The Pit is back, and it’s badder than ever. We know you’ve been waiting for this month’s installment to drop and so we are not going to disappoint you with our reviews across the spectrum of music. Indie, punk, metal and more… we’ve got it all, so get that mouse scrolling and get to reading.
Joe Moynihan recommends:
RECORD OF THE MONTH
ILiKETRAiNS – Spencer Perceval
Only just this week, I had an interesting encounter with a train. I was travelling up to the city when all eight carriages of a hideous purple and green colour scheme came to a stand still. Turned out some mischievous scoundrel had been attacking innocents with a fire extinguisher, then, when confronted by two, pathetic excuses for a security guard, he decided to peg it down my carriage and hide somewhere. The fuzz were hot on his trails though, and decided to lock us all in the train, for our safety. I’m sitting here pissing myself when 15 minutes later; they let us carry on, after the little toerag managed to evade those vigilant security guards. He must have been unstoppable at hide and seek as a little nipper!
And it’s reasons like this why my relationship with this Leeds’ 5 piece, is already off to a blossoming start. We both like trains. Then to my pleasant surprise I notice that both tracks are over 5 minutes long. Now after shifting through numerous run of the mill indie bands, this was already a ray of hope. And I was not to be disappointed either.
iLiKETRAiNS‘ music on it’s own would be stupendous, but by breaking away from the conventional instrumental mould set by bands like Explosions In The Sky, they chose to incorporate vocals. This is a blessing. As there are still enough instrumental sections to allow the mind to wander, but to mix this up with a story being told, in this case, the assassination of British Prime Minister, Spencer Perceval, particularly one from two perspectives, is something really fresh, and sounds gorgeous.
The guitar tone on Spencer Perceval sounds reminiscent of Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s ‘Sad Mafioso’ section in East Hastings. This dark, haunting melody is a lot more refreshing than most bands of this genre, and a lot more interesting than most bands of other genres. Spencer Perceval is a superb choice of debut single, and has already won me over. Trains symbolise progression, so why hate on trains?
CLARK – Ted EP
Chris Clark, rightfully critically acclaimed classical electronica craftsman who dabbles in blissful acid soul. With 6 years of groundbreaking releases behind him, what’s next? The release of the Ted EP offers Clark’s new collection of treats he’s been prying about with in the wake of the fantastic ‘Body Riddle‘. The result is inspirational.
What comprises the Ted EP together is an unfathomably tight structure of perfectly measured out, haunting electronica beats, laced with an inconstant melody that takes you on a journey through a compressed labyrinth of ever changing emotions. This is a record that constantly points forward, and doesn’t look back. It’s phenomenal. Each track has it’s own wickedly seductive personality and is the perfect backdrop for getting loose. Chris is attempting to please no one with this record, only his most demanding critic, himself. While this is evident in the obscurely precise collection of sounds, which has clearly been revised several times over, this is by no means a case of over perfection. Clark has hit the nail on the head with this one, and has opened numerous gateways for further musical exploration. Whatever path he may chose after this one, I’m intrigued to hear the results.
TOWERS OF LONDON – I’m A Rat
AQA – Fucking Obviousology – A Level Exam
Question 1 – Please listen to the source material provided on the audio CD (entitled, ‘Towers of London – I’m a Rat’) and then read the statement below.
“The Towers of London are not actually a band, but as the song, ‘I’m a Rat‘ pre-dominantly suggests, are in fact a metaphor of a much bigger source. The potential death of good music. Arguably, the name of the band would be more appropriate if it were, “Towers Of Shit”.”
I have seven A Level exams in the next two months. Unfortunately, I do not take “Fucking Obviousology”, as alas, it does not exist. But if I did, a question like this would be a gift from God himself. I could go on for pages upon pages about how disgracefully abysmal this band is. How the racket they create can be greeted with a pleasant response of “ah, I’m A Rat! What a choon” is fucking beyond me. I’m not going to go too much into things, as I’m sure as a visitor to this page, that your musical taste is sublime, and you wouldn’t dare consider listening to such tripe.
But allow me to sum up this record in one or two sentences. Fake names such as ‘The Rev’ have never, ever been acceptable, not even in the 80’s, so we have no love for you. And the quips of some cunt screeching, “I’m a rat” over the monotonous sounds of guitars being murdered is something I would never like to hear again.
