Tag Archives: albums

The five best albums of 2013 (that you’ve probably never heard of…) | Review | Music

In something of a departure from the norm for TIE, allow us to present five great albums from last year which you’ve might have missed, compiled by guest poster Jordan Thomas. Agree? Disagree? Confused? Leave a comment below.

Five albums from 2013 you might have missedTonight Alive - Tonight Alive – The Other Side (Sony Music)

Tonight Alive’s first album was a decent pop punk album in a world filled with samey pop-punk bands, this second album however raises them far above the rank and file. While it doesn’t exactly break the mould for the genre it does show exactly how it should be done. The underwhelming cover art aside, this album is stunning; every song is catchy and immediate, with grounded lyrics you can actually relate to and  massive, clear sound production (not to mention Jenna’s fine vocal performance). With Paramore having moved onto new grounds these should be your go to guys for your pop-punk fix.

Check out: Lonely Girl

Katatonia - Dethroned and UncrownedKatatonia – Dethroned and Uncrowned (Kscope)

Dead End Kings was one of the best metal releases of 2012, so how did the band think they could top this? The answer as it happens was to take that same album, strip it of all guitars, aggression and metal and use it to craft a haunting semi acoustic masterpiece. All of the songs work surprisingly well, with the biggest difference being Buildings, with heavy thumping piano replacing the crashing guitar of the original. While the original record was gloomy, this is a whole different league, the songs are slow and dripping with melancholy. it is not a happy record by any stretch, but it is a beautiful one, one which deserves repeated listens to hear all it has to offer.

Check Out: The Racing Heart

Steven Wilson - The Raven That Refused to SingSteven Wilson – The Raven that Refused to Sing (and Other Stories) (Kscope)

From his humble beginnings making tapes of supposed forgotten bands to his current status as one of the most revered men in music; Wilson has always been making excellent boundary pushing prog rock. Building on the jazz influences of his last solo outing this album pushes his sound even further away from that of his other works. Extended jazz solos (courtesy of the excellent Theo Travis) are frequent, and though his heavier side is still there it’s more in the background, with gentle melodies being allowed more of a front row. Like Katatonia, it is not an album to cheer you up, but it is one to close your eyes and listen to in mellow bliss.

Check out: Drive Home

Deafhaven - SunbatherDeafheaven – Sunbather (Deathwish)

Take the dreaminess and distorted melodies of shoegaze, and slam it together with the pummelling heaviness of black metal and you get Sunbather. The resulting album is not always an easy listen, but is a worthwhile one. BM screams and drumming are the main meat of the sound, but there’s nearly always melody from the guitars, and slower instrumental parts and spoken word help to break it up into a more manageable listen. Since the album’s release, it has gone almost mainstream, bringing with it the usual hype and backlash, but regardless of whether it is really as important a release as some claim, it is undeniably an excellent one.

Check out: Dream House

Pet Shop Boys - ElectricPet Shop Boys – Electric (x2)

I haven’t really kept up with the animal themed store boys lately, my knowledge spans pretty much their heyday period and drops off when they did. However this one seemed positively met so I decided to give it a go. Boy, am I glad I did. It’s obviously PSB, but manages to sound very modern as well. More bass heavy than a lot of their famous stuff, with a strong dance feel running through the album it’s an exhilarating listen, Bolshy and Love Is… are probably the most recognisable stuff on offer, with the interesting additions of pseudo dubstep (Shouting…) and a surprisingly decent piece featuring Example (Thursday) giving the album a nice bit of variation. Whether you be a fan of pop, dance or just the PSB this is an album you should consider.

Check Out: Love is a Bourgeois Construct

Jordan Thomas

Top 5 Albums of 2010 – Year in Review: Part 3

So we come to music, always a tricky one since people’s tastes vary so much, but think of this list as the Top 5 ‘Alternative’ albums of the year (again in no particular order), so if you’re expecting the Hollywood special edition of Crazy Love to come up you’ll be left wanting…

Jimmy Eat World – Invented

Jimmy Eat WorldA band whose rise to fame catalysed the ’emo’ movement return with another classic album. Despite the album’s title, the band haven’t done anything out of the ordinary with this latest release – the sound is similar to 2007’s Chase This Light – but it is consistent, something very important in an increasingly changeable industry.

This is a band who deserve to be UK chart-toppers, but the foolish mentality of the single-buying public denies them, instead the enlightened can be reassured that albums like this continue to get made to provide a perfect mix of relaxing melodies and punk-charged pop classics.

Stand-out Tracks: My Best Theory, Coffee and Cigarettes, Littlething.

The Audition – Great Danger

The Audition - Great DangerAnother year, another great album. The Chicago four-piece have released an album every year since 2008’s Champion and though it might not have the disco feel of that release or the pop/punk glory of the Self-Titled follow-up, Great Danger has pace. Apart from the customary slow song – a sublime track about teenage heartbreak – the album thumps along with every song a killer.

The speed of the album makes it a great driving CD, or something to kick up the tempo at the crucial transition stage at a house party, but at its heart Great Danger just makes good, uncomplicated and addictive listening.

Stand-out Tracks: You Ruined This, Ms. Crumby, Run Away

Bad Religion – The Dissent of Man

Bad Religion - The Dissent of ManThe kings of punk rock return in fabulous style with their fifteenth studio album. If you’ve heard of Bad Religion and are a fan already then this is musical genius. Nay-sayers would have you believe all their songs sound the same and they are over the hill but in fact this release has more energy than any album since The Process of Belief. A whopping 15 tracks filled with oozin-ahhs, political satire and guitar hooks you can’t ignore, Dissent of Man is the apex of the band’s talent, with only their own live shows surpassing it.

As ever the tracks are as strong alone as they are in thundering unison and the dual vocal and recording talents of Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz are on full display as the band celebrates its 30th anniversary.

Stand-out Tracks: The Day That The Earth Stalled, The Resist Stance, The Devil in Stitches.

Motion City Soundtrack – My Dinosaur Life

Motion City Soundtrack - My Dinosaur LifeA band competing with Weezer and NOFX to put the fun back into music, Motion City Soundtrack have all the swagger of both those bands combined, and it shows with this latest release. It takes something special to pull off swearing in music without sounding crass or unnecessary, but Motion City manage it superbly throughout My Dinosaur Life, culminating in the frankly titled @!#?@!.

Blink 182 bassist Mark Hoppus produced the album, which may explain some of its cheekiness, but it’s leading man and vocalist Justin Pierre who really puts the passion across with a selection of pop punk with pleasantly varying levels of teenage angst.

Stand-out Tracks: A Life Less Ordinary (Need a Little Help), Her Words Destroyed My Planet, Skin and Bones.

Story of the Year – The Constant

Story of the Year - The ConstantA much underrated band reach a new peak with a release that lives up to its name. From the chilling beginnings as a children’s chorus ushers in the opening track to the final suitably distorted chord. The band manage a great balance between melody and hardcore to challenge even genre heavyweights Rise Against for their title. The strength of the album is anthemic choruses backed up with memorable guitar rifts and tight musicianship throughout.

The songs share a downbeat theme but the energy keeps things from becoming drab and depressing, the emotion invested in the songs show and help give the album a more personal touch.