It’s always a nice surprise to come home from a bad day at work to find a package at your door-step. At first, you get overly excited, flustered with butterflies, thinking some secret admirer has bought you a present, and then reality sinks in when you look at the professionalism of the packaging and realise it’s something you forgot you ordered several weeks ago, usually from America…

So on 19th October, I had forgotten that I ordered Glassjaw’s CD/DVD re-release of the record Coloring Book, a CD they gave out for free at the end of a string of shows – I was able to pick one up when I caught them in March of last year in London. These shows consisted of a Hellacious set of favourites, followed by an encore of all six songs from the new record, in chronological order. This died the evening down, giving the atmosphere and different feel, sense and mood, almost like a comedown; as quite noticeably, Coloring Book is far mature and superior in technical ability, diversity and intimately lyrical.

I was not sure what I was expecting when I ordered the re-release: would the DVD content be of a documentary, or a live performance, or music videos, or what? I just wanted more Glassjaw in my life, and I was under full assumption that whatever footage I would receive, would be golden. The band have that knack about them; that class, that ego, that coolness – whatever they do, I love.

The DVD contents turned out to be of a live performance, and of all things, the six song encore of the very show I went to on 30th March 2011, live at the HMV Forum in London, situated in Kentish Town - it’s a pretty big and fancy Art Deco style venue. So yeah, I was chuffed. Double chuffed. Plus it was a good night anyway, because I remember drinking enough beer that day to sink a whale with my friends Ryan and Chris – even to the extent where we drank so much around Kentish Town we ended up missing support band trash giants, Napalm Death. Well, at least we heard them whilst we were queuing up outside.

As I reflect back, I recall the night being spectacular and one of great excitement and pleasure. Brutal and explosive anthems, blended perfectly with slick and effortlessly pungent jazz-infused bangers; all the classics, which the moving pictures mirror perfectly. Complied of stylish, slick shots, slow moving cameras capturing interesting crowd shots (for example, one guy simply out-of-it, rolling his eyes around his head), and shots from the crowd, scanning the stage, oozing atmospheric greatness. Without trying to sound too over the top, the DVD is a fantastic visual display of an intense show, in high definition quality, with exceptional quality sound – truly professional and thoroughly well done.

What stands out for me, whilst watching the DVD (for like the twentieth time now) is how much they’re seriously into the songs – grooving and bopping along, Beck absolutely loving ‘Gold’, adding a fantastically eerie constructed outro, and Palumbo waiting to explode during ‘Vanilla Poltergeist Snake‘, eager to get these songs more attention. ‘Miracle in Inches’ becomes a lot darker, and aggressive with a unique twist in his voice, changing the dynamic of the song entirely, which can also be seen in ‘Black Nurse’ through his off timing, and the now deeper ‘Stations of the New Cross’. This helps create a line between the studio and the stage.

Not just here, but in general, the Long Island quintet really only utilise Palumbo for the presence and movement – yet it somehow seems to work, and to great effect. He is like a car-crash, you cannot take your eyes off the leather jacketed enigma, questioning in amazement as to what he will do next, and he throws his body around the stage, from side to side, skipping along, dancing seductively, aggressively, punching the sky, mimicking gun shots in time with the drums or explosions with his hands. Whilst the musicians take a back seat, holding their ground and oozing coolness; they show dominance and dedication – passion in a different light, all fully aware they have the crowd wrapped around their fingers/in the palms of their hands.

Here is a selection of screen shots I took from the DVD myself:

 Copyright of Glassjaw, and Aml, 2012.

For the sake of comparison, I will discuss Incubus: After a drunken bar crawl around London a few weeks back, my friend introduced me to a live Incubus DVD, Alive at Red Rocks, from 2004, where Incubus played to a staggering crowd, enormous in size and volume at Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Morrison, Colorado – an outside, hazy summer night spectacular, if you will. In a haze on our own, she put it on and we slumped onto her sofa, and let the ‘magic unfold’. I was presented with something new and felt some awe rumble inside of my tummy – however, in fairness, it could’ve just been hunger; the pizza was ready to go in the oven, but it was taking quite a while to heat up.

