Tag Archives: Punk Rock

Astpai – True Capacity

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Ever heard of the AC/DC-Syndrome? No? Perhaps it’s just something I invented but let me explain it real quick: AC/DC have released a ton of albums throughout their career, and in my opinion they don’t vary a lot, yet they are always a good listen. Which shows that great music doesn’t always need to reinvent itself every few years, especially when the musicians played it found their “voice” and know how to use it to perfection. There are, of course, a lot of other bands, or artists, that are the same, but today I want to talk about a particular one: Astpai! The Austrians are about to release their fifth full-length, True Capacity, and I want to tell you a little bit about it!

To pick up what I said in the intro, I’ll just cut straight to the chase and say that the successor to 2014’s Burden Calls is very similar in most ways: half an hour of solid punk rock that is filled with passion and emotion. The quartet has just found its niche in the melodic aspect of pop punk and the raw part of (soft) melodic hardcore, which really works well for them.

As was the case with the predecessor, the ten songs all contain personal and meaningful lyrics, that also have a sing-along quality to them most of the time. There are two stand-out songs because they represent two polar opposites of the band’s sound spectrum: Feel Your Pain is a beautiful love song that features a really poetic lines, and True Capacity which only features screams and is akin to the band’s debut record, that was a lot heavier.

I’m going to keep this review fairly short, mostly because the band have done their fans a favor and made the record available for streaming over on the website of Visions and I believe that you can get more out of actually listening to this fun record instead of reading my ramblings. If, however, you want to get an idea what you’re in for, please give the music video below a chance and visit the band’s Facebook page!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rSHwtBi23c]

Not Scientists – Golden Staples

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What always makes me happy is when I meet touring bands, that I’ve reviewed in the past, again, and we catch up and I maybe get the latest scoop on an upcoming endeavor. Such was the case with Not Scientists, who I had the chance to catch last November at a local gig, and I was delighted when one of their vocalists told me that they’d be releasing a new full-length in early spring of next year…so this year! And here we are now, a few days before the release of Golden Staples and I’m delighted to give you a first impression of it in written form!

It comes as no surprise that the Frenchies stay true to their minutely refined sound; quite the contrary I’m very glad that they do! Since I was a big fan of their mix of melancholic, yet happy-seeming, punk rock from the get go and I couldn’t have imagined anything that would have been a logical, read functioning, extension of it. Especially because, contrary to Mister Malmsteen’s beliefs, sometimes less is more after all.

What I like best about the quartet, is their ability to make you recognize them immediately, yet bring enough variation to the table among the ten songs, to avoid boredom or saturation and even have several eyebrow-raising moments. One of those is the inclusion of, what I think is, a Güiro on the song Sky On Fire; especially because it’s fairly inaudible at first and during the end of the song it really hits you right in the face.

Alongside the gleefully-sad instrumentation, the lyrical themes have also generally stayed the same, with memorable choruses with sing-along qualities that make you smile on one side of your face and shed a tear on the other half. The one thing that has changed is the production of the record: while I commended the choice of a rawer approach on Destroy To Rebuild, I think I like the more polished sound on this one more after all. You are also treated to the longest song the band has written thus far, clocking in at a little under six minutes, and it’s without a doubt the perfect closer to a great album. Fun fact: at thirty-seven minutes, twenty seconds, the new album clocks in at exactly thirteen seconds less than its predecessor.

All in all, Not Scientists might not have changed or evolved a lot, but personally I am a strong defender of the “why change a winning team” philosophy, so I am absolutely satisfied with Golden Staples, and I sincerely hope that you will be too! So, if you’re ever going on a roadtrip, make sure to bring this one along, since it has an opener that will bring a smile to your face, guaranteed! For more information, you can head to the band’s Facebook page and be sure to listen to the song below!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKcPz5W1dmg]

Versus You – Birthday Boys

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If I had to name one thing that I like the most about reviewing records, it is the fact that I am occasionally “forced” to listen to genres that I don’t dabble into on a regular basis. I am using the quotation marks, because it is my own decision which albums I review, and which I don’t, but I try to cover the majority of the national releases either way. Now, today’s candidate is definitely not out of my comfort zone, but in listening to Versus You‘s new EP Birthday Boys, and researching it a bit, I realized that there is a great deal of punk rock history that I am totally unaware of.

