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. Don't forget to check out our YouTube channel, too, over at

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Live: HECK

Headliner: HECK
Support: Brass Tongue, wars, Last Hounds
When: 10th November 2015
Where: The Rainbow, Birmingham
Reviewed By: Jamie Kerr
Photography By: Jamie Kerr

It's very rare that I turn up to a show and know what to expect from the headliners. In fact I'm particularly envious of any first timers that have no idea of what to expect from headline act HECK. However on that basis, I'm not envious of any band that has to share a stage with them....

In typical fashion I wasn't down early enough to see opening act Brass Tongue but I did make it in time to see Last Hounds. It wasn't the greatest performance I've ever seen, with rather monotone vocals and a few timing issues sticking out, but they're clearly a young band trying to make a name for themselves so I'll refrain from picking apart their performance. Their vocalist did his best to interact with the crowd and not being stuck on stage which was a nice touch.

The same can't be said for wars. I knew nothing of them beforehand but judging from the number of people sporting t-shirts with their name on I figured they would have something about them. They were a real surprise, delivering a highly engrossing and slick performance. Their sound was reminiscent of the ambient intensity of Devil Sold His Soul, combined with the brutality of Every Time I Die and the melody of Alexisonfire. They didn't need loads of energy to make a good impression, their songs just sound really really good. A highly impressive performance from a band that are worth checking out.

Tonight's headliners need no introduction, especially as I reviewed them last time they were in town about a year ago. It's worth noting that for those of you who aren't aware, HECK used to be more commonly known as Baby Godzilla but had to change their name once they were threatened with a lawsuit. But whatever their name, they're still very much the same band famous for their ferocious live shows.

Once all the guitar feedback has died down, the chaos kicks off with At The Oche with everyone bar the drummer making their way into the middle of the room with mic stands. The next thirty minutes or so consisted of lots of screaming, thrashing around, getting intimate with the crowd and just general merriment. The intimacy is a delight to witness and be included in, with Matt at one point grabbing my head resulting in us screaming in each other's faces. The willingness to get involved with all those that turn out to see them are what keep fans like myself turning out every time they're in town, each show is predictable yet somehow unique at the same time.

New single The Breakers sounded every bit as chaotic live as it does on record. Whilst it doesn't deviate from their current sound, it does fit in perfectly with classics The Great Hardcore Swindle and Powerboat Disaster, both of which whip the crowd into a frenzy. The only downside was that the small basement room didn't allow for HECK to be very creative with their surroundings, however this is by no means their fault and does not take away from the fact that it was still a hell of a fun way to spend a Tuesday evening. 

If you haven't already seen them, I wholeheartedly suggest you do so. You don't even have to like their music, you just have to be up for having a fucking good laugh

Monday, 23 November 2015

Interview: Such Strange Arts

Having just signed with Standby Records and released details of their forthcoming new EP, we caught up with pop-punks Such Strange Arts...

The Punk Archive: Hey guys, introduce yourselves to our readers?
Such Strange Arts: Hey Punk Archive, we're Such Strange Arts from Rayleigh in Essex! We are Jake (singer), Matt (guitar), Dean (bass) and Antony (drums).

The Punk Archive: Who are your biggest influences?
Jake: Probably Alex Gaskarth from All Time Low, and Ed Sheeran. Both are great singers and amazing songwriters!
Matt: Green Day and Busted. No questions.
Dean: I know its cliché, but Mark Hoppus is pretty rad.
Antony: It's not really pop-punk, but Ray Luzier from Korn has always been a big influence on me!

The Punk Archive: What influences your songwriting?
Such Strange Arts: As a band it's pretty broad! We listen to everything from first and second wave pop-punk through to what's in the charts at the moment. Usually songwriting starts from the smallest idea, like a riff or a vocal melody, then we build it up using all of our influences!

The Punk Archive: How would you say you guys fit into the current pop-punk scene? Are you more of the second-wave, The Story So Far style pop-punk? If so, how do you differentiate yourselves from others?
Such Strange Arts: We differentiate ourselves from a lot of other pop-punk bands because of the amount of pop in our tracks! We're probably too 'pop' to be considered second wave pop-punk, or even first wave: but their influence on us keeps us between the two styles.

