Thursday, December 23, 2021

The Best Of 2021

Hard to believe that this blog is still here kicking it. Talk about diminishing returns. But, alas, it's here, we're here, and I'm glad you found it.

I must say, first and foremost, this post is dedicated to Jeremy Eutis, aka Ipecac, the founder of Shiny Grey Monotone, and our buddy. We lost Jeremy this year after a tough run, and I feel an obligation to carry on in his honor because as goofy as blogging about music can be, it meant a lot to him, and the power of music is real. Harnessing these seemingly magical currents out of thin air in a way that makes music really is beguiling, and even after punishing my ears with it for decades, I still find the same thrill in hearing just the right combination of sounds. It will never cease to amaze.
So, in that spirit, I'll keep pushing this along as long as I am able. Maybe 2022 will be the year I finally get some help?

Not much to say about 2021 that wasn't said in 2020, and at this rate, will be said again in 2022. I am thankful that in the face of diminishing returns there are still those willing to put up instead of shutting up. I can only hope that if you find something on this list that gives you some of that magic feeling, that you will do the right thing and purchase the record. Buy a shirt. Find out when they are coming to your town and go see them (unless they are playing after 7pm...which is madness, and no one should be expected to stay up that late). The magic disappears when there is nobody left to perform the spells.

Also worth noting in advance, as always, that I'm certain I've forgotten something, or gotten something on this list wrong. I used to really try hard to stay on top of all that, but at this point I'm satisfied just getting this bloated masturbatory tome out before the end of the year. You would be shocked at how much time it takes to pull it together, and I don't mean that in a "please congratulate me" way, I mean it in a "jesus, that's sad that you can't pull this together more quickly, because it reads as if you wrote it in 30-40 minutes tops." So, it is what it is, warts and all. Congrats to all those involved, and thank you from the bottom of my heart (it's actually a pig heart, I had a transplant in the late 80s) for doing what you do. 

30. Hotline TNT - Nineteen In Love

This band of former Weed members continue in the laconic fuzz-sludge-noise-pop of their previous pursuits, but with a hint less fuzz and a hint more Ride. Maybe? Still super hooky and most enjoyable. They are consciously keeping their music off streaming services, with exception for Youtube (as seen above), so you need to seek out the physical versions. It'll be worth it. Promise.

29. Naw - Head Pain

Has shades of the late great Low Dose, but veers ever so slightly more in a metal direction. Actually, reminds me of a lot of the really great heavy noise rock coming out of Philadelphia over the last few years (Plaque Marks, Fight Amp, Legendary Divorce, Ladder Devils, Gunna Vahm, Desperate Living, and the like), even though I can confirm Naw to be residents of Atlanta, GA. That tidbit might explain hearing some of their Atlanta neighbors, Whores., in the mix as well. All of this is good news and makes for an exhilarating record regardless of place of origin.

28. IDLES - Crawler

The band that you're damned if you do like them, and damned if you don't. My personal opinion is that there is something about their songwriting that made "a little go a long way", meaning, if you listened to any three random songs from any of their previous records you would say, "wow, those songs are incredible", but then you would be challenged to actually listen to an entire album all the way through. Something about it wore thin after a few songs...even though on paper they were all great songs. On this new one the songs have less..."gimmicks" to them, if that makes sense, so as a full length it's more listenable, but there aren't the individual standouts that the previous albums had. Maybe the lyrics have settled down a bit too. It's weird to put this much thought into what makes music "good", but this is a beguiling band, so here we are. Overall, I think it's a great record, and whatever the backlash...who cares.

27. Baratro - Terms And Conditions 

I am unclear as to how Dave Curran (JJ Paradise Players Club, Cutthroats 9, Pigs, Unsane, etc) ended up as part of an Italian trio, but that detail seems far less important than acknowledging this Italian trio (duo plus one immigrant?) has created a monster of vintage AmRep proportions that recalls all the glorious low end rumble and unbridled unease that we seek out. Why we seek that out is probably a good question to ask a mental health professional, but if you're as dead inside as I am, this will speak to in a way that you require.

