Merge the dark Northern drawl of Arctic Monkeys with the smooth rhythms of a 60s blues club and the new single by The Seagulls is close. Girl You Must Be Dreaming showcases the Leeds’ band’s chilled guitar and easy rock ‘n’ roll vibe. Dubbed “tropical rock” by their fans, The Seagulls are creating their own brand of music and slowly bringing it to the masses. Their live performances are reportedly something not to miss and they are embarking on a mini UK tour next month starting in their home city at The Brewdog on May 3rd. They are then heading to Newcastle on May 10th as they play Head of Steam before bringing their laid-back sound to London on May 16th, where you can catch them at The Islington. Their album is due to drop this summer. Watch the video for the new single now!
All Time Low are a band who I’ve loved since I was a teenager and I’ve followed their career ever since. Dear Maria, Count Me In and Six Feet Under The Stars both from their album So Wrong, It’s Right in 2007 were big anthems of my late teens and because of that, they will always be a special band to me.
Their new album Future Hearts is the Baltimore pop-punks’ sixth album and follows 2012’s Don’t Panic, which I reviewed back then. Don’t Panic featured the empowering rock monster that was The Reckless and the Brave and the new offering is in a similar vein. A mix of their classic pop-rock style that they’ve always had but with a new electronic dimension that we haven’t seen before.
Something’s Gotta Give was the first single to be released from Future Hearts in January. It has a summer vibe and an explosive chorus with alternative edge. It’s a chilled song with Alex’s melodic vocals set to a swaying rhythm with crashing drums bulking up the back. This is the song that hinted at what was to come but it’s a little misleading to take it as a real taste of what the rest of the record holds. The second single Kids In The Dark was released last month and it shows the new electronic layer. It’s based on a synth background with an alternative rock chorus. It’s a youthful emo song with powerful lyrics that unites against being kept in the dark.
Classic All Time Low is evident on Kicking And Screaming, a high energy pop-punk track with an upbeat melody created by metallic riffs and an angsty hook. It’s there again on Cinderblock Garden with its soaring chorus and tinny guitars. The background chanting “uh-uh-ohs” are another signature pop-punk trope that they haven’t let go of. Don’t You Go is a quirky cheeky track with an American teen movie vibe. It has an offbeat style that makes it stand out on the album.
Future Hearts isn’t without high-profile guest stars. Tidal Waves features Blink’s Mark Hoppus contributing to a soaring ballad with poetic lyrics and beautiful imagery. The deep guitar ripples and kooky electronic tones make it laid-back but the words tell a dark story about being lied about and let down. Bail Me Out introduces Good Charlotte frontman Joel Madden. This retro pop-rock song has a catchy chorus and a quirky summer rhythm. It’s upbeat and cheerful with an acoustic foundation.
Two songs that are very different from classic All Time Low are Runaways and Missing You, particularly the latter. Both songs begin with pretty chimes and have a whimsical atmosphere. Runaways is about escaping pain and heartbreak and is something that a lot of listeners will relate to. A chorus that encourages us to ignore our tormentors pushes through strong drums and tinkling guitars. Missing You has a slight country slant to it and is undeniably American. Climbing harmonies on the chorus contrast the soft melody and sit next to the folksy vibe. Another song of note is Dancing With A Wolf. The beginning has an old movie feel with strong dark drums and riffs. It’s fast-paced with a prowling rhythm and an ominous atmosphere. Dark and mysterious, it’s a loud live track that really sticks in your mind.
Ending on Old Scars/Future Hearts, the album ends on a song that incorporates everything on the album -electronic spurts, growling riffs and angsty lyrics. It’s not the strongest song on the album, which is why I’m not sure it was the best to end on. However, it has got some high energy moments and a tension between the verses and chorus. It’s a crowd-pleaser which makes it a great live track and the line “We got scars on our future hearts but we never looked back” is a mantra that we can all take away from the record.
Future Hearts is a mixed album. I prefer All Time Low’s earlier work but I’m not sure if that’s because of the nostalgia attached to it or whether they’re actually better at the pure angsty emo/pop-punk. There are some great lyrics on this album but I don’t know whether the synths suit their style. However, there are still enough of the tinny guitars and cheeky energetic pop-punk to make it an enjoyable album.
Last year, I reviewed Vladimir’s single Come Over and now they’re back with a new one. The alternative band from Dundee have announced new single In My Head ahead of their London date with The Fall on April 24th.
Despite still being in their late teens, Vladimir have racked up an impressive live CV already sharing stages with Pulled Apart By Horses and The View. They aren’t for the listener who loves their quirky, upbeat indie or pop. These boys have a lot of grit and a darkness that haunts their power-driven rock. Q magazine described their music as “addictive melodies that smack you in the face like a belligerent drunk at a funeral”. In My Head is their latest down-and-out offering.
