What Can We Expect on 5SOS’s New Album?

Australian pop rock band 5 Seconds of Summer is fueling up for their third full-length album, the follow-up to 2015’s stellar Sounds Good, Feels Good. (Click here to read our full review of Sounds Good, Feels Good.) The boys have been teasing the process on social media for months now, claiming to be writing from time to time, but lately, the results are starting to seem more tangible. So what can we expect on this new long-player?

5SOS have cemented themselves as an upbeat pop rock band with some darker moments as well. The monumental hit “She Looks So Perfect” undoubtedly put the four-piece on the map with its international success and summertime charm, and the heartfelt “Amnesia” proved their more emotional side. Before that worldwide fame, 5SOS originally started out uploading humble covers to YouTube, everything from Mike Posner and Ed Sheeran to All Time Low and A Day to Remember. The unit had a rock edge to them but a pop sensibility and boy band image that made them easily accessible to a large mainstream audience, capturing fans on both ends of the spectrum. Due to their mainly female fanbase and energetic, poppy songwriting, 5SOS was faced with the issue of breaking out of that boy band label. They play their own instruments, write their own songs, and their work is dominated by distorted guitars and crisp drumming, all things that set them apart from the typical boy band mold.

Their self-titled debut album was unleashed in 2014 on the cusp of the boys transitioning from their teenage years into early adulthood, so 2015’s Sounds Good, Feels Good exhibited remarkable growth and maturation in both lyrical content and musicianship, even if releasing just one year after its predecessor. However, many critics judged the band for relying too heavily on their influences, like Green Day, blink-182, and All Time Low, among others. A number of their songs have actually been co-written with their icons, like Alex Gaskarth, Deryck Whibley, Roy Stride, and the Madden brothers, and John Feldmann has produced all of their projects to date. In their entire discography of ~70 songs, only 2 have no credited input from the boys: “Amnesia” and “Girls Talk Boys.” After releasing the latter for the 2016 Ghostbusters movie, their listeners were curious to see what direction the group would be heading in for their third LP. “Girls Talk Boys” was groovy, funky, and irresistibly catchy, but it didn’t exactly sound like a 5SOS song. It was not a bad track by any means, but it certainly put the band at a crossroads for where they could carry their upcoming style. Of course, “Girls Talk Boys” could have just been a departure from their usual timbre to fit the bill of the movie soundtrack considering the Ghostbusters theme song is known for its funky groove.

Yesterday, we finally got a hint at what may be to come. Michael Clifford posted this photo on Instagram which views the band with Carl Falk and Rami Yacoub. The caption reads: “creating magic with these dudes has been an incredible experience. so grateful to them for taking us on and helping us create something amazing ❤️.” So what can we infer from this interaction? 5SOS has worked with outside writers before, but never to this caliber. Carl Falk and Rami Yacoub are the songwriters to thank for some of the biggest hits of the 2010s, like One Direction’s colossal singles “What Makes You Beautiful,” “One Thing,” “Kiss You,” and “Live While We’re Young,” Nicki Minaj’s “Pound the Alarm” and “Starships,” and also songs from massive acts like Jason Derulo, Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, Avicii, Carly Rae Jepsen, Ellie Goulding, Tiesto, The Vamps, and Madonna. Rami Yacoub has also worked with Backstreet Boys, Celine Dion, P!nk, *NSYNC, Enrique Iglesias, DNCE, Cher Lloyd, The Wanted, and Bon Jovi, and co-produced the landmark “… Baby One More Time” for Britney Spears. What does this mean for 5SOS?

