Tuesday, 18 December 2012

New Artist Alert: The Antics


A New Jersey outfit that has performed at the Stone Pony?! No...it can't be... alas, The Antics are not offspring spawn from a one Jon Bon Jovi/Richie Sambora love affair, but they are in their own right taking over the NJ music scene with one eye on the rest of the world.

The Antics are a fourpiece post-punk/indie rock band who have grown up together jamming in garages and working at fame the hard way whilst laying the foundations to their very own career in music. The band take inspiration from rock-mainstays The Who, The Smiths, Joy Division, and The Doors and describe their sound as, "...a tasty dish of head-knocking beats with fuzzy guitar riffs, propulsive drums and infectious hooks." Well, with my appetite whetted, it's time to find out what all the fuss is about.

'Touch the Sky' kicks off album 'Running Faster' with a raw and steady feel, held together capably by the lead vocals. With a nod to the genre, the arrangements are simple and a little thin but this is what the indie sound is all about. I was a little unsure about the sudden fade-out at the end; coming in at just over two minutes I felt there were a lot more ideas that could have been explored without feeling like the song had to come to a sudden end but it segues into track two on the album easily.

'In the Night' is sitting pretty in the middle, holding fort at the halfway stage of the album. Led by the lead vocals, the guitar sound isn't dissimilar from 'Touch the Sky' but at least the lead guitar explores some lead-lines to develop the sound and maintain interest. The track breaks into these lead-lines at regular occurrences creating a much more musically-interesting arrangement. The chorus is low-impact but suits the style of the track as it grows in intensity, the lead vocals once again leading the charge, as the rhythm section holds everything down steadily whilst the lead guitar delves into solo territory. The sound is far more interesting and well-developed than previous tracks on the album but still has a little 'garageband' tinge to it all; this might be part of the charm of the band and the genre, and who am I to say what the NJ teens are screaming for these days, but I feel that the influences cited by the band all had a lot more to offer musically and I worry that The Antics don't penetrate deeply enough nor do they jump high enough on a middle-of-the-road, and very congested, musical spectrum.

Don't be swayed by my opinions; simplicity is effective and I urge you to make up your own mind. The Antics are attracting critical acclaim in the NJ area and are also donating a track to go towards relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, raising funds for the Red Cross.

You can check out The Antics for yourself on Facebook. Enjoy :)

Monday, 3 December 2012

New Artist Alert: Maycomb


When We Were Beautiful is happy to share Maycomb with you, a pop-punk quartet from Wolverhampton who have just announced the release of their debut album 'I Opened My Heart To Caustic Things' via I Am Mighty records.

I've had a listen to the album, which is an energetic pop-punker of a CD that kicks off like a freight train with opener 'New Storms'. Maycomb are setting their stall out early, beating the crowds on an early Sunday morning with all the bite and energy of any well-established pop-punk outfit from across the pond. Frantic drums and a steady mix of half-time/double-time feels ensures this sits well within the established comfort zone of the genre and, at just under 2 minutes long, is a real snapshot of things to come from the album; a warm-up to the main event if you will.

'Dynamiter' kicks off with an extended Parmore-esque opening feel, before making way for the vocals that are often dual-layered adding a little more depth to the lead vocals which feel a little thin at times. I'm reminded of the All American Rejects at times, so if you're a fan these guys might just be for you. Verse 2 looks to develop ideas previously explored in the track to maintain the listener's interest whilst remaining true to the good-old pop-punk recipe.

'Out of the Darkness Cometh Light' offers a little audio-respite; a wise move from Maycomb as they opt for a mid-album electric guitar/vocal ballad to ease off the intensity, if only for a minute or so, allowing the listener a bit of breathing space. The segue into 'When The Time Comes' is rather effortless and definitely adds to the track considering the afforded toilet-stop.

The album ends just as it started, full of energy and drive with 'Also Ran' that particularly showcases some great drumming and lead guitar work. The rhythm section are working hard throughout the album holding things down; the guys are evidently tight and doing a great job on the song-writing front which should hopefully allow them success as long as the genre remains relevant.

If you like what you read, check out the album-sampler in the video below. Hopefully then your appetite will be well and truly whetted and I'm only too happy to send you in the direction of iTunes where you can purchase an album for yourself. Be sure to keep up to date with the guys on Facebook too, and catch them live when you can. Enjoy :)


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Video Alert: The Sharps - Cage of Love

It's always nice to share something from friends of mine, and The Sharps are a great band that I've had the pleasure of sharing the stage with during my time at Uni on a number of occasions.

Enjoy the band's video for 'Cage of Love' below; The Sharps always have a lot of fun with their videos and never take themselves too seriously. They're always refreshing, entertaining, and original and Cage of Love is no exception.



The Sharps are a hard-working 3-piece rock/funk outfit hailing from Norfolk, and have a real Chili Peppers/Strokes vibe about their sound. Be sure to keep up to date with the guys on Facebook.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

New Artist Alert: The GoAround


There are many brothers who join forces to create a band and attempt to hit the big time, and Anthony and Alexander Saddic from The GoAround are no exception to this rule. Since its inception in 2006, the band has seen many-a plethora of members come and go, but A and A have held firm and, as The GoAround's core members, released their debut album 'Restating the Question' in August this year.

Hailing from Pennsylvania on the East Coast where they are still based, The GoAround, an alt-rock/pop duo, have video plans in the works for the singles from the album, 'Her Love is Like Glass' and 'When I Hit the Bottom'. Of their songs, the band say: "[Our] songs lyrically serve to motivate people to analyse what they stand for... Everybody is essentially chasing the same things: love acceptance and happiness. That to me is the common thread that unifies all of mankind..." Profound words indeed, and these guys really sound like they've got something to say.

'Her Love is Like Glass', a steady alt-pop tune, manages to draw in influences from country rock to fist-pumping stadium feels, whilst churning along delicately thanks to some great vocal harmonies. The texture thickens somewhat as we meander into the second verse, the layers slowly building as the track progresses, ebbing and flowing with its short verse and chorus stabs. There's a lot of ideas crammed in here, perhaps some not as effective as others, but the track's got a feelgood quality to it that you can't help but love.

'When I Hit the Bottom' is torn from a slightly different cloth; the country flavours are still nestling in the mix but there's an altogether grittier, bluesier tone apparent. The vocals are as strong as ever, the music busy and rich, and introducing and returning to little stabs and riffs often to maintain the listener's interest. Unlike 'Her Love is Like Glass', the second verse feels a little flat, maybe I'm used to the building blocks and expected a little more the second time around, and the second chorus drops into a short-ish guitar solo section; I'd love for an explosion that vamps upwards to match the passion and energy of the lead vocals. Again though, there's a great feel to the track and that's what it's all about. The mouth-organ towards the end is lovely and the 'jam-band' drive assures me that these guys are ones to catch live.

