I swear to whatever you worship, time is just flying as of late and I just realized I probably should be posting this best of list already.
I feel like I repeat myself annually by saying “there were some really good releases during the current year” as I build said list, but honestly, it is true. Bands new and old just keep me entertained and that is why I guess I keep doing this little blog here.
In the interest of time, I am keeping this year’s best of list extremely short and sweet. No links or photos this time. Just a quick list of the albums/EPs/whatever that impressed me to no end and were spun often. If you are wondering who a particular someone is, Google the hell out of them and listen.
Big Nothing – Chris
MakeWar – Get it Together
Cave In – Final Transmission
Strange Magic – Unfortunately
Orville Peck – Pony
Aggrolites – Dirty Reggae
Ramona – Deals, Deals, Deals!
Bad Religion – Age of Unreason
Sturgill Simpson – Sound & Fury
Pup – Morbid Stuff
Heart Attack Man – Fake Blood
Subhumans – Crisis Point
More Kicks – More Kicks
Good Riddance – Thoughts and Prayers
Lagwagon – Railer
Harvey Pekar – Paris Green
Moderator – The Mosaics
Off With Their Heads – Be Good
Warp Lines – Human Fresh
Teenage Bottlerocket – Stay Rad!
Tool – Fear Inoculum
BEST EPS / 7″s
Signals Midwest – Pin
Charger – Charger
Twin Temple – Satan’s A Woman
Red Scare Industries – 15 Years of Tears and Beers
As always, thanks for checking out my site. I do this for my love of music and anyone who has the slightest interest in what I have to say.
I hate that I was not able to review every release I listed. I had every intention to, but life gets in the way more and more so I did what I could. If one person checked out a band because of what I was able to talk about, then my job is done.
Bands and labels, thanks for always considering me.
I speak not of the color, but of the boy-girl-boy Texas trio that literally has caught me off guard in a good good way. They call their sound party rock and I could not agree more.
In January, Purple drops their debut (409) on Pias Recordings. It is tough for me to even think that this is their first album given how well put together it sounds.
“Wallflower” started things off with a Detroit rock sound. It was tough to gauge this band until about the halfway mark and suddenly I was loving what I heard.
“Leche Loco” carried an amazing similarity to 90s acts like Dinosaur Jr. and Bikini Kill as well as even good ol’ Jane’s Addiction.
“Beach Buddy” was a catchy track that was like a morph between Used Kids, The Strokes, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. This fun beach jam was amazing. I loved the back and forth singing between Hanna Brewer and Taylor Busby only for them to join together.
“Thirteen” was like Joan Jett met a hardcore version of The Faint. Damn, this song was nuts. I loved it. The quick breakdowns and the heavy guitars with distorted vocal notes. The video for it was even more insane.
“Target” had Brewer singing like a young Gwen Stefani and Juliana Hatfield but not without adding her own force in. “Head On The Floor” continued with I am hoping the next song to be plastered all over the radio. This track reeked of 90s alt-rock and was extremely enjoyable thanks to that Weezer bass riff.
With more of a blues rock feel, “Newborn” slowed things down a bit. I felt this track proved how much talent this band holds. Dan Auerbach, maybe you need to hit these kids up over Danger Mouse next time. Seriously though, this tune was impressive.
“I like to party and ear a bikini” started off the final song “DMT”, a gritty punk jam that was heavy on the distortion and reverb. Not sure how this will come off but, it is so nice to hear new music take queue from classic punk and alt-rock sounds from my younger years.
This album was full of wholesome pop-garage-punk-rock goodness with some psychedelic flavor and even a little riot grrl-ish making for a truly refreshing listen. If anything though, most of all, it was freaking fun.
This band is going places. I know it.
The best part about this release? It drops on my birthday.
For the record, I suck at blogging and I apologize. Maybe one of my New Year’s resolutions will be for me to pay more attention to this blog of mine. In all seriousness though, I have been busy with the paying gig and school, so please excuse the lack of posts and whatnot. I really do plan on changing that.
Moving from Ohio to New Mexico earlier this year was pretty hard on me for more reasons than one. The number one thing, aside from extremely missing all my friends and family back home, is the lack of continual live shows out here. Sure, I could drive to Albuquerque to catch something, but that is a 6 hour round trip I would prefer to avoid alone. El Paso even had a couple good shows I was all about until I found out they were either sold out or that I had to be up at 5 a.m. the next morning. Yeah, getting old sucks. Luckily for me, I still can keep up with new music and pretend I know what is going on. That is not to say that Las Cruces doesn’t have a music scene, I just have not gotten my feet wet in it yet.
