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Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Oxford Pop Punks Better Than Never Release EP

The 19th February 2016 sees the release of Oxford Pop Punks Better Than Never’s sophomore EP ‘Homemade Hero’, via Fox Records. Built upon an easycore inspired foundation of meaty guitars and grooves, Better Than Never pepper their sound with a layered dual vocal approach reminscent of Four Year Strong and vintage Taking Back Sunday. Formed in 2013, Better Than Never – comprised by vocalist James Harris, guitarist/vocalist Will Keating, guitarists Max Peniket and Jim Allsop, bassist Jake Aitman and drummer Kane McIntosh – have been honing their lineup (“The reason we have 3 guitarists is because we wanted our friend Will in the band but there was no space, but we're nice guys so we made it work” – James) and their songmanship, via an extensive trial and error process at James’ home recording setup.

Having finally crafted a set of songs primed for the full studio treatment, the sextet booked time at the hallowed ground of The Ranch Production House in Southampton, to set about recording what would become their debut E.P proper, Homemade Hero. “We had 4 specific songs in mind that we wanted to record, but as time grew closer, it dawned on us that actually, we didn’t want to record those songs at all,” recalls guitarist/vocalist Will; “So, a couple of months before we went in we got together at James’ flat and started to retrack ideas and parts. Over time we settled on 3 new ones we really dug, and a re-recording of a previous demo track.”

A little down to the wire perhaps, but Homemade Hero sounds far from cobbled together. “We’ve always found it best to avoid the ‘rules’ when it comes to writing songs,” explains James, “It’s really easier to sit their and feel you have to write/sing/play something in a certain way because it’s “pop punk”, but we found that adding influences from places and styles you might not usually hear has helped to sort of create a different, yet familiar feel to our music.” With lyrical themes ranging from teen romance gone awry to, erm, Prison Break, Homemade Hero has character in spades, and will surely see Better Than Never making their mark on the UK’s thriving pop punk scene.

Better Than Never Homemade Hero Track Listing:

1. Heads Shoulders Knees Bones | 2. Back Of The Line Kid | 3. Panama | 4. Dead Weight

Better Than Never Live:

 February: 24 The Cellar, Oxford | 26 The Intake, Mansfield  March: 5 Rockbarn, Witney | 8 Frog And Fiddle, Cheltenham | 30 Fiddlers Elbow, London | 31 Bullingdon, Oxford  April: 1 Stag & Hounds, Bristol | 2 The Asylum, Birmingham | 3 Night & Day Cafe, Manchester | 4 Milo Bar Leeds | 16 Town Centre, Carterton  May: 13 The Flapper, Birmingham  August: 14 Live It Up Festival, Northampton

Entertainment One Music Announces SXSW Showcase 2016

Entertainment One (eOne) today announced their 2016 SXSW Metal Showcase aptly dubbed eOne's Austin Occupation. The event will take place at ELYSIUM located at 705 Red River St. on Thursday March 17th. Doors will open at 7PM and will be FREE for SXSW badge holders.

The inaugural year will include a bill consisting of eOne Music artists spanning the gamut of hard music genres. NOLA sludge masters CROWBAR, currently working on their new, yet to be titled album due out later this year, will headline the event. The band has not performed at SXSW since their appearance on the 2011 Metal Alliance tour. The band just announced a Broken Glass 20th Anniversary Tour as well.

THE CONTORTIONIST, currently on tour overseas with TESSERACT, will return to The States for the showcase before setting out on their own headline tour with MONUMENTS. DROWNING POOL, who are enjoying the success of their brand new LP Hellelujah, will make their first appearance at SXSW in the band's 20 year career. BLACK FAST and BLACK CROWN INITIATE will also make their first ever SXSW appearances.

About Crowbar: Crowbar’s influence looms over every doom band started since, even stretching to NWOAHM bands like Unearth, Chimaira and Killswitch Engage. The sludgy, swampy, boundary pushing, ball-busting spirit of Crowbar and their extended family is as synonymous with New Orleans as Black Metal is with Scandinavia, old-school hip-hop with the Boogie Down Bronx and hair metal with Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. The resilience of the hurricane hardened populace, the scent of slow-cooking seafood, the horrific haunts of The House of Shock and the ferocity of the never-sparkling, grim killers of Anne Rice’s old-school vampire books all lurk somewhere within the Crowbar sound, oozing with the primitive weight of Black Sabbath and Saint Vitus.

