Comment: All Time Low was one of the first bands featured on T.A.M., and almost three years later (time flies!), they have returned with their eponymous single: Tell Me I’m Alive. This is also the title of the band’s ninth studio album, their first release since the pandemic. The first three quarters of the track showcase a more mature sound for the band, with pop elements infused into their punk style and even the addition of a piano to back the vocals. It is not until the bridge that All Time Low switch gears up with classic punk drum lines and high energy levels. I’m not a fan of songs that rely too heavily on this drumming style, but when used sparingly as is the case here, they can be a brilliant addition.
All Time Low was formed in 2003 in Baltimore, Maryland. The band members, consisting of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Alex Gaskarth, lead guitarist Jack Barakat, bassist Zack Merrick, and drummer Rian Dawson, gained popularity with their pop punk sound and catchy lyrics. Throughout their career, All Time Low has toured extensively and earned a dedicated fan base, selling over 2 million records worldwide. With their continued success and loyal fan base, All Time Low has cemented themselves as one of the most prominent bands in the pop punk and rock music scene.
Influences:Avril Lavigne, Smash Mouth, The Hotelier
Location: Cologne, Germany
Release date: March, 2023
Comment: If you’re into alternative rock with a pop-punk twist and catchy hooks, you’ve got to check out Still Talk‘s single “Headcheck”, which will be part of the band’s upcoming debut album, appropriately called “St. Banger”. I love that this 5-piece band, fronted by Tanja Kührer, manages to balance different styles while keeping things fresh and energetic. “Headcheck” is a fun, upbeat song that celebrates the friendships within the band. The track is great from the get-go, but that stripped-down ending with the jangling guitar deserves a chef’s kiss.
If you’re in Germany, be sure to catch their live shows this year – I bet they’ll be a blast!
Comment: British alt/rock band WESSON, led by #singersongwriter Chris Wesson, is formed by four musicians coming from different backgrounds, resulting in a delightful blend of pop, punk rock and indie rock. “Made Me Happy” is just their fifth single, but given how fun and catchy it is, I think it’s safe to say that this band is going places.
The lyrics express the emotions of a person who was hurt by someone’s actions in the past. The song reveals that the person has come to the realization that they might have acted similarly if they were in the same situation, and is finally finding peace in understanding their own and others’ behaviors. Between how relatable the lyrics are and the extremely catchy chorus, “Made Me Happy” is the type of tune that gets stuck in your head. Listen to it at your own peril.
Comment: As a band, The Dares current lineup has been performing together since 2010. During this time, they have had the chance to work with both established and up-and-coming producers. While getting help from professionals is always nice, it is also pretty expensive with pricey hourly rates, which is not good for artistic freedom when you got a limited budget. For example, you may have to settle for a less than perfect option just because you cannot afford another recording session. The pandemic gave The Dares the opportunity to set up a home studio on an unused conference room, which allowed them to self-produce a few songs.The band enjoyed having the opportunity to pursue their own vision and that shows in tracks like Pain, from the use of synths to the layered vocals on the bridge and outro.
Despite having a relatively happy melody, Pain got a deep meaning with lyrics that criticise those who prey on vulnerable people (which, sadly, seems to happen more and more these days). It is a track full of contrasts and definitely worthy of our attention. Please check The Dares out!
Comment: If you live in Ireland, you might have seen Ian Moloney busking on the streets, playing at a gig or participating at a music competition. He’s involved with the local Irish gig scene like that. I hope those who have seen him play could appreciate how talented he is because it would be a shame if they didn’t. Influenced by The 1975’s debut album and MCR’s The Black Parade, Ian has released the second part to his debut EP, The Insomniac’s Dream, back in December, and it got quite a few good songs in it. I chose Polaroid today simply because Ian recorded a music video for it (see below) but I could have chosen any track. The album, which was recorded by Ian and a friend at their own houses during the pandemic, is that consistent.
I believe this record is just Ian’s starting point, but listen to Polaroid below and you will see how good a starting point it is.
Influences:Jimmy Eat World, Death Cab For Cutie, Sugarcult
Release date: February, 2022
Comment: Derrik Schiersing (Vocals/Guitar) started Lost Like Lions in 2014, when he even recorded a debut EP in Los Angeles that featured guest vocals from A.J. Perdomo (The Dangerous Summer). Unfortunately, things didn’t go according to plan back then and the band went on a break until 2018, when they decided to give it another try. After releasing an EP in 2020, Lost Like Lions are getting ready to release a brand new EP, “Fear of Letting Go”, later this year.
Back To Life, the lead single, is a track about reinventing yourself and, as you can see from the band’s brief history above, they do know a thing or two about that. I actually think The Dangerous Summer would be a good comparison here because the vibes are pretty similar. Perhaps Lost Like Lions are a bit less punk, more alt-rock, and just as enjoyable. Check them out!
Comment: Down got the peculiarity of being a cool pop-punk song made by what until now had been an alt-reggae band. Cydeways got a wide range of influences and they just follow whatever inspires them regardless of the genre. Lyrically, Down is a light tune about being into an ex’s best friend, and melodically, it reminds me of the best tracks from bands such as Mest and New Found Glory. The production from Kyle Black (Paramore, State Champs, The Story So Far) is really top-notch. All in all, Down is an outstanding track that we can definitely enjoy.
Comment: The punk-rock genre is having some kind of renaissance in France with talented bands like Back On Earth and today’s featured band: Atlas For Home. This quartet has been around since at least 2014 but “Keep Going” is their first single in four years, so don’t feel bad if you’re into this type of music and hadn’t heard of them. The good news is that they’re planning to release a new EP this year, with this catchy single being just an appetizer. The band’s new leitmotiv is to create the perfect blend between mid-2000s pop-punk, like Blink, and modern pop-punk, like Neck Deep. It’s an ambitious goal, but judging by “Keep Going”, they know what they’re doing. Give them a chance.
Comment: Picture Us Tiny is the moniker of Jackson Velli, who in April last year posted a short pop-punk cover of Forever & Always (originally from Taylor Swift) that became viral on Tiktok. That success led him to record and release a full version on all platforms, which is great news to those of us who are not regular users of said social media website, as we would have missed it otherwise. One of Jackson’s main goals is to “ensure catchy punk music will never die” and this cover is a great step towards achieving that.
Comment: Fans of The Gaslight Anthem will love this tune because Old Currents‘ vocalist, Jake Novak, does sound a lot like Brian Fallon. The energetic Here, You Through This Away is the band’s first release since their debut album in 2017, and will be featured in their new album: The Glory, The Defeat, to be released in April. If it is full of songs such as this one, we won’t want to miss that release. It could be one of the highlights of 2022.