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(RK)


2013 was yet another spectacular year for new music (and plenty of old), but something also seemed a bit strange. A transtition year perhaps? It just seemed like there were a lot of new faces out there. A majority of my past 12 months in music was taken up by five bands: Kremlin, Buck Biloxi & The Fucks, Lumpy & The Dumpers, Destruction Unit and The Repos/The Ropes. All seemingly quite different, a somehwat harder-core edged group maybe, yet still all very similar - Buck Biloxi and Kremlin are equally lo-fi in their own ways, a song like "Holodeck Survivor" as savagely punk as The Repos live set. And I'm certainly not saying the old guard wasn't well represented this year. I mean, Ron House made yet another great LP, and it doesn't get much older guard than House. I can't imagine a year when Timmy Vulgar doesn't make a great record and In the Red is always good for at least 3-4 keepers, and has been since the mid-Nineties. TSOT might be a somewhat recent grouping, but their membership obviously runs deep into the past. And speaking of deep, 13 years after the "My Disease" 7" was released (which I still remember buying new) Ryan Rousseau's "new" version of Destruction Unit made the most mind-blowing LP of the year, and on Sacred Bones no less, a partnership that makes sense now, but I wouldn't have deemed likely even a few years ago. Australia obviously still loomed large over everything and pretty much dominated the 7" category this year, and the reissue labels really stepped up their game, which was operating at a pretty high level over the past few years anyway. Superior Viaduct is a frighteningly great label and Last Laugh, Rerun, Ugly Pop and Cheap Rewards are all doing the Lord's work. I'm not sure what exactly the point is here, aside from the fact that it feels like change is in the air and I feel I need to write some sort of introduction. Termbo began just about a decade ago, ostensibly as a garage-punk music concern, and while I still feel like we're on the same track as we were back then, I don't even know what "garage" really has to do with anything anymore. Not that it matters. Genre boundaries have exploded all over, which is a great thing. People that probably weren't reading Termbo 10 years ago have taken "garage" and turned it into something I don't recognize. A lot of what we might refer to as the hardcore scene seems to epitomize the standards Termbo originally set out to champion more than whatever the garage scene is these days perhaps. I'm not even sure if that makes any sense. Maybe the change I feel is that the confines of genre are being forgotten (or never even learned) by the generation of kids making much of the music I'm loving today. I just know that whatever you want to call it, the "DIY spirit" or marginal music or outsider aesthetics, there are plenty of bands out there making riveting and visceral art and that's what we're here to discuss. Maybe we should just go back to calling everything punk again. Shit, I probably listened to more cassettes in 2013 than I have in any year since 1987, and I honestly didn't mind it so much.

I feel like it was very easy this year, easier than ever, to pick out the really good records (and the fact that there was a strong handful of great ones is not a bad problem to have) because it's getting easier and easier to recognize the bullshit- and there's a lot of it. I'd say that I wish there were more good ones, but you know, it was such a good year I can't even make that complaint. To know that there's a group of kids out there like the Spotted Race/STL scene for example - I would bet that pretty much none of them will read anything we've written about them on Termbo, and they will continue to make their music their way regardless of what anyone outside of their circle says or thinks. And it will probably be something I'm going to like because of that. The Repos toil over and re-record and rewrite their songs until they feel they're ready, despite the fact that they could probably be releasing a record every couple of months on Youth Attack and sell the shit out of them. Ryan Rousseau released what I think is his best record to date more than a dozen years (and probably 30+ records) into his career because he keeps evolving as he sees fit instead of trying to follow trends - the fact that 'Deep Trip' happens to be on a "hip" label (and one that I do like) is more of a case of the crowd finally catching up to him instead of him catering to the crowd. If you read the interview we did with Buck Biloxi a month ago, you know that he could not give a single shit about what is popular or what people think about him and his music - he's doing it for himself and whoever else wants to come along for the ride. It's stuff like this that keeps me doing Termbo year after year - every December I tell myself this is gonna be it, but then I do this year in review thing and decide to stick around for another year at least, because this exercise gives me a chance to take stock of all the killer music we covered over the past 12 months. And I feel like mentioning again that I do this for fun in my spare time - I do not consider myself a rock critic or music journalist. This is a fanzine and I am its editor - its purpose is to try and help the bands/music/labels we love, to encourage communication between like-minded individuals, to help foster some sort of community to make everything work even better over in our little corner of fandom. I'm thankful that people pay attention. I'm going to end this now by saying 2014 will hopefully (as I always promise) be the best yet, and I will (as I always promise) try harder to stay up-to-date and keep posting more and more. Thanks everyone for sending us things to review (and for the patience in waiting for those reviews), thanks to all the readers of the site and messageboard posters and lurkers and thanks to the dwindling staff who are still on board. If you have any questions or want to contribute to Termbo hit me at termibore-at-aol.com. On with the show...

