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.

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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

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.

7 incredible tracks you need in your life – February 2017

February is the shortest month of the year, but that doesn’t mean there was any shortage of great tracks released over the past few weeks.  Here’s my round-up of the best singles and music videos put out this month!

Knuckle Puck – Indecisive 

Chicago pop-punk band Knuckle Puck are returning with a new EP, Calendar Days / Indecisive, on March 17th, and this is one of the titular tracks.  The melancholy lyrics and acoustic vibes make it a perfect track to listen to with a mug of hot tea or coffee in this February weather.

All Time Low – Dirty Laundry

I’ll be honest and say that the first two thirds(ish) of this track didn’t inspire me very much, but the guitar solo leading into the final chorus turned Dirty Laundry around for me.  I’m looking forward to hearing their upcoming seventh studio album, Last Young Renegade, set to be released on June 2nd.

Cover Your Tracks – Striking Matches

Cover Your Tracks is a band formed from the ashes of a number of failed bands, such as Woe, Is Me, Decoder, and Cursed Sails.  The result is a great hardcore track with a smattering of electronic breaks and a catchy chorus.

Imagine Dragons – Believer

I’ve been a big fan of Imagine Dragons for a long time, and I really enjoyed their second full length record, Smoke + Mirrors, which came out back in 2014.  Believer has me excited for a potential third album on the way.

Taking Back Sunday – Call Come Running

This track is from Taking Back Sunday’s latest record, Tidal Wave, and I featured Death Wolf, another song from that album, back in the September 2016 edition of X incredible tracks.  I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve heard from this album, so Call Come Running definitely deserved a feature today.

While She Sleeps ft. Oli Sykes – Silence Speaks

To me, While She Sleeps has been an inescapable part of the British metalcore/hardcore scene, so to see them collaborating with Oli Sykes, one of the most recognisable front men in the industry, is a pretty big deal.  I’ll be honest and say that I never used to be a big fan of this band, but Silence Speaks has made me reconsider my opinion.  I look forward to hearing While She Sleeps’ upcoming third full length album, You Are We.

Pierce The Veil – Floral And Fading

Pierce The Veil’s Misadventures was released last May, and Floral And Fading is the latest single to be released from the record.  The video, set in an American 1950s bowling alley, is great fun to watch if only because of bassist Jaime Preciado’s afro.


What did you think of this month’s round-up? Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

New music spotlight: Everywhere

Everywhere is a five-piece alternative/indie rock band based in London, UK.  They formed back in 2012 after lead singer Max Berga emailed his demos to Los Angeles producer Mark Needham.  He then gathered together bassist Joe Sanders, guitarist Andrei Sora, drummer Dan Graham, and Joe Bates on keys, to form the band.  Producer Mark Needham is probably best known for his work with Imagine Dragons and The Killers, so I’m certain fans of these bands will enjoy the upbeat indie offerings of this new band.

Everywhere’s second EP, Fiction Act, was released last December.  The lead single, Some Other Dude, has amassed over one million streams on Spotify, and its easy to understand why.  The groovy bass line, whoa-oh-ing backing vocals, and relatable lyrics about missing your chance to make a move on someone, gives the track an infectious quality which will see you tapping your foot and nodding your head without even noticing.  The EP’s opening track, Shades At Night, has a fun acoustic vibe with a catchy chorus; you can see the video for that track here:

The EP also features the understated and moody Let It Go, which is probably my favourite of the four songs on Fiction Act. This EP, then, is an excellent effort by Everywhere which demonstrates their ability to handle a variety of moods and feelings effortlessly through their songwriting and instrumentals.  Fiction Act is available to buy via iTunes, or you can check it out on Spotify.

The band are no strangers to playing live gigs: Everywhere headed on tour last summer, playing a number of dates across the UK including The Dublin Castle in London and Bleach in Brighton.  If you like what you’ve heard here, why not catch Everywhere performing a show?  Their next live date sees the band returning to The Dublin Castle on March 18th, and it promises to be a great show.  They’re also in the process of confirming summer festival appearances, so I hope to see them appearing on line-ups soon.

You can keep up to date with the band’s progress by following them on Twitter or liking their Facebook page.  I know I’ll be keeping an eye on Everywhere, as I predict this band have further success to look forward to in the future.


