Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride: Year in Review
This was such a crazy year for me! Moving to the MRR compound means I am spoiled for choice and constantly exposed to new and exciting things! So many good punk shows and sooo many releases! I will admit, I was not carried away (too much) by the recent wave of raw punk (back home we call it “kàtsa”), so I often found myself longing for sounds that would travel me to other places far and wide, the soundtrack to a surreal black-and-white dream of urban misery and longing. These records helped do that.
ANTIMOB – LP
Words fail me. They usually do when it comes to the big, important stuff. There is so much to be said of this monoliic Greek band and their sound, but the music does it much better justice my ramblings. I love and admire these guys immensely, and their music speaks volumes to me, more than I can begin to descibe! Get this now!
CRINIMAL CODE – “Cold Thought” LP (Inimical) and “Hollowed” EP
Band of the year from Tacoma, Washington! I kind of knew it the second I heard this—esoteric, dark and mysterious. It all meshes so well, each track with the next, each release with the next. I liked every single thing they released this year and their live show was also a complete high! I hope they can keep pushing themselves and will continue to amaze us in the coming year! Well done lads!
NUN – “Solvents/Cronenberg”
The surprise of the year! Blip/synth punk from outer space (well, Melbourne)! Hearing this makes me as happy as it does angry. Happy because it is sonic bliss to me ears, and angry because I can’t understand why punks are so reluctant to fucking dance! Dance dance dance dammit!
YOUTH AVOIDERS – “Time Flies” EP
Dark, tight and melodic! French hardcore punk that screams my ear’s language. Jolting and actually danceable, though still legitimately angry, the self-titled track is one of the catchiest of the year! Give me more!
(Build Me A Bomb / Destructor)
RED DONS – “Ausländer/Mauvaise Fois”
De facto one of my favourite bands in the last decade, they have honed a style all their own and blaze on untouched! “Ausländer” is probably my most played (and heart-felt) track this year (that opening riff is pure gold!) and their show with the ESTRANGED was just magical.
LOWER – “Someone’s Got It In For Me/But There Has to be More”
Record of the season from Denmark, I cannot flip this fast enough. Two tracks of carefully-articulated genius. I had been waiting for this for so long, I am enthralled!
THE WAR GOES ON – “This Shitty Life” EP
I listened to this so much when it came out! I’m a huge NO HOPE FOR THE KIDS fan, and while this is not exactly the same, it still exhumes that great Danish melancholy I so love! The self-titled track is one of the best and catchiest of the year. Oh, and they also sing about football! Score!
(New Dark Age)
PARALISIS INFANTIL – “Demo ’87” EP
Oh man, this Argentinian band is so good, you just feel it in your bones when it plays! Amazing sound, compositions and atmosphere! Their track “Hijos de Burgueses” still rings in my brain at random moments, especially the opening riff—it’s contagious! I’m so glad this exists, it makes me smile!
ACID BABY JESUS – LP
Best band to dance to! Before I left Greece for SF and they went on a bunch of tours around Europe and the US, I danced at their Athens shows like there was no tomorrow! Dreamy yet twisted, garage-tinged inventiveness that should be experienced in tropical wet holes, drenched in beer and surrounded by friends!
DESPERAT – “Början På Slutet” EP
Frenzied crashing hardcore from Sweden. Scream and pound and blow your house down. Circling your room in a furious rage, like a lion in a cage. This is medication that wakes you up and it soothes your raw nerves.
ILEGAL – “El Aire Libre Fuera de los Dientes delo Monstruo Tirano Y Canibal” LP
Noisy and no bullshit harshcore (did I just coin a new punk term?) from Montreal, this is punk as fuck, in every sense of the word! Nothing sounds excess or unnecessary; this is a furious exposition from beginning to end! You have been warned!
(La Vide Es Un Mus)
PARAF – “Prekinuti Koitus: 1978-1979” LP
One of my favourite Yugoslavian punk bands. I am in love with the female vocals (that make appearances on later recordings) but was glad to be introduced to their earlier, more unhinged work. A time travelling machine of a record.
Top 3 tapes:
BLACK COFFEE – cassette
Old-school yet completely relevant no-fills hardcore, with a minimal to-the-point expression, exactly how I like it! I would love to see this band live, so someone book this Oz wonder!
DAMAGES – “Defection” cassette
Urgent, fresh and driven. Melodic and angry, this tape is a rocker! Young punks from/around LA, taking us into the new era!
DEHUMANIZED – cassette
So dark, so brooding, so mean. So good! Black metal blasts and hardcore experimentations from Olympia, Washington that go deeper that you dare to venture.
Would be Number One, but it was officially released at the end of 2011:
ANTI – “Aντι…” LP
One of the best punk records to come out of Greece and one of the best punk records I have ever heard! This is a masterpiece—how to explain such a special glimpse of a time now past, this is fucking historic! Overcast by the dark political shadow of the time (and the time now is always), drenched in glassy synths, stone cold beats that fuck with your head and vocals that sing lyrics that make your insides ache with anger and despair. Like a static shock, this will electrocute you and leave you shivering on the floor. This record brings new meaning to the definition “Greek punk” and, if you can truly grasp it, it’s a life-altering experience.