12" x 12 (THE LPS)

1. Destruction Unit "Deep Trip" LP (Sacred Bones)
Ryan Wong has made a LOT of records over the years, many of them great. But this one is his masterpiece thus far. The most bang for your buck in 2013 and one of the few that deserve to be legitimately called "psych". Heavy and deep. That they released another LP that was pretty damn good as well ("Void" on Jolly Dream) is remarkable.

2. Kremlin "Drunk in the Gulag" LP (Beach Impediment)
I have listened to this almost daily since it was released. Best punk/hardcore album of the year. Rips from start to finish.

3. True Sons of Thunder "Stop and Smell Your Face" LP (Little Big Chief)
Not much you can say about this. Total destruction.

4. Repos "Live Munitions" LP (Youth Attack)
Unbelievable that that a "hardcore" band made a live LP that was better than 95% of studio albums released in 2013. Guitar tone that will make you weep.

5. Counter Intuits "Sheets of Hits" LP (Pyramid Scheme)
Ron. House.

6. Mordecai "College Rock" LP (Richie)
American guitar rock record of the year.

7. Liquor Store "In the Garden" LP (Almost Ready)
Can't wait to see them play the Super Bowl halftime show in 2016.

8. Gary Wrong Group "Knights of Misery" LP (Total Punk/Jeth-Row)
The best in evil synth punk from Alabama.

9. Buck Biloxi & The Fucks s/t LP (Red Lounge)
I really thought they were a "singles band", but this proved me wrong. Or right?

10. Human Eye "4: Into Unknown" LP (Goner)
A great album trumped only by 'They Came from the Sky'.

11. The Sleaze "Tecktonik Girls & Other Hits" LP (Total Punk)
An early '13 release that had staying power. Sadly, I think this makes 4 bands on this list that are already defunct.

12. Satanic Rockers "Fu Kung" LP (Alberts Black Grease)
Aussie LP of the year.

Honorable mentions: The Floor Above, Cuntz, Life Stinks, Bad Noids, Native Cats, Pampers...

The Singles/EPs:

1. Buck Biloxi & The Fucks "Holodeck Survivor" 7" (Total Punk)
"Holodeck Survivor" = song of the year.

2. Lumpy & The Dumpers "Sex Pit" 7" (Muckraker)
LET ME SEE YOU NITWITS POGO.

3A. Repos "Armed & Using" 7" (Cowabunga)
Short but sick.

3B. Repos "Rejoice in Ruin" 7" (Organized Crime)
See above. And even heavier.

4. Housewives "s/t" 7" (RIP Society)
Best Aussie 7" (and overall AUS record) of the year.

5. Rule of Thirds "s/t" 7" (No Patience/Video Disease)
Another Aussie killer, and the best new "goth" you're gonna hear.

6. Golden Pelicans "The Earls" 7" (Total Punk)
Almost as good as their debut.

7. Ex Con "s/t" 7" (Bon Voyage)
Absolutely fucked and Australian.

8A. Bits of Shit "Meat Thump" 7" (Total Punk)
I think these guys might actually be a "Singles Band".

8B. Bits of Shit "Rider" 7" (Matador)
Yeah, I'm thinking so.

