Thursday, 25 February 2010

Review25/02/10- Subgenerates "Demo"

Band Name: Subgenerates
CD Title: Demo
Press Pack Included: Yes
Review: Subgenerates sent a link to their demo via email but did include some information about the band. This included contact info and a photo of the band but was very brief. This could have done with being more structured but included all that was needed.
Subgenerates sound like they are firmly planted in the ’77 punk era with their uptempo songs and sneering vocals. The main difference with this and the mass of ’77 era punk bands is that Subgenerates have honed their craft and are not as ragged as many of those forerunners. Subgenerates seem to play like the Sex Pistols but have aspirations to be placed more with the Buzzcocks and even at times bands who were big in the 90’s. The breakdown of “Pacify Me,” has a “Beetlebum,” quality to it and “M.K. Delta,” seems to sound like Graham Coxon’s solo work with a bit more of a bite. The speech samples in this song are well chosen to keep with the track’s tempo and are reminiscent of Holy Bible era Manic Street Preachers. “Mal Wart,” is another thrash through the guitar neck with more snarling vocals and fast beats.
With such a mix of influences in one short demo, Subgenerates could have sounded very cluttered and all over the place. However, they’ve managed to pull off well constructed punk music while their individual influences show through without getting in the way of overall sound. A great effort.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Review 19/02/10-The Appreciation Post "Work/Sleep"


Band Name: The Appreciation Post (

CD Title: Work/Sleep

Press Pack Included: No

Review: This EP was a free download from Myspace.

“Work/Sleep,” starts with a bang and seems to continue in a similar vein throughout. The Appreciation Post are moulded in the Army Of Freshmen/Starting Line image and play very similar music to the aforementioned bands. The music has a great beat and the synth nuances are very well placed in the overall scheme of things in each song. The mix is perfect, making sure that every instrument knows it’s place and that the vocals are just a little bit above the music, not detracting from the song. “No Songs Is Good Songs,” is the first sign of dynamic with it’s slightly slower tempo and more muted instrumentation which really throws The Appreciation Post into the mire of pop punk bands from the US, which is a shame for a band who clearly have worked hard at trying to make themselves a little bit different by using the synth.

However, it’s when we hit “Fear Of Loss,” when things really start to kick up a notch. This song begins like something the Lostprophets would put out as the first single from their next album while retaining enough of The Appreciation Post to not be too overbearing after the slightly “pop punk by numbers” early tracks. It seems to have a new quality which will take the band a bit further in an already clogged up genre. While The Appreciation Post should not forget their pop punk roots, it may be a good idea for them to add a track or 2 more like “Fear Of Loss,” to their repertoire just to gain a little bit more attention.

Review 19/02/10- Antidotes "Adventures Close To Home"


Band Name: Antidotes

CD Title: Adventures Close To Home

Press Pack Included: No

Review: This does not include a press pack as it was a free download via Myspace.

Antidotes are plying their trade in the kind of math rock genre that made Foals popular and they pull it off very well. The guitars are constantly vying for you attention with calculated and well structured riffs and solos, though they do sometimes miss the odd note which is down to the amount going on rather than the guitarist’s playing. The mix is pitched well between pure noise and glossy over production which continues on with the math rock influence. “Football Is A Sport,” is a particularly well executed instrumental track to start off the EP, while “George, Tell Me About The 80’s,” is played at the perfect speed to not over complicate matters like the other 2 tracks have a tendency to do.

Antidotes have pitched themselves in the kind of genre which goes down well with the current indie student crowd and they execute their songs with the kind of vigour and joy that would make this genre more accessible to everyone.

Review 18/02/10-Laceration "Disfigure, Devoured, Forgotten EP"


Band Name: Laceration

CD Title: Disfigured, Devoured, Forgotten EP

Press Pack Included: No

Review: This was a free download via Myspace.

Now, we don’t claim to be experts on death metal, but this is one hell of a fine example! Laceration have put three tracks together which combine the core elements of thrash, black and death metal to make one great cacophony of noise. The three tracks go together to create the EP’s title and each song intends to create both atmosphere and pure adrenaline to show that this band are not just death metal. Some of the guitar work is faintly reminiscent of “Kill ‘Em All,” era Metallica, while the overdubs are taken both from the best that Cradle Of Filth had to offer (before they got “big”... supposedly) and, somewhat strangely, computer games. It may just be us but the synth style overdub in “Devoured,” sounds a bit like Bowser’s Castle from Mariokart 64!

