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.
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.
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)
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.
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'.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
Published on AlreadyHeard.com on February 4th 2014.
Formed just 12 months ago, F.O.E.S. (Fall Of Every Sparrows) have spent the past year perfecting their sound and are now set to unleash their debut EP.
'Ophir' takes elements from their influences such as Deftones, Karnivool and Circa Survive to create a solid debut release that has a character. With ambient and brash guitar work and melodic, cleverly intricate drums, hands the Liverpool quartet plenty of potential with future releases, which as we find out, is already in the works.
Having played shows with 36 Crazyfists, Hactivist, and Oceansize in the last year, F.O.E.S. will be heading out on their first tour in support of 'Ophir'.
With their first EP and tour coming up, and their second EP in the works, Already Heard caught up with guitarist Joe Danher from F.O.E.S. to find out how the band came together, the making of 'Ophir', their forthcoming tour and more.
Already Heard: Can you tell us your name and what you do in F.O.E.S.:
Joe: I’m Joe Danher, one of the guitarists in F.O.E.S.
AH: Having only just formed last January, you’ve already played shows alongside some impressive names and now you’re set to release your debut EP. How would you sum up the past 12 months?
Joe: Regarding those live shows, it’s been really rewarding. Before we’d even released anything, we got chatting with a couple of our promoter friends and laid out the basic plan for our first 6 months. They were really supportive of what we were doing and were able to throw us those great supports. The response when we played alongside Hacktivist was brilliant, considering how removed in genre we are from those guys. Always good to win over a new crowd!
AH: For those who are unfamiliar with your sound, how would you describe your style and who would you compare it to?
We have a lot of influences. Oceansize, Karnivool, Manchester Orchestra, Circa Survive to name but a few. Very flatteringly we’ve been compared to them a number of times, along with the likes of Deftones, Cave In, At The Drive In, etc.
AH: I understand the band is formed out of two previous bands. Can you tell us how F.O.E.S. came to be?
Joe: Jay (Lorenzo) and I have been in bands together for many years, as have Chris (Mackrill) and Josh (Catchpole). We’d already gotten to know each other a year prior to forming F.O.E.S. Feelings were admittedly pretty mixed before that first rehearsal. Even though we all have similar influences, our previous bands were very different from one another. “This could be great, or it could be really shit” definitely sums it up. Luckily that first rehearsal ended up being a belter - we managed to throw together the bones of “Four Of Oxblood” in just a couple of hours.
Published on AlreadyHeard.com on January 28th 2014.
Born out the demise of metalcore outfit Collapse The Control, The One Hundred sees Jacob Field, Tim Hider, Phil Kneller and Joe Balchin released from the shackles of being boxed into a genre allowing their new band to be creativity free.
The One Hundred incorporates elements from a range of genres from metal to grime to electronica to hop-hop but nevertheless as recent single 'Breed' shows, their sound is one filled with adrenaline and is certain to catch peoples attention in the coming months.
With their next single, 'Unleashed' set to be released in the coming months and festival appearances in the works, the genre-defying quartet recently spoke to Already Heard to talk us through the transition from Collapse The Control to The One Hundred, being pinned down to a genre, their forthcoming EP, and more.
Already Heard: Can you introduce yourselves and your role in The One Hundred?
The One Hundred: Jacob Field (vocals), Tim Hider (guitar, backing vocals), Phil Kneller (Bass) and Joe Balchin (drums/ electronics).
AH: I understand the bands origins lie in your old band, Collapse The Control. Talk us through how that band became The One Hundred?
We were in Collapse The Control for around four years and we came to a point where our personal music preferences were changing. We didn’t want to force ourselves to continue to play music none of us had the same passion for, we all achieved and learnt so much playing with CTC so decided to call it a day after things started to fizzle out. We started from scratch and continued to write music in our preferred style incorporating our favourite genres and it kick started from there. We had a slight rearrangement in the line-up by moving Phil onto bass and bringing Joe in on drums.
AH: Stylistically how does The One Hundred differ from your former band?
I think bringing in elements of Grime and Hip-hop has really had an impact on the music we create. We’re so free to create whatever we want
it doesn’t have to keep to a specific genre “guideline”. We’re having so much fun writing and creating this new style it already feels we’ve stepped up a gear from CTC. We’ve all matured musically which helps a lot when we’re writing and playing live.
AH: With elements of metal, hip hop, rock and dance, would you say it’s hard to pin down the type of band you are? Does it matter being classed a certain type of band?
TOH: It’s definitely difficult to explain our music style to people, we always end up mentioning five different bands from five completely different genres.
Personally I don’t think it matters, we can get categorised as a Metal, hip-hop or rap band and none of us would be offended by it. There’s so
many sub genres of the same style that it all gets a bit confusing. I think people like to label a band with other similar bands because its easy to
categorise them from then on, I suppose we’re a hip hop metal hybrid if that makes it easier to categorise haha.
Published on AlreadyHeard.com on January 21st 2014.
Last year Irish pop-punkers Home Star Runner decided to reform however after when they began writing new material, the quartet realised a new name was needed. So Home Star Runner became Only Rivals, an alt rock band with huge choruses in their arsenal.
The change in direction has paid off as Only Rivals kick off their first UK tour with Max Raptor and Fort Hope this week, and they’ll be joining All Time Low and Tonight Alive on these shores in the Spring.
Besides that, there is the small matter of the release of bands debut EP, 'Details' which promises to be a strong collection of introspective alt-rock songs with tons of potential.
Overall tracks like 'History' and 'Borders' are thoroughly exciting thus making Only Rivals one of the most impressive Irish exports in quite some time and we guarantee you’ll be hearing a lot more from the four-piece in the coming months.
We caught up with bassist Seán Reid to discuss the change from Home Star Runner to Only Rivals, the 'Details' EP, touring the UK, the Irish music scene and more.
Already Heard: Could you introduce yourself and tell us what you do in Only Rivals?
Sean: Hey! My names Seán Reid and I play bass in Only Rivals.
AH: Let’s kick off with some background. Some people might know you under your former moniker Home Star Runner, which reunited last year and now you’re known as Only Rivals. Why the name change?
Sean: Well when we first decided to be a band again and got into the practise room to write some music, it was after a few years gap. During those years we all had different experiences in our lives. Some of us travelled, others went to college. So it was in many ways completely fresh and new even though it was three of the same guys and a new drummer. When we were writing these songs it just wasn’t the same band, it didn’t feel like it was at all, but in a really positive way. It was a new beginning. So we decided it was time to be a new a band. It just felt like the right thing to do.
AH: From hearing 'Borders' and 'History', it seems Only Rivals is a more alt rock-driven rather than your former pop-punk sound?
Sean: Yeah, I would agree for sure. I mean, I don’t think we will ever lose that pop punk influence as it just shaped all of our lives so massively. Everybody in the band grew up on it and still listens to it. New Found Glory, Blink, The Ataris, The Get Up Kids, Saves The Day and bands like that were huge inspirations to us. At the same time we love bands like Brand New, Foo Fighters and Biffy. When writing these songs we wanted to have huge choruses that you would associate with pop punk, but at the same time have these big heavy rock riffs and experiment sonically too.