Incubus – 8
It’s been six years since the multi-platinum selling Californians have released an album, and with a North American tour and Rock in Rio also lined up, the release of ‘8’ seems to be heralding a serious comeback for the alternative rockers. Incubus has always been something of a band apart, never quite fitting into any of the scenes they have been associated with over the years.
However, they seem to have settled on a grungy but melodic alternative rock sound and the two tracks to hit the ether thus far do not disappoint. ‘Nimble Bastard’ is an irritatingly catchy straightforward rocker, while ‘Glitterbomb’ works as a radio-friendly slice of post-grunge; Brandon Boyd proving he still has the chops to deliver a hook. It seems the Calabasas quintet haven’t lost their knack for delivering high quality, intelligently crafted alternative rock and with any luck, they will deliver another fine record to add to the 23 million they’ve already shifted. (EL)
‘8’ by Incubus is released on April 21st on Island Records .
While She Sleeps – You Are We
The latest in an increasingly long list of bands to commit to a crowdfunding campaign to support their musical endeavours, metalcore While She Sleeps have always been a band with heaps of DIY ethic behind them. After releasing two phenomenal full lengths in ‘This Is The Six’ in 2012 and ‘Brainwashed’ in 2015, the Sheffield five-piece have already provided ample evidence that their upcoming third album – entitled ‘You Are We’ – will be yet another belter.
So far, we’ve heard four tracks. First single, ‘Hurricane’ showcases the band at their most melodic, with an even greater amount of vocal work from guitarists Matt Welsh and Sean Long, trading lines with the indomitable screamer Loz Taylor to phenomenal effect. However, the highlight thus far is ‘Silence Speaks’. With bags of songwriting nous and a cheeky little feature from none other than Oli Skyes, this is While She Sleeps at their very best.
As well as being crowdfunded, the album is also the first to be recorded in WSS’s own studio/warehouse. Built by the band for the band, there are few artists that can claim to be as close to their work as While She Sleeps. Prepare yourself for one of the most personal and definitive releases of the year. (JG)
‘You Are We’ by While She Sleeps is released on 21st April.
Have Mercy – Make The Best Of It
A lot has changed for Have Mercy since releasing their second record, ‘A Place Of Our Own’, in 2014. Most notably the former quartet is now down to a single member; frontman Brian Swindle. As a result, album number three, ‘Make The Best Of It’, could be considered a labour of love for Swindle. Recorded and written over the course of seven months with producers Paul Leavitt (All Time Low) and Brian McTernan (Thrice), ‘Make The Best Of It’ subtly rides on the personal and professional changes of Swindle, ultimately giving way to a record full of honesty.
Nevertheless, as heard on lead single ‘Coexist’, the characteristics that have made Have Mercy so favourable in the past are firmly in tact; tight hooks combined with ringing guitars wrapped in an emotional alt-rock skin. Whether or not this is a fresh start for Have Mercy is yet to be seen, however with Swindle firmly in control, their next chapter means their future is bright. (SR)
‘Make The Best Of It’ by Have Mercy is released on 21st April on Hopeless Records.
The Winter Passing – Double Exposure EP
These longtime Irish favourites have come along way since first appearing in our “Recommends” section in the early days of Already Heard. In recent years, they have ventured Stateside to play The Fest and toured alongside Moose Blood and Kamikaze Girls. This month they return with a new EP titled ‘Double Exposure’.
Recorded with acclaimed producer J. Robbins (Against Me!, The Promise Ring, Texas Is The Reason), it sees the quartet picking up where 2015’s full-length ‘A Different Space of Mind’ left off.
As heard on ‘Significance’ and ‘Paper Rabbit’, TWP have a sound built around punk and indie elements with a hint of 90s alternative rock popping up throughout. At their core is the cohesive vocal work of sibling duo, Rob and Kate Flynn. Together, they produce a range of hooks filled with deep emotion and passion as ‘Double Exposure’ sees them collectivly take on mental health and anxiety issues straight on. Songs such on ‘Es•cap•ism’ and ‘So Said Virginia’ candidly show this.
With a new UK home in Big Scary Monsters Records (and continuing their releationship with 6131 Records in the States), ‘Double Exposure’ is sure to be the next stepping stone to greater things for The Winter Passing. (SR)
‘Double Exposure’ EP by The Winter Passing is released on 21st April on Big Scary Monsters (UK) and 6131 Records (US).
