Tag Archives: Music

BHP Best of 2023

This year absolutely flew by and here I am scrambling to toss something together to validate myself for poorly running my blog.

Clearly other objectives in life got in the way of how I wish I could maintain the site and keep it current, but here we are, so I guess I just do what I can, when I can.

I will say this past year has been a wild ride and I was able to really to enjoy it with friends and family, but something tells me that next year is going to be even better.

The absolute highlight of 2023 was covering the Punk in Drublic fest (thanks Vanessa!!!!) in Columbus, OH. If you missed that you can check it out HERE. To see so many of my favorite bands with some close pals of mine was just perfect.

I may not have reviewed a lot of bands this year, hell, I think I only did one looking back…but I did listen to tons of music and wanted to share a few that really caught my attention in 2023.

Enjoy.

BHP BEST OF 2023 LIST

Codefendants – This is Crime Wave

Easily one of the best releases this year. When I heard Fat Mike got The D.O.C. to drop some lines on one track I knew this was going to be something special.

Lucero – Should’ve Learned by Now

I love Lucero and everything they stand for and have to admit this took me a couple of listens to truly get into and I am glad I did because there are some gems on this one.

Heart Attack Man – Freak of Nature

I love this album. I really do not know what else to say here other than if you have not checked it out yet, you really should change that.

koyo – Would You Miss It?

This band won me over this year in the best way. Melodic emo hardcore. Does it get any better than this?

Militarie Gun – Life Under the Gun

Catchy as hell sums up this release. This has been a weekly listen since it dropped.

Sincere Engineer – Cheap Grills

File this one under “Deanna Belos makes me cry again with her poignant lyrics.” Dammit.

Bollweevils – Essential

Dr. Daryl Wilson is back with the gang and completely blew me away with this release. It sounded even better live at a local dive bar. That was a true treat.

Blink 182 – One More Time

I grew up in the 90s. Did you seriously not think this was going to land here at some point? Old punks are still cool, we just go to bed at a reasonable time.

Spanish Love Songs – No Joy

This band always stabs me in the feelings. This album was no exception.

Svalbard – The Weight of the Mask

I found this band a few years back as a suggestion to Holy Fawn and have loved them since. I was so stoked to see a new album drop by them this year and it simply rules.

Hot Mulligan – Why Would I Watch

Pop punk fun. Honestly, I did not think I was going to enjoy this one as much as I did.

Chayla Hope – Damn, Feelings

True Cleveland talent here. I will not be shocked when she grabs the attention of the world. Chayla can do no wrong.

Joey Valence & Brae – Punk Tactics

Just got into these guys a few weeks ago and adore their style that really reached back to the 90s. This release is pure fun and begs to be listened to on repeat.

Lil Yachty – Let’s Start Here.

This was one of those releases I read a review on and knew I needed to stop what I was doing and check it out. It is wild.

Incendiary – Change the Way You Think About Pain

Meanest album of the year. I adore it and listen to it on my worst days.

MSPAINT – Post-American

Music-genre bending at its best. I certainly cannot tell you their style other than “all of the above.”

Flying Racoon Suit – Moonflower

Oh hi, this band takes almost all the sounds of music I adore, tosses it in a blender, purees it, and pours out one hell of a release. Do not let the band’s name fool you.

Kerosene Heights – Southeast of Somewhere

2023 was a pretty emo year for me and this band helped fuel that.

I want to thank all my friends out there for keeping me going. New and old, life rules when you are all around.

More importantly, shoutout to my amazing kids who continue to give me purpose in life and let me continue to be my goofy-ass self with zero apologies. I hope one day you come across this and are reminded of the joy you both bring me.

Happy New Year and thanks for reading. Let’s see if I can kickstart the blog in 2024. I think I am up for it.

CONCERT REVIEW: PUNK IN DRUBLIC FESTIVAL | LEGEND VALLEY | COLUMBUS, OH | JUNE 24th & 25th

This review may have taken a minute to complete, mostly because of life, but also because of the high I was on from such a killer weekend of music and friends.