Immediately upon listening to the opening track, you are welcomed by a very different-sounding band than what you may be used to from the previous record, Moving On. In hindsight the title might as well have been an ominous foreshadowing of what was to come, but I don’t think it was intentional. Generally-speaking, the speed and intensity of the band’s entire sound has been dialed down from eleven to a comfortable six. While I have to admit that on my first listen I wasn’t quite sold on this decision, it ended up making sense on the second go.

These five tracks are, to me, an ode to the past: the band’s inspirations, as well as the experiences they went through individually and as a group. The result is a melancholic musical journey, which does, at times, allow a few glimpses of the brighter future ahead. In a way, it marks the end of an era and the opening of new paths.

To be frank, there is not much more that I could tell you about these seventeen minutes, because they need to be experienced. In order to do that, you can move your bums to Sang an Klang this Saturday, November 11th, where Versus You will be hosting a fairly massive release party. You can find more information about that and the upcoming releases on their Facebook page, so don’t be shy!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHLAgbWWGDo]

Idle Class – Of Glass And Paper

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It’s been a little over a year since I first discovered today’s band at all-day punk show here in Luxembourg, and after reviewing a split EP they were on in October, I’m excited to say that Idle Class are back with a full-length entitled Of Glass And Paper, that is going to be released on September 25th!

What can I say? Everything that has attracted me to the quintet’s sound at first, is back with a vengeance! The essence is still very much punk rock, along with the dreaminess and melodic finesse that made them stand out to me, except that this time the joy isn’t over after two songs. As a matter of fact, the eleven songs allow the Germans to develop a much deeper-felt experience and thereby ensures the need to re-listen to the album over and over again.

The songwriting is nice and tight and is jam-packed with tons of sing-along-worthy passages as well as a healthy dose of heaviness and even a dash melancholy, rounding off the forty minute package quite well. Musically, I found a couple of riffs to really stand out through their intricacy, but in general there’s not many “look what I can play” moments…which I totally appreciate, since the songs as as a whole are more important to these guys than comparing penis sizes…then again, what happens on the tour van, stays on the tour van.

Vocally, you are treated to clean singing and shouting, as well as a moderate amount of screams for good measure, providing a very fitting performance to the music. But, my only minor nitpick also lies in this department: the singer’s accent seems slightly forced at times, which made me raise an eyebrow every now and then…but it’s not relevant enough to distract from the ensemble. So no “points” deducted there.

All in all, Idle Class have managed to confirm my love at first listen for them with their new outing, and I can only recommend OGAP to every fan of the genre, since it’s quite a hidden gem! Be sure to check out the song below and head over to the band’s Facebook page for more infos and even a full stream!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nE92Jw-lx90]

Adoptees – Adopt These

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After a whole month of downtime, to recharge the batteries, it truly feels good to be back. And what better way to restart the machine than with a brand new local release? Adoptees, a Luxembourgish punk rock quartet, is actually releasing their (very) long-awaited debut full length, Adopt These, today at noon and I’m very excited to share my thoughts with you, just a couple of hours ahead of time.

But first, a quick back story: the record was actually recorded, mixed and mastered in 2012..but like a good wine, the guys waited before they made it available to the public. When I first learned this little information, I was a bit worried that maybe the twelve songs would sound a bit “old”, but I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that age has not done anything to diminish the quality and enjoyability of the music, quite the contrary.

Musically-speaking, Adoptees is very old-school punk with a healthy dash of melody thrown in for good measure and together with relatively straight-forward, yet super catchy, songwriting, the twenty-nine minutes are bound to amaze from beginning to end. During the approximately twenty times I listened to the album in its entirety, there were numerous parts that got stuck in my head and I absolutely have to praise the recognizability of the individual tracks. The majority of the songs are balls-to-the-walls punk rock that many of us grew up with, whether actively or passively, and no instrument takes any prisoners.

In case you shouldn’t recognize the voice when listening to the song below, let me tell you that Adoptees is fronted by Eric Rosenfeld, of Versus You and Communicaution, making this his third active band to my knowledge. While the former is more pop punk oriented and the latter more of a singer-songwriter deal…Adoptees is, for me, a release for his angrier side, especially on the instrumental side. Lyrically, there are also quite a number of angry songs, but I found that they all left a somewhat positive aftertaste in my…ears, I guess? Even the one or the other serenade finds its way into the mix, which adds quite a bit to the diversity factor.

