The Punk Archive aims to be the only blog you'll ever need for reviews and news on the punk, ska, reggae and alternative music scenes. We will review music from the past, present, and future, looking at CD, vinyl, mp3 and hitting as many gigs as we can handle, as well as keeping you in the loop with the goings-on in our scene and interviewing as many bands as we can. Please enjoy the blog and feel free to send any comments or feedback to us via email to , or by visiting our Twitter at , or our Facebook at You can also find us on Instagram: just search for @thepunkarchive.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Bleach Blood: All The Sides Of A Circle

Artist: Bleach Blood
Title: All The Sides Of A Circle
Format Reviewed: MP3
Format Released: 2nd March 2015
Reviewed By: Ben Chapman

All the Sides of A Circle is an apt title for East London five-piece Bleach Blood's debut album. The band's disregard for and consequently loose mash of genres is multi-faceted and as hard to be precise about as counting a circle's sides, but generally Bleach Blood have served up a slice of mathematically precise dance pi (sic) in a pop-punk pastry. With the best extracts from their catalogue of existing EPs and a wealth of new offerings, the tracks wherein sound out undeniably well crafted, but will be divisive among listeners. 
Their dance-punk self-description has a different feel from the muddier electro punk of Death From Above 1979, is instead more upbeat, like the Wombats and Bloc Party hanging out all subdued on synthesisers. Whilst it's unfair to judge the album on the reputation of its collaborators, the articulate lyrical influence from ex-King Blues guitarist Jamie Jazz must have proved helpful, and I couldn't help but be excited when noting Bleach Blood's past input from once-bandmember ex-YourCodeNameIs:Milo guitarist Paul Mullen, whose guitar playing is well used to working more aggressive influences into atmospheric electronic soundscapes.
Opener All The Sides Of A Circle forms more of an intro track, relying on a single build up but sets up the album's aims in one concise punch. The triumphant mini-solo squeals from the guitar are something that I'd have liked to hear more of. The promise continues on second track H.O.P.E, which stands out with its tasty bass tone that leads to the verse's upbeat feel. But a slightly corny chorus with more than a touch of Toto's Africa present creates a sense of unease, albeit dancefloor-suitable, letting down the well-played instrumentation throughout the rest of the tune.
Pleased To Meet You’s probably the album's strongest moment. The optimistic group chanting and mid-range guitar melody's nostalgic Motion City Soundtrack feel provides some welcome sustain before the chorus. The well-produced, radio friendly sound is not so overly mixed that it still carries some weight of distortion. Unfortunately this same formula for some reason loses some of its power in the next track, with London In The Rain's overblown repetition and centre round the chorus coming off slightly lame despite its method of layering the harmonies on thickly. The final chorus is an unnecessary reiteration, an attempt to overplay what would otherwise be some decent riffing and danceable drum beat. 
East LDN Dance Party is another tune where the band don't waste time going straight into an anthemic chorus, where despite all the fuss, nothing particularly inspiring happens. The track is rescued by a teasing funk dance groove around the one minute thirty mark. One thing the tune should be credited on is its structure: the ideas are fairly varied, from wrenching indie dance and a section of lo-fi glitch breakdown. Though the tune introduces several ideas, they do sadly lead back to the one fairly samey chorus.
Darling, Don’t Dive Without Me features spacey synth waves and a high pass filter on sections of the vocals aren’t enough to fool the listener here. The couple of intense moments earlier on in the track show promise, with fairly busy bursts of synth melodies and the upbeat bassline creating an energetic new disco. Its briefly interesting musical excursion quickly loses momentum amongst warbling and beeping noises as the tune loses structure. Gladly this isn't always the case. Let Your Heart Sing's attention on the female vocals are welcome and well suited to one of the album's simpler and more effective anthemic outro choruses. Here the synths are prominent but not overwhelming, the guitar and bass' constant hammer create a sense of progress alongside the nodding affirmation of the drum beat.
Anything, Anything plays as one of the catchier tracks, with sweeping dance-accented tight-snared drum beat, powerful dual vocal lines, the snappy guitar strum. The band's vision is more cohesive here than several of the album's other tracks. In Love Is Dead, guitar feedback fades away as it blends into the synth's steady background chord effectively. Vocal cacophony is panned between headphones delicately, the band have gone for a panoramic anthem of grand, poppy post-rock scale which is admittedly pulled off well and will impress existing fans. It's a well placed penultimate track that helps wind down the album. This lulled calm is culled by the instant smash of distorted chords leading into the disarmingly friendly indie bop of Broken Glass. One of the album's highlights, there's a steady speed to the bassline. Nice counterpoint bass during the emphasised strut that marks the entering guitar's chord progression.
A nice attempt to merge genres through ignoring them, the various influences running through Bleach Blood ensure that there's some moments of joy for all listeners, occasionally diluted or distracted from these though they might be. Despite the initially interesting sound, this album is somewhat inconsistent in its enjoyment potential. Whilst I recognise the strong effort and there's some brilliant moments it's not something that will resonate with everyone.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Break Anchor: Van Down By The River

