Features Music Year End 2015 2015: A Year In Review

Year End 2015

Music: 2015: A Year In Review

The Best Punk & Hardcore of 2015

The best punk and hardcore records of the past year, narrowed down from about one million to roughly 35. I do my best to listen to as much as I can, but it's impossible to hear it all. While you may think there are some glaring omissions, it could be that I didn't listen to it by the publishing deadline, or, even at all. So please chill before attacking me. If you've chilled and still feel like attacking me, then by all means, be my guest. If I missed something I'd love to hear about it.

A few things to keep in mind: No cassettes or reissues are on this list. Only vinyl records were up for consideration. This is not a ranked list; it's alphabetical by band name.

  • Acousma - 2nd 7"

    (High Fashion Industries)

    Eerie, punishing, and sneakily groovy all at the same time. Hardcore with a couple of sweet guitar solos right when you're not expecting them. From Canada.

  • Ajax - Self-Titled 7"

    (Static Shock)

    New Yorkers playing tough as motherfucking shit hardcore. Imagine Scandinavia meeting Boston in the pit where nobody walks away unscathed.

  • Barcelona - Extremo Nihilismo en Barcelona 12" EP

    (La Vida Es Un Mus Discos Punk)

    Malicious hardcore from Spain. So goddamn great you'll want to puke. Read full review here.

  • Black Panties - Future 7", Prophet of Hate b/w Violence, Self-Titled 7"

    (Windian, Total Punk, Lumpy)

    One man garage-y, weirdo, psych-out skeeze punk from St. Louis. Lumpy-affiliated so you know it's got that slime all over it. Each of these three releases are different explorations of sound, but all equally as great.

  • Blazing Eye - Self-Titled 7"

    (La Vida Es Un Mus Discos Punk)

    Rhythmic, dance-able, darkened D-beat from Los Angeles. Read full review here.

  • Boilerman - Self-Titled 10", Doing Great 7"


    Trio of solid dudes outta Chicago. Both releases are awesome in their own way. The 10" is a little more urgent and grungy, while the 7" is in line with the pop-punk proto-emo sound of the early-to-mid-'90s. Read review of 10" here.

  • Broken Prayer - Misanthropocentric A.K.A. Droid's Blood LP

    (Sorry State)

    Another can't miss boundary-bending album from these Chicago strange-oid punks. Difficult to describe but I did my best to do so here.

  • Busted Outlook - Spitting Wind 7"

    (Warthog Speak)

    Don't be fooled by the fairly standard sXe sports lettering logo. Pretty badass, especially due to the vocals and the sick crossover/metal parts. I bet these dudes wear shorts on stage. From San Fran.

  • Concealed Blade - Demo 7"

    (Beach Impediment)

    Hardcore from Pittsburgh. '80s as all hell. Vocalist is a mean-sounding motherscratcher. Awesome axe work too. And what a great band name, amirite? Try not to get shanked while listening to it.

  • Dawn of Humans - Slurping at the Cosmos Spine LP

    (Toxic State)

    Queasy, rhythmic sounds from NYC that challenges the notion of "punk." I get a little sick to my stomach every time I listen to it. In a good way though. Super trendy right now but not for lack of reason. 

  • Decades/Failures - Goodbye LP

    (Dead Tank)

    Outstanding gothic, dark, synth-punk made by one, or maybe two guys (I should probably check on that) that live in sunny Florida. I was playing this for my 60-something year-old dad who had this to say: "Why would anyone celebrate such deliberate sadness?"

  • Diat - Positive Energy LP

    (Iron Lung)

    The first time I listened to this I did so as I often do: laying on the floor in front of the stereo, with headphones on, and my eyes closed. My wife said it looked like I was having an orgasm. There's so many bands doing post-punk now that when you come across the really good stuff it's hard not ruin your undies. Surprising too that they're from Germany, which is something I'd normally hold against a group of white dudes.

  • Disgusti - A Thousand Prickly Needles 7"

    (High Fashion Industries)

    Snotty punk/HC with a touch of grind tossed in for good measure. I mean, I don't know if that's a thing people normally do—toss a touch of grind in for good measure—but apparently they do in Ontario. If this was just a little bit faster and unintelligible it might be called powerviolence, maybe, but not for certain.

  • Ex-Cult - Cigarette Machine 12" EP

    (Castle Face)

    Garage-y, post-punk-y stuff dripping with attitude. For the nihilistic, malnourished, cig-smoking, no shirt under a leather jacket contingent. From Memphis and featuring a singer that's kinda famous for being in some bands and writing some stuff.

  • Fatigue - Self-Titled 7"

    (Warthog Speak)

    Baldy hardcore outta San Fran. Oi! song structures done with a little more speed and less melody than what the term normally implies. One of those bands that could play to both the HC matinee crowd and the drunk skinheads.

