This year fucking sucked. As much as we hate adhering to the common normality of things in life, it’s safe to say that if something sucks? It fucking sucks. The resentful bane of 2016 seems to be less of a social trend and more like an unfortunate reality that consumed many of us in it’s wake. Fortunately there was a silver lining to all of the chaos and fear that arose throughout the last year.
It birthed a righteous slew of records in its hell bent path for all of us to enjoy.
Personally, I loathe having to place something on a numerical scale nor do I ever have this need to place things in order by its importance. Shit, one second I’m all about having a bowl of honey nut cheerios while listening to Weezer and the next I want to ride in the city while blasting Product of Waste. Music has a tendency of reflecting emotions rather well. Almost as if an instrument is nothing more than an extension of the body.
This list is comprised of the best music I have had the pleasure of listening to in the last twelve months. If it wasn’t for music I personally have no idea how the fuck I’d even get through the day. Each one of these records has impacted me in some shape or form. Whether it was one of the depressive slumps or when life was at an all time high, one of these albums was highlighting that moment. This is why I can not simply list out a “Top Ten.” You just can’t place emotions on a scale of importance. Yes, we would all love to enjoy being a happy creature but can you truly appreciate it if you haven’t felt pain? Loss? Hurt? Hell, you can’t tell me you know how good love feels until you’ve had your heart absolutely wrecked once or twice.
All I ask is that you give at least one of these albums a chance. I mean you should be getting into every single damn one but I guess that’s not too realistic, right? Regardless, give it a listen as all of these bands can be found on Apple Music, Spotify, Bandcamp, or shit better yet, at a show.
Let us know what you think about the bands and feel free to drop us messages concerning bands you think we should check out. Until next year..
Ninety Six, “Future Trippin’”, January (Anchored Records)
Hardcore has a tendency to go unknown or looked past within its genre’s community. This is clearly due to the fact that anyone can bang out a rough four track demo from their basement, get thrown on a local VFW show with a half decent touring act, and then have the internet take it away. A majority of the time it seems as if talent gets put aside while aesthetic pleasures and social popularities push the wrong bands into the limelight. This is the specific reason of why 96’s
last record was one of our favorite of the year. They didn’t care what people wanted to hear or see as much as they wanted to play the music that made them happy.
Future Trippin’ has everything you should look for in a punk-hardcore record. From crusading drum patterns that make you want to run across the room like a mad man to electrifying guitar leads overlapping some of the years most crushing riffs, this record will get you going. Future Trippin’ is everything that has been lacking within hardcore in the past few years. The lyrical content flows from theme’s of identity to questions regarding love and loss while focusing on an attitude that seems both redemptive and scarred by pain.
It’s a shame that the band is currently on hiatus as most of the band’s members are working on other musical endeavors (Threat 2 Society and Trü). Future Trippin’ goes along quite well with a skateboard, a few homies, and a sixer of your favorites. Head over to Anchored Records, or download Future Trippin’ off their band camp because this album has a sound that will last indefinitely within hardcore.
Put a hole in your wall to Lower Realms
Wastelands “Serpent’s Tongue”, November (Unsigned)
has finally honed in on their talent and have unleashed a furious sound of violence that is outlined by moods of agony and sadness. Serpent’s Tongue
is a phenomenal representation and modern contribution to the darkened hardcore genre in recent times. To fully grasp this record it is highly recommended that you allow this album to go it’s course. Don’t skip, fast forward, or question it. Serpent’s Tongue
is one highly pissed off fucking record that wants you to feel and hear everything it has experienced. All in hopes that it finds a way to connect with you, the listener. Every time I see these guys they just get tighter and the kids just go harder and harder. Bump tracks Plummet (features Joey Southside) or Shinigami and you’ll hear what I mean. In a scene filled with cookie cutters trying to constantly emulate the “cool things” in life, let this record be a change of pace from the ordinary. Shit man, let this record piss you off and feel it’s pain.
