News: letlive. call it quits, PVRIS tease new album, and Fall Out Boy release controversial track

Hi altrocklifers! This week has been a pretty busy one in terms of alternative and rock music news, so today I thought I’d round everything important up into one handy package for your reading pleasure.

letlive. call it quits after fifteen years

I can’t tell you how sad I was when I read the letlive. Facebook post on Friday, explaining that there would be “no further activity for the foreseeable future”.  The band have been going since 2002, and released four full length records and one EP during that time.  I was lucky enough to see letlive. perform at Leeds Festival in 2014, but unfortunately at the time I had never listened to their music, so I couldn’t really appreciate their awesome performance.

I only really got into letlive. last year, with the release of their most recent album If I’m The Devil…, which I consider one of the best albums released in 2016.  I’ll forever be disappointed that I was unable to see the band perform tracks from If I’m The Devil… live, but the band haven’t explicitly said that the band are gone for good, so maybe, just maybe, they’ll be back some day?  Wishful thinking I know.

PVRIS release a video teasing the release of their next album

Recently PVRIS announced a short run of shows, which led fans to believe that a new album, follow-up to 2014’s White Noise, would be on its way soon.  On Friday the band dropped a teaser video via the Rise Records YouTube channel.  Is the title of the video, All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell, the name of their second full length record?  Maybe the first single to be released from the album?  Who knows.  The band are being very coy on social media and in interviews, so I’m looking forward to finding out.

Fall Out Boy release controversial new track

Fall Out Boy have never been a band that meets expectations, and they threw fan expectations out of the window on Thursday when they announced the release of their next album, MANIA.  The announcement, which included the release date of September 15th and discounted pre-order bundles, was accompanied by the album’s first single, Young And Menace.  The verses remind me a little of their most recent record, American Beauty/American Psycho, but the super EDM chorus is unlike anything Fall Out Boy have ever done before, so nobody really knows what the entire album will sound like.  Me? I haven’t decided if I like this latest track, I’m 100% on the fence.  However, my love of Fall Out Boy means I’ll be waiting impatiently for the next single.  Here’s the YouTube video for the track.


What do you think of the new Fall Out Boy track? How do you feel about letlive. calling it quits?  Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

9 incredible tracks you need in your life – April 2017

Hi altrocklifers, and welcome to my first update on a Wednesday, thanks to my new schedule.  Now you’ll have even less time to wait in between updates: lucky you!  It’s nearly the end of the month, so you all know what that means – today I’ll be looking back through April and sharing the best new tracks released this month.

Tonight Alive – World Away

Tonight Alive’s previous record, Limitless, had a more pop-rock feel to their first two albums.  To me it sounds like World Away is a return to the band’s more punk-pop/alternative rock roots, and that’s definitely no bad thing.

Paramore – Hard Times

This track is probably the most pop-inspired track ever put out by Paramore, and the electronic influences and music video have a serious 80s vibe.  This is a very upbeat and summery track, and whilst some Paramore fans are against the new sound, I really like it!  I’m excited to hear the rest of their upcoming record, After Laughter.

Obey The Brave – On Our Own

Sometimes you just really need some new metalcore tracks in your life, and Obey The Brave’s latest offering really scratched that itch.

Royal Blood – Lights Out

For the past year or so, I’ve been wondering when Brighton duo Royal Blood would return with new music for their eager fans.  Thankfully the band returned earlier this month with the first single from their upcoming second album, How Did We Get So Dark?, and it’s a real banger.

Have Mercy – Good Christian Man

I reviewed Have Mercy’s latest record, Make The Best Of It, on Sunday, and this track was one of my highlights from the album.  You can read the full review here.

New Found Glory – Party On Apocalypse 

New Found Glory are one of those bands who have stuck to the same sound for years, and their consistency makes them one of the best pop-punk bands around.