Ostentatious venue and delirious appreciation aside, I was able to reflect back to my first viewing of Coloring Book, and even back to witnessing the footage live (lucky me), and compare my thoughts. Yes, they were quite similar; both times I was impressed, but what was most noticeable with Alive at Red Rocks, was front man Brandon Boyd, but more specifically, his unattainable, enviable vocals. Over the course of a more-than-two hour set, his voice remained incredible, no matter where he held his microphone, the end product was loud, clear, and flawlessly beautiful. With Palumbo in Coloring Book, they do sound flawed in comparison (even to his to his studio recordings/edits), but more raw and genuine here, with a real validity. The strain had set in from a lively set, leaving the encore very demanding on his voice, and this really stood out for me and made the difference.
Incubus opened with the one song I actually know the band for (from some compilation CD I got free with Kerrang! magazine, back in the days of my youth) – had all the right chemistry, chemicals and energy, but failed to explode, and for an opening song to a performance, the crowd deserved more. Naturally, watching a band of such power and magnitude, just simply seeing them and hearing the song live is enough for most to say they had a brilliant time and it was a pinnacle (a high pointed piece of rock, heh) act.

Despite a new bassist (Ben Kenney), at a band of that level, you expect more flare from a performer of that ability. If they were a ‘nobody’ band, playing their first show at a low level venue such as Cambridge’s Portland Arms (for example – you know, that little box room, the size of a toilet, with a stage that’s an inch off the ground and in the far corner (subsequently, Letlive played this venue last September; I had tickets but wasn’t able to make it to CB1 that day – absolutely gutting)), the lack of visual passion could be taken wrongly, and accusations of apathy would the audience find (shut up, Yoda), and for me, that’s what I felt needed to change when I saw this performance. The other members appeared like mannequins accompanying Boyd on stage (who outshone the lot), truly putting the ‘front’ in frontman. Clichés behind us, it was nonetheless a truly bold performance, and consisted of footage that I would recommend watching, perhaps hinting to re-watching, because I was highly impressed.

It must’ve been, as I can see from researching the venue that Incubus returned in 2011, and probably played several shows there too between 2004 and 2011. I would suggest however, not to put your (wolf)eggs* all in one basket, for whatever Alive at Red Rocks seemed to lack, Coloring Book certainly made up for, the obvious of which being the performance. The indicator, Incubus performance wise, was it did seem slightly lacking; the energy was there, but it was not visual. It was only around the half way mark that Boyd himself let loose and started to move about on stage, interact with the other members and shake his luscious locks about. I felt it still wasn’t enough to grab me.

Palumbo, on the other hand, as a performer has always left me in awe, and in jealously of wanting to be him, right down to the clothes he wears. Over the years, I had grown up a big Glassjaw fan, I’m not sure how it happened, but with a love of all things Long Island, I would have just stumbled across them and slowly found myself sinking into their clutches. I first got the opportunity to see them perform in 2008, at Give it a Name festival in Earls Court, London with the line-up they are still with today: originators Palumbo and Beck, and Manuel Carrero and Durijah Lang formally of Saves the Day – so this was a big treat for me, and this performance was pretty much was sealed the deal; the final nail in the coffin. No escape, I was in their clutches for good.

The band playing Give it a Name was the main reason a friend and I bought tickets to the festival. Naturally, the concept of a festival appealed to me, but the reason for this festival in particular was undoubtedly seeing Glassjaw for us both. So, what could be the best possible way to express my eagerness and excitement as I entered Earls Court, and waded my way through the crowd to the centre whilst the opening act, Broadway Calls, played? Yes, as one of their songs had finished and the cheers and clapping had died down, I shouted “Glassjaw!” at the top of my lungs. This got a couple chuckles, and suddenly from behind me, I heard a response, another “Glassjaw!”. It inevitably started an uproar which continued throughout the day, crazed kids screaming for Glassjaw to capture the stage. It never got tiresome.

