Tuesday, 7 April 2015


Hi everyone!

Just a quick post to say that I have moved over to www.gigreviewsbyjulia.co.uk.

This blog will still stay online, but all of my new work will be added to my new website.

Thank you. 

Friday, 20 March 2015

'These Walls Hold Nothing But The Death Of All That We Hold Dear' Twin Planets Album Review

Release Date: 6th April 2015

Twin Planets are an alternative rock band from Ormskirk in Lancashire. The four-piece formed in 2010, and since then they have released a variety of singles and a self-titled EP. Next month they will be releasing their first full-length album ‘These Walls Hold Nothing But The Death Of All That We Hold Dear’.

The first song on the album is ‘Centipede’, an ominous but upbeat instrumental song which instantly demonstrates Twin Planets’ technical guitar skills.

Second track ‘Space’ is full of beautiful vocals from lead singer James: the harmonies are impressive and enjoyable to listen to. The cheerful song encourages you to escape from your troubles and into a happy mind-set.

The harmless and happy-go-lucky vibe is consistent throughout the entire album, especially in electronic track ‘Divisions’. James’ vocals are melodic yet passionate, merging well with the powerfully catchy chorus.

‘Empires’ has a melodic and harrowing opening, which progresses into a simplistic yet powerful rock song. There is something unique yet familiar about Twin Planets’ musical style, making it almost impossible to compare them to another band.

One of the most impressive things about Twin Planets is their song-writing abilities: each song is expertly written and composed. There are unique elements used in every track on the album, making them able to explore different themes and styles perfectly.

Final track ‘Sirens’ is a brilliant way to end such an impressive album due to the magnificent vocals and hard-hitting lyrics. The easy-listening track allows you to relax and embrace all of the unique elements that Twin Planets use.

If you are looking for upbeat and easy-going music, then ‘These Walls Hold Nothing But The Death Of All That We Hold Dear’ is definitely the album for you.

‘These Walls Hold Nothing But The Death Of All That We Hold Dear’ is released on the 6th April. The release show is on the 3rd April at Bumper in Liverpool and tickets are available via See Tickets.

Rating: 8/10

'XXXVII' Deference EP Review

Release Date: 17th March 2015

Bandcamp can be a brilliant way to find new and exciting bands to listen to, and one of its best features is the ‘name your price’ option, where you can either download music for free or contribute your own desired amount towards the band. Southampton-based metal band Deference have chosen to release their debut EP ‘XXXVII’ this way, so there really is no excuse not to give it a listen!

Opening track ‘I, Creator’ instantly shows exactly what Deference are all about: brutal riffs, heavy breakdowns and intense screaming vocals. Despite managing to completely nail all key elements of the metal genre in a song that is less than two minutes long there is nothing generic about the Hampshire five piece: their pure energy and talent shines through perfectly like a breath of fresh air to an often monotonous music scene.

One of the most impressive songs on the EP is ‘The Weathering’, a fast-paced and hard-hitting metalcore track. The heavy riffs blow you away from the first second and the melodic chorus fuses perfectly. If you had to compare Deference to any other band then it would definitely have to be Architects due to the slight similarity in song structure and vocals.

Final song ‘The Tribunal’ is the perfect way to end such an impressive debut EP: Rob Lea’s vocals are fierce, powerful and unforgettable. The energetic and hard-hitting drumbeats and technical guitar riffs prove that all five members of Deference are extremely talented. If you are one of those people who complain that the UK metal scene is boring then you definitely have not checked out ‘XXXVII’.

Rating: 8.5/10

Our Hollow, Our Home Interview

I spoke to local metalcore band Our Hollow, Our Home before their set at Takedown Festival about the Hampshire metal scene, Facebook fans and the reaction to their latest EP.

How does it feel to be back at Takedown Festival?
Josh: Amazing! We love this festival, since it is our hometown… Apart from Tim, Pompey, wahey! Yeah, it is great! So many sick bands, shout out to Advanced Promotions for putting it on every year.
It is the best day out and the start of summer!

