GIFTED KINGS are a rock band from Glasgow … with a really familiar sound to them. I’ll qualify that – a really familiar vocal sound to me at least. I don’t have much by way of a band biography to hand, but I’m wondering if I’ve not heard the singer at least in a previous band? The kind of ‘strained’ tone reminds me so much of another band I’ve heard around the city’s venues.
That’s by the by though – a rock band from my home city is always going to get my support. And it seems, support for GIFTED KINGS has been flying in from all directions! Offers to tour have been received from as far away as Kiev and Moscow, and their music has been used in several shows on Channel 4, S4C, ITV1 and Sky Sports.
Ripcurl and O’Neill Sports have even adopted the band’s music in advertising campaigns targeting the USA, Australia and Asia.
Their debut album ‘Lose What Makes You‘ (which is due for release shortly – no date advised) was recorded in the same Welsh studio as used by the likes of Queen and Oasis, which was a bit of a ‘kick’ for the lads. And from that album comes the new single, ‘Dead End Road,’ the video for which was shot around Glasgow and the famous Barras area in particular.
(A free copy of the single can be had from the band here. )
I’ve been at this blog lark a good few years now (almost six years for LOUD HORIZON in this kind of format) and so I have learnt to take what PR Companies and bands’ ‘agents’ say with a pinch of salt. And as a cynical Scot … well, you know …!!
London based GUITARS HAVE GHOSTS have been described as ‘a formidable rock force,‘ and ‘at the forefront of London’s live music circuit for the past two years.‘ And you know what ….. based on this latest single release, it would be most unfair of me to doubt the accuracy of the claim.
Formed back in 2010, the lads have crafted their songs playing ‘live’ and last year self-released their first single ‘Superchild.‘
‘Green Lover‘ is the follow-up and is an anthemic rock track, with a nice transition at mid-point – just the kind of song that you could easily imagine earning that ‘formidable rock force,’ tag.
(I really should be more trusting!!!)
(‘Green Lover’ is released on March 11th)
(7.5 / 10)
Their Facebook page states that they play ‘Death Rock Sludge Punk; ‘ their debut album, released at the tail end of last year is entitled ‘Attack of The Stoner Zombie Killer Kids.’ Welcome to the world of STEEL TREES!
And, like it or not … they’re heading your way! (Well, if you live in the vicinity of the under-noted towns, that is.)
Their thirteen-track album spits tales of B-movies, zombies, death and scenesters, and has attracted the attention of both Classic Rock Magazine and Radio 6Music
Now veterans of two BBC Introducing sessions, the Yorkshire triumvirate have supported the likes of Dinosaur Jr., Dinosaur Pile Up, and Turbowolf are now ready to step out on their own headlining ‘Drool Tour,’ and will be ripping up the following venues:
‘DROOL TOUR 2013’ LIVE DATES
Feb 09 – LONDON – The Black Heart
Feb 11 – SHEFFIELD – Soyo Live
Feb 13 – LEEDS – Santiagos
Feb 14 – BUCKLEY – McLeans
Feb 16 – HASTINGS – Brass Monkey
Feb 17 – DONCASTER – Leopard
Feb 19 – MANCHESTER – Thirsty Scholar
Feb 22 – SCUNTHORPE – Lincoln Imp
(‘Revolution’ will be released on 25th February 2013.)
VALENTIINE are a riff-laden, hard-rocking, all-girl three-piece from Melbourne, Australia. Having honed their sound through the grubby pub circuit of their home city, the girls, Vanessa (guitar / vox,) Erica (bass / vox,) and Shelly (drums / vox) decided late last year to test the water away from their ‘comfort zone’ and headed across Europe on a twenty-two date tour that took in UK, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.
And that’s way things happen, isn’t it? While on the road, their sound attracted much positive attention, none more so than Integrity Records (former home of Million Dead, Miss Black America and Reuben, and present label of current Indie darlings Miniature Dinosaurs.)
‘Love Like’ is lifted from the band’s eponymous debut album and will be available from the usual digital stores from April 8th. The album will follow later in the year, and details of a further UK tour will be announced soon.
Exciting times indeed.
