FALL OUT BOY – SO MUCH (FOR) STARDUST – ALBUM REVIEW
20+ years, eight studio albums, the highest of highs, the lowest of lows, a hiatus, a reunion and a steady stream of hit singles. Yes, the career of Fall Out Boy has been an entertaining follow over the years, but right now the band appear to be at the peak of their commercial powers.
Nobody can argue that they’ve taken their live show to the next level and that’s why you find them regularly selling out the largest venues in town. Their studio output however has always been a target for critics, with previous effort ‘Mania’ being particularly picked apart and written off.
Admittedly, even I would say beyond a handful of fun tunes that album lacked any real depth and felt slightly like a band going through the motions. Last time Fall Out Boy felt like that they went on a lengthy hiatus before returning better than before.
There has been not hiatus this time, but as the band geared up for the release of their new album, ‘So Much (For) Stardust’, you did get a sense of maturity from the group. You’d argue a band two decades into their career should take themselves seriously, but then Fall Out Boy have always been a band that appeal to younger generations of music fan.
What we get then on this record is a balance. The band deliver a fresh album which appeals to fans old and new. The opening trio of ‘Love From The Other Side’, ‘Heartbreak Feels So Good’ and ‘Hold Me Like a Grudge’ are right up there with the best the band has ever produced, and there are a number of great tracks scattered around the album which instantly provides greater strength in depth then ‘Mania’.
The pace of the album works well and keeps you engaged even in the weaker moments. Overall this is probably the ideal answer to anybody questioning the band, even if it won’t be held in the same esteem as some of their earlier work. A good number of the tracks will sound huge live and add to the bands momentum as they continue their path to world domination.
Enter Shikari recently announced their upcoming new album, ‘A Kiss For The Whole World’, will be out April 21st, and this week saw the band share the latest taste.
You can listen to new track, ‘It Hurts’ above. Of the track, Lead vocalist and producer Rou Reynolds explains:
“It Hurts came to me in a dream. Literally. Melody, chords, and fully-formulated chorus were all part of a dream that, thankfully, remained with me when I woke up. I was hiding under the duvet at 3AM, singing it into my phone, much to the bewilderment of my girlfriend.
Lyrically, It Hurts is about perseverance, and the importance of reframing failure as a fruitful and, in fact, pivotal route to progress. Society teaches us we should avoid and criticise failure, when defeat and honest mistakes can actually present us with insights that light our way forward.
In reality, we should be taught that simply to try makes us more than enough.”
This week saw the return of Gengahr as the band shared their brand new single, ‘A Ladder’, which you can listen to above.
Frontman Felix Bushe comments: “A Ladder is a fun, trippy little song soaked in cartoon-like imagery. Essentially it’s about the power of true love and its ability to not only change the way we feel but also the way we see and interact with the whole world around us.”
Dream Wife have announced details of their next studio album with ‘Social Lubrication’ set to be released on June 9th.
This week the group preceded the release with new single, ‘Hot (Don’t Date A Musician)’, which you can check out above.
‘Social Lubrication’, in the band’s words, is “Hyper lusty rock and roll with a political punch, exploring the alchemy of attraction, the lust for life, embracing community and calling out the patriarchy. With a healthy dose of playfulness and fun thrown in.”
Vocalist Rakel says, “Dating musicians is a nightmare. Evoking imagery of late night make-outs with fuckboy/girl/ambiguously-gendered musicians on their mattress after being seduced by song-writing chat. The roles being equally reversed. Having a laugh together and being able to poke fun at ourselves is very much at the heart of this band. This song encapsulates our shared sense of humour. Sonically it is the lovechild of CSS and Motorhead. It has our hard, live, rock edge combined with cheeky and playful vocals.”
“Music is one of the only forms of people experiencing an emotion together in a visceral, physical, real way,” says Alice. “It’s cathartic to the systemic issues that are being called out across the board in the record. Music isn’t the cure, but it’s the remedy. Calling the record Social Lubrication harks to that. It’s the positive glue that can create solidarity and community.”
“The album is speaking to systemic problems that cannot be glossed over by lube,” says Bella. “The things named in the songs are symptoms of f-ed up structures. And you can’t fix that. You need to pull it apart.”
Our News Report looks now at the best festival announcements made over the past week and we start by the coast with Portsmouth’s Victorious Festival.
Jamiroquai and Kasabian are already announced to headline with one more headliner yet to be revealed.
They will now be joined in August by the likes of The Charlatans, Jake Bugg, Circa Waves, The View, Newton Faulkner, Blossoms,Alt-J, Kaiser Chiefs, Amyl & The Sniffers, The Coral, Pale Waves, Shame, The Vaccines, Sea Girls, Johnny Marr, The Enemy and Hard-Fi!
