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Creeper – Eternity, In Your Arms
One of the most eagerly anticipated albums of the year is without doubt ‘Eternity, In Your Arms’ by Southampton’s finest goth punks, Creeper. The expectation is certainly high after the success of last year’s ‘The Stranger’, Already Heard’s EP of the year by a country mile, which rubber stamped the band’s reputation for nailing a killer tune.
On the evidence of teaser tracks like the frantic ‘Black Rain’, ‘Suzanne’ and the superb ‘Hiding With Boys’, Will Gould and Co look set to fulfil their potential as one of the UK’s most exciting young bands. Whatever it is that makes a band stand out, Creeper have it in spades, there’s power, energy, emotion and it’s all so slickly delivered that they never miss. Expect great things. (EL)
‘Eternity, In Your Arms’ by Creeper is released on March 24th on RoadRunner Records.
Creeper links: Website|Facebook|Twitter
Mastodon – Emperor of Sand
After enjoying more critical and popular success than ever before on ‘The Hunter’ and ‘Once More Round The Sun’, when it was announced last year that Mastodon would be reuniting with ‘Crack The Skye’ producer Brendan O’Brien, it seemed the band would perhaps revisit their proggier, heavier roots on album number seven, and these fires were fuelled further when it was announced that it would be a conceptual release.
However, based on the initial singles, it’s hard to tell what direction ‘Emperor of Sand’ will take. ‘Sultan’s Curse’ instrumental is more reminiscent of ‘Leviathan’, but is balanced by a more refined vocal approach courtesy of all three of the band’s vocalists. On this evidence, it seemed like things were taking a turn for the heavy, but second cut, ‘Show Yourself’, is perhaps the band’s lightest track to date, and feels like the culmination of the band’s pop sensibilities.
While the ‘Emperor of Sand’’s overall sound is anyone’s guess at this stage, the quality on display is undeniable, and it would be reasonable to assume that this record will be more than a few end of year lists. (JG)
‘Emperor of Sand’ by Mastodon is released on March 31st on Reprise Records.
Mastodon links: Website|Facebook|Twitter
Mallory Knox – Wired
Can it really be three years since Mallory Knox released their sophomore full-length, ‘Asymmetry’? Despite such a long period without new music, it does not seem as if the Cambridge alt-rockers have been absent by any means. The scale and ambition of that album placed the band on the top tier of British rock and achieved that rare thing – an ‘alternative’ artist among the Radio 1 crowd. Extensive touring included every date of the 2015 Vans Warped Tour, BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend the same year and 2016’s Slam Dunk Festival, ensuring colossal anthems ‘Shout At The Moon’ and ‘Getaway’’s place in the subconscious of the rock world.
Can third effort ‘Wired’ possibly take them further? The answer is an emphatic yes. If ‘Asymmetry’ was the band imagining taking on stadiums and headlining festivals, ‘Wired’ might just make that a reality. Three songs have been released so far, the most recent and most intriguing being the Kaiser Chiefs-style bombast of ‘Better Off Without You’. The group’s trademark mighty choruses return in the form of ‘Giving It Up’’s falsetto hook, and ‘Lucky Me’ is certain to soon make an appearance on drive-time airwaves. Mallory Knox are back, somehow bigger than ever before. (PS)
‘Wired’ by Mallory Knox is released on 10th March on RCA.
Mallory Knox links: Website|Facebook|Twitter
Sorority Noise – You’re Not As ____ As You Think
After releasing two of the most heartfelt and emotional driven full-length records in recent history, Sorority Noise return for round three. In the brief glimpse we have been afforded on the band’s new record, ‘You’re Not As ____ As You Think’, this record could be the heaviest in term of content the Hartford, Connecticut four-piece have shared.
Known for the catchy hooks of their songs which sometimes drive home a darker message, It appears those darker messages in the new record could make this Sorority Noise’s equivalent to Brand New’s ‘The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me’.
The band has already released ‘A Better Sun’ from the upcoming record and there appears to be a more cathartic feel to Cameron Boucher’s lyrics and the continual theme of having to write songs out or therapeutic necessity to got on with the day-to-day. Sorority Noise may have already touched many music fans with their two records to date, but ‘You’re Not As ____ As You Think’ looks set to cement them in alternative music folk law. (TB)
‘You’re Not As _____ As You Think’ by Sorority Noise is released on 17th March on Big Scary Monsters (UK)/ Triple Crown Records (US).
