Tag: manic street preachers

My Top 10 albums of 2015!

Against Me1. Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
Without a doubt the most confrontational and controversial ‘punk’ album in years. Laura Jane Grace defies EVERYTHING to deliver a knockout blow to hish-school jocks, homophobia, the close-minded punk community and anyone who wrote them off, myself included, after the underwhelming White Crosses.

Standout track – Black Me Out 

2. Architects – Lost Forever, Lost Together
Whilst watching what Sam Carter described as ‘their best ever set’ at Reading, my mate Rob (who isn’t exactly known for a love of heavy music) declared that it was one of the Top 10 gigs he’d ever been to. For me, that is endorsement enough. This is the sound of a band with years of experience and potential finally coming into their own and leaving ‘metalcore’ firmly at the door.

Standout track – Gravedigger

3. The Hold Steady – Teeth Dreams
After 2008’s somewhat patchy Heaven Is Whenever, this was the epic masterpiece the Brooklyn five-piece knew they had to make. Which is why it took them so long to do it, but it’s a spectacular return to the form for the band who command the most ridiculous fervour from their ‘unified scene’ of hardcore fans.

Standout track – On With The Business

4. Beartooth – Disgusting
I genuinely worry about how obsessed I would be with this album if I was ten years younger. Disgusting is an absolute monster. Stand-out track Beaten In Lips could well the best teen rock anthem since Last Resort. This is the sound of your children revolting indeed.

Standout track – Beaten In Lips

5. Twin Atlantic – Great Divide
Whilst 2011’s Free hinted at the greatness to come, nobody predicted the runaway success of 2014’s The Great Divide. And now they’re only bloody playing Brixton next year. How long until arenas come calling?

Standout track – Brothers And Sisters

6. Manic Street Preachers – Futurology
Plenty of other bands would have used the 20th anniversary of an iconic album to rinse their fans, tread water and trade on past glories. It’s telling that whilst the Manics did announce a tour to play 1994’s The Holy Bible in full, this was within 18 months of the release of two of their career best albums. 2013’s melancholy Rewind The Film, and this, the angular, European-tinged Futurology.

Standout track – Europa Geht Durch Mich

7. Marmozets – The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets
I think it’s fair to stay at the start of 2014 most people had these guys down as being great in the live arena, and not much more. Their debut full-length blew that out of the water as we discovered how much depth there really is to this Yorkshire five-piece. Oh, and there were some amazing live shows aswell.

Standout track – Cry

8. LostAlone – Shapes of Screams
Queen meets musical opera meets Biffy Clyro with the ludicrously talented Steven Battelle at the helm. Now split up, this album is their epitaph.

Standout track – GUILTY

9.The Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt
Quite a gear-change for Gaslight, as apparently there’s only so much singing about cars, girls and old movies one band can do. It does take a few listens to get your head around one of your favourite suddenly sounding like Queens Of The Stone Age, but once you do, it’s a triumph. Get Hurt ensured their longevity and showed the world there are plenty of strings to their bow.

Standout track – Get Hurt 

10. Of Mice And Men – Restoring Force
There’s nothing I like more than a band who I’ve written off as being generic and bland make me eat my words with a storming gear change full of deafening riffs, soaring choruses and anthems for the pit whilst leaving their reliance on breakdowns at the door. Remarkable.

Standout track – Public Service Announcement

Singles of the Year – 2013

As ever this list has been an absolute nightmare to compile. The fact that Nine Inch Nails’ Come Back Haunted, Lady Gaga’s Applause, Kanye West’s Black Skinhead and life-affirming singles from the likes of Hatebreed, Bring Me The Horizon, Tegan and Sara and Chrvches did not get a look in is testament alone to how much great music has come out this year. Special mentions must also go to Alter Bridge’s Addicted To Pain and Disclosure’s White Noise for just missing out.

1. Frank Turner – Recovery

Lead single from Frank’s fourth album Tape Deck Heart. Well worth getting absolutely drenched at Leeds festival for.
And I’ve been dipping in my darkness for serotonin boosters, cider and some kind of smelling salts…

2. Deaf Havana – Boston Square

From their game-changing, 3rd album Old Souls, my album of the year hands down.
But I guess I was wrong. All I am is wrong these days…

3. Hacktivist – Paris

Because the only thing this Jay-Z/Kanye West track was missing, was some beefy guitars and a load of breakdowns the RAC wouldn’t know what to do with.
You know how many sick trainers I own?!

