Handwritten – The Gaslight Anthem

The Gaslight Anthem deliver another blues rock masterpiece.

This album’s release date has definitely been one of the most anticipated days on my calendar this year, and now that it has come I can safely say it was worth the wait.

Handwritten kicks in with recently released single ’45’, which is definitely one of the most powerful songs on the album, it combines everything that is ‘The Gaslight Anthem’; the energy of ‘Sink or Swim’ (2007), the mournful lyrics of ‘The 59 Sound’ (2008) and the melodic blues guitar of ‘American Slang’ (2009). From the opening guitar riff and front man Brian Fallon screaming whoa, through the meaningful hooking choruses, to the energetic ending, this track, about not being with the one you love, will leave you wanting more.

Gaslight-Anthem-HandwrittenThey have created a song which contains all their great aspects, and it is only the first track on the album, therefore if your ears aren’t enjoying themselves yet, they soon will be with the rest of the record.

Chants of “whoa, whoa” start off second track ‘Handwritten’, the song is a tribute to the process by which a song is written “out here in the dark, I cherish the moonlight, I’m in love with the way you’re in love with the night, and it travels from heart to limb to pen”, to when it is heard by the listener “let it out, let me in take a hold of my hand, there’s nothing like another soul who’s been cut up the same” and then is passed down to another listener “pull it out, turn it up what’s your favourite song? That’s mine, I’ve been crying to it since I was young”. The song is also related to the fact that the whole of the album ‘Handwritten’, was in fact handwritten, and no computers were used.

Too Much Blood is an amazing track, it captures something which isn’t seen a lot in The Gaslight Anthem songs, the song sounds like a homage to classic 50s rock and roll with a smooth riff and an unusual solo, something which I have not heard in a ‘Gaslight’ song before. You would think that through the last three albums we have heard everything Brian Fallon’s voice could do, soothing on ‘The 59 Sound’ and incredibly high on ‘American Slang’, now he’s trying to go to the deeper end of the scale in this song, and although new, it works really well. Fallon may be one of the greatest voices of this generation.

Since the release of The 59 Sound in 2008, The Gaslight Anthem fans have been waiting for another record with an impact of the same magnitude, unfortunately American Slang was not the album they were waiting for; although an amazing record all round, it just didn’t give you the same feeling as the first time The 59 sound rushed through your ears. Handwritten also doesn’t hit this mark, but it is not far from it, the album feels like a slower version of The 59 Sound, it also has an essence of ‘The Horrible Crowes’; the duet which Brian Fallon played in with Ian Perkins, with the dark lyrics and vocals on some tracks.

As soon as the guitar and gang vocals come in to ‘Howl’, it is obvious that this is going to be a fun and exciting song, and it does not disappoint, although short, it is two minutes and six seconds of pure energy, a track that will get you out of your seat and moving.

The song ‘Desire’ gives you the feel of a punk rock bands song with the background rhythm guitar, the opening sounds as though you are listening to Rise Against – if they started playing blues as well.

‘Mae’ the tenth track on the album is a song about trying to be with the girl you love, and once again Brian Fallon takes us on a journey using his soothing country voice; as tracks such as ‘Here’s Looking At You Kid’ from The 59 Sound and ‘We Did It When We Were Young’ from American Slang did.

‘National Anthem’, a song which Fallon claims was written in 20 minutes on a night in Nashville, takes us through Fallon’s memories and mind when looking at the world today,“what’s left for god to teach from his throne? And who will forgive us when he is gone?” It is an acoustic thought-provoking anthem and is a great way to close an amazing fourth album.

gaslightThe Gaslight Anthem is made up of Brian Fallon (vocals and guitar), Alex Rosamilia (guitar and backing vocals), Alex Levine (bass and backing vocals) and Benny Horowitz (drums). They formed in 2006 and originate from New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Maybe handwritten is not a better album than ‘The 59 Sound’, the record which thrust them into the public’s eye, but the band have taken risks by combining genres. This album has it all, including aspects from their previous albums, and it shows their progression from 2007.