So finally, the next day, 11th May, late afternoon, there they were. I was at the bar area, being chatted up by some random girl who said she loved my This is Hell shirt, and that they were the best band to come out of Brighton for some time (yes, she said that), when Callum and I heard the cry of the crowd. We dropped our drinks and sprinted across the arena and into the fray, descending into chaos. There, I remember seeing a guy in the pit that looked like Sayid from Lost, which threw me a bit and kept me distracted at several times (sorry, I digress), but that performance (finally! I had seen them!) essentially sealed the deal for me. I was blown away by the scream machine; he was like a trapped tiger, confined to the stage, and still to this day, the footage from Coloring Book portrays this energy rightly.

To think, this is all thanks to a chance meeting at a camp, back in 1993. Beck recalled meeting Palumbo, as he spoke to Redstar magazine two years ago:
"We had a list of names, and we were just like, let's pick one of these band names which ones the coolest. At the time there were a bunch of bands coming out with two names in one like that, like Mouthpiece, Curbjaw, stuff like that. We were going down the list, and the first name that I liked was Swiftkick. I'm all like, that’s a sick name. But for some reason Glassjaw stuck. There's really no reason behind it; it just sounded cool**"
Speaking of ‘sounding cool’, I remember the first time I heard Coloring Book. I was sat on this cold, metal stool in my ex-girlfriend’s kitchen, air drumming away, acting like the biggest prat known to man, as ‘Black Nurse’ thundered through my little laptop speakers to the high ceilings, and I instantly knew that these songs were anthems for arenas and large venues. I could easily hear them live in my head, the crescendo of Beck’s guitar as he started to further incorporate jazz and ambient influences accompanying powerful, echo-like drumming, smooth, funky bass, and aggressive, guttural screaming with a melodic touch. This is big, I thought, and I still think it today. It’s a silly image, but it’s going to stick with me.

So let’s sum up: Glassjaw are the coolest and on planet Earth***, and Coloring Book, with its stylish artwork and classic packaging, proves why****.

* ‘Black Nurse’ was originally titled ‘Wolfegg’, and demoed under said name, listed under set lists, etc.
** Glassjaw is a cool name.
*** A genuine Daryl Palumbo quote goes as follows: “Glassjaw rules. And that is a fact. I read that on the internet”.
**** I’ll stop saying ‘cool’ now.


A look at several of my latest music related Tweets:

I still get shivers every time I listen to 'D.E.A.D.R.O.M.O.N.E.S.'.

A pretty sweet and simple dose of nostalgia, really. It’s always pleasant to have your iTunes shuffle bang on a surprise song that you haven’t heard of in some time, let alone thought about, only to have it fill you with joy, excitement and the desire to stomp around the bus when it comes on. Still mouthing along to every line, the song picked me up and reminded me of the days I was just getting into hardcore, and Modern Life is War were one of the front-runners in my succumbing; their ‘big gun’ was this song. It’s fast, it’s furious, it’s poetically apt for any generation and utterly fantastic, describing a unique and unified concept. It is an inspiring song, which I’ll always enjoy, so inspiring in fact that in my first year of university I wrote a story based around it, taking out a load of lyrics and incorporating them into the piece – but that was God awful and shall not see the light of day.

The song came out in 2005, and sadly, the band are no longer going, so many new music fans will probably not be aware of Modern Life is War. I think the best they’d be aware of is seeing a member of an older band still wearing a shirt of theirs. ‘D.E.A.D.R.A.M.O.N.E.S.’ is definitely a song I recommend checking out for a heartfelt song that, to me, is timeless.

Changing Tune is a God-awful listen! Way to ruin my Friday night...

