Browsing Tag


We Were Blank – Blame: The Emo Antidote to the Influx of Valentine’s Day Sonic Banality

Every Valentine’s Day sees a flood of trite sentiments cloyingly affix themselves to the airwaves; if you’re looking for a scathingly antithetical antidote, look no further than We Were Blank’s latest installation of pop-punk rancour, Blame.

With hints of Tom DeLonge in the vox before they burst into Rise Against-reminiscent outpours of visceralism, Blame ticks all the right vocal emo boxes as We Were Blank throws a barrage of aggravated instrumental curveballs to keep you on the edge of your proverbial seat (or in the middle of the pit if you’re catching them live). And what emo hit would be complete without a slam poetry elucidation that captures the essence of the single towards the outro to make you want to relive the experience and make your heart rise to your throat again?

The Craigslist-born, basement in Buffalo-raised fourpiece banded together with the ethos of writing with their heartstrings and letting their bodies visualise the torment; Blame is the ultimate testament to their vulnerable expressionism. They’ve got the precision, the volition, and the unflinching dedication to raw lyrical candour to hold dominion over the emo domain in 2024.

Blame will be available to stream on all major streaming platforms from February 14th; check it out on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Dissolved Girl syncopated 90s trip-hop into mechanised alt-rock mesmerism with ‘Silt’

After a ground-breaking debut that set the bar obscenely high, the London-based fourpiece, Dissolved Girl, obliterated it with the mechanised mesmerism within their sophomore release, Silt.

Sonic odes have been paid to the trip-hop pioneers countless times before, but few outfits have what it takes to take the alt-90s aural aesthetics and syncopate them into a soundscape that sits ahead of the contemporary curve. Dissolved Girl’s success in this arena is just one testament to their commercial appeal.

Mastered by Matt Colton (Arctic Monkeys, Royal Blood), the production of Silt resounds with cavernous reverberations within the industrially-tinged indietronic alt-rock hit as the glassy lead vocals provide a vulnerable juxtaposition to the abrasively immersive instrumentals that will course through your rhythmic pulses and pull you into the centre of gravity, strong enough to send the airwaves out of kilter.

Seductive and ensnaring in equal measure, Dissolved Girl and their commitment to exhibiting raw emotion through sophisticated aural expositions are set to become one of the most promising up-and-coming outfits of 2024, especially with the imminence of their debut LP, which has been four years in the making.

Silt was officially released on February 2nd; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Sunset Cobra replenished their venom for their latest feat of hard rock nihilism, I Remain

Sunset Cobra is back with even more hard rock venom than before with their latest single, I Remain. By contorting genres and influences into a ferociously unique high-octane ride through the landscape of rock and metal, the monolith easily sets itself apart in the contemporary music scene.

From the opening notes, I Remain grabs the listener with a relentless intensity. The band channels the spirit of Velvet Revolver, updating it with a serpentine electro-rock edge. The influence of Drowning Pool is evident in the rancorous energy that permeates the track, while the breakdowns echo the tightly controlled chaos reminiscent of Mushroomhead. Yet, amidst this sonic maelstrom, Sunset Cobra finds room for technical, frenetic riffs and fragments of sunset sleaze.

The dynamism is not just in its instrumentation but also in its lyrical depth. The song delves into the darker aspects of the human condition with nihilistic poetry that is as compelling as it is confronting. The lyrics hold no prisoners, expressing contempt with a rawness that is both brutal and beautifully articulated.

As listeners eagerly anticipate what Sunset Cobra will unleash next, I Remain is a testament to their potential. It’s a song that will not only resonate with fans of rock and metal but with anyone who appreciates music that pushes boundaries and defies expectations.

I Remain was released via Reclusive Audio Ltd on December 1st; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Break out of your digitally paralysed repose with A VOID’s latest single, The Gutter

After gaining international airplay, featuring in seminal Spotify editorial playlists, and hitting the most prestigious venues in Europe, the Paris-born, London-residing three-piece, A VOID, are currently at work on their third studio album with the Grammy-winning producer Shuta Shinoda.

Their latest single, The Gutter, serves an evocative aperitif to the highly anticipated LP. By encapsulating the essence of the alt-90s while refusing to allow influence to inhibit their creative song crafting, A VOID became one of the refreshingly rancorous entities in the UK’s expansive alternative scene.

