30-12-13

2013 was pretty fucking kind of alright

It's the end of the year and here's what I think ruled this year. You can download the songs here.

Fausto - Shin Punch
Hands down my favourite hardcore act of the year. They put out an EP of sorts. I saw them play and it was a lot of fun. Not necessarily serious, but very good. Shin Punch is my jam.

Outline - Final Call
One of the better Belgian releases of the year, Tombs. A couple of well-crafted melodic hardcore songs. I spent a couple days on a UK tour with these guys and they are the coolest. I love their music and I love their persons.

Ed Wood - Talking To The Void
I got an e-mail to review their split with Monolithian early in the year, then saw them play, met them and fell in love with all of them. Amazing band, amazing split, but they've broken up since a few weeks so that sucks.

Jabber - 200 Days
This is without any question the best song of 2013 and maybe ever. I have never loved a song so much as I love this one. Well, perhaps I have, but I am seriously infatuated. If I could ask a song out, I'd ask this one. It makes me feel all sorts of stuff but mostly I just wanna sing along, dance along and play along to it. Incredible. I think this is supposed to be on a split with Mixtapes next year.

Jabber - All I Wanted
Included for reference as to how amazing this band is. The physical release of their EP only saw light of day in 2013 I think, but it was digitally available in 2012, so that's not included here.

Lipstick Homicide - I Hope You Die
They released Out Utero which is incredible, I saw them play twice which was incredible. Tightest live band around, and one the fastest pop punk records of the year. I love singing along to this, cause I hope most people die.

Off With Their Heads - Shirts
My favourite song on Home. Home is incredible.

Mixtapes - Like Glass
I had a serious relentless crush on Mixtapes when they put out Maps and adored everything they put out since. I was less in love with Even On The Worst Nights but Ordinary Silence seems to hit the spot once again. Like Glass is probably the best song they've ever written. Lyrically super strong.

The Murderburgers - My Inner Mental Room
Just come and talk to me about this record. I love everything about the Murderburgers and These Are Only Problems. This song, the last one on it, hits pretty hard. Something with full circles and catharsis.

High Dive - Square One
I got into High Dive because of Ryan Woods of Defiance, Ohio fame, and I stayed a fan because they're amazing. The These Are Days EP is incredible power pop punk. I talked to them about their ideas and they're super cool people. Their set at Fest was infallible.

Boys - Long Walk
I listened to Boys because some band generally suggested them on some social media. They're super good. And this is only a demo. It's been released as a tape by Brassneck/WWSBD? and will be available as 7" through Bloated Kat, plus they self-released a CD-R of it. Buy all of it. It's that good. They're equally cute and bad-ass.

Like Bats - A More Enlightened Kind Of Fly
Like Bats is arguably the best band ever. I was so glad I could see them twice in the US. They put out this new song on some comp this year. I bet their next record is gonna be rad and it's gonna make me want to kill myself. That's good.
Honorable mention for Song Two which accompanied me on many a sad summer night this year.

Be My Doppelganger - The Smartest Kid In The World Takes A Break
They've strayed away from their 3 chord pop punk image with their new record. It's an amazing collection of essentially punk-based rock'n'roll songs and this particular song hits nails on the head as no song ever did before. Artless is a true work of art, and I'm excited to finally actually get it in the mail some time cause that's been dragging on for so long, heh.

UPDATE: I was supposed to include Off The Charts as well, but I forgot to add the file to the mix. Just listen to their record.

UPDATE #2: I totally forgot to include Muncie Girls. But they're like the best band in the world, so I just assumed that was a given.

Additional mentions for the Punchlines (or was that also 2012?), Direct Hit! and Esoteric Youth, who would have been included but I don't have immediate access to MP3 files of their songs right now.
I also listened to True Things way too much in 2013.
I put out an album myself as well, by the way.

Lots of personal stuff happened but nobody cares. At least you shouldn't care. Unless we're friends. Then you should care.

See you on the flip side, babes.