From such an impressive catalog, Carl Falk and Rami could have just helped 5SOS write the biggest song(s) of their career for all we know. 5SOS could be moving in a more pop direction from the looks of it, but Falk claims his favorite instrument is the guitar and he tries to “always have guitar on [his] songs, almost like a trademark.” Maybe 5SOS and Falk are a match made in heaven. 5SOS will more than likely not give up their instruments any time soon, and with a guitar-savvy songwriter, this next album could have some of their best and most successful material to date. (Sounds Good, Feels Good did not warrant the mainstream attention that its antecedent received, so the record label may possibly be compensating for that by pairing the boys with Falk and Rami.) From all this information, fans can probably expect some songs similar to their debut and numerous cuts from their sophomore effort: buoyant pop rock with catchy melodies and radio-ready hooks. The boys will more than likely stick to their strings, so there’s not much to fret. (No pun intended.) We can trust 5SOS to deliver another outstanding album, possibly even their best to date. For those of us who appreciate the band’s rockier side, it may seem like the end of the world to see them working with such pop-oriented songwriters, but I’m fairly positive we won’t see them giving up their rock vantage at this point in their career, if ever. Of course, we have not seen what other songwriters have contributed to the project and the destined style the band has in mind, so much of this is quite early to call. Nonetheless, the future looks extremely bright for the Australian four-piece and we can assuredly remain optimistic and excited for this upcoming full-length, and keep in mind that this is all plainly speculation.

What are your thoughts and contemplation on the approaching release? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet at us on Twitter @AltColumnist!

10 Songs to Celebrate Pride Month

Here at Alt Columnist, we mainly focus on alternative music, from indie rock to pop punk to singer/songwriter folk and everything in between. To celebrate Pride Month, we will be stepping outside of those genre-based boundaries and discussing songs that are pop, reggae, hip-hop, R&B, and alt-pop. These pieces are either about being LGBT+, are written/performed by LGBT+ artists, and/or have become regarded as empowering anthems for the LGBT+ community. We hope you enjoy, and let us know your favorite LGBT+ tunes! (Want a Spotify playlist? Click here!)

“Girls Like Girls” by Hayley Kiyoko

Hayley Kiyoko has risen to popularity through starring in Scooby Doo and Disney television shows, but her solo music career started taking off with the release of the This Side of Paradise EP in 2015 which featured her hit single titled “Girls Like Girls.” This indie pop song is an absolute anthemic jam for women-loving women everywhere, and the emotional music video presents the struggles that many gay people face in relationships and friendships. Hayley released her follow-up EP Citrine in 2016 which delivered more empowering tunes, like “Ease My Mind” and “Palace.” She recently debuted another single earlier this year named “Sleepover,” a fabulous slow burn that again details the difficulties of crushing on a friend. Overall, Hayley serves as an innovative indie pop artist who isn’t afraid to wear her heart on her sleeve.

“Girls/Girls/Boys” by Panic! at the Disco

Coming from the last genuinely good Panic! at the Disco album, (click here to read our review of Death of a Bachelor), “Girls/Girls/Boys” describes a love triangle complicated by bisexuality, but instead of execrating the orientation, Brendon accepts and supports it, chanting that “girls love girls and boys” and “love is not a choice.” “Girls/Girls/Boys” has become empowering for many LGBT+ youth, especially considering Panic!’s large young fanbase. While Brendon himself is not a member of the LGBT+ community, he has reported experimenting with men in the past but ultimately identifies as straight. He is a notable ally and features a rainbow pride flag at many of his live shows, overwhelmingly adorned by admirable praise from the audience.

“Ghosts” by PVRIS

Lynn Gunn, the frontwoman of the electro-rock band PVRIS, is gay and open about it in hopes of providing representation for others. It was hard to narrow it down to one song to feature in this post, but we settled on “Ghosts,” a personal favorite that exhibits the struggles of a relationship when dealing with “ghosts” which Lynn has explained is a metaphor for mental health issues, namely depression. This tune seems to tell the story of a couple facing challenges in their relationship due to these ghosts, the “things [Lynn] can’t see” but are still having an affect on their emotional connection, again pointing to psychological problems or other hardships. Overall, PVRIS has consistently released fantastic music and their powerful frontwoman continues to serve as a gay icon in the scene.

“Shameless” by Tyler Glenn

Tyler Glenn, lead singer of the pop rock band Neon Trees, has come out as gay and is shameless about it. He distanced himself from the Mormon religion due to his sexuality and other disagreements, and his debut solo album Excommunication discusses his experience and frustration with the LDS Church. “Shameless” is about not giving a damn and “living a life so shameless” while also calling out others on how they “hate what they don’t understand.” In a vein similar to Lady Gaga’s power anthem “Born This Way,” “Shameless” is bound to embolden listeners to be themselves unabashed and audaciously. Both songs also include religious inflections in the lyrics, taking jabs at close-minded church organizations, and Gaga in particular encourages the idea that God makes no mistakes and LGBT+ people can be spiritual no matter what.

