Category Archives: punk

NEWSLETTER #3

Hey again. I have a rare morning of not having to do anything or be anywhere so what better way to pass the time then post another of these newsletter things. The theme for this one is ‘SPLITS’.

The idea for bands to release split singles/ep’s/albums has been around for ages but there seems to be a real trend for it at the moment, and why not? as the pickled onion producer Barry Norman would say. Splits are great, who doesn’t like the ‘2 for 1’ deal that you get? No one has yet to better the greatest split of all time, The Promise Ring/Texas is the Reason split 7″ and no one is likely to but some of the recent splits are pretty damn good so lets crack on.

1. PIANOS BECOME THE TEETH/TOUCHE AMORE (Deathwish/Topshelf records)

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If you’ve read this blog a lot then you’ll know my feelings about Pianos Become The Teeth, they are one of my favourite bands of the last 5 years. Their albums still blow me away with every listen, they left me speechless when I saw them play live in Margate and when I bumped into their guitarist in Subway, Tunbridge Wells before seeing them play the forum, he invited me to sit and eat with him, amazing! Their song from this split, ‘Hiding’, doesn’t disappoint one bit, in fact it exceeds all expectations. It’s slower and gentler but powerful. An epic song packed full of emotion, it’s a bit of a cliché for someone who writes a blog predominantly about emo to say they well up when listening to a song but Kyle Durfey’s voice does something to me. My heart literally melts as soon as he starts singing mix this with the post hardcore meets post rock music and you have as near perfect a song as you’re likely to hear all year. This review probably sounds a bit one-sided but nothing should be taken away from Touche Amore. Again they are an incredible band and their song, ‘Gravity, Metaphorically’, matches the PBTT side for brilliance. It’s a bit of a departure for TA, you could also describe this song as an epic as it’s about 4 times longer than any song from their last record. With the same kind of attack Touche Amore bring to their music, this song is allowed to breathe giving them time to play with the dynamics resulting in a rollercoaster ride of a song that leaves you exhausted but also wanting so much more. Cannot wait for their new record which is due to come out in the autumn.

Stream/Download HERE

2. TOUCHE AMORE/TITLE FIGHT (sealegs records)

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Sticking with Touche Amore for the moment, I do love a split where the bands cover each others songs ever since I got the Built To Spill/Marine Research split 7″ all those years ago. And this is exactly what you get here and what great songs they chose. Touche Amore could have chosen any song from ‘Shed’ and I’d have been happy, ‘Crescent-shaped Depression’ is what they plumped for and do it more than justice. It’s a straight up cover but it sounds great with Touche Amore bringing all the energy they normally do to their own material. Title Fight are pretty much a faultless band, their cover of ‘Face Ghost’ from Touche Amore’s last record ‘Parting the sea between brightness and me’ is brilliant. Mainly for the fact that at first glance it’s a straight ahead, loyal cover of a great song but Title Fight subtly bring their melodic hardcore/shoegaze crossover that they’ve been leaning towards on ‘Floral Green’ and it really sets the song alight. Both great bands playing great songs by each other, what the hells not to like?

Listen HERE

3. BRAID/BALANCE AND COMPOSURE (No Sleep Records)

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I finally get to see Braid play this summer and it’s on my birthday which is pretty damn perfect. In the meantime they’ve put out a split with Balance and Composure, a few people were annoyed that they were doing this with a new band but I really like Balance and Composure so can’t see the harm. Plus, Balance and Composure come out of this a bit better judging by the songs on display. Their half of the split doesn’t really cover any new ground for the band but cements their reputation for making really solid and really enjoyable slacker, indie grungemo, I don’t know if this is a reputation they have outside of my head but they should. The Braid half took a while to get in to, at first I wasn’t impressed. Both songs have grown on me more but neither come near to reaching the heights of ‘Frame & Canvas’, the album they’ll be playing in full this summer.

Stream/Download HERE

4. WITS END/HUMAN HANDS (adagio 830, strictly no capital letters, lila himmel, eat a book, and time as a color)

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This is a beautiful, must have split single on many levels. Not only are both tracks superb and also superbly different, but the way it’s packaged and presented reminds me why I love music and this scene so much. The 7″ comes in an individually stamped paper bag with photocopied lyric sheets, it is understated and glorious at the same time. The songs are pure emo joy, Wits End from Norway play brooding and intense emotional hardcore while Human Hands deliver long, repetitive, sparse, lo-fi’mo which builds with heart breaking beauty. Both songs fit perfectly together making an essential split single.

