2011: Things of the year

It's the end of the year (again) and everbody's doing it so I guess I will. I will go through some shit that musically sparked my attention this year. No lists, because those are hard, but just some shit on why I liked the shit that happened.

2011: Everything but a list.

The best band this year was definitely Banner Pilot. They probably weren't the best band but i've learned to appreciate them this year more than previously. The reissue of Resignation Day and primarily the new record Heart Beats Pacific did the trick I guess. When I heard Alchemy on the internets ahead of the release I was blown away. However, when I listened to the new record in its entirety for the first few times I wasn't. It was cool but not to my expectations.
Who the fuck was I kidding, though, once it hit me right, it hit me damn right. Album of the year, musically very versatile (they used drop D-tunings, what the hell?) though unambiguously punkrock, lyrically very recognizable on a lot of aspects. Love this band.

Nerf Herder is the other band I really got to appreciate and understand more this year. Together with singer Parry Gripp's solo project, Nerf Herder has to be the best musical outlet ever for anyone who's bored or feels useless. Parry's lyrics are hilarious as well as enlightening as well as grasping, and the music is just plain joyful mostly. Please do yourself a favour and check out every little thing you can find. Or visit me with your hard drive or something and I'll give you everything I have found. Which is pretty much.
Nerf Herder is pretty quite now, but Parry is still kicking out the jams and made some of the best songs of the year.

So I guess those are number 1, but I honestly can't make a hierarchious list of releases of 2011. But I'll tell you which ones appealed to me.
For obvious reasons, Mixtapes put out a bunch of good stuff. They did the Castle Songs thingy early on which was fun, then the Hope Is For People 7" which was slap-in-the-face good. I really like their pop punk sensibility and the fact that they "are anti-social and hate everybody". I can really relate. They also put out a reissue of Maps, backed with the all-electric Companions EP, accompanied with the all-acoustic How To Throw A Successful Party EP. And their first real real full length is about to be recorded, so I'm super stoked about this.

Dead Ringer released a 7" called Enjoy The Ride, and damn it if I didn't enjoy the ride. Probably the best EP this year... If it wasn't for the magificent Fake Boys who put out Nice Knowing You. Fucking awesome. I remember the first time hearing this and being all "wuh teh ef?" and then listening to it again and again and 'getting it'. This is Fake Boys pur sang. Pop punk is fucking dead, fact proven by the Fake Boys. I mean, it spins at 33 rpm, that's saying something, does it? The songs are so god damn piercing. Gives me goosebumps.
Related quote of the year (by the Fake Boys):
thanks to everyone who cares, everyone else can suck shit
And let's not forget Not On Tour, who released a new EP (N.O.T. On Tour, really clever). Bitching new songs. It's weird they're called Not On Tour (actually it's not weird, but anyway) because they are at their best when they are on tour. I saw 'em 1 and a half times this summer and it was goooooood. I also promise that was the last dumb joke about their bandname I made. Period.

