STAND ATLANTIC – LOST MY COOL – REVIEW

‘You’re so full of shit, why don’t you swallow it?’ – the tagline of the fiery, cynical angst of second single ‘Lost My Cool’ presented by Stand Atlantic. In the line of fresh talent emerging from Australia, the trio made waves with their debut EP ‘Sidewinder’ in late 2017 and are now set to present their newest album ‘Skinny Dipping’ on October 26th.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liWHie0irMg

From the start, ‘Lost My Cool’ instantly follows a different vibe to the fast beat-prevalent single ‘Lavender Bones’. Blatantly honest cynicism makes a running appearance through the lyricism and despite some lyrics being questionable at times, they  bring a simplistic message deep from the heart – I hate you. Interestingly, it feels as if this track is much more lyrically dominated, unlike the melodic, faced paced drum rhythmed cycle of its predeceasing single. Simple instrumentals, bringing the vibe of a more generic ballad/angst crossover. Yet, we can’t forget Stand Atlantic mainly claimed their spot in the scene with their quick fire energy shots from ‘Sidewinder’, to hear something slower and simpler is actually a nice change that we should appreciate – it can only be imagined there will be more on the final release.

Does ‘Lost My Cool’ stand up to ‘Lavender Bones’? Simply, no. In a more complicated sense, the two perhaps don’t match as well due to the different nature of the two tracks. Sadness and truthful experiences brush through both, but the whole approach to this presentation is completely different in both tracks. Can both could be compared as simply two singles? Of course, but that’s up to each individual listener to decide.

Rating: 7/10

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INTERVIEW – STEPHEN BEERKENS – THE FAIM

Touring with Against The Current, writing with Pete Wentz and their experiences in the UK, we asked Stephen Beerkens (Bass/Keys) from The Faim all about recent experiences in their quickly booming career.

Could you tell us your name, role in the band and favourite album of the year so far?

I’m Stephen Beerkens and I play bass and keys. My favourite album for this year would have to be the new Boston Manor record which was released a few weeks back!


You started off writing demos back home before recording in LA. Are there any unreleased demos we will hear in the future?

There are! Some of the demos that we recorded at the very beginning, before heading to LA for the first time, will be featured on our debut album.


The music you’ve created also ranges in rock sub-genre styles, is this a more natural occurrence or did you strive to have a mix of different tracks?

I would say that the diversity in our music is both something that we strive for and that comes naturally. We’ve grown up listening to so many musical influences and wanted to express all of that in our music in a way that is true to us.


https://youtu.be/7oNcPG_uXWI

You worked with incredibly well-known producer John Feldmann on your last release, what was it like working alongside him?

It was a truly amazing experience that pushed us as both musicians and songwriters. John brought us out of our comfort zones in the best way possible, to tap into parts of ourselves that we’d yet to express until that point. 


Coming from another side of the world, did you find you found new inspirations to incorporate into your music whilst in LA?

Absolutely! We learnt so much about the process of songwriting that we implement in everything we write today. We found inspiration mostly in the events that have made us the people we are today. It’s these experiences and emotions that we tap into in our writing that keeps our songs personal and true to ourselves.


As a band, you have blown up massively in the past few months, with such a fast build-up do you fear anything about the future and coming to terms with your success?

We’re just stoked that people are loving our music and live performances. We want to share our art with people all across the world, so to be able to do that so early in our careers is a real blessing. 


https://youtu.be/H_1pMc9DuUI

Playing Slam Dunk festival and now touring the UK with Against The Current , is there anything you have learnt about performing here that is different to Australia?

The crowds in the UK are definitely the most passionate crowds that we’ve played to so far. They bring a real energy to the show that makes us feel right at home.


Individually, do you feel that different locations have an impact on how you perform through different shows?

Whether I’m performing to 10 people or 1000 people, I’ll always give it my full effort. The same goes for location; it doesn’t matter where we play, putting on the best possible show is the priority.


Have you ever had any experiences where you’ve felt almost ‘starstruck’ when meeting or working with certain artists/producers?

