Interview: Blackout Balter talk upcoming EP

Blackout Balter.jpg
Blackout Balter (photo taken from their official Facebook page)

Boston indie-rock outfit Blackout Balter have been currently getting ready to release their new EP Twist and Bend out on 8th July. The EP itself was recorded in The Killers’ famed personal Las Vegas recording studio, Battle Born. It was the result of a bold move by Blackout Balter front man Phil Cohen, who slipped The Killers’ Dave Keuning one of his band’s demos. Grammy-nominated Keuning was so captivated by their sound that he opted to play cello and guitar on three songs on the record. Cohan was then put in touch with Robert Root who produced and mixed The Killers and Imagine Dragons and offered to produce the EP. You can listen to Heavy Hand that features Keuning.

I managed to catch up with Cohen for an interview about the upcoming EP, working with Keuning, fans and more!

How has the release of Heavy Hand been?
Man–we’ve been blown away by the response. The Paste Magazine premiere was outstanding for us; and we were grateful to see all the additional coverage as well, to include the single’s being named “Best of the week” by Apple Music. These are exciting and humbling times, and we can feel everything building in the right direction.

How are you looking forward to the release of Twist and Bend?
We’re really excited about the EP’s release on July 8th. The songs that make up “Twist and Bend” touch on a number of deep, real-life experiences that have shaped the way we look at life; and we look forward to sharing this with the public. This has been a long time coming for us, as we recorded this music in 2015. I’m proud of what we’ve done on this EP, and I think it’s a great representation of us as a band.

What was it like working with Dave Keuning?
There’s really no one like Dave Keuning. Everyone knows he’s a great artist, but what people may not know is that he’s an amazing, down-to-earth guy. We were honored that he wanted to be a part of the album, and until I met him at the studio in Vegas, I still couldn’t really believe that he was actually going to be recording with us. When we were in the studio together, I was amazed at how quickly Dave worked. Within a few minutes of rehearsing “Heavy Hand,” Dave had the solo worked out. I said something like, “Wow–did you just pull that out of your ass?!” [laughs]. And Dave said something like, “While I was listening to the song, I just started humming the part, then I picked up my guitar and started playing what I was humming.” Getting a glimpse into Dave’s creative process was nothing short of incredible; and I was sure not to take one second of our time out in Vegas for granted.

Does The Killers inspire your music?
Yes–we’re big fans of The Killers; and, personally, I respect how The Killers have always stayed true to their art, even as they’ve grown to become one of the biggest bands in the world. It would have been easy for them to sell out, as many other bands have done, but they never have. I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know the guys on a personal level, and I cherish our relationship. Their music inspires us and they inspire us as great people, doing what they love to do, better than anyone else. We’re also heavily influenced by ’70s underground rock, to include the founding puck rock movement, ’80s hardcore punk and alternative, and ’90s alternative. Artists like Iggy Pop, Velvet Underground, David Bowie, The New York Dolls, Television, Black Flag, The Germs, The Pixies, Pavement, Nirvana, and Elliott Smith are just a few of my personal favourites.

What would you say to your fans that go to gigs and buy your music?
We’re so appreciative of our fans. Let’s be honest, it’s early for us–we’re still a new band by anyone’s standard. We feel a special affinity toward the people who have taken the time to come to our shows and listen to our music, as they’re in early so-to-speak. When I think about people caring about our music, I think about Vincent van Gogh never garnering any acclaim for his art during his life. We’re lucky. Even though we’ve only released a few songs, and we’re largely an “undiscovered band,” we know there are people out there who identify with our music; and this connection to our early fans, through our music, is an unshakable one. These folks are our family–we know their names and where they’re from–and they are our motivation to continue to release music to the public.

Have you got any gigs planned this year?
Yes, and we’re looking forward to announcing some shows soon.

Where would you like to see yourselves in 5 years time?
Life is short, and five years is a long time [laughs]. In my eyes, there’s really no better thing in life than pursuing your passion, doing what you want to do, and living life on your own terms. In five years I see us as one of the biggest bands in the world, sustaining a meaningful career within the Music Industry, and doing what we love to do. I also see us as a driving force of change in the Music Industry, as today’s models are flawed and we are working hard behind-the-scenes to shift the balance of power in favour of artists. We’re working hard to make these things happen.

