15 albums that will stay with me forever – 2010 vs 2017

Does anyone else remember Facebook notes? Back in the early 2010s they were all the rage in my friendship group.  People would tag their friends in questionnaires about inane topics like their favourite colour, and I probably filled out about 4 notes a week at my peak.

Nowadays I know that kind of thing is pretty cringey, but in 2010 I was merely an annoying little 15 year old with too high an opinion of herself, so I was under the impression that literally EVERYONE wanted to know all about whether I’d kiss the last person I sent a text to.  (Note: usually the last person I’d sent a text to was my Mum, just to demonstrate how thrilling my answers were.)

Well, earlier this week I was reminded about the existence of notes, when a note I had written back in 2010 popped up in my Memories page on Facebook.  The title read 15 albums ❤️, and the ‘rules’ that invariably came along with a Facebook note read as follows:

The rules: Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen albums you’ve heard that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Tag fifteen friends, including me, because I’m interested in seeing what albums my friends choose.

When I read over the list of albums I’d chosen, I laughed to myself. Most of these albums didn’t stick with me for much more than a couple of years, let alone a lifetime.  So today I thought I’d show you my list of 15 albums from 2010, and compare with albums I’d choose today.

2010:

  1. Welcome to the Black Parade – My Chemical Romance
  2. This is War – 30 Seconds to Mars
  3. The Flame in All of us – Thousand Foot Krutch
  4. One-X – Three Days Grace
  5. Infinity on High – Fall Out Boy
  6. Streets of Gold – 3OH!3
  7. Betrayed – Lostprophets
  8. The Defamation of Strickland Banks – Plan B
  9. In Your Honour – Foo Fighters
  10. Meteora – Linkin Park
  11. Black Holes and Revelations – Muse
  12. Only Revolutions – Biffy Clyro
  13. 21st Century Breakdown – Green Day
  14. Curtain Call – Eminem
  15. In Silico – Pendulum

Well, isn’t this list a throwback? It really demonstrates how little my music taste has changed in seven years, as to be honest I still listen to tracks from 11 out of these 15 albums on a regular basis.

The four I’ve left behind? Lostprophet’s Betrayed, for obvious reasons – after Iain Watkins was convicted of being a paedophile, I deleted all of their music from my iTunes account and I’ve never listened to them since.  The knowledge that Watkins had been doing unspeakable things to kids whilst making that music makes me sick to my stomach.

I’ve also moved on from Eminem’s Curtain Call and Plan B’s The Defamation of Strickland Banks.  I’m not massively into rap any more, and besides, I’ve grown out of Eminem spitting bars about how he’d like to murder his mother, ex-girlfriend Kim, or any other lady who takes his fancy – violence against women isn’t my favourite genre.

Plus, Streets of Gold by 3OH!3 is essentially a 2010 time capsule.  It perfectly captured the music and sentiments of the moment, so I honestly feel like I’m 15 again every time one of its tracks comes on shuffle, and it’s all just a bit cringe.  To be fair, though, the line “tell your boyfriend, if he says he’s got beef, that I’m a vegetarian and I ain’t fuckin’ scared of him” is still lyrical genius.

To be fair to my 15 year old self, the rest of the albums on this list still hold up today.  Meteora is still an amazing Linkin Park album 14 years since it was released, and if I ever feel the urge to listen to some drum and bass, In Silico is usually the record I turn to.  I don’t listen to Thousand Foot Krutch or Three Days Grace very often any more, but I still feel pretty nostalgic for those albums, so I don’t feel bad at having included them.  Plus, my first ever proper gig was to see Green Day on their 21st Century Breakdown tour, so that album will always have a special place in my heart.

But with no further ado, what are the 15 albums that will stick with me forever – 2017 edition?