Definitely working with Pete Wentz and learning from the advice that he gave us was a moment that I’ll forever remember.


Have you ever had any embarrassing accidents or experiences while performing or on tour?

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve tripped over Against The Current’s drum kit during our set!


If ‘Summer Is A Curse’, then what is your favourite season and why?

Definitely Summer! It’s the best time to get outdoors, hit the beach, and see friends.

FACT PATTERN RELEASE NEW VIDEO FOR ‘MY GUARD DOWN’

Industrial metal band FACT PATTERN have dropped new single/video ‘My Guard Down’

Forming in 2012, Fact Pattern blend aggressive riffs, raw vocals and intricate rhythmic techniques with a twist of synth programming. Supporting many Los Angeles bands, the group have also finished work on their next release. Make sure to check out the video below!

STARSET – BRINGING IT DOWN 2.0 -TRACK/VIDEO REVIEW

With great cinematic depth, Starset create in-depth audio sequences that takes the listener through an array of atmospheres in each individual track. With the release of their new deluxe release ‘Vessels 2.0’, how does their one recreated track live up to its previous counterpart?

Listening from a new, outside perspective, ‘Bringing It Down’ and ‘Bringing It Down 2.0’ sound very similar in their depth of vocals, instrumentation and cinematic depth, but it’s the subtle edge the new track brings that pushes these layers further. An impressive fete from the band is their ability to change the atmosphere of the track by altering the 12 second pre-chorus’ and minor tweaks in the underlayers of the tracks. In its originality, ‘Bringing It Down’ follows an upbeat rhythm and tone, something fast and dramatic whereas in 2.0, the shift is that of something darker, heavier and more layered than before. Subtracting the upbeat, more synth-oriented samples and instead leaving a stripped back simplicity already instantly changes the track, but it’s the addition of the strings Starset use through their music that truly adds a new persona. Other than a few minor string additions, some production editing and clearer vocals, there is little that has been changed. However, it’s the way in which this has been done which is perhaps the most intriguing and effective. Creatively portraying two different atmospheric approaches in the two tracks is a clever direction to go. Was a second version of ‘Bringing It Down’ necessary? Probably not, but alongside a deluxe release, it fits in rather well.

As for the music video, Starset are no strangers to creating stories. With a visual novel released and award-winning videos for other album tracks, its no surprise that ‘Bringing It Down 2.0’ is an audio-visual story written by frontman Dustin Bates. Being set in such a style is different to how their usual videos are presented. Offering audiences a warning to the misuse of technology and a doomed society, instead we are given a simplistic yet dramatic action ‘boy saves girl’ narrative (with a twist). Of course, while the story does stray from the path of their previous visuals, the classic message of the ‘Starset Society’ still reigns true – even if subtly. The story doesn’t just revolve around the saving of the ‘heroine’, instead looks at the how future technological advances such as memory infiltration devices can be turned against us. Yet, even in subtle ways the message is spread, such as the holographic figures on gravestones (a possible link to the tracks lyrical aspect) always presenting an aspect of you through death.

In terms of cinematography, lighting and editing sequences, the video fits perfectly with the music it follows. Directed and edited by Brian Cox the video offers a clear homage to a gothic horror/action mystery crossover. From external establishing shots of gothic literature styled castles to Dutch angled mid-shots presenting a homage to ‘Frankenstein’, the video is very well presented in an ominous, gothic fashion with a modernised twist.

For a new and improved re-release, Starset have done a rather impressive job. As previously stated, not incredibly necessary, but a nice addition among the other reimagined acoustics/remixes of the ‘Vessels 2.0’ release.

Rating: 9/10

GIG REVIEW – AGAINST THE CURRENT – MANCHESTER 23/09/18

On their first UK headliner since late 2016, Against The Current are pushing ‘Past Lives’ to audiences new and old.