UK metallers, Electron, draw a line in the sand with their explosive new single, ‘Sick and Wrong’, which is out now!
On the single, frontman Jason Payne discusses: “The track symbolises solitude, melancholy, madness, anxiety and fear. The persona in this song (inspired by “The Scream, E. Munch”) is suffering a lot of pain. In the beginning, this person has hope that they will escape from the terror of its own mind – however, as the song evolves, they grow aware that the melancholy is eternal, and revolt with their agony.”
This Dying Hour – ‘Age of the Coward’
Modern metalcore 4-piece This Dying Hour have shared their blistering new single ‘Age Of The Coward’.
“‘Age of the Coward’ challenges the way we see ourselves – how we can either perpetuate or abolish the feelings of nihilism and guilt through the way we understand personal accountability. Over the years I have personally battled with self-identity and purpose. I don’t think these things are exclusive to me, but a journey we all must take. This is why we shouldn’t settle with your shortcomings, but instead with discipline and hard work we can lace their linings with gold. You can’t make the world a more meaningful place, until you see through who you truly are.” – Vocalist Steve Kerr.
Creature Cult – ‘poster boy’
With just one single out in the world – the powerful and rousing, ‘ughly’ – Creature Cult have shared new single ‘poster boy’ – another message delivered loud and clear: in the face of bigotry and hatred, be uncompromising in your self-expression.
Commenting on the new single, Connar says: “Poster boy is my hate letter to homophobia. It takes all the disgust and discrimination from vicious people and spits it right back at them. It’s basically saying I’m going to be the fucking biggest and loudest version of all the things you hate about me because I really don’t care what you think and I know that scares you. Being able to express yourself and love who you want to love should be treated by everyone as the basic human right that it is.”
Welcome everyone to another edition of our weekly music News Report!
We start this week by running through the best festival announcements made over the past week and up first we have Kendal Calling.
Topping the bill this year will be Kasabian, Royal Blood, Blossoms and Nile Rodgers & Chic! They are joined by the likes of Kaiser Chiefs, Frank Turner, Circa Waves, The Enemy, KT Tunstall and The Amazons.
Also across the weekend will be The Hunna, The Murder Capital, Vistas, We Are Scientists, Lottery Winners, Black Honey, Newton Faulkner, October Drift, Jack Valero and many more!
Glasgow’s TRNSMT has added some fifty new acts to the bill for this year’s festival. The events features headliners Pulp, Sam Fender, The 1975, George Ezra, Kasabian and Royal Blood.
They are joined by Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott, The View, The Kooks, Pale Waves, Hot Milk, Hamish Hawk, The Wombats, Nothing But Thieves, The Enemy, The Amazons, Bob Vylan, Dream Wife, Lauran Hibberd and many more.
Wales is also able to attract rocks finest with Steelhouse Festival leading the way. This week the festival announced that Black Stone Cherry will be topping the bill alongside already announced Saturday headliners Airbourne.
They are joined over the weekend by the likes of The Answer, Blues Pills, Kris Barras Band, Florence Black, When Rivers Meet, The Cruel Knives and Dead Man’s Whiskey!
Another rock event getting bigger this week was Slam Dunk Festival who have added more bands to an already packed bill. Probably a good thing then that they’ve also broken down the stage splits.
Added to the event were PVRIS, Sueco, Millie Manders and many more. They join the likes of Enter Shikari, The Offspring, Billy Talent, Bowling For Soup, Yellowcard,Creeper and far too many others to mention!
Live At Leeds: In The Park has added The Hives, DMA’s, gengahr and more to an already packed line up headlined by Two Door Cinema Club.
They join amongst others, The Big Moon, Black Honey, The Beths, Skinny Living, Deadletter, Ellur, Low Hummer and Opus Kink.
Speaking about their appearance at Live At Leeds: In The Park 2023, The Hives’ frontman Pelle Almqvist said: “Some festival names just have a ring to them don’t they? Live At Leeds. It sounds like some upper echelon rock shit and if this year’s edition wasn’t before, now it is. The Hives are very proud and happy to join this upper echelon. They are coming for your money and dignity and in exchange they will deliver however long a show you will let them of life-affirming record-breaking rock ’ ‘ roll music. If you have never seen them before. imagine a rock show but to the 3rd power. Too much of everything. If you have seen them before, you know you will have to again.”
Skinny Living said: “Live At Leeds is one of our favourite festivals in the UK! The line up is always top class, so to be able to play the main stage as a local band this year is a proper moment for us and our people.”
