KID DYNAMITE- Four Years In One Gulp DVD

Boasting family ties with Lifetime, Good Riddance, Ink and Dagger and Paint It Black, Philadelphia’s finest, Kid Dynamite, were something of a hardcore punk institution before they even played a gig. The fact that their last show was barely four years later is something lamented by most of the people on board ‘Four Years In One Gulp’. The DVD charts the trials of refining a nervous group of friends (grainy basement footage) into sweat-soaked and sturdy performers (bigger and better venues with Alkaline Trio) by way of far too many hours on the road, hours and miles that would eventually end the band (until the momentous reunion shows). It’s obvious KD meant everything to the people in the right place at the right time; this just gives the rest of us a chance to catch up.


WE ARE SCIENTISTS. Fez Club, Reading. 14.02.06

Somebody booked this an age ago. We Are Scientists have sold out the Astoria two nights in row on their upcoming April tour but tonight they play a club about the size of your living room, surely the setting for gig-of-a-lifetime stuff. The fervour of people's conversation revolving entirely around the three Scientists and their all-catchy debut album, the smell of those sweaty fans straining to get close to the band, the screams of their voices drowning out the music, every word sung in unison, this is how the Fez is supposed to be tonight.

Except something's gone horribly wrong. Even when the band play their hits, songs that have been clogging up MTV2 for weeks like 'It's A Hit' and 'Nobody Move', well, nobody moves. There are some half-hearted hand wavers and the odd camera flash but there's no dancing, no choir of loved-up couples (it's Valentine's, people), nothing.

To their credit, the band seem unfazed and with the aid of a sharply accurate sense of humour, some killer tracks (including a cover of 'Be My Baby' from Dirty Dancing) and some bad-ass moves do eventually get a reaction and if anybody had stayed still during a closing 'The Great Escape' they may as well have been declared dead at the scene.

This could have been an event; a last shot at catching close-up the breath of cool that We Are Scientists provide. As it is most of this crowd thought they themselves were all the rage, either for pulling a fast one on real fans and snagging tickets here or just for their new shoes.

Whatever happened, a massive chance went begging.


JOHNNY TRUANT+ Waterdown+ Architects. West End Centre, Aldershot. 13.02.06

Apparently Aldershot is a glutton for punishment. Booking Johnny Truant to play anywhere means reinforcing the walls but when they've got this much fire in their bellies and a crushing new album to showcase it's like asking for a demolition order. And getting German hard(core)men Waterdown and Brighton new boys Architects to join them only increases the size of the wrecking ball.

High on talent but low on fashion, whole tours like this can end up playing to the proverbial one man and his dog but as the devastation begins the West End Centre is almost full. There's not much movement in the crowd though, maybe it's cold feet, maybe it's cold everything; it's bloody freezing outside, or maybe people are just stunned by the sheer ferocity on show. Architects, including a manic lead singer and guitarists who are apparently robots, flay the shit out of their songs, gleaming slabs of scything and technical metal. The technicalities don't distract from how much fun the boys are having or how heavy they play and on the basis of tonight's cuts their new 'Nightmares' album is going to be stunning.

Waterdown are having a blast too. Despite being roundly ignored in the UK, even in the face of three albums worth of fantastic riff-driven, choppy hardcore, tonight they bring the party. There are glitters and streamers and dance moves and singers getting in people's faces and even a Refused cover but still they find it hard to get the crowd going. They don't hold it against us though, unless somebody can translate German and find out what they really think.
What Johnny Truant think is that their rightful place is on the front cover of your new favourite magazine, that they should be touring with Metallica, that it's their time now, and if it hasn't quite happened just yet it's surely only a matter of time.

The new material is explosive, the crowd lap up the real metal behind Truant's grinding hardcore and the band are loving it too. Singer Olly collapses and tenses like he's got mains current for blood and his voice may be frightening but there are smiles all round.

'I Love You Even Though You're A Zombie Now' and 'The Bloodening' sound massive and through all the lyrics of drugs and sex and death the band laugh and joke and put on a real show. 'Realist Surrealist' and 'Throne Vertigo' are quick-fire mosh rockets spinning the crowd into a frenzy and an extra guitarist thickens up the abrasive sound until it rumbles like a bee behind your eyes and when the band click into a groove or ride a riff until it dies they look triumphant.

Tonight felt like metal shows used to, when it didn't matter how tight your jeans were and you didn't have to be po-faced to be heavy. Tonight was a lesson in how to make music that sounds like 1000 dying screams, fun.

Also appears at New-Noise



Maybe the past is the best place to start. Rocky Votolato used to be in the too short-lived Lying On Loot. When they broke up he played guitar and sung in eternally unsung indie rockers Waxwing. Rocky’s younger brother, Cody, used to play guitar there too but The Blood Brothers stole him away.