Sorority Noise links: Website|Facebook|Twitter
Can’t Swim – Fail You Again
You might find it hard to believe but New Jersey rockers Can’t Swim only formed in the spring of 2015. Nevertheless, they’ve gone to achieve a lot in just under two years. Their debut, ‘Death Deserves a Name’, received plenty of praise on its release last February. They spent the remainder of 2016 playing shows on both sides of the Atlantic with Moose Blood, Boston Manor, and Four Year Strong.
‘Fail You Again’ serves as the next step for the [now] quintet, taking the raw alt-rock of ‘Death Deserves a Name’ and making it more dynamic. The three songs we’ve heard so far, ‘We Won’t Sleep’, ‘Stranger’, and ‘Quitting’, give us a potential insight into what we can expect.
The first is an energetic number with a reflective message of defiance, as the group vocals proclaims “we won’t sleep until the lights burn out”. ‘Stranger’ somewhat bridges the gap between ‘Death Deserves a Name’ and ‘Fail You Again’, proving to be an explosive emotional release. Whereas ‘Quitting’ sees Chris LoPorto’s intimate vocals guiding the way softly through to haunting harmonies in its conclusion. Together, they have us intrigued and excited to what ‘Fail You Again’ has to offer. If everything goes to plan, Can’t Swim could solidify their place as one of America’s best new rock bands. Don’t be surprised if you see and hear the name Can’t Swim alot more in the coming weeks and months. (SR)
‘Fail You Again’ by Can’t Swim is released on 10th March on Pure Noise Records.
Can’t Swim links: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Instagram
Vukovi – Vukovi
Prepare yourself kids, in what has already been a stormy few weeks there’s another one on the way. But this one is coming straight from Glasgow, Scotland and has a whirlwind of riffs and a torrent of genre influences in tow. Vukovi and their self-titled debut album drops this month and it’s already shaping up to be an early contender for album of the year.
Expect songwriting that’s as beguiling as it is unpredictable, a lead single in ‘La Di Da’ that will have you addicted in seconds and a sound that smashes off all of the best elements of scot rock, raw frenetic indie. There are vivid nods to electronica and dance thrown in for good measure too. That’s before we get to the electric vocals of frontwoman Janine that’s unlike anything the U.K. scene has seen in a while. Biffy Clyro and Twin Atlantic watch out, there are some new challengers ready to gun straight for your throne at the top of Scottish rock. (DW)
‘Vukovi’ by Vukovi is released on 10th March on LAB Records.
Vukovi links: Website|Facebook|Twitter|YouTube
Mayday Parade – A Lesson In Romantics (10th Anniversary Reissue)
If there’s anything to make a generation of reformed emo kids feel like they’re getting old it’s the 10th Anniversary reissue of Mayday Parade’s stellar debut album ‘A Lesson In Romantics’. In what was arguably the peak of a rising crop of US pop-rock and pop-punk bands unapologetically embracing their heartbreak and growing out their fringes, Derek Sanders and Jason Lancaster combined their considerable vocal and writing talents for the last time to gut wrenching results.
What better excuse is there to embrace your inner emo kid all over again and emotionally belt out the likes of ‘Miserable At Best’, ‘Jersey’ and ‘Champagne’s for Celebrating’ in a darkened room. Not that we’ll be doing that. Honest. Still, no harm in enjoying the sort of heart on the sleeve vocals and emotive narratives of relationships gone sour that few bands have matched since. (DW)
‘A Lesson In Romantics (10th anniversary reissue)’ by Mayday Parade is released on 17th March on Fearless Records.
Mayday Parade links: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Instagram
Converge – Jane Live
Last year, Converge played their legendary album ‘Jane Doe’ at Holland’s Roadburn festival, almost 15 years after its initial release. This recording has been mixed by Kurt Ballou and will be released as ‘Jane Live’ this month. As an album, ‘Jane Doe’, needs no introduction as one of the most important in heavy music, having influenced and an entire generation of metal and hardcore acts; as well as helping Converge define themselves as a band and cement themselves as innovators.
