Playground Circus – Walking On Sunshine (Roxy Edition)

Playground Circus are a high energy pop-punk / skate-punk band based in London and Walking On Sunshine is their own unique on the 1983 Katrina And The Waves hit, released on 16/06/2023.

Forming in Greece in 2014, the band take their influences from the likes of New Found Glory, A Day To remember, Sum 41, NOFX, Green Day, Bowling For Soup, Good Charlotte, and Blink 182 among others, and have shared the stage with a whole host of names.

Blending the attitude of punk with the energy of hard rock, this is a fantastic rendition of the song, a classic known to millions.

There are some heavy riffs thrown in with some more melodic, yet raw guitar work and the frantic drumming really manages to keep the pace of the song going from start to finish. The original version is upbeat enough as it is, but these guys have managed to give it an even bigger lift, propelling it to fresh, exhilarating heights.

The vocals are raw, powerful, and energetic and with backups in much the same vein this is a track that is certain to get you bounding round the living room!

What an absolutely fantastic track! Its raw, its energetic and it certainly packs a punch! Loved it!

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Sunmachine – Spine

Sunmachine are a new band, formed in the early part of 2023 and their latest single Spine, is only their second release and is setting the tone for the band’s debut album, The Nova Effect, which is set for release at the end of September 2023.

The track is essentially about questioning all the things you believe and having an identity crisis because of it, and this is a theme that many people will be able to resonate with. The song has quite profound lyrics but what better way to get this across to listeners than music?!

A heavy rock band in essence, the band have also included elements of punk and progressive rock to create themselves quite a unique sound.

With heavy riffs coming from the guitars, that, with a hint of distortion, generate an almost grungey vibe, they are accompanied by some energetic drum work and some very meaty yet funky basslines, which are prevalent all the way through the song. With all these musical elements combined, the band have come up with a sound that is almost impossible to define.

The vocals, while powerful, strong, and gritty, use distortion to help with the grunge feel to the track and really are one of the main driving points about the song. The singer has a wide range and with backups in much the same vein there really is depth to the track.

For a sophomore song, this one is truly awesome. While I haven’t heard their debut single, I am very much looking forward to the album coming out in just ten days’ time!

Phenomenal track!

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My Life Story – I’m A God

My Life Story started in 1984 in Southend and over the years lead singer Jake Shillingford grew the band into a flamboyant eleven-piece outfit with a string and brass section. By 2001 the band had stopped all touring and recording but by 2016, Jake wanted to tour more and streamlined the band, retiring the orchestral sections, to the alternative rock band it is today.

I’m A God, a track that highlights how the media lazily awards everyone and everything divine status, is the band’s latest single and was released on 30/08/2023.

Kicking off with some electronic synths it is not long before the song erupts into a nostalgic alternative pop/rock track.

Straddling many genres, this track does not fall into any one type of music and being able to appeal to a wide range of listeners is a great strength the song has. Musically the song lies somewhere between pop rock, indie and the synth genres, with the sound of the 80’s mixing profusely with sound of the 90’s, but all with a modern twist that keeps the song fresh and up to date.

The vocals on this track help take the listener on a nostalgic trip back in time, fitting right in with the 80’s electronic / rock sound. Jake’s voice is soft and gentle, but he really can take it up a notch or two when he needs to, and the emotion in his voice is clear to hear.

This is a fantastic track that is edgy, catchy, and really quite infectious. Listen to this once and you will be humming the lyrics and melodies for the rest of the day!

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nasmore – When It Feels So Fake

nasmore is a Canadian songwriter and producer and When It Feels So Fake is his latest single, released on 08/09/2023. Having previously reviewed music by nasmore, I was eager to hear more from him and I was not disappointed! Once again featuring Neil Taylor (he played on Tears For Fears album Songs From The Big Chair and is a long-term collaborator with the likes of Tina Turner, Chris De Burgh, Natalie Imbruglia, Metallica, Phil Collins, Kylie Minogue, and more) on guitar, the song also features nasmore’s vocalist friends, Gabriel and Waz.

Drawing on influences from Imagine Dragons and Nickelback, the song is a great fusion of alternative rock, electronic bites, and pop-rock, and “encapsulates that moment when everything around you feels superficial, and you’re yearning for something genuine,” a feeling I am sure many people have felt and do still feel.

With some heavy guitar riffs, the track also has a groovy bassline and some energetic drumming, and combining this with electronic bites and sounds and synths throughout the song, there really is quite a unique sound being made.

