Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Best Records of 2009

Best 7"s of 2009

1. Brain Killer- s/t
2. Quick Fix- 6 Song EP
3. Dark Ages- Vicious Lie
4. Slices- s/t #1
5. Boiling Over- Trash City

Brain Killer released an amazing demo and 7" this year, and I expect big things for them in 2010. They remind me of bands like Deathreat and No Parade, which for my money, not enough bands do. Quick Fix released a 1 sided 7" with little fanfare, but I probably recommended that record more than anything this year. Dark Ages followed up their demo from last year with a killer 7", which I think was criminally underrated. I caught Slices at a show in Pittsburgh on tour, and they blew me away with their unique sound. It's like they took the guitar/bass tone of power violence and applied it to the Black Flag blueprint. Boiling Over really brought it with their "Trash City" record, and I definitely gave this baby quite a few spins in 2009.

Best 12"s of 2009

1. Coke Bust- Lines In the Sand
2. Hjertestop- Vi Ses I Helvede
3. Urban Blight- More Reality
4. Sacred Shock- You're Not With Us
5. Paintbox- Trip Trance & Travelling

I always liked Coke Bust, but I definitely found myself saying "holy crap, when did Coke Bust get awesome?" This LP really destroys their previous records, and has all the elements of a great hardcore record. For some reason it seemed like a lot of people were hating on the Hjertestop LP, but I really loved it and thought it was just as good as their EP. They were great live on their summer tour as well. Urban Blight was another band that put out an OK record a while back, then really killed it on this LP. Sacred Shock had a great 7" last year, and followed it up with an equally great LP. I heard they broke up, which I hope is false. Paintbox released a ridiculous LP this year after not releasing anything since the Cry Of The Sheep 7" in 2004(?). It's pretty wild, but I'm into it.

Best demos of 2009
1. Duress
2. Omegas
3. Sick Fix
4. Nomos
5. Outlast

After getting the Duress demo from a friend at the end of last year, then losing it and having to get another I was in love. It's fast, angry and full of rage. I can't wait to see them live and get their 7", which will no doubt be making an appearance in the best of 2010 list. Omegas from Canada released a great demo (which got repressed as a 7"), which really has the 80's NJ Shore-core sound to it. Possibly due to a former NJ resident in the band; another band I'm expecting big things from next year. Sick Fix finally released a new recording as a demo before they went on tour this summer. I think it really captures where they're at now, as that 7" came out almost 2 years ago. When I first got the Nomos demo, I liked it, but I grew to like it more the more I listened to it. One of the best local (tri-state) bands. This was also re-presssed as a 7" on Deranged this year. Outlast is my favorite current NJ band, which bring be back to when I was 17, and the youth crew thing was big. It's cool to see a band like this now, where by 2000 the youth crew revival grew tiresome. This was also re-pressed as a 7" recently. I should also mention that all of these demos I own on cassette, which I love to see.

Honorable Mentions:
No Tolerance- their demo came out last year, and was awesome, then got pressed to vinyl this year. I felt weird listing it as a top 7", but it really was worthy of the nomination.
Free Spirit- their demo also came out last year, but was probably the best Straight Ahead worship I've heard in a long time. All 4 songs on the demo clocked in just over 2 minutes. They're doing a 7" on Lockin Out in '10, which will be the first Lockin Out release I've ever looked forward to.
Punx Don't Drink comp- I was really glad to be a part of this compilation of sXe bands who all played faster/early 80's inspired hardcore. The record release show was some of the most fun I've had at a show in a while. Not just because I got to sing "Straight Edge Revenge" with Sick Fix.

MK-Ultra (I didn't buy this since I have most of these records already, but it's good to see the band get their due)
The Insults (great forgotten mid-west HC)
Death (unreleased amazing LP by this mid 70's proto punk group)
Groinoids (finally had the rest of their tracks from the Boston, Not L.A. session released to vinyl)
Mouthpiece (one of the few 90's style HC bands I like found a permanent home @ REV)
Citizens Arrest (Colossus 2xLP which has the 7" and comp tracks/demo. Even thought it was already reissued like 8 years ago, this is essential shit that should never go out of print)

Predictions for 2010:
-Looks like the bands ripping off early 80's hardcore "trend" is done. I love early 80's HC obviously, but I've seen way too many third rate thrash bands cover Black Flag to be really too excited about a lot bands. Seems like the new thing coming is to do an 80's style HC band, but throw in weird parts ala the Youth Attack bands (which I mostly hate).
-Seems like there's another resurgence of youth crew/ Straight Edge bands. The last big boom was around 1997, when I was first getting into hardcore. Maybe it's a reaction to the party thrash/ Municipal Waste type scene that's growing strong. Personally I'd take sing a longs and mosh parts over neon shirts and boogie boards in the pit.
-The pop-punk revival will be much bigger. I seems like more and more of my HC peers have jumped ship for the pop-punk/alternative thing. No thanks, I did that in the 90's. I'm too old and bitter for pop music.
-More pointless reunions
-Crewneck Sweatshirts > Hooded Sweatshirts

