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hopeless fountain kingdom

Her music is completely her own, and if Badlands didn’t already feel like Halsey, HFK will certainly steal its thunder.

With additional notes by Zac Walters

There’s no other way to put it – Halsey’s hopeless fountain kingdom is a concept of its own.

Halsey is a modern-day favourite among female alternative artists and has been well known in the scene since 2014. Her powerful and raspy vocals were a new sound for listeners, bringing along lyrical content littered with occasional dark imagery and topics that showcase her in a way other artists often conceal. hopeless fountain kingdom, or HFK for short, is no exception.

Bringing forth thirteen new tracks (sixteen if you snatch the deluxe) to her sophomore album, HFK tells quite a story; a story so complex, in fact, that it already has an article on the backstory that helps to understand it fully. 

HFK tells the simple story of two lovers, but Halsey does an incredible job of differentiating the sound of each track to make the story something fresh. Opening track “The Prologue” provides a brief explanation of the album’s themes before listeners follow the story of two forbidden lovers, Solis and Luna. While it may sound like something you’d hear at the beginning of a history documentary, the complexity of the album’s story shows that it’s (unfortunately) necessary. Things start to pick up with second track “100 Letters”, though; adding to the diversity of genre influences with bongos becoming a prominent addition to the vocals.

“This type of courage to go into such detail and open about her hardships in her music is not something that should go unnoticed.”

While Halsey’s debut LP Badlands stuck closer to “electro-pop”, her experimentation with multiple genres on HFK takes her musicianship to a whole separate level. “Alone” gets you groovin’ with a 1920’s-esque vibe, while the song “Lie”, featuring hip-hop artist Quavo, mixes things up with an R&B take to alternative.

Despite a theme based around the relationship of these two fictional characters, tracks like “Eyes Closed”, “Sorry”, and “Bad At Love” show Halsey’s personal struggle with love in a way other artists don’t often expose. Lyrics such as “If I keep my eyes closed he feels just like you”, “he wants me in the kitchen with a dinner plate” and “I can sometimes treat the people that I love like jewelry”, all tell her listeners that she’s been broken, she’s lost, cruel  in relationships that maybe weren’t so healthy. This type of courage to go into such detail and open about her hardships in her music is not something that should go unnoticed.

While still managing to incorporate the same sounds fans first fell in love with, HFK is one hell of a step up from Badlands. New sounds, deeper content, and a freaking storyline to follow?! HFK proves even further that Halsey is not afraid to make a statement, in both her variety of sounds and lyrics. Unlike other artists of her genre, she tells it how it is, and this should be admired. Her music is completely her own, and if Badlands didn’t already feel like Halsey, HFK will certainly steal its thunder.

Catch Halsey’s HFK Tour this Fall!

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Concerts. Your grandma loves them. Your cat loves them. Everyone loves a good concert, and honestly, who wouldn’t? Concerts, however, come in many different sizes – and it seems that the best ones (in a totally genre-biased way) tend not to have seats. Which isn’t a bad thing, for the most part.

Behold the have the general admission concert, possibly one of the greatest and worst inventions for music lovers. Typically, the venues are smaller than a giant arena, which is nice because close proximity to the artist is always a bonus. Sometimes having the chance to get sweat on by your fav musician means the arms belonging to the girl behind you are pressed against your back in an uncomfortable stance for the whole night. Far from enjoyable, right? Don’t blame the girl, though, she probably can’t help it.

Concert pits can be crazy, especially for pit newbies, but don’t fret. We’re here to make sure you can get sweat on AND have a good time. Let us introduce our guide of concert pit (and concerts in general) do’s and don’ts.

