Category Archives: Metal

Best Of / Worst Of / Whatever Of… 2014

Well folks, it’s that time of the year.  We are wrapping up 2014.

This means I get to share my top albums of the year (with anyone who has any interest in what I have to say).

There were tons of great releases this year and honestly, I know I passed up a few.  In fact I’ve even added a few names to the below list numerous times while pondering what all caught my attention in 2014.  (NOTE:  I have even added a few more to my list that I overlooked and feel need to be included – perks of running your own blog I suppose.)

I am not putting any limits on my best of list this year as no artist should be left out.  I’m am just sharing the albums that really impressed me this past year and maybe even reasons why.

I’m not sorry for how long this post has become.  I’m actually quite pleased with what I have come up with.  It really proves that 2014 was a great year for music.  I’ve also decided to add a list of albums that just did not do it for me.


Best Albums Of 2014:

Tim Barry
Tim Barry – Lost & Rootless
-I just listened to this album in full this morning and instantly had to add it to my list.  This is the best thing he has ever done in my opinion.  Music writing doesn’t get more real than this.

Mastodon
Mastodon – One More Time Round The Sun
-This album blew me away and continued to do so over the course of the year.  I really was not sure what to expect after hearing The Hunter, but they managed to keep their style and improve it resulting in one of my favorite albums of 2014.

Cheap Girls
Cheap Girls – Famous Graves
-I love everything about this band.  I think the best part is that they are just all quality dudes who are extra loaded on talent.  I really need to snag a copy of this album on vinyl.  If you have not heard of this band, you need to change that.  This album was perfect.

Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams – S/T
-This album was thoroughly enjoyed by this music lover many times.  I can’t say I’ve been into all of his past material, but as of late I am finding myself becoming a bigger fan.

United_Nations_-_The_Next_Four_Years
United Nations – The Next Four Years
-It was only a matter of time before U.N. released new material.  This super-group of musicians really outdid themselves with their sophomore release.  In fact, I favor this release more and more with each listen.

Murder-City-Devils
Murder City Devils – The White Ghost Has Blood On Its Hands Again
-I never thought the day would come when MCD came out with new material.  After seeing them in 2011 at Fun Fun Fun Fest, I knew it was only time before they recorded new material.  The result was yet another classic album full of plenty of jams that I’ve listened to over and over without growing tired of one bit.  I just wish it were a little longer.

Xerxes
Xerxes – Collision Blonde
-This band slays.  So much.  I was not ready initially when I checked this album out and was literally just taken by surprise.  Best feeling ever.

Chris Stowe
Chris Stowe – Hollow
-This heartfelt album tops my list when it comes to one man and his guitar.  When I say heartfelt I mean sad but with true emotion.  He is the emo of emo and a class act dude as well.  This album really impressed me.

Chuck Ragan
Chuck Ragan – Till Midnight
-This album was intensified so much more thanks to his special pals he recruited to play with him throughout the album.  As big of a fan of Hot Water Music as I am, I can honestly say I am a bigger fan of his solo material.

Banner Pilot
Banner Pilot – Souvenir
-It’s Banner Pilot.  Enough said.  This band never disappoints.

Cory Branan
Cory Branan – The No Hit Wonder
-If you have not heard this album yet, stop reading right now and find it.  This was one of my favorite releases of the year.  Amazing songwriter.

Chris Cresswell
Chris Cresswell – One Week
-Intense album by a guy who usually is known to scream loud in the Flatliners.  Subtle tracks with Joey Cape helping along made for such a beautiful release.  I love that this was recorded at Cape’s house in just one week.

Afghan Whigs
The Afghan Whigs – Do To The Beast
-No lie, I was nervous about this album when I heard it was going to be released.  I am not sure why.  Lucky for me, it was solid from start to finish.

Black Keys
The Black Keys – Turn Blue
-This album was a little more Broken Bells sounding than I was hoping for thanks to Danger Mouse’s touch, but overall it still ruled.  I have found myself listening to it a lot again after taking a few months off.  It is still catchy as hell and those guitar jams are still amazing.

Mariachi El Bronx
Mariachi El Bronx – III
-How can you not like this album?  It is so good.  I loved how it just was not even so much a concept anymore as much as just a new direction for a talented group of dudes.

Swingin Utters
Swingin Utters – Fistfull Of Hollow
-This band refuses to slow it down.  This is their 3rd release in 3 years and is the best stuff I have heard by them in a long long time.

