Album Review: Pizzatramp – Grand Relapse

Finally, there is something exiting to come out of Wales, other than the M4. Pizzatramp’s 12” picture disc on TNSrecords is a win. FFO: 80’s hardcore thrash crossover and swearing.

Review by Ollie Stygall.

Pizzatramp are from Wales so let’s start with some facts about Wales.

Wales is the largest county in England. It is only accessible by a bridge and they make you pay to enter Wales, presumably to discourage you from bothering. Wales is owned by Prince Charles, but he doesn’t live there. The Welsh have their own language but you need an overactive saliva gland to speak it, but that’s OK because 99% of Welsh people don’t understand it.

Wales is full of castles because they’re extremely unpopular and got attacked a lot… they even attacked themselves, because they don’t like each other either! Wales is full of mountains, because even the landscape dislikes the Welsh and has tried to make itself as uninhabitable as possible. Wales has a seaside resort called Barry, like the boring Brummie character from Auf Wiedersehen Pet. Wales has nothing at all to do with the mighty and majestic sea creatures that its name sounds like. Catherine Zeta Jones is Welsh – and hot – but she’d rather shag an American pensioner than Welsh blokes.

However, there is now something exiting to come out of Wales, other than the M4. A musical behemoth that does go some way towards righting the wrongs done by The Manic Street Preachers: and that is Pizzatramp.

Pizzatramp make out that they’re a shambolic, pissed up mess. They’re not. Well, they may well be to be honest, but that doesn’t stop them being a fucking incredible band. Continue reading “Album Review: Pizzatramp – Grand Relapse”

Gig Review: Behind-The-Scenes at Manchester Punk Festival 2019

A review of MPF from Sarah, who volunteers at the event. Friends, frantic dashes between venues and some top-class hardcore, including Not On Tour, Adrenalized, Svalbard, Consumed, Fair Do’s and Snuff.

Although there will be reviews aplenty, at Shout Louder we want to offer two unique perspectives on the fifth year of Manchester Punk Festival. Mark Bartlett’s given us is highlights as an MPF virgin, where as Sarah Williams is an MPF veteran who volunteers at the festival. In this edition, Sarah gives us a unique perspective from behind the scenes.

Excitement for Manchester Punk Festival begins long before the doors open to the public. Unfortunately, excitement can easily be mistaken for stress.

Weeks before the main event, I’m inundated with messages asking about guest list, accommodation, press accreditation and band recommendations. I’m only a volunteer, I’m not even one of the organisers – I can’t begin to imagine the sheer insanity of their inboxes. How they manage to keep it together in the days leading up to the festival, I will never know.

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Thursday

The hard graft starts in earnest on Thursday – the eve of the festival. I drive to Moston to join a five car convoy; our best method of transporting all the festival merchandise in the absence of ROPTM’s van. I’m blasting out Ocean Wisdom round the M60 like some boy racer on the way, which is harshly interrupted by a phonecall about a bounced band payment and a confusing artist hotel booking. We get it sorted in seconds, like pros.

Delivering the merchandise is the first time I’ve seen MPF’s brand new venue: The Union. It’s a huge, modern student building fittingly decorated in Manchester’s signature yellow-and-black. I’m shocked to see the size of the main hall. As we climb ladders to hang banners, it starts to look like a ‘real’ festival venue. It’s fucking huge. Continue reading “Gig Review: Behind-The-Scenes at Manchester Punk Festival 2019”

Gig Review: A First-Time Experience Of Manchester Punk Festival

Mark overcame anxiety to pop his MPF cherry, celebrating with Kermes, Charmpit, Big Joanie, Incisions, Fastfade, Burnt Tapes and more.

Although there will be reviews aplenty, at Shout Louder we want to offer two unique perspectives on the fifth year of Manchester Punk Festival. Sarah Williams is an MPF veteran who volunteers at the event, who’ll be giving us a behind-the-scenes perspective, whereas Mark Bartlett’s has given us his highlights as an MPF first timer. In this article, Mark explores his nerves about attending alone, and why the effort was worthwhile.

Here are some thoughts about my first ever trip to the Manchester Punk Festival over the long Easter bank holiday weekend.

My first ever MPF can only be described as a completely heartening, life nourishing experience, which was briefly prodded by the occasional anxious freak out.

By the time the weekend was done, my notions of what punk is or isn’t was challenged by the massive breadth of genre variety on offer. Ultimately, I felt that the living spirit of punk rock is the ethos, outlook, morality and community of the few thousand individuals who make this annual pilgrimage.

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Incisions @ Gorilla. Photo: Josh Sumner

I fully expected to feel awkward a lot of the time. I’m a real loud mouth once I get to know a person properly, but alone I’m very shy around strangers, and that’s further exacerbated when I’m around people who I think are talented (no shortage of that here). I naturally assume that people dislike me and in groups I always feel very visible and awkward. It’s a behaviour I have to work quite hard to deprogram myself of.

If I’d had somebody to go with, I would have loved to have come to any previous MPF, but the general feeling of being lonesome and weird was insurmountable. Last year, I felt the pangs of jealously having heard about all the fun everybody had, and I was resolved to go no matter what, come rain or shine. Luckily for all of us, the weather was completely glorious and, even as a solo traveller, I didn’t feel alone for any significant portion of my weekend. Honestly, I was surprised to find out that so many people I met have so many of the same social hang ups. I enjoyed the weekend from a social perspective every bit as much as what was on offer musically. It’s a brilliant atmosphere and it was great to finally get the chance to meet some long term social media pals in the flesh, as well as catching up with some old friends. Continue reading “Gig Review: A First-Time Experience Of Manchester Punk Festival”

Band Spotlight: Hurricane Season [Interview]

Austrian punks Hurricane Season talk influences, lyrics and their debut album ‘Nice To Need You’.

