Tag Archives: grunge

Live Review: Sludgefeast, Old Forest and BiT at The Brixton Windmill 20/9/2016


BiT are a noise rock band that dress up as haggard old ladies with terrifying hag masks. It certainly gets your attention because outside of their image and music, there isn’t an awful lot of banter happening. You never quite get to grips with why these 3 guys look like this and why their ultra-fuzzy noise rock is played so loose and atonal, but you’re always entertained. There’s something fascinating by how utterly bizarre this band is. Musically they’re quite lacking and their dual guitar attack (one using a low-pitched distortion and one using a high-pitched distortion) is often too abrasive to really enjoy, but sometimes the sheer shock value of a performance like this is just enough to keep you engaged and I certainly felt that way while watching BiT. This is the sort of band I’d take friends to see just to see how they’d react.


Old Forest continue the theme of fuzzy over-distorted guitars with their special blend of noise rock and grunge. Despite being a little more tuneful than BiT, I had a hard time enjoying their music as both the bassist and guitarist used a similar sounding low-pitched distortion which meant the riffs were often difficult to ascertain. You could see the band’s drummer also had difficulty hearing the progression of the music and there were quite a few hiccups in the performance that became quite uncomfortable to watch. Thankfully the band were almost able to redeem themselves with some really savage riffs that certainly kept my head banging, but I couldn’t help but think how much better they’d sound if the band had more discernible melodies and a better contrast between guitar and bass.


This review of Sludgefeast’s set is going to have some pretty heavy bias to it because I can’t deny how much this band means to me. The garage rockers rarely play live nowadays, thanks to lead vocalist and guitarist James Barnard now living in Singapore, so a brand new Sludgefeast show has a very special and precious place in my heart. Now this performance wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Barnard was under-rehearsed and sloppy throughout and would often trail off between songs just to fuck about for a laugh, but I certainly did laugh for the entire set. Sludgefeast’s on-stage antics are nothing short of hilarious and even though their playing wasn’t the tightest, the band still managed to frequently play their songs well enough that you were reminded how unapologetically rocking they are. Sludgefeast are all about being obnoxious and loud and they definitely delivered on both of those points tonight. They also managed to remind you that their back catalogue is home to some pretty spectacular riffs and while they may have not been played particularly well, I was extremely happy to see them played at all.


Live Review: Cassels, So-Crates and Grieving Live at The Old Blue Last 15/8/16


Grieving are a very new band with a single EP under their belt. Their twangy, angular emo is reminiscent of bands like American Football and Joyce Manor. After a nervous start they quickly prove that they’re a very accomplished and tight act, and their drummer was supposedly pretty ill throughout so huge respect to that guy for absolutely nailing it. On the whole, the band looks like they’re having a blast and seem very humbled to be playing to this audience. Grieving are definitely a band you’re going to want to keep on your radar because if this performance is any indication, they will be going onto bigger and better things very quickly.


If you aren’t aware, So-Crates are a new band featuring members of Hold Your Horse Is and Reuben and that’s a bloody exciting combination on its own. The band deal in an unpredictably, mathy post-punk which is nothing short of exciting when performed live. Their music twists and turns on a dime with aggressive drum-work, angular guitar melodies, chunky bass grooves and some surprisingly dreamy guitar leads. While it’s still early days for So-Crates, you can see that past experiences have allowed these guys to burst out the gates with some truly accomplished music and make it all look easy.


Grunge-punk duo Cassels are something really special. Sounding like a mix of God Damn and Eugene Quell, the two lads on stage make the sort of music that song-writers twice their age would be proud of. The word is clearly out on Cassels because they fill The Old Blue Last, and on a Monday night no less. The duo has a massive sound considering their limitations and they put on a friendly and engaging performance that sees everyone in the room hanging onto every note. Cassels love that quiet/loud dynamic and it was strangely weird to hear a crowd at The Old Blue Last be so quiet when the music became more introspective. Cassels are genuinely fascinating to watch and are definitely a band you’ll want to see as soon as possible because they won’t be playing venues this small for very long.

