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Scum Of The Earth – Sleaze Freak

Need a soundtrack to go with your Halloween party and seem to have misplaced your White Zombie releases from back in the day? Then go ahead and pick up Scum Of The Earth’s second album “Sleaze Freak”, an album that sounds a lot like Zombie did back in the day. Probably because the band was started by former Zombie guitarist Riggs.

The lyrical content is what you’d expect with songs about murder, the devil and corpses which are further beefed up by bigass riffs and a powerful rhythm section. It’s all pretty good stuff but I somehow miss the tongue-in-cheek factor that made White Zombie a helluva good time.

Need a reason to buy this rather than download the whole thing? How about the fact that this one comes with a 28-page booklet featuring the horror art of Paul Garner and a DVD with some live footage.
Score: 7 out of 10

Dead By Wednesday – The Killing Project

Connecticut’s Dead By Wednesday is back with their first new album since 2006’s “Democracy Is Dead” (out on Stillborn Records). With every single band that drops a release on Stillborn, I find it hard not to compare them in some way to Hatebreed. But not so with these guys. Hell, they are all over the board.

On “The Killing Project” these guys dish out a dozen songs that mix influences from hardcore, thrash, metal and punk into one messy whole. At times it also reminded me of a bunch of nu metal bands like Mushroomhead and Mudvayne. Not sure if that’s such a good thing but hey… they go for a System Of A Down vibe as well here and there and that’s never a bad thing when done right.

Dead By Wednesday is pretty much a straight-forward, blow-to-the-face kinda band that released a solid album that isn’t doing anything new but can stand on its own two feet just fine.
Score: 6 out of 10

Old Growth – Under The Sun

Is it punkrock with Americana influences? Or is it Americana with punkrock influences? And who really does give a shit as long as it rocks? And a whole lot of rocking is involved on Old Growth’s latest release, “Under The Sun”.

Sometimes these guys for the straight up snotty punkrock, at other times they will throw a harmonica in the mix and they don’t shy away from fairly mellow cuts that lean heavily on the rootsy part of their influences. Whatever they come up with, it’s always pretty damn good stuff so you won’t hear me complaining about this Portland, Oregon outfit. It rocks… what more can I say?
Score: 7 out of 10

Cassette – Shining Like A New Dime

I never heard of these guys before and I haven’t used cassettes in years but openminded as I am I decided to give “Shining Like A New Dime” a try nevertheless. How gracious of me, right? Anyway, this female-fronted indiepop outfit likes their songs mellow with a bit of ukulele here and a whole lot of cello in the others. But it’s kinda like a cowbell, right? You can never have enough cello. Oh, and the fact that the vocalist at times sounds a bit like Tany Donelly doesn’t hurt things either.

They still have a lot of work to do… like the semi off-key singing at times and some of the arrangements could use some more work (“Bridge Building” anyone ? Yikes!) but the intention is there.
Score: 5.5 out of 10

Seekers Of The Truth – 2 Decades Shunning Masks

Seekers Of The Truth is a French outfit that has been around for quite some years, not counting the seven-year hiatus between 1998 and 2005 and who have already dropped a couple of releases more than worthy of your attention. After a some shows here and there, the band thought the time felt right to record another album. So they went to their rehearsal space and starting cranking out songs that have now resulted in “2 Decades Shunning Masks”.

Expect to hear some fast old school hardcore with some serious NYHC influences. That means tons of groove and plenty of melody and singalong parts. There’s seriously no going wrong with this one if you’re into the likes of Warzone, H2O or Gorilla Biscuits. The only downside (if you can call it that) is that this album has a whopping 20 tracks on sale and might be running a bit long for an old school album with its 52 minutes. Then again, everything sounds great and these guys obviously know what they’re doing.
Score: 8 out of 10

Misconduct – One Step Closer

After an intro that does nothing and could’ve just as easily been lifted off of a powermetal album, Sweden’s Misconduct does what they’re good at. “One Step Closer” is filled with the kind of fast-paced melodic punkrock that seemed to be all that was coming out of Sweden a bunch of years ago. Think No Fun At All, think Millencolin and you’ll know exactly what to expect. Nothing more, but nothing less either.
Score: 7 out of 10

Gringo Star – All Y’All

Yes, the band name is kinda cheesy but fun which matches the music. “All Y’All” opens with the title track, which is one of the best songs The Kinks never got round to writing and things only get better from there.

This is solid garage rock played with just the right amount of ennui that a lot of other hipster band can learn a thing or two from. With “I Will Not Follow” they prove that they don’t shy away from the occasional foray into psychedelic territories while the folky “Trans”mission sounds like another lost track, only this time around one from the Mamas and the Papas with its plea for peace.

Don’t let the artwork scare you off, this is a really good album. And with this being only the band’s debut, I can’t wait to see what they’ll be up to in the future.
Score: 8 out of 10
My Anxious Mouth

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – I Learned The Hard Way

Back to those sweet soul sounds of the 60s and 70s seems to be the thing Sharon Jones and her Dap Kings swear by. They also swear by keeping everything as authentic as possible by recording analog and even going as far as not to use instruments that didn’t exist back then. Listening to their fourth album “I Learned The Hard Way” over and over, I can tell you that there’s a lot to be said for it.

At least half of the songs on here could’ve been big hits back in the day with Sharon Jones sounding like a true soul diva while the rest of the band is laying down a perfect foundation for Jones to go off over. The result is a stunning album that sounds like a recently discovered gem that someone dug up in some forgotten archive. Soul revival? Hell yeah!
Score: 9 out of 10

Automatic Loveletter – Truth Or Dare

“Truth Or Dare” is the name of Automatic Loveletter’s debut album and while I wouldn’t mind a game of truth or dare with vocalist Juliet Simms, it’s hard to get equally excited about the album itself.

While Simms has a pretty impressive voice and is without a doubt the main characteristic of the band, it quickly becomes annoying how much her voice is shoved all the way to the front of the mix resulting at times in a bit of a shrieking and forced mess. The music itself is okay but nothing to write home about with songs like the lukewarm “Back To Life” as an absolute low.

With a mix of upbeat pop songs and ballads, this is more something for all the teenage girls out there rather than for this 30-year-old disgruntled office worker. So I’ll just end this review by saying that fans of Paramore and VersaEmerge should have a field day with this one. I however will refrain.
Score: 5.5 out of 10

Spanish Gamble – It’s All Coming Down

Just like the conquistadors before them, the guys in Spanish Gamble thought it would be a good idea to invade Florida. Listening to the batch of punkrock anthems they deliver on “It’s All Coming Down” I think it’s only fair to say that they belong there.