When I think of the band NOFX, I have so many countless memories, like seriously, it is probably unhealthy how much this band means to me.

I recall the first time my friend Mike put on “Linoleum” for me when we were teens. I fell in love almost instantly with them and have not stopped listening since. I have all of their albums, tons of their 7″s, plenty of ticket stubs, and a slew of merch including a 90s red bucket hat that is bleached from the sun and doesn’t even fit on my fat head.

I first saw them in 1996 at Warped Tour in Cleveland that was under the Valley View bridge at Cloverleaf, a former racetrack turned flea market on a gravel lot. Two years later they played with Hi-Standard and the Bouncing Souls at the Agora where after the show they asked me to take them to the local nudie bars, but my pals with me were underage so they moved on to the next bunch of fans and off they went.

Just like everyone else out there who appreciates this punk rock foursome, I was legit bummed out when they announced NOFX was going on one last tour.

Of course they wanted to finish up touring in style:

40 Years, 40 Cities, 40 Songs

They announced their final tour would be presented by Fat Wreck Chords Punk In Drublic and that they would be bring plenty of supporting acts with them. I about fell out of my chair when I saw the Columbus lineup and knew I had to be there:

June 24th

Bad Cop Bad Cop
Codefendants
Adolescents
Strung Out
Less Than Jake
Circle Jerks

June 25th

The Last Gang
Mustard Plug
Get Dead
Suicide Machines
The Bouncing Souls
Descendents

The added bonus was two nights of NOFX playing five of their albums in their entirety in addition to an entire set.

The albums they picked for Columbus were:

Punk in Drublic
Wolves in Wolves Clothing
White Trash, Two Heebs, and a Bean
So Long and Thanks for all the Shoes
The Decline

It is worth noting that the band was actually supposed to play Self/Entitled originally, but Smelly learned the wrong album so they just decided to go with it.

There was no way I was missing this weekend, and I did not. I lucked out and was able to join some of my pals who opted out of camping in favor of an AirBnB and, at my age, I was totally ok with that. What was even cooler is that I secured a photo pass and came out of retirement in a sense to shoot the set. Saying I was stoked was an understatement.

Legend Valley is actually about 30 minutes east of Columbus and is a stage, some gravel, and a hill of grass. It is like a bare bones Blossom Music Center and I was completely fine with this. It reminded me of Cloverleaf, that flea market grounds I first saw NOFX at.

Each day for the first three hours, breweries from all over handed out “10” samples of their hoppy goodness. The quotes are because it was more like unlimited. I am not a drinker anymore so cannot tell you what was the best out of them all, but my pals all were feeling pretty good by late afternoon before even buying their first over-priced can of alcohol.

Aside from the brewery tents, there was merch galore by Fat Wreck, Smart Punk, and others. There were a few food trucks too closer to the stage. Punk Rock Saves Lives was doing their thing and Dylan Flynn from Pass the Bass had a tent where he was raising money for the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) by taking donations and selling merch.

As an added bonus, Jared Gaines was selling his punk inspired flash on prints, pins and shirts. He even drew up limited edition flash specifically for the Ohio Punk in Drublic show:

Come 2pm, the bands started playing every hour on the hour. They played mostly 30-minute sets each to give enough time for the next band to get set up and have sound check.

Bad Cop Bad Cop started the festival off. This all-female band played as if they were head-lining the weekend and people were just eating it up. Linh Le’s energy was indescribable during their set. It should be noted that throughout the entire weekend, she and Stacy Dee could be seen on the sides of the stage singing loud and proud. I loved seeing this support for the touring bands as well as just two women living the moment just like all of the other thousands of fans in attendance.

