Hailing from the bleak environs of Buffalo, New York, math rock quartet Alpha Hopper released ‘Aloha Hopper’, their second full–length album and the follow–up to 2016’s ‘Last Chance Power Drive’, earlier this year. The band, who eschew a bassist and comprise a singer, two guitarists, and a drummer, have composed and recorded 11 songs that should appeal to those who miss 90s bands like The Jesus Lizard, Drive Like Jehu, and Unwound.

Opening song ‘Supermoon’ demonstrates the band’s sound well, with John Toohill and Ryan McMullen’s guitars tuned lowly and highly respectively, while front woman Irene Rekhviashvilli wails like Siouxsie Sioux and Gouge Away’s Christina Michelle over the noise they create. Drummer Doug Scheider’s contributions come to the fore on ‘X3’ and ‘Mars’ (the latter of which recalls early 00s noiseniks Mclusky).

The rhythms of ‘Once Again with Feeling’ and ‘You Eat’ have an infectious, head–nodding quality to them, which are not deprived of power by the lack of bass–playing. The way the lead and rhythm guitars and drums all work in perfect synchronicity on ‘Whatever Winter’ is also impressive.

Scheider’s drums take on a hip hop–esque beat on ‘Trade–Off’ while the vocal melody shouted out by Rekhviashvilli recalls the Pixies’ ‘Alec Eiffel’. ‘Pancake Girl’ is an apotheosis of Alpha Hopper’s talent for tight repetition of a simple, straightforward chord sequence.

The verses of ‘Line In/Line Out’ are slower in pace than what has preceded them, although no less ferocious, and as this is the album’s longest song this is to be expected. ‘Blood Test’ slows things down even further but the band resume their previous fury at sporadic points over the course of the song. ‘Dawn of the Knife Mask’ makes for a frenetic mid-paced closer.

‘Aloha Hopper’ sees Alpha Hopper avoiding ‘sophomore slump’ and producing an album that is energetic, creative, well written and played, as well as listenable. Even if it is unoriginal, the band manage to evoke their influences subtly, so as not to put off listeners who were around at the time (or those who weren’t). This album promises great things to come from its young creators.


It is not often you find a common ground between The Menzingers and German industrial metal pioneers Rammstein. However, the pair now echo the sentiments of struggling to love their homeland.

The Pennsylvania punks often paint an idealistic portrait of the Americana they know, full of late-night diners, young love at basement shows and long road trips through the great plains of the US. However, the political turmoil the States is in with a pseduo-fascist in the White House and far-right nationalists killing protestors, Greg Barnett’s dulcet, optimistic tones come with a caveat of foreboding.

Their latest single ‘America (You’re Freaking Me Out)’ from the upcoming album, ‘Hello Exile’, sees Barnett share the same viewpoint of Rammstein’s Till Landemann. While Landemann proclaimed “Deutschland mein herz in flammen will dich lieben und verdammen” (Germany, my heart’s in flames, want to love you, want to damn you), in his inner struggle to find sense of his country’s decisions, Barnett too, opens up on his horror of what happens in 2019’s version of the US.

The kitsch nature of Barnett’s America may have been lost and after saying farewell to their twenties in 2017’s ‘After The Party’, The Menzingers may be using ‘Hello Exile’ to say goodbye to the America they thought they knew.  

I’ve been pretty busy the last few weeks. So imagine my disappointment when I realised that not only had I missed the release of the new Crywank album but I was so late that a full review would be outdated. I was gutted.

Mancunian duo Crywank released ‘Wearing Beige On A Grey Day’ at the beginning of April and, sadly, it’s gone relatively unnoticed by media sites. Frankly, it’s a travesty. It’s a superb album, laced with snarky observations and haunting truths, as well as being exceptionally witty.

‘It Was A Swift Not A Swallow (I Never Listen)’ is, for me, the standout. A look back at a failed relationship and the self-reflective causes, it brims with somber nihilism. Vocalist James Clayton drips with strained emotion whilst a delicate melody underpins his performance. It’s brutally honest and leaves a slightly bitter taste in the mouth. It’s this track that put this album well into my Album Of The Year shortlist.

If you like your folk punk dark, humorous and sincere, this is the album for you.

It might just be me, but it feels like grunge is having a bit of a resurgence. With stalwarts in L7 scheduled to release a 2019 album and Bikini Kill reforming to play a smattering of 2019 shows, plus fresh new bands like Drenge, Milk Teeth and Gender Roles, the genre feels like it’s thriving again.

With that, allow me to introduce Manchester- based trio DARMA. After finding them whilst browsing The Pickup and from the first opening bars of their track ‘Procrasturbator’, I could tell they were a band I would get on with. A single from last years ‘Gloom’ EP, it’s punchy, menacing and heavy on the scuzz. Dripping with deliciously discordant distortion, it packs a wallop – like getting your teeth knocked out with a brick. Outstandingly infectious, it feels almost impossible to not throw yourself around to it.

Definitely a band to keep an eye out for.