The song kicks off with an unfiltered rawness reminiscent of Hole and the Distillers. This visceral yet tonally dreamy introduction sets the stage for what’s to come: a Vercua Salt-esque chorus that delivers a heavy artillery earworm in the form of pounding hooks.

As the track progresses, it introduces angular guitar work that echoes Interpol to add layers of complexity and showcasing the artist’s ability to blend influence and ingenuity into authenticity. Rather than paying tribute to the past, A VOID remain relentless in their determination to breathe new life into the familiar.

The overarching artfulness of the track doesn’t overshadow its integral linchpin; the powerful chords struck through the lyricism which reflects on the stagnancy screens can sucker us into This lament on fear of failure and frustration with procrastination speaks for the vast majority who watch the hours and days slip by in a malaise despite best intentions.

Produced by Shuta Shinoda (Daughter, Spiritualized, Ghostpoet) at Hackney Road Studios and mastered by John Webber (Bowie, Echo and the Bunnymen, Yungblud), The Gutter transcends and subverts all expectations in its artfully grungy beguile as it playfully leads the listener down Lynchian rabbit hols with instrumental drops.

The Gutter was officially released on November 18th; stream it on Spotify

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Take a soulfully psychedelic trip back to the 70s with DENIM DAN’s latest single, Guess I’ll Be Alright

“Guess I’ll Be Alright” from Denim Dan is a portal back to the smooth and rich tones of 70s rock and the vibrant psychedelic colours of 60s pop. While it marks a daring step in the band’s sound, it maintains the comforting and straightforward vocal style fans have come to adore from the outfit, which banded together in Boulder, Colorado, in 1996.

There’s an unmistakable soulfulness within the smoky layers of the music, with nods to Northern Soul and a subtle jazz influence that Denim Dan integrates seamlessly; the resulting sound is both nostalgic and fresh, an ambitious blend that pays homage to the past while forging its own path.

Following the international recognition with their sixth album, their seventh, Santa Maria’s Dome, from which Guess I’ll Be Alright is prised, resounds as a cultivated new beginning. A track which focuses on two friends trying to get the other over addiction could all too easily become a sombre sonic feat, but via the depth of the storytelling, the texturally upbeat musical backdrop and the signature vocals, which always portray melancholy as an option you need not take, Guess I’ll Be Alright is a realm of captivatingly uplifting intrigue.

Stream DENIM DAN’s latest album, Santa Maria’s Dome on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Forgotten Tides have debuted their disarmingly compassionate post-punk-wrapped rock hit, Dark Thoughts

For their sophomore single, Dark Thoughts, the up-and-coming melodic rock trailblazers who came together to forge Forgotten Tides sharpened their instrumental and vocal hooks to ensure no one who becomes witness to the resonant reflections in the lyricism would come away unscathed from their ingenuity.

With atmospheric layers of post-punk draped over the stellar production, there’s a chill in the angular guitar lines, but there’s enough tonal dynamism and soul within the track to keep you warm as you’re enveloped by the compassion extended through the promise that as dark as days get, there will always be someone there to share their light.

From the first hit of Dark Thoughts came the affirmation that my mind will be continually turned back to the cogency and consolation from the alchemically innovative release which ended 2023 on a high note for the Aberdeen-hailing four-piece.

Forgotten Tides said:

“This rocky yet heartfelt song is a poignant reminder for anyone battling the shadows of depression. It gently whispers the comforting truth that, even in the darkest moments, there’s an unwavering circle of friends and family ready to embrace and uplift you. Dive into its soothing melodies and let the warmth of its message envelop your soul.”

Dark Thoughts was officially released on October 24; stream it on Spotify & YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Black Smoker shake, rattle and roll through their raucous and raw garage rock debut, Dissolution

With all the sonic swag of Eagles of Death Metal and psychedelic garage rock kicks of King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, the debut raucous and raw with distortion single, Dissolution, from the Washington-based five-piece, Black Smoker, is a frenetic hair-raiser that could easily lead a crowd into sharing the same furore that unfurls like smoke from a loaded gun from the riffs.

