changing the amps and drum kit, with a little help from the Burnt Tapes' Tone (possibly the nicest guy in punk rock) the band were ready. Playing sugary sweet pop punk similar in style to bands such as Masked Intruder and Bad Cop Bad Cop, the band have been on a long European tour and were playing London for the first time. It's quite a big deal for New Cross to be putting them on. Something that always strikes me seeing these types of bands live is how much harder they play and sing than they do when recorded. This extra attitude really adds an element to the sound that makes me enjoy them even more. Co-front women Poli van Dam and Jen Razavi own the stage taking turns in singing and both completely slaying on their guitars. Poli in particular really stood out, having a great amount of charisma on the stage that made it hard to ignore her. At one point she began blowing kisses to a "cute boy" who was looking in to the New Cross Inn from the outside. As seems to be the rule with Fat Wreck Chords bands, there was plenty of stage banter between songs with the band covering topics of it being more acceptable to use the c word in the UK than back home, how much they enjoy cider and their own Californian accents. There was also a tribute to the late great Brandon Carlisle who wrote The Bombpops a song. As I watched the band and the day afterwards, I thought about what an inspirational band The Bombpops are. Sadly there are not enough women in punk rock at the moment so to see The Bombpops making a name for themselves not just in America but in Europe as well is fantastic. They are proof to anyone that you shouldn't let a thing like gender hold you back from what you want to do. Sadly we had to duck out of the gig a couple of songs before the end, as I was feeling increasingly rougher and we had a long journey home to Bedford but we did hang around long enough to see a great cover of The Beastie Boys - You Gotta Fight For Your Right To Party. A fantastic way to finish another great day of punk rock at the New Cross Inn.

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

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Top Tens: Mark from Our Lives In Cinema's Top Ten Punk Rock Influences

1) Rocket From The Crypt
RFTC are without a shadow of a doubt the best band the world has ever known. It’s not a subjective thing either; it’s cold, hard fact and can be proved with science. My first exposure to them was through both Kerrang and the NME. Kerrang’s review of ‘Scream, Dracula, Scream!’ went so far as to tell the reader to steal the record if necessary... 12 year old me thought that was as cool as it gets. The NME featured ‘Born In ’69’ on a free cassette and it was every bit as badass as I’d imagined. John Reis/Speedo is a songwriting genius. I’d say ‘Pigeon Eater’... a B SIDE, is their greatest moment. Probably the greatest 3 minutes of sound ever recorded.

2) Jeff Rosenstock
Jeff and ‘Bomb The Music Industry!’ are the reason I wanted to start playing music again after a five year break. I wasn’t even remotely aware of his existence until hearing ‘Hey Allison’ from 2016’s ‘We Cool?’ on some random Spotify playlist. I think he’s likely the genre’s best songwriter and he’s been crazy prolific. It’s been so fun wading through such a varied and consistently excellent back catalogue of music. His most recent album ‘Worry’ is the best record he’s put together so far and it has the perfect mix of lyrical excellence, poppy hooks and crazily awesome punk music executed by a dude with admirable ethics and limitless passion. My favourite song of his is ‘Stuff That I Like’ from ‘Scrambles’.

3) At The Drive In
The best thing to come from me loving Korn and Slipknot so much as an edgy teen was my devotion to producer Ross Robinson and I eagerly anticipated ‘Relationship Of Command’ because of his involvement. I remember seeing ATDI smash their way through ‘One Armed Scissor’ on ‘Later: With Jools Holland’ with a completely confused Robbie Williams watching from the audience. It was pretty much the most exciting performance of anything I’d ever seen up until that point.

4) The Blood Brothers
Such a ridiculously talented, genre-defying band. Insane and imaginative music, incredibly vivid, allegorically poetic lyrics, two perfectly paired frontmen with utterly unique voices. For me, when I think of punk I think of The Blood Brothers. They have a bunch of amazing records but the Ross Robinson produced ‘Burn Piano Island Burn’ is the best place to start.

5) Nirvana
Nirvana were the first band I ever loved that wasn’t part of my dad’s record collection. When I first started getting into rock music it was just after Kurt’s death. At school we’d all swap tapes of what we thought ‘cool’ music was. I got tapes of Guns & Roses, Green Day, Metallica, The Sex Pistols, Pearl Jam... and ‘Nevermind’. It’s just wall to wall bangers from start to finish. It’s not a popular opinion but I rate ‘Bleach’ ahead of ‘In Utero’ too. If there’s ONE band I wish I could’ve seen live it’s them.