Of Mice & Men – Unbreakable

Unbreakable is the first track released by Of Mice & Men since previous lead vocalist Austin Carlile had to leave the band due to ongoing health issues.  When it was announced that the band would be continuing as a four piece, fans were concerned as to whether vocalist and bass player Aaron Pauley would step up and sing both clean and harsh vocals on their new tracks.  This track answers that question with a definite yes: Pauley is more than capable of filling Carlile’s shoes, and I can’t wait to hear more from the group.

Papa Roach – American Dreams

This latest track from Papa Roach sounds like the band are harking back to their earlier days, especially throughout the verses.  I can always appreciate a band who takes elements of their old sound and bring them up to date, so I can’t wait to hear their upcoming record, Crooked Teeth.

Blondie – Long Time

My Mum is a massive fan of Blondie, so I’ve been listening to the classic voice of Debbie Harry since I was a kid.  Long Time proves that the band have still got what it takes to put out great sounding tracks.


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.

Review: Make The Best Of It

Afternoon altrocklifers!  Today I’ll be reviewing the latest album by Maryland band Have Mercy.  Formed in 2011, the band now only has one official member – vocalist and guitarist Brian Swindle – following the departure of its other members last year.  I’m excited to hear how their third full length album, Make The Best Of It, will sound in comparison to their earlier records, put together when the band was still a five-piece.  It was the video for Have Mercy’s 2013 track, Let’s Talk About Your Hair, that got me interested in this band, so I was excited to hear Coexist, the first single released from the album released on Friday.  You can see the music video for the track here:

I can absolutely understand why Coexist was chosen to be the lead single for the album: it manages to wrap up the Have Mercy sound into one concise, three minute track.  Muted verses are contrasted by a rough-around the edges, almost shouted chorus, and the combination of rumbling drums and simple yet effective riffs gives the song a real stadium filling vibe.

On to the record: Make The Best Of It begins with Smoke And Lace, a high tempo track full of undulating bass, crashing drums, and a catchy chorus.  It’s full of energy, and to me the perfect album opening track.  This album is anything but predictable, shifting from almost pop-punk offerings such as Begging For Bones, to the melodic and gentle guitars of Ghost.

Something I’ve always enjoyed about Have Mercy is vocalist Swindle’s vocal technique: in their earlier releases his voice sounded much more gravelly and rough around the edges, and there was definitely more uncontrolled emotion and aggression.  Now, however, his vocals are much more focused and precise, and it’s obvious that he’s developed his technique over the years.  There’s still plenty of emotion, but these emotions are put across in a more refined way.

An example of this is the dark and angry Reaper, where Swindle fantasises about the death of his ex’s new boyfriend.  The pre-chorus riffs fading to simple feedback when Swindle first sings “I cut the brakes on his Camaro” gives the track a creepy atmosphere, emphasising that threat.  Good Christian Man is easily my highlight of the album: it’s an extremely melancholy song both instrumentally and lyrically, and his struggle to reconcile his beliefs as a Christian shows Swindle at his most vulnerable.

Plus, I’m not sure how they do it, but Have Mercy has a way of creating incredible atmosphere with their tracks.  Whether it’s the layered guitars or cymbal heavy drums which create almost a white-noise effect, the Have Mercy listening experience stands out from other similar bands.  Signed to Hopeless Records, the so-called emo revival, and recent influx of new alternative/indie/rock bands that this band is part of, can seem crowded.  However, I think Have Mercy  stand head and shoulders above the rest.

Considering the band’s radical upheaval last year, the title of Make The Best Of It could very well be an indicator of how Swindle felt about the album: these circumstances are less than ideal, but let’s try to work with what I’ve got.  The results?  An album which exemplifies growth as a musician, and achieving above and beyond personal expectations.  If you weren’t sold on Have Mercy as a band before, now is the time to listen up and pay attention.

Highlights: Coexist, Begging For Bones, Reaper, Good Christian Man

News: Everywhere release first new track of 2017, Man Up

UK band Everywhere have announced their first 2017 release in the form of new single Man Up, currently available to stream on Soundcloud. It’s due to be available to purchase and available on Spotify on June 9th.

