7 incredible tracks you need in your life – February 2017

February is the shortest month of the year, but that doesn’t mean there was any shortage of great tracks released over the past few weeks.  Here’s my round-up of the best singles and music videos put out this month!

Knuckle Puck – Indecisive 

Chicago pop-punk band Knuckle Puck are returning with a new EP, Calendar Days / Indecisive, on March 17th, and this is one of the titular tracks.  The melancholy lyrics and acoustic vibes make it a perfect track to listen to with a mug of hot tea or coffee in this February weather.

All Time Low – Dirty Laundry

I’ll be honest and say that the first two thirds(ish) of this track didn’t inspire me very much, but the guitar solo leading into the final chorus turned Dirty Laundry around for me.  I’m looking forward to hearing their upcoming seventh studio album, Last Young Renegade, set to be released on June 2nd.

Cover Your Tracks – Striking Matches

Cover Your Tracks is a band formed from the ashes of a number of failed bands, such as Woe, Is Me, Decoder, and Cursed Sails.  The result is a great hardcore track with a smattering of electronic breaks and a catchy chorus.

Imagine Dragons – Believer

I’ve been a big fan of Imagine Dragons for a long time, and I really enjoyed their second full length record, Smoke + Mirrors, which came out back in 2014.  Believer has me excited for a potential third album on the way.

Taking Back Sunday – Call Come Running

This track is from Taking Back Sunday’s latest record, Tidal Wave, and I featured Death Wolf, another song from that album, back in the September 2016 edition of X incredible tracks.  I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve heard from this album, so Call Come Running definitely deserved a feature today.

While She Sleeps ft. Oli Sykes – Silence Speaks

To me, While She Sleeps has been an inescapable part of the British metalcore/hardcore scene, so to see them collaborating with Oli Sykes, one of the most recognisable front men in the industry, is a pretty big deal.  I’ll be honest and say that I never used to be a big fan of this band, but Silence Speaks has made me reconsider my opinion.  I look forward to hearing While She Sleeps’ upcoming third full length album, You Are We.

Pierce The Veil – Floral And Fading

Pierce The Veil’s Misadventures was released last May, and Floral And Fading is the latest single to be released from the record.  The video, set in an American 1950s bowling alley, is great fun to watch if only because of bassist Jaime Preciado’s afro.


What did you think of this month’s round-up? Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

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New music spotlight: Everywhere

Everywhere is a five-piece alternative/indie rock band based in London, UK.  They formed back in 2012 after lead singer Max Berga emailed his demos to Los Angeles producer Mark Needham.  He then gathered together bassist Joe Sanders, guitarist Andrei Sora, drummer Dan Graham, and Joe Bates on keys, to form the band.  Producer Mark Needham is probably best known for his work with Imagine Dragons and The Killers, so I’m certain fans of these bands will enjoy the upbeat indie offerings of this new band.

Everywhere’s second EP, Fiction Act, was released last December.  The lead single, Some Other Dude, has amassed over one million streams on Spotify, and its easy to understand why.  The groovy bass line, whoa-oh-ing backing vocals, and relatable lyrics about missing your chance to make a move on someone, gives the track an infectious quality which will see you tapping your foot and nodding your head without even noticing.  The EP’s opening track, Shades At Night, has a fun acoustic vibe with a catchy chorus; you can see the video for that track here:

The EP also features the understated and moody Let It Go, which is probably my favourite of the four songs on Fiction Act. This EP, then, is an excellent effort by Everywhere which demonstrates their ability to handle a variety of moods and feelings effortlessly through their songwriting and instrumentals.  Fiction Act is available to buy via iTunes, or you can check it out on Spotify.

The band are no strangers to playing live gigs: Everywhere headed on tour last summer, playing a number of dates across the UK including The Dublin Castle in London and Bleach in Brighton.  If you like what you’ve heard here, why not catch Everywhere performing a show?  Their next live date sees the band returning to The Dublin Castle on March 18th, and it promises to be a great show.  They’re also in the process of confirming summer festival appearances, so I hope to see them appearing on line-ups soon.

You can keep up to date with the band’s progress by following them on Twitter or liking their Facebook page.  I know I’ll be keeping an eye on Everywhere, as I predict this band have further success to look forward to in the future.