Live Review: Meet Me in St. Louis Live at The Dome 18/6/2016


Full confession from the get-go; I got to the venue late and only caught the last 2 songs of Vincent Vocoder Voice’s set so this won’t be the most insightful opinion on their live show. What I saw of the band showcased an abstract fusion of alt rock and grunge that was purposely played with an unpredictable sloppiness. I’m not sure if this works in their favour as the vocals in particular sounded a bit off key. Regardless, the band are definitely interesting and I’d like to see more of them if I get the opportunity.


TTNG (previously This Town Needs Guns) are a joy to watch if you appreciate musicianship. I was drawn to their drummer for most of their set as the man is an absolute machine on the kit. Their math rock stylings are technically proficient, glittery numbers, but things step up a notch when original vocalist/guitarist Stuart Smith shows up to sing a couple of TTNG classics. There’s an instant step up in energy and the crowd reciprocate with unbridled enthusiasm. TTNG with Stuart Smith are a seriously exciting band which makes the end of their set somewhat bittersweet as Smith leaves the stage for the final song and it simply can’t stand up to what came before.


No band should be able to come back from an 8 year hiatus and sound this good. Meet Me in St. Louis have reached a near mythical status since their split and listening to their one and only album Variations on Swing in 2016 is still as electric and ground-breaking as it was in 2007. Imagine my surprise when the band appear on stage with suitable pomp and circumstance and absolutely nail every song of their set with ease. The math rock/post hardcore act have some wonderfully complex songs to their name and they perform them with an unbelievable tightness that puts so many other bands to shame. This was an absolutely astounding performance that felt a little too good to be true and the crowd lapped it up. The whole room held onto every word and all I can think about is how much of a shame it is that Meet Me in St. Louis will once again be no more at the end of this tour. We need you, guys.

Interview: Jude Jagger from To The Bones

Welcome to Double Cross, a new feature that focuses on the hard rocking women of the UK heavy music scene. The aim of this feature is to promote equality in UK heavy music and also to celebrate the women who have decided that they can rock just as hard as the guys. In our inaugural edition we speak to Jude Jagger, bassist for riff rockers To The Bones.

Hola! I’m Jude Jagger, I play bass in Bolton based rock ‘n’ roll hellraisers To The Bones.

So first of all, congratulations on the release of Emperor’s Ride which is obviously the first To The Bones release with your performance on it! How’s the reception been to the single?

Thank you! It’s been really positive – loads of airplay from Kerrang! Radio, Amazing Radio and the XFM Rock Show, plus random rock stations in Europe – we definitely want to play in Europe at some point so that’s very encouraging. Think we’d go down well in Europe, they love their rrrock! The tour to promote the single has been rad – there’s nothing better than travelling the country to play gigs and cause some trouble! We’ve done everything on a budget – a transit van with one in the back, 4 of us crammed in a Travelodge room, taking the rider to eat for breakfast the next day, going to a casino with £2 cos that’s all we had between us and living off beer and crisps but it’s been a blast.

You guys have a particularly high-energy stage presence. I remember seeing you guys at The Macbeth in Hoxton and loved watching you get your rocks off more than the guys in To The Bones! What inspires your lively performance style?

Haha! I’ve always thought that if people pay money to come and watch a show, then that’s what they deserve to see – a proper show. I can’t stand watching a band who look like they are too cool to get sweaty, or even worse – bored with their own music. It’s the bands job to entertain and that’s what we’re there to do. Plus it’s really fun throwing yourself around a stage playing music with your friends! I like the unpredictability of it.

What introduced you to heavy music and what continues to attract you to it?

My best mate made me a tape when we were kids with Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins on and I just instantly thought “yes this is it, this is the music that SPEAKS to me!” (I was a very melodramatic child!) He was also in a band that covered those songs, and I went to see them play a lot, and just thought ‘I could do that’. I got into bass players like Kim Gordon, D’Arcy, Kim Deal and Melissa Auf de Maur and was completely inspired by those girls. I have a pretty wide taste in music but there’s something very pure about rock music – it’s solid and uplifting and driven and makes you want to dance. Love it.