  1. DO expect to get bumped into or pushed a couple of times. Pits are called “pits” for a reason – they’re essentially a pile of people. The closer to the stage, the less people tend to mind having others’ sweat on their t-shirts. So If you like your personal space, try hanging back a bit. 
  2. DON’T scream the entire time. Cheering is fine. Yelling is fine. Even screaming is fine, as long as it has a purpose. Screeching at the top of your lungs just to make noise, however, can be irritating for those around you; especially if you’re not shouting words. 
  3. DO dress appropriately. Don’t wear sandals in a pit, unless you want your toes to be stepped on and broken. Consider that t’s likely to be warm, even inside in the middle of winter, so avoid jackets and sweaters. Everything else is pretty much a go. Heels might make your feet sore and hair could get ripped out if it’s down and long, but those issues are easy fixes that don’t need to be explained. 
  4. DON’T show up late and expect to push your way all the way up to barricade, or cut in line. There’s nothing wrong with squeezing through spaces between people to try and get closer, but don’t push anyone. Nobody wants to be shoved – unless maybe they’re in a circle pit, which is another story. Once you reach the place where the crowd is shoulder-to-shoulder, just stop. Show up earlier if you want to be closer. 
  5. DO let loose. Dance. Mosh. Sing. It’s a concert, it’s what you’re supposed to do. Go with the flow of the crowd. Nobody cares if you look like an idiot, just have fun. 
  6. DON’T make out without your significant other the whole time. Look, there’s nothing wrong with a little PDA, and there’s nothing wrong with a lot, either. Concert pits, though? There’s people you don’t know in very close proximity, trying to enjoy the concert, not a real-life rom com. A smooch here or there is fine – but a steady makeout sesh during every song of the entire set? It can get uncomfortable for the people around you, so maybe try moving to a place in the venue where the bodies aren’t so compact. 
  7. DO enjoy the show. There is nothing more annoying than watching a concert through a phone screen, especially if it’s the person in front of you who won’t put theirs down. And, believe me, you’ll regret filming the entire thing three weeks later anyways when your phone runs out of storage. 
  8. Tying in to the last point, DON’T Snapchat the whole thing. The concert means way more to you than it does to the people viewing your story, so enjoy the show for yourself! One or two videos is fine – but if your snap buddies wanted to be there, they’d buy a ticket. 
  9. DO respect other people around you. Sometimes it happens when people need to get out of the pit for various reasons. Don’t get angry, they probably can’t help it. Instead, help them get out safely. And it goes vice-versa, make sure those around you stay safe. If you’re a tall dude wanting to crowd surf, avoid crushing small people. Make sure you’re surfing where there’s people who can hold you up. 
  10. DON’T bring signs or posters. Literally everyone behind you will be pissed, and with valid reason. You’re blocking their view! 
  11. DO enjoy the moment. Cheesy, yes, but that’s why you’re there! It’s not every day you get to experience live talent, so make the most of it and just have fun.

There ‘ya have it. 11 tips to better your concert and pit experiences for not only you, but the people around you. You’re all there for the same reason, so respect one another and you’ll all have a better time. Who knows – maybe you’ll even meet a new friend or significant other.

Do you have any tips for making pits the best experience possible?

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You can still write a concert review/summary-thing even if you couldn’t actually see the concert, right? It’s just the music we need to discuss? Good, because Milestones, Knuckle Puck, and Mayday Parade put on a damn good sounding show. Who cares if you’re stuck behind a pillar for 3 ½ hours – this live set still needs to be discussed, yes?

Let us begin with Milestones. Reigning from the UK, Milestones are relatively new to the scene – their debut EP Equal Measures was only released last year. Their moms and dads over at Fearless Records describe them as a “refreshing blend of alternative and pop punk sensibilities”, and we must say, they aren’t wrong. Equal Measures is like hopping into a cool public fountain after a very long day of walking in the humidity. Oh, and, if you need recommendations, “Nothing Left” and “Shot In The Dark” were pretty gosh dang good live & in person. Check ‘em out on Spotify!

And so we move further into the night where we meet the epitome of pop punk – Knuckle Puck. No skinny jean-loving, vans-rocking, denim jacket-sporting pop punk fan is capable of disliking these guys, and their live set proved why. The Chicago natives practically SHOOK the room with their energy, and with frontman Joe Taylor quite literally jumping all over the place, no person in a Knuckle Puck pit is caught standing still. Not only is their energy captivating, but their music is just plain fantastic, enough said. Need some song suggestions? “Pretense” and “Evergreen”. You’re welcome.

Oh, and, not to mention – the Evergreen music video is like the coolest thing we’ve ever seen. Check it.

At last, we have Mayday Parade. It’s hard to even remember a time when these guys weren’t among our iPod playlists somewhere or another. 10 years ago, in fact, is how far we are remembering – and we were how old then? 8? 10? 13? Needless to say, Mayday have been with the pop punk scene since it’s early years, which is actually the whole reason they went on tour.

A Lesson In Romantics, their first full length release, has been with us since 2007, so why not go on tour to celebrate it’s 10th anniversary? Playing the album in full every night (PLUS MORE), being onstage for nearly two hours, performing to kids and adults that find their own meaning within the songs – it was a pretty epic birthday party. So epic, in fact, that we can’t even choose a song or two to recommend to the Mayday newbies that might still be out there. Just listen to the whole album.