Needles Pins
Needles//Pins – Shamebirds
-DIY punk garage rock excellence is the best way I can describe this album.  I can not even tell you how many times I have listened to this release over and over.  If you dig the Ramones, I guarantee Needles//Pins are right up your alley.

J Mascis
J Mascis – Several Shades Of Why
-I have few heroes in my life.  Mascis is one of them.  This may be the most amazing thing I have ever heard him do aside from that Mazzy Star cover he recently performed.

Baby Ghosts
Baby Ghosts – Maybe Ghosts
-Pop-indie-garage-rock-fun-fueled-goodness.  I may be falling out of the scene these days and miss out on a lot of the DIY music that completely rules, but I can honestly say I am glad I did not miss out on this album.

Menzingers
The Menzingers – Rented World
Chamberlain Waits will always be my favorite release by The Menzingers, but this album is a very close second.  Very close…

Against Me
Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
-I know this album got a lot of attention due to Tom exiting and Laura entering, but aside from that, this album is just sick.  I hated to see such a revolving door of members in the band over the years, but they still have managed to keep it together and produced an intense album.

7 Seconds
7 Seconds- Leave A Light On
-I am a huge fan of 7 Seconds and am ok with that.  To see them regroup and drop an all new release made this aging punk rocker very happy.  This album was tougher and harder than some of their past releases and did not sound forced one bit.   This album was probably the best punk record I listened to all year.  Suddenly getting old doesn’t seem so bad.

Sage Francis
Sage Francis – Copper Gold
-Sage returned and delivered.  I can still recall the day this album dropped and how excited I got.  I was live tweeting my feelings for all to read, including Sage himself.  I was having a fanboy moment.

Run The Jewels
Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels II
-EL-P and Killer Mike dropped the surprise album of the year and pretty much gave it away for free.  This should be at the very top of my list as I can not stop listening to it.  I was lucky enough, thanks to a good pal, to obtain a physical copy that I know I will spin over and over.

Tilts
Tilts – Cuatro Hombres
-This band is the definition of rock music or at least what I think it should sound like.  Remember when Queens of the Stone age were cool?  Tilts are better.

Pup
Pup – Pup
-This is the one album I sat on for too long in 2014.  I am glad for whatever reason I decided to check it out.  This is one notable debut.

Restorations
Restorations – LP3
-Take all of the music I was into in the 90s, and I guarantee you this album would have fit in perfectly.  This is one of the best bands out there.  I know they have a good fan base already, but I seriously think that not enough people are aware of how talented this band really is.

Best of EPs of 2014:

Beach Slang 1
Beach Slang – Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken?
-Without a doubt, this is the greatest band out there right now and they have yet to release a full length.  They are not young kids and are perfectly ok with that.  They are just here for the tunes and these tunes are exceptional.

Beach Slang 2
Beach Slang – Cheap Thrills On A Dead End Street
-So gooooooooooooood.  Yes.  I adore them.  Deal.

Low Culture / Iron Chic Split
Low Culture / Iron Chic – Split
-2 of my favorite bands on one EP.  Nothing tops that, except maybe pizza or tacos.

Needles Pins Low Culture
Low Culture & Needles//Pins – Split
-Garage rock maximus.  Both bands are incredible and it only made sense for them to release a split together.

Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams – 1984
-Surprise release of the year.  I loved what he did on this EP and wished it were a full length.  Adams really is a man of many talents when it comes to music and I have a fonder appreciation for him now. 1984 carried quality similarities to so many SST and Discord bands.

The Public
The Public – Shibuya Crossing
-These guys could be the next big thing to come from Cleveland if they keep it up.  Dead serious.

Remainders
Remainders – Fine Exits
-These guys could be the next big thing to come from Pittsburgh if they keep it up.  Dead serious. (yes, I did that on purpose)

Signals Midwest
Signals Midwest – Wherever I Might Land
-Hearing these dudes cover Iron Chic’s “Time Keeps Slipping Into The (Cosmic) Future” pretty much made my year.  This was a download only release, but I hope that I can find a bag of money so that this can be pressed on vinyl.  I would need to title it SGNLS MDWST though as all the cool bands lose the vowels.

