HOW MANY GREAT ALBUMS HAVE BEEN RELEASED OVER THE LAST TWELVE MONTHS? LOADS. THAT’S HOW MANY. OODLES OF THEM. IF YOU’RE INTO DAY-GLO POP PUNK OR UNDERGROUND COLLEGE ROCK, THERE HAVE BEEN SO MANY GEMS IT’S VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO REMEMBER THEM ALL. GOOD JOB WE’RE HERE TO DO IT FOR YOU, THEN.
HERE’S THE Second BATCH OF RECORDS. OUR LIST IS UNORDERED (MUSIC ISN’T A COMPETITION, GUYS) – WE LOVE THEM ALL IN DIFFERENT WAYS. find part one HERE, and CHECK BACK TOMORROW FOR PART three.
You won’t find a band who missed out on a debut Number One album by a narrower, more unfortunate margin than Wolf Alice. Just over 500 copies, thanks to Dave Grohl’s broken leg installing Florence and her Machine in a Glastonbury headline slot. That’s all it took to snatch away what was rightfully theirs – because ‘My Love Is Cool’ isn’t just a great first full length; it’s an album for the ages. Snarling, slick, sassy and packed with sly ear worms, this gang are special. Indie? Rock? Brilliant will do just fine.
Few manage to get the balance between screaming vocals, crushing instrumentals and harrowing beauty just right but Svalbard, on their debut album no less, pitch it perfectly. From the urgent opening of ‘Perspective’ to the and spirited victory of ‘Lily’, ‘One Day All This Will End’ is a poignant demand to grab every moment by the scruff of the neck. Brash and furious, Svalbard offset the wide-eyes with a desire to be better. The result is a leveled album of wonderful extremes that sounds as good as it feels.
State Champs set themselves a high bar with their debut album, ‘The Finer Things’, but they managed to smash it with their huge sophomore effort, firmly cementing themselves as one of the bands to watch in a year that has been dominated by pop-punk. With songs like ‘Secrets’ and ‘All You Are Is History’ harbouring choruses as big as you could possibly ask for, it’s no wonder they’ve made so many friends this year.
Side One Dummy
Unrelentingly demanding of your attention, ‘Delusion Moon’ is a full-throttle force there’s no avoiding. Pent up energy races like an electric shock, barely pausing to take breath. It’s exhausting and inimitable, a constant shudder of bottled-up emotion and inhibited compulsion that lays everything in to waste in its wake. Shambolic and melodic, Meat Wave hammer their songs home with an unwavering assurance. If it’s conviction that sells, these guys are onto a goldmine.
Demob Happy’s debut album bubbles and pops with wide-eyed hooks. It’s little wonder they christened this bundle of excitement ‘Dream Soda’. From the fizzing crack of ‘Haat De Stank’, Demob Happy are impossible to pin down yet ‘Dream Soda’ runs towards a singular goal.
2015 saw the pop-punk boys from Maryland shake off all their inhibitions and fully embrace the sugar sweet end of their generic spectrum; it didn’t half go down well, eh? ‘Future Hearts’ scored them a UK Number 1 album, enabled a main stage Reading & Leeds success story and is about to send them into British arenas come February, on their Back To The Future Hearts tour. How long have they been waiting to use that one?
Their first album since Tony Thaxton’s departure saw Motion City Soundtrack try to forget everything that they knew and just play. But they can’t move away from that infectious style – that skill for writing lyrics that reach out and connect to the listener. ‘Panic Stations’ may be their newest album, but it’s like that new friend to a group who fits in perfectly with the rest.
Downbeat, rousing, troubled, and consoling, Wavves’ fifth album is a constant contradiction wrapped up in contagious choruses. Arriving in a flurry of anthemic guitars and chant along choruses, the record races with a determination to shake the worries right out of your hair. From the rousing “we’re not alone” refrains of opener ‘Heavy Metal Detox’, through the assuring “it gets better”s of ‘Pony’, ‘V’ presents punk rock anthems in a cathartic haze of energy that leaves even the sternest and the most sober swaying their troubles away.