The Punk Archive: Why do you think pop-punk is so big right now?
Such Strange Arts: Probably because of the recent rise of gateway bands like 5 Seconds of Summer and McBusted (well, now good old Busted and McFly)! They are huge influences on us, especially with the way they merge the pop with the punk and rock. This is leading people to checking out pop-punk bands in general. Aside from this, pop-punk is just cool, does it really need justifying?!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Live: Like Torches

Headliner: Like Torches
Support: Small Pond Big Fish, Devereux, The Autumn Ravine, Grumble Bee
When: 15th November 2015
Where: The Garage, Highbury
Reviewed By: Dan Stoten

I've been spoilt recently with the live music I've been able to see. After a joyous five days in Florida at Pre-Fest and Fest, the first gig I went to back in a wintry London town was always going to have a hard time living up to expectations. Especially as it was on a cold and grey Sunday.

Opening act Small Pond Big Fish didn't get things off to a spectacular start by any stretch. While the stage upstairs at The Garage is admittedly small, they were pretty static on-stage and looked somewhat awkward at times. Their brand of female-fronted pop-punk fell somewhere between Evanescence and Tonight Alive vocally; while there were some elements of neat guitar work. To me, though, they weren't the most cohesive or polished unit, and their cover of Sugar, We're Goin' Down by Fall Out Boy is one to avoid. Definitely some seeds of talent, but they were pretty well hidden on this occasion.

They were followed by Devereux, who delivered another set which fell flat. While their melodic hardcore-style rock was completely inoffensive, there was nothing here to make me sit up and take notice either. Their wall-of-noise approach, combined with the poor sound in the venue for their set, meant it was difficult to make out any detail, and it was also tricky to hear the vocalist.

The Autumn Ravine were up next, and instantly displayed a marked step up in quality. Another set of melodic hardcore-influenced music (but with a much punkier edge), there were some really tight melodies and harmonies here, something missing from both previous acts. Alongside this, Damon's vocals were at times backed by Thomas, something which added strength and depth. Particularly of note was The River, a very polished song which grew and grew in stature in a really smooth and rounded way. Definitely a band to keep your eyes peeled for.

If you're a fan of letlive., then you'll also find elements of Grumble Bee's music up your street. To me, it was choppy, technical and passionate math-rock influenced noise, with added lashings of slightly darker, gothic overtones. Jack Bennett himself is some performer, writhing and jerking while passionately shredding his guitar and mixing vocal styles: there were some whispers but also some pretty gravelly and throaty screams. While not an easy watch, there was definitely something more than a little intriguing about Grumble Bee's performance which would entice me to see them again.

Tonight's headliner (and main attraction) were Stockholm skate punks Like Torches, who'll be releasing their new album in 2016. They opened their set with Skeletons, the track which drew my attention to the band in the first place. It wasn't the cleanest and most polished rendition, with some of the vocal notes not being hit; but it helped the band settle into their performance.

After a handful more songs, they clearly settled into their stride, with the loose-ness and sloppiness of earlier tracks fading. While sonically the venue wasn't ideal, their energy and enthusiasm for their catchy and accessible skate-punk was completely obvious and good to watch. They've a lot more edge than your standard run-of-the-mill pop-punk band, which is a differentiating factor and something which'll bring them fans. They played a good number of new tracks, too, with Bit A Bullet standing out in particular.

While none of these performances were perfect, the latter three certainly showed enough potential to make this a worthwhile Sunday evening.

Continents: Reprisal

Artist: Continents
Title: Reprisal
Format Reviewed: MP3
Format Released: 30th October 2015
Reviewed By: Will Bright

I used to be a fan of screamo, back in the day. Nowadays, give me some good screaming if it's part of a sick post-hardcore tune and I'll be all over it: but the chugging metalcore that used to define the genre no longer does it for me. Which is good, because in between the harsh, unrelenting energy of Continents' latest LP, Reprisal, are some brilliant moments of experimental post-hardcore excellence that make some of this album an absolute treat.

Some of it, because however much I can devoid myself of genre prejudice in the name of a good review, I still just couldn't get into much of the album.

There's a lot going on in this release, and as I listened to it more and more I could appreciate its intricacies. Musically, it's sound. Not my usual cup of tea, perhaps not yours, but even so I have heard many, many bands try to achieve this sound and accomplish something that just brutalises your ears. Fair play to Continents, they know how to play, they know how to write, and it's clear that they aren't willing to stay within the confines of their genre. The end result is a mix of songs with ruthless energy, and songs that bring to mind the slower post-hardcore of acts like Touché Amoré.