The track features a funky bassline underpinning its pop-rock sound, and includes a feature by Swedish singer/songwriter Rebecca Nohr.  You can also listen to the track on YouTube, here:

Looking past the catchy chorus, the lyrics discuss struggling with meeting the expectations set by traditional masculinity, and how to manage being with a dominant partner.

Everywhere have also said that they are working on an album, and although it’s early days “it should be out this fall”.

At the end of last year, Everywhere released their EP Fiction Act. The EP single Some Other Dude was featured on BBC Introducing in London and has received over a million streams on Spotify.  I gave Fiction Act a review when I focused in on the band during my New Music Spotlight: you can give that a read here.


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

Review: Same Sun Same Moon

Little Hurricane are a rock and blues duo from San Diego, California, formed back in 2010.  Over the years the band have released three records, including an album of cover songs, and Friday marked the release of their fourth album, Same Sun Same Moon.  The first single from the album, OTL, was released last month, and you can watch the video here:

Now, on to the album.  Same Sun Same Moon begins with the title track, which is a bassy, upbeat start to the record with cutesy, optimistic lyrics.  This leads into Bad Business, a more bluesy number with a grungy, guitar led chorus.

This record is anything but predictable.  Tracks shift between high tempo, riff heavy sounds and more indie, acoustic vibes, keeping the listener guessing as to where the record will take you next.  There are also occasional touches of brass, ukulele and piano which demonstrate that Little Hurricane are willing to experiment a little with their music, and don’t let themselves be restricted by the ‘blues’ label.

I’m a big fan of frontman Anthony Catalano’s vocals throughout this record.  His voice can be clear and crisp, or rough around the edges, depending on the tone of the track, and I really like that versatility.  Plus, the occasional female vocals from drummer Celeste Spina add a pleasant, soft contrast to Catalano’s deeper voice.  Plus, it helps to illustrate the evolution of their relationship –  since forming the band, the two have fallen in love and married, as discussed in OTL.

I also like the combination of drummer Spina’s indie/bluesy playing with programmed electronic beats.  This combination helps to add a more pop-sounding vibe to some tracks, like the bridge and chorus of Isn’t It Great, as well as a more grungy sound to tracks like March Of The Living.

This was my first listen to Little Hurricane, and I’m a little sad that I’ve been missing out on their music all these years.  It almost defies belief that such a well-rounded, mature sound can come from just a two-piece.  If you’re a fan of groups like Band Of Skulls or Foals, you definitely need to get this indie/blues duo on your playlist, stat.  Same Sun Same Moon is a great all-round record, with compelling lyrics and an upbeat, hopeful sound.

Highlights: Bad Business, Take It Slow, Mt. Senorita, Slingshot

Lifestyle: Westwood Cross and Petticoat Lane clothing and homeware haul

Good afternoon altrocklifers!  Last weekend I was lucky enough to be able to visit the garden of England, AKA the beautiful county of Kent, where my Mum’s side of the family originates from.  We stayed in a lovely, quaint AirBnB in Broadstairs, ate gorgeous gelato at Morelli’s, and attended a leaving party for my cousin before he and his family moved to Florida.  But what kind of holiday would it be if there was no retail therapy involved?

Myself and the family decided to take a trip to Westwood Cross, a large shopping complex between the towns of Ramsgate and Margate, and as I always do at Westwood Cross, I ended up spending more money than intended on clothes and homeware.  We also visited Petticoat Lane Emporium in Ramsgate to check out their vintage, retro, and crafty wares.  Here’s a round-up of the spring/summer clothing I purchased, as well as the new homeware I discovered in amongst the 202 stalls at Petticoat Lane.

