Almost three years after their widely-praised self-titled debut album, Vukovi are back and better than ever with new album‘Fall Better’. Throughout 2019, Vukovi gifted us three tastes of ‘Fall Better’, with the incredible singles ‘C.L.A.U.D.I.A’, ‘All That Candy’ and ‘Behave’ signposting the band’s next musical phase, and the rest of the album does not disappoint. ‘Violent Minds’ opens the record following a cryptic electronic automated voicemail in the form of ‘17359’, referring to the listener as “User 17359” and warning that the album “contains strong language, dark themes, and dirty fucking riffs”, what more could you ask for?
The strong opening sets the tone for the rest of the album and every song flows beautifully together until the interlude ‘Verify Your Worth’ but quickly jumps back into softer anthems such as ‘I’m Sorry’ and soulful ‘Where Are You’. Many of the lyrics on the album are influenced by Thought Action Fusion, a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that frontwoman Janine Shilstone was diagnosed with in the time elapsed between their first album in 2017 and 2020’s ‘Fall Better’. The disorder can lead those who have it to believe that their actions are guided by an external presence; in Janine’s case, this presence took the form of a shadow, and in ‘All That Candy’ she references this presence as “nothing but a ghost, holy messing up my head”.
Vukovi are the future of UK rock music and ‘Fall Better’ is a masterclass in catchy and powerful songwriting with the classic aspects of rock, pop, and alternative music sprinkled throughout; you can dance and mosh and cry, all at the same time. Vukovi have proven once again that they will not conform to a cookie cutter society and will bend and break all expectations set out for them as a band.
‘Fall Better’ drops this Friday January 24th via VKVI Records, and is still available for pre-order at: vukoviband.lnk.to/store
Aussie metalcore quartet The Amity Affliction have announced their Pure Noise Records debut album‘Everyone Loves You… Once You Leave Them’ is set to arrive 21st February 2020.
“This album is a result of our re-found love for heavy music,” The Amity Affliction says. “We wanted to make a heavier album to back up our most recent releases to let our fans know that we understand what the majority want to hear from us. We have experimented creatively over the years and are now able to apply what we’ve learnt to what we consider the perfect blend of Amity new and old.”
To accompany the news, the band have also dropped a new song and music video entitled “Soak Me In Bleach”.
The track listing looks like this:
2. “All My Friends Are Dead”
3. “Soak Me in Bleach”
4. “All I Do Is Sink”
5. “Baltimore Rain”
8. “Just Like Me”
9. “Born To Lose”
10. “Fever Dream”
‘Everyone Loves You… Once You Leave Them’ is available to pre-order now HERE
Our favourite Scottish rockers Vukovi have just dropped new single ‘Run/Hide’ to accompany their news of new UK tour dates and album signings.
“I wanted to create a song we didn’t quite have yet on the album, like a super mature, heavy, fucked up track” explains guitarist Hamish Reilly. “Eventually I fell into the riff and just began to build from there! I felt lucky to find that riff, I didn’t actually come up with that, but more someone must have planted it in my head!”
Catch Vukovi live at the following special acoustic in-store performances and full-band headline dates in January 2020:
In homage to supporting pop-punk kings New Found Glory on their From The Screen To Your Stereo To Your Town tour, emo legends Hawthorne Heights decided to join in on the fun and have just dropped a cover of ‘Pet Sematary’ by The Ramones. Perfectly timing the release for the Halloween season.
“What is better than October and The Ramones? Hawthorne Heights has been notoriously obtuse when it comes to doing cover songs. For some reason, The Ramones are the great equalizer for us.” shares vocalist JT Woodruff.
“We all love the Stephen King book, and watched the movie growing up, so it was a true no brainer for us. The significance is that it got us to play covers together after all of these years, and it opened our eyes to how fun it can be. In honour of one of the best months of the year, one of the best punk bands of all time, and the best storyteller that has ever existed: we give you our version of Pet Sematary. We’ve never down strummed so much guitar in our lives.”