If you bought the deluxe edition of the album, you will have gotten three bonus songs which aren’t on the normal album, two of which, ‘Sliver’ and ‘You Got Lucky’, are Nirvana and Tom Petty covers. The other is ‘Blue Dahlia’, a song which I believe is powerful enough to be on the album.

So there you have it, an album with some rock and roll, some punk and a hell of a lot of blues rock. If you see this album, I advise you to buy it along with the band’s back catalogue. If The Gaslight Anthem are not in your life…you need them.

Listen to: 45, Mulholland Drive and Howl.

The Full Track-Listing is as Follows:

“45”

Handwritten

Here Comes My Man

Mulholland Drive

Keepsake

Too Much Blood

Howl

Biloxi Parish

Desire

Mae

National Anthem

– Deluxe Edition –

Blue Dhalia

Sliver (Nirvana Cover)

You Got Lucky (Tom Petty Cover)

Long Live The Struggle – The King Blues

Ska-punk rockers sign off with final album.

The King Blues have always been a band who have given the people a voice, and have made their listeners think about their lives and how they can change the world around them. That is why it is so hard to say goodbye to a band who have made such an impact on the music industry, however The King Blues have given their fans one more record to officially say goodbye.

Just the title, Long Live The Struggle, indicates the band still have the same views which they had when they started, and although they have tried to help out the work-a-day average person in the constant ‘struggle’ against the government and police forces, there is still much more work to be done.

0001751855_500Being their final album, this should be a record which grabs the listener and makes them listen, however opening song ‘We Are What We Own’, as thought-provoking as it is, it doesn’t feel as powerful as 2010’s ‘Punk and Poetry’ album’s opener, ‘Last Of The Dreamers. The song starts the album off in a different feel, where as ‘Punk and Poetry’ made the listener think deeply about the lyrics, this makes you feel more chilled out.

The King Blues stick to their usual fashion of jumping into a heart-pounding second song as ‘We Are The Future’ kicks in, an inspiring track which will give you the urge to dance and scream the chorus “we are the future” with Jonny ‘Itch’ Fox, TKB’s, front man. The song also shows off the rapping talents of ‘Itch’, as ‘The Futures Not What It Used To Be’ did on ‘Punk and Poetry’. It also gives us a slight screaming side to ‘Itch’ which has not been witnessed before, it gives a feel of more passion going into the song.

Third song, ‘Modern Life Has Let Me Down’, is by far the strongest track on the album, we are given the classic King Blues riffing throughout the chorus mixed in with an odd telephone dialling sound. This song definitely offers everything great about the band, a catchy chorus, strong lyrics, a massive breakdown and brilliant gang vocals; put together it creates a song which depicts an average man giving the world the middle finger.

‘Wasted Words’ is the first slow song on the album, and it features the bands keyboardist, Josie Dobson’s vocals. Although the lyrics give you the right feel for the song, it seems as if it is missing something, being the first time we really get to hear Dobson’s vocals, it’s a shame that this is a chorus which you listen to just so that you can hear another verse.

The album shows different aspects of the band, mainly in ‘Can’t Bring Me Down’ which features Letlive. vocalist Jason Butler, who provided a scream aspect for the chorus. Although scream bands are getting themselves more known, it appears out-of-place on a King Blues album. ‘Tear Us Apart’ brings us back to classic reggae King Blues, as ‘Itch’ plays out the rhythm on his signature ukulele whilst singing about how “even love” can tear two people apart.

THEKINGBLUES_210211_021As this is the band’s last album, they try to offer something different, and song ‘This Is My Home’ is a peculiar track as it is based on a man, ‘Itch’, and his wife, who is portrayed by Dobson, that are in the middle of the London riots. The man is trying to get home to his wife and the entire song is through the perspective of a phone call, which the band pull off well as it gives more of a realistic sense to the song. The track also provides the listener with a much more powerful chorus from Josie Dobson, which shows off her vocal talent.

The album then becomes powerful again with ‘Power To The People’, the song throws us a chorus which relates to all of us who have ever been defaced by the government, it tells us the message that we are the ones with power.