Keep up to date with all things The GoAround on Facebook and grab yourself a copy of Restating the Question on iTunes now!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Video Alert: Lower Lands - Socialise with Closed Eyes


This just in! I Am Mighty Records are pleased and proud to announce Lower Lands have released a video for their track Socialise with Closed Eyes which you can check out for yourselves below. Fans can get a copy of the single and a B-Side 'Conversation 2.0' by joining the I Am Mighty mailing list.

The video has barely been up a few days and has already notched up almost 4,000 views! Here's the what the band have got to say about the track:

"This song is a letter to a Someone who stopped being a friend because they let things in life get on top of them and they stopped listening to others around them and started just pitying themselves. It's sort of a last resort wake up call from us to them. It's also sort of a good guide to 'how to be a bad friend' by Lower Lands! Do all these things, and people will 100% guaranteed think you're not a fun person to hang out with."

And here, the band share their views on the video itself:

"The video is kind of our take on the whole reservoir dogs thing. It's like "what if we took this open letter to this person, but then kidnapped them and read it directly to them?"
We wanted to keep it light though to match the vibe of the song so we brought in the humour element with some ridiculous torture methods going on and they seemed to really work because by the end of the video our boy's nothing if not compliant! Filming in suits, although it looks badass, was a pain. We had to do loads of running and LOADS of performance takes with the hot sun beating down on our adonis-like figures. So things got a little bit sweaty out on the locations, but we had bottles of water at the ready etc. We shot the video with Oh My Dog! films and it was an absolute pleasure. The guys were all really professional, had loads to input in the video and even brought us some lovely food to keep us going throughout the pretty much half marathon we ran to get that 10 seconds of a chase scene! We put so much thought and effort into this video and really wanted to step things up in terms of production value, storyline and the song in general so we really hope you enjoy it. Peace!"


Here's the video, it's a great pop track with a fun video! 



In other I Am Mighty Records news, 'Maycomb' have joined the family which is great to see this indie label growing and developing and extending their rostra of artists. The bands debut album, 'I Opened My Heart To Caustic Things', will be released later in the year and the opening track 'New Storms' is available for a listen here. Enjoy!

 

Thursday, 4 October 2012

New Artist Alert: Le Paige


I'm very happy to introduce to you Hollywood pop-rockers Le Paige, a feisty quartet who bring 'undeniable pop swagger' and 'anthemic songs' to the table. The guys, who have been together since 2011, have already earnt themselves a spot on the 2012 Vans Warped Tour, a greatly prestigious nod for anyone not least of all for a band so early into their musical career.

With plans to record their new EP through Kickstarter, Le Paige's first offering was released at the beginning of 2012, enjoying an average 5-star rating on iTunes in the process. 'Hit The Lights' is a great 4-track pop-rocker from a very positive band who are all about just having fun and playing music.

The EP's flagship track, Another Chance To Lose, kicks off the CD dripping with American pop-punk goodness and the sort of sound sure to please both fans of the genre and teenage girls alike. Musically, it's a simple but effective journey through the tried-and-tested pop-punk form, dipping in and out of half-time/double-time changes, rocking lead-guitar riffs and catchy vocal melodies with a (genuine) American drawl thrown in for good measure. It's all good fun, and the group-chanting breakdown section is just what the doctor ordered which is, I'm sure, more than fine for fans of the genre. Music connoisseurs turn up your nose at your peril, this isn't a highschool garage band we're talking about here; Hit The Lights is an extremely well-written and highly polished pop-punk record with squeaky clean production but just enough of a rock edge for the guys to enjoy it too.

Be sure to keep in touch with Le Paige via their Facebook page, if only to keep up to date with news of the bands' new EP. And keep one eye on the American music charts for these guys, if Simon Cowell gets a sniff there's sure to be dollar signs in his eyes...

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Guest Post: Imogen Reed - New Artist Alert: TUSK

Back for her third guest-post by popular demand, here's Imogen Reed's fantastic feature on Newcastle rockers TUSK. Enjoy!

Boy Bruce, The Mighty Atom / Subtle Fun cover art
image courtesy of wearetusk.bandcamp.com

One of the best places to discover new music at the moment is Newcastle and one of the brightest bands to emerge from there are the four piece self styled “indie math-pop” band TUSK. They’ve just released their third single and with it launched their very own recording label “Into The Blue” records, too. The band comprises Thomas Robertshaw, Jonathon Evans, Andy Cutts and Sam Hodgson and they’re one of the most exciting new bands you could hope to hear.

New single
Following on from the critically acclaimed success of their first two EPs, “Before The End/As You Begin” released in August last year and April 2012’s “Lloyd Fleet”, as of August 27th the band have just put out their third single, a double A-Side release called “Boy Bruce, The Mighty Atom/Subtle Fun”. You can download all three releases from their bandcamp.com page and it is definitely well worth a listen.
Trying to find another band past or present to compare TUSK to is very difficult indeed as they seem to defy pigeonholing. Their sound is very unique and they mix intricate guitar parts with storming bass lines and really assured vocals. This is the video for one half of their new single “Boy Bruce, The Mighty Atom”
They create a wonderful musical atmosphere, quite ethereal in places and remarkably fresh sounding considering the dearth of guitar-by-numbers bands there are out there at the moment who all seem to want to look and sound like each other. Listening to these guys is a breath of fresh air in a quite frankly, stale, sweaty, rehearsal room, smelling of cigarette ash and beer dregs, that have been there mouldering since Britpop tailed off in the late 1990s. At their heart is a good, solid guitar band and one that could really deserves to go places if the music buying public could be persuaded away from all the identikit groups that are out there.

Previous releases
This is the band’s second single “Lloyd Fleet” which was released earlier this year:
Again, this is another prime example of how they combine really intricate guitar rhythms with strong vocals. If you didn’t know any better you’d say they’d been around for years, honing their craft and gigging. There’s something very shy and unassuming about them too, they’ve none of the cocky “we’re ace” swagger that some groups with much less talent have.

