The 5SOS Debate

The 5SOS Debate

Similar to my (James’) last post, I’m going to weigh in on this debate too.

Now, 5 Seconds of Summer have made it from nothing to chart-toppers in only about 3 years through a tour with One Direction and I suppose that’s where quite a lot of the stick they get is actually centred.

Their music is deep-rooted in the pop punk scene and they can regularly be seen wearing Nirvana and Green Day shirts both on stage and off stage; they record with John Feldmann (as are pop punk legends All Time Low and blink-182) and for some reason they still get called out constantly.

Ask yourself this: if you’re offered a chance to be the main support of one of the biggest world tours of the last 10 years, would you say yes? What about if you were certain it would give your band exposure to hundreds of thousands of huge-spending teenagers around the globe and give yourselves a global fanbase that will buy anything you release ever? What about if you could covert them all to loving all your punk and pop punk influences as well as your own music?

Frankly, that’s what 5SOS did. They got massive exposure on the One Direction world tour and subsequently have released 2 albums which both hit the big time instantly, making the 4 boys millionaires in a matter of months. They’ve also written with some of the biggest names in pop punk and alternative music (written with Mike Duce of Lower Than Atlantis, Ash features on Andy Biersack’s new solo album Andy Black and they’ve met all their idols including Gerard Way and Mark Hoppus) and I don’t think anyone in their situation would have done a single thing differently: I know for a fact I wouldn’t have…

Just to add to it, they had a free choice of songs to play or cover in the BBC Live Lounge and they chose a BMTH track, which clearly shows they know where it’s at!

So as they get ready to play various gigantic arenas, the pop punkers (supported by none other than STATE CHAMPS, one of the core modern pop punk bands) are doing a hell of a lot better than practically anyone else, all thanks to taking opportunities and not being stupid enough to discriminate because it wasn’t someone of their musical style.

If it’s the boyband, stupendously attractive image you have a problem with, you need to re-evaluate how you judge people. Stupendously attractive people do and can make quality music just like the rest of us, okay?

Leave that high horse well alone, it’s far too tall for small minded people.

The Black Veil Brides Debate

The Black Veil Brides Debate

Right, so this is me (James) weighing in on the debate that splits our scene in two and really  riles me up…

DISCLAIMER: no, I’m not a crazy fangirl with no sense; I am just a music fan that has an opinion and it is well-reasoned as you will tell.

If you’re unfamiliar with this the Black Veil Brides, here’s a few photos of them through their 4 phases:

BVBERAS
Clockwise from top left: pre-first album (2007/8), Set The World On Fire (2011), Wretched and Divine (2012-early 14), self-titled (late 2014-)

 

I can understand people not liking the band in the first album era; they weren’t in a community and they were breaking out into a scene that didn’t exist in a cross between metalcore, hair metal and acoustic rock which led to a pretty weirdly mixed record that they advertised was “for fans of Bullet For My Valentine and Avenged Sevenfold” which was a pretty bizarre comparison yet was the closest they had to a like band. They were very much a bunch of misfits making music they liked while living in a van touring the US and that did show in some ways, but they pushed on with life.

Then they swapped the eyeliner-all-over look for a full-on, almost Kiss-style painted look with huge hair and a lot of catsuits and tight leather. This brought with it a far more melodic sound reminiscent in parts of 80s hair metal legends Motley Crue, Twisted Sister and Dokken, which earned them their first real following in the UK though didn’t allow them to fully break through in the US. The visual décor led to many people dismissing them as “another emo band” or “weird nutters” as I have heard people refer to them oh so many times and I suppose in that respect they didn’t necessarily make a choice that would make them any more popular while they were trying to find their feet in a re-establishing hair and glam metal market on both continents.

Ditching facepaint for warpaint marked the move from second to third album, and the introduction of the “BVB Army” name for the fanbase that meant an ever growing amount as the band went into production of a musical film titled Legion of the Black to accompany the release of the third album. This was their first major chart success as it hit the UK and US charts with pretty reasonable successes on both sides of the pond. This era came partially courtesy of legendary producer John Feldmann, who directed them into a more freely adapted musical style that led them to let out all their creativity in the form of a 22-song, double disc concept album following the Legion in an apocalyptic world, fighting against the church. While I understand how this could be controversial, this was taken to use against them by so many who just looked for another reason to hate them.