What has changed since you played Takedown last year?
Tim: We are more unfit!
Toby: We have released a CD! That is a little bit more important!
Josh: We have released a CD! We are concentrating on the summer, getting touring and we have a lot of things planned. It is probably just taking it that step up, just being a bit more serious about it.
Tim: We’ve had summer festivals and touring. We have to push the EP a bit, but we have a new video coming out. Yeah, just having fun.

What bands are you planning to see today?
Tim: I’m going to see the boys in Create To Inspire, they are good lads. We have already seen Prolong The Agony, they are good mates of ours. I want to go see Moose Blood and Blood Youth. There are so many bands at the moment, there are too many to choose from!
Josh: For me it is Mallory Knox, I don’t really listen to Charlie Simpson but it would be interesting to see him.
Tim?: We are majorly gutted because we clash with Creeper! And they are like the band of the weekend for us and we can’t see them, but hey ho! Come see us, not them! (laughs)

In the time that you have been together you have gained over 10,000 fans on Facebook, how does it feel knowing that you have reached out to so many people?
Tim: It’s amazing! We are used to growing up in bands where you get 2000 fans and you are really excited. You have to take a step back and just be like ‘wow’. We have done nothing to warrant that many people paying an interest in us, so it is pretty special.
Josh: It is awesome! When we struggle, when we are like ‘god we have put so much money into this band’ it makes it all worthwhile, it really does.

What are your views on the Hampshire metal scene?
Josh: At the minute it is going really well, we have got local bands that are killing it! Creeper, Bury Tomorrow. Obviously they are getting places! But then you have got other bands such as Prolong The Agony who are doing really well and it is just really good to see. A few years ago there wasn’t the community in my eyes that there is now.
Tim: It is like the local bands coming through, there was sort of a gap there for a while and now you have got the boys in Gone By Tomorrow and Saint[the]Sinner. We supported their last show and all of them just make the scene a community, instead of just being bands that occasionally play together.

What has been the reaction to the //Redefine EP?
Josh: From what I can tell from the reviews that we have been reading it has done really well. It has been a long time coming and it has been painful for us to get that EP out. I cannot stress how hard it has been for us, but it is out! Download it on iTunes, Band Camp, come buy it at a show, illegally download it in some way, shape or form!
Tim: It has been a labour of love to get it out, but it has been worth it just to see people say that they are going to listen to it, people checking it out… It is worth it, all of the way!

How would you describe your music to someone who has not heard it before?
Both: Cheesy metalcore!
Josh: We don’t think that we are that heavy, but when we play live we are pretty heavy! Catchy heaviness! We could play any stage of this festival! (laughs)

What inspires you to keep writing music and performing?
Toby: Well I am the only one who writes anything! I don’t know, I watch a lot of classic films. I get a lot of electronic bars from soundtracks like Gladiator and Lord of the Rings. Things of an epic scale I don’t like can be limited to a single genre. I will take elements from all sorts of things in life and focus and channel it through music.

What advice would you give to any aspiring musicians?
James: Don’t act like us! (laughs)
Toby: I would say that the best thing to do is to get into a practice room together and write a good couple of songs, maybe four or five, and when you have got those five choose one that you think is your strongest song and don’t skimp on recording. If it means that you save and work a Saturday job or whatever, try and raise £800 and go to a professional studio because in this day and age the internet is everything, so people will judge you and merit you on your online presence. So by having a good track online for people to listen to is the best way I’d say to start anything.
Josh: Just to add onto that any Tom, Dick and Harry can get a MacBook and record something, so the quality of that recording is so important!
Tim: I think that the work never stops as well, you can’t stop pushing yourself and you can’t stop pushing your band name. Just try and get people to listen to it, you can’t just take a break from that or it won’t be worth it.

What should people expect from a live show from Our Hollow, Our Home?
Toby: A bit of a party, I suppose! We play heavy music but we don’t necessarily come across as big bruiser guys who are like ‘YEAH!’
Josh: We like everyone when we play live to have a great time. We played at The Joiners a few weeks ago and it was a party! We don’t take ourselves too seriously.
Toby: You have got to understand that a lot of people forget that when you pay to go and see a show that it is a show. So like you wouldn’t pay to go and see West Side Story just standing there would you, you expect an act. We try and put on a show, that is what we do.

