Monday, January 3, 2011
Favorite punk and hardcore releases of 2010 - Top 15
Double Negative - Daydream Nation 12" (Sorry State)
There have been talks about this albums release for maybe a year before it finally saw the light of day. These guys are no stranger to my year end picks and here is why: consistency. I don't think these guys (with their musical background) could ever write a bad song. Double Negative keep the fast punk hardcore speeds rolling throughout this 13 song 12". Lots a good variety with the vocal styles ranging from shouts to semi-sung choruses bring some fresh elements to the band, plus lots of interesting riffs thrown around make listening to this 12" exciting. Side B is quite a different monster. From the first track comes a huge bl'ast of noise riffs on the guitar that pretty much set the vibe for the remainder of the album. A little more experimentation with the vocals more muffled here. Are each side from two different recording sessions? I doesn't matter, this is a good 12", pick it up. Crazy album artwork is just as funny as the crazy album title.
The Men - Immaculada (self released)
The Men from Brooklyn have been quite a busy band as far as output goes for 2010 with 2 tapes and this long player. From the opening notes of the "organ" sounds of the first song, you know that you are in for something different here. The Men play punk in style that borrows a lot from more non-punk music styles: noise, drone, and even grunge. The vocals are really distorted with the reverb, but it ads to what the band is going for sound wise. Side 1 is the more hardcore of the two with mostly mid paced punk with one song that is a bit too fast to be held up and gets a bit blurry. However, the variety of the other songs keep my interest. Side 2 throws a bit of a curve that sounds more like a mid-90's grungy, shoegaze experiment than hardcore. The singing style here could be a bit better, but the songwriting is great. Check this lp out if you are looking for something different, yet still punk. Creative, excellent.
Nomos - Notes From The Acheron 1 sided 12" (Deranged)
Brooklyn's Nomos bring fourth their first true release this year and it rules. Nomos picks up right where the demo left off, playing fast hardcore punk that is ferocious and mean. Drawing from a sound palate of that akin to lp-era Citizens Arrest maybe a little Negative Approach with the vocal venom. Nomos blast though 6 songs in about 8 minutes leaving you wanting more. The production values are a bit lo-fi, but it works well with this style of hardcore. My only complaint is that I hate shelling out lp prices for songs that could have fit on 1 side of a 7". Oh well, I like it and it comes with a nifty fold out poster.
Drunkdriver - S/T (self released)
After some inner band strife, Drunkdriver from Brooklyn released what would be their final slab of music for the masses. Drunkdriver in recent years have gains somewhat of a cult following from punk and non-punk alike with their brand of over the top noise rock and intense live shows. Continuing in the style that they are noted for, Drunkdriver bring an lp that is more like their previous, more controlled 7" from last year compared to their insane over the top previous wax platter from a few years ago. A bit more rhythm changes here from song to song with one being near power-violence speeds while others a mid-paced crawl. Do I dare say that there is even a grunge vibe in most of the songs? Bands in Brooklyn must really love to crank up the reverb in the vocals, because it's present. The final song has a super chunky riff that is also pit friendly. Overall, a consistent and enjoyable album. Good stuff.
Pollution - (R)Smut 12" (c6recordings)
Pollution are no strangers to my year end lists, and they make yet another return with their newest 12" (R)Smut. On this new release, Pollution is a band with many different faces: a few songs draw closer and closer to the classic AmRep sound playing noisy, groove oriented rock one moment, then spill over with a flurry of hardcore aggression the next. Side 2 shows Pollution playing a song that is considerably slower and more minimalist than anything prior to what they have done in the past, and another that sounds the closest to what would be a "classic hardcore" song I have ever heard them play. Another great release from this awesome band.
Bloody Gears - S/T 45 (Deranged)
Super melodic, mid-paced punk on this 3 song 45 that is well played and memorable. Sung vocals in a somewhat nervous voice matches the music perfectly. Think a less distorted Husker Du backbone with classic DC vibes. I would like to hear more material. Excellent.
Molested Youth - Were Always Going To Have Breakfast Alone 7" (Derranged)
Remember when hardcore bands in the early 80's had crazy names? Well so do Molested Youth, and they just don't stop there. These guys have the early 80's hardcore sound down perfect from this song structure to the tiny production. This is hardcore the way it is meant to be played: simple, fast, and pissed. Recommended.
Give - Boots Of Faith 45 (Deranged)
Deranged Records does it again! Oh man, what a good year they had with all their killer hardcore releases (some I still need to pick up). Originally, I was turned off by Give with their quasi-spiritual/hippie aesthetic, but on a whim I decided to buy this 7" and boy was I surprised! Give play a super catchy and memorable brand of melodic hardcore similar to the great sounds coming out of DC in the late 80's and early 90's. Total Swiz worship here! A great 45 that gets repeated listens at the CCHQ.
Vaccine - Human Hatred 7" (Painkiller)
Full on blasts here similar to the demo but more songs! What separates these guys from the rest that is playing power-violence is that these guys are edge and proud. A super brutal 7" that is not for the meek. These 10 songs that go by fast. Ugly and negative... Human Hatred indeed.
Veins - Demo 7" (Youth Attack)
OK, whoever came up with the term "mysterious guy hardcore" needs their bottom spanked. It's often cited that all bands on Youth Attack Records and automatically dubbed with such term, and I don't understand why. Anyway, Veins is pretty much the same lineup as Youth Attack Records founder Mark McCoy's former band The Oath, but with slight change. Veins sounds just like the 1st 7" by The Oath, which is pretty standard fast hardcore with shouted vocals. I liked that 7" and now I like this. Nothing ground breaking, but still good. Boutique packaging.
Free Spirit - Free Yourself 7" (Triple B)
These guys continue their mid 80's NYHC hardcore worship a la NYC Mayhem on the demo tape, and tidy everything up for their debut 7" on Triple B Records. Lots of speed and moshy parts throughout! What more could you ever want in a hardcore band? I could see kids at shows going off for this. Good stuff.
Society Nurse - Junk Existence 45 (Iron Lung)
Awesome dark hardcore that worships Die Kreuzen back in the early years when they were worth a shit. Man, this band can play! Only 3 songs here, but they are written quite well. I love the the guitar freakouts on these songs. I need to hear more! Thankfully, Iron Lung Records is putting out another piece of wax by these guys in 2011!
Ecoli - 45 (Stress Domain)
More punk than hardcore, Ecoli play noisy and somewhat sloppy hardcore punk, that is snotty and harsh while still being memorable. Another great 45 that if I was told was released in the early 80's I would believe it. Another 45 review here, so yeah... too short of a listen, but I like these songs. Awesome guitar lines.
Warning//Warning - Nuclear Cult (self released)
Total Japanese hardcore worship from France here. What I love about this tape is not only is it so over the top noisy, but the drum playing is quite minimalist that it really add to the uneasiness of the song structures. If you want to ears to bleed, check out this one.
Drugged SS - Demo CS
Awesome fast hardcore at it's most raw from out of Norway. What I like about this tape so much is that it has a true demo feel and doesn't go for all the bells and whistles that a lot of modern hardcore bands do when producing a demo. Perfect.