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 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 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 – 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 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 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 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 – 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 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
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 – 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.