F.O.O.S. are an Italian duo (from Turin, I believe) who have relocated to London to further their musical careers. Simone and Fabrizio formed the band back in 2010 with the specific intent to develop a hybrid genre of rock with strong electronic elements.
Having begun the project in Italy, F.O.O.S. decided to move to the UK in 2011 to record their first EP, ‘Love In The 21stCentury’. The release of this EP helped establish the band within the UK underground scene and allowed the duo to embark upon a promotional tour.
After a year of intense live activity the band took to the studio in April 2012 to record their debut album ‘Showcase’ which was released earlier this month.
I’m not saying nobody else produces this brand of music, but I think the imagery and energy of ‘The Monster,’ is worth a shout.
I’m then gonna stand back and watch them rip Glasgow apart!
It could get messy….
How many bands that support themselves 100% travel through Germany, France, the UK and beyond off their own backs? Not many is the answer. BLEECH are a rare example of a band who tackle this with aplomb and have released their new single ‘Break My Nose’ today.
The punchy, new video directed by Ben Kent was shot in Repton Park boy’s gym previously used in the legendary UK film ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ and stars International Super Middleweight contender Frank Bugliani in the ring with Courtney Pryce.
To celebrate this single, the band have released a mixtape today featuring the tunes that help them tour Europe on a weekly basis. Sit back and press play to hear a selection of tracks that make them tick in the van.
****DISCLAIMER! I don’t think any of these choices would help LOUD HORIZON settle on a long road trip!****
1. Mexicola – Queens of the Stone Age
In any Bleech playlist this is quite simply no brainer number one, catastrophically heavy bass and guitar and lots of vibe! We saw them play the whole first album in its entirety last November. Immense.
2. Crosstown Traffic – Jimi Hendrix
If ever you have this song playing in your headphones, it instantly turns whatever you are doing into a car chase! It just has that CSI Miami feel. We have since been experts of the “David Carusoe” pulling down his shades to discover the victim dead in some alley somewhere, all because of this song, amazing!
3. Pump it Up – Elvis Costello
Great reliable party tune.Makes me want to get my baby Giraffe legs out and have a wobble.
4.Cypress Hill – A to the K
Fancy people rapping about how high they are? The booklet to the album contains 19 facts about the history of hemp and the positive attributes of cannabis. Hemp’s good for making rope apparently.
5. Scentless Apprentice – Nirvana
Kurt Cobain is audibly ripping his vocal chords to shreds in this song, it’s aggressive and something I think people can relate to on a Wednesday.
6. Because – The Beatles
A track that makes you want to give up music and keep going in equal measure!
7. Battery – Metallica
Had to put something heavy in there, great when you have to dodge middle lane crawlers on the motorway. Move over innit!
8. Grace – Jeff Buckley
There are so any dynamics in this song and the singing is unbelievable towards the end when he reaches that top note ” aaaahhhhhaiiiiiaaahhahhey” you know that one? It’s impossible we’ve tried.
9. PJ Harvey – This is Love
Last but not least, this track is a lovely sludgy mess of rock and roll which suits many a long journey in our Beryl (Yellow Volkswagen)
Two: the bike- riding is awesome!
EVANSTAR are a four-piece rock band from the Midlands. I’m told that they formed in September 2012, but I’m guessing hat’s more likely to have been 2011, since they seem to have a batch of songs ready to go.
I don’t know much else about them really other than the fact that they certainly know the formula for big anthemic, crowd-pleasing songs, as can be heard from their debut single ‘I Won’t Regret‘ and the stream of ‘Take My Hand.‘
The former track especially, seems to reflect more of an American take on ‘alternative’ rock, and I can see this getting plenty ‘Campus’ airplay if that indeed is what they’d want!
Nice drumming on this one too … though I still remain to be convinced about the pastel shades of lighting and the significance of the dancer. But ….. hey ho! It’s more about the music, I guess.
ROCKBURN are a 5-piece from Bellshill in Lanarkshire whose music may have slipped the commercial attention of the masses, but yet have already made an indelible mark on the musical landscape – their earlier release ‘Red Dress,’ being used to soundtrack top US TV show, ‘Burn Notice,’ as well as being used by both Liverpool FC and Celtic FC at half-time in both clubs’ home matches.