As the album ends with track ‘Keep The Faith’, although a strong song, it leaves us wanting more and as ‘Itch’ and the band chant out “keep the faith” it is obvious that they are talking to their fans.

With the band calling it quits because as ‘Itch’ puts it “we feel we have taken things as far as they can go” the world is a much darker place…now who will be the voice of the people?

Long Live The Struggle is out now.

Listen to: Modern Life Has Let Me Down, This Is My Home and Keep The Faith.

The Full Track-Listing is as Follows:

We Are What We Own

We Are The Future

Modern Life Has Let Me Down

Wasted Words

Can’t Bring Me Down feat. Jason Aalon Butler

Tear Us Apart

This Is My Home

Booted Out Of Hell feat. Tim Armstrong

Power To The People

Walking Away

When The Revolution Comes

Keep The Faith

Bones

London five-piece reach new elements with latest album

Given the jump forward in the music scene which 2010 album ‘All Our Kings Are Dead’ gave ‘Young Guns’, you wonder how they could top themselves. Well the answer is with the same style of music which we know and love plus stronger vocals from lead singer ‘Gustav Wood’ and the rest of the band, and adding in more of a Pop-Punk feel to several of their songs.

Bones-Album Cover

The album starts off by pounding out an energetic intro from opening track ‘I Was Born, I Have Lived, I Will Surly Die’, and the instruments are joined by Wood’s powerful voice over the top and  the hard hitting drums don’t let you stay still as you will find yourself moving along with the track. The song will keep your head nodding throughout and opens the album up well, showing the new aspects which ‘Young Guns’ are offering their fans.

Young Guns

It doesn’t stop at the first song though as the album keeps bringing different things from the boys which are new for their already avid fans. Songs such as ‘Brother In Arms’ and first single ‘Learn My Lesson’ give us a sound not heard from the band before, they take on the Pop-Punk genre with their catchy hooking riffs, and will have you jumping around more than pumping your fist, which songs such as ‘D.O.A’ on their 2010 album would have done. It isn’t only the instruments which change slightly on this album though, the whole band throw in their vocals in tracks like ‘Dearly Departed’ which go down a treat with the eardrums. Gustav Wood also extends his already passionate voice to it’s very limits, screaming out in ‘You Are Not’. 2010 album ‘All Our Kings Are Dead’ focused mainly on the lyrics of the songs rather than dragging in fans with just catchy riffs, but ‘Bones’ uses both of these elements and brings them together well.

Frontman-Gustav Wood

Young Guns are from High Wycombe, London they formed in 2003 and released their EP ‘Mirrors’ in 2009, along with their debut album ‘All Our Kings Are Dead’ in July 2010. The band consists of Gustav Wood – Vocals, Ben Jolliffe – Drums, Fraser Taylor – Guitar, John Taylor – Guitar and Simon Mitchell – Bass. Together the band create a new version of Brit-Rock combining raw guitar riffs, rocking melodies and thought-provoking lyrics making ‘Young Guns’ a unique band like no other.

The album screams classic ‘Young Guns’ giving us songs such as ‘Towers (On My Way)’ and ‘Everything Ends’ which have the band’s typical massive breakdowns and guitar solos in the verses. Their recently released single, ‘Bones’, silenced us with glorious chords and a hard rock Guitar solo in the middle. The chorus jumps your body around as Wood sings “I feel it in my bones” and the band shout back “bones, bones”.

The album ends as powerfully as it began with song ‘Broadfields’ which draws us in with an acoustic beginning and then slams in the other instruments and signs off the album with a sore neck from nodding the head so much.

‘Young Guns’ have definitely found their sound on this album and have come very far from EP ‘Mirrors’, this is an album which existing fans will enjoy and will entise other music listeners to give it a listen.

Bones is out now through PIAS Records.

Listen to: Bones, Brother In Arms, Headlights.

