“It’s been a good year for music, and we’re not even half way through! Come with me as I take a look at the best rock, indie and alternative music to come out of the past 6 months!”
I’m a shuffle girl. My trusty little MP3 is full of everything from Sinatra to Sabbath, and most days I just press play in the morning and let the crazy eclectic mix run its course throughout the day. I listen to new music of course, the reviews I’ve posted in just the last few months is evidence of that, but when I’m not looking for the next Hidden Cabins or They Called Him Zone listening to new music for pleasure just tends to fall to the wayside.
When I’m studying or trying to focus, I have a specific strategy for my music, and the rest of the time it’s far too tempting just to sink into my old favourites. However, some new music did manage to break through and end up on my radar, either because it took me by surprise or because I’d been anticipating it for far too long.
So, as we move into the late summer months and get ready for festival season, here are the albums you need to catch up on before the new wave of releases buries them forever.
Pollinator ~ Blondie
I have to confess that for a while, Blondie totally slipped off my ones-to-watch list. They were relics, just a band that I grew up listening to and that my mum liked. However, once they appeared on Ru Paul’s Drag Race, my fanaticism kicked back into high gear, so of course when I was offered the opportunity to listen to an advance copy of the album for The Gryphon, I jumped at the chance.
I was pretty much hooked from the beginning. It’s much poppier than my usual fare, but paired with the warmer weather and the end of exam season, the trendy New York synth was truly irresistible. You can read my full review here, but Debby’s vocals are as strong as they’ve ever been, and collaborations with Sia, Joan Jett and Johnny Marr ensures their really is something for everyone.
Mallory Knox ~ Wired
To anyone that knows me, this one should come as no surprise. I’ve been following Mallory Knox since the beginning, and when I finally got to meet them for this album’s release party, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. The boys were a joy to talk to, but more than that, the album really is an evolution for them.
They’ve lost some of their heavier edge, but the new Britpop tinged radio-rock really suits them. It’s a good introductory album for those trying to get into rock music and, as always, their lyrics are far and away some of the best in the alternative music scene.
Paramore ~ After Laughter
This is another case where writing just one review was enough to get me hooked. I begged The Gryphon to let me review Hard Times the second it was released, and thankfully they gave in pretty quick. I listened to it on repeat for a good few days with no signs of getting sick of it, and the album was pretty cracking too.
Creeper ~ Eternity, In Your Arms
If you’re not into Creeper by now, do yourself a favour and catch up, because they’re the perfect example a band just poised to launch themselves into the mainstream. Their EP’s caused quite a stir in the underground circuits, but this album is the culmination of everything they’ve worked at perfecting for so long, and the expert touch really shows.
I’ll always be goth at heart, so getting the opportunity to interview Creeper was maybe the highlight of my spring, and I have this album to thank. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not just using this as an opportunity to push my journalism, I genuinely have barely taken this album off shuffle since I bought it. There’s not one example of filler in the whole thing, and the balance between romantic ballads, undeniable rock riffs and straight up horror punk is struck perfectly.
Get into these guys now, and I promise you’ll be the height of cool by next year, just trust me on this.
AFI ~ AFI (The Blood Album)
When it comes down to it, nothing could hold a candle to this album for me. At the time of its release, I was too hyped up about Creeper and Mallory Knox to pay much attention, so I’ll admit I put it on the backburner. However, one day Kerrang! Radio happened to play one of the singles as I was running, and I ran home at double speed just to play the album in full right away.
It’s a masterpiece. When emo bands grow up things can often go seriously wrong, either they seem trapped in a wormhole of eyeliner and skinny jeans or they go full-on pop and lose some of what made them great. However, AFI stuck the balance perfectly, ending up more HIM than My Chemical Romance with an album that’s just as sophisticated as it is dark.
It’s a tough one to beat, to the point where I’ve spent far too long trying to chose which single to showcase here, so if you listen to just one of the albums I’ve recommended, make it this one. You won’t regret it, I promise.
And that’s all folks! What have been your favourite albums this year? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to submit your music for a chance to get it reviewed!