I've always felt that that hardcore bands have presented themselves best on a shorter length format than that of a longer player. 2011 had it's fair share of good 7"s, 45 and eps and it was quite hard to decide what releases I liked best. However, with repeated listening I present my favorite 7"s from the past 12 months (in alphabetical order). Click links to buy.
Culo - Toxic Vision
This young Illinois hardcore band's record from last year nearly made my best of list, but earned it this time around with their 3rd 7" Toxic Vision. Culo play tried and true 80's styled hardcore, but with more varying speeds this time around. The production and drumming have been a bit more cleaned up compared to previous material and it works to the bands benefit. Great lyric topics of hating everything and getting fucked up... everything hardcore should be about.
Hank Wood and the Hammerheads - 7"
Who is Hank Wood? I don't know, and it doesn't matter because this 7" rules. This band plays a more punk version of garage rock, aka GOOD garage rock. The opening track is quite infectious and has the best vocal call out ever; UUUUUUUUUUUUGGGHHHHHHH! There are some keys in there, the ever so popular surf-drumbeat over inaudible vocals. I'd like to hear more. This is party music.
Herds - Michigan
Coming off a great lp from a year before, Herds come back with a hardcore 7" that is heavy, fast, and punishing. This band is made up of seasoned scene veterans and it shows on this recording with their playing ability. The production on this 4 song short player is top-notch as well. This was probably my most played 7" of the year.
Neo-Cons - 7"
Neo-Cons play melodic, rockin' punk that is upbeat and catchy. What separates this band from others playing this style of punk is the amount of personality the vocalist brings to the music. I can totally relate to the lyric topics with songs like High Anxiety, Can't Sleep and Don't Touch Me. Neo-Cons also released an awesome 45 this year called Hardcore Elite
that is also a must listen.
No Tolerance - No Remorse, No Tolerance
X the fuck up and let's mosh. This popular Boston hardcore band is back with their first 7" as a full band. Sadly, they slowed it down a bit from the demo, but the power in the music is still there. This is unabashed straight edge pride here as No Tolerance rip thought 6 songs in 6 minutes. Plenty of dance parts for the most fickle hardcore fan. BUST!
Perdition - 7"
Out of NYC comes my favorite raw punk release of the year. These guys borrow heavily from the UK82 sound and image complete with the spiky jackets and charged hair. Perdition also mixes in a heavy dose of Japanese influenced noise on this bands third 7". I'm also feeling the heavy cardstock, screen printed packaging that give this release a cool D.I.Y. throwback feel.
Put To Death - 7"
This band doesn't fuck around at all. Put To Death play only one speed... blasting fast. By this point everyone knows what the classic 90's PV sound is, and this is one of the few bands who can do it right.
Slobs - Look Busy, Do Nothing
Slobs from Montreal play a style of fast 80's hardcore that is a bit different than other bands mostly due to the distortionless guitars that to me sounds fresh compared to the sea of bands who try to play as brutal and downtuned as possible. Good stuff.
Social Circkle - Expiration Date
(Side Two Records)
Sadly, this Boston area band called it quits this year, but before doing so they released one final great 7". The jangly guitars that the band is known for is still there, but the song writing in my opinion has been stepped up even more for this short-player. Coming back to the speeds of their pre-lp 7"s, Social Circkle come strong with to me could be the best song they have ever written with the song Up The Ladder that has really cool start/stop guitar playing. Au revoir!