Codefendants were the one act I really wanted to see, and I am glad I was able to. This punk/rap hybrid may not have fit the bill compared to the other acts, but they delivered and were just amazing to watch. Dee from Bad Cop Bad Cop came out to sing her verses in “Disaster Scenes” which honestly I was hoping for. Sadly, The D.O.C. did not join them on stage during “Fast Ones,” but goddamn that song sounded amazing live. I was overly impressed with their set and have the feeling the won over a ton of new fans.

Seeing the Adolescents live just incredible. Tony Reflex rocked a large black mask that covered his face and he tore through their set as if it wasn’t even there. I think the one thing that hit me while watching them was knowing that Steve Soto passed just around this time of the year in 2018. Hearing “Welcome to Reality” and “Amoeba” was an added treat.

Strung Out was entertaining as hell and they flew though some great tracks without slowing down one bit. Opening up with “Too Close to See” just started off their set with plenty of momentum. I was stoked to hear “Daggers” as well as “Bring Out Your Dead.”

Less Than Jake never disappoints. I absolutely adore this band and I was not the only one. Everyone was having a good time to this band, singing along to tracks like “Lie to Me”, “Look What Happened”, and All My Best Friends are Metalheads.” I lost my mind and sang as loud as I could when they played “The Science of Selling Yourself Short.”

The Circle Jerks had a bit of a longer set as they were the last band prior to NOFX taking stage. Keith Morris took some of this time just to chat it up with the crowd. Some of me wishes they played more songs, but at least I can say I got to hear “Wild in the Streets” and the version “When the Shit Hits the Fan” which may have been the best thing to happen day one to this aging punk rocker.

NOFX took the stage and Fat Mike admitted he was slightly under the weather and on some antibiotics but did not let that slow him down at all. I have to admit, they did it right by not playing the albums they planned to cover from start to finish. By mixing up the tracks from Punk in Drublic as well as Wolves in Wolves Clothing, this was more than night one of their last show, it was a straight up blowout.

They played so many great songs, but I was most stoked to hear “Theme from a NOFX Album”, “Don’t Call Me White” and obviously “Linoleum.” Hearing “Doornails” with Lee playing acoustic guitar was incredibly poignant. I was with my pals for most of the set and can honestly say I was in the best company possible. They took one break, caused many laughs, and did exactly what they said they were going to do by playing 40 songs.

Having made it to the end of the night, we opted to skip the Melvinator after show DJ set in lieu of heading back to the house we were staying at, but we screwed up and sat in a van in a field for likely the entire performance. At least there was A/C in there… I am kicking myself for missing that one as I heard it was a good time.

Day one was just what I was hoping for. I got to see tons of bands I appreciate and did so with pals I have known for almost 20 years. The crowd was awesome all around too and everyone really seemed to be enjoying themselves. I had thought I would see more drunken debauchery around the grounds, but maybe I was not looking hard enough. I also learned that a certain minivan had a kick to it and may have done an accidental burnout in front of a cop on the way out…

Day two came up quick and literally flew by. My pals went for the beer tents as soon as we arrived and I went for the merch booths and stood my ground preparing to take more shots of the bands.

I just have to add that out of all the shows I have shot in my life, this was the first show/fest that I buddied up with other photographers. If you guys are reading this, thanks for being rad and I enjoyed covering this weekend with y’all.

Ok, back to what most of you likely care about…

The Last Gang stsrted off the second day and completely won me over. I admit I sat on this ska punk band for years now, and that ended on a Sunday afternoon in Columbus. Brenna Red and crew played hard and promised the crowd they would come out and sign things after the set. I can confirm they did this for some super excited fans. Their set was just awesome and almost matched that Bad Cop Bad Cop-day-getting-started kind of energy. Their cover of “Guns of Brixton” was well received by many in the crowd as well as some of their originals like “Gimme Action” and “Noise Noise Noise.”

Mustard Plug literally pulled in a good crowd and as soon as ” Not Enough” started, the place went crazy. I am not sure security was ready for that one so early in the day. The energy these guys had was just outstanding and you could tell they were enjoying the response from the crowd. At one point they played their version of “Waiting Room,” and naturally everyone sing along. Their set was from start to finish just perfect and hearing “Aye Aye Aye” as well as “On and On” just ruled.

