#Review: State Champs – Living Proof ūüźĮ


   

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State Champs are a pop punk powerhouse, who formed in Albany, New York, back in 2010. To date, the band have released two albums, which had great receptions, making them a staple name in the pop punk world. Now they are releasing their third full-length record, Living Proof, which is set to see the band soar to new heights!

State Champs - Living Proof.jpg

Kicked into top gear immediately, with opening track, ‘Criminal’, this epic, in-your-face thrash anthem is a high-octane way to open a record…and you’d expect nothing less from State Champs.

From there the album continues to build, from the drum-heavy and powerful ‘Frozen’ to second single, ‘Crystal Ball’, which has the perfect build-up from a calm, heartfelt introduction through to a passionate, powerful chorus. The vocals are particularly incredible on this track with a half-time section towards the end.

It’s impossible to listen to this record without craving to see them live.

Then there’s the sure-fire, off-beat crowd-pleaser and lead single, ‘Dead And Gone’, about a troubled relationship and ‘Our Time To Go’; an archetypal pop punk power ballad which tugs at the heart strings and encourages taking the positive with the negative.

Other notable tracks include, the passive aggressive, ‘Safe Haven’ which contains a brilliant musical breakdown after the chorus and a moment of solace in the middle 8 section; ‘Something About You’ is a fun, uplifting track with some superb vocal steps and is reminiscent of something by Marianas Trench whilst ‘Mine Is Gold’ has an All Time Low-vibe. It then all goes out with a bang in ‘Sidelines’; a beautifully chaotic track which breaks, in part, to a lighters-up moment of calm before descending into a final bout of pure carnage that brings the album to an epic finish.

The production on the album is top-notch too! Some stunning little effects and subtle fills make this a diverse and powerful listen!

It’s impossible to listen to this record without craving to see them live. You get every sense that a performance by this band will leave you sweaty and exhausted but greatly fulfilled. All credit to the guys for taking their time to release a new record; it’s an excellent album that will undoubtedly take pride of place in every pop punk fan’s music collection.

Rating
4-5


‘Living Proof’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/living-proof/1370452923


Living Proof on Spotify

Dead And Gone (Official Music Video)

Secrets (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this band’s Fiction Act EP? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or via our social media.


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#ThrowbackThursday: Bowling For Soup – ‘Punk Rock 101’


   

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This year sees the 15th anniversary since Bowling For Soup released their single, ‘Punk Rock 101’.

The band are known for their punk rock sound but married up with comedy and a pinch of not taking themselves too seriously, and this is certainly no different. The song serves as a lesson in writing a punk rock song, making references to other songs or things from the world of music, such as Bon Jovi‘s ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’, Fat Mike from NOFX and even the title itself is a nod to Kurt Cobain‘s suicide note.

The track is catchy as hell, fast-paced, cheeky and just downright fun!

And the music video (below) is even funnier – picturing the band amongst a large group of recruits at an army-like boot camp for rigorous training in the art of punk rock. Hilarious!

A great track that never gets old – a timeless punk rock classic!

Do you remember this song when it was released? Is this your first time hearing it? Have you got a #ThrowbackThursday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Punk Rock 101’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/punk-rock-101/418436938?i=418437191


#WildCardWednesday: Good Charlotte – ‘Actual Pain’


   

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Good Charlotte are back and damn are we excited!

Their sixth studio album, Youth Authority (2016), saw the band rise back to the success of their fourth album, Good Morning Revival (2007), both peaking at Number 13 in the UK Charts. Now, with their seventh album, Generation Rx, due out in September 2018, we hope to see them replicate or even surpass this.

Certainly, if new single, ‘Actual Pain’, is anything to go by, that shouldn’t be a problem.

The new single has managed to strike a perfect balance between some of their more synth-driven, pop-rock songs like ‘Dance Floor Anthem’ and ‘Misery’ and earlier, guitar-infused and more sincere tracks like ‘Hold On’ and ‘We Believe’.

This type of combination of their sounds is driving the band into a new era and is sure to please both old fans as well as capture new ones. It’s a really strong single that’s got me excited to hear the rest of the new album! I wonder if they’ll have one of their epic, atmospheric intro tracks, like they used to?!

The music video for this track is emotive, depicting a boy reminiscing about the good times he shared with his mother, during his childhood and how that changed over time. It appears is a narrative-driven music video, interspersed with GC performance – a great, new video from the band!

What are your thoughts of the band’s latest single? Are you excited about their new album, Generation Rx? Do you have a #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Actual Pain’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/actual-pain-single/1384922354


#FreakyFriday: YONAKA – ‘F.W.T.B. (F**king With The Boss)’


   

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YONAKA are an edgy, in-your-face, Brighton-based band that have just released the follow-up to their October 2017 EP,¬†Heavy. Their new single,¬†‘F.W.T.B.’ is a monstrous track that is all about self-empowerment!

Front-woman and lead singer,¬†Theresa Jarvis, has stated that,¬†‚ÄúThe song is a big ‚Äúf**k you‚ÄĚ to anyone who tries to get in your way and tell you no. It‚Äôs about taking back the power, standing up for yourself and being heard.‚Ä̬†

It is a track that reigns very true for me personally and it’s great to hear a song that is about standing up for what you believe in. It’s also the perfect track for our first #FreakyFriday post – something a bit different to our usual #FeelGoodFriday posts.