Clothing

 

Floral dress with removable straps: £24, New Look
Rust coloured check shirt: £9.99 (reduced from £12.99), Select Fashion
Palm print shirt: £15.99, Select Fashion
Pink and grey pyjama set: £5, Primark
Pink satin pyjamas: £4.50 for the top, £5 for the bottoms, Primark

Homeware

 

Bronze mirror: £4, Primark
Early-harvest raspberry shower gel: £3.50, The Body Shop
Flamingo glasses: £15 for a set of six glasses, Petticoat Lane Emporium
Dickens & Hawthorne Australia rose water reed diffuser: £4.99, TK Maxx
Morgan & Grace Australia mango gelato reed diffuser: £4.99, TK Maxx
Framed stag print: £5, Petticoat Lane Emporium


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

News: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes announces December UK tour

Anyone who has been following Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes since their inception in 2015 will know that this band isn’t one to rest on its laurels.  The band wrapped up their latest UK tour on March 31st, which saw them hit up 12 venues across the United Kingdom.  Now a new tour has been announced only three days later via the band’s Facebook page, and anyone who missed out on their last sold out tour simply needs to attend this one.

This upcoming Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes tour will be shorter than its March predecessor, hitting up seven dates in England and Scotland, but this time the venues will have a bigger capacity.  I’m super excited to see the band begin to fill larger venues with their incredible atmosphere and excellent live performances.  Tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10am, and I’ll be setting my alarm clock to make sure I get my ticket for the Nottingham Rock City date.  The fact that I haven’t been able to see the band live yet is a major disappointment to me, so there’s no way I’ll be missing them play at one of my favourite venues.

Here’s a list of the tour dates – if there’s a date near you, or even if there isn’t, you definitely do not want to miss this tour.

  • 1/12 – O2 Academy, Bristol
  • 2/12 – O2 Institute, Birmingham
  • 3/12 – O2 Ritz, Manchester
  • 5/12 – O2 ABC, Glasgow
  • 6/12 – Rock City, Nottingham
  • 7/12 – UEA, Norwich
  • 8/12 – O2 Academy, Brixton

Did you see Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes on their March tour, or are you planning on seeing them in December?  Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

7 incredible tracks you need in your life – March 2017

It’s that time of the month again! Today I’ll be going over the best tracks released throughout the past 30 days.

London Grammar – Truth Is A Beautiful Thing

I think most people with ears would agree that London Grammar are a band with a beautiful, atmospheric sound.  I absolutely cannot wait to hear more from this group.

PWR BTTM – Answer My Text

Ah, a track about navigating the modern age of dating and the woes of waiting for someone you fancy to text you back.  Why is this track so relatable?  This is a single from PWR BTTM’s upcoming second record, Pageant, due for release in May.

All Time Low – Last Young Renegade

This is the second single to be released from All Time Low’s upcoming record of the same name, and to me this song is stronger than its predecessor, Dirty Laundry.  I’m looking forward to hearing more from the album.

Palisades – Let Down

Palisades is one of the younger bands currently signed to Rise Records, and their electronic/hardcore sound means I reckon they’ll continue to find greater success.  Let Down is the latest single from their self titled record, released last year.

Have Mercy – Coexist

Have Mercy are one of those bands that I’ve followed on and off for the past few years.  The build up to their upcoming album, Make The Best Of It, is making me realise this is a band to pay closer attention to and take more seriously.

Black Stone Cherry – Cheaper To Drink Alone

This track is a pretty fun party song, and I can easily imagine it playing in the background of a rock bar, or at a house party.  However, the guest appearance by Lzzy Hale from Halestorm in the video was enough to sell this track to me.

Incubus – Glitterbomb

You can’t beat a bit of Incubus, and this latest track just proves that the band are still alive and kicking.


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.

Review: Mallory Knox, Cambridge Corn Exchange

Last night, I was lucky enough to see Mallory Knox perform live for the second time.  Last time I caught the band live was at Leeds Festival in 2014, not long before the release of their second album, Asymmetry.  This time, the band are touring to promote their third record, Wired.  

First off, however, I’ll talk about the support acts.  Scottish act Fatherson were first to take to the stage, and this was my second time seeing them perform live – the first time was when they supported Enter Shikari on The Mindsweep tour.  In all honesty, I thought their performance took a little while to kick off, so maybe the first 20 minutes of their set was a bit lacklustre.  Their last couple of songs, thankfully, picked up the band’s energy levels and managed to get the crowd jumping.   Here’s the video for Lost Little Boys, one of the tracks the band played last night.

