Friday, 27 January 2012

An interview with ADOLF BUTLER

Adolf Butler are a rowdy bunch of 'retarded darkdrug' noise punks from Holland. I actually put their latest record in my records of the year post. They are truly interesting and worthy of your attention. Here is a little interview I conducted with their maverick lead singer Boris:

Can you give us a short description about how Adolf Butler started? Was it easy to find the right people to make up the band?

Boris: We have known each other for years from hardcore / punk shows and drinking, in the fall of 2006 the other guys were thinking of starting a band in the vein of Jesus Lizard, King Snake Roost, Brainbombs, Clockcleaner et al, and still needed a singer. I had never been in a band before, but they knew my excellent taste in music, we started practicing and it worked out.

It seems to me that your Dutch identity plays a big part in the bands imagery and make-up, is that something you take seriously?

Our first release was a split LP with Dutch scumpunx The Rocco's and our side was called 'Africa', so when we were thinking of a new record we inmediately came up with 'Holland' and our guitar player Het Karakter had the concept for the cover art ready (Dutch Flag). I went on a vacation and spotted these nice beach shorts with the Dutch colours red, white and blue so thought it would be nice to wear those onstage and after that I also bought a big Dutch flag to use as a poncho. The Dutch imagery sure pisses off some people so that's cool.

Dutch music, and Dutch punk specifically, doesn't nearly get as much exposure as it deserves, so how would you describe the scene or scenes to an outsider?

I don't think there is a Dutch 'scene' right now... I mean.. there's some hardcore bands of course but I'm not into them, it's not bad... just nothing that stands out. My favourite Dutch band would be the Dutch black metal band 'Urfaust', our label boss has a new killer band called 'Santa Cruz,' and from Belgium I really like 'Vogue.' There aren't a lot of Dutch acts that grab me.

What was the recording process like for Holland? It seems like you guys had a fairly specific 'Clockcleaner' meets 'The Jesus Lizard' ambition. Was that always the intent?

It's been a little while ago but we first recorded some songs we had and then we were like...Oh shit, this is not enough for a complete LP so we wrote some more and recorded them. We are lucky that we are good buddies with our recording guy Iggy (Euro drummer for Madball.) He's the best. But yeah we just wanted to continue the way we started, but there's more variety in it I think, more uptempo and some more metal licks, especially live nowadays.

Seeing as the LP has been given cool reviews from the likes of YGR and others, do you have any plans to record further or perhaps to tour?

It's nice to see that more people than ourselves enjoy the lp for sure. We have another 2 song LP ready, it has one new song on it and one extended version of the song 'Holland' and it's completely destroyed with layers and layers of guitar solos by Het Karakter, Selim (The Devil's Blood), Oeds (The Devils' Blood) and Will Power (Vanderbuyst). Both songs clock around the 30 minutes. We are currently writing new songs, and want to release a 7" next year. We have a couple of cool shows lined up in and around Holland, I hope we can one day do a little Euro-tour.

More Adolf Butler info can be found over here. Also, Het Karakter and Futureback of Adolf Butler have their own radioshows at Red Light Radio, a radiostation broadcasting from the
Red Light District.

Karakter's show
Father Futureback's show

- Josh

Monday, 23 January 2012

Francis Harold & The Holograms 2011 UK Tour Tape

If you've heard their Who Said These Were Happy Times LP, you'll know what you're getting from this release. If you're new to the atmospherics of FH&H, let it be known that Francis Harold shrieks like a man hobbled by grief, drugged in a cave, pouring out his vocal echoes as if no one is listening. The somewhat independent Holograms behind him busy themselves by contructing a great noisome barrier - ludicrously dense, sharp and twisted.

This UK tour tape is an extension of the belaboring '..Happy Times release, only executed with more avant stress. Almost all notions of redolent Flipper impact has been washed away under rolling feedback. Think Drunks With Guns, minus the flecks of clarity, with 4 extra dimensions, incessantly ponderous basslines - repeated ad nauseum. Fucking brilliant if you can keep it down.

coming soon on Video Disease

- Josh

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Records of the year 2011

A lot of my favourite bands put out records in 2010, and for that reason, naively, I thought that 2011 might be a slow year. I thought I'd be picking the bones of punk to find records substantial enough to stand up to what last year brought to the table. I was tragically wrong, the last twelve months have had me amped on so many different releases that just drafting a shortlist for this post had me suffering headaches that only Genesis P-Orridge could sympathise with.

