8 incredible tracks you need in your life – September 2016

September has been a massive month for album releases, with albums by Twin Atlantic, A Day To Remember, Young Guns, Of Mice & Men and Against Me! already out, and records by Slaves and Yellowcard are due out tomorrow.  Has the market for singles been just as good?  Today I take a look back at the best singles of September.

Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes – Lullaby

This fantastic track was accompanied by news of the band’s next album, due out next January.  Lullaby is a great indicator for things to come.

Kings Of Leon – Waste A Moment

The Tennessee rock band are back with another lighthearted track, with indie and country influences similar in tone to their previous album, Mechanical Bull.  

Taking Back Sunday – Death Wolf

Following a slow-burning introduction with cute synthy elements which are replicated throughout the track, punk-rockers Taking Back Sunday have released a fab new song from their recent album, Tidal Wave.

Sum 41 – God Save Us All (Death To POP)

Sum 41 have well and truly stuck their middle finger up in the direction of mainstream popular music with this track and music video.  Whilst I don’t think pop music is the great evil it’s sometimes portrayed as by alternative bands, you can’t deny that this single is a banger.

Green Day – Still Breathing

The latest track from the upcoming Green Day album Revolution Radio is here, and it’s a slower, more reflective track with an explosive high-impact chorus.  I reckon this track will be the 21 Guns of the new record.

Twenty One Pilots – Cancer (Cover of My Chemical Romance)

Rock Sound recently released a covers album celebrating 10 years since the release of My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade. I honestly thought most of the covers were terrible, but Twenty One Pilots took an iconic, much loved track and made it 100 per cent their own.

Slaves ft. Mike D. – Consume Or Be Consumed

The latest Slaves single is everything I hoped it would be: loud unapologetic punk with brilliant tongue-in-cheek lyrics and a chorus which will be very easy to headbang along to.  The feature by Mike D. fits perfectly within the track.

Memphis May Fire ft. Jacoby Shaddix – This Light I Hold

Papa Roach’s vocalist Jacoby makes a brilliant addition to Memphis May Fire’s usual brand of religious-themed metalcore. His and Matty’s vocals work extremely well together, and whilst I wasn’t hugely excited for new Memphis May Fire music before, I am now.

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

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9 incredible tracks you need in your life – August 2016

This month has been a fantastic month for musical announcements, especially leading up to a number of records being released next month.  Here’s my round-up of the best new music releases over the past few weeks.

Trophy Eyes – Heaven Sent

Trophy Eyes have released a slower, post-hardcore sounding track in the lead-up to their next record’s release.  The lyrics are pretty powerful, and I look forward to hearing more from this band.

Yellowcard – The Hurt Is Gone

Yellowcard’s upcoming album marks the end of the band’s career, and this track suggests that they’re pulling out all the stops to make their final record their best yet.

Twin Atlantic – The Chaser

The Scottish rock band’s next record comes out next month, and I can’t wait to hear the full album! Singles such as this one suggest the album will be full of party-ready rock tracks.

A Day To Remember – Naivety

Anyone worried that A Day To Remember’s next record wouldn’t have enough pop-punk influenced tracks will have been proved wrong with this song.  To me it sounds like their upcoming record Bad Vibrations will have a solid mix of pop-punk and heavier, more hardcore tracks.

Of Mice & Men – Real

This track is one of Of Mice & Men’s least heavy numbers, with Austin making the switch to clean vocals during the verses. It seems that the band are attempting to capitalise further on the success of their previous record and launch themselves further into the mainstream limelight.  This evolved sound may not be for everyone, but I say good for them.

Slaves – Spit It Out

With a DIY style music video similar to their previous videos in style, Slaves have made their triumphant return to the limelight with new music.  It seems like only yesterday their debut Are You Satisfied? was released, but I’m definitely not complaining about more material from the Kent punk rockers.

You Me At Six – Night People

You Me At Six announced their return this month, with a new record planned for release in January of next year.  It sounds like the band are aiming for a slightly heavier sound than their previous album Cavalier Youth, which I think is welcome.

Don Broco – Everybody

To me, this song shows Don Broco flexing their muscles a bit and having some fun.  This track is a very strong offering, and the video is weirdly hilarious.  If I don’t see videos of crowds doing the cowboy dance at alternative club nights soon, I’ll be pretty disappointed.

Green Day – Bang Bang

Following frontman Billy Joe’s stint in rehab and the subsequent flop of their trio of records released in 2012, I think a lot of Green Day fans were a little worried about what the band would do next.  But fear not: the punk-rock trio are back with an explosive and politically charged lead single for their next album.