They play the kind of upbeat poppunk with a raw twist that I simply can’t get enough of. If you told me that they’re from the Richmond area, I would believe you. But I would just as well nod in agreement if you told me they have that East Bay vibe going on. It’s all true and living in Florida sure as hell hasn’t hurt them either. Honestly, I couldn’t care less where they’re from… any band that delivers heartfelt, energetic and melodic as fuck punkrock is good in my book.
Score: 8 out of 10

Sage Francis – Li(f)e

Sage Francis has never been one to follow the herd. Rather than wearing a ton of bling bling and rapping about bitches and clubs, he’d rather tell you a real story with a little bit of philosophy and a whole lot of puns and clever rhymes mixed in.

That’s once again no different on “Li(f)e”, the man’s fourth studio album. It opens with a country and western kinda vibe before taking off with Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle providing backing vocals. It’s not the only one of Francis’ friends from the indie scene that are helping out. Next up is the uptempo “Three Sheets To The Wind” with Death Cab For Cutie’s Chris Walla. Elsewhere on the album you can hear the guys from Calexico, Mark Linkous and film composer Yann Tiersen. Especially that last collaboration results in one of the album’s finest songs with Francis’ lines being an exact match for Tiersen’s bells and horns.

Sage Francis is a rapper with a thing or two to say about life and everything that comes with it and rather than delivering his message over rehashed beats and a sampled chorus from some forgotten 80s hit, he’s made yet another highly experimental hiphop album that I can totally get into.
Score: 8.5 out of 10


Jeremy Jay – Splash

Not an Englishman in New York, but rather an American living in Europe. That’s Jeremy Jay in a nutshell. Loving himself some French new wave, Jay writes dreamy, floaty indie pop songs that reminded me of The Thermals and The Triffids.

Lyrically the man is a romantic, albeit a cliché-riddled one. Combined with a voice that lingers between singing and talking in a not so convincing way, this all results in a bit of a letdown. He has another album coming out later this year, maybe it will be better.
Score: 5.5 out of 10

The Other – New Blood

Germany’s horrorpunks The Other are back with a new album, called “New Blood”. Rather than releasing it on their own label (Fiendforce), this marks their Steamhammer debut.

After a bombastic instrumental intro that wouldn’t have looked out of place on a Lords Of The Rings soundtrack, it’s back to business as usual. Expect high-energy punkrock songs about cemeteries, vampires, demons and there’s probably a ghoul hiding in the lyrics somewhere as well. Maybe it’s in the song “Hier Kommt Die Dunkelheit”? I wouldn’t know, my German isn’t that good. It is one of the best songs on the album though so maybe that’s something they should explore more often in the future? Anyway, if you’re into the likes of Misfits or even 69 Eyes, you will definitely find your fix here. Even the German accent isn’t that annoying anymore!
Score: 7 out of 10

Fact – In The Blink Of An Eye

Following up their successful self-titled debut, the Japanese dudes that make up Fact are back for another round. My first impression after having heard the entire album is that it’s a little less diverse than its predecessor. Sure, they still mix up pop, rock, metal, punk and everything in between but it all sounds a little more streamlined and slicker than the first time around. Maybe that’s the influence of producer Michael Baskette (Incubus, Story Of The Year), maybe it’s simply the sound of a band evolving.

Everything’s packaged in nice songs that don’t outstay their welcome but rather flash by… wait for it… in the blink of an eye. “Silent Night” is a good example of the band throwing everything they’ve got into the blender, starting out with screams and a meaty riff before shifting into a poppier sound only to then morph into a hefty dose of deathcore.

Fact is a very versatile band with a busy sound and while they are probably aiming more for a teenage audience rather than a 30-year-old sarcastic prick, there’s no denying that they’re very good at what they do.
Score: 7.5 out of 10

Good Old War – Good Old War

Good Old War is a trio from Philadelphia that peddles the kind of sweet and soft indie folk-rock that is doing so well these days with the likes of bands such as Fleet Foxes. Not that they’re simply jumping on the bandwagon here. On their self-titled album they prove to be way more than just a mere copycat looking to cash in on the hype. Their acoustic compositions and vocal harmonies are simply too good to dismiss them like that.

Even though they ooze potential, these guys still lack some hooks to make the songs truly memorable. That’s not saying that songs like “Making My Life”, “That’s Some Dream” ( the spirit of Simon & Garfunkel is especially strong in this one) or “While I’m Away” aren’t utterly enjoyable though. It’s songs like that that make “Good Old War” a good album, but one that leaves some room for improvement on future releases.
Score: 7 out of 10

Satan Takes A Holiday – Satan Takes A Holiday

Not only is Satan Takes A Holiday the name of an album by Anton Lavey, it’s also the name of this Swedish rock ‘n roll outfit. On their self-titled album they churn out a nice mix of garage rock and rockabilly. With uptempo rhythms, loud guitars and an extremely versatile vocalist, they rage through 13 songs that sound a whole lot better than the artwork would have you believe. And yes, even their cover of Alphaville’s “Big In Japan” is a lot of fun. Fun being the word that pretty much sums up the entire album.
Score: 6.5 out of 10

Blackberry Smoke – A Little Piece Of Dixie

With “A Little Piece Of Dixie” Blackberry Smoke deliver exactly what they promise in the title. From start to finish these Southern boys rock and swing harder than the rocking chair on their front porch.

They throw some of that Southern rock swagger in your face armed with bluesy riffs delivered by two guitars, shouted vocals that come with just the right amount of grit and a great sense of melody. And of course the pedal steel guitar and Hammond organ aren’t forgotten either!

Also included is the occasional excursion into bluegrass and I’ll be damned if that doesn’t rock as well. Oh, and make sure to check out the bonus track with George Jones and Jamey Johnson on vocals. Great album if you’re into this kind of music… fans of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Drive-By Truckers and The Black Crowes should rejoice and start work on that bottle of whiskey that has been waiting for a soundtrack to go with it!
Score: 8 out of 10

Underdog - Matchless

When vocalist Richie Birkenhead (Youth Of Today) and Russ Iglay (Murphy’s Law) got together in the NYHC scene in the late 80s to start Underdog, they probably didn’t think that 21 years down the line their material would get re-released. Yet that’s exactly what happened now with “Matchless”, a discography that features not the band’s only full album “The Vanishing Point” but also both demos.