Regardless of my situation, 2012 was an exceptionally good year for music. I am sure you can easily think of 5 albums that blew your mind this year. I know I can, in fact I have a whole bunch. With 2012 is coming to an end, I suppose it is my time where I get to tell everyone my top albums of 2012.
I think what kills me the most about talking about all these great releases is that I was not able to review them like I originally intended to. So, do me a favor if you can; if you have not heard of any of my top picks below, please check them out. Thanks.
In no particular order, here are a bunch of releases that amazed me in 2012:
Masked Intruder – Self-Titled Release
-Surprise release of 2012 if you ask me. The most unique pop-punk you could imagine by a group of fun dudes in ski masks. I can not even tell you how many times this album played over and over in my car this summer.
Luther – Let’s Get You Somewhere Else
-I was so looking forward to this release by these Philly champs. Easily one of the best releases of the year. This band is going places.
Ma Jolie – …Compared To Giants
-More Philly love. Once upon a time, Ma Jolie played a basement show for a couple of cool dude’s birthdays in Akron. They rule and you need to check them out. Still shocked no one has signed them yet.
Cherry Cola Champions – Self-Titled Release -Last year they made my 2011 Best of list with their EP. This year they debuted their full-length release and it just rules. I can not even tell you how many times I have spun this amazing album. Solid dudes too.
Lucero – Women & Work –A bunch of good ol’ boys making some good ol’ music. I really dug this album a ton.
Tony Sly / Joey Cape – Acoustic Volume Two
-This covers project sequel by two of the best names in punk rock was just all so good to listen to. Sadly as many of you know, Tony Sly passed away on July 31st. Needless to say, this record is more important than ever to this fan of Sly who has been providing tunes to my ears since I was a young punk rocker. RIP Tony…
The Menzingers – On The Impossible Past
-This band continues to impress me and I am so stoked to watch them mature as musicians in such a short amount of time. Now that they are on the Epitaph roster, I am pretty sure things will only excel for them.
Cheap Girls – Giant Orange
-This is one of those bands that if you have no idea who they are, you need to familiarize yourself with them immediately.I loved this release from start to finish. I am also so bummed to have missed them live twice this year!!! Oh well.
The Sidekicks – Awkward Breeds
-Right at the beginning of the year, The Sidekicks shot out an incredible release. I love this northeast Ohio band.
Annabel – Youth In Youth
– Right at the end of the year, Annabel shot out an incredible release. I love this northeast Ohio band. Deja vu. You have no idea how proud I am of these guys.
All Dinosaurs – Rules Of Civility And Decent Behavior
–Right in the middle of the year….just kidding. All Dinosaurs did release an hard album that I am still having trouble getting my hands on the vinyl version. I am not even sure if that is the right album cover above, that is how hard of a time I am having finding it!
Old Flings – Spite
–Found this pop punk folk indie 90s rock awesomeness totally on accident. This Asheville, NC trio has my approval. Looking forward to seeing more from these guys.
Joyce Manor – Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired -This was the quickest and most well written release of the year if you ask me. 9 songs in 13 minutes and it all makes perfect sense.
Dikembe – Broad Shoulders -This was a release I almost overlooked – I said almost… Boy am I glad that did not happen. Killer album.
Hot Water Music – Exister -It took me exactly two listens of this album for me to fall in love with it. These punk rock heroes have not lost their touch at all.
Japandroids – Celebration Rock
–An amazing follow up to their debut that continues their musical expression of fun and living life the rock n roll way.
Dinosaur Jr. – I Bet On Sky
-I have adored Dinosaur Jr. since I was a kid. This release shows no wear and tear of the boys whatsoever. Love this release.
The XX – Coexist
– I remember years ago when I heard Portishead for the first time and the chills I got. The XX brought back that feeling on their sophomore release.
The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
-Haters, hate. I loved this release. Catchy as hell.
Brendan Kelly and the Wandering Birds – I’d Rather Die Than Live Forever
–It’s like The Lawrence Arms unplugged, but different. Seriously though, this was a solid release by a great musician that may have slipped through the cracks for many. If you like honest, real situations expressed in music, listen to this.
The Avett Brothers – The Carpenter
-This band continues to impress and remains one of my all time favorite bands out there. I will admit, this album took a couple listens for me to fully appreciate it and now I just can not stop listening to it.
The Fake Boys – Pig Factory -Once upon a time, a bunch of dudes from hardcore bands decided they wanted to play the music that they grew up on. The result is this gracious nod to the 90s that is enjoyable as hell by this music lover.