My high points of 2011 included moving to London full time, being able to afford more shows and more records, being part of the Twin Infinities show in LA, and above all else, basking in the reassuring glow that Thom Flattley [fellow PP writer] has stopped wearing his Colin of Arabia hoody. Stuff that blew? Well, no Slices full length release last year, not enough money to go to all shows and buy all records, and the debilitating realisation that I cannot write as well as Matt Korvette.

Honorable mentions: The Spits - The Spits V, Brain F - Sleep Rough, American Sun - American Sun, Arctic Flowers - Reveries, Dark Ages - Can America Survive?, Cold Cave - Cherish The Light Years, Condominium - Warm Home.

Demos: Black Age, Rose Cross, Blood Patrol, Sump (Demo III), Brain Slug, Sucked Dry, Synthetic ID

20. RazorXfade - RazorXfade

RazorXfade strike me as a group of highly pissed off, highly intellectual punk rock students. It's almost as if a band of kids from the 80's have sat and observed 30 years of hardcore and decided 'right, we know enough now to record an album that will put all contemporaries to shame.' Their self titled LP offers ten cuts of caustic straight edge hardcore primed with 80's Bostonian influence. There must be something in the water in Chicago.

Download Buy

19. Pop. 1280 - Thirteen Steps

Challenging, noise-addled post punk from New York. Pop. 1280's Thirteen Steps melds definite dance-ability in with the zaniness of Swans' Children of God / World of Skin and manages to come out bearing a noisy punk veneer. This record leans on all the positives to be found in repetition to deliver a recording that's as hypnotic as it is rugged.


18. The War On Drugs - Slave Ambient

The War On Drugs ushered in the post Kurt Vile age with a menage a trois of lilting melodies, plaintive undertones and ambitious song writing. Slave Ambient delivers solidness throughout, and sounds for the most part like Bruce Springsteen by way of REM, with the odd My Bloody Valentine sequence rippling through the centre. There is a deeply rousing quality to the tracks found here - an anthemic outwardness of sorts - tethered down into indie rock territory by the gentle nature of Adam Granduciel's compositioning.

Download, Buy

17. Suburbanite - Suburbanite

Onwards the Youth Attack behemoth lumbers, scything down the tepid competition that dares sprout in it's midst, leaving a scarred ashen landscape of blistering hardcore bands in it's wake. Suburbanite hail from New York, and like an elite punk rock gentleman's club they contain the former Aerosols vocalist - Chris, and king lynchpin himself - Mark McCoy. The music is short, drastic and corrosive. Seven songs in six minutes that tear pages out of the Charles Bronson guide to hardcore and deliver themselves, for the most part, in a runaway fashion akin to The Repos. A modicum of sway and dare I say it, melody, push themselves into the fray at infrequent points. Probably the best straight Hardcore 7" of the year.

Download, Out of print almost everywhere

16. Otro Mundo - Jellied

I wrote a fairly substantial piece on these Arizona garage brokers in the latter part of last year, so I wont till the same earth here. But I'd have to peg Otro Mundo with the tag 'favourite discovery of 2011,' as I felt dramatically swayed by their borderline romantic song writing and grounded punk sensibilities. Jellied serves up fifteen minutes of cultured garage punk peppered with watery vocals and strong, undercurrent like guitar hooks. I implore you all to listen.


15. Runny - We've Come For Your Women And Some of Your Men

Last year I spent more time steeping myself in past and present New York hardcore lore than I did breathing fresh air. One dark day I came across the band Runny (whose name is utterly unaccountable for) when going through the Hardcore Gig Volume page, and instantly decided to sneak a taste of this mysterious Brooklyn fruit. The track listing was the one and only precursor for the horror I was letting myself in for. Titles like 'It's The Third Dick You Suck That Makes You Gay,' give off a certain je ne sais quoi that immediately vanish any notions of possible quintessential punk rock on the horizon.

Still, I dived into what I thought would be an example of mental illness put to record and found myself swimming through a blend of Butthole Surfer's style humour and catchy Dwarves-esque guitar methodology. Onwards I climbed, soaring into rarely trodden patches of Replacements influence and various other Bush Sr-era Sub Pop oddities. This record is a freak anomaly that should probably be ostracized, but quite frankly the maniacal vocal presence, the chiming rhythms and the obvious, yet disturbing, sense of fun is too good to pass up. Party punk for the sexually deviant.