26. Elephant Rifle - Satyriasis

Only three songs, but I'm prepared to say they are my favorite three songs that I've heard from Elephant Rifle, and believe it or not, I've heard more than any morally upright man should. This new material pulls away from some of the burlier tendencies they displayed before, and cleans the songs up a bit. I mean, look at the cover of the record, we aren't talking about Pink Floyd type "clean", but relative to their last two albums, the sound is less reliant on blunt force.

25. Steve Hartlett - Waste Of Water

Mr. Hartlett just has a knack for writing the hookiest, most deceptively simple, super enjoyable fuzzed out pop songs. Of the Midas Touch or whatever you want to call it. Even when he is executing his ideas in a solo, stripped down way, it is still some of the most satisfying indie rock bliss you will be fortunate enough to hear that week. Maybe month? I don't want to project how often it is that you listen to indie rock bliss. (*please note, there are no videos for the Waste Of Water album available to share, so here's one off a previous solo record...which is also very very good.)

24. Pile - Songs Known Together, Alone

I hope that over the years I have made it abundantly clear just how much I love the band Pile, and the songwriting prowess of Rick Maguire. If I haven't, then take notice now, as I will reaffirm this. That being said, my own prejudices about the original full band arrangements of the songs that are presented on this record as reinterpreted solo pieces made this a difficult listen. At first. But then, as I should have expected, these new versions wormed their magic into my dusty old stubborn ears as wholly new expressions of the same brilliance that excited me about them before. I'm sure that as I keep listening, sometime around March 2022, this will become my actual favorite record of 2021.

23. Trigger Cut - Rogo

High quality, from the Chicagoland School of Noise Rock, except that these guys are from Germany, which, and I certainly am not a geography expert, is not in or around Illinois. Someone check me on that though.  I am also not an expert in human psychology, but feel pretty confident that if you are a fan of this blog, then you are going to be a fan of this album. Again, someone feel free to check me on that.

22. USA/Mexico - Del Rio

If their last record was so blown out that you found it unlistenable, then this one is really going to bum you out. Barely quantifiable as being within the confines of "music", yet somehow here I am, nodding along to the beat (or approximation thereof). This record should be blasted over the PA system of the next earth-bound planet destroying asteroid (assuming that technology exists)

21. End You - Aimless Dread

One man wrecking crew, which for music this visceral was maybe a necessity? Nobody else to get in the way, or dilute the process? Whatever the methodologies, you can't argue with the results, this record goes full bore from the first notes but still allows some natural light to come through the bleakness to give the songs life. I mean, it's mostly bleak, if we're being honest, but isn't that sort of what "speaks to us"?

20. Anthesis / Cell Press / Greber / Botfly - Split

Four for the price of one? Can't argue with that math. Anthesis get one track of super heavy metallic sludge attack. Cell Press get two tracks of just mean and heavy pummelling. Greber also get a two-fer, and they also play super heavy, but with a MITB styled bass barrage. And Botfly round it out with a single track of...can you guess? You got it! More super heavy, twisted battery. Can't go wrong!

This year I'm trying to keep 'Tha Corner (no? not working?) to my favorite ten releases so as to maintain some semblance of order in this peregrination of a blog post that I'm sure is already running way too long.

Honorable Mention - Your Old Droog w/ MF Doom - Dropout Boogie

Your Old Droog had three full lengths this year, with some real highlights of Nas-esque deliver, and a fair amount of filler too, but this one song is fucking incredible. Maybe the best single song of the year.

10. Black Madeen - Let The Good Get Even

The vast majority of hip hop records I hear have two, maybe three, bangers and then the rest is filler (Little Simz’s record was a good example this year). This Black Madeen album doesn’t have the standout bangers, but is instead a consistent and rock solid full record. 

9. Curly Castro - Little Robert Hutton

I’d never heard of Curly Castro prior to this record, but his adventurous wordplay and unique musicality make for a super satisfying listen. 

