Friday, 1 August 2014

Lit Announce UK Tour For 15th Anniversary Of A Place In The Sun

Lit have announced a UK tour for the 15th anniversary of their album 'A Place In The Sun' which will be played in full. Tickets go on sale August 4th, check out the dates below:





Yellowcard Release New Album Teaser


Yellowcard have posted a short teaser video for the release of their new album. The video ends with New Album, Fall 2014. Is the announcement coming out then? Is the album coming out then? Who's playing drums? Only time will tell. Watch the teaser video below:


I Call Fives Release Statement About The Future Of The Band


Drew, from I Call Fives, has released a statement about the future of the band. From the statement we can gather that I Call Fives have not technically broken up but will be touring a whole let less. Read Drew's Statement from Facebook below:

"I’m writing this today - one week from my 26th birthday. 8 years ago, in 2006, on the week of my 18th birthday, me and some friends had just graduated high school and decided to start playing music in a basement. We would play around 4 hours a day, 4-5 times a week. It was this one thing that we all really wanted to do; we didn’t think much beyond that. We just wanted to play – and we hoped that maybe it could lead to recording a demo and playing some shows.

I read something from The Swellers yesterday that talked about the future of their band and the decisions they had made. It was an honest piece of writing and it kind of helped me realize some things. One part stuck out in particular, “You can question yourself forever, but it won’t change a thing. I like the choices we made.” There’s a reason why not much light has really been shed on ICF over the past year..

Over the years, we went through a lot of member changes. Not long after the beginning months in 2006, when we were called Remedy, we began to take the band more seriously and do what we thought it took to become a “real band.” Over the years, this amounted to constant touring, often times playing to less than 20 people, and at the expense of being away from home, being broke, and whatever else. We did a 35 day tour in my car in 2008 with The Wonder Years. It was great..but we were 20 years old. We didn't make any money, didn't play to a ton of people..but we were doing "it". Fast forwarding to the summer of 2012, we released our first LP and played over 2 weeks on the Vans Warped tour. It was sort of the peak of my expectations; at that point, we had already toured the UK, been to Australia, toured the U.S. countless times, and then played the Warped Tour and had our record chart on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart. Shortly after that tour, we went back out, once again headlining our own run, followed immediately by a co-headlining tour with our long time pals, With the Punches. This time period sort of shaped what would become the future for this band; it was probably our 10th tour to California and we saw the same results. We couldn't afford to pay our cell phone bill from touring. Money, stress, and whatever else eventually add up – the constant van break downs, member changes..it was difficult after 6 years of regularly touring.

When we came home from that tour, at the end of 2012, the band agreed to stop touring and to begin doing different things. I went back to finish school and the other guys went to work full-time. It wasn't exactly what I wanted to do; I always wanted to play music. Our booking agent and I kept our ear out for shows, still trying to occasionally play. We ended up playing Skate and Surf 2013, which was considered to be the final thing for the band. A few months later, we were offered to go back to Australia – this time for Soundwave Festival with Green Day, Korn, and a bunch of bands we never could have imagined playing with. The band agreed to go, we played a couple shows around New Jersey, and we spent 2 insane, surreal weeks in Australia. 

Now that it’s been nearly six months since the last time we played, I wanted to make a post about it. I’ve always tried to make light of the situation when people ask about the future for I Call Fives. I quote one of my favorite movies – The Shawshank Redemption.

The future for I Call Fives will remain uncertain, but I can say certainly that we will never be in the position to tour like the band did for so many years. The opportunities that people gave us make it very hard to ever say it’s done forever. Unfortunately, the reality is that we’ve had to work jobs full-time, finish school, and do whatever it is we found best for the next chapter of our lives. It has been so hard to admit or write this for me because this band became all I knew, all I thought about, all I put myself into. We met so many bands, many that have grown to be very successful and are still doing it. So many people that let us sleep on their floor..or donated money when our engine blew up and we were stranded in the middle of nowhere, Pennsylvania. From Sydeny to Toronto to Dublin to Richland, WA…I know I speak for all of those ever involved with this band when I say that we will never forget this. We will forever be grateful for what you guys allowed us to do. 

