Top 10 Albums/EP’s That DID NOT Suck in 2018

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Another year has come and gone, oh gawd. The earth thawed, I got engaged, the leaves got green, the air got warm, I drove to California, my car broke down, I drove back, my car broke down again, my province burned down, then it cooled off, the leaves turned brown and died and fell to the ground and, along with my spirit, those leaves turned into a dirty brown pulp, it rained, it rained, a new niece was born and it rained. Now it’s all over, and if you’re wondering what I did in between all that, you’re looking at it. I spent probably 4 hours each day listening to new releases. The ones that don’t get a lot of exposure. The ones that get lost in the shit-storm that is new music in 2018. I’m trying guys, I’m trying to find the good stuff. It’s hard, but it’s worth it. There’s A LOT of music to go digging though, but I hope I’ve brought a tiny bit of a spotlight on to these bands because, in my opinion (and hopefully yours too), they deserve some recognition. I wish all of you music nerds luck in finding something you truly treasure in this list. I hope The Doesn’t Suck is becoming a valued resource for new music for you all. Please come back and find more new bands and weird music and senseless ramblings. Good luck in 2019 everybody. May you find all of the unsuckiest albums in the year ahead.

laverne yarrowLaverne – Yarrow
This is my favourite new band from 2018 and yes, they’re from my city, but I assure you this is not a case of blatant localism. Blatant awesomeism is more like it. I should just end this whole thing right there. I honestly don’t think I can top that line. It’s all going to be downhill from here friends. That was my best material. My sincerest apologies to all the other bands on this list. You’re write-ups are going to be, in a word, dismal compared to this one. I really loaded this thing in heavy from the front end. That’s how we roll in the greatest city on earth, bar none. Go Canucks Go!   Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify

vacant company decolonize epVacant Company – Decolonize EP
It was way back in January when All This Will Be by Closer came out, and I first predicted it would be a good year for hardcore. Since then I’ve been proven right on multiple occasions by multiple killer releases, but none nearly as killer as this. Truth is, it’s not even fair to just slap the hardcore label on this one. These guys are unearthing all kinds of sonic discoveries. They’re like explorers seeking out new civilizations in the Amazon of punk rock. The irony that this album is called Decolonize is not lost on me here. Look, there’s not a lot of room left to establish new styles in music these days. Vacant Company is doing it though, so please take notice.   Listen on Bandcamp

dim it feels like homeDim – It Feels like Home
This came out in July, the same month as Vacant Company’s Decolonize, which is the only reason it wasn’t the best release that month. July was good for new releases. Even the 3rd best album that month just narrowly missed the top 10 this year. Half of North America was choking on wildfire smoke last summer and Dim was just making matters worse. You know, because this EP was straight fire son! You know what, I thought I had run out of good material but here we are. I’ve done it again. Writing like this doesn’t just happen you know. Seriously though, listen to track one without having your ass blown off. Go ahead, see if you can do it.   Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify

balsamic cigarette put a fork in itBalsamic Cigarette – Put A Fork In It
You can put a fork in this as many times as you want, it’s never going to be done for me. You can put a fucking pitch fork in this thing and it’s still gonna slap your ass off. This is the most punk rock thing I’ve heard all year. It’s a snarky, mouthy little shit of a protest record. No other release this year feels as reactionary and oppositional to American bullshit as this does. Like I said, it was a good year for hardcore. Maybe because it was such a shitty year to be a human.   Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify

bucolic old castleBucolic – Old Castle
I’ve been listening to this a lot lately. When this came out I liked it and then I sort of forgot about it. Thank Jeezis I went back and revisited this because it’s quickly become my chill-out album for 2018. This is what I put on after a stressful day of work to tune out all the noise that is life. Nothing calms the nerves quite like fizzy bedroom lo-fi. These songs are a warm bath for people who don’t take baths. Baths are pretty gross if you think about it. I mean what are you doing? You’re sitting there naked in a tub. Grow up.   Listen on Bandcamp

apsurd derealizacijaApsurd – Derealizacija
Hey! Seriously grow up! Get out of the bath! It’s time for more hardcore! Oh man this pounds. I love this so much. I think this is the third time I’ve mentioned this record in the past 3 months. I keep yelling these lyrics out loud at random times throughout my day. What I assume to be the lyrics anyway. I have no idea how to pronounce these words or what they mean. I don’t even know what language this is. Is it Croatian? Is it Bosnian? Is it Serbian? Are those all the same fucking thing? I don’t know! Who cares!? WOOOOOO!!! Actually, I do care. If anyone knows please get in touch with me.   Listen on Bandcamp

