Every year we ask record labels and artists what they thought of the last twelve months; we tell you the best albums of last year; and finally we offer you this, our roundup of other great music-related stuff you may have missed. In this year's instalment we share our favorite grower albums, hip-hop, punk/hardcore and metal releases, and our (mostly) annual roundup of some of the year's worst album sleeve artwork. Read on and enjoy!
The Best Punk & Hardcore of 2016
What did we learn about punk & hardcore in 2016? Crust is dead. Post-punk and "slime punk" are on life support. And anyone still fucking with black metal probably needs their credentials checked. Basically in the year 2017 every hardcore band will decide to finally become the French Oi! band they've always wanted to be.
Look, we're talking about punk & hardcore here. You know the deal: it's loud, it's fast, it's angry. It's pissed off music for pissed off people. It can also be angular and atmospheric, or sound like unpolished pop music. I could try to describe exactly how each of these acts sound, but let's be real, writing more than two sentences each would take longer than it does to listen to one of their songs. And who wants to read 30 paragraphs about 30 bands that essentially all sound the same? So here's how it's gonna go: I'll state where the band is from, and then a few other words. You do the rest.
If I missed something, hit me up. I welcome the discourse. You can leave a comment if you want, but comments are like, so 2006. Take that shit to Twitter already.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out this list is alphabetical. Rankings are bullshit. Up the punks.
-Nathan G. O'Brien
Deterrence 7" (Lockin' Out)
You know what would be cool, is if one of you would make me a mixtape of '80s thrash that doesn't include the Big Four.
Feels Ways About Stuff (86'd Records)
Boilerman are punk rock in the easiest to pinpoint sense. It’s fast, coarse, energetic, and vitriolic with shades of melody that give an anthemic rage. The bass lines have a subtle rumbling aspect of streetpunk and the melodies also pull some 1990’s skatepunk vibes at times, not the popularized Fat Wreck variety but more along the lines of the lower-fi bands of the era that appeared on many of the comps but didn’t get their due.
Self-Titled LP (La Vida Es Un Mus Discos Punk)
Claustrophobic, eerie, freakout art noise. Don't be surprised if every punk band in 2017 sounds like this.
Lonely Corpse 7" (La Vida Es En Muse Discos Punk)
Los Angeles, CA.
Sounds like what the scary monster from your childhood dreams looks like.
Need to Control LP (Beach Impediment)
Sometimes hardcore is stupid and derivative but that's also what's really great about it.
Room 44 Sessions cassette (Not Normal Tapes)
Noisy, arty, maybe trying to be more interesting than they are. Then again, aren't we all? Who knows, I'm cool with it either way.
Cuerpos Dociles LP (Nada Nada Discos)
Captivating, alluring, charming, ah, bewitching maybe even. Basically any word that means it is capable of capturing and holding your attention. Also post-punk.
No Path (Hip Kid)
Winter biking, you wonderful beast, come here. I want to hug you and stab you in your cold, blackened heart at the same time.
Third 7" (Toxic State)
New York, NY.
Singer either has snot dripping down the back of his throat or is possibly an alien that has escaped a secret government laboratory. Probably both. Sometimes called "mutant punk" but not by me.
Deny The Cross
Alpha Ghoul LP (Tankcrimes)
Remember powerviolence? It's basically death metal, hardcore, and punk all at one time. And holy shit, is the production rich on this one. Posers need not apply.
Self-Titled 7" / Unpronounceable 7" (Static Shock / La Vida Es Un Mus Discos Punk)
Moody punk music for modern times. Sounds cold and warm at the same time, which isn't an easy thing to pull off. Would have preferred if these two 7"s were just one seven song 12" 45 RPM-er, but hey, whatevs.
Delirium 7" (Negative Jazz)
I feel like there's a lot of fried eggs stuff going in punk lately? Whether it's art work, song titles, or in this case, the name of the band. I used the question mark back there to signify that I'm not really sure, and as an invitation for you to weigh in if you'd like.
Intimacy Issues 7" (Self-Released)
Hateful and violent but tender and awkward. Just like the act of fucking. Also pro-littering. (Look for an interview soon in Maximum Rocknroll and/or Soda Killers.) #NukeEmAll
Trans Day of Revenge 7" (Total Negativity / Nervous Nelly)
The opening track is called "Give Violence a Chance", which is something I've been considering more and more lately.