While they only lasted four years, their don’t-fuck-with-us-or-our-friends attitude, their love of skateboarding and their straight-forward songs that later on in their short-lived career turned into something more experimental akin to Bad Brains made them pretty damn memorable.

If you don’t own anything yet by these guys, make sure to pick up a copy of “Matchless” which comes with a whopping 26 songs that still sound remarkably fresh even after all these years.
Score: 8 out of 10

Rooney – Eureka

Album number three for these Los Angeles pop rockers is being released on their own label which makes it their first without major label support. Curious what that sounds like? Me too.

The guys in Rooney recorded “Eureka” themselves as well and I have to say that they did an amazing job. Everything sounds right in the mix and the whole thing has a nice, warm ring to it. The music is equally solid if you’re into the likes of Maroon 5. Lets face it… it’s not that they’re doing earthshattering on here. “Eureka” is filled with a fun batch of pop songs that sound good all across the board. From the peppy opener “Holdin’ On” over the funky “I Can’t Get Enough” to the disco of “Stars And Stripes”, these guys are all about spreading positive vibes.
Score: 6.5 out of 10
Rooney Records

Dufresne – AM:PM

From the little information that I could scrape up on these guys, I figured out that this is an Italian band who just released a very powerful and catchy album called “AM : PM”. While it is weird that it’s not easy to dig up some info on Dufresne, it’s even weirder that you can’t find out more about them seeing as they released a kickass album that’s full of energy and hooks.

With songs written in both English and Italian, Nicola, Matteo, Luca, Davide and Alessandro have plenty of variety on sale even in the lyrical department. Other than that they excel at creating a full sound with nice riffs, a tight rhythm section and a keyboard that for once doesn’t feel like a gimmick but rather helps lift the songs to the next level. Add a singer who knows how to use his vocal pipes (and who is helped out on one song by Comeback Kid’s Andrew Neufeld) and you’re looking at a very solid post/melodic hardcore album with rock tendencies that can easily compete with the best the American scene has to offer.
Score: 7.5 out of 10


Against Me interview

Against Me is back with a new album called "White Crosses". It's their second for a major label and the second one they recorded with Butch Vig and it's easily as good as "New Wave". Fans can rejoice but not before they've read tour interview with Andrew Seward whose response are like Against Me's songs: short and to the point.

PRT: You guys are from Gainesville which happens to be where i’ll be in October to attend the Fest. What other should I definitely check out while I’m there?
Andrew: For Good Eats: Reggae Shack, The Lunch Box, Virtually Cuban, and La Tienda. In my opinion we have a lot of good places to eat. For hanging out/Bars: Common Grounds, Palamino, or The Top.

PRT: While looking into my trip to Florida, I came across the Holy Land Experience. It blew my mind that there’s actually a Christian theme park in Orlando. Have you ever been there or heard about it?
Andrew: Heard about it. Seen it on the Bill Maher movie. Definitely haven't been there! Would be fun to go though. Has to be way more fun than Disney. Disney doesn't have a mock play of nailing christ to the cross. Intense!

PRT: You just got back from a European tour… how did the crowds respond to the new material?
Andrew: Really good response. They know how to download. They've had the record for a while.

PRT: And you’re going out again in a couple of days with Silversun Pickups. A great band, but not so much an obvious choice for you guys it seems. How different do you expect it to be different from say playing with a band like Dead To Me?
Andrew: I don't really know. Never really expect things to be different than other shows. People like music and going to shows. It's not like people who like Silversun Pickups have three arms and two heads.

PRT: Helping out on tour now is Hold Steady keyboardist Franz Nicolay. How did you get him to join you guys?
Andrew: Franz has been a friend of ours for around 8 years or so. We've done some touring with his old band The World Inferno Friendship Society and he's played with us on occasion. We asked him he said yes. He's our buddy.

PRT: I read that Tom became a dad not too long ago. I don’t know if anyone else has a family as well… but how much of an impact do things like that have on a band who spends a lot of time on the road?
Andrew: Got me. We're touring just as much as we ever have.

PRT: You have a new album coming out called “White Crosses”. It’s once again a great album that’s short and to the point with catchy, energetic songs. I don’t really have any favorites yet but I was wondering if there is any one song that sticks out for you personally?
Andrew: I have a new favorite song almost every time i listen to the record. Right now I'm really liking Bamboo Bones. I also like saying Bamboo Bones.

PRT: The album cover is a bit of an eyecatcher… how did you come up with it and did you already get any comments about it?
Andrew: That's all Tom and Steak Mt.. My mom thought it was interesting.

PRT: “White Crosses” is the second album on a major label and the second one you recorded with Butch Vig. Seems like you’re feeling right at home in the big leagues. With so much possibilities and options at your disposal, it made me wonder if you feel more free now than before on an indie label?
Andrew: I don't know if 'free' is the right word. We're extremely lucky (and grateful) that we are able to work with Butch. He has become a great friend to all of us. Nothing but respect for the man. I also don't know if I really answered the question. Ha.

PRT: With titles like “Suffocation”, “High Pressure Low” and “Rapid Decompression” one might get the impression that there’s a lot of pressure going around. Is that something you run into?
Andrew: There's always pressure to play the best show possible. Always.

PRT: Obviously there will be a fair amount of touring going on the next couple of months… do you already know what you’ll be up to after the summer tour with Silversun Pickups?
Andrew: Definitely a lot of touring. Europe Fests after Silversun. Canada, Europe, Australia, hopefully Japan. That will probably take us to the end of the year. Tour, tour, tour.....

Godsmack – The Oracle

Even though these guys claim that ‘the old me is dead and gone’ on the back of the album, Godsmack’s fifth album sounds exactly the other four. If this is something you will like or not depends entirely on the fact whether or not you outgrew that all too popular metal meets rock sound that was popular in the late 90s. Which happens to be right around the time when Godsmack released their debut album, which sounds exactly like the new one. I already said that this band’s albums sound alike? Well, if they get to repeat themselves then so do I.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, expect a lot of crunchy guitars, Sully Erna’s tough-sounding vocals that somehow encompass growling, yelling and singing all at once and a strong Alice In Chains vibe. Oh, and cliché-riddled lyrics about angst and mental anguish coupled to singalong choruses. I don’t know why but strutting is a word that comes to mind when I hear this kinda music.

