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]

COMPOST (#007) – Empire Of One

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Back in the 90’s, before everyone and their dog had a skateboard, punk rock and skateboarding were pretty much synonymous with each other. Most skaters were punks and most punks attempted to be skaters. That’s how it was where I grew up anyway. Out in Flint Michigan (home of poisonous water) the skaters were punks too. It’s all chronicled here on this stupendous comp of live recordings in the late 90’s from a Flint skate shop called Empire Of One. The Get Up Kids, Hot Water Music, even Jimmy Eat World all got their start there. Ok they didn’t get their start there but they played there and it was amazing (probably).

From the UNUSUAL SONG TITLES DEPARTMENT – Here are some recent discoveries:

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“I’m Fine I’m Just Having An Allergic Reaction To The Universe”

“The Streets Will Be Paved With Golden Retrievers”

“Me And Dead Owls Don’t Give A Hoot”

“Tim Allens Tool Time Tea Time”

“Anthony Bourdain Ate My Dog”

“You Ate Me Out And Now You’re Not Interested”

“My Very Own Sad White People Dreadlocks”

“If Those Aren’t Tears Of Happiness Please Stop Crying”

“Baby Driver The Movie The Song *Potential Spoilers*”

“My Name Is Ian And I’m From Minor Threat”

Top 5 Albums/EP’s That DONT Suck [OCTOBER 2017]

new album daymoon strange ranger sioux falls portland indie band montanaStrange Ranger – Daymoon [Buy it on Amazon!]
This album made the top 5 before I even heard it. I guess I’m a bit biased. They put out what was, in my opinion, the best album of 2016, Rot Forever. They were called Sioux Falls back then. To me, that was the perfect record. It quickly became one of my all time favos, so predictably, this one doesn’t quite live up to the hype I created within myself. Still, it’s rad as Hell, and Hell is pretty rad,, or so I’m told. I don’t necessarily want to go to Hell per se, unless maybe I had like a fire-suit or something.   Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify

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Mood Swings Pinky Band Birmingham Punk Shoegaze IndiePinky – Mood Swings
The album art is misleading. I expected it to be pop punk or one of those ‘gnar’ bands. Instead it’s shoegazy melodic hardcore in the vein of Title Fight, which I am highly in favor of. Especially when it’s done right. These guys are doing it right and killin’ it. Like multiple-stab-wounds killin’ it. I can’t stress enough how perfectly this was executed. Here’s hoping they have a lot more songs under their belt or in their back pocket or up their sleeve or in whatever other part of their clothing. Maybe in their backpack if they have one. I don’t care, just hand it over.   Listen on Bandcamp

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Step Into The Earthquake Album Simon Joyner Folk Singer Songwriter Omaha NebraskaSimon Joyner – Step Into The Earthquake [Buy it on Amazon!]
I don’t think anything can be said that isn’t already implied when you say the man’s name. I mean, he is a freakin’ delight to listen to. This guy makes better Bob Dylan albums than Bob Dylan does. Well, better than he has in a very long time anyway. Big, dusty old songs that make today’s mainstream radio-folk seem utterly and completely irrelevant. If Bob Dylan listened to this album he would mumble an entirely incoherent sentence. If Bob Dylan read this review he would start shouting out verbal crazy like that guy on the train people don’t want to sit next to. In conclusion: Bob Dylan was amazing. Simon Joyner still is.   Listen on Spotify

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Atlas emo revival band toronto ontario punk uncommon musicAtlas – S/T
Straight out of The Big Diaper, Toronto Ontario. That’s what the locals call it right? As a Canadian who doesn’t live there, I’m actually obliged by law to shit-talk Toronto. I think they really do call it that though. I’m pretty much positive. The weather here in Vancouver is beautiful by the way. Look, I don’t want any trouble. This is an awesome record. They should be in the conversation along with all those other big emo-revival (a term even stupider than ‘emo’ itself) bands, like MoBo and Sorority Noise and the such. An argument could be made that these guys are better than both of those bands. Now I’m not the one starting that argument. I’m just saying it’s absolutely true and if you don’t think so you’re just wrong.   Listen on Bandcamp

