Since staring to write for http://www.alreadyheard.com and subsequently on my own blog I have become more and more involved with bands at the hard end of the music industry.
Earlier in the year I wrote a piece on some upcoming British bands and went on to interview three of them about the difficulties of the industry. (https://hardpresseded.wordpress.com/2015/08/06/five-british-rock-bands-that-could-use-a-break/) The picture they painted was, to be quite frank, fucking depressing and totally awesome in equal measure. Depressing because it is just so damn hard to get anywhere when so little money filters down to this level of the industry, especially given that major labels are now far less likely to take a risk, indie labels live eternally cash strapped and a large amount of so-called music lovers seem to believe that music should be free. Throw in the fact that every five minutes another venue closes and you’ve gotta feel for the bands; not much chance of giving up the day jobs just yet, all the more so when you consider the competitiveness of the scene. Which brings me to the awesome part; the music scene is bubbling with superb new bands! The internet has made life so much easier in many respects; they are able to market themselves, get financing and even sell their product more easily – bandcamp is a veritable hotbed of vibrant new material.
Nevertheless, there is still this disconnection between industry savvy professionals and the pool of talent, so not only do bands have to finance themselves and juggle rehearsals, shows and writing around their day jobs, they then lack top draw professional input in terms of production and or A&R advice, even if they are lucky enough to have a deal, as with one or two of the bands here. Moreover, studio time itself is also expensive, before you throw in a producer, and even if the band have a manager it is rare to find one that really knows about artistic development. So the odds are stacked against new bands, but they keep appearing and here are a handful that I have come across recently that could all use a break, whether in terms of a record deal, quality A&R input or just expanding their fan bases; check them out.
Manchester based trio False Advertising are “twisted power grunge” indie rockers with a serious weight to their riffs and some interestingly quirky touches to their songwriting. They have just the right amount of pop sensibility to write a decent hook and are particularly good vocally, whether it’s Jen Hingley or Chris Warr taking the lead. They are such a DIY band that they also share guitar and drum duties, while Chris does production and Jen takes responsibility for artwork and videos. The addition of Josh Sellars on bass added depth to their songwriting/sound and their totally DIY debut album is pretty damn good. With a bit of polish to their rough edges they could really go places.
(Full review: http://alreadyheard.com/post/128182956195/album-review-false-advertising-false (not my words))
Peterborough based five piece are on the radio friendly side of alternative rock and certainly know how to write a hook. They showed plenty of potential on their debut EP released earlier this year and have been working hard on the live circuit to build a following. They are strong instrumentally and flirt a little with a number of styles, though they’re at their best when exploring their guitar interplay. They have definite hit-making potential and with a steadying hand could well sail onto bigger things.
Hailing from Wigan, this three piece band have a distinctly seventies feel to their straight ahead hard rocking sound. They do have a slight touch of the psychedelics coming through now and again though, and IMHO their sound has more depth when they mix it up a little and include a few twists and turns. However, lyrically speaking they are socially aware, especially on the highly critical “Out of Hand”, and instrumentally they are seriously talented – there are plenty of top draw riffs and musical interludes that really nail it; throw in the occasional smoking solo and it’s hot rocking heaven. As I said in my review, if they leave their comfort zone a little more when composing they could be set for bigger things.
(Full review: http://alreadyheard.com/post/130061922814/album-review-deepshade-everything-popular-is)
Maybe it’s down to the fact that life for a certain section of society always gets a bit shitter under a Conservative government or that the youth of today really are the “Lost Generation”, who knows? But either way the UK metalcore scene is boiling over with top quality bands expressing their disquiet in emphatic style and close to the top of that pile is the hard as nails sound of Aurora. They are a bit less screamy than some bands, which helps add even more weight to their sound, and they are not afraid to mix things up, putting plenty of stops and tempo changes into their songs. When they go on the attack they are badass heavy but when they slow it down they also know how to work a melody to good effect, it’s a good example of where metal is at right now.
(Full review: http://alreadyheard.com/post/132473530378/album-review-aurora-faithbreaker)
Saint (the) Sinner
Spectacular blend of melodic hardcore and alternative rock, Saint (the) Sinner have a theatrical quality á la Panic! At the Disco combined with a seriously hard edge that is really something special. They employ two different vocal styles, one a guttural scream, the other more melodic, which combine to good effect on their catchy as hell songs. The new EP, ‘Masquerades’, was released to coincide with Halloween in a stroke of marketing genius and these guys really look set for bigger things. Their post hardcore side may limit their appeal in the long run but right now they are an interesting proposition – ones to watch.
(Full review: http://alreadyheard.com/post/131955145513/album-review-saint-the-sinner-masquerades-ep)