Hiatus announcement!

Hi all!  Just a quick announcement to let you know that I will be on holiday from today until August 10 – unfortunately for you guys I’ll be far too busy sunbathing and eating calamari to update my blog, so you’ll just have to try and hang on without me until I get back.

I’m hoping to come back with a 14-day style diary, so look out for that once I’m home.

See you soon!

-Katie (altrocklife)

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#OOTD: 21/7/14

So, for the past couple of weeks ASOS has been holding a massive summer sale, which is amazing news for me – usually, ASOS is a little bit out of my price range, and their sales make everything a whole lot more affordable.

Originally I was looking for a pair of tartan leggings, because I was planning on including them in an 80s punk costume I was working on.  Even though I’ll no longer be dressing up as a punk, I knew I had to buy the leggings anyway, because patterns and prints are really popular right now.

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I expected the leggings to be a brighter red, judging by the photos on ASOS’s website, however I am happy with the slightly darker red colour now I’ve put them on and got used to them.

Black and red is always a winning combination, so I paired these leggings with one of my favourite chiffon shirts, from New Look – I normally wear chiffon shirts with just my bra underneath, but for those who want to keep their underwear covered up I would pair this shirt with a plain black bandeau top or thin spaghetti-strap vest.  Even though this shirt has full-length sleeves, I always roll them up to the elbows to help keep my arms cooler in the summer.

Obviously, a plain shirt would be a little boring, so I added a large multi-chain necklace, also from New Look.  Its combination of gold and black spikes and diamante-embellished chains makes the necklace eye-catching, and breaks up the monotony of the black shirt.

If I was wearing this outfit to a summer barbecue or drinks at my favourite bar, I’d add a pair of chunky black ankle boots and a leather jacket – either black or red.

What do you think of this outfit?  How would you wear tartan leggings?  Let me know on Twitter or in the comments below!

Currently listening to: Leave Out All The RestLinkin Park

Review: Shaded Apparel

So, ever since I followed Shaded Apparel on Twitter I’ve had my eye on their tie-dye vests – tie-dye is really fashionable right now, and my wardrobe could use a little bit of a colour injection.

I ordered two vests on June 21st and expected them to arrive on the fourth of July, the maximum of their estimated shipping time of 7-10 working days.  However, they did not arrive until July 10th.  I understand why their shipping times are fairly lengthy, as each shirt is made to order, but 15 working days seemed a little excessive to me.  Maybe if they pre-made some of their most popular shirt designs that’d make their system more efficient.

However, when my vests did arrive, I was extremely happy with them.

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The patterns on the vests don’t quite match up with the photos on the Shaded website, which just proves that each vest was made to order.  It makes me happy knowing I have some bespoke shirts in my wardrobe.

Also, something I notice with a lot of independent brands is that their shirts often come with their logo written in large letters on the front.  I understand that this is important to raise brand recognition, but these vests are completely clean of branding and that also makes the vests feel more individual.

At £15 each the price of these vests is reasonable, considering each one is hand-dyed to order.  If shipping times were a little speedier, Shaded Apparel would have received a perfect score from me.

Currently listening to: Gone SovereignStone Sour

#tbt: 10 noughties albums you need in your life

I’m sure everybody reading this post remembers the noughties fondly – for me, it was when I first got interested in alternative music, and where my love of fashion started to develop.  The 2000s were truly an amazing time for rock and alternative music, with bands like Kings Of Leon, Pierce The Veil, My Chemical Romance and Arctic Monkeys forming during the decade.

For this throwback Thursday, I have decided to take on the momentous task of revisiting my favourite albums released from 2000 to 2009 – if you spot any albums in this list that you don’t already have in your album collection, consider making room for them, as they are absolutely amazing.