Other awesome shows this summer were Touché Amoré and Death is Not Glamourous (and to a lesser extent This Routine Is Hell and La Dispute) at Kaffee Aloys, both bands have new records out that belong the the top X of this year. Touché Amoré's has had so many plays I'm almost sick of it. Epic, epic record. Death Is Not Glamourous was probably the best hardcore act I saw live this year. Their new EP is just as amazing as their other releases. Definite band to check out if you haven't already.
Let's see... Lemuria/Cheap Girls was a fun show, where I got to know Cheap Girls which was probably the best thing that night did for me. Algernon Cadwalladder/Punch/1994! in Berchem was an awesome show. Really weird line-up but hella cool. Oh, and definitely Soul Control/Ritual. Both class hardcore bands. New Soul Control EP is bitchin', new Ritual record is also bitchin'. Bitchin' means very good!
August ended with Hot Water Music and Make Do And Mend who are both amazing, amazing bands (Hot Water Music being one of my absolute favourites). Similarly I saw the Get Up Kids a couple weeks later (it's similar because they're also a favourite band of mine). Oh, and Fountains Of Wayne also a few weeks after that. Damn, how cool were Fountains Of Wayne? I'm still stoked I was at that show. I still feel bad for everyone who wasn't at that show. They must have had a lousy time.
Summer only ended when I saw the motherfucking Wellingtons, though. First in Brescia, then in Villadossolla. The shows were tight as fuck but as for audience and reaction pretty dull. Should've played in Belgium, damnit. Seriously though, that musical trip was awesome, I love the Wellingtons and their new album (geez, every god damn band has had a new album this year) is off-the-hook great. In Transit belongs in everyone's top 10 lists this year.
Another gem of power pop punk is The Windowsill's debut. Don't fucking miss out on Skies Are Turning Blue 2.0. And don't forget the new projects of 1) former Leftovers-dude Kurt Baker and 2) former Guts-dude Geoff Useless: 1) Kurt Baker Music and 2) The Connection. Start dancing to 1) Rocking For A Living and 2) Stop Talking/New England's Newest Hitmakers.

I've actually gone too far already. Most years start in January (in fact, I think all of 'em do). You know what happened in January? Jackshit. I have to study in January. BUT! But! In January 2011, I internationalised This Ain't Noise and changed the language to English after a long and thorough poll (one guy said I should probably do it in English). AND LOOK AT THE SUCCES STORY NOW, right? (Wrong, actually)
Februari was awesome because I was working hard on the first issue of my paper fanzine at the time. Which, actually, I do consider a succes story. Fact: #1 has sold out. Fact: #2 has sold out. Fact: There's still #3's left. Fact: #4 just came out a week ago! BUY IT!
Also I've been buying way more 'zines since I started making one. They're all better than mine. In 2011 I picked up and really liked: Jerk Store (!), Ironhide, The Swaggerlo Times, Eraser, Sweet Chaos, ...

Since I can't make a coherent overview anyway, I wanna say something about some other records that were purely awesome. First and foremost, can you imagine how stoked I was to hear a new Copyrights album after X years? Damn I was excited! Could you imagine how glad I was when it turned out to be one of the of 2011? Could you guess how many times I hit the repeat button? (Actually just once... for an entire week!) Best album in any genre. Even Burzum thinks North Sentinel Island is great! (Not based on true facts.)
The second pop punk gem was definitely House Boat's The Thorns Of Life. An album as fun as a videogame and as depressing as your ex-girlfriend.

On the gruffier side of the pop punk we have releases such as Red City Radio's The Dangers Of Standing Still. This band, by the way, co-headlined the third Summer In October Fest with Wimpy Rutherford. A fest that I will remember forever for being the best weekend ever this year and also of the years before it existed (so 3 years ago and before). It featured the Crackups CD release of Animals On Acid, which is not their debut but I think they wish it was. 1000 times better than the previous album. Also they get airplay, I think. At least, I've heard 'em once on Studio Brussel.
That weekend another famous Kempen band released their 3rd record. The Priceduifkes came on the props (dutchism!) with their longest album to date, Can't Lose. Contender for one of the best records of the year as well, and not just nationally. They will tour Europe in 2012 with Direct Hit! (FUCK YOU! GET Domesplitter in your record collection!), and that's super cool and rightful.
Another cool gruff punk record is The Slow Death's Born Ugly Got Worse. I saw them on a show with The Arteries and Mikey Erg, and I really only needed to see Mikey Erg, both both other bands kicked ass. The Slow Death is slightly more accesible than The Arteries I guess, but they're both amazing. New Arteries record is called Dead Sea, check that out. Mikey Erg has a heart-shaped single out with 2 great songs on it. He plays songs for everyone. He's great. The show was amazingly stunning.