To wrap this up, there’s a good chance you won’t see us play again. It took me a long time to accept that and write this, but I’ll continue to quote Andy Dufresne: 

“Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

Continue to settle for nothing, I’ll never forget what this band gave me.
-Drew"

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Jonathan Diener Reveals Why The Swellers Called It Quits After 12 Years


Jonathan Diener, the drummer from The Swellers, has written a blog post for Noisey detailing why the band decided to call it quits after 12 years. Read his post below:
"You know when someone mentions a band name and it sounds vaguely familiar, so you politely say you think you’ve heard of them? I’m in one of those bands. We were never a household name or a band who sold out a tour, but maybe we were one of those bands you accidentally saw open for a band you really love. As kids, we played music because it was fun and we had nothing else to do. Twelve years later, I’m sitting at my computer after getting out of my part-time retail job, writing about the life and death of my mid-level band, the Swellers. 
The summer after eighth grade, I started a band with my brother, Nick. Like all young musicians, we didn’t have a sonic focus so we’d just play pop punky originals like “Zombie Pirates From Outer Space” and “I Wanna Be In The Mob,” then throw in covers like the Mario Brothers theme. Not only were we one of the only punk bands in our area, we were the youngest. I still have fond memories of performing during our school lunch and kids throwing breadsticks at us because according to them, we were wussies. Full of angst, we needed a new scene and began volunteering at our local venue running the sound, stage and concessions. From working there and meeting so many new people, the shows we were thrown on got better and better until Michigan heroes Mustard Plug and the Suicide Machines let us open for them. Our crowd went from a dozen people to a couple hundred in a few years. We were finally becoming a local headliner and it felt awesome.
Things were starting to go somewhere and we were one of the few bands to get out of our town. We signed to a local label right in time to play a week of Warped Tour and released what we consider our first real EP. We’d invite touring bands to stay at our parents’ house for a home-cooked meal and without realizing it, began making some crucial lifelong friends. One of these bands, A Wilhelm Scream, showed our EP to Nitro Records and they were interested in signing us. Occasionally, we’d make it to California and meet with the label’s owner, Dexter Holland of the Offspring to be fresh in their minds. Each time we returned to the Nitro warehouse, we noticed the shelves went from being stocked with albums to eventually just supplies for his hot sauce company, Gringo Bandito. A few months later, we got the call saying they were going out of business and dropping almost of all of their bands so they could no longer sign us. It was devastating news for a band potentially getting their first break. At an early age, we found out the music industry doesn’t always keep its promises.
A week after I graduated high school, we embarked on a five-week tour to California and back. Shows ranged from us opening with 50 people attending to headlining in San Antonio for only the venue’s bartender. We got used to bizarre circumstances, sleeping on floors and spending days driving in the van. After booking our own tours for years, bands like A Wilhelm Scream, Streetlight Manifesto and Less Than Jake noticed and started getting us on our first package tours. This went on for a while, but we didn’t want to be the opening band forever. We recorded a few demos and sent them to a ton of labels in an email with only a few short sentences and an extensive touring history attached. Fueled By Ramen was the first label to be interested which blew our minds. FBR had the likes of Paramore, Panic! At The Disco, Gym Class Heroes, etc. With the news floating around, we were approached by a friend of a friend who wanted to manage us. He agreed to work for free until we felt like he proved himself. He organized a label showcase with several big indie and major label reps piled together in a small room in Manhattan. After tons of emails, phone calls, and freak outs, we decided on FBR, an agent, and kept our manager. We signed a contract and used the advance money to pay off our van, upgrade our gear, and get us ready for the next step.
In 2009, we were launched into a new world when we toured with Paramore. Both of our albums came out the same day and the tour was bigger than anything we’ve ever done. Unfortunately, our first week album sales were not sent in properly to SoundScan in addition to the first week of the tour being postponed. It wasn’t a smash hit like it could have been, but we made up for it by personally walking around after shows and selling around one hundred albums a night. The idea of catering, tour buses, a large crew, and sold out shows was so foreign to us. Every tour we wanted, we were getting. We even got a publishing deal and got a song in one of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater games. In typical Swellers fashion, the game ended up being the dud of the franchise. To people back home, we finally made it. To us, we were just now able to afford our already cheap rent. Since I was technically living in the poverty level, I was getting groceries with food stamps. Imagine that, a band being on a big indie record label and still living off of food stamps. We weren’t starving by any means, we were just getting by because we didn’t have time to get jobs between tours. That’s what happens when you try to dedicate your whole life to being in a band and it doesn’t pay you back.
