Royal Blood — Top 15 Alternative Albums of This Decade
Tue, 16 Jun 2015 13:42:24
Royal Blood Videos
We countdown the best alternative albums of the past 10 years and explore the meaning of the genre...
The word "Alternative" has been passed down through multiple generations of music now, and it's continuously changed. In the most classic sense, we think of it as the Generation X grunge forbearers like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Nirvana, and everybody else from the iconic Seattle scene. At the same time, Pixies were alternative, and they came from Boston—same thing with Jane's Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers, both hailing from Los Angeles. Of course, we can't forget Melvins from Washington even though they sounded different from the general scene associated with their home state. Nowadays, what is alternative? Radio and the industry will tell you it's the folk pop we typically hear on "Alternative" stations. However, where are the guitars?
Truth be told, they haven't gone anywhere. Moreover, there have been some truly monumental "Alternative" albums this past decade—even this year. Most of these will even be widely regarded as classics someday. We wanted to highlight and countdown the Top 15 Alternative Albums of this Decade. They've got the hallmarks of the genre's timeless work, which we all still crank today. Some of these will be from quite recognizable names and others will be from people who still aren't afraid to keep a guitar handy when they're breaking the mold. The point is that Alternative music in the classic sense is stilling being made, and we wanted to spotlight that—even with some gems out this year! As a note, we are counting albums releases since June 2005 to keep in line with the exact decade.
6. Royal Blood – Royal Blood
Who said it's all been done before? You must likely have never heard or seen a band quite like Royal Blood. The British pair of Mike Kerr [lead vocals, bass] and Ben Thatcher [drums] generate the kind of musical Sturm und Drang that it would typically take five guys to. Moreover, they're utilizing a bass rather than a standard six-string guitar as the lead instrument. Most importantly though, their self-titled debut is the kind of alternative rock record that we'll be still talking about with the same enthusiasm and fervor ten years from now. It's a groove-laden, guttural, and grimy exposition of charisma and emotion that can't be contained.
"Out of the Black" howls with surefire intensity that builds into an avalanche of raw musical power. Kerr's voice spans from a croon to a scream that transfixes at every turn, while Thatcher bolts down beats that could rattle Wembley Stadium. "Come On Over" and "Figure It Out" turn into gigantic singalongs, but never lose the piss and vinegar that make them feel so alive. It's "Better Strangers" that really illuminates the nuances and intricacies of Royal Blood's songwriting prowess though. It's the perfect closer to the most innovatively infectious rock record since Queens of the Stone Age's Songs for the Deaf.
Royal Blood lead the new guard, and they're best work is yet to come. However, this is the start, and there's nothing like the first time.
Watch the Video for "Out of the Black"
See the other artists and albums on our Top 15 Alternative Albums of This Decade feature!
See our interview with the band.
Royal Blood's self-titled' album is now available on Warner Bros. Records.