Yet there is something to be said for it. Opener and first single “Cryin’ Like A Bitch” and “Love-Hate- Sex-Pain” are fun to listen to but I can never quite shake the feeling that “The Oracle” is a calculated and safe album rather than truly heartfelt.
Score: 6.5 out of 10

The Album Leaf – A Chorus Of Storytellers

The Album Leaf used to be just Jimmy LaValle who recorded all of his albums on his own. After fighting a severe case of writer’s block, it was his live band that got him through it. And throughout the album’s rich layers of sound it’s not hard to hear that “A Chorus Of Storytellers” is indeed an album made by a band.

Opener “Perro” sounds like something that could have come out of Sigur Ros’ songbook, but it’s “Blank Pages” that was the first song that really got under my skin. It ebbs and flows nicely, sounding like The Notwist without the sharp guitars. They manage to churn out this level of quality throughout the rest of the mostly instrumental album. Just four songs come with vocals, adding yet another layer to The Album Leaf’s sound which is melancholic, warm and intimate all at once. Let it wash all over you and start cocooning!
Score: 7.5 out of 10

Story Of The Year - The Constant

by Inne

After several successful albums and touring all over the world, Story Of The Year is back with a new album. The Constant was their fastest written album, but that doesn’t make it less qualitative.

Softer than The Black Swan but with new elements as a children’s choir, The Constant has that typical Story Of The Year feel and sound. The band definitely tried to push themselves to the next level, and with certain songs they seem to succeed in that. The band believes in their music, something you definitely hear whilst listening to the record.

Opening track ‘The Children Sing’ reminds us of the latest 30 Seconds To Mars record, because of the children’s choir. Luckily that goes hand in hand with Ryan Philps and Philip Sneed’s guitar work. The duo’s style often pushes The Constant to a higher level.

Unfortunately, there’s a lack of variety on the 11-track album. Luckily Songs as Won Threw Ate and Eye For An Eye are definitely brilliant. The Ghosts Of You And I and To The Burial are strong ‘sing-a-along-from-the-heart’-songs that are so typical SOTY. Whoever likes a ballad will definitely love Holding On To You. The lyrics fall back on the familiar themes of love and politics. No worries for the fan base whatsoever!

The weakness of ‘The Constant’ is the lack of variety and a ‘safe’ feeling that makes the album less spontaneous.
Score: 7,5 out of 10


The Dangerous Summer - Reach For The Sun

by Inne

With their first EP ‘If You Could Only Keep Me Alive’, The Dangerous Summer definitely found a way to many hearts. With their debut LP ‘Reach For The Sun’, the band will definitely break even more boundaries. What a bomb!

Producer Paul Leavitt, known from his work with All Time Low and Dashboard Confessional, made ‘Reach For The Sun’ an ultimate listening experience. The album is a perfect match between the sweet but raw voice of singer AJ Perdomo and the catchy tunes by the rest of the band.

The opening track of ‘Where I Want to Be’ is a song that immediately pulls you into the vibe of The Dangerous Summer. The catchy chorus and emotional riffs go straight for the heart. Another track that stands out is ‘Weathered’, third on the album. The song is a perfect mix between a passionate mellow song and the typical catchy sound of The Dangerous Summer. ‘Reach For The Sun’, the title track, gives you and old pop punk experience and ‘Never Alone’ is most definitely the perfect closure for this album. It feels like singer AJ Perdomo puts his true emotions in every single song, which gives the album lots of credibility.

The strength of ‘Reach For The Sun’ is the fact that you’re able to listen to the whole album in one piece but that the songs are also perfect to listen to individually. The instrumentation improved, compared to ‘If You Could Only Keep Me Alive’ and the track list makes a nice mixture of “loud” and “soft” songs that flow together nicely.

Reach For The Sun is most definitely the perfect album for a road trip this summer. Hope you’ll love it as much as we do!
Score: 9 out of 10


Peggy Sue interview

by Ine De Jonge

One of the newer bands around to keep an eye out for is called Peggy Sue. They have recently released an album "Fossils & Other Phantoms" which is out now on Wichita Recordings, a label to have launched the career of many a hip band. Read on to see what the girls in Peggy Sue (who are actually called neither Peggy or Sue) and drummer Olly had to tell Ine.

PRT: Before, you’ve only recorded ep’s. I was wondering how it felt to put a whole range of songs on one album. How is the proces different?
Rosa: It felt amazing. It was different in the sense that the songs we wrote for the ep’s were just seperate songs we were really excited about, and that we just wanted to put on an ep. Then we came to the conclusion that we wanted to make an album and we wanted it to be a collection of new songs. So in six months we wrote a lot of songs. Writing with a certain aim was what’s different. It’s also a much longer period, and we went to New York. It was very isolated, it was just us three. And then we started recording right away, we didn’t even have time to see the city.
Katy: When we started writing the album, we didn’t realise how difficult it was to actually put the songs together. We argued for three weeks about the order of the tracks. There so much more that goes into making an album. For the ep, we knew it was going to be these four songs. For the album, we didn’t know how we could take certain songs out and put new ones in. Because we were writing new songs while we were recording. Then we thought: “wow, these songs are great. Can we put these on instead?” The difference was that it was a proces, where we had e certain length of time and the chance to really work out what songs we wanted to have on the album.

PRT: How much of New York is there on the album?
Rosa: There are certain songs that we wrote while being there that definately have a certain influence of the city. It did have a certain effect since we really lived there for a month.
Katy: We had written most of the songs before we got there. So they’re more London or Brighton-songs , not necessary location songs. The producers we worked with were obviously really New York. There were two different areas in Brooklyn we were working in. I don’t know to what level we can say New York had an influence on our songs when all we did was spend time in our flat, go to the studio and then come back right ahead. It was a really intense period. We’d go to the studio at midday, then come back at three in the morning and then do the same the next day.

PRT: Why did you go to New York?
Rosa: Basically, because the producers we wanted to work with were there.
Katy: It was not like we were specifically looking for New York producers. We did like the idea of going away from our hometown to have this intence experience.
Rosa: It was also cheaper, in many ways. And it’s way harder to find a recording studio in London. We ended up doing some recording in Brighton, because most of the instruments on the album are played by our friends. So we did some overdubs in Brighton.