They’re obviously doing something right!
‘Better Man,’ is their latest single, and is every bit as catchy as the song that has brought them to this credible stage in their career. The vocals are still nicely rasping and direct and the little guitar interspersions are sharp and interestingly off-key in a good way! The beat is infectious and the rhythm, bouncy.
At times, I can hear a little bit of U2’s ‘Sweetest Thing,’ especially so around the stop / start moments. But that’s no bad thing, is it?
I really like this one and with the band coming from a town where I worked for a couple of years, and also spawned the likes of Teenage Fanclub, BMX Bandits and Soup Dragons, they can do no wrong!
(Self released on 17th September.)
Long-time LOUD HORIZON favourites and ‘hot tips,’ FOXY SHAZAM have finally gotten around to releasing the new video for ‘Holy Touch.’
If you’ve clicked on this page, you may just be interested to know that NEEDTOBREATHE are playing a headline show at the O2 Academy, Islington, London on Monday 16th July. You’ll have to move fast, so here’s a helpful link if you wanna get hold of tickets.
To me, ‘Southern Rock’ will always be about the likes of Lynryd Skynyrd, Grinderswitch, Molly Hatchet and a host of others.
But that’s ’cause I’m old. And sad, perhaps.
But it seems nowadays that the genre is typified by a different style altogether – and South Carolina (Charleston) band NEEDTOBREATHE are leading the ‘new wave’ as it were – or is to me!
There’s something quite warm and comforting about this single – perhaps it’s just the memories of driving along the Florida freeways with the windows open and the radio blaring.
Whatever. I like it. So there!
And so do many others it would appear – the band have just been on a UK and European headlining tour that also saw them perform along with Bruce Springsteen at this year’s Hard Rock Calling Festival in Hyde Park, London.
….and here’s another just for good measure ……
I know you’ll be bored to tears with me saying how much I enjoyed SOUND OF GUNS‘ latest album ‘Angels and Enemies,’ and their recent show here in Glasgow at King Tuts, so rather than me blab on again about their new single and forthcoming tour, I’m just gonna plagiarise the words of their PR Company:
Following their sold out headline performance at Liverpool’s O2 Academy to over 1,200 people, Sound Of Guns announce new single ‘Antarctica’ through Distiller Records. Taken from new album ‘Angels & Enemies’, the single was produced by Dave Eringa (Manic Street Preachers, Ocean Colour Scene) at The Distillery in Bath.
‘Antarctica’ has been selected as the leading song to Sky Sport’s 2012 Champions League coverage – it is a powerful rock anthem which mirrors the excitement and passion of the beautiful game. The B-Side includes a cover of ‘Killing Moon’ by Echo and The Bunnymen, a track which many will recognise from the Donnie Darko soundtrack.
In support of the new single, Sound Of Guns will be touring with The View, following festival appearances at Live at Leeds, The Great Escape, a mainstage appearance at Lounge On The Farm, Rockness.
SOUND OF GUNS 2012 UK TOUR
June 9 – Inverness, Rockness Festival
June 12 – Leeds, Cockpit (w/ The View)
June 16 – Chester, Chester Rocks Festival
June 16 – Sheffield, Leadmill (w/ The View)
June 19 – Cardiff, University Great Hall 2 (w/ The View)
June 22 – Northampton, Roadmender (w/ The View)
June 24 – Brighton, Concorde 2 (w/ The View)
June 26 – London, Koko (w/ The View)
June 28 – Cambridge, Junction (w/ The View)
June 30 – Bromley, LeeFest Festival
July 7 – Kent, Lounge On The Farm Festival
July 9 – Manchester, Ritz (w/ The View)
July 10 – Newcastle, Academy (w/ The View)
July 12 – Glasgow, Academy (w/ The View)
Aug 3 – Derby, Y-Not Festival
What can I say about PULLED APART BY HORSES that’s not been said before?
The long-time Artrocker favourites are now even breaking into ‘mainstream’ media with Radio 1 in particular picking up on them and even affording them daytime airplay – quite a coup (not to mention a blessed relief from some of he drivel given time during the hours of daylight.)
