Tag Archives: Punk

Slam Dunk

Well, everyone’s been waiting. I say everyone, it’s not exactly a major festival, but ho-hum. It’s out. As you can probably tell, I’m not exactly thrilled by the first announcements of this year’s Slam Dunk Festival. The line-up includes Architects, Cancer Bats, and Forever The Sickest Kids, and, aside from the King Blues, who are just fantastic, and I cannot wait to see again, it’s all sounding like a bit of a headache! Maybe I’m just being negative, and I’ll wait and see, with some updates on the new announcements, but I’m hoping for more ska, as last year’s festival was probably the most fun I’ve ever had at a show, with bands like The Skints, who I’m sure will be making a return this year, Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake.

Slam Dunk to me, means punk, reggae, and ska, but it all seems to be getting a little bit screamo for my liking. We’ll have to wait and see!

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The King Blues… Thank you!

My weekend was made when I found out that the King Blues have been so kind as to fit us Slam Dunk-goers into their schedule. Well… Slam Dunk South-Goers that is, because they have been announced as special guests at Hatfield this year, whilst the Northerners are still left waiting in anticipation as to the special treat in store for them. The rumours are all saying it will be Zebrahead.. but nobody knows!

Anyway, The King Blues are a fantastic addition to the already great line-up. The band were supposed to be playing last year, but had to pull out, because of the birth of Itch’s first child, so I guess it’s their way of making it up to us!
It’s extra kind of them, as they have a show in Norfolk(!) later that day at 9pm, so it’s going to be a bit of a tight squeeze to get there in time.
All of the stage times haven’t been announced yet, however we do know that the King Blues will be on at 3.20 on the Kerrang Introducing stage, although I’m not sure why, as they are probably the biggest band on the bill!

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Joe Strummer – The Future Is Unwritten

I have been a fan of The Clash for quite some time now, and in particular, Joe Strummer and his unique personality and attitude towards life that made him such a inspirational man. So, when I saw this film, among many others documenting the Joe and the Clash, and the fantastic reviews it had received, it was a must for me to buy.

The film documents Strummer’s life in a very unique way, combining interviews with the man himself, with friends and family sitting around a Strummerville festival campfire, rare video footage of Joe on stage, and other unusual clips, such as his cartoons reflecting his thoughts and feelings towards life, which were animated and adapted for film.

The film begins by discussing Joe’s childhood. It was so interesting to find out where the roots of his D.I.Y and hard working ethics originated from, such as being sent away to boarding school, and then having to bully his way out of falling into a completely miserable childhood.

The film also documents the breakdown of Joe’s career in The Clash and how he progressed onto writing his own solo material. It also shows people views of the man today, and how his legacy has lived on even in today’s world. I found the film truly thought-provoking and was a great insight into the life behind the scenes of one of punk’s most famous figures. For anyone even remotely interested in the Clash, this is a must-see, as Strummer was one of a kind, who made such a difference to the world around him.

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My Chemical Romance – The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys: A Full Review

Well, after the series of brief album tasters from their Youtube channel, the new My Chemical Romance album has finally been released!

Kicking off with Look Alive, Sunshine – an introduction to the album from Doctor Death Defy, the listener is flung into the album at breakneck speed as the band rip into hit single ‘Na Na Na.’ This is followed by Bulletproof Heart, a personal favourite from the album, with a synth and piano driven verse, followed by a powerful, rousing chorus.

Next up on the album, yet another hit in the making – Sing. Whilst the first verse may seem quite empty on first listen, you quickly realise that this just makes the chorus even more dramatic. This is a song that has already begun making its mark on the great British public, and is currently working its way up the charts! I cannot wait to see them in February!

And yet again, another catchy, crazy party song follows! (Planetary) GO! is guaranteed to wake even the most sleepy of listeners, as the quiet intro suddenly breaks out into the fast paced chorus which sets the pace for the rest of the song. Other album highlights for me include Party Poison, which, despite the strange Chinese woman wailing at the beginning goes back to the MCR that we are used to – pure punk rock that protests against the people who state that ‘All the good times give you cancer,’ showing the bands’ love for the wilder side of life.