Would you like to see altrocklife feature more upcoming bands in future? Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

Review: All These Countless Nights

Deaf Havana are an English five piece alternative rock band who have been performing and producing punchy rock tracks since their formation in 2005.  All These Countless Nights was announced last August during the band’s performances at Reading & Leeds Festival, and the excitement for the album has built gradually over the past five months.  The single Trigger was featured as Daniel P Carter’s Rockest Record on his BBC Radio 1 show, and you can hear the track here:

All These Countless Nights is the fourth full length album to be released by Deaf Havana, and I’m very excited to hear how the band has progressed over the past 12 years.  Their sound has shifted over the years, from hardcore guitars and harsh screamed vocals, to a more lighthearted rock vibe with 100% clean vocals and big stadium-filling choruses.

The album opens with Ashes, Ashes: it begins with a deceptive acoustic introduction before singer James Veck-Gilodi’s vocals pick up passionately and the drums and lead guitar kick in.  The “whoa-oh”ing backing vocals help to build layers of atmosphere, as does the delicate piano playing within the verses.  The record then leads into Trigger, easily one of the strongest songs on the record with a chorus full of emotion and drums more complex than you might expect from a song of this genre.

One of my highlights of the record is L.O.V.E, a moody ballad discussing the darker side of love with an electric guitar solo from Matthew Veck-Gilodi and a great instrumental running from about the three and a half minute mark onwards.  It’s the longest song on All These Countless Nights, clocking in at almost five minutes in length, but it doesn’t feel like it’s been dragged out; more that the instrumentals and vocals have been given the breathing room they need to create the biggest impact.

Each track contains features which help them to stand out from the rest, from Fever’s grungy guitars, to the fantastic guitar solo in Pretty Low, to the acoustic-led Seattle.  But what does stand out to me as a whole is the band’s ambitions and desire to succeed, grow and reach more fans than ever before.  Whereas previous records sung about regrets and sadness fuelled by booze, songwriter James takes these feelings and looks forward more optimistically than ever before. If Deaf Havana continue to produce cracking records like this one, they’ll surely reach the success they deserve.

Having listened back to some of Deaf Havana’s older tracks to refresh my memory, I’ve found that vocalist James’s voice has improved and strengthened massively over the last 12 years.  He wasn’t the band’s original front man, but he’s definitely settled into that role now.  His tone is great, and I’d argue that he’s much better at conveying his feelings through the sound of his voice than ever before.  Some older Deaf Havana fans much prefer the band’s earlier music, but to disregard their more recent records is to disregard how much these guys have grown and improved as musicians.  If that also includes changing their sound, then so be it.  I certainly think the band have changed for the better, resulting in All These Countless Nights, their strongest album yet and another contender for one of the best records of 2017.

Highlights: Happiness, Fever, Pretty Low, Seattle, Pensacola, 2013

8 incredible tracks you need in your life – January 2017

We’re now in 2017, and a new year means new releases.  January has seen the release of a number of great albums, including efforts by You Me At Six, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, As It Is, and the Dropkick Murphys.  There have also been a number of singles released over the past month, so today I’ll be giving you a rundown of the best tracks around.

Mallory Knox – Better Off Without You

Mallory Knox have released a couple of singles in the lead up to their third full length album, Wired, due to be released in March.  I love the rhythm of this track, and it has a powerful chorus which ties the song together.  I’ll be seeing the band alongside Lonely The Brave and Fatherson on their Wired tour in March, and I cannot wait!

Acceptance – Haunted

Acceptance is a band with a tumultuous past.  They formed in the late 90s and released a couple of EPs as well as a full length album, Phantoms, in 2005.  Not long after this the group disbanded, and its members took part in a number of other projects until they reunited in 2015.  The pop-rock group have released their latest single, Haunted, in the lead up to their second album due to be released next month.

Touché Amoré – Benediction

Post-hardcore rockers Touché Amoré released their fourth studio album, Stage Four, last September, and this track is their most recent single.  If you want emotive choruses and great drumming, this song is for you.