Free Download

14. Hoax - Hoax

A nuclear Kojak on vocals and a taste for blood led Massachusetts to record one of 2011's most rampant records. They play with a bitterness that's consistent with Vile Gash, only much bolshier and slowed down to an almost mid-tempo dirge. Most of the five minutes playing time gets vacuumed up by a wash of toxic feedback and motor driven guitars, luckily though the vocals cut clear above the underlying destruction to really make an impression. Growls, walls of feedback, misanthropic lyrics and sheer aggressiveness are nothing new within this circle, but the way Hoax process everything together sounds pretty organic and without pretense. 2012 will see them elevated to big hitter status.

Download, Buy

13. Leather - Sterile

A much more full figured release from Philadelphia's Leather sees the band nodding their heads to the likes of Necros and the finer points of Age of Quarrel, only to funnel this bastard combination through 90's San Diego. The sloshy guitar of track two 'Novitiate' sounds more like a cover of Joy Division's 'Warsaw' than the actual Swing Kids cover. This release owes a great deal of it's versatility to the vocalist's complete lack of fear. He doesn't give two fucks about flickering between a John Joseph warble-growl, a classic Jack Kelly delivery and an annoyingly confident singing voice. This entire 7" hurtles along like an extended tourettes episode, barking and spitting with all the elements of modern de rigueur hardcore - yet underneath lies a deceptive intelligence and a willingness to write great music.

Download, Buy

12. Sex Church - Growing Over

6 Songs by Sex Church whetted my appetite for even more sickly-vibed noise building and Growing Over does not throw salt on the proceedings. From the offset, Sex Church roll into Growing Over with the same fondness for meandering, dream like sound escapades; turning consecutive minutes of gathering tension into eventual nothingness. Not that this is a bad thing, everybody knows what a thunderous climactic sound assault should sound like.. and so for the Vancouver post punk troupe to march down the left hand path of obscurity shows a willingness to reinvent. 'Colour Out of Space' is the closest this record gets to full blown Wolf Eyes style electro-masturbation, but no sooner has the last dial been cranked, the flow ebbs along into the
Birthday Party sized chops of 'Treading Water' and beyond towards the strafe-fire attack of 'Beneath The Bottom.' Growing Over is a multi-layered, multi-textured encyclopedia of post punk and noise, romantic and pretty in parts where it's content to play out in rhythm, frightly delirious at all other times.

Download, Buy

11. Shoppers - Silver Year

This band blew up last year, thankfully it was due to worthy acclaim and not the hulking great hype machine pushing the wrong band. Shoppers are from Syracuse, NY and share a member (or members) with White Guilt. Silver Year pig-fucks around with a stylistic blend of feedback, perky riffing and noise punk overtones - flooding the landscape with on point deliveries and interesting Big Black type rhythm sections. Instinct dictated that the sheer clamour of this album would force it to buckle inward on itself, but no, it holds itself up and angrily marries together manic noise apparent on say 'ii' with poppish whimsies such as 'iv' to create an explosive yet beguiling denouement.

Download, Sold the fuck out.

10. Rational Animals - Bock Rock Parade

Forgive me oh Father, for I have sinned. When I first heard Rational Animals I thought 'Well fuck me, Every Time I Die have had an epiphany.' I thought the unusual vocal delivery bore more than a passing resemblance to Keith Buckley's once slightly punk swagger. Anyway, I grew up and really gave this Rochester, NY band a listen, finding to my suprise that my early analysis was far off the mark. Bock Rock Parade screams at you with it's '84 and onwards Black Flag influence, brewing over with Ginn licks, forcing you to take note of the band's anomalous hardcore methods. The range of influence is astounding. Highly metallic guitar work, a youthful Rollins on vocal duty, punctured, arithmetic drumming and an overlay of noisey punk rock. The connoisseur's record of 2011.

Download, Buy

9. Raw Nerve - Midnight

I wonder if there was any sort of ceremony whereby Mark McCoy passed the torch along officially to Raw Nerve? Last year saw the release of Tall Tales - an interim discography and the Midnight EP. Midnight unfurls with a minute and thirty seconds of uncharacteristic bombast, 80's as fuck, trundling along in an almost Crucifucks inspired beat until the conflagration dies out on the line 'I'll fuck you just the same.' The following 7 tracks are of stock Raw Nerve fashion; blistering, unyielding, without respite. Raw Nerve beat the same drum they've had for the past few releases, but why fix it if it isn't broke? This output is enough to keep any fan coming back, and further cements these Chicago, IL noiseniks as the creative benchmark in the American Midwest.

