Tag Archives: post hardcore

The Is This Thing On? Top 20 Records of 2014

Working out this list has made me realise that, although this hasn’t been the best year for new music (found myself at some points being much more excited by old music than new), there has been some flipping brilliant records this year. Deciding upon a top 20 has been harder than I first imagined, but I did it!! So here we go:

20. Hightide Hotel – Naturally

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After announcing they would be splitting up in 2012, there was always promise they would release one more LP. Luckily we got it this year and it was worth the wait. A brilliant swan song record that reminds of how bummed you were when you heard they were calling it a day.

To stream/download click HERE

19. Gnarwolves – S/T

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I think Gnarwolves played a blinder not rush releasing their debut full length record. They have been relentlessly gigging for years but this year seemed the perfect time to put this record out and with it they’re likely to take over the world. Some bands have been trying to defend pop punk for ages but Gnarwolves have delivered a record which makes that an actual possibility. Fantastic!!

To buy click HERE

18. Playlounge – Pilot

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I must start by saying that the 2 guys that make up Playlounge are two of the nicest people you’re ever likely to meet. It was an honour to put them on in Margate at the start of the summer, I listened to ‘Pilot’ so much around that time, when I put it on now it takes me right back!

To stream/download click HERE

17. Dikembe – Mediumship

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That difficult second record handled perfectly with all the usual heart you’ve come to expect from Dikembe, backed up by a big slab of 90s grunge. A mix that works so well, ‘Mediumship’ is an album I’ve returned too lots over the last few months. It’s a really relaxed and easy listen, love it!

To stream/download click HERE

16. Three Man Cannon – Pretty Many People

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American Indie music in the great tradition of bands like Pavement, Grandaddy and Built To Spill will always make me weak at the knees when done well. It completely bowls me over when done as well as Three Man Cannon do on ‘Pretty Many People’. I didn’t really know what to expect when I put it on for the first time and have been consistently blown away by it on each listen since. Great record!!

To stream/download click HERE

15. Cosmic Thoughts – S/T

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It’s been a really great year for Cosmic Thoughts and the local scene that they’ve had a big hand in reinvigorating. Their S/T debut record is infectious beat after infectious beat and far too good to be ignored. If you haven’t already please check the album out, you won’t regret it.

To stream/download click HERE

14. Cayetana – Nervous Like Me

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The early promise shown on their demo and 7″ is fully realised on ‘Nervous Like Me’. A lot of people had high hopes for this record and I’ve not heard of anyone being disappointed. Lo-fi indie punk in the form of 3 minute pop gems delivered to perfection!

To stream/download click HERE

13. Acid Fast – Rabid Moon

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This was the first new record I got this year and I knew I’d be discussing it here with you now even then. ‘Rabid Moon’ bounces along with plenty of energy and not a fuzzy note out of place.

To stream/download click HERE

12. Baton Rouge – Totem

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Kicking myself that I missed the opportunity to see Baton Rouge on their recent UK tour, in fact this year has not been the best for me getting to shows, something that will hopefully be rectified next year. This album is an amazing progression from a superb debut record, it’s beautifully packaged and completely sets them apart from being just another French screamo band.

To stream/download click HERE

11. Prawn – Kingfisher

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Whilst never quite reaching the dizzy heights of their last EP ‘Ships’, ‘Kingfisher’ definitely cements Prawn’s position as one of the leading lights in the current wave of Emo bands. They have really made this post rock/indie Emo crossover sound their own and have been consistently brilliant on every release, ‘Kingfisher’ is no exception.

To stream/download click HERE

10. Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere else

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Fucking ATP! Cancelling Jabberwocky just days before I was supposed to attend, meaning I missed out on seeing an array of incredible bands – namely Cloud Nothings. ‘Here and Nowhere Else’ is perhaps the catchiest and fastest indie rock album of the year. Love it.

To buy click HERE

9. Crows-An-Wra – Kalopsia

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It’s amazing that in 2014 bands can still push the envelope of what post hardcore is and how it sounds, but that’s exactly what Cornwall’s Crows-An-Wra do on their debut LP, ‘Kalopsia’. The result is terrifyingly brilliant. The electronic melody mixed with the vain bursting screams of 2nd track ‘Perseus’ make for one of my favourite songs of the year.