Blood Command – Cult Drugs
At the tail-end of 2012, Bergen quartet Blood Command gave punk a much-needed adrenaline shot with their gutsy second full-length, ‘Funeral Beach’ and before we could truly embrace their technicolour approach to angry hardcore punk, they disappeared into the ether again to exist only as a fond distant memory. So when they announced their comeback with bold single ‘Cult Drugs’, we were delighted to see their long-awaited return.
Released at the end of April, the album of the same name is set to take Blood Command to the top of the rock chain that they aimed to climb in 2012. Singles ‘Cult Drugs’ and ‘Quitter’s Don’t Smoke’ exhibit their cold and dramatic approach to writing catchy hard rock songs, with the addition of trance synthesisers that tie together their hook-laden melodies with a sharp spike of energy that makes the songs as danceable as they are to jump and headbang to.
In a scene where ‘pop-rock’ simply translates to upbeat melodies played on guitars, Blood Command are a band that understand the drama and emotion that fuels the best pop music as it does the best rock bands, and use it to create an innovative hybrid of styles. And after five years away, it’s about time we had a catch-up. (AD)
‘Cult Drugs’ by Blood Command is released on April 28th on Fysisk Format.
Between The Buried and Me – Coma Ecliptic: Live
What do you do when you come out with arguably your best album since 2009? Tour it by playing it in full, of course! And then release it as a live album/DVD. Prog-metallers Between the Buried and Me are doing just this for their last album, 2015’s ‘Coma Ecliptic’. Specifically, the live release, creatively titled ‘Coma Ecliptic: Live’, chronicles their 4th October 2016 performance of the album in San Diego, California.
Whether or not this is exciting depends on whether you agree with the above assertion on the quality of ‘Coma Ecliptic’, or prefer 2012’s ‘Parallax II’, which BTBAM similarly played in full during their tour, then subsequently recorded and released to the public.
With multiple coloured vinyl options available in addition to the CD and DVD, this also looks like something that may be targeted more towards hardcore fans and collectors, but it’s a noteworthy release from a great band either way. (AC)
‘Coma Ecliptic: Live’ by Between The Buried and Me is released on 28th April on Metal Blade Records.
The Other Stars – The Day We Met
Back in January, we included Worcester, MA’s The Other Stars in our list of 50 bands to watch in 2017. This off the back of the fabulous ‘We Were Kids’ mini album that dropped in April 2016.
Now, 12 months later, the group is back with ‘The Day We Met’, an 8-song blast of emo-tinged pop-punk/indie-pop, produced by Saves The Day’s Arun Bali. Yet ‘The Day We Met’ promises to be a bittersweet moment; the band have already announced that it is likely to be their last album as a group, with Connor Bird using the clean break to start a not-for-profit foundation focused on supporting people with mental ill health. In solidarity, Take This To Heart Records have pledged 10% of all sales will go to this new charity, Organization for the Pursuit of Happiness, meaning ‘The Day We Met’ is a worthwhile investment before you even listen to the pristine indie-punk contained within. (RM)
‘The Day We Met’ by The Other Stars is released on 28th April on Take This To Heart Records.
K.Flay – Every Where Is Some Where
Thanks to the barriers and genre boundaries crushed by the likes of Twenty One Pilots and Pvris in the last year or two, we’re seeing increasing numbers of hip hop, dance and electronic artists dominating the alternative music scenes on both side of the Atlantic. The latest act threatening to explode out of the hip-hop scene is Bay area MC K.Flay, who has, you may not be surprised to learn, smashed tours with both of the aforementioned breakout stars.
Now this isn’t your standard MC, as K.Flay and her imminent sophomore album, ‘Every Where Is Some Where’, brings a razor-sharp intellect to a brand of rap that combines fiercely independent hip-hop with low-fi pop grooves. It’s dark, brooding, unabashedly self-aware and, in the case of lead single ‘Blood In The Cut’ so damned catchy it’ll have infected every bit of your consciousness within the first few beats. That’s before we get to a raw narrative laden lyrical style sure to win over fans of the more introspective new wave of pop-punkers. Don’t be assuming hip-hop isn’t for you, instead immerse yourself in this boundary pushing MC that ticks every box of potential alternative success. (DW)
‘Every Where Is Some Where’ by K.Flay is released on 7th April on Night Street / Interscope.
Words by Sêan Reid (SR), Edward Layland (EL), Andy Davidson (AD), Rob Mair (RM), Dane Wright (DW), and Josh Graham (JG).
While She Sleeps photo credit: Ryan Chang. The Winter Passing photo credit: Sean Cahill. Blood Command photo credit: Oystein Haara.