Get Dead was another band I was really excited to see. They played a great set full of old and new tracks including “Hard Times” and “Stickup.” Seeing them pull off “Abscessed” was just incredible. I loved that they also played “Fuck You” and I was not the only one as everyone joined in on singing duties.

The Suicide Machines had the place going crazy the moment they tore into “Islands.” Jason Navarro admitted he too was partaking in the fun and was feeling good. I swear, he spent more time against the crowd letting them take turns singing than on stage. Aside from a slew of tracks, “Break the Glass” and “New Girl” were sung loud and proudly by yours truly, along with thousands of other fans. I loved the moment when he gave a shoutout to my dudes in the Toledo punk band, Shitty Neighbors.

The Bouncing Souls certainly had plenty of fans and one of them even had a gift for them. It was a small toilet with “TOILET SONG” written on it. It made its way to the stage and Bryan was happy to hold it up, but the band admitted it was not on their set. No one really cared because they played plenty of old and new tracks for all to suck in. “The Gold Song”, “Sing Along Forever” and “Hopeless Romantic” were the tracks I enjoyed the most. I honestly wish they took the stage longer and I know I was not the only one.

The one band I was most stoked to see play was the Descendents and they sounded perfect. They nailed every song and played a hell of a set. I loved hearing “Everything Sux”, “Silly Girl”, “Clean Sheets”, “.Merican”….I should stop here right? No way, not this time. They also played “I Don’t Want to Grow Up”, “I’m the One”, “Bikage” and even “Weinerschnitzel.” It was just freaking perfect.

So something happened to me before NOFX took stage that sadly I will never forget. I was catching up with one of the other photographers up my the merch tents and an inebriated, young man approached us and spotted our VIP tags and cameras. He asked us if we could get him backstage to which we explained to him this VIP was not really all access, but more of an opportunity to use a bathroom with AC. He put his hand on my shoulder and asked me if I could help him grant his dying wish. I told him it really depended on the ask and he told me he had cancer and wanted me to get his bracelet to Fat Mike in hopes Fat Mike would yell at him. I told him I was not sure I could commit to that and encouraged him to try and just get close and give it his all. I am not sure the truth behind the interaction, but I really hope the best for that young man.

NOFX took the stage likely for the last time in Ohio before the sunset. Just before this happened, the band, along with many performers over the weekend took a moment to do a celebratory shot behind Smelly’s drumkit. It was seriously bittersweet to see this moment. They came out son after just as they did 24 hours ago dancing to the “Time Warp Dance.”

Once again, they blasted through songs off the albums they promised to play in their entirety: So Long and Thanks for all the Shoes and White Trash, Two H–bs, and a Bean and well as tossed in some others including their cover of Rancid’s “Radio” and even “Can’t Get the Stink Out.”

I enjoyed their second set slightly more than the previous night’s. Mostly this was due in part to finally seeing NOFX play “The Decline.” For years when I would see them play shows since the song came out, they would tease it, but they never committed. I was happy and sad as they played this punk rock opus. In fact, at the very end, I was overcome with emotions, and I know I was not the only one. If this band never plays Ohio again, at least the last song I got to hear was the one I have been hoping they would play for me for years.

For two nights, NOFX played my favorite albums in their catalog and more. I was in great company and could not have had a better time. They brought on so much talent with them to make the festival even more special. I left that Sunday night on a high I have not felt in a long time. It was an incredible sendoff for a band I have been listening to for 30+ years.

As my friends and I left, I could not help but to think to myself how lucky I was to have been able to make this one. Fatherhood has changed life for me over the years in the best ways, and I was not sure I was going to be able to make this one work let alone cover it, but there I was, leaving Legend Valley with my pals about to do one more burnout in the mini-van just to get some last laughs by everyone with me.

