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: Echoes

It’s only been about a year since the release of Ones And Zeros, but Young Guns are already back with a new record, released last Friday.  The band have said that they wanted to make up for a long period with no releases by putting out two records in quick succession, but I’m not sure if this has worked out for them.  In my review of Ones And Zeros I said that I didn’t think the record would top their second album, Bones, for me, and I still stand by that.  I’m interested to see if Echoes will succeed where their previous album failed.

The album starts with lead single Bulletproof, a track which features electronic elements as well as proper guitars, and a fantastic chorus which reminds us of how impressive vocalist Gustav’s voice really is.  You can see the music video for the track here:

This is followed by title track Echoes, which demonstrates that the increased electronic elements from Ones And Zeros are still part of Young Guns’ sound.  There are more beefy guitar riffs in this track, however, which hark back to their earlier days and heavier sound of the past.  Said heavier guitars are found throughout the record, including during Careful What You Wish For and Mad World.  These heavier tracks interspersed with electronic intros and effects helps each song to stand out from the rest, and the overall effect is pretty special.

The pace of the record slowed down slightly with Awakening, a more relaxed track with one of Young Guns’ trademark soaring choruses, and Living In A Dream Is So Easy, a wistful and emotionally charged number.  The intro to Buried quickly returns the record to its previous high energy.

I’ll be honest and say that I went into this record with fairly low expectations.  I was disappointed by last year’s release, so I became a little worried that the band were creating music in a style outside of my preferred genres.  After giving Echoes a good listen, however, I’ve come to the conclusion that Ones And Zeros was an experimental prototype in the lead-up to their latest album.

I really enjoyed Echoes, and I think that the band have balanced alternative rock guitars and drums with electronic elements to create a sound that really works.  In truth, I found it difficult to write up my little ‘highlights’ section because I really enjoyed most of the tracks, and they all had features I found interesting or unique, so it was harder to pick out favourites.  Does this album top Bones, though?  To be honest, Bones became a very important album to me during a difficult time in my life, so it will always mean more to me than anything else Young Guns put out.  I do think that Echoes is musically on a par with their second album, and it’s fantastic in its own right, but the meaning I’ve given to Bones probably means it will always top any other music they put out.  #sorrynotsorry

So to conclude, if you were disappointed by Ones And Zeros the same as I was, I suggest that you give Young Guns another try and listen to Echoes.  I’m certain that you wouldn’t regret it.

Highlights: Bulletproof, Careful What You Wish For, Paranoid, Buried, Afterglow

Review: Ones and Zeros

Hello altrocklifers! It’s good to be back blogging again after my exam hiatus, and what better way to welcome you back than with a review of Young Guns’ latest album, Ones and Zeros.

Ones and Zeros is the third album by the Buckinghamshire five piece, a band who have consistently evolved stylistically from record to record.  I doubt I was the only Young Guns fan surprised by I Want Out, the first single released from their latest album.  It was definitely a change of pace, with a lot more electronic influences, but deep down at its core the track is still unmistakably them.  If you missed it when it was released last August, here’s the music video for you to check out:

Admittedly, once the second single Speaking in Tongues was released, I started to feel a little worried about what Ones And Zeros would be like.  I wasn’t a massive fan on the first listen, feeling like the track had lost its alternative rock roots and was leaning too far towards electronic or dance music.  The track has grown on me though!  Plus, the release of the third single, Daylight, managed to win me over and get me excited for the album once again.

The album opener, Rising Up, is an explosive yet atmospheric start, combining heavy guitar riffs, synthesisers and strings, which makes it sound almost orchestral.  It’s obvious that the band are still making good use of vocalist Gustav Wood’s distinctive voice.

Lullaby is a mid-album change of pace, which forces you to take a step back and really listen to the lyrics.  However the album quickly picks back up again with the distinctive introduction of Daylight.  The fast-paced guitars during Colour Blind are awesome, and if you’re a fan of strings, Die On Time is likely to be your favourite track from the album.

