Album Review: Seahaven - Reverie Lagoon: Music For Escapism Only

Published on AlreadyHeard.com on Monday 17th March 2014.

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and you probably shouldn’t judge an album by its title. However, with Seahaven's latest effort, 'Reverie Lagoon: Music For Escapism', the Torrance, CA band are being blunt and direct, but don’t let that deter from listening to it, as the 14 songs on offer here take you on a gentle, compelling musical journey that leave a lasting impression.

Throughout the combination of the band’s blues-y, atmospheric approach and their sun-swept Southern California cool tone grabs a hold of you. Early highlights such as recent single 'Silhouette (Latin Skin)' are slow burning and delicate with sweeping strings that adds the band’s aching tone. Whilst 'Wild West Selfishness' is dominated by intricate, dizzying guitars that burst at the conclusion with vibrancy.

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Interview: Fun Home

Published on AlreadyHeard.com on Tuesday 18th March 2014.

Having started out as a folk duo, twin sister songwriters Sara and Rose Savage has evolved Fun Home to become a dynamic indie/emo quartet (Dan Hagendorf on drums and Ben Gardner on bass) with a charming EP in their arsenal.

'Knit Into Place' is reminiscent of acts such as Tigers Jaw and Now, Now as tracks like 'Felt So Tired' and 'Bad Weather' are harmonious, organic yet have an understated pop sentimental quality that resonates throughout the EP. Whilst lyrically the quartet talk about isolation and disparity however hailing from the close-knit DIY Pennsylvania scene, Fun Home have gained a small yet appreciative following in their short time together.

A short time ago, we spoke with Fun Home to find out more about their beginnings, the Pennsylvania scene and they also shared their thoughts of being linked with the so called “emo revival”.

Already Heard: Can you introduce yourself and your role in Fun Home?
Sara: I’m Sara and I play lead guitar and sing harmonies.

Rose: I’m Rose and I also play guitar and sing.

Ben: I’m Ben, I play bass, a little bit of glockenspiel, and whatever wind instruments I can squeeze into a song.

Dan: I’m Dan and I do the drums.

AH: We know the band started with just Sara and Rose Savage. Can you talk us through how you became a four-piece?
Rose: We started out playing as an acoustic duo while we were still in high school because that’s really what we were into at the time. As time progressed, we wanted to shift towards more of a fuller and louder sound so we sought out a drummer and a bassist.

Sara: We met Dan at Pitt and automatically became friends through our mutual affinity for music. And a few months later, we met Ben through playing shows at DIY spaces around Pittsburgh. I think we played our first show together as a full band at The Shop in Pittsburgh with Modern Baseball last summer.

Ben: I saw Rose, Sara, and Dan play as a three-piece with The Island of Misfit Toys last summer, and they sounded great, but the sound wasn’t filled out – which I told them, to which the sisters said “Wanna play bass?” I’m a guitar player, but I’ve played bass in bands before, and I love their songs, so I said yes, and it’s been so much fun ever since.

AH: I read that the change in lineup resulted in a change of style too?
Rose: Yeah, our style changed from a folky-indie to more of an emo-indie sound because our tastes had changed and we were starting to listen to a lot of different kinds of music and through that we were inspired by a lot of new and different bands that we hadn’t listened to in highschool.

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Feature: An Essential Guide To… Taking Back Sunday

Published on AlreadyHeard.com on Wednesday 19th March 2014.

In the next installment of our "An Essential Guide To…" feature, we take an indepth look into the career of Long Island rockers Taking Back Sunday. 

As always we give you a detailed history on the band, rate three of their albums; For Beginners, For The Experts, and For The Bin.

Read “FIVES: Our Favourite Taking Back Sunday Songs”

Who are Taking Back Sunday?
Taking Back Sunday are alternative rock band based out of Long Island, New York. Since forming in 1999, the band has undergone numerous lineup changes and currently the band consist of what most fans consider the “classic” lineup of vocalist Adam Lazzara, guitarist John Nolan, bassist Shaun Cooper, drummer Mark O’Connell and founding member bassist Eddie Reyes.