To stream/download click HERE

8. Sport – Bon Voyage

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As I said in my review of ‘Bon Voyage’ at the start of the year, if you’re gonna include on one of your songs a sample of Steve Buscemi talking from my favourite film of all time, Fargo, then you’re gonna get me on side straight away. Sport did just that. Obviously it helps that it’s backed up by some of the best indie/Emo/punk music of the year. Still can’t believe they’ve called it a day.

To stream/download click HERE

7. Kind Eyes – It’s ok, It’s not ok

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I don’t even this has been or will be released apart from being made available on bandcamp, hopefully it will and if it does, buy all the copies you can. It’s fucking brilliant. Margate’s finest smashing out riff after riff, it just gets better and better throughout the record. Love these guys!!

To stream/download click HERE

6. Tigers Jaw – Charmer

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Deep down, everyone knew Tigers Jaw would be just fine. They are one of the most consistently brilliant bands of the last few years, something which they further proved with the amazing ‘Charmer’ released earlier this year. They are the ultimate downbeat indie/Emo Rock band.

To stream/download click HERE

5. Human Hands – S/T

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After being completely blown away by Human Hands when I saw them live for the first time in 2013, I knew their debut LP would be one of the highlights of 2015 and I wasn’t wrong. 6 songs so gut wrenchingly beautiful and heartfelt that they leave you exhausted by the end. The gloriously lo-fi packaging tops off what is a must have record!

To stream/download click HERE

4. Plaids – Plaids

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Plaids recently called it a day, which is way more than an utter shame, but not before releasing a killer record. Channeling influences like Dag Nasty/Jawbox etc.. into what is an essential and relevant modern punk record. This band will be missed 😦

To stream/download click HERE

3. Braid – No Coast

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I’m sorry but did Braid not only reform but come back with one of the albums of their career? Yes they bloody well did. It still surprises me (in a really good way) just how amazing this record is, in a year of disappointing ‘nu-emo’ records it’s a big relief that some of the forefathers of this movement can come back and show everyone how it’s done. Hopefully they’re here to stay.

To stream/download click HERE

2. Papayér – Boo

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What could possibly make an Emo band even better? Well, one answer may be to take a huge Pavement influence and put out an album of incredibly well crafted pop songs. This is what Papayér have done and the results are astonishing. British independent music is in a really good place right now and, for me, Papayér are right at the forefront. And if they keep making music as good as this it won’t be long until they’re my favourite band. Incredible!

To stream/download click HERE

1. Empire! Empire! (I was a lonely estate) – You Will Eventually Be Forgotten

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They made us wait a hell of a long time for the full length follow up to 2009’s debut LP ‘What It Takes To Move Forward’ but 2014 finally bought the long promised new record. And what a blindingly brilliant record it is. Empire! Empire! (I was a lonely estate) are unique, not in the style of music they play which follows a great Emo tradition, but in the fact that they have made this sound completely their own. You who it is as soon as you hear the first notes being played. Also, switching to a straight, autobiographical narrative to the lyrics set this record apart from anything they have put out before. ‘You will eventually be forgotten’ is a really wonderful record, and thoroughly deserves to be album of the year. Thanks guys x

To stream/download click HERE

Thanks for reading. Get in touch. http://www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog, ittoblog@gmail.com, or Twitter @alex_itto

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Not so dead and now operational, is there anyone left?

Well, would you believe?, the rumours were true.

This week 2 bands have announced their much anticipated returns, At the drive-in and Refused are both back and will both be playing this years Coachella Festival, California in April.

Both bands had been rumoured to reform in some capacity for a long time, mainly because people were so desperate for them to. There has been a big trend for bands to reform over the last few years, all with varying levels success, you could say that it’s been done to death but if you asked anyone with an interest in post hardcore what band would you still love to see come back you could bet good money on them saying either of these bands. In many people’s eyes, At the drive-in and Refused had both finished before their time and had left everyone wanting more.