Critically acclaimed
They’ve had a lot of critical acclaim and praise from those who are really in the musical know. BBC Radio 6’s very own Tom Robinson has singled them out for a few mentions and they’ve had a number of really successful sessions on BBC Radio Tees, too. Some of the videos for those sessions are accessible on their YouTube subscription page here, WeAreTusk.
They sometimes like to throw in a few unexpected covers; highlights so far have been a version of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and Wham’s “Club Tropicana”. These are done with their own typical brand of quiet enthusiasm and really show off their considerable style and talent.

image courtesy of wearetusk.bandcamp.com
 
Difficulties of student life
If you’re in the position of living the difficult student life at the moment and thinking about having to do everything on the cheap, from food shopping to clothes purchases and making all sorts of cutbacks from stopping smoking, buying Chantix online or finding other ways to kick the habit, then it’s sometimes nice to try and use a bit of really good music as therapy to make tailing off cigarettes much easier and relaxing. One of the best ways to get your music for a reasonable price is from bandcamp and when you look at TUSK’s page, you’ll see a whole host of other bands that they recommend. Sometimes the downloads are available for free, so while you’re there, check them out too and maybe make yourself up an old style mix tape for literally next to no money at all.
You might also want to think about putting the saved cash towards going to see TUSK play live somewhere, which is highly recommended. They’ve got a few gigs coming up in Newcastle during the next couple of months or so, details of which can always be found at their Facebook page which you can find here.
The band’s next gig is coming up on 21st October as part of the Oxjam Music Festival where they’ll be playing alongside lots of other local acts. At the very least, downloading their singles from Bandcamp is definitely the way to go, you seriously won’t regret it.

Friday, 14 September 2012

New Artist Alert: Mister Vertigo


In keeping with bands from across the pond may I introduce to you another of Boston's musical exports, 'Mister Vertigo'. The rocking quintet have been together for twelve years and have a whole host of DIY EPs and albums under their belts, not to mention having worked with top US producers Scott Riebling (Fall Out Boy, Weezer) and Brian Charles (The Figgs, Azure Ray).

Mister Vertigo, now part of the Zippah Records family, are prolific songwriters having recently written a plethora of tracks recently. The band are set to release their next single 'Taciturn' in early October, which will include three bonus track as part of 'Metatheory', and I've had a little pre-listen...

Taciturn is fit to burst with a great spectrum of musical influences apparent, with the likes of Pearl Jam to Weezer to The Beach Boys hidden somewhere in the folds of the track. The chord progression and form are simple but effective; the vocals sit proudly atop the mix, sometimes with nice harmonic backing, as the chorus follows the wails of lead guitar. Extended solo sections are a feature, so if you're a fan of winding guitar this one's definitely for you. The rhythm section are grooving along, holding everything together very capably, as the lead vocals, laced with passion and a little desperation (the good sort), project strongly and lead the charge. The track, albeit a little short with a slightly abrupt ending, is a great pop-rock tune that's sure to be a favourite for fans and critics alike.

Mister Vertigo are on Facebook, so keep in touch with the guys to make sure you get your hands on Taciturn when it's released early next month. In the meantime, there's plenty of music and pictures to whet your appetite. Enjoy :)

New Artist Alert: Prospect Hill


When We Were Beautiful are happy to welcome to our list of newly featured artists American-rockers Prospect Hill, a 5-piece hard-rock outfit from Boston. The band, veterans of the 'new-music' scene having been together since 2007, pride themselves on their strong work ethic, and have recently released the hard-hitting album 'Impact' under Carved Records.

Having been available since the end of August, I've had a listen to the album's lead-single 'Come Alive', and it's a real ball-grabbing rocker. The intro is relentless, effortlessly easing into a half-time feel as the verse sidles in, quickly and efficiently. The drums have a lovely grooving feel to them, as harsh guitar noise sits atop the foundations of track, led confidently by a great, classic rock vocal. There's a polished 'Hinder' feel to the track, but with elements of some darker, more underground sounds creeping in to maintain a real rocking edge. The chorus returns to the double-time feel as in the intro, shifting up a gear and taking no prisoners before returning to the driving riff and restoring familiarity. The track takes no shit and gets to the point quickly; there's no space for unnecessary here as the second chorus merges flawlessly into the middle eight and, before you know it, we're going back around again for the final chorus. At just under three and a half minutes, it's probably the perfect radio-ready rock-song, and is only missing a guitar solo in my humble opinion. Otherwise, it's a great rock track that I can't find fault with and, if this is your thing, the song fits as snugly as a favourite old pair of jeans that you've been wearing for years, and you're going to love it.

Be sure to check out Prospect Hill on Facebook to check out photos, live dates, and have a listen to Come Alive and the rest of the album. And if you've really got some time on your hands, delve into the rather lengthy bio to really get a feel of what these guys are all about.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Guest Post: Jim Mackney - Gallows, 'Gallows' Review

I'm very pleased to introduce a good friend of mine and a very talented writer to you, a one Mr Jim Mackney, who is debuting as a guest-writer for When We Were Beautiful with a review of Gallows' latest self-titled offering. Here's to many more!

 
When Gallows released ‘Death Is Birth’ late last year it was a statement of intent from a band written off by some quarters of their fan base and some music journalists who should have known better. Gallows have always been more than the sum of their parts and their parts are making such a wonderful racket on their new eponymously titled third album you’d think that they had concealed a nuclear warhead in every disc. This album is for those people that wrote them off but if not more importantly it sounds like this album is for Gallows. 


The album opens with ‘Victim Culture’, a song that typifies Wade’s performance from the off. A woman’s voice trails off after delivering a solemn series of questions and in comes Wade, screaming at the top of his lungs ‘IN US, WE TRUST’, before launching into a verse so cursive and antagonistic you can almost feel the spittle coming out from the speakers and with that you’re slipping into Gallows’ vice like grip and there’s no way back. 


The latest single ‘Outsider Art’ showcases Wade dictating the momentum of the song with such a galloping pace you can sense the world around you spin that little bit faster, you’re not sure of where you are anymore and the world you’re in is now run by Gallows and they’re showing you the night of your life. The disenchanted and broken world view given over on Grey Britain is still present on this record (if a lot less blatantly) but it is done in such way that that you want to live there, you want this world to envelop your every pore. 


Gallows have presented the world with a snap shot of punk rock history with this release and present is sounds are akin to the snotty British golden age, brutal Eighties hardcore and even some punk’n’roll for good measure. They’ve boiled all these elements down and created a record that is unmistakeably punk rock in 2012. 


Musically on this album Gallows have never sounded tighter. Every guitar line laid down by Steph Carter and Laurent Barnard strikes harder than anything on the previous two albums and perhaps even, every song on this record contains guitar lines as strong and memorable as seen on, ’In The Belly Of A Shark’. The drums are battered and driven in every song to breaking point by Lee Barratt, proving that there are very few better drummers in punk rock right now. 


‘Odessa’ and ‘Depravers’ come in with a shit-kicking fury (one veiled under static, the other brutal from the off) and are arguably the songs that every Gallows fan has wanted them to make. Coming in at a pummelling five minutes and twenty five seconds it contains four guttural verses, two gang vocal choruses that are begging to be performed live and contain drums that drill your head into the nearest wall leaving you wanting the wonderful pain to stop but you know if it did that your life wouldn’t quite be the same again. 