Artist: Break Anchor
Title: Van Down By The River
Format Reviewed: MP3
Format Released: 7th April 2015
Reviewed By: Dan Stoten

If you like having your face ripped off musically, then you're going to love this.

I know it's short and hardly descriptive, but that opening line was the best one I could find to give you an impression of what Van Down By The River, the debut record from Break Anchor, is like. Raw as sushi, this is aggressive, basic, brilliantly distilled punk rock which takes no prisoners.

To be honest, though, I could have pretty much estimated what this album was going to sound like, having looked at the membership of Break Anchor. This is a band made up of some pretty damn fine musicians, with The Suicide Machines, The Story So Far and Seized Up within the collective CV.

My laptop and iTunes has a particular party trick of randomly importing tracks out of their album order on a regular basis, and that happened with this record. However, this displays Van Down  By The River in it's best light: this isn't a record which has a particular flow or path: it's one which contains thirteen hits of heavy, vicious, punk adrenaline.

There are a number of highlights on the album. For me, the main one is West Alexandrine, a track which stands out above the rest here. Jay and Kyle's guitars are at their most frenetically driving here, while Dan's drums never let up. The vocal lines also, are at their gruffest and most raw, the guttural nature of both the verses and the gang chants so sharp they almost make your ears bleed. On the flip-side, though, West Alexandrine has a kind of heavyweight melody to it, which bluntly and unsubtly finds its way to your ears. It's exceptionally likeable.

This melodic element can be found in a number of tracks across the record. Black Hearts And Blackouts has some surprisingly melodic gang shouts amongst the jagged edges of the track's topography, while Down and Out is a brooding, downbeat melodic hardcore punk anthem. This certainly adds an extra string to what is already a pretty decent bow.

This isn't a complex or multi-layered album: what you've got here is instant gratification. This is displayed perfectly in 18 Winters, which barely takes five seconds of introduction before launching into a guitar and vocal-based battering ram. It's a brooding and threatening track, as are many on the album.

While this isn't a massively unique release, it's a refreshingly honest and old-school one. As mentioned, there's no clever tricks or gimmicks here, something which actually makes a welcome change in the current scene. I enjoyed it, and can see Break Anchor both delivering a stunning live set and amassing a large following from it.

If you want a new favourite simple, aggressive and old-school melodic hardcore band, Break Anchor are that. Check them out.

Interview: The Dirty Youth

Following our review of forthcoming sophomore effort Gold Dust, we caught up with Welsh rockers The Dirty Youth...

The Punk Archive: Are you guys excited to release Gold Dust?
The Dirty Youth: Yes, we can't wait for everyone to hear Gold Dust. It's definitely the best work we have done so far, our sound has really evolved while still retaining the genuine TDY stamp and attitude.

The Punk Archive: How was the recording and writing process for the record?
The Dirty Youth: It was a really fun record to make. We had been constantly on the road touring our debut album Red Light Fix so when it came to recording the follow up it felt natural to record it back home in Wales. We chose the famous Rockfield Studios to record it. It's such a legendary place where so many of our heroes have recorded, such as Queen and Oasis. It was a real easy place to draw inspiration from. It's also a residential studio which meant we all got to hang out together and make 
the album properly (and have lots of parties!). It really was a great process.

The Punk Archive: Do you have particular favourite tracks on the album?
The Dirty Youth: My personal favourite is Invincible, it has a real cool piano vibe within the song and the lyrics are really inspiring.

The Punk Archive: Where did the influences come from for the album?
The Dirty Youth: A lot of influence was taken from our time on the road touring Red Light Fix and our personal lives surrounding that period. We also wanted to expand our sound and cater songs for our live performances.

The Punk Archive: Which tracks on there do you think will go down the best live?
The Dirty Youth: We've been playing a few tracks on recent tours to see how they go down and everybody is really digging the new stuff but if I had to pick one I would say The One (ironically). It's  got a slightly different vibe to the rest of album as we really experimented without sound on this track. Everyone just seems to lose themselves in the track and go crazy.

