28-12-11

2011: Things of the year

It's the end of the year (again) and everbody's doing it so I guess I will. I will go through some shit that musically sparked my attention this year. No lists, because those are hard, but just some shit on why I liked the shit that happened.

2011: Everything but a list.

The best band this year was definitely Banner Pilot. They probably weren't the best band but i've learned to appreciate them this year more than previously. The reissue of Resignation Day and primarily the new record Heart Beats Pacific did the trick I guess. When I heard Alchemy on the internets ahead of the release I was blown away. However, when I listened to the new record in its entirety for the first few times I wasn't. It was cool but not to my expectations.
Who the fuck was I kidding, though, once it hit me right, it hit me damn right. Album of the year, musically very versatile (they used drop D-tunings, what the hell?) though unambiguously punkrock, lyrically very recognizable on a lot of aspects. Love this band.

Nerf Herder is the other band I really got to appreciate and understand more this year. Together with singer Parry Gripp's solo project, Nerf Herder has to be the best musical outlet ever for anyone who's bored or feels useless. Parry's lyrics are hilarious as well as enlightening as well as grasping, and the music is just plain joyful mostly. Please do yourself a favour and check out every little thing you can find. Or visit me with your hard drive or something and I'll give you everything I have found. Which is pretty much.
Nerf Herder is pretty quite now, but Parry is still kicking out the jams and made some of the best songs of the year.

So I guess those are number 1, but I honestly can't make a hierarchious list of releases of 2011. But I'll tell you which ones appealed to me.
For obvious reasons, Mixtapes put out a bunch of good stuff. They did the Castle Songs thingy early on which was fun, then the Hope Is For People 7" which was slap-in-the-face good. I really like their pop punk sensibility and the fact that they "are anti-social and hate everybody". I can really relate. They also put out a reissue of Maps, backed with the all-electric Companions EP, accompanied with the all-acoustic How To Throw A Successful Party EP. And their first real real full length is about to be recorded, so I'm super stoked about this.

Dead Ringer released a 7" called Enjoy The Ride, and damn it if I didn't enjoy the ride. Probably the best EP this year... If it wasn't for the magificent Fake Boys who put out Nice Knowing You. Fucking awesome. I remember the first time hearing this and being all "wuh teh ef?" and then listening to it again and again and 'getting it'. This is Fake Boys pur sang. Pop punk is fucking dead, fact proven by the Fake Boys. I mean, it spins at 33 rpm, that's saying something, does it? The songs are so god damn piercing. Gives me goosebumps.
Related quote of the year (by the Fake Boys):
thanks to everyone who cares, everyone else can suck shit
And let's not forget Not On Tour, who released a new EP (N.O.T. On Tour, really clever). Bitching new songs. It's weird they're called Not On Tour (actually it's not weird, but anyway) because they are at their best when they are on tour. I saw 'em 1 and a half times this summer and it was goooooood. I also promise that was the last dumb joke about their bandname I made. Period.

Other awesome shows this summer were Touché Amoré and Death is Not Glamourous (and to a lesser extent This Routine Is Hell and La Dispute) at Kaffee Aloys, both bands have new records out that belong the the top X of this year. Touché Amoré's has had so many plays I'm almost sick of it. Epic, epic record. Death Is Not Glamourous was probably the best hardcore act I saw live this year. Their new EP is just as amazing as their other releases. Definite band to check out if you haven't already.
Let's see... Lemuria/Cheap Girls was a fun show, where I got to know Cheap Girls which was probably the best thing that night did for me. Algernon Cadwalladder/Punch/1994! in Berchem was an awesome show. Really weird line-up but hella cool. Oh, and definitely Soul Control/Ritual. Both class hardcore bands. New Soul Control EP is bitchin', new Ritual record is also bitchin'. Bitchin' means very good!
August ended with Hot Water Music and Make Do And Mend who are both amazing, amazing bands (Hot Water Music being one of my absolute favourites). Similarly I saw the Get Up Kids a couple weeks later (it's similar because they're also a favourite band of mine). Oh, and Fountains Of Wayne also a few weeks after that. Damn, how cool were Fountains Of Wayne? I'm still stoked I was at that show. I still feel bad for everyone who wasn't at that show. They must have had a lousy time.
Summer only ended when I saw the motherfucking Wellingtons, though. First in Brescia, then in Villadossolla. The shows were tight as fuck but as for audience and reaction pretty dull. Should've played in Belgium, damnit. Seriously though, that musical trip was awesome, I love the Wellingtons and their new album (geez, every god damn band has had a new album this year) is off-the-hook great. In Transit belongs in everyone's top 10 lists this year.
Another gem of power pop punk is The Windowsill's debut. Don't fucking miss out on Skies Are Turning Blue 2.0. And don't forget the new projects of 1) former Leftovers-dude Kurt Baker and 2) former Guts-dude Geoff Useless: 1) Kurt Baker Music and 2) The Connection. Start dancing to 1) Rocking For A Living and 2) Stop Talking/New England's Newest Hitmakers.