2017:

  1. Blossom – Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes
  2. Puzzle – Biffy Clyro
  3. Ceremonials – Florence & The Machine
  4. All Hope Is Gone – Slipknot
  5. Minutes to Midnight – Linkin Park
  6. Toxicity – System of a Down
  7. Bones – Young Guns
  8. Wasting Light – Foo Fighters
  9. A Flash Flood of Colour – Enter Shikari
  10. Folie à Deux – Fall Out Boy
  11. Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow – We Are The Ocean
  12. Royal Blood – Royal Blood
  13. Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not – Arctic Monkeys
  14. Black Holes and Revelations – Muse
  15. Nightmare – Avenged Sevenfold

I’ve gotta say, this was a seriously difficult list to compile.  The thing I found hardest was trying to discern in my mind between albums I’m obsessed with right now, and albums that hold a special place in my heart, and I’ll likely love for a long time.

For that reason, records like If I’m The Devil… by Letlive., Bad Vibrations by A Day to Remember and Asymmetry by Mallory Knox didn’t quite make the cut – whilst I love those records, I’m not 100% convinced that I’ll still love them as much in years to come.

You’ll notice that only one album is still on this list: Black Holes and Revelations by Muse.  I struggled with choosing a Muse album, because I love all of their records for different reasons, but Black Holes and Revelations is one I always go back to without fail.

There is a fair bit of repetition of artists on this list, though: Foo Fighters, Muse, Fall Out Boy, Linkin Park and Biffy Clyro all make a reappearance, even if my favoured records on their discographies have changed a bit.  In fairness, most of these bands have put out at least two records since 2010, so I had a broader spectrum of choice.

And what of the new appearances on my list? About a year after I wrote this note, in 2011, I started listening to bands like Avenged Sevenfold, System of a Down, Young Guns and Slipknot.  Without being too sappy, they honestly changed my life and the way I listen to and interact with music, and now a lot of my music taste revolves around these three acts.

Whenever any of the tracks from the above 15 albums come on shuffle, I feel relieved that my iPod has come up with a good shuffle, for once, and ignored the many years worth of crap music which still resides in my iTunes library. (Note to self: clear it out, you’ll feel better for it.)

I know the premise of the 15 albums note is flawed, because there’s truly no way of knowing how you’ll feel about an album or artist in years to come. Hell, nobody could predict that Iain Watkins would turn out to be a paedo.  So maybe in another seven years, in 2024, I’ll take on 15 albums ❤️ round three, and we can see how my tastes have evolved – or not – yet again!


What are your 15 albums that will stay with you forever? What do you think of my selection? Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

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Review: Broken Machine (Deluxe)

Nothing But Thieves are one of my favourite British bands at the moment.  Their debut self-titled album exploded onto the alternative rock scene in 2015, and the band have seen themselves rocketed towards more and more recognition and success.  To be fair, any band that’s ever opened for Muse has to be pretty special.  Nothing But Thieves released the first single for Broken Machine back in May; you can watch the video for Amsterdam below:

And now, on to the album.  Broken Machine begins with the incredible grungy drum and bass-led intro to I Was Just A Kid, which helps to set the tone for the rest of the album: this band are unpredictable, and I love their experimental sound.

Second single Sorry is one of the slower tracks on the record, but fans of Nothing But Thieves’s debut will know that this band like to keep their listeners guessing.  The chant of “I’ve waited for this, I’m ready for it” contrasts with the apologetic nature of the song, suggesting feelings of redemption.  It’s followed by the album title track, with electronic-sounding drums and a looping backing vocal which then explodes into an unexpected riff at around the 1:10 mark.

Potentially one of the most experimental tracks on the album, Live Like Animals, is also one of my favourites.  Vocalist Conor Mason experiments with more spoken lyrical delivery, and the crunching riffs are matched by buzzing synths.  By the second chorus, I was ready to get up and start dancing – I can see this track going down well at gigs and festivals.

Hell, Yeah is a change of pace, bringing down the mood slightly with it’s chilled, acoustic instrumentals and Mason’s high, wailing voice and silky delivery on the chorus.  This is followed by the equally down-beat Afterlife; Philip Blake’s bass is undulating and adds a slightly creepy, supernatural vibe to the track.