‘Relationship of command’ broke At the drive-in big, but also broke them up. Just as soon as everyone knew who they were, they were no more. Refused, on the other hand, have been far more successful since they ended than they were when they were together, ‘The shape of punk to come’ is now the stuff of legend. It’s these reasons that people have been so keen for them to reform, When you fall in love with a band post their existence it’s hard to accept the fact that you weren’t there when it all happened. Getting them to reform and then getting to see them play isn’t the same as seeing them first time round, but it is the next best thing.

So will this signal the end of the trend for old bands to reform? We’ve tolerated it for some time and we’ve now got the ones we all wanted. Or will this trigger a whole new wave of comebacks? Are there anymore bands left to come back?

Here are five bands I would still love to see reform for my own selfish reasons:

5. Sleater-Kinney

The first time I saw Sleater-Kinney was in London in 1998. They were, of course, awesome but the gig was somewhat ruined by Jarvis Cocker! We watched from the balcony and he was stood next to us with, what can only be described as, a bunch of twats in suits, who all spent the gig talking as loudly as they could. The more he ignored the gig the more annoyed I got, the more the ‘suits’ emitted smug laughter the more furious I got. Of course, I did nothing about this, apart from the odd evil glare that I directed in their general area.

I saw them again a few years later, at Koko in Camden, just after they had released ‘The Woods’. They were incredibly loud, indescribably loud. It was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to, they were completely on fire that night. I would so love to see them play again, Wild Flag and the Corin Tucker Band aren’t enough for me, they need to all be in the same band again.

4. Q and Not U

Q and Not U were a very special band. Equally as good when they were punking it up as when they were funking it out (if they are actual things). Every album was different, yet they always completely fitted with being on Dischord, they were constanly evolving and seeing the amount of different instruments they played when we saw them live was a joy. The music press seems to liken a lot of bands to Q and Not U these days, it would be so good for the originators to come back and show how it’s done.

3. Beezewax

Beezewax have got to be the quintessential indie emo pop band. Each album had songs on that could compete with any other songs ever written as some of the best slices of pop perfection that you could find. And they felt like our band. I don’t know how many times they ended up playing in Margate/Canterbury but it seemed so many they may as well have been a local band instead of from Norway. Everyone in our scene had a soft spot for them. I don’t know what happened to Beezewax in the end but would love them to come visit us again. One listen to ‘The snooze is on’ or ‘Dead end kids’ and I could be instantly in a good mood that will last for the rest of the day.

2. Smart Went Crazy

Does anyone else still listen or ever listen to Smart Went Crazy? Their 2nd album, ‘Con Art’, was one of the albums that I listened to most when I was at college in the late 90’s. It’s so interesting, they sounded like no other DC band, or like any other band for that matter. More experimental than your average post hardcore band they included lo-fi musical interludes in between songs and brilliant use of cello throughout the record. Can’t resist some good cello use. All of which was surrounded by brilliant song after brilliant song, the epic 2 part ‘DC will do that to you’ sounds just as good today as it ever did. They showed so much promise but broke up not long after the release of ‘Con art’, the Dischord site states “internal disintegration’ as the reason. A damn shame.

1. Mineral

Mineral, it has to be Mineral!!

This band, on top of any other, is the band I would absolutely love to reform. The ultimate emo band for any self confessed emo boy/girl. ‘End serenading’ is perfect, it’s faultless. It would be heaven to see them play live, I can just imagine standing there with a few hundred other 30 somethings, tears streaming down our faces, our arms out like a scarecrow singing in unison.

Mineral have achieved an almost myth like status. They are the actual stuff of legend. The penultimate song from their second album, ‘&serenading’ could well be my favourite song of all time. It certainly has the best ending of any song, EVER. When the 2nd chorus finishes and the build up starts with the layered vocals, singing about the “sound of the driving snow, that drives me home to you”, it sends chills down my spine. Breathtaking. They were a genre defining band. If they ever decide to give it another go I would cross heaven and earth to be there front row, centre.

Who would you like to see make an overdue comeback? Or is there any band that should definitely never reform?

Let me know, and as always: cheers guys x

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