About The Contortionist: Some bands follow established mores. Others may embrace disparate elements, but ultimately fail to break the confines of a particular sub genre context. And then there are bands that strip mine their initial reference points and methodically, organically and bravely create a multiverse of their own, a space where they are the only players. The Contortionist is such a collective, achieving a coveted level of self-realization, creative execution and sophistication with their adventuresome, cosmos evoking progressive rock. It doesn’t take a metal detector to discover the elements owing, to some degree, to iconic prog-metal masters like Rush, Cynic, Meshuggah and Dream Theater, either. But on the steady climb from Exoplanet (2010) to Intrinsic (2012) that has crystallized with Language (2014), The Contortionist lay claim to a genre within a genre all their own. The Contortionist has attracted a legion of dedicated diehards who obsessively study each tone, each time signature, each transition, each note. The band’s fans also include listeners who have no interest in playing or theory at all, but rather, are exhilarated to put on headphones and embark on the journey of the albums. The Contortionist has taken their patented blend of trippy atmosphere, dense conceptual storytelling and jaw-dropping technical proficiency on the road, joining forces with Deftones, Protest The Hero, Hatebreed, All Shall Perish, The Faceless and more. The men of The Contortionist remain in awe of prog-titans like Yes, King Crimson and Rush. At the same time, the music they are creating will not only build bridges between different genres and different scenes; it can even send younger fans to dig through their parents’ LP collections look for albums by old legends. Language is more than capable of launching The Contortionist to the top of the progressive realm and into the creative stratosphere.

About Drowning Pool: Giant riffs, crowd moving grooves and monstrous vocals are the tools with which DROWNING POOL build triumph out of tragedy, steadily evolve without compromise, and remain true to their supporters with over a decade’s worth of remarkable fortitude and attitude. The platinum-plus conquerors from The Lone Star State deliver their heaviest batch of hell raising anthems, each burning with fiery adrenaline destined to light the radio ablaze and ignite crowds into impassioned sing-alongs. Drowning Pool have scorched the stage alongside a who’s-who of genre legends, upstarts and everything else on the spectrum, including Ozzy Osbourne, Mötley Crüe, Papa Roach, System Of A Down, Kiss, Korn, Sevendust, Seether, Hellyeah, P.O.D., Five Finger Death Punch, Black Label Society and stints on Ozzfest with Metallica, Rob Zombie, and Marilyn Manson. Big sonic slabs of muscular power with a taste of the dark melodies of post-grunge remain Drowning Pool’s stock and trade. Their music is an unapologetic celebration of life’s joy and pain, able to swiftly maneuver between defiant declarations of resistance. Each distinctive era of the band’s history is represented onstage, where the band bashes through an arsenal of anthems all delivered with precision strength. The Hellelujah songs (with more contributions from all four members than ever) pulse with the power of all that’s come before and a reinvigorated hunger for the future. Drowning Pool celebrate the past while firmly focused on the present, coalescing into a brightly lit artistic future.

About Black Crown Initiate: Armed with the independently released, four-track and 22-minute Song of the Crippled Bull EP and a coveted spot on the Metal Alliance Tour, Black Crown Initiate steadily built a name for themselves with a DIY ethos throughout the past. While many bands pay lip service to that concept, Pennsylvania's Black Crown Initiate, who craft thinking man's hard rock that's heavier than granite and that is smart without being esoteric, were too busy doing it instead of saying it. They caught the attention of several labels with their potent and unforgettable extended play release, eventually signing with eOne in 2014. Their label debut The Wreckage of Stars was the next step for Black Crown Initiate and one that will further put them on the metal map. It's a sonically thrilling, 10-song opus, drafted by musicians who embrace the darkness and who masterfully craft mini-epics; most songs exceed the five-minute mark. Guitarist/clean vocalist/lyricist Andy Thomas reveals that his band, which formed in February 2013 and experienced minor lineup changes before solidifying into the unit it is today, chose to put their debut EP out via Bandcamp and iTunes, letting it marinate and find an audience and industry buzz organically, as opposed to pounding the pavement to secure a deal. That approach allowed Black Crown Initiate to retain their artistic integrity.