I reviewed the deluxe version of the album over on Spotify, which features an extra four tracks, including an acoustic version of Sorry and a piano version of Particles.  I really enjoyed the two new tracks, and I’m always a sucker for an acoustic version of a heavier song, so if you are too, I’d definitely recommend picking up the deluxe version of Broken Machine.

I know I already mentioned this, but I thought it was worth reiterating that Nothing But Thieves are probably one of the best British bands currently putting out music.  Their combination of electrifying riffs, dreamy synths and strings, complex and emotional lyrics, and Mason’s bewitching voice is unlike any other band out there at the moment.  If you enjoyed their debut effort – and let it be noted that I don’t trust you if you didn’t enjoy it – then you will definitely also enjoy Broken Machine.  

Highlights: Live Like Animals, Particles, Get Better, Particles – Piano Version

Review: All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell

PVRIS are one of my favourite newer bands.  The Massachusetts three piece exploded onto the scene back in 2014 with the awesome single St. Patrick, followed up at the end of that year by their debut album, White Noise.  PVRIS’s sound combines post hardcore guitars and drumming with pop and electronic influences, seamlessly blending genres and bringing something a little bit different to the table.

White Noise is a brilliant debut record, so I was extremely excited to hear the lead single for their second album, Heaven, back in April.  You can watch the music video for the track here:

I fell in love with this track from first listen, so it’s safe to say that I had high expectations for All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell, which was released on Friday after a short delay to their original release date.  Spoiler alert: if you enjoyed the singles, then you will definitely enjoy this record.

The album opens with Heaven, which sets the tone for the rest of the record with its huge chorus.  Even though this album can’t really be described as heavy instrumentally, and although the pop and synth sound has definitely been dialled up in this latest record, PVRIS’s lyrical content has brought AWKOHAWNOH to another level.

Discussing toxic and unhealthy relationships as well as vocalist Lynn Gunn’s own mental state, this record definitely isn’t a lighthearted listen.  Lines such as “I don’t belong to anyone else” from Anyone Else and “don’t need a metaphor for you to know I’m miserable” from What’s Wrong are backed with raw emotion, Gunn firmly stepping into the role of front woman on this record.  Whilst White Noise dealt with mature lyrical themes as well, AWKOHAWNOH takes those struggles, shoves them into the spotlight and tackles them head-on.

Even amongst these heavy hitting lyrical themes, the catchy and inevitably crowd pleasing instrumentals are hard to find fault with.  Lead guitarist Alex Babinski and bass guitarist Brian MacDonald shine on this album, creating tracks which will fill dancefloors at rock clubs and energise crowds at gigs and festivals.  Highlights include the beautiful, dreamy harp at the end of Walk Alone, the crashing riffs during the chorus of No Mercy, and the up-tempo album closer Nola 1.

One criticism I have of the lead-up to AWKOHAWNOH’s release is that PVRIS have already released five out of the 10 album tracks as singles.  Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy hearing new music by the band, but the excitement of listening to a new record for the first time was dampened down slightly considering I’d already heard 50% of its content.  Maybe this means there’ll be a deluxe version of the album, like there was for White Noise?  I’ll be keeping an eye out to see if that could be a possibility.

Overall, in case it wasn’t evident from the tone of this review, I absolutely LOVE All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell.  The only downside to PVRIS releasing this masterful body of work is that there’s now yet another contender for my album of the year. You guys aren’t making my job of choosing the best record of 2017 any easier, you know.

Highlights: Anyone Else, What’s Wrong, Walk Alone, Separate

Lifestyle: altrocklife’s favourite UK tattoo artists

Hello altrocklifers! As you may be aware, I’m a pretty big fan of tattoos and tattoo culture.  I currently have five tattoos, with plans for many more – a sentiment that I’m sure other tattooed people will relate to.  My Instagram feed is chock full of tattoo artists, giving me ink envy every time I check the app.  Today I thought I’d look over some of my favourite UK tattoo artists, and the tattoos I’d love to get from them some day, when I manage to squeeze into their massively busy books.

