STATE CHAMPS ‘Living Proof’ review.

written by Bethany Clancy, NY.

In the middle of June, the real start of summer solstice, Albany based pop-punk band State Champs added to the beginning of excitement by releasing their third full length album, Living Proof, via Pure Noise Records.

Living Proof goes to show how much State Champs has grown as a band over the years. They toned down their heavier punk sound that shined through on “Apparently, I’m Nothing” one of the bands earlier EP’s, but doesn’t lose grip of the pop punk roots that shine through on “The Finer Things.” The album thoroughly keeps momentum throughout its runtime, playing into high energy and lyrically fascinating, Living Proof marks a new territory for the band moving forward.

Lead single “Dead And Gone,” co-written by Blink 182 bassist, Mark Hoppus, changed the course of action for Living Proof. While State Champs were in John Feldmann’s studio, Mark Hoppus happened to pop in on a day they were working, collaborating together through the production of Living Proof. “We had no idea he was even coming in,” says frontman Derek DiScanio (via Kerrang). “Then the next day, me and Mark Hoppus are just sitting out by John Feldmann’s pool writing lyrics from scratch. And that ultimately ended up being ‘Dead And Gone’, which is the first single on the record.”

Most bands in this scene have a tendency to focus on either the pop or the punk half of the genre-State Champs perfectly encapsulates an even mix of pop-punk on this latest release. They make sure to incorporate the album title into songs like “Cut Through The Static” as they have done with their two previous albums. Whether you’re experiencing a break-up, reconnecting, or just in that “I don’t know what to do with my life” stage, Living Proof has a song that will help with all of those uncertain situations.

This release is full of what State Champs does best: great build ups leading to choruses, catchy lyrics, and fast-paced summer songs to drive around to.

pop punk

A Look Into REAL FRIENDS fourth album, COMPOSURE.

American pop-punk band, Real Friends released their highly-anticipated and long-awaited fourth studio album, Composure this week on Friday 13th. What could be considered an insight into the personal journey undergone by lead vocalist, Dan Lambton who has openly suffered from anxiety along with bipolar disorder, Composure is a representative and advocate of mental health in it’s entirety. Releasing tracks such as ‘From The Outside’, ‘Smiling On The Surface’ and ‘Get By’ prior to release, since its earliest announcement, Composure is an album moving forward from their previously intense melancholic sounds.

While still raw in emotion, Composure focuses more on the individual experience coming to realisations of worth. It’s a notion of moving forward, understanding the past and learning to live with our own struggles. The contrast between Composure‘s attitude and its predecessors is monumental. Real Friends have completely taken their pop-punk label and mastered it, using melodies to drive tracks fluently and catchy choruses to drive their point home. A major track from the album is their previously released ‘From The Outside’ with it’s infectious lyrical and instrumental tones. It’s a track that really brings home the personal journey aspect of mental health, and particularly into the bands.

Dan Lambton has bravely and openly cancelled live performances, with this years UK Slam Dunk being one of them, due to his struggles with mental health. Composure is an album that really makes its listeners understand his views and struggles, and in turn, breaking the stigma of mental health as a whole. The exhaustion of acting happy is a common issue of mental health that can make it worse, bringing bigger downs, and Composure is a stepping stone in the right direction saying “it’s okay to talk about how you feel.”

A striking and emotional statement, Composure consists of different elements, such as intrusive thought processes, the effects that others can have, but ultimately the promotion and importance of self-care. If there’s one thing that Real Friends have achieved during their quick rise to one of the most popular bands within the scene, is to look after yourself, and Composure is the album that drives that point home.

All in all, Composure is more than just an album, but its an educational look into the effects that mental health can really affect victims. Using their growing platform for the greater good, Real Friends are making more than just headway on their career within the industry, but also on their largely relevant view that leads to conversation.


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THIS TIME LAST YEAR released WHERE DOES THE TIME GO? over the weekend

On Friday, upcoming U.K favourites, This Time Last Year released their latest single, ‘Where Did The Time Go?’ featuring Jonny Gill from Lyon Estates.

TTLY recently won the competition to play the Rocksound Breakout Stage at Slam Dunk North and rightly so, the band has progressed massively since their initial EP and continue to drop pieces of infectious, upbeat music that truly stick in your head. ‘Where Did The Time Go?’ delves into slightly heavier territory, with hard drumming and deep bass complimented by melodic guitar riffs and vocally distinctive. TTLY continue to explore their talents, in the meantime becoming a much-loved band within the U.K scene.


