This past year was a bewildering one, filled with super highs and all time lows. That's the way it goes sometimes. I almost died, suffered temporary amnesia, and went through the worst depression of my life. The good news is I lived through it all thanks to incredible friends and incredible music. I'm glad I don't give a shit about politics, I find reality and writing my own narrative much more seductive. Go out and live your life or die trying. Keeping that in mind, here is what moved me in 2017.
10. The Dahmers - In The Dead of Night
This horror influenced Swedish band serves up an interesting blend of nuanced speed glam and trashy 77 punk. A very solid full length that will slowly or quickly get stuck in your head. Sort of like an amphetamine fueled hybrid of the Adverts and Cheap Trick but better.
9. Daddy Issues - In Your Head
A digital single that caught my attention at the beginning of summer when I was randomly searching for something new in my Friday release radar. This all female trio knows how to write a pop song with bite. Crisp production and fuzz heavy guitars dominate the recording. Classy chord transitions and a bouncy haunting vocal make this track worthy of repeated listens.
8. Sweet Knives - S/T
Alicja Trout's new band. if you dig the Lost Sounds and River City Tanlines, you'll dig this. Recommended to me by Matt Coppens of Terminal Boredom fame. If you're ever looking for new sounds, ask him. He's always in the know.
7. Pide Ayuda - Funeral Marches for Droids
The soundtrack to the nightmarish movie that only exists in your head. This Brooklyn duo serves up a cerebral reconstructive surgery that fuses the mind of John Carpenter with the spirit of the Screamers. There is deep hidden meaning in the sound swirl but only if you're open to it. Get hip and listen now.
6. Mike Spent Black Belt - I am a Lion/Sun Goes Grey
Mike Spent of Spent Idols fame returns to the fold with a brand new sound and brand new band with members from the Dogs and Guns N Roses. This catchy single is a departure from Mike's normal brand of 77 snot punk and his most accomplished work to date. Influences are all over the place on this one and the genre blending is a success on all levels.
5. Baby Brains - Eat Your Heart Out ep
I was turned on to this band not too long ago and it turns out they're from Harrisburg, PA of all places. I guess I'm still in denial that I actually live here now and should look for signs of life every now and then. This extended play is the sleeper hit of the year. Phil Spector sophistication infused with Stooges intensity. Brooding melodies and reverb-soaked guitars provide the perfect meltdown.
4. honeychain - Crushed
The 1st full length from this Los Angeles power trio. A twisted journey through the ups and downs of modern day romance. Upbeat and moody, this is a heavy dose of power punk pop fury. Fans of the Muffs and Go-Go's take note.
3. Nature Boys - Nature Boys 3
The Tortured Tongues recommended this album to me and it did not disappoint. 10 tracks of eerie rough and tumble garage punk. A contagious blend of early LA punk desperation and Dead Moon explosiveness. The vocal style is one of the most original I've heard in a long time. The slithery surf punk guitar and menacing blues growl of the rhythm section create the quintessential after-hours molotov cocktail. Courtesy of Kansas City, Missouri.
2. White Reaper - The World's Best American Band
A non-stop fireball of power pop with new wave sensibility rages on the latest full length from this Louisville, Kentucky rock n roll band. Serious rock action with a tasty bubblegum sneer, it's hard to find a bad track on here. Cool retro noise with a nice dose of modern gloss and loaded with hooks. Check out the stellar single "Judy French".
1. The Side Eyes - So Sick
Dangerhouse records on steroids. The band is red-hot and the sun drenched snarl of Astrid McDonald puts this one over the top. Short and sweet, this 25 minute album will kick your ass. Red Kross' Steven McDonald provides a cutthroat production that adds flavor in all the right places. Stream it now and pick up the vinyl while you're at it.