Danny Charles a.k.a. True Gent Tattoos

One from yesterday @losttimetattoo was really nice to use some colour in this one!

A post shared by Danny 'Leslie' Charles (@truegenttattoos) on

Danny Charles is one of the few artists actually based anywhere near me, in Grantham, Lincolnshire.  He mainly does black and grey work, but I absolutely love his occasional splashes of colour, such as in the example above.  I don’t have any particular tattoos in mind when I think of getting work done by Danny Charles, but adding work by him to my collection is a necessity.

Abi Hack

Ever since I saw Abi Hack’s first floral knife tattoo, I knew I had to get a floral knife by her.  Hopefully I’ll be making the trip to see her in Essex sometime soon.

Paula Castle

The full lady from this weekend. I have spaces late September email me paulacastletattoos@gmail.com to book #ragingswancardiff

A post shared by Paula Castle 🌱 (@paulacastletattoos) on

Paula Castle is an absolute genius!  I absolutely love her tattoos of women, and I was desperate to get her recent Aphrodite tattoo, but unfortunately somebody else beat me to it.  I’d love her to ink a Greek goddess on me some day.

Becca a.k.a. s6girl

Becca makes the most PERFECT bird tattoos.  I have a lot of bird tattoos planned, and if I have my way all of them would be by her.

Chrissy Hills a.k.a. epicterror

Egyptian cat from my flash today for Josie! Thanks for coming to get this one!

A post shared by Chrissy Hills Tattoo (@epicterror) on

Chrissy Hills’ neotraditional style is absolutely magical, and I’m a huge fan of pretty much all of her work.

Xam the Spaniard

Xam the Spaniard is another artist who creates fantastic lady face tattoos.  His style is so crisp and clean, and I need his work on my body some day!

Rebecca Vincent

Shoulders, shoulders, shoulders.

A post shared by Rebecca Vincent (@rebecca_vincent_tattoo) on

All of Rebecca Vincent’s work is absolutely gorgeous! I personally prefer getting colour tattoos, but I’d make an exception for this wonderful artist.  Her line work is exquisite, and I’m always a sucker for floral/botanical tattoos.

Ashley Luka

Just finished this for the lovely Felicity 😊 thanks!!

A post shared by Ashley Luka 🌱 (@ashleyluka) on

Ashley Luca’s style is absolutely beautiful, and I love her animal tattoos.  I’d love to get a pet portrait by her, or some other exotic animal, or just any living creature to be honest, I’m not picky.

Matt Webb

Knee cap done today 🤘🏼 thanks for making the trip mate. #tattoo #art #igdaily #kneetattoo #rosetattoo #rose

A post shared by Matt Webb – Bishop Tattoo Co. (@mattwebbtattoo) on

This artist is probably best known for his amazing rose tattoos.  Roses are one of my favourite flowers, and it’s one of my favourite fragrances, so even though scratch-and-sniff tattoos are not yet a reality, I’d still love to add a rose by Matt Webb to my collection.

Jean Le Roux

Jean Le Roux’s style speaks for itself.  His work is absolutely gorgeous!


Who are your favourite UK tattoo artists? Do you have work by any of my favourite artists mentioned above?  Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

News: Marmozets announce October UK tour

UK five-piece Marmozets, known for their awesome mathsy-grunge rock, have been suspiciously quiet.  Since the release of their debut album, The Weird And Wonderful, back in 2014, and the accompanying tour to celebrate the release, news of the Yorkshire band has dried up.

Thankfully, the silence has now been broken, as yesterday Marmozets announced a tour in which they’ll be touring the UK this October.  The band had already scheduled a short run of dates later this month, finished up with sets at Reading & Leeds Festivals, so these October dates will come as good news to any fans who missed out on the August tour.