“You Can Cry Tomorrow” by Betty Who

Again, it was difficult to choose just one song to include from the LGBT+ pop icon Betty Who. Jessica Anne Newham, known by her stage name Betty Who, relocated to the United States from Sydney, Australia, in 2007 and pursued a music career in the early 2010s with the debut single “Somebody Loves You” dropping in late 2012. Her sugary, upbeat pop jams have been utilized for gay marriage proposals and LGBT+ events, and she has performed at countless pride festivals across the country. “You Can Cry Tomorrow” is an uplifting ’80s-inspired pop tune with glimmering synths and catchy melodies, and the artist doesn’t hold back her sexual orientation in the lyrics.

“Heaven (ft. Betty Who)” by Troye Sivan

Speaking of Betty Who, she is featured on Troye Sivan’s emotional song “Heaven” from his 2015 debut album Blue Neighbourhood. The South African-born Australian initially found his fame on YouTube, garnering attention from other LGBT+ internet personalities like Tyler Oakley, Hannah Hart, and Connor Franta, and, through his profound interest in music, eventually signed to EMI Australia in 2013 to deliver his EP titled TRXYE, released in 2014. Troye is openly gay and acts as a role model for his viewers and listeners. “Heaven” discusses the familial and religious struggles that are unfortunately attached to the orientation, such as hiding the truth from one’s parents, coming to terms with oneself, and questioning spiritual beliefs. The piece is moving, haunting, and showcases perfectly the challenges many LGBT+ people face personally in the church.

“I Found A Girl” by The Vamps

The Vamps debuted as a British pop rock reggae band with syrupy sweet melodies and summertime vibes, though they originally started out uploading covers on YouTube, everything from One Direction and Austin Mahone to Neon Trees and McFly. Even as their career has progressed, they still continue to post covers, branching out to more rock oriented artists like Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, and 5 Seconds of Summer. Their second album Wake Up featured the band taking a more pop approach in their style with songs that could easily have appeared as One Direction b-sides but still maintaining their guitars in most instances. The project also included the monumental “I Found A Girl,” an energetic pop rock reggae fusion song about a man falling in love with a lesbian and, like Brendon in “Girls/Girls/Boys,” he doesn’t condemn her sexuality but rather welcomes it.

“Apologize (ft. OMVR)” by Matilda

Norwegian up-and-coming pop artist Matilda (no, not the musical/film) has released multiple amazing singles and albums, unleashing infectious electro indie pop tunes with a ferocious bite. (Oh, and she also wrote some of them with Betty Who.) Her music video for “Apologize (ft. OMVR)” gained viral attention from the LGBT+ community for shining the spotlight on the ups and downs experienced by a lesbian couple. Her song “Ghost” is catchy and pleasingly memorable with a melody you won’t be able to get out of your head. (Coincidentally, another artist by the name of Matilda has released a song titled “Girl Code” which discusses a lesbian struggling with a crush on her friend. If we are mistaken and these Matildas are the same artist, please let us know. We were greatly shocked!) Matilda continues to be on the rise with her single “Illusion” which was recently released at the end of May.

“Dancing in the Rain” by Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is the brother of Chance the Rapper and opened up about being bisexual in early 2017. He told Billboard that his main motivation for coming out publicly was for his fans to know him better. “You don’t want to do anything that makes your fans not like you anymore, but I realized, ‘F— it! Be yourself.’ You got to be yourself. That’s what I said; that’s what my parents have always told me. The only people I felt like I deserved to tell was my fans because if your fans don’t know you, how can they support you? Then there was also the idea that for somebody that has a platform like mine that can speak to these many people, to come out and say something like that, I hope, puts courage in people to do the same thing.” His sweet R&B-tinged hip-hop ballad “Dancing in the Rain (ft. Donnie Trumpet, Shay Lewis, & Brandon Fox)” details the desire to just dance with your partner and let go of the pain, the worries, and the heartache.

