Tuesday, 23 April 2013

A-Z Of The Zombie Music Library - A

As I mentioned in my previous post, for the next 26 Tuesdays, I'll be giving you a little insight into my music library, what bands appear under every letter of the alphabet, and which of their tracks are my favourites. Of course, I don't have a band for every single letter of the alphabet just yet, but as the weeks go by, I intend on filling the gaps by finding a new band, say under the letter Z, and I'll let you know what I've discovered about them in the process.

The first week, of course, is letter A. What bands begin with A in my music library? Without further ado, here goes...

The Academy Is...
Let's not be pedantic about the 'the' in the title, shall we? The Academy Is... were the first emo-style band I discovered as a teenager, and my favourite song remains to this day - Skeptics And True Believers. Although I never really ventured into their material beyond the Almost Here album, I was quite gutted to hear they'd split, as I suppose we're all a little heartbroken when the bands who transformed us in our teenage years go their separate ways.

Call me all the names under the sun, I'm not a massive ACDC fan. I'm afraid Angus Young's school uniform always put me off, I just can't take anyone seriously when he's wearing that.
As for my favourite track, however, I've loved Highway To Hell ever since I properly discovered ACDC through the movie Little Nicky.

Ah my beautiful boys who are making their comeback this September! AFI were a gigantic part of my teenage development, and Miss Murder became my anthem to 2006. And got me a little too attracted to Davey Havok. I forgot how good this video was!

I'm so so glad I got to see these guys live back in the Nightmare Anatomy era, wiL Francis is one of those unstoppable artists that we'll probably still see for many many years to come, he takes his music so seriously and it shows with Die Romantic, the one song I wouldn't have lived without as a teenager, it gave me so much strength I didn't have before.

Admittedly, I've not given these guys enough of a chance, but Congratulations, I Hate You is the kind of track I live my life by.

Alice Cooper
This is the big one! If you've seen me on Twitter, you'll know Alice Cooper is my idol, my inspiration, and most importantly, my identical twin. Problem is, I can't remember how exactly I got into his music, I just remember buying his CDs in my early teens and every one of my friends looking at me like I'd lost a marble or five. I can't describe what Alice brings to my life, this kind of confidence in how I look, listening to his music is my way of venting any degree of anger and I'm left feeling empowered yet calmer. Choosing a favourite track was a difficult task to say the least, but Hey Stoopid always appealed to me as a kid. And yes, it took me until last year to realise that the other voice singing with him was my other idol Ozzy Osbourne. I put that ignorance down to never actually expecting Ozzy and Alice to have worked together. But now I know, my life is complete.

Alkaline Trio
Anyone else who grew up on the Tony Hawks games for the PlayStation will know Alkaline Trio as if they're their best friends. Armageddon was the perfect soundtrack to aimlessly skating around and causing a video game character numerous irreparable injuries.

All Time Low
I maybe should've spent more time listening to this band, but I will soon, I'll do it For Baltimore.

Andrew WK
I've turned down so many opportunities to see this man live and I'm still kicking myself for it. While there's so many favourites to choose from, I can't dislike a single track Andrew WK makes, but the one that makes me want to party hardest is Totally Stupid, now there's actually a good reason behind this. Back when Ryan Dunn passed away, I needed some comfort in fan-made YouTube tributes to the Jackass movies, and I stumbled across this montage set to the tune of Totally Stupid, and in light of Ryan's passing, I cried watching it. 

In a similar vein to ACDC, I wasn't greatly keen on Anthrax when I first heard them, but as you come to appreciate the eras their music has lived through, you begin to understand their style, and The Devil You Know is a good example of just how well their music can adapt into today's metal atmosphere. I'm quite gutted I missed these guys at Download 2012 now.

Asking Alexandria
I'm sure regular Kerrang! readers will be screaming at the mere mention of these guys, but their best track has to be The Final Episode (Let's Change the Channel) in my eyes.

So that was chock full of A bands! So if you were stuck for what to listen to on this (somehow sunny) Tuesday evening, I hope this post has given you something to keep you occupied!

What's your favourite band beginning with A?

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Sunday, 21 April 2013

Playlist For The Week #4

There are uneventful weeks, and then there's this week. You might have seen from my Instagram that I've been making frequent updates on my antics on GTA San Andreas, I've been so bored. Tell you what though, I've never found standing outside a girlfriend's house so much fun, I waited there for two days and she still didn't come out. I can't think why.
So as I've had a boring week, I've returned to my old music favourites to keep me sane.

