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New releases go under the microscope

purplePURPLE – ‘409’
(Out Now on PIAS)
IT’S THE STORY EVERY BAND FRESH OUT OF UNCLE SAM’S SURBURBIA is telling right now….Got together in small town America whilst still learning how to shave, played the fleapit circuit to clinch that all important Indie deal, spent time with the likes of The Subways…(7) More

kill it kidKILL IT KID – ‘YOU OWE NOTHING’
(Out Nov 10th on Sire)
TAKING THEIR CUES FROM LANDMARK AMERICAN BLUES, British quartet Kill It Kid have their finger on the pulse of mesmerising backwood 60’s sounds that have influenced the likes of Eric Clapton and The Rolling Stones.  Lost legacies only to be found at the back of dusty vinyl bargain basements…(8) More

blueneckBLUENECK – ‘KING NINE’
(Out Nov 10th on Denovali Records)
SOMERSET POST-ROCK VETERANS BLUENECK have seen their fair share of new kids on the underground-block.  Four critically acclaimed albums over 14 years and the scene they helped to develop has moved from the truly unknown, to the relatively familiar…(7) More

gates_bloomGATES – ‘BLOOM & BREATHE
(Out Now on Pure Noise)
NEW JERSEY’S GATES HAVE SET OUT TO CREATE a new generation of post-rock with their debut long player Bloom & Breathe.  An album that immediately looks to build on the bones of failed predecessors and faded glories, listeners unfortunately get the ruse a little too early…(6) More

pineapplethiefTHE PINEAPPLE THIEF – ‘Magnolia’
(Out Now on KScope)
AS TIME HAS GONE ON BRUCE SOORD HAS REALISED he can say whatever he wants.  Multi-intrumentalist and lead singer of British Prog-Rock pioneers The Pineapple Thief, Soord is finally realising the culmination of years of intuitive chemistry and inspriational ideas…(8) More

violentsohoVIOLENT SOHO – ‘Hungry Ghost’
(Out Now on SideOneDummy)
EQUIPPED WITH AN ARSENAL OF DEIVERSE musical firearms, Violent Soho’s latest release on SideOneDummy is set to be a future inspiration on younger bands.  Hungry Ghost is a triple shot of grunge, pop punk and alt-rock: a trifecta to hypnotize…(8) More

jawsJAWS – ‘Be Slowly’
(Out Now on SideOneDummy)
LURKING DEEP BENEATH THE SEA OF UK ALTERNATIVE ACTS is JAWS, a youthful band of brothers with a debut album that has enough teeth to take a great big big bloody bite out of the formulaic floaters up top.  Clearly influenced by…(8) More

interpol_elpintor

INTERPOL – ‘El Pintor’
(Out Now on PIAS)
HOW DO YOU DRAW EXUBERANCE AND MERRIMENT from the darkest corners of the soul?  You might expect discouraging surroundings to surpress and muzzle the trademark of a band whose sole intention is to give some sense of buoyancy to life’s endless back and forth…(8) More

amplifier mystoriaAMPLIFIER – ‘Mystoria’
(Out Sept 8th on Superball)
“AN ALBUM IS JUST A GOOD PARTY OF LIKE MINDED FRIENDS” enthuses Sel Balamir, vocalist of mercurial Manc space marauders Amplifier.  He’s not kidding.  Album number five sounds like they went to the studio whazzed to the tits on vodka, in comparison to last years lacklustre Echo Street…(8) More

ROYAL BLOOD – ‘Royal Blood’
(Out Now on Warner)
royalblood
NO-ONE COULD HAVE GENUINELY EXPECTED a duo that only formed in 2013, to release a full-length album quite as mature and sophisticated as this.  Although having won over and supported Arctic Monkeys already we should perhaps not be completely surprised.  Despite it’s clear descendency, singer/guitarist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatche…(8) More

GaslightAnthem-GetHurt-PackShotTHE GASLIGHT ANTHEM – ‘Get Hurt’
(Out Now on Virgin)
A TGA BREAKUP ALBUM FOLKS….ok bear with it.  In frontman Brian Fallon’s own words, the album can be described as “completely different than anything we had ever done before”.  Quite a statement considering the success of 2012’s critically acclaimed and commercially successful Handwritten…(6) More

jmascisJ MASCIS – ‘Tied To A Star’
(Out Now on Sub Pop)
WITH BESPECTACLED FEATURES amongst a river of grey hair and beard, J Mascis looks every inch the mellowed veteran rocker.  His ever expanding solo catalogue allows him to put the harder rock style of his day job with Dinosaur Jr. to one side, to indulge an inner calm…(8) More

lonely the braveLONELY THE BRAVE – ‘The Day’s War’
(Out Sept 1st on Hassle Records)
TALK ABOUT EXPECTATIONThe hype surrounding this release has been nothing short of delirium.  Initially sheduled for a June release, The Days War is this years Reflektor, or…Like Clockwork.  Not in musical similarity, but assumption, and anticipation.  If there’s any justice in this world, it could be equally as huge…(9) More