What else do you have planned for the rest of this year?
Josh: We can’t say… Festivals! We have got a couple of things that we can’t say but that makes it exciting. We have got touring, festivals, we want to push the new video as we said earlier. We are going to try and build up what we have done last year and cement ourselves a little bit more.
Toby: Along with continuing write the new release I suppose. We have made some headway with it, but I would like to get a lot more nailed in on the pre-production side so I can expect where to shape the record.

Photography by Rob Campion 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Miss Vincent Interview

I spoke to Miss Vincent at Takedown Festival about death, vomit and their new EP.

How do you feel your set went today?
All: Really well!
Alex: We were first on so when we were getting ready to go on there was almost nobody in there, there was a load of people at the front and that was cool but we got our stuff together, turned around to get ready to play and it was rammed!
Lawrie: I was actually really nervous about playing this morning because this was our first time playing Takedown so I was super nervous this morning. But yeah, we were really happy with it.

Do you plan on checking out any of the other bands?
All: Definitely, so many!
Lawrie: Definitely Creeper! We will probably check out Milk Teeth as well, I don’t know what  time they are on.
Alex: I think there are loads of good bands on the Obsidian Stage as well, which is where we were. We are actually missing Ugly Love right now which sucks, but we will make it up to them some other way. But there are so many cool bands, there is almost too many to list.
Lawrie: We will definitely be watching Dead because they are on the same stage as us and they are good friends of ours, so we will definitely be watching them as well.
Alex: Ashestoangels, even though they clash with InMe! I will have to split my time between those two. Yeah man, today is going to be amazing!

How would you describe your music to someone who has not heard it before?
Lawrie: I guess I would say moody punk rock. We have a new EP coming out in a couple of months’ time and we have gone down a much darker direction with it, so the first EP is a little bit lighter, but it still has its dark parts so I guess I would say moody punk rock.
Alex: Yeah, I mean fast and dark, that is kind of it. It is not like… It’s hard! I don’t want to say we are like a goth band, I want to say we are like a pop punk band but…
Lawrie: …We kind of are! We are kind of everything, let’s just go with moody punk rock.

You mentioned the new EP, have you finished that or is there still work to do on it?
Lawrie: Yeah, it is pretty much there. It is all recorded, we have got artwork, we are just kind of finalising everything with the label that we are working with. Just kind of in the final stages of preparation really just to get it out there basically.

What inspired your band name?
Alex: So I am a massive Alkaline Trio fan and there is a line in one of their songs which references Miss Vincent, so I Googled it thinking that there must be a really cool story behind it. I actually stumbled on a completely separate ‘nothing to do with it’ article about a woman in London who was late thirties/early forties, she had a family…
Lawrie: She wasn’t a recluse or anything.
Alex: No, she was just a normal person and she died watching TV one night, wrapping Christmas presents for her family. And nobody found her for two years. It inspired me to write a song about it first of all…
Lawrie: Very morbid but very interesting and quite sad at the same time, because this was in London. It wasn’t sort of out in the middle of nowhere kind of thing. It was just in a London flat, a middle-aged woman who wasn’t found for two years, which was a long time to be dead and for no one to notice.
Alex: Our first single that we ever released was actually going to be called Miss Vincent before we had a band name, and then we sort of just adopted it for our band name.
Lawrie: We just decided we liked it!
Alex: And that was kind of it!

Who would you say your major influences are?
Lawrie: Well two of us are wearing Bayside t-shirts right now, so I’m going to have to say Bayside!
Jack: Definitely Alkaline Trio, obviously. We all love Alkaline Trio! Then it is kind of a mixture after that.
Lawrie:  There are a few bands that we all absolutely love, for example Bayside and Alkaline Trio, and then we have all got our separate influences. I absolutely love Brand New!
Alex: He is a massive Brand New fan!
Lawrie: Yeah! Nirvana, and then we all like stuff like Bad Religion and A.F.I.
Alex: Yeah, just mix all those bands up, throw it and then that’s what you get.
Lawrie: If all those bands were sick into a bucket and we drank it…
Jack: But why would you drink it?!
Lawrie: I’m not really sure where I was going with that…