Employing master-metalhead Bob Rock for their self-titled album (commonly known as BVB IV) gave them their first undeniable credibility in the scene in both countries. The record took them even higher into the charts and gave them a more classic metal sounding instrumental in parts comparable to that of Metallica’s Black album in that it was polished in a very Bob Rock style, yet it was kept listenable to the mass market through Andy’s mainly melodic vocals (with the exception of Stolen Omen which was a mixture of processed whispers and shouts).

Now from the clips, they look to be delving even deeper into the realms of heavier music and they’re back in the studio with John Feldmann and genuinely I’m excited to see what this next record has in store for us, and if the last few eras have been anything to go by then a dramatic change will be hitting us as they release material from this record.

So before you go bashing this lot, they really aren’t that much different from classics like Motley Crue and Guns N Roses, just not quite as mental, and quite a lot more civilised and mature in a number of ways!

Reviewed: 57 EP

Reviewed: 57 EP

The Background Info

This EP comes early to PPP as an exclusive from North London indie newbies Gilly Lovel. The band consists of Angus on lead vocals and guitar, Matilda on synths, bass and vocals Alex on guitar and James on drums. The 4 met at the Institute of Contemporary Music, London and pretty quickly ended up writing some decent material and things have spiralled since then. I’ve been waiting about a year to hear what this lot have been preparing to put out and I’ve been waiting for Angus to get himself a recording band to listen to for about 8/9 years now since we first met!

 

1) Intro

This is the epic opening of the record as the name well suggests, with a choral and instrumental that develops from placid to moving into an electronically influenced sound and back again to just long enough to grab your attention before pulling away again and leaving you wanting that little bit more. It marks a classic indie opening, establishing well the record and tone of what is to come; a chilled-out good time.

2) 57

The opening riff to this track is not only jolly but incredibly catchy and it quickly moves into a punchy, fast moving alternative/Brit-Pop hybrid sound that contrasts Angus’ vocals immaculately. With Matilda’s harmonies coming over the top of the lead vocals, it provides a neat and polished vocal sound almost reminiscent of The xx in their prime yet individual in their own way, which brings a really lovely depth to the track emotionally.

3) Moxie

This track is the most solid track on here and my personal favourite, with an instant fix from the heavily-played kit, which leads into fuzzy rhythm and clean lead underpinning a delicate vocal through the verses as Angus begs to “come save me” in every chorus. Towards the end comes a repeated chorus with huge harmonies in a joyous delirium of crash cymbal ringing which ends the track immaculately as the fuzz fades to a finish.

4) Something More

You may sense a theme here when I say there’s yet another fantastic riff here at the opening of this one, backed up well with synths and eventually vocals which are mastered perfectly with reverb to give a sincerely immersive feeling especially when guitars cut out and Angus is left with the synth and drums to show the clarity and purity of the words here. Lyrically, I think this is the best written track on the record and there is real feeling behind the words “throw away the life you have” and after this I’m thinking twice about what I really do want in life.

5) Lights

Opening with a drumbeat of perfect time and overlapped with harmonising synths and guitars that back up the vocals perfectly. The guitar solo at 2:12 (backed up with what I can only describe as sounding like a faint war-movie-style bomb dropping) gives me shivers down my spine  every time I hear it and the song wraps up  This track more than any other of the five shows these guys have musical knowledge far, far beyond their late-teen years and it really rounds off the record in the continued style and flair while not going overkill in any way as so many bands do.

To Summarise

This is a killer 5 songs that are not only relaxed and technically fantastic, but are very much thought-provoking lyrically and musically. They’re perfect for just chilling out after a long day or to keep you going through that next slog through module’s revision, and I would be stunned if these 4 don’t make it a few rungs up the ladder in the very near future.

 

57 Release & Gigs

The EP is available to preorder now on Bandcamp and Amazon Music, and will hit iTunes, Google Play and Spotify too, with the release date set on April 6th.

Check them out live at The Water Rats in Kings Cross on April 6th to see this EP in full plus even more stuff they’re working on! Follow this link for more info, like them on Facebook and follow on Twitter

I’d love to thank Angus for hitting me up and giving me the chance to do this before anyone else gets the chance to hear it and the rest of the band for bearing with me being a crazy fanboy for the last year, hopefully this review makes up for that a bit!