Stream Human Hands HERE Stream Wits End HERE

5. TIGERS JAW/CODE ORANGE KIDS/SELF DEFENSE FAMILY/THE WORLD IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE & I AM NO LONGER AFRAID TO DIE (Topshelf records)

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This split wins the award for the most interesting and intriguing of all the splits mentioned today. The line up had to be admired, 4 totally different bands put together on one record and it all makes sense. Although, this split is tinged with sadness, could this possibly be the last song that Tigers Jaw ever release? I fucking hope not, I was so gutted to hear they had split up and it’s with a heavy heart that I listen to their new song. If they had made it terrible then maybe it would be easier to accept the break-up but Tigers Jaw don’t know how to write bad songs. ‘Fake Death’ shows a band still at the height of their powers, the guitar work, the harmonies, the downbeat pop, it’s all there and it’s all good. Code Orange Kids take you by surprise with ‘VI (Worms fear god // god fears youth), experimental yet captivating. Self Defense Family take you in an altogether different direction with their affecting and repetitive folk anthem ‘Holy Trend’, that leaps at you with the delivery of someone preaching the end of the world on a street corner. The split is finished by The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die who really are an incredible band and not just because writing their name in full on my blog pushes the word count up considerably making me feel like I’ve done more work. Their song, ‘Beverly Wyatt’, is typically beautiful and uplifting and the underlying ethereal melody that plays through the whole song helps paint pictures in your mind. There is a rumour going round that they are going to tour the UK this autumn with Dads, this has to happen!!

Stream/Download HERE

6. DIKEMBE/HIGHTIDE HOTEL/JET SET SAIL/MONUMENT (Count Your Lucky Stars)

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Another 4 way split and another stellar line up. Dikembe can do no wrong, their songs are always instantly likeable and this one is continued proof of that theory. ‘Donuts in a six speed’ wouldn’t have felt out-of-place on ‘Broad Shoulders’ and builds the excitement nicely for their new album which will be out soon. Hightide Hotel announced last year that they are splitting up but not before they release their second record this year. It’s a massive shame because based on ‘Built to last’ they’re a band that could offer so much. The main riff reminds me of the kind of ones i’d try to write for my old band back in the 90s, I was never this good though. Jet Set Sail continue the quality of the split here with their barnstormer ‘Strickland North’, I definitely need to investigate this band more because I listened to this song back to back a good 4 times in a row which always a good sign. Monument bring the split to a close with ‘Sophisticated Liars’. Monument are a criminally underrated band who write consistently great music, their song here is catchy enough to have you singing along by the second chorus (woooaaaoooohhh) and is a good reminder to listen to their music more.

Stream/Download HERE

7. FAKE PROBLEMS/YOU BLEW IT! (Topshelf Records)

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A band I love and a band I’ve not heard before makes for a good split single, which is exactly the case here. Fake Problems play bright, britpop-esque music with massive choruses, they remind me of Gene and maybe a little bit of Suede in a good way. I wasn’t expecting to be reminded of them and it came as a nice surprise, their songs are catchy enough to find yourself humming them to yourself hours later. You Blew It! made one of my favourite records of last year and the 2 songs on offer here keep that quality up, the first of which, ‘Batavia, NY’, is currently my favorite songs of theirs. Saying that, both songs are great. You Blew It! are another band who need to make the trip across the pond and come play for us.

Stream/Download HERE

8. FOOTBALL, ETC./PLAIDS (Strictly No Capital Letters, Count Your Lucky Stars)

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I’ve written so many nice things about Football, etc in the past that I’ve literally run out of superlatives to attribute to them. Although I’ve probably never simply stated that they’re fucking great, which I should’ve because they bloody well are. Their song here, ‘Down The Field’, continues them on the path to become my absolute favourite band, faultless indiemo of the highest quality. Them putting out a split with Plaids is a very exciting prospect. If, like me, you spend far too many hours reading about emo bands on the Internet then you’ll know that Plaids are one of the most exciting bands in the UK at the moment. They just get it, their music plays with time signatures, brilliant angular guitar work and delivered with a blast of incredible energy. Both bands are touring the UK together this summer which will be a tour not to miss.

You can download/stream the songs HERE

Cheers for reading!!

