The 5 best bands I saw at Hit The Deck Festival

hit the deckHit The Deck is a relatively new one-day festival, taking place in both Nottingham and Bristol. This year the lineup looked stronger than ever, with acts like Brand New, Pulled Apart By Horses and Dinosaur Pile-Up catching my eye in particular. And seeing as Bristol’s my hometown I felt it was only right to head down and catch all the action. Below is my pick of the top 5 bands I saw at Hit The Deck:

1. The Gnarwhals 

First up were the I don’t give a fuck about anything and I’ll sing about skateboarding and pizza band, The Gnarwhals. Playing to a half empty crowd at The Fleece didn’t seem to phase these guys either, walking on stage wearing Hawaiian t-shirts and drinking Red Stripe at midday – So it’s established pretty quickly that these guys are here to party…

They’re the kind of band you just can’t take seriously, but you get the impression that’s probably the intention. Pop Shuv It I Luv It is a dismal attempt at any sort of tuneful musicality, but somehow they pull it off with a hardcore-swing-spin sound that’s refreshingly lax in such a try-hard industry.

Their lighthearted approach is a perfect warm up for the rest of the day and gives us an excuse to start drinking early on (not that we really needed one) – Cheers lads!

2. Wounds woundsWounds were a stark contrast to their predecessors, with howling vocals and full forced guitar slams that could rival any Kerrang! endorsed emo band.

Although this time the Dublin hailing rockers unfortunately didn’t bring along the luck of the Irish with them, as they’re let down by a sound technician who can’t level out his A’s from his B’s.

It’s the most frustrating thing when you can see a band that has so much potential, but the sound is a compromising factor. Having said that, Wounds did well to tackle the issue, diving headlong into a frantic noise of chaos. These guys are worth checking out, but just don’t go and watch them at the Fleece.

3. Dinosaur Pile-Up 

Dinosaur Pile-UpRaw guitar drones, awkward lyrics and angsty vocals have helped to create wonderfully organised chaos; presenting Dinosaur Pile-Up as one of the most exciting trios on the rock’n’roll scene right now.

Arizona Waiting is the forceful head banging momentum of attention seeking elation that we’ve been waiting for, with bleach-haired Matt Bigland capturing the audience with explosive waves of guitar thrashing and serrated screams.

As a live band, very few can match up to their perfected state of zombielike choral incisions during aptly named My Rock’n’Roll and White T-Shirt and Jeans, which tauntingly embraces a cut-through repetition that characterise any discomfort. Their ability to completely tear the house down, as well as conducting a slightly geeky approach gives Dinosaur Pile-Up an amiable edge and my standout highlight of the day.

4. Pulled Apart By Horses 

Pulled Apart By Horses were always going to be an obvious favourite weren’t they, but with Back To The Fuck Yeah immediately whipping the boisterous crowd into a mosh-pit frenzy, it’s easy to see why these guys ensue complete and utter chaos wherever they go.

For the first time, in a fairly long time, we get to hear some new material and it’s (quite frankly) just completely fucking epic.

Tonight’s definitely given a taste of greater things to come from PABH and boy am I excited for the new album.

5. Brand New

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So last up are Brand New, giving us that much needed blast of pop punk power.

Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades is the song that everyone’s been waiting for, which is executed with lead singer Jesse Thomas Lacey screaming into a mass of reminiscent twenty-somethings remembering when 90s pop rock music was just so much fun.

However, there are times when sunshine choruses are sidetracked to favour music far gloomier and introverted than we’d hoped and the hits are strung out, creating a sudden drop in elevated mood. 

Although, you just can’t fault the sound, as the precision of each track is delivered with excellence and commitment from a tight-knit team of friends. They’re a group of highly inspiring musicians, it’s just a shame the night ended on a bit of a downer. Next time Brand New would be better off sticking to the uptempo hits.

