La Dispute & Touché Amoré

Searching For A Pulse / The Worth Of The World
No Sleep Records

Two of the pre-eminent members in burgeoning Post-Hardcore scene ‘The Wave’, La Dispute and Touché Amoré release this brand new split 7”inch Searching For a Pulse / The Worth of the World. This pairing of some of punk’s most exciting young blood means expectations are set high, but the two bands meet them convincingly.

Touché Amoré kick off the split with I’ll Get My Just Deserve, which is boosted by the contributions of La Dispute’s distinctive vocalist Jordan Treynor. The ascending guitar melody injects the track with a great sense of urgency, which is just as well, as like most of Touché Amoré’s material the song is over in a flash. But it’s the vocal interplay between the two singers that is most impressive about the record’s first half, and although very brief, hints at the further potential of this collaboration.

La Dispute offer the weightier half of the release, which picks up where their immense 2008 debut left off. How I Feel is the heavier of the two tracks, working around up-tempo guitar riffs before breaking down into an epic shouting contest between the two vocalists. The 7”inch is rounded off by the slower paced Why It Scares Me, the record’s calmest offering which puts emphasis on Treynor’s lyrical sprawl. Whether or not you like La Dispute, or indeed this record, will ultimately hinge on what you make of Treynor’s melodramatic vocal style.

Personally I like a little melodrama in my hardcore, and few do it better than both La Dispute and Touché Amoré. As expected, then, this split is one of the year’s standout punk releases and promises much for the next full lengths from both bands.

Sleekly Lion

Sonisphere Festival – Live

Knebworth House
30th July – 1st August
Photos from P.G. Brunelli

Sonisphere is a young festival. Despite 2010 only being the second year it’s been in existence, organizers Kilimanjaro seem to have crafted a well-organised, enjoyable environment with an abundance of varied yet complementary acts. We certainly saw a rather strange mix of bands and this is probably the only review you’ll read that only takes in one main stage band.

Now extended to two and a half days, the first night involved us checking out new British talent March of The Raptors on the Red Bull Bedroom Jam stage. Their gnarly metal-tinged hardcore went down well with the amassed crowd and, though the sound was slightly scrappy, the weekend was off to a good start! Throw in an intense wave of instrumental madness from 65 Days of Static at the Bohemia Stage and some epic power ballads in the Strongbow Bowtime bar later in the evening and we were definitely feeling like we were onto a winner.

We’ll be honest. We didn’t get off to the earliest of starts on Saturday (or Sunday, but we’ll get to that). However, Little Fish provided a great kickstart with frontwoman JuJu’s Patti Smith-esque demeanour winning the band a whole host of new fans at the Red Bull Bedroom Jam stage. Good Charlotte were next on the agenda. Yes, you may laugh, but even though we knew they were likely to be fun, they actually sounded damn good too. Songs like ‘Girls And Boys’ and ‘The River’ (dedicated to The Rev of Avenged Sevenfold) are undeniable hits and when the band played a cover of Blink 182’s ‘Dammit’, it definitely sounded better than the original. Plus they get props for mentioning that they’ll be watching Gallows later.

Gallows are just standardly brilliant. No matter how many times you think you’ve seen them do it all before, it’s always entertaining. A circle pit round the outside of the tent they’re playing, a crowdsurfing Frank Carter, a crowdsurfing dude in a wheelchair and guest vocals from Eva Rolo Tomassi, Good Charlotte et al. What more could you want? I think I’m going to expect a crowdsurfing horse next time. Later in the evening, Polar Bear Club play to a considerably less-packed tent. But they don’t care, they’re just happy to be there! Lesser bands would struggle to rise to the occasion when faced with a sparse crowd but everyone assembled is loving it and the band are no exception. Ace punk rock played with heart. We tried to get to Therapy? later but we failed. The tent was overflowing with people intent on catching their heroes. Apparently there was a powercut though. Bummer. After that, it all goes a bit hazy…

Sunday starts off with the realization that we’re going to miss Henry Rollins do his thing. 11am? I don’t think so. We’re sad to miss out but sleep is necessary. We walk on site rather later in the day to the sounds of Slayer. Bring Me The Horizon play a frenzied set, rattling off their vicious quasi-anthems to an intent crowd. A barrage of crowdsurfers bring the carnage and guitarist Jona climbs way up to the top of the stage rigging mid-song, making it look easy and coming across like Spidey himself. We have to rush off towards the end but we later discovered that Oli Sykes’ dad even made an appearance. Bizarre. But very awesome. Hopefully they silenced a few haters with that incendiary performance.

