Now Hear This: Alex Baker on the best new pop-punk, post-hardcore and metal
You are not going to believe this: I actually went out to a real-life bar! There were people there, and music, and people – actual, real-life people! It was bloody amazing, and the journey there was even better because I was listening to this bunch of legends…
Arts, culture, music – they all need trailblazers, people who create from their soul. People who are inspired by others, sure, but then make something that’s unique to them, something without boundaries or restraints, something that speaks to their core. Alienblaze is one such artist, who creates gorgeous, arresting music that also has a quality that’s famous for being one of the hardest things to pull off – it’s timeless. Alienblaze could have found a home in the ’80s, ’90s, ’00s, or ’10s. Luckily, she’s here with us now, in our current reality, and I am here for it.
Kinda carrying on the point I made above, we’ve all been in bands over the years where the music we were making at the time felt sort of right, but deep down inside there was that niggle that something wasn’t quite clicking. There was a hair out of place, it didn’t feel authentic in some way. Sometimes it takes a while for you to discover what it is that you really want to create, and for over a decade Southern Cali musicians Stephen Ramos and Nick Sturz were sort of on that journey, until they came together and formed Wilder. Wilder have a sparkling, confident, assured sound, and I can kind of imagine them in the control room after recording, listening back to their creations, smiling at each other and going, ‘Yeah, this is actually great, isn’t it?’ And they’d be right.
Sweden’s Those Without write music that makes you feel better about the world. Simple as that. Delivering a healthy slab of pop-rock that fans of Boston Manor and Neck Deep will nod to in sage appreciation, they are all about the hook and you’ll only need to listen to their tune Weightless below a couple of times before it’s lodged in your brain forever. And what a happy eternity that will be for you.
I Feel Fine
Brighton is home to many wonderful things, including a vibrant, always-evolving music scene, and once again it’s produced the goods with this fine quartet. I Feel Fine combine undulating guitar lines, interesting rhythms, and an almost hardcore vocal that provides a fitting platform for the raw, introspective lyrics. The hardcore theme continues with gang vocals, adding yet more vitality into the sound – but be under no illusion, despite those sensibilities, this is not a hardcore band. In fact, they have a sound that is more reminiscent of Venice Ahoy, Blakfish and even Death Cab For Cutie at times. In short: I Feel Fine are great, jump on them and watch out for the release of their debut album The Cold In Every Shelter, out in September on Venn Records.
Bridgend in Wales can be a pretty troubled place, but my God it produces some amazing music (Bullet For My Valentine, Funeral For A Friend, Hondo Maclean). Porthcawl nearby is also host to the biggest Elvis Convention in the world. When it’s on apparently it’s absolute carnage, with Elvises everywhere you look. Wild. (I was told that by a taxi driver in Bridgend once – true story.) Paradise Now have a vision to help people to escape the darkness of the world and give people hope, to lift them up and their astonishingly enormous sound does just that. Check out We Never Die below.
Hear Alex Baker present the Fresh Blood Show on Kerrang! Radio, Wednesday nights from 10pm.
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