Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The best records of 2011

Here's the link to the mp3 file: http://cjamlog1.cjam.ca/mp3dirnew/49-The_Best_Show_Ever-20111227-2100-t1325019600.mp3
check below the list for altenate ways to listen

25. Mind Spiders-Mind Spiders (Dirtnap)
Mark Ryan’s new project sounds a lot like his old band The Marked Men except a little dreamier/distorted, and a bit more 60’s pop friendly. Also look for a very unrecognizable Little Richard cover.
24. Mountain Man-Grief (Think Fast)
After the death of Last Lights singer Dominic Mallory, the surviving members formed Mountain Man. Then after a couple of well liked eps, the band goes full out with a concept album about the five stages of Grief and they play like they mean it. This record is less hardcore than it is therapy.
23. Everything we Left Behind-Our Ears are Bleeding (Self Released)
It’s good to see British bands finally figuring out skatepunk and hardcore. Sure, they invented streetpunk hardcore, but quality American style skatepunk has mostly eluded them. I think a lot of that stems from them getting their inspiration from older bands. Everything We Left Behind took some more modern inspiration. Particularly from NOFX, A Wilhelm Scream, and the Flatliners. Our Ears are Bleeding is the best of about 7 British skatepunk and hardcore records that came out this year that I felt were worthy of being in my top 50.
22. Goes Cube-In Tides and Drifts (The End)
A lot of people lump Goes Cube in with the majority of southern hardcore rock bands, but I feel they have more in common sonically with Swedish hardcore bands. Specifically Raised Fist and Final Exit. This band tries to do what it’s name describes. That is, break the comfortable dimensions that most hardcore music coasts on.
21. Bomb the Music Industry-Vacation (Earnest Jenning Record/Quote Unquote/Really)
Gaining popularity a few years ago as a one man band and later a fully backed spastic punk rock band, BTMI has always shown flashes of greatness. They have not made a perfect record just yet. Vacation is very good, and 4 or 5 songs on it are some of the best punk songs of the year, but I’d still like to hear what they can do when they aren’t screwing around and write a truly epic record
20. Frenzal Rhomb-Smoko At the Pet Food Factory (Fat Wreck Chords)
I ‘m always amazed when a band that I started listening to 15 years ago can still put out a kick ass record and make me miss that clean fat wreck sound of the mid 90’s. It also makes me feel like an idiot for completely ignoring their last 3 full lengths. I don’t think there will ever be another Australian punk band with such a solid catalog.
19. Tina Sparkle- Welcome to the No Fun House (Thinker Thought)
I’ve been posing a question to my friends lately-Will there ever be another Joan Jett? A hard rockin' female fronted band that can stand toe to toe with the greatest male fronted rock bands of the century? Sure Patti Smith had her day although most of the songs most people associate with her were covers (Gloria, My Generation, Rock and Roll Nigger). Even the song Because the Night was co written with Bruce Springsteen. Even a good portion of the songs that Joan Jett had early success with were covers (crimson and clover, do you wanna touch me, I love rock and roll). Not that any of this has anything to do with Tina Sparkles place on this list. I’m just posing the same question to you.
But if you ever looked for a more punk version of the Pretenders then check out Tina Sparkle.
18. Good Luck-Without Hesitation (No Idea)
A couple of years ago I gave Good Luck the number 3 spot on my “best of” list. Their new effort is not quite as good but I can’t figure out why. Perhaps it’s just not as big of a shock to the system. So if you have never heard Good Luck before now, this record may be much higher on your list. And nary will you find a girl who can belt out a song like Ginger Alford.