Haven’t caught the A Lesson In Romantics Anniversary Tour yet? You’re in luck. Not only will you be hearing (and hopefully seeing) some great bands perform, but they’re still on tour until the end of May. Meaning you can catch more than one show.

Check out the dates below!

Have you been to any dates on this tour?

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Self-described as fashion-art rock, Las Vegas based trio Palaye Royale are about to find themselves in the scope of some of our favourite labels. Blending indie pop and punk rock into a contagious sweet treat for your ears, these guys should definitely be on your radar. Catch ‘em while you can – they’re about to do big things at supersonic speed.

Originating from Toronto, Canada, members Remington Leith (lead vocals), Emerson Barrett (drums), and Sebastian Danzig (guitar, organ) formed Palaye Royale in late 2011. Releasing their first studio single “Morning Light” in 2012, it’s video racked up 20+ million views on YouTube, and may we add – rightly so. 2013 saw fans, who call themselves “The Soldiers of the Royal Council”, began to pop up more frequently with the release of EP The Ends Beginning, in addition to single “Get Higher”. The single – which saw itself featured in a highly popular Samsung Galaxy Note commercial, made the trio the first ever unsigned act to partner with Samsung branding. Impressed yet?

In 2014 Palaye Royale saw themselves in the running to become champions of MTV’s “Musical March Madness”. Still unsigned and voted into the contest by fans, Palaye Royale came out on top (beating out the likes of bands such as Linkin Park, Vampire Weekend, Bastille, and Coldplay).  In the end, they became the first ever unsigned act to win the competition.

The band’s first full length release Boom Boom Room (Side A) (which, by the way, is an absolute banger) made waves in June of 2016 – instantly swallowing listeners into a Royal Council pit of no return. The 15-track masterpiece, which is the purest of artistic genius in every form, has something for everyone. Whether you’re a classical-loving cellist or angst-y guitar-shredding metal head, Boom Boom Room, we promise you, will not disappoint.

When they’re not being featured in commercials or winning MTV music competitions, the Palaye boys are likely expressing themselves in some other creative form. Whether it is working on their own music videos (yes, their OWN music videos), creating art films, or writing, editing and publishing a real, actual paper newspaper exclusive to fans, Palaye Royale are what’s poppin’. And not just their music. They’re artists to be respected in an outstanding number of forms.

So… Palaye Royale. Check ‘em out, get hooked. You can thank us later.

Will you be adding Palaye Royale to your iTunes?

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It doesn’t matter if you’re a former emo kid or total astronomy nerd; Pierce The Veil’s Rest In Space tour is where you need to be, like, now.

The tour, which kicked off February 17th in Oregon, held its fifth show of the tour in Edmonton Thursday night, doing no shortage in leaving fans completely unable to process what they just experienced. With outer space as the prominent theme, both Pierce The Veil and openers Crown the Empire incorporated rather – er – “out of this world” props and themes. With CTE featuring inflatable moon men onstage and PTV a gigantic space shuttle (which they emerged from during opener “Dive In”), no fan left the venue that evening without feeling like they had just stepped foot off of an unforgettable moon mission.

Crown the Empire suffered a rather slow beginning. Opening with single “Zero” from their latest record Retrograde, the crowd’s interest failed to spark. Yet as their 6-song set progressed, energy levels shot upwards and the post-hardcore Texas 20-something’s were quite literally gaining fans by the second. By the time closing number (and hit single) “Machines” erupted from the hall, fans (now numbering into the thousands) were throwing themselves over each other as they screamed lyrics back at lead singer Andy Leo. Said energy was aided by none other than Leo’s persistent (yet successful) efforts to get concert-goers “up off [their] feet”, proving he knew exactly what the crowd needed and when. Good on ya’, buddy, your stage presence deserves an A+.

Pierce the Veil, on the other hand, shook the Conference Centre the same way a meteor would shake Earth. From the minute the Californian four-piece emerged onstage out of a FREAKING SPACESHIP, all hell broke loose. New album Misadventures’ opener track “Dive In” found itself in the same position on the band’s setlist; and by the time the chorus rolled around, half the crowd was already flinging their limbs around to the rhythm. As for the other half – they were on TOP of the crowd, forcing poor security guards to do about 3 weeks worth of workouts by the time the show was over.

