9 incredible tracks you need in your life – June 2017

Happy Sunday altrocklifers! Unfortunately this series had to take a break in May, but now I’m back to bring you a round-up of the best singles released throughout this month.  Strap in – this month is a good one!

Foo Fighters – Run

Foo Fighters kicked off this month in an incredible fashion, with a brand new track and awesome video directed by the main man Dave Grohl himself.  This track is a return to the band’s heavier roots following their last album, Sonic Highways, which had a much more varied sound.

Wolf Alice – Yuk Foo

Wolf Alice are back! This grungy and frankly explosive track is their first release since their debut album, My Love Is Cool, was released in 2015.  It’s a massive song and I can’t wait to hear more!

PVRIS – What’s Wrong

The hype for PVRIS’s upcoming album All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell just keeps building following the release of this brilliant latest single.

Hands Like Houses – Drift

Hands Like Houses recently moved from Rise Records over to Hopeless Records, and what better way for them to celebrate than release a new single?

The Devil Wears Prada – Worldwide

The Devil Wears Prada dropped the latest single from their last full length record, Transit Blues, and it sounds great.

Good Charlotte ft. Kellin Quinn – Keep Swingin’

Taken from their latest album Youth Authority, Good Charlotte released the video for this anthemic track which gives a solid middle finger to the band’s haters.

Trash Boat – Tring Quarry

If you want brand-spanking new British pop punk, then Trash Boat are the band for you.  Here’s their latest single, taken from their album Nothing I Write You Can Change What You’ve Been Through.

With Confidence – Archers

I’m a fan of With Confidence, having featured them in this series before, so I was pretty happy to see the video for this track hit my YouTube subscription box!

Make Them Suffer – Fireworks

Make Them Suffer are an Australian five-piece band, and if you’re a fan of altrocklife you’ll probably know that I’m a big fan of bands which combine male and female vocals.  Even during this track, the dreamy female backing vocals provided by Booka Nile contrast brilliantly with male vocalist Sean Harmanis, so from first listen Fireworks was a winner for me.


What do you think of these tracks?  Are there any awesome singles I missed?  Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

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Celebrate #Pride2017 with the ultimate altrocklife pride playlist

The month of June is celebrated as LGBTQ+ Pride month across the world.  Its goal is to celebrate the progress being made towards equality for all LGBTQ+ people, as well as highlight the many systematic barriers left to tackle before full equality can be achieved.  The point of pride is to raise awareness of local and national issues affecting the local community, and demonstrate the LGBTQ+ community’s spirit of togetherness and cooperation.  It’s also a great opportunity to have a good ol’ knees up.

I’m lucky enough to be attending Bourne Free at the end of the month, and in preparation for the celebrations I’ve put together a playlist of my favourite pride related songs.  Some of these tracks will be by LGBTQ+ artists, some will be classic gay anthems, and some will simply be fantastic party tracks I’ve heard during my many nights at gay bars and clubs.

Some of these tracks bring back some fantastic memories for me.  Work Bitch reminds me of Bournemouth University’s Student Pride in 2016, when the Performing Arts society performed a fantastic dance routine to the track.  It takes me right back to my student days!  Woman’s World harks back to one of my best friends and ex-housemate Jason, who loves Cher with a passion.

Cool For The Summer is all I heard when I was out clubbing and at house parties when the track was released in 2015, and one of my favourite gay bars in Bournemouth is named after the classic ABBA track, Does Your Mother Know.  Plus, All The Things She Said is a classic gay anthem, as is I’m Coming Out and Proud Mary. I’m looking forward to getting this playlist on the go at Bourne Free this year.


What do you think of this playlist? Did I miss any essential tracks? Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

Review: How Did We Get So Dark?

Today I’m extremely excited to review How Did We Get So Dark?, the second full length album by Brighton rock duo Royal Blood.  This band burst onto the scene in late 2014 with the release of their eponymous first album, and their latest record is its highly anticipated follow-up.  The band released its first single, Lights Out, back in April, and you can watch the brilliant music video here:

Now on to the record.  The album opens with the title track, a strong opener with undulating bass throughout the verses and grungy riffs adding depth to the chorus.  It features a great outro, with fantastic drum fills and staccato backing vocals repeating the album name over and over again, which adds a creepy vibe to the song.