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Sarı Çizgiyi Geçmeyiniz album poster-iti turkish punk rock turkey 2017Poster-iti – Sarı Çizgiyi Geçmeyiniz
Joe Strummer was born in Turkey you know.. That’s up against the point though. I don’t understand the words on this album, but I still find myself singing along to it. It’s super catchy 80’s style punk. A little first-wavy, a little hardcore. It’s actually a re-issue, but I’m including it anyway because it’s totally awesome and it does have some unreleased material on it. The original album was released in 2005 to much acclaim in Turkey. Actually, I made that up. I have no idea how well it did in Turkey, but in my imagination this was an instant classic and the punks went fuckin’ bananas for it.   Listen on Bandcamp

COMPOST (#006)

🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃

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I wouldn’t listen to this alone if I were you. These songs are truly HORRIFYING!!!” said me.

Then you were like “…….”

And I was all “…….”

 

BACKTALK ~ RE: El Googly Diablo

FROM: C. THOMAS WARMUTH (EL GOOGLY DIABLO)
There’s a running joke in the band that the name El Googly Diablo is Spanish for “ex-girlfriend.” The truth is, years ago I had a friend who had a lazy eye and she had a crush on me, which of course I was oblivious to. My girlfriend at the time did not like this woman so she nicknamed her “El Googly Diablo.”  My ex and I are still pals so when it came time to name the band I reached out to her for permission to use it, because it sounded as silly as I feel most days. Plus naming the band “Taco Fiesta” seemed like it might be a little too confusing for folks when printed on a flyer.

Hey, thanks for the intel man. It’s a great name for a band. ‘Taco Fiesta’ would have been great too but you would have been inundated with hungry, and then hangry, fans at every show. Unless you supplied tacos. Hey there’s an idea!
SD

WRITE TO ME

Top 5 Albums/EP’s That DONT Suck [SEPTEMBER 2017]

all aboard album washer new york indie punk band uncommon musicWasher – All Aboard [But it on Amazon!]
Grungy indie punks from Brooklyn mixin’ up a bowl of grooves for us with killer vocals. Really scrappy songs that get stuck in your teeth and stay there, like when you eat ribs and you don’t have a toothpick. This could be my favourite release this month. I mean I associated it with oral hygiene. That’s saying a lot. Everything is solid here. If you don’t eat meat you can compare it to eating a mango off the pit. Like someone just hands you a mango and you have to eat it with your bare hands. No knife. This is the perfect compliment for any band.  Listen on Bandcamp

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get a job album the fiasco kerfuffle uk bedroom emo bandThe Fiasco Kerfuffle – Get A Job
This is bedroom emo at it’s emoest, and also it’s bedroomest. This is definitely just a really sad guy sitting on the edge of his bed making brilliant songs that no one will ever hear, other than me, and maybe you, if you go to his page. I really hope you do. So few people have a knack for lyrics like this. The subject matter is self-deprecation at it’s self-deprecationiest, and maybe it gets you a little down, but what’s wrong with being down? I like being down. I feel most comfortable when I’m down. What is this ‘up’ I’ve heard so much about? What’s up!? Down with up! Everything about this works perfectly. It’s a beautiful accident. Even the bad mixing and shitty white-noise just add to the sadness, and thus strengthens these songs.  Listen on Bandcamp

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el googly diablo phoenix arizona dream punk band uncommon music punk nerdsEl Googly Diablo – ST [Buy it on Amazon!]
They do it in the name of love. They write these beautiful songs for you and me in the name of love, and all that is good. All that is punk, all that is weird. El Googly Diablo is the name of the band. It’s a weird name, and don’t let the spooky cover art fool you. This album is inspirational and uplifting. It’s endearing the way a wet dog is. It’s so cute but its fur is gross right now. Are you going to pet the wet dog anyway? Well? I’ll pet this fucking dog all day. Maybe just like on it’s head though. You know, where it’s still mostly dry.  Listen on Bandcamp