human people butterflies drink turtle tearsHuman People – Butterflies Drink Turtle Tears
You know what? Butterflies do drink turtle tears. That’s some real life nature shit. I looked it up. Pretty sick right? Human people are sick too but don’t let that tarnish your opinion of this band. Is this getting confusing? Look, human people are gross. Non-human people? Also gross. Human People the band? Fabulous! Are we clear now? This album is a crash at the intersection of snotty indie rock and twitchy garage punk. This is one car fire you don’t want to put out. It’s a car fire guys! Gather ’round, warm your hands. Don’t breath it in though.   Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify

the mustard tigers thanks for the toastThe Mustard Tigers – Thanks For The Toast
When I first heard this I loved it but it definitely didn’t strike me as a top-10-of-the-year type album. The more I listen to it though, the more helpless I am against it. It’s just too green, too much of a perfectly captured example of juvenile vitality to be ignored. This band of Wisconsin kids was only together for 2 years or so, and I have a feeling this is every song they ever wrote. Crudely recorded, and brutally performed in the most perfectly-unrefined way. If you were a teenager going to punk shows in the 90’s, this is going to be a glut of nostalgia for you. I know the band is done but I hope these guys cherish this album forever.   Listen on Bandcamp

see more glass tomorrowSee More Glass – Tomorrow
I swear not every album with ‘Seymour Glass’, or some variation of that name in the title gets to be in the top 10. To be fair last year it was an album called Seymour Glass and this year it’s the name of the band. Two very different sounding albums, for what it’s worth. These guys are leaning a little more to the pulsating postiepunkie side of things. Also they’re from Germany and the other band was from the U.S I think. I’m not too sure, the album has since been removed anyway. Technically this is a re-release of an album that came out in 2016, but whatever, I didn’t hear it till this year and chances are you didn’t either. Moving on!   Listen on Bandcamp

new speedway total babeNew Speedway – Total Babe
I think it’s only fair to mention that it was down to this album, and an awesome math album called Rough Edges by Bad Shapes, for the final spot on this list. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I had to go with New Speedway because it’s just faultless shoegaze. This album is big and has big bleary songs and the vocals are hardly above the surface. Perfect! It sounds like the 90’s or the 80’s maybe. Both I guess, but somehow current through and through. The shoegaze revival has been going on for a while now. A lot of bands are doing this genre, and not a lot of them are getting it right. Take notes rookie shoegazers. This is how it’s done.   Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify

ENDNOTES:
Hey, so if you found something you like on this list here’s what you should do:
Support these bands in any way you can, even if that means just telling your friends about them; Share this blog-post on your social media so others can discover these bands for themselves; Check out The Best Songs That Didn’t Suck in 2018 for more killer bands; Dig through the SCRAP HEAP for a mesmerizing amount of high quality releases from the past 2 years; Read this whole fucking blog; Write to me! Tell me stories! Share your opinions! Psychoanalyze me! I’ll post it! doesntsuck604@gmail.com ; Follow me on twitter & or Facebook for regular updates and other weird stuff; Keep fighting the good fight; That is all. See you next year.

Best Songs That Didn’t Suck in 2018

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I realized after typing these up that this years top 5 is pretty punk-centric compared to last years, which was a bit more mellow. I promise you however, that if you’re a fan of the blog, there is something in here for you. I’ve decided to include a whole pile of great tunes in addition to the top 5, so give them all a listen. You probably haven’t heard most of these songs. (I mean I hope you haven’t cuz I look way cooler that way). If you like a song, go check out the band responsible for it and show your support. Also!: Make sure you come back for the Top 10 ALBUMS of 2018 in a few days. Follow me on twitter or facebook or subscribe by email to get notified! Links are all over there, in that direction roughly, maybe up a bit —->

Idles – Danny Nedelko
Everyone decides their own song of the year, but for me it needs to be this. An anthem of unity and sameness in the face of partition. I could have said the same thing last year, or the year before, probably any year ever. The fact is, songs like this are always needed. It’s uplifting, it’s energizing, it’s empowering, it’s made of you, it’s made of me. It’s unity and we can dance to it.

Balsamic Cigarette – Country Song
The source of inspiration for this one may align with that of Danny Nedelko, but in the spirit of hardcore punk, there is nothing subtle about this, and it is not meant to be uplifting at all. This is the what-we’re-all-thinking-but-not-necessarily-saying song. This is the musical equivalent of a rotten egg being hurled at the trump tower. This is punk rock satire meets dead-pan hardcore. If you’re wondering how that’s even possible, all you have to do is listen.