17. Dirty Filthy Mugs-Up in the Downs (DC Jams)
It’s nice to hear bands putting some effort in their Oi. Dirty Filthy Mugs features members of the Swingin Utters (who also put out a kick ass record this year). Pick this up if you like east coast Oi bands like Darkbuster or the Bruisers.
16. Iselia-Life From Dead Limbs (self released)
I always try to get a longer, doomier sounding record on my year end list. This year I figured the shoe-in would be the new record from Will Haven, but though it is a little on the unrefined side, Iselia’s new record Life From Dead Limbs came out of nowhere to steal it. Think of a better than average post Thursday screamo band mixed with Japan’s Envy and some Sigur Ros atmospherics. Get the guy who did the last Envy record to produce their next release and it could be one of the best screamo records of all time.
15. The Dwarves-Are Born Again (MDV)
For roughly the last 27 years the Dwarves have been the epidemy of sex, drugs, and violence in rock and roll. They will always be one of my very favorite bands. If you’ve never listened to them and want to remember what real “piss your parents off” punk sounds like, you can pick up any record they’ve ever put out. This record is again on par with anything they’ve ever done.
14. The Have Nots-Proud (Plastic and Paper)
The Have Nots have written the kind of record that Rancid no longer can: heartful, traditional, and without conceit.
13. Man Overboard-Man Overboard (Rise)
Man Overboard are the self proclaimed “Defenders of Pop Punk”. Not that that really matters. After someone’s already decided they’ve grown out of pop punk there’s very little that you to convince them that it’s still good. Man Overboard’s take on pop punk is just unapologetic, which is very refreshing. They write music that sounds like New Found Glory and Blink 182. Nuff said.
12. Amateur Party-Truncheons in the Manor (Rorschach)
I’ve been a big fan of Mike Mckee from his work with Armalite. Amateur Party is punk rock with reckless abandon. Most of these songs sound like they were written in a day and recorded just as fast. But that doesn’t limit the songs. It frees them. It lets them be what they are without intention, hesitation, or judgment.
11. Banner Pilot-Heart Beats Pacific (Fat Wreck Chords)
I say it every year. There will always be either a Banner Pilot of Off With Their Heads record on my list. Both bands have that Bouncing Souls Bass sound with driving rhythms and distinctive vocals. Both have never put out a bad full length.
10. Defeater-Empty Days and Sleepless Nights (Bridge Nine)
A few years back while I was watching Broadway Calls play a set at Warped tour, the lead singer asked the audience “Has anyone heard of Defeater? They’re the next band that’s going to do something in hardcore”. By god he was right. I’ve already written a lot about Defeaters as they were my number one record a couple of years back so let me just put it this way:
Imagine an angry, abused kid plants seeds and what grew around him was a band that would perfectly compliment AND antagonize him, helping him rip that abusive home apart.
9. P.S. Elliot-Sadie (Salinas)
I enjoy P.S. Elliot the same way I enjoy Cheap Girls (the band). It just sounds honest. Check out this if you want to hear emo/rock that sounds like pavement.
8. Moving Mountains-Waves (Triple Crown)
Originally I had written this record off because of the track lengths. On their previous release Foreword, most of the tracks ran well past the 5 minute mark. Waves rarely breaks 4. But they were on the lineup for Warped Tour and since I was there anyway I decided to check them out. Starting out with about a crowd of 30 watching them, they put on the best performance I’d see all day. When they were finishing up I looked around and saw that they had a crowd of about 400. These were just people who were walking by and got drawn in by their performance. The next day I threw Waves on for a serious listen.
7. Balance and Composure-Separation (No Sleep)
Last year I predicted that the first full length that Balance and Composure puts out could very well be my number one record of the year. Their first full length is not quite there but it stands high above any other full length emo records this year. Equal parts wimpy and powerful, Balance and Composure got their education from early 90’s emo bands such as Mineral and Sunny Day Real Estate. Check this out if you forgot what real emo sounds like.
6. Tenement-Napalm Dream (Hang Up)
The Only review I’ve read about this record said “Pop songs disguised as punk songs” which is a very accurate statement. I’m dying to see these guys live because I always compare them to the best of Minneapolis rock bands like Husker Du and the Replacements. Something I completely missed out on with my pre-teen record collection consisting entirely of Huey Lewis and Brian Adams records.
5. Pangea-Living Dummy (Lauren/Burger/Ol Factory)
My favorite garage record of the year. Though they’re form Los Angeles they have a lot of their sound in common with most of the stuff that GaGa records out of Ottawa has put out in the last few years. I imagine if Liam Gallagher had a kid who started a punk band it would be similar to this. That’s just my own imagination though. Don’t get any expectations out of that.
4. Candy Hearts-Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy (Kind of Like)
I’ve always had a thing for favorite babysitter vocals. Normally this spot would go to Lemuria, but I found Pebble to be rather boring. This record is just plain fun, female fronted pop punk
3. 12XU-Les Grande Marees (Purepain Sugar/Bakery Outlet/Flower of Courage)
The new record by 12XU sounds brash, impulsive, unrefined, and un-french. All things that I imagine the French government would be totally appalled by. That’s my kind of punk.
2. Junior Battles-Idle Ages (Paper and Plastic)
Idle Ages is a strange release. By that I mean it’s hard to really categorize it. It’s pop punk at it’s core but it sounds like they try their damndest to make it incomparable. The best I could do is compare it to eastern Canadian pop punk bands like the Dean Malenkos and Hope, both of which are tragically under-rated.
1. Fucked Up-David Comes to Life (Matador)
I really didn’t want o agree with SPIN magazine on this one. A couple of years ago when CJAM was changing it’s frequency, I suggested that the first song we play should be Crusades from Fucked Up’s first full length, not just because of how epic or how poignant the lyrics would have been, but also because I felt they were the most important band that we COULD play. A band that’s so effective and genre bending in what they do. A band that could never break into the mainstream no matter how popular they get because of their name alone. A band that makes punk important again.
Basically take every style of punk of the last 40 years (with the exception of maybe nu-metal), blend it together and turn it into a hardcore record. It’s all there. Punk, hardcore, classic, psychedelic, shoe gaze, metal, oi, etc.
Fucked up really went above and beyond this year with the release of a companion record called David’s Town sold only on record store day where the band takes on the persona of 11 different fictional bands of all different styles. Also Damien’s hosting on the wedge made it the only show on Much Music I’ve ever been interested in.
David Comes to Life actually made my hair stand up on end the first couple of times I listened to it.
if the above link doesn't work, try these:

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