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

altrocklife’s favourite underrated albums

Hello altrocklifers! As a music blogger, it’d make sense for me to be obsessed with all things rock, punk and alternative music.  I’ve actively been seeking out the best new music since I was in secondary school, and all of my friends and family know that when I discover a new album I don’t stop talking about it until everyone I know has a) listened to it and b) is as in love with it as I am.

That said, there are a number of albums that I feel haven’t received the appreciation they deserve.  Whenever I mention said albums, even to fellow rock and punk fans, they’re often met with “I’ve never heard of that band”, “I heard that album was rubbish”, or “I didn’t like the band’s earlier/later music so I didn’t bother listening”.  So I’ve put together a list of my favourite underrated albums and my reasoning for why they’re so damn good.

Gallows – Gallows

Understandably, a lot of Gallows fans were disappointed when vocalist Frank Carter left to pursue his now defunct side project, Pure Love.  After being replaced by Wade MacNiel (previously of Alexisonfire and Black Lungs) many fans shunned the band, suggesting that without Frank Carter they could no longer call themselves Gallows.  Now, I love Frank Carter as a musician as much as the next person, but he left Gallows of his own free will, and he needed to be replaced.  The band’s self titled album is an absolute cracker, and is in fact the album that introduced me to Gallows in the first place.  It seems like a number of people simply wrote the band off after Carter’s departure, which is a real shame.  Here’s Cross Of Lorraine, one of my favourite tracks from the album.

Band Of Skulls – Himalayan

It seems to me like Band Of Skulls are a criminally underrated band.  They have slow, chilled acoustic tracks back-to-back with the wailing guitar solos of their heavier tracks, and who can resist a band with both a male and female vocalist?  One of the album’s singles, Asleep At The Wheel, got a little radio airplay last year, but definitely not as much as it deserved.  The video for Hoochie Coochie is really interesting, and a great fit for one of my favourite Band Of Skulls tracks.

Avenged Sevenfold – Diamonds In The Rough

This album, released alongside the band’s Live In The LBC live DVD, seems to be regularly forgotten by A7X fans.  That is, aside from their cover of Pantera’s Walk, which is pretty much unanimously considered a fantastic cover.  Diamonds In The Rough includes B-sides and a number of tracks never heard before its release.  Unfortunately there is no official video for either of my favourite songs from the record, Girl I Know and Until The End.

The Blackout – Start The Party

Start The Party was the last full-length album by The Blackout, and it definitely struggled to get the recognition it deserved.  Some would argue that the album was a lot more pop oriented, and I wouldn’t disagree with that entirely.  Unfortunately the band’s (intentional or otherwise) attempt to appeal to the masses didn’t seem to work, and just over two years later The Blackout is no more.  One track which never fails to get me in the party mood is the record’s title track below.

Twin Atlantic – Great Divide

Following the huge success of Twin Atlantic’s second studio album, Free, many fans believed that their third album was made to appeal to a wider, more mainstream audience.  While it’s true that Great Divide isn’t quite as heavy as its predecessor, there are still a number of awesome tracks alongside poppier numbers.  Take a listen to Cell Mate, one of my highlights of the album.

Green Day – ¡Dos!

Due to lead singer Billy Joe Armstrong’s admission to rehab around the time of the release of Green Day’s trio of albums, neither  ¡Uno! ¡Dos! or ¡Tré! received the recognition they deserved.  Unfortunately, publicity was focused on Armstrong rather than the release of the albums. Out of the three, ¡Dos! is by far the best, as it demonstrate’s Green Day’s ability to incorporate a number of different genres and styles in one punk-rock package.  Stray Heart was the only single released from this album, which is a shame as tracks such as Nightlife are, in my opinion, much stronger.  Make your own mind up about Stray Heart below.

What do you think of the albums I mentioned?  What’s your favourite, criminally underrated album?  Let me know on Facebook or Twitter.

Currently listening to: BonesYoung Guns

#tbt : top 9 albums from the 90s you need in your life

Hey everyone!  Looks like it’s time for another throwback Thursday, and today I want to look at my favourite 90s albums.  The 90s were an amazing time for the punk, rock and metal world, with bands such as Foo Fighters, Slipknot, Avenged Sevenfold, Biffy Clyro, Blink-182, and Linkin Park forming during the decade.

A lot of the albums released during the 90s have gone on to become cornerstones of modern punk, rock and metal; if you’ve never listened to Nevermind, for example, most people would look at you like your head was on backwards.

Plus, even if you only listen to music from the noughties onwards, chances are that your favourite artists were influenced by, or grew up listening to some of the albums I’m gonna list today.  So, let’s start the countdown!