25-12-13

Study break

I have a Christmas break from school. Ideally I spend all my time right now studying the things I didn't pay attention to in the last few months. And I am doing that. Just at a mediocre pace and level.
The best part about these weeks is I get to spend entire days in my room, drinking coffee, studying shit and listening to records. I get to revisit old records and check out new ones, or records I'vde been neglecting a bit. So let's go over the last few days.

Right now I'm spinning The Get Up Kids' Something To Write Home About. It's on pink vinyl. It's beautiful, aesthetically and musically. There's a case to be made for Four Minute Mile but Something... is by far my favourite Get Up Kids record. A plunge into the pop pool without diverging too much from their early emopunk roots. You know, I love pop music. I love clear-cut, well-produced, high-fidelity music. And that is part of why Something... is my favourite. I can sing along to almost every word, I've seen 'em 3 times now and I am well aware of the fact There Are Rules kinda blows. I remember wearing my way-too-small-but-I-still-wear-it-all-the-time TGUK hoodie to a Shai Hulud show and talking about them to their lead singer. He agreed that Something... is their best record. Why wouldn't he?

There are a lot of records that just pass the table and I put them back pretty swiftly. But those are also of importance. I hadn't listend to The Few And Far Between by Jason Clackley in a big while, but it's a good record, you know? I hadn't heard that Chinese Telephones record for so long, so it's a blast to hop along to those tunes again. But, there's a reason I don't listen to those records all that often. It's cause I have preferences. I have some go-to records and I have some records that are plain better than others so sometimes I just put them on the turntable. That makes sense.

One of those go-to's is Squirtgun's Fade To Bright. Dangerously underrepresented, underrated and underappreciated. Dangerously good. Their lyrics will blow your mind. I only found out recently Matt Hart is actually a poet. So for the songs he wrote, that makes total sense. This record is fantastic start to finish. Mass Giorgini, who plays bass on this and produced/engineered it, actually produced the first Copyrights record that same year (2003) and got those guys to sing on Never Fit. Those are fun facts that I like about music. This album is amazing.

The Dopamines. Everything by the Dopamines is basically go-to material. That basically means I'm not feeling all too shabby, but they help a lot. Vices is their best and I listen to that one most. But I listened to their self-titled this week and it still stands, man.
Similar remarks for the Hextalls discography.

I put on that Good Luck record, Into Lake Griffy, again. I mostly wanna hear both versions of Stars Were Exploding/Bringing Them Back To Life, but every song on it is top-notch musical pleasure. They're amazing musicians (check out everything Matt Tobey (Matty Pop Chart, Abe Froman, stuff with Kimya Dawson) and Ginger Alford (One Reason, Traveling, High Dive nowadays) do. I don't really know what their drummer does.)

Fuck, I re-visited One Year Later and the No Love Can Save Me EP by The Carrier. One of those melodic hardcore bands that were super popular some years back. Rightfully so. Amazing songs, hits hard as fuck.
In that vein, but on the opposite side of the polarity continuum: Death Is Not Glamourous. Holy shit they are good. That last record, Spring Forward, is the best not-youth-crew-sounding youth crew record of all time probably.

After Somethign To Write Home About finishes in a minute, I'm gonna listen to Defeater's Travels, and who knows what's gonna hit the deck? The Dauntless Elite? Mean Jeans? Punch? The Mars Volta? The Toasters? It's gonna be so much fun.

22-12-13

Jaarboek

Quick note: Yearbook is a very good band.

I saw 'em Thursday at this small student-run bar in Leuven, den Bijsluiter. I missed Coma Commander cause I has radio duty, but I managed to see almost all of Yearbook's set. They're from the UK (England, more precisely) and they play quirky and fun rock music. I couldn't put my finger on it. I was thinking of bands to compare them too, but none came up at the top of my head. That's a good thing. They're doing their thing. Cool set, bought an EP, it's really good.

Uhm, so yeah, check it out if you dig nice and eclectic rock music that sounds like Weezer was put in a blender and made into a nice English smoothie. Whatever.