“Night Go Slow” by Catey Shaw

Catey Shaw, a pop artist from Brooklyn, mentioned in an article with AfterEllen that she’s “had relationships with men in the past and with women” and her sexuality influences her songwriting; she enjoys making music that elevates LGBT+ people. From humble beginnings busking on subway platforms to alt-pop renown, Catey Shaw is a seasoned singer/songwriter who describes her music as being very careful and mixing many genres together, like jazz, disco, and reggae. The music video for her slow-dance-ready song “Night Go Slow” features a young lesbian couple enjoying a night alone together between sleeping in the back of a truck and stealing from a convenience store. Catey’s sweet pop tunes will not only get stuck in your head but also serve a greater purpose for the LGBT+ community.

Other great songs to check out…

Let us know in the comments some of your favorite LGBT+-related songs and inspirational artists! (Of course, please understand that a person’s sexual orientation does not define their entire identity; humans are inherently multidimensional, so please take time to look into these artists even more beyond their sexuality and/or political/social stances.)

January 2017 Alt Col Picks

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A bunch of great albums appeared in January, so here are our favorite releases of the month! (In no particular order.)

  • As It Is – Okay.

As It Is expertly avoids a sophomore slump with Okay., a pop punk album that evidently displays the band’s maturation and improvement in lyricism, musicianship, and vocal delivery. Patty Walters has toned down the nasal aspect of his voice, and guitarist Ben Biss also contributes some stellar vocals throughout the record. Standout tracks include the singles, “Hey Rachel,” “Soap,” and “Until I Return.” Okay. will appeal to fans of State Champs, Real Friends, and Neck Deep.

  • Starset – Vessels

The galactic, cinematic style of Starset is expanded upon in their second full-length, Vessels. The four-piece efficiently blends rock, electronic, and orchestral inflections to create an interstellar masterpiece that transports listeners out of this world. Vessels is mesmerizing and captivating and reaches for the stars. Standout tracks include “Monster,” “Satellite,” and “Die For You.” Vessels is sure to attract followers of Crown the Empire, Falling In Reverse, and Red.

  • Dryjacket – For Posterity

Dryjacket’s first long-player For Posterity is a solid debut characterized by twinkling guitar melodies and energetic percussion with soaring brasswinds. It offers enough angst to be labeled pop punk and enough eccentricity to be considered indie rock. Standout tracks include “Epi Pen Pals,” “Misused Adrenaline,” and “Two Toasters.” For Posterity will capture listeners of Driver Friendly, Glass Towers, and Bayside.

  • Colony House – Only the Lonely

Alt-rockers Colony House return for a smashing sophomore album that proves their musical prowess and lyrical aptitude. Only the Lonely provides danceable rock anthems and earnestly heartfelt ballads defined by amped-up guitars and boisterous drumming. Standout tracks include “Cannot Do This Alone,” “1234,” “You & I,” and “I Want It All.” Only the Lonely is sure to interest fans of Fatherson, Relient K, and Finish Ticket.

  • WSTR – Red, Green, or In Between

The debut full-length, Red, Green, or In Between, from WSTR (pronounced Waster) is sure to fit in the music library of any pop punk fan. While the similarities to other acts *cough* Neck Deep *cough* are painfully evident, WSTR does bring their own flavor to the classic formula and sound. Standout tracks include “Featherweight,” “Footprints,” and “Lonely Smiles.” Red, Green, or In Between will appeal to followers of Neck Deep, Face Value, and State Champs.

  • One Ok Rock – Ambitions

After touring with the wildly popular 5 Seconds of Summer, One Ok Rock, a Japanese rock band, has put out a fabulous LP outlined by elements of rock and ardent libretto. Ambitions implements fiery orchestral articulations and lofty vocals to craft a delightful rock album with plenty to offer. Standout tracks include “Take What You Want,” “Taking Off,” and “We Are.” Ambitions is bound to attract listeners of Sum 41, A Day to Remember, and Rise Against.

  • The xx – I See You

The xx return to craft their third ethereal indie pop record that melds euphoric production and a dark aesthetic together for one enjoyable listen. With nearly five years separating I See You from its predecessor Coexist, The xx have surely matured and reached a point of self-transcendence musically. Standout tracks include “Say Something Loving,” “I Dare You,” and “On Hold.” I See You will capture fans of Oh Wonder, Lorde, and Broods.