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two balls no strikes album ueckers chicago illinois baseball punk band uncommon music punk nerdsUeckers – 2 Balls 2 Strikes
Anytime there’s a decent Snot-punk album released, it’s automatically in consideration for the top 5, even when all of the songs are about beer league baseball. It doesn’t matter what the songs are about ok, as long as they’re clever, and this is clever stuff. They’ve got the background vocals perfect too. If you’re a grease-punk and you also happen to be on a softball team, I may have just found your favorite album of all time. Don’t be fooled by bands like Modern Baseball or Canadian Softball. Those bands don’t even talk about balls. What kind of deceptive bullshit is that anyway?  Listen on Bandcamp

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lush album soapboxer thunder bay shoegaze punk band uncommon music punk nerdsSoapboxer – Lush [Buy it on Amazon!]
Good news from Thunder Bay! Said the headline never. Zzzzing! Seriously though if you’re Canadian you know this town has it’s share of problems, but Soapboxer, for all I know, doesn’t appear to be one of them. If anything they’re a break in the clouds for that truly horrible place. I’m totally kidding. Thunder Bay is fine (if you’re not Native). KIDDING! (kind of). This is shoegazie emo stuff with dreamy vocals and poignant lyrics that make you want to be young again. Unless you’re still young. I don’t know how it makes you feel if you’re still young. Probably a little sad. By the way, this album is choice!  Listen on Bandcamp

COMPOST (#005)

taken down

This is the kind of thing I really geek-out over. I automatically go four-eyed for anything 80’s Hardcore. I also get my pocket protector out for small town punk scenes. Here we have a merger of both. Two nerd-worlds colliding, if you will. Sending me into an intoxicating dweeb-rage of hardcore poindexteria. I know this is coming across as jovial but I’m actually in a really bad mood right now. Not because of this awesome hardcore though. If anything it’s helping. From Disillusion Records, this is the Welcome To The Circus comp, which chronicles the Tucson AZ (Home of cactus) Hardcore scene of the early 80’s. There is so much cool stuff on here. I’m like a kid in a candy shop (that only sells nerds).

Doesn’t English (#005) – Cuando Ya No Importe

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Brought to you by Saltillo Mexico,,, sarapes! And also this extra-screamy emo band called Cuando Ya No Importe. Just off the top of my head, I believe the English translation is “When it Doesn’t Matter Anymore” or “Past Caring” ..Something like that. Not to be confused with the book of the same title by Juan Carlos Onetti. The band seems to be paying tribute to the existential mindfuck that was that novel. They have a quote from Onetti on their bandcamp page. I haven’t read the book myself, but I just put it on my To-Read list, so thank you for the recommendation guys! By the way, the music is dark, the lyrics are darker, it’s just lights out across the board here. In a good way.

Doesn’t English (#004)

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Ok, I’m about to make some wild assumptions here. Карамельный узник is the name of the band, and it translates, as far as I can tell, to ‘Caramel Prisoner’. Now, perhaps ‘Caramel’ is the closest translation for a term used to describe either Asian-Russians or Aboriginal-Russians, maybe a mix of both? The band is from a city called Yakutsk in a remote part of Eastern Russia. I know these parts of Russia have Aboriginal people similar to Canada’s Inuit, and they may also have Chinese and Mongolians. Based on the youtube videos I’ve seen of the band, I’m assuming they fit into one or more of these minority groups, which is pretty cool if you consider they’re in the middle of nowhere, frozen-hell, Russia, making a fuss with killer punk tunes. If that’s the case (and I know I’ve totally built my own narrative here) then they are using punk in the way it was truly intended. You gotta listen to this.
[Buy it on Amazon!]