Hopesfall breathe new life into Post-Hardcore with latest offering ‘Arbiter’

The resurgence of Post-Hardcore in recent years has seen bands like At The Drive In, Underoath, Thrice and Glassjaw all release new material. While all brilliant, their albums haven’t necessarily quenched the thirsts of those who have been waiting the longest. What do we expect, though? Tastes change, and people grow.

Here’s where Hopesfall step in  Stepping back into the limelight after eleven long years of silence, their newest offering ‘Arbiter’ is a welcome reminder that they’re still very much alive and kicking. For a band who garnered such praise for their previous albums (most notably 2004’s ‘A Types’ and 2007’s ‘Magnetic North) a comeback album was always going to be a tricky task. Here we are though, and I am happy to say they are back with a bang.

Image by James Dicks

‘Arbiter’ commences with the most recent single, ‘Faint Object Camera’. The near-instant barrage of monstrous guitars, coupled with vocalist Jay Forrest’s piercing screams, immediately causes heads to sway. The intricate guitar work, provided by Joshua Brigham and Dustin Nadler, helps to create the vibrant and spacey soundscape in which you could drift for hours.

All of this, underpinned with the rock-solid rhythm section of Chad Waldrup (Bass Guitar) and Adam Morgan (Drums) sets their fifth album off to a flying start.

This wall of filth continues throughout, as they reaffirm their status as one of the best in the business. With tracks like ‘Bradley Fighting Vehicle’ and ‘I Catapult’ giving Forrest a perfect platform to display his brilliant ear for melody, the release as a whole seems to encapsulate what was so beautiful about their previous works.

The stunningly lethargic interlude that is ‘Aphelion’ really is the icing on the cake for me. The juxtaposition of dark and light in that track sums up for me perfectly what Hopesfall are all about.

Usually, keeping a similar tempo throughout a release can indicate stale and tired songwriting, although this technique being employed throughout ‘Arbiter’, however intentional, sends the listener into a kind of gorgeous trance. Drowning in reverb and delay, the soundscapes that Hopesfall achieve are beautiful, dripping with angst and nostalgia.

Image by Mark Valentino

Closing this wonderful piece of auditory heaven is ‘Indignation and The Rise Of The Arbiter’. The powerful display of Adam Morgan’s intricacy is showcased wonderfully throughout this final track. Coming in at a lengthy six minutes and nineteen seconds, the daze in which the listener finds themselves feels like it could go on forever. Not that it’s a bad thing, of course. Heavy, monstrous guitars, married with equally haunting vocals, could not have been a better end to this opus.

With this album, Hopesfall have show they are here to stay for a second stint – and I (along with many others) will surely take them in. Some may be upset that they hadn’t gone back to their metalcore roots of the first two albums, but ‘Arbiter’ sits proudly as the perfect successor to ‘Magnetic North’ after a long eleven years. Let’s hope they don’t disappear again soon.

Support Hopesfall: WebsiteFacebookTwitterSpotifyiTunes

Top 5 Electro-Acoustic Guitars under £1000

With a huge range of brands and styles it can be hard to choose the perfect electro-acoustic so we have put together this comprehensive guide to the best 5 electro-acoustic guitars you can buy for under £1000.

Martin 000X1AE (£650)

This stunning Martin has been a go to for beginner guitarist’s looking to spend some money on a really great guitar for years. With a price range starting at around £650, this martin is an absolute bargain for what you receive. The 000X1AE is part of Martin’s entry level X Series sitting around the middle of the price bracket for the series.

I’ve personally owned this guitar for a couple of years, I use it for every gig I do and every recording session. It’s reliable, sounds amazing both acoustic and plugged in and is generally strong and usable in all areas. I couldn’t recommend any guitar more than this one. The sound resonates perfectly in every setting and the guitar itself is easy to play and very comfortable.

