The Expanse Of The Internet
“May Have Missed Volume 8” is an attempt to counter the volume of requests I receive in the various Ear Nutrition inboxes as I type away. The venture of EN, when it boils down to the barebones of itself, is a spare-time hobby. I try to do what I can, after all, there is only so much I can electro-scribble down on a screen. Some don’t fit, others are simply irrelevant to the site but overall, if it piques my interest or it fits the site or whatever trend it’s pursuing at that time, they get featured. I obviously don’t have the time to cover everything and even though I would if I could, it’s just not possible.
So, without further waffle, here is some music that I haven’t had the time to sit down with-proper. The purpose of this series to provide some varied new noise as an enticement to indulge in the plethora that is the underground music scene worldwide. “May Have Missed Volume 8” consists of cuts from the inbox, but also outside of it. Enjoy!
Ode To Sleep – Night Terrors (July 2020) (Punk-Rock/Grunge/Riot Grrrl)
Now, I fully admit that this one is CONSIDERABLY back in the timeline of doom we are traversing but that is what “May Have Missed” is all about. The series pertains to and denotes releases that may have, for what is in actuality a multitude of reasons that I will perpetually fail at accumulating, slipped under the radar. Just to name one, COVID being the spanner that it is in the cogs of the DIY Punk and Alternative music scene, means that many releases from the year the world began its abject fall may not have had the attention they deserve.
Ode To Sleep are one such band that braved the 2020 release schedule and now that they are both playing shows and via good authority, also working on new material, now is as good a time as any to indulge in their stripped-back and attitude rich displays. Night Terrors was released on the fledgling INiiT Records (EN coverage Here) in July 2020 and its four-track stature is one nodding to the “other” (and just as relevant) ’90s Punk.
Night Terrors is an unabated eleven minutes and eighteen seconds vigorously but with simultaneous casual ease, cutting across a slew of Grunge, Punk and Riot Grrrl that in the past few years, has seen a gritty and defiant return to the contemporary Punk scene. Grunge and its heritage within Hardcore Punk is felt throughout Night Terrors but that isn’t the disgruntled be-all. The band’s Riot Grrrl compounds that power via Grunge and powered-Alternative Rock in a hybrid of pissed-off vitriol and dirge as they discuss veganism, corporatism and whatever else occupies their societal night terrors.
The band’s angular warped riffs, thudding drumming and raw and (positively) unhinged sound is as refreshingly retro as it is indicative of now. Ode To Sleep are a band calling it as they see it and further proof of how fluid Punk music and its seemingly innumerable nuances are as they reverberate continuously. That’s enough from me, find them below.
Vampire Slumber Party – Funeral Pop (September 2021) (Melodic Punk/Pop-Punk/Indie-Punk/Emo)
Though this entry on “May Have Missed” may be relatively recent, I’ve been meaning to cover Vampire Slumber Party for quite a while and I’m pleased to finally do so in this series. The project, formally one put on hold in 2012 is the brainchild of one Yusuf Laher born in London, grown in South Africa and now based back in London riding the reignition of the project. Funeral Pop is an album that defiantly through a style that can only be described as conversational storytelling, nuances the modern perceptions of Pop-Punk.
If you were to take the Emo-ish and mature sounds of latter Alkaline Trio, elements of the “gruff” Punk and Orgcore surrounding it and then pair it with the Indie and Alt. Rock laced Punk of Burnt Tapes, The Menzingers and Triple Sundae, then reintroduce a discussion of Pop-Punk, you’d then arrive at where Vampire Slumber Party is in 2021.
The genre is perfectly capable of being “mature” and ‘Northern Lights’ executes this seamlessly as it opens Funeral Pop with its down-trodden, capitalist-dwelling existentialism. A meandering lead separates the near-lo-fi rhythm section and its jagged, yet inoffensive display charging the discordant but melodic soundtrack to the stress of modern life depicted.
Thematic lines pertaining to love, mental health, self-reparation, escapism and more accompany the above through the proximity both Pop-Punk and contemporary Indie-Rock have in common with the infusion that Emo has across the melodic Alternative spectrum. See tracks such as ‘Now Repeat After Me’, ‘Get Well Soon’ and ‘Meet Me At The Exit’.