I got an awesome Mikey Erg shirt at that show, featuring the classic Project X lyric "as hard as the booze that you swill down your throath". Other cool merch items I've acquired are a Not On Tour sweater, Give Up The Ghost "We're Down..." shirt, PJ Bond "make your own peej" shirt, Parry Gripp "Wiener Dog..." shirt, Tattle Tales "Pop Sounds" shirt and a Mixtapes "Ohio" shirt. Yay!

Some other (new) national bands I can think of now are definitely de Tantras and 15 Minute Powernap, they both have great tunes, they're great dudes and are really coming up in the scene. Related to 15 Minute Powernap, also F.O.D. and A Hollow Statement are bands to look out for. The F.O.D. EP slays, as mentioned earlier this month. Also keep an eye out for the Dead 70s Show, they recorded some jams that you'll probably like!
Break Of Day released a new album which blew me away. The Octopussys made a record as well, but I have to say that I still still still need to buy it as I haven't listened to it entirely. I'm super late on that boat, but super curious though.
State Of Mine called it quits at the insane Mute show, but meanwhile Face The Fax is hitting new highs. They share a drummer with A Strength Within, who are really taking it back. Whatever that is. They're taking it. They've stepped up their game with Still Searching, 4 new songs after 2 years of searching.
Off The Charts released a great demo tape, Empty Hearts, but hardly play any song off of it anymore. They're probably my favourite Belgian band right now. Seen them numerous times, had a lot of fun and they're super great guys. They opened the Summer In October Fest I just talked about, by the way.
The Dutch Rudders also made their march this year, for example by opening the great Crossbone Fest. I can't tell you how awesome Crossbone Fest was because 1) I honestly can't tell, it's a well-kept secret, 2) I was pretty damn drunk, 3) I lack the vocabulary to describe it and 4) it's been a while. Anyway, Mothersmoking Chixdiggit! headlined the thing and they made every band that has ever done a live show (so basically every band) look like fools. One of the best shows OF MY LIFE. Related stuff: they have a new EP, Safeways Here We Come, which puts all other EPs made by bands to shame. So. Damn. Good.
Also at Crossbone: Rebuild. They should have had their demos ready by then (March-April) but sadly they've been postponed endlessly and they only got the stuff assembled on tape a few weeks back and on CD in the next couple of week. Singer Gijs also does an indie project called Owls In Daylight with 2 other peepz.

Talking 'bout the soft stuff, I went to 2 shows featuring PJ Bond and Greg Laraigne. I really loved those shows, those people, and the fun I had. They both have releases out now on Shield Recordings, PJ's is a live record and Greg's is called Story Tellers, True Believers. Greg's not really perfect with his English accent but that's what I like so much about his songs. They're both really genuine people.

In the melodic punkrock section I have to mention... loads of records! Geez, I wonder if anyone will ever read this. This ain't no year's end list. This is a god damn last will & testament. Anyway, you NEED to check out Tenement's full length entitled Napalm Dream, it'll be one of the best musics you'll hear in a while. In a similar fashion, Joyce Manor's self-titled and Hold Tight's Call The Zoo/Can't Take This Away. Really strong records from bands who are not doing the exact same thing everybody does but actually try to make it a little more interesting. Same for What Keeps You Breathing by the Living Daylights. I mean, that' top-notch punk rock, man. Oh, and Crucial Dudes' 61 Penn. Definitely, super good stuff.

Man, I haven't even said anything about seeing the Descendents at Groezrock. I saw the Descendents at Groezrock, guys!! Also, Groezrock was awesome, I was really happy to see Dear Landlord and Teenage Bottlerocket once again and had some of the most fun I've ever had. Those bands managed to pull off the bigger stages pretty well.
I didn't really discover anything special by checking out bands at Groezrock, mostly because I didn't so much check bands out, but I've been to a lot of shows and I've been surprised quite a few times. Most notably I remember Daylight in Ghent, Smartbomb in Leuven and the Gamits in Hasselt.