This guitars features include;

  • Built in Fishman pick-up
  • Solid Sitka Spruce Top
  • Small Body Design
  • Modified Low Oval Neck Shape

 

Taylor 114ce Grand Auditorium (£800)

This guitar is an excellent example of what money can buy with an astonishingly great sound, a beautiful style and look. The 114ce comes in on price around £800 and is a prominent seller amongst the electo-acoustic market. This guitar is the cut away edition of the highly reviewed Taylor 100 Series and with a very fair price, you would be mad not to consider it as a big competitor.

Bryn, a fellow Routenote employee and proud owner of the Taylor 114ce said “The action and play-ability is just as good as the hype you hear about Taylor’s. It’s a very comfortable and addictive guitar to play. As someone that loves the sound of an acoustic, usually pick ups on acoustic’s sound like nails scratching a chalkboard to me, however Taylor’s pickup sounds really good.”

This guitars features include;

  • Solid Spruce Top
  • Walnut Back and Sides
  • Tropical Mahogany Neck
  • Taylor Expression System 2 Pick-ups

 

PRS SE 2018 Angelus A50E Cut Away (£800)

Now, PRS aren’t the first name you would think of when it comes to acoustic guitars, they are well known for eye catching electrics and a rock star status, but they have filled my wildest dreams with this brand new acoustic. The pure crisp sound this guitar makes mixed with the full body resonance creates a sound worthy of any folk artists guitar collection.

Having been lucky enough to trial this guitar out within the first week of its release, I can honestly say that it sits in the same league as any Martin or Taylor and with a price of just under £800, I would highly recommend this to anyone considering entering the folk or country scene.

This guitars features include;

  • Maple Body and Sides
  • Mahogany Neck
  • Spruce Top
  • Fishman GTI Pick-up

Martin 000RS1 Road Series (£830)

Another Martin makes it’s way on to my Top 5 with the Road Series 000RS1, what amazes me most about this guitar is how well built and designed it is. Every inch of this guitar has been perfectly made for the best sound quality Martin can achieve for under £1000. This guitar is priced around £830 which is incredible for what you get with it.

This solid sapele guitars looks are so pleasing on the eye and that’s what makes this guitar so appealing within the entry to mid level market. Having played one of these a few years back, I remember the neck shape and fret placement being perfect for fast past folk/country style picking with a really smooth and easy feel to it.

This guitars features include;

  • Solid Sapele Back and Sides
  • Solid Spruce Top
  • Fishman Sonitone Pick-up
  • Satin Finish

Takamine EF261S-AN (£920)

This beautiful deep cutaway Takamine has stormed it’s way on to my list with dashing looks and an incredible sound. Despite being the most expensive of the 5 guitars, priced at £920, this guitar really is worth every penny with a head turning dark cedar wood top and antique satin finish. The EF261S-AN is very well priced amongst the prestigious Takamine brand and despite being under £1000 it lives up to everything you hear about Takamine’s.

I was lucky enough to borrow one of these this year for a recording session with a few other folk guitarist’s and everyone just wanted one of there own, its definitely a guitar to be proud of, a guitar collection isn’t complete without a Takamine and this is the one for mine.

This guitars features include;

  • Solid Cedar Top
  • Mahogany Neck
  • Takamine CTB4-II Pick Up
  • Deep Cutaway Deisgn

London Grammar Storm Into 2017 with a New Album and Festivals Galore

London Grammar have set the marker for 2017 with a new album coming out in June and 18 major gigs this year.

Brand new album ‘Truth Is a Beautiful Thing’ is set to come out on the 9th June 2017 just before London Grammar start their World Tour. Three singles from the album have already been released including ‘Rooting For You’, ‘Big Picture’ and ‘Truth Is a Beautiful Thing’ and if these tracks are anything to go by, this new album is going to be an exhilarating ride of emotion and pure atmospheric power.

The electronic pop trio from London first hit the music scene in 2013 with their highly rated debut album ‘If You Wait’ featuring tracks such as ‘Strong’ and their cover of Kavinsky’s ‘NightCall’. This album was nominated for the World Music Award for World’s Best Album and was a giant success.