The announcement of new tour dates begs the question: will we have a new Marmozets album to look forward to? I seriously hope so, because I’ve been craving new music from the band for a long time.  Plus, I really enjoyed seeing Marmozets perform at Leeds Festival back in 2015, so it would be awesome to see them again.  I might have to make the trip back to Bournemouth to catch them at The Old Fire Station.  If you’d like to catch the band in October, check out the list of dates here:

  • 17/10 – Welly Club, Hull
  • 18/10 – Empire, Middlesborough
  • 19/10 – Saint Luke’s, Glasgow
  • 21/10 – Brudenell Social Club (community room), Leeds
  • 22/10 – Academy 3, Manchester
  • 23/10 – O2 Academy, Birmingham
  • 25/10 – The Garage, London
  • 27/10 – Arts Centre, Norwich
  • 28/10 – The Fleece, Bristol
  • 29/10 – The Old Fire Station, Bournemouth
  • 30/10 – Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth

If you want to catch the band on any of these dates, you can buy tickets from 9am on Friday.


Are you hoping to see Marmozets in August or October?  Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

Lifestyle: altrocklife’s first EVER job interview

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that I had a job interview earlier this week.  What you won’t know, however, is that interview was my first ever proper job interview! I won’t count the 10 minute interview I had for a shop sales assistant position back in 2012, because my friend and her mum both worked at the shop so I was basically guaranteed to get hired.

It’s safe to say that I was absolutely terrified.  I do get nervous speaking to new people for the first time, and I wasn’t completely sure that I’d done enough preparation.  Plus, the interview was conducted via video online, so a little different to the simulated face-to-face interviews I’d taken part in at university.  Today I thought I’d go over my expectations of the interview vs. the reality.

1 – have some notes in eye view

I think the main advantage of being interviewed over the internet is that you can keep notes of some of the main points you want to cover for reference.  I imagine it’s probably frowned upon to take notes into a face-to-face interview, but you can get away with it if the interview is online!  At the end of the interview I got the dreaded “do you have any questions for me?” question, but thankfully I wrote down what I wanted to ask, just in case nerves caused them to slip my mind.

2 – have examples which could work for a variety of questions

Often in interviews, the interviewer will ask you to describe a scenario in which you worked well as a team, worked well on your own, or demonstrated a particular skill.  I’d already prepared answers for those first two questions, and was completely ready for them – that is, until my interviewer didn’t ask those, and instead asked me to give an example of a time as a journalist where I didn’t take no for an answer.  Thankfully, I was able to take the example I had prepared for a different answer and focus on a different aspect of it, to make the answer fit the question. Phew!

3 – be honest

I would expect that this is an obvious answer, but I thought I’d touch on it just in case.  As part of the interview I had to complete an exercise which required five steps for the answer.  As my interviewer was going over my response, he asked me whether I thought, in hindsight, there was anything I’d missed off of the list.  Frantically I looked over my response, trying to work out what the interviewer was alluding to, but I couldn’t come up with anything.  I admitted as much to the interviewer, asking him to clarify, and as it turns out he looked over my response again he realised that I had actually covered everything he wanted – just out of the ideal order.

If I’d tried to invent something else that could have fit into the answer, I think it would have been blatantly obvious, and would have shown me up for being unsure of myself.  Plus, I could have ended up saying something completely incorrect in the heat of the moment.  I stood by the answers I originally gave, and in the end, it worked out for me.

4 – get into the zone

Even though I was sat in my bedroom whilst being interviewed, I wanted the atmosphere to feel as professional as possible.  I wore office smart clothes (obviously), made my bed, cleared the background of my dirty laundry hamper, and generally tidied up.  I immediately felt like I was in a more productive working environment, and hopefully that came across in the interview.