For our sophomore album, we convinced our label to let us record at the Blasting Room with producer Bill Stevenson. Not only was Bill the drummer of Descendents, ALL, and Black Flag, he was also responsible for producing most of our favorite Fat Wreck Chords releases and new mega mainstream crossovers, Rise Against. We were listening to Foo Fighters and Jimmy Eat World nonstop and finally wanted to make a big rock record without any fast punk beats. To us, it was a no brainer, but to the rest of our punker fan base, we were unknowingly committing sacrilege. Not only did we use almost our whole budget on the album, but we had no new tours coming in. In addition to that, the label felt it would be smart to release the album a month earlier. Without a proper game plan or major tour, the album had weak sales. The one major score for us was when our video for “The Best I Ever Had” played immediately after Paramore’s new video on YouTube and got us a ton of traffic. It was the closest thing we’ve ever had to a hit song. The video has over one million views and is our biggest song to date on our most expensive album that sold less than the one we funded ourselves. Go figure. Frustrated with the direction things were going, we asked the label if we could leave. We were what is known as, “a band’s band.” Something that is a blessing for great opportunities and a curse by not instantly connecting to a wide audience. The major side of the label was going through massive changes and we got out right in time. We were stuck in mid-level band land.
Every business decision can completely change the rest of your band’s life and it was about to kick our asses. The label thing wasn’t working out, so we did the “cool” thing and released an EP on our own. It was fine for a while, but we needed the financial and political push of a label again. The bad news started when our manager got a job at one of the labels trying to sign us, which was a major conflict of interest. I approached him about the situation and reluctantly agreed that it would be OK as long as we can still shop around to other record labels. Unfortunately, the industry likes to talk and the other labels assumed we were already off the market. Communication issues between our manager and us became a daily thing. Improper filing of taxes started to add up and we owed thousands of dollars. He somehow got us banned from a major international tour without us knowing. We missed several huge tour opportunities by committing to some smaller tours early on. Not necessarily were they all his fault, but we made the obvious decision to part ways with him. To no one’s surprise, the label he was working for pulled out from wanting to sign us. We were stuck in limbo. Out of the blue I texted my friend Chris from No Sleep Records and a few hours later we had a contract. Nick and I decided we would manage our own band and we’d enter another strange, uncertain chapter of our band. I still have yet to hear from our ex-manager after the instance a few years ago.
As individuals, we have befriended a lot of cool musicians and important players in the industry, but as a band and brand, we were just around a bit too long without any major crossover. Our first major band discussion happened after the final show of our Brazil tour. Two of the guys were freshly in their 30s, my brother was getting married, and although I didn’t like the idea, we decided to keep trucking at a slower pace. Having that talk in a country most people will never have the chance to visit in their lifetime still blows my mind, but I knew it was bound to happen. The album came out and again we had no big package tour to back it up. We booked our own house show tour across the country which ended up being one of our best-grossing runs and got a lot of people excited about us again. Band morale was finally through the roof until one month later when we received a few invoices and realized we owed close to eight thousand dollars. The business side was slowly killing us and the reality of things started to dawn on us the longer we were home. My bandmates were making more consistent money at their jobs than touring. I got a part time job that would let me tour and sadly by being off the road, I was making less money. We really didn’t want to stop the band, but we knew things were plateauing. By getting out now, we could at least preserve some kind of legacy. On our last tour, I brought up the idea of booking some final shows and calling it a night. The guys were reluctant at first, but all agreed it was for the best. I wanted to be touring and creating new music full time because I have a lot of life left in me and not a lot of money in my wallet. After all, we never had the momentary major success like a lot of our friends did to fall back on. We just opened for them.
Maybe we missed our big shot by not cashing in at the right time. Maybe we could have set our artistic pride aside and written the same record over and over again. Maybe we released too much music. Maybe we shouldn’t have been so accessible to our fan base. Maybe we could have picked a different record label or a different manager or changed our band name a few years in. You can question yourself forever, but it won’t change a thing. I like the choices we made. I like that we took risks and kept it real. We traveled to over 18 countries and five continents, getting to play the music we loved and believed in. Now we’re booking our final shows this fall. Maybe posthumously we’ll become a big deal or just fade away. In retrospect, it doesn’t matter if you’ve heard of us or not. No one ever said you had to be a household name to be successful. Regardless of whether we were a small, mid-level, or big band, we did things our way and I’ll always be proud of that".

