First Ghost’s newest release is the melancholy ‘Burnt Out’, a track that is as sweet as it is sobering, addressing how fleeting moments in our lives can be. Produced by vocalist/guitarist Anton DeLost, it falls somewhere between American Football and The Wonder Years; it’s nostalgic and sentimental whilst the chorus, complete with gang vocals, establishes it as a memorable soundtrack to many long evenings and twilight hours.

The video to accompany the track reflects this theme, and is “a bittersweet reflection on being in the moment and enjoying the little things in our relationships that we often take for granted”, according to the band. Have a listen and fall into the softness of spring with Toronto’s First Ghost.

Los Angeles’ Spanish Love Songs have just released their sophomore full-length LP, ‘Schmaltz.’ They’ve retooled a bit since their first LP, adding a keyboard player, maturing their sound, and growing as musicians and songwriters. From pop punk, they’ve changed to more of an indie sound, yet the music is still rousing, with a deeply emotional feel. Nowhere is this clearer than in the song “Joana, In Five Acts.” The keys are more prominent than in most songs, the guitar lines in the opening bars reminding me of The New Pornographers, of all bands, and the bridge is gorgeous. That leads into the close of the song, which explodes into a massive dream pop feel, guitars soaring like mad.

The lyrics speak to a deep crippling sense of loss. Profound depression turns into paralysis, and the aching cry of “why’d you leave without me” over and over. The feeling that one would sacrifice themselves to “be with” this other person is devastating. The music moves between happy and bouncy and profound sadness, mimicking a person who tries to put up a brave front, but inside is gutted. The album, as a whole, is a massive step up for Spanish Love Songs, though it was hard to top their debut. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Pros and cons of living in Brighton: pro – new bands seem to form on a near weekly basis, always bringing something new to the game. Con – seagulls. I don’t trust them. Anything with eyes that beady are up to no good. Luckily, three-piece Something Leather are an example of the former.

Their second single, ‘Disappear On Me’ has sultry vocals akin to Wolf Alice’s Ellie Roswell and the fuzzing guitar of Slaves. However, the first thing that hits you is the electric organ. I honestly can’t remember the last time I heard an electric organ in a song and didn’t instinctively turn it off. But there’s a sinister element that emanates from the organ that sucked me in. Harmonising with the guitar, it adds a layer of texture and grit that makes you feel warm and gooey inside. With the serene vocals countering the powerful drumming, it brings together a truly unique sound. It’s psychedelically bluesy in places and effortlessly punk in others. It’s an amalgamation of sounds that shouldn’t work together. But it does. Quirky, powerful, sassy. It’s so very Brighton.

ANDY JOICE

Built on clipped drums and a lulling acoustic guitar, KC Dalager only needs a few words to project a mood, a feeling and an atmosphere.  Now, Now have retained their magic even after a six year break between albums, and their latest release from upcoming LP ‘Saved’ is ‘AZ’, a swooning love song to a person and a place.

It’s full of dusty sunset colours and nostalgia for a moment, taking you to Arizona with them as they bomb down the highway in slow motion. ‘Saved’ is released on May 18, and ‘AZ’, along with previous tracks from the album ‘SGL’ and ‘Yours’ will definitely be on heavy rotation in my life until then.

Why The Armed aren’t the most talked about band in modern hardcore is totally beyond me. Their 2015 debut full-length, ‘Untitled’, was the most chaotic, inventive and down-right barmy hardcore record that wasn’t written by The Chariot in the last decade, and easily one of my favourite albums released that year. It was also recorded by Converge’s resident uber-producer Kurt Ballou, and featured a typically unhinged drum performance from Baptists/Sumac’s Nick Yacyshyn. The band never achieved the profile that their talent and calibre deserves, though largely through their own self-imposed obscurity. 2016 live album ‘Unanticipated’ was recorded piecemeal across numerous completely unannounced appearances at open mics and impromptu set-ups under a series of pseudonyms. Not exactly making it easy for yourselves, guys.

