I'm back. I know it's been a long time, but I'm back. I apologize to all six of my readers for the long break, but real life gets in the way sometimes. Between school and some other circumstances, writing just wasn't happening. I did do some work - and still am doing some work - for the Peoria Hardcore zine Failure To Communicate. You want one? Get at me. It's good stuff.
I'm gonna try to keep this blog almost exclusively hardcore and metal related from now on. Not totally exclusively, but mostly. It's easier for me to write about and at least sound like I know what I'm talking about.
My Top Ten list from 2007 turned into a Top 20...but that's just as fun.
My Top 20 Albums of 2007
20. The Horrors - Strange House
I saw this band on Subterranean on MTV2 looking like a bunch of tools who were trying way too hard to be brooding and dark. That may still be right, but this is still a pretty great rock record. The horror-film thing is something that's been done to death it seems, but this takes a slightly different way of going about it - campy instead of gore-obsessed. Pretty great Link Wray cover on there as well.
19. Maserati - Inventions For The New Season
It's pretty hard for me to give a fuck about "post rock" or whatever you want to call it anymore. On the whole, it's a genre that's pretty stagnant and repetitive for me (coming from a hardcore fan I know that loses some punch), and I'd say the scene is getting pretty damn saturated. This record was still able to blow me away, and that says a lot.
18. Obituary - Xecutioner's Return
Obituary...still fucking killer.
17. World Collapse - Deustchland, Deustchland! Into the Night
Can a six-song EP be on a "best of" list? Who cares. This record is awesome. Hardcore/Pop/Electro blend that is just gorgeous, and was basically the soundtrack to my entire summer. Check out this band.
16. Pulling Teeth - Martyr Immortal
"What are you so afraid of?" Brutal, heavy, blistering hardcore. I wasn't sure it'd be able to top last year's "Vicious Skin" but it did just fine. Hate-filled and hard as fuck, and this record also reminds everyone that solos still have a place in hardcore. One of the few bands who get hyped to death and totally deserve it.
15. Silversun Pickups
Though I'm starting to tire of them thanks to the excessive pimping being done by MTV (do I want to know if the dude in this band has been tested? Honestly?), I still love this record. Glistening pop magic that, as corny as it sounds, makes me want to lie on a beach or something. And I hate beaches. This band has always reminded me a bit of Portastatic, and that's a good thing. I'd say it's the vocals more than the instrumentation, but who cares?
14. Turbonegro - Retox
Turn up the glam. Front to back, this record rules.
13. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Baby 81
This one just came out so I haven't gotten a real good feel for it yet, but it's pretty goddamned good. This record really goes back to a more straight-up rock sound than "Howl," which is both just fine (the dudes are great at it), and a shame (I loved the country/gospel vibe that "Howl" had). I obviously like it already, and I'm sure I'll like it even more once I really sink my teeth into it.
12. Mayhem - Ordo ad Chao
Raw and dark as fuck. Hellhammer is still absolutely inhuman behind a drumset, and whoever produced this record really knew their shit - it maintains a traditional lo-fi black metal sound without sacrificing any sort of intensity or weight. More guttural growling than nasal screaming vocals-wise, which is also a change and a plus.
11. Every Time I Die - The Big Dirty
This band just keeps getting better and better, and is one of the more "commercial" hardcore (or hardcore-influenced, or whatever) acts that I can still get behind. I wasn't very happy with "Gutter Phenomenon" but this record just kicks its ass. Still vaguely hardcore-ish, but at the same time able to kick into almost Molly Hatchet-style grooves. Keith Buckley is still the perfect lyricist for this band, as well - I've never heard anyone make absolutely no sense so poignantly.
10. The Weakerthans - Reunion Tour
I'm convinced that it is impossible for this band to make a bad record.
9. Kanye West - Graduation
Was it awesome? Yes. Was it as good as many people claim? Maybe not. Every time I listen to it, though, I notice new details that I'd missed the previous time. Fact is, I can't think of a truly "bad" song on this record, which is a total rarity in hip-hop today. I'm not sure I'll ever forgive the Chris Matin-ization of "Homecoming," though.