Next up were fellow Cambridge band Lonely The Brave. Unfortunately their performance was marred by a few technical issues: lead vocalist David Jakes had a number of issues with his microphone and in-ear headphones, so there were a few awkward pauses between songs whilst the problems were sorted out.  Otherwise, the band’s performance was spot on, just as good as when I saw them supporting Deaf Havana in 2014. Check out Black Mire, one of my favourite Lonely The Brave tracks:

Finally, Mallory Knox took to the stage.  Their performance was very strong throughout the night, with the entire band working together like a well oiled machine. Lead vocalist Mikey Chapman had some trouble with his voice, declaring about halfway through the set that his voice was “fucked up”, but he managed to power through and perform the rest of the set.  Plus, backing vocals from bassist Sam Douglas helped to fill any gaps.

The band’s set list was very strong, with a great mixture of tracks from all three of their albums.  They probably got the strongest reaction from the crowd whilst playing Lighthouse, Beggars and Wake Up from their debut record Signals, but it seemed like the crowd were equally happy hearing songs from Asymmetry.  The tracks from Mallory Knox’s latest album went down very well, and even though Wired was only released a couple of weeks ago, a decent portion of the crowd were singing along to the tracks.  Here’s the video for last night’s opening track, Giving It Up:


So there you have it.  Mallory Knox put on an awesome show, and if you have the opportunity to see them live, you’d be silly if you didn’t take it.

Have you already seen Mallory Knox live on their Wired tour?  What did you think of their performance?  Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

What’s in my shower? | Cruelty free skin and hair care

Since I started on my cruelty free journey, I’ve written a few posts about my experiences discovering new brands of skincare and cosmetics.  Today I thought I’d go over the cruelty free products I use on a daily or regular basis in the shower, to keep my hair strong and healthy, and my skin moisturised.  Now, I understand that there are many different skin and hair types, and there are different products available to suit.  Here’s a summary of my hair and skin type, so you can figure out if the products I use would suit you!

Hair type: Thick normal type curly hair, with dry ends.
Scalp type: Sensitive scalp, with some dry, flaky areas.
Facial skin type: Combination – mainly dry but with a very oily t-zone.
Body skin type: Mainly dry, with oilier patches on my chest and back.

So without further ado, I’m going to go through the products that I use in the shower, whether they are used daily or multiple times a week.

 

The first thing I do when I get into the shower is wet my face, then apply a thick layer of Lush’s Cup O’ Coffee face and body mask to my face, using the coffee grounds to exfoliate away any dead skin.  I then leave the mask on for the rest of the shower, to let the oils sink in and moisturise the dryer areas of my face.

Then, I wet my hair and rub the Lush Soak And Float shampoo bar over my head – usually four or five strokes will provide enough suds, as I have pretty short hair!  I then use my hands to rub the bubbles into my scalp and along my ends, and rinse immediately once finished.

Next comes conditioner, and I have two conditioners that I use on alternative days.  First is the Superdrug Extracts raspberry and macadamia nut conditioner, for coloured hair.  It has a great scent and keeps my hair in good condition, but isn’t quite moisturising enough for my dry ends.  Second is the Noughty To The Rescue moisture boost conditioner, which I use on my ends to give them an extra moisturising boost.

Now it’s time to wash my body.  I put on my exfoliating shower gloves, then use some of my favourite shower gel, Lush’s The Olive Branch.  It has a lovely fragrance, and the olive oil helps to keep my arms and legs from getting too dry.

However, once a week I like to mix things up a bit.  Instead of using The Olive Branch, I use some of the limited edition Rose Jam shower gel, which has the most beautiful fragrance, possibly in the history of all fragrances (yes, I’m obsessed).  This is then followed by smearing a generous layer of Lush’s Ro’s Argan body conditioner on my arms and legs.  I also occasionally use my Bubbly shower gel, to stop my showers getting boring.


So, that’s the lowdown on my shower routine!  What do you think of these products? Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.