10: Wheatus – Wheatus

I have my Mum to thank for my love of this album – she was the person who first introduced me to Wheatus, and for that I am forever grateful.  I think everybody with common sense loves Teenage Dirtbag – whilst waiting for Green Day to take to the stage at Reading Festival in 2013, Teenage Dirtbag started playing and I swear, the entire crowd started singing along.  It was awesome.  As well as that, Hump’em And Dump’em and Love Is A Mutt From Hell are brilliant songs which still make me want to get up and dance.

9: Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge – My Chemical Romance

My Chem have this album to thank for their sudden popularity and fame, and it’s still well loved today – watch Kerrang! TV for any length of time, and chances are you’ll come across the video for I’m Not Okay (I Promise) or Helena soon enough.  Plus, The Ghost Of You is a really thought-proving song that still evokes some pretty strong emotions.

8: All Killer No Filler – Sum 41

Sum 41s debut album is a brilliant, feel-good album – Heart Attack and Summer are awesome album tracks, which are unfortunately overlooked due to the popularity of singles In Too Deep and Fat Lip.  All Killer No Filler was truly a sign of great things to come for the Canadian rock band.

7: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not – Arctic Monkeys

Now, in my opinion the Arctic Monkeys have a little bit of a chequered past – Suck It And See, for instance, was an instantly forgettable album – however, their debut LP is truly brilliant.  I’ve lived in the Midlands for the past 9 years, so hearing Alex Turner’s Sheffield accent throughout the album is kind of comforting amongst all of the American artists on my iPod.  Plus, I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor still sounds just as good 8 years on, as do Fake Tales Of San Francisco, When The Sun Goes Down and Mardy Bum.

6: One X – Three Days Grace

Canadian rockers Three Days Grace are one of my favourite bands of all time.  Their second album, One X, is a polished yet still emotive album, inspired by lead singer Adam Gontiers stint in rehab due to an addiction to OxyContin.  Lead single Animal I Have Become reminds me of my pre-teen angst-filled years, and Never Too Late is just as poignant today as it was when the album was released in 2006.

5: Mezmerize/Hypnotize – System Of A Down

I know that technically these are two albums, however I simply couldn’t bring myself to separate them.  The slow-burning introduction to Mezmerize, Soldier Side (Intro) gets you tingling with anticipation at the amazing things to come, before B.Y.O.B. kicks you in the gut with its heavy riffs and punchy lyrics.  In my eyes, System Of A Down can do no wrong – that’s why they came top of the chart of my favourite 90s albums, which you can take a look at here.

4: Puzzle – Biffy Clyro

This album represented a turning point for Biffy Clyro, because it marks their emergence into mainstream popularity.  The opening track, Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies, is a real anthem, as are Who’s Got A Match? and The Conversation Is…  Machines is the beautifully emotive penultimate track, and the entire album as a whole turned out to be an indicator of the great success to come for Biffy Clyro.

3: In Your Honor – Foo Fighters

The Foo Fighters’ fifth double album covers a multitude of stories, emotions and memories for front man Dave Grohl – the most poignant of these is probably Friend Of A Friend, which was inspired by his former Nirvana band mate Kurt Cobain.  In Your Honor has songs for every mood, split between the heavier first disc and quieter more acoustic second disc, which is what makes it so perfect.

2: Minutes To Midnight – Linkin Park

Minutes To Midnight was a little bit of a change of direction for Linkin Park – they switched focus from more electronic elements and ended up creating a true rock ‘n’ roll experience.  Throughout the album there’s a great contrast of heavier tracks such as Given Up, and slower ballads like Leave Out All The Rest.

1: Avenged Sevenfold – Avenged Sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold’s fourth LP, also known as the White Album due to its album cover, is truly brilliant, and a real summary of what makes the Californian band great.  If I was going to introduce somebody to Avenged Sevenfold for the first time, I’d tell them to listen to this album first, as it is definitely one of their best.  It’s difficult for me to quantify how much I adore this album – from Gunslinger to A Little Piece Of Heaven to Dear God, this album really does have it all.

So, that concludes my Top 10 noughties albums!  Do you agree with my line-up?  Let me know what you think on Twitter or in the comments below.