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Pop punk outfit, Fight For Friday from Manchester released their EP Someone You Could Trust last month that’s been circulating the scene and garnering interest. Since release, Fight For Friday has been riding the waves of the momentum of their recent release and solidifying their stance in the UK pop-punk scene. Prior to release, vocalist Seb spoke about the title by revealing “it is relevant to the context of the EP and the message we are trying to portray; the effect that other people have on someone’s happiness, health and life experience.”

Someone You Could Trust is an overall brilliant EP, varying in tones and proving the potential that Fight For Friday has for becoming the next big thing. With influences such as The Wonder Years, Modern Baseball and A Day To Remember, the mixed bag of talent makes this EP unique in its genre. As the band moves forth and continues to develop their individual skill since their initial formation in 2014, Fight For Friday vocalist Seb and drummer Matt joins us to speak about their music, experience and the post-success of Someone You Could Trust.

“We’re super stoked at the moment with everything we’ve got going on with the release and upcoming ventures,” they start. “We formed way back in school. It was pretty much started out as an extracurricular thing and just grew from there. I met Lloyd from drama club about 5 years before the band formed and joined two years after,” Seb reveals. The growth in Fight For Fridays music is exceptional, since their initial release of Call Me Old Fashioned in 2016, the band have honed into their sound whilst all the while staying true to their pop-punk sound. “We grew up on Blink, Green Day and Sum 41,” they start. “they were a definite drive for us. As we’ve been exposed to more bands we definitely take inspiration from Seaway, ROAM and New Found Glory nowadays.” With the luxury of the UK pop-punk scene exploding with all kinds of talents and sounds, Fight For Friday are in the run to be one of the best rising bands to hit our shores. “We started out at school playing pretty basic punk tunes, as we’ve grown older we’ve been exposed to some of the amazing modern pop-punk bands around and have been drawn to that vibe. The latest release we have out is more towards a sound We’re finally happy with after being a band for 4 years so it’s exciting times ahead.”

Melodic in nature, the first track ‘Life Hits You Hard’ brings the life of Fight For Friday out in force with combative and emphasised drumming ricocheting from each instrument adding that early 00’s pop-punk vintage sound. It’s an EP of varied talents, as it moves into ‘I Feel Bad, But You Should Feel Worse’ as the guys’ mix in a heavier tone to their perky sound. Tying together with a low bass, the track fluctuates between sounds of heavy breakdowns and catchy bridges. ‘Take It Or Leave It’ is a firm favourite, accentuating their talents for melodic guitar riffs giving the track an overall upbeat feeling. Throughout the EP, a major appeal is the distinctive vocals of lead singer, Seb Harper with the ability to adapt to each direction the tone takes. For an example, the fourth track ‘Target Practise’ is a little lower in pitch and highlights the sound of the bass with an elision. Featuring staggered intros throughout the EP, ‘Headache’ is by the far the track that does it best. Giving each instrument the opportunity to bring the song into this epic saga of events as they build, the track takes a lighter approach. It’s the track that brings their influences into the focal point, lyrically and instrumentally.

Someone You Could Trust was released last month, with their lead single ‘Headache’ taking the win as their most played track. Melancholic in sound, ‘Headache’ highlights the chemistry and fluency of the band instrumentally, topped with soft vocals that tie the track into brilliance. “We wrote ‘Headache’ just after the death of Chester Bennington. It’s not directly related to him but the news of it made me think about feelings such as depression and how other people can see one thing but you can be feeling the complete opposite.” Another example of Fight For Friday’s sensitive topic choice is ‘Target Practise.’ “Both songs [Target Practise and Headache] talk about the effect that other people’s actions can have on you and how you’ve got to rise above negative people to move forward.”


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The Young & Restless – Family Values (Single Review)

Northamptonshire Pop-punk act is back, with a new single titled ‘Family Values’ and what a cracking song it is! Everything that they’ve done has helped them to improve, and just get better and better. This song particularly captures all the earlier aspects of pop-punk, whilst continuing to maintain some traits of the new era of pop punk!

It’s a very different style to which they have portrayed in their earlier releases, but you can totally grasp that they have actually molded into what could only be described as; their new sound, of which I think suits them perfectly.

It’s always intriguing when a band loses their main vocalist, but I really feel that Ali Morrison & Rob Hardy has truly stepped up to the plate, and brought something very new to their sound. Of which I honestly feel was necessary, before they became stale. Family Values alone is something that has actually made me feel a spark of excitement for more of their new music. Hopefully, they can keep this hype going, and will not disappoint me now.

Family Values is released on Friday 22nd June, and you’d be crazy to miss out from listening to this track.