5 – don’t be afraid to ask for time to think

At one point, I was asked a question which came completely out of the blue – I had no idea that this sort of question would come up!  In order to organise my thoughts, I asked my interviewer if he didn’t mind me taking a minute to think, and he said yes.  This gave me time to properly structure my response, rather than potentially ending up rambling about topics not totally related to the question.  I was taught this trick by my career’s adviser back at university, and they believe asking for a minute to think about your response makes you look considered, rational, and able to handle pressure.


So there you have it! Was this advice helpful? Do you have any other useful interview tips?  Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

#RIPChester – altrocklife’s tribute to Chester Bennington

I’m sure that everybody reading this post will be aware that on July 20th, the lead vocalist of Linkin Park, Chester Bennington, passed away at the age of 41.  He was married and had six children.  Fans of the band and of alternative music in general flocked to social media to pay their respects.  Now, the official Linkin Park website opens on a statement from the band, and an additional page on the site collates all of the outpourings of love and grief expressed via the hashtag #RIPChester.

I have umm-ed and ahh-ed about writing this blog post, not least because it’s been almost three weeks since Chester passed away.  However, it wouldn’t feel right for me to carry on blogging as if nothing major has happened.  Plus, I think it is important for as many people as possible to bring attention to issues surrounding suicide, in the hope that others could find help and support.

When I first heard the news, it’s safe to say that the first emotion I felt was complete shock.  Although Chester made his demons known to everybody through his lyrics, nobody expected that he would succumb to them at the relatively young age of 41.  A friend sent me a Facebook message expressing her shock, and I immediately started scouring the web for more sources, desperate in the hope that it was all a massive hoax, and that Chester would tweet his surprise at the apparent news of his demise.  I then heard the news broadcast on the radio, and I knew it had to be true.

Chester Bennington was the voice of my teenage years.  I was convinced I was an outsider and a freak, and to escape those feelings, it was Linkin Park that gave me comfort.  I was the stereotypical Linkin Park fan, who would blast Hybrid Theory, Meteora and Minutes To Midnight in her headphones to hide from the rest of the world.  As the band’s sound evolved, my music taste changed with it, and I started to enjoy the more electronic sounds of Living Things and A Thousand Suns.  Earlier today I listened to The Messenger and felt myself relating the lyrics to Chester’s passing.

To me, Chester’s passing is on a par with the passing of Robin Williams back in 2014 – both men were childhood heroes that stuck with me into adulthood, and I think it’s safe to say that the world is a little bit darker without them in it.  All I can say is that Chester Bennington was an incredible songwriter and a voice for the downtrodden, and he will be sorely missed.

If you’re in the UK and you are struggling with depression, anxiety or pervasive negative thoughts, you can seek help via Mind, Samaritans, your local NHS mental health services (though there are often lengthy waiting lists) or the registry of private counsellors.  Remember that you are not alone, and that you are deserving of help and support.

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altrocklife’s birthday music haul

Good afternoon altrocklifers! After taking a month out to focus on job hunting, I’m back with another blog update.  Last month I celebrated my 22nd birthday, and what better way to celebrate than to go and spend lots of money in Lush and HMV?  I decided against detailing all of the products I bought in Lush, as they were almost all items I’ve spoken about on this blog before, so instead I decided to go over all of the music I bought, and how I’m enjoying listening to the albums so far.

Young Guns – Ones and Zeros

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I reviewed this record back when it was released in 2015, and I wasn’t massively excited about it back then.  I think I was comparing it to their previous record, Bones, too much, which meant I wasn’t able to appreciate Ones And Zeros for what it is.  I’ve listened to this album in my car a few times, and I’ve really enjoyed driving along to it – it’s a solid record in its own right, and I’d recommend anybody who wasn’t sure about this album back in 2015 to give it another go.

The Amazons – The Amazons

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I couldn’t resist picking up The Amazons’ debut album: over the past few months their tracks Black Magic and Junk Food Forever have had regular appearances in my Spotify daily mix, as well as getting a decent amount of airplay on BBC Radio 1.  This record is a really solid debut album, and I’ve really enjoyed listening to it.