Accompanying this incredible cover is the news that Hawthorne Heights will be releasing a collection of B-Sides and Rarities titled Lost Frequencies, out 8th November via Pure Noise Records. The band also dropped another sparkling new single and music video for ‘Hard To Breathe’.
Check out both singles and be sure to pre-order the EP here.
Hawthorne Heights will be returning to the UK in 2020 for a very special tour to celebrate 15 years of the Silence In Black and White album, here’s where to catch them:
2nd February – The Asylum – Birmingham 3rd February – The Deaf Institute – Manchester 4th February – The Garage Attic Bar – Glasgow 5th February – Think Tank – Newcastle 6th February – The Leadmill 2 – Sheffield 7th February – O2 Academy – Islington 8th February – O2 Academy – Islington
You read that correctly, our favourite Scottish rockers Vukovi are BACK with a bang. Not only is their new album coming January 24th 2020 but they have also dropped a new single ‘All That Candy’ to accompany the announcement.
Although throughout 2019 we have already given three tasters of ‘Fall Better’, with singles ‘C.L.A.U.D.I.A’ and ‘Behave’ teasing Vukovi’s next musical era and second studio album.
Many of the lyrics on ‘Fall Better’ are influenced by a condition that frontwoman JanineShilstone was diagnosed with in the time since the last Vukovi album in 2017. Thought Action Fusion is a disorder that can lead those who have it to believe that their actions are guided by an external presence; in Janine’s case, this presence took the form of a shadow “that makes decisions for me, and decides whether something good or bad is going to happen to me on any given day.”
Although mental illness is a difficult subject to touch on but with Janine opening up about her struggles so publicly, she believes it is all part of the band’s mission statement.
“I want our songs to let people know that they’re not alone in feeling crazy,” she says. “I want to give people who feel that way a little bit of comfort. I want them to feel less alone. I want to let people know that it’s okay to be weird, and for them not to feel isolated because of it. Our fan base is a beautiful army of weirdos, and I want that to grow. I want them all to feel like they belong here.”
We’ve worked closely with the band Hands Off Gretel in the past, and reviewed their latest album ‘I Want The World’, but merely months after the release, front woman Lauren Tateannounced she would be releasing her first solo studio album in five years through her own record label Trash Queen Records. Lauren is a musical powerhouse; not only writing, recording, mixing and producing the album but presenting her artistic skills in the album’s artwork.
‘Songs For Sad Songs’ is a thirteen track adventure, tip-toeing through sensitive subjects ranging from grooming, abusive relationships, to mental illness. The two singles from the record differ greatly in message but at the same time, they are closely linked, conveying two life changing political and social issues. ‘Miss American Perfect Body’ is about women in the media and body image, a catchy soft grunge anthem guaranteed to have you swaying with a lighter in the air in no time. On the other hand, the second single ‘What About The Kids’ is a heart-wrenching account of a school shooting, from the perspective of a victim addressing her father. “The song is from a child’s point of view speaking to her father addressing gun violence in America.
“I wanted the song to highlight issues around gun control and the importance of children’s future in a world where nobody is listening to them. I wrote this song to sing for those that won’t ever get the chance to do so.”
Other notable mentions on the album include ‘Can’t Keep my Hands Off You’ is a classic love/hate pop rock ballad, portraying an “asshole” boyfriend or love interest that Lauren can’t escape, hence the title. ‘He Wanted More’ is a grungy song, one of the heavier parts of the album, lyrically painting a frustrating portrait of being told you’re not good enough by someone who supposedly loves you. ‘He Loves Me’ covers an abusive relationship in a jazzier tempo, a stand out part of the chorus being the phrase “I know you only hurt me ‘cause you love me, right?”
‘Rock N Roll Radio’, a narrative song, telling a tale of grooming from the perspective of a fifteen year old befriending a thirty-one year old man who is then revealed to be married. Whether or not Tate has personally experienced some of the issues raised throughout ‘Songs For Sad Girls’ does not take away from her incredible penmanship, making every song feel so raw and personal without taking too much away from the music itself.