Looking ahead, Festival Promoter Joe Hubbard said: “It may be chilly outside, but we’re already incredibly excited about returning to Temple Newsam for an unforgettable summer festival celebration – with even more favourites and new faces joining the party at Live At Leeds: In The Park this year.
DMA’s and The Hives may just be some of the best festival bands going right now, and having phenomena like Cavetown and Crawlers join the party is truly special. At Live At Leeds, we always look to bring unmissable live titans together with fans’ next favourite bands – and this year’s In The Park is the perfect example of that. All coming together on one day at Temple Newsam, there’s nothing quite like it – and we can’t wait to see everyone this May!”
Next in our News Report is the latest single from Willie J Healey featuring Jamie T. Listen to ‘Thank You’ above now.
The track comes from forthcoming album, ‘Bunny’, which is out August 25th.
Willie comments on the new single: “I was tired and flat and didn’t know what to make & then my friend Jamie said ay willie I’ve got this drum machine it might inspire you.. I picked it up and wrote ‘Thank You’ the next day, it was my way of thanking Jamie for being a good friend. I dedicate it to anyone trying to do their own thing.”
Mimi Barks concludes this portion of our News Report with the new video for her track, ‘SAW’, which you can watch above!
The track features on their recently released mixtape, ‘DEADGIRL’.
Barks had the following to say, “SAW, the third song on the DEADGIRL Mixtape, marks the resistance, rage, and anger I experienced while seeking my identity and self-worth on an emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental level.”
She continues to mention – “Working independently on set with a micro team—just me, and my videographer, and his camera—it takes me back to my roots. No crew, no lights, and no screenplay. It’s raw, industrial and dirty – with the walls of the derelict buildings captured in the music video reflecting the wrath and backlash of my internal war.”
Blondshell will release her self-titled debut album arrives April 7th and is preceded by new single, ‘Joiner’.
Describing the new single, Blondshell explains, “I was listening to a lot of Britpop when I wrote this song. A lot of those bands like The Verve, Pulp, Suede, and Blur channelled dark subject matter, drugs, and all this dirty stuff, but with a fun acoustic guitar under it. I was listening to The Replacements, too. That’s what this song was inspired by sonically. I wanted it to feel like you’re watching HBO, where even though it’s heavy, it’s still a good time.”
BLACKGOLD – ‘Boogeyman’
Masked Misfits BLACKGOLD are back at it again with new single ‘Boogeyman’!
The band comment, “‘Boogeyman’ is about that person that haunts your dreams. They have full control over you within your subconscious and it feels like you can’t escape.”
Riyah – ‘Perfect’
Riyah is ready to unleash her first single ‘Perfect’, showcasing what is to come from her hands and lungs.
She comments, “I’m excited to see this new chapter roll out with this new EP. I’ve spent almost two years figuring out which way to go, and these songs might feel like baby steps to some, but for me it’s gigantic leap into my passion”
Welcome everyone to another edition of our weekly music News Report!
We start this week with the best new releases from the past week, including metal titans Metallica, who are up first.
As the band continue to prepare for the release of their new album, ’72 Seasons’, on April 14th, they’ve this week shared new single, ‘Screaming Suicide’. You can check out the track above.
“‘Screaming Suicide’ addresses the taboo word of suicide. The intention is to communicate about the darkness we feel inside. It’s ridiculous to think we should deny that we have these thoughts. At one point or another, I believe most people have thought about it. To face it is to speak the unspoken. If it’s a human experience, we should be able to talk about it. You are not alone.” – James Hetfield
Fall Out Boy return with ‘Love From The Other Side’
It was also a big news week for Fall Out Boy as the group announced that they will release their latest album, ‘So Much (For) Stardust’, on March 24th.
Revealing the news the band shared the following with fans:
“‘Time is luck.’
Finish another tour. You reflect but not like a gem in the sun – more like a year long stare into yourself in another airplane bathroom
Sometimes you gotta blow everything you were and put the pieces back together in a new shape. The same but different – the foundation dynamited and the dust used to create the concrete pour. I have a tendency to get a little sad whenever I think about anything…but I also feel pure joy when I think that I exist at the same time as whales or that read happens to rise at a certain temperature. And that we happen to be spinning on this little blue rock at the exact same time together.
So much (for) stardust.”
Accompanying the news, was new single, ‘Love From The Other Side’, which you can check out above!
Metal icons Saxon also have a new album on its way with ‘More Inspirations’ set for March 24th. The album explores the bands influences and new single, ‘The Faith Healer’, debuted this week. You can check the single out above.