Lorde – Melodrama

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Anyone who knows me knows that I am basically in love with Lorde.  She’s got a beautiful voice, creates great electronic music, and comes across as a total babe in interviews.  I knew during my first listen of Green Light that Melodrama was going to be an incredible album, and I was right!

Royal Blood – How Did We Get So Dark?

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I loved this album when I reviewed it in June, so I absolutely had to buy a hard copy so I could listen to it on my daily commute.  Hook, Line & Sinker has become one of my favourite tracks of the year so far.

Imagine Dragons – Evolve

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Imagine Dragons are like a gift that keeps on giving.  It’s been just over two years since they released their second full-length album Smoke + Mirrors, so for the band to put out another record so soon is no mean feat.  This album probably has the most electronic influences of their entire discography, but it’s still a solid album, and I really enjoyed my first listen.  I’m looking forward to hearing more of it over the coming weeks.

The Pretty Reckless – Who You Selling For

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I also enjoyed this album when I reviewed it last year, so I was excited to buy a physical copy and stick it in my car.

Lower Than Atlantis – Safe In Sound

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I wasn’t completely enamoured when this record was released earlier this year, but much like The Amazons, I’ve heard a number of tracks from this album on my Spotify daily mix, and slowly but surely Safe In Sound has grown on me.


What do you think of these albums?  Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

Review: Hydrograd

Afternoon altrocklifers! I’m currently away enjoying myself at Bourne Free pride festival, but luckily for you I took some time out on Friday to review the latest record by five piece Iowa band Stone Sour.  Excitement for the band’s sixth studio album, Hydrograd, started to build back in April with the release of lead single, Fabuless.  You can watch the music video here:

The album itself opens with a cheeky “hello, you bastards” at the beginning of introductory instrumental track YSIF, which summarises Stone Sour’s alternative rock style in a two minute package.  Great riffs, churning bass and inventive drum fills form the meat of the track, with electronic samples, distorted backing vocals and gentle piano adding something a bit special.  Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Corey Taylor is front and centre throughout the record, and that makes sense: Stone Sour is very much his baby, the long-running side project to keep the Slipknot vocalist occupied.

I can understand why Stone Sour decided to release Song #3 as the second single for the album.  It’s easily one of the best – and most radio friendly – on the record, with fantastic lyrics, great drums, and a fantastic guitar solo wrapped up in a fairly punchy four minute package.

Speaking of Taylor, his vocals are just as strong as ever throughout this album.  He switches between melodic verses, occasional crooning, and jarring shouts with ease that betrays his experience.  Since the departure of Taylor’s Slipknot co-member Jim Root back in 2014, this is the first full length record with new lead guitarist Christian Martucci, and he fits into the line-up extremely well.

Hydrograd features fifteen tracks and clocks in at around an hour long, which more than makes up for the four year wait since the second half of House Of Gold & Bones Part Two was released.  Honestly, there are a couple of more generic tracks which could have been shaved off the track list without negatively effecting the album, such as Rose Red Violent Blue (This Song Is Dumb & So Am I) and the country inspired St. Marie.

Overall, if you consider yourself a fan of Stone Sour, then I think you’ll be pleased with their latest musical offering.  Is Hydrograd as ambitious as their two part concept albums?  Maybe not. But the fact remains that this album is a solid alternative rock offering, full of strong single-worthy tracks accompanied by a number of more chilled ballads.  So whilst their latest record doesn’t quite reach the dizzying heights of House Of Gold & Bones Part 1 & 2, it’s still a great offering in its own right.  I mean, let’s be real, is Corey Taylor capable of producing anything other than fantastic?  I think not.

Highlights: Knievel Has Landed, Song #3, The Witness Trees, Thank God It’s Over, Mercy, Somebody Stole My Eyes

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.