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IS THIS THING ON?’S TOP 20 RECORDS OF 2013 PART 1 (No’s 20-11)

It definitely is that time of year again and you’re probably already sick of album of the year lists but here I am to give you what I consider to be the best records of 2013. This year it’s a top 20 for 2 reasons, 1 – there has been a LOT of great records this year and 2 – because I’ve been so slack at posting reviews this year I thought this would be a good way to catch up. So here goes:

20. Tancred – S/T

tancred

I had no idea what to expect with this record, hadn’t heard anything before and hadn’t read anything about it but as soon as I pressed play I was an instant fan. Brilliant grungey indie rock in the style of Juliana Hatfield, with plenty of catchy songs and charm.

19. Pity Sex – Feast Of Love

pity s

Always love it when a band with a great name also turn out to be a great band and Pity Sex are no exception. Shoegazey, poppy, punk rock with superb, dreamy, downbeat vocals is a pretty lazy description but it hits the nail on the head. I would’ve listened to this record more but every time I looked at a distro they’ve already sold out of their copies, damn hip kids with their pocket money taking all my records!!!!

18. Touché Amoré – Is Survived By

touche

Touché Amoré are a band that just get better and better with every record they release. I have completely fallen in love with this new record, whilst being instantly recognisable as a Touché record it is also quite a departure to a more melodic and heartfelt sound. There’s still all the power and attack that you would want and expect but there’s also melodies and hook after hook. Very highly recommended listening.

17. Wild Moth – Over, Again

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Became aware of these guys through the SNCL mailing list, they came very highly recommended and they certainly live up to the expectation. Mixing brilliant post hardcore with indie sensibilities and the song writing ability of a band like The Cribs. (The first song really reminds me of The Cribs, which to me is high praise because I love The Cribs!). You’ll have this on repeat so definitely go and check this out.

16. Dowsing – I Don’t Even Care Anymore

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I’ve written loads about Dowsing in the past and the only reason I haven’t expressed love for this record on this blog already is because having four kids is so tiring and I just haven’t had time. I literally can’t go a blog post without writing lame excuses about why I’m so behind at updating this blog, I’m sorry. You know what to expect with a Dowsing record, you know the songs will be top notch and the melodies to be catchy as hell. This album requires a bit more work for the listener than the previous one but with work comes rewards. Check out the excellent title track ‘I don’t even care anymore’, sounds like a song that should be soundtracking the end credits of a 90’s teen movie, perfectly brilliant!!

15. Sed Non Satiata – Mappo

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This album is testament to the fact that taking recommendations from other blogs you love will pay off handsomely. First learned of this band through Cut and Paste and haven’t looked back since. Screamo/emo hardcore always sounds better in French, a brooding intensity blasts out of the speakers here, thrilling stuff!

14. State Faults – Resonate/Desperate

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This record hits the ground running and keeps the energy up to the last note. Much more focused and precise than the first album, this record is the ultimate record to throw yourself about like a lunatic too. Hopefully they’ll tour the UK in the next 12 months so I can see a whole room of people throwing themselves round like lunatics to this awesome screamo goodness.

13. Placeholder – I Don’t Need Forgiveness

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A lot of bands have adopted a huge grunge influence into their melodic punk rock, but not many bands have done it in the brilliantly lo-fi way that Placeholder have. I probably won’t ever grow tired of bands using the 90’s as a reference point especially when they’re making records as good as this one!

12. The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – Whenever, If Ever

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BAND WITH MOST EMO NAME EVER LIVES UP TO THE HYPE BY RELEASING A GREAT RECORD, is the headline the tabloid press would run with if the world worked like it does in my head. Twinkly bits, post rock bits, synth melodies and everything else that is making the cynics, who have been put off by the band name, turn their noses up just makes me love this band more. I bought my ticket to see these guys in Brighton in April within seconds of seeing they were on sale and cannot wait to go!!!

11. Nai Harvest – Whatever

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I saw these guys play twice this year and both times they were on top form, even the time in the pub on Margate seafront at the height of summer when it was too hot for most in attendance to bother coming inside to watch the bands. Nai Harvest seemed to have been everywhere this year causing quite a stir amongst all the UK emos, they have become behemoths of the scene ready to conquer all with their overly catchy emo rock. Rumour has it their new stuff is leaning more towards lo-fi indie rock and that sounds pretty exciting to me, expect to see plenty more of Nai Harvest in 2014!!