The Apartment Club – Bad/New
Settling into something a bit more fleshy and fine-spun, this is the bleeding heart of the year. Smooth and emotional with a righteous build up, this is the song you can really get lost in, and excuse me while I throw up because I’m starting to sound like a music journalist.

Briscoe – House Show
If you remember my top 10 albums from last year, you know I was (and for the record, still am) obsessed with this band. At the time I wasn’t sure if their album was from a currently active band, or if it was a relic from the past someone posted on bandcamp. This November I was delightfully surprised to see that they posted a couple new songs. The band still remains a bit of a mystery to me but at least I know they’re making new music, and this song re-enforces my infatuation with them. I can only hope there’s more to come in 2019.

The Apparents – Nothing Is Set In Stone
Alright back to the uplifting stuff. This is just vintage UK punk rock from Scotland. No bells, no whistles, just that classic sound with classic vocals and that classic working soul that can’t be faked. It is often faked though, and that’s why this particular genre is easy to overlook, but there are still guys like this doing it justice. If you work hard for a living without much to show for it, this is your on-your-way-to-work song. Turn it up in your car or in your headphones and gut it out for another day. Life can suck you guys, but don’t forget how lucky we are that it doesn’t suck a whole lot more.

And here are the runners up:

























 

Top 10 Albums/EP’s That Did Not Suck in 2017

music that doesnt suck blog

A year ago I started this quest. My goal was to dig. That’s the word I use for it. I dig and I dig, through hours and hours of music I find online, and that’s what it takes nowadays to find the music that really matters to me. In 2017 everyone and their moms dog has the ability to release their music to the masses. There is more music now than there has ever been for our consumption, and it’s increasing rampantly. This means that there are more hidden gems to be discovered than ever before. It also means there is more godawful bullshit than ever before. You have to leap into the breach and start digging through it. It’s the only way. So that’s what I’ve been doing for the past year. I finally decided I need to put in the work and stop relying on algorithms to find it for me.

This blog is a personal record of what I’ve found, for future reference, so I don’t forget. In the meantime you, my friends, might use this blog as a resource, the way I use so many others as resources, to start your own digging journey. After much personal deliberation, these are the 10 releases from 2017 that have had the greatest impact on me. Some of them were just sitting, all shiny, atop the piles of musical-crapola that came out this year, some were buried deep deep deeeeeep beneath it. I hope you find something that matters.

 

briscoe good time riffs for bad times hudson valley punk rock 2017 unheard ofBriscoe – Good Time Riffs For Bad Times
This little EP of 5 poorly recorded songs (from a band that, for all I know, doesn’t even exist anymore) is, in fact, the best thing I’ve heard in 2017. It’s hard to put into words why exactly. I mean what’s so great about it? Sonically it’s all kind of mushed. It’s hard to even make out the lyrics, but the vocals are perfect and you can build your own narrative to them. It’s choose-your-own-adventure.  For me it’s songs about summer, about running away, escape, and it’s about falling in love on a hot night. It’s inspirational. The more you listen to this the more the murk settles, and eventually it’s crystal clear. It’s perfect and I wouldn’t have it recorded any other way. I still have no information whatsoever about this band. I can’t find anything on them. It’s kind of a mystery and maybe that makes it even better.   Listen on Bandcamp

standard rat fuck california alternative punk unique music 2017Standard Rat Fuck – ST
I’m surprised this blog doesn’t come up when you google ‘Standard Rat Fuck’. I’m pretty sure I’ve used those 3 words more than any others on this blog. In real life too. I can’t shut up about this EP. I’m not even going to try to use genres to describe it. It’s beyond genres. It’s intense and it’s smart, but it doesn’t take itself that seriously. The lyrics are somehow senseless and exactly on-point at the same time, the way only a mad poet could write. They called themselves Standard Rat Fuck. I don’t think they’re trying to make it big with a name like that. They should be big though. Everyone should be talking about this as much as I do. All the pissed off kids should be wearing SRF shirts. Freedom Fries is the best song of 2017.   Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify

salutations conor oberst 2017 felice brothers indie folkConor Oberst – Salutations
I had to exclude Conor Oberst from my top songs of 2017. It could have been a top 5 instead of a top 3 if I’d included Napalm and Mamah Borthwick, but my OCD wouldn’t allow the imbalance. A lot of people say 2016’s Ruminations was the better version of this album. Those people are what I like to call fools. Salutations is the album in it’s completed form. This is how these songs were intended to be heard and they sound magnificent with the band behind them. Ruminations is like the director’s cut or something. It’s like bonus tracks for Salutations. Yeah it’s neat, it’s stripped down, it’s like a little peek into the songwriters process, but it’s not the album. It’s just not the album, sorry. Salutations is the album.   Listen on Spotify