Or speak of again. So let’s just leave well enough alone. Hopefully Donny Tourette and his band of misfits will do the same.
LOVE OF DIAGRAMS – Mosaic
Melbourne’s 3-piece rock outfit, Love of Diagrams have been causing quite a stir since their inception into the live music scene in 2001. However, it has remained at nothing but a mere stir. Swinging away from their instrumental based debut, Mosaic has given the band a voice, and the ability to bring that stir up to an electronic whisk level of power.
And the album doesn’t disappoint. Opener, ‘Form and Function‘, sets the pace for the thrilling jerky festivities that are to come. The simplicity, combined with rugged passion and blissful female vocals cast minds to the era of the B-52s while also touching on recent gems such as Death From Above 1979 and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The swinging riffs are wonderful, and whilst remaining structurally confusing, it flows brilliantly. Antonia’s voice is superb on tracks like ‘Pace or the Patience’ and acts as a contrapuntal factor to the siren like guitars from Luke Horton. Overall, this is a band that should not be slept on whatsoever.
Love Of Diagrams pay homage to an awesome genre that does not get enough attention as it is, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Summer soundtrack ahoy!
Jane Hawkes recommends:
RECORD OF THE MONTH
THE EXIES – A Modern Way Of Living With The Truth
(Eleven Seven Music)
For a band with such an amazing track record, it’s hard to see why they were dropped by their label Virgin. Their songs have featured in various PS2 and Xbox games, been used by WWE as theme tunes and the band have toured with the likes of Motley Crue and Velvet Revolver. Nevertheless, after a bit of a break, a line up change and new record label, The Exies are back.
What initially starts out as a potentially Stereophonics-esque drone, actually turns out to be a fucking huge record. It takes a few spins to really get into and although not quite on par with their awesome self titled debut album, it does prove that their old record label will be shaking their little money grabbing mitts in despair. Genius.
MADINA LAKE – From Them, Through Us, To You
Its hard not to like this. From Them, Through Us, To You is the debut album from Chicgo based four piece Madina Lake.Think Lostprophets, think Billy Talent, even think Lit (remember them??) with a hint of Linkin Park and you’re almost there. It’s a catchy affair and seeing that it’s produced by Mark Trombino (Jimmy Eat World, Blink 182) is it any wonder?
Huge choruses, bold breakdowns and melodic niceties saturate this solid romp. Notable tracks ‘House Of Cards‘ and ‘Pandora‘ bash home the fact this is a debut album to make a ton of other bands envious.
SHINY TOY GUNS – You Are The One
What did bands do before Myspace? Shiny Toy Guns are yet another band whose popularity soared with the use of the web. With a solid fan base and extensive touring, they are out to take over the world. 80’s inspired electronica jumbled with dramatic boy/girl dual vocals, this has a hint of A-ha about it.
Maybe it is no coincidence A-ha had a song of the very same name sometime in the 80’s. Nonetheless it’s a diabolically appealing piece of retro kitsch.
HINDER – Get Stoned.
Poor Austin Winkler. Not only does the Hinder vocalist have the least rock n roll name ever, his voice carries an uncanny resemblance to Nickelback crooner Chad Kroeger.
Still, all is not lost. ‘Get Stoned‘ is a clever little slice of rock with a massive anthemic chorus which teeters on the right side of overblown. The cheesy lyrics lull you into bawling along and although not inventive, it won’t bloody leave your head.
Alex Gosman recommends:
ALBUM OF THE MONTH
POISON THE WELL – Versions
They may have been somewhat eclipsed by a metalcore scene that they themselves helped to spawn, but if ‘Versions’ is anything to go by, then Poison The Well aren’t going down without one hell of a fight. The Floridian bruisers’ fifth album is a brilliantly discordant, aggressive and expansive beast of a record; moulding Deftones-esque atmospherics, unbridled hardcore rage and off-kilter rhythms into songs that will grab you by your frontal lobes with one hand, whilst flipping off the majority of the band’s so-called contemporaries with the other. After all, fame is one thing, but class is quite another – and Poison The Well display the latter in spades.