Back in January when London Grammar released ‘Rooting For You’, I reviewed this single with much credit and ever since I’ve been waiting with much excitement to see what the new album may bring.

London Grammar have a grand total of 18 major tour dates lined up this year including Glastonbury Festival, Lollapalooza and Pukkelpop. This indeed looks like an exciting year for the trio and I will be making sure to catch their live performance along the way.

Their new album is now available to pre-order and you can also ‘pre-save’ it on Spotify so that when it’s released it will make its way straight into your account with no payment needed. I really would say it’s worth a listen when it comes out as so far their music has been phenomenal and looking at the recent singles it seems to be continuing in this vein.

Lithuanian band Justin 3 drop inspirational new single ‘Survivor’

Lithuanian band ‘Justin 3’ release an atmospheric new single with their new track ‘Survivor’, with a catchy chorus and a kick ass video, this is definitely a band to look out for in months to come.

Justin 3 are pop rock band from Lithuania formed by actor and musician Justinas Stanislovaitis, they have been playing for more than 6 years but previously under ‘Alive Way’ and have been on a substantial amount of National Television. Their songs have been aired on almost all Lithuanian national radio stations and have been a large success in Lithuania. This catchy tune by Justin 3 really caught my eye today with its powerful lyrics and great video.

The well produced music video features the story of a muay thai boxer and his struggle to succeed, showing the hurdles he comes across as he makes his way to the top. The filming itself is superb but the editing slightly knocked my concentration as unfortunately I felt the clips were not cut to a long enough length for you to make any emotional attachment to the story. Also the text running throughout the video with the boxers speech quotes confuses my brain because you feel like it should be the lyrics and then when its not its very hard to concentrate on both the lyrics and the text at the same time; Or maybe that’s just me.

Justinas 3 band music video review pop indie rock ballad

I do think though that the lyrics really support the video with a big sound from the lead vocalist with lines such as ‘I swam amongst the monsters to get to where I am’ and ‘I’ll make the earth shake, I’m a fighter’. The instrumentation drives the song to its atmospheric heights and the lyricists slightly roughened voice really does make him stand from the crowd of every other mainstream singer, whilst the involvement of an ethnic story line is diverse in comparison to most popular music.

The interesting thing about this release is you would expect it to be a raw rocky sound but yet these guys use an electric drum kit which means that they lack the full sound of the full drum kit which you would expect in a large sounding song, its a rather odd ensemble of  sounds and my brain cant really work out how it feels about this.  Also he uses an acoustic guitar for may of the guitar parts with distortion which is a strange way to go about things but again this seems to intrigue me.

Justinas 3 band music video review pop indie rock ballad

There is also a slightly strange rhythm to the lyrics which often sounds forced, like they have put too little or many words into one line but this does achieve some positive effect as it adds to the obscurity of the piece. All these little obscure things add up to partially drag the single away from mainstream and into indie. Although the clear, crisp production does make the piece sound like a chart topper and if i’m very honest I feel like the piece is still borderline mainstream with a hint of indie and a few slip ups here and there. This single could have done with something, anything to drag it into its own space, its own sound.

In whole, its an impressive track and a great single for an up and coming band but lacks something individual and needs that kick of umph. Saying that I can see massive potential in the this band and I’m looking forward to what comes next.


Justin 3

pop rock music video single lithuania justin 3

Website – justin3o.weebly.com

YouTube – youtube.com/channel/UCVxENcC7-jIPHTdxwQo1kMQ

Facebook – facebook.com/Justin3o

Twitter – twitter.com/Justin3o

Irish indie rock duo ‘Rews’ blowing minds on UK tour – live review

As indie rock duo ‘Rews’ UK Tour comes to an end, the band has managed impress the nation with their outstanding shows across the nation. The Irish female duo are set for a rocketing future if they carry on in this vein, with such talent and on-stage presence I can’t see anything but up for this rocking pair.

