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 We'd love to hear from you...

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Nathan Detroit Release New Video

Nathan Detroit have released a new video for The Way Down from their new EP Peace of Mind which comes out August 11th. Check out their bandcamp here.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Ashley Cadwallader Leaves Smalls

Ashley Cadwallader, the vocalist from Smalls, has announced that she is leaving the band due to disagreements about her sexuality. According to various sources, Cadwallader has been receiving comments about her sexuality for months from former bandmates, one of which is her ex-boyfriend, after she came out as gay. Cadwallader announced that she was leaving the current tour that Smalls is on with On My Honor and The Sheds and will be flying back home to to Los Angeles.

Read Ashley's Friend's statement:

As it has come out, my best friend, Ashley Cadwallader has quit her band Smalls tonight after her Long Island show.Ashley has talked to me the past two months about this tour, often worried that things wouldn’t go as well as she’d hope after her coming out as gay to her friends, family, and bandmates. One bandmate being her ex. At points she was done, she was going to get up and quit the band because she just couldn’t do it because she was so upset at how her ex was treating her after the break up because he just couldn’t believe she was gay. I told her many times that things would be okay, that she has an amazing opportunity getting to do this tour with two really great and talented bands, and that she should try and stick it out. Ashley took my advice and went on the tour and has toughed it out the past two and a half weeks across the US.
All this made me question the advice I had given my friend. I would often get frantic phone calls in the middle of the night with her on the other end saying she was done, but I continued to tell her to keep going at least until she got out East.
Lots of people, even today, have to shelter the fact that they are gay. Often times by making themselves be in unhappy relationships in order to not lose the people close to them. It’s an incredibly hard step for many and to be told you’re not really gay and just confused is a huge slap in the face of the person that has come out. The same argument that is often used by religious fundamentalists is what was used against Ashley. Being told that you’re just confused about being gay just so someone can keep you around for their own selfish reasons is completely wrong. Even one of Ashley’s bandmates called Ashley’s current girlfriend an “experiment” as well as calling two non-heterosexuals in my band “poser gay.”
If you planned on going to one of the last dates of the current tour, please still do so as our good, good friends in On My Honor (who are one of my favorite pop punk bands and all around amazing musicians) are still playing and could use the support.
Read Ashley's Statement:
To whom it may concern: tonight’s show in long island was my last. I am leaving smalls. I am so sorry to anyone who was planning to come out to Connecticut, haverhill ma, columbus ohio, my solo dates in Tinley park IL and Louisville ky.
I am currently sitting in the Bronx and will be hopping on a plane tomorrow back to lax. I was not kicked out I left. ..i left.
This has been something I’ve been dealing with for a few months now and my legs have given out.
Thank you to everyone who came out to a show, bought something or hungout with me. You have all made me feel so happy.
I’m sorry but I wouldn’t do this unless I absolutely felt I had to. 
If there’s one thing I must say it’s that I hope that those who have met me or know me at all know how sincere I am. All the deep conversations ive had beyond just hey you bought a shirt.How much these songs that I wrote these words that I wrote meant to me. How much my band meant to me.
No one can take that away from me or the new friends I’ve made along the way. 
Thanks for listening.
Drew Justice of On My Honor, who is also gay, has also released a statement to Property of Zack which you can read below. 
As a general rule, I like to allow the affairs of other bands’ to remain their own. I know there have been many instances where my own band has had internal struggles or dilemmas that our tour-mates may have remained completely unaware of. Upon hearing that Ashley was leaving the tour and her band, my initial response was to treat it in the same manner. Unfortunately, allegations of homophobic or intolerant behavior are a serious thing.
Having not known Ashley or anyone else from Smalls until around three weeks ago, I can’t and won’t speak for any behavior that may have happened before I was aware of them, or that I haven’t witnessed. Being around Ashley, the rest of Smalls, The Sheds and everyone on this tour has been a pleasant experience. My own orientation has come up in a handful of conversations, without a negative thing being said. I don’t know everything that has gone on behind closed doors, but I do know that if any bullying or homophobic behavior had been witnessed on this tour, it would have certainly been addressed by myself and my band mates.
Homophobia is not a joke. It has no place in the beautiful punk rock subculture we exist in, and it certainly has no place on any tour that On My Honor is or will be a part of.
I wish nothing but the best for my new friend Ashley. I sincerely hope that any ugly or intolerant behavior is far from her and her future, and wish her the best of luck with her future endeavors.
I’m looking forward to the remainder of our tour with our new friends in Smalls and The Sheds.

