Albums/EPs

ALBUM: Kids In Glass Houses – Dirt

Release Date: March 29th, 2010
Label: Roadrunner Records
Website: www.kidsinglasshouses.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/kidsinglasshouses

Rating:

Forget male vocal choirs, the dominant sound emanating from the welsh valleys in recent years has been post-hardcore pop acts hoping to emulate the mainstream success achieved by Lostprophets and Funeral For A Friend. Kids In Glass Houses are no different. ‘Dirt’ is an album that seeks to continue this burgeoning tradition by following in their countrymen’s footsteps step by step.

Following on from 2008’s well-received debut ‘Smart Casual’, the band have toned down the harder, riffed up moments of their first release in favour of a more inflated take on their tamer, commercial pop-rock side. ‘Dirt’ is built around the vocal talents and lyrical hooks of Aled Phillips, who plays the role of the rasping and wailing, girl friendly focal point as needed. Behind the front man is a band that’s shed whatever bite and venom they may have had in exchange for a far more rounded and generic sound. The results are effective if unspectacular. This is Kids In Glass Houses consolidating their position and playing it safe with a batch of songs ready for the radio and tweenager bedroom walls across the land.

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EP: Dreamer – To Be Heard Above The Noise

Release Date: June 1st, 2010
Label: Unsigned
Website: None available
MySpace: www.myspace.com/dreamerflorida

Rating:

Dreamer are roughly as original as their name. A name shared with purveyors of Welsh new-wave, Canadian christian-metal, gothic rock from Indonesia, and many more acts who never thought to check that the name they christened their band wasn’t already taken. The only thing more recycled than their name is their paltry style of adolescent heart-wrench rock, whose primary purpose is to provide solace space for 15-year-old boys spilled-milk-blubbering as the sun goes down on their latest two month MySpace fling.

The vocals are nondescript. Some of the melodies they competently carry are solid if unimaginative (e.g. ‘Sever The Ties’ and ‘The Sun’), the lyrics have been written with a rhyming dictionary (“I’ve been thinkin’, what got me in this mess? / ’cause I’ve been trying to speak but not confess”, gross), and they do that irritating, infinitely overused vocal gesture of dipping a tone at the end of every damn note to feign distress. The screaming is also missing something, lacking emotional credibility.

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ALBUM: Annotations Of An Autopsy – The Reign Of Darkness

Release Date: January 18th, 2010
Label: Nuclear Blast/Siege Of Amidia
Website: None available
MySpace: www.myspace.com/annotationsofanautopsy

Rating:

Deathcore being my least favourite genre of all time, being presented with Annotations Of An Autopsy I was slightly dubious over how I might react to it, though was pleasantly surprised to find they are in fact now just a death metal band, which is a good thing.

So this album starts out quite promisingly, ‘In Snakes I Bathe’ being the first ‘proper’ track of the record; fast, heavy and all around pretty competent musicianship all around. However, the next few tracks really don’t change much from this.

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ALBUM: Punk Goes… – Classic Rock

Release Date: April 27th, 2010
Label: Fearless Records
Website: None available
MySpace: www.myspace.com/punkgoesclassicrock

Rating:

Everyone loves a good cover, so long as it’s executed well and doesn’t sound exactly like the original. If it did then what would be the point in covering it? The Punk Goes… series has been following this ethos for a while now, but since it began with Punk Goes Metal in 2000, it seems things have only gone downhill with the newest addition to the catalogue; Punk Goes Classic Rock.

Where as the Punk Goes Pop releases were all fun and encaptured interesting renditions of radio success stories both old and new, …Classic Rock is a far more bland and uptight project. As always, the different faces and fronts of unforgetable songs of yore are there. VersaEmerge’s take on the ever popular ‘Paint It Black’ brings a whole new electronic and theatrical persona to the memorable Rolling Stones hit, and The Almost taking the job of ‘Free Fallin” and smoothing it out for a younger audience is a success.

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EP: Above The Underground – The Fight We Won

Release Date: June 1st, 2010
Label: Unsigned
Website: None available
MySpace: www.myspace.com/abovetheundergroundmusic

Rating:

With a second EP in such a short time, ‘The Fight We Won’ shows Cheshire’s Above The Underground can build and churn out songs quicker than Jim from American Pie can blow his load… it’s also an awful lot less embarrassing too.