A serious new sound calls for some equally serious production and engineering skills. Serpent’s Tongue has been one of Backroom Studios latest projects and it couldn’t have been a better fit. Scot from Organ Dealer produced this nine track banger while Kevin from the Dillinger Escape Plan mixed & mastered it into what you hear now. The fine act that is Wastelands are currently unsigned but are playing heavily in the northeast this winter. If there is any band that I could recommend you go and see live off of this list it is hands down these Jersey natives.
Planes Mistaken For Stars “Prey”, October (Deathwish Records)
This has been without a doubt the most enticingly engaging record that I have had the pleasure of emotionally diving into this year. From the moment the needle drops and until the second it scratches this record will captivate you in a profoundly engaging manner. Gared O’Donnell has done an outstanding job with both lyricism and guitar playing as he cohesively ties these two arts together in an utmost passionate style. Not quite sure who is specifically writing these jams or if it is a group effort but they are doing something right. The biggest pull that lures you into listening to Prey
is due heavily in part by how these guys just know how to keep a record flowing. Overall each song displays a common theme within each piece. Conservatively it is fair to say that Prey was designed with the intention of being one fluid, yet cohesive, musical piece. At times this record may come off has hectically anxious (Dementia Americana) or notoriously heavy (Til’ it Clicks) as they have known to be. On the same token, this record shows times of sorrow and dread (Black Rabbit) through softer tones and clearer lines (Enemy Blinds).
I’ve always had my reservations of calling Planes Mistaken for Stars just a post-hardcore act. They’ve always stretched the lines and boundaries of that genre with their multitude of influences that can be heard from nearly any one song. This of course including punk, stoner metal, hardcore, and fuck, even god damn rock n’ roll baby. Least to say this band deserves some credit for their distinction.
The point of what I’m trying to say is that the release of Prey just proved that they are far more, and to an incredible degree, one of the most underrated and unbeknown acts to ever grace the stage. There is evidently a lot of emotion being poured out from this nearly ten year long waited release. The raspy vocals of O’Donnell pairs exquisitely with the rich and detailed music so movingly it is as if Prey was made completely natural.
At full volume, listen to Clean Up Mean.
Trü “Demo”, September (Unsigned)
is a collaborative effort of several New Jersey bands from both the hardcore and indie scene coming together to do something a bit different. In other words, Steve and Pat from 96
and Threat 2 Society
joined forces with Cindy of Archie Alone
to breathe a fresh new air into the New Jersey music scene. Reminiscent of a 90’s college rock act with mild tones of shoegaze and vibrant bass tones really make this new band separate from others. Frontman Keith Williams matches his soft spoken vocals in a perfect fashion to the vibrant timbre of their music with this demo. .
If you were looking to listen to more of these guys don’t fret because the fine men and women of Trü have recently finished recording over at Nada Studios up in Montgomery. Bands such as Armor for Sleep, Brand New, My Chemical Romance, and many more have all at some point recorded there. Stay posted to the website as we will be sure to give you a taste of the new music once it becomes available.
Oh, I’m sure you can handle listening to both tracks kids.
Modern Baseball “Holy Ghost”, May (Run for Cover Records)
You ever grow up with a band? What I mean is have you ever spent the five bucks every other weekend to go to a shitty basement or music hall to listen to some half decent act play tunes with your closest buds? Modern Baseball
was one of those bands that would drag kids like me out to frequent venues throughout the suburban parts of the tri-state area just to see them. These young gentleman have grown since the days of playing Sports at the Meatlocker or frequenting the Philadelphia music scene alongside bands like The Menzingers or The Wonder Years. Hell I was recently able to catch these guys opening up for The Front Bottoms and Brand New this past fall at the PPL Center in Allentown. They couldn’t have met my expectations of playing live any better than they did that cold and dreary night in November.