‘Wolfhand’ is the second single to be lifted from their ‘Tough Love’ album and is pretty much everything you’d expect from PULLED APART BY HORSES. Tom Hudson’s vocals are direct and in your face – they really come looking for you. They are like an oral and aural version of paint-stripper.
The song follows the good old-fashioned verse, chorus formula – nothing fancy or complicated, and is quite primal in its delivery with powerful drumming and driving bass-lines propping up heavy guitar riffs. The chorus is a catchy as f**k and at just shy of three minutes, ‘Wolfhand’ packs one helluva succinct punch.
(Released through Transgressive Records on 23rd April 2012)
Well – I’m glad I do a little bit of background research before writing up these reviews! Had I not, I would have been banging on about this excellent ‘debut’ single from this female-fronted power-pop / rock four-piece. (There is some conflicting information to suggest that they did actually digitally-release an earlier track called ‘Devils Words,’ but then recognition of that fact would bugger up my ‘intro.’)
However, it now seems that this will be the last single from ACTIONS! as they have decided to disband due to ‘personal commitments.’ It looks very much like the decision was taken half way through a UK wide tour, with the Scottish leg being dropped at short notice, so hopefully all is as well as they say on their Facebook page.
Although some of the band have played together since school, ACTIONS! as a band have existed only since the latter half of last year. During their short lifespan, they have played support slots to the likes of the magnificent Skindred, Inme, and Not Advised. Then, at the start of this year, they entered the studio to record this single with John Mitchell producing – he who has worked with Enter Shikari, The Blackout, Funeral For A Friend and others.
I wouldn’t normally mention all that bumph, as it doesn’t necessarily make a good band great, but in this case I think it illustrates the potential that was recognised by some shrewd local promoters and those within ‘the industry.’
And I think I’d agree. ACTIONS! have (sorry – had) something fresh and unique about them. Vocalist Emily Cracknell has a sort of ‘classical’ delivery at various points and is more Amy Lee (Evanescence) than say Hayley Williams (Paramore.) However, what hooks you into the two songs on this single, is the interesting juxtaposition of such styled, high pitched dramatic vocals with the chugging, tight rhythms and melodic rock (with little pop-punk nuances) of the three lads.
It took me a good few listens to actually ‘get it’ but ‘get it’ I eventually did. But that’s me all over – late to the party again! It’s a shame that this little review, for what it’s worth, gas turned out to be more of a tribute.
Still – that’s Rock ‘n’ Roll for ya!
(Released on a download basis from the usual outlets on 21st May 2012)
First off, I have to apologise for being a few days late with this one – I got my dates mixed up and thought it wasn’t out for a while.
This is the second single from Leeds quartet Down The Machine and the first since they were signed by Ambicon Records late last year. Ambicon have already released the band’s EP ‘Let You In’ and prior to joining up with the label, the band put an album out themselves, ‘Losing Faith’. In the interest of full disclosure, I will say that I haven’t heard any of the band’s material other than the single.
‘Know Your Place’ is one of those tracks that is what it is. There’s nothing particularly striking about it. In fact, it sounds a lot like other stuff you’ll have heard a lot before, without providing an obvious comparison point. This is the kind of non-nu metal rock song you heard a lot from bands circa 2001.
I will say this for it though: I had to listen to it a lot for this review and the tune certainly embedded itself in my head and I suspect it may be there for a while. However, this could well be down to Stockholm syndrome.
(Released through Ambicon Records and avaliable to download now.)
Kenneth John Porteous
This is the debut single from a Newcastle act who will be releasing their first album later on this year.
‘Aniseed’ is actually a pretty exciting sounding song – the slow burn start perfectly gives way to a jangly guitar-line which is pretty reminiscent of Franz Ferdinand until Dan Clark’s husky vocals kick in and give it a more regular-rock line to follow.
Lyrically there isn’t much of note going on here – the impression I get is that witty wordplay and deep thoughtful prose wasn’t really a priority – but the inclusion of Sax player Johnny Davis in the band’s regular line-up manages to add an extra dimension to the music without being distracting.
The second song on this disc, ‘Loose Lips’, is like a throwback to the B-Sides of old in that it sucks. Generic and plodding, I hope that it isn’t indicitive of this band’s further material because that’d be a damn shame.