Then follows the lead single, Lights Out, arguably one of Royal Blood’s best tracks yet, with a catchy chorus easy to sing – or shout – along to, and a fantastic bass solo.  Next is the album’s second single, I Only Lie When I Love You, a grungy track positively dripping with swagger and attitude.  The lyrics discuss relationships and break-ups, which are a consistent lyrical theme throughout the record.  But then, isn’t love and loss present regularly in everyone’s lives?  Vocalist Mike Kerr’s voice remains as strong as ever, switching between sounding soft and emotive and louder, on the verge of shouting, with ease.  Plus, the drumming throughout the record, provided by Ben Thatcher, is masterful.

Hook, Line & Sinker is this album’s Ten Tonne Skeleton: it’s hands down the best song on the record, with fantastic catchy lyrics and imaginative instrumentals unmatched by anything else the band have put out.  It was pretty difficult for me to list my highlights of this 10-song album, because the entire record is fantastic, but Hook, Line & Sinker is truly on another level.

To me, How Did We Get So Dark? is reminiscent of Biffy Clyro’s work: the drums layered with additional percussion and higher pitched backing vocals draw parallels to their Opposites and Ellipsis albums.  Plus, the bass towards the end of Lights Out has a distinct Black Chandelier vibe.

Recently Royal Blood explained to NME that they took inspiration from David Bowie to create this album, but to me it seems clear that their influences are many and varied.  This band have been compared to Queens Of The Stone Age and Muse amongst others, and their latest album sounds like they’re trying to live up to those massive comparisons.

Overall, this record is dark and moody, and a fantastic follow-up to their first album.  My only criticism is that, at 35 minutes long, there isn’t nearly enough of How Did We Get So Dark? to keep me occupied until Royal Blood release their next album.  This band are a fantastic example of home-grown UK talent, and I’ll be following their future success very closely.

Highlights: I Only Lie When I Love You, She’s Creeping, Look Like You Know, Hook, Line & Sinker

10 great bands to see live in winter 2017

If you’ve been following alternative music news as closely as I have, you’ll know that there are some awesome bands set to play UK tours towards the end of this year.  Today I thought I’d run through some of these upcoming live dates, whether I’m planning on attending one of the gigs or just wish I could.

New Found Glory – September/October 2017, dates here

Pop punk legends New Found Glory, who are celebrating the band’s 20th year, will be visiting our shores in September/October of this year.  Their latest record was released in April, so it will be exciting for fans to hear some of those newer tracks live alongside older classics.

Metallica – October 2017, dates here

Metal giants Metallica will be returning to UK shores this October, but alas, the general sale for all of their dates have already sold out.  Bad luck to everyone who missed out!

Enter Shikari – November 2017, dates here

I already covered the news of Enter Shikari’s upcoming UK tour last month, but I had to include them in this round-up because their line-up is absolutely fantastic.  Lower Than Atlantis put on a great show, and Astroid Boys are an innovative up-and-coming band, so I’m certain this tour will be one to remember.  I’ve already seen Enter Shikari live four times, and their performances are always incredible, so I’d love to make it five in November at the Nottingham Motorpoint Arena.

Royal Blood – November 2017, dates here

Royal Blood will be performing their first ever headline arena dates this year, and I can’t wait to see them fill the huge venues with their awesome sound.  The band recently announced At The Drive In and Black Honey as their support acts, so I’m certain these dates will not disappoint.

Alice Cooper – November 2017, dates here

Rock ‘n’ roll giant Alice Cooper will be bringing his incredible live performances and stage shows back to the UK in November of this year.  If you attend one of his gigs, it’s certain to be a night you won’t forget in a hurry.

PVRIS, November 2017, dates here

PVRIS are set to release their upcoming second album, All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell in August, and a few months later they’ll be celebrating its release with a short run of UK dates.