The foundations of Taking Back Sunday heavily lay in the Long Island music scene. Prior to forming TBS, Eddie Reyes was part of several local hardcore bands with the most notable being The Movielife. In 1999 Reyes began a new, unnamed band and recruited guitarist Jesse Lacey and vocalist Antonio Longo to be involved. They had both been part of other locals bands; The Rookie Lot and One True Thing respectively. Soon after Lacey bought guitarist John Nolan on board whilst Lacey took over bass. In addition Steven DeJoseph became the bands first drummer. After playing several local shows, the band settled on the name Taking Back Sunday.

In 2001 the band began recording their eponymous titled EP however the final result showcased two different line-ups of the band. After recording the tracks 'Go On' and 'Summer Stars,' Jesse Lacey departed the band to form Brand New and drummer Steven DeJoseph reunited with his former band Prescott C. North Carolina native Adam Lazzara joined on bass after John Nolan asked him to move to Long Island and join the band, whilst Mark O’Connell replaced DeJoseph.

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Feature: Hallelujah! Apparently Rock Isn’t Dead After All!

Published on AlreadyHeard.com on February 12th 2014.

If you’re to believe some sections of the media, “Rock” has been a dying genre for the past few years. This is despite acts such as Muse, Foo Fighters and Green Day playing sold out stadium-sized shows in recent years and the UK festival scene growing by the year.

However it seems now “Rock” isn’t dead (and it never was) and we have the numbers to prove it. 33.8% of all UK album sales in 2013 come from the mammoth umbrella classed as “Rock”, taking over Pop by a mere 2.8%. So on paper “Rock” is back and is cool again. Surely a reason to celebrate right?

Well you’d be wrong. Whilst some of us within this so-called “scene” can gloat and act superior from Rock’s dominance, frankly you’d be kidding yourself.

As we all know the “Rock” genre is huge with sub-genre upon sub-genre, and to see stories giving the impression that Rock is a big deal once again is simply ridiculous. Sections of the media have decided to highlight the success of more indie-centric acts such as Arctic Monkeys, Jake Bugg, and Bastille, even though more rock-orientated acts like You Me At Six, Biffy Clyro, and Bring Me The Horizon, Avenged Sevenfold and Black Sabbath have enjoyed UK Top Ten Album Chart success over the past 12 months.

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Feature: FIVES: 5 Must Hear Albums from 1994 (Contributing Writer)

Published on AlreadyHeard.com on February 19th 2014.

For this edition of “Fives” we’re taking a trip back in time, twenty years to be precise. The year is 1994. ‘Pulp Fiction’, ‘Forrest Gump’, and ‘The Lion King’ are reigning at the Box Office, “Soccer” made its return to America as Brazil won the FIFA World Cup in the States, and the UK singles charts was being unfortunately dominated by the likes of Wet Wet Wet and Whigfield. Nevertheless 1994 wasn’t all that bad for music as it saw the release of several influential albums, that are celebrating their 20th anniversaries this year.

We thought it’d be a good time to highlight five of those albums. Read on to find out which five albums the Already Heard team picked as their favourite albums from 1994.

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Weezer - Weezer
Whatever you might think of Weezer's output in recent years, you can't argue the bands self-titled debut is a bonafide classic. 'Weezer' (or 'The Blue Album') is just over 40 minutes of fantastic, vibrant power-pop at its very best.

From start to finish, it’s clear why twenty years later 'Weezer' continues to influence and inspire as tracks like 'My Name Is Jonas', 'Holiday' and 'The World Has Turned and Left Me Here' are whimsical wight their subtle garage alt-rock approach. Whilst the singles, 'Say It Ain't So', 'Undone - The Sweater Song' and 'Buddy Holly' solidify the albums legacy and are still highlights at the bands live shows today.

'Weezer' is one of the premier debut records of the last twenty years and is a must for any rock fan. It has it all; catchy choruses, humorous lyrics, and occasional guitar solos all delivered in a not all too polished condition. (SR)

Feature: Versus: Jimmy Eat World - ‘Clarity’ vs ‘Bleed American’ (Contributing Writer)

Published on AlreadyHeard.com on September 4th 2013.

