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This year showed Australia is still on top, Columbus still rules and the NWI punk scene is one of the most interesting scenes around. I listened to a lot of "hardcore", but I think that's more of an indicator that "hardcore kids" are making interesting things happen outside of strict genre confines. Tapes figured into the rotation heavily, the reissue scene is out of control, plenty of very-good-to-great LPs but a seeming lack of the usual boatload of killer seven inches. I had a hard time choosing 12 LPs, but zero problem picking out the good 7"es. I could've done a list of 20 tapes. Wasn't sure what to do with flexis (there were at least 2 or 3 I loved), so I just ignored them (I said that about tapes a few years ago too...). I feel like this year the amount of mediocre-to-terrible records I waded through to get to these gems was larger than ever, so much slick crap, rote imitation and just utterly forgettable releases out there, some of it even coming from usually reliable sources. The field's changing a bit. Social media is just making things more confusing and overwhelming. Message board culture is dying (thanks again social media). The market is flooded to a point it hasn't seen since the worst of the 90's glut, pressing plants are backed up for months and months (meanwhile you get a tape turned around in a month or less). Things are becoming so big, whole scenes and genres are splintering off and getting lost in shuffle (sometimes on purpose). I think there's a smaller-is-better sentiment coming out again from the tapeheads, zinesters and younger crowd, which is an evolutionary step I applaud. It's easier (and perhaps wiser) for a young band to sell 100 tapes to people who actually care than try and move 500 singles in a glutted vinyl market filled with fickle consumers, right?
12" x 12 (THE LPS)
- the soundtrack to the year.
2. Gutter Gods "Innersense" LP (Cool Death)
- best hardcore full length in a looong time.
3. Low Life "Dogging" LP (RIP Society)
- feel bad record of the year.
4. Watery Love "Decorative Feeding" LP (In the Red)
- an American Guitar Rock classic. Skull Music 2014.
5. Cheater Slicks "Live Vol. 3" LP (Columbus Discount)
- two songs, two sides, endless enjoyment.
6. Unholy Two "Talk About Hardcore" LP (12XU)
- I expect a ranking at least this high for them in this years PWI 500.
7. GG King "Unending Darkness" LP (Scavenger of Death)
- the late entry that blew me away, even better than the first LP (which was also great).
8. Degreaser "Rougher Squalor" LP (Ever/Never)
- an under-rated monster of a record.
9. Golden Pelicans "s/t" LP (Total Punk)
- garage-rock's toughest gang.
10. Estrogen Highs "Hear Me On The Numbers Station" LP (Trouble in Mind)
- fantastic little NZ-via-NE sounds.
11. Musk "s/t" LP (Holy Mountain)
12. Pierre & Bastien "s/t" LP (Pouet Schallplatten)
- the best French record in some time, minimal and effective.
Honorable mentions: American Jobs, Brain F=, Ivy, Real Regular, Gary Wrong Group...
- the best single of the year, hands down. Negative hardcore skulk.
2. Watery Love "Sick People" 7" (In the Red)
- this is how you execute cover songs.
3. Ooze "s/t" 7" (Not Normal)
- so many good things about this one. Meatheaded punk with the best riffs of the year in any genre.
4. Lumpy & The Dumpers "Gnats in the Pisser" 7" (Total Punk)
- the only thing that could make Lumpy even better: sax.
5. Big Zit "Electric Zit Vol. 1" EP (Not Normal)
- the opening scream alone is worth the price of admission.
6. Ausmuteants "Felix Tried To Kill Himself" 7" (Goodbye Boozy)
- best Ausmuteants tunes this year.
7. Suburban Homes "The Suburban Home EP" 7" (Market Square)
- "fake punk" maybe, but startlingy authentic sounding.
8. Life Stinks "Portraits" 7" (Total Punk)
- Seeds vs. Flipper?
9. I Get Mynze "Big Wup" 7" (Pelican Pow Wow)
- dumbest record of the year!
10. Dark Blue "s/t" 7" (Katorga Works)
- "Subterranean Man" was the butt-pumper of the year.