The One That Got Away In 2014:

Of Us Giants
Of Us Giants – Nova Scotia
-Seriously, what the hell was up with this band?  They started 2014 off in a good good way with their debut and disbanded before even hitting the road to tour.  It seemed almost as if they worked harder selling their merch to their adoring fans making up for lost product over keeping it together as a band.  I am sure they had their reasons, but Novia Scotia was a solid release and I really thought Of Us Giants was going to make it big.

Whatever Of 2014…

Death Grips
Death Grips – The Powers That B
-I liked this album.  A lot.  I did not like how this band went out.  Kind of pompous if you ask me.  Luckily, most folk moved on with their lives.

Rancid
Rancid – Honor Is All We Know
-I honestly hate that I am admitting this, but I only liked about 45% of Rancid’s latest offering.  I even listened to it again today and felt the same.  I just was not been overly impressed with the entire album and I really wanted to be.  There were a couple instant classics in there but some of the tracks just didn’t hit me well.  Rancid will always be one of my Top 5 bands.  Don’t you worry boys.  I still love ya.

Gaslight Anthem
Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt
-I tried, I really did, to enjoy this album but just could not get into it at all.  At first I thought I appreciated the lyrics and just needed to get into the music, but in reality I think the Gaslight fanboy in me was just in shock on what I was hearing.  It was just too chilled out for me.  I will give it a chance again soon.

Weezer
Weezer – Everything Will Be Ok In The End
-No it won’t.  Two songs in on this album and I turned it off.  Sorry guys, I’ll stick to your older albums.  I could not get into this at all.

Damon Albarn
Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots
-I love Blur and the Gorillaz.  I can not say the same for this album.  It is different and just not what I was expecting.  I appreciate anyone who does their own thing, I just can’t say I will like it.

Pixies

Pixies – Indie Cindy
-I did not have the highest expectations for this release.  Maybe it was due to Frank Black saying that “there’s been a shift in the lineup, big woop-dee-doo…as far as we’re concerned it ain’t that big of a deal.”  Yes it is Frank.  It sure was a big deal.  It was a Kim Deal.  You should have quit when she did and stated something else.

Wu Tang
Wu Tang Clan –A Better Tomorrow
-I hate to have anything negative about Wu Tang Clan, but after hearing “Ruckus In B Minor”, I thought this album was going to be the greatest thing in 2014.  Sadly the single was the strongest track on the album with a couple of other tracks that came close.  Do not get me wrong, this was a good album but I was hoping for way more hip-hop and less R&B.

Masked Intruder
Masked Intruder – M.I.
-Sorry dudes…your first album was so much better than your follow-up.  I dug it for maybe a week and just lost interest.  It is not terrible by any means.  My review was sincere and I initially liked it but not for long.  I know not everyone will agree with me on this.  The band has major talent.  Perhaps I am old and just don’t get it.  Get off my yard!

Worst Albums Of 2014:

U2
U2 – Songs Of Innocence
-Jerks.  Rolling Stone was paid off.  Apple was paid off.  This album was not that good and I am still pissed that the Apple sponsored commercial had so many punk rock heroes in it.  I am entitled to my opinion.  Nothing like jumping on Google to learn how to remove an album from my iTunes that I never wanted.

Flaming Lips
The Flaming Lips – With A Little Help From My Fwends
-No.  Just….no.  Maybe if I was on a lot of drugs and was just an eccentric individual I might get it.  My ears were bleeding with this.  Quit trying so hard and bring back Yoshimi.  I know some people adored it.  I did not.  These Beatles covers were terrible.


I hope you all enjoyed this list/rant/babble.  I know I had a good time putting it all together.  Seeing how awesome 2014 was with music, I can not wait for 2015 to start.

Happy holidays suckers!

Check It Out: Skeletonwitch’s New Music Video For “I Am of Death (Hell Has Arrived)”

Tis the season for a slasher…

Skeletonwitch

Athens, Ohio’s Skeletonwitch just dropped a new music video for “I Am of Death (Hell Has Arrived)” that is sure to cause nightmares.  Directed by Jon Nix of TurnStyle Films, this video clearly gives a generous nod to 70s horror movies.  Originally featured on Bloody-Disgusting, I figured I would post it as well seeing how I am a big fan of Skeletonwitch and also the good folk at TurnStyle Films.