Sadly, after eagerly looking forward to Lower than Atlantis’ major label release, the third album by the Hertfordshire quartet seemed, to me, to fall thirty yards short of the mark. After an impressive start with an eerie intro following into lead single ‘Love Somebody Else’, it had flavour, with a new spice; more edgy yet radio-friendly, catchy and punchy, yet this was where the entertainment seemed to end. I’m not too sure about the style they were going for, but everything felt rushed (I believe this is the third album in three years after all): no musical piece stood out, nor did the lyrics – they lacked the whit Duce was once patted on the back by literary buffs for.

I wouldn’t say it’s frustrating, but it’s slightly disappointing to know that they’re currently being handed a fantastic opportunity, with all the finance and backing they deserve (which is a lot), yet the end product is clutching at straws for something gripping – and as a result of all the PR backing, it will still see the billboards and airwaves as something fantastic, as if the media are lying to us as to what is the ‘best out there’.

Without a doubt, their live performance will still be on form, and the new heights will see the band obtain a new set of fans but to stay where they are, and progress, rather than simply fade away creating the same music (yet lacking the spark and passion (they obviously still have it, but there’s less desire to break through once one is comfortable) that initially set them apart), they need to up their game and I urge them, and would fully appreciate it if they took a few months off the radar. Off the grid, they’d have time to step back and think more about what songs they want to put out and, as I keep saying, progress. It is around this time in a band’s existence that they either make it or don’t, they’ll produce that song they are remembered for and played on every Sky Sports advert going. Most bands would cop-out and go for a concept album, a story, or whatever, but I know it won’t be a road Lower than Atlantis would take.

They seem to still have their heads up in the clouds, everything is in the air and they are undecided about what to do, as they’re just too busy having fun playing music and seeing the world. You cannot blame them for that at all – but they need to do this for themselves. ‘Scared of the Dark’ is a soft, mellow mix, trying to merge pop with the acoustic heart-string plucked lone wolves. As good as it is, it doesn’t feel suited for them. When ‘Normally Strange’ comes on, you’re hit by an odd grunge mix, Nirvana tinted and 90s saluted, so is that a path they will follow instead? No decision is made, and, for example, as those before mentioned songs follow one another, the record feels like it is shifting continuously: you can only do one or the other with the unforgiving UK scene. NME appeared to pick up on this also; before the album came out, I read their review, giving it 5/10, and I thought to myself ‘What? No way!’, but I can see why now I’ve heard it a couple of times and found it hard to absorb despite having good qualities, catchy choruses (like ‘Something Better Came Along’) and overall good songs.

In conclusion, Changing Tune wasn’t bad, it is a record I could listen to again and I don’t see myself any time soon skipping it if a track came on, but I expected more, and everything just felt lack-lustre.

Peaceful evening in with Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, cooking, and Bad Books' II. #Bliss; #CouldntBeHappier

Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt. The musical wow-project of Andy Hull and Kevin Devine got together in the studio yet again to create one Hell of a follow-up record this autumn, picking up where they left off, to keep everyone still wanting more; to keep everyone want to hold their lover close; to keep everyone wanting to pick up a guitar and find that ‘thing’ they have been missing.

I was introduced to both Kevin Devine and Manchester Orchestra through my love of Brand New several (seven now, I think!) years ago and I have been hooked on these acts since. It was a treat to know that they would be working together to put out a record, so how do you think I felt when I heard there would then be a second only two years later?

Much like the debut, II is full of special tracks, haunting vocals, and gems that really get you in a hazy state and fill you with awe and appreciation (and very appropriate/fitting for a night that also saw me watch a Wes Anderson film) – for me, my favourite track is ‘Lost Creek’, it’s truly relaxing and climactic. It’s the little, delicate lines this record is complied of that really add the finishing touches, which become the cherry on top, if you will: “The last time I saw her was honestly awful for me” (‘Lost Creek’), and “Now I know, it’s so good to be alone” (The After Party). I can’t think of anything better! I included a song from the band on my summer mixtape, labelling them “Quite possibly one of the best music collaborations to date”, and with the release of II, I can easily stand by my statement.