DARK TRANQUILLITY – Fiction
This veteran Swedish melodic death metal crew co-founded the hugely influential ‘Gothenburg sound’ back in the early 90s, and 2007 finds them in frighteningly fine form on their seventh release. Songs like ‘Terminus (Where Death Is Most Alive)’ and ‘Inside The Particle Storm’ boast enough savage guitar work and raw-throated vocals to placate death metal purists, but are also infused with eerily catchy keyboard melodies that could well appeal to fans of their fellow Scandinavians HIM. Dark Tranquility may not be breaking new ground here, but the level of quality control on ‘Fiction’ is certainly high enough to warrant them some much-deserved widespread recognition.
THE GHOST OF A THOUSAND – This Is Where The Fight Begins
“Time to start spitting blood again/Punk rock needs you again!” roars TGOAT vocalist Tom Lacey on opening track ‘Bored Of Math‘, and you can’t help but admire his conviction. This Brighton quintet are probably sick of being compared to Gallows by now, but they do share many of their best traits with Frank Carter’s mob; the dissonant rock n’ roll swagger, the huge crashing waves of metallic guitar – and most notably, the welcome sense of danger and unpredictability that infuses every track on this debut album. If this is indeed where the fight begins, then you’d be well advised to sign up for TGOAT’s cause; because right now they’re sounding unbeatable.
LUCERO – Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers
(Liberty & Lament)
2007 increasingly seems to be the year of Springsteen-isms, but Lucero are doing a more convincing job of capturing the spirit of The Boss than most. These four seasoned road-dogs hail from Memphis, Tennessee, and have spent the last few years cultivating a rabid following with their soulful alt-country sounds. ‘Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers’ – the band’s fifth release – could well propel them to big things, with songs like ‘Sing Me No Hymns‘ and ‘I Can Get Us Out Of Here‘ awash with addictive melodies, swirls of organ and the whiskey-soaked tones of vocalist Ben Nichols. Rugged and remorseful, yet also hopeful and heart-warming, Lucero are a band with many a story to tell…and better still, they’re visiting the UK for the first time in May. Start getting excited now.
VARIOUS ARTISTS – Pop-Punk’s Not Dead
Let’s get one thing straight: ‘pop-punk’ in this context does not mean over-produced crap like Good Charlotte or Simple Plan. Instead, think along the lines of the Ramones, Screeching Weasel, The Queers, that kinda thing. With summer arriving early this year, Pop-Punk’s Not Dead‘ couldn’t have been better timed; a 30-track compilation packed with insidiously catchy 2/3-minute gems from bands all over the globe, with tracks from Teenage Bottlerocket, The Dazes and Boris The Sprinkler among the highlights. According to the compiler, Dave Parasite, this is music played by hopelessly single guys and gals for hopelessly single guys and gals. Boy, did they see me coming.
Dee Massey recommends:
RECORD OF THE MONTH
HELL IS FOR HEROES – You’ve Got Hopes
London’s post-hardcore heroes return to the ring with their first single from their much anticipated third studio album, due out later this year. With a new home on Burning Heart the five piece’s first offering is a classic slice of Hell is For Heroes. Starting off quietly, unassumingly, Justin Schlosberg and Co surround the listener with gentle vocals, warm almost reassuring flourishes, and a slowly driven bass line that takes you right back to The Neon Handshake.
As the drums start to quicken, building slowly into a racing heartbeat, the vocals harden, the guitar push upwards, with controlled reined in energy just waiting to be unleashed until a wall of sound punches with straight between the eyes, in a Trombino-esque tsunami of energy. Then quick as its thrown you off your feet they’re reining it back in – it’s Hell is For Heroes at their best, showcasing their intensity, the raw power they’ve harnessed. ‘You’ve Got Hopes‘ is polished and tight, the sound ranges from bitingly aggressive to soothingly calm – it’s what HIFH do best. A welcome return to form from a band who really seem to have found their feet at Burning Heart.
THE HOLLOWAYS – Dancefloor
Alfie Holloway isn’t having a good night. Smoke in his face and tears down his cheeks, and he can’t even find his mates..it’s all in a night’s work for North London upstarts The Holloways. The new single from their debut album ‘ So This Is Great Britain‘ keeps up the momentum, and it’s a strong, gritty and upbeat offering, despite the seemingly unsuccessful night it relates.
A cautionary tale of love..and money lost – you end up feeling pretty sorry for The Holloway boys – their lyrics tells of having no money, fickle girls, no jobs – but always encased in their up-tempo brand of indie-pop, with strings and choppy tangled guitars. Unfortunately this single stills lacks anything really original – and The Holloways are in danger of drowning in the endless surge of indie that’s flooding the airwaves. Dancefloor is a likeable track from a band who still need to find their niche in the market.