The Used - Shine
Similar to the comeback we've seen from Fall Out Boy in recent weeks, this later track shows the transformations that The Used have gone through over the years. In  places, they're just as heavy as they always were, but their new album Vulnerable is so much more versatile, energetic and positive, those of us who have grown up with The Used firmly planted in our hearts welcome this optimistic approach.

You, Me and Everyone We Know - Livin' Th' Dream
If you've never heard of these guys, then you've missed out on the best of pop-punk.  Imagine Andrew WK with a more revengeful, Panic At The Disco twist and you've got You, Me and Everyone We Know. They didn't last long together which isn't good because I love their style, their songs really empower you no matter what mood you're in. I even persuaded my friends to sing their song Happy Birthday to me on my 18th birthday, for some reason I liked the lyrics...
Happy birthday, you're 18, the only thing that means
Is you're old enough to strip, still too young to have a grip 
On the high cost of each dollar, the impact of your father
On every shitty guy you'll date
Every piss poor decision you'll make...

Falling In Reverse - Pick Up The Phone
If Ronnie Radke phoned me, I'm pretty sure I'd pick it up. This is pure FIR, and it gets stuck in your head within seconds. If you don't want to be imagining Ronnie naked all night, don't listen to this.

Escape The Fate - Issues
Ronnie Radke's ex-band Escape The Fate, in my eyes, improved when he left, but that's only because I love Craig Mabbit's vocals with a passion akin to the fires of hell. This is one catchy anthem to teenage angst, but as you can tell from this week's playlist - angst is back in fashion.

So what have you been listening to this week, eh? Let me know in the comments!

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Friday, 19 April 2013

Festival Regrets

If you're heading off to a festival this year, I hate you. Nothing personal, I'm just jealous. I went to Download festival last year, and as it was my first festival, I had no idea what to expect. Unfortunately, I'm out of funds this year, so I won't be able to rectify the things I got wrong the first time. So in sharing my regrets from last year, I hope I'll be able to help you enjoy your weekend if you're going to a festival this year you lucky bastards!


Pack light!
This is top of my list for a very, very good reason. Now, everyone that was with me at Download last year will be screaming at their screens 'HALLELUJAH, SHE'S SEEN THE LIGHT', because I ruined the entire festival because I simply didn't pack light. I'd never been away for the weekend by myself before, and I'm also the most indecisive person on this planet, so I had to take more clothes than I needed, just so I had the options available to me for the three days. I packed enough for at least a week. More's the point, I packed it all in the only case I had big enough for it all - a wheely suitcase. Not a hiking bag like all the sane people, ooooh no, that common sense is beyond me. I even had to make my then-boyfriend drag said deadweight suitcase through the mud on the way in. I apologise profusely if you're reading this. That bloody suitcase ruined the entire weekend.

Take a comb to backcomb that dirty hair, girl!
This time last year, I was using a heat wave styler to make my hair a little tousled, and the waves were so loose, they'd be lost by the end of the day anyway. So in a situation where I couldn't wash my hair, it just looked and felt disgusting by Monday morning. I'm a person that can't go a day without washing my hair, so that was half of my problem with wishing to be detached from my mop after one night in a field.

Take a megaphone!
My fondest memory of Download 2012 is waking up one morning to the sounds of Rick Astley echoing from a nearby tent. I sat right up and joined in, singing every horrendous note in my half-asleep state. Next time, I fully intend on being that tosser that wakes everyone up with the catchiest and downright most annoying tunes when they've had zero sleep anyway.

Buy an extra phone battery!
I took very few photos at Download purely because I was so scared my battery would run out when I needed it most. I never bought a backup battery because I thought they were just too expensive, but now I see they're worth their weight in gold if you actually want to remember the weekend.

Take a bigger mirror!
As you can tell by the photo, I painted my face like a different member of KISS every day, and as such the task of putting on the face paint was a nightmare in a very small compact mirror. As too was the removal of said face paint, as I discovered in the service station toilets halfway home when I noticed the big black streaks down my face that I was earlier convinced I'd wiped off.


Brush your bloody teeth!
Chewing gum might tide you by during the day, but there's nothing worse than that 'oh shit I haven't brushed my teeth since I left home' feeling. I brought a toothbrush and paste, yes, but I couldn't bring myself to use the sink troughs, the bacteria were screaming at me from a mile away.