Honorable mentions: Video, Pang, Dribble, Dasher, Messrs, Cal & The Calories...
The Reissues/Retrospectives/etc. (LP):
2. Coitus Int. "s/t" LP (Bunkerpop)
3. X_X "X Sticky Fingers X" LP (Ektro)
4. V/A "Neu Ist Zeit - Augsburg 1979-84" LP (Randstock)
5. Bored Games "Who Killed Colonel Mustard" 12" (Captured Tracks)
6. Peter Gutteridge "Pure" 2XLP (540)
7. V/A "Bloodstains Across Buffalo" LP (Extra Evidence)
8. V/A "Dunedin Double" 2x12" LP (Captured Tracks)
9. C.O.M.A. "s/t" LP (Danger)
10. The Bats "Demo 5:26:84" 12" (Mind Cure)
The Reissues/Retrospectives/etc. (7"):
The Jimmy Smack releases are probably the most spectacular unearthed recordings of the past few years, both 7"es are essential. The Cider 7" came with outstanding packaging and relieves us of the need of spending big buck$ on an original. Loose Heart proves that there are still some wild Euro punk recordings out there that need to be heard (and Danger is doing a great job of getting them to us), Modern Warfare taps a vein that we haven't seen much from yet and "Learn to Hate in the 80s" is just one of the greatest singles of all-time.1a. Jimmy Smack "Death Rocks" 7"(Death Vault)
1b. Jimmy Smack "Death or Glory" 7"(Death Vault)
2. Cider "Out to Get Me" 7"(MME/Ultra Sonido)
3. Loose Heart "Paris 1976" 7"(Danger)
4. Bobby Soxx "Learn to Hate in the 80's" 7"(Cheap Rewards)
5. Modern Warfare "Dayglo Shadows Delivered" 7"(Ut)
2. Mongoloid "Birth of the Slam Pig" (Best Before 84)
3. Power "Promo Cassingle" (Cool Death)
4. Leather Lickers "demo" (Cool Death)
5. White Load "Posthumorous" (self-released)
6. Heart Attack Jizzers "Same Program Both Sides" (Chapel of Crimes) 7. Black Traitor "demo" (self-released)
8. The Punks "demo" (Media Schlitz)
9. Sex Scheme "Thruster" (Stale Heat)
10. Surveillance "Stressed & Depressed" (self-released)
SPLIT OF THE YEAR: BUCK BILOXI & THE FUCKS/GIORGIO MURDERER SPLIT TAPE (Holotrash) - the best Buck Biloxi songs released this year were on this tape, perhaps they show up in 2015 on vinyl? Returning champs as well after last year's split 7".
COMP OF THE YEAR: V/A "Killed by Deathrock" LP (Sacred Bones) - shockingly killer compilation of coulda been and never were goth/death/rock bands, 75% of which I had never heard before. Supposedy there's a vol. 2 in the works...
MODERN SINGLES COMP OF THE YEAR: Livefastdie "Hit Stains" LP (Almost Ready) - so much junk! Close runner up: Timmys Organism singles comp LP (Hozac)
FAN CLUB RELEASE OF THE YEAR: V-3 "Live At Bernie's" LP - perfect sounding set of the perfect songs from the perfect band. Thanks to whoever was behind this one, now give us more!
WORST BAND NAME: Yes I'm Leaving sounds like the name of an emo band but King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard is probably as bad you can get.
ZINE OF THE YEAR: CRETINS OF DISTORTION - Issue #3 - sick young zinester documents the rich NWI and St. Louis scenes and the rest of the Midwest as well. Looks as raw and great and the bands discussed. This full-size issue was packed with everything from Big Zit to Doc Dart and even came bagged with a button and stickers. Distort also did great work as usual, but that's like telling you water is wet.
BEST ARTWORK/PACKAGING: MUSK s/t LP - "Muskmeat Edition" - (Holy Mountain) - I hope you had a chance to grab a copy of this, as Rob poured his heart into this latex monstrosity. One of the coolest cover concepts of all time. Limited to like 50(?) and all of them are unique. One of the most amazing "things" of the year.