Download, Sold out

8. Total Control - Hengebeat

I've lost count of Total Control's recorded output, but last year's Hengebeat sat atop many writer's and fan's best of lists. Not only did they take Wire's notion of 'easy' cover art and thoroughly put them to shame (Microsoft paint strikes again), they carried the torch of ambivalently downbeat post-punk into the 21st century. Hengebeat chimes with Carpet Rash's plaintively uttered 'Please please me,' and eventually breaks into a strangely ever-stretching neon melody - accurately encapsulating the tone of the rest of the record. Most of what's to be heard here skates over thin post punk ice, dropping at times into imbroglios of garage rock. Dish-rag dreary vocals compliment everything going on, wafting in and out like a valium state of mind. The rise of the Australians in 2011 was not to be sniffed at.

Download, Buy

7. Omegas - Blasts of Lunacy

Unashamed, unchecked and violent. Omega's full length 'Blasts of Lunacy' kicks off with so much wanton aggression that you can't help think that the record title was an act of prophecy. The 80's influence comes at you with a headbutt to the face and a free lesson in how to emulate Jerry's Kids & friends without sacrificing new vitality. Omega's sound like Raw Life if only they were comfortable with their sexuality. The macho-ness is dulled down, and the intensity is kept at 11. This is the kind of dynamic hardcore that wont suffer death by neglect, on the contrary, Blasts of Lunacy is a document of the modern day hard punk zeitgeist that begs to be replayed.

Download, Buy

6. Brown Sugar - Sings of Birds and Racism.

Angry, but not too-hate-filled hardcore from Buffalo with a Cleveland by way of 'What The Hell.. It's Roach Motel' flavour. Complete with rock solid riffing, the weirdness builds and builds until twinges of psychedelia break off from the main vein of unhinged hardcore. 'Total Fucking Garbage' blows it's load almost immediately after the opening saxophone affair is dealt with, rattling and humming with some of the most irresistible melodies i've ever found in hardcore. This record hovers somewhere around mental disorder, but something within me begs for it to be considered a serious record. It's as if everything laid out here is too superb to be shackled by cries of immaturity. Imagine The Shitty Limits injected with a Circle Jerk serum.

Download, Buy

5. Iceage - New Brigade

It sucks a tremendous amount of dick that having to say this is necessary but, no, these four Danish boys are not racist. They are fervently anti-racist. I've spent time with them and feel obliged somewhat to do my bit to quell this 2nd / 3rd wave backlash. They are a great bunch of lads who wrote one of the greatest debut full lengths you're likely to hear in some time. Media; reign in your imaginations for a change. 

With a circle of friends including the less than innocuous Jackman, the scally-lads of Pagan Youth and the black punk teen fiends Sexdrome, the wunderkinds in Iceage have risen as part of a roughly defined collective.
New Brigade is a landmark in Danish punk culture, at least that's what it's destined to become. 12 tracks of scathing originality - fusing together a love for The Pogues, Bruce Springsteen, Death In June, Void and others to birth a dextrous document of post-punk grounded rock and roll. The whole scope is reeled in under frontman Elias' prolific gift for writing his vocal melodies in such a way that they almost act as an extension of his guitar. The crowning princes deliver unbroken greatness with New Brigade, sauntering between jangly garage parts and testing sonic backdrops. Anyone with more than a passing interest in punk rock already has an opinion on this record, most likely one of laudation.

Download, Buy

4. Kitchen's Floor - Looking Forward To Nothing

Australia's own Kitchen's Floor have that careful balance of playing music that sounds careless, whilst retaining a strong sense of craftsmanship. Looking Forward To Nothing expands on the glimpses of stellar lo-fi melody present on their last opus 'Lonliness Is A Dirty Mattress,' only this time Matt Kennedy has made the same kind of giant leap that KC made from Bleach to Nevermind. It's that impressive. The dreariness of his lyrics serves to highlight the delicious bites of tunefulness apparent on tracks such as '116,' 'Needs,' and 'Kidney Infection.'

There is a master songwriter functioning at the core of this project. Nervous about his art, loyal to independence, susceptible to bursts of harmony. Looking Forward To Nothing goes a long way to define 2011 for me. The honesty is overpowering and without pretension, the intimacy is all apparent and it's all offered up as K Records-esque morsels of greatness. There is nothing not love about this LP.