The song that really sets this record apart from any previous Gallows release however is ‘Cross of Lorraine’, the final track on the album. At the point it starts you’ve been listening to the album for twenty nine minutes and eight seconds and you’re done; you’re hanging on the ropes wanting nothing more than for your trainer to throw in the towel but he’s just stood there shaking his head, refusing to let you quit, refusing to see your broken body climb out of the ring, and just as you shout him to do it, he throws your body back into the ring and all you can hear is Wade singing ‘You could never understand what it took for me to be your man’ and the venomous guitar lines return and the nuclear missile drums are dropping around your head once more. During the chorus of ‘GET UP, GET UP, you know it’s true’, you throw a flurry of quick fire punches and as ‘Always waiting for the death of the death of love’ fills your body with a nauseating desire for all this to be over, you realise you can only just about find the strength for one final breath. Wade MacNeil, Steph Carter, Stuart Gili-Ross, Laurent Barnard and Lee Barratt have beaten you to a pulp but you’re still breathing and more importantly they are still breathing. This is Gallows. They’re one of the most important bands around right now and you wrote them off? You deserved the beating.


9/10.

Jim Mackney writes his own blog, which you can enjoy here.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

New Artist Alert: Observing The Ghost - EP Review


'Ghost rock' is not a sub-genre I am all too familiar with. Apparently, there are two criteria that must be met before you can describe yourself as pioneers of such a style. Thus, progressive, atmospheric, and psychadelic feels must be key features in your sound, and all your members' names must start with the letter B. Or at least these two points are true of 'Observing The Ghost', the ghost-rocking quintet from Portsmouth, UK.

Observing The Ghost have spent the past year or two making a name for themselves across the South-Coast, playing in a whole load of venues I'm all too familiar within in the Southampton/Portsmouth/Winchester areas. The guys are due to release their debut album 'Burn The Tsunami' on Coffee Jingle Records on October 26th, but until then I've had a listen to last year's EP 'We Will Find The Sun'.

With five tracks on offer, the EP kicks off with 'Now We Are Shadows', and sure enough my progressive and atmospheric senses are tingling. With a nod to the former, the vocals don't kick in until over a minute into the track; perhaps the guys are setting out their 'progressive stall' if you will, but I can't help but feel myself yearning for a much quicker introduction. The way the track starts on the EP could be a great feature live, but I'd love for it all to kick in at 25 seconds, there's a great window for a real punchy drop. But that's just me. When it does kick in, the wall of sound is so dense and texturally thick that there's a great platform to experiment with layering and building throughout the song which I, as the listener, look forward to. The vocals are simple but effective and the drums are interesting behind the scene-setting guitar and fort-holding bass. The chorus is a little messy but that's more a nod to the texture and I'm sure works well live, and I love the progression from half-time to double-time and back to a settling half-time in the second verse. There's a slight unsettling nature apparent in the vocals now with a few effects creeping in, showcasing a dip into psychadelic and electronic quarters that works really well. There's no hiding from the fact that it's a bit of a monster in length, with a self-indulgent guitar section which extends into the outro but it's certainly a monster musically as well, a great opener.

'Angles and Opinons' marks the half-way point of the EP, with more unnerving electronica-laced riffs and rhythms before the vocals seek to find some common ground in the verse. Vocally, the chorus sounds a little weak compared with the music on show but melodically it is branching into the stadium-rock-friendly progression that is also cited amongst the band's influences, perhaps a hint of Coldplay somewhere in the mix. Again it makes for a really interesting audio offering though, something a little different from the norm and daring to hold its own. The track is less memorable than our opener but is still in keeping with the theme of the EP and I definitely wouldn't go as far as to describe it as a filler, ending a lot stronger than it began.

'Rebirth in Reflections' is the EP's closing statement, headed with an interesting groove and settling into a nice 6/8 signature. It's a much calmer affair than its predecessors but it feels as if the band have thought long and hard about the tracklisting of the EP which signifies a real journey for the listener. The drums stand out for all the right reasons once more, showcasing yet more creative grooves and fills as the track closes the EP and rounds off our musical outing safely yet comfortably. I'm not sure on the guitar tone for the short solo section that falls off into obscurity towards the end but overall this marks the finale well to a great-sounding, and altogether rather different, EP as the full-band bring around the last chorus one more time with a final goodbye.

Observing The Ghost will be on the road in support of their debut album from 19th October, for full info on locations and to keep up to date with the band, be sure to check them out on Facebook

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Video Release: Kyoto Drive - 'Breathe'

The Kyoto Drive lads have been busy recently, and I'm happy to share with you their video for the track 'Breathe' taken from their new mini-album 'The Approach'. Adam Binder, of Kyoto Drive, had this to say about the track:

"Breathe, the song, is basically about sex, lets not skip around that fact. The song is written from the viewpoint of the boy, looking for some kind of sign that the girl is enjoying herself as much as he is. So it's kind of a love song, kind of not, and no matter what guys say, we've all been there, we've all waited for that second of recognition from that girl that we REALLY liked. So following on from that we really wanted to do a boy/girl story style video, keep it in theme with the song, plus we've done the whole band performance video thing, we wanted to try something new. This is what Josh the director came up with..."

The band have a busy tour schedule over the next few months, including a UK tour support with Hawthorne Heights

19.09 THE HAUNT, BRIGHTON
20.09 THE PEEL, KINGSTON
22.09 MOHO LIVE, MANCHESTER
23.09 VENUE, NEWCASTLE
24.09 TUNNELS, ABERDEEN
25.09 DEXTER’S, DUNDEE
26.09 NEWMARKET BAR, THURSO
27.09 STAIRWAY, GLASGOW
28.09 THE WELL, LEEDS
29.09 THE SUGARMILL, STOKE
30.09 HOBO’S, BRIDGEEND
01.10 CRAUFURD ARMS, MILTON KEYNES
02.10 FACEBAR, READING 


Also the mainland Europe tour with There For Tomorrow of Hopeless Records has just been confirmed and announced.

 
26/10 THE PEEL, KINGSTON (UK)
27/10 ROCK CAFE, LEUVEN (BE)

28/10 TIEFGRUND, BERLIN (DE)

29/10 ROCK-HOUSE, SALZBERG (AT)

30/10 DURER KERT, BUDAPHEST (HU)
31/10 B72, VIENNA (AT)
01/11 BLACKOUT CLUB, ROME (IT)
02/11 LA MARQUISE, LYON (FR)
03/11 DAMAGE FESTIVAL, PARIS (FR)
05/11 SCHLACHTHOF, BREMEN (DE)


06/11 DYNAMO, EINDHOVEN (NL)

Check out the video for yourselves below, and be sure to keep in touch with the guys on Facebook


Saturday, 25 August 2012

Video Release: Charlie Played Cello - Memories Collide

You may remember my post on LA rockers Charlie Played Cello about two months ago, in which they featured as a new artist here on When We Were Beautiful. Well, I'm happy to reveal that in that short space of time, the band have been working hard and have now released a video for their track 'Memories Collide', which you can see below. I have been forewarned that if I am in any way a fan of 80's glam rock, I'm sure to enjoy the video. Well, as a huge Bon Jovi fan, how could I possibly pass up this opportunity?! You can see the results for yourselves, but let's just say it's nice for a band to have a little fun once in a while, especially a fairly new band, who don't feel they need to take themselves as seriously as everybody else. A great track with a rocking video.