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The Art of Demo

All aspiring artists have been there, myself included: which song shall I record? How shall I mix it? Why does it sound so horrendous?

The art of the demo is a fine and precise one, with the main aim to record anything you would be prepared to submit to a label in the vague hope of getting any kind of deal. In reality, demos end up sounding like total garbage that has been recorded in the bottom of a ditch with a 1990s headphone mic…

Recently, I’ve been snapping up studio kit (namely a vocal mic) and making tracks both solo and with my other band member and I can safely say demos are not as difficult as they used to be. The youth of today have more disposable income than ever before and through this can actually buy some pretty cheap pieces of kit which are better quality than ever before. Recording software can even go for free with programs like Audacity and even these are half decent, they don’t have graphic equalisers or mixing tools but they have gain and headphone settings and the products aren’t all that bad.

So it could be said that with the modern cash, a home-recorded demo is easy and I would tend to agree but it doesn’t compare to a studio mixed track at all!

A Further Update

Hey again,

I’ve noticed lately that my one point of view on this blog isn’t necessarily a positive and I’ve been looking at bringing in a few new people to get written content and photos out on the page to create a more comprehensive depth and breadth of reviews and feature articles. This has led to a need for more writers and more photographers and I’m thrilled to announce that Georgia will be joining the team as a photographer and Leah will be joining as a content producer and co-editor!

Having these two on board should give us a far wider stretch of coverage and some stunning photos if Gee’s other ones are anything to go by.

Watch this space…

J

Metalhead Problems: Addicted To Pop

Metalhead Problems: Addicted To Pop

“OH GOD NO, I HAVE THAT STUCK IN MY HEAD NOW”

As a metalhead and pop punk fan, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of pop songs, however when my brother has the radio on playing a bit of Bieber or whoever I just get the tune stuck in my head and I have a little crisis as I realise I’m singing a song by Justin Bieber but I have developed a solution.

Ages ago, I discovered the Punk Goes series which spans: Metal, Pop, Acoustic, 80s, 90s, Acoustic 2, Crunk, Pop 2, Classic Rock, Pop 3, X (Winter X Games 2011 songs), Pop 4, Pop 5, Christmas, 90s 2 and Pop 6, which I’m sure you’ll agree is a pretty comprehensive list. The covered artists include Britney, Bruno Mars and Coolio and they’re nearly all quite hardcore (though not quite punk in most cases…) so that’s one way of escaping the dreaded pop trash easily. My favourites are probably I Prevail’s Blank Space (Taylor Swift), Pierce The Veil’s Just The Way You Are (Bruno Mars) and Pvris’ Chandelier (Sia).

More recently though, I discovered a bloke called Leo Moracchioli who runs a Frog Leap Studio in Norway and he does some pretty nutty covers in general. Spanning 6 metal covers albums and 3 acoustics, he has at least one song released per month and he’s currently releasing about every fortnight. My personal favourites have to be Sia’s Chandelier and Demi Lovato’s Let It Go.

In addition, there are some pretty cool covers from other bands they’ve released as singles like Our Last Night, Against The Current and even All Time Low so before you go and ruin your reputation, DO YOUR RESEARCH! There’s almost certainly a cover that you can listen to that’ll be more your style and more reputable.

An Update on This Blog Thing

An Update on This Blog Thing

Hey all,

As the observant ones of you may have noticed, I’ve been really into this blogging thing lately so I’ve decided to change my URL to make me easier to find and also to make posting a regular thing rather than the sporadic, irregular uploads that seem to be characteristic of my site.

In light of this, I’ll be publishing a feature article/story every Wednesday at 6pm GMT/BST dependant on the time of year so get checking back at those times! Plus in holidays I’ll be keeping Wednesday and I’ll stock up on pieces but I’ll publish more if I get more then 2 ideas written in a week!

In addition to these posts, I’ll be reviewing lives (check out my Neck Deep and All Time Low reviews, as well as Tonight Alive and Sleeping With Sirens coming as soon as I’ve seen them!) and albums when I attend/hear them so they’ll be less regular.

Thank you for reading as usual and bigger thanks for not ditching me after reading,

J