I was lucky enough to catch ‘Rews’ playing on Saturday night at ‘The Junction’ in Plymouth, Not having heard of the duo yet, I watched them dance around like crazy to the support bands thinking to myself what an interesting pair they were. But it was not until they walked up onto the stage that I realised that this rather exciting pair was about to control the room with their unique and electrifying sound. As soon as they started playing the whole bar had their eyes set on this exciting duo, Rews were supported by ‘Nova Grey’, a four piece rock band from devon and ‘Hypophora’,  a local Cornish band, who really got the stage set for ‘Rews’ with their atmospheric set.

I asked members of a few members of the audience for a brief review on their night watching ‘Rews’, lead singer of supporting band ‘Hypophora’ said: “The drummer’s hard-hitting style could be likened to that of Dave Grohl and the catchy, poppy vocals were an amazing counterpart to the powerful attitude-filled riffs.”

I also bumped into session musician Will Eason who quoted: “Simple but elegant. The rews didn’t only electrify the audience with the intense riffing but also captivated us with their performance. A unique experience and insane to watch.”

‘Rews’ are a two piece indie rock duo made up of Shauna on lead vocals, guitar and piano and Colette banging out the rhythm on drums and vocals. Their unique all female indie sound is punchy and powerful and you can really hear this in their single ‘Death Yawn’, with an electronic feel but yet raw and rocky.

With a recent signing to Marshall Records things are heading up and onwards for ‘Rews’ and hopefully the Southwest will see them again, I know I’ll be there.

No Hot Ashes release smashing new single ‘Bellyaches’ – Review

Up and coming band ‘No Hot Ashes’ from Manchester have just dropped a toe tapping new single this month with their new track ‘Bellyaches’. The Mancunian Rock Group have startled us again with a hot new track that’s definitely worth a listen!

The RouteNote team are big fans of No Hot Ashes. Ever since coming on the scene around  2015, they have been a band we have been extremely excited about and followed closely. After hearing there was to be a new single, we couldn’t wait to hear it.

‘Bellyaches’ came out yesterday and rocked the music scene with its fascinating new sound. The pure Manchester rock sound mixed with new electronic vibes makes for an exciting ensemble and with a catchy chorus it really does stick in your head.

One of the sounds I really picked out as making the whole sound complete is echo-ey background vocals throughout the chorus. It really supports the raw lead vocals in completing the big sound of the chorus. Along with the synths filling out the background while the vocals, bass and guitar stay punchy and strong.

This new single features cover art by Florence Burns, and with a vibrant funky image of someone sinking into a cocktail glass it really does draw you and make you wonder what music lies beneath it. And indeed it does represent the funked up single quite well. The guys say themselves “Florence is just as important as the music we play in terms of completing that creative process.”

The new single features a range of sounds from the very prominent punchy bass line to the high pitch electronic sounds from the synths and guitar, this is turn makes their new sound, very fresh. In comparison this single is much more electronic and vibrant whereas some previous releases such as ‘Goose’ and ‘Skank’ are much more stripped down and clean.

‘No Hot Ashes’ are a 4 piece band from Manchester who back in 2015 were hitting it hot on their local seen with their funk rock grooves. Since then they have expanded with gigs in Cardiff and Dublin. Their sound is needless to say electrifying and really does draw your ears in to find out more.


No Hot Ashes

No Hot Ashes manchester band music funk rock pop interview digital music distribution routenote

Read our interview with the No Hot Ashes lads here: routenote.com/blog/routenote-interviews-catching-up-with-no-hot-ashes

Website – nohotashes.bigcartel.com

Facebook – facebook.com/No.Hot.Ashes.Band

Twitter – twitter.com/nohotashesband

SoundCloud – soundcloud.com/no-hot-ashes-2

Spotify Release New Discover Weekly Feature

discover weekly spotify

Yesterday Spotify announced their new feature “Discover Weekly” a playlist personalised based on your listening habits released every Monday just for you.