  • Deaf Havana – All These Countless Nights

Image result for deaf havana all these countless nights

Nostalgic songwriting and savory musicianship are highlighted on Deaf Havana’s latest long-player, All These Countless Nights. Catchy as hell melodies coupled with impassioned lyricism makes for an infectiously delectable record from start to finish. Standout tracks include “Trigger,” “Like a Ghost,” and “Ashes, Ashes.” All These Countless Nights is sure to satisfy followers of Mallory Knox, The Gaslight Anthem, and Lonely the Brave.

  • Palisades – Palisades

Palisades’s self-titled album proves the band has certainly matured and found an alluring balance in their musicality. The assertive style and atmospheric rock is embellished all throughout the record and underlined by the mix of clean vocals and vigorous screams. Standout tracks include “Let Down,” “Aggression,” and “Memories.” Palisades will surely entertain listeners of Issues, Crown the Empire, and Bring Me the Horizon.

  • Greywind – Afterthoughts

Enticing vocal performance and captivating choruses shape Afterthoughts, the audacious full-length debut by rock duo Greywind. Enchanting guitar refrains and luscious percussion show Greywind is here to make a name for themselves, and they’re off to a fantastic start with this refreshing debut. Standout tracks include “Afterthoughts,” “Forest Ablaze,” and “Car Spin.” Afterthoughts is bound to please fans of Fort Hope, Mallory Knox, and Hey Vanity.


Honorable Mentions
  • As Lions – Selfish Age

Standout tracks include “Aftermath,” “Deathless,” and “World On Fire.” For fans of I Prevail, Memphis May Fire, and Of Mice & Men.

  • Clouds Nothings – Life Without Sound

Standout tracks include “Modern Act,” “Enter Entirely,” and “Up to the Surface.” For fans of Wavves, Neon Indian, and Local Natives.

  • Foxygen – Hang

Standout tracks include “On Lankershim,” “Follow the Leader,” and “Avalon.” For fans of Real Estate, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and Woods.

  • Horse Thief – Trials & Truths

Standout tracks include “Another Youth,” “Empire,” and “Mountain Town.” For fans of Glass Oaks, Fossil Collective, Half Moon Run, and Gideon Grove.

  • Under Fire – Blackout (EP)

Standout tracks include “Blackout,” “Paralyzed,” and “Set Adrift,” but the whole EP is fantastic! For fans of State Champs, The Story So Far, and Knuckle Puck. Keep an eye on this band!

  • Bitter Thieves – Alluvium

Standout tracks include “Parade,” “Dissolution,” and “Lore.” For fans of … well. You’re just gonna have to check it out for yourself because Alluvium is really something else.

  • Gone Is Gone – Echolocation

Standout tracks include “Sentient,” “Dublin,” and “Echolocation.” For fans of Big Business, Deftones, and Redfang.


Let us know what you think of January’s releases down in the comments below!

16 Overlooked Songs from 2016 You Need to Hear

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2016 wasn’t an amazingly fabulous year for alternative music, but we did get some pretty great records. (Check out our year-end lists here!) Out of those fantastic records, here’s 16 great songs from the year you might have overlooked. Please keep in mind these are not necessarily the best songs of 2016, just some you may have missed out on hearing about.

16. “Never Know” by Set It Off

While our review of Set It Off’s newest album Upside Down wasn’t so positive, we did point out a few decent deep cuts, one of those being “Never Know.” “Never Know” is decisively the least poppy piece on the album, and is painfully overlooked despite this. The pop aspects of Upside Down aren’t why it scored so low; it’s because Set It Off did nothing interesting with it, but “Never Know” proves that SIO still has some rock in them.

15. “All Downhill From Here” by The Summer Set

Stories For Monday, the latest record from pop rockers The Summer Set, earned some attention for its upbeat singles, but most songs went unnoticed. “All Downhill From Here” is a fun-loving, rosy tune that is sure to get you singing along. While the chorus is a bit repetitive, the lyrics detail growth, feeling caught between being a kid and an adult, and even touches upon the American Dream standards. “All Downhill From Here” is definitely an underrated track.

14. “Troubled Times” by Green Day

Green Day made a significant comeback with Revolution Radio and even did a fantastic performance of “Bang Bang” at the AMAs. However, the song “Troubled Times” flew under the radar. Like the majority of Revolution Radio, “Troubled Times” is a politically charged piece, rightfully calling out how exclusive love and peace is in world and warning others of repeating history.

