Tag Archives: alternative rock

The 1975: The 1975

New release day is one of my favorite days of the week.¬† Is it just me, or are the albums you’re excited for all released on the same day – or at least in close vicinity to one another? Then you have a cluster of albums you can’t wait for and you can’t decide which one to listen to first. That was my morning on this Tuesday. I finally decided to have a go with The 1975’s debut album first and I was certainly not disappointed with my choice!

debutI told you guys on the last post that I was absolutely obsessed with a couple of songs from these dudes. One of my best friends sent me a track a few weeks ago and they’ve been on my constant rotate since. At that time, all Spotify was offering me was one EP – which, don’t get me wrong, was fantastic, but I needed so much more. Today, the alt rock¬† band from Manchester finally released their debut disc – with sixteen tracks!

The first song, The 1975, is a quiet lead-in – you’re interested, engaged, you’re in there. The band pulls you in and straps you to the roof of their vehicle right off in track 2 with The City, a song that I played on repeat from the EP. This jam is the perfect way to open up this album – it leans more to the indie rock side of the band and keeps things calm in case you still needed to get a feel for what you were listening to.

I still can’t get over what a good tune Chocolate is. If you haven’t listened to this song, please drop everything right now and get on board. It won’t get out of your head, but I swear it’ll be a fun ride.

I decided today that this band sounds like lace if it were crumbled up, melted down, and transformed into a sound. Talk! is the perfect explanation of that. Sometimes there are spaces that feel so airy and peaceful, like you’re drifting along a cloud, and then sometimes the chorus kicks in for denser parts that are the real meat of the sandwich. Sometimes there’s a scratchy feeling, but the overall composition is glorious.

Settle Down is one of my favorites on the album that really shows what this band is capable of reaching. There’s a fun, funky vibe to this song that monopolizes everything else going on in your life at the moment that this song is playing. If you don’t drop everything just to listen to this song, you’re lying. The lyrics are particularly captivating in this one: You’re losing your words, we’re speaking in bodies, avoiding me and talking about you. You’re losing your turn, I guess I’ll never learn, cause I stay another hour or two.

I was completely blown away by She Way Out. The guitar on this track gave me chills throughout and everything meshes together so well. If this song isn’t part of their live show, there’s a problem somewhere.

Pressure is rocking my world. This song almost feels like you’re hearing it from behind a curtain, but it’s so perfect with everything that’s going into the song and the lyrics are just minimalistic enough to not overpower the music or vice versa.

The album wraps up with Is There Somebody Who Can Watch You, an eerily soothing song with nothing but incredible vocals and a divine backing piano. This song is haunting in the most beautiful of ways. I know it’s me that’s supposed to love you, and when I’m home, you know I got you. Is there somebody who can watch you? Is there somebody who can love?

This album is wonderful. Hands down the best album I’ve listened to in a long time. And don’t forget, this is the band’s debut full length. I can’t wrap my mind around it. There is not a single song on this album that I want to skip over. The only down side to the album? I just found out the release from Target has five bonus tracks. Looks like I’ll be buying it a second time…


Key Tracks
Chocolate (track 4)
Settle Down (track 9)
Is There Somebody Who Can Watch You (track 16)

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Lower Lands: Growing Pains

Did you ever listen to the Spice Girls and wonder how their accents didn’t clearly come through when they were singing about things you didn’t even understand yet? I know I did. I would watch interviews and wonder why their accents came through so strongly in their normal speaking voice but not in their singing. Anyway – there is a point here. I’ve come to find that rock bands show their accents more – like the band we’re going to talk about tonight. Tonight’s album is Growing Pains from British alternative rock band Lower Lands.

Lower Lands kicks off their album with a slow track that feels like Thursday if Thursday met Blur and then had tea in a small London shop. Wide Eyes has the tone and tempo remind me of early Thursday albums, but I hear the tinge of British accent. The band hails from Lincoln, UK, so it really is no wonder. With the same relentless vocals and drumming as Thursday, this band hits the nail on the head right out of the gates.

12 Green Bottles comes off with more of a pop-punk feel than an alternative rock. This song is a little more upbeat and is exactly what I’d like to be listening to if I was headed to outer space – at least that’s how I feel when I listen to the song. The guitars steal the show on this track, breaking down and building up this song.

Idle Hands, Empty Pockets is my favorite track on the album. This song is going to kick you down and make sure you listen. It feels assertive, all the sounds are firmly in place, taking their stance and not budging. The vocals on this track are tighter than ever – coming across clearly and hard-headed. This song is a roller coaster of good guitar riffs and hammering drums that makes for two thumbs up in my book.

Why Don’t We Just Build a Cathedral is a nice addition to the album. It shows a different side of the band, almost reverting back to the same sense I got from the first track, but keeping it fresh and new. I also have to mention how great this song title is – I mean really. Say that out loud.

