New Music Spotlight: Tarah Who?

Tarah Who? are a three-piece rock band with undeniable 90s grunge vibes.  Their latest EP, Half Middle Child Syndrome, was put out in June of this year, and it was produced by Jason Orme who is possibly best known for his work with Alanis Morissette.  I caught up with vocalist/guitarist Tarah G. Carpenter (TGC), bass/backing vocalist Matthew Peltcher (MP), and drummer Coralie Hervé (CH) to find out a bit more about this up-and-coming trio.

Tara Who?

What led you down the path of making music? Is there anything or anyone in particular that inspired you to become a musician/band?

TGC: No, not really, I never really thought of it. I just wanted to play the drums, so I started doing it with my friends, then I played the bass with other people, and there I was, playing bass in one band and drums in another band. I was secretly writing songs on the guitar, being too shy at the idea of being a singer-songwriter. When it started happening though, i was just going step after step. I never really thought of it. I was and still am just going one step at a time. It was not planned a choice that I remember making. I was just doing it because I liked it and I still do.
MP:  Looking back, all I ever wanted to do is either listen to or make music.  Deep down I had an incredible fascination with instruments and music in general.  The desire to make music just comes out of you.  I remember the first time I plucked a bass, heard and fell in love with the sound it made, rehearsed with a band and performed in front of an audience because I always had wanted to do those things.
CH: I was doing a lot of sports but I had a problem with my heels and needed to stop. I began music, drums, and never stopped. I’m really happy that my parents and my entourage supported me and help me realise my dream.

How do you feel about your latest release now that it’s out in the open?

TGC: I feel great! I am really happy about it. Those songs are really fun to play live and it’s always nice to see how people react. People seem to love “ACHE” live, but I have heard that “Garden Of Chloé(s)” was people’s favourite online. The performances really bring those songs to life, so if you enjoy listening to the EP you are going to really love our shows.
MP:  We have received a lot of positive feedback from Half Middle Child Syndrome.  The songs fit in remarkably well in our live sets.  The E.P. is definitely “angrier” than previous material but it seems to really get people into the songs.  It’s raw, honest emotion and I think fans appreciate it.

Where did you draw your inspiration from when working on your latest release?

TGC: They are all about different events in my life. All of Tarah Who? songs are about events and people I meet or stories I hear about. “Garden Of Chloé(s)” for instance is in memory of two of my friends named Chloé who both committed suicide. “Sirens” is about the Paris attacks, “Ache” is about the consequences and frustrations of mis-or lack of communication. “Pay to Play” is pretty explicit… and “Little Pieces” is about a bunch of events that happened within a limited time frame, in my life. So many negative events that it almost became ironic.

What do you hope fans and listeners will get out of the EP?

TGC: I hope that fans understand the emotions. Rage, when I was truly pissed off, humour, when I was basically making fun of myself or compassion for the people I or that we have lost. I always feel flattered when people can relate. We all, more or less go through similar situations so we should be able to understand each other and sympathise. We are all the same after all. I hope that people come out to our shows and truly enjoy themselves. We are all about being ourselves and having fun. We like to entertain, so show us your love and it will be reciprocated! We really like people that come out and dance, come out of their shells and dance without caring about who’s watching.

What aspect of your latest release are you most proud of?

TGC: I am really happy to have worked with Jason Orme. It is a big step for me/ us as a band. I am really happy with the result considering the time frame that we had to work with. I am very proud of Matt for totally pulling off and improvising some bass lines.
MP:  Aw! Thanks Tarah! Yes, I feel very honoured to work with Jason as well.  I am very proud of the quality of the recording every time I personally hear someone point it out.  Thank you Jason!!

What was the biggest obstacle you had to tackle whilst working on this EP?

TGC: I would say the time. We were very limited on time, because of two main factors: Jason is a really busy man and musician so we had to fit the time in when we could and also because of money. More studio time means more money that we were pretty limited on.  We had to be really focused from the moment we stepped in to finish.
MP:  I was thinking the same thing…time.  To be honest, it was really the only obstacle.  The experience in the studio was very comfortable, thanks to Jason.

How have you enjoyed touring? Do you have a favourite venue/town or city you like to play?

TGC: Touring is a lot of fun! You meet so many people around the world, different reactions to the songs. Some places people dance and are less shy which is always fun. I love to play in the UK. British people really enjoy our music and are very supportive. They also drink a lot which makes everything always a little more fun ;)
Although Vegas the other day almost killed me with the pour of their drinks! The bartender could have put ice in a bottle of Jameson and a dash of coca cola, it would have been the same thing! But hey! Thanks! We had a great night!
MP: Touring is crazy but super fun.  It’s totally interesting performing in a new place because you never know what to expect.  The receptions are typically warm and people want to know where you are from and what’s up with your band! I love the good vibes, it helps give you that extra energy to give an even more kick ass performance! I can’t wait to tour Europe.
CH: It’s really great. You are in a new town every night and meet some amazing people, doing what you love!! I mean it’s the best, right?!

What can fans expect from you on your next tour?

TGC: We are really excited about our next tour, I think our fans can expect to have a really good time at our shows! Everyone should get to know the songs, so they can all sing or scream-a-long! The craziest you are the craziest we will get on stage. Your energy is contagious, so if you are looking for a good time, come on out! :)
MP:  Intense, raging, raw, loud, screaming, moshing…  We make sure it will be crazy fun.  Yea, we invite you to sing (or scream/yell) along!!
CH: Have a lot of fun and offer, I hope, a great show to people that come to see us.

What is your ultimate goal as a musician/band?

TGC: I really want to be able to take Tarah Who? everywhere in the world. I hope to inspire people to be themselves, and go for what they want in life. I want to be a proof amongst others that you CAN do it, if you believe in yourself and if you really, just dare to live your dreams. I know that a lot of people feel that they are alone, or going through some hard situations in their lives, and I would be really happy if those people listened to Tarah Who?  and felt comfort in our songs. Just like I have found comfort,inspiration or strength, listening to other bands growing up.
MP:  I want people to really enjoy the music Tarah Who? creates and performs.  Music touches everyone in different ways and I believe that is one of the most beautiful things in our world.  I just hope we can “touch” as many people as possible with our music.  As someone who really enjoys music, I would like to give some of that same enjoyment back to everyone I can.
CH: To be able to pursue this path and play a lot more and a long time. Rock’n’Roll!!!

What’s next for Tara Who?

TGC: We have a couple music videos coming up, that we are really excited about. Outside of the gigs that we have until the end of this year, we are working on new songs, and we are hoping to release a new EP that we will promote on our next tour in April 2018.
We are also planning to go play some festivals and shows next summer in Europe. A lot of things are happening, and it is all very exciting! We can’t wait to share all of this with you! Thanks for your support!
MP:  We are about half way through our Southern California tour.  We plan to record new material very soon.  Keep your eyes peeled…we will be releasing some videos before years end.  Next year will be very big. Tours, more music and….Europe!!
CH: We are working on a new album and we gonna be on the road next year to promote it in USA and maybe in Europe after that.


If you like what you see here, make sure to check out the Tarah Who? website for music videos, upcoming tour dates and more.

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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.

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

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.

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.