Slaves return to the recording studio

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Following their savage grime-punk debut ‘Are you Satisfied?’, Kent duo Slaves are back in the studio, ‘writing beats and eating bananas and drinking carbonated water’ according to their witty Facebook page. Armed with a top-ten debut album and series of festival appearances and sold out gig dates behind them, Slaves are set to own this year. The heavily tattooed Isaac Holman (drummer and lead singer) and Laurie Vincent (guitarist and backup singer) have a unique set up, whereby Isaac stands and drums whilst singing, whilst Laurie jumps around stage with his heavy guitar riffs and fiery backup vocals. They believe that ‘punk is just a fashion statement now’ and that couldn’t be more true. For genuine punk fans, the genre is associated with the Clash and the Boomtown Rats, and a sense of anarchic revolution and anger at austerity and the establishment. Yet nowadays, most people associate punk with Mohawks, electric guitars, and leather jackets which is 100% not the image the band are going for, as stated by the duo in their July 2015 NME interview. Instead, they think grime and hip hop is more closely aligned with the genuine meaning of punk, and these influences come through in their music. Packed full of witty, savage lyrics about Debbie finding her car and the insanely overcast depression on the London underground, ‘Are you Satisfied?’ made it into the top 10 and resulted in the band gaining a Mercury Music Price nomination for best album.


Their love for grime also comes through in their popular BBC Radio One covers of classic grime tracks, like ‘Shutdown’ by Skepta and ‘Go’ by The Chemical Brothers which have had thousands of hits online. They also have Skepta’s support and belief in them, and he joined them on stage at Radio One’s Big Weekend in Norwich to perform ‘Shutdown’. And this wasn’t their only major festival appearance last summer; they played a messy hardcore set at Glastonbury as well as a sweaty intense set on the NME stage at Reading festival (Reading setlist attached below.) The fact that they’re back in the studio, as posted about this morning (3rd February) on their social media pages, is extremely exciting as all their previous discography has been class. Before their album came out last year after being signed by Virgin EMI, Slaves already had an EP out titled ‘Sugar Coated Bitter Truth,’ which is full of intense, hard punk tracks including ‘Black Rose,’ ‘Suicide,’ ‘Beauty Quest,’ and special deluxe tracks ‘How’s Amelia’ and ‘Bad Machine.’ Brutally honest and real, the band are a genuine punk band from a normal working class upbringing, and they’re love for music comes through in their infectious energy and mental stage presence. Album number two certainly will not disappoint!

The Libertines deliver a stunning set to their London home crowd

2015 was one of the most exciting years musically, one of the main reasons for that being the return of The Libertines. The indie rock band performed on Saturday evening to their home town crowd of London, playing to a sold out O2 arena. Following a messy, complex 20 odd years, following their formation in 1997, the band are responsible for shaping modern day indie and garage rock and their London gig definitely proves why. 2015 was their summer, and the festival season belonged to them, given their secret set at Glastonbury and immense headline set at Reading. And their garage rock revival from the early 2000s shone through on Saturday evening, as they totally owned the night too. Following a series of massive gigs all over the UK, including performances at Manchester and Birmingham, the boys in the band ended it in style, playing an electric set to their home crowd.


The O2 isn’t traditionally a venue for heavy garage rock, and The Libertines who are used to playing smaller intimate venues should have seemed out of place, but they weren’t. They were completely at home in the 20,000 capacity venue, playing hit after hit from all their albums. Following the insane success of ‘Anthems for Doomed Youth’ last September, the band played a range of tracks from all their albums, including a cover of ‘Albion’ by Pete’s rock band Babyshambles who formed in the early 2000s. Overall, their set was insane; the crowd went especially mental for classics ‘What Katie Did,’ ‘Time for Heroes,’ ‘The Good Old Days’ and ‘Boys in the Band,’ as well as new favourites ‘Gunga Din, ‘Fame and Fortune,’ and ‘You’re My Waterloo.’ The band’s chemistry was undeniable as well, with Pete and Carl sharing the microphone at any given opportunity. Their beautiful vocals together with John’s bass and Gary’s intense drumming made for amazing music which sounded even better live than on record. They also had an emotional tribute halfway through with pictures of the late Amy Winehouse and David Bowie filling the screen. Bowie’s ‘Diamond Dogs’ was also playing as the band walked on stage to thousands of deafening screams.

The crowd was insane as well; one of the slight negatives about larger venues is the crowd can sometime be a bit dead, but it was the complete opposite on Saturday evening. The entire standing area was one huge, mad, sweaty mosh pit with crazy fans screaming the lyrics and chucking beer everywhere, one intense crowd going out of their heads. The atmosphere was electrifying and exhilarating, with every second of the show gripping every single audience member. Definitely a 5 star gig…now just waiting for their next line of live dates to be announced!

