Year End Review by Matt Coppens

I’m a workingman. I spend my days during the week, Monday through Friday, from seven a.m. to three-thirty p.m. holed up in a stockroom with somewhat of a cave-like atmosphere in an aerospace factory. The air in said stockroom could be best described as extremely dry, causing me to get nosebleeds at any given time without warning. My co-workers can be a bit overbearing as most of them are just pissed off that they’ve been denied the lifestyle they desire and instead have to work for their living, earning a meager wage for literally busting their backs day in and day out. The actual work can get pretty physical from time to time and would be described by most as monotonous. Facing all this every day leaves me in a bit of a haze on most days. I go out in public and feel like I’m walking around in slow motion. Like I’m looking at myself from the outside. My vision gets a bit blurry and I’m constantly yawning and desiring a nap. Very little can break me out of this haze when I’m feeling it deeply. Occasionally sex helps. Occasionally drinking helps. But in all honesty what really helps me out and brings my head back down to earth is a good punk-rock/rock'n'roll record. It might come off as sounding a bit cheesy and even stupid, but it’s true. I say this year’s been a great one for singles and EP’s but has been a shitty year for full lengths. With that said, these are the records that came out this year that didn’t suck and helped break me out of my haze. Top ten lists are for pussies, here’s my top eleven.

Top 11 7"/EPs:
Coulda-beens: Final Solutions 7” EP (Shit Sandwich)... Popular Shapes/Kurt split 7” EP (On/On Switch/X-Mist)... The Bill Bondsmen “The Swinging Sounds of…” 7” EP (Fourteegee Profuctions)... Valentinos 7” EP (Tom P{erkins Entertainment)... Time Flys “Energy” 7” EP (Birdman)... Sweet J.A.P. “I’m Only Moonlight” 7” EP (Dirtnap)... Kajun SS “$40 Quartet” 7” EP (Die Slaughterhaus)... Tyrades “Incarcerated” 7” EP (Die Slaughterhaus)... Lost Sounds “Future Touch” 12” EP (In The Red)
(11) Frantic “Attaque” 7” EP (Die Slaughterhaus)
I immediately jumped up and started SCREAMING my ass off when the needle hit the record for the first time. Great new hardcore band.
(10) Krunchies “Interrobang” 7” EP (Criminal IQ)
Refreshing fun dumb punk-rock. The formula every young punk band should follow.
(9) Fatals “Livin My Bed” 7” EP (P. Trash)
Wow. The most immediate and insane band from France ever? I don’t own the other two records so this one has to make the list.
(8) Kajun SS 12” EP (Therapeutic/Jeth-Row)
The more King Louie the better. Some of his best work yet.
(7) Fe Fi Fo Fums “Electrofize Me” 7” EP (Boom Boom of Renton)
Supercharger-like budget rock from the same dweebs who brought us Thee Flying Dutchmen.
(6) Real Losers “Don’t Leave Me Now” 7” EP (Bancroft)
Real Losers return with some of their best material yet. Dale scores another great one for his crummy little basement label.
(5) Radio Beats “Blow You Up” 7” EP (Big Neck)
Like a younger faster angrier Devil Dogs on ten pots of coffee.
(4) Tyrades “I am Homicide” 7” EP (Shit Sandwich)
Tyrades just keep getting better. The title track alone makes this record absolutely essential, the other two tracks ain’t too shabby either.
(3) Battleship 12” EP (Raw Deluxe)
Excellent Gang of Four meets hardcore art-punk. I’m going so far as to say this is the best band in the genre.
(2) Tokyo Electron 7” EP (Solid Sex Lovie Doll)
Oblivians meets Reatards. Someone needs to release the other songs Ryan recorded and I mean fast.
(1) Feelers 7” EP (Death By Noise/Contaminated)
Near perfect KBD meets hardcore meets early New Bomb Turks. The best new band since the Catholic Boys? Time will tell.

