Friday, March 21, 2014

GREG HARVESTER - Best of 2013 in MRR

LP's and 12" Records

This year sucked. These records made it better.

IRON LUNG – “White Glove Test” 2xLP 
    This record is a fucking beast. The 1st LP is just downright brutal and the 2nd LP is an album-length industrial noise track that is creepy as fuck. Both records are meant to be played together simultaneously and that’s where the whole thing becomes fucking mind-blowing. IRON LUNG has really outdone themselves with this record. I listen to it on headphones while walking through my neighborhood and it makes me wanna throw posers through windows. Plus, the LP art is outstanding.

DARK RIDES – “Walk The Floors” LP
   Every year, I get more and more bored with the quality of melodic, poppy punk that is coming out, but then a record like this one comes along and I’m sold once again. With members who have been in bands like JACK PALANCE BAND, TULSA, FUTURE VIRGINS, FORCED VENGEANCE and HIDDEN SPOTS, it’s really hard to go wrong. “Walk The Floors” is crammed with hooks blasting out of every song. The split female/male vocals are soaring throughout the entire record. The whole thing is just fucking perfect.

    I’m still torn if this is the dumbest record of the year or the smartest. I’m usually not a fan of dumb, glue-sniffing punk at all, but this record is fucking stupidly flawless. WKSJ? plays simple, ultra-catchy, three chord pogo-punk and lays down the law for punks everywhere. Lines like “I stud my fucking glue bag” and “Don’t let them tell you how to dress, let me tell you how to dress. Wear studs” are now immortal to me. So, stop thinking that it’s punk to look like a sexy lumberjack with a rattail and stud your face. Plus, their singer is a UFO investigator, a cryptozoologist and an expert on pre-Colonial Native American habitation in Massachusetts. Mindfuck….

THE LOVE TRIANGLE – “Clever, Clever” LP 
    My friend, Doug clued me into this LP pretty late in the year and I haven’t been able to get the fucking thing out of my head. This band’s EP’s are really good, but this LP is phenomenal. Catchy, poppy songs with quick 4/4 drumming and a clean, chunky guitar that is equal parts MINUTEMEN tone and not giving a fuck. The album flows perfectly and repeated listens are mandatory. “Hollywood Sleaze” has been stuck in my head for a month straight with no signs of leaving anytime soon.

NO STATIK – “Unity and Fragmentation” LP
    As always, NO STATIK kills it, both live and on vinyl. Their usual side-long song was a lot less weird than their past efforts, but still more “out there” than most other hardcore bands. The other songs on the record are just brutal and blazing. There are no other bands like NO STATIK and I love them so much. I’m excited about everything they’ve done and I look forward to everything they have to offer in the future.

THE BODY – “Christs, Redeemers” 2xLP
    2013 really sucked for me and I told a friend that THE BODY is the only band that understands how awful I feel; how much I hate many of the things around me. This record sounds like isolation, pain, confusion and hate, but is still starkly beautiful and breathtaking at the same time. It sounds like what I would imagine the whole world falling apart would sound like. Perfect.

 WHORE PAINT – “Swallow My Bones” LP
   I think the thing I like most about this record is that every member of WHORE PAINT is just a bona fide shredder. I don’t even really know how to describe them besides their own self description of riff rock / no wave / crooner shred hybrid. Their LP is excellent and seeing these three ladies (who are all older than the typical punk age) destroy a Providence warehouse with an audience of wildly dancing teens and twenty-somethings made me wanna cry in the best way.

TONY MOLINA – “Dissed and Dismissed” LP 
    On his debut record, Tony takes all the best elements of super catchy, blown out guitar rock and condenses it down to tidy, minute long jammers. No bullshit. No filler. Simply, this record makes me really fucking happy.

LAS OTRAS – “Devolver El Golpe” 12” 
    Seeing these four women come from Spain to San Francisco and simply destroy made me so fucking happy. This record made me even happier. Fiercely feminist, unapologetic, energetic and ragged punk. I love it.

    I love NATURE BOYS because they play raw punk rock that falls somewhere in that mysterious realm that DEAD MOON also inhabits. Part straightforward punk and part stripped down rock n roll. I love this LP just as much as their last one…if not more.


FUNERAL CONE – “Peel Back The Foil” EP 
   The best, noisy, most fun, manic party punk EP of the year….with hooks to back it up. Every time I listen to this, I want to see them playing live and flicking their sweat on me. I’m waiting impatiently for everything else this band will ever have to offer.

FROZEN TEENS – “Oakland/Footsteps” 45 
   These Minneapolis dudes continue to put out nothing but solid gold. These two songs are perfect melodic punk with so many layers that something new pops out with each listen. “Footsteps” has been firmly planted in my head for the better part of this year and I can’t wait for new recordings to surface.

REPLICA – “Strings” EP
    REPLICA is awesome because they sound like a bad mood on fire. They’re making some of the best, most engaging, most enraging and genuine hardcore in the Bay Area right now and I feel lucky to be around to see them. Best people. Best band.

FULL SUN – “Stay Awake” EP 
   Jeff Grant continues moving forward with his home recording project and continues to put out piles of insanely catchy power-poppy punk songs. His music occupies that same brain space of the MARKED MEN (or side projects), but less anxious and he gives his songs room to breathe. This one took a minute to grow on me, but when it did, I realized its genius and realized it would be stuck in my head for a long, long time.

NEEDLES – “Desesperacion” EP 
    This one is kind of a no brainer. Martin’s voice has been following me through my love affair with hardcore since my teenage years and the other members of this band have spent time in more great bands than you will ever be in. NEEDLES is fucking fierce as shit, committed to DIY and exactly what I want out of hardcore. This record is perfect.

    I shouldn’t really have to say anything more than “This is songs by Jeff Burke from the MARKED MEN”. The most brilliantly perfect, precise and wonderful melodic punk that you’ll ever hope to find.

COPYCATS – “Miss the Strange” EP 
    This band sent a demo in to MRR a few years ago and their songs have been stuck in my head ever since. They’re a little like Spain’s answer to FROZEN TEENS, but they have their own voice as well. Gritty, guitar-driven, ramshackle punk that will stick in your head for years. Four perfect songs.

 SWIFTUMZ – “Willy / Can We Get Together” 45 
   This record was mailed directly to me and I have no idea why, but I’m glad it was. Amidst a sea of posers, SWIFTUMZ plays beautifully executed, dreamy sounding, guitar-driven indie-pop that rises above the crap. These two songs are flawless.

    See the entry for RADIOACTIVITY.

    This EP takes elements of post-punk and that ever-present dark punk shit and slaps ‘em together to make some truly memorable shit. I want more.

Tapes (in five words or less)

RATS REST – Best tape of the year.
TIMES BEACH – Perfect indie-punk
FINAL FRONTIERS – Perfect pop about bullshit boulevards.
NEGATION – Post-punk, no wave brilliance.
TRAUMA HARNESS – Halloween Tape – Spooky punk without being hokey.
CAL AND THE CALORIES – Slimy punk rock with attitude
PUPPY VS DYSLEXIA – BOREDOMS worship done right.
HOUNDED WOUNDS / MUTANT VIDEO – The sounds inside my brain
BLACK PANTIES – Just one big bad mood.
NO STATIK – Remix tape – The perfect hardcore band.

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