Top 10 Albums/EP’s That DON’T Suck [MARCH 2020]

conditioner low pointConditioner – Low Point
(indie-punk) (pop-punk)
St. Johns, Newfoundland 🇨🇦

in a dreamСИЯНИЕ – Во сне / In A Dream
(shoegaze) (dreampop)
St. Petersberg, Russia 🇷🇺

the yaupon holly self titledThe Yaupon Holly – Self Titled
(post-hardcore) (screamo)
Gainesville, Florida 🇺🇸

new pagans glacial erraticNew Pagans – Glacial Erratic
(indie-rock) (dream-pop)
Belfast, UK 🇬🇧

inny the strigilInny – The Strigil
(indie-punk) (grunge)
Portland, Oregon 🇺🇸

thick 5 years behindTHICK – 5 Years Behind
(garage-punk) (indie-rock)
Brooklyn, NY 🇺🇸

document a camera wanders all nightDocument – A Camera Wanders All Night
(post-punk) (darkwave)
Manchester, UK 🇬🇧

birches IIBirches – II
(indie-punk) (pop-punk)
Chicago, Illinois 🇺🇸

las ratapunks fracaso ano de la rataLas Ratapunks – Fracaso Año De La Rata
(punk) (punk-rock)
Cajamarca, Peru 🇵🇪

Dirty Limbs - 2Dirty Limbs – Demolition 2
(garage-punk) (powerpop)
Fresno, California 🇺🇸
________________________________________________________________________________________

It’s the Monthly Top Ten Lockdown Edition! My how things can change over the course of one month. I will say this though: the number of new releases each week has nearly doubled! I mean cuz what else are you gonna do right, other than record an album in your closet? There’s been a lot of that in the past few weeks. Most of it, in a word, bad! Some of it, in another word, ungood. Keep up the ungood work people. It’s taking me twice as long to sift through your nonsense, but in the end, here we are with another amazing 10 releases to yank your socks off.

Hmm let’s see, what else do I have to report? Uhh well my houseplants are getting a little more water these days. My TV is working fine. The view outside my window is still there. Umm my hair is growing, my books are getting read. That’s about it I guess. How bout you? Oh, the same? Cool! We suck! This whole place sucks! Oh well.

I guess since you’ve got so much time on your hands you can finally get caught up on all the rad bands on The Doesn’t Suck. If you really start digging you could get stuck in here for a month at least. You’ll look up from your computer and you wont recognize your wife. (If you understand that reference you are reading the right blog).

Another way to pass the time is to join The Doesn’t Suck Facebook Group, where myself and a bunch of like-minded weirdos are always talking about music and what’s in our fridges and stuff. We’re bored ok! There are a lot of fun conversations happening via my twitter account too so follow me there if you please @SteveDoesnt

One more thing: If you have a cool story to tell about that moment when a band or an album changed your life, please send it to me at doesntsuck604@gmail.com and I’ll post it in the TRAJECTORIES section. Btw please read the TRAJECTORIES I’ve already posted so you have an idea of what I’m talking about, and I’m sorry, but if you send me an email about how some shitty-ass classic rock band, like Led Zepplin or something, changed your life, I’m going to have to reply with a very polite rejection email.

Alright well stay safe friends. Wash your hands. Bye.

TRAJECTORIES: Reflecting On The Moments When Music Changed Our Lives

CH

I suppose there are a couple moments where I could make the claim and point definitively where I believe that music changed my life. Was it for the better? I’d like to think so, sure.

It was around ‘91 or ‘92 in Southern California. I was a mouthy little suburbanite living on the outskirts of Long Beach. I was well into punk rock music by this time so I guess that story we’ll save for later. However, most of what I and my small group of friends had learned of punk was being taught to us by the older kids. The older brothers, sisters, and cousins were the ones imparting this loud and angry ethos of musicality upon us, the troublesome little shits of the neighborhood.

They taught us about Minor Threat, the DC scene, and what straight edge meant to some people. We learned from them the importance of Bad Religion’s logo, and how punk wasn’t stupid or naïve. It was to be taken seriously. They even taught us about TSOL and what “Code Blue” meant – not that the lyrics didn’t spell that one out for us!

Those older kids gave us a lot to go on which, honestly, without punk rock music to back it all up and facilitate these ideas and concepts that lurked behind all of the attitude and the leather and the distortion – shit, who knows where I’d be today? It was actually really great to have some guidance to help us circumvent all that music and madness. I mean, aside from irony, what was Mötley Crüe really going to teach me about drugs with the song, “Kickstart My Heart” playing on an album clumsily named, “Dr. Feelgood?” All while knowing full well that they were blasted out of their minds most of the time. It was all suddenly so dumb. It was a dumb image and an even dumber message. Punk rock music taught us that everything on the radio was bullshit. And our older pals taught us how to use punk to hone our newfound bullshit meters.