Come and say hi, leave a comment here or on Facebook www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog or on twitter @alex_itto

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The Is this thing on? Top 10 Records of 2012

What a year 2012 has turned out to be. So much so that this list has proved to be near impossible to write, choosing the 10 best records of the year and then listing them in order of bestest has given me a headache. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good headache and I ain’t complaining. Last year I posted a top 10 and so I thought i would continue with this. My best friend paul who writes the Wallernotweller blog made the sensible choice of listing 15 records but I’m not that wise. So, 10 it is. Meaning that some bloody good records have ended up missing out on this list. Bands like Suis La Lune, Converge, Joyce Manor, The Cribs, Sport, Ape Up! and Dads have all produced some quality work and have only missed out on my top 10 by the slightest of margins. Annabel too, whose album ‘Youth in youth’ is packed with greatness and if it had come out earlier in the year it might have taken one of the top ten places. These are all very worthy but they can’t all be winners so on with the list..

10. You Blew It! – Grow Up Dude

you blew it

This is an album that just keeps on growing on me, I like it more every time I listen. The records perfectly understated production mixed with the heart and melody of the music make it hard not to love this album. The fact that bands are making music like this is the reason why I write this blog, if someone asks you if there really is a 90’s emo revival happening at the moment then play them ‘Grow up dude’ and they will have their answer. I’m sure I saw someone mention on something or other that You Blew It! might be coming to the UK in 2013, this needs to happen. In the meantime I’ll just make do with falling in love with this album some more.

9.  State Faults – Desolate Peaks

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My first listen to ‘Desolate Peaks’ was my first experience of State Faults and by heck it was a good one. I love it when you put something on completely without assumptions and end up being blown away. The record is powerful yet touching. It perfectly fills the void left by Pianos Become the Teeth not releasing an album this year. But of course State Faults are a lot more than just a lazy comparison and they are by far the heaviest, screamiest band on my list this year. Earlier in the year they were kind enough to answer some of my questions, click HERE to have a read.

8. Dowsing – It’s still pretty terrible

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This is a record that is full of charm and beautiful indie pop songs that warm the soul. I said in my review of this album a few months ago and I stick by it, this is the record The Get Up Kids were trying to make with ‘On a wire’ and failed. Dowsing however hit it spot on. Now I know for a fact that they are planning to tour the UK next year, this is one not to miss. These songs in a packed venue with a whole crowd singing along to every word is something I definitely wanna be a part of!!!

7. Basement – Colourmeinkindness

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This is a record that appeals to the teenager in me, the spotty kid in the early 90’s with long greasy hair who was proud to called a ‘grunger’ by every chav in Thanet. There are so many grunge influences on this record that it’s hard to keep up, Basement mix in their straight up melodic hardcore and what you have is an album that’s screaming out to breakthrough. If it does it’ll be too late though as Basement are no more which is more than a damn shame. Great record!

6. Glocca Morra – Just Married

glocca morra

Glocca Morra are quite possibly my favourite band that I discovered this year. ‘just Married’ got a hefty few plays again and again this summer and listening to it now immediately reminds of that time. This is a perfect summer album because it’s just so much damn fun. If I was in to having house party’s and was wanting to get things happening then i would reach for this record, it would pretty much guarantee everyone a good time. Not only did Glocca Morra give us ‘Just Married’ this year, they followed it up with the equally amazing ‘An obscure moon lighting an obscure world’ EP. I hope they keep this momentum up and maybe next year they can claim my entire top ten!

It has come time to take a short break from this countdown and take a minute to remember the bands that we have lost this year. I mean, what awards show would be complete without a memorial montage and this Top 10 is no exception. So watch the video below and join me in some quiet reflection as we remember those that are gone.

5. Crash Of Rhinos – Distal

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Now, I know what you’re thinking, technically this record didn’t come out this year. It was first released in April of 2011 but it was re-released this year by Big Scary Monsters and this record is too good to be left out on a technicality. Plus who are you to say I can’t have them in my top 10, you’re not my mum! (mum if you’re reading this put the laptop down and back away, they’re in and that’s final). Crash of rhinos are almost too good, beautifully brilliant songs that last forever yet never outstay their welcome. With incredible vocals that seem to come from every member of the band and more bass players than bands that only have one bass player in them. They are touring in January with Raein which has ‘tour of the year’ written all over it already!!!