Songs of the year were probably End Of A Year's I Heard Crime Gets You Off, The Priceduifkes' I.K.A.W./138, Banner Pilot's Intervention, Dead Ringer's That Veronica Vaughn..., Crucial Dudes' Boom, Roasted, ...
The best songs of ever are still Hey Jealousy by the Gin Blossoms, Surfin' Bird by the Trashmen and any song by the Ramones, but also We Killed It by Give Up The Ghost, Pretty Pathetic by the Smoking Popes and the Dopamines' Car Trouble.

I'm not even going into all the little things like Ryan Mixtapes' Wooky Stax and Gooningtons projects, or how much I've enjoyed Very Emergency by the Promise Ring or how I've only today started to listen to Get Bent when obviously I missed that boat and how good Tigers Jaw is or how happy I am For Science is back together (even if I'm not sure they'll play more than 1 show) or the new Grown Ups EP which is really good.
And just today, Like Bats throws their new record our way. It's called Midwest Nothing and it is great. Like Bats is a pretty underrated band.

Major things I missed out on are The Fest 10 and the Monster Zero Mash. Also some other cool shows but those were the most painfullest. I'll miss out on the Give Up The Ghost's reunion shows and the Dopamines' 5 year anniversary New Year's Eve.

I'm gonna stop name-dropping now. It's been one hell of a busy year. I think the above basically sums it up. A whole year of music in 2499 words. Oh, geez, the funny thing is that I have a paper due for Spanish literature that needs to be at least 2500 words. I wish I studied musicology, so I could just hand in this blogpost as a paper.
It'd be a pretty lousy paper anyway. I think I've created the anti-list.
I hope, if you managed to read it all the way till down here, you enjoyed reading it and got a clue about what I liked this year and what you would perhaps like. Someone please pat me on the back.

Thanks everybody for a great 2011. I've made tons of friend in the punkrock/hardcore scene this year, some more casually than other but I'm really excited about having met so many people. I'm actually quite the shy type, so this is a huge deal for me to talk to "strangers" at shows.

ALSO: Please buy my zines. #3 (Parry Gripp, Hot Water Music, Not On Tour, Make Do And Mend) and #4 (PJ Bond/Greg Laraigne, Banner Pilot, Broadway Calls/Swellers, Priceduifkes/Octopussys) are still available!



Zine #4 is out and about! 50 cents, 20 A5 pages, same as always!

- interviews with PJ Bond+Greg Laraigne, Banner Pilot, End Of A Year Self Defense Family, Priceduifkes+Octopussys, Broadway Calls+Swellers
- record reviews
- downloadable mix

- stuff to check out

#3 is also still available!



Music sucks.

 Hey I thought I'd let you know real quick what I think about Revolver's Song of the year top 5.

Falling in Reverse - The Drug In Me Is You
Oh God. What a horrible attempt at writing a psuedo-psuedo-metal song. Made me vomit a bit.

Avenged Sevenfold - Buried Alive
What? Same shit, different name. Even worse I think. It's like 6:45 long. I'm not gonna listen all of it. 1:42 and I'm turning it off.

Asking Alexandria - Not The American Average
Oh. I thought this was way worse. Still sucks for about 95% though. Why can't they decide on clean vocals or screaming? Get a clue. Also super long so I'm turning it off. 2:49, the breakdown's just starting. Fuck this.

Black Veil Brides - The Legacy
Definitely silliest band of all. Pretty bad as well. Seriously, I can't listen listen to this. Switching at 1:39.

Alesana - Circly VII: Sins Of The Lion
Well, okay. This sounds like a song. Still a lot of things that are making this sound really bad.

Numero 4!

FRIDAY NIGHT is punk rock night. Every night is punk rock night. HOORAY!

There was like al lot of bands confirmed and cancelled and confirmed and cancelled so it ended up probably better that it was supposed to.