It was at one of their many house parties that I saw for the first time, Bad Religion’s video, Along the Way. It was playing on the television in the living room. A copy of a copy on VHS, so the tracking was dipping and waving in and out. It was a good bootleg for the most part.

I was already listening to Bad Religion by this time – only slightly less than religiously (har har). I’d first borrowed a blank cassette copy off a guy at school who had recorded the No Control album onto it. The music was so consistent, and driving, and good. The lyrics of the first song, “A Change of Ideas,” were written so that their cadence flowed so well alongside those perfect, chainsaw guitars. And the drums! Fast and gunning for the end of the song so much that you couldn’t wait for the next tune to start while hoping the current song would never end. It was, and remains, a great fucking album.

Back to the party.

The house had a bit of dinginess to it that you’d come to expect from a local neighborhood house in the ‘90s. The leftover style and look of the ‘80s, complete with faux wood paneling on the entertainment center AND the television; the tan carpet that might’ve been white so many years ago; the cigarette burns on the arms of a worn smooth, mud brown corduroy recliner; and the stale scent of old beer lingering with the aroma of several freshly cracked new ones.

I remember walking in, seeing the video had just started. The credits came up and their logo flickered. I heard familiar sounds of tuning and random drum hits. I saw and heard Greg Graffin. I grabbed the nearest chair from the dining room table, pulled it right up to the screen, and sat directly in front of the set. It was just like that old Maxell tape ad: the ‘Blown Away Guy’ with the shades in the chair bombarded by the incoming wall of sound. Nobody was watching but me anyway.

images_maninchair

It was the first time I’d been able to actually witness the band perform. (This was still before my first ever show of theirs at the Palladium in Hollywood just before Generator came out. Yeah, yeah – another story.) And, since I was trying to learn drums for my own shitty little punk band that I was in, I was locked onto good ol’ Pete Finestone. That dude was an animal. I still believe that he was the one that truly defined the driving power that Bad Religion came to have. Don’t get me wrong. How Can Hell Be Any Worse is clearly one of the best, and Finestone is present for half that album. But Suffer? No Control? Against the fuckin’ Grain?!

Yeah, no contest.

Finestone was ripped too. He was fucking those drums up on every song! There’s even a part where he’s pulling something broken off his rack tom and then just clicking in the next song like there was nothing in the way but the audience. And those people were getting rocked! Although, the funniest part for me was when they interviewed him and he just down plays his role in the band as if he wasn’t actually the bedrock of force that the rest of the guys were standing on.

One of the high school mentors came up to watch with me. He took a sip of his beer and blew smoke from his cigarette at the screen.

“You gotta keep practicing so you can get as good as him.” He pointed.

“Yeah.”

“You still have a long way to go though, dude.”

“Yeah. I can’t practice at my house. Parents hate my shit.”

“Well, I mean, he’s buff, dude. You gotta long way to go. You’re just a little skinny guy.” He chuckled as he took another drink.

“Oh. Yeah.” I laughed it off. I was still glued to the set.

A few months later I took the bus over to Zed Records in Long Beach and bought my own copy of Along the Way. I watched it until it wore out. I memorized it. Honestly, I still have it memorized.

Since I couldn’t practice at my own house, I sat on a stool in front of a mirror in my room, put the video on, and pretended to play what Finestone was playing. It was really the only way I could practice – mimicking the physical as best I could in order to get that muscle memory working.

I think the slip cover on that VHS was in tatters by the end of it all. But I swear to this day that whenever I’m writing or playing the drums, one of the things I think of is Pete Finestone behind his set at those Bad Religion shows. I think of what sort of rolls or fills he would do and try to incorporate that sound and that feel into my own parts.

They should bring Finestone back for a reunion, man. That dude’s drumming changed my life.

Thanks for reading.

Thank you Cary, for the trip down memory lane! You can hit Cary up on twitter @CaptFakeHead 

If you’re reading this and thinking “hey I have a story about how music changed my life!”  please, write it down and send it my way. I don’t care if it was 1978 or 2018. All stories are welcome as long as they’re about punk or punk-adjacent music. Catch me on Twitter @SteveDoesnt or email me at doesntsuck604@gmail.com

-SD

COMPOST (March 2020)

Let’s say you’ve broken your leg and you’re stuck on the couch and you’re bored with the rest of the internet and you’ve already read this entire blog.. Well I’ve got something that will help you kill some more time. Here’s a big pile of compilation albums you can go through. Literally hundreds of bands to discover. I tried to specify the genres for you as well. Dig in, and keep that leg elevated.