4. Fall Out Boy – My Songs Know What You Do In The Dark

Highlight of a triumphant return nobody would have predicted, and many didn’t realise they needed.
I’m on FIRAAAA!!

5. Max Raptor – England Breathes

This Daily-Mail hating four-pice are arguably the best British punk band right now – and this takes no prisoners.
We are now taking over it.

6. AFI – 17 Crimes

Spectacular return to form for the Californian four-piece. Lead single from the natural successor to 2003’s Sing The Sorrow, Burials.
Let’s love, and kill like 17 now.

7. Limp Bizkit – Ready To Go

Featuring Cash Money labelmate Lil’ Wayne on vocals, with one riff Wes Borland demonstrates the Bizkit aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
I’m so pokerfaced, ladies going gaga.

8. Avenged Sevenfold – Shepherd of Fire

First track from their UK No. 1 album Hail To The King, crushing any doubts about their ability to join rock’s premier league.
Know me by name, shepherd of fire!

9. Manic Street Preachers – Rewind The Film

Epic six and a half minute ode to youth and life, featuring a vocal lead from Richard Hawley.
I want to see my joy, my friends…

10. Paramore – Still Into You

One of four stupidly catchy singles this year from the Tennessee four-piece’
I should be over all the butterflies…

I want to see it all, never want to let it go

Rewind The Film

Manic Street Preachers – Rewind The Film (review)

Their last album, Postcards From A Young Man, was their ‘one last shot at mass communication’, and the subsequent ‘National Treasures‘ compilation and mammoth 02 Arena show marked the end of an era for the band.

With a new era beginning, it seems the Manic Street Preachers are free of such commercial concerns and, on this, their 12th album, have turned off the amps and mellowed out – a lot. Within seconds of listening to opener This Sullen Welsh Heart (featuring Lucy Rose on vocals) it’s obvious this is a Manics album like no other. This is an album about growing up, growing old mourning, self examination, nostalgia, loss and old age, and in places is a very unsettling listen. There are guest appearances from Richard Hawley (on the title track) and Cate Le Bon (4 Lonely Roads – incidentally, one of the only tracks to feature an electric guitar) but in both of these cases, James Dean Bradfield steps back and lets the guest vocalists take the spotlight. It seems that everything about this album is unconventional.

It’s not all introspective though. Show Me The Wonder is an uptempo, brass-filled homage to living life and seeing the beauty in everything, and the anti-Thatcher 30 Year War is the closest we get to the Manics of old (‘And the endless parade of old Etonian scum line the front benches‘). On the whole though, Rewind The Film is much more restrained than anything they’ve done before.

After trying everything from ‘mass communication’ (Postcards) ‘heavy metal Tamla Motown’ (Send Away The Tigers) to ‘elegaic pop’ (Lifeblood) in recent years, it is refreshing to see the band do something completely different, throw away any sort of Manics rulebook, and, now in their mid-forties, take a step back, and examine themselves in such a personal way. This album is not going to drastically change their live setlists but it is the Manics in fine form, and on this, their 12th album, as relevant as ever.

They’re back!


So after the epic, epic set at the 02 in December 2011 all was quiet in the Manics camp for a short while. They announced a ‘2-year hiatus’, but recently announced an appearance at this year’s Festival No. 6 in Portmeirion, and  it seems they are planning on releasing TWO albums as part of their self–described ‘last great phase of the Manic Street Preachers’.

The first, acoustically led album is called ‘Rewind The Film’ and they’ve just posted up a link to the title track. It’s a radical departure from anything they’ve done in a while and features Richard Hawley on vocals. It’s an interesting arrangement, not least because most of the singing is done by Richard Hawley, and James Dean Bradfield does not appear until 3 minutes in! Presumably they tried a more ‘traditional’ vocal share but opted for this version – they are obviously two completely different voices. The video is touching and captures the romanticism of the Welsh valleys beautifully.

There will be tour dates too, in September, at considerably smaller venues than you may have seen them recently, certainly a step down from the enormous, epic ‘National Treasures’ show at London’s 02 in December. Here in London, they are playing the 2, 000 capacity Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Personally, (and speaking as a big fan) I haven’t seen them in such a small venue since the ‘Send Away The Tigers’ tour in 2007 so it promises to be something special. Can’t wait!