Would you like to see altrocklife feature more upcoming bands in future? Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

News: Brit punk band WEAK13 release new video for Obey The Slave

Here on altrocklife, as much as I enjoy reviewing and writing about more mainstream bands, sometimes it’s good to discover new, underground bands.  Today’s focus is the Wolverhampton post punk band, WEAK13.  They recently released the music video for their track Obey The Slave, from their debut album They Live which was released last year.  You can watch the video here:

The DIY music video was filmed in a real Magistrates Court, and the themes of the song and video revolve around law and order, questioning authority, and political activism.  This track is packed full of powerful lyrics, much like the rest of their debut album, which has themes of love and loss, death and heartbreak, and what the future may bring.

WEAK13 is currently preparing to record their second as yet untitled studio album with producer John Stewart at FrEQ in Coventry, England. Frontman and guitarist Nick J Townsend revealed:

“We were so impressed with the engineering by Stewart on the They Live album; it’s important news that we’ll be able to work with him again and we know already that he’ll do the new material the justice it deserves.”

The They Live album contains the song Obey The Slave and is only available from the WEAK13 website.

What did you think of the new WEAK13 music video? Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

Afternoon tea at Blanchards, Sleaford

Now, if there’s one thing we Brits love, it’s a good pot of tea, some sarnies and a slice of cake or two.  Back in December, my sibling and I promised my Nan that we’d take her out for afternoon tea as part of her Christmas gift, so on Tuesday we made good on our promise and headed to Blanchards Coffee Shop in Sleaford, Lincolnshire.  Better late than never, eh?

I’ve been to Blanchards many times, and I’ve always enjoyed their English breakfasts, jacket potatoes, and especially their homemade mushroom soup.  However, their afternoon tea service takes things to the next level.  The cafe is family run, having been established in 1922, and you can really sense the amount of pride and care that goes into running the business.

We were greeted at our table with a huge teapot, because honestly, you can’t beat a good brew, can you?  After pouring our tea, these two cake stands laden with sandwiches, cakes and scones appeared, and these photos don’t do justice to just how magnificent the spread was.

Blanchards are happy to cater to different diets, so my being vegetarian wasn’t an issue.  I tucked in to my sandwiches filled with cheese and salad, cucumber and cream cheese, and egg mayonnaise.  My meat-eating counterparts also had thick-cut ham sandwiches which looked very impressive.

We then moved onto the scones, which like everything else is hand made on site.  They were delicious, full of raisins, and the strawberry jam and clotted cream is the perfect accompaniment.

Then, on to the selection of cakes.  The selection you get during an afternoon tea varies depending on what they have on offer that day, and in our case we had rocky road slices, a lemon curd/drizzle cake, and meringues with fresh cream and fruit.  I’m not a big fan of lemon so I didn’t try that cake, but my Mum and Nan reassure me that it was delicious.  The rocky road cake was made with very rich dark chocolate, with fruit throughout to stop it from becoming too sickly.  The meringues were absolutely perfect; crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle, accompanied by slices of strawberry and blueberry.

The best part about this wonderful afternoon tea?  Blanchards only charges £10 per person for great service and a very generous quantity of food and drink.  If you’re ever in Lincolnshire and find yourself near to the market town of Sleaford, I would highly recommend stopping by – even though Blanchards requires 24 hours notice to prepare an afternoon tea, the wait is definitely worth it.

Where’s your favourite place to have a traditional afternoon tea? Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

Review: Human (Deluxe)

Normally on altrocklife, I’d choose to review more aggressive, punk rock or alternative album releases, but today I felt like doing something different.  Everyone needs to take some time to relax with some more chill, indie/pop beats, so today I decided to spend my Sunday relaxing with Rag’n’Bone Man’s first full length record, Human.

I’d argue that most people who listen to the radio will have heard of Rag’n’Bone Man, real name Rory Graham, as he shot into the spotlight towards the end of last year.  He came second in the BBC’s round up of their predictions for the Sound of 2017, and won the Brits Critics Choice award, which are both pretty solid indicators of future success.  The titular track of the record seems to be on the airwaves multiple times a day, and that certainly isn’t a bad thing.  You can check out the video for Human here:

Now, I’m a big lover of soulful pop/R&B; I’ve been obsessed with Daniel Merriweather, Tom Odell, Maverick Sabre, Hozier, George Ezra and Gregory Porter to varying degrees for a long time.  Rag’n’Bone Man, therefore, is a logical addition to my collection of favourite men with beautiful voices, and if you’re a fan of any of the names mentioned above, I’m sure you will enjoy Human.  I’m completely incapable of writing a critique of Rory Graham’s vocals: he is perfectly able to capture emotions through the tone of his voice, from sadness and regret to frustration and anger.