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Hailing from the Australian shores, melodic punk outfit All Hope Remains have recently dropped their latest EP Hindsight that’s filled with energetic and hard instrumentals, emphasising the heavier tones that has been sought after since the Still Searching era of Senses Fail. Appealing to a variety of audiences, All Hope Remains has clear direction in their music with talent bursting at the seams from the melodic use of guitar, the heavy undertones of the bass or the real stentorian drums that really give them their label of punk. The final breakdown in ‘These Machines’ is a true display of their fluctuating talents, showing their competency for heavier music.

One of the biggest appeals of All Hope Remains is the softening blow of vocals atop the tumultuous sound. In tracks such as ‘Sorrow Sustained’ the pugnacious sound of drums below melodic guitars and a deepening bass, the soft and lyrically poetic vocals brings an element of rapport to the music, making it relatable with a hard hitting instrumental sound. ‘Tolerate’ is a display of the talent that All Hope Remains has for fast-paced instrumentals, with the chorus bringing in melodic riffs tying the song together and taking the lead for the best track featured on Hindsight.

The EP is full of variance, displaying many talents in unpredicted turns that keep it fresh throughout. ‘Bleed Throughout’ features choppy guitar, guiding the track into an almost acoustic bridge with echoed drums, slowing the EP down but holding on to the powerful hit that All Hope Remains has so far displayed. Its ‘Smoke And Mirrors’ that really highlight the emphasis of the drums, taking the spotlight for stand-out instrument on the album. Being full of energy, it is truly the drums that shine on this EP, further displayed in ‘These Machines’ where they guide the track through the motions and complimented by the bass. Hindsight features the importance of each member to make the music, fluctuating between outstanding performances from each. Final track, ‘Worthless’ concludes the EP by compiling their talents, in clear and crisp production. The fingerings of the guitar sets aside this track for runner up of best track, although the vocal ranges and fluctuations in ‘Worthless’ makes All Hope Remains a brilliant band to keep watch on, as the boys ground themselves in their genre showing a real sense of talent that will surely help them climb the ranks.

Keep up to date with All Hope Remains on Facebook and Instagram and be sure to head over to Spotify to stream Hindsight now!

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Layover – Your Laughter Never Leaves (EP Review)

This is certainly something you would expect from Layover; melodic chords, sing a long choruses; that will get you humming their tunes all day, every day, and I say this with a smile on my face because; it’s what I have been doing since I have listened to this release!

I was heartbroken when they called it a day for a while, and I wished for the day for them to get back together. Then they announced that they have new music coming out, and my heart skipped a beat because; I missed them on the live music circuit.

The only disadvantage with pop-punk in my eyes, is that most vocalist seem to sound extremely similar. But Layover break out that boundary and turn it into something quite amazing, which their vocalist Luke Rainsford ensures, bringing his own uniqueness in every possible way. They have sing a long choruses, and sad lonely melodies; that truly set the mood within this release; which is just what I’d expect from Layover.

I think easily, my favourite track on this release has to be; ‘Hollow Me Out’ as it just feels perfect in every way, from happy chords, to the absolutely incredible sing a long choruses; of which cater for all crowds within the emo/pop-punk scene.

If you’ve never had the chance to listen to Layover, then I’d recommend checking out this release; then as a must, all of their backlog.

Buy their new EP via:

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LAKE SYCAMORE drops MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE and WOES support tomorrow @ Clwb, Cardiff

Last week, Cardiff based pop punk band released their latest single and music video for ‘More Than Meets The Eye’ taken from their upcoming EP Stepping Stones. Entering the scene only recently, the pop punk outfit has already sought a surge of success, hitting audiences around the globe and jumping on the bill for their first show with WSTR. With a growing fan base and riding on momentum and creativity, ‘More Than Meets The Eye’ brings Lake Sycamore in to the spotlight for their work.

Taking heavy influence from artists such as The Story So Far, WSTR, State Champs and Four Year Strong, ‘More Than Meets The Eye’ is a combination of their influences that have brought the band together. With a music video to match, Lake Sycamore shows off their energy for the music in crisp production.

You can catch Lake Sycamore supporting Woes tomorrow along with Clarity at Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff’s Womanby St for £7. Tickets available here.

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THIS TIME LAST YEAR talks new track JUST TALK & Slam Dunk North

This Time Last Year has recently sought a lot of attention, and for good reason. The Leeds based pop punk band has progressed and matured since their 2017 first EP release Count Yourself Lucky, since releasing two new tracks that emphasise their growth as a unit and ultimately earning their place in the competition line up of this year’s Rocksound Breakout Stage at Slam Dunk Festival. Their latest track, ‘Just Talk’ is perky with uplifting tones that push This Time Last Year further into the spotlight for rising bands of the UK pop punk scene. This week, we took the chance to talk to This Time Last Year about their recent momentum and getting to know the band that are truly shining in unbelievable ways.