Following fan favourites “Caraphernelia”, “Texas Is Forever”, and “The Divine Zero”, respectively, frontman Vic Fuentes decided it was time to wreak havoc yet again, announcing that “here at Pierce The Veil, we don’t have rules that say we can’t bring fans onstage”. Unsurprisingly, he proceeded to serenade a lucky teen by the name of Kamryn to “Bulletproof Love”, hypnotizing basically everyone in the room. Hello, Kamryn, can we be you please?

The remaining seven songs of the set saw “Floral and Fading”, “Bulls in the Bronx”, and old-timer “Chemical Kids and Mechanical Brides” make a debut, as well as an acoustic rendition of “Stay Away From My Friends”, in which bassist Jamie Precaido became “the first pianist of Pierce the Veil.” “Circles” and “King for a Day” made up the evening’s encore, and although the energy-meter had certainly been higher earlier in the evening, fans still appeared to be having a grand ol’ time as they got blasted with confetti for the third time that night.

The Rest In Space tour, essentially, is a gift from the rock gods. And seriously, if you haven’t made it to a show yet, you’ll be kicking yourself in the behind if you don’t do so soon.

Check out the tour dates below:

02/17 — Eugene, Oregon — McDonald Theatre

02/18 — Spokane, Washington — Knitting Factory

02/21 — Vancouver, B.C — Vogue Theatre

02/22 — Calgary, Alberta — MacEwan Hall Ballroom

02/23 — Edmonton, Alberta — Shaw Conference Centre

02/25 — Saskatoon, Saskatchewan — O’Brians Event Center

02/26 — Winnipeg, Manitoba — Burton Cummings Theatre

02/28 — Grand Rapids, Michigan — The Intersection

03/01 — Toronto, Ontario — The Danforth Music Hall

03/03 — Montreal, Quebec — Metropolis

03/05 — Clifton Park, New York — Upstate Concert Hall

03/07 — Memphis, Tennessee — Minglewood Hall

03/09 — Albuquerque, New Mexico — Historic El Rey Theater

03/10 — Tucson, Arizona — Club XS

What dates are you going to?

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If fans unintentionally break the barricade within the first ten minutes of the night, you know that something impressive is in store.

Emos and non-emos alike pooled to Edmonton’s Starlite Room Sunday night to see the Emo King himself, Andy Black, perform debut solo album The Shadow Side. Black, who is more commonly known as Black Veil Brides’ lead singer Andy Biersack, debuted his first solo compilation in May of 2016 as a side project to the widely popular metalcore group. Beginning touring for the album in the same month as it’s release, Edmontonians were among the last to catch the tour, hence the “Curtain Call”. Lucky ducks.

Pretending that hurricanes and concert crowds are an accurate comparison, it’s an exceptional shock that the 1000-capacity historic concert hall is still standing. Seriously. All three acts of the evening expressed their awe for the concert-goers, genuinely impressed with the energy the fans ricocheted back towards the stage. Reflected in their performances was such energy, with screams and chords continually duelling for the top spot on the decibel-meter until the final fall of the stage lights.

Nevada-based newcomers Palaye Royale and dark wave synthpop artist William Control kicked off the night; certainly fulfilling their roles in warming up the crowd. As an artist, what’s more motivational than a group of angst-y teens and 20-somethings completely collapsing the metal divider preventing you from sweating all over them?

However, the majority the praise must be directed to Biersack. Blending his swoon-worthy deep voice with upbeat rhythms and edgy guitar tracks into a heavenly combination, no human can see him perform and not completely fall in love with him. (Seriously, it’s practically impossible.)

Even without the help of circulating fog and a wonderland-esque light display, Biersack holds the capability to win over anyone he pleases with just an hour-long set. Opening tracks “Stay Alive” and “Ribcage” get fans up ‘n bouncing across the dance floor, generating positive vibes that last through Billy Idol cover “Dancing With Myself”. Heart-wrencher “Paint It Black” makes a cameo for the un-admitting softies, and “Beautiful Pain” and “Put the Gun Down” allows Biersack to connect with fans on deeper means.

It is obvious that the charisma Biersack possesses and uses with fans between songs is a charisma of pure authenticity. There is none of the artificial interest that’s shown by numerous artists who make it big-time; no scowling expressions, no quieting of the cheers, only pure admiration for those who show him endless love and support. Mixed with this admiration appears to lie an actual desire to want to know what these people have to say, and whether it be a simple “I love you Andy!” or “You saved my life!”, the response is always in the form of a smile.