Hurricane Season are an Austrian whirlwind (sorry, I couldn’t resist) of punk rock energy. They released their debut album Nice To Need You via SBAM Record in March 2019. We got to know the band better.

How would you sum up Hurricane Season for someone who’s just discovering you?

It’s a mixture of all the music we listened to as kids and, of course, what we listen to nowadays. So all the good pop stuff mixed with the punk music we all love. Maybe like Roxette meets No Use For A Name meets Bob Dylan meets Weezer meets The Beatles meets Ramones?

What inspired you most when writing Nice To Need You?

Even if it sounds pretty lame, I think the thing that inspires me the most when I’m writing songs is life itself. All the things I’ve experienced, all the things I’ve been through and all the things I’m going through at the moment, whether they are good or bad. But probably most of the times bad or sad, so I think those hard and challenging moments inspire me the most. Writing seems to help me getting over those kinds of dark times.

Also the people I met, or that surrounded me over the last 8 years (yeah, a few of the songs are that old) and influenced me, seem to be a big part of this record. Again, either in a bad or good way. So maybe that’s why the name Nice To Need You came up, which leaves space for interpretation. Continue reading “Band Spotlight: Hurricane Season [Interview]”

Top 10 Bands To Discover At Manchester Punk Festival 2019

Excited for MPF 2019? Here are our top picks from this year’s stunning line-up.

Article by Sarah Williams. Read all our MPF2019 articles.

Over five years, Manchester Punk Festival has flourished and become one of the biggest and best festivals Europe has to offer.

For me personally, MPF is a bigger event in my calendar than Christmas. I enjoyed the first three years of the festival so much that I decided to move to Manchester, because it has the most active, welcoming and diverse punk rock scene in the country. I’ve since had the privilege of volunteering at the festival, writing articles for their programme and website, and seeing first-hand the love, stress and dedication that the organisers pour into the event every year.

This year I’m also ‘performing’ at the festival. Come and join us in Font Bar @ 12:30 Friday to watch a live recording of the Shout Louder podcast. I’ll be talking about mental health in music, with Lucias of Call Me Malcolm and Holly from Hell Hath No Fury Records.

With 138 acts at this year’s Manchester Punk Festival, you’re spoilt for choice. These are the 10 I’m looking forward to the most.

Wolfrik

Wolfrik are a recent Lockjaw Records discovery – these guys crank out fiery melodic thrash, with a huge metal/classic rock edge that’s insanely fun to listen to. Knowing the incendiary effect their Skeleton City EP’s had on everyone who’s heard it, I’m excited to see the impact it’ll have on a keen live audience.

Svalbard

I’ve not managed to catch Svalbard live yet, although their 2018 album It’s Hard to Have Hope was one of my favourites of last year. They’re well known in the metal scene, however they’re also an ideal fit for fans of dark, furious hardcore punk. Lyrically tackling feminism and politics and writing soaring Counterparts-esque guitar parts has made front-woman Serena Cherry one of my personal musical heroes. I’m looking forward to an intense, earth-shattering live show.

Continue reading “Top 10 Bands To Discover At Manchester Punk Festival 2019”

MPF Interview: Martha

We spoke to Martha ahead of Manchester Punk Festival, discussing their new album and the influence DIY punk’s had on them.

Interview by Sarah Williams. A shorter version is published in the Manchester Punk Festival programme, for which this was written. You can download the programme here. If you haven’t already, be sure to grab your MPF2019 tickets before they sell out!

In 2019, it’s hard to find any UK punk rocker who’s not a fan of Martha. Heavily influenced by pop music but rooted in Northern DIY punk, Martha make lovable, upbeat music that appeals to old school punks, hardcore kids and pop-punk fans alike. We spoke to them ahead of their upcoming performance at Manchester Punk Festival 2019.

You’ve got a new album Love Keeps Kicking. How do you think you’ve grown as a band since Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart?

The new record is a bit more world weary and sombre, but it’s still got hope and optimism within it. And it’s full of songs we’d want to listen to. The world feels fucking shit, and that’s bound to filter through into songwriting.

What can fans expect from the new album?

Love songs, sad songs, pop songs, references to places in Durham city, where working class people used to go that have been bulldozed to make way for student accommodation.

You’ve been described as having an ‘unashamedly Northern edge’. How do you feel your Durham roots influenced your sound?

It’s who we are and so it’s inevitable it comes out in the music. We can’t really avoid it. I think it’s also the case that when bands from smaller towns sound like they really sound, it’s more noticeable just by virtue of being a bit different. Every band is from somewhere! Continue reading “MPF Interview: Martha”

There Is A Bear On Stage

Lucias from Call Me Malcolm discusses the constant pressure of anxiety and panic that haunts him on stage.

Written by Lucias Malcolm, vocalist/guitarist in Call Me Malcolm. This is part of our #MentallySound series, exploring mental health in music. 

We have a gig in less than an hour and there is a bear on stage.

I’ve been a musician for just shy of twenty years and an outwardly functioning human being for almost double that; functioning in the sense that in that time I’ve somewhat miraculously kept myself fed, watered and free from major scarring. I even tie my own shoe laces (though I do wonder if there’s a statute of limitation on this – I’ve been wearing the same Etnies for as long as I can remember and I’ve not re-tied the laces since day one). The point is, outwardly, as far as society is concerned, I function.

Inwardly it’s a different story. At current count there are thirty seven different warning lights flashing, smoke is billowing from several important looking dials and the rabbit that usually steers the ship lost the manual in 1996. The point is, I get anxious.

As I said, there is a very real, to me at least, bear on stage. Continue reading “There Is A Bear On Stage”