9: The Razor’s Edge – AC/DC

Honestly, the members of this band probably sweat pure rock and roll.  Whilst not their best album, The Razor’s Edge produced a whole host of anthems which could easily fill stadiums.  Plus, the slow-burning opening to Thunderstruck is enough to send shivers down my spine.

8: Dookie – Green Day

From start to finish, this album is an explosion of angry pop-punk.  What’s not to love about that?  In fact, I don’t think I even need to say any more about Dookie.  Go listen to it, and let it speak for itself.

7: Enema of the State – Blink-182

This album is pure, unadulterated awesome.  Plus, the singles it produced – Adam’s Song, What’s My Age Again? and All The Small Things – have become anthems even hermits that never listen to the radio are probably well aware of.

6: Showbiz – Muse

This album is quirky as hell, and that’s why I like it.  Showbiz turned out to be a pretty good indication of what direction Muse would be going in; that direction being completely throwing out the rule-book and creating completely original music with every album.

5: Parklife – Blur

This list wouldn’t be complete without a little bit of Britpop.  Parklife and Girls and Boys are instantly recognisable even 20 years on, and the whole album in general is infectiously good.

4: In The Aeroplane Over The Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel

When I decided I was going to write this post, ITAOTS was one of the first albums I considered for it.  It’s weird, yes, and the lyrics are pretty difficult to get your head around on the first listen, but gems like Holland, 1945 and King of Carrot Flowers Part 2 & 3 combined with the weirdness is what makes this album great.

3: Nevermind – Nirvana

I bet you saw this one coming, didn’t you?  To be honest, I’m not a massive fan of the rest of Nirvana’s discography, but Nevermind is legendary and pretty damn difficult to fault.

2: The Colour And The Shape – Foo Fighters

Quite frankly, this album has it all, and is probably one of the Foo’s best albums.  If you can listen to this album without singing along, or at least tapping your foot to bangers like Monkey Wrench and Everlong then you have more willpower than I do.

1: System of a Down – System of a Down

This album just goes to show that System of a Down were at the top of their game from the very beginning.  I saw SOAD at Reading Festival last year: they closed the set with Sugar, and it was one of the highlights of the day.  If you don’t have this album on your iPod, then I’m seriously judging you.

Currently listening to: I RememberA Day To Remember

#tbt : My first gig went a little like this…

First off, I’d like to apologise for the punny title.  I’m one of those people who speaks in song lyrics rather than actual fully-formed sentences half of the time; something my friends really enjoy.

Anyway, today I’m gonna start up a feature I like to call #tbt, or throwback Thursday.  Before anyone starts, I’m already well aware that #tbt has been floating around Twitter and Instagram for a long time.  Can you blame me for wanting to piggy-back off that success?  Basically, every Thursday I’m gonna travel back in time and talk about something a bit old school.  Hopefully this’ll result in a lot of nostalgia for everyone involved.

Ever since I started this blog I’ve wanted to talk about my origin story.  It might not be as exciting as Wolverine’s, but when I attended my first ever gig in 2010 I was probably adrenaline-fuelled enough to demonstrate one of Hugh Jackman’s trademark angsty, despair-filled cries to the moon.  Kinda like these.

On that fateful evening of the 19th of June, 2010, I made my way to Wembley Arena where I watched the incredible Green Day, supported by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and Frank Turner.  This gig was the catalyst that got me interested in rock, alternative and punk music, so for that Green Day will always hold a special place in my heart.

I even still have my ticket, stuck up on my bedroom wall back at home, as well as the t-shirt I bought at the gig, which I brought to university with me even though it’s far too small.  Sentimental is my middle name, you know.

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(I also had the good fortune of seeing them headline Friday of Reading 2013, and their performance was just as mind-blowing three years on.)

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and Frank Turner were excellent choices for support acts.  Joan Jett got the stadium buzzing with Bad Reputation, and Frank Turner’s The Road was a real anthemic, sing-along moment.  However, as much as I enjoyed the support acts, nothing could have topped the main act for me.

Billy Joe, Mike and Tré performed like a well-oiled machine with limitless enthusiasm.  I could tell that they still love and enjoy performing, even 25 years after the band’s inception in 1987.

Highlights of the gig were East Jesus Nowhere, Are We The Waiting, and their mash-up of Iron Man, Sweet Child o’ Mine and Highway to Hell.  

Now, I’m aware that this blog post, in itself, is nothing new: everybody knows that Green Day are an establishment of pop punk, and put on an amazing show.  For years after this gig I was worried that no other band would ever be able to top their performance.

Even so, I think I’ve made it clear that if I could turn back time and experience that gig again, I would without a second thought.

Currently listening to: Need To BeMemphis May Fire