8. Bronx Slang - Substance 

You want to come correct with grimy boom bap throwback records? I’m in. Every time. This one really occupies that spot in my lizard brain for good Golden Age styled hip hop, and I’m stoked on it. 

7. Grip - I Died For This? 

Happy to hear something out of Atlanta that isn’t mumbling trap bullshit. Grip has shades of Kendrick Lamar, but keeps things more straightforward. Super solid. 

6. 3PleB + Cut Beetlez - Manifestation Of The Groundwork

Cut Beetlez had two full length collaborations this year, both of which were sort of a drag, and weighed down by one-note MCs. This ep length collaboration is a lot more energetic and bouncy and interesting. 3PleB holds her own and is worth the price of admission herself. 

5. Homeboy Sandman - Anjelitu

Only 6 songs, but to my ears a little goes a long way with Homeboy Sandman’s unique delivery. Added points for an ode to veganism in the song “No Beef” (and “Cow’s Milk”). KRS-ONE would be proud. Aesop Rock produced this record, and his idiosyncratic beats support the bouncy wordplay and flow really well. 

4. Jazz Spastiks - Camera Of Sound 

Two producers out of England make fairly laid back, vaguely jazzy beats, and then grab an impressive array of MCs to jump in and flesh them out (not all of them, there are a bunch of instrumental cuts here), which gives an interesting diversity to the album without sacrificing a consistent level of quality. Had never heard of these dudes before, but now I’m digging a lot of their stuff. 

3. Backxwash - I Lie Here Buried With My Rings And My Dresses 

You could argue about the hip hop bonafides of this record since it has a lot of industrial elements in the way it’s built on menacing sparse beats, and the vocal delivery is borderline (and occasionally) abrasive, but…it’s such a rad record that caught me completely off-guard that I keep circling back to it. The subject matter is an autobiographical reflection on Backxwash’s life as a trans artist navigating a world that isn’t ready for her yet. Punker than most hip hop…punker than a lot of punk. 

2. Remedy - Remedy Meets WuTang

I mean, I’m a sucker for the big beat grit of WuTang related shit. It generally upholds a standard of quality that not a lot of dynasties can lay claim to. This delivers on what you what, and has appearances by Inspectah deck, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, RZA, Killah Priest, and Cappadonna (among others). 

1. Black Thought - Streams Of Thought vol. 3

Well, what do you know, the hip hop record I listened to the most in the year 2021 actually came out in the year 2020. Surprise…I keep my head up my ass. I also will admit it took a full listen to this to realize that Black Thought is Tariq Trotter from The Roots, a group I’ve never really given much thought to. Sometimes pulling your head out of you ass pays off. This record is unreal, flawless lyricism, big booming beats, AND a single with Pusha T, Swiss Beats, and Killer Mike. Essential!


19. Pet Fox - More Than Anything

This band has figured out the perfect approximation of mid-90's emo, and recast it in a way that processes as vital and pleasing as anything you would have seen at the Fireside circa 1997. They have avoided all of the fey pitfalls that would sink a lesser caliber band, and created an ep of incredibly refreshing songs. 

18. Tunic - Quitter

A paean to hopelessness as channeled through an unhinged collection of bleeding invectives. Here is a band who leave nothing to question. Their intent is crystalline, and it would appear you have been targeted for vilification whether guilty or not. You are collateral damage in an assailing against all those who have wronged Tunic. Sorry?


In the revolving door of any local music scene membership, the various combinations of personnel that wind up together to make music generally has a poor return on investment. Most new bands stink, even when they have "members of", so it's easy to lose track of what is new in your neighborhood. This band was in danger of being overshadowed as "featuring a member of The Coathangers", but if you're looking for that style of shambolic garage rock, you're out of luck. Conversely though, you're IN luck, because NRCSSST deal in a very swaggering, sharp, noirish version of what they self describe as "alternative rock", which I suppose is fair, but this band buries whatever the local terrestrial "X" radio station is playing (assuming terrestrial radio is still a thing?). Nomenclature aside, whatever your descriptor, this album is amazing.