About Black Fast: Speed demons and hell-raisers, take heed! Circle-pitting, beer drinking, hair-swinging, spider-fingered goodness, that’s the name of the game for BLACK FAST, America’s newest neo-classic riff masters. Ripping pages from Death's technical death metal guidebook, the St. Louis foursome conjures the spirit of the late, great Chuck Schuldiner while channeling the viciousness of Megadeth's young-and-hungry Dave Mustaine and blistering aggression of Kreator’s Mille Petrozza. Creating a modern twist on the energetic riffs of metal’s glory days, BLACK FAST harness the spirit of their metal forefathers, whether exploring hand-cramp-inducing riffs or blazing through straightforward thrash. BLACK FAST songs have a hungry ferocity reminiscent of the Bay Area thrash scene, the likes of which haven’t been this raw or hyper-charged in decades. The band released their 2015 debut Terms Of Surrender to a hoard of fans who were ready for it. BLACK FAST has the musical chops to move seamlessly between the progressive licks of Voivod and the scorched-earth devastation of vintage Megadeth with reckless abandon and a bleak but empowered vibe as wrought by the Midwest. Both guitarist Trevor Johanson and bassist Ryan Thompson have jazz degrees. Drummer Ross Burnett has been playing since kindergarten while Akin knew he wanted to be in a metal band very early in life. Since 2011 BLACK FAST has fit right in on lineups with thrash revivalists like Havok, Battlecross, Revocation, Toxic Holocaust and Warbringer and modern metal merchants like Cavalera Conspiracy and Shadows Fall. BLACK FAST’s soundtrack to society’s collapse is relentless. Possessed by unbridled energy and a palpable desperation, the band has a fierce vitality that will not go unnoticed.


To celebrate 15 years since the release of one of the milestones in pop rock history, American Hi-Fi ventured back to the legendary Sunset Sound studios where they originally recorded their debut album that was originally released on February 27, 2001.

Sunset Sound is the studio in the heart of Hollywood where such acts Social Distortion, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Rancid, and Tom Petty have all recorded

Together with the announcement, the band has released a video for the hit ‘Flavor Of The Weak’, filmed during the Sunset Sound sessions. Check out the video here:

Long time friend Kay Hanley, who shared stages with singer Stacy Jones in Letters to Cleo joins the Boston-based quartet on this album on hit song ‘Another Perfect Day’ as guest vocalist.

‘American Hi-Fi Acoustic’, a re-work of the thirteen songs that form the original album with a new, fresh, acoustic spirit, is set for release on Rude Records exactly 364 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds after the original album release.

Singer Stacy Jones comments: “The guys at Rude Records asked us if we would be interested in doing an acoustic version of our first album. We said "No". Haha. Then we thought about it for a minute and decided it sounded fun! It was most definitely a challenge. Translating big guitar, riffy rock music to an acoustic form can be difficult. Part of the reason we agreed to do it is that we like to be tested. This record, being our first, was obviously a pivotal and important time for us, both as a band and personally. It was fun to relive some of those erstwhile emotions as we re-recorded the album. We set up at Sunset Sound and recorded most of the album live with minimal overdubs. Some of the songs retain their original arrangement, while others took on a new life.”

‘American Hi-Fi Acoustic’ is due out on Rude Records on April 29th, 2016.

You can pre-order your copy here in various formats! In celebration of the best-selling format at the time of the original release of 'American Hi-Fi', pre-order includes a fancy cassette! By pre ordering the album digitally, you’ll get 'Flavor of the Weak' as instant grat track.



WAYNE HUSSEY announces "Marian" limited edition 7” single & solo tour

In April Wayne Hussey will be playing a handful of South American & European shows to promote the release of a limited edition double A side 7 ‘’ vinyl single in conjunction with Record Store Day.

The single features Wayne’s stunning and haunting re-working of the classic Sisters Of Mercy song, Marian, a song originally co-written by Wayne with Andrew Eldritch.

The other A side is a brand new song entitled ‘My Love Will Protect You’, a song that was co-written by Wayne with Rebeca Y. Casanova as part of the Canciones De Cuna benefit album. The lyrics for the album are all written by homeless children in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which are then worked into songs by established national and international artists and recorded as an album of lullabies, all proceeds going to help finance culture centres in Buenos Aires that offer art, music, theatre, and photography classes to homeless children. For more info go to:

Wayne Hussey April Tour dates

20th Bristol Bierkeller
21st Winchester Discovery Centre
22nd Birmingham Alfie Birds & The Oobleck
23rd Whitby Goth Weekender, Headline
24th Sheffield The Leadmill

Sixx:A.M. - Rise

"Rise," from Sixx:A.M.'s forthcoming album 'Prayers for the Damned,' coming out on April 29. Pre-order the album on iTunes starting March 4 HERE.