4. Prawn – Ships

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Shortly before getting this EP I went to see Prawn play live in Folkestone, the show was beset with technical problems so much so that they ended up only being able to play 4 songs. At the time I wasn’t bothered because I’d had a great night and Prawn were still fantastic. But after getting ‘Ships’ a few weeks later I was gutted that they couldn’t play all night. The songs that make up ‘Ships’ are so incredible that hearing them live would surely constitute one of the best gigs you’re likely to ever attend. Perfect emo like a poppier Appleseed Cast, love it!!

3. Title Fight – Floral Green

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Title Fight keep going from strength to strength and ‘Floral Green’ is their best record to date. Only a year after releasing their first studio album ‘Shed’ they released a record that was not only brilliant but also showed they had made great leaps forward in terms of sound and maturity. The dreamy, shoegaze magic of ‘Head in the ceiling fan’ showed a new side to Title Fight and ‘Secret Society’ proved that Title Fight can write catchy, instantly likeable grunge songs as well as anyone. Another essential record.

2. Dikembe – Broad Shoulders

broad shoulders

Dikembe are one of the best bands you’re ever likely to hear, following up the massive potential shown on last years ep ‘Chicago Bowls’ with a near perfect record of beautiful, mid paced emo. My heart melts at the first sound of Steven Gray’s voice and the guitar sound they have only heightens this sensation. I can see this album/band coming to define this current wave of emo tagged music, in a few years we’ll be looking back at it with the same fondness that we look back at, for example, ’30 degrees everywhere’ by the Promise Ring it’s that good. In any normal year it would easily win my album of the year top spot and they were only very narrowly beaten this year by…….

1. Joie De Vivre – We’re all better than this

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This years first prize just has to go to Joie De Vivre with ‘We’re all better than this’ an album which I’ve very rarely not been listening to since it came out in the summer. Having split up it is unfathomable that this record could never have been made and I am so grateful that they gave it another shot. Seeing them play this summer in Brighton is one of the best shows I’ve ever been to, a brilliantly uplifting experience. Which is like what you get every time your hear ‘We’re all better than this’. An album that both boasts the best use of trumpets all year and the amazingly lovely backing vocals from Lindsay Minton (Football, etc) cannot fail to impress. A beautiful, beautiful record, well done, FIRST PRIZE!!!

Well, there you go. 2013 is already shaping up to be another incredible year that is promising new albums from Tigers Jaw, Football etc, Daylight, The Reptilian, Appleseed Cast, Jimmy Eat World and many more. I literally cannot wait. In the meantime thanks for reading and have yourself a very merry christmas xx

I’ve made an Is this thing on? best of 2012 playlist on Spotify if that’s your kind of thing, click the link below x

Is This thing on? best of 2012

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Review: Basement – Colourmeinkindness

Band – Basement

Album – Colourmeinkindness

Label – Run For Cover Records

Coming up in tonight’s review:

“Holy fucking shitballs why the hell has this band split up!!?!!?!???!”

Last year Basement released one of my favourite records of that year, ‘I wish I could stay here’. It was a solid album full of Title Fight-esque melodic hardcore that I played time and again. I also got to see them play a show in Margate which really showed me what a great band they are so when news came that Basement were going on indefinite hiatus (splitting up) I thought it was a real shame. Now that I’ve heard ‘Colourmeinkindness’ I think this news is a fucking travesty.

This record is getting me all kinds of excited. If someone had said to me that all my favourite musical sub genres (grunge, punk and emo) would someday be combined together by bands to amazing effect I would’ve wanted to believe them but known that this’ll never happen. But to my disbelief it is happening. Playing ‘Colourmeinkindness’ and I’m suddenly transported back to that 13-year-old kid who lay in bed thinking my brother was a lying cock for coming home from his paper round with the news that Kurt Cobain was dead, or to the 17-year-old sitting in my friends flat being played Sunny Day Real Estate for the first time. Times when music seemed to be all that mattered, Basement make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and make me wanna get up and dance like an idiot the way all my best-loved bands do.

The album blasts in to life with ‘Whole’ and it’s an incredible start to the album. It shows Basement’s intentions from the start, they’re here to make a career defining rock album and they ain’t mucking about. The briefest of guitar intros quickly make way for the full band to kick in and already you’re left blown away by how loud and full on it is. What a way to start the record. The chorus makes you wish you were in front of the band in a packed venue screaming along with them and then the massive riff at the end makes you wish you were in the middle of the crowd going every kind of ape shit.