Day 1 Photo Dump (more will be added soon):

Day 2 Photo Dump:

Album Review: The Bollweevils – Essential

Sometimes a band from your past does the ultimate awesome and puts out new material 14 years after their last release. Chicago’s Bollweevils surprised many, including myself, and dropped an incredible album called Essential on the possible world-famous Red Scare Industires records.

The album title is a strong nod to the actual professions of the members of the band. No lie, aside from Dr. Daryl Wilson (yes, a real doctor who saves lives), there are first responders and educators who make up the Bollweevils.

This band has always resonated with me well because they had a few albums on Dr. Strange Records back in the 90s which I listened to frequently. They called quits in 1996 and came back into the scene around 2006 when they played Riot Fest but kept a low profile and clearly took the time they needed to get back at it without missing a beat.

“Predisposition” kicked things out as if the band never stopped. What a powerhouse of an opener. Wilson and crew sound better than ever and I hate to say this, but I was pleasantly surprised about this. Like I should have even carried that thought.

Following up was “Galt’s Gulch”, a well put together track similarities gravitating towards an Ayn Rand novel. The fact they repeat “who’s John Galt”, which in the novel was about the sad current state of affairs much like today. “Atlas Shrugged” is the book I speak of, and if you ever read it, you’ll understand more.

One of my favorites on this album was “The Cutting Solution”. This track was well supplied with some insane drumming that just kept the energy high. Wilson’s singing was just so on point here.

“Theme” was just that. If the Bollweevils had their own show like the Aquabats do, this would certainly be the song that played at the start. Certainly, this a tongue and cheek track, but goddamn this was so fun.

Then there was “Bottomless Pit”, another banger. The entire band came together so well on this one. Fast and to the point, it was exactly what I would expect from these guys.

The track that just won me over was “Resistance.” In true punk fashion, this track had me wanting to memorize the lyrics so I could play it over and over while singing along. Loved the breakdown as well as the group vocals. It was not a complicated song yet got the job done.

“Liniment and Tonic” should be the old punker anthem moving forward. All the old punkers who are reading this with their arms crossed in the back, this one is for you. Enjoy.

The Bollweevils are timeless in my book. They have definitely put in their time years ago and Essentials has no indication of a break ever with their sound. They are still energetic and catchy as ever. Fair warning though, this album clocks in at just over 22 minutes. I assure you there is no lull in this release and there are plenty of playback opportunities.

As I find myself closer to 50 these days (punk is dad), it is beyond refreshing to hear a band from your teenage years still killing it. In a day and age when most punk rock does not even rest on the edge of the genre, it’s the punk rock veterans who continue to remind me why I adore this kind of music.

Available on CD and LP, the album is out there for you to obsess over. Do not sit on this one. Trust me.

Listen to it: CLICK HERE

Buy it: CLICK HERE

BHP Best of 2022

If you know me at a personal level, you know that this year was a wild one and full of challenges and accomplishments. Needless to say, I have made the best of it and can tell you I have managed to take time for myself to enjoy it.

I went to more shows this year than ever and rekindled my love for live music. I reconnected with friends and even started a side gig making lamps with some of my fav people.

Even with all that has been going on, I still have listened to music on a daily basis. I may not have done as much as I had wanted to with the site here, but I am still going to take a moment to share with you a random ass list of albums that dropped in 2022 that caught my attention.

There are plenty more I am sure I overlooked. I am sure I will add to it here and there, but the following were amazing according to me:

BHP BEST OF 2022 LIST

STS x RJD2 – Escape from Sweet Auburn

This is one of those albums that just blew me away from the moment I checked it out. I am a huge RJD2 fan, but I had no idea of the talent that is STS. These two joined forces for a reason and the outcome is amazing.

SACK – Ripper!

This band rips so hard that I caught Covid at their show when they played Cleveland. No joke. Certainly, one of my fav punk albums of the year.

Cave In – Heavy Pendulum

Per Spotify, this was my most listened to album of this year. There is a reason for that. I absolutely love what this band has turned into. This album exceeded all expectations as a fan.