It's the latter that are my high points of the album: in particular I and the title song, Reprisals; but first it's worth pointing out something that makes Continents stand apart from the crowd even with the songs that are, on first listen, pretty standard screamo fare.

It's all in the rhythm. Take a listen to the opening track, Drowned in Hate, and you'll hear this weird mix of rhythms, both in the percussion and the guitars, that almost borders on math rock. It works, managing to keep both the insane energy (seriously, regardless of what I write here, there's no way that Continents aren't absolutely amazing to see live) while spicing it up with a little rhythmic discordance that keeps things interesting. It's stronger in some songs more than others (Scorn is lacking in it for the most part, and suffers for it), but it's these moments that make Reprisal's heaviest stuff worth the listen.

Unfortunately, that doesn't stop a lot of the album sounding far too similar to itself: not always bad, but this is one of those instances where repetition fatigue sets in hard and fast. For my money, it's after the intro to the third track, Life of Misery, when a sick beat and dirty bass transition into the sort of song that's already been showcased twice. By itself, in all fairness, Life of Misery is the closest this album comes to hardcore punk, and is so close to being an absolute banger, even if it ends up being pulled down by genre limitations.

And what of the best moments? Within a second or two of I starting, it's clear that you're dealing with something different. It's short, sure, at a minute and a half, but it's so oddly peaceful, so reminiscent of one of AFI's quieter songs. The screaming is used in my favourite way, mixed within the music, complementing it rather than competing with it. Plus, it sets up Reprisal, the best track by a fair margin, perfectly.

Again, it's slow, driven by clean guitar-play, and built up beautifully so when the heavy shit drops, it works. Even someone who was an adamant hater of this sort of music would be hard-pressed to admit that Reprisal isn't gorgeously crafted, with every rise and fall so deftly executed that it pulls you totally inside of itself for a good few minutes, before you're so jarringly woken up by the aptly named Awakening (itself one of the better tracks on here).

A shout-out to Alone and II as well, which shake up the formula to close out the LP in a truly satisfying way. All in all, even if I personally can't really get into half the tracks on here, I know a lot of people will. And Continents have earned that much, as Reprisal is a solid album with some wonderful moments for any listener. If you get the chance to see them live, I reckon it would be a great show: such blistering energy might not get its point across via headphones, but in a room full of sweaty, amped up fans, there's nothing better.

Still Alive: Choices

Artist: Still Alive
Title: Choices
Format Reviewed: MP3
Format Released: 27th August 2015
Reviewed By: Homer Kelly

Well let me first come right out of the gate praising this albums artwork. I mean what the fuck is going on there? A giant spiral-eyed skull bursting through a smaller skull split down the middle with tongues wagging and a giant lazer-shooting eyeball in the chin! No idea what is happening there but I fucking love it. Aaaaaanyway...

So here we have the debut album, Choices, from Chicago-born hardcore band Still Alive and my word if it isn't both fast and furious. As a casual vacationer in the land of hardcore some of the songs are just too much for me but I think already this album has the potential to become a cult classic amongst the genre's rabid fans. There are all the hallmarks of hardcore punk and ska of the 90s, given a modern kick up the ass with metal riffage and guitar tone. Even in the songs that are "too much" the pure energy and force of their ska-tinged hardcore is somewhat undeniably appealing even if the raw-ass screaming is not your deal. 

The album opens with two frantic social commentary songs: the scorching Almost There, a scathing commentary on the war on drugs; and The Televangelist, a post-hardcore tinged rant against evangelical scam artists. Both of these songs register on the heavier end of the spectrum for this already heavy album, showcasing all the features of the blinding hardcore punk that you'll be hearing over the next thirty minutes. However I'd say that with track three being more of the same this is the album's weakest point. Though these are three good songs, they vary little in pace, energy and tone so you just get a bit swamped in the noise and the songs kind of wash right off.

Things pick up though once we get to the fourth song, Suffocating, mixing things up by bringing in some major chords and writing what this band's equivalent of a modern pop-punk song would be which I think comes off really well and features the album's first instance of sung vocals.

Then we come to my favourite track of the album: Actors & Puppets which is, unsurprisingly, one of the lightest, most ska, most sung songs of the album. But that certainly isn't to say that it's light by any means, just that I think that when the guys pull back a bit from the absolute fury-storm of riffs and screaming for a section or two replaced with melody and more discernible skanking and rhythm it makes much for much more memorable songs that fire you up rather than overwhelm you. This song is a banger, I really fucking like it.

