Top Ten Albums of 2015 [+ link to Mind the Gap]

As usual, I’ve made my list of the best albums of the year, including links to any reviews I wrote on them. You can click here for a playlist featuring two of my favourite songs from each release!

top ten of 2015

1) That’s the Spirit – Bring Me the Horizon
2) American Candy – The Maine
3) American Beauty/American Psycho – Fall Out Boy
4) Future Hearts – All Time Low
5) Life’s Not Out to Get You – Neck Deep
6) Blurryface – twenty one pilots
7) Life in Real Time – Paradise Fears
8) Automatic – Don Broco
9) Sounds Good, Feels Good – 5 Seconds of Summer
10) Vikings – New Politics

There was lots of other good albums this year, including Knuckle Puck’s Copacetic, The Wonder Years’ No Closer to Heaven, Young Guns’ Ones and Zeros, Muse’s Drones, We Are Harlot’s self-titled debut, and Nate Ruess’s solo release, Grand Romantic.

What made your list of best albums?

Don’t let me drown

If I may brag/reminisce for a moment:

Two years ago – December 8, 2012 – I flew to London to see You Me At Six play a sold out Wembley Arena (the smaller neighbour to Wembley Stadium, which is the big thing they use for the Olympics and football games, etc). It was the best weekend of my life and pretty much everything I do, I compare to that night (aka the Final Night of Sin).

The trailer for the FNOS DVD. This is basically my happy place.

I never imagined I would go back for another show at Wembley.

Last Friday, I did just that.

Bring Me the Horizon (who I last saw at Riot Fest and before that in February) announced their biggest show ever at Wembley Arena back in January. It sold out within weeks (I think the floor tickets sold out in a couple of days). I was unbelievably stoked when I found out Ro had scored seats for us.

I’ve actually seen all three opening bands before, so I don’t really have anything new to say about them. Sleepwave was first – they opened for Taking Back Sunday in April. Basically it’s a bunch of long-haired screamy dudes thrashing around on stage (lead singer Spencer Chamberlain was previously in Underoath, if that makes a difference to you).

Next was Issues, who, oddly enough, I first saw open for Bring Me the Horizon (at the show in February). If I actually bothered to listen to Issues, I’d probably like them – Ro pointed out that they have an early Breathe Carolina vibe to them, which is something I can easily get behind. But when they play live, the music (drums, guitars, synths, etc) all seem to move at one pace while the vocals move at a different pace resulting in a discordant sound that confuses my brain. Maybe I have to listen to a recording?

I quite like Young Guns, who were the final opening band. I saw them open for You Me At Six in October, and, before that show, I had compared them to a cross between Mallory Knox and Deaf Havana (this is a very good thing). They continued to be enjoyable as they played to a crowd of people who haven’t seen them in about a year.

Then the lights dimmed and the screams got so loud, they were practically corporeal, and Bring Me the Horizon stormed on stage to the opening strands of “Shadow Moses”, and it was incredible. There was something so spine-tingly about hearing 12,000+ people screaming “THIS. IS. SEMPITERNAL.” together.

I lost my voice two songs in, if that’s any indication of how good the show was.

We were seated side-stage, towards the top, which gave us an excellent vantage point. I could see every band member and watched them as they played to the biggest crowd in their nearly ten year existence. I also felt safer up there: from where we were, we could see the roiling crowd, the multiple circle pits, and the massive wall of death that basically looked like that time when the Red Sea split in half and then crashed together. I mean, sure, they were just doing what Oli was telling them to do (one of my favourite things is when he starts whispering instructions, then steadily builds it up until he’s screaming “JUMP” and the crowd loses their minds. Fun to watch, but not fun to get stuck in if you’re not the moshing type).

Sidenote: did you see how I ironically used a religious comparison there? I never realized quite how anti-religion “The House of Wolves” was until the giant screen behind them showed a church on fire (I mean, the lyrics are pretty obvious now that I think about it, but sometimes I literally can’t understand what they’re saying).

Speaking of the screen: the lights/pyrotechnics/basic stage effects were amazing. The crew in charge of designing/synchronising that kind of stuff did a fantastic job. They really added another level to an already phenomenal performance.

BMTH did not hold back during this show. They were beyond energetic and threw themselves into playing the songs as perfectly as possible. Lead singer Oli Sykes careened around the stage, at one point leaning over the barrier into the crowd, and later cartwheeling (it’s possible he was singing at the same time, I just remember being impressed that someone so tall could cartwheel so elegantly). Long time BMTH fans were also treated to a mini on-stage reunion when Oli called out the original guitarist, Curtis Ward, to play “Pray for Plagues”, one of their first singles.