Before you know it the second song, ‘Covet’, has begun and here you have the first major nod to the early 90’s grunge sound with a song that owes a massive debt to the Pixies. Maybe it’s because I am still so in love with the music from that era but I’ve found a mass of grunge influences throughout the record. Maybe intentional or maybe I’m the only one who thinks it but here are a few examples of what I mean. ‘Spoiled’ reminds me of Alice In Chains, ‘Control’ has hints of ‘Superunknown’ style Soundgarden, ‘Black’ puts me in the mind of a sleazy early Stone Temple Pilots, ‘Comfort’ has a Yellow Ledbetter-esque intro and ‘Wish’ gives a big nod to a ‘Gish’ era Smashing Pumpkins. All of which are meant as huge compliments and all the while still retaining that Basement hardcore edge which attracted you to the band in the first place. You could hear this record a hundred times and get none of the references I just mentioned but you should be left with the same feeling. The feeling that you want to scream “Holy fucking shitballs why the hell has this band split up!!?!!?!???!” again and again until someone rings the council to make a noise pollution complaint against you.

Amongst all this you also have a couple of indie pop gems thrown in to the middle of the album. ‘Pine’ and ‘Bad Apple’ highlight a band capable of writing incredibly catchy pop songs that still never compromise on what the band is about. It’s another reason to love Basement and stops the record from becoming too much of one thing, it refreshes you so when they’re ready to unleash more 90’s inspired heaviness on you you’re more than ready.

‘Colourmeinkindness’ is a real surprise of a record. Not a surprise in the sense that Basement have made a truly brilliant album but a surprise in how they’ve done it. It at the same time feels like a unique record whilst also wearing their influences on their sleeve. Just over 10 years ago a massively exciting post hardcore band released a genre defining record called ‘Relationship of command’ and subsequently broke up before their time. Only time will tell if this record has that same impact, it could well do. I just hope that if it does that Basement don’t reform in 10 years time to headline Reading and appear like ghosts of their former selves. But, sod it, if they do I’ll be there singing along.

I love this record so much I’ve paid actual money TWICE for it. Downloaded from the Run for cover bandcamp page HERE.

And bought it on vinyl from Banquet Records HERE.

Basement play 2 final shows but they sold out quicker than I could say ‘ah, I’d quite like to go to that’

November 16 – Leeds – The Well

November 17 – Camden London – The Underworld

Thanks very much for reading. xx

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Review: Title Fight – Floral Green

Band – Title Fight

Album – Floral Green

Label – Side One Dummy

Shouldn’t it be impossible to make a fresh sounding punk rock album in 2012? Hasn’t it all been done already? The fact that Green Day are releasing a triple album, having a paddy onstage and judging the Voice (?!?) you’d think that punk was a dead duck having been stripped bare and laid to rest many years ago. But yet, here come Title Fight to get you back in check. Punk rock is alive and well as long as you are looking in the right places.

Having taken forever to release their first full length studio album, ‘Shed’, they are back just one year later with their second, ‘Floral Green’. It’s a big ask to follow-up what was one of my favourite albums of last year but Title Fight are more than up to it. ‘Floral Green’ can even be seen as a huge step forward, Title Fight have taken the energy and excitement of ‘Shed’ and added a maturity to their sound which makes for a more diverse and extraordinary record.

The album blasts in to life with the incredible opener,’Numb, but I still feel it’, which builds up and fires in to 3 minutes of trademark Title Fight punk excellence. The next 2 songs, ‘Leaf’ and ‘Like a ritual’, continue in this vein taking us to ‘Secret Society’ which is definitely a standout track on the first listen of the album. It’s a straightforward and catchy as hell pop hit with its massive, rumbling, overdriven bass and huge chorus. It’s a nice setup for what comes next, ‘Head in the ceiling fan’ is a song that couldn’t be more different but one that has grown to be my favourite on the record. It’s slow, melancholic and utterly gorgeous and presents a shift in the album. This is the moment you realise how much Title Fight have progressed in the short time since ‘Shed’, it adds another element to the band without taking anything away. It kind of makes them seem more grown up without seeming any older, if that makes sense. I hate using this as a description because it can be taken the wrong way but it also introduces a bit of grunge to their emo tinged punk rock, I hope you get what I mean.