Download, Buy

3. Adolf Butler - Holland

Holy fuck, Dutch noise the likes of which I have never come across. Admittedly, I am no scholar of Nederlandse muziek, but this record.. THIS record, is a wall of grooving noise punk devastating enough to act as our continental equivalent of The Men. Worshipping at the altar of The Jesus Lizard, and spending equal amounts of time inebriated at the House of Melvins has coloured these Dutch darlings with an overriding penchant for the noise rock arts. Each track bristles with squalls of drawn out guitar lines, thundering along to the sound of a man splitting drum skins like his life depended on it.

Lineage can be drawn back only a few years to the cripplingly feral sounds of Clockcleaner - and perhaps the calmer natured Drunkdriver tracks (Half Mast). Every so often a sequence of hardcore identity rears up to choke the rockiness, but other than that Holland holds itself together as a noise punk record we Europeans can be fucking proud of.

Listen / Buy

2. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake

Let us not kid ourselves, Let England Shake permeated almost all corners of the grand music demographic last year. It's a bleak soundtrack to soundtrack bleak times, coercing pure vulnerability into twisted, beautiful forms. Polly Jean's most complete and enchanting set of songs ever laid down had NME falling over themselves to get the 10/10 stamp out. Deservedly so. Let England Shake is a palette of perfectly weighted vocal gushes laid delicately across stretches of spirited instrumentation. An almost untouchable record.


1. The Men - Leave Home

An astounding symphony of unbridled punk rock at it's most effective, The Men - Leave Home is my album of the year. Leave Home is simply too expansive to ignore, too chock-full with the best influences a band could seek to work from. The opener 'If You Leave' squeezes tight on the neck of Beatles' psychedelia and bangs the head of Thurston Moore against a Brookyln brick wall with the other hand. To say this record is disjointed is an understatement. The instrumental savagery of Lotus is followed by a three minute hardcore drenching. There almost as if to mock mere punk mortals, still busy slaving away over their less than mediocre hardcore efforts. 

L.A.D.O.C.H pushed the wall of noise further, searing like a sharpened edge, as visions of Cult Ritual cloud my mind. Baitaille sounds like Fugazi had Ian Mackaye broke edge and jammed with Greg Sage a little. The whole record is a series of extended waves of carefully aligned influence, pummeling us all with passages of Dinosaur Jr, Butthole Surfers, The Jesus Lizard, Iggy & The Stooges and the curveball Kraut-rock appearances on Night Landing. As something singular, it's terrific to behold, and plays out more like an orchestra than a punk record. The world awaits their forthcoming 2012 LP - Open Your Heart.

Download, Buy

- Josh

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The Ol "In n Out"

Here is a list of music I really dug over the last year of 2011. Would have loved to have written all about each release, and I'd love to give you all the reasons why I dug all this noise, but I can't sit still long enough to do that, and It might get a bit redundant to be honest. 

My humble advice would be to check it all out for yourselves.....agree, disagree, be indifferent, stay free.

2011 rippers in no particular order:

Balaclava- Crimes Of Faith
Chelsea Wolf- Ἀποκάλυψις
The Men- Leave Home
Joyce Manor- S/T
Trap Them- Darker Handcraft
Hoax- S/T
Omegas- Blast Of Lunacy
Deafheaven- Roads To Judah
Wolves In The Throne Room- Celestial Lineage
Leather- Sterile
Death Grips- Ex Military
Iceage- New Brigade
Dark Ages- Can America Survive?
The Skull Defekts- Peer Amid
Trash Talk- Awake
True Widow - As High As...
All Pigs Must Die- God Is War
Russian Circles- Empros
Coliseum- Parasites
Orange Code Kids- Cycles

Sam James Velde

Friday, 6 January 2012

End of the year, part I

It's cliché, and it's not all that necessary if you've been paying attention to worthwhile blogs at all last year, but it's the norm and it doesn't hurt to concisely compile a collection of enjoyable records for the sake of convenience.
So for all that, and to keep this blog alive, here's a lowdown of what 2011 had to offer;

Alex Zhang Hungtai, better known as Dirty Beaches, has released his fair share of cassettes and EPs, but last year marked the debut of the Dirty Beaches LP.
"Badlands" is everything an Album of the Year should be; it's enthralling, it's well crafted, it's subtle, and it know its history.
From the opening repetition of "Speedway King", to the pained self-doubting shrieks in "Sweet 17", this is a record that holds nothing back.
Clearly doused in more no wave and rockabilly influence than humanely possible, Dirty Beaches serves up the lo-fi noise rock equivalent of a self depreciating blues release.
If this isn't already spinning in your home non-stop, you can still purchase the LP here.