16. Meat Wave - Volcano Park

The best band at putting the "punk" post-punk, Meat Wave continue a hot streak of jaunty (yeah...jaunty...I said what I said), nervy canticles that ride in a watertight hull of pinpoint musicianship and deceivingly direct song structures.  Their consistency is astounding in that they manage to find new ways to keep a tried and true formula from getting stale. Each record is as vital and life affirming as the last, and when you're dead inside like me...that's a true feat!

15. Grins - Unflattering Angles

The grimiest, grossest Finnish agitation on the market today. Wonder if they are neighbors with Throat? Wonder if they have ever punched a reindeer? This sounds like the kind of band who would punch a reindeer first, then ask questions later. And that's not even meant to be an insult, just a statement of fact. These burly motherfuckers appear to be reindeer punchers!

14. Mannequin Pussy - Perfect

Only points deducted are for brevity, otherwise this is...I don't want to say know what I'm going to say, right? I think these are the last songs recorded with the original four piece lineup (now a trio), and they continue the upward trajectory from 2019's "Patience" (which was maybe our Best Of 2019 number one record...which should be easy enough to check, but...I am a very sedentary man), a flawless mix of indie rock confessions and hardcore caterwaul accents. I dare say it's...perfect?

13. Intercourse - Rule 36

Talk about ugly. Goddamn, this record is fucking ugly. And I don't mean the cover is unattractive or anything, I mean sonically it is offensive to any self-respecting Christian household. Just a barbarous collection of spittle, sweat, and serial killer pheromones. I hope the police have been alerting to the existence of this...thing.

12. Bummer - Dead Horse

Akin to the sound of opening your front door whilst in the middle of a tornado, Bummer most definitely do not work in subtleties. By the end of this eleven song album, if you're not completely bushed, you may want to consider that it's entirely possible you are, and have been, a psychopath person.

11. Infinity Land - Honest Comedy

If you thought being in one fucked up band was hard, try being in two! Ask Tarek Ahmed, who also appears in #13 on the countdown as well as this four song bastard child. Talk about commitment! Or...maybe we should talk about having him committed. Infinity Land are less blunt, but just as brusque as their Intercourse neighbors, they employ a more sinister undercurrent beneath the roiling noise, which gives the songs more variety and personality.

I didn't really listen to that much new hardcore this year, as I was very busy listening to the same old hardcore I've been listening to for over 30 years. Cause I'm very hip. Obviously. And to prove my hipness I went ahead and joined a new hardcore band of other calcified old dusty like myself, so that we could make one last run at sounding like we are 16 years old. Look for that on next year's Top Ten. 1-10...the list will be this new band. It will be THAT GOOD.

10. Chain Whip - Two Step To Hell

Reminds me of something that would have been on Touch And Go circa 1981. Has that gruff kinda no frills, straight to the point, approach. Super solid.

9. Tower 7 - …Peace On Earth?

If you said, "hey dummy, this was a band on Tribal War back in 1995 who opened for Code 13 at ABC No Rio." I would have said, "it's true, I am a dummy."

8. Scowl - How Flowers Grow

A raging caterwaul that ricochets off every wall, smashing whatever objects should find themselves in its path. Exactly what hardcore was designed to achieve.

7. Subculture - Live ’86

I try to not include reissues or compilations of old material in these things, but this live recording is not a reissue, and these songs have languished unheard for years. Plus, this is fucking Subculture, the pride of my hometown of Winston-Salem, NC. They were certainly direct descendants of the pride of my home state, Corrosion Of Conformity, but they rage in their own right. This is essential as far as I am concerned, I only wish it was on record and not cassette. No videos from this live release, so here's the album version of one of the songs on the tape. Also, if you can find this album it's an absolute must.