Check it out:

Music Video: All Dinosaurs – “Tight Rope”

Cleveland champs All Dinosaurs have released a video for “Tight Rope”, the first single from their new full-length album, Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior. The album was dropped earlier this year on Anti-Flag’s label A-F Records.  Filmed by the good folk over at TurnStyle Films, this video is hard and chilling at the same time making for a good view.  Check it out:

All Dinosaurs – Tight Rope from TurnStyle Films on Vimeo.

I have been a fan of these guys ever since I first caught them in a basement show.  Not only did they blow me away with their music, but they were fun as hell and all-around genuine dudes.

Fun Fun Fun Fest 2012 Lineup Announced!

Since 2006, Fun Fun Fun Fest has been nothing short of fun x 3.  Every year, the music/art/food festival seems to turn it up a notch, so much, that last year I actually decided enough is enough and headed to Austin, TX, to check it out.  The result, minus Danzig acting like a little bitch, was a killer weekend with friends fueled by amazing bands.  In other words, I had fun.  A ton of fun.

The festival was well organized, and all three days of music was well worth the $200 or so bucks I dropped on a wristband.  By the want of the fest last year, I told myself and my friends I wanted to return the following year.

This year, the good people at FFF Fest have outdone themselves.  Not only did they get RUN-DMC to reform, but they also had put together almost a dream lineup for this music lover.  Refused, De La Soul, Seaweed, The Promise Ring, Bob Mould, Lucero, Lagwagon, Braid, OFF!, Against Me!, F’d Up, Superchunk, Minus The Bear…I can keep going…P.I.L., Explosions In The Sky, X, Turbonegro…

Seriously, check out all who will be playing this year:

This does not even include the FFFEST Nites, the nightly free (with wristband) concerts around the city.

I am planning on returning to Auditorium Shores in November to take in this festival.  Since I have moved, I have not seen one live band due to a lack of venues, but this festival will make up for it.  Not to mention Austin is one of my favorite cities and I am now only a 6 hour drive away…

For more info, visit FUNFUNFUNFEST.COM

Album Review: Every Time I Die – Ex Lives

Buffalo, NY’s punk / metalheads, Every Time I Die (ETID), recently dropped an all new release titled Ex Lives on Epitaph Records.  Produced by Joe Barresi (Queens of the Stone Age), the album shot up the Billboard charts very quickly and landed in the top 20s.  That right there has go to tell you something.

This marks the sixth full-length release for the five piece band in their 14 year career.  That’s not to say that the last 14 years have been easy for ETID as their line up has been a revolving door with members coming and going.  Even with the challenges of keeping the band intact, ETID managed to continue on and after hearing Ex Lives, I have to say I am glad they did.  I will point out I am not the biggest ETID fan.  I know what they are capable of and appreciate all that they do in the music world.  In other words, I am one of those people who love “We’rewolf”.

The album starts off beyond insane with “Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space” (nice title by the way).  “I want to be dead with my friends” repeats at the beginning of this fast, brutal song that pretty much got me all sorts of excited to hear the rest of the album.  Keith Buckley and crew sound amazing on this track. 

“I Suck (Blood)” was just a thrashed mess of screaming and guitar playing guaranteed to keep you angry.   “Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow” had a Southern rock vibe throughout but kept things moving for the best.  Kind of reminded me of when Pantera jumped off their path on some of their songs back in the day. 

I will say that “Revival Mode” caught my attention as it took a complete total different route and was more or less a 90s grunge rock song at times, but I liked it for what it was worth.  (Seriously, did anyone else hear some Layne Stanley in there?)

“Drag King” made me wonder how Buckley still has vocal chords with all that screaming, but he was able to add some melodic singing throughout the track.  The fast-paced “Touch Yourself” followed and all I could think of was a sea of kids going ballistic at a live ETID show.  Ending things was “Indian Giver”, a darker track that praised the loss of a good person.

I’ve seen reviews of this album already and some people think some of the sound sound recycled from New Junk Aesthetic.  I can’t say I am hearing the same things from their previous releases, but the style remains, and that is what makes a band what they are.  If you are into insane screaming and metal formed around some very intense lyrics, you should check out Ex Lives.

ETID will be on the Van’s Warped Tour this summer.  I have seen them in the past life and will tell you, they are not a show to be missed. 

Track List:
Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space
Holy Book of Dilemma
A Wild, Shameless Plain
Typical Miracle
I Suck (Blood)
Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow
The Low Road Has No Exits
Revival Mode
Drag King
Touch Yourself
Indian Giver