12 Jacket (3mm Spine) [GDOB-30H3-007}CHARLIE SIMPSON – ‘Long Road Home’
(Out Now on Nusic Sounds)
IF EVER A TITLE SUMS UP THE CHARLIE SIMPSON STORY, this one is particularly apt. This is an artist – yes, artist – who has spent the past 13 years of a varied career making decisions that take cajones. Leaving boyband Busted while they were still top of the hit parade, commercially successful but musically redundant, to forming alt/emo Fightstar, through to his current solo career on the acoustic side…(7) More

johngarciaJOHN GARCIA – ‘John Garcia’
(Out Now on Napalm)
THE CHANCES OF JOHN GARCIA TURNING THE TIDE, running with convention to play half assed Punk or Pop-Rock, are thankfully slim to none.  Few things you can count on these days, but one of the most distinctive voices in Rock will always relentlessly dispatch huge chunky Rock workouts to stir up more dust than a Californian sandstorm…(9) More

riseagainstRISE AGAINST – ‘The Black Market’
(Out Now on Interscope)
SELF-AWARENESS, ACCORDING TO JOHN LOCKE depends on consciousness, not substance.  The seventh LP from American Punk Rock band Rise Against, according to lead singer Tim McIllrath, explores introspection through political and personal experiences.  With over 15 years in the busines…(8) More

wovenwarWOVENWAR – ‘Wovenwar’
(Out Aug 5th on Metal Blade)
HOW THE MEMBERS OF AS I LAY DYING MUST’VE FELT – with multi-million album sales in their pocket and having toured with the likes of Slipknot, Slayer, Suicide Silence and Killswitch Engage – when vocalist Tim Lambesis was arrested and jailed for attempting to hire a hitman to kill his wife.  After the obvious shock and shattering foundation shake up…(7) More

floodofredFLOOD OF RED – ‘Throw’
(Out Now on Superball Music)
IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME COMING but Scottish rockers Flood of Red finally dropped their sophomore LP recently, after a string of hugely successful UK shows that have seen the sextet reinvigorate a swelling fan base.  Where excellent ’09 debut Leaving Everything Behind largely passed under the radar, the band attempt to make Throw…(6) More

casualtiesofcoolCASUALTIES OF COOL – ‘Casualties of Cool’
(Out now on Pledge Music)
YOU’VE GOT TO HAND IT TO DEVIN TOWNSEND.  This latest incarnation in a prolific career to date feels like an escape.  An emotional diary that swings back and forth from ambient moon-age atmospherics to shuffling Bluesy-Folk filled ballads.  There’s a distinct ebb and flow in the moods that are explored on an album…(8) More

overkillOVERKILL – ‘White Devil Armory’
(Out July 22nd on eOne Music)
IN A WORLD FULL OF CHANGE THERE IS ONE CONSTANT – Overkill. Since their debut Feel The Fire dropped back in ’85, the New Jersey natives have been ignoring fashionable trends to continually release albums of the Blue-Collar Thrash they originally invented.  What makes them so unique…(9) More

chevelleCHEVELLE – ‘La Gárgola’
(Out Now on Epic)
THEY MAY BE A MULTI-MILLION platinum selling band in the US, but Chicago’s Chevelle are a relative unknown on European shores.  Formed way back in ’95, brothers Loeffler have been kickin’ out Rock radio hits for 20 years.  Their use of darkly-overdriven guitars, heart-thumping drums and harpooning choruses…(8) More

braidBRAID – ‘No Coast’
(Out July 8th on Topshelf Records)
YOU CAN HARDLY MOVE FOR ‘THE NEXT BIG THING’ on the scene right now.  But the first album in 16 years from Illinois Post-Hardcore influencers Braid, defines how superlative songwriting will always outshine musical trends.  98’s defining Frame & Canvas remains their signature piece but with No Coast, they appear to have a more accessible record…(9) More

anathema_distant satellitesANATHEMA – ‘Distant Satellites’
(Out Now on KScope)
WHEN 16 YEAR OLD X-FACTOR CONTESTANTS talk about having been on a ‘journey’, during their transient moments in the entertainment programme poorly disguised as a talent show, you wonder what they would make of Anathema’s musical journey.  At their inception in 1990, the ultra-detuned heavily distorted guitars and Darren White’s vocals were no different from your average doom band…(8) More