Despite this being a huge change between the bands’ previous three albums, those willing to give the album a thorough listen will realise just how great this new album is. Whilst on the surface the band may appear to have changed tack completely, on closer examination it becomes clear that the band have not lost their ability to write some incredibly catchy songs, that can guarantee yet another commercial success for the album! I can already see that this will be one of the best albums to be released this year, never mind some of the best material to battle the generic rubbish that we in England like to call the Top 100 Charts!

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My Chemical Romance – Danger Days: The True Lives of The Fabulous Killjoys

Finally, My Chemical Romance are back! Danger Days: The True Lives of The Fabulous Killjoys is the band’s first proper release since 2006 and it looks as if MCR are back with a bang. The band’s first show in years at The Hammersmith Apollo the other week received 5K’s from Kerrang and had people turn up two days before doors opened to get their places on the front barrier! This was followed by a blistering once-in-a-lifetime show before the NFL match at Wembley Stadium on October 31st.

The band have released their first official single Na Na Na, and it is certainly a far cry from the days of The Black Parade! The band have chosen to adopt a very bold, futuristic look for this album, and it looks as if they are trying to rebrand themselves completely! The idea behind the album (I think!)  is that the MCR gang, under the title of the Killjoys, and representing the good in the world, are battling for survival in 2019 against the establishment, named Better Living Industries in ‘Battery City’ – their first album taster, titled ‘Art is The Weapon,’ showed the rebels fighting for their freedom in an intense shoot-out with their enemies! The band appear to have created a whole storyline via their Youtube channel, so check it out for more information, and to decide whether you will join the Killjoys or Better Living Industries!

As for the single itself, the whole song is a ridiculously catchy, eclectic combination of upbeat guitars, provided by Frank Iero and Ray Toro, pounding drums and bassline and Gerard Way’s unmistakable, aggressive vocals over the aggressive, yet still playful chants of ‘Na Na Na Na Na Na’ in the background. One sign that shows for sure that MCR have really changed their sound on the new album is the introduction of synths, something that would never have been heard on their previous three albums!! These can be heard as Gerard poignantly chants ‘Everybody wants to change the world, everybody wants to change the world, but no-one wants to die.’

It is clear even from this first single that My Chemical Romance were perhaps bored of their ’emo’ stereotype, which their previous three albums seemed to have created for them. They have smashed out of the mould which has surrounded their career to provide the fans with something completely different and refreshing. This is not to say that the band have not retained any of their former selves. The new single showcases the fact that the band still retain their almost unmatchable energy, both on record and onstage, and if the album, released on 22nd of November, meets the expectations set by Na Na Na, it looks as if we are in store for another fantastic album from the New Jersey punk rockers! I’ll be posting a review of the entire album very soon.

Check out the official video for Na Na Na below:


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Sonic Boom Six – Rude Awakening

Sonic Boom Six, the ska/punk band from Manchester, UK have recently released Rude Awakening, a compilation of the band’s greatest hits to celebrate ‘their story so far.’

The album is ideal for those who have never heard of the band before, as the tracklisting contains a good mix of almost every genre which they have tried to incorporate into their overall sound, such as reggae, dub, ska, rap, rock and punk.

If you have never really had a proper listen to SB6, I highly recommend Rude Awakening as the best album to listen, so go ahead! You may be pleasantly surprised!

The band are fronted by Laila Khan, who’s incredibly high pitched voice adds something very unique to SB6 and really makes them stand out from the other ska-punk bands out there.

The album also features one of the live favourites – a cover of Puretone’s ‘Addicted To Bass.’ They have tried to incorporate the energy and crazy bassline that had sent the crowd wild both times I have been to see them! This is definitely a unique gem of the album that is really worth listening to.

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Artist Of The Week – Chewing On Tinfoil

Now for something completely different! Yet another discovery from Mike Davies’ Radio 1 Show, Chewing on Tinfoil, formed in 2003 are a ska-punk band from Dublin, Ireland.