Maybe not. Forget all that. Skip to the present. ‘Makers’ is Votolato’s fourth solo album, a point he has reached with no money behind him, little critical mention and few album sales. Now, you don’t get so far, off so little, without doing it for all the right reasons and being entirely comfortable with your sound.

The sound here is the easy part. ‘Makers’ is mostly-acoustic folk rock with a genuine soul and aching heartbeat that’s refreshingly emo-free and expands so much further than man-with-guitar melancholy. These are stories, tracks utterly untouched by the noise of your new favourite band but imbued with the spirit of cigarettes, whiskey, Mark Lanegan and The Beatles.

The hard bit is understanding why Votolato has remained so ‘underground’ (read ‘unheard’) because there’s plenty here to get wrapped up in. ‘White Daisy Passing’ is a quiet, weary, travelling tale built on beautiful harmonies that sets the tone for the entire album and ‘Wait Out The Days’ is somehow dark and uplifting at the same time.

Elsewhere, swathes of simple harmonica and piano, rippling electric guitar and light percussion make their own tender marks but all these songs are gentle peeks into Votolato’s personality. On highlights ‘Goldfield’, ‘Portland Is Leaving’ and ‘Tinfoil Hats’ you can almost hear the road dust stuck in his throat. It’s not quaint or rootsy, it’s chilling and moving and fucking great.

So to the future. It might be that Votolato is a little too grown-up to be down with the kids and too honest, too raw to appeal to fans of Dashboard Confessional and the like but he is certainly not expecting to get rich and famous off these 12 songs. If you’re listening that’s great, but he’s singing to get the demons and tales out of his head for two more years or whenever he decides to bless those in the know with another dose of bittersweet reality.

Also appears at New-Noise


PANIC! AT THE DISCO-A Fever You Can't Sweat Out + THE ACADEMY IS...-Almost Here

There's no way this is over anytime soon. Emo may already be a dirty word in alternative circles but it's only just begun to divert into the mainstream. For the people who watch CD:UK, My Chemical Romance are a new vogue, the edgiest rock sound since Limp Bizkit, and although Fred Durst is a joke now remember exactly how long nu-metal lasted. Try to forget how bad it got though and say hello to the new (nu?) kids on the block, two groups of pretty boys with guitar-powered pop songs, emo's great white hopes.

Both building huge buzz and collecting fans through the Internet, both signed to Fall Out Boy Pete Wentz's Decaydence label and both just finished a quickly sold out UK tour without an official release between them the grammatically difficult Panic! At The Disco and The Academy Is.. are bands that, if not already on your radar, are about to crash straight into your musical eye view.

The similarities between the groups' early good fortunes are outweighed by musical differences. Sure they both deal in dead catchy rock-lite that is stuffed with quirky hooks and heart-on-sleeve cleverness but where The Academy drive their tunes straight and hard with a classic rock punch, Panic! meld their skipping guitars with stuttering synth thuds, dance beats, lilting strings or classical piano.

It's Panic!'s mix that works best. A game of two halves, their debut is divided; by an 'Intermission' no less, between the computer-enhanced digital-dance of the first part and the dark orchestral restraint of the last. So where 'Time To Dance' comes fully loaded with its own call-and-response hooks and 'Nails For Breakfast...' is peppered with the kind of effects Cher made famous, 'Build God...' sounds like a warped years-old Disney soundtrack. The whole thing is tied together by the driest of humour and the wildest of imagination.

The Academy Is... aren't short a song or two designed with screaming crowds in mind either. 'Attention' is a simple but killer opener that went down well on tour and 'Down And Out' is a moment of genuine emotion that just about balances out the exaggerated breathlessness elsewhere but it's the gorgeously made 'Checkmarks' that comes closest to making a real impact.

There's no more cool points to be had from owning these, it's too late. Soon everyone will have them. But that doesn't stop them sounding really rather good.

However, despite this and all the other sycophantic press both bands have received their albums share one more similarity, a fuck-you tune dedicated to Mr. Magazine; those critical website writers and prying journalists, so they probably couldn't care less what moderaterock thinks anyway.

At least the zeitgeist has its martyrs now.


I've got the bruise...

...of the year.

LISTEN TO Deftones

Who somehow have been trying to write a new album without worrying about the fact that they've never put a foot wrong before.

The Internet thinks the album, supposed to emerge in the Spring, is going to be called 'Saturday Night Wrist' and the heaviest thing the band have ever released. As long as it has the same stunning meldodies, twisting riffs, simple but hugely effective guitars and the voice of god on it everything's going to be OK.

Cross your fingers.