Members of Smalls have also released statements to Property of Zack about Ashley's departure:
    To clear things up, I’ve never actually been in the middle of something like this. As the only remaining female in the band I would like to clear up that we are not homophobic and it should be clear I’ve been a lesbian whose been out since I was in 7th grade. To be homophobic would be a walking contradiction. As far as the rest of the band. All the dudes have been super accepting and even hang out with my girlfriend of 7 years ( tiana Nobbs) it hurts me to hear everyone take one story and blow it out of proportion especially when they aren’t true. I wanted to touch up on that issue and straighten it out. I’m openly gay and my older brother is gay so that clearly is a lie. As far as Ashley leaving the band we gave her the option. She wanted to have a band convo in front of kids who drove hours to see us but Instead I thought it would be best to handle this like adults. We went over our options. She could leave the tour and let not only us down but every band on it the tour manager who put hard work into it and the kids who wanted to see the full band. Or we said finish the tour and well deal with this when we get home ( which is what I preferred). She went her own way and not asked us to post anything of this matter, and then I wake up to crazy post about us being homophobic and verbally a using her. 
    We had plenty of discussions with Ashley about where we wanted the band, where we saw the band and what we wanted out of it as far as performance. there are a lot of tools and mechanisms  that make a band function. Her leaving the band was a professional break. It had nothing to do with my past relationship with her, or who she is as a person. I’ve always expressed nothing but love, and respect to not only her but the people around me. I grew up with a home with a mother who taught me well; love others unconditionally. it doesn’t matter who they are. evil, Christian, gay, atheist. there’s absolutely no room for homophobia , sexism, or racism not just in the punk rock community but in this world.  it’s extremely hurtful to hear someone who we backed so hard and stood behind for the past 2-3 years turn the way she did. ashley was never bashed. we never “verbally abused” her. as a band always voted on the thing we wanted to do and if things didn’t go her way she would flip. this whole tour we took it as an opportunity to bond further than we ever have and instead she secluded herself from the rest of us. last night as we had our discussion on what was going to happen, she said she was done. she was going home. and that we couldn’t continue with the band using her lyrics. and if we did she would release a statement to ruin the band.  as a community the defend pop punk group has something really special on their hands, they could do so much good for our music community. instead they take that and use it to bash people without knowing anything that has been going on behind closed doors. we have friends and family that know us on a personal level that know that we are not what we are being betrayed. thank you to everyone who has supported this band. with all that being said we are finishing off this tour and remaining a 4 piece till further notice 

    Ashley has also released another statement to Property of Zack stating that her former band is not homophobic: 