Enjoy!


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

New Artist Alert: Neko


When We Were Beautiful would like to welcome Neko to its rostra of featured artists, a three-piece outfit from Worthing, UK intent on bringing guitars back into the charts. The pop-rock trio, founded earlier this year in its current formation, describe themselves as eclectic and hard-hitting, who are driven by otherworldy sounds among other things.

Otherworldy is certainly a great adjective to describe my introduction to the band, and indeed the introduction to their first track 'The Return'. A sweeping call-to-arms sounds loudly as a minor arpeggio rings out before the track settles into its stabbing chord progression. As the drums assure themselves and the listener, the vocals are introduced and remind me initially of a Matt Bellamy/Mika infusion strangely. Personal choices aside, the vocals are great and the track has a cool and simplistic feel as it progresses towards its first chorus, which is beckoned by a hint of lovely harmonies leading the listener in. The vocals do indeed start to soar here, picking up the rest of the band into a rousing and rather-epic chorus. The second chorus thankfully comes around a little quicker than the first, reassuring familiarity with the listener, before making way for a guitar-led section. The music drops as in the verses to allow for this, and although my first thought was to maintain the energy and texture of the choruses, the band's decision is justified by their rather abrupt ending. So unexpected was it in fact that I had to check if the track was over; there's room for another chorus but with a lengthy-period of time before the first chorus kicks in and a nod to the band's quest for chart domination, coming in at under three and a half minutes is a vote in their favour. A top tune.

'Changes' maintains the syncopated guitar riffs and the overall sound reminds me of The Hoosiers a little. Rhythm is clearly a factor in the guys' song-writing as they often seek to push the boundaries of livening sections up and ensuring, for instance, the drums mimic certain riffs to add a little more emphasis. As the chorus comes around, I'm reminded of a slightly McCartney-esque sound to the vocals and their harmonies adding an interesting Beatles-infusion into the mix. The guitar riff in the verses gets a little repetitive by the time the second verse is here which provides a good opportunity to add something new to help maintain the listener's interest whilst adding a deeper level to the song. 'Changes' ends as rather abruptly as its predecessor coming in at well under two minutes; there's of course room for extra sections but it's great the band have made the decision to keep things short and sweet. It's easy to elongate sections or throw too many ideas into the mix but harder to be brutal in deciding what stays and if this suits the band then who are we to judge?

Neko do as they promise, bringing a funky and fresh breed of guitar-pop to the table which would sit perfectly well in the popular music charts. Their friendly, feel-good charm and soaring choruses would not go amiss on National mainstream radio and I wish them every success in reaching that platform.

Neko are performing at Bar 42 this Saturday 4th August in Worthing, West Sussex with support from Seraphim, a recent feature on the blog. The guys have their on website which you can check out here and be sure to keep up with the guys by following them on Facebook.

Friday, 20 July 2012

New Artist Alert: Anita Nicole


Debuting on When We Were Beautiful is the breath of fresh air that is Anita Nicole with her jazz-inspired solo sounds. Nicole cites Beyonce, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson as her favourite artists, with the sassy yet smooth vocal inspiration of the latter example prominent in her forthcoming single 'Will You Ever Be'.

Featuring Robin Porter on piano, this silky jazz-infused ballad allows a lovely space for Nicole's delicate and passionate vocals. The arrangement reminds me of a John Legend piano part and there's definitely room for an R'nB feel to accompany Nicole's sound. The sparse arrangement is perfect for the track, but I can really feel a great soul band behind this live to add an extra layer of interest.

Nicole is currently studying at the Brit School in London, whose alumni boasts Jessie J, Adele, Leona Lewis, and Amy Winehouse to name but a few. 'Will You Ever Be' will be released online later this month, so be sure to keep up to date with Anita Nicole on Facebook, and check out the video for the track below.


Thursday, 19 July 2012

New Artist Alert: Sink Swim


LA has spawned many-a great band over the years and its newest ambassadors, Sink Swim, are hoping to keep the torch alight. This alt/pop-punk trio have dived onto the scene with their debut offering 'Elements', a 5 track EP they hope will turn the heads of the global music masses with their "gut-wrenching vocals" and "catchy and honest choruses".

There's always something a little more genuine and honest about American-based pop-punk. Though this blog features the sub-genre heavily, it's not necessarily something I'm an expert in. All the same, the original, American breed is surely the source for imitation of all of the English pop-punk bands and a chance to feature a grassroots US outfit is too good to pass.

Elements doesn't fail to deliver the tried and tested pop-punk methods, whilst packing an extra dark punch; a nod to the band's alternative roots. The amalgamation of the member's backgrounds adds for an extra interest with the guys inspirations lying between hardcore drumming and latin guitar-playing.

'Losing Sleep', the EP's second track, introduces itself with monotonous one-chord stabs whilst the lead guitar adds a splash of colour on the wall somewhere in the distance. The verses drive steadily, opening up systematically to reveal a little more passion, texture, and, most importantly, the vocals. Already the track is building and we haven't even reached the chorus yet. The bass prominently throbs along, holding down the fort with the drums as the verse winds on before easing into a less-intense pre-chorus. It provides a great segue into the half-time feel of the chorus, just a mere 4-bars in the first instance. The hi-hats open up for the second verse, the track again always still building, and the band never fall short of musical and/or pre-production ideas to maintain the listener's interest whilst ever-climbing. The breakdown does as you'd expect, stripped to the bare bones, before jumping head-first into a guitar-led section but it's exactly what is needed; predictability is not always a bad thing. The track still seems to be building before the final chorus with new ideas still being introduced, as the drums lead the charge towards the outro. A great and well-crafted pop-punk song.

The EP's final track, 'Last Year', eases in with some nice reverse-guitar before the band's statement, twangy bass sets the rhythmic scene alongside acoustic guitar in a lazy 6/8 signature. The drums don't hold back with nice triplet bass-drum strokes still injecting the more alternative feel into this pop-punk driven ballad. I feel the band could have learnt more from their progression skills as featured in 'Losing Sleep'; the chorus doesn't separate itself enough from the rest of the track for my personal preference as it ebbs along as a musical piece rather than a song with clearly-defined sections. The vocals are laced with passion but the track itself doesn't feel as polished, or perhaps as musically interesting, as its predecessors and may have sat better on the EP in the middle rather than as the lasting impression.