All in all, this a prime example of the more extreme aspects of metal at their very finest, and despite the niche market, Laceration can easily find their core audience to be a rather large one.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Review 17/02/10- Gloucester Road "You're Not Mine"

Band Name: Gloucester Road
CD Title: You’re Not Mine
Press Pack Included: No
Review: The band sent this album in the post and included a covering letter which was forward and to the point, clearing up one or two confusions along the way. Well constructed covering letter.
Gloucester Road who have obviously worked hard on their sound and their mixing as this album is mixed in such a way it would be able to compete with the big guns in their genre. From the start to finish, this album is laden with balladry and beautiful vocal interplay. Tracks such as “Drivin’,” and “A Different Kind Of Love,” demonstrate a slight leaning toward the Red Hot Chili Peppers whereas tracks like “Let’s Go (Featuring Fabiola Melegari)” show how the band can turn the groove on and off for the sake of a beautifully penned and played folk indie ballad. Gloucester Road balance on the edge of pure and wonderful brilliance and being sucked into the void of indie acts out there today. The guitars never stop trying to impress with their constant well constructed riffs and awesome solos while the rhythm section taps out a solid and unobtrusive beat. The record is perfectly mixed and well presented, the guys obviously sparing no expense to get it pressed with full booklet with lyrics, something that many new acts shy away from.
The one slight criticism we would have of “You’re Not Mine,” on the whole is the mid section seems too reliant on balladry. This area could have done with a slightly more dynamic changes to keep the listener on their toes. Having said that, all of the ballads are done with grace and beauty, so it’s nothing to do with the tracks. A brilliant effort by Gloucester Road.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Review 14/02/10- A Is For Armageddon "A Is For Armageddon"

Band Name: A Is For Armageddon
CD Title: A Is For Armageddon
Press Pack Included: No
Review: This EP does not include a press pack as it was sent direct to the hotmail account. It does however include 1 artistic idea, possibly for a logo or EP cover.
From the opening bar of “Nostalgic In His Youth,” it is clear that A Is For Armageddon are aiming for a very saturated part of the heavy rock market, hints of early Muse show through with the fuzzy, overdriven guitar and the almost constant drum fills. The vocal line is very loud in the mix, almost dwarfing a very basic guitar line which needs something else, whether from another guitar or the bass as it is easily lost in the overall mêlée of sounds here. With the vocal line this high in the mix, it is also clear where the singer is trying to accentuate or lengthen notes, something which often goes awry. It does harken back to the late 70’s but it needs to be on an even keel with the rest of the music in terms of the mix. The mix is again brought into question during “Critical But Stable,” where the layered vocals are too low in the mix, giving the basic guitar lines alot to carry, something which it only does during the breakdown, after having to cope with a small timing fault in the minute or so leading up to it.
A Is For Armageddon obviously have passion and aggression which are good qualities but this is an overall poor effort from the band, something which would not bode well for them if they were to progress. It’s probably a good idea to go back to the desk to polish these 2 songs up.

Review 14/02/10- Step Down "Sonic"

Band Name: Step Down
CD Title: Sonic
Press Pack Included: No
Review: There is no press pack included in with the demo as it has been emailed direct. However, the email does refer to some design work created by one of the band.
“Sonic,” is immediately catchy and beautifully mixed, with the opening guitar parts sounding like The Cure circa 1979 and the vocals taking on a powerful yet pained role in the mix. The band play with dynamic structures brilliantly, allowing the song to build at a pace but subside regularly to give the listener the chance to calm down in the lulls before getting back up again for the chorus’ in particular. Once the song has built to a suitable pace and volume, the band throw in some more Cure-esque moments with the lead guitar playing complex sounding riffs drenched in a great echo/reverb effect. The guitar solo is also wonderfully executed and crafted in such a way that does not detract from the whole band sound, the drums pounding out a great beat and the bass intertwining with the lead guitar on more than one occasion.
This one song, if it serves as what this band can do, shows how great some of the talent out there is and Step Down can be considered as one of the best unsigned acts to come to us so far, up there with Al Baker and Rockburn.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Review 05/02/10- Heart Of The Sun "My Media"