Funeral Pop also nods toward the more “expected” Pop-Punk-isms however. ‘This Message Was Deleted’ delivers a jagged, ascending and driven Pop-Punk track marking itself as one of the best on the release and enriching the album’s flow with a decidedly increased tempo. This pace is then aggravated and fed with an explosive foray into Skate Punk later in ‘Not As White As It Used To Be’. Though track nine is a huge departure from the majority of Funeral Pop, its soaring chorus and the urgent, earnest conviction earns its place amongst the rest of the album.
Vampire Slumber Party is very much music for people who can see through the transparent societal trope of “growing up” and can still enjoy themselves whilst ticking the box forebodingly (and needlessly) loomed over by the antiquated definition of “mature”. Vampire Slumber Party, as a band, are now working on new music.
SNIFF – Self-Titled (September 2021) (Indie-Punk/Power-Pop/Punk-Rock/Garage-Punk)
If you’re in any way affiliated with the UK Punk scene, then chances are you’re aware of SNIFF. The brainchild of Alex Smith of the raucously unique Punk and Hardcore outfit Bobby Funk and the writhing Garage Punk of Tinned Fruit, SNIFF is a new, nuanced project airing some long-time musings, celebrated truths and equally tall tales. Given SNIFFs genealogy carried over from the above, it is no surprise that this new project and said tall tales are just as raucous and writhing but unequivocally so in their own way.
Power-Pop is a funny one and often presents a bit of a grey area. Is it Pop-Punk? Is it Pop-Pock? Punk? Garage Rock? Well, honestly, the answer is an amalgamation of “all of the above” and by the time of the second verse of ‘Detergent’, SNIFF has captured it all. The jabbing, classic Punk rhythms linked back and forth to Garage and Indie respectively rebound off each other as exuberantly as the vocals doing the very same. There is a wonderful level of “Pop” approachability comprised of pure, genuine and “fuck it, I may as well have fun” mannerisms and alleviating catharsis on ‘Detergent’ and its only track one-of-five.
‘Queer’ examines, discusses, lives, owns and defends Bisexuality from the cliches forcibly lacquered over it in the same jovial yet sardonic and sarcastic grin aimed via a determined and resolute ocular fixation. SNIFF’s intelligent lyricisms are paired perfectly to discordant rhythms, lighter yet energised drumming and a bass tone playing the part of the brooding foundation, juxtaposing a series of progressively ascending layers all the way to the defiant, soaring top. Defiant and rightfully so.
‘Bookz’ pushed a faster Punk-Rock indicative of the sonic locale of SNIFFs origin in its vintage Hardcore cut with a lo-fi-ish Garage tone. However, as expected and desired, ‘Bookz’ takes the latent quirks of Power-Pop, Indie and Garage into a chorus and later refrain that only but boasts the scope and sonic-acumen of Alex Smith.
I could reasonably go on and talk about why this release is as premier as it is, but I shan’t. There is a LIMITED RUN of cassettes available to order from Toxic Wotshit Records and since the debut release, SNIFF has also released two more tracks. You have your orders. I’ll leave you with the sobriety-soused tale of victory that is ‘Shifting’.
All Fall Down – ‘Kill The Human Race’/’Faith In Me’ (April/October 2021) (Melodic Punk/Pop-Punk/Skate Punk)
This may well be the first iteration of “May have Missed” which has been entirely UK centric. At least it’s nice to know there is something positive to look to and be distracted by as we hurtle closer and closer to abject and dystopian Fascist-idiocracy. Moving on! It also wouldn’t be a “May have Missed” with yet more melodic Punk in one-way shape or form. Enter All Fall Down for their second sub-genre-crossing appearance on Ear Nutrition.
The band’s debut ‘Take Me Back’ can be found fully examined – Here. However, to be expedited and succinct, its juxtaposing dichotomy sound motioning from urgent but refined Skate Punk to a melodic, thoughtful and existentially encumbered Punk-Rock gave their debut “melodic Punk-Rock” a key and intriguing depth.
