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Alt Dialogue’s Mid Year Review 2016

As 2016 approaches the halfway mark we thought we’d do a half year review. If you’re a regular reader I’m sure you are aware of our annual top albums list and although that’s our favourite feature of the year this is going to take a bit of different feel. Rather than just listing our favourite albums, we’ll take you on Alt Dialogue’s journey of 2016.

2016 felt like it had a bit of slow start. Initially there wasn’t much to excite, a few good singles popped up but album wise it was unremarkable. There were some men desperately trying to cling onto their youth in One Days Notice and Gascan Ruckus came up just short with their debut. The year kicked in properly when Pretend Happy showed themselves to be contenders for your new favourite UK emo/punk band, while Milk Teeth lived up to expectations and released a superb debut. Certain parts of their sound have caused division – whether it be the screamed parts or the somewhat affected American sounding vocal – but for that to disturb your enjoyment you have to be looking for fault. Our essential release of January goes to the return of Basement with Promise Everything. It was one of those albums you could instantly fall in love with, it connected with you and you realised how much you had missed the band.

February was a busy but mixed bag in terms of albums. It was the month in which Somos released their second album, a band that we’d fallen in love with since their ridiculously brilliant debut Temple of Plenty. Although First Day Back delivered a lighter indie influenced sound it lived up to expectations and found the band excelling in a new found maturity. It was another bad month for American punk with World Be Free and SWMRS releasing turgid albums, it took their Canadian bothers The Dirty Nil to inject some much needed life. Muncie Girls released one of the best punk albums of the year in From Caplan to Belsize, life affirming English punk done to perfection and another win for the excellent Specialist Subject Records. The essential release of February goes to another English band, Bear Makes Ninja as they finally released their debut album. Infectious math rock, complex and intricate while being instantaneous you couldn’t help but become completely immersed in the sound.

March was a bit of damp squib with disappointing releases from Into It Over It and O’Brother. While the latter initially impressed and received a favourable review from us it grew a little stale. Britney tried their hardest to offend with their self-titled album, part of us still thinks this has to be heard to be believed. So bad in so many ways. It became a theme for English bands to pull it out of the bag in the first half of 2016 and post metal/post rock behemoths Bossk returned with their debut album. Commanding and assured it’s hard to believe that Audio Noir is their debut it’s that accomplished. Our essential release of March goes to HECK with Instructions. They’d already garnered a lot of hype in their previous guise of Baby Godzilla and this delivered on all promise. Exhilarating stuff.

We’ll not beat around the bush here; April was a phenomenal month. Henrietta delivered up a brilliant second album and Poly-Math served a masterclass in a progressive blend of post and math rock all while being genuinely nice guys. Envoys self-released some brilliant post rock while we were introduced to our first band from the Philippines with Tom’s Story producing some expansive and chilled out post rock. We jumped on the brilliant second albums from Mantar and Ghost Bath which both blew us away with equal force. Special mention has to be reserved for the return of The Fall Of Troy who’s OK was more than that, containing some of the best math rock riffs of recent years it stands out as being one 2016’s best albums. April’s essential release goes to the Deftones with Gore. Just when you think the band have done everything and can’t get any better they pull this out of the bag. While the band have grown from their nu-metal tinged beginnings there’s a real invigorating energy to Gore. It’s right up there with White Pony as their best album.

When we saw the release schedule for May we were a little unsure how we could review them all. We also had high hopes for a lot of them and for the most part they delivered. There was always the suspicion that the new Modern Baseball album would be difficult and it wasn’t really for us. Similarly, Architects are one of the bands that threaten to make us like them but always seem to fall just short of the mark. Specialist Subject Records released another gem with the debut from Austeros while we discovered the joys of German indie/emo/punk in Twin Red. Real Friends pulled it out of the bag with their wonderful blend of emo and pop punk appealing to a young audience and men in their mid-thirties that should probably know better. Then came the brilliant, Canadian punks PUP came back from the brink with the punk release of 2016 in The Dream Is Over, Thrice returned from hiatus and Tiny Moving Parts blended the best parts of math rock and pop punk in the superb Celebrate. The essential release however falls to The Hotelier with Goodness. Sometimes an album just blows you away, striking an emotional chord so deep and raw that it seems like it knows you. Goodness has a different feel from previous work and it sees the band becoming even more essential.

There’s still some releases it come in June so we’ll not give you an essential album just yet, we’ll just advise you stay away from the latest Letlive album.

There you have it for Alt Dialogue’s 2016 so far, if there’s anything you think we’ve missed get in touch and give us what-for!




1 Comment on Alt Dialogue’s Mid Year Review 2016

  1. Just seen Austeros for the first time tonight, literally fallen straight in love so hoping that record backs up their live show! Big up Milk Teeth and PUP too. And a great write up so appreciation for you as well! 😀


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