Lower Than Atlantis – Boomerang

This track has a heavy electronic influence, with programmed drums, synths, and autotuned introduction and vocals.  So far Boomerang stands out from the rest of the singles off of Lower Than Atlantis’s upcoming record, Safe In Sound, as the rest fit more comfortably with the band’s rock sound.

Dryjacket – Spelling Era

I featured another Dryjacket track, Two Toasters, in the November 2016 edition of …incredible tracks.  I really enjoy this band’s lighthearted sound, which is why I decided to feature them again.

Biffy Clyro – Flammable

It should come as no surprise that I’m a big fan of this track, the fifth single to be released from Biffy Clyro’s latest record, Ellipsis.  Although this album received mixed reviews from fans and critics, I think most will agree that this track is one of the closest on the record to their trademark aggressive proggy sound.

Breaking Benjamin – Never Again

It can’t be denied that Breaking Benjamin are a cornerstone of American heavy rock music, and have been for many years.  The video for Never Again was released this month, taken off of their 2015 album Dark Before Dawn.

Halestorm – Heathens (Twenty One Pilots cover)

Now, I’m not the biggest fan of Twenty One Pilots, but I am a huge lover of Halestorm, so I knew Lzzy Hale and the rest of the group would be able to put their own spin on this track.  This single is taken from the third volume of ReAniMate: The CoVeRs eP released earlier this month.

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

Review: Modern Ruin

This Friday, punk legend Frank Carter returned with a new release from his band, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes.  Their debut LP, Blossom, was one of my favourite albums of 2015, and even before then I’ve followed Frank Carter’s career since his days as the front man of UK punk band Gallows.  Anyone who’s followed altrocklife for any length of time probably will have realised how much I love this man’s work, so you can bet I have huge expectations for the latest album, Modern Ruin.  Promotion for the record kicked off with the single Snake Eyes all the way back in June of last year, and you can watch the provocative music video here:

Now to the album.  Modern Ruin kicks off with the acoustic track Bluebelle, named after his frankly gorgeous pet dog.  The pace picks up with Lullaby, with its bass led verses and Frank’s signature voice belting out the chorus.  Just after hearing the first two tracks, one named after a pet and the other written about Frank looking after his daughter Mercy when she was ill, makes it obvious that Frank’s love for his family is a significant theme of Modern Ruin.  This is a nice shift in pace from The Rattlesnakes’ previous record, which featured tracks overflowing with hate and anger.

Already this record is much more melodic than their previous effort: Frank still uses screams and harsh vocals for effect, but they are much less frequent in Modern Ruin than they were in Blossom, especially in the verses.  This is pretty evident in track Vampires, which is much heavier on harmonised backing vocals than previous songs.  Does this make Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes any less punk?  Arguably not: Modern Ruin still has the same attitude as its predecessor, but it’s definitely the more mature and refined album of the two.

One of my highlights of the record is the riff heavy outro of God Is My Friend, followed by the explosive 56 second long Jackals.  Guitarist Dean Richardson and drummer Gareth Grover are forces to be reckoned with, and their performances on this album are outstanding.  Each track is a perfectly wrapped parcel, which gets its message across in a succinct and punchy way.  For me, the most aggressive track is the title track, full of harsh vocals and incredible riffs, and its intro reminds me slightly of Paradise from their previous record.

If anyone was expecting an identical copy of Blossoms in The Rattlesnakes’ latest release, they were totally off the mark.  One thing I know about Frank Carter, following his career from classic punk band Gallows, to Brit-rock duo Pure Love, and now to The Rattlesnakes, is that the man is anything but predictable. He makes exactly the music he wants to make, rather than what is expected of him, and that falls under my definition of punk pretty nicely.  I absolutely cannot wait for my preordered Modern Ruin book to arrive, so I can flick through all of the behind-the-scenes photos, and get the CD in my car pronto.  Even though it’s only January, I can already tell that this record will be a serious contender for the best album of 2017, because it’s absolutely blown me away.

