As the countdown to the end of 2014 quickly approaches we take a personal look back on familiar names, features and musicians’ best releases of the past 12 months. Circuit Sweet will be featuring the featured artists of the site with their personal top 5 releases of the year.
In our end of year special we let our favorites take over the site to tell us the records that have made their end of year lists, their favorite events/gigs and what we can look forward to from them next year.
The next band to take over the site is the powerful trio Bearcubbin’ who just a few days ago topped our own Rad Releaes list with what we believe is the best record of the year. The band are compelling, illustrious and addictive. Providing the right amount of sensual looping, alluring samples, stop-start hardhitting beats from one of the best drummers of our time, the trio are the kings of earpelting experimental mathrock fuzz. Having released a phenomenal masterpiece earlier this year, the men have had a triumphant 12 months, we speak to the lovely Chris to find out his top albums of the year and why…
Top 5 Releases of the Year (2014)
Wild Throne – Blood Maker
We had the pleasure of playing with these guys in their hometown of Bellingham, WA on our first tour outside of Oregon. They were formally known as Dog Shredder and the name change has done nothing to change their technical, heavy, and melodic sound. This is their first EP under their new moniker and each track is amazing. The highlights for me are the vocal melodies and driving bass on “Shadow Deserts” and the guitar/ drum interplay on the title track “Blood Maker”. Each moment on this EP is well spent and you’ll have definitely listened to it 3 times before you look down at the stereo. These guys are in the middle of making their first full-length record with the same producer of this album and it should be amazing.
Key tracks: ALL OF THEM!!
BOYFRNDZ – Breeder
This is another band we had the pleasure of playing with on tour. We actually, due to a weird booking happenstance, ended up playing 3 days in a row with them. Each time I saw them I got a few more ideas and got a bit more jealous. This is their latest release and it’s equally dense and haunting. My favorite tracks are the opening anthem “Each Others” and slow burning groover “Shape Shifter”. Despite all the setbacks this band has faced in 2014, they have soldiered on and shown the promise of creating more solid and jealousy evoking releases.
Key tracks: “Each Others”, “Shape Shifter”, & “Burn Through It”
Completing the trio of bands we have played with on tour, USCO was a band we toured with in California and Nevada. These are some of our closest friends and have been in bands with in the past (see Jewels and The Wall Walkers, The Jezebel Spirit, Soft Skills, and witheyesabstract). I had the pleasure of recording the working demos for this album and couldn’t be happier with how the Paurl made the final album sound. With dark and heavy grooves, these guys take angular guitar landscapes and ambience and pin it down with dueling drum and bass tusks to create a ferocious rhinoceros of angular metal. I love these guys.
Key Tracks: “GLM LRKR”, “Iguana House”, & “Beuhkse”
’68 – In Humor and Sadness
We don’t know these guys personally, but I wish we did. I wasn’t sure if Josh Scoggin could create something as monumental as the Chariot after they finished, but he did. This album jumps between noisier Nirvana, riff heavy SLEEP, and a tutorial course for the White Stripes and Black Keys on how to make a two piece bluesy-rock band work. The energy of these guys comes through the speakers clear as day without sacrificing the melody and song craftsmanship of Scoggin.
Key Tracks: “O”, “G”, & “.”
Death From Above 1979 – The Physical World
I am so glad these guys got back together and put out a record this good. I think this is in large part to their great crafting of hooks and the great production of Dave Sardy (see Barkmarket – L. Ron). The sound of this record gives them the heft that the first record was missing. I enjoyed the unhinged and punk sound of the first one, but this record is just so damn punishing.
Key Tracks: “White is Red”, “Trainwreck 1979”, & “Virgins”
The best show we played this year:
The best show we played this year would probably have to be a hometown show with our friends Rags & Ribbons. We played Mississippi studios and the house was totally full. Everyone was super into it and I got caught by some friends in the crowd when I decided to walk over the front of the stage and lost my balance. It was an amazing show. I look forward to more of those in the future.
The best show we attended this year:
The best show we saw this year was probably TTNG at the Star Theater with Mylets and Emma Ruth Rundle. It was great to see those guys again and they were in rare form that night. They played super confidently and killed it. The new stuff they are writing is amazing and I am excited to hear what they put out next.
Artists to watch in 2015:
I would watch for the new Wild Throne album as well as Moon Honey, The Sarcastic Dharma Society, and Hoarders (all of Gabe Katz’s various projects). There are tons of Portland bands that are doing great things here and this scene is definitely rising.
Plans for the New Year:
Bearcubbin’! has been laying low after summer shows. Living in two different states and having full time jobs has put the brakes on things a bit, but currently we are writing for our next record. We recorded a live record over the summer and that should be coming out here soon, it is a live version of Girls with Fun Haircuts from start to finish. Also we are still receiving remixes from our friends and when we have enough we will be digitally releasing volumes of them as we can. Unfortunately, we found out that GWFH is too long for a single vinyl release and would only work as a double album with a blank side, therefore a vinyl release of the album will not happen in the near future. We are going to keep writing for the next album and hopefully, in a perfect world, have enough material for a new record and to fill up the blank side of a GWFH double release in the future, but it’s a perfect world dream right now. Also we will be releasing a tape version of The Destroyer Collection through Little League Records as soon as Callum gets around to making those. So lots of stuff on the horizon.
Well guys, you are one of the most loved circuit sweet bands around and we wish you all the best for next year, I want to personally thank you all for the support you give us and tell you once more that album is just amazing. Looking forward to seeing what the next 12 months has for bearcubbin.