It’s July and that means two things; its summer (even if it has been raining non-stop) and we’re over halfway through the year.
In the music world, 2012 has already delivered some superb albums and we’ve been spolit with great music. Us folk here at Already Heard asked our team to tell us what there favourite album of the year so far.
The Menzingers – On The Impossible Past (Sean Reid)
With a distinct, raw punk rock approach combined with Americana imagery, The Menzingers’ Epitaph début ‘On The Impossible Past’ hasn’t left my ears since the start of the year.
From the opening line “I’ve been having a horrible time” on ‘Good Times’ to the rousing cries of “I will fuck this up” on ‘The Obituaries,’ all the way to the sincerity of ‘Freedom Bridge,’ the Philadelphia band have produced one on the most consistent, refreshing punk rock records in recent years.
2. The Tower and The Fool – How Long
3. Misser – Every Day I Tell Myself I’m Going To Be A Better Person
4. I Can See Mountains – Hope You Never Get It
5. The Winter Passing – Demo
Every Time I Die – Ex Lives (Michael Brown)
It’s heavier, it’s faster, it’s more intense and quite simply, it’s Every Time I Die at their best. Culminating every best effort over their career into an album that showcases exactly who and what they are. Underground heroes that are still destined for so much more.
2. Enter Shikari – A Flash Flood Of Colour
3. The Menzingers – On The Impossible Past
4. Misser – Every Day I Tell Myself I’m Going To Be A Better Person
5. The Skints – Part & Parcel
Enter Shikari – A Flash Flood of Colour (Hannah Gillicker)
This was the first album that I purchased in 2012 and it’s still by far my number one, it’s such a refreshing record. You know you truly love an album when after overplaying it for six months you still aren’t bored of it.
2. Cancer Bats – Dead Set on Living
3. Decade – Decade
4. Marmozets – Vexed
5. Empires Fade – Reflection
Sharks – No Gods (James Berclaz-Lewis)
Defying fervent claims surrounding their similarity to our Isle’ punk legends The Clash, Leamington Spa quattuor Sharks‘ début album ‘No Gods’ is a masterclass in confidence and intelligent punk rock. Their obvious affection for what might be considered vintage eras for punk and rock n’ roll, something they nurtured perhaps to a fault in previous offerings, is effortlessly blended with wholesome Gaslight Anthem-like arrangements. As a result, the size of Sharks’ sound has risen up a few notches turning every hook, chorus and solo into an exercise in the potential to fill arenas.
From ‘Til Wonders Rise’s opening riff, ‘No Gods’ contains a catchy single ‘Arcane Effigies’, metronomic fifties rock n’ roll of sorts ‘On A Clear Day You Can See Yourself’, the profound and colourful ‘Patient Spider’ (complete with tasteful brass), an affectionate love letter in ‘Turn To You’ and an insightful closer with ‘No Gods’.
In Sharks’ opener, Mattock strangely argues for their identity as ‘overrated underdogs’ but closes hoping that this will be a true ‘start of something’. It certainly is: a Sharks matured and ready for bigger things.
2. Ape Up ! – Kemosabe
3. Landscapes – Life Gone Wrong
4. Inme – The Pride
5. Now, Now – Threads
The Menzingers – On the Impossible Past (Aaron Lohan)
The Menzingers’ third full length screams absolute classic all over; from the beautiful hooky melodies to the heart wrenching lyrics, this band have no doubt made a record that will stand the test of time and the musical landscape. The honesty and passion poured into and out is something to be admired and is capable of making the toughest people cry their hearts of out of their eyes.
2. Enter Shikari – A Flash Flood of Colour
3. Ceremony – Zoo
4. The Skints – Part & Parcel
5. Rise and Fall – Faith
No Trigger – Tycoon (Tom White)
No Trigger’s Tycoon is an angry and powerful collection of punk gems in the style of Alkaline Trio and The Menzingers which has been gaining critical praise as well as numerous plays on my record player. This album is high intensity from start to finish and is not a run- of-the-mill record. Thrilling on record and No Trigger put on a great live show too, evidenced by their storming set at this year’s Slam Dunk Festival. Tycoon is punk music done properly and that earns it my album of the year so far.
2. The Menzingers – On The Impossible Past
3. The Front Bottoms – The Front Bottoms
4. Make Do And Mend – Everything You Ever Loved
5. Souvenirs – Tired Of Defending You
B.Dolan – House Of Bees Vol. 2 (Richard Heaven)&lt;a href=“http://bdolan.bandcamp.com/album/house-of-bees-vol-2” data-mce-href=“http://bdolan.bandcamp.com/album/house-of-bees-vol-2”&gt;HOUSE OF BEES VOL.2 by B Dolan&lt;/a&gt;
It’s true, I’m not the biggest fan of hip hop but every now and then an artist comes along which truely hooks me. B.Dolan, from the illustrious Strange Famous Records, is one such artist. ‘House of Bees Vol.2’, his newest mixtape with Buddy Peace, is a varied but focused beast. Many people tend to ignore the similarities between hip hop and punk but ‘House Of Bees Vol.2’ brings the best of both worlds to the fore – Buddy Peace takes full advantage of hiphops eclectic sound whilst Dolan spits with a punks level of social awareness.