Broadway Calls are an amazing band. They play awesome pop punk with some influences of other things. Hell, I don't know shit. They play great songs and with a lot of commitment. The stage presence was top nothc and they have high standards in their live shows. The new songs sounded awesome and they played a lot of songs, from the first album as well.

Talking about "as well", the (a) Swellers were the next band and they are great but not really my thing. Didn't totally convince me. I danced to one song which was a fun time. Other than that good show but I was interested in my newly-found magazine about puberty and genitalia.

I've interviewed various persons about their interest in (female) genitalia that evening, read about it in zine #4, coming out this week hopefully!


Fuzzy Old Dudes?

Thanks to Lode of 15 Minute Powernap I've become acquainted with his other band, F.O.D. I have no clue what it stands for. But they're cool, and he asked for a review. He didn't really need to ask as I would've probably done it anyway. But since I'm super lazy lately it's probably better he did cause it would've taken a while otherwise. Here it goes...

F.O.D. - Dance To This!
2011, Thanks But no Thanks Records

1. Tiny
2. Same Difference
3. Losing Grip
4. Gwendolyn
5. Crappy Little Dumb Band
6. Spookie
7. Carry On

Is this a demand? A wish? Or rather a suggestion? My guess is that it's none of these, it's just a prediction. Because you probably will dance to this.
F.O.D. is a fairly upcoming band who have released their EP in the first weekend of December. It has 7 songs on it, so it's a packed EP already. We can just guess what  to expect next and when to expect it. 'nyway, these guys have their punk rock degrees alright. The mascotte on the cover is an oldschool teenage punk kid, screaming on the front, air guitaring on the flip page and blatantly passed out on the back (cause unknown - probably danced too hard).
Enough about the irrelevant shit, this is all about the music. First impression: really catchy, heartfelt. Immediately I'm thinking Lagwagon. Not a bad reference, of course. Everything sounds good, rhythm section is tight (some great bass lines and drum fills on there!) and the melodies are absolutely indispensable. What I like about it that they've really thought their shit through. In terms of songwriting, I'm not getting bored. I mean there are no real superfluous bits and it has a drive that basically keeps going til the end (Spookie is the only song kinda holding back its full potential, I guess).
Alongside these really great punkrocktunes, the vocals and lyrics are doing good. I love the fluency (on its own and with the music) and the thin line between a clean singing and a punk rock raspyness/throatyness. Lyrically there's a lot of girls involved, so that's a plus. Also lots of great concepts, like Crappy Little Dumb Band, and a few ideas I probably don't fully 'get'. No problem, though.
In general, this EP is a danceable and repeatable disc of hopeful songs swinging between the mid-tempo and the fast-paced stuff. Comparable with a lot of stuff Fat Wreck and Epitaph put out in the nineties. Id est great stuff.
It might turn into something you don't really like.
But even for the slightest chance you're dancing to this.


Back home

Hey, you know what? This week I saw a band I've known and liked since I was 13/14 years old for the first time live on stage.

I pretty accurately remember me and my brother hanging in our house listening to music and my brother telling me to check out this one song. It was Back Home by "some obscure" band called Yellowcard. He got it from LimeWire (remember LimeWire?), I don't know how though. I was listening to Busted, Avril Lavigne, Blink-182, Fountains Of Wayne, ... so Yellowcard fitted in pretty damn good.
I immediately got hooked to Back Home, it being at the time one of the best songs I had ever heard. Long story short: I checked out Ocean Avenue, which is awesome, my brother ordered One For The Kids from the internet (which at that time was totally unusual) and I found The Underdog EP at the local record store. Whoo!

Now skip about 6/7 years to 2011. I'm a 20-year old linguistics student, generally stoked on life but you know... I still listen to punk rock, which is something Yellowcard played a huge role in (together with Blink and the Offfspring). I go to shows regularly but Yellowcard have never come to Europe. They were to come at Pukkelpop (which I didn't attend) but that plan got blown away (pun intended). So Tuesday the 13th of December, 2011, Yeloowcard performed its first show on Belgium ground. And I was there to see them. Which was cool, both for the sake of it and for their show.

