Dear Seattle – Dear Seattle EP
Release date: 14th July 2017
The debut release from Sydney, Australia’s ‘Dear Seattle’ is an instantly accessible 6 track EP full of raw power, sincerity and emotion, which focuses on front man, Brae Fisher’s personal reinvention after a break up.
As an Englishman, it’s hard for me to accept when something good comes out of Australia. These are the same people who consistently beat us at pretty much every sport. They own almost all of the worlds sharks. They are responsible for The Bee Gees…
But occasionally I have to tip my hat to them. I last did this when Silverchair released Diorama in 2002, and now I have to do it again.
Musically, ‘Dear Seattle,’ nods at various influences during its 20 minutes. I personally picked up hints of Lower Than Atlantis, Balance and Composure, and even Brand New, and much like these bands and the grunge scene that spawned them, the music here is bleak, yet somehow uplifting in equal measure.
The lyrics “Cause we’re all so helpless when we’re on our own, so on and on and on we go,” come from the same song (The Meadows) as the infectious sing-along chorus of “Fuck being sad, I’m so over it,’ which aptly illustrates the whirlwind of mixed emotions on show here.
At 10 minutes shy of half an hour, it feels too short and I’m left cursing the fact that this is just an EP, but with Australian tour dates announced throughout the rest of this year, it’s surely only a matter of time before we get to see these guys in action here in the UK.
Rancid – Trouble Maker
Release Date: 9th June 2017
Label: Epitaph Records
During the early to mid 90’s, Rancid, alongside Green Day and The Offspring helped bring punk rock back into the limelight with their flawless classic ‘…And Out Come The Wolves.’ But whilst those other two bands enjoyed continuing success into the early noughties, Rancid sort of fell off the mainstream radar.
Their hardcore fans stayed loyal and the band stayed true to their roots, releasing solid album after solid album, rigidly sticking to the tried and tested Rancid formula of wandering bass lines, frenetic guitars and perhaps most recognizable of all – Tim Armstrong’s uniquely raucous, almost incoherent delivery.
Trouble Maker easily falls into this mould. It’s fast, it’s full of chanting, sporadic bursts of ska and noises from Armstrong’s mouth that I will never fully understand, but there is something different about this album which has been lacking in recent years. It’s actually quite fun, and very easy to listen to; something I personally haven’t said about a Rancid record since 2003’s ‘Indestructible.’
Maybe it’s just good timing. With songs such as ‘This Is Not The End,’ and ‘Go On Rise Up,’ maybe its just a great 30 minute tonic of passion and anger that sits well with many people’s views on the current state of our planet and our world leaders.
Whatever the reason, ‘Trouble Maker’ is a fast-paced, easily digestible shot of adrenaline that will no doubt surprise a few people with just how good it actually is. Myself included. It’s their catchiest, most enjoyable album in well over a decade and their best overall since ‘AOCTW.’
Hundredth – RARE
Release Date: 16th June 2017
‘The old is gone,’ a line taken from ‘Departure,’ the final track of the new album RARE, by Hundredth. Anybody who had ever listened to this band before would agree that the old is very much gone, because whilst RARE does borrow a few minor elements from previous Hundredth records, ultimately this could easily be a new band.
This though, is no bad thing.
RARE showcases the same dream-like, melancholic tones to those perfected by early 90’s shoegaze bands such as My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and Chrome-era Catherine Wheel, and manages to merge that with a heaviness and ferocity more akin to the grunge/punk genres of the same era, in a similar way to more modern contemporaries such as Citizen, No Devotion and Merchandise.
If there is to be any criticism here, it will likely be aimed at the vocals, which, for the first time sung, are often usurped by the effects ridden guitars and uber-powerful drums. This is a common criticism of this type of music, but in reality it just adds to the alluring quality of the songs, and anyhow, back in the day when the lyrics were being screamed, it was probably even harder to tell what was being said.
The new sound will not only appeal to a much broader audience, thanks in no small measure to the lack of screamed vocals, but the band themselves are also much happier with the current direction, claiming recently that it better represents each member’s musical tastes, and even admitted that their previous melodic hardcore sound was not one they were ever happy with. So here’s hoping that there’s much more to come in this vein.
This record probably won’t gain the commercial exposure it deserves, but it will no doubt make many critics’ top 10’s come the end of the year.