💀Solid Ground Volume Six – Whisk And Key Records (folk-punk) (pop-punk) (orgcore)
💀2019 Fall Sampler – The Ridge (punk) (pop-punk)
💀Sampler Number 2 – Audioconfusion (indie) (indie-rock) (folk)
💀Punx For Peace – No Spirit (punk) (hardcore) (garage-punk)
💀Grave Neighbors V​.​3 – Middle Man Records (emo) (post-hardcore) (screamo)
💀Content Farm Vol.6 – Cowboy 2.0 (indie) (shoegaze)
💀Fuerza Ultrapoderosa – Andalucía Über Alles (punk) (hardcore) (spanish-punk)
💀25th Anniversary Comp – Stonehenge Records (anarcho) (punk) (hardcore)
💀MSG Vol.2 – MKULTRA SUPPORT GROUP (punk) (indie-punk) (emo)
💀N.C. LGBTQIA+ Musicians – Walk-in Closet Records (punk) (folk) (indie-rock)
💀.​.​. .- — .​-​-​. .​-​.​. . .​-​. – Mourning Records (indie-rock) (emo) (screamo)
💀Party 4 Peace – Crazy & The Brains (punk rock) (garage-punk)
💀Punk Rock Val 19 – Slovenski Punk Rock Portal (punk) (hardcore) (skapunk) (slovenia)
💀Malt Transit & Mass Liquor – Brassneck Records (punk) (pop-punk)
💀Winter 2020 Sampler – Rum Bar Records (powerpop) (garage-punk) (bubblegum)
💀Bands Of 2019 – Horn & Hoof Records (punk) (folk-punk) (ska-punk)
💀Year Of The Pig 2019 Sampler – Dead Broke Rekerds (punk) (indie-punk)
💀Know Your Scene Vol. 5 – Eye Design Records (punk) (indie) (psych) (shoegaze)
💀Soli Sampler – RilRec Punkrock Family (punk) (hardcore) (german punk)
💀2020 Ssampler – ZAP Records (punk) (hardcore) (anarcho) (street-punk)
💀Fetal Records 5 – Fetal Records (punk) (post-punk) (80’s punk)

Top 10 Albums/EP’s That DON’T Suck [FEBRUARY 2020]

street sity surf where i live nowStreet Sity Surf – Where I Live Now
(post-punk) (garage-punk)
Portland, Maine 🇺🇸

малоМало – меня никогда здесь не было
(melodic-hardcore) (emo)
Moscow, Russia 🇷🇺

deaf chonky harshDeaf Chonky – Harsh
(post-punk) (garage-punk)
Tel Aviv Yafo, Israel 🇮🇱

поймаюнакажупоймаю/накажу – до дна
(post-hardcore) (emocore)
Moscow, Russia 🇷🇺

pound puppies epPound Puppies – Self Titled
(new wave) (synth-wave)
San Francisco, California 🇺🇸

decay non cambieraDecacy – Non Cambierà
(screamo) (hardcore)
Vicenza, Italy 🇮🇱

the mega yeahThe Mega Yeah – Tape Swap Radio Shards Session
(indie-punk) (pop-punk)
Nazareth, Pennsylvania 🇺🇸

high wasted genes muscle beachHigh Wasted Genes – Muscle Beach
(punk rock) (pop-punk)
London, UK 🇬🇧

fibber self titledFibber – Selt Titled
(punk) (hardcore)
Santa Fe – New Mexico 🇺🇸

the pseudo feds powdertailThe Pseudo Feds – Powdertail
(punk) (indie-punk)
Green Bay, Wisconsin 🇺🇸

________________________________________________________________________________________

Holy hell this has been a month. I discovered so many great albums in February, I was wondering if I would have to make this a top twenty. It was no easy task whittling it down to this powerhouse ten right here. Yeah I said powerhouse, as in: an installation where electrical power is generated for distribution. I’m not saying this top ten is going to charge your phone or anything, but what I am saying is that it probably is putting off radiation. If you’re using a lap top, do not place it directly on your lap.

Don’t forget to check out the SCRAP HEAP to see a shyte-load more great releases from February! I like to say “shyte” now. I’ve been watching this Irish show on Netflix called Hardy Bucks. Every time I watch it I’m reminded of how pittifully boring our way of speaking is here on the west coast on North America. There’s absolutely nothing interesting about it. Utter shyte I tell you.

What else is going on this month? Well since you asked, I did start a Facebook Group. There’s already been a lot of fun conversations happening and there’s bound to be many more. We’ve got a lot of awesome members who don’t suck at listening to music. I will pretty much add anyone who sends a request at this point so g’head and join up. If you’re not on Facebook, good for you. Seriously, Facebook is shyte. I wish The DS could be it’s own self-contained online community. Don’t you? Well.. here’s hoping.