Spotify claim their new weekly playlists will deliver you their best-ever recommendations as weekly mixtape of fresh music.

The Discover Weekly playlist will be around two hours of custom made music recommendations tailored based around what you listen to and what users with similar tastes have been listening to.

It’s like having your best friend make you a personalised mixtape every single week

Discover Weekly will not only refresh weekly but will evolve it’s songs as your taste evolves so that the more music you listen to the more refined and appropriate the playlist becomes.

Gustav Söderström, Vice President of Product at Spotify, said: “There’s never been a simpler, more personalised way to discover music, with every playlist tuned just to you every single week.”

The new feature was made available yesterday and you should be able to find your personalised Discover Weekly playlist in the left of your Spotify browser under “Playlists”.

Personal review: I expected the Discover Weekly feature to be much the same as Spotify’s not-quite-there Discover section, with on/off suggestions that are only there for holding some resemblance to another artist you’ve listened to. However with Discover Weekly, using more advanced methods to find your suggestions, Spotify have clearly streamlined the Discover feature as best as they possibly can into a two hour playlist.

Of course personal taste is so intangible and unpredictable that it can’t be pinned down and served to you with the expectation of perfection but Spotify seem to have done a fairly good job at coming close.

Being someone who listens to a fair variety of music I was interested to see what direction Spotify would take with my playlist. Whether it would be a mess of trying to appeal to every track in my listening history or a boring jaunt through 2 hours of songs that sound like that track I accidentally played that one time. Though the playlist itself may not have been quite as varied as I would like I did enjoy the majority of my Discover Weekly playlist, providing me with plenty of new music to taste-test.

Overall I feel like Discover Weekly isn’t something worth dismissing: if you are truly interested in discovering new music then this is a feature worth trying. The new playlists only rolled out yesterday so we have yet to see whether Spotify can continue to expand on this tool with the potential to introduce millions to new music but for now I would recommend at least seeing your results, it has the potential to become you’re new favourite source for music.

20 Most Influential Music Blogs

Style of Sound created a list of the top 100 influential music blogs

Here’s the top 20:

1. Pitchfork

2. Consequence of Sound

3. Tiny Mix Tapes

4. Resident Advisor

5. Stereogum

6. The Line of Best Fit

7. Your EDM

8. Pop Justice

9. Dancing Astronaut

10. Drowned in Sound

11. Fake Shore Drive

12. All Hiphop

13. EDM Sauce

14. Large Hearted Boy

15. Rap Radar

16. 2 Dope Boyz

17. FACT

18. Hypetrak

19. Indie Shuffle

20. The Wild Honey Pie

Brahms V. Radiohead (Composition by Steve Hackman)

Composer Steve Hackman has become famous for his orchestral compositions that blend contemporary bands’ music with the symphonies of classical composers.

An amazing process of analysis, discovery, de- and re-construction, and re-creation led to this program, a synthesis of the Brahms First Symphony (1882) and Radiohead’s OK Computer (1997). All four movements of the Brahms are eight songs from the Radiohead album are featured. The envelope of what is possible and permissible is constantly pushed, with Radiohead songs being superimposed above Brahms’ music, Radiohead’s melodies being altered to coexist with Brahms’ harmonies, the motives of one interjected into the other, and departures from the score left and right to accommodate journeys into a new compelling and captivating world that is at once both musics. Three vocalists sing the melodies of the Radiohead, both in solo and harmony.

You can also hear Steve Hackman’s symphonic mash-up of Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony (‘Eroica’) and Coldplay.

Mark Ronson – Uptown Funk (ft. Bruno Mars) [Sailors Remix]

When creating a remix, there’s two roads you can go down. You can either take the simple route by adding to it with (for example) a more uptempo beat, which can be fine, as long as you are adding something to the original, or you can go creative by totally stripping it apart, taking the vocal part and creating something entirely new, which is what’s happened here, and it works perfectly.