Converge are also an extremely intense live act, so the Roadburn show must have been something truly special. While it’s hardly the same, ’Jane Live’ will hopefully recapture some of the energy from that show and allow those who weren’t there to share some of that experience. If the live cut of the title track is anything to go by, then ‘Jane Live’ will live up to both the album’s legacy and Converge’s live reputation. (AC)
‘Jane Live’ by Converge is released on 3rd March on Deathwish, Inc.
Converge links: Website|Facebook|Twitter
Darkest Hour – Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora
Think of ‘Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora’ as a stain-ridden rebirth for Darkest Hour. A few years under the belt of Sumerian Records and a shift towards a more commercial sound may have issued a wider fanbase for the D.C. quintet who helped catalyse metalcore as it is today, but also made them victims of the genericization metalcore suffers from.
Consequently, Darkest Hour are a band with something to prove and who are willing to put up a fight to remind us what made them such a celebrated band in the first place. Singles ‘Knife in the Safe Room’, ‘Those Who Survived’ and ‘Timeless Numbers’ show this fighting spirit sent into a sonic assault of manic melodic death metal riffing and vocal performances from frontman John Henry with no hints of restraint.
With production duties handled by Converge mastermind Kurt Ballou, a grittier sound is expected on ‘Godless Prophets…’ and grittier Darkest Hour is something worth getting very excited about. (AD)
‘Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora’ by Darkest Hour is released on 10th March on Southern Lord Records.
Darkest hour links: Website|Facebook|Twitter
Brutality Will Prevail – In Dark Places
Much like the lifespan of a dog, three years in an ever-changing hardcore scene can feel as long as twenty with the pace that certain bands come and go. And with a number of lineup changes taking place in Brutality Will Prevail, it would have been easy for that length of time since releasing fourth album ‘Suspension of Counciousness’ to swallow them up.
Instead, the nastiest names in the business have returned with ‘In Dark Places’, their most obtuse, concrete laden album to date. Building on the feral nature of 2010’s ‘Root of All Evil’, this album filters that haughty hardcore enrgy into towering dirges of doom-metal grooves and gritty beatdowns, all while fronted by a deeper vocal performance that confronts the Grim Reaper head on and asks “What you got?”
The relentlessness of ‘In Dark Places’ may leave BWP with one of the hardest British records of the year on their hands. It’s guaranteed to have you spin-kicking and windmilling yourself into the grave. (AD)
‘In Dark Places’ by Brutality Will Prevail is released on 24th March on Holy Roar Records.
Brutality Will Prevail links: Facebook|Twitter
Counterfeit – Together We Are Stronger
Some artists create music with the hope of releasing their deepest internal conflicts and dilemmas in the hopes that it resonates with listeners with similar personal anguish, other artists create music to make listeners feel like they’re stuck on a roller coaster without brakes. Counterfeit exist in the latter category.
Newcomers to the London quintet may recognise frontman Jamie Campbell Bower from his solo work and time spent fronting The Darling Buds, or hell, you might recognise him from ‘Sweeney Todd’ and the ‘Twilight’ movies. But debut album ‘Together We Are Stronger’ is much more than a one man effort, as the entire band puts in a full-blooded effort on singles ‘For the Thrill of It’ and ‘Enough’ switching from streetwise swagger to high octane melodies that recall Reuben at their most intense.
With no lack of adrenaline on these singles, ‘Together We Are Stronger’ is set to be a lively release for March. So get to know the album before they take it on the road in April. (AD)
‘Together We Are Stronger’ by Counterfeit is released on 17th March on Xtra Mile Recordings.
Counterfeit links: Website|Facebook|Twitter
Lonely The Brave – Diamond Days EP
On March 17th, Lonely The Brave continue their ascent with the release of the gorgeous ‘Diamond Days’, taken from last year’s epic album ‘Things Will Matter’. Although the album has been around for a while, by featuring three new tracks the EP is looking like good value. It also includes ‘Two Heads’, a cover of ‘The Rat’, by The Walkmen, and the massive ‘Collider’, which hit the ether a few weeks back.
