My house reeks of cleanliness, but the overflow of books and records from the shelves they’re meant to occupy betrays any idea of order. I'll quickly mention that Steve Hanley's The Big Midweek is essential and the best book about the Fall yet, highly recommend picking it up to get a clear and terrifying idea of the pseudo dictatorship we've all come to love. Anyway, it was a great year for the pressed tune, to be sure. Good Throb is the undisputed champion here - venom foaming from all orifices, a dirty bomb of focussed detestation, anthems of having enough of all sorts of fucking bullshit. The mother of all album-opening riffs. Easily the best band I saw this year, except for maybe Protomartyr - whose LP was my most listened to. It’s been whatever the opposite of schadenfreude is to watch a group of excellent dudes gain momentum on all kinds of different fronts - plus they provided me with the best record I own that namedrops Judge Joe Brown. Total fuckin package - stellar artwork, atmospheres, and lyrics. Grossly powerful live, too. They reminded me I had emotions. In a year where Sorry State laid back a bit to settle into completely excelling in their retail operations, he still had two monstrous releases - Whatever Brains’ ///// is the (21-minute) song of the year for me, mind-blowing every time I was fortunate enough to witness it. The rest of the 2x12” sees them heading even faster towards the Numan/eels singularity that will kill us all off for good. "Stoxx (or Athletics)" is Teasers in a black hole, Interstellar as performed by a B-ward. And the Skemäta tape and LP take the Framtid-wave to its most extreme and hooky - the LP is a truly uncontrollable steamroller of a record. Also escaping our coal ash-doused water tables, the Flesh Wounds LP came outta nowhere, and - under the front of NC’s finest frontman with an alliterative name - totally lays waste to all comers.

The Pura Mania 7”s are killer - vaguely threatening and really fun, like La Banda Trapera del Rio with huge balls. The "Mania-ia-ia-ia-ia" part on "La Estafa Musical" is never going to leave my head. It's odd how Canada has been responsible for many more great records in Spanish than French lately. Alerta Roja’s reissue (not on Lengua Armada but by, I think?) is a remarkable document of punk under highly oppressive gov’t censorship, but killer on the songs’ own merits, as well. The new PC Worship has the full terror and awesome lethality of the band’s live sets finally harnessed - that b-side is perfect soundtrack to any and all cardinal sins. Y’s 'Dance of the Illusion' has G. Roam from Destino Final making depressing synth ballads that I’ve had on constant repeat since it came out in Februrary. Was also quite fond of Low Life’s 'Dogging' for similarly hazy emotional states. The Nots album just came out, but I feel safe sneaking it in for a mention. Very creative, strangely repetitive, shrieking in all the right registers.

La Vida es un Mus continues to reign supreme, the highlights: Orden Mundial’s 'Obediencia Debida' is relentless, claustrophobic, and perfect hardcorepunk. Guitar tone like someone quadrupled the treble on Ginn’s Damaged tracks, vocal lines that imply rabies. nearly everyone I spoke with in London went out of their way to let me know they’re one of the best bands on earth at the moment, I’m inclined to believe ‘em. Primetime’s debut single is all about “Tied Down”, a top 5 legitimate banger of the year, seeing ‘em play this a few times was great but the first time was almost overly cinematic. “This song’s about fucking, deal with it”. Juanita y los Feos, no longer making music videos on Munster, unloaded a brilliant LP that darts between Spanish New Wave and the territory Masshysteri so successfully mined a few years back. Walks a fine line between saccharine and poisonous, “Nunca Volveran” being the finest example. Ciudad Lineal’s 'El Nuevo Hombre' is laid-back, highly intelligent, ponderous, and more interesting with every listen.

Frau (featuring Ash from Good Throb) put out a couple records this year, but the 12” of their demo is my fave - “Hostile” is my favorite (non-21 minute) song of the year, for sure. I’m not sure that the high-pitched whine throughout the whole record was intentional, but I’ll just blame the label. Personnel feature Ash as well as two of the Shitty Limits, and aren’t far off in sound - Papa Max’s vocals trade entrancing shouts for a layer of intimacy and throaty chat that serves the band quite well. The greatest use of “Sex Pistols” in 2014. The Coneheads cassettes and live footage were the most heartwarming and optimistic releases - the whole rise of that area of Indiana has been really fun to watch materialize. The Sheer Mag 7” and its collision of Shivvers and Lizzy is fantastic, and I absolutely cannot wait to hear an album of this shit. Atlanta put out three real big deals in 2014: The Wymyns Prysyn LP is a exponential step up and beyond everything they’ve done before - riff machines, time travel, a true guitar masterpiece, spectacularly dangerous rock music. “Head in a Vise” was my life anthem of the year. Predator’s entire released output (some tape appearances and 'The Complete Earth') finds them completely in their own insane world, every so often dabbling back into their roots in the Frantic (who I maintain were probably the most underrated band outta this group of apes). Rounding off my ramblings, GG King’s 'Unending Darkness' is beyond textual summary, not even verbose hyperbole could do it justice. Everything I wanted from a follow-up to 'Esoteric Lore' and everything I didn’t know I wanted. Beautiful negativity. Supremacy status cemented by the tough-as-nails-est labels I’ve seen.

Finally, thank whichever deity you prefer for the brilliance of Body Count’s incredible and timely return with the video for “Talk Shit, Get Shot”. Truly the greatest moment of 2014.


The aforementioned Good Throb and Protomartyr sets - atmospheres thicker than Venus.

Whatever Brains’ record release - overwhelmed by sheer talent. They opened with "//////", a rock opera about christian shut-ins in Siberia, or so they say, that sounds like a robot Gary Numan attempting to replicate the entire Factory catalog in 22 minutes. The record is stellar, this performance is in their top three (that i've seen) - Nice Price is a bookstore, and the shelves eat just enough of the sound. Truly uncharted waters, and absolutely the best band in the state. Possible best part of the show was a train crust vagrant getting thrown out on his/her face after violently moshing, shouting "Fuck you pay me" over and over as they stood on the street (the show was free). Rich Ivey is a disciple of Wallers and crew with modern and postmodern weapons, like a literate and worthy-of-stature Ben Marcus. Skull Kontrol hot-wired thru a hot-rodded Gilliam Prius. Dystopia's soundtrack written by a court reporter, as if any occupation would be more apropos. Brilliant.

Carbonators at Power Lunches, London - asocial men brought together by a genius and heartwarming scheme, never seen so many people happy for each other in one room.

Personnel at Power Lunches, London - some of my favorite people on earth, I so wish watching EOT with a microphone was a profession.

Perspex Flesh/The Flex/Violent Reaction - any of the sets - the same group of dudes ended my mosh retirement more than a few times. Perspex is my favorite of the bunch, dark and wildly creative - but there’s something to be said for the primal, mindless violence that ensued each time I saw Flex and VR.

Back to 2014 Main

To see lists from years past check the Termbo archives.