strange ranger daymoon portland indie rock 2017 sioux falls uncommon musicStrange Ranger – Daymoon
Given the sheer mass of their 2016 masterpiece, Rot Forever, I think it’s fair to assume Daymoon is the long awaited outro to that album. It pales in comparison, yet it’s still my 4th favourite release this year. That’s sayin’ something. You know what else is sayin’ something? Everything that is said is sayin’ something. Is this coming across as sarcastic? It shouldn’t cuz this is still my favorite new(ish) band. Even if they do hate Canada. That’s fine cuz I hate Portland. I’m just kidding. I love Portland. I don’t know what their problem is. Is this coming across libelous? Look, Strange Ranger hates Canada. There’s nothing we can do about that. We’re still going to listen to it. They could cheat on us with our best friend and we’d keep coming back for more.   Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify

pink mood swings birmingham shoegaze punk 2017 rare findsPinky – Mood Swings
I’ve been waiting a while for someone to do the whole Title Fight- Floral Green thing properly. Title Fight isn’t doing it anymore so someone’s gotta step in. These guys pretty much pick up where they left off. I shouldn’t make this out to be just a Title Fight wannabe band though. They have their own thing going. I’m just saying, if Floral Green was your bread and butter, these guys are gonna be your toaster oven. You know what I’m sayin’? Toast. Toast is what I’m sayin’. This is toast.   Listen on Bandcamp

local programming seymour glass allentown punk 2017 indie punk uncommon musicLocal Programming – Seymour Glass
This is likely the most upbeat album on the list. It’s a lot of fun to listen to. I think every song reminds me of a different band.. Kudrow, Minto, Forming.. If you enjoy any of those bands, chances are you’re going to find something here that piques your interest. It’s just nice uncomplicated indie rock punk. It’s not breaking the mold or anything, but that’s ok because it has that something that makes it stand out. A lot of the best bands are like that. It’s un-put-your-finger-on-able. There’s just something about it you know.. Something!   Listen on Bandcamp

basement revolver agatha hamilton ontario indie shoegaze 2017 cool new tunesBasement Revolver – Agatha
This is the band I’m longing to see live. They have that sound that would just fill a room to the gills. You almost feel like you need to get out of the room to make space for the music. You just have to stand in the doorway or something, just past the threshold. Give these guys some fuckin’ space I said! Damn! If you haven’t seen their performance on Audiotree Live, you need to check that out immediately. You go ahead and do that. I’ll wait here.. Oh! You’re back already? That was fast. You didn’t actually watch it did you? Well now you’ve offended me.   Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify

tigress chicago female hardcore illinois POC punk 2017 unique musicTigress – ST
Another release that went under my radar when it came out in June, which is a shame because the only thing my summer listening lacked was some quality hardcore. I’ve been playing this a lot lately though. Trying to make up for lost time. This is the kind of band you can build your scene around. Proof that hardcore will always have a purpose. “Fuck the police I hate them all” and “fuck your goddamn brotherhood” are lyrics I can really get behind. Call it juvenile if you want, and you’d be right, and your point would be? I’m sorry, I don’t know why I’m feeling so combative right now. The truth is, we need angry young people making angry blanket statements. Especially after a year rife with angry old people making angry blanket statements.   Listen on Bandcamp

shepards boston indie post punk 2017 fresh tunesShepards – ST
Right now if you go to their bandcamp page you’ll see a picture of me in the ‘Supported by’ section. I’m the only one there. I hope maybe someone reading this will go and join me. It seems this has been grossly overlooked. I guess it’s a side-project of sorts. My advice to these guys is to do Shepards full time, but change the name. Shepards is a stupid name. Standard Rat Fuck is taken by the way.   Listen on Bandcamp

dead man winter furnace minnesota indie country blues rock 2017 smooth new musicDead Man Winter – Furnace
Yee haw! Bang bang! Giddyup! Budweiser! I’m just kidding. It’s not Country, but it does have more twang than anything else on this list. It’s that good twang though. Like the way The Band had twang. It’s a straight up country-blues rock record, and executed perfectly. This thing goes down so smooth. It’s the perfect way to wash down the bass-akwards randomness of this top 10. I suggest you turn down the lights, lay on the floor and turn this one up. It’ll take you away to your happy place. Then, once you’re in your happy place, turn the lights down in said happy place and lay on the floor. It’s like Inception but with really good music. Or if you have a special someone, you can dance on your front porch to it. If you don’t have a front porch, a back porch will do. If you don’t have any porches, just put the Tigress EP back on and start smashing stuff.   Listen on Spotify

