This weekend, Slam Dunk Festival returns to Temple Newsam in Leeds (North) on May 28th and Hatfield Park in Hatfield (South) on May 27th.
Promising a weekend of the best in alternative rock, metal, hardcore, punk and pop across multiple stages, this year’s bill sees the likes of Enter Shikari, PVRIS, Yellowcard and Malevolence leading the cream of the alternative scene.
With so much quality to choose from across all genres of alternative music, we can understand if you’re struggling to pick your list, so to help, we’ve picked ten bands who are on our must-see list for Slam Dunk this weekend.
For more information, visit the official Slam Dunk Festival website.
10. Heriot (Knotfest Stage)
What better way to kick start festival season in the UK than with a blast of abrasive noise/metallic hardcore from one of the most ferocious live bands on the UK circuit. Having dropped their Profound Morality EP last year, Heriot will make sure your Slam Dunk gets off to an unforgettable start.
9. SeeYouSpaceCowboy (Knotfest Stage)
After Heriot why not keep up the tempo with a faceful of grindcore/modern metal from Californian’s SeeYouSpaceCowboy. Taking inspiration from the Myspace generation of grindcore bands adding into a mix of modern metal, if you thought Slam Dunk was going to ease you into the afternoon, think again as thirty minutes in the company of these hardcore punks will be far from easy.
8. Spanish Love Songs (Kerrang Stage Right)
Having just announced their new album, No Joy, will drop in August, the Los Angeles indie-punk quartet will no doubt treat fans to a thought-provoking set of songs which will hopefully include new single “Haunted” and more tracks from that eagerly-awaited new album.
7. Gogol Bordello (Dickies Stage)
Hailing from New York, Gogol Bordello are undoubtedly going to bring the party to the Dickies Stage with their brand of Eastern European-drenched punk rock. While you can expect the unexpected when the Gypsy punks hit the stage for their set, one thing you can be guaranteed is that they will make you dance till your feet hurt.
6. Flogging Molly (Dickies Stage)
If you saw the carnage that was the moshpit when Dropkick Murphy’s brought their punk rock to Slam Dunk, you’ll be right to expect more of the same when Los Angeles Irish/American Celtic punks Flogging Molly arrives in town. Now, while the moshpit may be a mess, there will be smiles plastered across faces as far as you can see. We can’t wait, so we’ll see you down the front.
5. PVRIS (Amazon Stage)
One of the big draws of this year’s Slam Dunk line-up, the Lyndsey Gunn fronted outfit arrive at Slam Dunk off the back of a sold-out UK tour which brought rave reviews across from fans and media alike. In the early evening sunshine, expect their emotionally-charged pop-rock to be one of the highlights of the day especially if it includes tasters from their upcoming new album Evergreen due later this Summer.
4. Maggie Lindemann (Key Club Right)
American singer-songwriter Maggie Lindemann brings a slice of pop-punk to Slam Dunk in support of her 2022 EP, Suckerpunch. Inspired by everyone from Lana Del Rey to Paramore, Linedmann recently supported Pvris on their UK tour and returns hoping to walk away with many more news fans after her set this weekend.
3. Bowling For Soup (Dickes Stage)
Come on; we don’t need to tell you why you need to see Bowling For Soup. Just be there when the pop-punk stalwarts rock up because you’ll have the most fun you can (just about) legally have. For the uninitiated, expect dumb jokes, unforgettable pop-punk anthems and a ridiculously fun time. If you’ve seen them before and, let’s face it, we all have, you’ll know not to expect anything different, which is exactly why they should be on your must-see list.
2. Malevolence (Jagermeister Stage)
We started heavy, so why not wind down that way with Sheffield metallic hardcore bruisers Malevolence? Having recently supported Trivium on their UK tour, Malevolence have laid waste to many a stage, big and small, across the UK and Europe over the last eighteen months. Expect a bruising end to your Slam Dunk if you venture into the Jagermeister stage for this one.
1. Enter Shikari (Amazon Stage)
In our recent Cover Story with frontman Rou Reynolds, the Enter Shikari vocalist told us live shows were what he lived for. Last month, the band returned with a Number 1 album in A Kiss For The Whole World and a series of not-to-be-missed intimate live shows. Make no mistake; their Slam Dunk headline set will be an absolute barnstormer as Enter Shikari show, yet again, why they are one of Britain’s most exciting modern rock bands.
Glixen – “foreversoon” [Song Review]
On “foreversoon,” Glixen created a song where youthful exuberance clashes heavenly with the established shoegaze sounds of yesteryear,
It’s been less than a year since Glixen released their debut EP, She Only Said, on Julia’s War Records. Still, the Phoenix shoegazers have already dug their heels into the DIY music scene and are heading out on an extensive US tour this year alongside the likes of Interpol, Softcult, Glitterer, and fish narc. Appearances at SXSW and Treefort will only further cement their reputation as a new band worthy of note.
To herald the busy year ahead, the band has released a new single, “foreversoon,” via the AWAL label, and it’s well worth a listen.
Says lead vocalist Aislinn Ritchie:
“‘foreversoon’ represents blissful moments of new love and intimacy. The song harnesses melancholy chords, layered with fuzzy red melodies and gliding guitars that pull you in deeper. I wanted my lyrics to feel like a conversation that expresses my infatuation and sensuality. Time is relentless and memories are fleeting, this song encapsulates those emotions forever.”
It’s a fair summation. Its youthful exuberance clashes heavenly with the established shoegaze sounds of yesteryear, think Ride, Curve and Slowdive, but with the fuzz cranked up possibly higher. Ritchie’s vocals certainly share that dreamlike quality of Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, and with many of those bands back on the road this year, perhaps the time is ripe to inject fresh blood into the genre.
Run Time: 3:43
Release Date: February 9, 2024
Record Label: AWAL Recordings
Slightest Clue Release Their Rocking, Five-Track EP ‘Carousel’
Vancouver indie rockers Slightest Clue recently released their ‘Carousel’ EP, inspired by the beginning, middle, and end of a relationship.
Vancouver’s Slightest Clue is like the secret after-school project of four kids who would have passed each other without a glance in the hallway at school, but once they’re plugged in and ready to play their distinct blend of post-punk, alternative rock, and dark pop, all bets are off.
Produced by Matt Di Pomponio, their new EP, Carousel, is inspired by the beginning, middle, and end of a formative romantic relationship, spanning the trajectory from love to this loss of connection. The closing track, “Carousel,” marks the ultimate bittersweet reflection with unique harmonic layers to portray those contrasting emotions, shifting between grand and quiet tones.
Commenting on the album, the band states:
“The main theme is love, loss of relationship, and connection. The arc of the story is our foreshadowing of the end in our first song ‘These Days’ speaking on the day to day fights and how neither person can seem to get back to a happy place in the relationship. ‘Why Can’t I Call You?’ is the initial spark of infatuation and obsession with someone before you know them. ‘When You Wake Up’ talks of the blissed out honeymoon stage where everything is working and nothing could go wrong. ‘Suit Uptight!’ represents the mounting frustrations and resentments building tension from unmet needs. And finally our closing track ‘Carousel’ is the end and the bittersweet reflection of a cherished relationship that can no longer return.”
Each member, Malcolm McLaren, Hannah Kruse, Sean Ries, and Nick Sciarretta, brings distinct influences and experiences: a stage actor whose playlists go from Talking Heads to Sonic Youth to Björk, a hook-obsessed recovering choir girl, an electrical engineer whose personal idol is John Bonham, and a guitarist who played for (and left) 10 other bands before deciding this was the one for him.
Track-by-Track: The Pineapple Thief’s Bruce Soord Cuts Through ‘It Leads To This’
The Pineapple Thief frontman Bruce Soord breaks down each track on the progressive rock band’s new record ‘It Leads To This.’
It’s been a bit of a renaissance period for The Pineapple Thief over the last few years. This revitalization has resulted in the brand-new album It Leads To This. Released on February 9th via Kscope Records, the eight new songs comprise more of frontman Bruce Soord’s observations and deductions about life and the world around him. The initial concept for the record came together rather quickly, but the actual lyrical and musical components took time. Finalizing these songs required much work and collaboration between Soord and his three bandmates. Each member had a conception of what was satisfactory regarding the songs. Coming to that common ground took time, but in the end, each member was extremely pleased with the final product.
The release of It Leads To This coincides with the 25th anniversary since The Pineapple Thief formed. In that time, they have released over 20 full-length albums and EPs. It Leads To This proved to be one of the most intense writing periods ever for the band. They worked on these new tracks for almost three years. Each band member pushed each other to go above and beyond what they felt capable of. It was extremely fruitful from an artistic perspective, but personally, it did pose challenges for the band members.
Joining us today for an exclusive track-by-track rundown of It Leads To This is Bruce Soord himself. He takes us through each song on the record, their inspirations, motivations, and how they came together.
1. “Put It Right”
Bruce Soord: “This was the first song we wrote for the album, right in the depths of the pandemic. I remember standing outside my studio, which is in the garden of my home, when we were in full lockdown. I looked at the blue sky, not a vapour trail to be seen. Even the hum of my small town was gone. As a songwriter, you’re obviously going to take that in and use it. I started to ponder the fragile state of the world. I mean, how can the world be brought to its knees overnight? Which then led to thoughts about the past, essentially a re-evaluation. Are we all to blame? Was I to blame?”
“As soon as the lockdown was lifted, I remember talking to (drummer) Gavin (Harrison), and he had the idea to write some songs in the same room. I know, radical, right? So I got in the car and drove to his house. Honestly, in the history of The Pineapple Thief, I had never written in this way. Songs were built up in our various studios over weeks and months.. But we were up for trying something new. It could have been a very long disaster – a 6 day jam in E. But to my surprise, we wrote four songs in this way. The first one being Rubicon.
“The verses are in a ‘5/4 shuffle’ which is quite unique (see Gavin’s drum playthrough on the Vic Firth YouTube channel). The song is actually about Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon, destroying the Roman republic for his own selfish ambitions. History repeating itself indeed…”
3. “It Leads To This”
“Following on from the theme of ‘Put It Right,’ this is essentially a positive song about focusing on the right things in life. What are going to be your biggest regrets on your deathbed? It’s obvious but also easy to miss. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard, I wish I had spent more time with my family and friends. It’s a love song really. ‘For all this time, I didn’t notice you…’”
4. “The Frost”
“I came up with the riff on my 6-string baritone guitar, so it has a low, edgy feel which I really love. This was a song that came together really quickly between the four of us (plus some great contributions from our touring guitarist Beren Matthews on guitars and backing vocals who played throughout the record). It’s about spending your life with a soulmate, through thick and thin, no matter how bad things get.”
5. “All That’s Left”
“Thematically, this continues the theme from ‘It Leads to This’ and, for me, is dominated by the riff and the middle section, which I love playing live. Again, it’s low in register, written using my baritone, massive drums.”
6. “Now It’s Yours”
“Written during the sessions with Gavin, this song goes on a bit of a journey. Soft, atmospheric, big riffs, a guitar solo… Lyrically, looking at the world as an older guy with a family about to be let loose into the world. What the hell are they going to inherit? Well, now it’s yours…”
7. “Every Trace Of Us”
“Again written during the Gavin sessions, I remember Gavin had the intro riff written on his Wurli keyboard he has in his studio. I took it, added some more chords in the progression and the song snowballed from there. Lyrically this is about the pressure of modern life, expectation, pressure, and the mental repercussions of it all. Modern life can tear every trace of us apart.”
8. “To Forget”
“I had this finger-picked acoustic guitar part, which the band liked, so I developed the first part of the song and came up with the words pretty quickly. Us humans, especially as we grow older, have to come to terms with loss and, in a lot of cases, tragedy. Touching on the debate as to whether life is a gift or a curse (I am firmly in the ‘gift’ camp). However, living with tragedy isn’t easy. Remembering isn’t easy, to forget is impossible.”
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