Thursday night drinks followed. Quite a few. I apparently woke up one of my housemates by singing along to I Hope You Die by Lipstick Homicide at 3:30 am while I was baking a pizza. Sorry. I don't actuyally hope you die. It's a song. It's a really good song

09-12-13

These 'R' Only Problems

THIS RECORD IS FUCKING INCREDIBLE OKAY IF YOU DON'T LISTEN TO THIS YOU'RE MISSING OUT ON SOME AMAZINGLY WELL-CRAFTED AND DEPRESSING POP PUNK MUSIC BY SCOTLAND'S BEST CHUMPS I JUST WROTE LIKE 2 PAGES OVER THE LAST HOUR AND A HALF ON HOW GOOD IT IS AND EXACTLY WHY IT IS THAT GOOD BUT I LOST IT FUCK YOU PITCHFORK

LISTEN TO THESE ARE OBNLY PROBLEMS RIGHT NOW

FUCKING DO IT

BUY IT FROM ASIAN MAN OR MONSTER ZERO

LISTEN OF THE SPOTIFY

LISTEN ON THE INTERNET

GO TO THZEIR SHOWS THEY'RE REALLY GOOD

GIVE FRASER YOUR SPARE CLOTHES

CONSIDER THIS AND THETHINGS IT MUST TAKE TO DRIVE SOMEONE TO WRITE SUCH THINGS DOWN AND GET THE FUCK AWAY WITH IT
if I can simplify things then I think that I might be ok because once you’ve accepted that food is for sustenance and that clothes are for keeping you warm then there’s much less in this world that can do you harm.
ISN'T THAT THE MOST ACCURATE AND SAD THING YOU'VE READ ALL DAY? PORBABLY. LISTEN TO THESE ARE ONLY PROBLEMS FOR THE FULL EXPERIENCE TOTES WORTH IT.

FUCK.


08-12-13

We came here to live

I've got a few reviews lined up that I kinda need to do BUT LET'S TALK THE COPYRIGHTS' FIRST ALBUM FOR A SECOND.

I came across the song You And I again a while ago via one of all those social media I use. It's a dang tune. So today, I decided to pull out my We Didn't Come Here To Die picture disc. Mine has former guitar player Ken printed on the B-side. Good decision. It's been ages since I've listened to this. I much easier grab North Sentinel Island or Make Sound to rock out to, but I shouldn't forget about this piece of '00s pop punk history.

We Didn't Come Here To Die is, if I'm not mistaken, the first official release by the Copyrights. You know how most bands need a couple albums to sound like "their band". Well, These guys don't. This record sounds as much like The Copyrights as their later efforts do. But this is more basic, certainly compared to North Sentinel Island.
I don't know when they wrote Our Turn (which was released on the Button Smasher EP), but they definitely hit the nail on the head with that one. "No more all downstrokes, no more I-IV-V's." We Didn't Come Here To Die adheres to the ramonescore tradition quite truthfully. Mutiny Pop and Make Sound started to stray away from that. But it's the use of harmonies, the balance of the instrumentarium, the build-ups, the potential energy that's been released throughout the record and the sense for incredibly catchy songwriting that makes this an all-out Copyrights records that is not just "their debut". It's part of the entire catalogue. It's a fitting element in their career.

With an array short, senseless, bursting songs about girls with glasses or people that talk too much and some elaborate, thoughtful tunes about exclusion and whatnot, the record lacks a bit of continuity that seems more present in later records. Of course North Sentinel island had a decisive theme and maybe even concept to it, but I feel like Make Sound or Learn The Hard Way for example have a very consistent sound and song sequence to them, without being fully conceptualized. That is less the case for We Didn't Come Here To Die. Notable fact, I think this record is the only one that has actual love songs/romantic songs on it, being You And I and -possibly- Four Eyes. With that in mind, for me the Copyrights have never been a traditional pop punk band. They've always tried out stuff, either musically or lyrically. Not going too experimental, but trying to stand out just enough.
We Didn't Come Here To Die is definitely not their best output. Some songs are plainly forgetable. Some are boring. Most are pretty good. Some are really good. But I feel like the record is as important in the Copyrights' discography as any other.