See more bands, don't sleep in or give into pain!
We were all ridiculously achy and tired all weekend as none of us had really gone to a proper festival before. We were by no means prepared for the 2 mile walk from the car to the campsite and the mile long walk to the arena. Our feet arrived virginal and left positively hookers. But as a consequence, we missed so many amazing bands because we were just too tired, for example Corey Taylor and Ghost, the latter a decision that I still bitterly regret. Although we never had the problem of sleeping in, because we didn't get much sleep at all, we didn't leave the campsite early enough because we were simply too exhausted.

Accept that bands will overlap!
I ruined many a time at Download because I just wouldn't stop complaining that I was missing another equally good band that were playing at the exact same time. My heart was beating for You Me At Six who played on second stage while I was made to watch Metallica on main stage. On reflection, Metallica were amazing and I'm so glad I saw them live, but I should have shut my mouth and enjoyed them, which I didn't.

Buy merch!
Goddamnit this may just be one of my biggest regrets, I'm seething just thinking about it even now. I spent the entire weekend walking straight past the merch stands - I'd decided what I wanted, but I thought to myself 'nah, I'll get it tomorrow'. Alas, I never did. And now I'm severely regretting not just taking the plunge because I was simply too busy/tired/wanting to save my money in case I needed food the next day.

Go out at night!
Another big regret was that we were just too tired to do anything in the evenings. We were so close to the village that we heard everyone going out at night, enjoying the funfair and coming back at 5am bellowing 'FENTOOOON', but we really missed out on a good environment at night because we missed the comfort of sitting on our fat arses.

Most of all... enjoy the ride!
On the way up to Derby, I was so tired and scared of the quagmire we were about to face that I completely forgot to enjoy the ride. It was a 4 hour journey and it was the furthest north I've ever been, so I really should've paid more attention. Although I will say I enjoyed the last hour of the journey because we were lost on our way to Donington so I became the resident navigator wielding an A to Z. Which surprised me considering I lose my bearing the minute I leave a shop.
Not only should I have enjoyed the journey there, but the (seemingly endless) journey from the car to the campsite, from the campsite to the arena - every single step. I took too much for granted.

One thing I don't regret?
Buying this baby from Poundland. This torch/glowstick was invaluable to us, from taking muddy wellies off at night to finding our elusive mobile phones in the pitch black. So if you're heading off to a festival this year, buy one of these, you will not regret it.

So my questions to you are - are you going to a festival this year? Who are you most excited to see? Or if you've been to a festival before, what was your biggest regret?

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Sunday, 14 April 2013

Playlist For The Week #4

I'm so sorry I forgot to get a Playlist For The Week done last week, I chose Sunday as the day to start (and finish!) an essay, and this post completely slipped my mind.   I'm sure we've all felt that kind of void when all your work is done, you just don't quite know where to put yourself. For me, the hardest decision has been what side of the sofa to sit on.

Sadly, this post is not exhilarating, as I've been listening to the entirety of Fall Out Boy's new album all week, I've not been very varied in my listening, so apologies for the following four tracks. But if you've never heard them before, perhaps this is a chance to discover something new!

Fall Out Boy - Alone Together
As I mentioned in my post yesterday, this is one of my favourite songs from the new album. It's certainly my most played, anyway. It's catchy, it's summery, but it's in-keeping with FOB's old style to a degree. It has to be heard to be believed really, but I can see this becoming a good summer anthem.

Forever The Sickest Kids - The Way She Moves.
Okay, this is a very corny song. FTSK are quite corny in general but I just love them, when I can't be bothered with songs with super deep meanings, when I just need a bit of optimism, I reach for their tracks and I instantly find myself in a great mood.

Vains Of Jenna - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
One of my favourite Elton John covers, Vains Of Jenna are actually fantastic. Ever since they appeared on Bam's Unholy Union, I fell in love. This cover is very similar to the original, with a slight alteration in the mood of the vocals, it's a bit more revengeful and glam. Of course, this Elton phase has been brought on by his astounding contribution on Fall Out Boy's new album, so if you haven't heard that already, then here it is...

Fall Out Boy - Save Rock And Roll feat. Elton John.
I won't ramble about this because I've already given you an ear-bashing about it in my post yesterday, but this could very soon become my favourite Fall Out Boy song.

So that's what I've been listening to this week, apologies again for the boring playlist, what have you been listening to?