Random woman on @wearefictionuk's performance at Queensgate this evening: "If you go to the Met, you'll probably see worse".

On the 10th, in support of a local college, the main shopping centre in Peterborough, Queensgate, held its second annual ‘student night’, a night filled with discounts and sale, free samples, gift bags, DJs and bands playing for free. Last year was a smaller affair, with only one band (The Whisky Jax) playing in the middle of the shopping centre, but this year had a neat line-up to perform on a very, very small stage provided by a local practise room business (along with them providing sound). Amidst the bill were the likes of Tu Amore and All in Colours, but the headliners for the night were We Are Fiction – living out their childhood dream of causing chaos in shopping centre.

For a Wednesday night, the centre was alive and spirits were high, which is a rare thing in my city and as time went on, sets were being forcibly cut short due to stage times whilst #TeamWeAreFiction were gearing up and dripping with eagerness from every pore.

A six song set solidified the band’s reputation as the non-stop, fun-first, party-monsters that they are to a crowd of around one hundred and fifty people, loyal fans and first-timers, which indefinitely saw them also get banned from playing there ever again. This was thanks to Barker’s favour to swearing in public, the kids with a screw loose running around the stage and entire shopping centre being chased by security guards, and general ferocious music – absolute fun! A strong performance that won’t be topped for some time

You are a medicine cabinet I can crawl in, like the rat I am.

I was enjoying a healthy dose of Taking Back Sunday and feeling sorry for myself at the same time. Multi-tasking! Men can do it as well.

Casually waiting now for Wade to Instagram the f*** out of Peterborough.

Supported by Brotherhood of the Lake and Feed the Rhino, Gallows came to town and I was finally able to see them perform for only the second time, but now with MacNeil fronting the hardcore crew. The England match had been called off due to bad weather, and so my friends and I doubled our intake of drinks as we waiting for Gallows to hit the stage, and one thing is for sure, the hype was well and undoubtedly lived up too. MacNeil is a reputable and energetic frontman, his stage presence is unrivalled – not only with his Alexisonfire past to accompany him, but he gelled so well with a band that have already created a story for themselves, as if he was there from day one, and held more of a dominance and stronger, unified appearance (along with confidence and pride) than I remember Carter sporting back in 2006.

I really enjoyed their set, and seeing the new chapter unfold for the Gallows boys, with their new songs that pack a punch and yet still have the ability to bring back the classics (such as ‘In the Belly of a Shark’) and perform them so well – closing with ‘Orchestra of Wolves’ was a fantastic finish, with the entire crowd howling and screaming out as MacNeil crashed into the crowd and fans raided the stage: Hell bent, destruction, fun, chaos, Canadians and passion.

Forgot I ordered Glassjaw's Coloring Book DVD, but it came through my letter-flap today and f*** me, @DarylPalumboCC is immense.

A phenomenal live performance from one superb CD/DVD pack, with Palumbo reminding me why he is my hero, and all-time favourite frontman. But I won’t talk about this DVD feature just yet, as I will be going in depth about it with my next article. Keep your eyes peeled!

Solid final release by Basement. Colourmeinkindness is alright in my books.

The emo/grunge-esque style that Lower than Atlantis lacked in Changing Tune was something Norfolk’s Basement got right with their final release. It’s always sad to know that a bad will call it a day, and do their best to put out as much as possible to keep their fans happy, but still forever wanting more – a string of shows, re-releasing old rare merchandise, and a new record. It’s like a funeral, celebrating the glory we have had the pleasure to witness and listen to, but ultimately paying tribute knowing it has come to an end.

