It’s that time once again, as the countdown to the end of 2016 quickly approaches we take a personal look back on familiar names, features and musicians’ best releases of the past 12 months. In what has been a crazy year of highs and lows it’s the releases that have pulled a lot of people through the year. Now in it’s 6th year, Circuit Sweet will be hosting takeovers from the featured artists/musicians/labels and promoters of the site with their personal top 5 releases of the year.
Our annual end of year tradition is where we let our favourites take over the site to tell us the records that have made their end of year lists, their favourite events/gigs and what we can look forward to from them next year.
Our next take over comes from our good friends and the most excellent promoters around- Surprise Attacks. Worcester based DIY promoters Surprise Attacks are one of the hardest working promoters out there, surprise attacks is a 100% not-for-profit music promoter, record label and vinyl distributor. We love the DIY mentalities and hard working ethos of all at SA! Each show they host is incredible, they truly put on some of the best events we’ve attended and their line ups are always unmissable. We’ve enjoyed some of our best gigs of the past 12 months again in the company of a SA show, they’ve introduced us to some fantastic talent and without these guys on our doorstep we would be lost. We hand over to the men to find out their most loved albums of the past 12 months and to review their year…
Best gig we’ve put on or been to:
2016 has had so many great shows, but ones that stand out are:
Blanck Mass / Rosebud / Ferric Lux – April 8th, The Marrs Bar, Worcester.
– this was a special gig for Surprise Attacks as we got to host our good friend Ben (Blanck Mass) for a rare hometown show. To get Blanck Mass in a 250 capacity venue was a treat in itself and to do it with so many friends around us was special. The show really kicked ass, a searing display of heavyweight electronica which was as euphoric and uplifting as it was dark and crushing. Fingers crossed he’ll pay us a visit again.
Bivouac / Bedford Falls / Navajo Ace / Trivial Dispute – June 17th, The Firefly Worcester
– Being huge Bivouac fans in the 90s, to get the chance to put this show on as Surprise Attacks was a dream come true. Great turnout and a super intense and soulful performance from Bivouac. When we knew they had reformed after 20 years or so our excitement started mounting as all our expectations were exceeded. Definitely one to remember.
Kiran Leonard – Bristol Louisiana Aug 22nd.
– mind blowing. That is all.
Siege / Dropdead / Endless Grinning Skulls / Marked For Death / Ona Snop- Leeds Temple Of Boom Nov 12th.
– the legendary early 80s Boston hardcore band Siege arrived for a UK exclusive for the first time ever. This band influenced so many others including pioneering grindcore and hardcore bands such as Napalm Death. Most of us who have been into HC since the 80s never thought we’d ever see Siege play & they were worth the 29 year wait for me. I used to listen to their seminal “Drop Dead” demo on my Walkman in the school library in 1987 and visualise them playing live so this gig was basically living the daydream. Super intense.
Infest / Ripcord / Backslider / War All The Time / Famine / Doom / Voorhees / The Afternoon Gentlemen / The Flex – Leeds Temple of Boom Nov 25th & 26th
– a 2 day beast which saw US hardcore legends Infest play another UK exclusive at one of the best venues in the country. A ridiculously killer lineup for these shows which sold out literally in seconds. Infest naturally tore the place apart, as did Ripcord, the UK hardcore veterans who played their last ever show. The shows were constant chaos.
Dec 22, Surprise Attacks & The Task In Hand joint Xmas show.
Bear Makes Ninja / The Brackish / Black Boxes / Wax Futures
An amazing line up with 2 of our favourite bands (The Brackish & Black Boxes) and 2 bands we love and have wanted to put on for ages (Bear Makes Ninja & Wax Futures).
Great turnout & atmosphere and a great end to a strong year for gigs. Every band complimented each other even though the line up varied in style, and every band played out of their skins.
Band to watch for in 2017:
Musically (to us) sitting somewhere between early Black Flag, Kyuss and The Stooges with a bit of contemporary noise rock ferocity thrown in. Seriously one of the most intense and powerful live acts we’ve witnessed. They’re set to record their debut LP in 2017 so we’re predicting they’ll be laying waste to a lot more UK venues.
Plans for 2017
We’re teaming up with fellow promoters The Task In Hand more to bring some seriously heavy hitting acts to Worcester.
We’ve been working hard also on the more experimental side of things so will be planning more electronic and audio visual events.
Apart from that, expect more of the same from us as we go into our 4th year.
Best 2016 releases:
Again, so many great ones, but these stand out for us:
Kiran Leonard – Pink Grapefruit
– Incredible LP from this super talented 20 year old. Shades of Jeff Buckley, Shellac, Sonic Youth effortlessly blended. An LP full of headphones moments where I’ve been skipping back to sections, tempo changes and chord progressions thinking I’d misheard or imagined some wonderful genius passages….no, they exist. Truly visionary.
Uranium Club – Human Exploration
– stripped down, angular post punk noise from Minneapolis which to us lies musically somewhere between Pink Flag era Wire and the contemporary noise dynamic of Metz. Awesome.
Kate Tempest – Let Them Eat Chaos
– genre defying, insightful, intelligent and razor sharp social commentary. One of the best releases of 2016, LTEC is a performance poem which is captivating from start to finish.
Melt Yourself Down – Last Evenings On Earth
– storming 2nd LP from MYD, a hybrid of post punk, heavy electronics and afrobeat. Forward thinking and intense, this hasn’t been off our playlist since it’s release. Explosive live too, check them if you get chance.
Blanck Mass – D7-D5
– A monstrous slab of dark techno on this 1 sided 12″. All the Blanck Mass trademarks are here and ramped up to heavy duty dancefloor mode.
“‘D7-D5′ is intended as the second move in a game of chess initially instigated by Manuel Gottsching when he released (and named said release) “E2-E4”, the recording which many believe pioneered techno.”
A huge thank you as ever to Surprise Attacks for all their hard work and continuing to bring excellent music to town! We can’t wait to see what shows 2017 brings.