Another year, another list: I swore I’d never do another one of these, but every promise is made to be broken. These were the 45s that stood out to me, the ones that I kept coming back to over the course of the year. Since different records suit different moods, and because this is a diverse list, I’m listing them in the order in which they were obtained instead of a traditional best-to-worst deal.

1. PLASMID – demo EP (Shortfuse)
Previous to this release, Plasmid’s 1984 demo was known only to the most dedicated tape traders and die-hard fans of UKHC. Though the band never did make it out of their bedroom to play a show, their recordings represent the pinnacle of the genre—pure aggression and noise-laden hardcore.

Like Plasmid, Infierno De Cobardes is a bedroom-only band primarily influenced by Discharge. The project of Teodoro Hernandez, drummer of Destruccion and Sida, IDC strings together riffs stolen from Cal and company played with a lack of precision that can’t be faked. As much a DIY record as a hardcore one, this is as fine an example of primitive punk music as any.

3. HOMEBLITZ – s/t, “Live Outside” and split cassette
Put a gun to my head and I’ll pick the debut, but thus far Homeblitz has done no wrong. Always clever, the songs run the gamut from an almost Electric Eels feel to guitar driven pop, and even sneak in a Public Disturbance cover that betters the original.

4. COCOCOMA – "All I Give" (Shit Sandwich)
This is one of those records that serves as a reminder as to why record collecting (or, more broadly, music listening) is so much fun. I picked this up without any expectations, figuring I’d give it a try because Shit Sandwich tends to release more good records than bad, and it completely caught me by surprise. With that first listen, I think I played “All I Give” a dozen times before I bothered to flip the record. The band has released a steady stream of just-as-good records and is even better live.

5. BLACK LIPS – "Party at Rob’s House" (Robs House)
At this point there’s little to debate regarding the Black Lips: they’re THE band of our generation. “Oh Katrina!” is perhaps their most anthemic song, which lends itself well to the live presentation of this record. It’s backed by a Link Wray cover and “Sea of Blasphemy” reprised from “Let it Bloom.”

6. LOS INVASORES – "El Ejecutivo" (Lengua Armada)
This is another old recording appearing on vinyl for the first time this year. Los Invasores were among the earliest Uruguayan bands to play punk rock, and recorded these demos in the mid-80s. While most of the world had grown tired of punk and started to “mature” by this time, the Sex Pistols, et al, were fresh and exciting in a country recently freed from a military dictatorship. Though half a decade late for the trend, Los Invasores recordings represent an enthusiastic contribution to the genre.

7. JAY REATARD – "Hammer I Miss You" (Goner)
It’s hard to convey the excitement that comes over me when listening to the guitar solo that concludes “All Wasted,” but that imprecise noodling is as intoxicating as music can be. Though not at all Jay’s first solo record, this was the first released without another band moniker, and it did show him working his way into a poppier musical ground than usual. This 45 was a bit of a preview for his later (brilliant) album on In The Red, but the aforementioned “All Wasted” gives this one the edge in my mind.

8. TRI-CITY THUNDERCATS – "Rapid Transit" (Myoclonic)
The perfect pop song, twice—Tri-City Thundercats write ‘em to last just long enough to embed the melodies in your brain, leaving you humming along for hours what the band barely broke the minute mark to play.

9. PINK REASON – "Throw It Away" (Savage Quality)
Pink Reason presents a dark portrait through the songs on this record, especially “Throw it Away.” The moody song drones on with depressed vocals and a psychedelic blues soundtrack. The image is grim, but it is, in its way, an honest and beautiful song.

10. LIVEFASTDIE – "Pissing on The Mainframe" (Douchemaster)
Like the Ramones and the Jabbers have proven, the best punk is often simple and dumb. Livefastdie clearly listen to a lot of Ramones and Jabbers, but have the good fortune of finding a voice of their own amidst the template. The recording here adds another element to this as each tune is recorded varyingly to best fit the song. I’ve been told that Livefastdie, on record, is just a solo operation, which, if true, would mean this list is half-comprised of one-man bands. I guess the lesson is this: grab a guitar, switch on the tape player, and press record.

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