After ‘Head in the ceiling fan’ you feel a shift in the record, the song makes you see the rest of the record in a different light. You know now that what you are listening to is a classic record in the making and Title Fight don’t put a foot wrong. ‘Make you cry’ and ‘Sympathy’ hit out at you and make a lasting impression, ‘Calloused’ has a Nirvana-esque chorus which will always get me on side and ‘Frown’ is a certain contender for song of the record/year with the simplest yet best of guitar lines over the intro and chorus. When the album is brought to a close by another 2 really strong songs, ‘Lefty’ and ‘In-between’, you are left gagging for more. Especially because ‘In-between’ finishes with no rock star ending, no big stadium finish, it just ends and makes you shout “Holy shit, I must put this record on again!!!”.

‘Floral Green’ is one of the most completely brilliant albums of the year and one which I seriously cannot fault. Some of the songs may take longer to grow on you than others but given just a few listens you get over this. There is so much to enjoy like the added ‘shoegaze’ moments which were totally unexpected. If Title Fight keep this quality up then, in a few years, I can see them being viewed in the same way Hot Water Music are now. Everyone’s favourite scene heavyweights if you know what I mean. Go and enjoy the record now!!!

Click here to go to the Title Fight website.

Cheers for reading, any feedback is most appreciated.

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Review: Dikembe – Broad Shoulders

Band – Dikembe

Album – Broad Shoulders

Label – Tiny Engines

I wonder, every so often, which albums out of this new wave of emo will stand the test of time. I feel as excited right now as I ever did about this kind of music and, like all good things, I don’t want it to end but one day it will and what will we be left with? When the world moved on to whatever it was that it moved on to before, I was still listening to Appleseed Cast or The Promise Ring on a very regular basis. So, what will be the records that stay with me when the scene no doubt falls apart like it did back then? Well I can say with a very certain amount of confidence that ‘Broad Shoulders’ by Dikembe will be one of those records. I don’t know if it’s right or not but I have only had the record for a few weeks and I’m already holding it in the same esteem as ’30 degrees everywhere’ and ‘Mare Vitalis’, or, to translate that for you IT IS REALLY REALLY FUCKING GOOD!

Since the release of their debut ep last year, the amazing 4 track ‘Chicago Bowls’ there has been much anticipation for Dikembe to deliver a full length record. They’ve taken a fair amount of time for it to get here, enough time for people on the internet to refer to it as the ’emo chinese democracy’ (which I think is to do with the amount of time it’s taken the record to come out rather than they have a guitar player who wears a KFC bucket as a hat, unless I’m missing something here). In fact it hasn’t been that long, it may seem like it just because you want it to come out so much and they’ve done well to take this time over it because what Dikembe have delivered here is a modern emo masterpiece.

Everything about this record just feels so right, the to the point indie production, the gorgeous guitar sounds, the perfect pacing of the songs where nothing feels rushed or hurried, just naturally brilliant. I read that singer Steven Gray said the theme of the record is growing up and you do see that throughout the record. on the Wavelets LP ‘Athaletics’ (his other band) he sang “I’m not mad I’m just fucking stressed out”, here on ‘Apology not fucking accepted’ he sings “I’m so mad I can’t fucking see straight”. Maybe he sees things different now as part of growing up or maybe those two are nothing to do with each other and no comparison should be drawn but either way they are 2 great moments of each record.

And great moments keep coming on ‘Broad shoulder’, like the chugging groove laid out at that start of ‘I watch a lot of Jackie Chan movies’ which turns in to perhaps the best song on the album. The album is equally as good in its more uptempo parts such as ‘We become river rats’ and ‘Librarians kill for that kind of quiet’ as it is in its quieter songs like the beautifully downbeat ‘Not today, angel’. By the end the album leaves you with a feeling of total contentment, this is what we’ve been waiting for and now this is what has been delivered to us, to put it a simpler way it’s like a having a perfect christmas. All the build up was overwhelmingly worthwhile.

The thing is with a revival of a sound, there are those bands that will do well by imitating what was there before and just bringing in to the current day and there are those that just get it. Dikembe are a band that just get it, this is the type of music they play because when they get together this is what comes out rather than thinking beforehand “hey, lets write a song that sounds like those guys”. They are a timeless emo band, one that has reaffirmed my love for this music for which I’ll be forever grateful. Cheers dudes.

Click HERE to go to the Tiny Engines bandcamp to download/stream the record.

