Albums I Missed in January That Were Actually Alright
Basement - Promise Everything
Bury Tomorrow - Earthbound
Charlie Puth - Nine Track Mind
Milk Teeth - Vile Child
Catch Fire - The Distance I Am From You (EP)
I'd heard Catch Fire's single 'Bad Behaviour' before listening to this EP and I recall thinking it was quite average pop punk. And I'm so bored of average pop punk. Although, isn't everyone? This four track EP was a really pleasant surprise. The production on The Distance I Am From You is really tight throughout which sets us all off on the right foot really. Along with that, there are some super nice moments here too. I will say, any pop punk band who can pull off the acoustic "ballad" is a band who deserve nice things and 'Introspective Pt. II' is a perfect example of this. I don't know if Catch Fire will be in the next wave of pop punk bands to "make it big" but it's definitely worth their time trying.
Charli XCX - Vroom Vroom (EP)
Could anyone anywhere ever expect anything less outrageous from a Charli XCX comeback? Once you're over how brash and obnoxious the title track is, it's actually quite fun, and to be honest with Rihanna's 'Work' being as popular as it is, I can't imagine anyone having a real problem with 'Vroom Vroom'. The same can be said for the equally as flamboyant 'Trophy'. 'Paradise' is however by far one of the worst songs I've heard this year. This EP is all well and good, but to be honest, when you've listened to an outfit like Holychild, Charli XCX's music just doesn't really cut it.
CHINAH - Once The Lights Are On (EP) - RELEASE OF THE MONTH
This is one of the two most stunning releases I've heard this month and it's crazy that this has come in the form of a debut EP. It's insane that this Danish trio only first surfaced with their debut track 'Away From Me' at the beginning of July. Fine Glindvad's perfect vocals paired with CHINAH's slow burning ambient electronic infused pop is what dreams are made of. You can read more about how much I love CHINAH here.
Croox - Tide (EP)
I fell head over heels in love with the opening track on Tide at the end of last year, so naturally I was excited to hear the rest of the four piece's new EP. Rest assured 'Crying' definitely still holds up but it is by far the standout on this release. 'Say Something' is great too but beyond those first two songs, Tide falls into "just another R&B EP" territory which is a real shame. Actually, that's not strictly true, this EP was/is good, I was just hoping for more. All in good time though, I guess, all in good time.
Jack Bennett A.K.A. Grumble Bee could singlehandedly change my mind regarding how I feel about rock music in 2016. Everything about Disconnect is exciting, not just the fact that Bennett has written and played every instrument on this EP himself. The songs that make up this release are intricate and intelligent yet still entertaining for any rock fan; and the fact that one person has put all of this together? It's insane. I'm really looking forward to catching Grumble Bee live at some point this year because I can only imagine how good at music he is in the flesh.
Jack Garratt - Phase
Phase is an undeniabley objectively excellent album; I'm just over it. In a similar vein to Grumble Bee, although the music is of a different genre, it's important to recognise just how talented a musician Jack Garratt, the one man band, is. I can imagine that if this is the first time you've really been subjected to Garratt's music, you're going to have the most incredible time listening to Phase. I, however, have been listening to him for almost two years, and really disappointingly, this album hasn't surprised me or really brought anything new to the table. I've written a whole load more about the rise and fall of my love affair with Jack Garratt here.
Josef Salvat - Night Swim
I can't believe that Josef Salvat has only just released his debut album. It feels as though he's been bubbling under the surface of incredible music for so long. Along with CHINAH's EP, Night Swim matches it as one of this month's most stunning releases. There isn't a single moment on this album that isn't beautiful. There isn't a dull moment on here, and even the ballads are great. If the ballads are good, the album is essentially flawless.
Kloe - Teenage Craze (EP)
Teenage Craze is the most promising debut release you will hear from a new artist in 2016, and I'm ready to swear by that. Even when you consider that we'd heard three of these five tracks before we even entered into this year, I'm still prepared to stick by that opening statement. I wrote quite a bit on how all round rad Kloe is and how great 'Teenage Craze' is as a single earlier this month and you can check that out here.
Like Pacific - Distant Like You Asked
I'd never listened to Like Pacific before putting on their debut album earlier this month but I'm really glad I did. Whilst Distant Like You Asked isn't a groundbreaking pop punk album, it does hold a lot of promise for the Toronto based five-piece, especially when you listen to a track like 'Worthless Case'. This is an album for fans of the likes of State Champs and fellow Canadians Seaway; and they're opening the US leg of Neck Deep/State Champs' worldwide tour until the end of March. I'd be very interested in checking them out this side of the Atlantic in the near future.
Lion Babe - Begin
American duo Lion Babe have been kicking around for a couple of years now, and they've only just released their debut album. The problem I have with Lion Babe is that they have the potential to be absolutely huge but their songs are just so forgettable. I don't know why, they just are. And that's really frustrating, especially when a lot of the tracks on this album are genuinely good pop songs. But what good is a pop song if you can't recall the chorus ten minutes later?
Majid Jordan - Majid Jordan
Look, I enjoy Majid Jordan as a musical outfit as much as the next person but they're a singles act. They do singles and their singles are enjoyable and I'll tell you why a Majid Jordan album doesn't work. It all kind of just sounds the same. One long song with a slight change of pace every now and again. However, as singles you don't notice because you're not listening to the songs back to back. It's a shame really, because I was looking quite forward to this album but it comes and goes with a resounding R&B "meh".
Raleigh Ritchie - You're A Man Now Boy
I can't justify to anybody why I much prefer Raleigh Ritchie's debut album to Jack Garratt's debut album but I do. These are comparable due to the amount of tracklist that we've heard before, but when it comes to You're A Man Now Boy I really don't care. As well as that, the songs we haven't heard are genuinely great and exciting including opener 'Welrd Is Mine', 'I Can Change' and 'Life In A Box'. The deluxe version is an hour and 15 minutes of original British R&B and it's probably one of the most genuine records featured on this post.
Say Anything - I Don't Think It Is
Oh look, it's a surprise album from Say Anything! I'd be lying if I said that I've followed Say Anything in any capacity but there is something so off the wall about Max Bemis and co.'s creations that they're hard to ignore. I Don't Think It Is is peculiar but no much more so than you'd expect from the likes of Say Anything. No two tracks on this album sound the same, in fact, some of them sound almost like a different band recorded in an entirely different era. It's definitely an interesting and worthwhile listen if you like to get weird though.
Simple Plan - Taking One For The Team
I didn't hate this album. Bear with me. Yes, it's terrible, and no, it's not a rock album by any stretch of the imagination. I've never liked Simple Plan and I've never thought that the Canadian five-piece are credible in the slightest. But I reckon I could stick Taking One For The Team on in the background in a cafe and probably have no one mention anything about how terrible it is. If you're not actually listening to it, it's almost alright. But then again, how good is an album that you have to not pay attention to in order for it to be okay?
That Poppy - Bubblebath
Look. I was as skeptical as the next guy about That Poppy. All you need to do is take a look at her frankly bizarre YouTube channel to see that things are all a bit nuts. I will also be the first to admit that I shouldn't have judged her music by those weird minute long vlogs. 'Money' is what I believe kids are referring to as a "bop". It's great. Never judge a musician by their online video presence is what we can learn from this venture.