6. Candy Apple - Sweet Dreams Of Violence

Blown out and brain rattling. The whole album flies by under a wash of scratched feedback in under 20 minutes, just as god intended. 

5. Scumfire - Trash Film

Damn. Serious damage here. Four songs of unrelenting punishment that seem to run on a combination of boiling blood and antagonistic grudges. Grim.

4. Hustler - Hustler (and Demo)

The self-titled four song ep is superb, but they also had a demo earlier in the year that is honestly just as's a two-fer! What separates this band from the average hardcore pummeler's is that they layer in some raw thrash metal, along with some Christian Death graveyard fog. Gives more depth than you may expect, and results in a wild ride.

3. Bitter Branches - Along Came A Bastard

I'm not exactly sure what more needs to be said about the recent resurgence of Tim Singer material on the market, but we should all praise Jah that he continues to agree to bless us with it.  Not to discount the band, cause the band is bringing the fucking heat. So bless them too.

2. Regional Justice Center - Crime And Punishment

I tend to think hardcore shouldn't be "funny" (with rare exception), or frivolous. Regional Justice Center appear to agree, as this is one of the meanest, most pissed sounding collections I heard all year. Blisteringly pissed. This is how you do a new take on an old (angry) favorite.

1. Colonial Wound - Degradation

If there is a Hardcore Purity Test, this one may not pass muster on account of the liberal use of noise rock deployed within the songs. But those who get super caught up on genre labels end up missing out. Don't miss out. 


10. (tie) The Grasshopper Lies Heavy - Worships A God Of Death

Abandon all hope, ye who enter...or listen. This is a complete bruiser of massive proportions. Big, subsurface rumbles, with collapsing building percussion and advancing lava field riffs. Not for those with heart conditions.

10. (tie) MTN ISL - Big Question 

The underdog's underdog, MTN ISL continue to quietly (but loudly) churn out some of the highest grade downer rock in recent memory. Surly and brusque, they manage to stay ebullient against their own tendencies, and while yeah, there's some miring going on, there's something morosely uplifting (is that the right word?) about it. Trust me, it's great. Somebody needs to step up and get this released on record.

9. Human Impact - ep 1

Sounds like these were the "leftovers" from around the recording of the debut lp last year. A lesser band would have happily claimed these as the best record they could ever have hoped to release, but I suppose to the personnel behind Human Impact, they are simply "more." A handful of these have been available online, but it's nice to have them assembled for easy consumption. Also, this is a good reminder of how great Cop Shoot Cop were, in case you had forgotten. Somehow.

8. Big Brave - Vital

Oh, that massive, warm, all-encompassing heft that Big Brave does. That pulsing, meditative density, it is a real thing of beauty. Part Bardo Pond, part Boris, part My Bloody Valentine, it's a comforting embrace of volume-forced air that soothes in its impenetrability. A real thing of beauty indeed.

7. Unsane - Improvised Munitions

If someone were to make a Noise Rock Mount Rushmore (as opposed to a Confederate sympathizing racist paean to nationalism), and they didn't put Chris Spencer's bust square in the middle of it, I'd dynamite it myself. The story of this album is well known, and Unsane's deliberateness is equally established, so I really shouldn't have to say anything more. Praise Jah this record was recovered from the dustbin of history, as we are all luckier for it.

6. Eyehategod - A History Of Nomadic Behavior

How on earth are Eyehategod still alive 30 years into being a band, much less releasing a record now that rivals anything in their filth-ridden discography? It makes no sense, but I guess despite the challenges and setbacks, these lifers are fucking survivors. So, hail Eyehategod! Please continue to smear your ill-will across our collective brains as often as you care to, forever and ever.

5. Helmet - Live And Rare

I don't know, is this a cop out? Maybe? I know we have the Unsane record up there and now this. I can't deny though that I listened to this record way more than i probably should have. Maybe these pristine live recordings were too explicit a reminder of what a potent precision killing machine Helmet was during their initial run. These songs are straight up untouchable, and the performances are downright insane. How they manage to hammer so tightly like's a real testament to the players and the songwriting. So, ok, fine, it's a bit of a cop out, but this is who I am and what I love. You can't punish me for being a lover!