The Punk Archive: What's next for The Dirty Youth in 2015?
The Dirty Youth: We head back out on tour with InMe in May with Gold Dust being officially released on the 11th May. Plenty more touring and festivals to be announced later in the year. You can keep up to date on all the latest news over on our website and Twitter: @thedirtyyouth

Interview: Teenage Bottlerocket

We caught up with Miguel from Wyoming punks Teenage Bottlerocket to discuss the band's forthcoming new record and tour...

The Punk Archive: Hey guys, are you excited to be releasing your sixth full length?
Miguel: We are so STOKED! We can't wait for everyone to hear it!

The Punk Archive: Can you give us any previews on the new release? Are there any surprises in store for fans?
Miguel: The record is called Tales From Wyoming and it comes out March 31st on Rise Records! There are songs about video games, girls, pizza, the undead, you know...the usual TBR stuff. Oh and Bill Stevenson produced, seriously we are stoked.

The Punk Archive: You're a very prolific band. Where do you get your influences and enthusiasm for writing from? 
Miguel: We were definitely influenced by bands like the Ramones, NOFX and Descendents. From them we learned you can write songs about whatever you want to, hence why we write about having shitty jobs and watching TV. 

The Punk Archive: It's arguable that you're one of the closest bands musically to the original punk movement. How do you feel about that and has it been a particular choice to go for that sound?
Miguel: Wow that is quite a compliment! We have always just tried to write songs that we would want to listen to, just so happens a lot of that old punk is what we really love. I think growing up in Wyoming and not really having access to current trends helped a little too. 

The Punk Archive: You've got a few tours lined up. Are you excited for them? Have you been on tour with Pennywise before? 
Miguel: We are really excited, we've got that Pennywise run, some headlining dates and a European tour coming up and are working on lots more! We toured with Pennywise last year and had a blast, great guys, great band, can't wait to do it again!

The Punk Archive: Do you have any funny tour stories you can share with us? 
Miguel: A lot of the funny ones have to do with poop or shitting your pants. They're funny or sad depending on how you look at it. It's hard to keep your stomach happy on the road and well, shit happens.

The Punk Archive: You're returning to Groezrock this year. How do you find US and European crowds differ?
Miguel: We love Groezrock, it's one of the best festivals on earth and we are pumped to come back. Crowds all over the world are really different and that's what makes traveling so awesome. You get to meet lots of people from very different backgrounds with a similar interest in punk rock. Sometimes there is a language barrier, but the enthusiasm can come through without words.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Interview: PEARS

We had a quick catch up with PEARS following their stunning support slots on the UK leg of Red City Radio's European tour...

The Punk Archive: Introduce yourselves to our readers?
PEARS: I'm Zach, I "sing" and "jump" and "complain" and "drink water" and "hate shit".

The Punk Archive: How was your UK Tour?
PEARS: UK was killer, way more fun than Germany. We played five UK dates and like, a million shows in Germany, and we also played a show in a cloud kingdom, and inside of a teeny weeny birthday cake. Bear Trade are a whole lotta fun, we played our UK dates/cloudkingdom/birthday cake with them.

The Punk Archive: How were the crowds' responses to your sets?
PEARS: Way better than Germany. I don't think us and RCR have as much crossover crowd there, but UK was very receptive and fun. In Germany people kept telling me that they loved the show but "the music not so much".

The Punk Archive: How do you carry so much energy into your live show?
PEARS: Dude, I don't know. I'm so tired, and sick, and I'm dreading performing tonight. But somehow I pull it out of me, I try as often as possible to be completely in those moments, to let it act as some sort catharsis for me.

The Punk Archive: How would you describe your sound?
PEARS: We're a punk/hardcore band, that's the only thing I can say for sure... There are a wide range of elements and sounds I think we personally pull from, whether or not those come across is not really for me to say.

The Punk Archive: What comes next for PEARS?
PEARS: Phase 4.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

The Dirty Youth: Gold Dust

Artist: The Dirty Youth
Title: Gold Dust
Format Reviewed: MP3
Format Released: 11th May 2015
Reviewed By: Dan Stoten

Being unique is hard, right? It's nigh-on impossible to keep innovating and doing things differently. This is no different in music: it's pretty rare than anything fundamentally, completely, different comes along. However, this isn't a bad thing necessarily: as long as it's done well, it doesn't matter whether it's unique or not, right?

To me, The Dirty Youth's new album, Gold Dust, sits firmly in this "it doesn't matter that it's not unique" category. This is a good record, one which you feel as though you may have heard before, but one which you can't help but enjoy (on the whole).