The EP wraps up with the title track, Growing Pains, the hardest song on the album. With the progression of the guitars throughout the song, I’m more reminded of some really great pop-punk in this track than anything. The guitars again focus you in their sights and burn into your ear drums like I would imagine laser beams would – and it feels good, ladies and gentlemen. The guitar work on these six tracks is out of bounds.

In six songs, this band has reminded me of a spectrum of different bands. When someone reminds me of Thursday right out of the gate, I know it’s going to be something worth listening to. By the end of the EP, I felt things like New Found Glory and even punk rock classics. Lower Lands proves that they’re a band to be watched because with six tracks, they’ve kicked me six different places without missing a beat or straying from their core.

You can catch this EP out on I Am Mighty Records on April 14. If you wanna pre-order it, head over to their site right about here. If you want more information on the band, check their Facebook and Twitter pages (and believe me – you do want more information about these guys).

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The Dreaming: Puppet

When an album’s artwork is so eerily similar to a horror/sci-fi movie poster, you and I both are going to turn our heads. I can think of movies out of both genres that this album cover brings to mind without skipping a beat. Needless to say, I’m going in. We’re going to listen to Puppet by The Dreaming.

The first track, incidentally the title track, is compelling in a way that at first will baffle you. The band sounds like a mix between UK band LostAlone and the ever-popular Disturbed from the US. Sounds like an odd combo, doesn’t it? It does to me, too, when I put it that way. The lyrics are fantastic and it’s a good solid intro to the album.

Every Trace brings even more notes of LostAlone to my ears, mixed with a tad of anything you’d hear on a good rock radio station right now. Not the most unique sound in this song, but the back and forth of the drums and guitars is pleasing. During the verses, your ears get an enjoyable break with singer Christopher Hall (formerly of Stabbing Westward).

Breathing is a track that is out in left field on its own. While firmly grounded in rock, the mastery of the general sense of rhythm in this song is out of bounds. Nick Quijano and Rich Jazmine are slaying it on the guitars on this track and it’s noticeable. And the lyrics remind me of something Anberlin would produce.

My favorite on the album comes in the form of It’s No Good. With a slight futuristic vibe, this song rips through four minutes and twenty-five seconds effortlessly. Johnny Haro is doing some great things with the drums in this song, keeping my feet tapping the entire way through. The vocals are crisp and cleaner than ever in this one. Hall has one of those voices that just works with rock music – slightly melodic, but with a rough enough edge that he can balance over top of the bass lines provided by Martin Kelly.

The Dreaming wraps things up with Always and Never, a mid-tempo song for the band that shows a wider range of their talents than any of the other songs. Musically, vocally and lyrically, this song stretches the band’s limits and sets new goals as it sends the album off into the black hole that is our world.

Though I knew literally nothing about this band before I took a listen to their album, I’m pleased someone pointed out the album cover to me since it drew me in. With their talent and experience, I’m surprised this band doesn’t have a bigger following. The music is solidly rock, leaning toward the heavy alternative side, with some great lyrics, harmony between all of the instruments, and enough variation to keep you interested. This is absolutely a band to watch.


Key Tracks
It’s No Good (track 8)
Breathing (track 3)
Always and Never (Track 12)

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Polar Bear Club: Clash Battle Guilt Pride

Playing a little fill-in-the-alphabet again tonight since I’m being indecisive. Instead of boring you all and going completely alphabetically, I’m just going to jump around the alphabet with some letters that I’ve neglected. Tonight the letter of choosing was “P” and really my “P” section may be more pathetic than the K’s from yesterday. We’re taking a stab at another band I’ve heard nothing from, Polar Bear Club. I realized I had their more recent release, so we’ll go with that. Clash Battle Guilt Pride it is!

Pawner coming in at the first of the album is an interesting intro to a band – at least to me. They sound like a couple of other alt-rock bands that I’ve listened to, but it’s enough to keep me listening to their smooth rock sounds.

Killin’ It is almost on the same wavelength of tempo, just kicked up half a notch. I was almost unsure if the song had changed or not initially. After some listening, I realize I like it – and I really like Jimmy Stadt’s vocals.

Screams in Caves is the first song that really reels me in even though Killin It may have baited me. I don’t think there’s anything about this song that I don’t like. The more I listen to this band, the more I get a a dash of Alkaline Trio influence. And that’s never a bad thing.

I’ll Never Leave New York is one of the best tracks on the album. It has that us-against-the-world feeling that makes my toes tap. The lyrics are gorgeous and the guitars might even be a bit better.

