Summer officially ends the moment the headline acts at Reading and Leeds festival step offstage. That's not a scientific fact, obviously, it's just the way things are. The nights will soon be drawing in earlier, and it'll be Halloween and then Christmas before you know it. Fact. Still, there are reasons to be cheerful, for here are eight forthcoming albums set to soundtrack the rest of our year.
Royal Blood - Royal Blood
In January music industry ‘experts’ in the UK nominated Royal Blood as ‘The Rock Band Most Likely To Succeed’ in the BBC Sound of 2014 poll, to widespread derision from rock magazines who didn’t have the Brighton duo on their radar at all. Turns out that pundits were right. Royal Blood have absolutely owned the summer, with storming performances at Download, T in the Park, Reading and Leeds festivals, and it’s rather fitting that their debut album drops today (August 25), as we contemplate fresh beginnings. The ten track album draws upon familiar touchstones - traces of Zeppelin, QOTSA, Muse and the White Stripes are all discernible in the band’s DNA - but there’s a vigour and verve here which makes Royal Blood irresistible. Expect much talk of the ‘post-Royal Blood era’ in music blogs from now on.
The tracklisting for Royal Blood is as follows: Out Of The Black - Come On Over - Figure It Out - You Can be So Cruel - Blood Hands - Little Monster - Loose Change - Careless - Ten Tonne Skeleton - Better Strangers
AC/DC - TBC
In mid-April the rock world fell into mourning as rumours circulated that AC/DC were about to announce their retirement. In typically combative fashion, the hard rock legends said “Bollocks to that” (we’re paraphrasing here) and immediately let it be known that they were at work in Vancouver upon a follow-up to 2008’s excellent Black Ice. For the first time, the Aussie quintet entered the studio without their redoubtable leader Malcolm Young - nephew Stevie stepping into the breach to supply rhythm guitar while his uncle recuperates from illness - but you can be sure that the breezeblock riffs you’ll hear upon ‘DC studio album number 15 will come from the same elemental source. The band celebrate their 40th anniversary next year, and with Malcolm’s ill health it’s hard to see them pushing too far beyond that, so expect the greatest hard rock band in history to go out with a suitably deafening bang.
Foo Fighters - Sonic Highways
Dave Grohl calls Sonic Highways, the Foo Fighters’ eighth studio album, “a love letter to the history of American music.” Recorded with Butch Vig - and a variety of special guests, from Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen to Blues legends Buddy Guy - in eight US cities (Austin, Chicago, LA, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Seattle and Washington DC), the follow-up to Wasting Light features just eight tracks, but promises to show new facets to Grohl’s band. Speaking about the collection earlier this year, Grohl said: “This album is instantly recognisable as a Foo Fighters record, but there’s something deeper and more musical to it. I think these cities and these people influenced us to stretch out and explore new territory.” Sonic Highways album is set for worldwide release on November 10. An eight part TV series documenting the making of the album, and sharing the same title, premieres on HBO in the States on October 17.
The album tracklisting is as follows: Something From Nothing - The Feast And The Famine - Congregation - What Did I Do?/God As My Witness - Outside - In The Clear - Subterranean - I Am A River
Shellac - Dude Incredible
Given how incredibly prolific frontman Steve Albini is as a recording engineer - Albini shuns the word ‘producer’ - it’s perhaps understandable that Shellac have such a small but perfectly formed catalogue, but it still a jolt to think that the forthcoming fifth album from the Chicago trio is their first since 2007’s Excellent Italian Greyhound. Expect much tension, pitch black lyrics and riffs you could use as scaffolding for mountains.
The tracklisting for Dude Incredible is as follows: Dude Incredible - Compliant - You Came in Me - Riding Bikes - All the Surveyors - The People’s Microphone - Gary - Mayor/Surveyor – Surveyor
At The Gates - At War With Reality
If Shellac fans have been lamenting a lack of new material from Steve Albini’s mob, spare a thought for fans of At The Gates who haven’t had a new album from the Swedes since 1995’s Slaughter of the Soul. In fairness, the band have been inactive for most of the intervening period, so - for most - the thought of new ATG was only a pipedream, not least because Slaughter of the Soul is such an acknowledged masterpiece, arguably the definitive melodic death metal recording. That At War With Reality, due for release on October 27 through Century Media, exists at all is a triumph then, but the fact that it’s another absolute monster should have fans drooling in anticipation.
Weezer – Everything Will Be Alright In The End
If we’re honest, it’s been a long time since Weezer released an album that could be considered ‘essential’ - we’re looking at you here, 2002’s Maladroit - but word that the LA band had reunited with producer Ric Ocasek, the former Cars frontman who helmed the quartet’s masterful debut ‘The Blue Album’, and were aiming to capture the ‘classic’ Weezer sound fills us with hope for their forthcoming ninth studio album. The first taster of the record, the knowing, self-referential Back To The Shack, might be a little too cute, but it shows that Rivers Cuomo’s knack for pitch-perfect pop-rock remains intact. Fingers crossed then.
The tracklisting for Everything Will Be Alright In The End is as follows: Ain’t Got Nobody - Back To The Shack - Eulogy For A Rock Band - Lonely Girl - I’ve Had It Up To Here - the British Are Coming - Da Vinci - Go Away - Cleopatra - Foolish Father - The Futurescope Trilogy.
Marmozets - The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets
Marmozets have been a revelation in 2014, seemingly growing in confidence and capability with each passing month. A string of brilliant singles have been backed up with a series of terrific live shows, and anticipation is sky high for their debut album, set for a September 29 release through Roadrunner. We’re pleased to state that the Yorkshire quintet have exceeded all expectations, as you’ll hear soon enough yourselves.
The album tracklisting is as follows: Born Young And Free - Why Do You Hate Me? - Captivate You - Is It Horrible - Cover Up - Particle - Cry - Weird And Wonderful - Vibetech - Love You Good - Hit The Wave - Move, Shake, Hide - Back To You
Machine Head - Bloodstone & Diamonds
As anyone who caught their recent whistle-stop UK tour can confirm, Machine Head are on fire right now, and one has to think that part of their new-found bullishness is rooted in their confidence in their forthcoming eighth studio album. The follow-up to 2011’s Unto The Locust was co-produced by frontman Robb Flynn, who describes the collection as “a milestone” for the Bay Area ‘bangers.
“There’s definitely a lot of urgency on this record,” Flynn told Metal Hammer earlier this year. “It’s a really heavy record arid there’s a dark and evil vibe to a lot of it, but I feel like there’s more of a rock vibe in there too. It’s stripped down at times, and I like that. I think that sense of urgency has carried over from the demos we did, which were all done very quickly and spontaneously. We tried to keep that spontaneous vibe on the album.”
The tracklisting for Bloodstone & Diamonds is as follows: Now We Die - Killers & Kings - Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones - Night Of Long Knives - Sail Into The Black - Eyes Of The Dead - Beneath The Silt - In Comes The Flood - Damage Inside - Game Over - Imaginal Cells (Instrumental) - Take Me Through The Fire