Stand out tracks include ‘Film The Police’ (featuring the ever exceptional Sage Francis), the punky ‘Which Side Are You On?’ and ‘Graceland By Kwesi Davis,’ an emotional spoken word piece about the bastardisation of america’s less glamourous past.
2. Our Time Down Here – Midnight Mass
3. Apologies, I Have None – London
4. The Skints – Part And Parcel
5. Make Do And Mend – Everything You’ve Ever Loved
Our Time Down Here – Midnight Mass (Rosie Kerr)
I am completely biased in my love for this album, but in all honesty this record speaks in volumes for it self. I have seen this band grow and grow and I couldn’t be more proud of how much they’ve achieved and how far they’ve come. The lineup may have changed, members have come and gone, but this album is the most true one to the band. Influences stem from AFI, Dead Man’s Bones, Lifetime, and the obvious Alkaline Trio. It’s an easy comparison to make, but the darkness of this album makes it sit with you, for a long time after listening.
The opening track, “7th October 1984” sets the tone for the record perfectly. Ghostly girl vocals, with the croon of Will’s vocals and the solemn music backing it up. It’s not like most other opening tracks, and it’s not like anything they’ve done before. That’s why it’s so beautiful though. It’s what they’ve been trying to achieve all along and now they have finally met their maker. This moves smoothly into “Precognition” which is the obvious “hit” of the album, with the sing-a-long wonder that is “to feel your bones, beside my bones, I would feel less alone”. Now, my personal favourite of the album has to be “The Death Rattle”. I can’t explain really why this song sits so well with me. It leaves me feeling something pretty intense, but to put that in to words is impossible. Let’s just say for me, it hits a nerve as the most emotional track on the album. Songs like “4 Months” bring the record back up to speed with their Lifetime style punk roots. That’s one of the beautiful things about this record, it isn’t the same style all the way through and I absolutely love that. No one wants to listen to a record where every song is similar in sound. Or rather, I don’t. There can be an underlying theme, as it were, but for a 13 track album to flow with no differencial qualities, that’s not what you want, and it’s not what you get here. “Crystal Effigy” takes the album again to a whole new platform. A backing choir of female vocals, in the most romanticising way, lull you into the next few tracks. “Naglfar” is a spoken track, taking you through to the final 2 songs. Now, “The Reckoning” is again one of my absolute favourite tracks of the record. This one really is a reminder of the fact that no matter their sound now, they can still write incredible songs akin to their previous records. With guest vocals from another of my favourite Southcoast bands, Thom Denson of Kerouac, this track hits hard. The final track, “Angel Of Mercy” stands at 8.36 minutes, and it’s a joy all the way through. Beginning with just an acoustic and vocals, it draws into the female vocals again, and ends with an outro into silence. This silence doesn’t remain for too long though as it throws you right back in with the sound of children playing and an acoustic playing quietly beside them. This soon turns into the heaviest track on the album though. Again, showing that their talents lie in all kinds of music. They aren’t just a “hardcore” band anymore. They’ve progressed and become this enigma of a band, where every possible angle is achieved in one 13 track record.
2. The Menzingers – On The Impossible Past
3. Apologies, I Have None – London
4. Joyce Manor – Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired
5. Spraynard – Exton Square
Young Guns – Bones (Aaron Wilson)
Young Guns have come so far since the release of their second full length album ‘Bones’ at the start of this year. With the release of the album the band have been on the road touring non-stop, Europe, Asia, Australia and many other countries, the band have played everywhere. With various festival dates in Europe and the UK this summer, supporting Seether in the US and another UK and Europe tour at the end of the year the band have a busy schedule.
Onto the album, starting with the epic ‘I Was Born, I Have Lived, I Will Surely Die’ it sets the tone to the album, big heavy guitars, pounding drums and frontman Gus’s epic vocals. The rest of the album follows suit as well with songs like ‘Dearly Departed’, ‘Brothers In Arms’ and ‘Learn My Lesson’ all sound heavy yet melodic at the same time. The album has slow songs as well ‘A Hymn For All I’ve Lost’ and ‘Broadfields’ both are a nice break from all the heavy guitars and bring a warming feel to the album. Lyrically frontman Gus touches upon various subjects, love, loss and friendship and his lyrics are well written and memorable. The album itself is a great progression from their previous album ‘All Our Kings Are Dead’ and brings in a more accessible and catchy guitar sound that is still heavy but melodic at the same time. Overall it is a catchy, feel good album that touches upon different subjects lyrically and musically is accessible to everyone in the rock genre. With a great album like ‘Bones’ out there the band will surely pick up plenty of new fans and will have the massive success that they truly deserve.
2. Linkin Park – Living Things
3. Memphis May Fire – Challenger
4. Misser – Everyday I Tell Myself I’m Going To Be A Better Person
5. Architects – Daybreaker
Decade – Decade (Carrie-Anne Pollard)
Although not technically an album, my favourite release so far this year would have to be the wonderful self titled EP by Decade. Every track is a stand out as a possible favourite; it’s great to see an ep as solid as this one. The transition from ‘Lost At Sea’ to ‘Decade’ has seen them mature and develop a much more British sound, while still keeping the pop punk/“easycore” style they are known and loved for. While there are only five tracks, it’s impossible (for me anyway) to get bored of them – I pretty much played this EP nonstop for months.
2. Violet – The Brightside
3. Swound! – Into The Sea
4. Every Time I Die – Ex Lives
5. Polar – Iron Lungs