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
Jack: Practice! And don’t give up, just keep trying.
Lawrie: Just work super fucking hard and gig as much as you can. Just really, really try and don’t expect anything for nothing! You have just got to bust your balls and work as hard as you can.
Alex: Also get an instrument, get good at it and then join a band, or just get to a certain level. You need to be able to have confidence in yourself to work with other people, and then once you are in a band practice, practice, practice! And never stop practicing, ever!
Lawrie: I think part of it is just pinpointing what you want to do as a band, because a fair few bands that are around at the moment, no names in particular, but we have played with some bands who go a bit this way with one song and a bit that way and they don’t pinpoint who they really are, so you’re not quite sure what they are about. It is about really pinpointing what you want to do and what you want to sound like and just go straight towards that.

What inspires you to continue to write music?
Alex: Whatever happens around me! I find writing really cathartic so essentially I just can’t stop writing songs, I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t write songs. I write hundreds… Well not hundreds and hundreds, but I think at the moment we have a bank of almost a hundred tracks. Most of which we will never ever use! Most of them are no good at all, but the process of writing really helps me a lot and it is just something that I feel like I need to do all the time. And if I don’t write for a while I get really, really sad and really down about it!
Lawrie: Yeah and for all of us as well this is really our kind of sole creative outlet, like none of us do anything else musically really. I teach, but that is not so much creative. So collectively it is our sole creative outlet.
Alex: So we have to do it, essentially!

What else have you got planned for this year?
Alex: So much! But we can’t talk about any of it yet. New EP, tours and more tours!
Lawrie: New music and gigs. We recorded a new video last weekend which will be out in a months’ time. New everything!

Photography by Rob Campion

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

'I’m Not the Man I Thought I’d Be' Western Addiction Review

Release Date: 10th March 2015
Label: Fat Wreck Chords

Western Addiction are a punk rock band from San Francisco. One of the key aspects that sets them apart from other punk rock bands on the scene is their history: Western Addiction were a three piece band formed of Fat Wreck Chords employees in the early 2000s, now they are back in 2015 as a four piece. The punk rock veterans are renowned for their bass-heavy riffs and old school punk mentality, which is displayed perfectly on their latest 7” release ‘I’m Not the Man I Thought I’d Be’

Opening track ‘Cold-Hearted Maceration’ is full of angst from the opening second: Jason Hall’s rough vocals merge perfectly with the fast-paced guitar riffs. The bass-filled song is not only catchy, but it definitely proves that punk music is not dead yet.

Despite being a demo track ‘Clatter and Hiss’ demands your full attention: the angry lyrics and pure passion in the vocals are something which most bands leave to be desired. The energetic yet short song instantly transports your mind to a recording studio, as the unedited track is full of raw emotions and riffs.

Final song ‘I'm Not the Man That I Thought I'd Be’ is possibly the best song on the record due to its familiar yet unique structure. The vocals are rough and powerful, and Dara from metal band Serpent Crown sings the second verse. If you had to define modern punk music in one song, ‘I’m Not the Man That I Thought I’d Be’ would definitely do the trick.


SMILEfest Interview - Laura Snapes

I spoke to Laura Snapes, features editor of NME, about female musicians, how to deal with entitled males and how to break into the music journalism world.

You said in the conference about the Reading and Leeds Festival line up that there were hundreds of other bands that have more credibility, what were some of that bands that you were thinking of?
Don’t make me name 100 (laughs)! There is so many! Slater-Kinney, Warpaint, St. Vincent and Wolf Alice.. I mean, maybe they are playing. Paramore! There are many, I am really bad at thinking of things off the top of my head. But the thing in these situations is when the bookers of these festivals are getting defensive, ‘yeah, well who could we book?’ and when people say that then it is evidence to me that they are just not looking very far and trying very hard. They are pretty happy with the way things are because their festival will sell out regardless of who they put on.