The line-up was pretty crazy actually. The Wonder Years started the evening and I arrived at the venue about half-way through their set. I'm fairly unfamiliar with them, but they're a cool band. I'm really liking this song right now. Anyway, I was surprised to see, like, 3 guitar players cause that's a lot. But their music is packed with energy and punch. They play this kind of "easycore" punk rock that can either go wrong (like I saw with Transit last Friday) or right (I had the impression The Wonder Years were way further in this game). It's supposed to be catchy and primarily.. well, yeah punchy. The part of the set I saw was certainly alright. It wasn't mind-blowing or anything, but it was up my league. Good job, guys!

Next up was - wait, what? - Defeater! Wow, quite the odd combo. But I don't care, I like almost everything in music as long as it has a beat and is in tune (so everything excluding dubstep I guess). Defeater fucking hit the spot. 5th time in Bels, my second time of seeing them. Although they're not the kind of band to play huge stages and have a diustance between band and audience they slayed. They absolutely killed it. One of the best shows I've seen these past few months. They reminded me of a more emotional and less chaotic version of the Dillinger Escape Plan. I know that doesn't make much sense but I think you're used to me not making sense, right? Either way, performance was stellar, they are amazing artists and they know how to push the buttons.

Saves The Day was next. As evidence that I like everything, I thought this show was super fun! I've heard many complaining and I can see why I think, but I was into it, I think they played a decent set. Apparently many people can't stand the singer's voice (anymore), cause it's hella nasal and high-pitched, but I dug it. I like nasal, high-pitched vocals. I like catchy pop (punk) melodies. I liked the set. They played 4 songs I knew I think (off of Stay What You Are/Through Being Cool) but I like most of the newer songs as well (some songs were pretty lousy though). They finished the set with At Your Funeral (of course) and that was very cool.
Saw the bass player after the show and we talked about Belgian beers and how good they are. They are really good. He was a nice good. I thought he looked like Rise Against's singer, but he didn't think so.

Then, finally, I was about to see Yellowcard. Actually, same scenario as with Saves The Day, I don't know any of their newer songs (post-Ocean Avenue). But damn did they put on a solid show. Singer was ill, but that didn't bother in the least. They played lots of great songs, an acoustic one which wasn't really necessary for me. I was kinda upfront and I almost felt like being at a festival. Con: not a punk rock show. Pro: lotsa girls! I dances, sang along to the couple songs I knew and had a lot of fun because flippin' Yellowcard was playing. That was good enough!


Defend pop punk

Wow. Busy weekend. It all started on Friday with a show in HJ Kavka, Antwerp. Great show I guess.
Went to party afterwards, crazy shit. Anyway, not relevant.

I missed Filler but my friend told me they were great so I bought a demotape and apparently they're great. Win-situation!

I watched Transit play but they were kind of boring. Some slightly better songs but most of the time it didn't get to me. Pretty wired. Cool Millencolin cover though. Probably still better than Millencolin ever played it live. Can't say for sure though. Not bad, but not great.

Missed/skipped Balance And Composure due to no definite interest and hangouts. I've heard they were cool though. They probably were. Everything is cool.

Title Fight was the reason I came to the show. They were the only band on the line-up that I kinda knew. I've heard their first album and it's really great. They put on a great show, with lots of energy on stage. They have great songs, but it was really remarkable that their songs sound really similar. Not that I care, I listen to pop punk that all sounds teh same. As long as it's good, they can write the same song over and over for all I care. Really enjoyed the show, sang along to the songs I knew/recognized and danced a tiny tiny bit. Had fun mostly. Great band, genuine guys and extremely young, damn!

Than the DJ played NoFX and Black Flag, and we hit the city until the early hours. Great night.