6) Coheed & Cambria
During my years working for HMV I found two bands by randomly playing stuff in store that had a massive impact on my life. ‘In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3’ was a revelation. As somebody who is allergic to most things labelled prog-rock, I was staggered at just how much melody and triumphant chorus Claudio was able to pack into all of his songs, even within the context of a sci-fi concept record. For me, even though I don’t relate to them lyrically as such... Coheed’s first 3 albums are untouchable.

7) The Hold Steady
This was my second life changing band discovered at HMV. I found the cover art to ‘Boys And Girls In America’ really appealing for some reason. I think Craig Finn is a genius lyricist and I try to learn as much from him as I can. He’s such a great storyteller and live performer and he has an ability to convey so much wit, warmth, sadness, romance and nostalgia in his songs. Live, as someone who’s closer to my own age than say Joyce Manor, he made me feel like I could still credibly be in a rock band. He’s very unabashedly himself and enthusiastic as a live presence.

8) The Beatles
Bands that I dislike that people I have known have been annoyed at me for hating: The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath. Yet somehow I seem to continually run into people who claim to hate The Beatles. They are liars. They did more in 7 years than most bands have managed in 20. ‘Abbey Road’ is clearly their best record.

9) U2
Ok ok ok I get it. Everybody hates Bono. I hate Bono too. He’s a smug, self appointed messiah figure. And nobody should be called ‘The edge’. However...
1. They’re not Coldplay.
2. They had massive tunes in the 80s.
3. For their first 3 albums they were sort of punk but not really.
4. Don’t pretend you don’t like all the singles from ‘The Joshua Tree’.
5. It’s actually my Dad’s fault.
6. I’ll defend ‘Achtung Baby’ until the day I die. That is a SEXY album full of gigantic tunes.

10) Weezer
Like most Weezer fans, my relationship with their music is reasonably complicated and I feel pretty psychologically abused by them at this point. Listening to ‘Pinkerton’ as an adult after giving it some distance is weird. The lyrics are pretty creepy and cringe worthy but maybe that’s the point? The ‘Green Album’ is my favourite, I just love how simplistic and timeless it is. I think we can all do without almost everything from ‘Make Believe’ to ‘Hurley’. ‘The White Album’ was a real return to form I thought, but the last 3 singles are up their with the worst crap they’ve ever put out. You never know where where you stand with Rivers Cuomo.

Stream and download Our Lives In Cinema here: https://ourlivesincinema.bandcamp.com/releases

Like Our Lives In Cinema here: https://www.facebook.com/Ourlivesincinema/

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Album Review: Come What May by The Penske File

The Penske File are one of my favourite musical discoveries of the past couple of years. I heard their album Burn Into The Earth and instantly became a big fan of the Canadian three piece. Burn Into The Earth was released back in 2015 so I was super excited when the band released two brand new songs via Stomp Records titled Come What May and Oh Brother.

Come What May starts off with some fantastic duelling guitars and drumming, really grabbing the listener from the beginning. After the initial flurry we are treated to some fantastic, emotional vocals that you'll be singing from the outset. The whole thing really gives off a ballady feeling, a real get your lighters out moment. I was kind of expecting a bit more of a faster paced track after the initial start of the Come What May but instead we have a mid-paced emotionally charged banger that looks at the topic of things remaining the same no matter how out of control you feel.

Oh Brother begins with a nice acapella introduction complete with a little "whoa-oh" harmony. This will get a crowd singing along to the song instantly and put a huge smile on my face the first time that I heard it. Oh Brother is more poppy than Come What May and really shows The Penske File at their very best. The chorus is an instant earworm, you'll be singing this for days, much like the chorus from Burn Into The Earth's Damned. The gang vocal shouts of "Whoa-oh Brother Where've You Gone, Goddamn It's Been So Long" add so much impetus to the chorus and make it sound huge. The song is about missing somebody you care about and longing to have them back.

I'm assuming these two songs are in preparation for a future full length from The Penske File. If these are the two lead songs we are in for an absolute treat from the assumed future album. I'm hoping they find their way over to the UK soon so I can hear these tracks and many more of their fantastic back catalogue live.

Stream and download Come What May here: https://thepenskefileband.bandcamp.com/

Like The Penske File here: https://thepenskefileband.bandcamp.com/

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Album Review: Cities In Search Of A Heart by The Movielife (by Richard Mair)

14 years after their last album, influential pop-punkers The Movielife return with their 4th full length. After calling it quits after the release of the excellent "40 Hour Train Back To Penn" the band's stock has continued to rise whilst many of their peers (Saves the Day, Alkaline Trio, New Found Glory to name a few), have seen their returns diminish and increasingly sketchy outputs tarnish their once great reputations. Having a small and consistently excellent back catalogue has enabled the band to cement their status as legends; whilst their releases (with the exception of "It's Go Time" to be fair - which sounds far too light weight and underproduced by comparison), have stood the test of time well. There is obviously a lot riding on this release to not only manage expectations of those old fans, but also to draw new listeners in - moving them from a nostalgia act to one that's relevant for a newer audience, who may not be as aware of their legacy or importance to the pop-punk scene. So how does 2017 Movielife compare to that of yesteryear?