  • Gay Kiss - Preservation Measures LP

    (Sorry State)

    A violent ripper, front to back from this Phoenix quartet. Closes out with, of all things, a Nine Inch Nails cover. And a damn fine one at that. Read full review here.

  • Institute - Catharsis LP

    (Sacred Bones)

    Anarcho post-punk, Krautrock, psychedelic proto-punk, and other far-out sounds. This is the first official full-length for these Austin regulars. Certainly you've heard of them by now. And if not, well get on it while they're still cool. They're only a few melodic numbers away from being massively well-liked by the H-word set.

  • Ivy - A Cat's Cause, No Dog's Problem 7"

    (Katorga Works)

    Spastic, heavy, garage-leaning punk. Final output from this already deceased NYC band. Read full review here.

  • L.O.T.I.O.N. - Digital Control and Man's Obsolescence LP

    (Toxic State)

    Imagine a punk heckling the band from the audience. "Where's the drummer?” He'd yell. The singer screams back from the stage, "We don't need a drummer. THIS IS THE FUTURE!" Well this is indeed the future and it sounds incredible. Goodbye Humans.

  • La Misma - Kanizadi LP

    (Toxic State)

    Intoxicating punk via a quartet of New York women. Allure furthered by all-Portuguese lyrics. If you had told me this was recorded in 1983 I’d have no choice not to believe you. You’ll cry when you listen to it because you know you’ll never hear something this good again.

  • Mind Control - Self-Titled 7"


    Slime-core from Duluth, MN. Gives you same uneasy feeling as going to the dentist first thing in the morning and then having that creepy, grainy, cement paste flavor stuck in your mouth all day.

  • No - Treating People Like They Don't Exist 12" EP

    (La Vida Es Un Mus Discos Punk)

    Loud fast rules crew from London. Unique in a way that's hard to put into words. I think due to the guitars. Very angry. Whenever I listen to this on my bike I get wherever I'm going like twice as fast.

  • Red Death - Permanent Exile LP

    (Grave Mistake)

    The debut album from a four-pack of DC dudes. Pop quiz: Did you like Sick Of It All when they weren't a caricature of themselves? Did you like Corrosion of Conformity before they went all Southern-fried metal on your ass? Do you have a worn out copy of AC/DC's '74 Jailbreak somewhere on the floor of your car under all the empty bags of Chili Cheese Fritos and Slim Jim wrappers? Do you sometimes wear long underwear under a pair of shorts? If you answered yes to any of these questions you'll love this.

  • Rixe - Coups Et Blessures 7"

    (La Vida Es En Mus Discos Punk)

    You might think you don't like Oi! but then you find yourself fist-pumping to this French slab o' wax and you're like, oh shit I think I like Oi! now. Read full review here.

  • Snob - 2nd EP 7"


    Too good. Should be illegal to be this good. London hardcore punkers who happen to have one of the finest vocalists in all the punk land. And that guitar and bass tone, well, shit, wow, it's out of this world.

  • Society Abuse - Self-Titled 7"

    (Mind Rot)

    Blazing USHC from somewhere in Florida. I'm in love with the tough but dejected vocals. Some nice D-beat and drone subtleties lying underneath too.

  • Straight Razor - Self-Titled 7"


    Pissed-off mid-paced USHC, ripe with blistering riffs, a beefy rhythm section, and Brendan Radigan’s signature snarl. I wonder who would win in a knife fight between these guys and Concealed Blade?

  • Vaaska - Todos Contra Todos LP

    (Beach Impediment)

    This Austin-based band's versatility is really impressive. D-beat is at the core but surrounding that is a whole load of scorching axe work, agile drumming, and rock ‘n’ roll attitude. Read full review here.

  • Vexx - Give and Take 7"

    (Katorga Works)

    A bit of a stylistic leap from their previous work; more Imaginative and dynamic song structures this time around. Heightened by Maryjane’s vocal dexterity; both haunting and commanding. From Olympia and they have that lovely PNW fragrance all over them.

  • The Warden - Self-Titled 7"


    Rock ‘n’ roll-infused hardcore from St. Louis. Super sweet breakdowns and scream-y speed parts that somehow manage to avoid the dreaded metal trap.

Nathan G. O'Brien is the King of Punk. You can find him on Twitter at @OMG_NOB.

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Words by the SPB team on Jan. 12, 2016, 2:47 p.m.

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2015: A Year In Review

Posted on Jan. 12, 2016, 2:47 p.m.

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Pages in this feature:

  1. The Best Punk & Hardcore of 2015
  2. The Best Reissues, Comps, Mixes, Etc. of 2015
  3. Top 5 Flannel Shirts
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Series: Year End 2015

Our annual round-up of the best music of the year 2015.

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