WORST ARTWORK (on an otherwise good record): Manateees "Sit n Spin" LP (Pelican Pow Wow) - so ugly to look at but so good to listen to.
SOUNDTRACK OF THE YEAR:Sinoia Caves "Beyond the Black Rainbow" Original Soundtrack LP (Jagjaguwar/Death Waltz) - in 2014 I made some ill-advised purchases of exploitation movie soundtracks that I will never listen to again, but this is one I actually listened to a lot.
MP3s OF THE YEAR:Coneheads "Total Conetrol" - I'd only be lying if I said I didn't listen to these songs a lot this year.
LIVE SET OF THE YEAR: Giorgio Murderer - March 8th @ Uncle Lou's, Orlando, FL - the single most entertaining live performance I've witnessed from a human being since I saw the Diceman live at The Aud in '91. Anyone who was there will remember that set for the rest of their lives. Runners Up: Mordecai and Counter Intuits at Horriblefest.
BOOK OF THE YEAR: Sounds of Two Eyes Opening - Spot - (Sinecure) - I'm not usually one for photobooks, but this one is perfection, a document of 70s/80s California that draws you in deep and puts you there. Also of note, it was curated by two of the premier KBD collectors in the world and has art from Ed Templeton. So many of my favorite things rolled into one.
YOUTUBE OF THE YEAR: Guy Mariano - Life on Video - Guy's story is one of redemption, and seeing him skate to Jay Reatard's "My Shadow" is inspirational and emotional. This is the last part of five chronicling Guy's career on video (watch them all) and you should go back and watch the Epicly Later'd about him after that.
COVER SONG OF THE YEAR: Watery Love "I Don't Care" - it was either this or their Breakdown cover, but I lean this way because I believe it to be the best Ramones cover ever recorded.
RAP GAME 2014: Riff Raff "Neon Icon" - I was almost hoping this record would never actually come out and Riff would just spend years hyping it. I like that he's apparently getting into wrestling now too...
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: MONGOLOID - the 'Slam Pig' demo was just crushing, their live tape killed - and then they actually killed live in person - plus their soon-to-be-released 7" has all new stuff that slays. Such a good rookie season (although they started in 2013 technically) that Deranged is bringing them up to the big leagues in 2015.
WRESTLER OF THE YEAR: a truly underwhelming year for the most part, although business picked up towards the end. Brock Lesnar is a monster who never wrestles, Daniel Bryan shattered the glass ceiling and then got hurt, CM Punk tooks his toys and went home, Cesaro and Ambrose got buried and/or booked horribly, Roman Reigns exists...high points were Dolph Ziggler getting some push(es) (and he sells like no one else), Kevin Steen's NXT debut, Sami Zayn winning the NXT strap, NXT in general, The Network and AJ Styles proving he doesn't need TNA or WWE (or NXT) to make a good living and still be one of the best wrestlers on the planet via ROH, PWG, NJPW (that Bullet Club is hot shit) and every other indie in the world apparently. But I would be remiss if I didn't award this years trophy to the most entertaining wrestler I watched all year: the man, the myth, the legend, SEX FERGUSON.
BAND OF THE YEAR: MORDECAI - A very special band that I've had the great pleasure of watching grow. When I think back to spring/summer 2014 when I'm old(er), it will be 'Neil's Generator' and finally seeing them live in Cleveland that will be the soundtrack. They delivered on stage 110%, had the album of the year and a great archival tape release, and on top of it all they're genuinely smart and good kids. Look for the definitive Mordecai interview on Termbo in 2015.
LABEL OF THE YEAR: COOL DEATH RECORDS - Australia is still going strong, and Cool Death is the most exciting avenue for new sounds down there now. None of the indie-rock, none of the goth, none of the New Wave, just 100% raw meat. Psychedelic hardcore. Gutter Gods LP was terrifying, Velvet Whip's 'Bronze Medallion' defies reason, Power could be the ultimate yob/grillfat/NWOBHM outfit, Leather Lickers demo was scathing, Dribble 7" was outstanding...plus, all of their shit looks cool, right down to the advertisements. I don't think any label was better pound-for-pound in 2014.
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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