Titus Andronicus – LocalBusiness
-There is just something about this album that appealed to me. Punk / Indie / Rock goodness.
NOFX – Self-ENtitled -I was like 6 years old when this band first started. I have been a fan of them since high school. They have once again not failed in putting out a clever, hilarious pop-punk gem. If you can not appreciate this band for doing things their way for over 30 years, then I must tell you, they probably do not care, nor do I.
Mixtapes – Even On The Worst Nights -Pop punk dudes and a nice young lady from Ohio continue to make fun singable tunes for all to love. It was almost impossible to not like this release.
Minus The Bear – Infinity Overhead -I really can not say much about this release aside from how great it is.
I am sure I missed a couple there and for all you know, I added more after I initially posted this. Like I previously mentioned, 2012 was a great year for music. It seemed like every other week something new and noteworthy dropped. I really think that this year was the best year for music releases in a long time.
I am proud of all my friends who are in bands that released albums this year as well as the ones who played tons of shows and toured their hearts out. Nothing pleases me more than seeing you all do what you do for the sake of loving music. Keep it up everyone.
In 2012, a bunch of bands called it quits or parted ways. Leatherface broke up as did Daytrader (I really thought they were going to find a replacement for Tym too). I was so bummed when Spraynard announced they were finished. Refused broke up again, although I was not really phased by this. I was bumming when I learned Ween announced they were no more. Apparently Chumbawumba disbanded too but no one cared. Ninja Gun even announced at the Fest that they were through – that sucks in my book.
Luckily for us music lovers, as fast as bands break up, new ones form and release sounds for us all to hear.
Let’s see what 2013 has in store for us all. I can only hope it is just going to continue to get better.
Earlier this year, I threw a record on my turntable by a band I had never heard of. I did it out of morbid curiosity and honestly was not too sure I was going to even get through the first side. Of course I judged a band by its cover and had no right in doing so, because that record ruled. The band is called The Fake Boys and I made sure I did a proper review on them clearly pointing out that they reach back to the 90s and should never have been considered a pop punk band.
I do not know honestly why I was hesitant in spinning that record. Maybe I need to just cut that crap off.
Anyways, I am glad I introduced myself to The Fake Boys. If you were lucky enough to have grown up in the 90s and fed off the music scene, chances are you will love this band. They recall alternative rock, grunge rock, and true punk rock in their style making for a style this music listener really appreciated.
Recently I was able to catch up with signer/guitarist Jim Domenici of The Fake Boys post-Fest. It’s a little bit of a read, but let me tell you, this may be my favorite interview I have done to date. Jim’s mind rolls just like mine does in ways and it was just fun shooting the breeze with him. Check it out:
BHP: So, tell me, since I once again missed out on it…how was The Fest?
JD: We had a great time [and] got to see all our friends from around the country in one stop. I tucked myself away at a bro bar and watched football for the majority of my time. Overall, Fest exceeded my expectations and we couldn’t have been happier
Football huh? College or pro? What teams are you a fan of? I’ll always be a Browns fan for life.
Pro. I’m a New England Patriots guy through and through though I would like to see them get away from this pussy pass shit and get back to defense. The Buffalo Bills are also my guilty pleasure. I know they are in my division, but I love the dirty culture. Other then that, I can get behind the Browns, Niners, and Chiefs.
Nice. So were you able to check out a lot of bands you wanted to see?
Luckily, we got to enjoy all of the bands we wanted to see. Negative Approach was great; most brutal.
More importantly, how was your set?
Anyone there who means anything to us was in the room singing along and headbanging the whole time. Probably the best show we’ve ever played. I realized how lucky we are to do what we do.
Seriously, what feelings do you have when you play your heart out to a crowd and see them all singing along with you?
I can’t even explain. I’m just a regular dude who tries to be as selfless as possible so the shit I write about really floors me. To see people connect or even just appreciate my art enough to apply my songs to their own lives is the only reason I’m alive. I’m a lucky guy.
Who else did you guys get to play with that night?
House Boat, Pretty Boy Thorson, and Vacation all destroyed Nelly’s. We were all lucky to play such a solid venue to such a dope crowd.
So, let’s talk about the Fake Boys. Is there any special meaning behind your band’s name?
Our band is an open book. The name, lyrics, melodies, song structures, album art, and even Facebook posts are all meant to be ripped apart so i don’t want to give away too much, but anyone who knows us personally knows we don’t front. In a scene that blows it’s load over anyone and anything made of paper or plastic, we are definitely the odd men out but that’s ok. We want the listener to figure things out for themselves and apply what they dig up to their own lives.