“My lyrics are honest and brutal with songs about domestic abuse, body image, feminism and fear of dying. I wanted it to sound like a girl writing in her diary, unapologetic and imperfect like real girls are.”
Closing song ‘Teddy’ is gritty nostalgia-fuelled song, Lauren yearns for the comfort of her childhood toys, ending the album on a blue note, but it almost feels appropriate. ‘Songs For Sad Girls’ really is an album for sad girls, and is possibly a weapon to make young impressionable women realise they are not alone in their feelings or experiences. Lauren Tate is influencing a whole new generation of riot girls, unafraid to be loud and angry and especially in the music industry, demanding to be visible and to be listened to.
Wonk Unit, are a unique punk band from Croydon, and have just dropped ‘Cyclists’, furthering the band’s inimitable take on the genre of punk itself with the single taking a shot at selfish cyclists. No, we’re not kidding.
“Last Summer on route to a festival on some country lane we were unfortunate enough to get stuck behind two cyclists, yes two abreast,” explains frontman Alex Johnson. “Did they care about the motorcade snaking behind them? Cause not! Go read the highway code – two abreast is cool but ONLY IN CERTAIN SITUATIONS. DO NOT OBSTRUCT THE FLOW OF TRAFFIC. It’s the rules. So, I was tapping my hands on the dashboard when the funk took hold. “Cyclists riding 2 abreast blocking traffic, blocking traffic”. Then I did some rapping (but thankfully that never made it onto the single.) After about three months the cyclists decided to fix a puncture and we made it to the festival. By then the song was already a Wonk winner in the van! We jammed it in soundcheck and was a hit in our set later that night. The end.”
The single proves that music truly does transcend lyrical boundaries, and the DIY green screen video adds an extra level of humour to the lyrics and conveys the sheer frustration experienced by Alex that caused the song to be written.
To find out more about Wonk Unit or check out their upcoming tour dates, visit here.
The Postal Service, The Last Shadow Puppets, Gorillaz. These three iconic bands have something major in common. They were all at one point, side projects or supergroups. The Postal Service, the notable sad electronica-pop venture of Death Cab For Cutie‘s Ben Gibbard. Indie music’s kings, Alex Turner and Miles Kane joined forces to become The Last Shadow Puppets. And possibly one of the most popular “side projects that became almost more iconic than the original band”, Gorillaz, the brainchild of Blur‘s Damon Albarn. If the bands noted here tell you anything, it’s the musical power and status artists can go on to achieve through these often dismissed side projects.
James and the Cold Gun is fresh from the brains of James Biss, and James Joseph, best known for being the bassist of Welsh emo powerhouse band Holding Absence.
Our editor Jenspoke to frontman James Joseph about this new project, the band’s influences, and future tour plans.
Speak Soft Magazine: Hey, James! Firstly, for those reading who don’t already know, you’re currently the bassist of Holding Absence, and James and the Cold Gun is your new solo project. How did it come about?
James Joseph: “I’m a bit of a busy body and since Holding Absence has started to get more serious and our releases are more strategic/planned out, there is a lot of waiting around and lots of the music you hear tends to be stuff that we have recorded months ago. I’ve wanted to do a project that is purely for enjoyment and is a creative-outlet for me where I can create and release music/content whenever I feel like it. I think part of the reason so many people in bands have side-projects is to keep them busy whilst having to wait on things with their main bands. I’ve also always wanted to challenge myself by playing guitar and singing, which I’ve always found difficult!”
SSM: How does JATCG differ lyrically and musically from HA in your opinion?
JJ: “Firstly, I consciously aimed to make JATCG different to HA as I didn’t want either bands to have to compete or for any weird comparisons to be made between the two. I also think JATCG allows me to ‘scratch a different’ itch than HA whilst ensuring that my own personal preferences don’t get in the way of what HA is supposed to be. “
“HA is definitely more emotionally charged and the lyrics are more poetic, however it’s early days for JATCG so it’s pretty hard to comment on lyrics overall. Musically I wanted Cold Gun to feel like a ‘garage-rock band, I want hard hitting drums and loud amps in the face, I want to be able to write a song in a few hours whilst having fun and jamming together, this band makes me feel like I’m 15 again.”
