Tag Archives: Zak Sloman

RAGE CAVE – The Freebird, Newcastle-under-Lyme, 11/11/2016

SUPPORT: Filth, The Skirr, Lost Notes

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REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

PHOTOS by FRANKIE PEERS

The Staffordshire settlement of Newcastle-under-Lyme played host to fledging local rock trio Rage Cave, who were in town to promote their recently released self-titled debut EP.

In support, there were three other Potteries outfits who also look to have bright futures ahead of them.

Therefore, it was no surprise to hear that tickets had sold out prior to the gig.

Having supposed to commence proceedings at half past seven, a lengthy delay (caused by the late arrival of the sound technician) meant that things didn’t properly kick off until an hour and a half later.

However, immediately from the moment the first guitar string was plucked, courtesy of female-fronted alternative rockers Lost Notes, it was clear that it had been well worth the extended wait.

The intimacy of the venue enabled the bands to engage freely with the crowd, who quickly got into the swing of things, snapping up the free car stickers provided by indie rock ‘n’ rollers The Skirr and seeming to genuinely enjoy the high quality of music on offer.

Psychedelic rock four-piece Filth seemed to be just at home playing in the mosh-friendly environment as they were when I saw them at the more indie-oriented The Exchange in Hanley a few months back, and got just as enthusiastic a reception.

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It was then finally time for Rage Cave to take to the stage, and they couldn’t have wished for a better debut headline set, playing with the confidence and energy of a group with many more years of experience, and no doubt enjoying a boost from the atmosphere, which was probably one of the most vibrant I had ever experienced at a gig.

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I think that Rage Cave are a band to keep an eye out for in the future, if they can play sets like the one I witnessed, with the crowd singing along to the rallying vocals of frontman Max Jeffries, when they are barely out of school, then it will definitely be interesting to see what their gigs will be like when they all reach their mid twenties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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HYPOPHORA UNLEASH NEW VIDEO WITH DOUBLE A SINGLE ON THE WAY!

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Teenage post-hardcore outfit Hypophora have quickly earned a reputation as a blistering live act in their native Cornwall. Combining the technical expertise of Firehose and Red Hot Chilli Peppers with a surfeit of youthful energy, the Truro-based four-piece offer a highly skilful and melodic take on punk-funk and 90s alt-rock. The band release their double A-sided single ‘Youth / Caught’ on Friday 11th November through Easy Action Records.

Hypophora were formed in 2012, inspired by a collection of Seattle grunge/early 2000s post-hardcore bands, intertwined with snippets of funk rock and jazz influenced math rock.

The crew soon set out to push musical boundaries and to rip open the envelope of creativity, and their stunning forthcoming double A sided ‘Youth / Caught’ is certainly testament to their manifesto.

The single perfectly captures the essence of the quartet’s sound: hard hitting riffs accompanied by grooving slap bass, anthemic, catchy and introspective vocal lines, and beautifully melodic guitar parts.

The video for ‘Youth’ was exclusively premiered at Louder Than War last month and can now be viewed right here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZ1FyMuYr5o&feature=youtu.be.

To date, the band have received much praise and radio airplay from the likes of BBC Introducing and the Mike James Rock Show, as well as a slew of regional reviews from a host of South West publications.

Hypophora have also made strong inroads on the live scene, bagging shows with some of the most promising underground alt rock bands in the UK, including: LTNT, Allusondrugs, The Hyena Kill and Narcs, to name a few.

Now with the backing of hip indie imprint Easy Action Records and the launch of the band’s new double A single, along with their video and an impending UK tour, there’s nothing in Hypophora’s way.

YOU CAN BUY ‘YOUTH / CAUGHT’ 7″ LIMITED GREEN VINYL SINGLE AT: http://easyaction.co.uk/index.php?route=product/product&path=61&product_id=445, OR DOWNLOAD THE DOUBLE A SIDE FROM iTunes FROM FRIDAY 11TH NOVEMBER.

MORE INFO AT:

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/hypophora

TWITTER:  https://twitter.com/hypophoramusic

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/user/HypophoraMusic

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/hypophoramusic/

 

 

WSTR – The Underground, Hanley, 29/10/2016

SUPPORT: Milestones, Clay Lake, Waiting For Hollywood

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REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Liverpool pop punks WSTR were in Hanley as part of a nationwide tour promoting their debut full-length offering ‘Red, Green or Inbetween’, which will be out early next year.

