In the aftermath of Slam Dunk, I find myself still stunned at several performances, and my mind occupied by contagious choruses, most notably Lower than Atlantis, and songs from World Record. Knowing that this summer will see them reach higher heights, as their schedule is appears fully booked with festivals galore, I’m thankful I could witness at least one of these festivals this year, as their performance was impeccable at Slam Dunk: thundering sound, passionate energy, and fans singing to the rooftop. I found it unfortunate that a clash of set times meant Mike Duce, frontman extraordinaire, could not pace across the Leeds campus and join friends For the Fallen Dreams on stage to perform his guest vocals on their recent track ‘Yellow’ – I felt it would’ve made a nice touch and show a sign of community; a bridge between America and the UK.

With that in mind anyway, I began to think about Lower than Atlantis, having been aware of them since their starting days; a chaotic post-hardcore quintet, blasting out songs with even wittier names than now, for example, ‘Third Degree Montgomery Burns’. As if I had a timeline set out in front of me, and marvelled, (I also cringed at this point, as I browsed their Last.FM page to see biography updates and old photos I had uploaded back in 2008 on their page – photos of which was as interesting as they are hilarious).

It was 26th January 2008 when I first met Mike and company; they were to support recent Channel 4 famous Yashin, at a gig my promotion team put on, that sold no more than twenty tickets. This was before the release of Bretton, and they only had recorded a four-track demo, and two new, more constructed songs which gained them more than 100 friends on MySpace. I had stumbled across their page by pure chance; browsing the ‘post-hardcore’ genre section on MySpace and laughing to myself that they had named a song ‘Bretton’, as I am from a small area in my city known as Bretton. A few weeks later, impressed with their sound, we booked them for a show.

I remember asking the frontman at the time, Luke Sansom (his brother Ben is still in the band today), why he would name a song ‘Bretton’ whilst I bought their first ever t-shirt (stupidly sold that on eBay last year, didn’t I?), and he said that he works (or worked rather now, could still be there...) in Topman and the song was about a girl that worked with him, in a department they named ‘Bretton’. There you go, there’s a fact for you.

Their performance to the empty room nonetheless blew me away and I was thrilled at their charismatic nature and head-banging sounds; as if the music took over, and from then on, I was sucked in. I have had the good fortune of seeing Lower than Atlantis perform several times after, roughly two years after the first time, they supported Deez Nuts at the same venue as before, the Park, but to a packed room and with short-time drummer Josh Pickett – seeing him play was a nice treat. And again in the spring of 2010 in London, performing that the infamous Facedown club night at the Astoria. I remember this quite vividly: they debuted their Foo Fighter’s cover, ‘Everlong’, and friend Josh Beech (who of which is the inspiration behind ‘Beech like a Tree’) stage-dove, clearing the barrier and crashing into the crowd.

It’s odd, yet charming, to see their progression and how well they’ve handled it – from slumming it at after parties to signing autographs and playing Madia Vale sessions with the BBC: “Mike's on daytime radio” (Deaf Havana – ‘The Past Six Years’, Fools and Worthless Liars, 2011). Certain highlights would include touring America with Norma Jean; I remember Stray from the Path tweeting something along the lines of ‘Not many kids seem to get what Lower than Atlantis are about, but I do, and I totally respect what they’re doing’.

Duce’s own transformation is quite remarkable, from being the band’s guitarist, out of the limelight, to end up taking centre stage and front the band, directing them in a different path entirely – which has worked out tremendously well! As well as perfecting his voice along the way...

Lyrically, he is one of the most unique song writers the UK has to offer, and I mean this genuinely. He writes without thinking, in a way of portraying the everyday down-and-out kid of this country, and connecting with them, speaking of the current times, in the least poetic way possible, it becomes easily respected and daring in approach. Some favourites include:
“Fat slags are 'dressed to kill', with their short skirts barely covering arse cheeks making me ill”
- ‘Eating is Cheating’, Far Q, 2010
 “We are the kids of the recession, credit cards, overdrafts, loans and no pensions”
- ‘I'm Not Bulimic (I Just Wanted to See How Far I Could Stick My Fingers Down My Throat)’, Far Q, 2010
And last, but not least:
“Www dot I love you dot com forward-slash will you send me some nudes?” 
- ‘A/S/L?, Far Q, 2010
It’s as if he’s the Nick Hornby of the lyrical word, with mentions of British newspapers, social network websites, Weatherspoons and video game consoles – confronting the scene directly from the criticism they received: “You've got the cheek to say that we're a covers band, with your headphones on and Gallows' dick in your hand” (‘Yo Music Scene, What Happened?’, Far Q, 2010), to the ‘perks’: “I'm searching through my Recycle Bin [...] full of photos from old shows and scene girls in their underwear” (‘Taping Songs Off the Radio’, Far Q, 2010).

Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys was once deemed the voice of a generation by critics, praised for his lyrical style, with lines such as “Ask if we can have six in, if not we'll have to have two. You're coming up our end aren't you? So I'll get one with you. Oh, won't he let us have six in? Especially not with the food. He coulda’ just told us no though” (‘Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured’, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, 2006), but surely Duce betters that time and time again. Turner is too bland with his delivery and lacks whit. Labelled as a "master of observation" by NME, but... Is he? He recalls events rather plain, with no intent on entertaining. It’s just been a thought that has often crossed my mind.
“I know my lyrics aren't the best you've ever heard, but I say what I mean and I mean every f***ing word” 
- ‘Yo Music Scene, What Happened?’, Far Q, 2010
Duce himself is quite a character, which can be depicted alone from his tweets of reminiscent ramblings to hilarious Instagram photos, to his Jack-the-Lad attitude, encouraging fans to send him mail; he is quite the technological socialite. I have two memories of him, portraying his true nature.

The first, which was from the first encounter/gig; he wanted a sex party in a barn as some girls had suggested they party after the show, and they own a barn. The look on his face was priceless, like a kid in Toys R Us on his birthday. I don’t really know how the tale ended. The second was just as hilarious: I remember after a rough night out in Cambridge, and having slept on some living room floor, my friend Toby received a phone call from him. This was still before the release of Bretton, and they were only just making a name for themselves, and along the way they had played shows (and partied) with Many Things Untold – the band Toby once fronted. He informed us he was sat naked in a chair, in the middle of his house, recovering from a party from the night before. The house was completely trashed, several things were burnt, he was covered in marker pen and he was awaiting the arrival of his new housemate, whom he had never met before. On the party scale, that received two thumbs up; and I’m currently taking a passing interest in bio-engineering in order to grow a third.

Mike Duce: groin-grabbingly transcendent (forgive me, but I just watched that episode of The Simpsons where Homer becomes a journalist/food critic for the local paper).

Image credit: I found this image on a random Tumblr page having Googled Duce’s name; I am unsure of the source. If you took the photo, please send me a message and I can give you full credit.



Rating: 4/5

Acres are a five-piece outfit from the south coast of the UK that treat their music as a new-born; with such care and dedication that the dying post-hardcore scene is about to be revamped and excelled into social networking forefront. The birth has begun with this five track record, recorded at the little-known Treasury Productions studios in Southampton, respectfully self-titled.

At first, you are struck with a very mature and progressed sound, which is ultimately so refreshing for a first release. An experimental post-metal vibe has been concocted through only a year of the bands existence; a sound that bands older than five years are still trying to achieve.

It comes across that the whole year was time spent working on their archetype, not simply a project to pick up and drop as they please – it sounds like they have had trial and error, and worked on many previous songs (this may not even be the case) in order to truly be comfortable with a sound that is very mature and patient; not rushed. This already, in my opinion, gives Acres leverage, in which I respect. They have taken the intensity and rising commercial success of American’s scene and merged that within their culture, opposed to simply chugging away at an open drop D and having an aggressive verse and cleanly sang, power-chorded chorus.

The record opens with ‘Something to Write Home About’, twenty-eight seconds of landscape (see the cover art) before an explosion of intense vocals and screaming instruments; captivating your senses and taking charge with a well constructed surge (as in, it doesn’t suck and sounds good). It is always the first minute that you listen to a record and decipher if you wish to continue; if this is your sort of music; if you sense a chance of enjoying it, and Acres nail it.

Progressing onwards, my ears are blessed with ambient and atmospherically fuelled interlude-style breakdowns, adding depth and emotion to the belted out, heart-felt words, reminiscent of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, or even Envy. I’m left thinking that the record’s purpose was to make an impact on its rivals, rather than attempt to establish a name for the band themselves solely and put a record out to get shows; they’re saying, quite cleverly in fact, “Hey, this is what we just made... Your move”.

As I sit here, with my coffee, I nod my head in appreciation noting that the band has truly done their research. Touching their genre’s musical roots (and also what I grew up listening to), a Christian post-hardcore vibe is paid tribute to in ‘Treasures‘, with the powerful lyrics “Have faith in our God, and there’s a way out”, acknowledging the likes of Akissforjersey, Underoath, Agraceful and Blessthefall. From the get go, we are always struck by the unique nasal-forced vocal style which instantly reminded me of the frontman from Take it Back!, and their Christian hardcore endeavours.

‘Letters’ not only opens, but continues through-out, to derive from an Oceana influence. Intense riffs throughout this track showcase the talent the five, young men have and their technical ability before a fantastic, climatic finale. The drumming and guitar work is not convoluted; they do not overpower one another; each member of the band, despite a unit, is given a chance to shine. Juxtaposed to the ambience, the aggressive parts escalate and turn violent, and it’s just brilliant (I apologise for my lack of creativity here, but it’s all that is fired into my brain, and the only word I can spit out), and normally most songs build up into something that’s emotionally charged and epic... And worthwhile.