It is only a matter of time before the outfit stops reigning supreme in dive bars and takes its sound to bigger arenas; God knows that their maniacally wild hits could fill them. After banding together in 2017 and dominating the live circuit, they’ve got their blackened hearts set on making digital platforms their dominion. You may as well submit to their supremacy now before they assert it with even more force in their sophomore release.

Dissolution dropped on October 10th; stream it on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Abyssal Voyage – Step: Nu-Metal As You’ve Never Known It Before

After swinging onto the airwaves with their debut single, Time, in June the Floridian five-piece, Abyssal Voyage, has amplified their eclecticism by unveiling their multifaceted beast of a sophomore rock-metal mash-up, Step.

With angularly cold lead guitars that throw you all the way back to when Korn held dominion over the alternative scene around the Pantera reminiscent aggression in the verses, the choruses were the perfect opportunity to impale the track with razor-sharp hooks that give the track infinite earworm appeal. In the same way Grohl can orchestrate melodic vocal hooks that will stick to your synapses like superglue, Abyssal Voyage know just how to infuse addictive fixtures to their furore-driven sound.

The resurgence of nu-metal is becoming increasingly impossible to ignore; if any powerhouse has what it takes to turn the new generation of metal fans onto it, it is Abyssal Voyage with their unique take on nu-metal motifs.

Step was officially released on September 16; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Shadowburn let the film roll in their cinematic alt-metalcore single, Naked with You  

Maryland’s most experimental outfit, Shadowburn let the film roll in their cinematic alt-metalcore single, Naked with You. As the clothes hit the floor, the atmospheric magnetism of the fiercely liberating release draws you deeper into the alchemic combination of funked-up bass grooves, melodic rock licks and the vocal pop hooks that make way for the guttural outcry the track closes one.

Just when you think you’ve got Shadowburn pegged, which may or may not be an inapt turn of phrase given the track title, they hit you with a cataclysmic curveball of a metalcore breakdown. With each member bringing their own influences and styles to the outfit, arresting distinction was always going to come to fruition. Yet, how good it feels to immerse yourself in it was far from a given.

After opening for everyone from Lacuna Coil to Butcher Babies to Powerman 5000 and taking over the Tri-State area, Shadowburn, who throw their heart and soul into their amalgamated ingenuity, are clearly on the rise; get them on your radar and watch their ascent.

Stream Naked with You on all major platforms, including Spotify, Bandcamp and Apple Music.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Interview: Propter Hawk tell us all about Toronto life and the anticipation building for their epic 12-track album

Ripping a hugely likeable sound into our lives with a friendly kick to the soul and a smile to follow, Propter Hawk reminds us of that old-school sound that drives our hearts into doughnuts outside the local drive-through at 2 am. They tell us their debut self-titled debut record while sipping on sherry flips and might change your mood for the better. Real music with purpose still exists you see? You just have to look for it and dig a little deeper to find the treasure. Look no further.

Llewelyn: Hello Propter Hawk. Please take a seat on our cosy virtual couch (excuse the snoring cat there) and may we provide you with any snacks or beverages? Alrighty, let’s get into it. Firstly, how did you get this incredible name and who is the cleanest member of the band, who’s the most organised, the most serious, the friendliest and who is the messiest?

Andrew: I came up with the name a while ago and this question has been haunting me ever since. It’s a play on “Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc” which is one of Socrates’ informal fallacies. I often find myself trying to explain this to people in loud, packed clubs and it is the most difficult part of my entire life.

Malorie: I’m definitely the most organised, Alec’s the most serious and Jimmy is the friendliest person on earth. Andy and Brian can fight over who is the messiest. They’re both…you know.

Llewelyn: Secondly, we’re super thrilled about your upcoming debut release on the 18th of August 2023. You were kind enough to send us a pre-listen..and wow..we love it. Sherry Flip especially is special. How did the whole album come together and how would you describe the vision and your sound on this one?

Andrew: In many ways, the album came together because of Covid and lockdowns. Mal and I had a lot of song ideas going into the pandemic and we wanted to write songs that really expressed some of the feelings that, I think, a lot of people have been having for a long time. Since we couldn’t play shows, we really used it as an opportunity to work them out with the boys and by the time restrictions were lifted, we had a whole album of songs ready to go before we ever had the chance to play live.