 

Brody Dalle – Diploid Love

diploidloveIt’s hard to believe that it’s been a decade since the release of Coral Fang, which would irrefutably ignite Brody Dalle’s music career and the punk rock scene alike. That’s not to say that life for the former Distillers star has run smoothly; if anything, it’s been the exact opposite. Having battled a crystal meth addition, suffered the breakup of The Distillers and ended her turbulent relationship with Rancid singer Tim Armstrong, Dalle’s first solo album Diploid Love is what she describes as a recording about life: “creating it, living it and surviving it”.

Rat Race is an ambitious opening track, with a combination of driving rhythm guitars and the implementation of neat little pop pulses as a side-liner. Setting the tone for the record, the clear theme resides around determined toughness and enduring life, no matter what the odds. The multiple layers give the track added depth in terms of first-rate production values; it’s just a really slick piece of contemporary punk rock.

Don’t Mess With Me showcases Dalle’s absorbing gravelly vocals that pierce through the killer funk beats and fragmented song breaks. Her voice is outstanding and it’s tracks like this, reminiscent to the Distillers era, that we realise just how much we’ve missed her.

But it’s the triumphant centrepiece of the album Meet the Foetus that shows how much pregnancy has influenced and shaped Brody as both an artist and parent. Encompassing themes of pure untainted ecstasy and illustrating a wholesome love for life, it’s an orgasmic foundation for an epic upsurge within song writing creation.

As a whole, the album displays a clear transition phase, maturing into a sound that we’ve not heard from Dalle before. Carry On displays a new vocal softness, which you wouldn’t think capable from her smoke filled lungs. The ringing piano, sweet natured lyrics and levelled down harmonic drone is a strong sentiment of actuality.

Dalle’s life has (and probably always will be) a wild and stormy ride, which she’s managed to dramatically convey through Diploid Love. It was the album that we’ve all been waiting for and one that, like many Brody inspired records before, has the potential to become a cult-classic.

News: Krokodil release debut single ‘shatter’ ahead of record store day

krokodilKrokodil’s debut single Shatter has been released just in time for record store day.

Shatter / Dead Man’s Path has been pressed onto blue vinyl, with 500 copies hand numbered by the band and featuring exclusive artwork by Krokodil guitarist, Daniel P. Carter.

The new track is a heavy concoction of break-down-beats and brutal vocals – So get ready for some serious head banging!

Listen to Shatter below:

Featuring members and previous members of Hexes, Gallows, Cry For Silence and SikTh, the band are already making huge waves in the metal scene.

This band first came about through a drunken conversation when we were all out partying one night, a LONG time ago. Playing at Download Festival last year was the point where we realised we had to stop talking about the band and start being a band. I’m stoked people are now getting to hear what we’ve been working on and to prove that we actually exist! This will be the start of something pretty special… ‡ – Dan P.Carter.

Krokodil have UK festival appearances lined up throughout the summer, including Sonisphere, Bloodstock & Alt Fest.

The band is currently in the studio, finishing their debut album, which will be released via the Spinefarm label later this year.

Novana @ Jazz Cafe 03/04/2014

Screen shot 2014-04-07 at 11.04.51It sounds like a cliche, but after watching Nirvana‘s Smells Like Teen Spirit video on MTV at the tender age of 13, it really opened up my eyes and ears to the genre blending possibilities that would shape my music tastes forever. As a teenager, it was the Nevermind album that really spoke to me; with my newfound love of grunge and acoustic guitar in hand, it was then that I felt my most unstoppable.

So with the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death looming, I thought that by watching Novana (the UK’s number 1 Nirvana tribute act) it would hopefully be the closest thing to the real deal.

Opening the set with Aneurysm it’s all systems go, with the punchy number allowing James Cooper (Cobain) to showcase his gravely tone, which perfectly compliments the former Nirvana frontman down to a tee.

In fact, they do very well to pay homage to each individual member, with Sam Howell on bass owning the Krist Novoselic bounce and Rob Burgess on drums rocking the messy-haired Dave Grohl head bang.

Watch Novana play Lithium below:

The crowd go wild for every single song and I really am serious when I say every single song. There are 40-year old men in moshpits and crowd surfing topless…I mean, this is just crazy.

It’s a clean cut, well rehearsed set with obvious standout tracks like Heart-Shaped Box, Come As You Are and Lithium that build the most excitement.