9. Sector Zero "Guitar Attack" 7" (Goner)
Jay Reatard makes the Best of 2013 list, I'm sure he's thrilled. Eric's "Hiding in My Car" was a strong SOTY contender as well.

10. Kitchen's Floor "Deadshits" 7" (Easter Bilby)
Aussies killed the 7" format this year. This is the best KF record, by the way.

Honorable mentions: Tax, Cured Pink, Sneaky Pinks.

The Reissues/Retrospectives/etc. (LP):

The difficult thing about deciding which reissues were the "best" has a lot to do with what you already have. The Venom P. Stinger reissue campaign is certainly one of the most important on sheer principle (as are Goner's Cosmic Psychos releases), but if you're an asshole like me who already has the LPs anyway, it might not rank so high based on necessity. Know what I mean? You also have to consider the weight of material never even heard before (a la 'The Shaw Tapes') compared to stuff you know by heart but could never afford/find ('Hardcore Devo') or stuff that has been out there just waiting for you to find it (how the fuck had I never heard 'The Thing from the Crypt' LP before?!). Silly questions, yes, but this is how I entertain myself in my spare time. Anyway, you can't go wrong with any of this stuff, and if you spent 2013 listening to nothing but reissues you would've been busy and happy.

1. Devo "Hardcore Devo Vol. 1 & 2" LPs (Superior Viaduct) this was a long time coming and the day these arrived and I actually saw them in real life and knew they finally existed, well it somehow felt like a burden had been lifted and we could all finally sleep a little easier.

2. Urinals "Negative Capability" LP (In the Red) some of the greatest music ever recorded. I own this material over numerous formats/reissues and will continue to own them all.

3. V/A "The Thing from the Crypt" LP (Dark Entries) again, how the hell did I never hear this before. Unbelievable collection of DIY that is of mind-blowingly high quality, especially so considering it's actually a regional comp. The Wotford Sound = holy shite.

4. The Gories "The Shaw Tapes" LP (Third Man) magical shit that has you imagining you were there everytime you spin it.

5. Chrome "Half Machine from the Sun" 2XLP (King of Spades) who would've thought this stuff even existed. Fantastic enough to even make you forget the album "artwork".

6. Los Saicos "Demolicion!" LP (Munster) finally, everything on one killer LP instead of a CD, singles box or a gross 10".

7. Public Execution s/t LP (La Vida Es Un Mus) another previously unheard collection. It's amazing that there was still vintage Aussie punk this good out there that wasn't comped to death already. Certainly no one hit Bloodstains wonder.

8. 100 Flowers "s/t" LP (Superior Viaduct) see The Urinals entry above.

9. Rusted Shut "Rehab" LP (Dull Knife) JESUS CHRIST INCA.

10. Snapper s/t 12" EP (Captured Tracks) my favorite of the FN/CT campaign so far and one of my top NZ records of all time.

The Reissues/Retrospectives/etc. (7" x 7):

1. Grabbies "Shut Up and Learn" 7"(Distort) to put it simply, one of the most important records in the history of music.

2. Venom P. Stinger "Walking About" 7" (Drag City) Venom P.'s finest moment, and what I would call one of the top Aussie singles of all time.

3. Rock Bottom & The Spyz "Rich Girl" 7" (?) sure, it's been done before, but if there's one KBD single that deserves more copies it's this one.

4. Nubs "Job" 7" (Last Laugh) see above.

5. Blitz "All Out Attack" 7" (Ugly Pop) again, see above.

5. Peer Pressure "Sounds" 2x7" (Rerun) classy tunes with exceptional packaging/extras.

5. Action Swingers "Miserable Life" 7" (Total Punk) not necessarily a "reissue", but a vinyl treatment for two tunes that deserved it.

Tapes

1. Kremlin "Last Last EP" (self-released) a wonderful last gasp. The only thing this band did wrong in 2013 was break up.

2A/B/C. The Spotted Race (Lumpy Records) a catch-all listing, as there were too many to chooose from. I was infatuated with Animal Teeth, Cal & The Calories, Bathhouse Boys, Black Panties and Nos Bos tapes at various points this year, and I should mention the wonderful "Lumpy Mixtape" as well.