‘Kill The Human Race’ opens with the jagged edge of the debut but is considerably more in-line with the pop-glossed serration of Easycore Pop-Punk specifically. All Fall Down’s unashamed Pop-Punk approaches from a vector of sardonic humour and maturity as the situation around us worsens. Pop-Punk is a survivor stylistic. Time and time again in the contemporary scene, those who adore it filter it through a playful guise atop their maturity to soften the dread that inspires their forays into the punk-a-sphere. ‘Kill The Human Race’ is shameless in doing so.
‘Faith In Me’ is a more recent single and comes off the back of the five-piece touring and playing with some reputable names. Past a flutter from the kit chasing a light and aerated Pop-Punk line, All Fall Down return to their late ’90s Skate Punk without letting you forget their penchant for the former in a track that cleverly hybridises their work to date. All Fall Down tease a further penchant for more technical and layered fast-Punk as much as a possible jaunt down an even-further inclined Easycore road. That said, even with this and through their work thus far, their exuberant carefree bare all approach still markets a strong argument for the legacy of Pop-Punk and all it has lent Punk music since.
The latest single also with no question, increasingly bolsters the poignant and personal nature of the band’s message and James Loker’s vocal display. Furthermore, crucially and therein, ‘Faith In Me’ also stands as Loker’s best yet fronting a band-wide comfort impervious to a negation of any sort.
Attendant – ‘Doomscroller/’Half Life’ (July/September 2021) (Punk/Alt. Rock/Grunge/Post-Hardcore)
Attendant are another whose presence has been felt on Ear Nutrition before. The band’s genre-fluid, politically motivated and existentialism-charged Punk fuelled display debuted in January 2021 and you can read a full breakdown of it – Here. In short, as is the tradition of “May Have Missed” to get to the point as sharply possible, the two-piece are another wave in the rapidly re-energised reawakening of Alternative Rock and Post-Hardcore within the greater Punk scene.
‘Doomscroller’ hides not from its namesake. Attendant’s discussion of the ills that plague what they observe has never been anything less than intelligent albeit sardonic in tone. If 2020 and its 0.1 update have shown us anything, it is that the age of the online warrior is far from hitting its apex. The population of these hegemonic blue-screens are informed by their own standards and care not for those with paper pertaining to any sort of bonafide. The capacity to hate is limitless when there are fewer consequences and ‘Doomscoller’ captures this brilliantly. Attendant’s foreboding and uncomfortable tone twists the jabbing Punk-disdain that infected ’90s and early 2000s Alt. Rock and employs Grunge’s propensity for disinterest. The band’s innate Post-Hardcore is inextricably present but this time more so adjacent than fully embodied, resulting in a powerful and naturally fluid display of their craft.
The crossover of Punk, Alt. Rock, Grunge and Post-Hardcore into a lot of what would become either “alternative” or “mainstream alternative”, depending on perspective, was a lucrative time. Early 2000s Emo and Post-Hardcore capitalised on or was subject to this as much as the more “mainstream” acts such as Feeder and their ilk. Punk stylistics regardless of derivative, wave or generation crept into the limelight and spun many onto an abrasive yet accessible Rock. This is where Attendant traverse freely and where ‘Half Life’ extends ownership over it seamlessly. Their latest single bolsters the quality of the two-piece further beyond any discernible negation in an existential anthem sadly indicative of our time.
‘Half Life’ is comparatively calmer in its gentle repetitive ebb but is also flanked by the legacy of Post-Hardcore and its cycling power. A legacy whose penchant for juxtaposing said power with soaring melodies and refrains with rough edges echoes the surface-level bonuses eclipsing what’s really there, or isn’t, for that matter. – ‘You’re living half a life when it’s not your own’.
Attendant are a modern Alternative Rock band with a lot to say, beckoning you with a seamless journey through their influences.
Brutalligators – ‘This house is too big, this house is too small’ (November 2021) (Emo/Indie-Rock/Indie-Punk/Alt.Rock)
A band of limbs coalescing and reverberating around an intersection of Emo, Pop-Punk, Indie-Rock and cathartic feels, Brutalligators are an existential four-piece living the bare honesty their heart encumbered sleeves suggest they would. Signed to the genre-fluid Beth Shalom Records, the Hitchin four-piece have recently released their debut full-length after a slew of singles and EPs leading to this eventual and clearly therapeutic whole. Though this album was released recently, realistically, you still “May Have Missed” it. Onward unapologetically, then!