All Our Kings Are Dead '2010'

Mirrors EP '2009'

In Gold Blood

Kids Go For Gold With Latest Album

Back in 2008 if someone asked you if you liked the band ‘Kids In Glass Houses’ you would probably look at them with a confused expression and would ask them what they were on about, because at this point they had just released their debut album ‘Smart Casual’ and hadn’t really burst themselves on to the scene of Pop/Punk, rather just walked in.

Kids In Glass Houses

Today though that name has new meaning, it defines a band that has spawned out of the Welsh city of Cardiff and have progressed to find themselves as a band throughout their three albums, and with their latest album, ‘In Gold Blood’, being a disc loaded with energy the band have definitely shown themselves worthy of being where they are today.

The album starts off with the song ‘Gold Blood’  which when listening to it seems to stretch the intro slightly to far, however once the instruments kick in joined by lead singer, Aled Phillips’, voice, the song gets off to an explosive start and binds together with a catchy chorus of Phillips’ softly screaming vocals. It is a great way to start off the album and shows the boys using their typical guitar hooks but adding powerful backing vocals aswell.

Aled Phillips

Straight away after the track, ‘Teenage Wonderland’ jumps in with Phillips telling us that “When we were young we make the mistakes that make us what we are today”, and throughout the song shows how what we do when we are/were teenagers changes the way that our life pans out. The song could however be a way of telling us how the singer doesn’t understand the youths of todays society “i’m a boy, playing a man, trying to understand a teenage wonderland.”

Throughout the album the songs change to something slightly darker, which is a side of Kids In Glass Houses which we haven’t seen before. It’s almost as though there is a good and evil element to the album. With heavy/grungier guitar riffs and darker lyrics, in songs like ‘Animals’ which shows teenagers to be as the singer puts it “young and reckless”, and tells us how we are all just animals at heart.

In Gold Blood - Album Cover

‘Black Crush’ also shows us the darker side of the album but gives us some high pitched singing from Phillips aswell for the chorus. As we get to the last song on the album, ‘A God To Many Devils’, the band send us off with a musically talented ending with the track going into a massive Guitar breakdown of low notes.

Kids In Glass Houses has been created from five members; Aled Phillips-Vocals, Iain Mahanty-Lead Guitar, Phillip Jenkins-Drums, Joel Fisher-Rythm Guitar and Andrew Sheehy-bass. The quintet released their debut album ‘Smart Casual’ in 2008 and their second album ‘Dirt’ in 2010.  It isn’t easy for a band to get big these days and especially one which is coming out of Wales as it is such a big music scene, they gave us the likes of Lostprophets, Bullet For My Valentine, Funeral For A Friend and The Blackout.

It’s hard for a band to create an album were throughout every song we get a chrorus which will be jumping off the walls of our heads all day and great instrument playing thrown in aswell, but this band appear to have done it.

They have stuck to what they know and and added some extras, in doing so have created another album which their previous fans will love and which will draw in new ones.

This album does not disappoint…

In Gold Blood is out now through Roadrunner Records

Listen to: Diamond Days, Black Crush, A God To Many Devils.

Dirt '2010'

Smart Casual '2008'

Best Intentions – We Are The In Crowd

Debut Album Puts Pop-Punk Rockers On The Musical Map

If the lack of music from female fronted bands in the past year has given you the blues, prepare to get back into the spirit of dancing and singing to catchy hooks and inspiring lyrics. The ambitious five-piece from Poughkeepsie, New York which are taking the Pop-Punk scene by storm are called ‘We Are The In Crowd’.

best-intentions-coverThe band formed in 2009 and is fronted by Taylor ‘Tay’ Jardine, who captures the true feeling that is needed in a band of this genre when she is singing and performing. Jardine is joined by guitarist Jordan Eckes, guitarist Cameron Hurley, bassist Mike Ferri and drummer Rob Chianelli. Together they will make you remember what this genre means.

Although every time a new band who has a female vocalist comes to prominence they are instantly related to the band ‘Paramore’, and the singer is ridiculed for copying the style of Paramore’s front-woman Hayley Williams. This can not be the case with We Are The In Crowd because they bring something new to the table by having Jardine and Eckes sing together and separately.