Finishing the set with “The Shadow Side[‘s]” opening track “Homecoming King” and single “We Don’t Have to Dance”, Biersack brought forth every element any half-decent live act should have. From engaging opening acts, soaring levels of crowd interaction, and a setlist of various tempos, other artists should take notes. Biersack deserves all the credit he can muster, and fingers are crossed that this won’t be the end of Andy Black.

Have you seen any shows on this tour?

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Dear Canadian friends, our time has finally come to experience the Youth Authority tour. Somebody pinch us please; is this actually happening?

Yes, indeed it is; Good Charlotte (along with Silverstein, Waterparks, and Movements) will be traveling across the Great North from West Coast to East in April, making stops in nearly every province along the way. (Sorry, Quebec and PEI, you guys missed out this time).

From us here at At The Barricade, we are very, very, very, very, very excited for this tour, and, frankly, are having great difficulty comprehending this announcement. Keep your eyes posted on your favourite music news site (… that would be us), for all things Youth Authority Tour, as we’ll definitely be updating from more shows than one.

Check out the dates below:

Good Charlotte Youth Authority Tour //

Which Youth Authority tour date will you be attending?

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To top off all of yesterday’s tour announcements, childhood favourites Jimmy Eat World just released dates with some of our modern day faves – Beach Slang.

Starting in March and ending in August, the two will be hitting up cities across Canada and the U.S, but appearances from Beach Slang will only be occurring in April and May. We’re calling it now: this tour definitely won’t be one you want to miss.

Already being blessed with announcements from Lady Gaga, Frnk Iero and the Patience, Blink-182, and a Rise Against/Deftones co-tour, the music gods must have been feeling awfully generous today. Let’s hope our bosses feel the same when we’re asking for some extra shifts to cover the costs.

Check out the tour dates below!

Jimmy Eat World Announce Spring Tour With Beach Slang //


Hamilton natives and Canadian alt-rock favourites Arkells rocked the Shaw Conference Centre Friday night in Edmonton, Alberta; setting the bar high for any musicians looking to win over Edmontonians in the city later this year.

Kicking off the Canadian leg of their tour for 2016 release, Morning Report, in Vancouver on February 1st, Edmonton was the second show of the tour. Having played three shows previously in the city, with the latest being 2016’s Labour Day weekend Sonic Boom festival, frontman Max Kerman stated that the Friday night show was the “biggest headline show [they’ve] ever played.”

Despite a nearly two hour set, and fueled by their own excitement, the band succeeded in keeping the crowd alive for a significant portion of their time on stage. Guitarist Mike DeAngelis, with help from Kerman, found himself at the center of attention numerous times. Keyboardist Anthony Carone wowed everyone, including his bandmates, with genuinely badass keyboard solos and trumpet skills. Opening the night with track “A Little Rain (A Song For Pete)”, fans were instantly on their feet and full of energy. Kerman – jumping into the crowd mid-way through the song – may have been a contributing factor, but didn’t let the energy falter once returning to his place on stage.

After cracking out tracks from all four studio albums, including crowd pleasers “Come to Light”, “Michigan Left”, and “11:11”, the band agreed it was time for acoustic “campfire vibes”, strumming along in a circle on stage as the crowd swayed with them. With all the venue lights turned off, Arkellians were asked to light up the concert hall with pure phone-flashlight power (as close to a campfire as the band could get whilst onstage performing to thousands). The campfire rendition, however, proved to be a bit of a crowd-killer. The room’s energy noticeably declined until fan-favourite “Dirty Blonde” got things moving again, with the help of a lucky girl pulled from the audience. Dancing across the stage and on top of speakers with Kerman, the girl’s enthusiasm diffused its way through sweaty bodies until the entire audience found themselves once again dancing away.

Arkells Morning Report Tour Review //

The album’s second single, “Drake’s Dad”, saw Kerman in the crowd yet again, this time 15 rows deep singing along with what he called the “Non-Denominational Gospel Choir of Edmonton”. The choir, made up of surrounding fans, found themselves providing the same vocals as the gospel choir featured in the track’s studio recording. The final song (before the encore, of course), was none other than Morning Report’s first single, “Private School”, and did exactly what it needed to get the crowd wanting the encore they rightly deserved. For the second time that night, and third for frontman Frank Turner (he’d earlier been challenged by Kerman to a “battle of rock”), opening act Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls found themselves back onstage, this time providing instrumentals to “Private School” as all five Arkells surfed the crowd. Very rarely do you find an entire band crowd surfing – especially at the same time – but Arkells proved that if anyone’s capable, it’s them.