Opening with dark instruments and a dreary mature vocal, In My Head is a solid alternative track. There is no denying that Vladimir don’t sound their age and their moody tone is what gives them their appeal. Although they are bleak and dismal, they don’t sound like a group of stroppy teens. The noisy instruments frame the repetitive hook and monotone melody reminding us of their signature angsty edge.
They’ve got a reputation for being loud and energetic and In My Head is straight from the smoky bars of underground Dundee. However, that doesn’t mean it belongs there. They’ve got an Arctic Monkeys quality to their riffs crossed with Kaiser Chiefs-esque rhythms. Although they are the blacker side of indie, they’ve still got an innate slant towards the quirky.
Listen to In My Head below and fall in love with a young band who still have a lot more to give.
When I rebooted this blog and stated that I only wanted to review certain genres of music, I did worry that it might become a bit static and one-dimensional. However, when I was sent a press release for Chili and the Whalekillers, I realised that it’s unlikely to happen due to the huge scope that my chosen genres have. Indie is such a diverse area and this Icelandic-Austrian band are yet another face of it.
Merging an authentic 60s sound with modern arty indie-pop, the five-piece have created retro music for the millenials. They released their first album The Tragic Tale of Julie and the Crying Clown in 2011 to critical acclaim in Austria, where they are best known. Since then, they have gone on to win the European Youth Forum’s Emerging Band contest and their single Turn reached number three in the Icelandic charts. That song and the album of the same name is set to be released in the UK on May 11th.
Turn is a laid-back affair with that rich old-fashioned vibe featuring mellow guitars and a jaunty melody. A sweet chorus and layers of harmonies top it off. It also has a pretty cute video which you can watch below!
Chili and the Whalekillers are also touring the UK next month. The full list of dates are:
May 14th- The Great Escape Festival, Brighton
May 15th- The Hop, Wakefield
May 16th- Riverside Live, Sheffield
May 17th- Gillespie Crescent, Edinburgh
May 18th- The Griffin, Glasgow
May 19th- Jenny Blyth Fine Art at ART Jericho, Oxford
May 20th- The Old Blue Last, London
May 22nd- Sound City Festival, Liverpool
Keep up with Chili and the Whalekillers on Facebook.
The main reason that I wanted to share this video is due to its unique nature. It’s from multi-instrumentalist Fictonian, who shot the main focus of the video (that which you can see on the small TV screen) entirely on a mobile phone. The video was filmed over two years in Croatia and on the riverbanks in Wye, near where the song Make It Be Ours was written. Fictonian said: “I knew exactly what I wanted visually – to work with the lyrics and song, so started recording videos of my feet (and my girlfriends feet) the same day I wrote the song, before it was ever demoed. That was over two years ago now, so I’ve had a lot of feet footage to play with!” The song itself is a little too drab and monotone for me but the concept of the video is intriguing nonetheless!
Kent pop-punk/emo quartet Red Light Runner are a rare find. Describing themselves as “old man emo pop punk” who are reliving their youth, their sound is spot on. Channeling bands such as The Gaslight Anthem and Jimmy Eat World, they certainly push a lot of younger bands to the sides with their bouncy infectious guitar-led music.
Originally forming in 2006 and disbanding two years later, Red Light Runner went through a renaissance last year. The double single release of Just Might Find/Lucky Thirteen is the result and if you love melodic pop-punk with a Brit twist, you’ll love it.
Just Might Find opens with a strong thumping drum and a singing riff before singer Dan comes in. The chorus is earworm quality with a hook that nestles into your head, accompanied by emo lyrics and fierce guitar lines. The atmospheric break where the instruments die down and Dan is left to sing into a muted guitar throb before the final chorus push is perfect for capturing a live crowd. It’s young, fresh and sits comfortably with the best pop-punks of the 00s from which Red Light Runner originally came.
Lucky Thirteen is kicked off with metallic guitar bursts and a humming melody. Echoes of the first lines of the verses seem to be a motif that they’ve adopted and it’s fitting with their genre. This song is slightly more chilled than Just Might Find but still has that power driving it. The guitars work hard on this track and bring another energetic pop-rock creation. The crashing of instruments give it a great live track as it’s a true party anthem that wouldn’t be out of place on a teen movie soundtrack.
Although their vocals make them undeniably British, they have that classic authentic American pop-punk sound. Their influences of bands of that ilk is obvious but they are putting their own stamp on it. The fact that this is a band who have risen from the ashes too makes them a little bit more special in my book.
It’s hard to believe that the voice in this video belongs to a 15-year-old girl from Aberdeen. Best Girl Athlete is Katie Buchan, who possesses a talent to rival that of much older and more experienced artists such as Ellie Goulding and Laura Marling. Hills is the new single from her debut album Carve Every Word which is available to buy on iTunes now. Whimsical and angelic, the album has already received praise from Artrocker and Clash magazine and Katie looks set to become the next big indie-pop songstress. Watch the video for Hills!