Strong performances from local bands Clay Lake and Waiting For Hollywood and Mancunian five-piece Milestones were the perfect warm-up for the expectant crowd.

The stage was then cast into darkness, with the headliners coming on to Nineties dance classic ‘9pm (Till I Come)’ by ATB.

They then went straight into a set which was a mix of previous hits and songs off the forthcoming album, and was abundant in loudness and energy.

WSTR seemed to take full advantage of the intimate setting, making sure there was crowd involvement throughout.

Another positive of them playing a small venue was that every pluck of a guitar string and beat of the drums could be heard in great detail.

With this gig, they showed exactly why they are seen as one of the bands at the forefront of the new wave of mainly British-based pop punk, and if WSTR can capture the essence of what I saw, then the album should be a big success for them.

 

 

 

 

 

BETTER THAN NEVER ARE ‘LEARNING TO SWIM’

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In support of their forthcoming EP ‘Head Under Water’, Oxford pop punk sextet Better Than Never have released the video for track ‘Learning To Swim’.

Vocalist James Harris says of the piece: “It’s a track which particularly resonated with all of us. We decided the concept would be that our friend Keiran is having a bit of a tough time, which he decides to remedy by smashing stuff up. You have no idea how much fun we had trashing a Macbook, a bass and riding a bike into a swimming pool.”

Discussing the EP, recorded with Ian Sadler at Emeline Studios and set to be released via Fox Records on December 2nd, Harris reveals: “Head Under Water covers the idea of how dealing with depression and anxiety can sometimes just feel like you are drowning in a sea of hopelessness, the ball and chain in the imagery showing how you can feel chained down by those struggles and anchored at rock bottom.”

Serving as the follow up to February’s debut ‘Homemade Hero’, you may recognise the superhero character taking centre stage on its cover, as Harris explains: “represents the concepts of coping, even when it seems you’re about to drown, in a more literal sense.”

Completed by vocalist/guitarist Will Keating, guitarists Max Peniket and Jim Allsop, bassist Jake Aitman and drummer Alex Hinton-Smith, Better Than Never decided to take maximum advantage of their girthy line-up during the writing process. The members sat down as a group and worked together on every track for several months, trying to perfect every aspect.

The result is an EP jam-packed with hard-hitting layers: the dual vocalists are used to maximal effect, triple stacked guitars cleverly interplay and the lyrical content delivers a punch to the feels.

‘Head Under Water’ also sees the band voyaging into new waters, with unexpected moments of aggression, meaning they appeal equally to fans of Blink 182 and Sum 41, as they do to the likes of Stick To Your Guns and A Day To Remember.

In support of the release, the sextet has revealed a run of UK dates for January, the aptly named ‘Head Under Wa-Tour!’. All currently announced dates include:

23rd October – The Exchange, Bristol | 24th October – The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham | 25th October – The Wheatsheaf, Oxford | 29th October – Record Junkee, Sheffield | 30th October – Maguires’ Pizza Bar, Liverpool | 13th November – River Rooms, Stourbridge | 3rd December – EP Release Show – Oxford | 6th January – Northampton, Bantam | 7th January – Bournemouth, Blue Line Studios | 8th January – Exeter, Phoenix | 9th January – Plymouth, Underground | 10th January – Bristol, The Lanes | 11th January – Nottingham, The Maze | 12th January – Liverpool, Maguires | 13th January – Bolton, Alma | 14th January – Birmingham, Asylum | 15th January – London, Fiddlers Elbow

BETTER THAN NEVER RELEASE ‘HEAD UNDER WATER’ VIA FOX RECORDS ON DECEMBER 2ND. PRE-ORDER:

CDhttp://foxrecords.limitedrun.com/products/578566?preview=true

TAPEhttp://foxrecords.limitedrun.com/products/578820?preview=true 

DIGITAL – https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/head-under-water-ep/id1157904518?ls=1&app=iTunes

WATCH NEW VIDEO ‘LEARNING TO SWIM’ NOW: https://youtu.be/M8M3nA3NmKs

MORE INFO CAN BE FOUND AT BETTER THAN NEVER’S OFFICIAL FACEBOOK AND TWITTER PAGES: https://www.facebook.com/BTNband & https://twitter.com/BTN_UK

 

BROKEN FLAGS

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BROKEN FLAGS (from l-r): Jack Dooley (vocals/guitar), Josh Buckley (bass), Pat Barwick (drums), Lew Adams (guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Things are certainly looking up for Broken Flags at the moment.