Dirty Beaches - Badlands

The Men have consistently released brilliant records - from their debut "We Are The Men" LP, their split cassette with fellow Brooklyn-bastards the Nomos, to their sterling second LP "Immaculada" - and have a consistency to be weird.
Their first release on prestigious label Sacred Bones is nothing short of their usual offerings. This isn't to say it is in the slightest bit boring, nor predictable.
Infact, The Men are predictably unpredictable. From their famous live shows, to their aforementioned releases, these boys don't like you to see them coming.
"Leave Home" produces more noise rock strangeness. Opening with the gazing "If You Leave..." (clocking in at 7:38 minutes), the listener is instantly tested. Those not familar with The Men may be tempted to leave (irony not withstanding), however those that stay are treated to a plethora of genre-bending depravity.
Mid album pacer "L.A.D.O.C.H" is a fan favourite for it's Siege style savagery, but it's with tracks like "Shittin' With the Shah" - which offers a post-punk piece of mind - where the album really shines.
This record is must for any who appreciate good punk done well, and can still be had over here.

The Men - Leave Home

One of last years finest - and most talked about - releases is surely the product of Danish darlings Iceage, a band who blew up almost over night.
Before there was hoardes upon hoardes of angry punks disowning this band, there was the uncompromising LP "New Brigade". A record so incredibly crafted, it (along with press coverage) propelled the band to somewhat stardom.
Ignoring their current hype and hatred, Iceage were once a small punk band of friends who would listen to the latest Posh Isolation releases and make zines around offensive art. And they still are, regardless of what you may read.
They released their first 7" in 2009, and it was great. Yet it wasn't until fellow Danes - and close friends - Sexdrome garnered attention, that they really gained any interest. Then came their debut LP, "New Brigade".
The finest no wave throwback since Lydia Lunch drifted into obscurity, this album is nothing short of unstoppable. Steeped in the lore of their land, and coupled with driving post-punk, Iceage delivered what every good punk hoped for.
Then the press heard them, and everyone dropped their interest for fear of not looking chic enough. Yet if you didn't give up on them, you'll know they released an equally enjoyable lo-fi live tape on Posh Isolation not too long ago.
You can still pick up this record here, and you should regardless of their current status.

Iceage - New Brigade

This record already received a great review from fellow Pagan-p writer Josh Turner, over here.
However, I will say it's a great garage rock record.
Kind of like if Thurston Moore had been listening to nothing but "Odessey and Oracle" and called up J. Mascis (who'd been listening to "Pet Sounds" all week) to get really high and jam out something like but not at all close to "Their Satanic Majesties Request".
I'm sure you can still request a copy over here.

Otro Mundo - Jellied

Currently, one part of acclaimed post-punk act Merchandise, and formally of hardcore trend setters Cult Ritual, David Vassalotti released his debut solo LP - and it is nothing shy of spectacular.
Previously known under the moniker (), and now by D. Vassalotti, this record is full of post-punk vigor and twinges of twee-pop, Tampa's favourite son has produced one of the most sorrowful and beautiful releases to come out in recent years.
Unfortunately, this appears to be sold out - but keep one eye on here for news otherwise. Download link courtesy of I Could Die Tomorrow.

D. Vassalotti - Book of Ghosts

Polish born sweetheart Ela Orleans released the beautiful "Neo Pi-R" last year, full of lucious lo-fidelity twee-pop.
With a tendency for Victorian imagery, Ela produces some of the most interesting post-punk to be heard. Whether it is the haunting repetition of "Living World", or the juxtaposing jovial-misery of "Walking Man", a gentler record cannot be had.
Grab a copy, now on vinyl, here.

Ela Orleans - Neo Pi-R

It was a toss up between the third demo, or their "Cursed Means" cassette, but a release by Yorkshire juggernauts - of black metal inflicted punk - Sump had to make its way onto my list.
I chose their demo cassette due to its awe-inspiring artwork, and entrancing melodies. Personal favourite "Shannon" is also present here, with lyrics such as "Little Shannon's not home today. Went out to play, and not a word at all", a clear Sotos influence is contrasted with their darkly British humour in the chorus "Shannon isn't dead. She's under that bed"; inspired by the Shannon Matthews scandal years prior.
All Sump releases can still be purchased here.