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Record Review- early winter

Hey kids, this is going to be the last reviews post before the epic best of 2009 post. It's a quick one, but I wanted to clear the slate before the last post of the year. I should mention that I reviewed the new Nitad 7" on No Way a few months ago, and commented on the cover art looking like a black metal cover. Luckily the regular pressing has different cover art, which I really really like. It doesn't look like a typical HC cover, and is full cover and I'm real into it.


Government Warning- Executed
Recorded at the same time as Paranoid Mess, this 7" seems kind of like a few throw-away songs and a Battalion of Saints cover. "Executed" starts out slow, then gets fast, then goes back to slow, then speeds up right before the end with nothing all that interesting in between. It's not bad, but definitely not in the same league as their previous releases.

Deathrats- s/t
Deathrats are an awesome new band from DC who have a somewhat 90's vibe to them. Musically it reminds me somewhat of Severed head of State mixed with Los Crudos, and all of the covers are screen printed. The vocals remind me more like current bands Punch and Sick Fix, since they're more screamed than sung (and female). The music is very powerful d-beat influenced hardcore. It's a real great record, and I hope to hear from more from these guys and girls soon. I should also mention that it doesn't say Deathrats on the cover anywhere, so hopefully it doesn't get passed over because of that, because it's really worth your time.

Foreign Objects- s/t
Foreign Objects are a relatively new band from Boston with members from Conversions, Ampere, Positive Reinforcement, Libyans and I'm sure others. Their sound is a sort of mid-paced late 70's punk in a Dangerhouse kinda way (X comes to mind). The vocals alter between singing and shouting, which keep things flowing nicely. Pretty cool.


Government Warning- Paranoid Mess
For my money, Government Warning's "No Moderation" LP was one of the best HC LPs of the past 10 years, and set the bar extremely high for a follow up. The recording quality is a lot more blown out, lo-fi then their previous efforts. There's some raging fast songs, and some solid mid-paced songs. I think some of the songs lack the hooks that "No Moderaton" had, but it's still worthy of a few spins.

Wasted Time- Futility
After seeing Wasted Time at No Way Fest 2 as a 5 piece, I had high hopes for this record. The music is a lot heavier/fuller sounding. Kinda brings to mind "Feel the Darkness" era Poison Idea. I would say the songs aren't as fast as their previous releases, but still good. I could see this band going into a more Motorhead style in the future.

Pollution- Nasty.DNA
Pollution are a band from NYC that I've had the pleasure of seeing multiple times, and was blown away every time. It's almost impossible to describe their sound, which is a good thing. At times sounding like From Ashes Rise then like the Melvins. There's also some stoner and death metal influence int here as well. All I know is that it's loud as hell, it doesn't sound like anything you've ever heard before, and that it fucking rules. This is a vinyl pressing of a cassette release the band self-released. Expect big things from these guys if they ever escape from NY.

Social Circkle- City Shock
After 2 very short 7"s, a proper LP by Boston's Social Circkle is finally out. This release's line-up has yet another change, making the band 1/2 of Blank Stare (RIP). If you've never heard SC's other records, they play a pretty mid paced style of early 80's/late 70's punk. This record sounds pretty similar to their last record. They re-recorded "Drunk Cop" from their demo, though I think it lacks some of the punch of their demo. Pretty good, but I think I was expecting a little something faster.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Hellboy art show in Philly

Here is my piece for the Hellboy show. I did it on an old skateboard that I found in a thrift store. I wanted a real skate graphic influenced piece. I figured what says Hellboy like the right hand of doom and some random tentacles. I had some issues while painting it, I guess the cold and spray paint don't get along and there was some bubbling.
As a bonus to my blog readers, here's a rejected idea I had for the show. I thought of maybe making a print of this also, but I never was the most entrepreneurial artist.

Because nothing says Happy Holidays like the beast of the Apocalypse, The Autumn Society invites you to celebrate both the 15th anniversary of Mike Mignola's Hellboy and the December holiday season, with an exclusive Hellboy show only at Brave New Worlds Comics! So come out for a "Hell" of a time at our last show for 2009!

Check out sneak peeks of some of the work that will be featured at the show here: http://www.theautumnsociety.com/search/label/Hellboy