Led by vocalist/guitarist Jack Dooley, formerly of indie rock band All The Young, the Stoke-on-Trent four-piece have made waves with their loud, upbeat sound and thematic lyrics.

With their new single ‘Dare to Dream’ already enjoying rave reviews, I chatted to Jack about that, as well as the band’s music and influences.

How did you all get together initially?

I met Lew in my last band All the Young, as he played guitar for us towards the end. He recommended Josh, who was his old school pal, on bass and we found Pat through an online ad. Like Tinder for drummers.

How did the name Broken Flags come about?

If I’m honest, I’ve no idea – and I came up with it!

We had about a hundred names scribbled down and we just couldn’t make our minds up, it started to become a bit of a charade; so we started to canvass a bit of opinion amongst a few people in the know and this one seemed to stick.

I’ve since discovered it’s a Patti Smith song as well, which is a bonus.

How would you describe your sound?

Always the hardest question this! The sound kind of reflects what we’re like as people, upbeat, loud, abrasive.

We love big choruses and putting a message out that people will hopefully relate to.

Which bands/artists are you influenced by?

We’ve all got individual tastes, but mutually we’re all into stuff like the Stone Roses, the Pixies, the Smiths, early Oasis.

We like big tunes, upbeat tunes, the kind of songs that can turn a bad day into a good one when you listen to them.

It’s what we aim for when we write really, we try and get that feeling from our own music and hope others do too.

What inspires your lyrics?

Every song I write seems to have a theme, or a topic.

I never set out for it to be that way, I just start off by warbling nonsense to get the melodies and then the words come as time goes on.

I never rush them, as when I do I’ll only end up changing them as time goes on anyway.

Each song has a destination but the journey time is variable! The songs are about hope, love, family, friends, money, drugs, and problems, experiences both good and bad. All the things that most people go through in a small town like Stoke-on-Trent.

You have a new single ‘Dare to Dream’ out. How has the reaction been to it so far?

It’s been really good, just what we hoped for.

I think it really marks the start of what this band could be and how I’d always envisaged it.

We owe a lot to Ady and Lee at Sugar House, who produced the track. We really hit it off with them in the studio and they genuinely cared about every single element of the track and getting it right just like we did, which was really refreshing. We’ll be working with them again in the New Year.

You play often in Stoke-on-Trent. What’s your opinion of the current music scene there?

It’s really healthy, there’s a lot of great bands and artists about all doing really interesting and diverse things. It’s as good as it’s ever been since I’ve been around.

It’d be nice to see more people getting involved though, I don’t think people understand how much unsigned bands need the support of local folk in order to push forward.

It’d be good to see more people buying tickets and getting involved in what Stoke has to offer, they’ll need to in order for it to flourish.

How is it playing live?

Playing live is the best thing about being in a band for me.

Whether we’re playing in front of five people, 500 people, whatever, we will always give the same show.

You’ve got to engage people and give them a top gig if you want them to come back for more.

What has the band got lined up in the near future?

I think our new single has definitely pricked up some ears, so now we just need to keep writing, keep improving and get in the studio and do it all again.

If we keep improving the songs and perfecting what we’re doing then I think we’re gonna do well, there’s a great spirit in the camp and we all want the same things.

What’s your long-term aim?

Long term, we just want to be recognised for having great songs. I think if you nail that then you’ll be alright.

BROKEN FLAGS NEW SINGLE ‘DARE TO DREAM’ IS NOW AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE FROM iTunes AND OTHER INTERNET MUSIC STORES.

PREVIEWING THY SEASONS NEW SINGLE ‘WASTE’

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by ZAK SLOMAN

‘Waste’ is the upcoming debut single from Thy Seasons, a fledging Stafford alternative metal five-piece comprising of Cae Elliot-Butler (vocals), Shayne Dyer (lead guitar), Harry Spruce (rhythm guitar), Reece Frid (bass) and Ryan Wood (drums).