Sump - Demo III

Group Doueh are, without a doubt, the single most interesting Saharan guitar ensemble going.
This, their fourth record for label Sublime Frequencies, offers yet another diverse aspect of their repertoire. With the decision to include a drum kit on this recording, we are rewarded with an almost tribal element to compliment Salmou "Doueh" Bamaar's desert guitar strangeness.
Although not the most punk record to ever grace PP, this is still an earth-shattering releases. For those who favor "The Process of Weeding Out" above all alse.
Order a copy here.

Group Doueh - Zayna Jumma

Sealings are lo-fi death rock band from Brighton, England; and they produce some of the most interesting punk to come out of our little land.
Their untitled cassette, for label Italian Beach Babes, is untouchable.
With more gazing of shoes and Suicide worship, this EP is exactly what you expect. Perfect.
Completely sold out now, but pay attention here for news. For more information on the band, see Josh's interview with them here.

Sealings - Untitled

The second release on this list from the Dogmeat circle of friends, is Jackman's sophomore record "Bad Intentions". Complete with a fresh take on the vocal aspect (this time seemingly less perverted drawl and more predatory growl) and more bent-up bile, we are gifted with more hate-filled hardcore punk from this Danish recluse.
Sold out from label Posh Isolation.

Jackman - Bad Intentions

Although originally released in 2009, TeePee's "Morals" recieved a deluxe edition reissue this year, and is more than worthy of its place on this list.
Miami's Eric Lopez-Zareno produces some of the most monged out and beautiful lo-fidelity psychedlic droning. Needless to say this has earned your ear.
Purchase and download from the link below.

TeePee - Morals

The first pure noise release on this list, Alberich's "Pyschology of Love" is absolutely astounding.
Including tracks from his renown "Rumbala" casssette, this is record should not be overlooked for those with a fetish for heavy electronics.
Still available for puchase from Hospital Productions.

Alberich - Psychology of Love

Piresian Beach is a one-woman-band from Hungary, producing some of the sweetest and dumbfounding bedroom punk as of late.
From the same scene as Nohopekids, Zombie Girlfriend and Amstetten Bedroom Punk. This is more lo-fi twee-punk not to be missed.

Piresian Beach - Fuck Your Mind

The second record on this list to be the product of George Proctor's outpourings, White Medal's "Alone as Owt" is more from Britain's finest Black Metal act.
Filled with Yorkshire lore and tongue, this release is completely without fault and wholly with repentant joy.
Purchase the entire White Medal discography here.

White Medal - Alone as Owt

A product of an unbridled love for everything Sub-Pop and Blast First, Psychic Blood are one of the most promising and uncompromising new bands.
A full write-up on the band by Pagan-p writer Josh can be had here.
Their debut 7" "Strain", is on the contrast to their previous releases. Favouring less shoegaze garage rock - and more of the heavy grind noise rock sound - this time around we see them more as the Melvins than Dinosaur Jr. A welcome progression.

Psychic Blood - Strain

Neo Cons are a furious and righteous band out of the Bay Area, that I guarantee you're all too familiar with - or should be.
Boasting former members of hardcore stalwarts 86 Mentality and Streetwalkers, Neo Cons are one of the most straight forward, no gimmicks, down to brass tacks bands going today.
Too many bands claim to be hardcore - as hardcore should be - without being throwbacks, and too many bands are a disappointment.
Neo Cons fail to disappoint. This record, complete with its Jesus and the Gospelfuckers cover, fails to disappoint.
Purchase the 7" here.

Neo Cons - Hardcore Elite/Fuck the Police

From one half of psychedelic drone duo Barn Owl, and the persona behind the ambient Elm releases, comes "Undercurrent"; a luscious display of distorted frequencies and sublime guitars.
Arguably more refined than his home-recorded Elm releases, Jon's talent for the beauty in static is ever present on this LP - and personally, I prefer it over Barn Owl's latest output.
You can still own a copy through Root Strata.