Not only have the band been gathering a lot of support and notoriety with the press, but they are scheduled for a string of European festival dates this summer with a big headline date at the Electric Ballroom, London on 11th October 2018 too! (Tickets available here).

No music video is available yet, but if one emerges, we’ll be sure to keep you updated.

FESTIVAL DATES

19th May – Gold Sounds Festival, Leeds
26th May – Neighbourhood Festival, Manchester
31st May – Primavera Sound, Spain
17th June – Meltdown Festival, London
22nd June – Southside Festival, Germany
23rd June – Hurricane Festival, Germany
5th July – Opener Festival, Poland
7th July – Roskilde Festival, Denmark
12th July – Musilac Festival, France
14th July – Bilbao BBK Live, Spain
19th July – Electric Castle Festival, Romania
22nd July – Paleo Festival, Switzerland
28th July – Kendal Calling, Kendal
3rd August – Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, Inverness
4th August – Leefest presents Neverworld, Royal Tunbridge Wells
16th August – Pukklepop, Belgium
17th August – Lowlands Festival, Holland
18th August – Frequency Festival, Austria

What are your thoughts of this punk-fuelled, stick-it-to-the-man band? Got a #FreakyFriday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘F.W.T.B.’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/f-w-t-b-single/1380193167


#Review: Hawthorne Heights – Bad Frequencies


   

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Hawthorne Heights¬†are an American emo/rock¬†band from¬†Dayton, Ohio, which formed in 2001.¬†The band currently consists of JT Woodruff (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Matt Ridenour (bass guitar, backing vocals), Mark McMillon (lead guitar, backing vocals) and Chris Popadak (drums, percussion). To date, the band have released 5 studio albums and been through a variety of line-up changes but now, in 2018, the band are releasing their sixth studio album,¬†Bad Frequencies, through¬†Pure Noise Records. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Hawthorne Heights - Bad Frequencies

This is certainly an album of two mindsets; on the one hand you’ve got a new sound that sees the band edging ever closer to pop punk commerciality and on the other hand they are sticking to their more screamo roots. However you look at it, the band are diversifying and growing their sound at the same time as keeping hold on some of what the fans love.

‘In Gloom’ launches the album with a slow, heartfelt intro from vocalist/guitarist JT Woodruff, but after the first minute, we are thrust into the sound of the full band, making their triumphant return.

The nostalgia continues as first single, ‘Pink Hearts’, reflects on past relationships you carelessly work your way through in your younger years.

An exciting balance of old and new, Hawthorne Heights have made a triumphant return!

More old-school, classic Hawthorne Heights can be heard on tracks such as ‘Crimson Sand’ and ‘Just Another Ghost’ with bassist, Mark McMillion‚Äôs, screams coming through in full force.

Meanwhile, ‘Edge Of Town’ and ‘Starlighter (Echo, Utah)’ show us the newer, more pop-punk driven sound that moves this record, and indeed the band, forward.

Possibly one of the most stand-out tracks on the record is ‘Pills’; the song deals with the loss of someone you care deeply about but it demonstrates brilliantly, how the band have grown and continue to push their songwriting and sound; where in the past this might have been a heavy, scream track or an altogether more simplistic affair; a great way to finish the album by showing off where the band’s future lies.

That’s not to say the band that people know and love is gone; there are emo lyrics throughout record and still the occasional screaming, it’s just the instrumentation is slicker and more intricate and in places, JT Woodruff uses falsetto in his vocals; something new and interesting for the band’s sound.

There’s no doubt about it; this band know how to write catchy hooks, tying together some of the heavier, more chaotic parts of the record. Armed with a whole load of history and self-reflection plus a strong sense of where they are heading, this record is definitely representative of both their past and the future for the band. An exciting balance of old and new, Hawthorne Heights have made a triumphant return!

Rating


‘Bad Frequencies’¬†can be ordered here –¬†http://smarturl.it/HawthorneHeights¬†or downloaded from iTunes, here –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/bad-frequencies/1351452415


Bad Frequencies on Spotify

Just Another Ghost (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Hawthorne Heights’ new album! What are your thoughts of it? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or chat to us about it, via our socials.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Drones – Exiled


   

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Drones are a London-based, in-your-face, all-out, old-school punk rock band made up of¬†Lois McDougall (vocals), Rob King (guitar),¬†Tim Kramer (guitar/backing vocals),¬†James Kerr (bass/backing vocals) and Mitchell Thomas¬†(drums). They’ve just released their album, Exiled, and here’s what we thought…

Drones - Exiled.jpg

Exiled is very much a hardcore, politically-charged, punk rock, concept album, inspired by the current refugee crisis across Europe and as such, is attempting to deal with a very relevant issue. Vocalist, Lois McDougall, further explains,“Exiled is a collection of songs that we began writing after being struck by the misery of the European refugee crisis. Some of the songs are written from the perspectives of fictional characters of those impacted by the crisis, and others of those who prefer to distance themselves from it. Millions of people are suffering every day and it’s a subject that should be kept at the forefront of all of our minds. Music is a great platform for personal connection. We’ve taken a subject that can so easily be viewed as a distant-seeming ‘world-issue’, and tried to make it more personal. In doing so, we hope that people may feel more compassion for the victims, and that those suffering may find an ounce of comfort in these songs. Exiled is dedicated to those fleeing any war-torn country.”