13. “Stairs” by Joyce Manor

Cody is arguably Joyce Manor’s best record to date. It is more well-rounded and mature compared to past releases, and the song “Stairs” is somewhat evidence of that progression and development. Well, maybe not so much, considering the writer can’t even do basic tasks without the person they are addressing, and slightly selfishly desires to keep them all for themselves… “Stairs” is still a jam! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

12. “Through the Night” by Anarbor

This entire self-titled album is achingly neglected! “Though the Night” is an excellent deep cut from this record. It’s a step away from Anarbor’s earlier rock sound but certainly in the right direction. “Through the Night” blends pop and alternative into one savory amalgam; it’s smooth, suave, and polished, undoubtedly catchy and sadly overlooked. Give the whole album a spin!

11. “Home Movies” by Beach Weather

The creamy alt-pop of Beach Weather’s Chit Chat EP shines on the song “Home Movies.” A covert dash of ’80s synth pop and glimmering guitar melodies coupled with the nostalgic lyrical content creates a spectacular listen. This sentimental piece was apparently overshadowed by the other wonderful, more upbeat song “Chit Chat.” Honestly, this entire EP is marvelous!

10. “President Heartbeat” by Everything Everything

Everything Everything’s album Get to Heaven (which apparently released back in 2015 but didn’t hit the United States ’til February 2016) truly deserved a spot somewhere on our year-end list, but we unfortunately didn’t get around to hearing it until last week! I know, I know, late to the party… One of the great underrated songs on Get to Heaven is “President Heartbeat,” a critically written, sparkly guitar-driven tune sure to get stuck in your head.

9. “Sway” by Moose Blood

Blush is Moose Blood’s most popular album to date, and yet some tracks still went overlooked. “Sway” begins with a twinkly guitar melody (that kinda reminds me of this song) and swells into steady movement with emotional songwriting and vocal performance. “Sway”‘s vague lyrics and uncluttered instrumentation adds to the theme of simplicity spelled out all throughout the record.

8. “Empty Picture Frames” by Real Friends

Talk about a pop punk anthem! Next to “Mess,” “Empty Picture Frames” is one of the most spirited chants on this full-length. It’s catchy and animated and bound to get stuck in your head, yet it doesn’t sacrifice the ardent songwriting to accomplish this. This track goes hand in hand with “Basement Stairs,” another underrated track from The Home Inside My Head, when discussing honesty and concession of selfishness, buoying those ideas as themes throughout the record.

7. “Don’t Stop Making It Happen” by Grouplove

Grouplove withdraws to a sound more similar to their debut full-length and expands upon the indie rock style even more in their masterpiece Big Mess, which is far from a mess. “Don’t Stop Making It Happen” is an entertaining deep cut from the record, and attests to that indie rock affection with a catchy chorus and clanging guitars.

6. “Wondrous Heart” by Fatherson

Open Book by Fatherson is a monumental album. It’s emotional, raw, poignant, and passionate alt-rock that begs to be not only heard but also felt. “Wondrous Heart” is an astounding piece from this record and yet failed to garner the attention it deserves. The velvety instrumentation and ardent lyricism is nothing less than stellar and beautiful. “Wondrous Heart” is simply wondrous indeed.

5. “Gold Medal Ribbon” by Pierce the Veil

Misadventures by Pierce the Veil is characterized by utilizing computerized components to couple with the fierce trademark pop rock, and “Gold Medal Ribbon” embodies all those aspects. “Gold Medal Ribbon,” titled after, well, an ice cream flavor, is heartfelt and earnest but does not receive its due recognition.

4. “Knew Your Name” by Thief Club

Thief Club is the side project of Hit the Lights vocalist Nick Thompson and released an album in 2014 with “Knew Your Name” present on it. Yet another album, Just Give Up, was released this year in 2016 with the same track making an appearance. Sooo we thought we’d give it a shoutout because “Knew Your Name” is so good! It’s pop rock bliss with clever songwriting, just go listen to it.