Jon Porras - Undercurrent

The second face of Moires, more commonly known by Gnaw Their Tongues, is De Magia Veterum; a powerfully enthralling ambient black metal band.
The latest offering from the tormented Netherlander is "The Divine Antithesis", a record so painstakingly good, multiple listens are required to truly breach the surface.

De Magia Veterum - The Divine Antithesis

The first record on this list to be released by prestigious stalwarts of punk, Youth Attack!, is Suburbanite's self titled debut.
Featuring the mastermind behind both Aerosols and Wasteland, Suburbanite are the band most punks held their breath for.
It payed off. This EP is jaw-dropping. Aggressive, blown out, hardcore punk done good.
Long since sold out, the only thing you can do is wait for the inevitable second run - or feed the flippers.

Suburbanite - S/T

Little to no infomration exists on this duo of Teddy and Alex, playing complete fuzzed out and funky thrashcore weirdness.
Claiming to be the perfect music for "shredding the pool in the summertime", their debut cassette delivers and impresses.
Copies are still available here.

Earthsurfers - Ryders of the Wyld Wave

From the outpourings of He Who Crushes Teeth, one half of revered raw black metal act Bone Awl, comes Raspberry Bulbs.
Leaning heavily towards the punk spectrum, this release is of the rawest hide and should be heeded too.
Purchase here, lest you want to be branded a thief.

Raspberry Bulbs - Nature Tries Again

Playing blown out hardcore a-la The U-Men and very early Meat Puppets, Winnipeg ensemlbe Self-Interest bring you their debut EP "Blooming".
Bone-shakingly good, this 7" picks up where their two previous cassettes left off. Finding the band progressing with musical influence, and crafting a marvelous record that wouldn't have looked out of place on later era SST.
Pick up the record over at Pass Judgement.

Self-Interest - Blooming

Lust for Youth are a lo-fi dark wave band from Sweden, playing subtle melodies and haunting overtures of noise.
Their debut LP "Solar Flare" is undeniably infectious and will corner you into submission until you find yourself humming along to their danceable static.
Claim yourself a copy via Avant Records. Link courtesy of I Could Die Tomorrow.

Lust for Youth - Solar Flare

Another release from linchpins Youth Attack!, Grinning Death's Head's "Black Sun Rising" cassette is an unstoppable juggernaut of raw punk rock inflicted black metal.
Famous for its delay inducing lavish packaging, this record incases some of the finest tunes the label has ever produced. Long since sold out, and I'm not sure it will ever resurface again.

Grinning Death's Head - Black Sun Rising

Sightings hail from New York City and play some of the most interesting avant-garde noise rock to date. Their latest LP "Future Accidents" is a marvelously structured work of art; combining all the key components in the formula to static bliss.
Own a copy through label Our Mouth Records.

Sightings - Future Accidents

Vanishing Leper is product of Jordan Darby (Dry-Rot) and Justin De Torre (Mind Eraser), and it is unfathomably great.
Claiming influence from "Eastern-inflected psychedelic bands of the 1960's" and producing some of the most obtuse and brilliant noise rock and post-punk collaborative strangeness, these two gentlemen have compromised one of the greatest records of the year - nay years.
At one time, purchasing this record would have given proceed to Amnesty International - unfortunately, this perfect release is sold out. Link courtesy of New Fits.

Vanishing Leper - S/T

The last release on this list from the Dogmeat circle, Redflesh's debut release "Death Society".
Playing ravenous raw punk rock and compromising themselves of multiple members from multiple bands, this demo cassette is one of the greatest gems from the Danish scene.

Redflesh - Death Society

Another Posh Isolation product, Caucasian Colony deliver painstaking brilliance to your cranium.
Their latest offering "Stars of Africa" is as cruelly delightful as its title. Enjoy layer upon layer of distortion for free, as it's long sold out.

Caucasian Colony - Stars of Africa

Released on Record Store Day, Merchandise produced the brilliant and obscure EP "Es Muerte".
Complete with brash A-Side and Silver Jews cover on the B-Side, this 7" is wonderfully constructed and a challenge to penetrate.
Link taken from I Could Die Tomorrow.

Merchandise - Es Muerte

The latest offering from Raw Nerve, their "Midnight" EP finds them at their most interesting and progressive.
Playing the same fast and offensive hardcore as always, Ryan Lowry and co have upped the ante with more influence in the mix.
Arguably their strongest output, this 7" is long since gone.

Raw Nerve - Midnight

Thanks to all labels and blogs involved in the releasing and distribution of these records.
- Thom