Sunday January 21st 2018

The Top 15 Albums/EPs Of 2017


The Top 15 Albums/EPs Of 2017


Andy & I have been thrashin’ and bangin’ six and a half years now and the music has only become better, especially in the last two years.

Before I would have a Top Ten, but I had to extend that to fifteen and I still kick myself for excluding so much great music.

And though it may seem I love every band I come across, you’d be surprised at the amount of bands we don’t review. And they are not bad bands by any means, but I only write about bands that I’m passionate about. It’s what every writer needs- something that really compels him to write!

I usually have a Top 5 within in, but this year it’s gonna be a three-way tie for best instead.

Loser’s Circle “Took Long Enough” comes from a band that arose from the ashes of Refuse Resist and were pretty good. With the addition of Matt, from the demised The Radicals and a slew of awesome melodic/punk songs- they went from pretty good to really great. Amazing album- great lyrics and catchy tunes full of passion, integrity and grit.

Aria Rad is also an x-Radical, and his new project is a solo acoustic one called Coffin Salesman. Early last year, at Great Scott’s, he asked if I would give it a listen.

I promised I would and I also, promised I wouldn’t review it as it didn’t fit into our format.

Not only did I end up reviewing it but with it’s punk delivery in the vocals and the best lyrics of the year, it soon became one of my favorites.

To go from, “Sorry, you’re already rejected,” to “You’re in the running for best of the year,” is unbelievable. And the songs on this are unbelievable, too.

When Andy and I got back into the scene, back in the zeros- our favorite bands were The Spoilers, The Dimwits, Zippo Raid, Over The Edge and The McGunks.

Only one band is still going strong and that is The McGunks led by Bob McGunk, still laying down the whiskey soaked punk’n’roll songs.

But their last album “Basement Anthems” far exceeds any of their previous recordings in their fourteen years. This is when the songwriting takes a giant step forward with out losing any of the energy and passion of the early sound. And like Loser’s Circle, move up a notch into “really great.”

Twelve more follow, chronologically as they were reviewed:

Pint Killers proved to be my favorite new band of the year. And right now are on the cusp of releasing their first full album. This demo goes back to early January. “I can’t see the future, but sometimes I think I can hear it…Keep an ear on Pint Killers.” A great mix of punk, hardcore, Oi and Irish punk.

“Never Asked” by Gravel is a riot grrl, feminist band from Salem (where most of my favorite bands are from) who rarely play punk shows but I like them a lot. “This might make it into the best, it’s so good.” It did.

Another January release from a new Providence band Sex Orgy Death Crash. Besides having the best name they had, “just some of the most exciting, original, fun- new music around.”

Another new Providence band Red Mantis with their first release, “Encompasses all the influences that the bands we write about…guts and power and truth set aflame with the desire and the intensity of the feeling and belief behind it.” Excellent metal/hardcore.

The Ratz are an off-shoot of The Lost Riots who gave me my favorite album of 2016. This EP is like little jots in the notebook, little jolts up the spine. Lots of off-the-cuff, one take wonder in these songs. This is like the modest, underrated album in your collection that you notice you can’t help coming back to.

The Only Things had two great albums I reviewed last year and the second one, “Hit List” definitely deserved to be in the Top Five. Not hardcore and not even aggressively punk but incredible songwriting matched with passionate playing equals amazing songs. If this band existed in the eighties I believe their songs would be on soundtracks for famous movies.

CAC or Crime Alley Cretins is an off-shoot from Rictus Grin. They not only played one of the best sets I saw this year but also played great at the TNB Xmas party. A mix of hardcore and Oi that falls perfectly into the place labeled “P”. And no, it’s not penis or pussy you potty-mouth perverse people believe- it’s punk with a capital- Pee.

Rictus Grin is “taking the best of punk, hardcore, Oi and experimental music and shaping it into…music that is wild, exuberant, chaotic and fun.” Some of my favorite new bands are Oi bands that take take it over the top and these cats certainly do that.

Uncle Spudd is a punk/hardcore trio from Maine whose second album “Spudd Light” would’ve made it into the top five. Mixing punk and hardcore with a dash of indi and alternative, they turned out a melodic punk album that did worthy battle with Losers Circle and The McGunks.

Whoopi Sticks “Surprising Squirts” is surprising how successful it is as a second release. It keeps the original drive and energy of the first, but takes the music in more adventuresome ways. Not as wild as the first recording but certainly as rewarding and deserving of a place here.

A band that has always been one of my favorites, Damn Broads, are an all-girl, hardcore, punk, Oi, riot grrl band from Connecticut. “I’d be shocked if I didn’t like their new recording. But what did shock me was how much they’ve grown.”

Another Connecticut band The Lost Riots tried to pull a fast one on me by slipping me a two song single. Seems the laughs on them because it seems, that’s all it took to make it onto here. “These two songs blare the beat of East Coast cities successes and defeats. Echoes the sounds of the streets where it was born, and connects within my heart to where I’m not being told how to feel, but where my feelings are being reflected.” Or to break it down even more- “Fuckin’ spectacular.”

Next week Top Ten Songs of 2017.


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