PRT: What recipes does one need for the Peggy Sue recipe?
Katy: Harmonies. A little bit of extra drums. Maybe a little bit of folk. Some r’n b roots. A bit of country.
Rosa: There’s a lot of different things going on. Katy will write a grunge guitar riff and then Olly will make up a strange drum and bass beat. Different ideas come together.
Katy: The songs usually come from one lead guitar part, or one accordeon or ukele part. Then we don’t like to do what is usually expected. Sometimes the ingredient contains doing the opposite from what you would expect. Then Olly will write a drum beat you wouldn’t expect. It keeps things interesting.

PRT: What comes first in the writing proces?
Katy: Guitar. And then the lyrics.
Rosa: One instrument and lyrics, that’s what comes first usually.

PRT: What is the biggest strength of the album? Why should people buy it and listen to it?
Olly: I think our biggest strength is the fact that you hear something different than what you would first expect. Hopefully. It’s hard to analyse your own music, but if people look into it, they might find something that they like and that they didn’t expect. I think it’s nice when that happens.
Katy: We have a lot of different influences. In the course of the album, we take one influence and then we show the different sides to it. There’s a similar mood on the album, that was the mood we were in when we were writing. Some songs have more country influence, others are more folk. It’s quite ecclectic.

PRT: Is it important for you to be very open to other influences? Or does it just happen?

Katy: I think it just happens. We are three people who have some musical interest in common and some are very different. There is music that some of us likes, and other things that some of us don’t like.

PRT: What is so different in your musical taste?

Katy: The fundamental music that we like is the same. But our favourite music is different. Olly for instance really likes classic rock ’n roll. And I hate it.
Olly: My favourite band is The Rolling Stones. I love The Who, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Jam. Things like that. Those are my biggest influences. But the girls won’t say those bands influenced them. But in general, what they like, I like as well.
Rosa: I also think that the longer we play our instruments... well we’re still teaching ourselves how to play really, but we like to learn to play a new instrument while we’re still busy trying the first one. The way we think about the music as a result, or the way we write songs is different. If I’m writing a guitar part on top on Katy’s, we’ll first hear it as a harmony and then try to complete it.
Katy: Olly understands the drums, and Rosa and I know our guitar parts very well. But if you’d ask me to play some song, I wouldn’t know how. We don’t necessarily know the rules of the guitar. You have to be creative with it and just trust your ear. I don’t know what chord you’re supposed to play after another one to make a chorus. Sometimes that means we have a song without any chorus. You just do what you think sounds right and trust yourself enough to do that.

PRT: So it’s all based on instinct and feeling the moment?

Katy: You just have to go along with what you like and assume that someone likes it as well. Even if that doesn’t always work out.

PRT: To what level do you need each other? Do you disagree often?
Rosa: Oh yeah. But I think you need that in a band.
Katy: I don’t think that the band would be the same if one of us was gone. If one of us would be replaced by someone else, it would be a completely different band. Except for Rosa.
Rosa: It’s really intense though. We’ve on the road for 3,5 weeks now, then we’re home for four days and then we’re going away together again. You spend so much time with the people you are playing music with, and there’s obviously a lot of love and you get to know each other ridiculously well, but you also fight. That’s healthy. If you don’t like a song, there’s a good and bad ways to say you don’t like it. Sometimes having a big discussion about that can make the song better in a way that everyone likes it. But I agree with Katy, no one could be replaced.

PRT: Who started the band?
Katy: We both started the band. We met at school. Rosa’s a year older than me, but we were friends at school. Then we went to uni in Brighton and we became better friends there.
Rosa: Katy was playing music and someone had heard a cd she had written. We were helping each other out, singing on each other’s song, harmonizing. She then asked me to come and sing with her, and that became our first gig. We were a band from that moment onwards.

PRT: When did Olly start to play in the band?
Olly: It’s nearly two years now.

PRT: To what extent did he change the music?
Katy: A lot.
Rosa: He changed the music in two ways: he brought along new influences and allowed us to do more. For example, if there’s drums, you can do so much on top of that. It adds to the whole bottom layer. He encouraged us to play more instruments as well and play around more
Katy: You could also do less if you have drums. In the beginning, when it was just the two or us, we just had one acoustic guitar and some funny toys like klockenspiels. Then you could not leave out the guitar, because then you didn’t have anything left. Now that there’s drums, if there’s other things going on, then you can not have things, or you can not have two voices all the time. Now we can have more textures. It’s really good.
Rosa: We used to do the percussive parts with our mouths.
Katy: Which meant we couldn’t always do the harmonies because someone was busy trying to create a beat. And it wasn’t always the right rhythm. It didn’t look very attractive either.

PRT: How personal are your songs? To what level is music a medium to express your feelings and thoughts?
Olly: What a question!
Rosa: I think the album is definately very personal. Our songs are often quite honest. We used to be more comical when it came to writing songs. When Katy and I first started writing together, the songs were more removed from us. We’d use funny anecdotes and metaphors. But as we got to know each other better, and started to trust each other more, it became more honest.
Katy: I think lyrics are often a way of saying things you don’t necessarily want to say out loud. Or they are like conversation that you want to have with people in a straigh-forward way. Sometimes you don’t feel ready to say it, but you want someone to understand something. Then sometimes you use lots of methaphors, and other times you say exactly what you want to say. Lyrics are always very personal. But at the same time, because there’s two of us, we’re slightly more protected from getting too personal with the lyrics. If I’m singing one of Rosa’s songs, that’s not my experience I’m singing about, even though she’s my best friend and it stays a personal things, and you can be emotional about someone else’s lyrics. This album is quite sad, it has a lot of emotional content. But because it has stories of two people, it’s not so much of a confessional thing. When you’re singing someone else’s words, you find your own meaning to them instead of if being confessional.

PRT: You said that Careless Talk Costs Lives is about the use of words and how they can be misunderstood. How ambiguous are your songs?
Katy: I think some of them are quite up front and others are more ambiguous. We’re not into explaining songs completely to people because we think it’s quite nice it they work them our for themselves. If there’s an idea that someone wants to cling on to, and you say it’s about this moment at that time, then you take that away from people. But sometimes it’s also nice to say what’s it about when it doesn’t necessarily take anything away.