Bleed American (Sean Reid)
I’ll start off this argument by declaring Jimmy Eat World are my favourite band. My love affair with the band has grown with me from my teenage years into my twenties. They’re in a incredibly small group of bands where I like everything they release. Whilst 'Clarity' wears its heart on its sleeve and dwells on crippling emotions, in my opinion its not quite the perfect record so many think it is. 'Bleed American' IS a perfect album. I’ll even go as far calling it “life changing”, because thats what it did for me.

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Feature: Versus: Against Me! - ‘Searching for a Former Clarity’ vs ‘White Crosses’ (Contributing Writer)

Published on AlreadyHeard.com on January 15th 2014.

White Crosses (by Sean Reid)
I’ll admit before Against Me!'s first major release (2007's 'New Wave'), my knowledge of the quartet was little, however with 'New Wave' and its 2010 followup 'White Crosses', I soon found a connection with the bands balance between their folk punk origins and accessible rock radio sound. Whilst 'New Wave' sparked my interest in the band, it’s 'White Crosses' that I’ve picked for this piece as its the superior of the two.

Whilst some longtime fans may dismiss the more melodic approach 'White Crosses' takes, you can’t fault the record for its consistency and overall drive. From the start, the title track and 'I Was a Teenage Anarchist' provide a punchy, strong double slice of punk-fueled, angsty alt-rock that have a conscious, something that is apparent throughout 'White Crosses'.

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Interview: Swim Good

Published on AlreadyHeard.com on 25th February 2014.

At the end of 2012 London/Guildford quartet Swim Good called it quits due to professional and personal issues, even though the band had just completed recording their debut EP.

Fast forward 12 months, the band reconvened after newly-formed UK label Failure By Design Records asked Swim Good if they could release their self-titled effort. Now 'Swim Good' is finally seeing the light of day and is released this week. The end result is a impressive brand of energetic British alt-rock. Tracks like 'Make Your Mind Up' and 'Hatchet' are throughly confident and sets the bar high for the bands future releases, which we predict will be sooner rather than later.

From speaking to Swim Good, they are certainly a band reinvigorated from their time apart. Already Heard recently caught up with the band to discuss the EP, their recent tour with Yearbook, future material and more.

Already Heard: Can you introduce yourself and your role in Swim Good?
Dan: My name is Dan and I play Guitar, do some singing and drink Guinness on behalf of Swim Good.

Joe: I’m Joe, I play drums in the band and don’t eat bacon for Swim Good.

Curtis: Hello! I’m Curtis - I play bass and do lots of jumping leg kicks in Swim Good.

Ryan: Last but not least eh, I’m Ryan and I’m the funny one. Oh, and I sing in Swim Good.

Already Heard: To begin with can you tell us a bit history on the band. I understand the band reformed towards the end of 2013?
Curtis: We’d all crossed paths in one way or another in the ‘scene’ back when we were teenagers in our various old shitty bands.

Joe: So when we all by chance came to be living in the same town as each other a few years down the line, we knew immediately we should start jamming.

Dan: We’d always sort of joked about it in the past at shows when we were younger. Like “hey, you’re a pretty good drummer, better than ours, WE should start a band.”

All laugh fondly.

Joe: Originally we had 2 drummers - Curtis and I would rotate instruments for different songs. We fairly quickly decided this was a bit silly.

Ryan: Well, and Curtis actually bought a bass first.

Joe: Haha, yeah I guess that sorta sealed the deal. Anyway, after we’d got a few tracks sorted we decided to start looking for a singer.

Dan: We got in touch with Ryan and he completely killed it first time.

Curtis: When we broke out there, we went at it hard. We played something stupid like 40 shows in 4 months. It all got to a point where we had to reel it back in and sort of take a breather. We all had various things in our professional/personal lives to sort out before we could put into the band like we’d have wanted.

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Interview: Above The Underground

Published on AlreadyHeard.com on February 18th 2014.

With a strong sense of nostalgia, Chester quartet Above The Underground have produced a stelllar album in 'Sonder'. Having released a small number of EP’s since forming in 2009, the pop-punk band release their debut full-length this week and sees ATU grow as a band by taking a more honest and focused approach with outstanding results.