Listen to the band’s setlist here:

The Best of Reading 2015

Earlier this morning, the official Reading and Leeds social media accounts broke the internet with their line-up for 2016. Some brilliant bands, like Eagles of Death Metal, Slaves, Foals, Rat Boy and The Courteeners are on the line up, but there are some crap acts on that list as well. We’ve decided to round up the top five performances from Reading 2015, from artists who brought pure, gritty rock n roll to all the stages

Slaves, NME Stage

August 2015 saw Slaves play to one of the most lively, excited crowds ever when they performed on the NME stage at last year’s festival. Delivering a messy, sweaty show, the punk-grime Kent duo filled the entire tent with crazed enthusiastic fans who chanted along at the top of their lungs to all the tracks the band played. Laurie and Isaac played an array of tracks, from the hard-core punk tracks ‘Wow!!!7am’ and ‘White Knuckle Ride’ to crowd favourites ‘The Hunter’ and their new track ‘Facing the Wall.’ Their gritty raw punk-grime sound was like an explosion of energy and light hearted witty humour. Isaac’s popular story of walking Debbie back to her car (resulting in the crowd chanting ‘WHERE’S YOUR CAR DEBBIE? DEBBIE, WHERE’S YOUR CAR?’) and Laurie’s tragic story of the death of his fancy goldfish Gerald amused and entertained the crowd, who could easily have watched the punk pair perform for the rest of the day. The band will be back next year, following their sold-out January tour which was postponed after Isaac dislocated his shoulder whilst crowd surfing at the UEA Norwich back in November. A few weeks later, he dislocated his other shoulder whilst dancing onto the stage, and according to Laurie, he dislocated his other shoulder just before their January show in London…here’s hoping his joints stay in place for next August!


Royal Blood, Main Stage

Following their intense set on the NME stage in 2014, Royal Blood were promoted onto the Main Stage last year where they delivered a powerful performance with blaring guitar riffs, killer drumming, and sweaty mosh pits of thousands of people. Mike Kerr (vocalist and bassist) delivered his intense heavy bass lines, accompanied by Ben Thatcher (drummer) smashing the drums. The crowd screamed back the guitar riffs, especially the captivating bass lines to the tracks ‘Out of the Black’ and ‘Little Monster’; when the crowd sing back your guitar riffs, you know you’re doing something right. The aggressive music was accompanied by Mike’s cutting voice and poetic lyrics, which have been praised by musicians like Alex Turner and Jimmy Page. Featuring Ben leaping in to the crowd and Mike strutting around stage blaring out Black Sabbath riffs, the eight track long set featured their UK debut of new track ‘Hook, Line and Sinker’ which is due to come out on their album scheduled for release later this year. And if the Reading performance was anything to go by, their upcoming album and tour dates are ones not to be missed.

Catfish and Bottlemen, NME stage

Following their top ten debut album ‘The Balcony’ from 2014, Catfish and the Bottlemen absolutely smashed the NME stage last time round, playing to a packed out tent where eager fans were even watching from outside the tent on the big screens. Van’s energy and charisma as a frontman has the professionalism of legendary rock stars, yet he still has his cheeky cocky attitude which makes all the girls fall head over heels for him. Benji, Bondy, Bob and Van gave one of the most impressive sets of the weekend, playing popular crowd pleasers (which are, to be fair, the entire album) including ‘Cocoon’ and ‘Pacifier’. To me, the most incredible track they did was ‘Tyrants’ (purely because of the beautifully melodic guitar) or ‘Homesick’ where once the track ended, Van proceeded to sing acoustically the evocative lines ‘I said, I’m only looking out for you, she said it’s obvious that’s a lie. But I only ever put out for you, you know it’s obvious you don’t try.’ The energy and atmosphere inside the tent was phenomenal as well, despite security being on ‘high alert’ as Van put it. From the flares and smoke bombs to Van daring members of the audience to crowd surf on a lilo being passed around, the entire set was insane, and given the band recently sold out Manchester’s Castlefield Bowl in matter of minutes, it’s only the start for them.