3. The Ropes "Lost Still Losing" (Youth Attack) the long-awaited release of this ill-fated and re-re-recorded "LP".

4. Predator "15 Song Cassette" (Scavenger of Death) a collection of new tunes, unreleased older stuff and alternate takes to prep us for the LP.

5. Creep demo cassette (Electric Assault) the year's best blast from the NYC/Toxic State crew. A blown-out take on trad NYHC styles.

Honorable mentions: Forced Laugh (but I think those tapes were from 2012 anyway), K-9 Sniffies, Yolks, Mercenary and local love to Plates and Utah Jazz.

OTHER AWARDS

SPLIT OF THE YEAR: Buck Biloxi & The Fucks/Giorgio Murderer split 7" (Holotrash) - one of the best records of the year overall. The Biloxi side is killer ("Shithole Boys"!) but the Giorgio Murderer cuts are KILLER - with "Theme from Star Trek" a strong candidate for Song of the Year honors (I think it finished at #2 in the voting behind another Biloxi cut...). Honorable Mention: Gary Wrong Group/Wizzard Sleeve (Jeth-Row/Pelican Pow Wow - bonus points given for a split label release of a split 7"), Kurt Vile/Meg Baird (Matador).

COMP OF THE YEAR: V/A "Land of Nod" LP (Scavenger of Death) - not a lot of competition in this category, but this snapshot of the ATL scene stood tall even amongst the "non-comp" LPs released this year. Ralph, Manic, Predator, GHB, Acid Freaks, Wymyns Prysyn, Bukkake Boys, GG King all contribute stellar compositions.

FAN CLUB RELEASE OF THE YEAR: V/A "Jean-Luc Godard - Bandes Originales 1959-1980" 2XLP (Wildcat Strike) - phenomenal compilation of music from many of Godard's films - from classical pieces to YeYe to jazz - with lovely hand crafted packaging and Anna Karina paste-on covers a bonus. Another record that was hard to imagine owning (much less existing), but here it is...




WORST BAND NAME: Rectal Hygenics (must be a PV band, right? Or at least Japanense?). Just about any band called Violent ________ or ________ Violence that isn't Violent End. Bitchin Bajas. The Fucking Party. FOOD. Octa#grape. And any of those Euro Rajatatatatsk bands that I can't pronounce. If I can't spell your name, I'm not interested.

ZINE OF THE YEAR: LIMITED READERSHIP - Issue #4 - a category dominated by Australians for the past few years, this fourth issue of Limited Readership out of the UK really impressed - with a Stick Men with Rayguns interview being the centerpiece along with some true fanzine-style writing about everything from Sabbath to cult films to Kubrick to coverage of some of my favorite music scenes/bands (Kremlin!) with a fantastic layout and engaging outsider view/voice. Looking forward to more. Honorable Mentions: Degenerate #12 - for the "Post-Punk Pontification" article alone. Scraper flexi is a plus. // Put the Music in It's Coffin #5 - final issue sneaks in under the wire. My favorite reviews section will be missed. // Droppings #1 - it's sort of cheating because the tape pushes this one over the top, but the layout is killer, Kremlin and Total Control interviews were top shelf, and ATL in general rules. // Life Stinks I Like The Kinks #1 - it wouldn't be a year in zines without a DX nod, and this journal of Kinks/music obsession/reflection is yet another reason to call him the finest zine scribe of our time.

BEST ARTWORK/PACKAGING: Destruction Unit "Void" and "Deep Trip" (Jolly Dream / Sacred Bones) - I'll be honest and say the art for most of DU/Ryan's records up until this year was never the greatest, but his collaboration with the Ascetic House guys is really pushing him to the next level in both music and imagery. The art for "Void" is a wonderfully designed and drawn psychedelic nightmare and "Deep Trip"'s less-is-more cover is equally drugged to match the blotter paper and "side effects" inserts.