THURSDAY – At This Velocity
Having announced earlier this year that they were cancelling their Give It a Name dates and other tour slots, Thursday seemed to be faltering after their split from Island Records. The band announced that they were taking time out to devote their energy to new music, new labels and some new energy. Released on Hassle Records on 23rd April, ‘At This Velocity‘ is taken from their last album on Island, ‘A City By Light Divided‘, and it serves as a good reminder as to just how good these guys can be.
The title says it all – from the word go the velocity, the intensity, the pressurised explosion of sound envelopes you. Frontman Geoff Rickly belts out vocals at such at rate that you fear for his lungs, as he relentlessly screams out lyrics. Fast riffs and uncompromising guitars unwinds to calmer, melodic balanced tones, sweeping to a close. ‘At This Velocity‘ is well placed to keep Thursday in our minds, it’s a single that showcases their talents, and we can but hope they’ll return with a new deal stronger than ever.
HOLY GHOST REVIVAL – Bleeding Light
The press blurb describes Holy Ghost Revival‘s debut album as ‘Elizabethan theatre meets Pagan Glam’…and to honest, they’ve pretty much nailed it on the head. At first listen you’re confused, bemused, amused and then blown away by a band who are bizarrely appealing, dramatic and bewitching. Hailing from Seattle the alt-glam-punk (could that be a new genre?!) five piece signed to 1965 Records and holed up in the studio with Ryan Hadlock (The Strokes, Modest Mouse etc) and end result is truly enchanting. Pulling on influences as diverse as films like The Wicker Man and Phantasm, Holy Ghost Revival have a punk based sound, leaning on influences from Iggy and The Stooges, Captain Beefheart, TRex and even GNR and the inevitable grunge sound of Seattle. Theatrical and dramatic at times, Conor Kiley’s vocals are sublime, soaring with clarity and punch above ripped guitars and fuzzy bass. Holy Ghost Revival are certainly original, and for some could be just what the doctor ordered. Just enjoy it for what it is.
ENTER SHIKARI – Take To The Skies
They’ve only gone and pulled it off haven’t they? Enter Shikari have shrugged off the flirtatious advances of the majors, stuck to their principles and released their seminal debut album on their own label. What’s more- it’s winging it’s way up the charts with a dizzying pace. Having kept a tight rein over artistic control the St Albans upstarts have produced the albums they wanted to release, and it’s a rib cage rattling, heart thumping, trance explosion from start to finish.
Mix hardcore punk, trance, electronica with a heft dose of attitude and the result is Enter Shikari. They’ve bought together a diverse and well rounded collection of tracks, singles ‘Anything Can Happen in the Next Half Hour‘ and ‘Sorry You’re Not a Winner‘ stand out from the pack with their almost euphoric rage, surging upwards, winding themselves into angst ridden knots. Rou’s vocals are at time dark, at times demented -but always with that wonderful raw edge. Interspersed with raucous instrumentals, tracks seem to melt into one another, their frayed edges merging into one.
‘Take to The Skies‘ isn’t polished; it’s far from perfect with some ropey vocals recording at times, but therein lies the charm. They guys even reveal their sensitive side with the acoustically driven ‘Adieu’ but it seems like they’re merely biding their time before they can crank up the adrenaline again. ‘No Sssweat‘ is old school punk, with more than a nod to The Refused coming through at times. ‘Mothership‘, the download only first single, is a wrecking ball of vitriol, with Rou growling out lyrics, whilst the rest of the album meshes effervescent trance with biting, spikey guitars, a combination that makes their live sets explosive. Have them managed to cage their live sound into a studio album – well, yes – to a point. But no matter how raw and unfettered this album is, Enter are a band that come alive on stage, and take it to another level when faced with a packed-to-the-rafters venue.
With their fusion of trance and hardcore, Enter Shikari look set to dominate this summer with an ever growing list of festival slots. It’s refreshing for a debut album to actually live up to the hype and buzz proceeding it, ‘Take to The Skies’ is an in-your-face showcase of a band that are injecting new life into the British music scene.
Charli Russell recommends:
RECORD OF THE MONTH
VIVA MACHINE – My Jet Set Radio
Swansea newcomers, Viva Machine, surprise with their debut single. My Jet Set Radio is an exciting mixture of electro indie and likeable pop. With lyrics such as “you can make it happen” and “you can settle down to filter your imagination” showing grown up writing style from a band whose average age is no more than 20.
