Tag Archives: UK

Orchards – Losers/Lovers

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Public service announcement: simplicity is underrated and I have a feeling that many musicians these days try to write complex music, for complexity’s sake. While I am a sucker for technically demanding and outside-of-the-box music, I also love putting on a record and being familiar with it after my first listen; or at least feeling that way. Orchard’s have managed to achieve just that, because their debut EP Losers/Lovers is a pure joy to listen to on repeat.

If I had to describe their sound in two words I’d call it authentic pop: the quartet’s songs could be straight off a pop radio station, because of their catchiness and recognizability, but the fact that everything is actually played by hand, instead of coming out of a machine, gives them a lot more credibility.

While I did call the Brightonians’ music simple, by no means was I implying that it was primitive, because the instrumentation and arrangement of the eight songs are all top notch. A clearly audible and groovy bassline is omnipresent and accompanies the driving drum tracks, while the effect-heavy guitar plays dreamy riffs that all pack a punch and will be stuck in your head after the first go. Yet, no song is ever overcrowded and you can clearly discern everything that is going on, allowing you to absorb them in their entirety.

Orchards do have another secret weapon though: harmonies and canon singing! The singer does a fantastic of reeling you in with her lyrics and her performance can be truly felt throughout the twenty-eight minutes. The cherry on top is the additional vocals, in select passages, by the guitarist that are either sung in perfect unison or slightly delayed depending on the various songs. This small detail lends the ensemble a whole new layer of depth and, having seen the band recently, I can tell you that they deliver that incredible power in a live setting as well!

For now, Orchards are a fairly small band still, but I can without a doubt say that they will be gaining momentum with this release and I hope that they will go far. So make sure to jump on the train of good music early and check out Losers/Lovers when it’s release this Friday, July 6th! You can get a first impressions in the video below and by checking the band’s Facebook page!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpF-XDXRwDw]

Maypine – Bend/Break

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Story time! Last year in December I flew to Brighton to see Hail The Sun open for Silverstein, and at that gig I got to witness today’s band play the opening slot. I got talking to them about a possible future release and, seven months later, here we are! Maypine are a fairly new band and their second release, Bend/Break, is just about to be released on Friday! Let’s dig in, shall we?

The quintet plays alternative rock, with a hint of post-hardcore for good measure, and manages to capture the essence and atmosphere of the genre quite well. While the drums are fairly straight-forward, they are in constant interplay with the bass, and provide a perfect backdrop for the two guitars to build the slightly melancholic, yet hopeful, feel of the Brits’ sound.

The singer delivers a solid performance with a respectable range, but at times I felt that the vocals lacked a bit more diversity. While I do believe that I heard female backing vocals every now and then, I found them to be a little too low, or buried, in the mix. The fact that the singer has quite a good ear for vocal melodies that complement the songs, makes up for most of that, though.

Despite not reinventing the wheel, the fourteen minutes feature well-written songs that are memorable enough to keep your ears glued to the speakers. So, by all means, give Bend/Break a listen over on the website of Pure Grain Audio, or check out their music video below to get a first impression. Last but not least, head on over to the band’s Facebook page and show them some love!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVyjJe07eQg]

I, The Lion – Run

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I, The Lion is an up-and-coming band from the UK, that has found its comfort zone in post-punk, a direction that I admittedly wasn’t quite aware of before listening to its new EP Run. Naturally, I was intrigued by this new genre and equally excited to discover it.

But, let me be honest: when I started listening to the EP for the first time, I was taking care of some stuff in my living room and I thought to myself that it was going to be just another run-off-the-mill pop punk band. But then, a bit more than two minutes in, I stopped what I was doing for a second because a cool part in the song came up, only to resume my chores…until the three minute mark when I literally looked up and sat down to enjoy the rest of the amazing sixteen minutes in peace.

How can I describe their sound best, I wonder? I’d say that it’s a mix of pop punk and post-hardcore, because it features catchy and easy-going song structures on one hand, and energetic technical explosions on the other. Let me backtrack to the above-mentioned magical three minute mark part, which is a prime example of their musical prowess, where the guitar keeps climbing a scale, only to erupt into a groove-laden part with perfect harmony between powerful drums and a crushing guitar riff, which is underlain by a dreamy high-pitched rhythm guitar part. I absolutely love it.

The one thing I have slightly mixed feelings about, however, are the vocals. Even though the singer delivers a respectable performance throughout the four songs, I just can’t really get into his clean vocals, because they come across as a bit flat and monotonous for the most part. It feels as if this is his first go at clean singing, but I’m quite convinced that with a bit more practice, the end result will be perfect. His screams, on the other hand, tickle my fancy just right!

What can I say? Run is an EP that is definitely worth your time, because it delivers in all the right places and is chock-full of memorable parts. You can check out the band’s Facebook page for more information and listen to the discussed-above opener below, before checking out the full release on February 9th.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jy7Q-cJDI6A]

Basement – Further Sky

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Sometimes, even when you’re sad when a band you like disbands, it’s worth keeping an eye on them. While it’s not always the case, some of them decide to reunite and release new music. Such was the case with the hardcore/grunge band Basement a few weeks ago since, after two years of being gone, they unleashed Further Sky.