For die hard rock ‘n’ roll fans, Ones and Zeros might not be the best album for you.  However, if you’re more open minded when it comes to combining genres, you should definitely give this record a try.

With 12 tracks clocking in at just over 45 minutes, this album is a fairly significant effort.  With just under three years between their second album, Bones, and their latest record, I’ve been chomping at the bit for more music from Young Guns.  While it’s obvious that each of the tracks belong to Ones and Zeros, each one has its own defining elements that made me feel like I was in my own little world listening to each track.

The big question, however, is will Ones and Zeros top Bones as my favourite album by the Buckinghamshire five piece?  Bones has a special place in my heart, and it’s probably one of my favourite albums of all time, so understandably I had big expectations for Young Guns’ third record.  Stylistically they have their differences, which makes them pretty difficult to compare.  Right now, I think the scales tip towards the direction of Bones, but who knows?  I’m sure I’ll be giving Ones and Zeros many, many more listens, so it could come out on top after all.

Highlights: Memento Mori, Daylight, Gravity, Ones and Zeros

6 incredible tracks you need in your life – May 2015

Since my last post in March, so many incredible tracks have been released.  Check out my list of the best new music at the moment!

The Maccabees – Marks To Prove It

I’ve always liked The Maccabees, but they were firmly part of the poppier, less rock ‘n’ roll part of my music taste until now.  This track is a triumphant return for the band.

Don Broco – Automatic

This track has got me super excited for Don Broco’s next album, also titled Automatic and released August 7.

Lower Than Atlantis – Words Don’t Come So Easily

This track is one of the slower, more mellow numbers from Lower Than Atlantis’s self titled album.  If you feel like chilling out and you’re in the mood for some acoustic guitar, this track is for you.

Young Guns – Daylight

As much as I loved I Want Out and Speaking In Tongues, this track is definitely the strongest single from Young Guns’s upcoming album Ones And Zeros.

Neck Deep – Can’t Kick Up The Roots

This track hasn’t got an official music or lyric video yet, but if you’re in the UK you can listen to the track here via the BBC iPlayer (skip to about 33 minutes in).  Nothing like some unapologetic punk pop hot off the presses!

Nothing But Thieves – Itch

To me these guys sound very Royal Blood-esque, which is definitely a compliment.  The opening is super eerie and I love it!

What do you think of these tracks?  Can you think of any new releases that I missed?  Let me know in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter.

Top 10: the biggest rock ‘n’ roll choruses I’ve ever heard

In my opinion, the chorus of a song is the glue which holds the rest of the verses together.  Here’s a list of 10 songs with the biggest, punchiest and best choruses I’ve ever heard.

10: Alone Together – Fall Out Boy

The message of this song is pretty uplifting overall, but the chorus is the icing on the cake.

9: Forever – Papa Roach

This tune is one of my favourite ever love songs.

8: Sssnakepit – Enter Shikari

Gang vocals are my ultimate weakness, and as someone who gets pretty nervous in moshpits and crowds this song is a nice reminder to leave my anxieties behind.

7: Bite My Tongue – You Me At Six ft. Oli Sykes

Sinners Never Sleep, the album this song comes from, is chock-a-block full of anthems.  This is one of the best.

6: Snuff – Slipknot

This is one of my favourite Slipknot songs.  ‘Nuff said really.

5: Gunslinger – Avenged Sevenfold

Gunslinger is one of the best Avenged Sevenfold songs out there – the entire song’s message is wonderful.

4: Everlong – Foo Fighters

This is a truly great song, which talks about being truly satisfied with your life.

3: Bulls In The Bronx – Pierce The Veil

I can’t really put my finger on why, but this song is one of my favourite songs of all time.

2: Biblical – Biffy Clyro

A really interesting song, once you take the time to really listen to the lyrics.

1: You Are Not (Lonely) – Young Guns

I still have yet to reach the high note in this chorus without sounding like a distressed cat, but I’m certain I’ll make it eventually.

What are your favourite rock ‘n’ roll choruses?  Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

Currently listening to: The Negative OneSlipknot