Nathan Detroit - Track By Track Guide & Artwork Feature

Already on their third release in just two years, Nathan Detroit have clearly been on a creative quest to find their best self. Mission accomplished. To be sure, forthcoming release Peace Of Mind sees the Wiltshire quintet frothing with melodies and punchy, infectious hooks, the EP’s four tracks feel positively jam packed 
with killer choruses and memorable refrains. Here vocalist Jamie guides you through the themes and lyrical inspirations 
behind the offering, track by track…

"As we embarked on a further release, we wanted to make sure we were happy with the general direction we were heading in. As we began writing, it became pretty obvious to us that it was going to be a step forward and one in the direction that we had all talked about at the start. The finished product has a clear path from song to song, with a general theme of progression from beginning to end and a feeling that can be related to so many different situations and circumstances: mostly those that helped write these songs in the first place, those that everyone goes through in life. 

‘The Way Down’ Having established what the direction of the EP was going to be, we were able to start right at the beginning with ‘The Way Down’. The general feel of the song and the lyrical inspiration revolve around those regular day to day things that can feel like as if they are just getting too much. We have all had that poignant moment when we think, “I can’t take any more of this” and “enough is enough”. This is not necessarily a negative point of view, it can be seen as a positive message through hard times, signifying a turning point. I think it’s an honest song and one that emphasises the importance of balance. ‘Never Enough’: When approaching this EP we determined that it was important for us to touch on things which we had never addressed before.

 ‘Never Enough’ was written to portray a time in all of our lives, when being yourself is scrutinised to the nth degree, perhaps to the point of oppression in some cases. Everyday life can be pretty strenuous, but as the song progresses it demonstrates the need to continue with things, prioritising and living by your own terms. The message is to have the strength to recognise what you need to do to keep going. 

‘I Will Always Be Part Of This World’: This was a massively emotional song to write and by far the most vivid in terms of imagery. I address some issues which had been presented in ‘The Way Down’ and ‘Never Enough’, but with an element of reflection and contemplation. It was always an important part of the message of the EP to encourage taking steps forward and as the Chorus states, it’s a slow and steady road but one which does have an end, there is a realisation that things are going to be ok. 

‘Every Heart’: From the beginning we knew we wanted to clearly address a specific idea with ‘Every Heart’, the idea that no matter what happens, we all have something to offer. It was my vision to take the emotional elements explored in the EP and at the end, put a fun twist on them, leaving listeners with the general message that we can all contribute something. In fact we probably already do. ‘Every Heart’ marks the final step on the journey from feeling emotionally drained to knowing there is a positive future. 


Guitarist Callan also describes the process behind the artwork...

“For this release we definitely wanted to focus on the packaging, as we felt this is a genuine step up with the band. Before I had even joined Nathan Detroit as the second guitarist, I had made artwork for the band, but had never considered myself as an “artist”. In fact, I have only really taken art seriously over the past year or so through my venture (C.Milward Graphics & Art).