WORST ARTWORK (on an otherwise good record): The Coltranes "Never Sleep Again/Man With the Hat" LP (Hip Kid) - so awful looking (including the insert) that I couldn't even bring myself to allow this in the house, and I REALLY like this band. So bad. Runner Up: Paint Fumes "Sally Smoked Dope" 7" (Slovenly).

SOUNDTRACK OF THE YEAR:Eduard Artemiev "Solaris" Original Soundtrack LP (Superior Viaduct) - the soundtrack reissue market really exploded in 2013. While Death Waltz (Assault on Precinct 13) and Mondo (Deadly Spawn) have done some good work (and some bad - does the Poltergeist soundtrack really need to be reissued?), their re-imagined art often tends to look too goofy/cartoony - what's wrong with using some stills from the film or something from the original release posters? There's also the strange trend in reissuing soundtrack LPs you can still find originals of for $10 or less if you look around for longer than 15 minutes. Anyway, I'll take the good with the bad...but the real treasure this year was from Superior Viaduct (natch) - Eduard Artemiev's soundtrack for Solaris, composed for the prototype ANS synthesizer (since destroyed) and never before released in any form. The classy packaging makes a perfect match for what was one of the heaviest records of the year.




LIVE SET OF THE YEAR: Golden Pelicans - May 11 @ Uncle Lou's, Orlando, FL - I just happened to be in Orlando at just the right time to catch a Pelicans set on their home turf. Sloptastic yet tough garage beer spilling, and everything I hoped for. Close Second(s): The Sleaze - May 17 @ Now That's Class, Cleveland, OH - another band I never thought I would see live that managed to live up to expectations and then some - they even won over a tough Clevo crowd. And getting to see Folded Shirt one last time was wonderful as always. Best Local: Plates - Feb 22 @ The Vault, Buffalo, NY - the goodbye show from one of our city's finest of all-time, and perhaps the last good show I've seen in this burg in almost a year.

BOOK OF THE YEAR: Xerox Ferox - John Szpunar - (Headpress) I already said a lot about this one here. Not just a great history of the horror film zine, but a fascinating look at underground zine culture in general. The best $25 or so you could spend all year. Honorable Mention: The Daniel Clowes Reader (Fantagraphics) - following 2012's Clowes monograph, this collection of interviews/critical essays never bores or gets too eggheaded and sheds even further light on one of the most important cartoonists of all time.

YOUTUBE OF THE YEAR: I watched a lot of Kremlin live footage this year, and it makes me even more depressed about their demise watching stuff like this. Dammit. Lookit that drummer go!

COVER SONG OF THE YEAR: The Devil "Girls Want You" - Wallers has covered hip hop before. I've even heard him cover Kool Keith before ("I'm Destructive"), but the combination has never sounded as good on record as it does here.

RAP GAME 2013: I only dabble in the hip hop arts, but Riff Raff is a seemingly bottomless well of entertainment value (across all social media) and I thought he wrapped this category up early in the year with "Ace of Space", but then Lil Debbie released the ridiculous gem that is "Bake A Cake". Holy crap.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: LUMPY & THE DUMPERS - Lumpy, along with his Spotted Race family of mutants, prove that the kids don't all suck these days.