... The answer is surprisingly well. Sure it's not as bratty and pop-hardcore in the vein of "This Time Next Year", nor is it as defiant and damaged as "40 Hour Train Back To Penn", but shows a maturity and self-awareness that can only come with age and with time away from each other - notably driving forces, vocalist Vinnie Caruana and guitarist Brandon Reilly. What they have crafted here is a natural progression built on their separate growths and careers, but retaining that original Movielife magic.

The obvious difference lies in the vocals. I've always loved the rapid, shouty rasp of Vinnie Caruana, and here it's been toned down slightly. The most obviously traditional Movielife song with this regards is opener "Ski Mask", which catapults the album to a breakneck speed immediately; with this regard it's very reminiscent of "I Hope You Die Soon"; albeit of a slightly longer run time (clocking over 1:30)! It's clearly a nod to the old times and an explosive start to the album, followed by a song that will be seen as an anthem over coming years "Mercy Is Asleep At The Wheel"; its heavy opening and verses are very post-hardcore in style before it shifts into a huge chorus. Again reminding the listener of their hardcore roots; personally I see this as a joining of their pop-punk drive-thru era sound combined with the more hardcore stylings of their Revelation releases and it's probably the most realistic interpretation of who The Movielife actually are.

I always found them out of place as a Drive-Thru band, and despite my love for "40 Hour Train..." and "Gambling Problem" I always get the impression that maybe there was some outside influence to push the more pop elements of the songs at the expense of their hardcore leanings; where as "Cities in Search of a Heart" seems much more in keeping with earlier releases. Take "Sister Saint Monica" for example which is much more driven by hardcore beats and subtle beat downs, whilst still retaining their melodic elements; these more hardcore leanings seem to be more noticeable this time around.

The obvious outlier on the album is "Pour Two Glasses", it's acoustic, orchestral approach drawing obvious parallels with "Sailor Tattoos". It's a nice interlude in the middle of the album, and instead of breaking the flow as can often happen with such songs, acts as a good change of pace and helps balance the first half of the album.

Lyrically, "Cities In Search Of A Heart", draws on many of the themes the Movielife are known for, in particular the need to find a place to belong or being away from home. Given the band's history and the infamous van accident that placed so much stress on the members relationships prior to their initial split, it's no surprise some nods throughout the album evoke an element of closure to that sad episode - particularly "Mercy".

It should also be noted that Vinnie has also always had a self-awareness of how one person's actions can impact on those around them and whereas the rose tinted nostalgia that filled songs like "Hey" have been replaced by an acknowledgement of his own failings in "Ghosts In The Photograph". It's a really honest juxtaposition that is evident across this new album; it suggests a further realisation on how you can damage others through your actions. It's an album littered with guilt and remorse but also with The Movielife you get a commitment to put things right and also to take responsibility for your actions.

Closing song "Hearts" is a genuine slow-burner, driven by Vinnie's vocal delivery and shows a vulnerable humanity and a feeling of space and isolation. If the album starts with the most Movielife song it ends far removed from their past as they can go. That's not a bad thing again reinforcing their growth as musicians and people over the intervening 14 years. In between there are other highlights, particularly "Laugh Ourselves To Death" with its building and soaring chorus and the full-on "You're The Cure".

If I was to list the bands that have been important to me over the years, The Movielife would definitely feature. Their lyrics have always been especially relatable; I've known some "Handgrenades"; I can fully comprehend "10 Seconds Too Late"; and "Kelly's Song" could easily refer to my relationships. This album will be no different. If I compared their early output to Saves The Day, New Found Glory and Alkaline Trio when trying to manage expectations for this latest release I'd argue it's reminded me more of later Make Do and Mend or even Bayside; it's mature, grown-up and reflective. Sure, overall it's slower and more measured, but whilst their previous efforts helped define my early twenties this is exactly what I want from Vinnie and the boys in my mid thirties.

Order Cities In Search Of A Heart here.