Can you give me a little history on how The Fake Boys became?
We all played in hardcore bands for years and as we got older we really missed melody. We combine the ethos and aggression of hardcore with our love for song writing and crafting melody.
Nice way to formulate what you are now musically. So was it always just Jim, Joe, and Jay? That’s a lot of J’s.
No, we’ve had a few drummer, but this is the first time we’ve felt like we’re all on the same page.
What was it like growing up in Lowell, MA?
We all actually grew up in different parts of Massachusetts and moved the band to Lowell to write the This Is Where Our Songs Live LP. It’s a great city and reflects the working class values we believe and has always been a vibrant art community. That being said, because of it’s mix of culture, it’s a wonderful place to create for good, honest, hard working people.
It is so easy for me to hear 90s alt rock in your sound. Who are some of your influences? I am sure that is a very open ended question…
Well, I’m 30 so what do you expect? For us the 90s sound is not a trend, it’s something what we grew up on. Unlike the fake punk boom of 1994 that destroyed music as we know it, the explosion that came before it was the first and last time we saw real people getting their due for making real music in our lifetime, besides a few important bands who broke through i.e. rage against the machine and Against Me!. The early 90s explosion was driven by that hardcore ethos that lives within us, it’s something innate that we just can’t shake. It’s not so much about a sound but about a way of thinking. The bands that really do it for us are Nirvana, The Fastbacks, Superdrag, Negative Approach, Ramones, Black Flag, Poison Idea, The Beatles, and Dinosaur Jr.
I’m 35. I hear ya about your preference in sound. I’ve been listening to more bands than ever that I grew up with like Hum, Promise Ring, Quicksand, and Dino Jr. just to rifle off a couple. Do you really need to just blame all the fake 94 punk acts? What about all the new bands or even the old bands thatjust keep trying to stay alive and really have no business doing so like dare I say Green Day and sadly Jane’s Addiction?
Ha ha, I don’t mean for shit like that to be taken too seriously as most of the time I’m just trying to entertain myself while putting my true feelings on the table. The differences between people’s taste is important and keeps music from getting boring. I don’t know why people seem to get bummed when I write about how I don’t like a band. Just because I’m not a fan doesn’t mean that I think others shouldn’t be. I grew up on bands like Nirvana and the Ramones who hid nothing. Kurt liked Eddie but was pretty vocal about how he thought Pearl Jam was terrible! The Ramones hated the Sex Pistols and Johnny was a proud Republican. These bands were powerful because they kept it real and didn’t play the game for the sake of doing better.
I’m not a little bitch, so I’m not going to lie about my taste to sell records or make friends. Anyone offended needs to lose their ego. It’s just for me personally, the 94′ explosion never did anything. When I look at it, I see a departure from the independent nature of the early 90s and the start of “we will do whatever you want, just pay us.” It just sucks that the culture that bent over for business is what people commonly refer to as punk. That’s just not punk to me, so I guess maybe I’m not punk. To be honest, I try my best not to mention Green Day in this mess ever. I think they’ve written some really great songs. I’m a fan up until Warning, and besides that “Minority” song, I think Warning has some of their best material. I also do not dislike music just because it’s a specific genre or from a certain time period, I dislike music when I get a feel that the song writing is dishonest. I don’t write because I want to, I do it because I have to, so maybe I’m a tough sell. I like any band who I think writes good songs. I think of music from a next level perspective, I’ve learned to ignore all genres. We are a band and when we go on tour we play with other bands and I take them for what they are with no influence from public opinion. With that being said, there are a lot of great bands in this country and they know that I’m not talking about them. I think Lipstick Homicide should be the biggest band in the world and they’re going to be; they could save rock and roll.
Damn dude…well said on many levels. Moving on, Pig Factory was a killer release by you all. When can we expect a follow up?
Aas soon as we wrap up this trip, we are going to demo some new jams. We’ve actually been playing a new one called “Red, White, and Bouge” on this current tour.
I have seen a lot of people label you guys as pop-punk including someone at punknews.org, but that is far from the truth. What do you have to say to those who are quick to label your sound in one genre?
I mean, people can only speak about what they think they understand. The fact is, I grew up on bands, not specific types of bands. The Beatles were a fucking band, The Ramones were a fucking band, as bands grew you wanted to grow with them because you liked the fucking band! For me, the best part about rock and roll was wondering what a band was going to do next. With the pop punk scene, you don’t seem to see that as much because most people within the scene aren’t intelligent enough to do so It’s insecurity that scares people from thinking outside the box. We come from the strongest hardcore scene in the country and shit is real, so we honestly don’t give a fuck about pop punk scene.