8. Lil Wayne - Da Drought 3
It frightens me sometimes the vast capability for creative output that Lil Wayne has. How is it possible to put up so many guest spots, so many mixtapes, and STILL put out a double (double!) tape that is so fucking good? The dude has his haters, and I am absolutely not one of them. The second disc might taper off, but this is still exceptional.
7. Modern Life Is War - Midnight In America
Just see my older post. Gets better every time I listen to it, and I'm interested to experience this band live again.
6. Interpol - Our Love To Admire
It's interesting that this band has basically put out the same record three times, and I could not possibly care less. "Our Love..." is a little bit slower and darker than their previous releases, with a more brooding atmosphere. Basically, this was the record I listened to when I wanted to be bummed out at work. Good stuff.
5. The White Stripes - Icky Thump
I'm not sure what to say about this one specifically, other than the fact that it's the White Stripes "returning to their roots," which is great despite the fact that I fucking love "Get Behind Me Satan."
4. Alcest - Souvenirs d'un Autre Monde
See my older post. Exactly what "post rock" needs...someone to inject something new and shake things up a bit. Gorgeous.
3. Ghostface Killa - Big Doe Rehab
The antithesis of "8 Diagrams," but just as crazy. Ghost is intense as fuck the entire record, rapping in that screaming, almost out of breath style, and the beats are of the stark screaming-soul-sample variety. There are a couple misses, but the hits make up for it, big time.
2. Wu-Tang Clan - 8 Diagrams
Good God. Two Wu-Affiliated albums in the top three, and I didn't even do that on purpose. For me, this record has confirmed the fact that RZA has gone totally batshit insane, and it makes for one hell of a record. Production-wise, this is easily one of the darkest and most atmospheric hip hop albums I've ever heard, and it's Wu so even the weak verses are pretty good by most standards.
1. Weekend Nachos - Punish and Destroy
That's right. Weekend (fucking) Nachos, "Punish and Destroy" is the greatest record of the year. Am I just sticking up for a local band, for my friends? Absolutely not. I have never in my life seen a record with a more appropriate title. Every track (all clocking in at under 1:30) is absolute punishment, lyrically and musically abrasive. Powerviolence seems to be the "hot" thing in hardcore this year, and this is the only record that really deserves the label - or hype - in my opinion. The production is flawless, the lyrics cutting, and come fucking on, even the 8-minute outro is awesome.
Disappointments of 07 In a Sentence or Less
1. Type O Negative - Dead Again
Just not very good.
2. Ministry - The Last Sucker
I think I'm the only person alive who hated this record
3. Marilyn Manson - Eat Me, Drink Me
You fucking pussy.
4. A Life Once Lost - Iron Gag
"Hey guys, remember those good songs we put out? Let's not do that this time."
5. Dillinger Escape Plan - Ire Works
Who am I kidding? I knew this would suck.
6. Blacklisted - Peace On Earth, War On Stage
People suck these dudes dicks so hard, I love them, but this just wasn't up to their standard.
7. Klashnekoff - Lionheart - Tussle With the Beast
I'm just gonna keep listening to "Focus Mode" and pretend this never happened.
Surprises of 2007 In a Sentence or Less
1. 108 - A New Beat From A Dead Heart
Though it would suck...it rips.
2. Gallows - Orchestra of Wolves
Where the hell did this band come from?
3. Anaal Nathrakh - Hell Is Empty, And All The Devils Are Here
Crushing death metal with some great melodic elements.
4. Swizz Beats - It's Me, Bitches
Yeah, just one song...but it's a total mindfuck of a song.
5. Smoking Popes - The Party's Over
Maybe I was hasty in assuming it would be hard to write another "Destination Failure."
6. Throwdown - Venom and Tears
Pantera > Straightedge
Things I Ignored in 2007
1. Radiohead - In Rainbows
Because I don't like Radiohead, go figure.
2. M.I.A. -Kala
So...it's a hot Sri Lankan girl who plays dance music? So?
3. Justice/Daft Punk/etc
When I DJed as a hobby in high school I played French House. Antoine Clamaran, all that shit. That was five goddamned years ago. This is not a "new hip thing." Fucking hipsters ruin everything.