Elements is a great and honest offering from LA's latest export Sink Swim and is available now on iTunes. Be sure to grab yourself a copy and keep up to date with the guys on Facebook too. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Boy Set Sail return with Brand New EP!

The Newport quartet Boy Set Sail are back with a brand new EP titled 'Roads'. Recording began earlier in the year at The Ranch Production House, Southampton, where my band Birds In Flight recorded ourselves almost a year ago. Check out this great and 'spicy' behind-the-scenes teaser video featuring interviews with the band members and samples from the new record:


You can have a listen to the EP below but be sure to grab a copy for yourself; it's completely free! All you need to do is sign up to the I Am Mighty Records mailing list here and you'll be sent a free download link.

Enjoy!


Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Fools For Rowan...One Year On!


So I had an email this evening with an update from the Fools For Rowan guys, who have cropped up in my online-subconscious over the past few months being an opening act for Evanescence recently. I like to know when I last wrote about an act if I'm revisiting them to ensure it's not too soon for you guys or for them, nobody likes too much of a good thing. SO anyway, it turns out that my previous post on the Nashville rockers was exactly a year ago tomorrow!

So there you have it, exactly one year on and where are the guys now? Well, for a start, they've a new EP which is released tomorrow, July 3rd, on iTunes. And yes, that's their When We Were Beautiful birthday, which I'm sure the guys were keen to make sure was celebrated in style. The EP's titled 'Who Killed Amanda Day?' and features 6-tracks which I'm assured are "packed with authentic lyrics, powerful vocals, and high-strung beats that stay true to rock genres of the past and present." according to the bands' press-release.

The single, 'Killed A Man Today' (Amanda day...a man today?) fronts the EP and, as the lead single, is complimented with a great video which you can check out below. The track kicks off with some funky rim-work on the drum shells before building with some rocking bass and driving riff-based guitars. As the vocals drop the song eases into a pulsing rhythmic-jog in the verses and punches with a great chorus that really flaunts the awesome lead female-rock vocals. The song is packed with energy and angst whilst maintaining a radio-friendly edge that should please listeners at both end of the spectrum. If you're not humming the killer riff for the rest of the day, you obviously weren't listening properly.



'Who Killed Amanda Day' is out July 3rd on iTunes and the guys are of course on Facebook. Be sure to check out their video, have a scroll through the photos, try and catch them live if you can, and definitely get a copy of the EP for yourself. Help keep music live and support these artists who have got the potential to make it big but need YOUR help to break into the mainsteam. Enjoy Fools For Rowan. Rock on!

Monday, 18 June 2012

New Artist Alert: Seraphim


Seraphim are a 5-piece rock band from Chichester, UK who formed in 2010. Tags such as alternative pop and progressive guitar rock define the band who have performed at some of my old haunts including The Joiners in Southampton and The Railway Inn, Winchester and the guys have just recently released their 3-track EP entitled 'Awkward Silence' of which I've had a listen to.

The EP kicks off, or rather gently casts from the shore, with opener 'See You Again' with its steadily-embellished piano riff and conscious rhythm section. The vocals are pleasant though I feel rather a long-time coming; having said that they reflect the progressive nature of the track well which builds to its first chorus, driving well, but could maybe do with a little more from the cymbals department to help push the accents home on the kit. The guitar really opens up in the middle 8 section, muddying the waters and throwing down the gauntlet for the sloshy hi-hats and confident backing-vocals of the final chorus.

'Can't and Won't' is a nice, radio-friendly pop-rock song which features some lovely dual-lead vocals. The guitar sounds a little uncertain in the intro and could maybe benefit from borrowing some lead-lines from the keys or at least harmonising with them just to offer another layer and a little more texture but this is purely a personal opinion. The chorus is steady and, though doesn't pack too much of a punch, is nonetheless effective and the middle 8 is once again where the track really opens up nicely and it's great to hear a guitar solo featured as the song fades to the EP's final track...

...'Losing Run' is like the naughty, rebellious younger brother that the family are keen to hide from friends at gatherings with it's tainted, rockier edge and crunchy guitars. The female vocals take the lead for this one and sound great and, as an arrangement, the track really stands out. There's a lovely cymbal-wash fading into the second chorus to maximise the impact following the brief pause and a pulsing breakdown as the piano takes centre stage before the rest of the band rock a little harder to bring us home. The double-time is a nice touch in the last of the double-choruses as something was definitely needed for differentiation and the outro confidently caps off a great-sounding EP.

I really like Seraphim and what they're doing, and it's certainly refreshing to hear an unsigned band not be drawn into the pop-punk abyss, though I feel there is even more scope for an even stronger EP. The talent and song-writing ability is clearly evident, but with perhaps a little more post-production work on the recordings and some real work on the vocals the band could sound better still. Don't get me wrong, both the male and female vocals are great in their own rights but there was only a hint of them sharing the mic in Can't and Won't and I'd love to hear the guys really make a feature of the dual-lead vocals (I know it's cheesy, but think Alphabeat!).

Seraphim are ready and waiting for you to check them out on Facebook, and I urge you to try and catch them live soon.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

New Artist Alert: Charlie Played Cello


It's been a while as Staind once sang, but I've found a little time between two great holidays (Poland and Tunisia if you're interested) and moving house next weekend to have a listen to LA's Charlie Played Cello, who have just recently released their album 'Red'. The band's name is a nod to a friend of the band who sadly died in a road accident on the way home from one of the band's shows, and his cello playing is featured on the album.

Charlie Played Cello describe themselves as having a "unique and dynamic sound that spans from mainstream power-pop to sinister post-punk anthems, in the spirit of Weezer and Jimmy Eat World". Offering the opportunity of a reminiscent throw-back to my tender teenage, Kerrang TV-watching days, I was tempted to check out CPC and, sure enough, the hints of these iconic guitar bands are evident in Red.


'Memories Collide' packs a minor-feeling, garage-band punch with a unique vocal sound and throbbing organ poking through the mix. I feel the vocals might be a little 'marmite' for some listeners but the track plods along with help from the drum pattern as the snare hits stab on every crotchet beat throughout the verses. It builds to a cool guitar-solo section reminding me of Richie Sambora's feel-good country-inspired solos when Bon Jovi met Nashville.


'Run Away With Me' with its dense intro section packed full of melodies, instruments, and musical ideas settles into a grooving middle-of-the-road rock track which chugs along nicely enough. The chorus didn't hit me as hard as I'd like, with more emphasis seemingly placed on the main riff which features in the intro and the vocals sound a little strained but the backing vocals help to ease the slight tensity. The guitar sound is great in the short solo lick but I can't help thinking the chorus after this could have been really stripped back and sparse to create a bigger impact for the final chorus and outro riff. By all means a good rock song but one I feel could be even better with a brief trip back to the drawing board.


