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2004: Year of the Seven-Inch


2004 will go down as one of my favorite record-buying years in recent memory, due to the deluge of quality singles that just seemed to keep coming. I won't go on and on about how wonderful seven-inches are, because we all know that, but for a short-attention span vinyl junkie like myself, this was one of those years when all the dealers had the good shit, the supply never dried up, and you stayed high all year long. Also of note this year was the fact that I started buying hardcore records again. Well, fringe hardcore, stuff from the likes of No Hope for the Kids, Regulations, Gorilla Angreb and others, which really is just punk rock emanating from a different scene. I have Mitch and Jesse to thank for this, as these were some of the best records I heard this year, and I look forward to more. I even caught myself browsing the Hardcore Holocaust catalog the other day. What the fuck is up with that? Anyway, I was going to do top twenty singles, but I still would've had to leave some killer records off the list, so I stuck to the rules and just decided on ten. Very tough, yes, but rules is rules. And I'm sure I forgot quite a few records along the way, but below are just some of the records you absolutley needed to have this year, coming from a dumb ass "1-2-3-4" punk rock lover like myself. (...and just for the record, A-Frames 'Crutches' EP and "The Parallel Universe of HFOS" are counted as 2003 releases).

TOP TEN 12" IN SIZE RELEASES:
10. LOST SOUNDS "FUTURE TOUCH" (In the Red)
Loses some points due to being an EP in an LP category, but still good enough to rank. The title cut and Digital Leather cover are more high water marks for a band that is already overflowing the proverbial cup.
9. BLACK LIPS "WE DID NOT KNOW..." (Bomp)
Young and crazed, and kind of like their live show, it's a mix of insanity, mean garage rock, and total fucking meltdowns. Teenage shutdown for the new millenium.
8. BATTLESHIP "PRESENTS PRINCESS" (Raw Deluxe)
Another record that far exceeded my expectations. Mitch was right on with this one. And I think the white vinyl actually does sound better.
7. BASEBALL FURIES "LET IT BE" (Big Neck)
Their recorded output is still struggling to catch up with them, but this bridges the gap between the early years and where they are now fairly well. Expect the third LP sometime in 2006.
6. LIDS "s/t" (Rip Off)
They sure don't make 'em like this anymore. No-frills fun, and dance record of the year. Also, a stand-out performance at the Blackout. Have they broken up? My spider-sense is tingling...
5. CATHOLIC BOYS "PSYCHIC VOODOO MIND CONTROL" (Trickknee)
It's been around so long, and some of the initial awe has worn off. Had I never heard it until this past Fall or something, it probably could have snagged the top slot The world needs more kids like these. And thanks to Rich Dropkick for finally getting the vinyl out.
4. LOST SOUNDS "s/t" (In the Red)
They continue to evolve, even when teetering on the brink of self-destuction. Also the best live unit on the planet. I'd say it would be neck-and-neck between LS and the Hunches in overall Band of the Year scoring.
3. REIGNING SOUND "TOO MUCH GUITAR" (In the Red)
Songs so good you swear you've heard them before. If the world made sense, this record would be nominated for a Grammy.
2. HUNCHES "HOBO SUNRISE" (In the Red)
The best record Larry Hardy released this year, which says a lot. How they're going to follow it up, I have no idea. I long to seem them live again.
1. BLACK TIME "BLACKOUT" (Concrete Life)
The only record that never left the regular LP rotation stack next to the turntable since the day I got it, and the record that probably received the most total spins of 2004. Even better that it was self-released, came virtually out of nowhere, and was vinyl-only. Dangerhouse/LA punk + Pussy Galore/NYC nosie/trash x (SF budget rock aesthetic) √ British DIY = best album of 2004.

TOP TEN 7" IN SIZE RELEASES:
10. REGULATIONS "DESTROY" (Busted Heads)
I'm pretty damn sure this came out in 2004. I like their s/t EP better, but this one still kicks my teeth in. Early Flag sound and 'tude that makes me all excited for hardcore again. I like these guys better than NHFTK or those Amdi Peterson's Arme dudes. More punk sounding, I guess. But, when it come to HC, I am a poser. This shit kills.
9. SUSPICIONS "WE'RE ALL WRONG" (Nerve Wracking)
The most charming record of the year. I know nothing about them, except the fact that they are from Seattle and I love their record. Self-released, out of nowhere, and ultra catchy.
8. FE-FI-FO-FUMS "ELECTROFIZE ME" (Boom Boom)
Another winner from Seattle. Bona fide shit rock from some of the jackholes behind Thee Flying Dutchmen. I demand an appearance at this year's Blackout by at least one Boom Boom act.
7. A-FRAMES "COMPLICATION" (S-S)
More mandatory listening from the Woodhouse vaults. I just wish their cover of X's "Batman" would show up on a B-Side sometime.
6. KILL-A-WATTS "NEW THINGS" (Goodbye Boozy)
I will say it one more time. Ryan Killawatt = hit machine.
5. TYRADES "INCARCERATED" (Die Slaughterhaus)
Killer title track, choice cover song, and a B-Side that's as good as most A-Sides. Best singles band on the planet.
4. TOKYO ELECTRON "MAKE ME BLEED" (Solid Sex Lovie Doll)
One of the year's best and rarest. More devastation from the scary place that is the mind of Ryan Wong.
3. TYRADES "I AM HOMICIDE" (Shit Sandwich)
A-Side wins Song of the Year honors. The bastard child of art-punk and Killed by Death fucked-upness.
2. FEELERS "FUHRER'S NEW MINISKIRT" (Killed by Noise/Contaminated)
Frantic, paranoid-schizo punk rock from Ohio. So good it had to be repressed. I need to see them live. Now.
1. FATALS "ANGRY" (Nasty Product)
The single that set off the craze. All three of their releases could (and should) be on this list, but this one received the most spins, and proved to be most deadly in the long run. The most 'mind-blowing-upon-initial-listen' record of the year. To deny them the #1 single slot would be ridiculous.