electricriverELECTRIC RIVER – ‘The Faith And Patience’
(Out Now on Cadiz Music)
THERE IS A RESURGENCE of Indie and Hard Rock passion in Electric River and this Kent quartet’s latest release, The Faith And Patience gets the steam running from the off with ‘Calling Out’.  A tune with deep U2 roots, all structured theatrical vocals and reverb guitar hooks: convincingly Edge-like and thriving in celtic genius…(7) More

crowbarCROWBAR – Symmetry In Black
(Out Now on eOne Music)
IF THERE’S ONE BAND IN METAL that’s slipped under the radar for years and yet are still treasured by their fans, it’s surely Crowbar.  Three years since 2011’s “Sever the Wicked Hand”, they’re bringing back their unique brand of Sludge Metal with a crunching riff monster of an album that will see die hard fans salivating and the unacquainted running for cover…(8) More

SSG---Blowout-artworkwebTHE SO SO GLOS – ‘Blowout’
(Out Now on Votiv / Caroline)
THEY MAY BE FROM THE STREETS OF NEW YORK, but The So So Glo’s sound precincts music from across the pond. On their latest LP the band indulges in a steady genius of English Indie injected with American Rock and Punk.  There’s no initial puncture in Blowout, thanks to intro ‘Son of an American’, which blends East Coast hostility with West Coast grooves…(7) More

americanfootballAMERICAN FOOTBALL – American Football
(
Out Now on Polyvinyl Records)
IT’S PRETTY CRAZY WHEN A BAND that has only played a handful of shows has enough relevance to last 15 years. Now reuniting for a brief tenure in 2014, Illinois natives American Football have reissued and revamped their 1999 Heisman Trophy of an album.  The genesis of the reissue started after guitar player Steve Holmes dug up old cassette tapes of live recordings and unreleased songs. Thank heavens for spring-cleaning..(9) More

drivingmrssatanDRIVING MRS. SATAN – ‘Popscotch’
(Out May 19th on Augualoca Records)
HEAVY METAL COVER ALBUMS have never been done like this before. Claudia, Ernesto and Giacomo triangulate their vocals, acoustic guitar and double bass to form stripped-back ditties of your favourite tracks from the Marshall-stacked 80’s era. The musical score and most of the melodies have been changed but the lyrics remain and the overall effect for some tracks is magical…(8) More

Till Midnight CoverCHUCK RAGAN – ‘Till Midnight’
(Out Now on SideOneDummy)
THERE’S A PRESSING DESIRE TO STAY UP WELL PAST 12AM to cherish every musical moment of Chuck Ragan’s new album.  Proceeding hiatus from his renowned band Hot Water Music, Ragan unlaces his punk-rock boots and trades them in for some southern kicks. His latest shift into Americana begins with ‘Something May Catch Fire,’ the closest he’ll get to turning into Keith Urban or Toby Keith and not blasphemed as a sell-out…(9) More

Whigs_cover_nobandTHE AFGHAN WHIGS – ‘Do To The Beast’
A LOT OF RECORDS I’VE DONE stemmed from epochal experiences in my life. These new songs are very visual to me.  They come from the neighbourhoods of my mind”.   Frontman Greg Dulli always seemed to have Rock music sewn up good and proper.  With his band The Afghan Whigs, formed in Cincinatti, Ohio, way back in 1988, Dulli has had a stranglehold over satisfying the elements that pander to our lowest and most complex musical requirements…(8) More

OFF!OFF! – ‘Wasted Years’
(Out Now on Vice)
FROM LEGENDARY FRONTMAN KEITH MORRIS comes the spring release Wasted Years: a testament that older guys can out-rock youth.  Once the vicious singer of iconic punk bands Black Flag and The Circle Jerks, his latest crew Off! challenges modern day recording processes this time by presenting a live-to-tape album. The band plugged in and hit the record button, igniting a personal concert experience and bringing the mosh to wherever they will be heard…(9) More

la disputeLA DISPUTE – ‘Rooms Of The House’
THE STYLE OF LA DISPUTE’S ROOMS OF THE HOUSE feels more like a Shakespearean play than a concept album. Through vocalist Jordan Dreyer’s lengthy monologues and drawn out narratives, it’s as if Hamlet went punk rock.  Listeners hear 11 tracks of sorrow and guilt from a tragic hero and Dreyer treats the vocal booth like a confessional, at times sounding like a man in a coffee shop during poetry night…(7) More