There’s literally nobody in music with better names than Eoin and Rory Loveless. Recruiting their childhood chum Rob Graham for parts of album two, ‘Undertow’ is a record that proves once and for all Drenge are more than just indie kids with riffs. Bar one, sort-of-ironic intro, this is a full strength, front on assault. Moving from immediate mega-banger ‘We Can Do What We Want’ to brooding, slow burning ‘Standing In The Cold’, they’ve got more strings than your average ensemble. Best of all, this still feels like a step on the journey. When Drenge are done, they’ll be Britain’s best band. Just you watch.
‘Grievances’. The clue’s in the name. For their fifth album, Rolo Tomassi had a few things they wanted to get off their chest. Whether it’s further distancing themselves from their math-core beginnings or having the self-assurance to allow each member a space to shine, ‘Grievances’ is an album with a voice demanding to be heard. Born from injustice, there are zero complaints about the finished product. Furious and intense one moment, welcoming and spacious the next, Rolo Tomassi flit between extremes with a caring touch. Celebrating their tenth anniversary with this new release instead of nostalgic reflection, onwards they march.
One Little Indian
Exploding out of Wolverhampton with all the tumultuous energy of miniature tornadoes, God Damn’s debut album left an impression that none who encounter can evade. Thom Edward crafts a menacing presence through fevered vocals and driving distortion, whilst Ash Weaver’s rolling rhythms fly by at a breakneck speed. Combining a near-feral energy with an innate sense of aptitude, ‘Vultures’ is both menacing and magical. It’d be a dangerous combination in anyone else’s hands, but God Damn are more than capable of flirting with fire.
The members of Menace Beach have been on the edge of greatness in previous bands before, only to have it stolen away from them. Not this time, though. With a debut album that never puts a single step wrong, their trippy, scuzzy rock wins both hearts and minds.
Run For Cover
The debut LP from Petal, the project of Philadelphia singer-songwriter Kiley Lotz, is every bit as beautiful as it is honest. With the band being comprised of Lotz and her hometown friends Ben Walsh and Brianna Collins – who you may recognise as the pair otherwise known as Tigers Jaw – it’s probably no surprise that there’s a familiar charm to the album. This is easily one of the most authentic sounding, instantly endearing records of the year.
Northlane come out armed to the teeth with ‘Node’. Kicking the door down with ‘Soma’ the band spend the duration of their third album trashing the place. This isn’t the wanton destruction of the mindless though, as Northlane scream world-weary demands of inspiration and second chances. With a new vocalist in the fold, the band knew there was every chance ‘Node’ would never have been made. With renewed vigour, they make the most of every second, giving the album a relentless lust for life that’s tough to brush off.
Gallows had something to prove with ‘Desolation Sounds’. Instead of pandering, they stuck two fingers up at the expected path. It’s that defiant attitude that prowls across their fourth album. Hardcore chunks hang next to the gothic disco as Gallows remind us that the band is bigger than the individuals.
‘Colour Blind’ or not, there’s no escaping the neon rainbow that is Seaway’s second album. The eternal struggle between pop and punk that rages at the heart of every New Found Glory influenced record is bypassed by Seaway as they play it straight down the middle. There’s no shame in power chords.
Anything Jeff Rosenstock has had a hand in is guaranteed fun. Yet, despite time spent in Bomb The Music Industry!, The Arrogant Sons Of Bitches and Antarctigo Vespucci, his second full-length solo effort ‘We Cool?’ is by far the best time you’ll have with anything from his extensive back-catalogue. The self-depreciative humour, raw honesty and huge choruses make this record truly memorable. A must for fans of Joyce Manor and their contemporaries.
HEALTH’s ‘DEATH MAGIC’ starts with an ominous opening gambit that sounds like it could be lifted straight from Hollywood Blockbuster. From there on out, it’s all lights and action. From the pulsating march of ‘STONEFIST’, through the dashing break of ‘COURTSHIP II’ until the twitching abandon of ‘DRUGS EXIST’, ‘DEATH MAGIC’ feels grandiose yet dangerous. ‘NEW COKE’, a hedonistic end-of-days rave track, comes with the chirpy promise that “life is good,” as the band warp their music to sound both primal and futuristic. Down the rabbit hole we go.