Unfortunately, I only get to hear Placebo from a distance but by all accounts they play a stunning set, including an amazing Nirvana cover. Converge is next on our list and due to extreme exhaustion, we take it all in from our seat on a nice patch of grass in the corner of the tent. Still, brutal as fuck. Funeral For A Friend headline the same tent with an emotional set that marks guitarist Darran’s last show with the band. There are also plenty of guest appearances with Charlie Simpson and Oli Sykes (who apparently stepped in for a passed-out Matt once when he was just a fan in the crowd years ago) taking to the mic at various points of the set. It’s singalong central and there are definitely a few eyes welling up. A fitting send-off! Later on we get dragged to Tek-One at the Strongbow bar and really don’t want to be convinced but we kind of are. Woah that dude can drum. Wobwobwob, indeed.

You should probably book your tickets for next year.

Winey G

Crossfire at Kerrang! Awards 2010

The CROSSFIRE SOUND SYSTEM featuring Zac Slack and James Sherry have been invited to headline DJ at this year’s Kerrang! Awards in London which will be held in a secret location.

On the eve of 29th July we will be playing a mix of rock, punk and metal from midnight until 3am so if you have an invite we will see you there!

Vessels – Live

with These Monsters
Lexington, London

Despite liking my fair share of post-rock, it’s a genre that has a lot of very boring bands. While the Explosions in the Sky template of long songs with big climaxes might have been exciting once upon a time, the huge numbers of bands offering only slight variations on this formula leave much to be desired. Although some of these bands are noticeably better than others, there’s only so much excitement I can gain from another nine minutes of tremolo picking concluding in another swirling crescendo climax.

Thankfully tonight’s bill is free of any such predictability. I have to say, when Leeds’ These Monsters appear on stage wielding a saxophone I begin to fear the worst, yet somehow they manage to break one of rock music’s golden rules and are great in spite of it. There’s something about the overdriven guitars and jazzy brass that doesn’t sit well together, but These Monsters’ sax player overcomes this by screaming into the instruments mouth. It’s a short and engaging set that while difficult to pigeonhole, avoids sounding like a mish mash of disjointed ideas.

Next up are headline band Vessels, who are a breath of fresh air in terms of post-rock; writing songs with strong composition, varied song structures and excellent all-round musicianship. Stripped down slightly since I last saw them (now with just the one drum kit on stage), the band are back with a set of all new material which the crowd are only too happy to feast on. Fans of 2008’s White Fields and Open Devices shouldn’t be disappointed, as Vessels retain their knack for creating music as intricate as it can be vast. Even as band members swap around instruments at will, they appear air tight working their way around complex riffs and arrangements.

As well as streamlining their percussion, the band has also removed the few vocals that littered the band’s debut. This seems a sensible and positive move, as I’m sure the band would admit they have no great vocalist among their ranks and are much better off sticking to their instruments. While this might reduce any crossover potential the band might have had, by focussing their sound they stand more of a chance of being aligned with the likes of Mogwai, who carry the torch for post-rock success in the UK. If any band deserves to follow in their footsteps, then Vessels have made a very good case tonight.

Sleekly Lion

Violent Soho in the studio

Brisbane four-piece Violent Soho have posted footage of what the happenings are during the making of their new self-titled album.

The album is out on August 2nd, and you can have a look at the studio video diaries just down there on this very page. There’s three of them and each one is packed with everything you could imagine would happen when the cameras are turned on an Australian band in Wales. Not too sure what that this exactly but rest-assured these videos are full of it.

United Nations

United Nations – Never Mind The Bombings, Here’s Your Six Figures
Deathwish Inc.

United Nations is somewhat of a supergroup yet they’re one that doesn’t really shout about it. They play shows, write and record music, release the music independently (through Deathwish) and occasionally play live. People like them. Yet there hasn’t been a great song and dance about them yet. I guess it helps that their name is virtually ungooglable. And the exact identity of the members is somewhat of a mystery, apparently partly due to certain people being obligated by certain record contracts. However, they are led vocally by Thursday’s Geoff Rickly and it’s really awesome to hear him properly let rip on some rather aggressive vocals as opposed to his more melodic tendencies in (the equally awesome) Thursday. Glassjaw’s Daryl Palumbo and Converge’s Ben Koller are also rumoured to be involved.

Never Mind The Bombings… is the band’s latest release and has been released as a 7” EP and download. It’s a full-on onslaught of crushing drumming, searing riffs and head-combusting vocals that’s definitely not for the faint-hearted. The music lies somewhere between Converge and Thursday and comes across as a viciously cathartic experience for all involved, whoever that may be. The EP is a melting pot of hardcore and metal influences and is really just a taster of what this band is capable of doing live. Fast, hard and uncompromisingly heavy, let’s hope there’ll be more touring soon.


The Sword post free track

Fresh off a storming UK tour supporting none other than Ozzy Osbourne at the iTunes Festival, The Sword have posted a free download of a new album track ‘Tres Brujas‘ so treat your ears!

The Sword are definitely a band that you should be listening to, head over here for our live review of their recent show with Gentlemen’s Pistols at The Barfly.

Scroll down for the exclusive free download.