Ego and The Fire hark back to Rag’n’ Bone Man’s hip-hop and rap roots, each featuring rap verses.  Overall these seem a little out of place and sporadic, as I don’t believe there’s enough rap for them to make sense in the context of the album.  It would be interesting to here more hip-hop elements in Rory Graham’s future releases, but its influence wasn’t necessarily needed on Human.

The instrumentals throughout Human are understated, which makes sense because Rag’n’Bone Man’s voice is by far the most important aspect of his music.  Even so, tracks like Skin benefit from subtle strings during the bridge and chorus, and simple repetitive drumming keeps the rhythm and prevents attention from drifting elsewhere.  Hand claps and beautifully harmonised backing vocals give the record a gospel feel (Odetta is a strong example of this), whilst undulating bass guitar adds a bluesy touch.  There’s even an a capella track, Die Easy, which is one of the most captivating songs on the record.

Lyrically, this record is incredibly powerful.  Rag’n’Bone Man, takes the pain of relationships ending in tracks such as Bitter End and makes it sound hopeful and optimistic. The lyrics do rely on cliches every now and again, but this doesn’t detract from the overall atmosphere of the record.

I listened to the deluxe version of Human, and considering it’s made up of 19 incredible tracks, deluxe is definitely the right word to describe this monster album.  For a debut record this is a massive effort, and Rag’n’Bone Man’s obvious hard graft should be recognised.  Human is an incredible debut full-length record, and I’m looking forward to watching Rory Graham rise to stardom.

Highlights: Skin, Love You Any Less, Grace, Die Easy, Life In Her Yet, Lay My Body Down, Wolves

Review: Safe In Sound

Lower Than Atlantis are a British four-piece rock band who are celebrating ten years since their formation this year.  It seems fitting, then, that Friday marked the release of their fifth studio album whilst still riding the wave of success following their self-titled fourth record.  Hype for Safe In Sound began back in August of last year with the release of  Work For It, and excitement built steadily until the album dropped this week.

Jumping straight into the review, it’s obvious from the first track that more effort has gone into post-production on Safe In Sound than on the band’s previous records. A number of tracks feature either autotuned or artificial echoed lead or backing vocals, or programmed drums or clap sound effects.  Plus, Boomerang is probably the most heavily produced track in Lower Than Atlantis’s discography. Overall I think these added electronic elements have paid off: they certainly help each individual track to stand out from the rest of the record, and the end result is an extremely polished album with few rough edges.

However, the band’s ability to write catchy choruses and creative riffs layered with guitar solos has not been compromised.  Drummer Eddy Thrower has taken his playing to the next level, with a number of inventive drum fills peppering the record.  Another thing that hasn’t changed over time is lead vocalist Mike Duce’s signature velvet-smooth voice.  Lyrically the record still discusses similar themes to previous records, which shows that even though their sound might have changed slightly, Lower Than Atlantis are still, at their core, doing what they do best.

My Safe In Sound highlight is by far Work For It.  It’s probably the heaviest track on the album, and it’s whoa-ohing chorus is perfect for crowds at gigs and festivals to shout back at the band.  I also love the lyrics to Could Be Worse, which discuss every day stresses and struggles that everyone listening can relate to.

The last few tracks of the record seem to lose their way a little bit.  I Would and Money are tracks chock full of lyrical cliches, and to me it feels like there wasn’t a massive amount of thought or effort put into the songwriting.  I Don’t Want To Be Here Anymore is a pretty downbeat track, which seems out of place on the record.  Thankfully, Safe In Sound ends on the high note of A Night To Forget, a great party track with an uplifting chorus.

Overall this record is hit and miss, and although the hits do outnumber the misses, I had higher expectations for Lower Than Atlantis’s fifth record.  I think the band struggled to find the right balance between their rock/hardcore roots and pop influences, and because of that the record was slightly confused.  Safe In Sound was overall enjoyable, but I hope that their next record has a more cohesive sound.

Highlights: Long Time Coming, Work For It, A Night To Forget