I can’t believe 2015 is already coming to a close! This year simultaneously feels like it flew by and lasted a decade, with relocating halfway across the world and the immense amount of traveling I’ve done recently. I’ve had quite an ever-changing soundtrack over this time, so without further ado, here’s what’s been blasting my headphones for this year, in no particular order or preference. ::
MOTH First Second 12″ [ Copenhagen, Denmark ]
I first got to hear and experience this 4-piece live at K-Town Hardcore Festival in CPH this June, and they completely blew me away. Really great combination of post-punk, minimal synth, and darkwave. If you like this I also highly recommend the singer’s other project Melting Walkmen.
A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS – Onwards to the Wall 12″ [ Brooklyn, New York ]
After seeing this band completely level the Mural Amphitheater in Seattle over the summer of 2014, they quickly became one of my new favorites, and I had the pleasure of shooting them on their Transfixiation tour this year at Crocodile. [ You can see the feature here ] The visceral guitar playing, loads of pedals, projections, smoke machines, strobes… there’s quite a lot going on in their live set but none of it seems remotely insincere or phony, and that’s more than I can say for a lot of bands I’ve seen in the past year. This track is from their Onwards to the Wall EP from 2012, and was on repeat for quite some time.
KILLING JOKE – Pylon 2xLP [ London, England ]
I guess Killing Joke will always be on my top ten whatever list, and this year’s new album was certainly no exception. Pylon is very much in the similar vein as the last 4 Killing Joke records, which in my opinion were some of the band’s strongest material to date. I can’t wait for them to tour the EU next year!
CHAIN OF FLOWERS – s/t LP [Cardiff, England]
It’s hard sometimes to get super excited about newer post-punk bands, but Chain of Flowers really killed it this year with their s/t LP that came out in fall of this year. I love how thick the guitars sound, and the production is really huge while retaining some atmosphere.
DIÄT – Positive Energy LP [Berlin, Germany]
The huge upswing to moving to a new place is discovering amazing local bands, and probably the one that has struck me most since coming to Berlin is Diät. This LP is a scorcher in every sense, it’s got character, energy, rooted in punk but not chained to a genre. Seriously highly recommended!
Malaria! – Compiled 1981-1984 [Berlin, Germany]
Have you seen B-Movie yet?! If not it’s an absolute must, and one of my favorite documents of a music scene I’ve ever watched on screen. The biggest highlight of seeing the film was getting introduced to Malaria!, and having this song forever burned into my skull since this summer. Actually I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get this song out of my head. It’s stupid good. Play this loud and have a dance party in front of your computer.
DOOMTREE – All Hands [Minneapolis, MN]
I haven’t been excited about hiphop in a long time, and that was swiftly changed when Minneapolis’ Doomtree nailed 2015 to the wall with All Hands. There’s something so inescapable about this record; I’ve listened to it over and over and I hear new things almost every time. What’s really cool about this group is how organic the sounds are; they generate this stuff live and don’t really rely so much on the laptop. Lyrics are really clever, and I don’t say that too often. I’ve missed two chances to see them in 2015 and I’ll be damned if I miss them next year (PS- please come to Berlin next year 😉
IMPALERS – Psychedelic Snutskaller 12″ [Austin, TX]
Another highlight of K-Town HC Fest for me was getting to see Impalers tear the goddamn roof off the joint. I haven’t had a severe d-beatdown like that in a long time. These guys are totally intense, and I think this 12″ is one of the more interesting takes on what’s pretty much a completely dead style of punk today.
DEMOLKA – Demolka CD [Łódź, Poland]
Got to see this sci-fi/electro punk duet steam up the backroom of a tiny bar over the summer. I have no idea what they are saying, but this is super energetic and fast electro synth wave stuff and it’s right up my alley. They both wore these weird cape/luchador mask things and had crazy projections.
MARY BELL – 7″ EP [Paris, France]
Had the pleasure of playing a gig with these Parisian badasses in 2014 on tour, and this year they released their first 7″. Really awesome mix of garage, post-punk, and this inexplicable 90’s riot grrrl sound that I haven’t heard anyone do justice to since, well, the 90’s. I’ve heard through the grapevine that they recorded a full length this year due to come out sometime in 2016, and I’m pretty sure that’ll end up on my list next December.