SSM: Maybe I’m alone in this but I immediately picked up Queen of the Stone Age-esque sound in your first single ‘She Moves’, were they an influence?
JJ: “They’re a huge influence yeah, I love how they balance ‘rock and roll’ and ‘punk’ so well. Homme is a god! In some ways, I’ve started looking at ‘older-dudes’ like Josh Homme or Dave Grohl who are still killing it and almost wanting to set myself up with a project that can blossom and grow over the next 10-20 years. Those guys are still making some of their best music after 20 years, which I find super inspiring.”
SSM: How did you find directing the music video? What influenced the visual elements of ‘She Moves’?
JJ: “I actually really enjoyed it! To be honest, it was more a case of what was available to us at the lowest cost. We did the video on £0. It was shot in a friends house, who has an orange paper backdrop and we decided to film purely performance shots in an old-school square format style so that any grain or quality drop would look like it was done on purpose. I’m already thinking ahead to how we can do the next video ourselves and make it more ambitious! It’s all part of the fun.”
SSM: If you had to pick one film or television show to perfectly encapsulate your music and aesthetic, what would it be and why?
JJ: “I’ve not actually seen it… But I think I’d say Twin Peaks! Our music feels slightly old-school with an eerie kind of edge. Plus I love coffee and cherry pie!”
Chloe Davis, via the Holding Absence fan group on Facebook, You Are Everything: Are there any plans to tour with the project in the future or is it a studio-only type thing?
JJ: “We will definitely play live, but we don’t want to rush into anything! We plan on having our ‘live-band’ as a bit of a revolving door of whoever is keen at the time. It’d be really awesome if you recognised our drummers/bassists/extra instrumentalists from their other bands. I feel like it’d kind of add an extra element of excitement to our live shows if you had no idea which drummer would be playing for us live until the night or whatever.”
SSM: Do you have any advice for people starting bands or exploring new musical projects?
JJ: “Make music for YOURSELF, that YOU love and never try and follow trends. If you start a band based on a trend, chances are the trend will have moved on by the time your band actually releases music, plus I can assure you making a song that you genuinely love listening to is the most rewarding feeling. Also, surprise yourself, push yourself out of your comfort zone and just go for it. I want to continue pushing myself with this band, dance moves, makeup, whatever. You got this.”
SSM:And finally, what can we expect from JATCG before the end of the year?
JJ: “I’d like to aim for two more singles plus some acoustic bits and bobs. In fact, I’m going to force myself to work my ass off and just say: WE WILL release two more singles and some acoustic bits and bobs. I also want to be able to play live by January.”
To be the first to hear about new music from James and the Cold Gun, here’s where to find them online:
We’ve worked with Hands Off Gretel closely in the past, especially during the release of their album ‘I Want The World’ but only months later, front-woman Lauren Tate is set to release her first solo album in 5 years, ‘Songs for Sad Girls’.
Lauren is a powerhouse of incredible DIY feminine excellence, and not only self-produced and recorded all instruments on her debut album but designed all the album artwork and merchandise too.
Second song from the album ‘What About The Kids’ dropped over the weekend, and unsurprisingly Lauren also directed the music video! Seriously, what can she not do?
“The song is from a child’s point of view speaking to her father addressing gun violence in America. I wanted the song to highlight issues around gun control and the importance of children’s future in a world where nobody is listening to them. I wrote this song to sing for those that won’t ever get the chance to do so.”
In the social climate of 2019, Riskee and The Ridicule are the band we so desperately need. Their third album ‘Body Bag Your Scene’ breezes across subjects such as sexual exploitation, drugs, mental illness, and of course, modern politics. Opening so intensely with ‘Accelerate’, the record teases with gang vocals, a catchy chant that will have you humming along in no time, tied up with a crescendo into a massive punk fuelled chorus. The first single ‘Kaboom!’ jumps in to steal the attention away, weaving an extremely memorable melody and intelligent penmanship, a couple listens are recommended to truly take in what the verses are preaching about right-wing propaganda in the media.