Cheers again for reading xx

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Summer

Wow, who knew it would be so hard to combine the kids summer holidays with writing a blog about music? I have 3 boys, all of whom are now of school age and the amount of energy that these guys take out of my wife and I is unreal!! I’ve been to a couple of shows and have been listening to a number of great new albums and I’ve been wanting to write many nice things about them all yet it gets to the evening, which is my usual blog time, and I’ve barely got the energy or motivation to keep my eyes open let alone tap some words into my computer. We’ve also been preoccupied with the Olympics and Paralympics which took up more time than I thought ever would. It seems strange now that I would wake up and my first thought would be “better watch some Olympics”, a thought that would repeat throughout the day until I realised it was midnight and I was still glued to the tv. At the time it seemed perfectly normal.

Me at the Olympic stadium during the Paralympics.

So I thought I’d do a big round-up of all the stuff I’d been to and been listening to bring us bang up to date.

First, the shows I’d been to. Here’s where I would’ve been writing glorious things about how good Everyone Everywhere were on their recent uk tour. Sadly, money and time were both against me on this one and I didn’t get to go. My twitter friend Gary went and I’ve asked to write a very quick review of the show, here’s what he came up with:

“The gig was sparsley attended but still amazing, catchy, anthemic emo!!” I wish I had gone.

Something I did get to go to however was the last day of this years Hevy festival (with very special thanks to our good friends Chloe and Justin). The festival was in its 4th year and I’d been wanting to go since it started with just some bad luck preventing me before. Hevy is a small festival situated next to the Port Lympne wild animal park in Kent. I say small but one of the things I really liked about the day was the size of the festival, it was ideal and given the right line up i think it could be a great success. When we got there my wife, Hannah, and I met up with some friends who had been there for the whole weekend. They were wide-eyed with excitement about how much fun they’d been having so that instantly got me in the mood to stand in a field and watch some bands. During the day there were some great sets from Cruel Hand who delivered some hardcore goodness, 7 Seconds who in their fifties showed they could still entertain a big crowd and Suis La Lune who are always brilliant.

As it got towards the evening things started to get very exciting indeed. During Listener, who had packed out the tiny Red Bull tent and for good reason because they were spine chillingly good, our friends Chloe and Justin managed to get us to go backstage and I got to fulfill a bit of a lifetime ambition. I have always wanted to stand on the side of a stage at a festival to watch a band and during Hundred Reasons set on the main stage there we were and it was awesome. Now, I know we were hardly looking out over the crowd at somewhere like Reading where I imagine the feeling is even better but I loved how we could see the band up close and get to watch how the crowd were reacting and the crowd were loving it.

After that excitement there was still much to enjoy, Lemuria brought their charming pop loveliness to the festival to great effect and Vinnie Caruana made Hannah’s summer by not only playing an amazing solo headline set in the Red Bull tent but also stopping to have his photo taken with her when we bumped in to him later. Converge then came out and tore the place apart, the atmosphere was incredible as they launched into ‘Jane Doe’ but sadly my back was giving up on me and we made the hard decision to go. It was a hard decision because it meant that we missed out on watching Descendents who by all accounts played a super greatest hits set. My back is a bitch, I’ve gone on about it way too much before and it still pisses me off so I’ll leave it there. A fantastic day all in all and I really hope Hevy manages to continue on, I will certainly be going back if it does.

A week later we had the incredible privilege of Baroness coming to Margate to play an intimate show at the Westcoast Bar. It was a very special night as a pretty fair-sized crowd packed the basement venue. There were plenty of good friends there amongst the crowd and our friend Jason’s new band Harrowed played as support. They were loud, powerful and very impressive and were playing minus a bass player not that that made any difference to their set. Definitely seek them out and give your ears a good pounding. Baroness came onstage to a heroes welcome, they are obviously a band with a huge and devoted fan base and they lapped this up by playing a brilliant set full of songs old and new. Afterwards the band came out front to meet and greet with us fans, we got to chat a little with singer John Baizley who also posed for a photo with Hannah and our friend Emma. We were all extremely sad to hear the horrible news that 2 days later their tour coach crashed off a viaduct in Bath during torrential rain. Some of the band and other passengers suffered some horrific injuries and I hope that they will all make a full and speedy recovery.

The relentless onslaught of amazing music being released has also continued itself over the summer, some massive albums of which I’ll be posting some reviews of in the next few days. But for now I thought I’d roundup some really great records that you may or may not have recently missed.