Arriving at a time where though progress has been made, many people, even in more progressive circles are struggling to discuss mental health and pain considerably less obvious, This house is too big, this house is too small is an album determined to exist within and perhaps even erode the woe. Brutalligators are shamelessly open on their debut and just as sonically fluid. Lyrically, the aforementioned focus on mental health is clear. Relationships and contemporary existence also dot this album as musically, the band react to their own words from style to style. The opening ‘The Holiday’ and the rousing and playfully Emo-ed Indie-Punk anthem of ‘Coffee & Codeine’ are more than sufficient at anchoring attention.
Tracks such as the aforementioned ‘The Holiday’ and the discordant jaunt that is 20/10/0 infuse a grounding, cathartic Alternative Rock amongst a myriad of Indie guitars and harmonic vocals. Further in, contemporary Indie-Rock and its very natural crossover into Emo-Pop and even twinkly Math-fringe tones add more depth to the debut in more places than one. Brutalligators are diverse on their debut but there is a consistent aesthetic that allows the album to flow despite its constant deviations. The juxtaposition from the dulcet to melodic drive of ‘The House’ and its alternating intensity to the aggression and power of the politicised Grunge-esque Hardcore Punk of ‘Protect Yr Own’, speaks of a band indisputably in control of their craft.
Brutalligators close their debut full-length in a manner tactically the same as its opening single. ‘Josie’ champions Indie-Punk once more cut with slow, harmonic refrains and discordant yet melodic guitars as progress is made towards ‘doing ok’, tieing in the album’s sonics together for the thematic close.
James Domestic – ‘Faze Out’/’Push On Through’ (October/November 2021) (Post-Punk/Electro-Punk)
Last but not least on this volume of “May Have Missed” we have one another of the veritable creative outputs from one James Domestic from “Kibou Towers”. Rather than list what feels like an inordinate set of accolades pertaining to and denoting this human being and his works in the UK DIY Punk scene, I will simply name his parent band, The Domestics and link SOME of his other projects as they have appeared on Ear Nutrition – Here.
Hardcore Punk, in a variety of voracious forms, is for the most part what you’d expect from or at the very least find synonymous with Mr Domestic. However, with what is about to be two singles down and an album set for April 2022 via some reputable names in their own right, there has been a change in direction.
‘Faze Out’ was the first of this jaunt off the (D)beaten path. Single #1 maintains the poignant, societal and personal observations you’d expect but via vitriol filtered through an aggressive and addictive Post-Punk. Vocally, the harshness often found in the Punk from the southeast of England occupies a spoken word in the verses before a more recognisable Electro-Punk-Rock takes the chorus fully in voice and serrated guitar work. Post-Punk can and with strong regularity, develops, hones and nuances the inherent disdain of its “parent” genre whilst simultaneously owning its place amongst the greater Punk movement. This is the dejected ‘Faze Out’ as it navigates its nightmare.
Regularity is a key element to this project from James Domestic, both lyrically and sonically. ‘Push On Through’ recalls fatigue, observation and the tales of late-night travel to this seemingly perpetual and haunting regularity. The second single, encumbered with exhaustion, the blackness of night and the quest for stimulus, is comparatively stripped back when dragged along the floor next to the first single and yet on the flipside, caries its own excellent idiosyncrasies to contrast the repetitive, droning ebb of the bassline.
‘Push On Through’ in order to do very much that, employs a meandering lead guitar, straining its way through the journies of inky-night. The vocal tones of Clare Gillett assist in this as the motion to keep going embodies its lazy yet accepting catalytic focus ever-forward. Later, a ripping, frustrated and brilliantly deployed guitar reaches the height of its mania as the same old beat inexorably motions forth behind it, driving toward whacked-out ethereal synths, further observations and mania that is now itself, regular.
‘Push On Through releases on the 19th ahead of whatever tease is next for the forthcoming Carrion Repeating.
And so passes “May Have Missed Volume 8”. This is the first iteration that has been entirely focused on UK bands and I am certainly considering doing so again. You can find the other volumes in the series linked – Here, all of which feature bands from the UK and beyond and across the plethora of talent that is the underground and DIY Punk and Alternative music scene.
I haven’t had a huge amount of time for this recently but I’m sure more will follow.