Do you believe that as a music journalist that it is harder to get into or do you believe that there is more equality and that it is based on how well you can write?
Yeah, I think that it is all about being good basically. I feel lucky in that I have never really come across any, or very few entrenched, chauvinistic editors or anything like that. I mean, to the contrary, I was really lucky when I was nineteen I started writing for The Quietus, which is run by two guys: John and Luke. And John was in his early forties and he was such a champion! If I ever got any bad treatment, I don’t know if you saw the thing in there, but the guy who gave me abuse, he was one of the editors that I meant, and I said ‘John, this guy has just said this to me’ and it was John who emailed around the other editors like ‘never commission this guy again!’. And there was a couple of times where people would be aggressive towards me and people like him are just such champions. It is such a good positive reinforcement to have people like that on your side and I know that not everyone is lucky enough to have it, but those are the kind of people that make it worthwhile. But no, I positively discriminate. Like a man, this dick, emailed me the other day asking for advice on a live review that he had written and I didn’t have time to do it, but he sent me about five more emails and I eventually got to the point where I was like ‘I haven’t got time’ and then he started having a go at me. I was like ‘get your male entitlement out of my inbox’ and he was like ‘Oh, you’re being sexist now are you?’ and I was like ‘what? To be honest with you if you were a woman then I would have read your review so probably I am sexist.’ But I don’t know, I feel more predisposed towards helping people who are not entitled young white boys. And also I think that all of the best young music writers are mostly women. If you made me name them then it would probably be ninety seven per cent women and three per cent blokes!

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to break into music journalism or feature writing?
I would say first of all to make sure that it is something that you are really, really, really dedicated to and passionate about! It is the kind of thing where I go to work, I work in an office and I work 10am to 6pm, but your work never stops because music is a thing that you are into all of the time. I have a friend that works at a financial magazine and she comes home and she is like ‘Oh, I don’t have to think about that shit anymore!’ So yeah, first of all make sure that you are super passionate and dedicated to it and just think about ‘what is it that I want to say about music and why do I want to say it?’ This is such vague but important advice: just work really hard at being the best that you can possibly be. In order to do that read the best music writers that you can. Read new stuff, old stuff in all different formats. Really study it and take it apart, sit and read something that you think is amazing and then think ‘what is it that is making this amazing?’ Pull it apart like you are in a school English lesson and think ‘this is how they are using adverbs’ and ‘this is how they are constructing arguments’. Look at the technical side of it and pull it apart a bit, because if you study that you will come to absorb it a bit as well. So yeah, just read loads and figure out what you think is smart. Do your best to not necessarily emulate it, but there was definitely a period where I emulated what I thought was good and then just off doing that you get into the rhythms of writing and  then you can kind of go off and fly! Do it your own way. You just need to have a ferocious appetite for music. If I get to the end of a year and I see music journalists saying that is has been a bad year for music, and you are like ‘really? You just were not looking hard enough’. It has to kind of be everything. I am not saying that you should work all hours by any means, I go home and watch House Of Fools like everybody else does, but it is kind of more than just a job.

What inspired you to want to become a journalist and write features?
It was a couple of things. I always loved listening to Radio One and I loved pop music as a kid, and then I would get to hear Jo Wiley and stuff when I was like ten/eleven, and I thought that I would really love to do what she does and interview people. I didn’t even know that the word was journalist or whatever! I was just like I want to interview people, I want to ask people who make music about how they do it and stuff. And then a few years later there was this musician that I was really obsessed with and I was like I want to meet this person, how can I do it in a way that is not just like ‘hi I think you are great’, but like a professional excuse to have a conversation. I was like maybe I could interview her or something? And then I just really liked doing it and it was just a way of like, using careers advice, young people are not given enough as it is and figure out how to make your hobby your job. My little brother is sixteen and there was definitely a time where he wanted to be a footballer, and it is like face facts, you are never going to play for Manchester United, unless something amazing happens! That does not mean that your dream is dead, because if you look at that one footballer and think about how many hundreds of people work in the industry around them. I mean, I only ever wanted to be a music journalist, I never wanted to be a musician or anything, but figuring out how to make your hobby your job, that is a thing that everybody can do pretty much, and I think that is a piece of advice that people are not given enough.