From here on the album stays on this path with little variance but never again returning to the over-saturation of hardcoreness that the first three tracks had; keeping everything coherent with their raw heaviness but every other song or so lightens things up with some singing or skanking rather than relentless 100% "GO GO GO" all the time.

For a genre that I am not super enamoured with I am really fucking impressed by this effort from Still Alive. This is a cracker of a debut album, having filled a void for new raw, heavy ska in my world and warmed me up to the hardcore genre in general. Top notch work lads! Nice one!

Kindling: Galaxies

Artist: Kindling
Title: Galaxies
Format Reviewed: MP3
Format Released: 6th November 2015
Reviewed By: Ben Chapman

Galaxies, a happily accidental EP from a band built after an intendedly one-off collaboration, is another promising exercise in the shoegaze revival. Massachusetts four-piece Kindling (including singer Stephen Pierce and drummer Andy Skelly of uncompromisingly intense punk launchers Ampere) display their capacity to lay back in comparison to their previous collaborations.
Blinding Wave paints out the EP's authentically shoegaze setting with its melodic but warped heaviness, where Gretchen William's icy vocal, a little reminiscent of The United States of America's psychedelic-prog leading lady, grabs the listener's attention, while the subdued yet energetic indie feel makes this opener very Menace Beach fan friendly. The bass hops along beside the vocal's melody nicely, but the sound is so large and fuzzy that you can't always tell how busily it joins in here. The constant fuzzy overdrive is only slightly smoothed with a piercing post-rock edge to a loftily-resting guitar line.
Second track While Away has the slower feel of My Bloody Valentine (and some particular hints of Come In Alone's intro). With its sizeable sound on entry, it's a fine display of the band's ability to bring variety to a genre that's heavy on crushing repetition and almost intangible levels of distortion. The dissonance of the main riffs combined with the honestly messy recording style gives a double layer of fuzziness, impressively never smothering the groove entirely. The dual vocals layer constantly, with hordes of pretty ghostly wailings and unintelligible lyrics that rely far more on melody than a need to be understood.
The melodically-focused Painkiller continues the furry trip begun on the previous two tracks, then opts to pick up tempo towards the end. A steady, warming, thrashing mess around in which the lyrics can't quite be made clear...but then where's the need for that anyway? No room for thematic preaching here, just sit and roll your head in the candyfloss bowl of shamelessly distorted guitar.
The all-too brief but monumentally overdubbed Coastal provides some Sunny Day Real Estate-style drum fills that alter and lead the song's energy dramatically, stabbed out alongside that ever swashing guitar, adding some welcome variation from the constant roll of strumming and foamy distortion. Whilst an effective grab for their massive sound, I think that throughout the EP it would have been nice to have heard the bass and guitars avoid working so steadily in tandem. This closing track proves they can avoid tailing each other, with a fair amount of twists presented in this final minute-and-a-half to close the album decisively.
At times the listener might find the end results too washy, with its steadily mindless waves of distortion and often incomprehensible lyrics muttered out melodically, but mostly it's a highly welcome addition for fans of shoegaze, indie, and generally subdued alt-rock, boldly presented in a convincing and unpretentiously concise EP.

Second Youth: Glass Roof

Artist: Second Youth
Title: Glass Roof
Format Reviewed: MP3
Format Released: 4th December 2015
Reviewed By: Lee Morton

Have you ever sat around with your friends talking about the music you grew up with? I know I have, many times, and this is what long-time friends and touring companions Dick Smith and Andre Suergiu have done, only they then thought why not write some songs like those we grew up listening to. Glass Roof is the end result and if like them you're a fan of Tim Armstrong/Rancid, Social Distortion and Bouncing Souls then you're in for a treat.

Title track Glass Roof is up first and has elements of Bad Religion along with aforementioned influences. The vocals are gruff and guitars buzz away in the background as it builds to the chorus with its repeated gang vocals "promise me, when I'm gone that you'll still listen to our song". An excellent start.

Keep On Dreaming strips the sound back but is little more than the filling between the first and last tracks. Talking of which, final track on this short three-track EP, How It Was is another catchy melodic number. Those influences are to the fore again with some bouncy bass lines and the backing vocals adding extra depth to the sound.

As a taster for a future full length album, which they hope to start recording on soon, this whets the appetite and I shall definitely be keeping both an eye and ear on Second Youth.