TV shows such as "The Only Way Is Essex" and "Made In Chelsea" are annoyingly popular, a braindead generation of wannabe sub-celebrities that have somehow managed to find fame and fortune for doing practically fuck all let alone anything of any merit...except maybe this; COASTS. The young band from Bristol were featured in the latter of the aforemntioned stains on the TV guide and it helped get them noticed...it's as close to selling your soul to the devil as you'll get in 2016. Anyway, earlier this year they dropped their debut self titled album and what a beautiful album it is! Rich in melodic pop hooks, combined with an abundance of indie-inspired swagger, the tunes on this record are totes reem... whatever the fuck that actually means, regardless, tracks like "You" and "Modern Love" are glorious slabs of well-polished alt.-pop and from start to finish, this is a truly enjoyable album. Even the deluxe, with 6 extra tracks doesn't tired, now THAT speaks volumes.
As you should probably know by now if you follow my social media that I have zero shame in my love for all things EUROVISION SONG CONTEST. Hosted by Austria in 2015, it was a typically pompous occasion that found Sweden's Måns Zelmerlöw being crowned winner with his track "Heroes". I don't always agree (rarely in fact) with the choice of over 40 countries but bare with me....this was different. The super-smooth production, the incredibly infectious dance-pop tones, this was quite simply some really catchy shit. Fast forward a year and he's got a brand new album out which I honestly looked forward to (more rarity there). "Chameleon" proves without a doubt that he is Sweden's answer to JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE...retaining his successful blend of dance-anthem inspired pop, tracks like "Glorious" sound gleefully familiar while "Fire In The Rain" and "Hanging On To Nothing" ooze simplistic yet lyrically emotive musical poetry. Personally, my favourite pop album of the year.
My last official review of 2016 turned out to be one of my favourite albums of the year, and it makes sense as it came from a personal hero of mine; BAM MARGERA. Not that I'm biased, far from, but this was hotly anticipated for a number of reasons. First of all, his previous band; FUCKFACE UNSTOPPABLE was more of a joke than anything else...tracks about bending dicks, drinking moonshine etc...but everyone starts somewhere and it had some foundations at least to work on...secondly, he's been through A LOT over the past year...and rehab has reignited a creative drive in Bam, releasing the committed professional we all know and love. The new tracks with his new band THE EVESDROPPERS are more mature, with more depth and substance, they were taken seriously, they are raw, emotional, real and you can not only hear but feel what Bam went through. A stunning comeback proving he still does whatever the fuck he wants.
Several bands made comeback albums this year....GOOD CHARLOTTE were one, but they lacked any of the excitement and real energy of their past and the album was, well, bland....BLINK 182 were another...releasing their first record since the departure of Tom DeLonge. "California" had Matt Skiba from ALKALINE TRIO for fuck sake and it still fell flat....but do you know who surprised me? If you told me at the beginning of the year that SUM 41 would release one of the best albums of 2016 I would probably have done a massive sarcastic LOL in yo' face! But oh how I would have eaten humble pie. "13 Voices" was dropped back in October and it's like a breath of fresh air it honestly is. From the slick classic rock vibe to "Goddamn I'm Dead Again" (the guitar work is amazing)....incorportated into a real, no nonsense punk approach, while "God Save Us All" has elements of "A Thousand Suns" era LINKIN PARK at it's core...they really stepped up this time. Hats off to Deryk, he came through some rough times and really delivered, a truly incredible album.
I can't think of any other example, of when an album title has been anymore poignant than this; "Universal Monsters" by Finland's THE 69 EYES. It's well documented that the Helsinki Vampires hold Count Dracula dear as inspiration, especially with front-man Jyrki, original blood-sucker Bela Lugosi...harking back to the days of early cinema, classic horror movies...the golden age of black & white motion picture....it's going back to the roots...which perfectly sums up the sound of this album. In the early 2000's The 69 Eyes shifted gears and took on a more prominant gothic approach to their song writing and it became a defining era for the Finn's. "Universal..." revisits that era with an incredible throwback album of straight-up goth rock, tracks such as the beautifully morose "Blackbird Pie", the SISTERS OF MERCY inspired "Miss Pastis" and the haunting "Blue" make this one of the bands strongest albums in an career spanning nearly 3 decades. This...this is how you goth 'n' roll baby.
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Gavin Griffiths, a.k.a GavTheGothicChav, lover of new music and supporter of bands. I aim to give exposure to great unappreciated bands from around the UK who bust a nut to earn next to nothing because they're musicians...the occasional big name band, and the odd over seas band because I'm a cultural sort. Hope you enjoy what you read! x