I also started a new feature called TRAJECTORIES: Reflecting On The Moments When Music Changed Our Lives. I took the liberty of writing the first entry, but we have other entries from other weirdos lined up. I love hearing stories about how people got into punk, or underground music, so that’s pretty much what it’s about. I want to hear from anyone and everyone who has an interesting story on that subject. Please write to me at doesntsuck604@gmail.com . Yeah bye.

TRAJECTORIES: Reflecting On The Moments When Music Changed Our Lives

sd

When I was a kid the world barely expanded beyond the cul-de-sac at the end of my street in Northside PoCo. I knew about 4 phone numbers. To me, a long distance was the walk to my school, which then seemed like miles but, in adulthood, it probably clocks in at about twelve minutes. The world to a child seems enormous, but a child’s world is rather small; mine was anyway.

I was pissed off.. My mom died when I was eleven. After that I started to act out. I felt like I had to grow up but I wasn’t ready. I would get in trouble at school for being destructive. I wanted to be cool and fit in, but I never really understood how. I would try to tag along with the bad kids but I didn’t have the same clothes as them, and I wasn’t allowed to stay out late like they were. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I spent those years searching for my place in the pack and never finding anywhere I felt at all comfortable. Everything changed one night when I was 13 years old. That was when I found punk rock.

In 1995 my sister, who was two years older than me, started hanging out with these skater-chicks from school. There were three of them, and of course I developed a substantial crush on all of them immediately. They wore Airwalk sneakers, they had their hair dyed different colours and they all packed around skateboards. I knew if I wanted to impress them I needed to have a skateboard too. Somehow I inherited one, I think from one of my sister’s friends, but it was huge! It must have been meant for extra tall adult men with giant feet or something, but it was all I had and I made it work.

All summer long I tried to figure out how to ollie on a strip of pavement in our backyard, and when the skater-chicks were over I would make sure I was nonchalantly watching X-Games or something cool like that. Despite my efforts, summer had ended and I think they still just saw me as the dorky little brother of their friend. I needed a new angle and I decided this “punk rock” stuff they were always talking about was going to be my gateway to immortal coolness in the eyes of every 15 year old girl at my school.

Like most bedrooms of older sisters with pesky younger brothers, hers was stringently off limits, but I needed to infiltrate it to have access to her CD collection. Me, I was still on cassette. My sister was the only one in the house with a CD player, but I knew I could dub her CD’s on to tape if I could just buy enough time. I’d had success at this in the past with Pear Jam and Cypress Hill, so I knew it was possible, but I also knew that if I was caught, I would have to face her vicious fingernails and my tape would be promptly destroyed before my eyes.

It was around Christmas that year when I decided to make my move. My sister was preoccupied, probably watching Sailor Moon or Degrassi on the TV downstairs. There was a window of opportunity so I took it. I snuck into her room and went straight for the CD’s, but I had no idea what I was looking for. How do I know which ones are punk!? I started by looking at the album covers, but that wasn’t getting me anywhere; None of the bands had “punk” in their name either, and there was no sticker on the front that said “this is punk rock”. Defeated, I started looking at the song titles on the backs and finally, on the back of one gnarly looking CD with a kid chewing his own arm on the cover, I saw it, a song called “Punkhouse”. I knew this one had to be what I was looking for, and it had 31 songs on it too. More bang for my buck! The album was Kill The Musicians by Screeching Weasel.

I popped my blank cassette into the front of the machine and the CD into the top. I made sure the volume was all the way down. Then I hit record on the tape, waited a few seconds (you always wait a few seconds because the beginning of any tape is unrecordable), then I hit play on the CD and got the hell out of there! It was nerve wracking, having to wait for it to finish, worrying the entire time that my sister might go into her room. Of course I would have to sneak in at the half-way point too, flip the tape over and queue the CD up where it left off. I managed to do all of this and get out alive with my tape in tact.

I waited until nightfall, after she had gone to bed, because if she saw me with my walkman she might investigate what I was listening to. I remember it like it was yesterday: Everyone was asleep and, because we had relatives visiting, I was demoted to sleeping on the couch downstairs. I huddled up in the blankets, put my ear buds in and hit play . . . *GUITAR*/ ”SHE TOOK ME INTO HER LOVELY HOME/CALLED NICARAGUA ON THE PHONE/SHE WENT TO SEE INDIANA JONES!” . . . Then the snare came in like a machine gun, and in that moment; In that very instant, the importance of trying to impress the skater-chicks was completely removed from my brain, and what happened immediately after that, I can only describe as absolute clarity. In a split second, and for the first time in my life, I knew, without a doubt, exactly who I was and where I belonged. I didn’t realize I was searching for something, but I knew I had found it. I listened to that tape, front to back, at least twice that night, and every day walking to and from school for probably six months straight. It was fast, it was rude, political, grubby, snarly, it was pure excitement! I’ve never been the same since.