WRESTLER OF THE YEAR: 2013 was an absolutely mediocre year for professional wrestling on both the indie and major fed levels. Are we even considering TNA a major fed anymore anyway? 2013 was the absolute worst TNA has been in years, with more mangled storylines, misuse of talent, and general bad ideas than seemingly ever before (although looking back, maybe not...) - the Hogan/Bischoff era fallout has left the company a wreck and Dixie Carter is just the absolute worst. The sole bright point for TNA's year was Bully Ray (Bubba Ray Dudley to most of you) turning in some of the best work of his career as a solo heel in spite of the terrible Aces & Eights plotline he was saddled with. Ring of Honor floundered after a promising start to the Sinclair Broadcasting era - numerous injuries/departures didn't help, but having Jay Briscoe (and I love Dem Boyz) as your champ was not a great idea, then putting the strap on Adam Cole was an even worse idea (just give Elgin the belt already), reDRagon are a snoozefest yet somehow the Tag Champs, but they at least got one thing right and gave Tomasso Ciampa the TV Title when he returned. Still, the booking is dull and the loss of talent to WWE certainly isn't helping. Chikara had perhaps the most interesting storyline of the year, but the fact that said angle was the company being shut down and cancelling all events didn't help any. DGUSA and PWG might have some good stuff going on, but who the hell sees it? So we're left with WWE, who had just as lackluster of a year as the rest. Wrestlemania 29 was a snore, they blew the Brock Lesnar/Heyman storyline, they've lost direction with CM Punk, Cena got hurt, somehow Randall K. Orton is the undisputed champ, Triple H is apparently still booking the company around himself...the bright spots are few and far between but at least hint at some rising stars to replace the old guard - The Shield (Dean Ambrose in particular), Antonio Cesaro and the Wyatt Family all make watching Raw at least bearable for a few minutes each week. And then we come to the only man who can be called Wrestler of the Year for 2013 - Daniel Bryan, for the second year running. His rise in 2012 was obviously no fluke, and 2013 saw him endure terrible booking, blown angles/feuds, repeated no-confidence votes (both real life and storyline) and public burying, an out-of-control beard and just about any other obstacle you could think of and still came out on top and more over than just about anyone on the roster, possibly even more over than Cena. As I said last year, the indie star turned WWE hero is a legitimately inspiring story. The vanilla midget proves it can be done on wrestling's biggest stage, and being everything Vince probably does not want in his top star is not stopping him. And now he has the biggest catchphrase in wrestling to boot. Yes. Yes. Yes.

BAND OF THE YEAR: BUCK BILOXI & THE FUCKS - 2013 was the toughest time I've had picking a BOTY since we started this. Yes, I take this seriously, if only to amuse myself. Kremlin were a strong candidate via their stellar LP and the best tape of the year, but I still say breaking up was a bad move and penalized them for that. The Ropes had one of their most productive years, actually releasing three records and some great tapes, but a lot of this material has been floating around for awhile as well, so it was tough to peg their achievements as all strictly 2013 (the good news is their backlog seems to be caught up, and we could be seeing a new LP and maybe even a singles/demos comp from them in 2014). Lumpy & The Dumpers ruled hard, but they were getting ROTY and technically only released one record this year. Destruction Unit had the best LP and another one that was at least top 20 material, but I feel like I was weighing their vote heavily on Ryan's past work - plus, I think they're already the frontunner for the 2104 title with the head of steam they have going. At the end of the day, it had to Buck Biloxi. Best single of the year, best song of the year (and the #2 slot as Giorgio Murderer and probably another in the Top Ten with "I'm A Genius" from the split with Legendary Wings), best split of the year (which is technically a 100% Biloxi record anyway), a top ten LP, killer lyrics/liner notes/inserts on said records, I think there was a tape somewhere, plus he gave us a great interview. To quote the genius himself: "If you think Buck Biloxi and the Fucks are not rad in real life you need to snap out of that bullshit dream." Nuff sed.

LABEL OF THE YEAR: TOTAL PUNK RECORDS - there was no shortage of great records this year, but there didn't seem to be many labels with strong stables overall. Except in one case: TOTAL PUNK. For the second year running they've dominated the field and there is legitimately no other label you could possibly even think about as Termbo Label of the Year. Buck Biloxi, Bits of Shit, The Sleaze, Golden Pelicans, Gary Wrong Group, Life Stinks, Cheap Time and even the Action Swingers?! 12"es, 7"es, reissues, fests, distro, Rich and TP do it all. Seriously. No contest. The only other possibility I could think of was Superior Viaduct, but reissue labels are not eligible for this award according to the rulebook. And speaking of rules, TOTAL PUNK = #1 (AGAIN), joining In the Red and Rip Off as the only repeat champs and the first label to go back-to-back. Congratulations for an exceptional year.





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To see past winners of Termbo Awards go here and to check back on full Year End lists please check the archives.



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