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Saturday, 13 April 2013

Fall Out Boy - Save Rock And Roll

Words can't begin to describe my excitement when Fall Out Boy announced on their social media on Monday that they were releasing their new album early on YouTube and SoundCloud. Monday? That can't be right, it feels like I've been listening to this album for most of my life, the lyrics are already etched into my memory. 
This band can do no wrong in my eyes, after a decade of singing along to every note, I couldn't care less if Pete Wentz whacked his willy against the mic for 3 minutes, I'd still listen to it.
I'm insanely curious about which track Joe Trohman claimed to make him cry when he first heard it completed, so if anyone knows which one, I'd be grateful to know, but my bet's on Save Rock And Roll.
So in celebration of its early release, I'll go through and review track-by-track just as I always do. Of course, there are highs and there are most definitely lows, so stay tuned!

The Phoenix - I've also rambled about this one in a previous Playlist For The Week post, but in short, this track encapsulates what Fall Out Boy has always been about, and this is a perfect track to open the album with.
You're wearing our vintage misery, no, I think it looked a little better on me.

My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light 'Em Up) feat. 2 Chainz - I'm sure you've already read my ridiculously extensive review of this song here, so I won't repeat it. But in summary if you haven't read it - I LOVE THIS. Such a brilliant first release from an album we'd been waiting four years for.
Burn everything you love then burn the ashes. 
In the end, everything collides, my childhood spat back out the monster that you see.

Alone Together - This is what I was waiting for - a beautifully catchy summer anthem. This track makes me wish I had a car so I could drive off into the sunset blasting this from the speakers. This is most definitely one of my favourites off the album. Everything about it is so Fall Out Boy, the message of power in the face of adversity.
I don't know where you're going, but do you got room for one more troubled soul?

Where Did The Party Go? - So many na-na-nas, it could even be MCR. The verses here remind me of old school FOB circa Take This To Your Grave but the bridge and chorus are something refreshingly new, embracing the club kind of scene that pop punk as a genre has welcomed in recent years. There's still the distinct FOB theme though, the self-doubting lyrics, the remorse.
Let's fade away together, one dream at a time.

Just One Yesterday - The featuring singer Foxes is actually from a city near me and not much older than me either! If only I had talent, it could be me on a FOB album. I'm not envious at all. But her contribution is beautiful, I wouldn't have expected FOB to collaborate with a singer that's so different to their style, but she fits in wonderfully. I love this band just a little more for the use of the cheesiest chat-up line in a song - 'anything you say can and will be held against you, so only say my name', really Pete? You thought you'd get away with that one? I love how this song combines the typical emotional grief we come to associate with FOB and their over-confident alter-ego that tries its luck with anything that walks. I'm trying so hard to work out whose voice Patrick is imitating in the verses, I'm guessing a deeper version of Elvis, but nevertheless it suits him down to the ground.
If heaven's grief brings hell's rain, then I'll trade all my tomorrows for just one yesterday.

The Mighty Fall feat Big Sean - Am I the only one that expected a Nightmare Before Christmas-esque track from the opening jingle bells? I'll admit this is one that's fallen off my radar while playing the album since it came out. No offence to 'Big Sean', but this ain't no 'Thriller', it just seems to hip-hop for my liking. I commend FOB for keeping their electric guitars competing in the background, but the bass drum drives me mental. It just doesn't seem to have as much structure as FOB are known for. I wouldn't surprise if the band drop this song from their gig setlists.
Cause you think your only crime is that you got caught.

Miss Missing You - This is such a relate-able ballad once you see past the opening which is definitely not traditional Fall Out Boy, but as I keep saying, this is a natural progression for a pop-punk band and it grew on me the moment I first heard it. This is definitely a favourite of mine, not only for the completely relevant lyrics which I've always loved about FOB but also the catchiness and the clashing optimistic beat which I can't help tapping my fingers to. Honorable mention (kudos to anyone who got this reference) goes to the last 20 seconds, closing off an upbeat song with a morose sentiment that reminds me of 'Golden' from Infinity On High.
The person that you'd take a bullet for is behind the trigger.

Death Valley - Very pop, that's how I can describe the opening to this track, but the lyrics try hard to keep Fall Out Boy's spirit alive. Actually, this track completely embodies MCR's Danger Days album, using the same kind of tricks to work their way into the mainstream market while somehow maintaining their original underground charm. As I've mentioned before, I wasn't the biggest fan of Danger Days, so in turn I'm not the greatest fan of Death Valley, it's not the typical FOB anthem that reaches out to listeners. Or at least it doesn't reach out to me. Especially not the slip into dubstep near the end.
I wanna see your animal side, let it all out, oh there you go, undress to impress.