Top 11 LPs/CDs:
Coulda-beens: Reigning Sound “Too Much Guitar” LP (In The Red)... Ponys “Laced With Romance” LP (In The Red)... Clorox Girls s/t LP (Smart Guy)... Lost Sounds s/t LP (In The Red).
(11) Hunches “Hobo Sunrise” LP (In The Red)
Not as immediate as the first one. This one was a grower for me. Still a great record by a great band.
(10) Armitage Shanks “Urinal Heap” CD (Damaged Goods)
Some of the Shanks’ best work yet. That’s saying something.
(9) Black Time “Blackout” LP (Concrete Life)
Wow. Hard shit to describe. See Lastname’s review in the May-June 2004 section of record reviews. Would have ranked higher but I just picked it up.
(8) Marked Men “On the Outside” LP (Dirtnap)
Not quite as good as the first one but still a great great band. Best punk pop band ever? Damn close.
(7) The Ulcers “Hot Skin and Cold Cash” LP (Damaged Goods)
Another Rip Off rip off coulda/shoulda been band. I’m a sucker for this stuff and the Ulcers are one of the best at it.
(6) Baseball Furies “Let It Be” LP (Big Neck)
Baseball Furies can do no wrong in my book. I’ve been told by band members that their next record will be even more different. Good says I.
(5) Observers “So What’s Left Now?” LP (Vinyl Warning)
Superb thought-provoking punk. Brings me back to the glory days of Naked Raygun. Thanks to Dave Hyde for the recommendation.
(4) Vee Dee “Furthur” LP (Criminal IQ)
Fuck off. It’s a great record. Vee Dee’s a great band. Suck my nuts.
(3) Aluminum Knot Eye “Trunk Lunker” CD (Trickknee Productions)
Score another one for Ass Knee. AKE were my surprise band of ’04. Eat your heart out Piranhas. Sounds NOTHING like “kiddie garage”.
(2) Lids s/t LP (Rip Off)
The sloppiest, dumbest, funnest, catchiest record I’ve heard in years. One of the best Rip Off releases ever.
(1) Catholic Boys “Psychic Voodoo Mind Control” CD (Trickknee Productions)
The best punk-rock album to come out in the last ten years. Not an exaggeration either. There’s not a better band playing today than the Catholic Boys. The first truly great album of the 2000s.

Some great things I’ve heard this year to hopefully surface in ’05 are:
Human Eye full length. They sound nothing like the Clone Defects so don’t expect it. Wild shit indeed... Catholic Boys new singles and full length. I’ve heard their new shit and it’s better than the old shit. Look out!... The Kind of Jazz Music That Kills full length (?). These guys belong on In The Red. I say look out Hunches... Krunchies full length. Way better than their 7” EP. If you liked their earlier stuff you’ll love the full length... More Functional Blackouts records. I’ve seen the new lineup and heard some new recordings. Still a great band.... New Reatards records. A band we just can’t let go of. For good reason too.... Paul Reject and the Tab Man 7" release. Some of the best work Tab Man and Paul have ever done. This shit needs to be released.

Top five shows I attended this year:
(5) Lids/Night Terrors/Final Solutions @ Kraftbrau Brewery, Kalamazoo, MI 12/19
All great bands but this one’s for the Final Solutions performance.
(4) Horizontal Action #14 release show @ Subterranean, Chicago, IL 11/20
For the Aluminum Knot Eye, Krunchies, and Feelers sets.
(3) Marked Men/Lynyrd’s Innards/Returnables @ Fireside Bowl, Chicago, IL 7/25
One of the best Marked Men shows I’ve ever witnessed.
(2) Functional Blackouts/Ned Nibiru/Glorified Trash @ some basement, Grand Rapids, MI 11/19
The first time witnessing the Functional Blackouts new lineup and they were more insane than any other time I’d seen them. Glorified Trash was on the bill too and well, you know…
(1) Horizontal Action Chicago Blackout @ Empty Bottle, Chicago, IL 5/13-5/15
Best three days I’ve ever had in one place. Every band rocked though some were better than others.


-Matt Coppens