Wolf Alice, NME Stage

Wolf Alice are definitely the biggest and best grunge band to come out of the UK in years; having just released their Mercury prize nominated debut ‘My Love is Cool’ last June, the album peaked at number two, and the band already have a sold out UK tour planned for March. Their glitter obsessed, indie-grunge fans love them to pieces, and their Reading performance makes it clear why. Ellie (lead singer) has the look of a pop grunge groupie, with her willowy figure and light blond hair, and with Theo, Joel and Joff, the band deliver a perfect set each time they perform live. They opened their set with the heavy head banger ‘Fluffy’ before going straight into ‘She’, tracks from ‘My Love is Cool’ and the ‘Blush’ EP respectively. They also performed their grungy hard core tracks ‘Giant Peach’ and ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’, but not all their tracks were crazed heavy rock induced pieces; they also played some lighter, beautiful songs, like ‘Blush’ and ‘Bros’ which show off Ellie’s beautiful melodic voice, a contrast to the heavy Courtney Love-esque screeching in ‘You’re a Germ’. The band’s set was insane; Ellie’s edgy pure grunge voice works so well in harmony with Joel’s light backing vocals, which paired with the heavy riffs from Joff and Theo makes them one of the most exciting grunge bands right now.

Marmozets, Main Stage

Before Reading, I hadn’t heard of Marmozets (ashamed to admit that), yet having watched their set on the Main Stage, I can’t believe I hadn’t discovered them sooner! Becca, Sam, Jack, Will and Josh are easily one of the most extraordinary alternative rock bands right now; with the heavy riffs, killer drum sets and Becca’s raspy screaming voice, they perfectly combine all the elements you need to be a proper rock band. Their debut album, ‘The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets’ is even better done live; the set list was full of intense, colossal tracks like ‘Born Young and Free’ and ‘Move, Shake, Hide.’ Becca’s stage presence was incredible as well; she strutted around the stage, screaming her wild hard-core lyrics out to the crowd of thousands, accompanied by the heavy blare of the guitars and intricate drum loops. Ending with her blaring scream of the line ‘Why do you hate me so much?!’ (and accompanied by the heavy guitar and drumming and energetic mad crowd,) the Yorkshire band certainly showed Reading how it’s done.

Arctic Monkeys mark 10 years

23rd January, 2006. Arctic Monkeys’ debut album, ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ is released and goes on to be the fastest selling debut by a band in British history, racking up phenomenal sales of 360,000 in its first week. This album marks the start of the phenomenal career the Monkeys have had; since then, with 5 number one albums, 2 Glastonbury headline sets, an Olympic opening ceremony performance, 7 Brits and 9 Grammy nominations (the list really is endless,) Arctic Monkeys are one of the most influential rock bands on this planet. Known for shaping the indie rock scene of the 2000s, the band have explored all sorts of genres, from desert rock to post-punk. But just ten years ago, who knew that four local lads from Sheffield would soon be playing sell out gigs all around the world?


Their debut marks the start of a new era for music; an intense, crazy, rock ‘n’ roll one. As Alex Turner infamously stated ‘rock ‘n’ roll will never die.’ And he couldn’t have been more right. The debut album laid the foundation for British rock music of the noughties, inspiring countless rock bands. Drawing inspiration from the Beatles, The Strokes and Queens of the Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys are the biggest band to come out of the UK since forever. And it all started in the early 2000s. Having formed in 2002 in High Green Sheffield, the original band line-up was Alex Turner, Jamie Cook, Matt Helders, and Andy Nicholson (who was later replaced by bassist Nick O’Malley). The formidable sound of the band was clear from the start; unreleased demos, such as ‘Space Invaders’ and ‘Waving Bye to the Train or the Bus’ show just how talented they were. And soon, they were no longer just a group of lads from Sheffield; they were rock gods. ‘Whatever People Say I am, That’s What I’m Not’ was released onto a group of young, excited fans, desperate to hear more of this small group from High Green. Prior to the album’s release, the band would hand out demos at gigs, and a fan run MySpace page helped their popularity grow even more. As well as that, classic favourites ‘I Bet You Look Good on The Dancefloor’ and ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ had already been released as singles before the LP was released. No wonder the album became the fasting selling debut in British history! Since then, the album has gone quintuple platinum in the UK and this was just the beginning. The album is full of heavy riffs, cocky narratives of day to day life in Sheffield, and has a really gritty, raw edge which so many ‘rock’ albums miss out entirely. In its effortlessness and simplicity, ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s what I’m not’ is easily the most insanely intense, hypnotically brilliant album of this century. Turner’s lyrical genius shines through in his genuine, heart wrenching observations of Sheffield life, from moody girlfriends to dickhead bouncers to prostitutes; and for that to come from a teenager is quite something! Put simply, the album is a masterpiece, a true piece of musical talent and extraordinary music. Nothing beats it, and it’s hard to imagine a rock album coming close to the intensity and thrill of the debut. Despite Turner’s will for it, people can’t help but believe the hype. And even in 100 years, the album will still shine through as one of the rare gems, and one of the best albums of the century.