‘Aniseed’ though, is a strong-ass effort. I like it.
Kenneth John Porteous
HARLOT are a four-piece rock band from Newcastle. Formed in 2007, their heavy gigging schedule in the North East has resulted in a solid fan-base and earned them a reputation as a ‘must see,’ live band.
‘Empty Words’ is their debut single (available as a free download through the band’s Facebook page ) and it definitely shows some promise – though if I’m honest I do think it tries too hard to mould the more classic and heavy rock sounds with a more modern sensibility.
By that I mean musically, for the most part the sound is a great, bouncy mix of standard rock with chunky guitar riffs and nicely worked solos, accompanied by crashing drums and thunderous bass lines all leading to a resounding chorus. I’m thinking along the lines of Avenged Sevenfold and the like.
But then, on the other hand, the vocal style is tailored more towards the style preferred by those popular pop-punk bands with emo leanings.
And, yes, I know this style is infinitely popular with the ‘download generation,’ but I just feel that the two styles are slightly incompatible and that HARLOT would be better served sticking to a more conventional heavy-rock vocal delivery.
I guess by doing so the argument would then be that they just sound like a plethora of other rock bands out there … but I’d counter that by saying that talent will always find its true level, and HARLOT seem to have the mix of tools in their bag – ultimately it’s how they chose to use them that will determine the quality of their workmanship.
(Available now – July 2011 -as a free download.)
(7 / 10)
Despite being just as good as they were when they blasted onto the scene in 2003 with debut album ‘Casually Dressed and Deep In Conversation’, Funeral For A Friend have suffered a bit of a downturn in recent years.
Discovering the hard way that a fickle teenage audience isn’t likely to buy into a concept album unless they have it spoon-fed to them, the band have been on a bit of a slide since the release of Tales Don’t Tell Themselves and had been hoping to blast themselves back into relevance with this year’s ‘Welcome Home Armageddon’.
Whether they have achieved this remains to be seen, but latest single ‘Broken Foundation’ is a step in the right direction.
The band describe it as the heaviest thing they have ever done and it’s hard to argue – some of the riffs in here are downright beastly.
But mixed amongst that is the kind of songwriting that made early tracks like ‘Juneau’ and ‘Escape Artists Never Die’ really stand out.
The biggest myth about Funeral For A Friend is that they lost it – they didn’t, the audience just got distracted by something shinier. But continue to glow like this, Funeral won’t have that problem much longer.
(Released through Distiller Records on 13th June 2011)
Kenneth John Porteous
Dangerous!- a four piece rock band from Down Under have recently signed with Epitaph Records, which is a pretty good barometer of a band’s potential! Already touted as one of Australia’s hottest up-and-coming rock bands, they are about to come at us with a serious swagger, and a worldwide release of their debut album, ‘teenage Rampage’ later this summer.
The album we’re told, molds a cacophony of garage sound with high-octane rock-n-roll, the frenetic force of which will hit the road this summer to accompany the release of debut single ‘Not One Of You,’ which you can check out below.
Dangerous! will play some of the biggest festivals in the world this summer, including their international debut at the legendary Download Festival at Donnington Park, followed by a series of UK/US tour dates.
Bolton four-piece rock band DRAMA celebrate their return following a twelve month hiatus devoted to writing new material, with a free download of new single ‘ISO.’ And if this typifies the fruits of their labours this past year, then they could be in for an exciting 2011.
‘ISO’ has already been picked up by Classic Rock magazine who incorporated the song on their cover-mount CD for the May issue (#157) and as you can see from the video below, it is worthy of such accolade.
It may not exactly offer anything startlingly new, but it’s certainly a true, ballsy rock track. Redolent in places of early Gun (especially in the chorus, harmonies and drums) it chugs along on strong guitar riffs and understated solos, solidly underpinned by pounding drums and thumping bass lines. The vocals are ever so slightly rasping and melodic and altogether it’s one of those anthemic songs that will get right inside your head and have you metaphorically punching the air all day long.