Produced by Joe Reinhert, this record was recorded over at Headroom Studios located in the City of Brotherly Love. What is most intriguing about their junior release was that the writing process was split in half between Brenden Lukens (tracks 7-11) & Jake Ewald (1-6). Although they seem to reflect a similar style in terms of guitar playing and writing, there is an evident difference between the first and later part of the record. It’s not to say that they are drastically dissimilar or that one is better, but it is fair to say that the album takes on a new tone by the end of Hiding. Hell, Ewald’s last song alone could have been a fitting close out to the whole record but then again was it not a final track from his contribution? Furthermore, in comparison to their previous releases they have finally found their sound. Its sad like any emo influenced act but it’s also happy and optimistic at times with a sound that is both self reflective and haunting at times to the listener.
At the end of the day this band has matured and evolved into something vastly bigger than it probably was ever designed to be. As their first release off of Run for Cover, it’s safe to say now that they have a home that will push them even further than before.
Drive your car as far away as possible and into uncertainty to Just Another Face.
Swamps “Mentally Imprisoned”, May (Unsigned)
Evil. This record is nothing more than twenty three minutes and forty eight seconds of aggressive hatred against the world and in which it stands. Swamps
hails from Springfield, Massachusetts and are currently under the Power Trip Records
label for this sophomore full length release. Mentally Imprisoned
is chock full of the toughest riffs you’ve heard in a minute. Thankfully this banger of a hardcore record encompasses various musical elements other than punk or metal. The guitar work is unprecedented and untamable throughout the album. A sound that the devil himself would have a hard time trying to emulate. The bouncy and rhythmic structure of Mentally Imprisoned
consummates Andy’s vocal style and is incomparable to anyone out there right now.
Mentally Imprisoned was recorded, mixed, and mastered in full by Nick Bellmore over at Dexter’s Lab Recording.
The only way to hear Blood Loss is at full volume.
Jeff Rosenstock “Worry”, October (Quote Unquote Records)
is on his way to becoming one of the greatest icons in modern punk rock. A bold claim for sure but let his latest endeavor Worry
be a prime example of why this personal claim isn’t so personal. For those who still haven’t heard his music you may know him as the guitarist and vocalist of Bomb the Music Industry!
Worry is a fruitful and vastly dynamic record. Something you would come to expect after hearing his past two full lengths but my god he just kills it on this one. Only this wild motherfucker can go from playing a jam packed ska song (Rainbow) into a fast striding punk bit (Planet Luxury) and then finish it all with good ol’ rock n’ roll. The tempo, elements, and overall structure of each song becomes something completely separate and unique from one another. There is a song on here for nearly anyone to enjoy.
All songs were recorded at the Panoramic House by none other than Jack Shirley. Roll up a joint, crack open some beers, and pre-game with the friends to the marvelous creation that is Worry.
Next time you feel like the jukebox is feeling kind of weak give Festival Song a whirl.
Threat 2 Society “Ground Zero”, November
Hardcore has always positioned itself alongside the political and cultural atmosphere of where it is located. This is a genre that takes pride in standing up against the injustices that consume its community while speaking out about the woes of humanity. Here you can find the oppressed, the victimized, and the ones that will not be silent about what hurts. Threat 2 Society
is exactly what is missing from hardcore. They are a voice and sound that stands against the problematic state of corruption and deceit that our own government runs behind. Ground Zero is a statement. A statement that announces the lies within our society and the intolerable truth that very few can ever try and comprehend.
Threat 2 Society now features members of various hardcore and metal bands including the guys from Dutchguts and 96. The discontent of the political atmosphere is lined through every corner of this record. The artwork from Ty Lawson Illustration (think Backtrack’s Lost in Life) alone depicts the greedy and anarchic nature of our country. Each track focuses on an innate predicament within our country including wartime profit towards the high elite, the media’s controlling involvement of our news, and especially the tyrannical oppression against the people of our country. Seriously, check out the podcast we did with Chris from Threat 2 Society and you’ll know what we mean. As for the music, it reflects the emotional feeling of being pissed off by high political elites and the transgressions they commit so freely through some of the thrashiest and illest riffs one can think of.
Write a letter to your senator while cranking Mass Deception.