Currently listening to: SssnakepitEnter Shikari

#OOTD: 14/7/2014

A few days ago I went on a little bit of an online shopping spree with the hopes of filling up my blog with plenty of new outfit of the day posts – any excuse to do some more clothes shopping, eh?  One item I desperately needed was a new pair of jeans, as after donating my old, ill-fitting jeans to my local charity shop I realised I only had one pair left to wear, and that simply won’t do.

Today my brand new jeans arrived in the post, and I had to put them on and try them out straight away.  For £22.99 from New Look they were great value, and they fit perfectly at the waist and legs, which is a rarity for me.  Plus, acid wash jeans are bang on trend right now, so I’m feeling pretty fashion forward right now.

I combined my lovely new jeans with my Thunder Apparel Tiger Tee, which I reviewed a few weeks ago.  I still love this shirt just as much as I did when I first bought it, plus sublimated garments – which produce an all-over design – are massively popular this season, so I love to take any excuse to wear this shirt.

I also wore my favourite old baseball jacket, which has resided in my wardrobe for three or four years, because it’s light enough to stop me overheating during the summer days, but offers some protection from when the unpredictable weather does its worst.

I would probably finish off this outfit with some gladiator sandals and some aviator sunglasses.  How would you dress up these jeans?  Let me know in the comments or send me a tweet!

Currently listening to: Can You Feel My HeartBring Me The Horizon

#tbt: The first albums I ever bought

Today I want to step back into the past, rummage through my CD collection, and blow the dust off the first albums I ever bought with my own hard-earned pocket money.  These albums are truly brilliant, and the main reason I ended up getting into rock and alternative music, so you have them to thank that this blog exists.

Honestly, I cannot see myself ever getting rid of these albums.  Over the years I have thrown away numerous albums; whether they were an ill-informed purchase or they became age damaged over the years.  These ones, however, will never leave my ever-growing CD collection.

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Fall Out Boy – From Under The Cork Tree

This album is truly magical, and the singles Dance, Dance and Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down still evoke memories of school discos in the assembly hall.  Plus, Get Busy Living Or Get Busy Dying (Do Your Part To Save The Scene And Stop Going To Shows) is one of my favourite ever Fall Out Boy songs.

Panic! At The Disco – A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out

A lot of albums released in the early to mid 2000s aged pretty badly, but not this one.  Its lyrics form an interesting social commentary about mental illness and the sanctity of marriage, which are still relevant today.  This album is truly a cornerstone of the emo movement from the early noughties – all you have to do is watch the music videos for I Write Sins Not Tragedies for evidence of that.

Linkin Park – Minutes to Midnight

Minutes to Midnight was a turning point for Linkin Park, and a change of direction from their earlier albums Hybrid Theory and Meteora.  Their use of electronic elements reduced considerably, making the album all about the instruments, booming drums and guitar-shredding riffs.  This is probably one of Linkin Park’s heaviest albums – the 18 second long scream before the final chorus of Given Up makes that hard to deny.  Add that to the gritty lyrics of Bleed It Out and Hands Held High and you end up with a truly anthemic alternative rock album that still sounds fresh seven years on.

That’s all from me for now, but I want to know what the first album you ever bought was!  Let me know in the comments below, or send me a tweet.

Currently listening to: Fool’s GoldPure Love

Review: Platinum Apparel

As I’m sure all of you will have realised, I love clothes and clothes shopping.  So much so, that when I saw that Platinum Apparel were offering 20% off codes through Twitter, I knew I had to jump on the opportunity!

I’ve followed Platinum Apparel on Twitter for a while, and I’ve always had my eye on their Splat Dye Tee, so I was super excited to finally buy it.  I placed my order on June 26th and it arrived on July 4th, six working days after I ordered it.  That’s a little quicker than the 7-10 working days delivery estimate on their website, which makes me happy inside – I am an impatient person at heart.