The five guys originally from the UK have recorded two new songs, Summer’s Colour and Jet, as well as a cover of the Suede song Animal Nitrate. All three songs sound exactly like what you’d expect from the band and still make me want more, even after having listened to them at least thirty times.

The dreaminess that defines the band’s sound is ever-so-present, while still keeping it straight-forward and engaging. Especially the main riff of Jet just showcases why I fell in love with the previous record, Colourmeinkindness, back when it was released.

While this isn’t really a typical review of the eleven minute-long EP, I just felt like I had to mention that BASEMENT ARE BACK! I know that I’m not alone when I say that after this sweet little cock-tease, I’m willing to throw my money at the guys if they decide to make another full-length. Be sure to click play below and visit the band’s Facebook page!

The Kut – Make Up

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I wanted to start this review with stating something, but then I read the band’s bio and thought to myself: let’s not. So let me skip that sentence and move on straight to the introduction: The Kut from lovely London are a three piece band that plays, as they like to call it, basement rock but to the uninitiated I’ll just refer to it as grunge for now. Their new EP Make Up was released in mid-August, however due to our break here at El Gore, I’ll just give you my impressions now.

The first interesting point that struck me about the trio is that, partly due to their low number of musicians, the bass is nice and strong in the mix, providing a groovy line throughout the five songs. As a matter of fact, the guitar is for the most part underlining the bass guitar, which is something I have rarely heard, but I absolutely dig it! The drums didn’t strike me as anything particularly special, but they do provide a fitting backdrop to the stringed instruments during the five songs, so nothing to argue there.

The vocalist has a nice rough and powerful voice, as is fitting for the genre, and has no issues whatsoever with busting out sweet melodies throughout the almost twenty minutes with her vocal chords. My favorite one being on the track Mario, which reminds me of something but I can’t, for the life of me, put my finger on it.

This about does it for Make Up, since it’s pretty straight-forward music but still well worth your while, so give it a listen below and in case you are truly curious what my opening statement could have been, head on over the band’s Facebook page!

The Hiding Place – This Is Home

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To be quite frank, when I think of post-hardcore, one of the last countries I think of is the UK. While they do have a handful of bands in the genre, the majority hails from across the bigger pond…but that impression has changed with my introduction to The Hiding Place! Their new release This Is Home has just dropped a few days ago and it’s fine display of how to sound genuine and diverse.

The quintet from the Midlands seems to take inspiration from several big names in the genre and creates its own blend. Even though I don’t like name-dropping very much when I review smaller bands, I can’t resist mentioning (old) Sleeping With Sirens and (old) Chiodos. Some passages in the five songs have distinguishable elements from both bands, yet still sound fresh and entrancing.

There are hardly any moments where any of the instruments takes a break and slower parts are almost non-existent…I can dig that, and so should you. The few calm instances are highly atmospheric though, so they don’t take away a single second from the drive of the sixteen minutes. The production is clean, heavy where it needs to be and feels rather genuine.

The vocals were what bothered me during the, approximately, first two minutes on the EP…but then the wobbly, for lack of a better word, singing turned into heartfelt screams and beautifully sung cleans. The overall performance blends in nicely with the ensemble and there’s really nothing negative I could state. So kudos! Just on a personal note, there was one lyric that really made me smile because I never looked at it that way myself: “I drink to remember, not to forget”…cheers for that!

To sum things up: while The Hiding Place probably won’t claim the award for best band of the year or some shit like that, they’re a solid band that deserves your attention and I’m quite confident in saying that if they continue this way, they will be putting out some more brilliant stuff in the future! To get an impression, check out the video below and visit the band’s Facebook page!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ba-7rz9ieE]

Tigers Of Junction Street – Tigers Of Junction Street

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I believe a brief back story is in order about today’s review: when I started writing reviews I tried to stay away from labels and such and just pick the stuff I wanted to write about, from my own collection. As time went on, we occasionally got contacted by small, mostly UK-based, promoters and that’s when the idea of working together with people like that grew on me. I don’t review everything we are being sent, since I don’t like bashing what the people that made it are proud of. In the case of Tigers Of Junction Street the opposite applies though: I jumped on it from the first second since their self-titled EP simply blew me away! Enough of that lengthy introduction, let’s cut to the chase!

The quintet from High Wycombe, in England for those that are as proficient in geography as myself, plays what it, I presume, jokingly calls “melodic tech-rock”…I’m going to be that guy and say that it’s post-hardcore though. Even though I try to avoid making comparisons when I write about a band…I just have to come out and say that the five songs actually really remind me of Emarosa‘s self-titled record; which might a big reason why I dig them so much.

Melody is definitely an important factor in the band’s sound and that is made clear by the diverse riffing present during the eighteen minutes. However, the heavier side isn’t being short-handed either because there are quite a few headbang-worthy passages strewn in on more than one occasion. The drumming adapts perfectly to both aspects and delivers a truly solid basis for the music, with several truly interesting rhythms.

