I felt that I should augment the annual "best of" post with some reviews of recent record purchases. I added a best demos category this year, and got rid of comps. A lot of the great demos from last year got re-pressed or re-recorded on vinyl recently (Socialcide, Sick Fix, Total Abuse, Civic Progress). What weighs heavily on my decisions is when bands surprise me with an awesome first release or by overshadowing their previous releases.
Best 7"s of 2007
1. Life Trap- Bleak Reality
2. Wasted Time- No Shore
3. Episode- s/t
4. Government Warning- Arrested
5. Socialcide- Burn in Hell, Bundy
It was a tough choice for the #1 spot, but I went w/ Life Trap just because that record came out of nowhere and hits you like a ton of bricks. Wasted Time's 2nd 7" is even better than their first, and I mean I loved the first, but holy shit does this rule. Episode's another band that came out of nowhere (actually the same "nowhere" that Life Trap does), and just released an amazing 7" w/o playing a show or anything. Government Warning's follow up to their LP is a good one, but some of the songs lack the pure catchiness of their LP. Socialcide followed up their awesome demo with an equally awesome 7". It should be noted that 3 of the bands are from VA and the other 2 are from TN, and all but Episode played No Way Fest. The south shall rise again!
Best 12"s of 2007
1. Double Negative- The Wonderful and Frightening World of...
2. Repercussions- 11 Song EP
3. The Vicious- Alienated
4. Criminal Damage- No Solution
5. Severed Head of State- Power Hazard
The best LP was a no brainer, and I knew nothing could possibly top the Double Negative LP after first listening to it. They went from demo to LP, and shocked everyone outside of the North Carolina area. Repercussions also came out of nowhere with a raging hard fast LP, and then disappeared. Hopefully they'll tour or something eventually, because this LP is just too good. The Vicious LP squeaked in the last week of December last year, but I'm counting them for this year. Super catchy early 80's sounding punk, and I'm glad I caught them 3 times on their tour (and am bummed they broke up). Criminal Damage followed up last year's awesome LP with a newer equally awesome LP. It lacks some of the hooks of the first LP, but is still great. Severed Head of State has been getting better with each release. This LP is their most recent output, and it's no different to that trend.
Best Demos of 2007
1. Civic Progress
2. Guilty Faces
4. Bad Advice
Not too many great demos, but these really stood out and I look forward to more. Civic Progress surprised a lot of people at No Way Fest, and rightfully so. Their demo is raw, fast and they actually have something good to say. Guilty Faces rose from the ashes of Ratbyte, and have a real early 80's California sound. The Reprobates demo squeaked in at the last minute, playing awesome hardcore punk from Toronto. Bad Advice's demo came out at No Way Fest, but unfortunately most people missed them. It's real cool, and I'm looking forward to more from them. The Kanamits were a local band, and their second demo was being recorded for a 7" that will never be released. I may be a tad biased on this, but I loved this band. Annoy one of the members and get them to send it to you.
V/A- No Bullshit Vol. 3
If for some reason you've been sleeping on the No Bullshit comp series, get your head out from under a rock. The third volume most definitely does not disappoint. It kicks off w/ a new one from Life Trap, and damn is it a rager. I would almost say it's got some melodic elements to it, but still keeps the speed and anger of their awesome 7". I've probably listened to this song more than the rest. Socialcide's contribution sounds a lot noisier and chaotic than some of their other stuff. Double Negative's song also sounds a lot more stripped down than their LP stuff, but is still great. I always forget how awesome Out Cold is, and all these years later, they're still kicking ass; their song is great. Acid Reflux contributes the song from their demo tape that was missing from their 7", so of course it's great. Chronic Seizure closes it out w/ more of the same fast old sounding hardcore punk rock. If you're not familiar w/ the bands from their previous releases, this will introduce you to some new great bands. If like me, you were already into these bands, then this will just give you more to listen to.
Citizens Patrol- Sick Routine
Citizens Patrol are from the Netherlands, and they play real fast old style HC similar to modern bands like Civic Progress and Nightstick Justice. I had downloaded their demo a while back, and really liked it, and this record has a lot of those songs re-recorded. Good stuff, you know you'll like it.
Anti You- Pig City Life
Good stuff from this Italian hardcore punk band. My only gripe is that there's only one side to this record, but they're able to cram a bunch of songs and a Discharge cover. The Discharge cover is real cool because it's not done in the traditional D-Beat sorta way, and is much faster. Musically it's like if the Circle Jerks were faster and meaner sounding.
The Bloodreds- Mister Mess
I got this at one of their shows and enjoyed it, then put it back in my stack of records. I recently gave it another spin, and it hasn't left my record player all week. The songs are catchy and poppy, but have a lot more balls to them than any pop-punk bands. I saw them w/ Ringers, and I suppose that'd be a good comparison. Street punk influenced melodic punk, which would appeal to fans of Cocksparrer and No Hope For The Kids. Awesome!
the Flash Attacks- Revenge of the Fruitflies
I was pleasantly surprised by this NJ band also. The cover art is really cool and brightly colored, but the music is dark and heavy. Musically, I'd say a mix between Discharge, later Poison Idea and some Sabbath heaviness. I found myself humming "Revenge of the Fruitflies" the other day, which is always the mark of a solid record.
In Defense / Guns N Rosa Parks
I found this in a used bin recently. I had been meaning to check out In Defence, and Runs N Rosa Parks is a pretty cool name. Musically In Defence plays really good sounding youth crew influenced thrash. It's the cool sing-a-longs and breakdowns, but the lyrics leave a bit to be desired (kinda like Damage Deposit). GNRP plays a similar style with maybe a little less youth crew, and more of a Tear It Up sounds. Probably wouldn't pick this up again.
Punch In The Face- At War With Everybody
First of all the cover art for this is really cool, and doesn't look like the typical punk cover art. It's done by Mike Sutfin, who's probably more known for his art on Magic cards. I had been looking forward to this record for a while since those 2 7"s they had out were great. I was a bit disappointed that the PITF I grew to love slowed it way down. It's not a bad record, but they're definitely not playing at the break neck speed they were on previous recordings. It kinda reminds me of Dead Stop, which isn't a bad thing, but I was expecting something different.
Bombs Away 10 Song EP
This is a reissue of a record that came out a few years ago. All I know is that it had William (from Talk Is Poison/ Copout/ Suicide Party) on vocals. While it's no Talk is Poison, it's still a pretty damn good record. Similar to the related bands, it's pretty fast heavy hardcore. I'd recommend checking it out if you're a fan of any of those related bands.
This is Ringers' first record, which I actually picked up second (oops). I think I ike Detention Halls a little better, but this record is real cool. Definitely catchy and melodic if you're into that sorta thing. Personally I've gotta be in the right mood or it, but this is good stuff.
I have 2 shows in January that I'm working on, and going to This Is For You Fest again this year in Daytona, FL.