I got into the Copyrights around the time Learn The Hard Way was being released. So I basically backtracked to this record from knowing their newer material. I love every one of their records in a different way, but, like I said, they're a very consistent band so I think it's hard to pick a favourite and it's hard to say anything else than that I love the band as a whole.

So I just wanted to put We Didn't Come Here TO Die back into the spotlight for a bit. Seriously though. Very good record. Very good band.

03-12-13

Dads, why won't they shut up? Dads, they're so fucked up.

The were 3 pretty cool shows on Sunday. Possibly more. On a SUNDAY. All within reach. Antwerp had hardcore/punk covered with Left In Ruins and This Routine Is Hell. Leuven was picking it up picking it up picking it up with a JB Conspiracy headlining show and Ari/Boomboy afterparty. And Mechelen was representing the sadder side of things with some emo by putting on Dads.
I ended up going to Mechelen because of reasons. Band I'd never seen before, possibly good, convenient location, not much trouble.

I had to see Solstice, though. I'm not too big on them. They use unnecessary backing tracks sometimes and I'm generally not stoked on their style of punk rock (pop punk?). They're not bad, per say, but not my cup of tea, per say.

Dads were pretty cool. For some reason I had expected a major twinkle-emo band but they weren't like that at all. Just a guitar player with an insane amount of pedal gear ammo and a drummer with the right amount of awkwardness. They're a pretty popular band in whatever scene they adhere to. They're good. Probably have good lyrics. Sometimes noisy. Kinda like 1994!. Actually, they were a lot like 1994!. Hmm, that's cool.

Cool show. I don't know if I made the right decision. I couldn't hang  with Pie and Sammy in Antwerp, neither with Wouter and Ari in Leuven. But I hung out with Petit and Stijn in Mechelen and got a free beer so that's good.

01-12-13

Festback

About a month ago I saw this band play, called Worriers. Member of The Measure, Bridge and Tunnel, Caves and then there's Mikey Erg on drums. Who else, right? Total babe-band, obviously. They were really good, and the folks at Lost Youth recs had set up a show for their Euro tour so we checked 'em out at Fest. We were pleasantly surprised.
So this past Wednesday they played at the Carpe Diem in Hasselt. I was stoked. Mikey Erg was playing a solo set too. Great fun.

But, the first band on were Losing Grip. Never heard of them. But they sounded really cool. Kinda Jawbreaker/early-Fake Boys vibes. Melodic, non-pretentious punk rock from the hearts and souls of some dudes from Limburg. I thought it was really good, so I hope I get to see 'em again soon.

Worriers ruled. I was less buzzed and more attentive than I was at Fest, so that only increased the experience for me. Great songs and top-notch, energetic execution. The songs from the new 7" were really good, it was this folksy, intimate song followed by a full-blown catchy tune. Worked like a charm. I'm not too biog on everything they played, but the majority made up for the minority of songs that appealed less to me.

What would a show with a Mikey Erg-inclusive band be without a Mikey Erg set? Probably pretty weird. So Mikey played some of his tunes. Mostly Ergs. A Psyched To Die song. Even a Harvey Danger and Gin Blossoms song (Gert-Jan requested that last one for me, < 3). Loud singalongs to words like "Life is long when you're lonely" "And I could write you the perfect song" and "And you prooooooobably will". The Ergs! were one of the main bands I was into when I was about 17-18 (about the time they broke up), so those songs still mean a lot to me and it feels great just singing along to every word. And when Gert-Jan started singing My Life Hurts by house Boat and Mikey actually played it, the set couldn't have had a better ending. No way, José. Perfect.

Bought a Worriers record and found a Underground Railroad To Candyland record in some distro. Nice. Trainride to L-town.