3. “Repeat” by Young the Giant

Home of the Strange is no doubt the best Young the Giant album yet. It’s cohesive, flowing, mature, cultivated. It’s absolutely stunning and just a pleasure to listen to! Read our full review here! However, some tracks were still neglected, like “Repeat.” “Repeat” showcases the musicianship of this band and the intellectual lyricism, not to mention Sameer Gadhia’s stellar vocals.

2. “Boys Do” by LAYNE

LAYNE offered up some of their best material to date on the The Black Hills debut EP! But honestly, everything LAYNE has put out is absolutely exquisite, seriously give them a listen. “Boys Do” is a fabulous tune from the extended play, and represents everything this band is masterful at: glossy guitar melodies, catchy choruses, haunting atmosphere, and enthusiastic songwriting.

1. “Everything All At Once” by Local Natives

Sunlit Youth displays Local Natives evolving and becoming more and more dynamic with every release by incorporating electronic inflections and consolidating politically charged lyricism. “Everything All At Once” is a more personal deep cut from this golden record. It’s daydreamy and passionate, rhapsodic and exuberant.

Well, there you have it, the most overlooked songs of 2016! Keep in mind that these aren’t exactly the best songs of 2016 (even though a couple of them are) but rather just songs that flew a bit too far under the radar. Give them a spin and let us know what you think! What songs do you think are underrated?

November 2016 Alt Col Picks

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Many great releases appeared in November this year, so here are our favorite albums of the month! (In no particular order.)

  • Waterparks – Double Dare

Waterparks, hailing from Houston, Texas, is known for efficiently blending electronic elements and high-energy pop rock, and the amalgam continues on their full-length debut album, Double Dare. The pop punk luster is not covered up by the computerized components, but is instead perfectly complemented. Standout tracks include “Stupid for You,” “Hawaii (Stay Awake),” and “Royal.” Double Dare will attract fans of State Champs, As It Is, and With Confidence.

  • Highly Suspect – The Boy Who Died Wolf

The hard rock and bluesy accents of Highly Suspect’s abilities are capitalized upon in this mesmerizing, head-bobbing release. The Boy Who Died Wolf showcases a rollicking yet leisurely approach to crisp, amplified guitar work and smooth percussion. Standout tracks include “My Name Is Human,” “Little One,” and “Serotonia.” The Boy Who Died Wolf is sure to appeal to listeners of Deftones, The Pretty Reckless, and Evans Blue.

  • Masketta Fall – Golden

A sheer pop band, Masketta Fall has begun moving away from the rockier sound of their 2012 release Something Beautiful to a more radio-friendly style leaning heavy on the pop side. And hey, don’t let that turn you away from checking this album out! Guitars are still prevalent and amped up, even if the pop aspects shine through. Standout tracks include “Mercedes,” “Defenceless,” and “Butterflies.” Golden will interest followers of The Vamps, The Summer Set, and Crash the Party.

  • Black Box Warning – Black Box Warning

Album art.jpegThe debut self-titled long-player from metal band Black Box Warning has something for every rock fan: breakdowns, screams, clean vocals, and deep lyrics. The stellar musicianship and execution is simply something to marvel, and the emotional passion bolsters it even more. Standout tracks include “Nothing is Everything,” “Neon Mind,” and “Hypnagogia.” Black Box Warning will attract fans of Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace, and Bullet For My Valentine.

  • Homesafe – Evermore

Looking for some decent pop punk to listen to? Well, here’s a great cut to come from November. Homesafe recrudesces with an 8-track album filled with solid rock jams and some of their best work to date. The crisp production and talent of this band refuses to be overlooked and begs for you to listen in. Standout tracks include “Float Away,” “Two (Bare) Hands,” and “Exoneration.” Evermore will certainly appeal to followers of Real Friends, Knuckle Puck, and Sleep On It.

  • Broken Back – Broken Back

Jérôme, under the stage name of Broken Back, debuts an electro indie folk album that surely leaves one scratching their head at how to properly label it… Broken Back fuses together many different styles to create a wonderful collection of upbeat earcandy displaying acoustic guitars, electronic principles, and raspy vocals. Standout tracks include “Lady Bitterness,” “Excuses,” and “Better Run.” Broken Back will interest listeners of The Shoes, ALB, and Mai Lan.