The transition between Jardine and Eckes works really well, and they create a style which not many bands before have been able to do throughout a whole album. The singers take on different roles in the songs, with the Jardine portraying a girl’s half of a relationship, and Eckes showing the boy’s side. These two really come together well and when backed up with catchy rhythms, huge guitar drops and sing-a-long lyrics, the band will win you over in no time.

You can see throughout the album how Taylor Jardine can be related to Hayley Williams of Paramore, because she sings with the same melodic highs and lows that Williams does. Plus with the style of guitar playing by Eckes it is no wonder non-avid listeners would mistake the band for Paramore.

We Are The In CrowdThe album does offer some good high points with the tracks, such as the recently released single ‘Rumour Mill’, this crowd jumping, fun catchy song is a great way to start the album off. However when listening, it seems to be the strongest song on the album, songs like ‘You’ve Got It Made’ and ‘All Or Nothing’ seem to be lacking something, they are songs which you can casually nod your head along to and wait for the next powerful song on the album. The band does bring back the power though with a great duet by Jardine and Eckes in ‘Kiss Me Again’, and the album ends with the catchy ballad ‘Better Luck Next Time’ which signs the album off on a good note.

With Paramore only releasing one official song (Monster) since the departure of guitarist Josh Farro and drummer Zac Farro and the music scene not hearing from fellow Pop-Punkers and female fronted band Hey Monday since their debut album ‘Hold On Tight’ in 2008 it’s a relief that a band has picked up the pieces and will carry the torch.

Here’s looking at you kids…

Best Intentions is out now.

Listen to: Rumour Mill, Kiss Me Again and See You Around.

The Full Track-Listing is as Follows:

Rumour Mill

This Isn’t Goodbye, It’s BRB

The Worst Thing About Me

Kiss me Again

On Your Own

All Or Nothing

Exits And Entrances

See You Around

You’ve Got It Made

Better Luck Next Time

 

Sinners Never Sleep – You Me At Six

Surrey five-piece return with a power they had once only dreamed of.

When You Me At Six announced that they were writing their follow-up to their 2010 album ‘Hold Me Down’, it was an instant assumption that it would be a rushed album due to the timing schedule; and like so many others would be not their best work. However this was not the case at all.

You_Me_At_Six_Sinners_Never_Sleep_489060849‘Sinners Never Sleep’ has shown that the boys can take different approaches to music and still create the same end result as they did with their previous albums, ‘Take Off Your Colours’ in 2008 and Hold Me Down in 2010. With songs like ‘Crash’ and ‘When We Were Younger’ vocalist Josh Franceschi has shown his feelings through lyrics once again, as he did with ‘Fireworks’ from Hold Me Down; but this time he has taken it one step further. He isn’t singing about past girlfriends anymore, with lyrics like “when I was younger, I never thought. That when I was older, I’d see you give up” and “when I was younger, I only dreamed, that when I got older you’d be proud of me” shows him singing passionately for his family and how he wants to impress them.

There is still the fan-favourite songs with catchy hooks such as ‘This Is The First Thing’ and ‘Reckless’; which will be playing around in your mind for weeks after. The album also once again has guest vocals on ‘Bite My Tongue’ from ‘Bring Me The Horizon’ frontman Oli Sykes, which really is nothing new on the guest vocals front, however that does not take away the fact of this being a powerful song which will surely get the crowd moving when performed live. The variation between types of tracks show how much these five lads have grown over the years, they have put the effort in, played their best and sung their hearts out; and it’s all paying off.

If You Me At Six keep on creating these inspiring albums, then who knows where they will be in 10, 20 years time. The way things are looking Josh Franceschi could soon become one of greatest lyricists of our generation.

Sinners Never Sleep is out now.

Listen to: Bite My Tongue, This Is The First Thing and Reckless.

The full track-listing for the album is as follows:

Loverboy

Jaws On The Floor

Bite My Tongue feat. Oli Sykes

This Is The First Thing

No One Does It Better

Little Death

Crash

Reckless

Time Is Money feat. Winston McCall

Little Bit Of Truth

The Dilemma

When We Were Younger