1. DOUBLE NEGATIVE “Daydreamnation” LP (Sorry State)
Second masterpiece by the greatest punk band on ole Earth, and it’s been a long time coming. After a basement abortion of a recording session with Mike Dean and the second session was stolen from under their noses, Will Evans stepped up and made the third(ish) time = the charm. His version of the album is easily their finest hour. Their first LP had production leaning to the sterile side and their 7” had production a bit too shitty for their own good (on the boombox room-mic side, at least), so it’s beyond wonderful to have a slab that finally depicts their true visceral nature and does justice to the fact that they’re one of thee best live bands around. Kings of punk, kings of packaging - this record looks as inane/insane as it sounds. Brilliant guitar that’s up there with Ginn’s best - and every other aspect rises up and is as essential. Hook after hook, massive riff after massive riff, incomprehensible drum fill after incomprehensible drum fill, it is indeed a complete overload of the senses. The first time they played “Saturation Tank” (they’ve been sitting on most of these songs for two years), everyone in the front of the room was yelling at each other, sharing exclamations of sheer incredulity. Most loudly was someone (Matt from Devour, I think) yelling “Are you fucking serious???!”. This is the closest I can come to adequately describing the phenomenon that is (-/-)… a constant, outrageous barrage of things that leave you offended by how brilliant they are. Just unreal. I’ve seen ‘em more than any other band, I’ve listened to them as much as any other band, many things they’ve done are among my fondest memories. The essence of Endless Disappointment and unrivaled punkness. Perfection.
2. WHITE LUNG “It’s the Evil” LP (Deranged)
To say Canada’s finest band “Went for the jugular on this one” doesn’t really convey the right level of intensity - they left someone headless on a Greyhound (in true Neighbours to the North style). They played second and rendered the room totally shattered when I saw em in June, probably the best set not performed by Bastard I saw all year. Rhythm section like Philthy Phil Taylor joined the Wipers, vocals that beg all kinds of early California comparisons ('til they get raw and then one just gets lost in em) fit together perfectly. The guitars defy rational description (said before it sounds like Bernard Sumner sat in with Koro… still stand by that one), the guy is playing out of his goddamn mind. “Loose Heels” gets me every time. No room to breathe. Monstrous.
3. TYVEK “Nothing Fits” LP (In the Red)
Sounds like Tyvek washed on the wrong cycle. Too tight? All the fragments of their rattled psyche that’ve been strewn about over the past few years have been assembled to make an obtuse, lean, efficient punk machine. The album everyone wanted, the massive guitar sound no one expected, the Matt Z approach to percussion everyone loves (he really pulled it outta nowhere on here!). Flawless from start to finish, lovely packaging, Detroit in so many ways. Wonderfully fun record.
X. HERÄTYS “Herätys” LP & “Helvettin Ja Takaisin” 7” (Not Enough/Hate)
Some absolutely unbeatable torch-carrying of the Hudiksvall sound. Yes, this is a Totalitär record with Finnish vocals. Yes, it’s only slightly different from things you’ve heard before. But the execution is so unparalleled, the rage so unequaled… The schtickiness that browned Skitkids is thrown to the side for pure, unadulterated genius and brutality. Formula on the LP is distilled to a nasty science on the following EP, which is the tequila bender of hardcore records in 2010. Let’s fight.
X. NUCLEAR FAMILY s/t LP (Loud Punk)
Tall shadows of the Avengers and Bags, maybe a little Bad Religion, it hits all the right spots and is e-p-i-c in a couple of spots I’d never leave open. Who knew a couple of huffers from ALBANY would unleash something this honest and relentless? I are idiot for not paying attention until this year. Phenomenal release. Shame they are done. RIP.
X. DIRECT CONTROL “BUCKTOWN HARDCORE” 12” (Grave Mistake)
Long-awaited reissue of my favorite Direct Control recording. They were my gateway drug, I listened to the demo tape until the cassette failed… they’re responsible for god knows how much of my living spent on punk. I started to single some out, but fuck it - all of these are among of the best songs of the 2000s (and then some). I’ve come to realize no one (especially me) should be allowed to listen to “War All the Time” while driving. The bonus features (side B) are all pretty nice, but it’s great to finally have the wunderkind era of Brandon immortalized on record. You should own all their records, but this first release is probably the most essential. An unbelievable debut… “I live fast.”
X. KRIEGSHÖG s/t LP (Hg Fact)
The most massive assault of 2010. Everything is over the top; it’s loud, mean, and burly, but their penchant for repetition makes this band a whole different animal than most of their contemporaries. There’s a lot below the surface for connoisseurs of the style, but there’s a lot on the surface for everyone else (“God is the only enemy”). Thought I’d overreacted to this at first, but I just put it on again and I was right the first time. Colossal. Great. One of the finest and most relentless records in recent memory. Worth noting again that the packaging on this is brilliantly idiotic. Beyond ecstatic that these guys are playing the States in June!
X. CRAZY SPIRIT 7” (Toxic State)
Killer debut from New York’s saviors of punk. Hits all the right spots. Outré sounds, bizarre lyrics, acute Darby Crash strangulation noises… The whole band follows the drummer’s awesome galloping style to great effect, really wild and great sounds fixed on the edge of cohesion. Schizophrenic, disorienting packaging that accurately reflects their real-life appearance. Excellent work, make an album already!
Also rulin’: DRUID PERFUME “Tin Boat To Tuna Town” LP, BLACK TIME “More Songs...” 12", CIRCLE PIT “Bruis Constellation” LP, ECSR, VAASKA, SECRET PROSTITUTES, SHARDS, NERVESKADE, "¡BRUTALES MATANZAS!" comp, BOG PEOPLE, EX-HUMANS, BUKKAKE BOYS...
WEIRD TV / CÜLO / VACUUM / WYMYNS PRYSYN / KRÖMOSOM / BOSTON STRANGLER / PORCODIO
BEST LIVE SHOWS
1. BASTARD at Chaos in Tejas: Still can’t believe it happened. A genuinely surreal experience, and not just because of the drugs. Perfect set, Zigyaku is larger than life, wonderful crowd, it felt like a dream. Opening with “Tragic Insane” was a great idea. Thinking about this set calls back a lot of emotions, the most prominent is “Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck”. Awesome in the truest sense of the word.
Close behind: WASTED TIME at Chaos / WHITE LUNG at the Berkeley / DOUBLE NEGATIVE (every time) / BUKKAKE BOYS at some house / THE SPITS everywhere / CRAZY SPIRIT at Dreg’s...
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