I've actually gone too far already. Most years start in January (in fact, I think all of 'em do). You know what happened in January? Jackshit. I have to study in January. BUT! But! In January 2011, I internationalised This Ain't Noise and changed the language to English after a long and thorough poll (one guy said I should probably do it in English). AND LOOK AT THE SUCCES STORY NOW, right? (Wrong, actually)
Februari was awesome because I was working hard on the first issue of my paper fanzine at the time. Which, actually, I do consider a succes story. Fact: #1 has sold out. Fact: #2 has sold out. Fact: There's still #3's left. Fact: #4 just came out a week ago! BUY IT!
Also I've been buying way more 'zines since I started making one. They're all better than mine. In 2011 I picked up and really liked: Jerk Store (!), Ironhide, The Swaggerlo Times, Eraser, Sweet Chaos, ...

Since I can't make a coherent overview anyway, I wanna say something about some other records that were purely awesome. First and foremost, can you imagine how stoked I was to hear a new Copyrights album after X years? Damn I was excited! Could you imagine how glad I was when it turned out to be one of the of 2011? Could you guess how many times I hit the repeat button? (Actually just once... for an entire week!) Best album in any genre. Even Burzum thinks North Sentinel Island is great! (Not based on true facts.)
The second pop punk gem was definitely House Boat's The Thorns Of Life. An album as fun as a videogame and as depressing as your ex-girlfriend.

On the gruffier side of the pop punk we have releases such as Red City Radio's The Dangers Of Standing Still. This band, by the way, co-headlined the third Summer In October Fest with Wimpy Rutherford. A fest that I will remember forever for being the best weekend ever this year and also of the years before it existed (so 3 years ago and before). It featured the Crackups CD release of Animals On Acid, which is not their debut but I think they wish it was. 1000 times better than the previous album. Also they get airplay, I think. At least, I've heard 'em once on Studio Brussel.
That weekend another famous Kempen band released their 3rd record. The Priceduifkes came on the props (dutchism!) with their longest album to date, Can't Lose. Contender for one of the best records of the year as well, and not just nationally. They will tour Europe in 2012 with Direct Hit! (FUCK YOU! GET Domesplitter in your record collection!), and that's super cool and rightful.
Another cool gruff punk record is The Slow Death's Born Ugly Got Worse. I saw them on a show with The Arteries and Mikey Erg, and I really only needed to see Mikey Erg, both both other bands kicked ass. The Slow Death is slightly more accesible than The Arteries I guess, but they're both amazing. New Arteries record is called Dead Sea, check that out. Mikey Erg has a heart-shaped single out with 2 great songs on it. He plays songs for everyone. He's great. The show was amazingly stunning.

I got an awesome Mikey Erg shirt at that show, featuring the classic Project X lyric "as hard as the booze that you swill down your throath". Other cool merch items I've acquired are a Not On Tour sweater, Give Up The Ghost "We're Down..." shirt, PJ Bond "make your own peej" shirt, Parry Gripp "Wiener Dog..." shirt, Tattle Tales "Pop Sounds" shirt and a Mixtapes "Ohio" shirt. Yay!