Opening the set were highly anticipated Aussie rock band The Faim (9). For a band only starting to blow up in the UK scene it’s safe to say they made many new fans during their set. With incredible energy, vocals and an overall polished yet gritty depth to their performance, the group managed to entice the audience for all 30-mins of their set. Whether it was slow or quicker paced, each track gained a reaction and it wouldn’t be surprising if we see them on more tours soon.

Headlining for the first time in 2018, Against The Current (8) brought their all after falling sick on their last Manchester headline date in 2016. Dominating the setlist were the trio’s four new singles with ‘Voices’ evidently gaining the largest reaction. However, this isn’t to say the remaining three fell behind. Hearing a crowd of excited fans shout ‘Fuck’ before the groovy bridge of ‘Almost Forgot’ is amusing, but also emphasises the bridged connection between the fans and audience established early on in the set. ‘Personal’ and ‘Strangers Again’, also falling early in the set became a highlight, but also leaves he question as to why 3/4 Of the new singles were placed so early in the setlist?

Perhaps it’s because the old songs of the set that bring possibly the greatest reaction of the night. Older tracks that the band know and love are apparent, with fiery rage bursting at the seams of ‘Running With The Wild Things’ and ‘Talk’ setting the highs of the evening. Even the calmer waves of ‘Gravity’ brought fun and excitement, a clear favourite amongst attendees of the night.

Despite the slower nature of ‘Chasing Ghosts’, ‘Dreaming Alone’ and even the live tour debut of ‘Demons’, the group can still show the immense talent vocally and playing wise together. While stage energy did perhaps lack at times from drummer Will Ferri and guitarist Dan Gow, perhaps it was these slower tracks that fit more, with the smooth melodic harmonies beautifully presented. To capture the attention of an audience fully can be tedious at times, but through unreleased track ‘Come Alive’, there was not one individual who’s eyes weren’t on the stage. All focus shifted to to the band as Chrissy Costanza’s vocals echoes throughout the venue. Did these tracks capture the night? No, but the calm before the storm of rage and heavier tracks is something beautiful, often dismissed but shouldn’t be.

What can we expect from ‘Past Lives’? Truth, emotion and some groovy tracks. With the standard Against The Current played to tonight, their next tours will be even bigger.

MKII – BREAKING OUT – REVIEW

Winning ‘best band’ at the unsigned music awards in 2017 with only one track released, MKII have set themselves a standard that is going to be hard to break. Recorded with producer Nicholas Fournier, even more expectations are set upon the duo, so how exactly do they fare in this new musical world?

MKII set their standards high with their original single ‘Breaking Out’. Mixed by Nicolas Fournier, (Muse, Biffy Clyro, Fall Out Boy), it’s easy to see where that varying musical influences stem from in the EP. Brash electronic vibes with a hint of simplicity is a complex technique that the duo has cleverly claimed from their first single and thrown across the whole release. Interestingly, while their single stands out, the other tracks do not fall behind whatsoever, all following a similar strength and potential throughout. As a whole, the talent seeping through this release is the bands ability to create almost an entirely new world just through their sound. The beauty of cinematic, atmospheric rock truly comes through here, especially through the track ‘Isolation’. Simplistic atmospheric expanses with hints of the cinematic touch MKII are bringing into their music.

‘Delirium’ picks up through its progression. A packed bridge with added strings (featuring the string quartet from the Up North Session Orchestra) and other effects turn the track into something comparable to a movie soundscape. Atmospherically, the musical duo is high up on adding a cinematic, open space aura to their tracks, giving listeners almost a story narrated by Alex Spychalski powerful vocals and Andy Hind’s electronic musicality. Even the end gives listeners a beautiful outro, something slow, supple yet still with that flowing heaviness etched deep in its core

Forwarding to ‘Victorious’, engraved with a simplistic, beautiful flowing pre-verse slowly evolving into the heavier core at the root of the groups sound. Perhaps a little more depth through the chorus is needed in this track, but that’s always an improvement that can be worked on in the future. A highlight of the track is the echoic backing vocals haunting the tracks inner layers, just one example of the hidden gems carefully filtered between the tracks layers. Then ‘Guilt’. Everything in this track flows in a very interesting way. The creative mindset shows the smooth techniques the duo can use to push their music down the stream of sound. Progression through ‘Guilt’ is like its own story, similar with ‘victorious’ in a simpler level. Being able to create a story, almost a sense of action or narrative simply through an instrumental styled approach is a skill well rounded by the group, showing they have the fundamentals of a cinematic sound.