It was inevitable that Smells Like Teen Spirit would feature late on, but unfortunately it’s just awfully disappointing. The track feels rushed and with tuning issues from Cooper’s guitar, it quite frankly means the song falls miserably flat.

Usually you might be slightly peeved that SLTS is a shoddy remake of the original, but tonight everyone is here to pay their respects and have a good time. It’s during a mid head bang moment that you realise just how special Nirvana were as a band and it’s tribute acts like Novana that are helping to keep their spirit alive.

Tallinn Music Week in pictures

I’m currently recovering in bed after a crazy weekend in Tallinn, Estonia. My full article will be posted on the Q Magazine website this week, but for now, here are a few highlights summed up in picture form…

Day 1: Arrived at the hotel, picked up my pass, headed to the nearest bar (obvs)

Tallinn Music WeekChecked out local authentic music by award-winning girls choir Ellerhein

Girls ChoirListened to some light hearted indie-rock melodies by Junk Riot 

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Day 2: Pussy Riot spoke about how protesting remains their priority

Took to the streets of Tallinn for some sightseeing in the medieval old town

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A lot of the time, it felt like a hipsters paradise…

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So I felt it was only right to try and look like one, selfie ‘n all

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Saw plenty of bands 

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Visited the local beer hall with some lad, lad, lads. Hashtag banterrrr, hashtag ladzontour…

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Day 3: Plenty of water was consumed the next morning

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A man played the trombone on a roof (as ya do)…

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Souvenirs were bought

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Things got a little homoerotic in the Depeche Mode bar 

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Day 3: My hungover/tired/ugly mug before flying home. Bye bye Tallinn!

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News: Turbogeist release new video for ‘Comatose’

TurbogeistWell well well, look who’s back again, it’s only those rowdy punk rockers called Turbogeist and this time they’ve managed to command my attention with their gritty video for new single, Comatose.

The slightly morbid video sees unconscious patients waking up from a coma, mirroring the movements of creepy crawlies and snakes as they come back to life.

With escalated riff carnage mixed in with er, lots scenes of twisted bodies and snakes, it’s certainly not one for the squeamish that’s for sure.

Watch the video for Comatose below:

Turbogeist’s 5-track EP Ancient Secrets is available now.

The band are also confirmed to play Camden Rocks on May 31. £20 early bird tickets for the festival are available to buy here: http://po.st/CamdenRocksTickets

Jungle @ The Exchange, Bristol, 21/03/2014

JungleYou know you’re at a good gig in Bristol when ‘Big Jeff’ is there. For those of you who aren’t Bristol natives, Jeff can be described as a gig fanatic who’s become a local legend. His voluptuous barnet, energetic hand waves and reputation for catching the best upcoming bands, all viewed from the front of the stage, have earned him an honourable reputation in the city. big jeff bristolAlthough Big Jeff’s seal of approval is appreciated, you don’t actually need any spelling out that Jungle are one of the hottest new bands around and with an array of UK festival bills already confirmed for this year, it’s highly likely they’re only going to continue to explode in popularity.

Part of the build up to seeing Jungle is to discover what they actually look like, as up until now they’ve cleverly kept the media guessing – PR masterminds? I think so.

Their undercover operation has clearly worked, with the crowd clambering to catch a glimpse of the band arriving on stage to the loud roar of rainforest sounds.

The two lead singers/rhythm makers are joined by backing vocals, guitar and drums and kick things off rather promptly.

The band inject some serious funk into the compact venue with Busy Earnin’ a particular crowd pleaser. Watch a snippet of the song below:

The setup is experimental and fresh, with an entourage and technicality which Jungle have crafted to ensure they have the very best live sound possible. It’s a testament to show that they take their craft seriously and seeing a band play host to a number of musical influences with personality and raw passion tells us that it really is all about the music.

The Heat and Platoon seal the deal, with the electro dance vibes ensuring the crowd are dancing, whistling and getting down and dirty to the radio friendly hits.

Jungle are a serious contender for earning the title of best new band of 2014. Make sure you catch them at a festival this year, you won’t be disappointed.