I have to hand it to this band – they have song titles on lock. Religion on the Radio is another great track with an equally great name. This track is a bit more up tempo that could potentially work with some head banging if you felt so inclined. It’s definitely one of the more “hard rock” songs on the album an even this shade works for the band.

The album wraps it up with 3-4 Tango – another more rock-centric track. I have to say – I’m really impressed with this album and this band. I both hate and love it when I find bands that I feel this way about because clearly I’ve had some knowledge of their existence but I’ve never taken the time to closer inspect them. I have one of their older albums that I have no idea how long I’ve had on my iTunes and I’m bummed this is my first listen. You’ll want to take a closer look at this band if you’re feeling bored with the majority of rock music that’s come out lately – especially if you like bands like Alkaline Trio.

Key Tracks:
I’ll Never Leave New York (track 7)
Screams in Caves (track 3)
Religion on the Radio (track 10)

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Sisters of Mercy: Vision Thing

Sometimes I like to go on Amazon’s website and type in one of my favorite bands and see the related artists that scroll near the middle of the page. This investigative method was how I discovered the band that we’re listening to today. I can’t remember what album I was viewing, but I know I searched “Bauhaus” in the Amazon search bar. One of the related bands was Sisters of Mercy and I’ve only listened to one of their albums (Floodland). I have two other albums sitting around feeling neglected, so Vision Thing is getting some attention tonight.

I could tell from first impressions that Amazon was correct in comparing Bauhaus and Sisters of Mercy. If you’ve heard either band, you know the droning gothic rock feel that is consistent in each band. The title track kicks this album off with a good mid-tempo feel. A song like this is one I would recommend to someone who had never heard the band – not quite as dark, but definitely a good definition of what the band is.

Andrew Eldritch’s vocals sound very similar to Peter Murphy’s vocals (he’s the lead singer of Bauhuas) in Ribbons. This song is deeper than the first, with a bit more rage and emotion. There’s a constant scratching beat in the background courtesy of some drums and some guitar. There’s also an addition of what sounds like bells or chimes that keep things interesting.

When You Don’t See Me will probably end up being my favorite track on the album. It’s a bit more up-tempo than the two songs before it, and the lyrics are satisfactory. I don’t exist when you don’t see me, I don’t exist when you’re not here.

Though this record was made in 1990, Doctor Jeep sounds like it could be a track from the 80s. You could almost do a Carlton (from Fresh Prince) dance to this upbeat number.

I Was Wrong wraps up this album with slower guitars and a different dynamic than the past two songs. This song is much less what I think about when I hear the term “goth rock” and sounds more like a generalized genre – maybe the wide scope of alternative rock would better suit this track.

This album is a really interesting listen. Though I don’t like it as well as I do Floodlands, this is still a solid churn out from a band who has a harder time keeping a stable line-up than a lot of bands in history. Put this on the next time you’re painting or crafting or doing whatever creative things you like to do. It’ll do you good.


Key Tracks
When You Don’t See Me (track 5)
More (track 7)
Doctor Jeep (track 6)

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Mando Diao: Give Me Fire

I was going to do some more Christmas music posts, especially considering that it’s now actually December so I don’t look like a loon for listening to so much Christmas music, but I’ve had an overload. They finally switched it over to a radio station that plays all Christmas music at work and I’ve had two weeks of it now, so when I’m not at work, I’m not really fancying listening to Christmas tunes. I’m going to go in another direction tonight and listen to some good rock in the form of Give Me Fire by Mando Diao.

I enjoyed this band a few years ago, but haven’ t listened to them much since then. I always seem to really enjoy rock bands that come out of the European region and this band is no exception. I suppose you would call it alternative rock, but an alternative to what? It’s well played music with some vocals that sound like they could’ve been popular in the 70s.

The music has such great qualities to it without really going out on a weird limb. You can tell the band prides themselves on their musicianship by the way the songs come off. The second song, Dance With Somebody, has great progressions from slow to fast when the chorus hits. Considering the lyrics are saying I’m gonna dance with somebody, it’s nice to hear the music speed up so you can sway along.

Gloria is a brilliant song on all kinds of levels – the music reminds me a bit of Muse in this one – it’s huge and fantastical and all over the place, but it’s controlled – if that even makes sense. Best track on the album is right here.

Give Me Fire really reminds me of LostAlone (who you should check out if you don’t know em, they’re fantastic) and I like it like it.

The band shows a lighter, more fun-filled side two songs in a row with Come On Come On and Go Out Tonight. Even though the rest of the songs are great, it’s nice to have a break in the seriousness once in a while.

From some general reading on Wikipedia, it looks as though this band is more popular in other countries than the good ole US of A, which is saddening because of their talent level. You should probably have a listen to this group before your day is up, wherever you are.
Key Tracks:
Gloria (track 3)
Give Me Fire (track 8)
High Heels (track 4)

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