‘Witness’ is our first taste of new album ‘Only Love’, due out in Europe via Throatruiner in April, and it’s business as usual for The Armed; every possible detail is in a state of extreme flux. For starters, their drum stool is now occupied by Ben Koller, percussionist extraordinaire of Converge/Mutoid Man/All Pigs Must Die fame, The Armed clearly throwing the dude a bone after the quiet year he’s just had… His wild abandon adds another layer of manic ferocity to the band’s already volatile sound, while the heavy use of synth and electronica pushes them closer to filling the void left by Genghis Tron. It’s a visceral, brain-rattling barrage, equal parts brainy and psychotically off-the-rails, and it’s as exciting as hardcore music gets in 2018. Say hello to your new favourite band. For realsies this time.

It’s time for Taking Back Sunday fans to get seriously excited; their spiritual successor has arrived. The lead single from Hot Mulligan’s upcoming album ‘Pilot’ is an upbeat emo/pop punk crossover, confusingly titled ‘All You Wanted By Michelle Branch’. Retrospective verses that will make you nostalgic for events that never actually happened give way to a chorus which is the equal of any well known acts from the scene, with an infectious “woah oh” line that a few of the more disenfranchised Blink-182 fans would presumably like to present to John Feldmann as an example of how it should be done.

I couldn’t help but listen to the traded, back and forth chorus vocals and attempt to sing along to every word, despite the obvious overlap making this impossible. “Now you’re just a singalong for lonely nights and drunken drives home” will be enthusiastically shouted in many a venue over the next couple of years. It’s difficult to stave off the hype for ‘Pilot’, the upcoming record that will either propel Hot Mulligan to a new level or at the very least further demonstrate their massive potential. Check back soon for a full review.

‘Going on hiatus’ is never a statement you want to hear from a band you love and Underoath’s announcement was devastatingly timed. Their final album ‘Disambiguation’ managed to consolidate everything they were best at, while still offering a fresh new angle, with Spencer Chamberlain getting the opportunity to showcase the unbelievable progress he’d made as a vocalist since the start of his career. Throughout the band’s hugely emotional, tear-inducing documentary ‘Tired Violence’, you could sense unfinished business between the band, but as much as I wanted to hope for more Underoath in the future, the healthy thing to do was move on and celebrate what they’d achieved. That was until they toured last year and stoked up all those emotions again, but even though it was a highlight of last year for me, I still didn’t dare to dream.

But now it’s officially happening. Underoath’s brand new album ‘Erase Me’ will be released on April 6 through Fearless Records and ‘On My Teeth’ gives us an explosive insight into what to expect. When you’ve waited this long for a revered band to release new music, it’s common to be apprehensive, but such has been the consistency and superiority of Underoath over the years, that it never crossed my mind that a new track could be anything but superb. And I wasn’t wrong.

The opening, with its build up of electronic effects, is a perfect segue from ‘Disambiguation’ until returning sticks-man Aaron Gillespie tears it to shreds with his signature, pummelling drum style. Though Gillespie is back in the fold, Chamberlain still dominates the vocal melodies, picking up where he left off on the previous record, with the help of some excellent harmonies from his old vocal partner. The abrupt ending makes me desperate to hear more; it’s amazing how quickly you can go from thinking you’d never get another Underoath record, to impatiently demanding the whole thing. The next six weeks are going to be painful.

In January I placed A Sudden Burst of Colour on our Ones to Watch in 2018 list, and it hasn’t taken long for the Scottish quartet to prove that they thoroughly deserve to be there. ‘I Am The Storm’ is a fantastically warm, uplifting slice of post-rock that now has a video to match its instrumental beauty.

Featuring stunning panoramic shots of eye-catching scenery, the video is a perfect accompaniment to a track that’s musically grand and expansive. With luscious tones and driving drums, this is an adventure that doesn’t stop to take stock along the way, but continues to build and grow from start to finish. ‘I Am The Storm’ is a visual and audio treat and hopefully we’ll be treated to more as the year progresses.

Australian quintet Thornhill have produced the first record of the year to truly blown me away. Seemingly coming out of nowhere, and with only one previous EP to their name, ‘Butterfly’ is a sophisticated, refined package of brilliance that brings a breath of fresh air to a genre that can be stale and predictable at times.

‘Sunflower’ is packed with intricate riffs and drum patterns that merge with unusually crafted, but hugely impressive vocals, covering the whole spectrum from heavy to atmospheric. Think Northlane with the dynamics and intrigue of Black Peaks and the breakdowns of Architects.

For more on the incredible ‘Butterfly’ EP, check out my review here.