Like The Movielife here: https://www.facebook.com/themovielifeofficial/

This review was written by Richard Mair.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Album Review: Say Goodbye by Plan 37

What do we feature a lot of on CPRW? Canadian punk rock. Currently one of the best scenes in the world. Today we're reviewing the first full length from Toronto's Plan 37, titled Say Goodbye. Plan 37 formed in early 2012 and feature members of Deforesters, Sinkin' Ships, The Roman Line and The Unbelievers. They have released a handful of EPs and split releases and this September they released Say Goodbye on My Fingers! My Brain! Records.

The first of the thirteen tracks on Say Goodbye is named Already Here. Already Here wastes no time in laying down the marker for what to expect on the album - a great mix of sing-a-long street punk with a large dose of buzzsaw pop punk. The bands I'm most reminded of are early The Riptides and The Have Nots if you remove the ska elements. If you like those bands, you will without a doubt like Plan 37. The second track on the album is Bullet Catcher. The opening part of the song is very heavy, focussing largely on some bass and drums to get things going. Vocally the singer is quite harsh, with a great amount of intensity and aggression used with every word he growls out. Red Shirt falls more into the pop punk bowl. Played at a slower pace than you might expect after the opening two songs, it focuses more on melody rather than blistering musicianship. Like the true pop punk classics there are harmonies and background hand claps a-plenty. A great fun song. Me & U, Pt. II does feature that blistering musicianship. An energetic charm explodes out of the song and fills its audience with a punk rock joy that's hard to explain. The song is about get back together with a former partner realising why you broke up in the first place. The track has a wonderful story telling feel to it that plants images in your head of what's happening in the song.

The fifth song is True Lies. Kicking things off with a pounding drum beat and some vocals, this short song is another that's bursting with energy. The chorus really stands out with some huge gang vocals that plead to be screamed back at the band with your fists planted firmly in the air. The song is only a short one but kicks some serious arse throughout. I really loved On The Run from the first time that I listened to it. From the opening guitars, that will have you jumping around the room, to the infectious chorus, which will be wedged firmly in your head for hours - it's everything I want in my pop punk. Suburban Outfitters has somewhat of a horror punk feel to it. The song is very bass heavy with some quick guitar licks layered over the top. This different twist on their sound is great and shows some diversity which is always welcome on a punk record. I particularly loved the lyrics "Time To Stand Up, Time To Be A Dad, Cause You Love Your Wife, It's Time To Be A Man." There is an aggression and power to those gang vocals that really help the line hit home. Vanpire is the first time on Say Goodbye where Plan 37 utilise a dual male and female vocal partnership, other than for harmonies. It works a treat with the male vocals being some of the harshest on the album so far, when the female vocals join in there is a sweetness that offsets the harsher vocals perfectly.

Fighting To Die is a song that punches you in the face repeatedly for its one minute and fifty-one second duration. This street punk song rarely relents and is just a huge amount of fun. The vocals seemingly come from every direction leaving you with a feeling of not knowing what's coming next. The no thrills free-for-all is an absolute treat and will create some magical mosh pit moments. Shockmaster has a fairly long musical intro that has been missing thus far on Say Goodbye. It builds nicely into another street punk sing-a-long. Shockmaster is perhaps more reserved than the previous songs. This approach is refreshing and offers a nice rest bite to the unstoppable hurricane that's been happening so far. 2 Feet & A Heartbeat is another more reserved slower number, feeling like a great barroom sing-a-long track. One of those great songs where you throw your arms round your neighbours and sing like it's your last chance. The gang vocals are just exquisite, making the listener really feel a part of Plan 37. I like that feeling. The penultimate song is named Attack Of The Crummy Crummies. The pace is ramped back up here with the aggressive vocals returning to the Plan 37 sound. The energy that comes out from the song throughout is superb and is a real pick-me-up for the closing couple of songs on the album. Plan 37 appear to be on a mission to finish the album with a bang. Last up is the album's title track Say Goodbye. The perfect song to finish the album on. It perfectly sums up why I love Plan 37 and the whole album. It takes the best of what the album has to offer, hard hitting pop punk anthems that will get you dancing, singing and smiling. Say Goodbye is about saying that last goodbye to somebody you care about. There is a good time party feel to the song rather than more of a sad mournful sound that you might expect. That's exactly why I adored the song.

Say Goodbye is one of my albums of the year. It's superb and deserves yours and everyone else's attention. It's not like much I've heard recently and really is just a breath of fresh air. Just go and check it out!

