If you piece together some of my previous POV choices you’ll discover my love affair for bands associated with Dance Gavin Dance guitarist Will Swan and his label Blue Swan Records. His influence prompted the internet to create the sub-genre ‘swancore’ and Wolf & Bear are another exemplary example of the rich, exciting music lurking within this cult-like corner of alternative music.

Wolf & Bear’s progressive post-hardcore is textbook ‘swancore’ and follows a formula very close to Dance Gavin Dance’s own. Harsh vocals add aggression and further chaos to the already free-form guitar licks and busy drums, before making way for soaring, clean vocals that add hooks and superb moments of melody. ‘GreyBlood’ is by no means just a replication of a formula though; Wolf & Bear have a personality all their own and when you dig back into the other tracks they’ve released to date, there’s a startling level of consistent quality.

Despite the incredibly high bar set by their label-mates and peers over the past few years, Wolf & Bear are set to hurdle it when they release their full-length record in the not too distant future.

Glasgow’s Dialects are a post-rock force of nature capable of ambient, cinematic post-rock but with the ability to let loose with a cacophony of noise, spearheaded by thunderous guitars and perforating drums. Double A-side ‘Illusory/When You Die, You’re Truly Alone’ unleashes both sides of the band’s equally impressive sound.

‘Illusory’ hits you with its infectious drumbeat and swelling guitars that progress through thick chords and tapped, ambient lead guitar lines. It pulsates and grows, hooking you in with dynamic changes and clever timings until it reaches its crescendo. In contrast, ‘When You Die, You’re Truly Alone’ slowly grows through gentle drums and sparse guitars; carefully selected notes build the atmosphere and deepen your emotional attachment to the song’s journey.

Dialects blew me away at this year’s StrangeForms Festival with an impassioned performance and this double A-side only strengthens the excitement surrounding this band. Their ability to blend so many aspects of post-rock into one package is unrivalled and I’m anxiously awaiting more music and the chance to see them live again.

Music is all about wearing your heart on your sleeve but Holding Absence bear heart, soul and spirit on theirs. It’s this honesty within their music that’s seen their fan base swell, and it’s seen them slowly but steadily climb a promising trajectory.

Their newest track ‘Penance’ is another brutal tug on the heartstrings. Following on from their first two singles ‘Dream Of Me’ and ‘Permanent’, this single follows in similar footsteps – mighty riffs rise and crash atop of thunderous drum work, creating an ethereal atmosphere. Combined with Lucas Woodland’s haunting vocals and lyrics, such as “I am enough to feel happiness and love / It’s hard to say out loud / I deserve to be happy now”, Holding Absence have created yet another devastatingly beautiful song.

However, it’s not just the lyrics and musicianship that make this track stunning – the creative visuals, shot in black and white, are truly harrowing and add far more depth to this song. When you add that to their music, it’s hard to not fall in love with Holding Absence and all their work.

When people think of punk rock they don’t really associate very many songs clocking in over 3-4 minutes maximum. Heartsounds have bucked the trend with their new release ‘Dualistic Nihilist’. Instead of writing 10-12 songs that run in at maybe 30 minutes they have written one song clocking in just shy of 20 minutes. This is a very similar concept to NOFX ‘The Decline’ which I believe is stunning punk rock songwriting.

This release oozes class, taking the bands background in death metal and previous ventures in bands such as Light This City, as well as having two previous Heartsounds full lengths under their belt. The riffs are technical, fast and melodic as they come along with thunderous punk rock double time drums. All this is thrown together by soaring dual male/female vocals with both guitarists Laura Nichol and Ben Murray sharing the duties. Their voices harmonise so well together it gives any Heartsounds release extra depth.

It’s been a long while since these San Fran punk rockers have graced the UK but hopefully we won’t have to wait to much longer. If you want to lose yourself in 20 minutes of melody, then look no further.

Heartsounds: I for one double dare you to put this in your setlist.

‘Strawberry’, Pale Lungs’ latest EP is as driving and ambient as it is harshly melancholy. Each track offers a range of musically diverse layers that drift through themes of change and growth.

Opening song ‘Sanctuaries’ bulges with heaviness, but manages to be both sparse and perfectly soft and melodic in all the right places.

Released last month, just as the band embark on a US tour, the song is the perfect accompaniment to a diverse range of feelings. Beginning with a stirring lightness that leads into an outro raging with the line “one day I won’t need you the way that I need you”, it is a great track from a band who are really finding their sound.

Its been 3 years since Obey The Brave released ‘Salvation’ and finally they’re back with ‘Mad Season’.

This record takes a slight change in direction with the inclusion of more clean vocals, but as a whole it still represents everything Obey The Brave stand for.

‘Mad Season’ takes its title from the long-winded and highly frustrating recording process that resulted in the boys from Canada having to record it twice. With that scenario in mind, it gave them a great opportunity to iron out any situations that other bands may think “I wish I had done that better”. It has resulted in a barnstormer of singalongs, mosh parts and melodies and will be certain to open up any venue they play.

Photo: The Dude Abides Photography

Death and loss are a part of all of our lives; often they are themes that lie at the heart of the art we create or consume. In Phil Everum’s case, they form the basis for the most heartfelt, unfortunate turns of genius.

Written in the wake of the death of his wife to cancer – an artist and the mother of his child – Mount Eerie’s ‘A Crow Looked At Me’ drifts through the darkest of places trying to find light and meaning in the saddest aspects of life and death.

With all the softness of Iron And Wine and the poetic touch of a young Leonard Cohen, ‘Swims’ is a truly pained, delicate song about what it means to lose your muse.

Eidola’s ‘Degeneraterra’ was one of my most cherished records 2015 thanks to its proggy take on post hardcore, impressive technical skills and immersive lyrical concept. When you invest so much into a band it can be nerve-racking waiting for new music; it’s exciting to know there’s more around the corner, but will it be as good as what came before?

‘Tetelestai’ dispels any nerves almost instantly, the track every bit as exciting, intense and profound as any of their previous work. As part of the Blue Swan Records family technical musicianship comes as standard – you don’t get to rub shoulders with Dance Gavin Dance, Hail The Sun and co. without it – but Eidola take this further thanks to the intelligence of their songwriting and thought-provoking lyrics. The combination of these aspects makes them one of the most awe-inspiring bands in the genre.

New record ‘To Speak, To Listen’ is out now and is every bit as impressive – if not more so – than the album that made me fall in love with them in the first. You can check out our review of the record here.

Times are bleak, and records seem to get more drawn out and increasingly impossible to relate to with every year that passes. The same cannot be said for Dancehall.

Singer Timothy V’s proclamation of chemical imbalances and oceans swallowing entire towns on latest track ‘Virgin’ offer refreshing insight to the psyche of young people living in such strange times.

With a screamingly catchy chorus, and an ear damaging good guitar hook, the track finds the post-punk band outdoing themselves yet again, proving that you don’t need a fifty minute full-length record with a lengthy title to capture the imagination or spirit of the times.

Just a three minute punk song and a video recorded in a local off-licence: what more do you need?