Brooklyn punks Cerebral Ballzy are back with their second full-length album 'Jaded & Faded', released via Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas' Cult Records. 'Jaded & Faded' follows 2011's self-titled debut, which established Cerebral Ballzy as a solid, throwback to 80s, hardcore punk collective in the vein of Black Flag, Bad Brains, Circle Jerks etc. This is thanks to frontman Honor Titus spitting his angry lyrics as well as fun, simple, distorted riffs provided by Mason and Jason Bannon.
What's clear from listening to 'Jaded & Faded' is that Cerebral Ballzy are wanting to dip their toes into other sub-genres of punk as opposed to just sticking to hardcore. 'Fake I.D.' has a strong post-punk feel to it with guitar noodling and dizzy vocals, but the attacking riff at the end will keep die-hard listeners in their comfort zone. 'Better In Leather' is Ramones-esque pop-punk with upbeat, yet still distorted, guitars and Titus' carefree repetition of 'she's so rad'. Plus, there's some softer female indie vocals on the song which makes for a strong counterpart to Titus. 'Lonely As America' is another post-punk number, that utilizes guitar feedback well in the bridge, making it the most intensely slow burning song on the album, yet one that still has some speedy moments.
This isn't to say that Cerebral Ballzy have abandoned hardcore - not one bit. 'Downtown' is fast and fuzzy with a really gripping bridge; fiercly pounding drums, a lower riff and Titus moaning 'Under the big lights' over and over again. 'Parade Of Idiots' harks back to Black Flag's early EPs, marrying sarcasm with intense anger. Opener 'Another Day' opens with a sinister riff that soon takes a jumpy turn; when the song slows down, you don't see it coming in the slightest, which helps the faster repetition pack more punch.
Continue reading: Cerebral Ballzy - Jaded & Faded Album Review
Over the last decade, Canada's Fu**ed Up have established themselves as one of the most interesting and inventive punk bands of the 21st Century thus far, combining frontman Damian 'Pink Eyes' Abraham's hardcore vocals with indie rock instrumentation. It was their unique musical delivery as well as their penchant for several minute long songs that resulted in their ambitious 2011 rock opera album 'David Comes To Life'. They're also known for being extremely raucous live and last night was no exception, as their tour of new album 'Glass Boys' came to Leeds' Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen. This was Fu**ed Up's first time playing Belgrave and the place was packed for them.
Opening the show was Lower, who are essentially the anti-Fu**ed Up. Not remotely interesting, unique or active with their sound straight up ripping off Joy Division, due to the morbid vocals, sparse guitar and the clear rhythm section. This wouldn't have been so bad if there were some gripping song writing or a lively performance, but Lower were void of these things so you just found yourself drifting off.
Brooklyn punks Cerebral Ballzy were a vast improvement, playing a good combination of songs from new album 'Jaded & Faded' and their self-titled debut. Although they didn't have as vigorous a stage presence as their speedy 80s hardcore-styled records would suggest, they did please many a punk fan with frontman Honor Titus screaming himself hoarse, occasionally leaping around the stage and inviting fans to yell down his microphone.
Continue reading: Fu**ed Up Live At Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds - June 2014