Not quite pop, but not quite rock, the song has the ability to straddle a multitude of genres and does so with ease, and this is only enhanced by the powerful vocals that accompany the music. With a very distinctive pop sound, there is also a grittiness there that also drops the track in the rock genres too. And with backups in much the same vein and synchronised vocals, there really is a great depth to the song!

This is an awesome track, and I look forward to much more from this very talented individual.

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Good Time Locomotive – A New Beginning

Good Time Locomotive are a London based new wave pop rock band and, as they have recently made the transition form a five-piece band to a duo, their aptly named new single, A New Beginning was released on 09/09/2023.

Forming on zoom during the pandemic, the band always had one aim in mind, and that was to write music and lyrics with an emotional punch and a positive message, and that is exactly what they have done with this song.

With a foundation firmly in the alternative rock genre, elements of pop and indie rock really shine through, making this a very catchy and memorable track.

There are funky basslines throughout the song that keep it on track and tight, and the awesome guitar work and drumming round off the music side of things perfectly. This is a track that will soon have you bopping around the living room as the inclusion of electronic bites and sounds mean their mission of helping people get back to having a good time in life, is certainly well on course.

The vocals are somewhat quirky but fit well with the music they are accompanying and a slight distortion every now and then really creates a grungey yet nostalgic feel.

This is a great track and the band have a really created a big sound for themselves with just two members! I am really looking forward to anything else that comes from the Good Time Locomotive camp in the very near future!

This review is the property of The Metal Asylum

Gloom Girl MFG – Factory

Gloom Girl MFG are a post-punk indie rock band from Nashville and their debut EP, Factory, was released on 08/09/2023.

Influenced by the likes of Television, Hole, and The Pretenders this is a band who are not afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves, and the result is a sonic ambush on the listeners ears that is full of attitude and, as the band themselves say, “grabs you by the collar and kicks you in the face!”

A great fusion of alternative rock and punk rock, the music side of things is heavy, in your face and totally infectious. The guitars are heavy, with riffs flying everywhere, yet can also handle the more melodic parts of the EP, the drumming has all the energy of punk rock, really driving the tracks forward and the meaty yet groovey basslines that really shine, round off the band’s unique take on this genre of rock perfectly.

This is the kind of music that will have you, the listener moving n one way or another. Whether that is tapping your foot or bounding around the room like a loon is entirely up to you, but the catchiness of the melodies and the hooks will mean you will not be able to sit still.

The vocal side of the EP is immense. The leads are strong, very powerful and full of attitude, very reminiscent of the punk-rock sound of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. With reflective and contemplative lyrics and storytelling, the leads are accompanied by some layered backups, really creating depth and dynamism to the tracks.

There is a variety of pace on the EP, some tracks being full on, in your face rock tunes while others are more melodic. This is great for the listener as they are always engaged and entertained by the EP.

This is a fantastic EP, and it is hard to believe it is actually their debut, as they have the professionalism and musicianship of a band who have been around for many years. Check them out! This is a band with a great future ahead of them!

Track Listing:

1) Litterbug

2) My Brothers Meds

3) I Hope She Knows

4) Side Stitch

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The Manimals – Detonate

The Manimals are a New York City band and Detonate is their latest single, released on 08/09/2023. The song features Haley Bowery on lead vocals, Michael Jayne on lead guitar and vocals, Chris Sayre on guitar and vocals, Jack Breslin on bass, Trevor Walker on drums and Zoe Briskey on synths and is an introspection of one’s own worst tendencies that build into a massive release, and wanting to start all over again, and this is something I think that many people experience at one point or another in their lives.

Starting off as what seems like an alternative rock power ballad, the song soon erupts into a frenzy of alternative rock / rock pop, building its way through the first few verses with intensity and power until the listener is thrust into an explosion of attitude-filled lyrics and blasting guitars.

The music side of things, once the song gets going, is heavy and guitar riffs are thrown at the listener from all angles. The drumming is energetic and frantic and strong basslines show through, helping to create a strong, powerful second half of the song.

The first half of the track is built entirely on Haley’s voice, which is very reminiscent of the likes of Hayley Williams from Paramore and Taylor Momsen from The Pretty Reckless. She has a very strong voice and is never once overshadowed by the music behind her, always taking command of the track. She is accompanied by some awesome layered male backups, and this really creates a great depth to the song.