4. Part Chimp - Drool

Over the years these dudes have dialed in their fuzzy drone approach to riff-rock, stretching the effectiveness of simple, pounding structures. Seems easy, but there's a reason that there isn't another band who sound like this...cause it isn't easy. It's like the old Dolly Parton quote," It takes a lot of money to look this cheap."

3. Engine Kid - Special Olympics

As if the repackaging and re-releases of the original Engine Kid records wasn't enough of a reminder that this band was something incredibly special, they decide they can't leave well enough alone, and they go and write (well, sorta write...they are mostly reworkings of material they never recorded prior to the band's dissolvement) new songs! And my lord...they are as devastating and satisfying as anything Engine Kid has unleashed up to this point. Yeah, it's only four songs at just over ten minutes, but fuck you man, this is what I needed!

2. No Escape - Selective Punches: A Collection Of Ballads And Battle Hymns

Real talk: the No Escape demo from 1990 may just be the greatest hardcore demo ever recorded. Let's get that out there. Their original compilation appearances and the split with Turning Point are Hall Of Fame entries without a doubt. The "Just Accept It" lp was maybe divisive(?) , and I'm still pissed it was never released on record, but I think it's incredible, and I recall when they broke up after it's release it was because parts of the band "wanted to sound like Pearl Jam", and Tim Singer wanted to descend into gnarlier, burlier territory (which I would say Deadguy qualified as). So, to say this reunion record was being held to extremely high expectations, would be an understatement. A nerdy as fuck understatement, but one no less. And to my ears, they did what they had no right to do, which was to pick up where the final lp left off and give the ole girl a walk through a dark, fetid alley. This is the classic No Escape sound without missing a fucking beat. It would have been all too easy for them to take their foot off the gas and embarrass themselves, but goddamn if they didn't mop the fucking floor with most of their contemporaries. Crazy good. Now...can we please get that last record a proper release?!

1. Quicksand - Distant Populations

Big surprise that a 47 year old man picked this record as his favorite of the year, huh? What do you want from me? I can't help it that Quicksand came out of the blue to put out a record that seamlessly melds the grooving lurch of the "classic" era of the band with the more recent shimmering blissed out shoegaze of the reunited era. What am I supposed to do, pretend this isn't impeccable? It's fucking impeccable y'all! Yeah, I was worried that TC3 had been removed from the lineup, and yeah, I'll admit that there was some fluff on the "Interiors" record (still a great record though), so if I'm being honest I was a tad apprehensive about this one. I think seeing them during the Interiors touring cycle as a three piece and hearing how the new material worked really well, much fuller and grander than expected, reminded me to never doubt Wally Biscuits. Seeing them on this last tour with Stephen Brodsky, the whole band smiling ear to ear the full show, was what sealed the deal on this record. It's an amazing addition to a peerless run of post-hardcore. I will never doubt Mr. Schreifels again. I don't know what came over me. Easy choice for best of the year.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

The (Almost) Best Of 2021


Good lord, did we collectively survive another year, or have we transitioned on to another metaphysical plane that would appear to harbor the same ridiculous proclivities and neurosis (not capital "N" Neurosis...that would be awesome) as the previous? Is time a flat circle, a social construct we have all bought into and based our arithmetic systems upon, or simply a yawning void of infinite darkness upon which we happened to share this cosmic blip? Does it matter? How many records SHOULD be included on a "Best Of" list? 

Well, like each preceding year, I never really remember how I did this thing the year prior, so I have to just kind of arbitrarily stop counting records at some point in order to manage this tedium. Looking back at old posts, I seem to be hovering around a Top 30 or Top 35 from year to year, so that seems fair. Plenty of great and worthy artistic endeavors will be left on the proverbial cutting room floor, but chances are, few will notice. But it's worth noticing that people, against all odds (financial and otherwise), continue to assemble music together in a somewhat Sisyphean effort to have that music heard and hopefully appreciated by others. And that's the point of these lists we ('s still just me), to recognize the people willing to put it on the line and do the hard work of creating art out of thin air. So to those who are making music, those who are trying, and those who champion the efforts, we (I) salute you. Thank you.