 

That’s it, so hey, if you’re thinking your favourite genre is dead.. Whatever it might be, punk rock is dead, hip hop is dead, ratfuck is dead. Don’t be so sure. Your new favourite band is out there right now, somewhere in a dingy basement recording your new favourite album, and if you’re not searching you’re going to miss it. Shoot, my favourite album of 2017 is probably still out there and it never reached my ears, but at least in searching, I found a lot of great stuff in the process. Stuff that I’m gonna keep listening to for years to come. I’m not going anywhere. I’m here to help. Check out my monthly top 5’s for more. Thanks for reading and never stop digging. Please write to me!

Top 3 Songs That Did Not Suck in 2017

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2017 has brought (widely-disputed) proof yet again, that SOME songs don’t actually suck. According to Spotify I listened to more than 30,000 minutes of music this year. I do the vast majority of my listening on Bandcamp though, so lets say (wild guess) my total is something like 100K minutes (69 days). That’s not accurate though because 80% of the songs I go through get skipped within the first 60 seconds. I try to give them all at least a 60 second benefit-of-the-doubt window, but I have to admit, many don’t even make it that far. You know it’s the bad times that make the good times seem so good. For me there’s no better feeling than when you find one of those diamonds in the piles of spew. Here are the 3 most beautiful spew-diamonds I suffered to find this year.

Daddy Issues – Dog Years 
Holy crapola this is a bully of a song. I’ve had this thing in heavy rotation since it came out back in May. It’s been a good year for fuzzed-up dreampop bands, but I think Daddy Issues is leading the pack. ‘Dog Years‘ is my case in point. This song will take you back to 1993 and then be like “HEY! Wake up motherfucker! Stop living in the past!” Yeah don’t let the pleasant voices fool you. This song will tear your face off. It will stalk you like a cheetah you big dumb wildabeest you. It will hunt you down and then come out of a dark corner like a screaming banshee with fangs! It’s a direct threat. Do not fuck with this band. Unless you’re fucking with them in a good way like “yeah I fucks with Daddy Issues”. That sounded weird.

Standard Rat Fuck – Freedom Fries 
You know what you’re in for just by the title, and it does not disappoint. Few times throughout history has America flexed as hard as it did in 2017. Not in almost a century has it flexed so hard on such repulsive ideals and downright poisonous rhetoric. This song is about how that roid-monkey of a nation will pound you into whatever form it sees fit, even when you think you’re resisting, it’s slowly getting you. Slowly melting you down into a gloopy puddle of ratfuck. At least if you listen to this song and scream along to the chorus line, you’ll feel a little bit better about it all. Everybody now.. BIG – FAT – GOLD – COCK! – SANCTIFIED – IN – THE – VEGAS – SKYLIEEENE!

Phoebe Bridgers – Smoke Signals 
So here’s a weird story. Somehow the Phoebe Bridgers album Stranger In The Alps slipped under my radar when it came out in September. I don’t know how this happened. I’m usually on top of things. I’m sorry ok. I make mistakes. I’m not a fucking robot! Here’s the weird part. I actually saw Phoebe IN SEPTEMBER, open for Conor Oberst in Bellingham WA. How did she still manage to slip under my radar then? Oh good question! I had no idea who she was at the time. Her name wasn’t listed on the bill and oddly enough, her first song, which I’m pretty sure was ‘Smoke Signals’, caused my friend to have a severe vertigo attack. That’s how powerful this song is guys. Ok maybe my friend is prone to vertigo attacks and he already had one earlier that day, but I’m pretty sure this song set off the second attack. It nearly set one off in me for fucks sake! I mean it’s one of those songs that’s just overwhelming. Unfortunately I didn’t get to hear the whole thing, and I missed the rest of her set because I had to get my friend out of there and find him a cab so he could go back to the hotel. Never did catch her name and forgot to look it up later. Fast-forward to a few weeks ago when I saw the album listed on some bandcamp best-albums-of-the-summer thing. Imagine my surprise when I give it a play and the first song is ‘Smoke Signals’ and suddenly I’m having flashbacks to my friends crippled escape from The Wild Buffalo in Bellingham. I called up said friend and had him listen to it and he had ANOTHER vertigo attack! Ok I made up that last part. Everything else is true though, and this song is a cold force.

[This is where there would be some kind of summary if I cared to write one]