Still relatively unknown, the band have been playing anywhere they will be accepted for the last seven years, describing their plan for the band as being – ‘trying to get as much stuff done as we possibly can until one of us has a kid or dies or whatever, which would mean that we’d have to stop.’ Very DIY.

Personally, I love them. They have fantastic lyrics and are completely unique. They posted their first full-length album online to try and raise their profile, which can be found either via their myspace page, (http://www.myspace.com/tinfoilabusemyspace) or from the Quote Unquote Records website.

Listen to Forty ‘Shades of Grey’  for a brief idea of what Chewing On Tinfoil are capable of, or the acoustic clip of ‘Shaving’ below:

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Artist Of The Week – Crazy Arm

Sorry, this hasn’t exactly been a regular feature – I’ve had barely any time recently! Anyway, this week, we have Crazy Arm – a band I discovered through a Free CD with Big Cheese Magazine.

Crazy Arm have described themselves as ‘Fugazi with Banjos, but without banjos!’ The release of their debut album – Born To Ruin, Crazy Arm provides a high energy mix of punk, rock, blues, folk and country music. These guys are seriously talented, with a lot of technical guitar parts, that are sure to leave you feeling dizzy!

I would have been to see them in November, as part of the Against Me! tour which I’m sure you will see has been cancelled unfortunately.

I’ve heard that the band are planning to start a UK tour in December if anybody is interested. They play a lot of free shows all over the place, and I really feel that these guys have a lot of potential. Check out the track ‘Blind Summit’ below from Born to Ruin, and you may be pleasantly surprised!

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Artist Of The Week – Gogol Bordello

Well, this week, we have one of the most exciting, energetic, hilarious, and occasionally terrifying bands of the moment – Gogol Bordello.

These nutcases from New York have risen to fame playing their raucous fusion of Gypsy music, punk, folk, dub and many other styles on a relentless tour schedule across the globe. The band features accordion and violin, which adds an unusual and exciting element to their music.

Gogol Bordello is fronted by Ukranian-born singer, Eugene Hutz, who has a heck of a story to tell! Born near to Kiev, Eugene and his family were forced to flee the country, after hearing of the disaster at Chernobyl. They trekked for about 7 years through Eastern Eurrope, passing through hundreds of refugee camps.

Eventually, in 1991, Eugene found himself in the U.S state of Vermont, through a refugee rehoming program. These traumatic events he experienced as a child, as well as his Ukranian background became a big part of his song content. Gogol’s albums feature topics including immigration, and life as a gypsy.

The band will be playing at Reading and Leeds festivals this week, if you are heading there, I highly recommend you give them a listen!

For those of you who are willing to experience some very unique and unusual music, I would suggest watching this performance of ‘Pala Tute’ from Jools Holland’s ‘…Later Live’ show, from the BBC.

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Radio 1 Punk Show – Mike Davies

Those of you rock and punk fans familiar with British radio stations will know that there isn’t often a lot on offer for us, especially when it comes to Radio 1. However, for any of you who don’t already listen to it, Radio 1 have their own show dedicated to Punk, Ska and Hardcore, presented from Los Angeles by Mike Davies.

The show features loads of great music and interviews, from Rise Against, Frank Turner and The Gaslight Anthem, to Trash Talk, Hot Water Music and The Skints.

The show also features in depth interview’s all different manner of bands, providing an interesting insight into the lives of some of your favourite musicians.

Since Mike has been surrounded by LA’s punk rock scene since he was a child, he also has extensive knowledge of many of the bands played on the show – it adds a very interesting dynamic to the show.

With the time difference of over 5 hours between the UK and US, if you are a Brit, and you want to listen to the show live, you will have to tune in at around 2:00 in the morning! However, if you have a decent internet connection that won’t drive you crazy, you can listen to it on BBC iPlayer, at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006wq52

P.S:  Check out Mike’s interview of Tom Gabel, from Against Me! – I’m sure you’ll find it very interesting!

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