Have you got any plans for new music this year?
New music? Wait a second! Our EP hasn’t even been released yet, and you’re asking about new music? [laughs]. We’re always working on new music, so I’m hoping to be back in the studio later this year, but we’ll see how things go. I’m really excited about the new material we’re writing, post-Twist and Bend. [laughs]. I still can’t believe we’re talking about post-EP stuff before the EP has even been released! All said, I think the songs on Twist and Bend are a great representation of the band, and I’m really happy with the songs we’re working on now, as I think we’re pushing our art even further than before. We’re all very excited about the future.

You can listen to Blackout Balter’s latest single from the EP, Everything Becomes Mechanical, below.

Allusondrugs Announce August 2016 Headline UK Tour Dates

Allusondrugs
Allusondrugs

Never ones to rest on their laurels, Yorkshire’s Allusondrugs are pleased to announce they’re back on the road for another stretch of headline tour dates this August with support from London indie-alt quartet Massmatiks. Commenting on the news, a spokesperson for the band said ‘Playing shows is what Allusondrugs do, so here’s some shows being done.

‘In further news, The Allusinlove Organisation hereby wish it to be known that these engagements shall be the full and final musical undertakings of the entity known as Allusondrugs.

‘Please await further communications on this situation in the coming weeks for details of future works.’

The band will be road-testing more new, unreleased material at the dates and showcasing a bolder, more focused sound that shows a marked departure from their more rustic origins.

The Allusondrugs family are currently busy writing and demoing new material, having just finished a successful stint on the ScuzzTV UK Throwdown tour alongside Max Raptor and Press To Meco, and a full UK co-headline tour with close friends Fizzy Blood.

AUGUST 2016 TOUR DATES (w/ support MASSMATIKS – except *):

3rd – LONDON – CAMDEN BLACK HEART
4th – GUILDFORD – BOILEROOM
5th – CANTERBURY – LADY LUCK
6th – HULL – HUMBER STREET SESH*
7th – SOUTHAMPTON – JOINERS
8th – PLYMOUTH – UNDERGROUND
9th – BRIDGEWATER – COBBLESTONES
10th – LEICESTER – FIREBUG
11th – BRIGHTON – STICKY MIKE’S*
Tickets on sale now!

In Dynamics release new music video

In Dynamics
In Dynamics

Sussex alt-rock trio In Dynamics have revealed a brand new video for their latest single A String of Losses, the latest track to be taken from their forthcoming debut album Everything I See, which is released on 18th July 2016. You can listen to the track below.

The video was filmed by director Carl Shanahan and his production assistant Dale Pendlebury at Poltimore House in Devon, an incredible derelict mansion full of history dating back to the Tudor times. Front man Beau Boulden explains of the track and said:’I wrote this song about trying to obtain peace of mind, during the struggle of finding resolve within a relationship.

‘I have found that doing what’s best for you is often the hardest thing to do, and you look for any reason not to.

A String Of Losses is about finding the courage to look back with wisdom, and let go with grace.’

The band also commented said: ‘We’ve collaborated with Carl on a number of our videos, and it’s always been such a pleasure to work with someone who is so driven and passionate about their art.

‘We wanted to make the video feel and look like someone’s dream.

‘Following Beau around in third person, the ‘one-take’ theme really coincides with the often seamless fluidity of our dreams, and how logic isn’t always applied.

‘It was a real challenge for us to achieve this in one take without a crew, but we really wanted to push ourselves creatively in the process of making a video.’

The band are also pleased to announce a run of July shows with their friends Emp!re, tagged onto their recently announced UK headline tour dates for June/July 2016 with support from Huw Eddy & The Carnival, Good Friend andImbium.

June/July 2016 UK Tour Dates:
27/06 – Brighton – Patterns (w/ Huw Eddy & The Carnival, Good Friend & Imbium)
28/06 – London – The Black Heart (w/ Huw Eddy & The Carnival, Good Friend & Imbium)
29/06 – Bristol – The Louisiana (w/ Huw Eddy & The Carnival, Good Friend & Imbium)
30/06 – Edinburgh – The Mash House (w/ Huw Eddy & The Carnival, Good Friend & Imbium)
01/07 – Leeds – The Key Club (w/ Huw Eddy & The Carnival, Good Friend & Imbium)
02/07 – Newcastle – Jumpin’ Jack’s (w/ Huw Eddy & The Carnival, Good Friend & Imbium)
27/07 – Swindon, The Victoria (w/ Emp!re)
28/07 – Bristol, Exchange (w/ Emp!re)
29/07 – Bournemouth, The Anvil (w/ Emp!re)
30/07 – Guildford, Boileroom (w/ Emp!re)

Tickets on sale now!