PRT: Blood Red Shoes really despise interviews because then they have to think about they music too much in such a way that it doesn’t feel natural anymore.
Katy: That’s so something Steven would say.
Olly: Definitely Steven.

PRT: Do you mind having to think about your music all the time?
Katy: I quite like it.
Rosa: I don’t know.
Katy: If you don’t want to discuss something, then you just don’t put it in your songs. If there’s something you don’t want people to confront you with, even if it’s a friend or one of us.
Rosa: Of a partner. You just don’t write it down then. There’s definately a proces of self-editing. Sometimes you’d use metaphors to cover it up or to confuse things. But if you really don’t want to say something, you just don’t do it. Also, what Katy said earlier, about not wanting to explain the entire meaning of the songs to someone, the album definately has a certain mood, but the songs themselves are really different. I can go months thinking one of Katy’s songs is about this, while it’s actually about something completelty different. That’s the nice thing about being able to read into something yourself.
Katy: I quite like it if someone asks us about our lyrics, because that means you’ve thought about it. If someone says: “this is what I get from this songs”, then that’s cool because they’re interacting with you about it. Songs are condensed ideas, there’s more to say about it than what’s being told in the song itself. If it’s a good lyric, there’s more to it than just the lines. This way you can expand your ideas.

PRT: What is more imporant to you: that people really understand your music, or that there’s still some mystery to it?
Rosa: I think it’s impossible to completely understand, unless you find out what the person is specifically singing about and thinking about at that point. The only time I think something if mysterious when I listen to an album, is when someone is singing something I really don’t understand. I think everyone brings themselves to music, that’s what you do. I have friends who always think that a song is about a certain things because they think it’s obviously directly related to them. You can make a song about a break-up, or about dying, or about a day in the park, but it all depends on who you are and what you make of it.
Katy: This is the first tour where we’re playing countries where the audience won’t necessarily understand the lyrics. It’s quite scary. Because it’s such a big part of the songs. We can fuck up our instruments, but still keep on singing perfectly. It’s quite frightening when you want to say something while you’re not sure if the people are going to grasp what you are trying to tell. It’s much easier now we’re more musical than when we started. Then is was all about the lyrics, and the humour was quite English. It would be hard to still be doing that and tour Europe. I’m sure a lot of people do understand, or partly understand, but it does take away a whole element of what we’re trying to say.

PRT: What has been the weirdest interpretation you’ve heard?
Olly: There was something about Matilda.
Katy: Someone in an interview once said that all of the songs on the album are quite mysterious, except for Matilda that is apparently quite obvious. They said it was about a break-up, while it’s actually the only song that isn’t about a break-up. We’ve never really said what it’s about because it’s quiet subtile and it was just funny that they thought it was so obvious. Or mishearings are usually quite funny.

PRT: How much attention do you pay to details? Are you perfectionists?
Rosa: A lot.
Katy: We’re huge perfectionists. Although the imperfections end up being our favourite bits. But we’re still obsessed with details.
Rosa: We’re only three people, but we try to make as many noise as we can with limited number. We often play a lof of old folk instruments, like ukeleles. One of my friends said that everything on the album sounds like it’s really supposed to be on there. Because there’s not that much going on. I think that’s true, because we’re extreme perfectionists.
Katy: Perfection doesn’t always have to be perfection. Sometimes you need the good kind of wrong.

PRT: Where did The Pirates go? Did they loose in a duel with Pete and The Pirates?
Katy: Olly beat them up. And they left. So we kept Olly. And they’re never coming back, because Olly’s better.

PRT: You have toured with a whole range of different bands. What makes Peggy Sue fit amongst this variety of music?
Katy: I think it’s the fact that we’re not really genre-specific. We’re not particularly setting our ways of what kind of music we’re making. We take influences from everywhere, and there’s always an element of the music they’re playing in our music. Also, I think it’s really boring when the support act is exactly the same as the the main band. It’s more intersting if someone is doing completely different.
Rosa: It has always been about the music. The music the bands make that we have toured with always attract people who are into music. It’s not cool if you go to see the support act and they turn out to be a copy of the headliners. But all the bands we have toured with are basically friends of ours. We have appreciation for the same music as them, and they know that.

PRT: What kind of general atmosphere did you want to create for the album?
Rosa: A lot of people see it as a really depressing album.
Katy: Lyrically, not musically.
Rosa: But I think even lyrically, even if you hear two songs after each other, you hear the similarities. There’s definately a certain moodiness. Sometimes it’s about trying to see positive things in the end, it’s not all as negative. It could be a slightly grumpy album.
Katy: A bit grumpy, but also a bit rowdy (?)

PRT: What kind of weather would fit the album?
Rosa: Winter.
Katy: Snow. No, maybe not snow.
Rosa: Someone texted me and said that she was listening to the album while it was snowing and that it was perfect.
Katy: Maybe a cold and fresh autumn day.
Rosa: We actually had a discussion, because the album is released in the summer and we said that it was definately a winter album. Loads of the songs are written for people to listen to with their headphones and by themselves, not necessarily to hear live. We really thought about the listening-proces. I think it’s a winter album. I can see people cuddled up in a blanket, listening to it.
Katy: Hopefully it works at any time of the year. It’s definately not an album to listen to when you’re getting ready to go to a party though.
Olly: It’s not a beach party album, no.
Katy: Or a first day of summer album. Or a last day of school album.
Rosa: The next one will be a last day of school album.


PALA likes to call Baltimore home and the band shares its bassist with Pulling Teeth. On their self-titled 3-song 7” these guys prove they can play some decent post-something. They’re one of those bands that’s really hard to describe. Whether you like hardcore, metal or stoner jams, there’s a littl bit of everything for everyone on here.

With opener “Frost/Dust” staying interesting for the full 336 seconds, your attention is immediately called for and they manage to keep this up with the more uptempo “The Great Wave” and “Astral Projection Adventure”. Think of Pelican getting it on with Cave In… how’s that for a mental picture?
Score: 6.5 out of 10

The Love Below – Reproductive Rights

You can always count on A389 Recordings to drop some of the sickest hardcore around. And that’s once again what they’ve done with The Love Below’s “Reproductive Rights”. From the artwork to the walls of feedback on here that greet you on opener “Nothing To Be Done”, everything on this 7” just plains screams NASTY! And nasty is exactly what you get.

