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

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News: The Blackout to launch kickstarter for final farewell

Anyone who follows me on Twitter will remember my sadness when The Blackout called it quits last year.

News of the split was accompanied by a series of farewell tour dates.  Below are the list of dates, but beware, some of the dates have already sold out!

  • 23/3 – Birmingham Asylum
  • 24/3 – London Koko
  • 25/3 – Manchester Academy III
  • 26/3 – Glasgow King Tut’s
  • 28/3 – Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre

The Welsh rockers funded their final EP, Wolves, via a Kickstarter campaign.

Now the six-piece have decided to go down the Kickstarter route again to fund their final farewell.  This comes in the form of a live DVD and documentary spanning their 10-year career.

For anyone who’s followed The Blackout for any length of time, the prospect of a live DVD and documentary is exciting.  It’s something the band has never done before.  I can’t wait to look behind the scenes at how their best albums were created, and backstage at some of their live shows.

I’ve followed The Blackout ever since I saw them support My Chemical Romance in 2011.  They remain one of my favourite bands, and this documentary and live DVD is a great way for them to end with a bang.

(Apologies for the tedious We Are The Dynamite reference. I couldn’t work out where else to fit it in.)

The Kickstarter campaign will be launched right now, at 6PM GMT, if all goes to plan.  Keep an eye on The Blackout’s Facebook and Twitter pages for information about where you can pledge.  I’ll definitely pledge, as opportunities for projects like this don’t come around often.  I hope I’ve encouraged some of you to pledge as well!

Currently listening to: Panic Station – Muse

Top 10 tracks you need on your party playlist

You know how it is, your friends have just invited themselves over to your house to pre-drink before heading off on a night out, or you’re hosting a party for a housemate’s birthday, and you need to come up with the perfect playlist to get your guests in the mood for going out to dance (and drink) the night away.

If you’re heading off to a metal bar or a nightclub which cycles alternative, rock and punk on its playlist, here are my Top 10 songs which will get you ready to rock out – but not too hard, or you might spill your drink.

10: When The Sun Goes Down – Arctic Monkeys

This track never fails to be a crowd pleaser, and even your one friend who isn’t much of a rock/metal/alternative fan will be tapping their foot along to this track.

9: Bury My Bones – Pure Love

Frank’s strong vocals are always great at stirring up passion in people, and who doesn’t love a nice ‘yeah-yeah-yeah’ to sing along to?

8: Planetary (GO!) – My Chemical Romance

This track is one of MCR’s more upbeat songs, and it really packs a punch.  Perfect for getting hyped up before going out to a club.

7: Last Night – Good Charlotte

I think the lyrics of this track explain why it deserves to be on this playlist perfectly.

6: Fat Lip – Sum 41

Fat lip is a song most people associate with their childhood and teenage years, so it’s great for stirring up nostalgic feelings and getting everyone to sing along.

5: Blame It – Of Mice & Men

This cover is a guilty pleasure of mine – no matter what you think of it, you can’t deny that it’s great at getting people in the party mood.

4: Higher And Higher – The Blackout (featuring Hyro Da Hero)

A chorus with words that are easy to remember even after having a couple of drinks – check.  A bangin’ rap verse – check.  What else do you need to get a party started?

3: Just A Day – Feeder

Another nostalgic number here, and one which some of your guests may not even realise they know until the chorus kicks in.

2: All My Life – Foo Fighters

What kind of playlist would this be without a contribution from the gods of rock ‘n’ roll?  Whilst not their biggest commercial success, All My Life is one of the Foo’s most well known tracks, and for good reason too.  A winner all round.

1: Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) – Woe, Is Me

I have to make sure I only listen to this song if I’m getting ready to go out, because if not I get myself hyped up to party only to snap back to reality and remember I’m on the bus to my 10am lecture.

So, that’s my Top 10 list of going out tracks – what do you think?  If you agree with my choices or think there’s an obvious track I missed, let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

Currently listening to: English Kids In AmericaLower Than Atlantis