PupPUP – ‘Pup’
THERE IS NO SMALL OR PLAYFUL YAP from PUP’s music.  Instead, they should be considered dangerous and come complete with electrical collar.  On this their self-titled debut, they scowl, bark and ravage until gasping for breath.  Much like a bulldog, PUP manages to retain cute and friendly while still possessing the fercious characteristics of a wild feline, when needed…(8) More

shevilsSHEVILS – ‘Lost In Tartarus’
HEY BUDDY! YOU IN THE BULLSHIT NU-NU-METAL SHIRT! You want cool? You’re looking the wrong way. Because along with Wolves Like Us, this band could be one of the best things to emerge from Norway in a long time. They do this Hardcore thing better, and harder, and with more style, more decadence, more elegant chaos than any whey-faced American could hope to in a decade of trying. Just listen to ‘Black Eyes’, ‘Timelines’ and ‘State of Regret’ and try arguing.  From humble beginnings Shevils have developed into an impressive quasi-Hardcore act…(8) More

nothingNOTHING – ‘Guilty Of Everything’
METALLIC SHOEGAZE IS NOT EXACTLY A HACKNEYED TAG.   In fact, we’d go as far to say you’re reading this now thinking we’ve just made up a new classification.  But as sure as the air we breathe, Philadelphia’s Nothing play ear destroying blends of darkly captivating vocals on walls of magnetic guitar, that you might have heard back in early 90’s, had the likes of Chapterhouse been brave enough to turn up the fuzz…(8) More

theintersphereTHE INTERSPHERE – ‘Relations In The Unseen’
APPROPRIATELY NAMING THEIR NEW ALBUM Relations in the Unseen, German act The Intersphere are looking to build on the success of Hold On, LIberty!  Naming it ‘Relations In The Unheard’ would have been a tremendous fabrication.  What is immediately apparent, is how similar The Intersphere are to some other very familiar groups.  The opening title track is amply the most introspective…(5) More

les claypoolLES CLAYPOOL’S DUO DE TWANG – ‘Four Foot Shack’
EVER WONDERED WHAT STAYING ALIVE WOULD SOUND LIKE if performed by the inbred cast of Deliverance?  Then this is your lucky day.  Les Claypool brings a southern country-style interpretation to a diverse range of classic Primus songs, his solo work and cover versions from multiple genres.  Staying Alive is the stand out track, replacing trouser-tight high pitched crooning, with a rumbling grunt of ‘Harm, Harm, Harm, Harm, Stayin’ Alive’; the guitar interpretation hugely entertaining…(8) More

brawlersBRAWLERS – ‘I Am A Worthless Piece of Shit’
THERE’S NOTHING TOO SCRAPPY about how Brawlers attack their music. When the Punk gets rough, they seal the cracks with cemented pop melodies. If a tune feels clean cut, this Leeds based Punk crew deliver quick jabs to leave knuckles and noses bloody.  At just over 15 minutes, this EP lays bare Brawlers’ marauding musical warfare tactics…(8) More

wolveslikeusWOLVES LIKE US – ‘Black Soul Choir’
DEBUT LP ‘LATE LOVE’ FROM OSLO’s WOLVES LIKE US was a scalding spurt of righteous fury that nestled very nicely within the bosom of post-hardcore fuelled Alt-Rock theatre.  A praiseworthy first effort that coupled with an incendiary live show, served to make this quartet prime contenders in the bloody fist-fight that is the modern day music scene.  Its follow up Black Soul Choir is not only…(9) More

BBS Whippoorwill sleeve awBLACKBERRY SMOKE – The Whippoorwill
IF YOU DON’T SPEAK WITH A SOUTHERN ACCENT ALREADY, you will by the end of the new album from Blackberry Smoke, out now on Earache Records. It’s not so much the originality of the music as it is the unapologetic-bonafide-down home quality that makes the band’s third full-length release, The Whippoorwill, so unique. Not to mention the expert musicianship. The album is back-to-back knock out tunes…(9) More

flotsamandjetsam_noplaceFLOTSAM AND JETSAM – No Place For Disgrace
THRASH PIONEERS FLOTSAM AND JETSAM  are quickly following up on last year’s Ugly Noise with something that sounds very familiar.  No Place For Disgrace originally landed back in ’89 at the peak of the Thrash revolution.  So why the re-record?  Flotsam were always cursed by horrible production – both the original version of No Place and it’s follow up, When The Storm Comes Down, were landed with a hollow mix…(9) More