“The songs on Count Yourself Lucky were the first songs most of us had ever written, “ starts bassist Matt, “we’ve since honed into our sound with our latest single ‘Maple’ and our newest single ‘Just Talk’. Since Maple was released, our fan base has grown substantially and we’ve gained a lot of support from our peers.” Matt isn’t wrong, being the first track released since their debut EP that surged This Time Last Year into the fast-paced industry, ‘Maple’ is proof of the bands strengthened chemistry and sound as they move further and further up the ladder. With a distinct, heavy hitting pop punk sound, This Time Last Year has gained massive respect within the scene, with fellow bands supporting their journey and success. “As cliché as it sounds, TTLY isn’t just a band but it’s a family,” drummer Lewis adds. “Anyone who’s been to our shows can vouch for that!”

This Time Last Year’s most recent single, ‘Just Talk’ is yet another display of their talent for the genre. Recorded with Tim at Higgins Records, the single contains masses of energy, ‘Just Talk’ is an enthusiastic approach of breaking stigma. “I did my usual thing of putting a demo together and playing it for the guys, and they responded really well.” Ryan says, “it’s never a complete picture from the start, we all make our individual tweaks, “ he adds. “The message was written to those, myself included, who have, endured life issues but has always been seen as ‘the rock’” guitarist and vocalist Kyle says. “Recently I’ve wanted to write about mental health, but didn’t want it to be sad and preachy, but a bit more anthemic – something you can sing along to. Even heroes need saving sometimes, and talking is just the start.” The upbeat, movement promoting track is infectious, drilling the ‘just talk’ message deep with every chorus. “It all came together pretty quickly, “ Ryan says. “It’s a really simple song with some fun stuff going on with the vocals and I think that’s key to carrying the message.”

The success has launched This Time Last Year into the spotlight, but while the band gather votes to play Slam Dunk North, they’re still hard at work behind the scenes. “Our upcoming EP Flourish has as many positive vibes in there as possible, hence the name! One of the songs has guests too, but that’s all were saying right now, “ Lewis says. “Unfortunately our new material will not be released before Slam Dunk, but it will be out this summer!” Matt adds. With Slam Dunk nearing, the band are hot on their heels gathering votes, with many of their peers pushing and supporting too. “I’ve been going to SD since Fall Out Boy headlined the first one in 2006, and every year I have that dream of ‘imagine playing’ and this year it could happen,” Kyle comments. “Can you imagine the madness if we won this? It would be an amazing opportunity and it would make our dreams come true!” The dedication and passion of This Time Last Year puts them in a brilliant position, and with nothing but high praise for their live shows, This Time Last Year makes for one of the best bands in the run up. If you’d like to see This Time Last Year at Slam Dunk North, the competition is still in use for the next three days and can be voted for here.

Tomorrow also marks the first Pop Punk Pile Up event that includes names such as Malling Know, Room 94, The King Blues and many others for a three day weekend in The Venue Selby. Playing tomorrow at 3:40 alongside Air Drawn Dagger and High Visions, This Time Last Year are hearing up for a big summer. “Playing to an audience is why we do it. It’s an amazing feeling when a crowd is fully involved and its great to feed off the energy,” Kyle starts. “I think we always try and make our gigs a little bit personal and chat to people. My favourite thing is getting someone up on stage to sing a classic cover!”

Catch This Time Last Year tomorrow at 3:40 at Pop Punk Pile Up (tickets available here) and be sure to vote for this years Breakout Stage act at Slam Dunk North here.

Visit the official This Time Last Year site here and check out their Facebook & Instagram for updates

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Since their first release, This Time Last Year has progressed massively in their musical journey, and their recent addition to their portfolio ‘Just Talk’ proves it. Lead by metrical drumming that’s punchy, ‘Just Talk’ is infectious in nature with melodic and fluid guitar work. Lyrically moving, This Time Last Year has integrated their message through an upbeat and exuberant track that plants words of advice and wisdom by creating a sing-a-long style anthem to help.

This Time Last Year are currently in the run for The Breakout Stage of Slam Dunk North and can be voted for here.

This year also brings them to the stage of festivals such as Pop Punk Pile Up where you can catch them on Friday 27th. Tickets are available here.

Visit the official This Time Last Year site here and check out their Facebook & Instagram for updates

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