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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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
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.