Curtail – When the Sway Sets

This album is like dipping back to my teenage years. So much 90s flair with a lo-fi sound that easily sucked me in. Added bonus, this band is comprised of some amazing humans.

Pool Kids – Pool Kids

This right here is the #1 album to not listen to when you are having a relationship change. It brought me to almost tears the moment I heard it, but honestly, I needed it.

Dream Widow – Dream Widow

This album was made specifically for the cult slasher flick Studio 666 starring everyone’s fav rock band the Foo Fighters. The movie was amazing, but this album is just insane.

Frank Turner – FTHC

This album was a little harder then the last few and carried some pent up angst that I fed on during tougher times this year. “Haven’t Been Doing So Well” seemingly was my theme song this year at times.

No Trigger – Dr. Album

Easily one of the best punk rock albums to drop this year. Do not sleep on this one.

Signals Midwest – Dent

I adore this band and everything they stand for. It was no surprise how much I got into this release. I will sound like dad here, but it is what it is: I am so proud of how this band has grown as musicians. This album is a total testament to that.

Cigar – The Visitor

It’s not every day a band busts out an album 22 years after their debut. With a slight lineup change, the band sounded as amazing as ever.

Soul Glo – Diaspora Problems

This band has certainly had some challenges over the years but haven’t let anything stop them. In fact, I think they just got stronger because of it.

The Flatliners – New Ruin

Cresswell and crew simply can do no wrong. Full of anger and angst, this release at times pointed back to the younger years of the band with heavier moments.

Gospel – The Loser

17 years after their debut, Gospel dropped this album. I cannot tell you how many times I have listened to this prog heavy masterpiece.

City of Caterpillar – Mystic Sisters

I am not complaining at all how many bands from years back dropped albums after an extensive period of time, but City of Caterpillar dropped a follow-up 20 years later and needless to say, it rules a lot.

The Smile – A Light for Attracting Attention

Comprised of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood and as well as Sons of Kemet’s Tom Skinner, this album really reached back to a younger Radiohead sound, something I absolutely adore.

Viagra Boys – Cave World

Viagra Boys are like Ween and Electric Six on a cocaine bender. This band is a new level of fun and this album helps prove that.

Vein.fm – This World Is Going to Ruin You

This is a post-hardcore / nu-metal release that may be my favorite thing this band has done to date.

EDIT (6-JAN-2023) Shocking….I totally forgot these few too:

A Wilhelm Scream – Lose Your Delusion

Easily the catchiest punk album of 2023. I listened to this probably too much. That opening track alone…

The Interrupters – In The Wild

Solid release by a band that certainly deserves all of the attention. I almost wish Rancid would have just recorded this for themselves. Not dismissing the band at all, but def has that Hellcat love.

Cory Branan – When I Go I Ghost

Cory is easily one of the best song writers out there. This album confirms that statement.

Arlo McKinley – This Mess We’re In

Sad and emotional songs sometimes are the best. Arlo has really taken a few steps forward with this amazing release.

Birds In Row – Gris Klein

I was sucked into this album instantly. Powerful and moving I think is the best way to describe it.

Big ups to the bands, the labels, and the readers of this blog. I feel like I say it all of the time, but if it wasn’t for y’all, this blog would not be here.

Special thanks to my friends and family who have gone above and beyond in a time of need. You have no idea how much I value you all. Detail not needed, but I offer my eternal gratitude for helping me get though the low times and keeping me going.

Here’s looking at 2023. I can sit here and say this and that about the blog, but we will see what happens with it. Happy Holidays to you and yours.

BHP Best of 2020 List

If there’s anything to say about 2020, it is this: I miss live shows. I miss seeing local bands play small bars and I miss cramming into over-priced corporately owned venues to see sold out shows.

I know I am not the only one who says this to themselves daily. This year has not the the greatest by any means given the current situation.