I understand there will be an EP to follow as the summer months approach, with ‘Renee’ and ‘Pretty Much,’ featured. The first of these two is a bit of an exciting diversion. Very different from the basic rock of ‘ISO,’ it pretty much reflects the band’s name. It comes across as something between a stage production and a Freddie Mercury / Queen track, what with the dramatic little piano arpeggios in between the resounding guitars.
Full marks for trying something different – if this is a one-off track, then that’s quite brilliant. It shows a band willing to push the boundaries, but still operate within the accepted basic genre specifics.
‘Pretty Much,’ is my least favourite of the three tracks I’ve heard. Again, it still rocks, but this time with more ‘modern’ influences. The vocals are distorted in an electro fashion at various points and if I may be completely stereotypical in my views, it sounds more like something an American melodic rock band, aiming at the teen market would come up with. It’s OK, don’t get me wrong, but not as strong or different as either of the other two tracks mentioned.
Overall, though, DRAMA could be ones to watch out for this year. I don’t think you’ll have heard the last of them!
(‘ISO’ is available now as a free download from the band’s official LAST.FM page, here.)
I’m not going to say very much on this one as more than likely you’ll have heard it on the radio many, many times over the past couple of weeks at least. (And if you haven’t, then the video for the track is shown below – just so you can hear for yourself just how its rocks big-time!)
‘Sixteen’ is lifted from the Welsh quintet’s fifth studio album, ‘Welcome Home Armageddon,’ which was released on the 14th March. It’s a pretty ‘instant’ song with a conventional enough structure and a shout-a-long, anthemic chorus that will attract new fans to the fold. It really sticks to the band’s winning formula and embraces the heady mix of raw heaviness and pure melody that helped establish the band at the outset.
I have no idea how Funeral For A Friend have fared in America, but with songs like this in their armoury, I would be most surprised if they don’t / haven’t made a huge impact.
(Released through Distiller Records on 28th March 2011)
1) hit on an infectious riff;
2) leave ample room for searing guitar solo(s);
3) hire a vocalist with power and some form of distinction to their voice.
There you go – simple. Job done!
Oxfordshire three-piece Rock outfit SEROTONIN continue their progress with the release of this single, ‘Live And Forget.’ Much as I enjoyed their previous release, ‘Siempre Y Para Siempre’ (which must have been around a year ago?) this single brings even more depth of sound and an added maturity to their sound.
As mentioned above, all the integral components are present. Add a rock steady beat (that’s a beat that is steady as a rock and not a ska / reggeae beat) and you’re onto a winner. The riff in particular has a dirty and slightly menacing feel to it, matched by the rasping and controlled vocal delivery.
Right now, SEROTONIN are becoming a bit of a fixture on the Rock / Metal circuits of Oxfordshire and London and you can probably understand why…. check out the video for this particular track:
(Released through Crash records on 29th November 2010)
Not that it matters, but you may find it difficult to believe that this seven-piece boogie band come from the South of England as opposed to America. Their debut album ‘The Good & The Bad’ was a real belter – just dripping Southern Rock authenticity, and this three track ‘single’ release continues the trend.
However, lead track ‘Medicine Man’ is not, in my humble little opinion at least, the strongest of the songs here. Sure, it opens in true Skynyrd spirit with dual guitars playing off each other and chugs its way through the duration with a sing-a-long chorus and great guitar solos. But it lacks just that special spark of ‘something.’ You know….it will sound daft, but I think it just lacks a little ‘conviction.’
‘Hunting Crows’ is for me the best of those on offer here, although I would say it could be even better with the addition of some horns over the top of the guitar – just to give an already excellent song some added depth and strength. Maybe I’m being picky! Just the imagery created, the sound of crows at the beginning / end of the song and the incessant beat mixed with a bit of a dirty bass line and another zippy guitar solo give this song real ‘star’ potential. ‘Hunting Crows’ could, I think, be worked on just a touch more and pushed to the Radio stations that specialise in Classic Rock.
It’s a winner – worth re-releasing in its own right as a single!
Closing track ‘Boogie City’ does exactly what it says on the cover. Very much Skynyrd inspired again, so nowt wrong with that! (It also contains the line: ‘…come over to my place girl, I’m gonna boogalize your mind.’)
Class – they just don’t write ‘em like that any more do they?
(Released through Savage Acts Records – November 2010)