The multi-song encore found itself to be the height of the crowd’s energy throughout the evening. Including tracks like “Whistleblower”, “Cynical Bastards”, and closing the night with their biggest hit, “Leather Jacket”, anyone outside the building would have heard fans shouting back the lyrics. Jumping, dancing, and shouting all over each other, it was easy to see the entire concert hall was enjoying themselves, and nobody would be going home without at least one sore muscle or bruise. Arkells showed their fans and critics alike that they know what a concert is and how it should feel, even insisting on taking a group photo with the crowd before exiting the stage. It’s really no wonder Arkells have skyrocketed so rapidly to become the band music lovers are talking about across the nation.

Will you be catching Arkells on the Morning Report tour?

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SWMRS.  Yes, this is indeed the name of the beach-punk, alternative, modern rock, I-don’t-even-know-how-to-describe-them-because-they’re-so-good band of 20-somethings that are making incredibly enticing music like nothing you’ve heard before.  So good, in fact, you’ll find yourself running out of breath trying to read all of the adjectives crammed into sentences about them.

Immediately upon discovery – via a photo on Twitter, might I add -I was drawn to these guys. They just appeared so cool. Maybe it was the green hair, or the clothes that screamed “I don’t care about your opinion on the way I express myself.” They looked like a band who had purpose and determination, a reason for creating with passion engraved into their music. Whatever it was, I was digging it. I obviously needed to check out their sound too.

I’ll admit, I didn’t fully listen to their debut album, Drive North, right off the get go. In fact, I started with their first single off the album, “Figuring It Out.” Within 30 seconds I knew that I wasn’t going to be listening to anything else for a looooong time. It made me feel so connected to the music, especially with lyrics like “Internet scams and waistcoats, we’re just scapegoats all too dumb”, and “Was I made to function, or create, or just get bored?” I related to it in a way that I’ve never related to music before. In fact, I was so excited, I called one of my friends and screamed into the phone about how amazing it felt to finally discover real, raw talent again.

Following my excitement over “Figuring It Out”, I immediately dove into Drive North. Tracks like “Harry Dean”, “Brb” and “Uncool” prove themselves to be fast-paced, upbeat tracks that generally just make you want to run around and scream at things (but in a good way, of course.) With lyrics following the desire to let loose and carve your own path, these guys could have easily been the stereotypical pop artists you hear on mainstream radio. Instead, lead vocalist Cole Becker’s almost-raspy, relatively-low, yet highly-intriguing vocals are layered over guitar tracks and drum beats you’d find yourself listening to while moshing in a pit at some punk-rock beach festival with a bunch of high strangers. Mixing blatant (but still pleasing) screams with lyrics that make you want to go out and do something in the world, SWMRS prove that they know how to get their message across to the right audience.

drive NORTH

The most attention-grabbing song on the album is “Miley”, which is about, you guessed it, Miley Cyrus. However, instead of contributing to some of the bashing and critical ridicule Cyrus has received over the years, the track takes a stance in opposition to that of the majority of the general public, showing listeners that it is acceptable to disagree with popular opinion. Sounding like it’s being directly played off a mid-80’s record player, the song progressively increases its tempo and is exactly the kind of music your teenage self needed to hear after a blowout with your parents. At the same time, it’s the song you’ll find yourself screaming at the top of your lungs in the shower as you wash out the new hair colour it inspired you to try, and it’s absolutely brilliant.

If screaming about pop stars isn’t your thing, Drive North manages to incorporate a number of slower, more acoustic, but equally as fun numbers such as “Miss Yer Kiss”, “Ruining My Pretending”, and “Hannah”. With simple chord sequences and ample sing-along ability, these songs are what you’ll find yourself jamming around a campfire to, likely with your new friends who share the same compassion for “quality talent with important messages” as you.

Title track “Drive North” closes off the album, and does full justice in going out with a bang. Once again equipped with pleasant screaming and mosh-worthy guitar and drum tracks, this song is probably the greatest ending to an album, like, ever. It’s completely exhilarating and will make you want to spray paint everything in your apartment. And in the streets. And all over billboards. In a good way, I think.

SWMRS are the band that the music scene needs now, and Drive North is the album that needs to be in everyone’s library. Incorporating messages that need to be heard, but doing so in a way that doesn’t make you want to rip your eardrums out, basically puts this album at the top of the “All-Time, Greatest, Most-Important Things Ever” list. Seriously, it’s ear-heaven, and the best thing to hit 2016.

Have you listened to SWMRS’ Drive North? Thoughts?

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