With this cover I wanted to make it feel more organic, so I decided to make it a hand-drawn effort. I began with the ‘brain-guy’ in the centre of the piece. I’m not really sure why I decided to go with this idea, but I had recently been really digging the cover for the new Polar Bear Club recordand wanted to put my own spin on the style. I also have been liking a lot of posters coming from Rockets are Redand wanted to use a similar bold & natural colour scheme. The overriding message of this release lyrically focusses on switching from a negative state in your life to a positive, (hence the title “Peace Of Mind”), so I wanted the cover to represent that transition in one scene, as well as give it a“Sci-Fi” theme…

After drawing the brain character I moved on to drawing the scenery, such as “the hill” and “ray of light” beaming from the top of it. Once assembled together I played with a lot of simple colour schemes to give it a “evening woodland” feel. I actually hated the cover at this stage for a while! I think a lot of artists go through this with their artwork. Everyone is their own worst critic of course. However, once I started playing with the detail work I really began to fall in love with the piece and call it “finished”.Working on the whole thing, it took the best part of 8 hours a day for a week. This is the longest period of time I’ve worked on artwork, but turned out to be one of my favourite pieces I have produced. I can’t wait until the release date just to hold a physical copy of it! Oh and see if you can spot the Squirrel with the final cover, it’s tricky to spot!”

Peace of Mind is released on August 11th. Check out the video for The Way Down below:

Monday, 28 July 2014

Neck Deep Announcing UK & North American Tour


According to Neck Deep's twitter, the band will be announcing a UK and North American Tour this August. The North American tour announcment will be released on August 4th and the UK one on August 20th. Check out the tweets below and keep your eyes peeled!



Sunday, 27 July 2014

Pop Punk Playlist Circa 2003 (Part One)


Pop Punk doesn't have a long history in some sense. Most people would argue that the roots of the music we love today can be found with bands like the Ramones and the Buzzcocks back in the 70s and 80s. But listening to bands that have become popular with the revival of modern pop punk, it seems hard to imagine that their roots were founded over 40 years ago. Pop punk has gone through many stages; it's erupted in popularity many times and in many different forms since The Ramones were around.

However, many modern pop punk bands cite the late 90s/ early 2000s as inspiration for their own projects. You only need to listen to I Call Fives, Stuck in 03, to know which bands they were influenced by. It makes sense that the bands that we love today were inspired by the early 2000s; afterall most of them were teenagers at this point like so many of us. 

To celebrate the importance of pop punk in the early 2000s, we thought we'd share with you our favourite albums from then. Since we did a summer playlist full of newer pop punk we thought it would only be fair to include some albums that laid the foundations for what was to come.Check out the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the post to listen to all of the albums...



1.Brand New - Your Favorite Weapon 
Remember when Brand New was a bit pop punk? Your Favorite Weapon was released in 2001 and is significantly different to all of Brand New's follow up albums. Plus, here's a bit of pop punk trivia for you (don't tell us you don't learn anything from here) - The song seventy time seven comes from a verse in the bible (Matthew 18:22) where Jesus tells Peter he must forgive his brother seventy times seven times. The song was written about a disagreement between Jesse Lacy and childhood friend John Nolan, lead guitarist from Taking Back Sunday. Taking Back Sunday then released 'There's no I in Team' which is their side to the story. Interesting. 


2.Home Grown - Kings of Pop
I know what you're thinking. What the hell is that cover about it? Quite frankly, it is absolutely terrifying. But fear not my friends, Kings of Pop is one of the most awesome albums from the early 2000s. Filled with heartfelt lyrics and punchy choruses, Kings of Pop is the ultimate pop punk album. It was also released on Drive Thru Records which gives any album serious credentials. Drive Thru records was set up by siblings Stefanie and Richard Reines and their label was responsible for the popular upsurge of pop punk/emo bands in the early 2000s. It was home to New Found Glory, Something Corporate, The Starting Line, Fenix*TX and of course Homegrown. Unfortunatley, Home Grown split in 2005 when lead vocalist, Adam Lohrbach, left to create New Years Day. However, that doesn't mean we can enjoy Kings of Pop any less. 


3.The Starting Line - Say It Like You Mean It
We bet Kenny Vasoli cringes every time he sees the video for the Best of Me: bleach blonde hair, long fringe and a man trying to serenade a girl with a stereo outside her window. Alongside The Best of Me, this debut album from the Starting Line is filled with teenage indifference, girl trouble and the joys of being in a band. 