This is a story I’ve heard told many times; something along these lines anyway. Everyone describes their introduction to punk with the same words and phrases: “clarity” “hope” “a place to go” “where I belonged” “my tribe” “what I had been searching for” “home”. I love all of those descriptors, and for me, I would add one more, “a world beyond the cul-de-sac”.

Not long after that fateful December night, my sister moved on from punk. I even inherited her CD’s, and cherished them until they were obsolete. I still have them though. Over the years my taste in music has broadened significantly. I’m not ashamed to admit that I even went through an intense gangster rap phase, but punk rock was always a constant, always bubbling away inside me. Everything I’ve ever done was in the spirit of punk. It was always my identity, It always will be, it was never a phase, and that asshole Ben Weasel will always be my savior.

Hey! If you have a story of your own you’d like to share, send me an email: doesntsuck604@gmail.com

Top 10 Albums/EP’s That DON’T Suck [JANUARY 2020]

shopvac self titledShopvac – Self Titled
(indie-punk) (noise-pop)
Toronto, Ontario 🇨🇦

wig swellWig – Swell
(post-hardcore) (post-punk)
Chicago, Illinois 🇺🇸

frat mouse rat packFrat Mouse – Rat Pack
(indie-punk) (emo)
Los Angeles, California 🇺🇸

con art self titledCon Art – Self Titled
(punk) (post-punk)
Perth, Australia 🇦🇺

foreigner self titledForeigner – Self Titled
(hardcore) (punk)
Livinallongo Del Col Di Lana, Italy 🇮🇹

sekunderna paradisetSekunderna – Paradiset
(punk) (pop-punk)
Umeå, Sweden 🇸🇪

focus group theoriesFocus Group – Theories
(punk) (post-punk)
Melbourne, Australia 🇦🇺

bugarach la montagne du riffBugarach – La Montagne Du Riff
(punk rock) (garage punk)
Paris, France 🇫🇷

modern love ensomhet vetModern Love – Ensomhet Vet
(indie-punk) (post-punk)
Oslo, Norway 🇳🇴

slave punk policeSlave – Punk Police
(hardcore) (punk)
Pahang, Malaysia 🇲🇾

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

As you can see, the top five looks a bit different this month. For starters, it’s not a top five anymore.  Also there’s less rambling by me, which I’m sure comes as a major disappointment for many of you, given my unique ability to write with such grace and polish. Like literary Beehtoven as that one very important person once described it. The good news is, I’ve got more music for you and if you happen to have the same taste as me, you’re going to like all of it. I’m trying to re-imagine the site more as an expansive resource for new punk music and less of a soap box for my asinine rantings. Or maybe not. I don’t know actually. I like to write but I get sick of my own writing, so I’m just going to shut up for now and possibly continue with the brain spew some other time. There’s a ton of good stuff in the top ten this month but don’t forget to check out the SCRAP HEAP too. Maybe you’ll find something you think should have been in the top ten, and you’ll write me an email, about it and I’ll post it on the blog and maybe threaten to beat you up a little bit. Yeah bye.

ARTIFACTS UPDATE: Unearthing Rare Releases From the Past

date-xDate-X – Self Titled
(1981) (powerpop)
Sweden 🇸🇪

skiploaderSkiploader – From Can Through String
(1996) (indie rock)
Portland, Oregon 🇺🇸

monuments in makingMonuments In Making – On The Outskirts Of This Empire
(2003) (post-hardcore)
New Jersey 🇺🇸

userfriendlyUserfriendly – Movin’ Out
(1997) (pop punk)
San Diego 🇺🇸

flat stanleyFlat Stanley – Analbum Cover
(2003) (pop punk)
Florida 🇺🇸

the boys punkThe Boys – Self Titled
(1977) (power pop)
London 🇬🇧

monsters punkMonsters – Self Titled
(1997) (horror punk)
New Brunswick 🇨🇦

tone deaf pig dogsThe Tone Deaf Pig Dogs – Give Me Pig Dogs Or Give Me Death
(1990’s) (pop punk)
Atlanta 🇺🇸

Top 10 Albums/EP’s That DID NOT Suck in 2019

Landscape

2019 Personal Recap: Broke my fecking wrist, got married, got at least 3 haircuts. That’s it. Oh yeah, and I listened to a lot of truly horrible music. I mean lots and lots of really bad stuff guys. Some of it so bad I couldn’t even laugh at it. The following ten albums are just a few examples of what wonders I managed to skim from the surface of the cesspool that is new releases in the age of the internet. Not to imply that 2019 was a shitty year for new music, because it most definitely was not. I mean it was no 2018 or 2017, or even a 2016. Ok the truth: 2019 was a tough one for me. Some months I really had to dig to find a solid top five, whereas in previous years, I was struggling to narrow it down to just five every month. It just didn’t feel like that strong of a year, but in the end I still wound up with ten releases guaranteed to lift and/or crush your spirits. Whichever you’re in to. Me, I like both, so without further adieu:

no collusion sticking setsNo Collusion – Sticking Sets
Anyone with half a marble left in the punk scene oughta be talking about this EP from these fellas in Northern Ireland. It’s such a thrill to hear a new generation of punks grabbing the old spirit, so elegantly, by it’s throat. Trimming it right down to the grass roots. No fat, except for the fat-ass basslines. Aw fock you better not slag these tunes. This isn’t exactly the most reachable content for everyone. It’s very mocho shit, but you sing about what you know. These guys know about sticking up for their boys and having each others backs, and that’s something I can relate to. If you can’t relate to it, I get it, but I think you can still appreciate how fun and snarly these songs are. Like seriously, lots of fun. So far, I can’t get enough.  Listen on Bandcamp

brat curseBrat Curse – Self Titled
Sure everyone loves bass. Bass is easy to fall in love with. What with all it’s squish and bounce. It’s plumpness, it’s roundness. When I got my first car in the year of our lord ,2001, the most important thing in the world to me was making that piece of shit thump! All my friends had wicked-awesome amps and subwoofers, but I was too broke for that shit. I never did get the bottom end I craved. Oh how I yearned! Yeah bass is easy, but treble.. treble is an acquired taste, and you better acquire it quickly if you’re ever going to understand the awesomeness of this album. Hey! Let me tell you what! Real punks like treble, so you better get on board with this. Give it a song or two. Your ears will adjust. Then you’ll get your butt blown off.  Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify

tenpera businessTenpera – Business
I still remember what I said about this when it came out a couple months ago. Something about how few words there are on it. I haven’t bothered to count them all, but I’m figuring about 35 words maybe, for the whole EP. That’s all these guys need to blast your nips off. Four songs is the perfect amount of this particular brand of repetitive, borderline brainwashing, throb-punk. It’s right in that goldilocks zone for the right amount of a good thing. This is best experienced at unreasonably high volumes. If you play this in your car on full blast you will feel indestructible! You’re not though, seriously slow down.  Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify

dark thoughts must be niceDark Thoughts – Must Be Nice
There’s always some asshole band that puts out a stone-cold sweet heart like this at the very end of the year. It never fails. I have my top 10 all sorted out and then whammy! some greaseball snot punkers come along and ruin everything. This year the album I had to bump because of Dark Thoughts was “Fin” by Sneeze (honorable mention to them). Yo this is some catchy-ass ramones-core right here though. Way above all the runners up in this genre, and perfectly vocalized too. Man this guys voice is cool. It’s like the leather jacket of voices. Of all the songs I’ve heard this year, none have embedded themselves as deeply in my brain as the title track from this album. “It’s so easy, to be lonely, it’s so haa a a a ard to be loved”, that was me every 30 seconds for the past 3 weeks, and it will be you too if you have a shred of culture.  Listen on Bandcamp

raze on high in green tomorrowsRaze – On High In Green Tomorrows
Hey Raze, if you’re reading this, I’m still waiting for the tape I ordered like a month ago. Fuckin’ Toronto hardcore kids. I’m trying to get my tape-total up to three! It’s a newly-started collection by the way, but still, it’s a huge honor for you to be included. I don’t just spend five, hard earned, dollars on a virtually obsolete duplication-format without putting some serious thought into it! You have the best hardcore release of the year dammit! Don’t fuck with me!  Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify

vacation zen quality seed crystalVacation – Zen Quality Seed Crystal
Here is the other tape I purchased this year, and we’ve already been over what high praise that is. If you like shittily recorded lo-fi noise-pop with brilliant lyrics, then you and I have a lot in common, and we’re both gonna love this album. Well, I already do. You will soon. If you’re not in love with it immediately, stick with it, put in the work. This will grow on you like you’re a sloth and the songs are moss. You are a mossy sloth and yes you can use that as the name of your next band. Three times, that’s how many times you can say the word ‘moss’ before it loses all meaning.  Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify

Сияние ЖеланияСияние – Желания
It’s no secret, Russia dominated The Doesn’t Suck this year. You know what is a secret though? EVERYTHING ELSE TO DO WITH RUSSIA. Do you guys know what vk.com is? I think it’s like the Russian facebook or something. Maybe actual facebook is not allowed in Russia? That’s the impression I’m getting.  Anyway, I think at least half my blog-views in 2019 came from vk.com links. In other words, I’m huge in Russia, and I’m scared. Ok fine, I’m not huge, but I’m still scared, and I’m pretty sure if I went to Russia I would have a floor to sleep on in some districts. That’s what they have right, districts? Like instead of neighborhoods? What a mysterious place. Oh yeah, this EP which I cannot pronounce by this band I cannot pronounce is indecipherably dope.  Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify

total downer keep on riding that dirt bikeTotal Downer – Keep On Riding That Dirt Bike
They call themselves Total Downer and they ain’t kidding. This is emo to the extremo. What else can I say that’s gonna top that? I shouldn’t have lead with my best material.  Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify

red room call caa now

Red Room – Call CAA Now
Speaking of the worst province in Canada (oh wait, no one was talking about it), here’s another hardcore band from Ontario. Wow, I’m in a bad mood now. Sorry Ontario, you know how it is. Is it hardcore though? Besides the vocal delivery, it’s “hard” to say (stares at you, deadpan, until it starts to feel uncomfortable). Is this what they mean when they say slowcore? I would almost call this underwater-core. Or like bottom-of-the-swamp-core. Obviously what I’m trying to say is, these guys are rad. Too bad they’re not a band anymore. This is presumably their first and last release. I wouldn’t even call it an official release, but it’s got a title, and it’s more than two songs so, by my standards, it qualifies. It’s a win for everyone.  Listen on Bandcamp

the hitmakers presenceThe Hitmakers – Presence
When I first featured this release back in April, I spent the whole write-up talking about how much they sound like Jawbreaker, and let’s be real, this write-up isn’t going to be any different. This is like my back-up Jawbreaker band. There are people out there who don’t like it when bands emulate each other to this degree. Those people need to relax. If you’re a Jawbreaker dork like me, you’ve always wanted more (nay! NEEDED more) Jawbreaker. You’ve resorted to listening to crappy primitive live recordings, just to hear unreleased songs you haven’t heard before being hashed-out sloppily on stage, and you loved it! Well what if I told you there are a whole heap more Jawbreaker songs out there but they’re written and recorded by an entirely different band? Oh spare me your “there will only ever be one Jawbreaker” nonsense. There are two Jawbreakers! This is proof!  Listen on Bandcamp

ENDNOTES: As you may already be aware, I’ve decided to make some minor changes to The Doesn’t Suck for 2020. I know my stunning writing skills are what you’re all really here for, but I’ve grown tired of my own ‘voice’ if you will. I often struggle with this in life: if I do something too much it becomes trite and I feel like it’s cheap and predictable. Go figure, I find myself too predictable. What am I even talking about? Look, here’s the deal: I want to focus more on exposing bands, and less on blithering into the ether. Instead of a monthly top five I’m going to try to do a monthly top ten, but the idea of doing ten write-ups a month kind of makes me wanna barf, so I’m going to do zero instead. I’m still going to do some kind of recap or random stream of consciousness thing maybe, I don’t know, something, but there will be less writing. Also I’m going to stop doing the Doesn’t English features, because I always have non-english bands in the top five anyway. I might change my mind about that but we’ll see. I’m still sussing things out. Just don’t be surprised if there are some changes around here. The blog is not going anywhere though. I still love discovering new music. It almost feels like something I need to do at this point. Like some insane musical FOMO. I really want to keep supporting these bands and I want you to support them too. Thanks to all of you who read this blog and support these bands. I think it’s really cool of you to do so. Please continue to support weird people in doing whatever they like to do. Thanks for another great year of music and fun conversations on twitter. Stay tuned for all the rad jams I’m sure to unearth in the new year. Yeah bye.

Best Songs That Didn’t Suck in 2019

thats it

I’ve come across a lot of great tunes this year, but none that really jumped out above the rest. No ‘Danny Nedelko‘s in 2019, but a slew of dope jams none the less, all equally awesome in their own right. Most of the following songs are probably not making it on to many peoples lists, or even in to their ears in the first place. With the exception of a few you may be familiar with, these are the relatively hidden gems of 2019. We’ve got something here for everyone. Unless you’re here looking for the best stadium pop songs of the year. If that’s the case, you should hit the ‘back’ button a few times cuz I think you took a wrong turn somewhere (maybe in childhood?). For those of you who are in the right place.. I mean if you are a weirdo who doesn’t suck at listening to music, please take your time and check out these songs and their precursory bands. Show them your support! How do you do that? I don’t know, listen to them and tell your friends about them? That’s always a good start. Tell your friends about me too! Also, be sure to come back in a couple days for the Top Ten Albums Of 2019. Which I should be working on right now so I’m gonna go. Yeah bye.