TOP FIVE REISSUES:
5. REATARDS "BEDROOM DISASTERS" (Empty)
4. CRIME "SAN FRANCISCO'S STILL DOOMED" (Swami)
3. BASSHOLES "BROKE CHAMBER MUSIC" (Secret Keeper)
2. CRAMPS "HOW TO MAKE A MONSTER" (Vengeance)
1. MONOSHOCK "RUNNIN' APE-LIKE FROM THE BACKWARDS SUPERMAN" (S-S)
This one did the job a good reissue should: introduce you to a band you've either overlooked or never heard of and get you pissed that you weren't hip to them sooner. And then set you off on a mad hunt to find the original records.

COMPILATION OF THE YEAR:
BABYHEAD (S-S)
While other, more traditional compilations, were released this year that were of good quality ('Maybe Chicago', 'Pain in the Big Neck', and 'Sympathetic Sounds of Montreal' should be the only other comps you bought in 2004), 'Babyhead' does what a great comp should: feature a bunch of bands with vastly disparate sounds yet the same underground/DIY sensibilty and put them all together on a vinyl-only release, exposing you to bands you would probably otherwise never hear alongside the comfort of some of your favorites. Reminiscent of the days when you could pick up a Dope-Guns-and-Fucking 7" with tracks from Helios Creed, Thee Mighty Caesars, Unsane, and Supernova or some other ridiculous combination that actually worked. Even more remarkable is the fact it was put out by a grumpy old man.

TWENTY MORE MUST-HAVE SINGLES/EPs FROM 2004:
SLOWMOTIONS "MAKE LOVE" (HG Fact)...GORILLA ANGREB EP (Kick-n-Punch)...FATALS "SLAVE MY SOUL" (Yakisakana)...FATALS "STEREO NO-PHONIC" (P.Trash)...DAMNATION KIDS "RUNAWAY" (P.Trash)...PISSED JEANS "THROBBING ORGAN" (Parts Unknown)...HEADACHE CITY "KNEE JERK REACTION" (Shit Sandwich)...SCRIP+S EP (Jeth-Row)...CARBONAS "FROTHING AT THE MOUTH" (Douche Master)...BBQ "TAKE A MESSAGE" (Goodbye Boozy)...RIVER CITY TANLINES 7" (Misprint)...KAJUN SS "$40 QUARTET" (Die Slaughterhaus)...THE REBEL "EXCITING NEW VENUE..." (SDZ)...LILI Z. "LEATHERLUTION" EP (S-S)...KAJUN SS 12" (Jeth-Row/Therapeutic)....SAGGER "BLACK MARKET BODY PARTS" (Cass)...RADIO BEATS "BLOW YOU UP" EP (Big Neck)...DIE FLYING DUTCHMEN "DANCE" EP (Boom Boom)...KRUNCHIES "INTERROBANG" EP...LES SEXAREENOS EP (Solid Sex Lovie Doll)...

BEST LIVE SHOW THAT WAS NOT THE CHICAGO BLACKOUT:
ROCK'N'ROLL BLOODFEAST IV
While the Blackout is definitley king shit of live-show mountain, there are plenty of other worthwhile fests out there, and any town worth it's salt has a two or three day rock bender occurring annually. This years Bloodfeast saw outstanding performances from Tractor Sex Fatality, Radio Beats, Black Lips, Tyrades, and Baseball Furies, plus the cream of the local crop, as well as the extra bonus of being the release party for the Big Neck comp. The best thing to happen here since the last Rust Belt Revolt. Support your local scene, man.

TEN THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2005:
(in no order)
1. FEELERS "LEARN TO HATE THE FEELERS" LP
2. A-FRAMES "BLACK FOREST" LP
3. SAGGER LP on some label. Please.
4. KILL-A-WATTS second and final LP on Rip Off
5. REGULATIONS LP on Havoc Records
6. PISSED JEANS LP on Parts Unknown
7. TRACTOR SEX FATALITY LP and 7"
8. THE REVITALIZATION OF GONER RECORDS: Dutchmasters, King Khan & BBQ, Johnny Vomit & the Dry Heaves, King Louie One Man Band records all upcoming. Yowch!
9. CARBONAS full length on Raw Deluxe
10. ANOTHER YEAR OF IN THE RED RECORDS: so obvious, yet so true. Volt, Lamps, Country Teasers live, Human Eye, Miss Alex White, Intelligence, etc...




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