Making Monsters release video for ‘Call Me Out’

Making Monsters 2
Making Monsters

Following the release of their critically acclaimed EP Bad Blood via All About Live Records Northern Ireland’s Derry-based alt-rock band Making Monsters are extremely pleased to reveal the new video for their latest single Call Me OutThe four piece will also man an appearance on the BBC Introducing Stage at this year’s T In The Park 2016 in Perthshire, Scotland on 7th – 10th July. You can watch the music video for Call Me Out below.

The video was directed and filmed by Darren Lee of Maverick Renegade Productions, shot on location in their native homeland. The band commented on the video and said: ‘For this video we wanted to go for a post-apocalyptic theme that lent itself to the more stadium-rock-anthem elements on this track, so we did some research on unusual locations to tie in.

‘A friend suggested an old World War 2 Radio Control Station he photographed a few years back, we checked it out and knew it was perfect for what we had in mind.

‘There was a real eerie vibe on set, from creepy quotes sprayed on the walls to the hundreds of crows surrounding the buildings which can be seen in the video.’

Vocalist Emma Gallagher explained the track herself and said: ‘The song is about finally coming to terms with the fact that someone is a complete waste of time, voicing opinions and sticking up for yourself.

‘A short romantic spell that’s meaningless, questioning who really is at fault in the matter.’

The band recently capped off a headline tour in support of the new record with a performance at Camden Rocks Festival in London, with details of further UK live dates TBA.

Interview: WSTR talks Southampton Joiners gig, new music and inspirations

WSTR
WSTR (photo taken from their official Facebook page)

Liverpool band WSTR have had a successful year so far having toured alongside Neck Deep and Creeper back in April and still receiving plenty of good feedback from their debut EP SKRWD. The Pop Punk band have certainly proved that they’re a band to look out for and with their current tour alongside Trash Boat and Weatherstate, things will only get bigger for lead singer Sammy Clifford and the rest of the band. The lads are also set to play a number festivals in Germany in August including the Destruction Derby Festival  in Dessau where they will be alongside As It Is. WSTR does have a festival appearance at 2000 Trees Festival in next week (7th – 9th July) and will also feature at Hampshire’s Butserfest in September.

WSTR
WSTR at Southampton’s Joiners last week

I managed to catch an interview with lead singer Sammy and guitarist Kieran Alder at Southampton’s Joiners last Wednesday and he said: ‘It was sick, there’s a lot of history behind the place, second time in Southampton so yeah it was sick.’

When asked what they thought about seeing fans wearing their merchandise, the lads continued and said: ‘We noticed that when coming in to the venue, it’s pretty cool like when we asked if anyone has seen us before, pretty much most of the crowd said yes but obviously they had come from the Neck Deep shows this year.

Seeing it’s been a few months now since the EP has come out, I thought I’d ask Sammy and Kieren about new music and surprisingly they managed to tell me about their upcoming plans and said: ‘We arem it’s happening, a full length is coming out soonish.

‘It will still be WSTR but I think yeah it will be different.’

There has been some comparison towards Neck Deep in the past and that is nothing to be ashamed of, I asked the question about the similarities of the band and they replied: ‘With the new shit, I can see why people say that but with the new shit we’ve got I think we’ve gone in different directions.

‘To be honest me and Alex (Tobijanski, bass player) were driving up yesterday and we were listing to SKRWD and was laughing like to be honest it doesn’t really sound like Neck Deep.

‘If you took the vocals out of that, the instrumental sounds nothing like them and if you study both properly, I don’t think we’re too much similar.

‘It’s always good to have inspirations and stuff like but I don’t believe in ripping people off and a lot of people will look at it like that but inspirations are healthy.’

TALCO Are Heading For The UK

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Talco

Silent Town (Kasba Music, 2015) is the new concept album from one of Italy’s biggest alternative rock bands, TALCO, which brings together an astonishing breadth of work by closing the trilogy of musical, political and social commentary that started with previous releases La Cretina Comedia and Gran Galà.