Highlights: Snake Eyes, Vampires, Acid Veins, Thunder, Neon Rust

Review: Night People

After three years of silence, on Friday the Surrey five piece You Me At Six returned with their fifth full length album, Night People.  Their previous record, Cavalier Youth, was definitely a mixed bag for me: it contained excellent rock tracks such as Room To Breathe and Fresh Start Fever, but also contained soft pop fillers like Be Who You Are and Carpe Diem.  However, after hearing the upcoming record’s lead single, also titled Night People, my faith in You Me At Six was restored.  You can listen to the track and see the music video below:

The album begins with its title track, which certainly does the job of setting the tone for the rest of the record.  Its bass-y groove and simple yet effective chorus sounds like Night People is set to be a stadium or festival main stage pleaser.  The pace is picked up with the short but punchy Plus One, then slowed down again for the ballad Heavy Soul, with its trademark emo lyrics and yet another powerful chorus.  I’m only three tracks into the album, and I can already tell that vocalist Josh Franceschi has pushed his voice on this record, which has definitely paid off.

To me, Night People is a defiant album, telling You Me At Six’s naysayers that the band has no interest in anything doubters have to say.  One of my highlights is Take On The World, the title of which gives away its message, and the lyrics are a love letter to the band’s fans who have stuck with them through thick and thin.  I would also argue, however, that this record shows that the five-piece have found their niche.  They’ve managed to perfect the formula for creating crowd pleasing, arena-filling singles, as well as making a name for themselves on mainstream radio which of course brings them more success.

Another highlight is the moody Spell It Out: the gentle undulating guitars and emphasis on Matt Barnes’ bass give the track a dark atmosphere, before building up to a huge crescendo of chugging riffs and an understated yet effective guitar solo.  The record closes with another emo ballad, Give, which I’m certain will become a fan favourite.

After listening to this record in full, I found that I didn’t struggle to pick my stand-out tracks: each song has its own punchy chorus, catchy guitar riffs and inventive drum fills which demonstrate the band’s musical talent and ability. I don’t think Night People shatters any preconceptions, or really surprised anyone with its content, because I don’t think You Me At Six have done anything particularly inventive across these ten tracks.  But as I said before, the band have definitely perfected their formula for success, and as long as they continue to create solid rock tracks like they did within this record, I think there’ll be plenty more success to come.

Highlights: Heavy Soul, Brand New, Swear, Make Your Move

7 incredible tracks you need in your life – November 2016

All of my regular readers will know the drill by now: here’s my round-up of the best tracks released over the past month.  I’ve covered a number of different genres, and tracks from both popular and more unknown bands, so hopefully you’ll discover something new and exciting in this round-up.

You Me At Six – Swear

I heard the first play of this track on Annie Mac’s BBC Radio 1 show, and I had to stop what I was doing and listen.  The bassline of this song reminds me a little of Loverboy, but vocalist Josh’s voice and the rest of the band’s playing has definitely evolved since Sinners Never Sleep.  I’m very excited to hear the rest of their next record, due to be released next January.

Bullet For My Valentine – Don’t Need You

Those of you who’ve been following my blog for a long time may remember the scathing and extremely negative review I gave to Bullet For My Valentine’s last album, Venom.  Even though I disliked their last record, I thought it would be unfair if I didn’t give their latest single at least one listen, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  Lyrically the track is less whiny and full of cliches than their previous record, and I thought the slow-burning introduction was excellent.  Let’s hope their next releases carry on in the same vein!

Chapel – Caught Up

I’ve always been a fan of tracks with both rock and electronic influences, so this latest track by Chapel is a great one to listen to when I feel like listening to that sort of track.  Plus, the music video for this song has a fab party vibe, and makes me wish I was back at university, going to house parties every weekend.

Taking Back Sunday – I Felt It Too

If you want a chilled out, more acoustic track with a slow-building crescendo and extremely emo lyrics, this is the song for you.

Light Up The Sky – Stop Me

Light Up The Sky are one of the more recent additions to Rise Records’ roster, and I think if they keep producing tracks along the lines of Stop Me, this band could be onto a winner.

Gone Is Gone – Gift

If you want to check out more music with a grungy, low-fi vibe, Gone Is Gone could be the band for you.  I really enjoyed this track, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for more from this band.

Dryjacket – Two Toasters

I really like the upbeat, indie vibe to this track.  Plus, I’m a big fan of brass being featured in guitar-led tracks, so the rogue trumpet solos adds a nice touch to the song and make it a little more unpredictable.

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