Band to watch: TOY MOUNTAINS. Before the end of last year, these young lads from Glasgow were announced as support for PALM READER’s UK tour this February. TOY MOUNTAIN’s EP I Swore I’d Never Speak of this Again is a wonderful mish-mash of all things alternative. Each track brings a fresh new take on different styles, a highlight being Hard Done By which opens with a blissful post-hardcore riff and continues in a glorious haze of alternative rock. The honest lyrics are irresistible and completes the package. Old Friends is a punkier affair, mixing GLASSJAW vibes with indie. It seems on this EP there is something for everyone. Being hard to pigeonhole will highlight the band’s strength of not sticking to one style but successfully maintain the ‘TOY MOUNTAINS’ sound. They manage to capture a nostalgic alternative vibe and if their live shows have the same amount of energy their recordings have, then they would definitely be a band to see.
Video to watch: PRIMITIVE WEAPONS. About to embark on a UK tour as support for THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, this post-hardcore troupe from Brooklyn, New York released a video for new single Panopticon Blues and it’s a bit of a political affair. “You’re watched, you’re trapped, you’re never alone” is repeated throughout the song which reflects the claustrophobic 1984-esque feel of the video. The message is clear here but it is the band’s raw energy which gives the video a sense of urgency. With a sound similar to later CANCER BATS and PRIZE COUNTRY, PRIMITIVE WEAPONS have plenty of bass and shouts but the catchy tunes to go with it. With the hard task of warming up the crowds before DILLINGER, I doubt it wouldn’t be too much trouble for these fellas if the raw energy in their recordings is anything to go by.
In the stereo: MY VITRIOL. Speak to any MY VITRIOL fan and they’d tell you the wait for a follow-up to 2001’s Finelines was absolutely agonizing, but in October last year the band finally released album number two, The Secret Sessions. As a fan base only release, it was mostly funded by the fans themselves which is what makes this album so special. What’s more, the record was well worth the wait. The most exciting aspect of The Secret Sessions is Som Wardner and Ravi Kesavaram have somehow managed to maintain the early noughties sound but with contemporary production. MY VITRIOL sound deliciously modern while sounding like…MY VITRIOL. Tracks such as It’s So Damn Easy and If Only (God Only Knows) captures the band’s unique combination of shoe-gaze and rock. Blissful riffs and melodies are their speciality and they are still clearly the masters of it. With a stellar second album, let’s hope it won’t be another 15 years until album number three!
Band to rediscover: FROM FIRST TO LAST. Yesterday the internet went into meltdown when it was revealed Sonny Moore (you might know him as SKRILLEX) reunited with his old band FROM FIRST TO LAST to sing on new track Make War. It is still not quite clear if Moore is back for the whole album but this was still huge news in the emo world. Nostalgia hit and it seemed everyone was prepared to dig out their eyeliner, straighteners and red and black stripy hoodie. FROM FIRST TO LAST never actually went away though after the departure of Moore in 2007, but they never quite managed to capture the magic of albums such as Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has A Body Count (2004) and Heroine (2006). Moore was a driving force behind these albums with his distinct voice and his hairstyle will always be considered to be the epitome of emo haircuts, but with Make War, the band are following their more post-hardcore direction and it’s very, very promising. With bands like SAOSIN and UNDEROATH having reformed, could 2017 be the year of emo?