It certainly has managed to deliver this and lyrically addresses the issues it set out to face, however in places, I find the lyrics a bit frank; too obvious and not necessarily clever, however that is often the nature of punk music. In spite of this, it is a fast, furious and fun record, with some very chantable choruses and moshable guitar riffs, particularly the likes of¬†‘For Those Who Care’,¬†‘Inferno’,¬†‘Rorschach’¬†and¬†‘Anchors’. Then, towards the end of the record, it gets even thrashier.

They’ve delivered a poignant, angry-sounding album that is intent on highlighting current issues.

Conversely to this, the band have a couple of tokenistic ballad-like songs, with the acoustic-driven¬†‘Black Blood’ and the¬†Metallica-esque,¬†‘Sickbay’, which add a little depth to this otherwise intense album.

Despite¬†Drones¬†being very much an traditional, politically-fuelled punk band, the production is top-notch, yet still hasn’t lost the charm that an old-school punk band would have had. It’s not over-produced and there a slight imperfections, which all add authenticity to the record. In places, this band remind me of 2004, punk rockers,¬†The Fight¬†(remember¬†‘Can’t Be Bothered’?).

This is certainly an album you would want to see live, to let yourself lose by bouncing around to your heart’s content. They’ve delivered a poignant, angry-sounding album that is intent on highlighting current issues, but unfortunately they are not going to set the world alight or make any significant changes to music, or punk. However, they know their sound and they execute it well.

Rating
3


‘Exiled’¬†is out now¬†and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/exiled/1317378913


Exiled on Spotify

Rorschach (Official Music Video)

Territories (Official Music Video)

Inferno (Lyric Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Drones’ new album, Exiled! What do you make of it? Are you a fan? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or hit us up via our social media.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Story Untold – Waves


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerStory Untold are a pop punk five-piece band based in¬†Montreal, Canada, who formed back in 2012. In 2016, not long after signing to¬†Hopeless Records, the band released their debut, self-titled EP. Now, they’re releasing their first full-length album,¬†Waves, and here’s what we have to say about it…

Story Untold - Waves

The opening track, ‘In Or Out’, is a well-written, punchy, pop rock song with an uber-catchy, sing-along chorus that instantly had me excited for what more was to come, and rightly so…this is a very strong debut album!

Citing some of their influences as Green Day, Blink-182, Sum 41 and Fall Out Boy, it’s easy to hear how they have become the type of band they have. Think early Simple Plan meets more recent All Time Low but recorded in an even more polished way – that is this album! It’s superbly produced, filled with catchy songs and has highs and lows in all the right places.

Some of the main themes across the album include relationships and break-ups – pretty standard stuff – but the delivery is very current, with songs like ‘Delete’ referencing modern technologies (“Now you’re just a photo on my iPhone screen.”). Usually I find this sort of thing in songs a little cringe, but somehow the melodies the band have used and the conviction with which Janick Thibault sings the lyrics is so well executed that I really don’t mind it.

The band have compiled a sound, well-written, pack-a-punch, pure pop punk album…and it’s glorious.

Overall, this is an incredible debut and each track has their own great qualities but in my opinion, some of the best tracks on this record include; ‘In Or Out’ as it is just a fantastic opener for the record, ‘The 3ND’ has a great push in the chorus accompanied by quite choppy lyrics and varied vocals, ‘Drown In My Mind’ as it has a very intricate quality to it and ‘California’ for being a straight-up pop punk anthem (very Simple Plan-esque). To be honest it’s quite hard to pick stand-out songs as almost all of them are incredible – it’s even got your typical piano-style ballad, ‘Invisible’. The only track I thought let down the album a bit, was the last track, ‘Chasing Feelings’ – I loved the way the album began with a huge kick and I actually wanted it to end the same way; with a massive, all-out pop punk track – I felt that it was a bit of a weak end to such a great album. Other than that, it’s superb!

This is definitely an record I would love to see played live – from listening to their recording alone, you get a real sense of what their performances would be like. The band have compiled a sound, well-written, pack-a-punch, pure pop punk album…and it’s glorious – I haven’t been this excited about a new pop punk band for quite a while. With the sound they have created for themselves and the energy and buzz about them, I’m sure there will be a lot more to come from them in the future. Well done guys!

Rating
4.5.jpg


‘Waves’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/waves/1298835393


Waves on Spotify

In Or Out (Official Music Video)

Delete (Official Music Video)

Drown In My Mind (Official Music Video)

All The Same (Once A Liar, Always A Liar) (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Story Untold’s debut album,¬†Waves. What do you think of it? Are you as much of a fan as us? Would you give it the same rating as us or rate it differently? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or hit us up via our socials.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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