Jimmy: We were toying with the idea of recording the album ourselves but when we got the opportunity to record at Pineship Sound in Toronto with Carlin and Mike of Zeus, that settled it for us. We grew up watching those guys in Zeus and it was a thrill to get the chance to work with them. They’ve contributed to so many records that we love.

Alec: There are a lot of overlapping influences between all of us, so musically we are all headed towards the same goal, but the album certainly showcases everyone’s individual approach and it became kind of our own unique take on rock and roll. For me, a lot of it came down to us recording live off the floor and making sure we kept things loose and organic. I think you can hear that rawness in the tracks.

Llewelyn: Please tell us all about your upcoming album release show at The Cameron House (408 Queen St W, Toronto, ON) on 18th August. Who’s on the lineup and what should fans expect, where can they buy tickets, why did you choose this particular venue, times etc?

Brian: This is a really special show for us. We’ve been sitting on this album for a while now and are really ready to get it out there. We’re playing with The Young Scones, a supergroup made up of some of our favourite Toronto musicians that we’ve been playing with right from the start. Moondoggy is the other act on the bill and another one we’ve played with before; they’re always great. We’ve played at The Cameron House a few times before and it’s always a really exciting spot to play. The room comes with a lot of energy.

Llewelyn: Toronto, Ontario is your hometown and is a place we want to visit. What parts do you love and where do you personally go and watch live music? Is the scene thriving and where do upcoming original solo musicians and bands head to perform?

Brian: I think the live music scene, especially for rock and roll, has changed a lot in recent years all over the world…but Toronto is still holding on like it always has. We grew up going to places like Lee’s Palace, The Horseshoe Tavern, El Mocambo and The Dakota Tavern, and all of them are still going strong and are still home to the best upcoming rock bands in Toronto. I don’t think a lot of these legendary clubs survived the pandemic in other cities. In fact, we have seen more clubs popping up here and there recently. Anyone looking to start playing in Toronto has a lot of options to choose from.

Llewelyn: Ah yes. How did the band form? We have a feeling this is an interesting story…actually…you have told us but we don’t want to spoil it. Please tell our readers about how your band actually got together and now makes beautiful music together.

Malorie: Well…I married a guitar player (Andrew) and he was in a band called New Commuters with Jimmy. I have been singing for years and wanted to start my own music project and Andy was an obvious choice. Since Jimmy is Andy’s most trusted musical collaborator, he was also an obvious choice. Our original idea was going to be the three of us and Andy was working on…a bass-playing robot. Not a joke. He actually got close, but the logistics were a nightmare. So we sent out a desperate classified ad looking for a bass player. Our only reasonable response was from Alec, who played guitar and had no interest in playing bass at all. For some reason, we invited him to come play with us anyway and after a few minutes, it was clear that we could exploit him for his outrageous talent. Shortly after, Alec brought in his seasoned musical collaborator, Brian, to play bass and sing harmony and he fit in right away. And here we are.

Llewelyn: What’s it like when you close your eyes and see that live crowd? Does it excite you and do any parts of the process scare you at all? It must be such a rush feeling the anticipation and seeing sweaty faces staring closely, singing your songs and rocking out to get work-life stresses out of their system.

Alec: It’s definitely a rush to get up there in front of people and give it your all. For me, once you play that first chord through a loud amp we’re off to the races and any nerves turn into excitement. Seeing people get into it and pass that energy back to us might just be the best part.

Llewelyn: Last one. Once again, thank you for your time today. What do you usually eat/drink before a show or is there a pre-gig ritual or do you just have a lil chat and get on with it? Also, is there one song of yours in particular that you all love wholeheartedly and can never get sick of playing?

Jimmy: We kind of do our own thing for the most part and we’re pretty low-key. Right before going on stage, Malorie, Brian and I find a quiet place somewhere and warm up our vocals. The Yawn-Sigh Technique, The Tongue Trill Exercise…lip buzz warm-ups…all of them.

We released Theatre Of The Whole World a while ago and it seems to have caught on really well in Toronto. It’s always a rush to see a crowd of people that you’ve never seen before singing along to every word.

Do some warm-ups for the soul via the album link on Spotify.

See where they fly next on IG.

Interviewed by Llewelyn Screen