Stream and download Say Goodbye here: https://plan37.bandcamp.com/

Like Plan 37 here: https://www.facebook.com/Plan37

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Gig Review: Gaz Brookfield at The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes 12/10/17 (by Emma Prew)

It may come as a bit of a shock to some readers but sometimes I go to gigs without Colin. Sometimes my gig buddy is my dad – Colin is always invited but doesn’t always fancy it – particularly if the gig is in Milton Keynes (my hometown and where Papa Prew lives) and is more along the lines of folk and/or acoustic-based music. That was the case on Thursday night when Gaz Brookfield, self-proclaimed solo acoustic guy, would be making his debut appearance in Milton Keynes at the wonderful Craufurd Arms. We’ve seen him play locally before, both times at Bedford Esquires, and are always up for seeing him again. He’s rather good!

Support on the night came from Bedford-based Rhys Kirkman, who also supported Gaz Brookfield in Bedford last time around, and Nick Parker, who was along for the ride for the whole UK tour. Unfortunately, due to struggling to find somewhere close to the Craufurd Arms to park, we ended up arriving, into a half full venue, after Rhys had started his set – it also turns out doors at 8pm actually meant music starts at 8pm. Luckily we only missed a couple of songs. What we did hear was just as good as I remember from last time around. Catchy and, for the most part, upbeat songs with a great storytelling element to them. The highlight of his set would have to be the closing song, The Tallest Man In The Pub – a slightly amusing yet genuine tale about being tall. Not something I can relate to but a good song nonetheless!

Given that all three artist on the bill were ‘solo acoustic guys’ the change over period between acts wasn’t very long – never a bad thing (unless you’re in the queue for the bar I guess… that’s your loss). So, soon Nick Parker was taking to the stage. Neither myself or my dad had heard of Nick Parker before but I assumed that, sandwiched between Rhys and Gaz on this bill, I would like him. It wasn’t long before that assumption was proved correct. This was quite a performance with plenty of unexpected added extras to keep the audience attentive without things turning gimmicky. Nick’s set featured audience participation in the form of: loud speaker mobile phones making whirring sounds that wouldn’t be out of place on a Radiohead record, lyric sheet handouts that encouraged the ladies and gents of the audience to sing different parts of a really sweet love song and German signs spelling out the chorus to another song about how the British apologise too much. It really made me want to listen to him again and that’s exactly what I did, the next morning.

This run of tour dates was the second part of the I Know My Place, Gaz’s fourth album, tour – the first set of dates was back in the spring, before ‘festival season’. Gaz referred to I Know My Place as being his ‘new’ album but of course we’ve all been listening to it for almost a year. This certainly showed as the Craufurd Arms crowd was singing along enthusiastically to all of the songs – new and old. The venue was reasonably well packed out as well. I’m always a bit sceptical about how popular a lot of the more local shows that I go to will be but Gaz Brookfield is certainly an artist who draws in a crowd. Particularly as he’d never actually played in Milton Keynes before, as a support or otherwise. A Gaz Brookfield show is filled with great anecdotes about each song and about life on the road as a full time musician – the ironically titled It’s All So Rock And Roll, for example, plus songs about his unreliable vehicles, Cursed and Ode To Ozzy (the beloved old van). He’s a very down to earth person and I think that’s the reason why he has such dedicated fans, he just writes great and relatable songs. Plus they convey wonderfully into a live setting.

My absolute favourite song from the last album is titled I’ve Paid My Money which is about those people at gigs that we all hate who stand near the front and then talk through the artist’s performance or yell stuff at the person or people on stage, all while you’re standing there trying to listen. It’s more apparent at acoustic-based shows and so it is something Gaz Brookfield has had to deal with time and time again. When he played the song in Bedford last time around, there were people talking through his set which was annoyingly apt. However, in Milton Keynes the crowd was a lot more respectful and if mouths were open it was because they were singing along. I don’t want to appear bias to my hometown over my currently-residing-in town but gigs in Milton Keynes are always better than gigs in Bedford. That’s partly down to The Craufurd Arms (although the town’s other main music venue, MK11, is pretty darn good too) being such an awesome venue. Both Gaz and Nick said as much themselves, particularly commenting on the sound set up and the brilliant hospitality they received. It makes me proud to be from Milton Keynes. I love The Craufurd Arms.

Other highlights of the set included Land Pirate’s Life, The Diabetes Blues (parts 1 and 2), Be The Bigger Man and a special rendition of Cornish Fishing Town, a song that has only been played live two times before and featured Nick Parker on the mandolin. Although Gaz Brookfield is a self-proclaimed solo acoustic guy, much of his more recent recorded material features a full band so it was great to get a little taster of full band Gaz Brookfield. He and his Company Of Thieves are embarking on a full band tour early next year which I’m very much looking forward to – but this gig left me fairly content until then. I urge you to go and see Gaz Brookfield live – he’s probably coming to a town near you. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

This gig review was written by Emma Prew.