I talk a lot about the bass in songs, and Wembley Arena probably has the best acoustics if you’re a bass-lover like me. I don’t know the technical terms, but whatever setting the instruments are on (I like throwing the word “reverb” around, to sound like I know what I’m talking about, but that’s probably not right), you could feel them pulsing and pounding through the soles of your feet and out the top of your head. It was even better than when you can feel the bass pumping in your chest.

And, like I said before, it’s amazing to hear so many thousands of people screaming the words together, especially the songs that are chock-full of any emotion like “Antivist” (12,000+ people with their middle fingers in the air – no fucks were given that night) or – one of my personal favourites – “Can You Feel My Heart”, which was – literally – show-stopping (it being the last song of the night).

Middle fingers up, if you don’t give a fuck.

I’m scared to get close, and I hate being alone…

Of course, one of the highlights of the show was when they pulled out their latest single, “Drown” (officially released today) – it’s an awesome song in general, and hearing it live made it even better.

I took a couple of photos, but it’s hard to take pictures when you’re busy dancing/screaming/headbanging, so I don’t have anything great to show off. RockSound, however, has a cool gallery on their website that’s worth a look.

If you’re a BMTH fan and you have not yet seen them live…get on that. They’ll blow your mind.

I need a little room to breathe

I don’t know what you guys did for Thanksgiving, but I spent it with You Me At Six.

Chris, Dan, Josh, Matt, and Max.

Anyone who has ever met me knows that I love YMAS. I have mentioned them numerous times on this blog because they are one of my favourite things on the face of the planet. And by “things”, I mean “group of 5 British men”.

This time (my seventh time seeing them), was a little bit different, mainly because I insisted on spending the extra money to get meet & greet. Yes, I have met them before (at least twice each), but this m&g also promised an acoustic session and I’m not one to turn down an exclusive performance!

It was also extra special because we were originally supposed to see YMAS in May until Josh (the singer) was forced on vocal rest and I had to wait FIVE EXTRA MONTHS to show them my VI tattoo.


It’s a little blurry, but yay acoustic!

For the acoustic set, they played the three singles of their latest album, this year’s Cavalier Youth: “Lived a Lie”, “Fresh Start Fever”, and – my personal favourite song of the album – “Room to Breathe”. I didn’t think any of these songs would sound good as acoustic arrangements – they’re very jumping-hardcore-and-punching-the-air-like, but surprisingly, they worked. Even “Fresh Start Fever”, which is not my favourite YMAS song.

The verses are Fall Out Boy, but the chorus is awkwardly Jem and the Holograms.

Then we stood in a very long line (for the second, but regrettably not the last, time) to get a photo taken with the guys plus get a photo signed. I insisted on showing all five of them my tattoo and they all seemed to appreciate the extra dedication (or so I like to think).


Swag from the m&g.The VIP pass is holographic!

After being made to stand in line AGAIN (outside this time), we were finally let into the venue (for real).

Stars in Stereo opened. I meant to listen to them before the show, but I kept forgetting that they were on my player. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed them! I’m not usually a fan of female singers – something I’ve been trying to work on in the past year – but I quite liked this girl whose name I can’t remember right now. Their drummer was also insane in the best way possible – he had a ridiculous amount of energy and was clearly very talented.

Next up was Young Guns. I actually listened to them a few days ago and decided that they sounded like a combination of Mallory Knox and Deaf Havana (this is a compliment). I knew going in that I would enjoy them, but after their set last night, they can definitely count me as a fan. For one, their singer’s name is Gustav and I think that’s amazing; but they were also really energetic and loud and just absurdly catchy.

Finally the moment I’d been waiting for: You Me At Six. I don’t think I can even review them again because I’m pretty sure I used all my good words when I saw them last October. In fact, I believe I told Ro last night that my review was just going to consist of adjectives.


As The Maine once said, they were “everything I asked for…and just a little bit more”.

I was sweaty and breathless by the second song (in my defence, it was “Underdog”, and if you scream “UNDERDOG” as loud as I do, you’d be breathless too). And I’m pretty sure my heart stopped somewhere the magnificent part of the set where they played “Room to Breathe”, “Cold Night”, “Reckless” (aka MY MOST FAVOURITE SONG EVER), and “Bite My Tongue” in a row. I am proud to say, however, that, sometime during the last six YMAS shows, I’ve perfected the art of taking off my glasses during the screamy part (the Oli Sykes part) of “Bite My Tongue” and putting them back on again before the “F*CK YOU” part without sending them flying across the room. So there’s that.