I'd never heard any of the five-piece's music before listening to Gold Dust: they're one of those bands I've seen mention of and presumed they were a different band to who they actually are. To summarise: five-piece, South Wales, rock / metal mixed with a bit of electronica. They've played some pretty big tours (read Korn, Heaven's Basement) and also played Download a handful of times.

So, it's basically a dance-rock album, right? Right. It opens with I'm Not Listening To You, the tried-and-tested thirty second intro dropping nicely into a more driving, upbeat Evanescence-esque verse. Danni Monroe's voice is a real highlight across the whole album: she's got elements of snarl, melody and harmony to her vocal style. It's polished, though, and there's a real quality to her range and her tone. This opening track is decent enough: the drums are snappy and punchy; guitars backed by some electronica and violins sound suitably (and commercially) dark and moody. It's a good indicator for the rest of the record.

Alive comes next, a song with a massive, arena-esque chorus. It soars dramatically, with the electronica backing Monroe's voice perfectly. It's not unique at all, but it is good. It's catchy, easy to listen to and sing along to, and doesn't challenge the listener.

The third track on the record, Just Move On, is the best one by some stretch. On my first listen to this song, I was already air drumming over it! It's one of those that you know exactly what's going to happen: when the chorus is going to kick in, when there's going to be a drum roll, when the guitars are going to stop. It's a familiar-feeling song and one which I really enjoyed. It's got a brilliant level of pick-up-and-playability, and it's one that you get an instant, musical sugar-hit from. It's The Dirty Youth at their best.

Lead single from the album, The One, is where The Dirty Youth really roll out the electronica. It's another driving, brooding track and one which is complemented well by the robot-esque (watch the video, you'll see what I mean) sounds. Lyrically, it's simple and accessible, and another one you can already imagine the huge light show at a Dirty Youth arena gig. There is, however, a cringe-worthy "everybody dance" lyric which is somewhat out of place.

Basically, Gold Dust is a record written with the commercial market in mind, and unashamedly so. However, this doesn't stop it from being an enjoyable listen, and one which I will return to. It's got staying power and relevance, and while it does provide an instant, musical-sugar hit, it's got more depth than that. There are some slightly cringy moments but on the whole this is well worth your time. Uniqueness? Who cares....

Heartless Breakers: The Great Give Back

Artist: Heartless Breakers
Title: The Great Give Back
Format Reviewed: MP3
Format Released: 10th March 2015
Reviewed By: Lee Morton

I must hold my hand up and admit I haven't really listened to emo/post hardcore (or whatever you like to call it) for some years. Not since the last Rival Schools album in fact but never one to shy away I thought I'd give this debut full length from the Heartless Breakers, The Great Give Back, a chance and to be honest it's almost like I haven't been away. Now whether that's a good thing or not totally depends on your own preferences. This could be an album from the glory years of emo/post hardcore (at least a decade ago) and not relevant now, or it could be the best thing since Taking Back Sunday's early albums, like I said, depends which side of the fence you fall on.

Right Mistakes, which kicks the album off does so in some manner. One of the shortest songs on here it explodes to life with a great drum beat before the vocals and guitar jump in. The vocals on this track and across the whole album are so emotive. Carbon Copy is up next and is one of the highlights of the album, changing pace from emo/pop-punk one minute before an acoustic verse which really plays on the strength of singer Chase Griffis' voice.

Presence Unknown deviates from the template slightly and it's encouraging that they have tried to mix things up a little. It does work, especially with the reverb vocals on the chorus. Really slowing things down is An Aching Kind Of Growing, where Griffis shows exactly how good an instrument his voice is over a simple backbeat.

Subdued is driven along by pounding drums until a gentle breakdown in the middle section before building in to the chorus again. Liquid Confidence, something we all need sometimes, follows and is one of my highlights of the album. A great song about life's distractions, the chorus is designed to sing along to.

Return To Sender is another strong song with some great hooks and fragile vocals. The emotion that comes across is one everyone can sympathise with. APT 1E is a little more experimental and is all the better for it, especially when it builds and releases, the band letting out their frustrations on their instruments. Final track, The Great Give Back is an atmospheric, instrumental, moody end to the album and perfectly encapsulates the band and the sound that they make.

Judged solely on the music it's a very competent album, great musicianship, some cleverly crafted lyrics and ticks all the right emo boxes but, and here it comes, it isn't anything new. That doesn't make it a bad album. In fact, as debuts go it's pretty good, in fact it's very good in parts, but I can't shake the feeling that they've missed their moment.