Young Volcanoes - Oh my, I love the optimism of this, not only because it's breaking FOB's old pessimistic mould, but because it suits their new kind of music so perfectly. You almost feel as if Patrick's sat next to you with an acoustic resting on his knee, it's such an intimate recording. I challenge you to listen to this without tapping your toes, clicking your fingers or at least boogieing in the slightest.
We will teach you how to make boys next door out of assholes.

Rat A Tat Tat feat Courtney Love - Courtney Love makes an appearance, bet you didn't see that one coming eh? Me neither. Now I don't know enough about her to make an informed judgement, because I've only ever seen the episode of The Osbournes where Jack goes round to her house and she's talking absolute heroin-fuelled jibberish. But judging instead by her contribution to this song, my initial impression wasn't far off, although her gravelly approach does fit quite well into this track, she's definitely bringing a Joan Jett theme, which is fine by me. People can criticise this track for being stupidly distant from their old style, but that's a shallow criticism. It's got equal energy to the anthems adorning Folie A Deux, just because the track name isn't as catchy. I raise issue with those who disagree with this album being too different to what FOB are known for - if they produced the same old albums, they'd be thrown straight on the garbage dump. They've grown up, so has the music, and so have we as listeners. But I'll admit this is a song that I could easily get bored of.
We're all fighting growing old in the hopes of a few minutes more.

Save Rock And Roll feat Elton John - Saving the best for last! Hold your breath readers, I could ramble about this one all day. Yes, Rock Sound were right, we waited through 10 tracks to get a keychange, and boy was it worth the wait.
First off, allow me to address the controversy over Elton John's collaboration here. Everyone on Twitter was in complete shock that Elton joined our favourite punks, yet they seem to have conveniently forgotten Elvis Costello's appearance for What A Catch, Donnie. Fall Out Boy are huge outside of our fan circles too, and it's no surprise Elton's jumped on the bandwagon (it's now full so catch another). Don't get me wrong, I couldn't be more grateful he has, because he's contributed to the greatest song on this album and, potentially, Fall Out Boy's entire career.
Chicago Is So Two Years Ago was my favourite track off Take This To Your Grave, and the minute I played Save Rock And Roll and heard the lyrics again, I burst into tears. It instantly brought back the fear I felt when I first heard What A Catch Donnie, the fear that they're saying goodbye through the words they've said before. 'Until your breathing stops forever' should imply that Fall Out Boy will be with us until we die, I can't help but think this is a goodbye. But I'm reassured once I hear Elton's piano trailing its way in, creating the atmosphere for the rest of the tracks.
The lyrics throughout this entire track are haunting and will stay with you, no doubt about it. Not only the words, but Patrick's back to his soulfully emotive singing style that we've always loved, and we're left hanging on every word. The echoes of his voice paint a picture of Patrick sitting in a recording studio singing to himself, his words echoing around him.
I never thought Elton's voice would fit in with Patrick's, but you hear in the bridge just how harmoniously their styles sync together, because we all know they're the greatest male vocalists both at making powerful emotional pleas and at extending notes.
You hear their voices fading away in the closing minute and you can't help but will them to stay. How could it come to an end? Elton's final note is enough to bring me to tears and before I know it, the album's over.
I've picked my ultimate favourite lyric below but only because it applies to me right now, but every single word has become my favourite lyric since the moment I first heard this song. Forget what you already know - this is Fall Out Boy at their best.
I cried tears you'll never see, so f**k you, you can go cry me an ocean, and leave me be.

I've never been taken on such an emotional rollercoaster by an album before. We've started at revenge, snaked through regret and self-doubt, stopped a little longer than expected at energy and optimism, and finished up at Guilt Station.

5 favourite tracks in order?
1. Save Rock And Roll
2. Alone Together.
3. The Phoenix.
4. Miss Missing You.
5. My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light 'Em Up).

Tracks to skip
Death Valley and The Mighty Fall probably, but you have to give them a listen at least once to appreciate that Fall Out Boy has changed, to ignore them would be to ignore the years that have passed since Folie.

Overall Rating - 9/10
I wanted so desperately to give this album a full house, but it's thanks to the rather pop-appealing two tracks I just mentioned that I can't give it full marks. Other than those, however, this album as a whole is completely phenomenal and definitely not what we expected from their return from hiatus, but in all the best ways. I'll definitely be out buying this album when it's released on Monday, because I owe this band my life, and the least I can do is fund any possible future albums. Who knows, my contribution might make the difference between them returning to another hiatus or staying put!

If you haven't already listened in, click here to go to the YouTube playlist.

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