I’ve tried hard to do things on this blog when I had some free time and want to once again thank everyone who has offered up something for review or checked out any of the posts I tossed together usually afterhours while everyone in my household was fast asleep.

I cannot end this year without pushing out a Best Of List. I know I am cutting it close this time. I feel this was the year I really tried to listen to more artists I never heard of before and honestly, I was impressed with tons of releases. I started with 10 and said screw that as all these bands that dropped impressive releases need to be shared. As usual, I will probably add to it after this goes live.

Thanks for keeping me going y’all. I do appreciate it.

BEST OF 2020

(in no particular order)

The Avalanches: We Will Always Love You Album Review | Pitchfork

The Avalanches – We Will Always Love You

I have loved this band since they started 20 years back. They have a way with mixing samples appropriately. I especially grew fond of this one because it was more of a journey than a collaboration of sound.

Get Dead - Dancing with the Curse

Get Dead – Dancing with the Curse

This release is raw, unhinged, and perfect in every way possible. I can only imagine what these dudes sound like on stage… This was probably the most listened to album of the year by yours truly. I cannot get enough of it.

Shuffle and Bang - Island Bop

Shuffle and Bang – Island Pop

Island Pop was the surprise drop of 2020 that I needed to distract me from all the bad. This is a soulful delight that I’ve gotten lost in many times and literally found myself in a better mood because of it. If there was one band I would love to see play live currently, Shuffle and Bang are my top choice.

Run the Jewels - RTJ4

Run The Jewels – RTJ4

This duo does no bad. I am not shocked that this was one of my fav releases this year. They always entertain. I am bummed I missed seeing them play with Rage this past summer and only can hope the rescheduled date stands.

Broadway Calls - Sad in the City

Broadway Calls – Sad in the City

This pop-punk release is going to be something I probably listen to for the rest of my life. No joke, this album started off as strong as it ended and became an instant favorite of mine.

The Lawrence Arms - Skeleton Coast

The Lawrence Arms – Skeleton Coast

This album is damn near perfect and I know I am not the only who who thinks this. Why go on about these guys when everyone knows how much they rule.

Hum - Inlet

HUM – Inlet

I have waited over 20 years for Hum to release new material and this did not disappoint one bit. After each listen I find a stronger appreciation for what they have created.

Maxwell Stern - Impossible Sum

Maxwell Stern – Impossible Sum

An outstanding effort by someone who I’m lucky to call a pal. I have watched him mature over the past 10 years and expect things to get even better as he continues onward. Now hurry up and drop Signals Midwest LP4 already!

Be Well - The Weight And The Cost

Be Well – The Weight and the Cost

Catchy as hell, melodic hardcore fun. With the roster in this lineup, it was not shocking how killer the entire album was and how things built up all the way to the end. This was one that made the blood flow as well as the feelings emerge.

SkyTigers - Eulorgy

SkyTigers – Eulorgy

A release by some Boston punks who’ve been at it for 10 years now. This debut clearly needed to drop during this shit year. It’s powerful, angry, and just insane. The opening track alone proves that.

Slug Fest - Animal

Slug Fest – Animal

Cleveland surf punk rock may not be something you knew existed, but I assure you it rules. This album is full of jams and guarantees a good time. This is one band I can not wait to see in-person.

the House of Wills - "true crime"

The House of Wills – “true crime’

This lo-fi release by Cleveland’s JV is everything to me. I fell in love with it upon first listen and love how they put their heart and soul into it. This is the one release that deserves all the attention. This falls somewhere between Fred Thomas and Daniel Johnston if I am being totally honest. Was JV going for that? Not sure, but it’s more real than most stuff that dropped this year.

Stolen Wheelchairs - The America

Stolen Wheelchairs – The America

These guys are about as punk as they get. If their band name is shocking to you, wait until you listen to this straight up punk rock disaster. I loved every moment of it.