The TOP 10 will be published in the next couple of days.

Thanks for reading.

Get in touch here or on Facebook www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog or on twitter @alex_itto

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Newsletter #1

This is the first Is this thing on? newsletter, I will be posting these every so often to roundup what I’ve been meaning to post about and haven’t got round to yet. I always have far too many ideas of what I want to write about but never seem to have enough time to make these a reality so I thought a Newsletter every so often would be a nice way of keeping up. Each one will have a bit of a theme to it and this one is no exception. The theme this time is: Bands who have sent me music. I know it’s not the catchiest title but, hey, what you gonna do??

Every so often people will get in touch with this blog via facebook/twitter/email etc with music they’d like me to listen to. Sometimes said music will be described as ‘Christian Technical Metal’ which as an atheist emo blog writer I tend to ignore. But sometimes I’ll get sent something by a band that is really good, too good to ignore so I thought I better get on and share some of these with you.

1. Bag of Bones – Deep Thought

bag of bones

John Molfetas is a musician from Long Island/Purchase, NY, who performs under the name Bag Of Bones. He got in touch with at the end of last year, as is always the case it took me a little while to getting round to listening to this record but as soon as I did I knew I had to share it with you. Deep Thought is 10 songs of really thoughtful, slow-paced and atmospheric emo. There are shades of Appleseed Cast here, mixed in with bits of Joan Of Arc and plenty else in between. Using samples and an array of varying musical instruments, Deep Thought feels like a really collaborative album with John Molfetas being the creative through line. It is a beautiful collection of songs which you can currently download free from his bandcamp page.

http://bagofbones.bandcamp.com/

2. Squeamish – Hammerhead

squeamish

Squeamish are a band it’s very easy to like for two main reasons; Firstly they play big, twiddly, poppy emo with a huge Braid-like sound and secondly they’re from Ohio, which is just shorthand for saying their awesome. It seems every band I’ve been falling in love with recently have been from Ohio. ‘Hammerhead’ is a five song EP and it’s available as a free download from their bandcamp page, it’s upbeat, infectious and brilliant. The kind of thing you’d wanna throw on at a party if you wanted everyone to get a bit crazy. YES!

http://squeamish.bandcamp.com/

3. Month – Bath Salts

month

Month come from Cleveland, which obviously makes them another great Ohio band. If this carries on the Rock’n’roll hall of fame, situated in their great city, could open a dedicated emo wing and fill it with bands from this state. ‘Bath Salts’ is a short two song EP, which matters not as both songs are great and show 2 different side to their sound. Track 1, ‘Vernal’, is a driving rock song in the vein of Daylight. Track 2, ‘Thermal’, is more of a 90’s inspired, downbeat, fiddly emo number. Again, you can download these songs for free from Bandcamp. Sweet.

http://month.bandcamp.com/

4.Placeholder – Thought I Would Have Been Somebody By Now

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If you know me well then you’ll know my two main loves, music wise, are grunge and emo. When bands started to mix these two genres it was like the best Christmas ever, Placeholder are one of these bands and they do it bloody well. This EP is four songs, it’s available for free and it’s loud and catchy as hell. Trying to think of a good description and the best I’ve come up with is like a grungier early Planes Mistaken For Stars, I hope that will do.

http://placeholderpa.bandcamp.com/

Nobody, Ever – Everyone Stood By The Side Of The Road

nobody ever

Now, I did get sent this to listen to but that’s because I know these guys so I’m kind of cheating to include them here but SO WHAT?!? They’re great so they deserve the extra mention. I recently reviewed them for Tight to the nail which you can read HERE. In short I described them as a chunky Dowsing which I think they were happy with. Again, IT’S FREE, WOOP!!!

http://nobodyever.bandcamp.com/

Hope you’ve found something here to enjoy. To any of the other bands that have sent me stuff, sorry if I’ve not included you on here but I will be doing this again so all is not lost. And to any other bands, keep sending stuff over you lovely people.

Thanks for reading.

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Twitter – @alex_itto

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