Thursday, December 29, 2011

Choice Tracks of 2011

I know I know...I haven't posted on this in a while. Between not having time and not caring it's been tough to write posts. I'd like to say the new year will be better, but I'm not going to make that promise. I learned a long time ago that this was a vanity project and I'm fine with it. With all that being said, I present to you the biggest blogger vanity project known to man, the "Best of Year X" list. These are my choice tracks from my favorite albums from 2011. No particular order is given. (All tracks are in one long mp3)

Mahria - Lights
(from s/t cassette)
I've already gushed about this band. You get it. Melodic and beautiful and technical and intense. Killer band set to do killer things. This song just sums up the band's sound so perfectly.

Daniel Striped Tiger - Ancient Future
(from No Difference)
This year I tried to make a better effort to wait for records I was really excited about. Downloading music is so easy and it's made music disposable. If a band took the time to press a record it only seems fair that we should try and enjoy that record for the first time the way it's meant to be heard. So despite this record being readily available on just about every blog, I waited (and waited and waited) for the 12" to show up in the mail. I chose the opener track because it so perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the album. Unrelenting and intense. Now can we stop referring to Daniel Striped Tiger as a screamo band?

Long Weekends - At Long Last
(from Warmer Weather)
This band sort of came out of nowhere for me. I'm normally not a lover of garage punk and I guess that Long Weekends would sort of fall into that category, but for whatever reason this whole 4 song digital release stuck with me. Insanely catchy and covered in a thick layer of mid 90's fuzz. At Long Last is the opener track and just a really hooky and fun post punky jam. On top of this release, these fine gents also released a single from a compilation and a soon to be released 7", both of which could also sit atop this list. Band rules so much.

What's Wrong Tohei? - Steady Breathing
(from Sick Days 12")
What's Wrong Tohei? have been a band I've heard of for a long time...even a band I've been told to listen to on numerous occasions and I must admit I ignored it for a long time. My band was asked to play a show with WWT earlier this year and I was shocked by 2 things; 1. the singer, Joel Tong, was in Black Rice, an old favorite of mine and; 2. What's Wrong Tohei? are REALLY good. Perfectly crafted rock and roll with a bit of a Hot Snakes vibe. This song is a great example of what to expect and one of my favorites off the record.

Iceage - Collapse
(from New Brigade)
Admittedly I just heard this record a few weeks ago and haven't even had a chance to snag a copy yet. Shamefully I heard about this band through pitchfork. Ugh. I disgust myself. I don't know why I'm digging this band so much. I should hate them...the mushy mouthed faux British accent is almost cringe worthy, but after a few listens it's sort of grown to be almost lovable. While the title track is a banger, Collapse just really does it for me. Pummeling song with almost danceable undertones to it.

Self Defense Family (End of a Year) - I'm Going Through Some Shit
(from I'm Going Through Some Shit 7")
It's no secret that I love End of a Year. I personally think they're one of the most challenging and interesting bands playing "punk" right now. Their output is pretty staggering and difficult to keep up with...and I'll admit I don't actually even own a physical copy of this record yet. This 7" came out mid year on Deathwish and while both songs are killer tracks there is just something so good about the title jam. The vocals are more haggard and strained than ever and the moment when the instruments cut and he sings "You are your own man" kills me every time. Great song from a great band. (Their beef song with The Men, We Heard You Cowards Didn't Want Us on Your Show gets an honorable mention as well.)

The Men - L.A.D.O.C.H.
(from Leave Home)
This whole album is fucked good. Sure it doesn't TOTALLY make sense as a cohesive unit, but if I wanted to listen to a band that writes the same song consistently over and over and over I would still listen to Pennywise. It was a toss up as to which song to choose from Leave Home but in the end I had to go with the one that I kept coming back to all year. L.A.D.O.C.H. is one of the longest songs on the track and it is undoubtedly the most abrasive and absurd. Six and a half minutes of noise, feedback, guitar noodling and throat clearing. Pure rage.

Bâton Rouge - Ca colle ŕ la peau
(from Fragments d'eux męmes)
I'll let you in on a secret. I really don't like Daitro. Yeah, yeah, I know, everyone loves them, but I honestly never really got it. Bâton Rouge shares Daitro's singer, and I thought that would turn me off of them, but I just can't resist. Gone is the silly melodrama that bothers me so much about French emo and in it's place is catchy, straight forward rocking jams. No works.

Eeva - Ego
(from s/t 7")
This was a totally random bandcamp find, but I'm so glad I did find it. At the time this was just a 2 song digital release, but they've since put up the rest of the 5 track 7". I guess they would fall into the post-hardcore/skram sound that everyone is so amped on right now, but they're just a bit groovier than most. I know nothing about this band, but this song was one that got a lot of plays this year and deserved a spot on my list.

Stalwart Sons - Steady on the Plough
(from Stalwart Sons/Slates split 7")
Out of any song on any list anywhere, this is definitely the most meaningful. Without going into great detail about why I love it so much, this song of encouragement is one that I come back to quite often and it never loses it's sheen. These guys are some of my best friends and I will never apologize for nepotism. Every song they released this year was amazing and could have made it on to this list.

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