4.Allister - Last Stop Surburbia
Allister released Last Stop Surburbia, their third album, in 2002 and were one of the first bands to sign to Drive Thru Records. Last Stop Surburbia is an essential for any pop punk collection and includes Somewhere on Fullerton which someone named in the youtube comments for the song as the platonic ideal of pop punk. Nice. Here's another pop punk trivia fact for you: Allister made a cameo appearence in the chick flick Sleepover, an awful movie about a girl trying to outdo the popular clique while at a sleepover. Allister play at her prom and things get a bit cringey. However, Allister made the film 100% better and I'm sure it was worth it to work with Steve Carell dressed as an angry police officer. 


5.New Found Glory - Nothing Gold Can Stay
Remember when we were talking about Stuck in 03 by I Call Fives? This is one of the albums in that song and is the debut album from New Found Glory. New Found Glory haven't changed much as a band and we're definitely not complaining about it. The pop punk formula that they barely stray  wrap into every album works every time and has influenced many a band throughout the years. All Time Low named themselves after lyrics in Head on Collision and The Story So Far are named after a song of the same name from Sticks and Stones. Another pop punk trivia fact is that New Found Glory originally had an 'a' in front of their name (like on the cover of NGCS to the right) but had to drop it because fans found it difficult to find the album in record stores. 


6.Blink 182 - Take Off Your Pants and Jacket
Honestly, we could have put any Blink 182 album in here as pretty much every person has listened to some Blink album when they were younger. Take off Your Pants and Jacket was released in 2001 and includes songs like First Date, Rock Show and Stay Together For the Kids. The album also saw the first time that Tom, Mark and Travis would work separately on some occasions due to opposition and contention within the band. The album has sold over 14 million copies worldwide and went double platinum in the first three weeks of its release. The album title is also a pun on masturbation, we'll let you figure that one out.  


7.Fenix Tx - Self Titled
Originally Fenix Tx were named River Fenix and so was their self titled debut. However the estate of River Pheonix, the late actor, filed a cease and desist order against the band which meant that they had to change their name to Fenix Tx. In the video for the track All My Fault, Mark Hoppus makes a guest appearence. At the time, Hoppus' sister was dating guitarist, Damon DeLaPaz. Due to this, Hoppus gave them an opening support slot on a Blink 182 tour and he also became their manager. However, he later dropped this role because of his commitments within Blink 182 but the band were eventually managed by Blink's manager. All My Fault was played in the TV movie Jailbait and the band also made a cameo appearance. 


The Ataris - So Long Astoria
So Long, Astoria is the fourth album from the Ataris and contains the songs 'In This Diary' and 'Boys of Summer', originally by Don Henley. Who know that you could some old geezer's 80s dance song and turn into an awesome pop punk anthem? The Ataris even changed the Cadillac's Deadhead sticker to a Black Flag one; how very fitting. You also have to check out the video for In This Diary, Kris Roe sports bleached blonde hair with a long fringe, very much like Kenny Vasoli in The Best of Me; Kenny would be proud. 
SugarCult - Start Static
Start Static was released in 2001 and was Sugar Cult's third album which includes some songs that had previously been released on their second album Wrap Me Up In Plastic. The album includes Bouncing Off the Walls which features Chris Shiflett (who used to play with No Use For a Name) the lead guitarist from the Foo Fighters playing the guitar solo. Bouncing Off the Walls also featured in the soundtrack for the film National Lampoon's Van Wilder which means the video features Ryan Reynolds and Tara Reid.



Saves The Day - Stay What You Are

Stay What You Are is the follow up album to Through Being Cool which we could have also put on here as both are equally as good. While Through Being Cool is more like a typical angsty pop punk record, Stay What You Are infused emo into the genre and would pave the way for the upsurge in emo's popularity and became influential in both the emo and pop punk community. After the release of Through Being Cool, the band were in a van accident which became the inspiration for the new record and deals with love, death suicide and self discovery. Also, check out the video for At Your Funeral which was inspired by the movie Requiem for a Dream.







If you have any pop punk albums you still love and think should be in part two, email us at pop.punk.uk@gmail.com. We'd love to hear from you...