  • Summer Lights – From Start to Finish (EP)

Another great pop punk release, the From Start to Finish EP by Salt Lake City band Summer Lights boasts rock gravity and brilliance from start to finish. Hopefully these guys will hit it big in the scene soon because this EP deserves to be heard, and we can’t wait to hear more! Standout tracks include “With You” and “Pick Up the Pieces.” From Start to Finish is sure to attract fans of Sleep On It, Knuckle Puck, and You vs. Yesterday.

  • Royal Teeth – Amateurs (EP)

Smooth pop rock band Royal Teeth returns with Amateurs, an EP that proves they’re far more than just amateurs. With artwork that resembles this 5 Seconds of Summer photo, there’s no doubt this EP will capture an upbeat pop rock vibe that balances the two adjectives expertly. Standout tracks include “Kids Conspire,” “Only You,” and “Is It Just Me.” Amateurs will appeal to listeners of 5SOS, The Summer Set, and The Colourist.

  • The Griswolds – High Times for Low Lives

The Griswolds gained traction in the scene from touring with power pop band Walk the Moon and singles from their previous album, but hopefully this release will launch them farther into stardom! This LP is a masterpiece of alt-pop grandeur that you don’t wanna miss. Standout tracks include “Out of My Head,” “High Times for Low Lives,” and “Feels So Right.” High Times for Low Lives will interest followers of POP ETC, Passion Pit, and Neon Trees.

  • Heavy English – Pop Wasteland

Pop Wasteland, the debut full-length from New York City trio Heavy English, boasts various styles and approaches all in the vein of glossy alt-rock that packs a punch. From the denser, darker guitar melodies of “Black Dog” to the buoyant beat of “21 Flights,” this album truly has a lot to offer. Standout tracks include “21 Flights,” “Black Dog,” and “Washed Up Tongue.” Pop Wasteland is sure to attract fans of The Dear Hunter, White Arrows, and NGHBRS.

  • Half Hearted – Terrified (EP)

Half Hearted utilizes clean vocals and impassioned screams to develop contrast on their latest EP, Terrified. The hooky guitar melodies are hauntingly unblemished and the overall musical ability of this group is enthralling. Poignant lyricism and a desire to capture the listener certainly pay off amazingly well. Standout tracks include “Terrified,” “Ghosts,” and “Storm Chaser,” but honestly, the entire EP is fantastic! Terrified will interests listeners of Currents, Wage War, and Beartooth.

  • Woes – Woes (EP)

Pop punk done right yet again! Woes debuts with the 5-track self-titled extended play that is bound to get stuck in your head. While some lyrics are cheesy and troubadouric, this youthfully energetic EP still shines and will fit comfortably in the library of any pop punk fan. Standout tracks include “Winter Sun” and, well, the entire EP! Woes will appeal to followers of Knuckle Puck, Neck Deep, and State Champs.


Honorable Mentions
  • Icon for Hire – You Can’t Kill Us

Standout tracks include “Supposed to Be,” “You Can’t Kill Us,” “War,” and “Get Well II.” For fans of Tonight Alive, Digital Daggers, and New Years Day.

  • DNCE – DNCE

Standout tracks include “Body Moves,” “Truthfully,” “Good Day,” and “Be Mean.” For fans of Maroon 5, Olly Murs, and Set It Off. (Upside Down era.)

  • An Untold Sadness – Sonorous

Standout tracks include “The Truth,” “What of Your Riches?,” “This Far, and No Further,” and “Flowers.” For fans of Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed, and Crown the Empire.

  • Cold Collective – Through w/ That (EP/Single)

coldStandout tracks include the entire release, but especially “Through w/ That.” For fans of Transit, Man Overboard, and Misser.

  • pronoun – There’s no one new around you. (EP)

Standout tracks include the entire release, but especially “a million other things.” For fans of Knox Hamilton, A Silent Film, and Summer Camp.

  • The Japanese House – Swim Against the Tide (EP)

Standout tracks include the entire release, but especially “Good Side In.” For fans of Hayley Kiyoko, Scavenger Hunt, and Summer Camp.

  • Ready to Fire – Satellites (EP)

Standout tracks include the entire release, but especially “Nerve.” For fans of 5 Seconds of Summer, Paramore, and All Time Low.


Let us know what you think of November’s releases down in the comments below!