So, what is up with the cover for Pig Factory?
I want people to put the record on, read the lyrics, examine the cover and figure it out for themselves. Like I said, this band is an open book.
I did that exactly with Pig Factory. I felt like a teen all over again examining everything from the vinyl itself to the lyrics. I wish more bands would do that. iTunes really ruined that experience if you ask me.
I agree. People I went to school with in the 90s who don’t go to shows or know anything about punk have emailed me and said things like “I haven’t gave a shit about music since high school and i just want you to know that you’re record brought back feelings i thought i would never feel again” and that’s what it’s all about.
I love that you have no problem vocalizing your thoughts over certain social networking sites. From salt intake to being of age when In Utero originally released, I am always entertained and intrigued by what I read. One of the posts I found interesting was pertaining to how you were once a 22 year old brainwashed Republican. What happened to you that broke the chains of self-closure within the comfort zone you were trapped in?
I took a principles of logic class and it fucked my life up for good in the best way possible. I realized that the choices I’d been making weren’t logically sound and were in no way reflective of who I really was as a person. I realized that being happy was the only goal worth having and that it was easier to achieve than people think or don’t think. When I examined my life choices up to that point, I realized that the driving force behind them was insecurity, status, and money. I was completely brainwashed. It’s hard to think back on my life without getting upset, I was such a miserable person. I wanted to die but was too much of a fucking pussy to do anything about it because I was caught in that comfortable, corporate net. In the end, I have no one to blame but myself, but with the help of logic, philosophy, hardcore, and a good friend, I was able to figure out who I really am and how to live my life to it’s fullest potential.
I’m glad you got there, but I don’t think you should blame yourself at all man. You came to terms and moved to where you want to be. Honestly, I’m still hoping to find that niche that takes me to a new level where I can honestly say I’m living life to the fullest.
Right, life moves. We gotta move with it and to think that where we are today is where we will be tomorrow is absolutely illogical.
So I know you are going to be wrapping up a tour, but what is next for The Fake Boys?
Just going to spend the holidays with my friends and family, get back to busting my ass at a job that i truly love with all my heart, and i’m going to write the greatest rock and roll record of all time… again.
Tell me why people should listen to your band.
Anything you would like to mention?
Save the country, buy American, and lose your ego.
Massachusetts threesome The Fake Boys have somehow taken 90s indie rock and mashed it up with a little DIY pop punk as well as post-hardcore in a good good way on their debut album Pig Factory.
Released by Animal Style Records, Pig Factory was recorded by the great Jay Maas (Title Fight, Transit, Polar Bear Club) and pretty much kicked ass from start to finish. I will admit, I was super hesitant before listening to this album, but am stoked I checked it out.
“This Is Our Band” opened up the album with the lead vocalist having a very Billy Corrigan singing style (as well as a Ravishing Ride Rude resemblance), but not that “despite of my rage I’m still just a rat in my cage” annoyance. “This Is Our Sound” followed making this listener think back to the alternative / grunge days, especially with that J. Mascus-like guitar playing.
The sound kept consistent through and didn’t get old at all. “Don’t Live” might have had some deep lyrics that I could not crack, but the song was great. “You’re A Loser” followed with a perfect grunge to post-hardcore ratio making for an impressive listen.
“Best Post” had this Five Man Electrical Band sound at first that was completely off from the rest of the tracks. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good listen with acoustic guitars and such, but that only lasted a moment as the rest of the band kicked in making for a good ol’ 90s alt-rock listen. I found myself really digging that track a lot.
I really enjoyed the 90s alt-rock-heavy “Hi Friend”. There’s nothing quite like a fun, friendly song that just makes you gently rock your head. Hands down, this was my favorite cut off the release, well at least I thought it was until the next track came on… Just wait till that distorted bass kicks in, and you will most likely agree with me – “Realist World” ruled. Lots of emo and post-hardcore going on the track. I’m sold.
The Fake Boys sounded like a punk rock Smashing Pumpkins with a gracious nod to 90s rock. I caught hints of Jawbreaker, Briad, and even Texas Is The Reason as well as Dinosaur Jr. Spite what I think they sound like, the truth is, this band knows how to deliver their own style and the result is a pretty solid listen. There’s nothing fake about these guys at all and I am sure they are fully aware of that. Do you like 90s rock? Yes? Go listen to The Fake Boys now.