This is a fantastic track by this band. It is full of angst, attitude and defiance and will appeal to a wide range of listeners. Go and check out The Manimals and see what you think for yourself! But be ready to bop your socks off as their music is extremely catchy and will have you dancing around the living in no time at all!

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The Muster Point Project – I Did What I Did

The Muster Point Project is the creation of multi-instrumentalist Kevin Franco, who comes from Calgary but who splits his time between Canada and Santiago in Chile. I Did What I Did is his latest single and was released on 07/09/2023.

Kevin says: “I mix many genres of music including pop, folk, metal, funk and even good ol’ rock n roll,” and this is clear to see in this track, “a humorous and self-deprecating approach to asking forgiveness for the many repeated mistakes made by someone in a relationship.”

Classic rock in nature, the song also takes influence from the likes of alternative rock, rock and roll and even some country rock twangs can be heard every now and then.

The music side of things are very retro, with some nostalgic guitar playing and the drumming and basslines are both strong, powerful and keep the song tight and on track. The music is upbeat, and it guaranteed to get the listener moving, and whether that be tapping their foot or dancing around the living room is entirely up to them.

The vocals are a bit quirky, but this only adds to the appeal of the track. The leads are strong and with enough grit to really make them stand but coupled with the layered backups in much the same vein, the song really does have a great depth to it, and there is enough going on, both musically and vocally, to keep the listener entertained and engaged.

This is a great track, and I really can’t wait to hear more from The Muster Point Project. It’s a sound to be enjoyed by fans of multiple rock genres and could even appeal to the pop rock people to! Go and check them out!

This review is the property of The Music Asylum

Octavian Winters – Undertow

Octavian Winters are a post-punk band from San Francisco consisting of members Stephan Salit (guitars), Randy Gzebb (drums), Jay Denton (bass) and Ria Aursjoen (vocals and keyboards). Undertow is the band’s single and was released on 02/08/2023.

The song is loosely inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen classic tale of The Little Matchgirl, who ignored by everyone, freezes to death in the snow after lighting all of her matches for warmth, and this feeling of isolation and yearning for a connection is a theme that a lot of people can resonate with!

The song kicks off with some funky yet meaty basslines that really set the tone for the song before heavy guitar riffs are introduced as an accompaniment. Keyboards then come into the mix, making the introduction a fuzzy haze of instrumentation created by the use of distortion, and is a great start to the song.

Ria’s vocals are strong and powerful, while bordering on a shoegaze style of singing. This gives the track a dreamy yet haunting atmosphere that really pulls the listener in, and the soaring vocal harmonies and backups really give the track a great depth.

Every aspect of the musicianship on this track, from the vocals to the pounding drums and thumping bass, to the electrifying guitar work, pulls out all the stops and really makes this a potent song to listen to.

This is an awesome track, and one that I think will appeal to fans of classic rock, as well as alternative rock and even grunge fans. So, check out Octavian Winters and their music and hear for yourself how great this talented band are!

Photo by Dina Marie Robinson

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darkmaterial – Lucky Charm

darkmaterial are an up-and-coming independent rock band from Reading in the UK and consist of members Ian Larsson on vocals and rhythm guitar, Joe Murrell on lead guitar, Oscar North-Concar on bass and Sam Sutton on drums.

Lucky Charm is the band’s latest single, released on 01/09/2023, and explores the personification of a lucky charm!

Influenced by bands such as Black Sabbath, Dio, and Iron Maiden, darkmaterial are trying to create a new sound by combining the heaviness of these bands with alternative rock and post rock, and the result is a brand new, unique rock sound.

With the use of slight distortion on both the guitars and the vocals, there is an almost sludgey feel to the track, but this, in my opinion, only adds to the atmospheric nature of the song. The guitar work is heavy, full of riffs and really creates an immersive experience for the listener. The drum work is raw and energetic and really adds to the distinctive sound these guys are forging for themselves.

The vocals are melodic and strong, the perfect fit for the sound this band has created, and the hint of distortion the ideal alteration to provide the post-rock ambience the song has.

This is an awesome track that more people need to hear, and the fact is straddles many genres, will make it appeal to a wide variety of rock fans, from alternative rock to heavy metal as the influences from the bands mentioned above is clear to hear!

Go and check out darkmaterial and their music. I am, personally, looking forward to hearing much more from them! I’ll meet you in Spotify!

This review is the property of The Metal Asylum