Have you felt comfortable being a woman in a heavy band in a music scene that is predominantly populated by men?

Yes, but it would be better if there were more girls. I’ve never had any negative experiences – more often its boys trying to be nice and carry my amp for me, but I’m like… “erm… I’m perfectly capable of carrying my own gear thank you!” I do find it odd that there aren’t more female musicians in general, not just in rock music. It’s always better when things are equal – outside of the band I work a lot stage managing and crewing, and there’s hardly any girls in that world too, but everyone says when there’s women on the team it makes the boys behave better! Unfortunately women in music are judged on their appearance – we were at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods the other day, it was full of grufty, wrinkly old blokes, whereas the majority of the women were dressed in tiny clothing, very heavily made up and young. Seems very unfair that women aren’t allowed to grow old or have a day without makeup! I just can’t be bothered making all that effort, especially on stage as it all gets sweated off and messed up within about 2 seconds anyway!

What’s your proudest musical achievement in To The Bones?

At our last recording session at Brock ‘n’ Broll Studios in Chorley, the police were called because some old lady walking past had heard Rhys recording his vocals and thought someone was being murdered!!

What’s next in the pipeline for To The Bones? More shows? New record?

It’s all go! We’ve got a new single out this Autumn with the album due next year. We’ve got loads of festivals booked for next summer already and some more gigs at the end of this year, and I can’t wait for you all to hear the album, it’s going to be immense. Check out www.tothebones.co.uk for dates and news or follow us on Twitter/Facebook/etc.

Any suggestions for other female rock/metal fans who are looking to get involved with heavy music?

Just do it! Please! Even things up a bit! Girls, just find some mates and book a room to rehearse and make some noise, you don’t have to be able to play really. Unless you are a drummer, in which case get some lessons and a kit and a van and get practicing! There’s nothing worse than a shit drummer… There’s not only a lack of female musicians, there’s a lack of female sound engineers, lighting engineers, managers, promoters, publishers, journalists etc and NO ONE is going to ask you if you want to have a go. You need to make those opportunities yourself so just get on with it.

Are there any other rock/metal bands with female members you can suggest our readers?

New bands that I’m into at the moment are Victor from Birmingham, full on in-yer-face crazy show. Their singer reminds me of Iggy Pop a bit. But she can sing properly! Also loving Sky Valley Mistress, proper bluesy rock tunes, they just played at Download. And Bad Grammar; they’re a 2 piece from Manchester, got a Kyuss/QOTSA/Black Keys kind of vibe.

Review: Bovine’s The Sun Never Sets on the British Empire

Bovine are a 4 piece from Birmingham making scuzzy, grungy, up-tempo rock. The band present their debut album The Sun Never Sets on the British Empire and it’s a mental blend of Off Kilter-era earthtone9, later Eighties Matchbox material, Bolton’s To the Bones and fellow Birmingham grungers God Damn.

Having to use so many bands for reference should give you an indication that Bovine are a pretty unique little outfit. The Sun Never Sets… begins with the ambient Barium before kicking down the door and blowing your face off with the raucous Ghost Chair. This song brilliantly sums up what sort of beating you’re going to get over the next half an hour.

The songs are all built on a wild, crashing rhythm section that bolsters the songs while the duel vocal and guitar attack of Marcus Vvulfgang and Thomas Peckett croon and yell over everything. Both men do a rather spectacular job of creating memorable riffs punctuated with some wonderfully atmospheric leads that turn into random chaos when they feel like it. Bovine’s music might sound boisterous but it’s structured flawlessly, flows magnificently and not a single moment feels jarring to listen to.