Whether they bleed you dry slowly with the more brooding parts or simply slit your throat in the faster songs, these guys sound damn intense with their particular mix of metal, hardcore and sludgy noise that’s not unlike what The Swarm used to produce. I like it but all in all “Reproductive Rights” still sounds a little too uneven in places for it to be a real standout release.
Score: 7 out of 10

Cari Clara – You Better Run

Following up their full-length “It’s Our Hearts They’re After”, Cari Clara is back with a new batch of songs that come at you in the form of an EP called “You Better Run”. Well, they don’t exactly come right at you, these tracks are more likely to sneak up on you.

Like Vaux at their most mellow on “Beyond Virtue, Beyond Vice”, these Kentucky natives know how to write songs that could be the soundtrack to a roadtrip. One that ends at a funeral. Of course Vaux at their most mellow sounds a lot like Radiohead. And yes, the spirit of Thom Yorke is strong in this one. The biggest difference is that vocalist Eric Diedrichs doesn’t sound like he’s drowning in self-pity. Instead he wrote a bunch of songs that lure you in gently and then keep you in their territory long after the last notes have rung out. Stellar stuff that fans of the abovementioned and Muse should have a field day with.
Score: 7.5 out of 10

Norma – Bad Luck For Wilbur Brink

Norma is a Belgian band I hadn’t heard of before but who have come out of the woodwork with an album full of upbeat rock songs definitely worth your time. “Bad Luck For Wilbur Brink” is named after some kid who was killed in 1931 by a wheel that flew off a race car driving the Indy 500 while playing in the frontyard of his parents’ house. Yes, we can all get killed at any time in the most improbably of ways. So we might as well live it up? Is that the lesson I should be picking up from this album? Even if you just shrug and say tough shit, there’s no reason you shouldn’t enjoy the tracks on here… Nice melodies, solid riffs and the kind of rock you just don’t hear often enough. Think nineties guitar bands a la Posies or Nada Surf. Or go local and conjure up a picture of The Romans. After all, vocalist Lauren Leurs used to front that band back in the day. Good to see he’s back!
Score: 7 out of 10
Nobless Oblige Records

The Triffids – Wide Open Road : The Best Of The Triffids

In the eighties a lot of interesting music was coming out of Australia. Just think of Nick Cave or Crowded House. Oh wait, those bands are still recording interesting music today. Unfortunately the same can’t be said about The Triffids, whose lead singer and most recognizable aspect of the band died eleven years ago. That good man was David McComb who had a deep, warm voice that was perfect for the kind of melancholic lyrics he was known for.

For those of you who have never heard their mix of romantic pop and rock is in for a treat with this best of. Opening with “Wide Open Road” it shows these Aussies could write a song that could rival my 80s favourite “Boys Of Summer”. And then you haven’t even heard “Red Pony”, “A Trick Of The Light” or “Save What You Can”! Just do yourself a favor and pick this one up so you can say you own a piece of 80s nostalgia that’s actually worth having.
Score: 9 out of 10

Overnight Lows – City Of Rotten Eyes

Even though the Overnight Lows have already been around for a couple of years, this Mississippi outfit has never gotten round to recording anything before. After having offered some particularly nasty sexual favours involving a pair of tweezers, a life buoy, hot wax and a blowfish and a vow to never talk about it again after the facts, the folks over at Goner Records finally got this band in the studio to lay down some of their greatness.

The Overnight Lows boast Mr. and Mrs. Nabors on vocals, guitar and bass with Paul Artigues rounding out the line-up behind the drum kit. You should know the Nabors from The Comas, another band that was pretty familiar with writing a kickass punkrock song every now and then. They simply repeat that process on “City Of Rotten Eyes” which sees the couple tearing their way through twelve songs that are as punk as they are garage-y. Think Angry Samoans, old Queers…. Yeah, I know, right? Pick this one up
Score: 7.5 out of 10

Happy Birthday – Happy Birthday

Apparently Kyle Thomas started a band because he was afraid to go onstage on his own as a singer/songwriter. It’s a reason that’s as good as hoping to get laid or wanting to score free drugs I guess. Whatever the reason may have been, I think it was a good decision because on their self-titled debut they dish out some quirky pop that’s a lot of fun to listen to.

Try to look past the hideous artwork (I know… not an easy feat) and you’ll get to experience some jangly, dreamy rock songs with pop hooks that come with a shot of psychedelic on the side. Kind of like a party cocktail of Pavement, Sonic Youth, Beach Boys (the vocal harmonies are great) and what the hell… some Velvet Underground. The result is a fun album that - thanks to “Girls FM” -comes with a bonafide hit song guarantee.
Score: 6.5 out of 10

Retribution Gospel Choir – 2

When I think of Low, I think of slow, wavering songs that take forever. No, then I honestly do prefer Retribution Gospel Choir , Alan Sparhawk’s other band who race through ten songs in just under 34 minutes on “2”. Believe it or not it also happens to be the band’s second album.

They open with “Hide It Away”, a great song with big guitars and a nice chorus that you can instantly sing along to. On most of the other songs these guys stick to the formula minus the nice chorus. And minus the ‘great’ adjective. They just rock out in a seventies kind of way that would’ve been so much better if only they could throw in a couple more hooks. Now they more often than not sound like a bar band. “Minus The Wolf” proves they can do it as does “Poor Man’s Daughter”, a track in which this trio whips up a storm that will have fans of Crazy Horse galloping around.

So in the end this is still better than most Low albums (I know… blasphemy!) but it’s not a masterpiece by a longshot.
Score: 6 out of 10


Trash Talk interview

Fuck yeah, Trash Talk is back with an amazing album called "Eyes & Nines". If you like out of control hardcore, make sure to give them a listen. But first read what bassist Spencer Pollard had to tell us.

PRT: What would you prefer to be doing right now instead of answering these questions?
Spencer: I’d rather be smoking a blunt, but Garrett’s in the back of the van right now rolling one right now so I’m going to have some cake and eat it too.

PRT: The output you guys have managed to put together in five years, takes a lot of other bands twice as long. On top of that you seem to be on the road pretty much all the time. What keeps you guys going?
Spencer: This band has evolved into a huge part of our lives since 2005 and it basically boils down to one thing: we simply love to play music. We write records so rapidly because there’s no excuse not to. Creatively, we play off of each other on and off stage so the writing process is exciting and fun for us. We greatly enjoy being on the road playing music we love and that’s motivation for us to get up every morning and keep doing it.