As always, the caveat is the same, "yes, I know I forgot something...I know I have predictable and disturbingly immature tastes...and yeah, I didn't hear your record." I apologize, sort of, but I also pat myself on the back for listening to more music over the course of a day than my family, friends, or employer would like for me to.

To offer some brevity, this year I am attempting to use the Japanese Tanka style of poetry which limits the piece to 31 syllables in a three or five line form. I am not a strong writer to begin with, and most certainly not a poet (I know it. [pretty good one, right?]), so lets see together how this works.

Here we go; some really really great music for you to explore.

65. Zahn - Zahn

A shimmering, swelling, approach to post-rock
Everything moves forward all the time
But there are no vocals, if that's a prob

64. Shame - Drunk Tank Pink

Post-punk jittery brilliance
All tense and taut and fraying at the edges
I shouldn't even need to tell you they are English

63.Wanderer - Liberation From A Brutalist Existence

Hey, remember that time you fell down the stairs,
And you rolled around clutching your injuries?
Someone wrote a soundtrack to that time.

62. Stilts - Dimwit On The Loose

This does everything you need it to do
And it's Finnish to boot
Let me know if you find better noise rock from there this year

61. Kowloon Walled City - Piecework

At first listen this didn't do much
But the album reveals itself slowly
Over time I imagine this will grown on me.

60. FACS - Present Tense

Building a temple of menacing dread
From layered scrapings of discarded disappointments
The dead, fouled heart of Chicago.

59. Capra - In Transmission

Real deal abrasive attack
Never lets off the gas
You can hear the South baked into their caustic abuse: hardcore, sludge, metal

58. Philary - Uh-Oh It's Me

A lot of noise and variation from a one man band
Lo-fi, but hi-quality
From wild to mild and back again. Again

57. Lice - Wasteland: What Ails Our People Is Clear

Ordinarily "concept album" makes me flaccid.
This one has intrigued my dander thusly
What does this mean, should I worry?

56. Dug - 35:35

Tripped up, doomed out, fucked for sure.
Guide yourself through the pulsing dark star.
No guarantee for safe return from this journey past your mind

55. Suspects - It's Just You And Me Now

You should read the backstory on this one
It's much longer than I could convey via short form poetry
Music worth it too.

54. Rid Of Me - Traveling

Confidence goes a long way.
So does vision.
This band has executed on a fully formed understanding of these two truths.

53. Terminal Bliss - Brute Err/ata

Dudes who were in good bands before
Paying homage to good bands who came before that
Hardcore that bleeds out in the red the whole time

52. T-Tops - Staring At A Static Screen

No frills
And I'm telling you, the last thing you want right now is frills
This is straight up, noise rock punk, heavy on the rocking pieces

51. Demons - Privation

Prolonged exposure may result in grimacing
Punching holes in walls
Continued hatred and contempt of our shared condition

50. Brain Cave - Log World

Sounds like having a burlap sack placed over your head
And then your friend's father berates you at a high volume.
What did you do?!

49. Luggage - Happiness

They pride themselves on stark reductiveness
Boiling the bloat out to render the purest forms
"Fear" is one of the best songs you'll hear

48. Show Me The Body - Survive

Cold, shaded by industrial bellows
This is legitimate darkness from the most expensive dirt pile on earth.
Three songs tho.

47. GG King - Remain Intact

Greg King just has a knack for squeezing good times
Out of tried and true punk rock
Always excited to hear what he is doing next.