'Light Me On Fire It's Midnight' reminds me of the guitar-led Weezer and Jimmy... feel that drew me in in the first place and the chorus is great. The track is short and sweet and to the point though still finds time for a guitar solo which is fine by me, and feels like the memorable sing-along track that would have the most success with radio airplay.


Charlie Played Cello offer exactly what it says on the tin; it's no-thrills guitar-rock that rightly deserves radio-time and, although might not be something that appeals to an English audience as much as an American one (or at least not a young one) still has scope to offer the band success which I wish them in the future.


Be sure to check out CPC on Facebook whilst Red is available now on iTunes.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

New Artist Alert: Kyoto Drive - The Approach


Kyoto Drive are a 4-piece pop-rock band from the West Midlands who have recently completed work on their 7 track mini-album entitled 'The Approach'. The guys worked with producer Matt O'Grady who has worked with the likes of You Me At Six and Deaf Havana and the album is available from 28th May.

The album kicks off with an easy-listening piano-led prelude which progressively builds to introduce the instruments and, eventually, the vocals. The rhythm of the performance is rather broken and stabby, offering a feeling of slight unease and works really well, as the track merges into the second song which officially kicks off the mini-album.

It sounds great in all, the production is fantastic and the vocals really lead the crunchy guitars and driving rhythm section, featuring slight pop-punk flavours atop a bed of straight-forward pop-rock. It certainly sounds very current and should be well received. It's a pretty relentless journey sandwiched by two piano-led tracks, offering the listener an easy-ride home on the final straight which is well anticipated and greatly needed.

Check the guys out on Facebook or via I Am Mighty Records and be sure to get hold of a copy on May 28th!

Friday, 27 April 2012

New Artist Alert: Sans Gras


And now for something completely different! Introducing Sans Gras, a post-rock outfit from Melbourne, who dived head-first into my inbox this morning, causing a cacophonous tidal wave of blaring brass and driving drums. Check out the first single 'Sun Come Up' below from upcoming EP 'Shed Your Woes'; it's a really interesting piece of music that takes the listener on a journey through three different musical realms, kicking off with some sexy sax, easing into a real grooving, rock n roll middle and finishing off with some dance-infected pop-rock goodness. The intensity of the last movement in the piece, if you will, builds to a point  ofunease before settling back in with the hook, the rocking riff, tipping off quite a different track, something that the band claim to be "not mainstream musical fodder".

If you're native to Melbourne, be sure to check out the band as they take on a residency in Melbourne's Grace Darling this May. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

I Am Mighty Records and Friends' Compilation

I am very happy to report that I Am Mighty Records will be releasing a compilation album, featuring artists on, and friends with, the label. I am particularly pleased to be sharing the news, having worked closely with the label over the past year in helping to bring new artists much-required exposure, sharing them with my loyal readership. I hope that, should you be a fan of the type of bands affiliated with I Am Mighty Records, you'll be excited to get hold of the CD when it becomes available on April 30th.

I Am Mighty Records have a real passion for discovering and sharing new music, and providing bands who show great promise and potential the chance to make a career out of something they love. As a label, they've always worked really hard to gain exposure and promotion for their acts, including through blogs like mine, and their Director, Dave, is a really hands-on and personable guy.

Not only does the label aspire to share new music, it is doing so, via the I Am Mighty Records and Friends' Compilation CD, free of charge. Featuring Taking Hayley, Sell Your Sky, Maycomb, Fly This For Me, ScreamDontWhisper, Piper Saint, Highrise, Pressure Kids and many more; all you need to do to get hold of a copy is to sign up to the I Am Mighty mailing list, and fans will be sent a download link. There'll also be physical copies available nationwide at various gigs and events.

To sign up to the mailing list and to ensure you receive you're free copy, just click here.

For a sneak preview of the album, check out this sample video:




Thursday, 29 March 2012

Guest Post - Imogen Reed: Introducing Spector!

Imogen's first guest-post was so successful, we've invited her to do another! This time she's introducing Spector, a five-piece outfit from London. Enjoy! -G

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Spector: Sartorial Sounds

Combining elements of everything that was glorious about pop music from the seventies and eighties (and leaving out everything that was bad) Spector are a five piece indie band from London who have been causing a real stir on the music scene in the last few months. Hotly tipped by the NME and receiving rave reviews for their live performances and sartorial elegance they are tipped for great things this year.

Who Are They?

The band comprises Fred MacPherson on vocals, Christopher Burman on guitar, Thomas Shickle on bass, Jed Cullen on synth and guitar and finally Danny Blandy on drums. MacPherson is something of an indie stalwart (well, as much as you can be when you’re still so young and fresh faced) having been in two other bands - Les Incompetents and Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man both kind of folky, punky, prog rocky outfits (yeah, nice mixture of styles there!). However, MacPherson left the latter along with Burman to form Spector in order to create something completely different.

What Do They Sound Like?


Completely different. Polished. Accomplished. Just a few of the words that spring to mind when hearing them for the first time. Considering they’ve only been together a short time, the sound they produce is nothing short of electric. MacPherson has such an assured and competent vocal – a rich, strong sound that really draws you in. That’s the sort of voice that can only improve over the coming years and it surely will (so long as he stays off the lemonade). As with any new bands comparisons have been drawn with all sorts of other acts – reviewers saying they sound like The Vaccines (MK II) or Franz Ferdinand (again MK II). There are elements of Roxy Music in there, for sure – a slight nod to Brian Ferry here and there in MacPherson’s treatment of the songs, the way he sings certain phrases.


Chevy Thunder is a real energetic pop stomp, brilliant punchy vocals – powerful synth vibes and it straddles so many genres it’s untrue – hard to know even where to begin with what it alludes and pays homage to. It’s the sort of thing you could imagine picking you up when you felt really bad – a stomping song.

Sartorial Matters

But aside from the music (at the moment, they’re writing and recording a debut album for release later this year) one thing has to be said about their look. In a society that’s becoming more and more obsessed with looks rather than sounds, Spector look the part. Smart Smart Smart. Dressed in sharp suits for their video performances as seen here:


They’re sharp haircuts and edgy moves just look so good. MacPherson’s geeky glasses make him look like the musical equivalent of Harold Lloyd. They just seem so out of kilter with the rest of the musical world, but in a good way. Sometimes it’s good to be different from the crowd and these guys are. It’s nice to be reminded that it’s cool to dress smartly and look the part as well as sounding the part. You could imagine them in a cliff hanging tense situation in a black and white movie – some sort of bank heist or share dealing scene, in which they’ve got literally moments to save the financial world from collapse and they do it with seconds to spare. And then get the girl. Or something.