    Hello friends, i would like to take the time to clear up some rumors that have been floating around. Last night In long island i made the hardest decision of my life and decided  to depart from my band smalls. Now I’ve read a lot of crazy things on the internet this morning from both sides and I’d like to clear some things up. Not once did I ever say my former band mates were homophobic. I take that extremely seriously and I don’t want anyone calling them that. All I said was I quit I’m going home, and then a friend’s statement was taken and posted out of context on almost every social media blog. Smalls is not homophobic.
    I however am highly offended to be told “you’re not really gay” “you’re confused” “Are you sure it’s not just a phase?”. As if its an exclusive club that you cant join past 20 years old.
    I grew up as a very confused child and into an awkward adolescence. I’ve always liked girls and have struggled with this due to being raised in a Christian home. I used to pray to God to make me “normal” and tried to force myself to have “normal healthy crushes” on the opposite sex. I would cry a lot and beat myself up a lot. Those who know me from childhood knows this, my own mother knows this.It worked for a while and for the longest time I dated guys. I never really cared for anyone, but never knew why. I would secretly lust more after the cute girls that played in bands with me then I ever did with any boyfriend I  have ever had. I was never comfortable with these boys. I thought my low sex drive was just a side effect of 8 years of being on and off depression medicine. I lost my virginity at 22 and have only had one steady sexual relationship in my life. I forced myself because I thought that’s what being in love I was so numb I couldn’t feel anything.
    Things got pretty bad, I started starving myself, started drinking heavily and heading down a bad road.
    I was miserable. So I started to search deep down inside as to why I was so unhappy. Along the way I met a girl and fell deeply in love with her. At the moment everything became clear. Everything felt right, I had realized I had been lying to myself and depriving myself out of my true self. To be told by not one but two of my own band mates that i never had an interest in girls is extremely false and that I’m not gay is offensive and to call my girlfriend an  “experiment” or to ask me if I’m just going through a phase is ignorant when you don’t know me at all.Love is the greatest thing in the world and if you experience it for the first time at 16 or 26 it doesn’t make it any lesser or greater.
    Now to what was published earlier. I never said my band mates were homophobic and neither did my friend. That was taken out of context. All of what he said did happen and is true. I was dating a member of my band before this band took off. It was just me and him and to be honest this band kind of blew up without us thinking we’d ever leave our state. From the beginning i have been threatened by him that “if i ever broke up with him smalls would be done” because he “just cant handle being friends with his ex’s”. I still have texts i still have every terrible message.It was a very toxic relationship and that’s not my business to put specifics on the internet but he is a very short tempered person and we have had problems with him and other bands and promoters. I was afraid of losing my band if I ever left him so I stayed. It got so bad that I couldn’t take it anymore and we would fight constantly on small tours/local shows. I would get text messages saying the most awful things even going as far as to telling me “take your band and go fuck off” “I regret ever day starting a band with you” nothing but negativity.I wanted to leave him a year ago but never had the courage to, i did still care for him but not in that way.When I met my current girlfriend I was still with him and opened up to him. It’s very hard to come out to your boyfriend and to tell him that you met someone it’s even more difficult to tell him you don’t like his gender. He took it bad as expected, I just couldn’t stay with him I couldn’t lie to him or myself anymore.I just wanted to be happy, I didn’t want to lie anymore and live in denial. I love who I love and I thought he would understand but he didn’t the first and only words he told me were “what am I going to do now ” “I’m going to look so stupid”. He began telling me I was confused and that I “wasn’t really gay there was no way I could be”. Grown gay men in their 40s have kids why can’t I come out at 23?
    I thought he would understand and be happy for me.
    He began to become very aggressive with me telling me he hates me and that negative energy flowed into our band. They started hanging out without me they would take his side whenever I would mention how uncomfortable I was. Saying I was over reacting. The first day we recorded our music video for tired he blew up on me and had me in tears. In a crowded room of people and not a single person said a word until I left and threatened to quit.  That’s a very good description of how this band was after I broke it off with him. He would continue to harass me and send me vulgar texts over random Facebook posts I made that had nothing to do with him. I tried to talk multiple times to my band about how I felt and it all fell on deaf ears. In their own words no one cared. I felt utterly alone. Up until tour I kept getting angry text messages telling me “after this tour this band is done”.
    I didn’t want to do this tour I forced myself because I didn’t want to let down the bands or anyone who was planning to come to these shows. I was terrified and felt like everyone hated me because no one would talk to me.So i decided to be polite and just keep to myself so i dont argue with anyone. I talked to them before tour and they addressed their issues with me and I took them to heart and began to try a little harder and even asked them how I was doing. During tour no one said anything to me not once did they mention they were unhappy with me I would ask them how they felt and if there was anything to do and all I got was a smile and a nod. After I woke up in long island i saw a Facebook post bashing me from the night before and confronted them about it and they admitted it was about me but didn’t want to apologize or admit to it. You don’t post issues with your band mates on your personal Facebook behind their back and then not say anything to them in person and act like everything is ok. I was severely heart broken because I thought we were over everything after bonding after a short week. I confronted everyone outside…. (there were no fans outside it was one kid from a local band) after telling them I want to leave and being told with a smile “this is great news” I knew I had to leave. They began to attack me over the silly internet presence I have. I don’t think I’m famous I don’t think I’m amazing I just like music and want to make friends.
    A lot of you have spoke to me in real life and online and know how sincere I am why would I make up lies just to cause trouble for myself? 
    I did most of this bands promoting on my own, i am accountable to half of
    the song writing the past 8 months booking us shows and getting us tour offers. It was never good enough. I never said they were homophobic I never submitted to any sites about why I left but now I feel like I have to explain myself . I can finally go home and be with the one I love. That’s all that matters. Believe who you want. I didn’t want this to blow up I just said I was going home. I hope now I can move on from this and away from the last toxic relationship I’ll ever have in my life. Life is too short to be angry,I am the most positive I have ever been in my life and am now happier than I ever been. Be happy if there is someone out there reading this and can relate I hope you do what’s best for you and don’t care about what anyone else thinks. Someone loves you 

