As the countdown to the end of the year approaches we take a personal look back on our familiar names, features and musicians’ top releases of the past 12 months.
This year has stood out for incredible releases and even more so for uncovering exceptional talent; most of which discovered, promoted and featured right on this site.
We couldn’t continue the tradition without asking the admirable Well Weapons Records. Well Weapon Records is an independent label based in the heart of Yorkshire and a label we can’t help but brag about. If you know them and their releases then you’ve excellent taste. If you haven’t heard of them until now- introduce yourselves as this is a promising label with a lot of love to give and home to pure talent.
If you will indulge me a small introduction, this has been an unusual year for me in terms of new music. Its have been characterised more by delving into the past than digging around in the now, so as I cant put Fire Of Love by Gun Club on my list this took a lot more thinking about than I had anticipated.
There are also many releases I expect would be on this list that I haven’t checked out yet for example Tall Ships. Maybe after Christmas it will find its place on this lisst
And so in no particular order here we go!
Gnarwolves – CRU
I don’t really know what to write about this one because I fell any one reading this site that hasn’t heard this yet is a damned fool. 6 songs, each not really any longer that 2 mins. Each one is a burst of hardcore/pop-punk joy. Not a record to be listened to in a stationary position.
Doctrines – ZE
Doctrines first EP was one of my favourite releases of last year. They had essentially everything I was looking for in a UK band at the time and in no small way reminded me of my favourite band of all time The Replacements. Then they took what was so utterly fantastic about that EP and stretched it out into one 17min epic on ZE. My favourite new band had gone prog(ish) and I bloody loved it. No only is the musicianship on this EP phenomenal, (oh the sweet licks!) but the concept is brilliant as well. The EP is inspired by the futurist thinker Raymond Kurzweil, who writes about loads of cool things im into like the coming of singularity.
Desaparecedos – MariKKKopa / Backsell
When Desaparecedos announced they were releasing new material I guess I should have expected it would feature in my list straight away. Their first and only album, Read Music Speak Spanish came out around 10 years ago and has been one of my favourite albums ever since I heard it about 3 ago. I find it hard for a band to be genuinely political these days and not sound cliché and make me cringe, but by sticking to things he actually knows about Connor Oberst managed it on that record and he does on this one too. Its about an American sheriff named Joe Arpaio who essentially runs a posse, going around beating up immigrants in Maricopa county USA. The record is sung largely from his perspective, kind of al a Randy Newman. Perhaps that’s why it doesn’t make my skin crawl. Or maybe its that quite clear Oberst is genuinely pissed the fuck off, but its probably because underneath it all this is just a brilliant and insanely catchy song.
Death Grips – The Money Store/NO LOVE DEEP WEB
“Hater gonna hate” but Death Grips are without a doubt one of the most forward thinking, experimental and punk as fuck bands in the world. Nothing angers me more when they a written off by others as just another hipster buzz band because to my mind it completely undermined all the work Zach Hill et al have been doing over the years in Hella, bygones, Boredoms and probably about 500 other bands. I have had to choose both albums here as well because… im well… greedy. But if I had to choose I would go NO LOVE DEEP WEB. Some how that album managed to be one of the most initially strange and challenging records I have ever listened to and yet at the same time be so simple and minimal. Also the artwork and the story surrounding it is just too good, though I hope no one ever does that to us.
Twin Pines Mall – Sporting Event
This one just made it in here, I found this album very early on in the year and so almost completely forgot about it but over summer this was my main jam. Put out my bro Ben (shout out!) over at Lazy Acre Records. This band is made up of dudes that spend most of their time playing silky voiced folk music, (Uno Moller for example), yet here they are screaming their lungs out on one of the best damn post-hardcore records of recent years! Tracks like M.A.Y.A and Discovery of A Hairpin to me strongly echo Refused but then White Costumes has a undeniably Cherry Waves (by Deftones) vibe to it. Goodbye Hemotopia is a stand out track for me though. I just hope they can come to the UK in the future; I would love our boys in Slow Season to play with them.
So mainly EPs this year, hopefully next year will hold a little more for me in terms of the new releases. If you will forgive me a few honourable mentions id like to quickly recommend, Aesop Rock’s Skelethon, Efterklang’s Primaverda, OFF!’s self titled record Prawn’s Ships and Nils Frahm’s Screws, also our own Flails’ Relics as the ones that didn’t quite make the list.
Thanks again to everyone at Circuit Sweet for letting us do this, you guys are boss!
Merry Christmas kids!