wolandWOLAND – ‘Hyperion’
SINCE FORMING BACK IN 2010 and the underground recognition gained with their Conquer All & Live Forever double single, Finnish Post-Black Metal powerhouses Woland finally release their debut LP, Hyperion. Featuring a who’s who of additional vocal performances from artists like Geir Bratland (Dimmu Borgir), Mathias ‘Vreth’ Lillmåns (Finntroll) and Janica Lönn (Black Sun Aeon) Woland are looking to spread the buzz they’ve already self-generated, to a much more wider audience…(8) More

thaliazedekTHALIA ZEDEK BAND – ‘Six’
THALIA ZEDEK IS ON THE RISE. AGAIN.  Following a flurry of activity – including a re-release with 90’s band Come and a U.S. tour promoting her 2013 full-length release Via – comes SIX, the upcoming mini-album. Hitting the streets just before the band embarks on what will be their most extensive European tour in six years, it’s a soulful send off for the artist…(8) More

transatlanticTRANSATLANTIC – ‘Kaleidoscope’
LIKE TERRY BUSH ONCE SAID…“there’s a voice that keeps on calling me, down the road, that’s where I’ll always be. Every stop I make, I make a new friend. Can’t stay for long, just turn around and I’m gone again”.  Rock’s littlest hobo, Mike Portnoy appears to be going through a midlife crisis, seemingly driven by a need to contribute to one-off recordings before wandering off again and popping up on someone else’s adjustable drum stool…(6) More

throwdownTHROWDOWN – ‘Intolerance’
UNLESS YOU’RE DEF LEPPARD then taking nearly five years between albums can be risky, especially when you have a back catalogue filled with genre-defining classics. Throwdown are back to meet the challenge and lay waste to all before them with Intolerance…..to see if they can resurrect the glory of Sirius XM staples such as This Continuum and The Scythe…(7) More

augustinesAUGUSTINES – ‘Augustines’
COME THE END OF THE NEW RECORD BY AUGUSTINES, their decision for releasing a self titled album is relatively simple: to re-emphasize and intensely display their new moniker across the Indie Rock scene.  Dropping the ‘We Are’ raised eyebrows but from the off, it all makes sense.  The chirpy bells, chimes and digital pops of ‘Intro (I Touch Imaginary Hands)’ is an elevating euphoric experience…(7) More

montepittmanMONTE PITTMAN – ‘The Power of Three”
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A GUITARIST who’s played for such distinctly divergent acts as Madonna and New York metallers ProngTen tracks of routine pop with barely an audible riff?  Or ten tracks repleat with discernable thrash steeped in the rich history of 70’s and 80’s Hard Rock?  Pittman’s roots are buried deep under Metal’s tree of life so like any good pro, he’s headed back from whence he came for solo outing number four, thankfully…(8) More

fallingoffmapsFALLING OFF MAPS – ‘A Seaside Town In Winter’
IN STARK CONTRAST IT SEEMS TO COMMON RULE, honest and liberating music can come in the most unexpected form.  What’s so much more effective than your usual three chord tirade, is an emotional warmth played through subtle musicianship that defends and protects from a dark interior.  Nottingham quintet Falling Off Maps barely progress beyond keys and vocal throught this 15 track debut…(6) More

mogwai_ravetapesMOGWAI ‘Rave Tapes’
HAVE MOGWAI GONE ELECTRONIC? The name of album number eight suggests so. Tired of being an egg, they’ve decided to hatch and learn how to fly. 17 years after their exceptional debut Young Team, they’ve developed a new sound. How brave! How very brave. I can’t wait to hear it! Oh, wait, a red herring (sorry to ruin the egg analogy). It’s Mogwai being Mogwai…(5) More

theriflesTHE RIFLES – ‘None The Wiser’
THE RIFLES HAVE ALWAYS COME ACROSS as yet another of those bands with the odd crowd-pleasing tune, that ultimately ends up as forgettable indie landfill; only making it as far as the Soccer AM sofa.  So when word came through of a fourth studio album, it was a surprise to hear they had indeed kept going so long.  The thing is, it’s a fair shout that The Rifles are a band that are better than your average indie chancers…(7) More

canterburyCANTERBURY – ‘Dark Days’
SURREY FOUR PIECE CANTERBURY ARE SO ‘IN THE NOW’ IT’S FRIGHTENING
.  The right haircuts.  The right attitude.  The right mix of granite guitar and flavoursome pop-Rock top layer, they’ve never relied on surprise packages dropped on an unsuspecting public.  Their third LP owes more to modern day “Rock” bands like Biffy Clyro and Young Guns than their linear heritage might intimate…(6) More

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