    Homebound - Coming of Age - Artwork Feature

    South East pop-punk quintet
    Homebound have spent a year 
    behind closed doors, writing, writing and writing some more, until they were ready to share their infectious fruits with the world. The result is their 6-track debut EP ‘Coming Of Age’, complete with hook laden vocal lines aren’t without substance and context: “The lyrics deal with that time in life when you start having to make decisions regarding your ‘future’” states vocalist Charlie. Here the band talk us through the process behind creating the artwork for the release…

    “When it came to the artwork for the EP, none of us had any idea of what we wanted it to look like. It had to be original and something different; something you might not necessarily expect from a Pop Punk band. We came across Joe at LookHappy Design and explained the EP concept. With his mind being ten times as creative as ours, he managed to draft all sorts of awesome ideas until we decided on this one, which we felt depicted the EP and everything it stood for perfectly. That is, the fear of stepping out into the unknown, filled with a sense of danger and wildness, then having to choose a path to follow. It really grasps the feeling and sentiments we shared as a band and we couldn’t have been happier with the outcome.”

    Pick up Coming of Age for free here.

    Tuesday, 22 July 2014

    Neck Deep's Ben Performs with A Day To Remember

    Last night, Neck Deep attended the Alternative Press Music Awards in Cleveland, Ohio, and it looks like they had a sick time. Not only did they introduce A Day To Remember to perform on stage but Ben also got to sing 'City of Ocala' with them. Watch it below:

    It also looks like Fil and Lloyd had some time to hang out with Hayley Williams: 

    And here's the band with Mark Hoppus:

    Monday, 21 July 2014

    ROAM Join Me vs Hero On Their UK Tour

    ROAM are supporting Me vs Hero on their I'm Completely Fine UK headline tour this September. Check out the dates below: 

    Save Your Breath - Airs & Graces

    Save Your Breath have released a new video for Airs & Graces from their album 'There Used To Be A Place For Us'

    Sunday, 20 July 2014

    Pop Punk to Listen to This Summer

    Although we've had some pretty hot weather in the UK, it has still managed to rain almost every other day. It's like someone is trying to punish us for our bad teeth and obsession with tea. For this reason we have decided to bring you some truly awesome pop punk to brighten the summer months and make you feel like you're on Californian beach (Skateboard and Khaki shorts optional). We've compiled a list of new albums, EPs and  just general summery songs that we hope will make your summer a little less like a giant accumulation of rain and thunder storms. 

    Handguns - Life Lessons
    If you haven't listened to Life Lessons yet, stop what you are doing right now and find whatever medium you usually use to listen to music and put that shit on right now.  Although only 28 minutes long, Life Lessons is packed with huge pop punk anthems that are perfect for summer time. Imagine all the best parts of their previous releases Angst and Don't Bite Your Tongue combined to make a spotless album which will leave you begging them to come and tour in the UK ASAP. 