Frontman Biff Byford comments “We used to see The Sensational Alex Harvey band play this back in the day, they started the set with it, such a fantastic song and fantastic band… big influence!”
Ian Hunter has announced the release of his new album, ‘Defiance Part 1′, arriving on April 21st.
Among the most star-studded original albums ever recorded, the record sees Hunter joined by the late, great Jeff Beck, Johnny Depp, Joe Elliott (Def Leppard), Billy F Gibbons (ZZ Top), Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses), Todd Rundgren, Slash (Guns N’ Roses), Jeff Tweedy (Wilco), Robert Trujillo (Metallica), Waddy Wachtel (Stevie Nicks, Keith Richards), Brad Whitford(Aerosmith), Dane Clark (John Mellencamp), Billy Bob Thornton & J.D. Andrew (The Boxmasters) and Dean DeLeo, Robert De Leo & Eric Kretz (Stone Temple Pilots).
You can check out the first single, ‘Bed Of Roses’, above featuring guitarist Mike Campbell (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Fleetwood Mac) and drums by Ringo Starr.
“It was a fluke,” Ian Hunter says. “This was not planned. Really, I’m serious. I really couldn’t believe some of them. I mean, it’s amazing what’s happened. It’s been such a buzz.”
“Everybody’s sitting around,” says Hunter. “It’s Covid. Nobody’s going anywhere. We started sending them out. Slash started doing something. Robert Trujillo from Metallica. Ringo Starr, Mike Campbell. Joe Elliott is on a few tracks. Johnny Depp said ‘Jeff Beck’s with me and we’d like to do a couple of songs.’ I know Todd Rundgren, I toured with Todd way back, he’s done an amazing job. Billy Gibbons. Billy Bob Thornton and JD Andrew from The Boxmasters. It’s never ending. I mean, every day we’d get a phone call, this guy wants to do it, that guy wants to do it. It was like, I can’t believe this.”
“There are a lot of reasons for calling this album ‘Defiance” says Hunter. “It’s like, people my age shouldn’t be making records, blah, blah, blah. But we’ve still got a bit left.”
Our News Report continues with the latest track from DMA’s, ‘Fading Like A Picture’, which you can check out above. The single comes from upcoming new album, ‘How Many Dreams?’, which is out 31st March.
Guitarist Johnny Took comments, “Our palette for this album was a lot broader because we’ve learned so much since our debut and we’ve listened to so much more music between then and now, which has shaped us. It felt like a first outing all over again. The excitement was the same.”
Took continues: “Tommy wrote the majority of this song to an obscure demo I made during lockdown. When we all came together to demo it, Mason added one of my favourite guitar riffs on the new album, and we used the middle-eight from another demo as the chorus. A true DMA’S collaboration.”
Sløtface this week shared their latest single, ‘Nose’, which you can check out above.
The track comes ahead of new EP, ‘Awake / Asleep’, which is due for release on February 24th.
Haley Shea had the following to say about the new single and February’s EP:
“‘Nose’ is what I would call a pretty general “Sløtface anxiety” song, a recurring theme I always come back to. Nose is a conversation between me and a loved one where I’m trying to use imagery to describe what anxiety feels like to someone who doesn’t experience it, how even the smallest things can trigger it and send me into a thought spiral that feels impossible to stop. The choruses are then the replies of someone I love reminding me to breathe, a tactic which usually helps me calm my thoughts, when done in the right way, by my partner, family and loved ones.
’Nose’ started when I visited Odd Martin at his studio in Bergen in March of 2022 to write some songs. It ended up being a super-productive couple of days where we wrote about 7 different demos on the first day alone, and then chose a couple to flesh out on the second day. “Nose” was the last song we tried out at the end of that second day.
The mix of the heavier, rhythmic, bass-focused verses and the big, layered, poppier choruses, all combined with saxophonist Aksel Rønning adding some extra spice, grit and depth to the whole track makes it one of our absolute favorites on the EP.”
This week also saw the latest new music coming from The Pearl Harts as they shared their track ‘Wild Me’.
The band shared, “Wild Me is a song about frustration within the sexes from the viewpoint of a woman – in this instance a hetero cis relationships and how patriarchal ideology can damage and shame a woman and her natural instincts.
Why do women get called crazy, wild and out of control when their behaviour only mirrors that of men? Rarely is the same label put on them. “Where do I stand if I can’t be the man?” Wild me strives to call out these behaviours by crying out “Wild me, Why me” with force and discontentment. It forces you to understand that being wild is awe-inspiring and nothing to be ashamed of.”