MKII have had some big expectations thrown at them, but with five tracks and a defining sound they have broken through this barrier faster than ever expected. Could they be the next Muse? No, because this group are their own defined style that will only become more refined as they progress. Keep these guys on your radar, as they’re not losing sight of their future.

Rating: 10/10

TRACK BY TRACK – JUST ABOUT DONE – I AM GETTING BY

‘The best way approach a track by track for this EP is to first explain that the presented order of the songs, was not actually the order they were written in. On ‘I Am Getting By’ we have a storyline threading through the accompanying videos and one that is different to what the songs are lyrically written about. We came about this alternate story when one of our band members listened and related to the songs on a completely different level to what my intention and it really was so amazing’, just one part of the in-depth description Just About Done vocalist Samantha McGee gives to describe the bands upcoming EP. Set to be released on October 19th, the Aussie outfit are bringing you something great commentated by McGee herself…

1 – Strain: Lyrically, ‘Strain’ was written out of frustration. I had finally ended a friendship with someone who was really starting to have an effect on my well-being. This person was the complete opposite to who I am, and who I want to be, so I really had to cut ties with them. Because of the nature of the song, there are some lines that are quite blunt and to the point – but that’s exactly how I was feeling at the time.

Most of our song writing goes something along the lines of: the guys write the start/ bulk of the instrumental parts and then I throw lyrics on top. Of course, no song is complete without us having a few debates on what sounds better and what direction the song should be heading – but that is how we push each other to get the best out of everyone. For example, the first verse was initially written as a bridge, but the guys were insistent that it should be the verse. To me that was bizarre but I agreed, and now we are all so happy with that decision.

We recorded this EP with Chris Vernon, who had his input on this song more than any other. We worked on the bridge together and he actually wrote the vocal line ‘You come to me, ignoring. It seems as if the world’s revolving around your head.’ We love being able to work with someone not in the band to give their honest opinions and are so stoked to have a little CV on this record.

2 – 1029: This song started off with a really strong instrumental section that was so enjoyable on it’s own it didn’t need lyrics, but I wrote some anyway. Pronounced ‘ten twenty-nine’, this track is about a relationship going through a hard time. Without giving away too much, this track portrays a feeling of not even wanting to confront an issue because you are so exhausted by the situation. There are a lot of lyrics in this track and it is always a bit of a shock to the crowd when played live as it must be strange seeing a girl sing this way, but that is exactly what Just About Done are about.

Just like the rest of our songs, we did pre-production at home first, so we could make all of our musical decisions without wasting studio time. This song certainly went through some chops and changes. Listeners can expect something very punchy with 1029, and we can’t wait for it to be out. The video is another question-posing piece of work, which may be confusing to some but rest assured that all will be revealed.

3 – Peacemaker: Peacemaker was actually the first track we wrote for this EP. Musically, there are a few different sounds that aren’t usually in our sound. We were going through a bit of a change in musical preference at this stage and Peacemaker shows that. Lyrically, it stemmed from my struggles with growing up with faith, and now coming to the fact that I don’t necessarily connect with that anymore. The line ‘wondering how to break the noose’, was initially written as ‘news’, referring to other people finding out about my decision. I changed it to ‘noose’ because it is sort of a double Entendre, which adds another element to the song and expresses my feelings towards situation more accurately. This song has become unintentionally anthemic and we often find people singing back the words to us at shows, even though it has not even been released!

In terms of the accompanying video, Peacemaker is the last to be released. It’s really hard-hitting and even after many watches, evokes a lot of emotion for all of our band. We feel the story is very relatable and hope that our form of expression, helps others who may have gone through the same thing.