Pop-punk is there weapon of choice, and with slices of electronic synth wedged in across the board it’s clear they’re trying to obtain hooks and appeal from all corners of the musical spectrum.

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EP: Isles & Glaciers – The Hearts Of Lonely People

Release Date: March 9th, 2010
Label: Equal Vision
Website: None available
MySpace: www.myspace.com/islesandglaciers

Rating:

Due to conflicting egos and full commitments to their main projects, supergroups tend to flop and fail no matter how good they are. Take a look at Audioslave, Eyes Adrift, and to some extent Velvet Revolver. All but the latter have split and moved on, and in the latters case have went (and currently still are) on a long a serious hiatus.

Isles & Glaciers are yet another supergroup formed from members of several of today’s rising post-hardcore and alternative punk bands to create a 7-headed experimental monster; bringing in members from Emarosa, Pierce The Veil and Chiodos to name a few.

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EP: Antares – L’esprit De L’escalier

Release Date: January 12th, 2010
Label: Holy Roar
Website: www.enjoyantares.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/antaresuk

Rating:

The first sixty-nine seconds of ‘L’esprit De L’escalier’ are the blood clot before the brain haemorrhage. Try to stand in its way for the following 15 minutes and you’ll be ripped to shreds. This is progressive hardcore at its sharpest with jaw dropping guitar work, snap wristed, bone blast drumming and the furious vocal cluster bombs of lead singer Steve Watts. This is no tech demo. You won’t be touching yourself to the sound of some self-indulgent, poodle haired guitar heroics. Dig your nails in deep and hold on tight. You won’t have the lungs left to admire the scenery.

After its placid, false sense of security birthing, opener ‘High Function’ hooks in its claws, dragging you head long into its violent labour pain melee. As the notes rip through your ears and into the soft, grey wet stuff beyond, you’re left in no doubt that those behind it all aren’t in the girth and length comparison game. This is predatory feral hardcore with no time for flabby gimmicks and distracting theatrics. The insane fingers-on-fret work was never built to take prisoners.

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ALBUM: Kate Nash – My Best Friend Is You

Release Date: April 19th, 2010
Label: Geffen/Fiction
Website: www.katenash.co.uk
MySpace: www.myspace.com/katenashmusic

Rating:

With a Southern British twang latched onto what can only at times be arguably classed as singing, Kate Nash has always been on bipolar ends with the public since she entered the mainstream with debut single ‘Foundations’, a place she further cemented with the release of first studio album ‘Made Of Bricks’.

She’s only going to submerge into further depths of both opinions with her new long-awaited sophomore effort, ‘My Best Friend Is You’. It actually seems she’s taken a few steps back as a musician too, and in most cases has created an album as simple as its title. The one and only plus side that can be found instantaneously is how raw and unpolished it sounds for such a high-profile release, but the line of pros is pretty much drawn in stone from there.

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SINGLE: Ke$ha – Your Love Is My Drug

Release Date: June 6th, 2010
Label: RCA
Website: www.keshaparty.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/kesha

Rating:

From soaring to pop royalty with the infectious ‘Tik Tok’ before moving onto less successful but just as catchy ‘Blah Blah Blah’, new single from singstress Ke$ha has the same party and feel good vibe she’s most known and loved for, and will undoubtedly fill dancefloors wherever it goes.

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ALBUM: As I Lay Dying – The Powerless Rise

Release Date: May 11th, 2010
Label: Metal Blade Records
Website: www.asilaydying.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/asilaydying

Rating:

With an impressive back catalogue it would be hard not to expect the best from As I Lay Dying, but from the opening second it would appear that all the usual traits of their records are still in tact and have not passed away with time. Their last album ‘An Ocean Between Us’ was released three years ago, and it would seem that the side-project of vocalist Tim Lambesis (Austrian Death Machine) has done very little to distract him.

Sticking to the melodic yet hard hitting Californian metalcore they have become renowned for they pull no punches on this album and it hits all the quintessential areas of your ear drums in just the right places. Pulsating drums, CHECK. Deep, gravelly growling, CHECK. Crunching rhythms and guitar grooves, CHECK. Melody that could charm any woman into bed, CHECK.

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