The new album sees Talco revitalised and on top form, taking its title from vocalist Dema’s book of the same name, bringing together a mixture of themes ranging from political issues to a global decline in culture and historical memory. It’s a book that tells, both metaphorically and through magic realism, the history of a devastated country that is destined to repeat its own mistakes. This is where the core concept of Silent Town is born; a city in silence that seems forgotten by the rest of the world, but remains happy in its own small bubble.

The 12-track experience brings in a mixture of musical influences including Klezmer sounds, returning to its roots with similarities to previous records Combat Circus and Gran Galà. Recorded by Marc Boria at Waterland Studios in Venice, mixing and mastering was completed at Estudi Labedoble in Barcelona, Spain.

Eagerly awaiting the UK release of Silent Town, in the process the band have managed to smash their own genre boundaries and become one of the leading European Ska-Punk bands in the world. Following its European release in November 2015, the band successfully toured throughout Europe, including appearances in France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and more.

Silent Town is released in the UK on September 16th, and Talco are set to appear at Hampshire’s Boomtown Fair on 11th August, alongside a handful of other intimate UK shows.

SEPTEMBER
30th Bristol, PICKLE FACTORY

OCTOBER
1st Bridgewater, COBBLESTONES
6th London, NEW CROSS INN
7th Norwich, OWL SANCTUARY
8th Kidderminster, BOARDS HEAD

Loa Loa share new music video

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Loa Loa

Having recently released their debut EP IX.V.V.VI, Loa Loa are back with a new video for Only Son. Currently residing in Brighton it’s clear to see there must be something wild in the water, Loa Loa effortlessly race between a pure gritty punk bark and huge melodies fit for both punks and indie kids alike. You can watch the video below now.

http://cache.vevo.com/assets/html/embed.html?video=GBWWP1602126&partnerId=6a3aac8d-e6cf-4b8c-a0a7-a68211f002e4

It would be a fairly safe assumption to say that Loa Loa have created something that is not only a brilliant debut release but also an incredibly intimate record.

EP Review: Schemata Theory – Networks

Schemata Theory
Schemata Theory

Fun fact for all those knowledge cravers out there: schemata theory is the theory that all knowledge is stored into units and each unit contains a certain amount of information. Sounds really complicated doesn’t it? Luckily enough for us Schemata Theory, the band, are not quite this complicated. And that certainly isn’t a bad thing, this EP will blow fans away. Being their third offering and having already created a reasonable amount of hype for themselves with slots on BBC Introducing as well as Amazing Radio, it’s time for the band to get serious about their growth and if Networks doesn’t make Schemata Theory a bigger band, I don’t know what will.

Sounding like a cross between modern metalcore and This Is The Six era While She Sleeps, the EP opens with the track Our Only Home, making the best first impression they possibly could with an exceptionally bouncy riff before the vocal interplay of scream/singing comes into play on the verses immediately showing the talent of both vocalists. The chorus draws the listener in immediately before a brilliant guitar solo has all of those guitar fanatics paying attention to what Schemata Theory are doing.

It does not let up from here either as next track New Vision opens with a clean intro before you really hear the While She Sleeps kind of influence in the verses. The true highlight of this track is the chorus, with us seeing that the clean vocals are much better than that of the generic metalcore clean vocalist. The strength of this chorus will have crowds all over the country singing about how ‘life can hurt much more than death’ while ironically having the time of their lives. Also worth mentioning is the guitar work on this track, not only is the solo exceptional but the riff that follows is absolutely massive and will fill pits everywhere you go.

Schemata Theory Album.png

After such praise, you would expect the EP to eventually drop in quality but, in fact, it doesn’t. Actually, it gets even better as the final track here is my personal highlight of the EP in the previously released Horror Show. From the finger picked intro to the massive chorus, the emotion on display here from both vocalists is entrancing and add to this the heavier building second verse making the song sound massive and we have a clear album highlight.

Overall, this EP is incredibly enjoyable and exceptionally well written. The one big concern from me is it’s length. Yes I know it is not a full length but having only three tracks and coming in at only just over twelve minutes long is a little bit short. That being said if these three brilliant tracks can secure Schemata theory a bit more fanfare and funding, hopefully a full length will be on the way in no time.

9/10 – Almost perfect, too short

Highlight – Horror Show

Interview: Weatherstate after Southampton’s Joiners gig

Weatherstate
Weatherstate

Bristol band Weatherstate are currently making a name for themselves in the world of punk rock. The lads that are signed to Failure By Design Records have been recently touring with Trash Boat and WSTR and are currently enjoying success of their 2015 EP Dumbstruck. Weatherstate are also set to play at Bournemouth’s The Winchester alongside EMO giants Moose Blood.