    Firestarter - Forget The Past
    Hailing from Albany New York this means that Firestarter already share a home with bands such as State Champs and With the Punches (R.I.P). In May of this year the band released their EP Forget the Past, which is an essential accessory to any pop punk summer. It's pretty much a fast paced, gang vocal filled EP of perfection which you can buy for the equivalent of about £3

    Candy Hearts - All The Ways You Let Me Down
    It's a shame there are not more female fronted pop punk bands in existence but Mariel, Matthew and John are doing a good job of showing what wonderful things can happen when you have a female vocalist. All The Ways You Let Me Down is a mix of sugary pop punk reminiscent of New Found Glory or Blink 182. Speaking of New Found Glory, Chad Gilbert produced the album and his influence is evident throughout. If you love pop punk with super catchy lyrics and upbeat riffs, you should definitely give this a listen.   

    Four Year Strong -Go Down In History
    It's been three years since Four Year Strong have released anything and let's be honest, we have missed them a lot. Some fans were disappointed by the release of In Some Way Shape or Form. However, it seems that for the release of Go Down In History, Four Year Strong are coming back better than ever. This will be FYS's first release since they signed to Pure Noise Records and from listening to the songs they've put out already, it seems like they're returning to their roots. Go Down in History is released July 22nd. 

    Stanley and the Search - Weightless
    Stanley and the the Search recently released the follow up to their debut self titled. Weightless is a remastered version of their EP Weight. Although the album cover is cloudy, look at those palm trees, it has summer written all over it people. The band took a different direction to their debut; Weightless provides the listener with heavy, aggressive pop punk that has the potential to become catchy at any moment. If you're a fan of citizen, Polar Bear Club or Make Do and Mend you definitely need this album to complete you summer.

    Smalls - Tired 
    Smalls are another female fronted  pop punk band that we are massive fans of (complete with female drummer). Their first EP, Expecting the Worst, was practically the best thing you will ever hear so you can imagine our excitement when they released their new song Tired. To make it even better the video for Tired (Click on title) is a parody of The Get Up Kids video for Action and Action complete with dangly ceiling telephone and everything. Make sure you pick up a copy of Small's new EP when it's released.

    Forever Came Calling - Indebted
    Forever Came Calling aren't releasing their new album until September, but until then the band have released the single Indebted. The track is a catchy mixture of upbeat guitar riffs and lyrics. Forever Came Calling's new album is a follow up to their last album Contender. The new one, 'What Matter's Most', was produced and engineered by Kyle Black (New Found Glory, Comeback Kid) and will be available by Pure Noise Records on September 9th. 

    Me vs Hero - I'm Completely Fine 
    Me vs Hero are another band that we had been missing until they started putting out new tracks from their upcoming album - I'm Completely Fine. The band have currently released three tracks from the album - Marks of a Slave, Things We Know and Opposites and each song  has been epic. The only thing we're disappointed about is that the album isn't released until September but the three songs are enough to keep us going until then. Also, look at that artwork - it's practically the British summer summed up - a man standing in the sea fully clothed with an umbrella. 

    Real Friends - Maybe This Place Is The Same and We're Just Changing
    Pop Punk/ emo favourites Real Friends are releasing their debut album this summer and from what we've already heard it looks like it's going to be awesome. The band have already released Loose Ends, Sixteen and I Don't Love You Anymore all of which sound like the typical heart on sleeve lyric, pent up emotion, Real Friends songs we love. And don't fear, the sleepy eyes/ bony knees references have not disappeared. 

    Homebound - Coming of Age
    Homebound have spent a year writing the songs which make up their debut EP 'Coming of Age'. The EP consists of songs penned about regret, learning from past experience and just growing up in general. The outcome has resulted in an excellent EP that is an impressive first release from the band. Homebound's EP is also perfect for summer so make sure you get your copy. Also, if you want to go to a show but have no money, Homebound are participating in a free tour this September with As It Is and Like Torches. To find out more click here.  

    The Story So Far - Songs Of 
    Who knew that The Story So Far had a soft side? With all this beating up of security guards it's a hard to believe that TSSF are capable of putting out an EP with the capability of singing a newborn baby to sleep. Of course we have seen this side before on Placeholder and Clairvoyant but this EP is just simply beautiful. If you're having trouble sleeping through humid summer nights just put this on, it will work much better than counting sheep. 

