Mar 13

They Don’t Make Music Like They Used To

The early 2000s were a very good time for me. I was at Uni, for one thing. The music from this time particularly stands out to me, a reminder of the experiences I had, especially the nights out, of which there were many. It was the heyday of Blink182, we had the rise of Muse as not-just-Radiohead-clones after all, Foo Fighters went from strength to strength, the emergence of Sum41. Queens of the Stone Age and System of a Down hit the rock mainstream without troubling the main-mainstream too much. What a time to be alive!
It would be easy to fall into the trap of saying “they don’t make music now like they used to”. Doesn’t every generation say this a decade on from their youth? I have a friend who, for the most part, doesn’t listen to anything recorded more recently than 2004. Not that he doesn’t like new stuff per se; he simply never bothered listening to anything new!
Well, I for one do not agree! There is a LOAD of great new music out there! And by “new” I mean “has come to my attention in the last 5 or so years”. So without further ado, I present my TOP 5 NEW MUSICS CHOICES!!


5. Altered Sky

I wasn’t entirely sure whether to include this band or not. I’ve not actually heard a great deal of their songs, but when “Where I Belong” played on Kerrang! radio it was love at first hear! The chorus just really ticks all the boxes for me. There’s a real rise in the number of female fronted emo/pop punk bands at the moment, no doubt thanks to the popularity of Paramore, and Altered Sky don’t mess with the formula a great deal. Indeed, the video for “Where I Belong” really reminds me of “Brick by Boring Brick” – albeit one with a much lower budget!
I’m still very miffed though that Spotify pulled the band from their library. I hope they return sharpish!

Recommended songs: Where I Belong, Apple Tree


4. Avenged Sevenfold

OK, this one’s cheating a bit, on two accounts. I first heard of them back in 2006, and even by then they were on their third album or so. They’re headlining Download festival this year, which goes to show how they’re pretty massive in the world of metal. Still, I was quite late to the party in terms of realising just how good they are! The band suffered a tragedy in 2009 with the death of their drummer, Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan, but have since come back with two number one albums, Nightmare in 2010 and the current album Hail to the King. What I particularly like about them is the range of styles their songs have – they’ve been criticised for not being “metal enough” at times, but I feel that’s a strength. The track I’ve chosen to highlight below, “Afterlife“, from 2007’s eponymous album, is a great example of this. Also, that chorus. Awesome.

Recommended songs: Afterlife, Shepherd of Fire, Seize the Day, Beast and the Harlot, I Won’t See You Tonight (Part 1)


3. Halestorm

Pure American ROCK at its best, with possibly THE coolest frontwoman since Joan Jett. Technically they’ve been going for years, since Lzzy and Arejay Hale were kids, but they released their debut album in 2009. Lzzy’s voice is just incredible, able to spit out the lyrics with swagger and vitriol on songs such as “Love Bites (So Do I)” and I Get Off”, but also with a sweet sensitivity on the likes of “In Your Room“. Arejay, the band’s drummer, is easily as energetic and showmanlike as Travis Barker of Blink182, one of the all time greats.

Recommended songs: Love Bites, Here’s To Us, I Get Off, Tell Me Where It Hurts, Freak Like Me


2. We Are The In Crowd

Another one for the pop punk rock stable, and again female fronted. This time, however, there’s a twist. The vocals are shared between Tay Jardine and Jordan Eckes on the majority of their songs, giving them a duet feel, and making them stand out from the usual Paramore-like crowd. Which now I come to write it, is rather ironic given their choice of band name. If there’s one criticism I would make of their debut album, 2011’s Best Intentions, it’s that the songs do tend to sound very familiar, and their two best songs are actually from EPs prior to the album’s release. I was eagerly awaiting their followup, the newly released Weird Kids, and it’s a lot more varied. Still, both are highly recommended.

Recommended songs: Rumour Mill, Never Be What You Want, Attention, For the Win, Reflections


1. Frank Turner

The man who seemingly came from nowhere, to play as part of the 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony. And yet, there could really be nobody better to represent the white male English middle class, as he really is the embodiment of it. I’d say he’s single handedly created – or at least, popularised – the genre of folk punk. A perfect fusion of a wandering minstrel with a rebellious “fuck authority” mindset. And, as he gets older, his songs reflect on what it means to hit your 30s, the acceptance of longer being an angry youth but not ready to lay down just yet (“Photosynthesis“), but the feeling that maybe things are passing you by (“Losing Days“) and that your best days may be behind you (“Polaroid Picture“). His inner punk still shines through, particularly in the short “Try This At Home” and the immense “Four Simple Words“. What’s more, his entire set from The Forum, April 2013, is available for free on YouTube.

Recommended songs: Four Simple Words, Try This At Home, Recovery, I Still Believe, Long Live the Queen, Photosynthesis, If Ever I Stray, oh just listen to everything he’s done, seriously, do it now

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