The end of a favourite band can be tough – especially when they’ve been around since your teen years and you’re definitely not a teenager anymore. It’s not like their music is going anywhere, but there’s a sense of loss that comes from knowing that the sounds so familiar to you will never come together again for something new, or for live performances.

I’m unlikely to be alone in saying that the voice of William Ryan Key has, over the years, come to feel like home to me. There is deep comfort to be found in those warm and distinctive tones, and captivating, soulful lyrics; Key’s return to music with debut solo EP ‘Thirteen’ earlier this year could not have been more welcomed.

Six months later, second EP ‘Virtue’ feels like another universe. The gently atmospheric introduction of ‘The Same Destination’ leads into five of the strongest tracks Key has written in a twenty year career; the assured and delicate work of someone who has truly settled into his new identity as solo artist. Key’s influences are broad, but his love of ambient instrumental melodies of artists like Explosions In The Sky and Hammock are evident – it’s moving in ways that are hard to put into words, opening a doorway into Key’s world where colours swirl and harmonies swell in perfect motion.

‘Virtue’ is a heartrendingly beautiful collection of songs, the perfect remedy to a frantic and intense world. Trust me when I say that it calls for a set of ear-enveloping headphones and all the time you have spare. This EP represents a new chapter for Key, and for us too; a wonderful and altogether personal journey into a new musical atmosphere. Yellowcard fan or not, this is an adventure you’ll want to be a part of.


WRK will be touring the UK with This Wild Life from Tuesday 29 January, starting in Birmingham and ending in Brighton on Saturday 9 February. Full information on dates and tickets, including VIP upgrades, are available here.

Do you like heavy music? Do you like big hooks and infectious melodies? Do you fall in love with bands that can perfectly marry them together? If so, then River Becomes Ocean are a band to keep an eye on.

The Brighton based quartet are set to release their new record ‘A Motion Paralysed’ on January 18, and released single ‘Silence Means Nothing’ earlier this year. Complete with a guest vocals from Liam Cormier of Cancer Bats, it’s brimming with ferocity and immediately memorable choruses. Their first single dipped its toe in heavier influences, but ‘Addicted’ takes a trip down a more melodic route. This is cinematic, powerful and catchy rock that will burrow its way into your brain. It’s bold, fast paced, upbeat, and will leave you rushing to the repeat button. Watch the video, add the song to your playlists. Indulge. This could become your next addiction.

Ontario-based Selfish Things first caught my attention when they popped up in my release radar with ‘Hangman’ earlier this year. It was love at first soundwave and their 2018 EP ‘Vertical Love’ has been on repeat ever since, while I anticipated their next move.

Now they’re finally back with brand-new single ‘Flood’, and it’s everything I could’ve hoped for. It’s a hard-hitting track about the destructive impact humans are having on Earth and each other – topics that have been thrust into the spotlight more often than ever – yet, Selfish Things manage to do it in such a refreshing way and with such poetic flair, that it doesn’t come across preachy. Featuring a mix of synths and downright filthy guitar riffs, it’s an infectious blend of modern techniques and guitar music that leaves you craving more of front man Alex Biro and company. They’re vulnerable, honest, extremely talented and seriously underrated. This is a band you NEED to check out.

Picture this. It’s 2011, you’re listening to some unsigned band on the radio, and you’re in complete adoration of their sound. It’s captivating and powerful, the guitar work resonates with every cell in your body, and even in this raw, unrefined demo, the band represent everything great about the British rock scene right now. Fast forward to the present, and you find yourself re-discovering those same songs, and wondering how on earth this band haven’t had the recognition they deserve. Some bands just stick with you, and in my case, that band is Take the Seven.

Occupying the space between anthemic pop punk and melodic post-hardcore, the Chesterfield natives have been quiet in recent months, teasing fans with the infectious ‘Live For Free’ back in May and treating us to a series of impressive (and in one case, hilarious) covers over the years. ‘History Is Written By The Victors’ might be the band’s most outstanding and emotional work to date, but one listen is enough to tell you just how much potential this band really have, and I for one can’t wait for their next release.

YouTube has become the go-to platform for aspiring musicians to develop their following, experiment with new sounds, and show their appreciation for the bands that inspired them. In the case of LA native Eliza Grace, her journey to stardom was skyrocketed by a cover of Bring Me the Horizon’s ‘Drown’ in 2015, gaining her significant online attention and critical acclaim. Since then, the singer-songwriter has released a variety of original material, from the bittersweet ‘Rose Colored Lenses’, to the captivating ‘I Can’t Save The World If I’m Not Happy’.

This year, Eliza and her best friend moved from Los Angeles to Austin, Texas, providing the perfect video setting for her latest single ‘Slightly South And Very West’. It’s a beautiful and nostalgic track that shares stories of growing up and daydreaming, while expressing Eliza’s own roots. October marks the release of her ‘Deluxe’ album, featuring new versions of old fan favourites and a revised edition of ‘Drown’. With vocals to match Lacey Sturm and an uncapped talent for emotional songwriting, Eliza Grace should definitely be on your watch list.