“[Before], I was playing music that just didn’t feel real to me, like it had no emotion or meaning. I wanted to write music with feeling rather than write music for kids to kick the s*** out of each other to. At first, finding members that had the same vision was hard, but the line-up we have now ‘get’ it. It’s taken about a year to fully release something, but in our eyes it’s been worth the wait. We are all happy with the sound, the feelings and emotions that are in this release, and look forward to exceeding it and bettering our sound”
- Alex Freeman
This record is twenty minutes of fury that flows from track to track beautifully, and fails to derail from excellence. However, once played, it becomes hard to distinguish one track from another, and although it runs perfectly, it can therefore blend simply into the background or not strike your attention, as there appears to be little significant trademarks the band currently embellish (taking on board that they are just beginning however) or no part of a song stands out from another and is easily remembered; but this could be down to the mixing as well as the band trying to find their feet. Considering this is their first release, it is truly remarkable.

If their live performance is anything like this record suggests, it will be solid, and the heights this band will reach will make even their influences and heroes nauseous.

The record can be listened to, and downloaded (at a price you choose – I gave ‘em 50p) at their Bandcamp page: acresuk.bandcamp.com.


Just released online, as a sample of what’s in store for their up-coming, self-titled album, Gallows thrill the hardcore scene once more with ‘Last June’, along with a grainy music video.

This sounds more like the Gallows me love, now with a rougher, harder-sounded vocal tone; better suited to the style of music (as well as the music being generally better) than the Death is Birth record. Wade has found his place within the band, and settled in better with the way their music is made; it feels less rushed and that the vocals and music blend better together, rather than placed on-top. “His vocals are so gravelly”, says guitarist Barnard. Whilst the gang vocals take us back to the Orchestra of Wolves days.

Production wise, it sounds dirty and brutish – straying from and even adding diversity from the general Bridge Nine sound. The songs are being recorded (whilst drinking a lot of wine apparently) in the same hot-spot as Grey Britain was, a small garden studio in Watford – the roots of the band.

Whether or not this is me looking into things too much, I noticed that the cover art for the song (it’s not a single, as such) associated with the download resembles the new Pure Love logo rather closely - which can be seen below.

The content of the song is, for use of a better word, strong. McNeil stated over Twitter that it was in reference to the G20 protests in Toronto, as the chorus includes an abbreviation of the longstanding anti-police slogan: “A.C.A.B., until last June, meant nothing to me”, which in a way, upholds the values and content Gallows first approached with previous album, Grey Britain, only now on a much broader and international scale.

The song can be downloaded via. the following link: click here.


“Simply beautiful” were the two words than ran through my mind as I first listened to the new song by Circa Survive, a(nother) free download in the wake of announcing forth-coming fourth studio album Violent Waves. Safe to say that Green and co. are back with more elegance, groove and style than before...

‘Suitcase’ creates a thousand-worded picture in audio; a gorgeous melody, delicate lyrics, slicker vocals and an overall better crafted final product than previous efforts. The four-and-a-half minute song promises greater potential and an opening to a larger (or should I say ever-growing) fan base.

This time round, the band have decided to produce it themselves, stating on their website: “All in all we have never been more deeply involved in every aspect of creating a record”. ‘Suitcase’ can be downloaded now at their official website: www.circasurvive.com.


While She Sleeps have dropped a fourth song from the much anticipated debut album, This is the Six, as something extra for those Yanks to get excited about this 4th July. ‘Seven Hills’ was released via. YouTube as audio only (their website states the video is to be filmed later this month) and yet again, it is a banger of a track.

First previewed on BBC Radio 1's Rock Show, the listed fourth track off the album contains a hypotonic opening guitar riff which excels into hysterics as the song truly begins, leading up to an absolutely infectious ending. The Sheffield metalcore outfit have again released one impressive single making the north finally stand for something. You can visit their official website to listen to ‘Seven Hills’, along with the other tracks released, and you can also download opening track to the album for free, ‘Dead Behind the Eyes’: www.wssofficial.com.


“I’m so sick of singing about hate, it’s never going to make a change”, bellows Frank Carter as he introduces the world to his new musical direction with Jim Carroll (former guitarist of The Hope Conspiracy): Pure Love. After a successful debut show on Valentine’s day, the band release ‘Bury My Bones’ as their first single/free download, accompanied by a very trippy music video, almost a homage to the White Stripes’ famous ‘Seven Nation Army’, this time mashed-up with a kaleidoscope.

With legendary producer Gil Norton at the controls, Pure Love have recorded an album, ‘Anthems’, in Brooklyn, New York earlier this year, with the intention of a September release. It's a significant departure from Carter's former work, sporting a genuine, traditional rock sound with distinguished rhythm and clean-cut vocals.

As time went on, Carter seemed to stress a love/hate relationship for the band (not it’s members), much preferring tattooing and being away from the stage, so now I feel this project, being less demanding and less angry, is better suited to his current situation; it feels like it was the only logical step Gallows and Carter could take in order to progress with their careers. Carter himself seems far more positive and responding in interviews also; as he recently said to Vice: “It’s just a f***ing fun band”, summing them up perfectly.

Pure Love have also recently done a live Daytrotter session to keep the buzz alive, following mass appraisal already form NME, Kerrang!, Q, Vice, and BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe. Their next single ‘Handsome Devil's Club’ to be released at the end of the month, but in the mean time, head on over to their website to get your free copy of ‘Bury My Bones’ and play it loud all summer: www.therealpurelove.com.