Topshelf records release schedule has been as busy as always, including 2 records in particular that really caught my attention. The first being the new self titled album by the band Sirs. There is so much energy and joyous noise packed in to the 8 songs on the record that it leaves you little option but to fall instantly love with them. They are punk band in the best indie lo-fi kinda way, each of their incredible songs include hooks and melodies that leap out through the distortion and screams which will keep you coming back for more. Some songs last barely a minute and some stretch past 6 minutes yet all feel equally at home on what is a really, really good album that is absolutely worth your time, money and attention.

The other is the new album from Duck. Little Brother, Duck! ‘Don’t Take Our Filth Away’. If you like your music a bit more challenging and like songs to be messy and unpredictable rather than the standard verse chorus verse then this record will hold some appeal for you. The record starts out a bit Joan Of Arc but then soon enough comes across a bit more Sonic Youth whilst all the while sounding like neither of those bands. There is no set pattern to the songs on the record, the songs are interesting and inventive, a math rock wall of noise in parts with vocals way down in the mix to form another instrument of sorts. It again is a really great album with some brilliant song titles, ‘Flashes of Quincy’ and ‘Everybody Loves Screamo’ being a couple of my favourites.

A band that came to my attention recently thanks to someone mentioning them on this blog’s facebook page, (thanks Lee), is Sport from Lyon in France. Their album, ‘Colors’, is one of the best things I’ve downloaded from bandcamp in a while. It is an instantly likeable, summery album that never fails to put me in a good mood. Bright, poppy, twinkly emo of the best variety bringing to mind Algernon and Ape Up! and it is French which is always a big plus in my book. You can download it dirt cheap on their bandcamp page, the link is below.

The last band I’ll mention today is a very special one indeed, a band that have barely been off my stereo in the last month or so which is either due to laziness of the fact it’s really fucking good. And I think you’ll find it’s the latter. The band in question is Glocca Morra and their new record ‘Just Married’ is just genius. I could leave it at that but I won’t. Just as I was mourning the break up of Algernon Cadwallader this record comes along, slaps me around the face and tells me to get over and quick for I have some dancing to be doing. And dancing is just what I want to do when I hear this record for this, as the picture on the front cover suggests, is a party record. Glocca Morra know how to write a good melody, they may seem to want to make it messy and add a bit of grunge here and there but the melody always comes through. They also like to say ‘Fuck’ a lot but, hey, who the fuck doesn’t. This is a highlight in a year packed full of them, go and listen because you won’t be disappointed!!

Here are some links to the things listed above:

Sirs – Sirs

Duck. Little Brother, Duck! – Don’t Take Our Filth Away

Sport – Colors

Glocca Morra – Just Married

Harrowed – S/T Demo

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Review: Best Practices – The EP LP

Band – Best Practices

Album – The EP LP

Label – Tiny Engines

Maybe it’s because of all the emo music that I’ve been listening to and obsessing over for the last few months but this record by Best Practices sounds so refreshing. It’s the kind of record that grabs you by the lapels and wakes you up from your slumber with a mighty slap round the face. Sometimes there is nothing better then a good punk record and this is a fucking good punk record.

Best Practices are from Providence, RI and feature members of Light the Fuse and Run, Jesuscentric and Wow, Owls! and you may think the album title is a little confusing. That is until you hear the record and realise that although the record has 9 songs it lasts just 12 minutes. Which is the exact time it takes me to drive to work so he record has it’s practical uses. It’s unusual to talk about what practical use a record has but when I can hear the whole record through to wake me up and get me ready for the day on the way to work, and then hear it all the way through to pick me up on the way home from work, then it does that little bit more to win over my affection. And this record is a really great way to start a day, its the musical equivalent of a double espresso.

Most of the 9 tracks clock in at around the 1 minute mark and the whole record is played at a frenetic pace. The energy of the band playing is perfectly captured and the sound is loud and distorted in an amazing garage punk way. The album starts as it means to go on with ‘Deerhunter’ and it just never lets up, there is no drop in pace or dull moments just punch after punch of glorious punk rock. There are moments of the Descendents here and there, some of the meldoic guitar work brings them to mind. The vocals are delivered with all the power and energy needed to match the music on offer. And then the record is finished off in style with, ‘Get Confident, stupid’, which, while still played at the same speed also has a really great melody to it which is in a slightly different key to the other tracks and makes you love the record even more. A great finisher.

Please go and check the record out, you’ll be hard pushed to find a better punk record this year. If you are in the UK you can purchase it on one sided 12″ vinyl from View from the attic records, click HERE to go to their site. Or you can download from the Tiny Engines bandcamp page HERE.

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