Band Name: Heart Of The Sun
CD Title: My Media
Press Pack Included: No
Review: No press pack as band emailed track directly.
At the start of the track, the immediate concern is that this is another indie band trying hard to get themselves noticed in a world where the Arctic Monkeys are king. However, this presupposition is blow straight out of the water by catchy guitar riffs and a funky bass hook. The band still has it’s indie roots and credentials but they’ve brought a modern funk to the song, reminiscent of “Guitar” by His Purpleness Prince. The vocals are a bit lower in the mix than they deserve to be, but they do the singer justice, really showing how powerful he likes it. There is also lyrical repetition which will give any crowd something to chant along with the band, making them an instant hit with a slightly tipsy rabble at a good indie club. This is also another one of those tracks that could easily fit in with the likes of “Ruby,” and “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor” in a indie club DJ setlist.
Despite the brilliance of the track, it seems a shame that there isn’t any more to listen to. The band maybe being coy and teasing us but it may have been better to shoot more stuff over to show their full and true potential. There is also one slight mixing problem at the end of the track where it cuts off with a pop, but that’s nothing a 5 minute studio rearrange won’t cure. Overall, great track, good band and big things may one day be theirs.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Review 04/02/10- The Joy Formidable "Greyhound In The Slips"

Band Name: The Joy Formidable
CD Title: Greyhound In The Slips
Press Pack Included: No
Review: This song did not include a press pack as it is a free download offered by the band via their Myspace.
“Greyhound In The Slips” is the latest single from The Joy Formidable, a Welsh trio who are on the cusp of supporting The Temper Trap in Europe. The band have also got a UK headline tour coming soon. This song is a tour de force of pounding bass and haunting vocals from both singers, the male vocals by Paul Draper of Mansun. This is very well put together as a song, there are dynamic shifts and some well placed nuiances in the mix, such as the synth hum which continues throughout the song, but is only given a prominent role in the overall mix at certain times. There is something very distinctive about the sound of this band, something which we can’t quite put our finger on. Even the last 30 seconds which have the band fooling around can’t detract from the brilliance of this track, and it shows how much the band are enjoying their music at the moment, a superb effort.

Review 04/02/10- Jerry Afraid "Jerry Afraid EP"

Band Name: Jerry Afraid
CD Title: Jerry Afraid EP
Press Pack Included: Yes
Review: The press pack included was short and very plain, but it did include a rough idea of some cover art that Jerry Afraid would like to use in the future along with 2 colour photos of him performing at The Louisiana, Bristol. It does however cover some of the bases, such as contact information and some of the venues that Jerry has played. The pack itself could however be improved with some more detail about his style and maybe some more about the EP itself, but it does give enough of the bare facts to get by.
From the very start of “There You Go,” you get the impression that this is what Radiohead would sound like as a folk band! The almost hypnotic strummed acoustic gives a calming sensation while all around is very well structured chaos. Jerry has somehow done what many bands since the aforementioned Radiohead have tried and failed to do and that is combine traditional guitar and various leftfield instruments such as the prominent Theremin. The vocals are well executed and well mixed which shows the strength in Jerry’s voice alone.
Despite the brilliance throughout of this musical juxtaposition you can sometimes get the sense that if you stripped all the odd instruments away that this would be any normal “one man and guitar” folk project, a path that has been trodden so many times that it would be hard to break through the pack. However, with plans for a full band and the leftfield instruments, this would be one occasion where weird is definitely better.

Review 04/02/10-SubClass "Expect More Casualties EP"

Band Name: SubClass
CD Title: Expect More Casualties EP
Press Pack Included: No
Review: This EP was picked up on Saturday Jan 30th 2010 @ The Cooler, Park St, Bristol. Hence there is no press pack. All information available on the band’s Myspace.
The EP itself if very well designed and eye catching. Great insert which details where the band are from and performs all of the functions of the press pack, giving links and a brief bit of info on the band.
From the opening few bars of “Fallout” it’s clear this band is not afraid to try something different. Through the song they seem to be part Pearl Jam, part Nirvana and part 50’s American high school prom. This is a bold experiment in sounds and genres which unfortunately doesn’t pay off, especially in the bridge where the clash is all too evident. With this track being so important to grab the attention, it may’ve been better to start with “Killer” or “Modern Times.” “Killer” is reminiscent of “The Riverboat Song” by Ocean Colour Scene with it’s well executed guitar riff and pounding drums. This is another genre ticked off in a big way, very heavy indie rock without all the confusion of the first track. Final track “Modern Times” is another heavy indie rock song which gives more dynamic structure than the other 2, much of the song has drums which always seem to be building to a crescendo without ever getting there, keeping up a great tension and atmosphere throughout.
Overall Expect More Casualties EP is 66% great tunes. However, the mood created by the first track could put off any perspective buyers/casual listeners. It would have been good to see something a little more in tune with the last 2 tracks.