America's Greatest Hits LP (Iron Lung)
I have a fellow pretty liberal friend that lived in Olympia for a couple years but had to leave because, and I quote, "I couldn't stand that everywhere I went some 20 year-old college kid was trying to out-left me. It was like, 'Dude, I'm just trying to get a cup of coffee; I don't need to hear your freshman take on socialism.'"
Self-Titled 7" (La Vida Es En Mus Discos Punk)
There's a song on here called "The Queen Sucks Nazi Cock." So, like, what are you waiting for? Go get this, you idiot.
What Do You See? 7" (Toxic State)
New York, NY.
If nothing sounds like this, how can you describe it? Like this: The Future.
Cement Fucker 7" (Thrilling Living)
New York, NY.
The guitar is weird. Subconsciously it takes over, even when the vocals and drums are more obliviously present. Like, you think you're really digging this awesome singer and the rhythm, but what's actually going on is you're being hypnotized by sneaky axe wankery.
Self-Titled 7" (Static Age)
Aside from some green-bottled beers, I still tend to associate Germany with very terrible things. But this record is the opposite of terrible. How much art can you take? Exactly this much. (I've used that line before, but nobody will notice.)
Lumpy & The Dumpers
Huff My Sack LP (La Vida Es En Mus Discos Punk)
Drink it in deep, slime-chuggers. This could be gross-out punk's defining, and perhaps final moment.
Demo cassette (Self-Released)
San Francisco/Oakland, CA.
Post-punk. The J-card art rules. Unlike this description.
Songs About Children LP (Toxic State)
New York, NY.
Concept album about the terrible things that happen to kids. So depressing, so yucky, but holy shit, so good. Musically, it's very hard to describe. In a word: crazy. It feels strange to like a record about horrible stuff yet here I am.
NASA Space Universe
70 AD LP (Feel It)
What's funny about this is right when you're like, "OK, so this is another one of those mutant hardcore punk records", they throw some cool hook at you that seems totally out of place that makes you go, "Goddamn that's tight; pretty sure I like this a lot now."
Self-Titled 7" (Static Age)
To quote my good friend The Dark Horse, and completely out of context, "blood, shit, piss, and cum." So we've already have bands named S.H.I.T. and Piss. In 2017 I wanna hear records from Blood and Cum. And they better be as nasty as this.
Going Places 7" (La Vida Es En Mus Discos Punk)
There's a part in Chris Jericho's first book where he talks about the language barrier in Japan and the funny stuff that another wrestler would ask him, such as, "You like rock 'n' roll sex music?"
Self-Titled LP (Katorga Works)
This speaks to the current climate of fucked-up shit in this country, and the world in general. But you know what I think about a lot? Like way more than I should? The Mark Gonzales chair scene in Gummo. Why?
III LP (Iron Lung)
São Paulo, Brazil.
This band tests the limits of what is considered punk and the results are truly awesome. The medley track "Filhas Do Fogo / Conjuracao Do Espelho" is easily the best song I've heard this year, of any genre.
Les Nerfs A Vif 7" (La Vida Es En Mus Discos Punk)
This is Oi! revival done exactly the right way. Don't be surprised if every punk band in 2017 that doesn't sound like Anxiety sounds this one.
Music Time cassette (Self-Released)
New York, NY.
I get so goddamned mad at myself sometimes. It's easy to pretend I'm the coolest guy ever but the reality is I'm a fucking wreck. And music like this feeds into my disease. Thanks for nothing, punk.
Self-Titled 7" (Square One Again)
Ya' know, the '90s weren't so bad. I mean, I'm not going to start wearing baggy jeans again anytime soon, but some of those alt bands that had videos on MTV were actually pretty good. Like the Cranberries. They were decent, right?
Self-Titled 7" (Beach Impediment)
Smash your head on the punk rock. Or if you're feeling up to it, puke your brains out on the punk rock.
Futuro Primitivo 7" (Beach Impediment)
A while back there was some great graffiti scratched into the stall door in the bathroom at my work. It said, "Hail Satan. Suck cock. Metal rules", and was accompanied by a crudely etched pentagram. I took a picture of it. I kind of want to make tee shirts of it but may settle on stickers or buttons. Or maybe nothing at all. What an incredible saying though, am I right?