All in all, Adopt These has everything that a timeless album needs: lots of musical ingenuity, tons of catchy parts and an overall great production. The three year waiting period might have seemed like forever to fans of the band, but it’s safe to say that the wait was well worth the while. So, be sure to show Adoptees some love on Facebook, listen to the song below and head over to their Bandcamp around noon to grab the record! Smell you next week!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gejHR8T53pc]

Versus The World – Homesick/Roadsick

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I feel like there’s been some sort of pattern these past few months, where I alternate between punk and metal reviews…and honestly: I’ve never been happier. I’ll be honest: at times it’s really difficult to provide content all by myself on a weekly basis, but records like Homesick/Roadsick by Versus The World make the struggle well worth it!

The Californians play punk rock with a penchant toward the pop punk genre with some minor emo elements, which goes down so smoothly because of their proficient songwriting skills and mastery of their instruments. Melody is definitely the major driving force behind the eleven songs, but in terms of speed and power the quintet doesn’t lag behind either, providing a truly solid backdrop for the vocals.

The drumming is energetic and is accompanied by clearly audible bass lines, and both in perfect interplay the achieve a groove-laden base, that is overlaid by tons of simple but truly effective guitar riffs that range from heavy to soft melodies. The cherry on the cake are the playful solos that spice things up in just the right moments, thus creating a massively catchy experience to every listener.

The emo elements I mentioned earlier are only found in the vocals, which despite being melodic and screamed for the most part, are shaky and a bit whiny in some moments…and I absolutely dig it. Simply because it provides a truly heartfelt quality to the vocals, that is often lacking in the (pop) punk genre. In case you are not into that type of performance, don’t shy away, because it’s very minor, easily ignored and it doesn’t distract from the strong singing capabilities of the vocalist at all.

Homesick/Roadsick is the first output of the band that I’ve listened to and it managed to leave a very positive impression of Versus The World! So be sure to give the record a spin when it’s released on June 23rd, despite the most-likely major hangover you’ll be having after the National Holiday celebrations! In the meantime, you can listen to the first single below and head over to the guys’ Facebook page for more information!

Not Scientists – Destroy To Rebuild

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A bit less than a year ago I reviewed the debut EP, Leave Stickers On Our Graves, of the French punk supergroup Not Scientists, and today I have the great pleasure to write about their follow-up full-length Destroy To Rebuild!

What can I say? Not much has changed. But that wasn’t necessary to begin with, since the quartet had already found its sound on the predecessor and the musicianship was at a high level from the start. The main thing that stands out in comparison, however, is a more traditional production, with more natural sounding instruments or in other words, dare I say, simply a more punk approach.

In terms of songwriting, the eleven songs are still in the same vein as before, with a, for the most part, pop punk vibe and mostly good mood potential. But, the Frenchmen do take a few risks and add bluesy elements in some parts, and even some ska in other parts, which definitely adds a lot of variety to the mix. But the main addition to their sound is in the form of the dreamy and melancholic style, such as on the opener and on Just Break Me, which I absolutely love.

The singer still delivers on the entire line, and even performs some double takes on one song to form a really cool harmony. The lyrics during the thirty-eight minutes are less optimistic though, and lend additional depth to the music, with their reflective tone. Especially Tomorrow’s Another Day and the above-mentioned Just Break Me stand out to me in that domain. My only gripe is the fact that the background screams that I liked so much in the past, have almost completely disappeared…but that’s OK, I guess.

All in all, Destroy To Rebuild is a great full-length follow-up to a strong debut EP, and can easily be listened to several times on repeat without being boring even once. Last but not least, I can only strongly recommend going to a gig if Not Scientists are nearby, because their show’s a treat! So, if you are intrigued, head over to their Facebook page and listen to the album below, before the official release on March 6th!

The Jury And The Saints – The Jury And The Saints

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Let me ask you something: do you like punk? You do? Good. Now, do you enjoy stadium rock? Not your thing, you say? Well…then today might be exactly what is necessary to broaden your horizon! The Jury And The Saints deliver an impressive mixture of both genres on their self-titled album that is due on February 27th!

The New Zealanders’ sound feels like if you took Foo Fighters and sprayed them with a healthy dose of punk: catchy songwriting that features huge sing-along choruses and loads of easy-to-remember melodies, blended with partially screamed vocals and a ton of power chords!