A couple of weeks back, the band sent me an advance copy of the track, ahead of its release on the 31st October, and I have to say it’s very good for a first song.

Thrashy and loud from start to finish, with screaming vocals throughout, ‘Waste’ is an anthem perfect for the moshpit.

If they can keep up the high standard they have set with this, then it’s safe to say we’ll be hearing a lot more from Thy Seasons in future.

They also uploaded a teaser of the track on to YouTube a few days ago, and you can see it now at www.youtube.com

YOU WILL ABLE TO LISTEN TO THY SEASONS NEW SINGLE ‘WASTE’ IN FULL FROM THE 31ST OCTOBER. CHECK FOR MORE DETAILS AT THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE www.facebook.com/ThySeasons

 

STU WHISTON

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INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Stoke-on-Trent indie artist Stu Whiston is definitely a name to watch out for.

His debut EP ‘Take a Stride’, released last year, was critically acclaimed for its infectious and eclectically influenced sound, and his gig performances, where he plays with a live band, has also garnered rave reviews.

With a new single ‘The Ones’ out shortly, I decided to have a chat with him about all of this.

What made you want to become a musician?

Watching Oasis – ‘Live by the Sea’.

How would you describe your sound?

A glorious noise.

What is the inspiration behind your lyrics?

‘The Ones’ lyrics came out of listening to Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers quite a lot. Like a snapshot of the everyday person against the world, trying to be their best. A hymn for the underdog was the sentiment really.

‘The Ones’, that’s the new single you have out soon. Tell us more about it.

It started off as an acoustic song, then I wrote this melody for a guitar intro, probably influenced by the Stone Roses or early U2. I had the chorus melody written first and developed the verses around that.

I wanted the track to pump in the verses like an early Kings of Leon tune or The Strokes. The bassline just grooves along with the kick. Love it!

I co-produced the track at the Big Red Studios in Macclesfield with Jake Evans who’s a great artist/producer. He’s worked with Jimi Goodwin from the Doves & Bernard Sumner from Joy Division & New Order, so he knows a thing or two.

We recorded the guitars loud setup through Jake’s vintage Marshall amp, and you can literally hear the lead guitar squealing feedback on the small break section near the end. Mental.

I added a Beatles style Melotron in there which you can really hear at the very end, just my little nod to the masters.

The track was mixed by Gethin Pearson who did the last Enemy album, he really brought the track to a place that sounds fresh and now.

Your debut EP ‘Take a Stride’ came out last year. How well do you think it was received?

I think it was really well received judging by the fact I’ve subsequently built a band around the success of the EP and being lucky enough to be offered some really good shows off the back of it.

The lead track ‘There Was a Time’ really is the charmer, as it introduced people to my sound and songwriting in the right way. First impressions and all that…

You’re from Stoke-on-Trent. What’s your opinion of the current music scene there?

I think there’s some great venues in Stoke who really do support the local talent. The gig-goers really do get behind their local bands/artists and there’s a definite feeling of something big waiting to happen.

I think it’s only a matter of time before Stoke is regarded in the same light as say the Sheffield music scene in past years.

There’s a definitive underlining tone in the indie bands from Stoke that deserve to be on the radio waves as much as any London or Liverpool based artist.

How is it for you playing live?

The best, it’s what I love the most. Very cathartic and you get instant gratification.

You have a live band now. How did that come about?

My old band mates liked the ‘Take a Stride EP’ a lot.

We went to watch Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in Manchester and I managed to convince them to come along for the ride.

Do you find it better personally playing solo or with a band behind you?

The band is better for getting the songs across in the intended way, but I do like playing solo shows for the intimacy of it.

However, when you blow the roof off a venue with your mates, it really is the best night out around.

What have you got lined up in the near future?

I’ve got a headline show with the full band at The Underground in Hanley on the 11th November, I’m supporting Shed Seven when they play The Exchange in Hanley on the 30th November, and I should have a new EP out early next year.

What is your long-term aim?

To hear one of my songs on Coronation Street.

STU’S NEW SINGLE ‘THE ONES’ WILL BE DIGITALLY RELEASED ON THE 28TH OCTOBER.