46. Sun Organ - Portal

Lysergic shoegaze rock
I think someone's thumb is on the record
Slowing it down and giving it a magnificent warble

45. Rebreather - The Line, The Width, and The War Drone

Honk if you knew Rebreather were still putting out records.
Honk if you're as stoked as me to find out.
Points for album title

44. Chain Gang Grave - Cement Mind

All kinds of fucked
Filthy and feral
Too damaged to be called hardcore, too desperate to be called sludge, just for those with no choice

43. Succumb - XXI

Full frontal assault
Empty your weapons, spare none, offer no quarter.
Absolute punishment. Complete and utter destruction

42. Great Falls / Throes - split

Two great tastes that go great together
Assuming you like the taste of massive heaviness
With subtle notes of "go fuck yourself"

41. Grizzlor - Hammer Of Life

This band always delivers
They know how to hide a groove under 6 feet of muddy filth.
Record cover kinda says it all

40. Botfly - Lower Than Love

You can tell that there is a screamy hardcore past
But they lived to tell
And now they wield the truncheon of heavy noise(core) rock

39. Pardoner - Came Down Different

Forever hail slacker fuzz pop
With frayed edges and tunefulness out of tune.
Will I ever tire of a catchy messy band?

38. Work Party - My Best Days Are Behind Me

The mission is to put the fun back in noise rock
Assuming it ever was
Fun that is. Assuming noise was ever fun.

37. Wipes - Dumpster / You're The Boss

Dudes from the band Tiles
More shouted and bombastic post-hardcore noise
And I think I hear a melody buried in there somewhere?

36. X'ed Out - We All Do Wrong

This one is a bruiser from word one
Unrepentant and spiteful aggression,
You got brass instrumentation in my noise rock!

35. Matt Sweeney and Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Superwolves

I'll take as many Matt Sweeney records as he is willing to make.
Keep them coming
Old sad bastard music is alive and well!

34. Gloop - Crayon Sun

No messing around, this is a ringing in your ear
A tinnitus head fuck lightening strike
Coil magnets bore straight your face

33. Eye Flys - Exigent Circumstance

Very loud, very belligerent, very close to your face
This guy will never stop will he?
How do you think he lost those teeth?

32. Portal - AVOW

My death metal needs something special
Or else it's boring barbarism.
Portal are weird enough to excite and make me care

31. Mouthbreather - I'm Sorry Mr. Salesman

Maximalist punishment in the most unrelenting way
From the school of Converge
With a minor in The Acacia Strain

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Smashing Pumpkins - Waiting For The Past

Label: Bootleg
Year: 1991

Yes, I understand that Billy Corgan has a humongous bald melon head. And yes, I am completely aware that after Jimmy Chamberlain got hooked on the horse, and D'arcy bailed out and James Iha quit(?) that the band lapsed into a severe state of creative decline (and infinite sadness?). I got it. I know.
But I also am well versed in the band's previous ability to stoke some of the most ferocious and rollicking big guitar music ever. I heard them do it! I saw them do it! Despite (all my rage?) all the baggage that seemed to come along with the band in those early years, they were head and shoulders above their peers in their ability to unleash a warm, heavy, blissed out bounty. They dealt out blistering guitar solos when guitar solos were taboo relics of dinosaur rock. They embraced a hippie-damage aesthetic when flower power was a joke to be sneered at...possibly's hard to say. They were unrepentant in their quest to rock out, when you were supposed to be flailing around to a noisy Stooges sludge concoction. They were weird in a time when being weird was getting harder to do (weirdness was co-opted, you see).
So, whatever. Slag them off if you must. But I'm telling you...these fuckers were raging in a way that nobody else was trying. Enough to excuse a few "Zero" t-shirts (but not enough to excuse Ava Adore, or whatever that record was called...holy shit.)
This bootleg is from three sources; live in Madison, WI 06-16-90, live in Madison, WI 10-16-91, and one "studio" track. There are some very seldom heard songs on here. Plus some slower versions of songs you are well aware of. And that cover's a glorious mess of 90's graphic study!

*originally posted 10.20.15, reposted 12.07.21

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