    Nathan Detroit - Peace of Mind
    Nathan Detroit are releasing their new EP on August 11th. The band who hail from Trowbridge in the UK have a mixture of melodic riffs and heartfelt lyrics (listen to The Way Down) and also display catchy, upbeat songs such as 17 (Although this was released lat summer it's still great). Nathan Detroit have also been playing dates alongside ROAM, Light You Up and As It Is and will also be touring this summer. Find out more here.
    Rust Belt Lights - Religion and My Ex
    Rust Belt Lights released Religion and My Ex in February of this year and although the cover is quite dark, this deserves a place in this list. You know those albums you wish you had a soft top car for and you could put the roof down and play it really loud. This is that album. The album is full of fast paced drums, an abundance of energy and catchy lyrics. Our favourites include Old Ghost and How to Live Without which are perfect for summer. 

    Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties - We Don't Have Each Other
    Dan 'Soupy' Campbell from The Wonder Years recently started a side project called 'Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties'. Although it's extremely different from TWY (think acoustic guitars, harmonicas and country-esque music) if you're a big TWY fan, then it's definitely worth checking this out. The album - We Don't Have Each Other - sold 30,000 copies in the first week and was 89 on the American Billboard charts which is pretty impressive for a side project. If you want to find out more check out Soupy's interview with AP here.

    Trash Boat - Look Alive 
    Trash Boat have only officially been a band since the beginning of 2014 but from listening to Look Alive, you would never have guessed it. As Trash Boat's first musical endeavor, the EP shows no hint of weakness and is an impressive mixture of memorable melodies, youthful affirmations and an abundance of energy; the perfect musical accessory for summer. Trash Boat have also played a number of dates supporting ROAM on their UK tour this summer. Fear not if you have missed out as the band are playing shows throughout the next coming months. Find a date near you here.  

    Knuckle Puck - The Weight That You Buried
    Summer is not summer without Knuckle Puck. Whether you're listening to The Weight That You Buried, Don't Come Home or their recent split with Neck Deep, Knuckle Puck will definitely brighten up your summer. Knuckle Puck also recently released a new video fro their song No Good (click on the link above to watch), which was directed by Eric Teti, the same person who directed Real Friend's video for I Don't Love You Anymore. 

    Seaway - Hoser
    Although Hoser was released in 2013, it definitely belongs in any summer playlist. Especially as the band just got signed to Pure Noise Records. You could argue that 'Keep your stick on Ice' means that it should belong in a winter playlist but we're going to put it in here because nothing makes you feel more summery than an album that sounds like a modern spin on old blink 182. Seaway also released a new video for No Direction from the album which you can watch by clicking on the link above. 

    No Sleep Records - A Comp For Mom
    No Sleep Record's president/ founder Chris Hansen is releasing a compilation in memory of his mum who sadly passed away this year. The comp is limited to a 1000 copies and all proceeds go towards his mum's medical bills and any left over will go to the Linda Hansen memorial fund. The compilation features a previously unreleased full band version of the Living Room Song by The Wonder Years (Listen out for the Modern Baseball shoutout), an acoustic version of Montreal by Major League and a previously unreleased b-side from the Swellers.

    Seasons Change - Nothing and Everything EP
    Seasons Change hail from Pico Rivera California and even the cover to Nothing and Everything is sunny. Just Look at it. Although this was released last year it deserves a place on any summer playlist. The band also recently got signed to No Sleep Records and are recording their debut full length with Sam Pura at the Panda Studios. Sam Pura + Panda Studios + awesome band can only equal one thing: one fucking awesome album.  

    Like You to Me - Bigger Jaws
    Like You to Me, who we think are named after the Set Your Goals Song of the same name, recently released their new song Bigger Jaws which features a special guest. Yep, that's right New Found Glory's Jordan Pundik lends some guest vocals to Bigger Jaws. In fact, the singer sounds a lot like him so it's like a buy one get one free of Jordan Pundik's which we're definitely not complaining about. Also, look at the shark on the cover that has summer written all over it, right? Okay maybe not but the song is a pretty good one to put on your summer playlists. 

    If you have any more suggestions, whether it's your favourite band, you're own band or a friend's band, we'd love to hear from you. Please email us