No other song manages to encompass Bovine’s dynamic quite like Heroes are What? The song starts with a dissonant, acoustic intro before launching into the album’s best riff. The song is completed with a brilliant vocal melody that develops into harsher moments when it needs it. Heroes are What? is pure rock perfection.

Bovine’s The Sun Never Sets on the British Empire is an exciting, brash and surprisingly interesting record that manages to balance its’ visceral elements with excellent melodies. The whole record flows naturally from one song to the next and offers one of the most solid listening experiences a rock fan could ask for. Bovine have put together a stunning debut which sets the bar for the rest of their career extremely high. No pressure or anything lads.


Bovine’s The Sun Never Sets on the British Empire is available to buy on CD and vinyl from the band now.

Music Video: God Damn’s Heavy Money

Ladies and Gentlemen; bear witness to what is probably going to be the best UK music video produced all year. God Damn’s single Heavy Money which comes off their new EP of the same name is accompanied by one of the best acted, most charming and most interesting music videos I’ve seen in a long, long time. Just watch and you’ll see what I mean:

You can pre-order God Damn’s Heavy Money EP on limited edition cassette now from Gravy Records. A free download is also included.

Review: Anacondas’ Sub Contra Blues

Anacondas are a bizarre little project. Stuart and James Hunter are ex members of metalcore legends Johnny Truant, but this fact is pretty irrelevant when you hear what Anacondas sound like. With the addition of drummer Timothy Newman, the band have created an intriguing blend of doom and grunge that is lead with some pleasant, almost shoegazey singing that only occasionally becomes a yell.

Sub Contra Blues is the band’s debut album and it clocks in at a solid 38 minutes with enough riff worship to satisfy your average headbanger. As mentioned before, the band’s sound is a pretty unique blend of doom and grunge that fans of Cave In and even Mastodon will find things to latch onto.

“Now hold on”, I hear you say; “didn’t you say Anacondas sounded doomy?” Well yes, in the sense that a lot of their riffs are massive, down-tuned affairs that are given plenty of room to ring out. But when the band are given an opportunity to showcase their technical abilities they turn out some enormous riffs like the one featured at the beginning of High Horse. It’s these moments that really set Anacondas’ music apart from the rest. Not only are they blending genres like a pro, but they’re also finding opportunities to add lovely little prog flourishes to their music that add a very unique layer to the overall package.

The main issue with the album is that these moments are few and far between. The whole release meanders along at the same tempo and the down-tuned guitars are so bottom heavy that you rarely get to appreciate a melody. When the music moves up the fretboard even the slightest, Anacondas’ music really benefits from the added clarity.

Also, the shared vocals between all 3 members means the album has a problem with consistency. We generally enjoyed Anacondas better when the vocalists were shouting as it worked with the sludgy grooves far better than the alt-rock crooning.

You can’t deny that Anacondas are a band with a tonne of great ideas, but Sub Contra Blues proves that maybe they don’t all work that well together. There are moments of pure brilliance locked away in this record and with some added focus they could be the driving factor in a future Anacondas release. Is this album a failure? Maybe. But it’s certainly an admirable one at that and one that’s massively intriguing which can’t be said about a lot of bands’ music.


Anacondas’ Sub Contra Blues is available to download now.

News: Dinosaur Pile-Up Complete New Album, Release Track for Free Download UPDATE

Nature Nurture will be released May 13th and we now have the complete tracklisting to show you:

1. Arizona Waiting
2. Derail
3. Peninsula
4. Heather
5. Summer Gurl
6. White T-Shirt
7. The Way We Came
8. Draw A Line
9. Start Again
10. Lip Hook Kiss
11. Nature Nurture

[Source: contactmusic.com]


Riff rockers Dinosaur Pile-Up have announced the completion of their 2nd album. The album will be called ‘Nature Nurture’ and is expected to release sometime this year.

You can visit the band’s offical website now to get a free download of new track ‘Lip Hook Kiss’. Click here to be taken straight there.

Dinosaur Pile-Up released their first album ‘Growing Pains’ in 2010. Here’s a reason why you should own it: