Bands Of The Week – Guidance, High Card & No Excuse

969735_445434728880873_539429673_nRight it’s the last day of the year and I’ve slacked off all through December with the BOTW articles, so this is going to be something of a clusterfuck. Moving into 2014 we’re going to change up the way in which we cover bands and music, rather than throwing up a brief overview of a new band each week we’ll be changing it to Band Of the Month. Each band will get a more thorough write up and a small interview to accompany the article. We’ll also be increasing the amount of reviews now so if you’ve owt you want us to look at drop us an email and we’ll give an honest review. We count knowledgable enthusiasts of most aspects of hardcore/punk/metal amongst our number, so you can be assured there will be someone with a clue assigned to each review. No funk metal though and no fucking grime or dubstep. Not Ever.

1280858_662233687122974_277149355_nSo to wrap up 2014 here’s a couple of bands we got hip to this year. First up is High card from Long Island New York, a region with a strong pedigree of hardcore bands from Silent Drive, Sons Of Abraham and VOD right up to present day heavy hitters Incendiary. The band sent me their demo a few months ago now and I really must apologise that it’s taken me so long to get round to posting it up here. I try to keep the BOTW posts relevant so that when the posts go up the band has something going on be it a tour or a release or a pre-order, so naturally sometimnes bands get pushed to the back of the cue a little bit. High Card were an unknown quantity to me so I clicked play and got on with doing some blog work. That didn’t last long as the band immediately captured my attention straight away with their aggressive high energy brand of hardcore. There is a huge Down to Nothing influence at work here and High card seem to have cribbed their sound straight from Save It For The Birds era rather than DTN’s later bro-core work. These songs have that real sense of boundless youthful enthusiasm and righteous indignation. For those unfamiliar with the band I’m referencing, I would describe High Card as having a youth crew flavour that eases back on the trite lyrics and boy scout mentality that has a tendency to crud up that scene and instead throws some tasty breakdowns and realistic thoughful lyrics into the mix. The demo recording is raw as balls and definitely reminds me of a lot of the bands that were doing the rounds in 2001/2002 like the Bottom Line demo or the first Distance 7″ with possibly a little In Control in the mix too.

Anyway judging by the activity on their facebook page, the band seems to be actively playing a lot of shows in their local area and hopefully they will have a 7″ release on the cards in the near futrure. Until then have a taste of High Cards version of Long Island Hardcore HERE

1457706_525075194250159_968795395_n I am not sure exactly how or when it happened but London Straight Edge has somehow turned into UKHC’s version of the Sealed Knot (look it up dingle) such seems to be their obsession with historically accurate straight edge battle reenactments. Sure it’s fun to tease them and give them a few rips but the truth of the matter is that over the last few years that portion of the scene has churned out some really good bands with Guidance being a current personal favourite. Sharing members with recently departed stalwarts Abolition and vegan straight edge resurectionists Repentance, Guidance plough a furrow that owes both sound and aesthetic influences to California of the early 90’s. Give their debut 7″ ‘Age Of Vice’ on Anger Battery records a spin if you are jonesing for the hard hitting and powerful dynamics of early Strife mixed with the lyrical spiritual questions of Inside Out or Ressurection (they were from the east coast, I know). Guidance nail all of this with a scholars ear, the production is crisp & punchy and the guitarist and rhythm section demonstrate that they have got some serious chops. Charlie has a great voice well suited to a band of this style and it sounds like he’s constantly stretching himself to the limit of his abilities and I like that, sounds real. I was fortunate enough to have stumbled into hardcore in the early 90’s and grew up listening to this type of stuff the first time round so whilst contextually it might be amusing to witness a band so stoked on the 90’s that their bass player is prepared to legitimately rock a Lloyd Christmas style bowlcut in 2014, you can’t fault their passion and enthusiasm one bit. Check’em out HERE

1452516_606923196033421_1648918623_nFinally we come to No Excuse from Southampton. That neck of the woods never used to be much of a hot bed for Hardcore activity when I was a bairn, (certainly not of the sort I was interested in back then anyway), but in 2013 it seems that down to the graft of a small collective of individuals it’s now one of the more exciting local scenes. No Excuse are a young band playing straight edge hardcore in the youth crew mould. Their first demo Anger & Abstinence was fucking shit, marred by clunky songwriting and awkward vocals it was evidence of a band trying hard to find their feet in the studio before they were ready and sadly falling short. Their more recent two song demo however is a definite (First) Step in the right direction. Singers got a cool voice and a significant chip on his shoulder and the band seem a lot more confident in what they are doing too. It’s fast, brash and snotty and reminds me of bands like Let Down or Knockdown. There’s still work to be done but these lads are still in the first flush of youth and seem to have the right attitude and a ton of enthusiasm. Hopefully there’ll hit the road and get some miles under their belt, in my experience tours are definitely good for refining your sound, sussing out what works and figuring who’s going to be reliable in the future and who’s a useless cunt. If they played a Side By Side cover, I would mosh. Have a listen HERE

Right that’s your lot. I’m off to watch Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Happy New Year and that.

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About Nathan Bean

Tyrant/ Editor Nathan is a 'former member of...' numerous mediocre punk bands and internet gobshite and has been involved in the United Kingdom hardcore scene since the mid 90's. Now retired from active duty he spends his time writing about gaming, movies, music and comics, shouting at the television and threatening to start another band.