While the instrumental part could easily be enough to satisfy me, the other major selling point is the vocal performance! Yet again, my comparison above applies quite well to the singer’s voice, because in all the people that tried to adapt a similar singing style, this guy actually pulls it off flawlessly and even manages to add his own personal flavor. Even the lyrics, and enunciation, are aching to those of Mister Craig…I absolutely fucking love it.

All in all, there is no excuse whatsoever to not check out Tigers Of Junction Street because this EP is sure to put these newcomers in the best possible light. I, for one, am much impressed by what they managed to deliver here and I hope that a full-length will see the light of day at some point in the near future! You can listen to their song Incarnation below and visit their Facebook page to keep up with their news!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAN7nkYNIYY]

Heel – Stranger Just The Same

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In case you’re unfamiliar with the proceedings of promo packages you get as a review site, let me tell you real quick that generally you get the (digital) record as well as a small biography of the band. When I read today’s band’s bio, one sentence caught my attention: “Yes, we have a young female singer, but she doesn’t sing like Hayley Williams or Avril Lavigne”. And let me tell you right from the start that Heel did not promise something they couldn’t keep, because their second EP Stranger Just The Same is quite something!

While I, personally, enjoy both mentioned above ladies’ voices very much, it’s always nice to hear a different approach…even if it does remind me of the sound of the mid-nineties No Doubt era, which is when I think they were at their best; but I digress. The singer has a rougher, yet feminine, voice than what you’d expect and she puts all her soul into her performance, managing to win you over from the first second she opens her mouth.

Despite the EP only having four tracks, you get a reasonable amount of variety on the instrumental level; covering both the up-beat and the quiet sonic spectrums. In terms of songwriting it’s kept concisely, but everything that makes a good listening experience is present. Especially the opener, which you can listen to below, is just catchy as hell and is bound to make you sing along after the first time you hear the chorus!

The London-based quartet has certainly left a very favorable impression on me after these fourteen minutes, and I genuinely hope that a full-length is planned for the, not-too, distant future. If you are into female-fronted bands, but in need of a change from the general monotony…terrible pun incoming…don’t be a Stranger and give Heel a chance and visit their Facebook page for more information. You won’t regret it, I promise!

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

Everybody Looks Famous – Earth

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m a sucker for pop punk with female vocals. No matter how good or bad the band is, I feel like I have to check them out and give them a chance. In the case of the UK-based Everybody Looks Famous that was actually a smart decision! They are about to release their new EP called Earth next week and they managed to bring something quite solid to the table.

The four tracks on the new endeavor of the quintet all have that really dreamy melodic feel to them, which is rather nicely achieved by frequent use of synthesizers accompanying the “classic” instruments. The latter are, I would imagine, deliberately held rather basic, but effective in the sense that they don’t take you away from the zone the music puts you in.

The vocals are mostly done by the female lead singer, but sometimes underlaid by the two, male, guitarists who serve as background vocalists, thus creating a fitting contrast and adding variety to their sound. There is nothing negative whatsoever I can say about the vocal performance in general, since it’s a flawless job…but I do have to say that the timbre of the singer is nothing I’ve never heard, so I wasn’t exactly awestruck.

The only real critique I have about these, mostly, mid-tempo fifteen minutes is that I would have wished for a slightly different mixing/mastering: in some passages the individual instruments are a bit too low in the mix, and in other cases the vocals are. But it’s just a minor gripe, that I can easily forgive since the overall experience is enjoyable enough!

In closing, I’ll say that while ELF are not breaking new ground, they are obviously passionate musicians that deserve to be heard by more people. So give Earth a listen on the 16th when it comes out and visit the band’s Facebook page for more information about their progress!

Midday Committee – Girls In Open C

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Today I’m writing about a record that impressed me because of a simple fact, that I will get into at the end of this review. Midday Committee‘s second EP Girls In Open C was released this Monday and is a nice little seven, including the intro, track venture into the pop punk genre.

The quartet from Portsmouth has a great feeling for writing catchy songs with easy-to-remember structures, while managing to avoid sounding generic, or too poppy rather. The melodic guitars coupled with the driving drum beats form a really enjoyable ensemble that just manages to convince.

The punk side of their genre doesn’t come too short either, even though you will be searching in vain for unclean vocals, breakdowns or anything of the sort. On the contrary, the twenty-five minutes don’t suffer from that in any way whatsoever and it would actually be quite unfitting if there were any of those elements in the mix.

The vocalist does a fabulous job and I haven’t noticed a single weak moment in his performance on the EP. Furthermore, there is a beautiful duet with Christina Rotondo of the band Searching Alaska in the last song, Just Me And You, that is definitely my highlight of the record. Lyrically, the EP is, as you might have guessed from its title, mostly about relationships…so nothing too surprising there, but at least it’s not super cheesy.

As a closing statement, I’m going to say that Midday Committee‘s selling point for me was that they managed to come up with what I had wanted from the last Fall Out Boy, who are obviously big inspirations to them, record. It might be slightly high praise but the blokes do deserve it, since they don’t lack talent! For more information, be sure to visit their Facebook and be sure to check out the entire EP below!