Good Charlotte – November/December 2017, dates here

Good Charlotte’s latest album, Youth Authority, got a decent write-up here on altrocklife, so it would be awesome to see the band perform some of their new tracks live.  Plus, let’s be real, this band are pop punk legends, and it would be a nostalgia-filled trip to the past to see Good Charlotte perform live.

The Kooks – November/December 2017, dates here

Pop rock legends The Kooks are doing a Best Of tour at the end of this year, and it would be awesome to see them live.  Most people I know grew up listening to The Kooks, so I’m sure it would be fantastic to see them perform their greatest hits.

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – December 2017, dates here

Everyone who’s seen The Rattlesnakes live know that this group put on an incredible show, and I’m extremely lucky to have already bought my ticket to see them in Nottingham on December 6th.  It’ll be my first time seeing The Rattlesnakes, and long term readers of altrocklife will know how long I’ve been waiting to see this band.  If you’ve got the opportunity to see them live, you’ll regret it if you don’t take it.

Marilyn Manson – December 2017, dates here

Marilyn Manson is one of the most infamous musicians on the scene, with a solid fanbase built over the past 20+ years.  You’d have to be pretty lucky to catch him during this short string of UK dates.


Have you got tickets for any of these tours?  Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

Review: Last Young Renegade

All Time Low are a four piece pop rock band from Baltimore, who seem to have been around on the scene forever, but in reality formed back in 2003.  Their mainstream, worldwide success begun with the release of single Weightless in 2009, and from then on the band’s popularity has skyrocketed.  They’ve played festivals such as Vans Warped Tour and Reading & Leeds multiple times, as well as supporting bands like Fall Out Boy and A Day To Remember on their own tours.  And now, the band have released their seventh full length record, Last Young Renegade.

Hype for the record began to build with the release of its first single, Dirty Laundry – you can watch the video for the track here:

The release of this single signalled a shift in style from the band.  Music by All Time Low has always had pop influences, but Dirty Laundry was different: it features more electronically distorted guitars, autotuned vocals and programmed drums, until the final chorus kicks in towards the end of the track.  Similar effects also featured in Last Young Renegade‘s other singles, Life Of The Party and Nice2KnoU.

Lyrically, this album is the most personal All Time Low have ever put out.  Explaining the influences behind Last Young Renegade in a Facebook post, the band wrote:

Last Young Renegade is a … collection of songs written from the perspective of the other side of the mirror. In writing this record, I delved into all of the different versions of me that other people might have met over the years, through the ups and downs, in the public eye and behind closed doors.
I gave those other sides of me a persona, and a name, and The Last Young Renegade was born. It became a symbol for those characters and allowed me to comfortably write about some things that I’m not as comfortable talking about openly. This is a very personal record, our favorite that we’ve written.

So, with all the hard work that seems to have gone into the record, I was expecting big things when I sat down to listen to Last Young Renegade, but honestly, I was disappointed.  There’s nothing terrible about this record, don’t get me wrong, but there’s also little in the way of exciting new sounds within the album’s 10 tracks.  The production is so perfect and squeaky clean that it makes the record feel soulless, and much less charming than All Time Low’s previous records.  Every chorus seems to follow the same template – they feature catchy repetitive vocals, crashing drums, synth details and layered backing vocals, which get old very quickly.

There seems to be little to distinguish All Time Low from the pop bands they inspired, such as Five Seconds Of Summer, any more.  I’m sure that the singles from Last Young Renegade will perform fairly well commercially, with a decent amount of airplay, and the record itself may also perform well in the charts.  But is it likely to top their highest charting album, 2011’s foray into pop, Dirty Work?  I’m not so sure.   I reckon the singles are the album’s best offerings, which makes sense from a commercial point of view, but my hopes were raised by Dirty Laundry and Life Of The Party, and then scuppered by the album tracks.

All Time Low is a band that formed straight out of high school, and now its members are fully grown adults – maybe it’s time for them to move on?  Last Young Renegade is simply a pop album to me: nothing exciting, experimental or inventive in sight, and an entirely forgettable listening experience.

Highlights: Nice2KnoU, Life Of The Party, Nightmares