The release coincides with the upcoming tour supporting Mallory Knox and should further cement LTB’s position at the forefront of British alternative rock. (EL)
‘Diamond Days’ EP by Lonely The Brave is released on March 17th on Hassle Records.
Lonely The Brave links: Website|Facebook|Twitter
Basement – Promise Everything (Deluxe Edition)
After their glorious return following a two-year hiatus, emo-revivalists Basement released their comeback album (if you can call it that after such a short space of time) ‘Promise Everything’ last year. It seen the band pretty much pick up where they left off with 2012’s ‘Colourmeinkindness’, and more fully developing their more sunny, pop-punk influenced sound.
This month’s re-release of ‘Promise Everything’ is the band’s first release on new label Warner Bros./Fueled by Ramen, and features re-recording of the title track, as well as a new mix of the full album. This would suggest marginally more than the average deluxe edition, but there’s also going to be the standard fare for releases like this, namely a cover, two acoustic versions of songs from the original release, and an unreleased track.
It’s doubtful this release will offer a radically new way of listening to ‘Promise Everything’, but it should pique the interest of fans, and seems to offer more than a cynical cash-grab. (AC)
‘Promise Everything (Deluxe Edition)’ by Basement is released on 3rd March on Warner Bros. (UK)/Fueled by Ramen (US)
Basement links: Website|Facebook|Twitter
Catch Fire – A Love That I Still Miss EP
Since releasing their debut EP, ‘The Distance I Am From You’, a year ago, Nottinghamshire pop-punks Catch Fire have built a steady following after shows with Trash Boat, Boston Manor and These Minds. While their take on Alessia Cara’s ‘Wild Things’ saw the quintet gain more attention. They’re now set to return with their sophomore effort – ‘A Love That I Still Miss’.
It sees the five-piece wear their hearts on their sleeves, as recent singles ‘Sylvester’ and ‘Guilty As Charged’ hint at a more lyrically sincere approach by vocalist Miles Kent. While musically the band complement the heartfelt nature through refined instrumentation, ultimately leaning towards a more emo-tinged sound. However, don’t think Catch Fire have gone soft as they’re more than capable of producing memorable hooks, and when combined with Kent’s heartfelt words, it makes them one of the best emerging UK pop-punk bands right now. (SR)
‘A Love That I Still Miss’ EP by Catch Fire is released on 24th March on Rude Records.
Catch Fire links: Facebook|Twitter
Dead Bars – Dream Gig
Combining irreverent humour with heartfelt insight, Seattle’s Dead Bars have already enamoured many with a handful of excellent EPs and split singles. Now, having caught the attention of No Idea, the good time party punks are all set to hit us with wave after wave of positivity with their debut full-length ‘Dream Gig’.
Promising silly sing-alongs and wry takes on daily life, there’s also a sense of underdog-does-good about Dead Bars’ tales of drinking, relationships and anxiety. If, like us, you enjoyed Pkew Pkew Pkew’s monumental self-titled debut last year, you won’t want to miss out on the Dead Bars party…(RM)
‘Dream Gig’ by Dead Bars is released on 10th March on No Idea Records.
Dead Bars links: Facebook|Twitter
Western Daughter – Driftwood Songs
Boisie, Idaho’s contribution to indie and rock music can’t be underestimated, and sounding like the Americana tinged offspring of Boisie legends Built to Spill, Western Daughter look set to be the latest to break out from the Pacific North West city.
Yet, for all the influence of Built to Spill, Modest Mouse and The Decemberists, Western Daughter aren’t a tribute act content with rehashing the sound of their region, and if they can build on their astonishingly good ‘As The Sun Went Down’ EP, then we could be looking at one of 2017’s first great indie-rock records. Early signs are hugely promising too – if you haven’t checked out the beguiling ‘Skinny Water’ or infectious ‘Exhibition on Main St.’ then you should catch-up quick smart. (RM)
‘Driftwood Songs’ by Western Daughter is released on 24th March on Take This To Heart Records.
Western Daughter links: Facebook|Twitter
Words by Sêan Reid (SR), Dane Wright (DW), Rob Mair (RM), Edward Layland (EL), Josh Graham (JG), Alan Cunningham (AC) and Peter Stewart (PS).