Tracks like 'Lavender Town Syndrome', 'I Was Never Lost' and 'Not Home' nicely showcases the bands pulsating, energetic style with big choruses leading to a more cohesive album that will surely raise the bands profile both at home and abroad.

Before Above The Underground headed out on their recent European tour with Me Vs Hero, Already Heard caught up vocalist Will Kirkman. Will discussed the bands history, the organic writing approach towards 'Sonder', the current state of the UK pop-punk scene and more.

Read Above The Underground's “Tour Tales” feature here.

Already Heard: Can you introduce yourself and your role in Above The Underground?
Will: I’m Will and I play guitar and sing in Above The Underground.

AH: I know ATU have been going for a few years now with a couple of EPs released. Can you give us a brief history on the bands background?
Will: We started back in 2009 with the intent to play as many shows as we could. That’s what we did for a while. We played a few UK tours with some local bands and put out a few songs, but progress was slow. In 2012 we put out our first proper EP ‘Autumns’ and things started taking off from there. Since then we’ve toured the US and Europe and recorded our debut album ‘Sonder’ which will be out on February 17th.

AH: Now you’re set to release your debut album 'Sonder'. How has the bands sound grown on this release?
Will: I think touring as much as we have and just growing up as people has affected our sound in ways we couldn’t predict. I can’t remember a point where we ever sat down and said, “Okay, let’s change our music to sound like this”, but listening back to early stuff sometimes sounds like a completely different band to me. I feel like we’ve grown a lot as songwriters just through travelling so much and meeting new people. I think that better rounded people produce better music and we were very young when we started out. Listening back, sometimes I think “what the hell was I thinking?” but those songs represented us at that point in time and it’s all a learning curve so it’s cool in that way.

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Interview: Villains

Published on AlreadyHeard.com on February 11th 2014.

Having toured throughout the UK and Europe including three appearances at the Download Festival as Never Means Maybe, the quintet decided to shed their post-hardcore skin and start over as Villains.

The change has paid dividends for the Essex band already having received praise and airplay from BBC Radio 1 and UK rock TV stations. Their debut self-titled album is set to drop later this month, and promises to be a fierce mix of catchy alt-rock in the same vein of fellow UK acts Young Guns, Mallory Knox and Blitz Kids.

With such a favourable sound and with songs like 'The Fall' and 'Come Out And Play' setting the bar high already, Villains have all the makings of being the next breakthrough UK rock act.

Guitarist Matt Steane recently took some time out to talk to Already Heard about a number of topics; how they transformed from Never Means Maybe to Villains, their self-titled debut, receiving Radio airplay, and more.

Already Heard: Can you introduce yourself and your role in Villains?
Matt: Hi, I’m Matt and I’m the guitarist and joint second best vocalist in Villains.

AH: We know the band formed out of a band called Never Means Maybe. Can you talk us through how Never Means Maybe transformed into Villains?
Matt: We achieved a hell of a lot with Never Means Maybe and I am unbelievably proud of that band and the music we created. We played Download three times, toured all over the UK and Europe and they were some of the best times of my life. But I think as we grew older our tastes changed, we matured both personally and musically and Villains is result of all of that and more.

We learnt a lot about being a band through NMM (mainly through the mistakes we made along the way) and Villains gave us the opportunity to start afresh, with a fresh sound and a new outlook on everything.

AH: So you’ve decided to wipe the slate clean with Villains. How has it been for both you and fans to the changes?
Matt: From our point of view there are no regrets. As I said, we loved being NMM but it had run its course. Starting a new band gave us that impetus and drive that we needed to enjoy being in a band again. And so far I would say the reaction has been brilliant. We’ve already achieved things with Villains that we never did with Never Means Maybe and a lot of that is down to the fanbase we have, so we are beyond grateful for everyone’s support.

AH: Musically how does Villains differ from your former band?
Matt: On a basic level it’s certainly not as heavy as NMM was. There’s no screaming and/or breakdowns like there were in some of our old songs.

But as I mentioned earlier, I think it’s just a more mature sound. We’re older now and the music is a good representation of what we’re like as five personalities and musicians.

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