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Ben Walton's Top Ten Albums Of 2016

Weezer Biffy Clyro Crocodiles Against Me! The Posies Iggy Pop

Some great bands made awful albums and other surprising bands put out great work.

Putting this list together was pretty hard work and near misses on the top ten go to CRX, Banks and Steelz, Suede and We Cut Corners who all produced decent records. Next year is already shaping up to be a cracking year with releases planned for Queens of the Stone Age, Soundgarden, Beck and Father John Misty, but for now, here are my top records of 2016:

Brian Fallon, Asylums, Biffy Clyro

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Weezer - Manchester Academy-April 3rd 2016 Live Review

Weezer may not have become as gigantic as other American 90's bands such as Nirvana or Pearl Jam, but they're every bit as important setting a new standard for poppy rock music. Their earliest records 'Blue Album' and 'Pinkerton' married strong emotions, intimate and personal lyrics and raw power with huge, catchy melodies. Thus making for a sound that simultaneously felt like Weezer where singing just for you and for millions. Across the several albums they've released this century, they've never lost their knack for writing memorable songs and tonight in Manchester they play their first show on U.K soil in five years, but was it worth the wait?  

Weezer - Manchester Academy- April 3rd 2016 Live Review

Before we can find out though, we have Dinosaur Pile-Up who are an example of Weezer's huge influence on guitar music as they too merge relatable lyrics with feisty, fuzzy guitars. They're solid with dirty riffs and forceful hooks, but there's a feeling people just want to get onto the main event, given who's following.

When Weezer do hit the stage, opening with newie 'California Kids' they get off to a decent start. Even though this song has been out for a few months now it doesn't exactly have the crowd going wild, but it's a cool song with a riff that's both warm and galloping. What does ignite joy amongst people is the following 'My Name Is Jonas' which sees almost everyone amongst these few thousand people singing along to every single word of this classic escapist anthem. The moment the iconic opening jovial guitar noodling is played you can feel a ton of smiles suddenly growing in the room. This tends to be how it goes for the majority of this gig. People singing their hearts out to Weezer's instantly infectious songs as the band have many in their arsenal. 

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Made In Minnesota: Budweiser Made In America Documents The Best City Music Of The States

Jay Z Kanye West Kings Of Leon The National Pharrell Williams J. Cole Bleachers Grimes Mayer Hawthorne Baauer Imagine Dragons John Mayer Steve Aoki Kendrick Lamar Weezer Cypress Hill Rita Ora Tiesto Babes In Toyland The Hold Steady Prince

Budweiser Made In America Press Conference at Los Angeles City Hall
Budweiser Made In America Press Conference at Los Angeles City Hall on April 16, 2014 in Los Angeles, California - Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Budweiser

Budweiser Made in America festival is on its way and, to celebrate, the beer brand unveil a series of music documentaries in different States: this week we explore Minnesota!

Being such a huge part of the world, America has always borne a massively diverse music ethos. In almost every part of the country you can come across a different musical culture and it's with this idea in mind that world famous rap star Jay-Z decided to create Budweiser Made in America festival. It's sole purpose is to bring together a choice selection of both up-and-coming and well-established artists spanning all genres including rock, hip hop, R&B, electronic, punk... the list goes on.

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Metallica To Cover 'Wonderwall' At Glastonbury, But What Are The Best Oasis Covers?

Metallica Jay Z Oasis Maroon 5 Jake Bugg Robbie Williams Keane Weezer

In a similar fashion to the announcement of Jay Z in 2008, metal titans Metallica’s headline slot at the iconic Glastonbury Festival has been met with a wave of criticism and derision from commentators who have deemed the Metallica’s headline position as both a lazy, predictable booking and one that is incompatible with Glastonbury’s demographic. However, whereas criticism towards Jay Z in the vein of what was unleashed by the Gallagher brothers was a scathing attack on hip hop as a genre, laced with a degree of barely concealed racism, Metallica’s backlash largely stems from elsewhere.

Oasis Liam GallagherOasis frontman Liam Gallagher performing at the Universal Ampitheatre in 2000. [Photo: Getty Images, Credit: Dan Callister]

Firstly, this is a band that hasn’t produced an album of any merit for well over a decade and what’s more, considering they were announced long after tickets had sold out, how many of Glastonbury’s middle class bohemians will actually want to watch the band? Metallica have themselves responded to the criticism by announcing they may open their set with a cover of “Wonderwall”, copying Jay Z’s act of protest back in 2008. However, it does appear that Jay Z’s version carried a greater amount of symbolism, given that it was the Gallagher brothers who were the most vocal opponents of his appearance. 

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Music Midtown Festival Continues To Grow After Successful Rebirth

Red Hot Chili Peppers Journey Queens Of The Stone Age Imagine Dragons Phoenix Jane's Addiction Weezer 2 Chainz Kendrick Lamar Arctic Monkeys

Music Midtown 2012 Logo

It looks like Atlanta's Music Midtown festival is on its way back up as 2013 brings us the biggest line-up since its return from a six year hiatus.

We are back to where we started with Midtown, which takes place on September 10th - 21st at Piedmont Park, as we see a 2 day, 2 stage event just like its debut in 1994. We've still got a long way to go before it's back at its peak with 3 days and 6 stages, but the line-up hasn't far off doubled from last year and another stage has been added too. The excitement when it was announced that Midtown was making its return in 2011 is hard to beat, but we reckon this year's line-up could reel in an even more impressive overall ticket sale.

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Weezer, Death to False Metal Album Review

Having only just released their latest album Hurley earlier this year, it is an odd decision on Weezer's part to then put out the Deluxe Edition of Pinkerton and this, Death to False Metal - A collection of outtakes from the band's fifteen year tenure with DGC records. Given the disparity between the time periods these songs were originally written and recorded, it is a wonder that the collection does not sound disjointed at all, and given that it is a collection of songs that never made it onto an official release - A-side or B-side - there is a surprising number of highlights on offer here.

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Weezer, Pinkerton Deluxe Edition Album Review

Upon release, Weezer's second album Pinkerton was met with much less favourable reviews than its predecessor, the classic Blue album. Over the years since its 1996 release however, Pinkerton has become something of a cult classic, often referred to as the definitive Weezer album. Certainly its inclusion in Universal Music's Deluxe Edition series (which includes such masterpieces as Nine Inch Nails' Downward Spiral, Beck's Odelay and indeed, Weezer's Blue album) speaks volumes for the turnaround in popular opinion on this album.

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Weezer, Hurley Album Review

Formed all the way back in 1992, Weezer have released 8 albums, 6 EPs, and sold over 9 million records in the US alone. Multi-platinum and Grammy award winning, Weezer are the epitome of a hugely successful US rock band after the likes of Nirvana and Guns n Roses in the 90s. Now releasing their 8th offering, Hurley, they are sure to continue their stream of success.

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Weezer, Memories Single Review

Since forming in 1992 the American quintet has released seven albums, with their eighth 'Hurley' due in September. A handful of American shows are on the horizon, with a quick stop in England also planned when the band perform at the Reading and Leeds Festivals.

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Weezer, The Red Album Album Review

Review of The Red Album by Weezer.

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