Can They Cut It Live?

Oh boy, they can cut it live:




It takes real talent and strength to be able to not only sound good in the studio but to be able to replicate that in front of a live audience. They manage it so well. It’s hard to find a critical angle on them – some bands you see and you think they’re just OK; the singer wasn’t that good– off key, shouted rather than sung or whatever. Here, you’ve got a singer who can definitely hold a tune, not a flat note in the performance – seems so assured on the stage and oozes confidence without being cocky or full of himself. It’s a rare thing, but one to enjoy. Hopefully Spector will keep up the good work with the coming of their debut studio album this year. In the meantime, seriously, do yourself a favour and check these guys out properly. They deserve your time, your ears and your downloading finger.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

New Artist Alert: Lower Lands


New to both When We Were Beautiful and the I Am Mighty Records family are Lower Lands, a new alternative rock band from Lincoln, UK whose sound features some punk influences with an alternative rock undertone. The band have shared the stage recently with the likes of Iron Chic, Crazy Arm, Talons, Shapes and Deaf Havana and are set to release their debut EP entitled 'Growing Pains' on April 14th this year.

'Reality in Routine' is the lead-single and, ahead of the EP release, is enjoying exposure with thanks to the low-budget, garage-rock feel video accompanying it. The band's punk influences are evident in the track, which fuses more modern-sounding pop-punk guitar sounds that are clinging onto the older punk-sounding melodies. It's the same story with the gnarly vocals which hold a very English punk quality with underlying pop-punk backing vocals. The band have a great energy and an interesting and, most importantly, slightly different sound to showcase. You can enjoy the video for yourselves below:


You can have a listen to the EP for yourself here, but if you do have a listen be sure to pre-order a copy from I Am Mighty Records here and help to support up and coming talent. You can check out Lower Lands on Facebook here; try and catch the guys out on the road soon!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Guest Post - Imogen Reed: Introducing Lowline!

As I've said before, maintaining the blog has proven a little tricky in my final few months of uni where my workload has shot through the roof...that said I'm very excited to introduce When We Were Beautiful's first Guest Post! Imogen Reed is a great writer who has written an article below on Lowline. Enjoy! - G

Lowline

Probably one of the more exciting new bands to hit the scene in the last couple of years, Lowline are steadily providing a brilliant alternative to much of the sterilised safe pop that’s currently flooding the charts. Still they are yet to get the chart success that they really deserve…

Who Are They?
Hailing from deepest, darkest Manchester (well, Stockport – that’s dark enough) they comprise singer/guitarist Robbie Rush, bassist Mike Hosker, guitarist Andy Hewitt and drummer Sam Clarke. Following in the tradition of other great Mancunian bands they want to make music that reflects the environment they live in, and they’re succeeding really well at doing it. Their self titled debut album released last year on the Deaf Radio label shows a host of amazing influences but still sounds fresh and incredibly unique.  Rehearsed and recorded over a period of eighteen months, you can see how much that has influenced the end result – still an alive and raw sound, but really accomplished. Considering they’re still only in their early twenties, they’re sound is much older (and that’s not a criticism either, that’s a really good thing in many ways – the only way they can take it is forward and keep maturing)

Their Sound

In the best tradition of all the great Northern bands – The Smiths, Joy Division, New Order – but taking inspiration from other genres such as Krautrock – Can, Neu and Kraftwerk they kind of occupy some sort of middle ground which gives them an incredibly rare sound, driving guitar rhythms and hard edged bass-lines which incorporate singer Robbie’s vocal so well. He is sometimes reminiscent of a younger Ian McCullough, a slightly less melancholic version of him, yet he still holds an incredible power that carries the lyrics really well. Their debut single “Monitors” shows a really mature strength and the video kind of matches up to that image:


It was shot at a disused warehouse in Ancoats in the band’s hometown, something which lends an extra edge of rawness to both their sound and appearance.
Also taken from the album, this song:
Which has such a crisp, catchy guitar hook the kind of thing that gets stuck in your head for days on end (in a good way, not a Crazy Frog way…). It just feels so reminiscent of everything that’s great about the Manchester music scene past and present. All Your Scars is another brilliant example of their sound, it’s almost slightly (eeeek) U2ish, but without tipping over into self indulgent, self congratulatory nonsense.
On first listen, you feel like you know all these tracks – that they’re somehow yours. The basslines are catchy, the vocals are accomplished and full of amazing power, but the more you listen the more you find something new in it that keeps grabbing on to you. Maybe it’s the fact that it feels like “coming home” in a strange sort of way,

What Else Have They Done?

Well, they do what other bands don’t. They don’t always take the safe option and play proper organised gigs in proper organised venues. They’ve started a trend for more or less DIY gigs in local places, disused warehouses and stuff, which rather than carrying lots of heavy publicity and expensive advertising has had the effect of their success spreading by word of mouth. It’s also set them up with a really loyal fan-base from the offing, something that you really don’t see that much of these days.
December last year though saw them supporting newly reformed Macclesfield band Marion on their comeback gig at the Academy in Manchester, the gig was critically acclaimed and really well received and won them a lot of praise for their tenacious play and ability to get the crowd going – also it’s seen them in talks to sign with Marion’s new record label Townsend Records, which could be a major step in them achieving the success and riches they deserve and maybe treat their parents to a holiday on one of the Fred Olsen Ships.
Really the only way for this excellent group to go is up, if they keep the standard of their debut going and follow on then success is surely theirs, a much wider audience need to hear how good they are and how they can keep the momentum going.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

The Ocean's Eyes - Rooms of Red: The Making Of!

You may recall my post back in January sharing The Ocean's Eyes great new video for Rooms of Red. If not, why not jog your memory? Ok, gottit? Good. Now that's fresh in your mind, why not take a sneaky peek behind the scenes of the shoot, where those pesky scamps offered their thoughts into making the video and also what jumping around too much in your jeans can do. It offers a great insight into a 'behind the lens' perspective; behind the scenes footage is always something I love to watch:




Don't forget, you can catch the guys on tour later this month as they head out with Room 94, for which tickets are availble for here.

15.03 OXFORD O2 Academy2
16.03 SOUTHAMPTON Unit
17.03 BRIGHTON Hydrant
18.03 NORWICH B2
19.03 BRISTOL Thekla
20.03 CARDIFF Clwb Ifor Bach
22.03 NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms
23.03 BIRMINGHAM HMV Institute
24.03 MANCHESTER Roadhouse
25.03 SHEFFIELD Corporation
26.03 NEWCASTLE O2 Academy2
27.03 GLASGOW Cathouse
28.03 LIVERPOOL Elevator Bar
29.03 LEEDS Cockpit
31.03 LONDON King's College (KCLSU)