The vocal harmonies and jagged edge song writing combine to form what appears to be the next big thing, and because of this, it’s surprising to hear that Viva are still unsigned, the potential is definitely there.
KAISER CHIEFS – Everything Is Average
The follow up to hit single “Ruby” is anything but average. Fresh from a year off, Kaiser Chiefs have come back with a vengeance. “Everything is Average” is a fast paced, easy listening, typical pop friendly song you’d expect from the Kaiser Chiefs.
Main vocals from Ricky Wilson work well against the backing oohs and ahhs from drummer Nick Hodgson. “Not much to believe in” Ricky wails – indeed, the Kaisers are definitely something you want to believe in. They are back and it’s all sounding amazing!
THE CRIBS – Men’s Needs
Another come back single, another indie hit. Guaranteed this song will win over all the hardcore Cribs fans, as well as a few new scensters, but it could also be the song that breaks The Cribs. Three albums in and they still haven’t achieved “commercial” success – “Men’s Needs” could be the song to do this.
Chart friendly and still essentially a Cribs song, brothers Jarman work well against each other with lead vocal duty flipping back and forth between Ryan and Gary. Watch out world, here come The Cribs…again!
THE SWITCHES – Lay Down the Law
From the start, this song hits you hard and it’s easy to tell that “Lay down the law” could be huge. Everything works together to result in the perfect summer song that you just can not get out of your head. It’s easy to imagine this being the summer festival anthem.
Matt’s growly vocals cut perfectly through the bass line and you can’t help but wonder where The Switches have been all this time! The Switches release “Lay down the Law” on Monday 16th April. You know you want to buy it.
MUMM-RA – She’s Got You High
“She’s Got You High” showcases Mumm-ra lead vocalist Noo’s amazing range. A gorgeous song which starts off slow and harmonized and builds up to an exciting climax mid way through the song. “Sun’s in the sky, it makes for happy endings” is just one of the heartfelt lyrics appearing in this song, delicately written and played fantastically..
The repetitive nature of this song works well, and rather than seeming boring as you would normally expect, it makes for an instant hit song for the Bexhill-on-Sea band.
Zac Slack recommends:
THE MILK TEETH – Go Faster Stripes
Last year we brought The Milk Teeth to you when they released their debut single Cold Climate and since then they have simply grown into molars ready to take a bite from the bigger slice of the pie.
Their brand new single ‘Go Faster Stripes‘ is a perfect follow up to where they first started, mixing razor sharp garage rock with massive choruses. This track is rocket fuelled and ready to blast into your life as soon as you press play and the other wonderful observation is the Chris Massey directed video to go with it. The b-side to this gem “As Good As It Gets‘ has more of a Dick Dale influenced surf feel and oozes pop sleeze with slide guitars and muchos catchiness by the barrel load.
Basically this single is going to take some beating, so look out for Simon Clark’s fronted 3 piece in your local indie store today as this is certainly gonna put a smile on your face!
CAREER SUICIDE – Attempted Suicide
Yes! Career Suicide are back with another explosive dump of toxic hardcore that should keep your veins fully charged with fresh blood within the first song. Attempted Suicide, the follow up to the Anthology series was immense but the satisfaction to finally get hold of 25 minutes of the best hardcore on offer right now was a result to say the least when this turned up at HQ.
Opening track ‘Play the Part‘ leaps into all your worries and decimates them all in 1 minute 17 seconds flat followed by the detonation of the powerful and out of control ‘Saving Face‘. From here on in this album is doused in the same quality with Jonah Falco’s schreeching guitars (who also plays drums in Fucked Up), David Brown’s outragiously fast drumming, pumping basslines from Mathew Miller and the vicious infectiousness of Martin Farkas’ amazing vocal delivery that leaves you firmly on the edge of your seat throughout and wanting to start a fucking riot. There are no duffers on this record, it’s all 100% amazing and will leave your ears on the critical list.
If you have spent your life listening to hardcore like Minor Threat and Black Flag and and are looking for something just as exciting in 2007 then look no further. Alternately, if you have just discovered hardcore and this is your first ever installment, then you are the luckiest person ever to read this as Career Suicide will be your new favourite band in one listen!