Bob Mould - Blue Hearts

Bob Mould – Blue Hearts

This may very well be the best thing Mould has done in quite some time. I find comfort through Mould as he doesn’t back down as the years progress. Do not sit on this one.

Brain Cave - Stuck in the Mud

Brain Cave – Stuck in the Mud

Brain Cave’s debut rules on so many levels. I have spoken highly about this release to many folk since it dropped because it’s that damn good. This was my go to when I just could not decide with to listen to at any given moment.

I Am The Avalanche - DIVE

I Am The Avalanche – Dive

I’ve been a fan of these guys for a while now, but this album is probably my favorite to date. Punk rock at its finest.

Somerset Thrower - Paint My Memory

Somerset Thrower – Paint My Memory

This release brought back the best 90s punk rock vibes. I honestly never got into these guys prior, but clearly that changed. Excellent throughout.

Spanish Love Songs – Brave Faces Everyone

Spanish Love Songs – Brave Faces Everyone

This band can bum me out so much and I love them for it. Easily one of my fav acts out there and this release certainly showcases why.

The Dead Krazukies - Icarus

The Dead Krazukies – Icarus

I do not expect a ton of folk to know who this act is yet, but I have a feeling they will in time. All I could say to myself the first time I heard them was, “holy shit.” This is power punk rock without over-exaggerating it. You can tell the band loves playing and there wasn’t a single lull in the release. I can not recommend them enough.

Don Yoder - Everything is Nothing

Don Yoder – Everything is Nothing

This release came out of nowhere from a guy from another Cleveland band who wanted to make a country album. The result is an incredible, non-gimmicky grouping of songs that, unless you knew who wrote them, you’d think a seasoned alt-country musician wrote them.

Rope - Crimson Youth

Rope – Crimson Youth

Tossing the Tiny God Inc. released cassette cover here as they are the reason I even got into these guys. This is the post-grunge, hardcore album I needed this year. Talk about a brutal release…

Red City Radio - Paradise

Red City Radio – Paradise

This band continues to get better with each release. This one in particular was a solid listen that I’m currently obsessed with.

20/20 Vision (Anti-Flag album) - Wikipedia

Anti-Flag – 20/20 Vision

Totally forgot to add this one to the list initially. This political, punk rock stand against the government is as impactful as it is catchy. This band might be getting up there in age, but my god, they have no intention of slowing down or steering away from their cause.

TRVSS – New Distances

Grungy, noisy post-punk rage- rippers are what this release is all about. This Pittsburgh act deserves some serious attention.

Guilty Pleasure of the Year:

Machine Gun Kelly - Tickets to My Downfall

Machine Gun Kelly – Tickets to My Downfall

I won’t lie, I played the ever-lasting hell out of this. It is a pop-punk, catchy release and I am probably too old to enjoy it as much as I have. I never was a MGK fan before he collaborated with Travis Barker, but stranger things have happened.

Best Covers Album of the Year:

NOFX / Frank Turner - West Coast vs. Wessex – Fat Wreck Chords

NOFX & Frank Turner – West Coast vs. Wessex

I can not tell you how stoked I was when I learned of this concept coming to life. Two of my favorite acts covering each other’s tunes in their own style. The finished product was far from some speedy effort. Both parties did an excellent job with their own renditions.

Just check out the video below for proof:

Like I said, I am sure I will be adding a few more here and there. 2020 really was full of good music by great artists. I think I am most impressed with the fact that even though everything had to shut down because of a global pandemic, musicians did everything possible to continue creating.

With that said, artists and bands are still struggling financially because of not being able to tour. I know they are not the only ones, but if you have the means to, support musicians by buying their physical or digital release and skip the popular streaming services. You know damn well they don’t make shit from streaming.

Hell, one up yourself and get some sweet swag while you are at it. If one of the bands I spoke about sounds interesting, check them out, and if you love it, buy it. Anything helps right now.

Thanks for reading and I sincerely hope that I enlightened you to 1 or 2 new bands that you will adore just like I did. Happy New Year y’all!