In fact, the quartet doesn’t try to sound super technical on these twelve songs, but rather focuses on being efficient…a task they achieve, hands down. Luckily, the musicians are plenty skillful and manage to avoid boredom at any moment by delivering a flawless performance.

Actually, every time I listened to TJATS, I was amazed by how much the forty minutes managed to animate me and, had I not been sitting on public transport, make me want to dance around shout along to the songs. I’m convinced that, even without having seen them live yet, if you go to one of their shows, you will be severely rocked!

All in all, I’m quite positive that these guys will have a bright future, especially with songs like Freedom Fighter and Make Our Mark which have a lot of potential to reach large audiences! So don’t be a stranger and check out the guys on Facebook and listen to the song below!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYMvlCGNQhk]

Misgivings – Delete History

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I like honest music, which is why I despise most pop music that is out there with a few exceptions, and when it comes to sonic honesty there’s few genres that come across as genuine as punk. A perfect example for this are Misgivings, from England, who are about to release their debut EP Delete History on November 3rd!

The quartet’s style falls into the general vicinity of melodic punk rock, with mostly fast-paced guitars and matching drumming, and is deliberately held simple yet effective. Instrumentally it’s pretty straight-forward and there aren’t many, if any at all, surprises and that’s fine to me…but more about that later. Out of the six tracks, the last one, Stay Dull, was the one that stood out to me the most since it has this really neat intro and general good mood feel clinging to it due to its sing-along-inviting chorus.

As for the vocals and the lyrics: they are nothing to write home about, to be quite frank. Well-performed but the singer wouldn’t win an award for best voice in the world. Yet again though: I don’t give a damn. They match the music and round off the package quite well.

If you’ve read until here, you’ll probably think that I hated every second of these twenty-one minutes…but even though I hate to disappoint your expectations: nope. Because, as I mentioned in the beginning, Delete History just feels real: no bullshit, no over-complicated arrangements…just music that is heartfelt, made by a couple of friends who like to play their stuff and have fun while doing so. I’m down with that.

So in closing, would I recommend Misgivings to everyone? Probably not. I would say that they’re more of a band that you should discover for yourself, preferably at a random gig because, even though I haven’t had the chance to see them myself yet, I’m quite convinced that they deliver a stunning performance. If you do want to give them a shot in your own four walls, don’t be shy and listen to the song below and go to their Facebook page for more information.

Fights And Fires/Idle Class – Split 7inch

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A couple of weeks ago I went to an all-day skate punk show here in Luxembourg and out of the many bands playing, there was one act that stood out to me: the German formation Idle Class. Me being me I couldn’t help but chat them up and ask if they had anything coming up in the release department, which is when I learned that they were about to release a split EP with the English hardcore punkers of Fights And Fires. Even though I’m not a huge fan of split releases, I simply couldn’t pass up on the occasion, so let’s give the Split 7inch a shot, shall we?

I’ll start the review of the four tracks, two per band, in reverse order with Idle Class since they were the ones that drew me here in the first place. The quintet plays a kind of punk rock with a more dreamy and technical approach, while still maintaining the lightheartedness that is typical in the genre. Both songs are mostly fast-paced but regularly jump into mid-tempo parts that give you a little time to catch your breath, which is exactly what makes their approach so interesting: there is never a moment where you’re out of the song, yet it doesn’t get repetitive at any point in time. The dual vocals are also a nice little touch that gives their music an additional layer of depth and actually resembles melodic hardcore in some passages.

Moving on to Fights And Fires. What can I say? The five blokes have not lost their trademark sound and deliver hard punches, wrapped in a good mood boxing glove. Too metaphorical? Yeah, thought so: F&F simply knows how to make the crowds dance with their incessantly hard-hitting hardcore punk, while still making their listeners feel happy inside due to their melodic goodness. Even though I have to admit that the vocals do take a few minutes to get used to, or at least that was the case for me, I can honestly say that I can’t imagine the songs without the singer’s wacky screams.

As I mentioned above, I don’t really like split EPs, and the reason is usually the same as it is with this one: they always leave me craving for more. However, these fourteen minutes will whet your appetite enough for the, as far as I know, planned full length records of both bands…so be sure to give them a shot! You can find more information on the Facebook pages of Fights And Fires and Idle Class! And below you can listen to a song of each band, before the official release on October 10th!