Canadian sibling duo Softcult share their latest single, ‘Dress’. The track comes from new EP, ‘see you in the dark’, out March 24th.
“This song is about consent; it’s about saying ‘no’ and having it happen to you anyway,” Mercedes explains. “It’s about being followed while walking alone at night or being cornered in a bar when we’re just trying to have a night out with our friends. It’s about the lingering fear and trauma that haunts us long after these experiences have happened. It’s about how these experiences make us feel powerless and change the way we see ourselves.”
Shadow Smile – ‘Signed in Blood’
Sheffield rising star Shadow Smile, share their track, ‘Signed in Blood’ which is the title-track of their debut album.
Lead vocalist Connor McGovern comments – ‘We wanted this song to be a modern take on songs like ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ by the Rolling Stones where the listener is being told why they should forget their morals and join the dark side. Those songs have always been a lot of fun and fit perfectly with the dark Shadow Smile imagery’.
Real Terms – ‘Veil is Thinner’
‘Veil is Thinner’ presents an advance look at Real Terms‘ debut album, ‘Vantage’, which is out February 24th.
“I think there’s also something about the different musical ‘perspectives’ we all bring together that makes our sound,” says guitarist Christopher ‘Lynny’ Lynn, “the way our parts interweave and interlink and the perspective the listener can bring to it. There’s not always ‘a centre’ in our songs so I always love it when people comment on how catchy the songs are when they see us live. I find that combination of songs being complex and catchy at the same time really compelling.”
THE HELLA MEGA TOUR – LONDON STADIUM – LIVE REVIEW
The mass hysteria of excitement over the initial announcement of The Hella Mega Tour was something to behold. Of course, multiple unpredictable delays have occurred since then and these shows take place now almost three years later.
That initial excitement naturally dimmed by the events of the past few years soon returns however as you approach the impressive London Stadium in Stratford. Spirits are high as fans funnel into the venue ready for three iconic acts.
Before then though, they are greeted by opening act Amyl and The Sniffers who christen the stage with their unique brand of punk rock. Punk was built on rebellion and spite so it’s refreshing to see a band going back to those roots after the genre has become somewhat safe over the last decade.
WATCH ‘SECURITY’ FROM AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS
Some fans get it, others look on in bemusement, but one thing is sure and that is that playing a potentially poisoned chalice of a support slot, the group deliver something memorable.
Any opening band was always going to be overshadowed by what follows on The Hella Mega Tour. It’s soon time to start the feast of music on offer today, and the crowd has piled in early for the first of our three headlining acts Weezer.
What makes The Hella Mega Tour special is that each of the three main acts get not just a headline set length but also full production. Weezer take full advantage of that with a stunning stage setup, but for me the appeal of Weezer live has always been the music, and today the fans are treated to a stunning setlist.
Opening with ‘Hash Pipe’, ‘Beverly Hills’, ‘My Name Is Jonas’ and ‘Pork and Beans’, the band instantly have the packed audience in the palm of their hands. The band proceed to mix old, new and covers. By the time they take their leave with ‘Buddy Holly’, the band have set the bar very high for their contemporaries to follow!
Thankfully for both those following bands and the fans in attendance, both are more than capable to keeping pace with the very best. Next to grace the stage are Fall Out Boy who again waste no time in plying the crowd with huge hits.
‘The Phoenix’ sees the band flex their muscles with pyro galore and the extravagance of the band never really fades with their set designed to tell a story. There is no real lull in pace by the band today as they blast out hit after hit; the only short respite coming due to an issue in the crowd.
Fall Out Boy are slightly younger than their tour buddies but with their performance today they show that they have reached that iconic status already. You really could go home happy at this point following three great performances, but that’s the beauty of The Hella Mega Tour, it’s mega and there is a final performance remaining from global superstars Green Day.
WATCH ‘BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS’ FROM GREEN DAY
By this point anticipation from the crowd has reached a fever pitch and after years of delay and hours of acts behind us, fans are ready to explode. Imagine the response then when the band open with ‘American Idiot’ and ‘Holiday’!
Yes, it’s clear that the band are prepared to make up for lost time and it’s an old fashioned rocker of a show from Green Day. Perhaps they are trying to keep up with Fall Out Boy or justify their position on top of the bill, but their performance is slick and removes some of the bloatedness of latter year Green Day.
Of course, the band has the hits for a situation like this and hearing a packed stadium sing every word of the likes of ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’, ‘Minority’ and ‘Basket Case’ just shows what we have missed over the past couple of years.
We may have had to wait an awful long time for The Hella Mega Tour but wow was it worth the wait. Every band brought their A game, and the show as a whole will become a thing of legend from here on out!