 

Top 5 Albums/EP’s That DON’T Suck [NOVEMBER 2019]

chain clut shallow graveChain Cult – Shallow Grave
When this album first starts, I’m thinking “ooo hell yeah this is gonna be some choice new wave shit” but it almost immediately gets more punky and aggressive. They still sound like they should be from the 80’s though. Like some dark mid-tempo rockin’ post punk, hold the angles, add singalongableness. They’re from Athens Greece and I’ve never been, but I imagine this would be a great soundtrack for a walk through some of the seedier sections. Maybe fuck around and get yourself mugged or something. You know, see the sights. Just lay there bludgeoned and violated, barely conscious with this blaring in your headphones. It’s a dream getaway.  Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify

flagpolers bar tape splitFlagpolers/Bar Tape – Split
This gets a little bit complicated actually. It’s a split and for some reason neither band has the other bands songs on their page, so you have to visit both pages to hear both sides. I guess just follow the links here to the Flagpolers page and then use the search bar to look up Bar Tape. It’s worth the effort. Both sides of this split are rather unsucky. If you’re not reading this and you just come here to click the links and skip past my brilliant literature.. well then you’re probably missing out on half of a great album. Unless you’re smart enough to figure it out yourself, wait, why am I still talking to you when you’re not even reading this? I was recently enlightened to the term “orgcore” which you’ll have to look up because it’s origins are too stupid to discuss on this, such a serious blog. That being said, now I keep wanting to use it to describe bands like this. I hope I don’t make a habit of it.  Listen on Bandcamp

marmol sokatiraMármol – Sokatira
What a great little EP for the holidays. I’m pretty sure none of these songs are about Christmas though. Then again, maybe they are. How the hell would I know? What, you want me to sit here and translate every lyric? Don’t be ridiculous. You know what, you can leave. Oh wait, you’re the only one reading this? Stop! Come back! I’m sorry! Please keep reading. You won’t be disappointed. Ok maybe there’s a 50/50 chance of disappointment. That’s not bad actually. Hey, I’ll tell you what though: This album has no chance at all of disappointing you. This is just four solid-as-can-be punk songs for any occasion. You could even listen to this while riding a horse on the beach. You can even listen to this if you’re the horse being ridden. This might even speak more deeply to the horse since it’s obviously going through some things. Well well well, look who’s not disappointed.  Listen on Bandcamp

upset self titledUpset – Self Titled
I don’t know if it’s intentional but there are a lot of Jawbreaker nods on here. I mean it might just be in my head because, lets face it, my head is 90% Jawbreaker lyrics (trust me, you don’t want to know what the other 10% is), but I’m pretty sure track 4 “Lucky Strikes Out” is a tribute to “Chesterfield King” and beautifully done by the way. I think maybe this is “Chesterfield King” from the girls perspective? Can I just spend the rest of this write-up talking about how perfect of a song “Chesterfield King” is? Name a better punk rock love song. You can email them to me and I will reply “WRONG!”. Woof, what a magical song. Anyway, this here album is fully-loaded with catchy-ass ditties with clever-ass lyrics. Basically anything you can add “-ass” to, this album’s got it. By the way, I can’t find a complete stream of this on bandcamp but all songs are available on Spotify.  Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify

the gubs self titledThe Gubs – Self Titled
If you like your leather jacket without spikes this is right up your alley, and in all likelihood you are hanging out in an alley, or you should be anyway. It’s your standard contemporary ramones-core album but a few notches above most. It’s nice to see so many bands (I’m looking at you Europe) still recycling this plot, and I’m not being at all sarcastic. Wait, now it sounds even more sarcastic. I’m not being sarcastic! Even the bad ramones-core bands are still kind of good. I do have a soft spot for this genre though, since it is the genre that introduced me to punk in the mid 90’s. Those were the salad days for this stuff, and if we’re honest with each other, none of today’s bands can hold a candle to Screeching Weasel or The Queers, but The Gubs can probably hold a match or a bic lighter. I don’t think those guys want anybody waving candles around at their shows anyway.  Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify

ENDNOTES: Oh man, it’s hard not to be depressed this time of year in Vancouver. Can’t we just have a normal winter instead of being stuffed in a damp grey sack for 6 months? Anyone from back east who complains about snow should try getting drizzled on in the cold in a greyscale landscape for half the year and see what that does to your mental stability. I swear to god everything here is black and white. There’s no colour. Not even black and white, it’s just black and grey. I would kill for a splash of white around here. Oh well, don’t worry about me. If I was going to jump off a bridge I would do it in the summer when the water’s a bit warmer. By the way, I’m not going to jump off a bridge guys.

December, of course, is a busy month for The Doesn’t Suck. I have to start working on the year-end top 10 and figure out what the best songs of the year were. There will be no top 5 at the end of December, just a top 10 for the entire year, but albums released this month will be in consideration, so please stay tuned for all of that excitement. I might even try to figure out what my top 10 albums of the decade are, but we’ll be discussing that on twitter in great length I’m sure. Speaking of twitter, you should follow me there and join in on the fun punk-related discussions. Also please tell all your friends this is your favourite new music resource. Write me a letter and do not forget to look through the SCRAP HEAP for a ton of other great releases from November. It’s a little light this time cuz I was on vacation for half the month but still lots to discover. Bye.