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When I first put the shirt on I was surprised to see how well it fits – because it was a unisex fit I thought it would be baggier.  The design is awesome, and I love it even more knowing that each shirt is made to order, meaning the design is totally unique.  The label on the hem is a nice detail, and I love the script font of the logo.

Its original price, £11.99, was already reasonable, but with 20% off it was a steal!  I would definitely recommend Platinum Apparel to anyone – I would also recommend following them on Twitter to make the most of any more discount codes they might offer in the future.  On a student budget like mine, I need all the help I can get!

Currently listening to: Until It’s GoneLinkin Park

Vintage shopping in Lincoln’s The Strait

The other weekend I visited the lovely city of Lincoln with hopes to have a rummage around in its eclectic mix of vintage and independent clothing shops.  I’ve lived near Lincoln for about eight years now, however up until recently I’ve never explored any further than the department stores on its busy high street – something I sorely regret now.

Visiting independent stores is a great way to pick up some interesting items with a reasonable price tag – plus, it’s a lot less likely you’ll run into someone wearing the same clothes, which is always a bonus.  A few months ago a friend told me she went into New Look and spotted multiple shirts and dresses she’s seen me wear, which inspired me to start this blog and begin buying from independent brands.

Unfortunately I didn’t spot any clothes I wanted to buy this time around, however I did spot some amazing Doc Martens and checked shirts in Yak – I’ll be picking up some Docs when I have a little more disposable income, and when the weather warms up I’ll be buying some new checked shirts to add to my collection.

I also saw a lovely chiffon floral blouse in the Ruby Red Boutique – however, my collection of floral chiffon blouses is already pretty extensive, so as much as I loved it I had to give it a miss.  Sigh.

I didn’t leave Lincoln empty-handed though – I made a couple of purchases in Ego, a lovely vintage shop with a nice selection of dresses and jewellery.

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Even though I fell in love with one of the dresses in Ego, they unfortunately didn’t have it in my size, so I decided to make myself feel better buy purchasing two new necklaces.  Jewellery is one of my weaknesses, after all.

At £20 for both necklaces they were a little pricey; however, I feel like their individuality and quirkiness makes them worth the money.  They’re on strong chains which means they’re unlikely to break, and the charms themselves are pretty weighty and high quality metal.  Plus, who wouldn’t want a miniature teapot necklace?  I was charmed as soon as I walked into the shop.

I definitely cannot wait to head back to The Strait – if you guys have ever been shopping in Lincoln, where would you advise I check out next?  Let me know in the comments or send me a recommendation over Twitter!

Currently listening to: War Of ChangeThousand Foot Krutch

News: Ex-Lostprophets stars release new music under No Devotion

Today the music world witnessed the rebirth of Lee Gaze, Mike Lewis, Jamie Oliver, Stuart Richardson and Luke Johnson – the ex members of Lostprophets.  Following the arrest and charging of their former frontman, Ian Watkins, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison over child sex offences in December 2013, it was unclear whether the Welsh musicians would return to the world of music again.

However, today the ex-Lostprophets members announced a new band, No Devotion, fronted by Geoff Rickly, former Thursday frontman.

In a press release by the new band today, Stuart Richardson recalled that he “didn’t know if we would ever make music again” – you can read the rest of the release here.

As well as news of the new project, No Devotion have also released a new single, titled Stay, which you can listen to below.

This single accompanies their debut limited-edition 12 inch single, due to be released on July 21st in the UK, and available worldwide to download from iTunes now.

They also announced their first tour dates as a band, to take place during July of this year – the dates and venues are below.

  • 22/7 Cardiff CF10
  • 23/7 Manchester Sound Control
  • 25/7 London O2 Academy Islington
  • 26/7 Glasgow O2 ABC2

I, for one, am very excited to see such talented musicians returning to the music scene – they definitely deserve this second chance.  I really like this new single, and hopefully this project will be the beginning of bigger and brighter things for the guys.  altrocklife wishes No Devotion all the luck in the world.

Currently listening to: A Love Like WarAll Time Low featuring Vic Fuentes