Nonetheless, Colourmeinkindness is Basement on top form; pulling out all the stops and going out in style with an emotional rush. A half hour of happiness, where it seems they have been able to take the inspiration and awe from the likes of old school bands such as Jawbreaker, Hot Water Music, Texas is the Reason, American Football, Lifetime, and Rival Schools, even with hints of The Pixies, Weezer, and Blur in tracks such as ‘Covet’ and ‘Control‘.

They’ve taken a 90s successful formula (listen to ‘Spoiled’ to see what I mean) and merged it with new age post-hardcore filler riffs to give their songs the finishing touch and modern day twist, along with Fisher’s diverse and envious vocal styles: sounding like Kurt Cobain of Nirvana in ‘Spoiled’, to Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day in ‘Pine’, he has a damn good voice.

Fisher stated:
“I am both excited and saddened about the release of this record. On the one hand there is the finished product of a project we are all very proud of and on the other it acts as a [...] bookend to a really great couple of years”
They play their final two shows tomorrow in Leeds, and Saturday in London, and thereafter, “Basement will have to be a happy memory”.

Every time I get stressed, I hum a bit of Justin Timberlake, and everything seems to just work itself out.

A joke a day keeps my insanity at bay. And I just really like a bit of Justin Timberlake. Everyone does, and if they say that they don’t, they’re obviously lying. The man’s a God. Here’s a jokey photo that will cheer you up: click here.

I rarely bother with Raw, but I'm watching it (and putting up with jobbers) so I can spot @TravisReilly and @RickisHell in the crowd.
@TravisReilly: @gavinsavedlatin Did you see us? If so, send a screen cap!
@TravisReilly: You were shown twice. Once fighting for Cena's love, and then again laughing at Vickie, haha: pic.twitter.com/nyGaY9IR.
@TravisReilly: @gavinsavedlatin Hahah. I wish the Vicky one was clearer.
@TravisReilly: Guess you'll have to go again!

As you can see here, I had a little back and forth with Travis Reilly from This is Hell after they spoke of attending a live wrestling event, WWE Monday Night Raw. Even the current WWE Champion, and straight edge, long time hardcore music fan, CM Punk tweeted the news that Reilly and Jimenez would be in attendance.

I’ve spoken to Reilly a few times in person and online and he is a genuine, down-to-earth guy, so having spotted him twice, I screen-capped some shots and sent them over. The tweet was then re-tweeted by the This is Hell account and also acknowledged/replied to by The Swellers, which was also pretty awesome and flattering. To see the image, click on the link above in the conversation.

Streaming Peace’d Out’s debut through Alternative Press is a laggy ballache, but the songs are so damn good!

Peace’d Out is a new, cool-named project featuring Vinnie Caruana (I Am the Avalanche), Steve Choi (RX Bandits), Casey Deitz (The Velvet Teen), and Roger Camero (No Motiv), and they are just so unique and crazy – it’s as if someone took The Sound of Animals Fighting and forced them to re-enact that hallway scene from Oldboy.

Becoming enigmas with cryptic transmissions and withheld identities since emerging across the internet several weeks back, sparking controversy and crazy statements such on their Facebook such as “Soon we will test our new bass guitar amplifier which captures the infrasonic power of a Blue whale”, “We wanted to make our record out of pure mercury but the authorities wouldn't let us”, “Bet you wish you had drumsticks made of Woolly Mammoth tusk like we do”, and “Earthlings: If you experience loss of mobile phone reception, internet failure, traffic jams, or electro-magnetic waves which disturb normal functions of consumer electronics, it's because we are rehearsing today”.

The record itself is refreshing and exhilarating, with the carnage to rival the likes of The Dillinger Escape Plan or The Chariot, but with enough soul and smoothness to accompany Circa Survive and the likes. I purchased it as soon as it came out on iTunes, and I recommend doing the same. Alternatively, you can still stream the record via. Alternative  Press. Just make sure you listen to it!: Alternative Press.

Lana Del Rey has literally the sexiest singing voice I’ve ever heard. Oh ma’ gawd.

I just really, really fancy her, okay.