PRT: You have a new album coming out called “Eyes & Nines”. What’s up with that title?
Spencer: In Biblical numerology the number 9 is symbolic of the end, apocalypse. The eyes part is a reminder that no matter what you do there is someone watching you. The end is coming and you are being watched. It’s up to you what you’ll be doing when it all goes down.

PRT: It was produced by Joby from The Bronx and Matt provides guest vocals on one of the songs. How did you guys hook up with them?
Spencer: We’ve been friends with the guys in The Bronx for a while. We did a US tour together and hit it off quite well. When it came time to record this record, Joby was the logical choice and we couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

PRT: Just like the guys in The Bronx, you seem to do pretty much whatever you feel like. Like having your own label. How important is it for you to keep things under control yourself?
Spencer: We like for our releases to be done very specifically and the best way to do that is to do it ourselves. It’s important to us that the finished product is how we envisioned it. Working with a label can take some of the creative control away from the artist by way of artwork and packaging and since the label is essentially the one in charge what they say goes. We took out the middle man when we started Trash Talk Collective. It may not always be the easiest route but it ensures that every step along the way is monitored by someone in house. If something comes out wrong we can only blame ourselves.

PRT: Most of the songs are short, loud blasts of noise but “Hash Wednesday” shows a completely different side of you. Is that something you wish to explore more in the future?
Spencer: We don’t necessarily set out to explore certain sides of ourselves. We play music. What’s inside comes out easily enough on its own. Hash Wednesday is a long, slow song but I wouldn’t particularly say that it’s a deviation from the Trash Talk I know.

PRT: You’re on tour with Alexisonfire, La Dispute and Therefore I Am right now. How has the overall response been to you guys? Because all four of you have different sounds but in terms of sheer aggression you guys win the prize.
Spencer: The shows have been great. We have a lot of dedicated fans who have been coming out to see us whenever they can for the last few years. A lot of people get exposed to new music when shows are so diverse. That’s a very cool thing. Besides, nobody wants to play the same show every day for the rest of their life. Right?

PRT: You missed the first couple of dates on the tour because you were stuck in London because of the volcano thing in Iceland. How badly does that fuck up your finances for a European tour?
Spencer: We’re coming back to Europe in August. The volcano thing put us at a disadvantage, but if you start at point A and let everything that gets in your way stop you, how are you ever gonna get to point B?

PRT: What’s up next for you guys? More touring I suppose?
Spencer: Eyes & Nines just came out so we’ve got a lot shows coming up this year. We’re coming back out across the pond to play some festivals in Europe and the UK as well as heading over to Australia and Japan. We’ll be doing some more US tours as well. It’s a very exciting time for us.


Strange Boys – Be Brave

From Austin, Texas come the Strange Boys who with “Be Brave” have released their second album in as many years. Just like on their debut “And Girls Club” these guys jingle and jangle their way through a dozen songs that sound like the young Stones, Ray Davies or a Stoned Davies with some of the Strokes’ attitude on retainer.

They might very well steal from every single chapter in rock ‘n roll’s songbook but they come to a convincing whole that manages to keep me smiling all the way throughout the album.
Score: 6.5 out of 10

Ondine – Cloud

Ondine is a Belgian band that plays shoegaze. That makes them a pretty disadvantaged band in my eyes because of two reasons. One is that Belgian bands never have the easiest time getting noticed outside of Belgium. No idea why that is, it just seems to be one of those things. Secondly - and perhaps even more of a problem for Ondine – they play shoegaze, a genre that has never had the biggest commercial appeal.

With “Cloud” they did release a pretty stellar EP though… the songs on here are a pleasure to listen to as they gently trickle along. If you’re into the likes of My Bloody Valentine (despite their shitty show at Pukkelpop last year) or Ride, you might want to check these guys out.
Score: 7 out of 10
Arsonist Recordings

Toro Y Moi – Causers Of This

So is this what the hipsters call chillwave? Or is it glo-fi? Oh, those two terms are pretty much the same thing? Anyway, for once the genre name gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect of Tory Y Moi’s debut album.
The causer of all this is actually one guy called Chaz Bundick who must like tinkering around with an arsenal of computers and old synths in his bedroom. The result is a very laid-back album with dreamy beats and Bundick’s mellow vocals that took me way the fuck back to days gone by. A couple of songs on here like “Fox Shadow” or “Lissoms” sound like he got a little too carried away with all the buttons to push and knobs to turn but overall “Causers Of This” would make a pretty fun soundtrack to a hot summer night that calls for fruity drinks with those little umbrellas in ‘em.

I could totally see these songs work in a Sofia Coppola movie. Not hip enough for you? Think of likeminded acts such as Neon Indian and Washed Up and you’ll get the gist of it.
Score: 6 out of 10

Built To Spill – There Is No Enemy

One of the few guitar bands that are still going is Built To Spill. They aren’t doing anything new on “There Is No Enemy” so don’t hold your breath. Their trademark sound though still consists of solid rock songs with a country feel which are molded around Doug Marsch’s voice. And they still know how to score with it. They might get a little angry in “Tap” but overall “There Is No Enemy” sees Built To Spill getting a bit older in a very gracious way. Which is a lot more than you can say about a whole lot of other bands out there.
Score: 7.5 out of 10

The Whore Moans – Hello From The Radio Wasteland!

The Whore Moans not only have a funny band name, they also know how to rock. And they don’t mind showing you that on “Hello From The Radio Wasteland!”, the band’s sophomore album on which they combine everything from garage, punk, soul, hardcore and blues. Do you know These guys are the musical equivalent of that site. Think of Ramones, McLusky and Replacements all getinng buck naked and fucking… the result will be something that sounds like The Whore Moans.

Take “Fingers And Martyrs” for example in which these guys go from yelling in overdrive over jangly guitars to a heartbreaking chorus before shooting off in another direction and feeding off of that for a while and then zapping right back to the chorus. Or have a listen to “White Noise Melody” and “Here Comes America” where they sound like the Replacements at their best… wasted, ready for a brawl yet ever so melodic.

You can clearly pick up on all of the band’s influences but they bring everything with so much enthousiasm that they make everything sound fresh all over again. “Hello From The Radio Wasteland!” is a noisy, messy, loud, obnoxious, melodic, energetic and at times even downright catchy affair and for the moment I’m basking in it.
Score: 8 out of 10