Stream Weatherstate’s full EP Dumbstruck below.

I managed to catch up with guitarist Callan Milward, vocalist Harry Hoskins and drummer Toby Wrobel from Weatherstate after their set at Southampton’s Joiners last Wednesday – they said: ‘It went really good, great show and a great way to start the tour.

‘I always forget how sweaty The Joiners get, it’s probably the warmest but one of the best sounding venues in the country.

‘It’s just always and absolute sweat box but that’s nothing but a good thing like it’s always great to play when it’s that energetic.

‘The build for this tour has been for months now and it’s been certainly one of the biggest tours we’ve done and it’s cool to see the opening night with that kind of vibe.

When asked about releasing new music the band replied: ‘Possibly, I reckon it might be a little while though.

‘We’ve got some stuff on the horizon but yeah we’re sort of just writing at the moment and trying to push our current EP Dumbstruck and then we will look to record some new songs but we don’t really have the time right now.

‘We’re sort of making sure we write the best songs possible really.

‘Maybe we will see something this year, maybe next year I don’t know, it’s hard to put a time frame on it really.

Weatherstate had a fair few of their own fans at the gigs buying merchandise, me being one of those, so I asked the lads what it meant to them when they see this – they commented: ‘It’s cool because we’ve obviously a lot of smaller shows as well, we’ve played to like pretty much zero people.

‘So when you play to shows like this and you get people coming up and buying merch and stuff, it’s pretty cool like.

‘Like playing songs that we’ve wrote together in our bedrooms, and seeing people being up for it and knowing word for word for the whole set, it’s pretty cool – it’s a slow gradual climb but a nice little thing to see.

‘I was find it really surprising every time someone knows us and I’m always like how the hell does someone know this song from like years ago but people obviously check it out on YouTube.

‘Jumping on to tours like this is just perfect, bigger shows and there’s just plenty more people.

‘We’d do a ten day tour playing to ten people a night and I wouldn’t consider it being a disappointment, it’s just fun!’

COLD YEARS Announce ‘Death Chasers’ EP

Cold Years.jpg
Cold Years

Aberdeen blue-collar punk quintet Cold Years are pleased to announce their new EP Death Chasers will be released on 13th August via local Aberdeen independent label Fat Hippy Records. To celebrate the news, the band have revealed the video for title track Death Chasers –  you can watch that below now!

Commenting on the track, front man Ross Gordon said: ‘I wrote Death Chasers about being in the same place for too long, and not having any real expectations from life.

‘Then I met my wife and that changed. It describes the moment that happened, and how I knew we were both in it for the long run.

‘When things like that happen it changes your perspective on things and it pulled me out of a dull self-destructive cycle and put me in to a place I didn’t think I’d ever get to.

‘I guess it’s a about how good things can happen to you even if you’re in the worst of situations.

‘You go from thinking that being alone is a life sentence, even in your twenties.

‘You put yourself in a position where you become dependent on the wrong company and the wrong remedies to try to combat that.

‘When it changes It’s like a breath of fresh air, and it gives your life a purpose.

‘Death Chasers is an expression of the fact that you’ll give anything for that love and you’ll do anything to be with that person.

‘You’re not a child anymore, and it’s not an immature relationship.

‘It has depth, meaning  and respect. It’s a bond for life, and we won’t part ‘til death.’

New EP Death Chasers was laid down at The Depot recording studio in January 2016 with Scottish producer Mark Morrow (The Winter Tradition, Zoax, Copper Lungs), before being mixed and mastered in Manchester by Bob Cooper (Nai Harvest, Brawlers, Rob Lynch). Formed in Aberdeen in early 2014, members of the band came together from the remnants of other local acts with the goal of writing uplifting rock music that wouldn’t feel out of place on any bill. With the band due to head back into the studio in the summer of 2015, disaster struck as drummer Fraser Allan suffered a serious back injury. The band were not to be set back by this; instead of sitting around waiting for Fraser to recover, they set about writing new songs for the next record, taking what they already had and re-working the material into a set of songs that would push the boundaries of what they had ever done before. That same year the band hit the road on their first UK tour with The Ghost Riders In The Sky, a huge success which saw them rapidly gaining momentum further afield through their live performances.