Tongue-in-cheek “Our Time” potentially has some of the best one liners on the album, and perhaps in general, for example “Sex, drugs, and sausage rolls (vegan!)”. Now that is the kind of lyricism I want to hear more in modern music.
The next single ‘In The Dark We Dwell’ marks a dramatic departure from the first single and was directed entirely by the band. It also includes a respectful nod to the late Keith Flint (of The Prodigy) and anyone suffering from their own internal darkness.
Around the halfway mark of the album sits ‘Sellout’, reminiscent of the early days of pop punk (Green Day, Blink-182) with bouncy choruses and witty writing that are irresistible. On the other hand ‘Cut Your Teeth’ feels more like a hardcore inspired track, think Stray From The Path mixed with The Clash… a combination that sounds ridiculous but trust us, it works.
People accuse the genre of rock music of regurgitating the same cliches, the same bands and songs over the decades but every song on the record has some thing different. ‘For Old Times’ Sake’ is another anthem
Closing with ‘D.I.Y’ feels appropriate, considering the was made with fans submitting to Riskee and The Ridicule’s own pledge campaign and saw them having a direct input and a piece of the release via credits, memorabilia and even private home shows.
‘Body Bag Your Scene’ is a great example of a successful punk album with mixed influences and incredibly experimental songs, back to the roots of what punk was and what it needs to be in 2019.
If you love grunge and want to listen to music that screams horror movie soundtrack, Witch of the East are an essential. With the upcoming debut album ‘Queen of Insecurity‘ ready to drop on 5th July 2019, we caught up with front woman Aeris Houlihan for a chat about her new project:
Firstly, for those reading who don’t already know, you were in a band called Chambers, and Witch of the East is your new solo project. How did it come about?
“My previous band (Chambers) came to an end. Mainly because we were pushing in different directions artistically. We have a lot of good memories together that I’ll always cherish. Ultimately, I decided to leave because the time felt right. One night driving back on my own from Manchester to Wakefield after a not so great practice. I looked over to the other side of the motorway to see a paramedic trying to save the life of a man that had just been in a bad car accident. I don’t want to get graphic but I saw something I try to forget regularly. It was like a bullet to the brain. Why continue to do something you’re not enjoying? Life is too short!“
Tell us about the album title ‘Queen of Insecurity’, is this title a reflection on yourself or a new persona to accompany the new project?
“There are a few reasons why I decided on that title. One of the main reasons was because I became the ‘Queen’ of my own insecurity’s a few years back. It felt right! I think a lot of people can relate to overcoming their insecurities.”
If your music (past/present/future) was to be the soundtrack for any film, what film would it be? And why?
“Funny you say that! I’m also a photographer/videographer. When I write music, I feel like I’m also screenwriting. I think in a very visual way. With characters and visual settings for the music and lyrics.I’ve had my music played on a Netflix show and sports channels in the past. Which was interesting as it places your music in a new context. However, a thriller like ‘The Shining’ would be nice. My style of writing came about through thriller films.“
What has your experience as a trans person in the music industry been like?
“Not easy at times! I’ve had to get the police involved from a hate crime in the past. I’ve also had a lot of great experiences and met some really cool people along the way.“
What advice would you give to young LGBT+ musicians?
“Enjoy what you’re doing! Some days will be challenging and others not so much. Embrace what makes you unique and share it with the world.“
Who (or what) are your biggest musical influences?
“The Beatles and Nirvana hooks have never left my side. Like a little familiar! In terms of aesthetic and vibe. Siobhan Fahey (Shakespears Sister). Especially, in the video ‘Stay’.“
From ‘Queen of Insecurity’, what is your personal favourite song or lyric and why?
“When You Fuck Me! It’s brutally honest, scary and morish. Just like the title!“
Finally, what can we expect from Witch of the East after the album release, what have you got in store for the rest of 2019?
“We have another 4 music videos being released throughout the year. Also, a new single for Halloween. The single launch is going to be held at a haunted museum.Lots of festivals and tour dates!2020 plans are already underway!“