Some other (new) national bands I can think of now are definitely de Tantras and 15 Minute Powernap, they both have great tunes, they're great dudes and are really coming up in the scene. Related to 15 Minute Powernap, also F.O.D. and A Hollow Statement are bands to look out for. The F.O.D. EP slays, as mentioned earlier this month. Also keep an eye out for the Dead 70s Show, they recorded some jams that you'll probably like!
Break Of Day released a new album which blew me away. The Octopussys made a record as well, but I have to say that I still still still need to buy it as I haven't listened to it entirely. I'm super late on that boat, but super curious though.
State Of Mine called it quits at the insane Mute show, but meanwhile Face The Fax is hitting new highs. They share a drummer with A Strength Within, who are really taking it back. Whatever that is. They're taking it. They've stepped up their game with Still Searching, 4 new songs after 2 years of searching.
Off The Charts released a great demo tape, Empty Hearts, but hardly play any song off of it anymore. They're probably my favourite Belgian band right now. Seen them numerous times, had a lot of fun and they're super great guys. They opened the Summer In October Fest I just talked about, by the way.
The Dutch Rudders also made their march this year, for example by opening the great Crossbone Fest. I can't tell you how awesome Crossbone Fest was because 1) I honestly can't tell, it's a well-kept secret, 2) I was pretty damn drunk, 3) I lack the vocabulary to describe it and 4) it's been a while. Anyway, Mothersmoking Chixdiggit! headlined the thing and they made every band that has ever done a live show (so basically every band) look like fools. One of the best shows OF MY LIFE. Related stuff: they have a new EP, Safeways Here We Come, which puts all other EPs made by bands to shame. So. Damn. Good.
Also at Crossbone: Rebuild. They should have had their demos ready by then (March-April) but sadly they've been postponed endlessly and they only got the stuff assembled on tape a few weeks back and on CD in the next couple of week. Singer Gijs also does an indie project called Owls In Daylight with 2 other peepz.

Talking 'bout the soft stuff, I went to 2 shows featuring PJ Bond and Greg Laraigne. I really loved those shows, those people, and the fun I had. They both have releases out now on Shield Recordings, PJ's is a live record and Greg's is called Story Tellers, True Believers. Greg's not really perfect with his English accent but that's what I like so much about his songs. They're both really genuine people.

In the melodic punkrock section I have to mention... loads of records! Geez, I wonder if anyone will ever read this. This ain't no year's end list. This is a god damn last will & testament. Anyway, you NEED to check out Tenement's full length entitled Napalm Dream, it'll be one of the best musics you'll hear in a while. In a similar fashion, Joyce Manor's self-titled and Hold Tight's Call The Zoo/Can't Take This Away. Really strong records from bands who are not doing the exact same thing everybody does but actually try to make it a little more interesting. Same for What Keeps You Breathing by the Living Daylights. I mean, that' top-notch punk rock, man. Oh, and Crucial Dudes' 61 Penn. Definitely, super good stuff.

Man, I haven't even said anything about seeing the Descendents at Groezrock. I saw the Descendents at Groezrock, guys!! Also, Groezrock was awesome, I was really happy to see Dear Landlord and Teenage Bottlerocket once again and had some of the most fun I've ever had. Those bands managed to pull off the bigger stages pretty well.
I didn't really discover anything special by checking out bands at Groezrock, mostly because I didn't so much check bands out, but I've been to a lot of shows and I've been surprised quite a few times. Most notably I remember Daylight in Ghent, Smartbomb in Leuven and the Gamits in Hasselt.

Songs of the year were probably End Of A Year's I Heard Crime Gets You Off, The Priceduifkes' I.K.A.W./138, Banner Pilot's Intervention, Dead Ringer's That Veronica Vaughn..., Crucial Dudes' Boom, Roasted, ...
The best songs of ever are still Hey Jealousy by the Gin Blossoms, Surfin' Bird by the Trashmen and any song by the Ramones, but also We Killed It by Give Up The Ghost, Pretty Pathetic by the Smoking Popes and the Dopamines' Car Trouble.

I'm not even going into all the little things like Ryan Mixtapes' Wooky Stax and Gooningtons projects, or how much I've enjoyed Very Emergency by the Promise Ring or how I've only today started to listen to Get Bent when obviously I missed that boat and how good Tigers Jaw is or how happy I am For Science is back together (even if I'm not sure they'll play more than 1 show) or the new Grown Ups EP which is really good.
And just today, Like Bats throws their new record our way. It's called Midwest Nothing and it is great. Like Bats is a pretty underrated band.

Major things I missed out on are The Fest 10 and the Monster Zero Mash. Also some other cool shows but those were the most painfullest. I'll miss out on the Give Up The Ghost's reunion shows and the Dopamines' 5 year anniversary New Year's Eve.

I'm gonna stop name-dropping now. It's been one hell of a busy year. I think the above basically sums it up. A whole year of music in 2499 words. Oh, geez, the funny thing is that I have a paper due for Spanish literature that needs to be at least 2500 words. I wish I studied musicology, so I could just hand in this blogpost as a paper.
It'd be a pretty lousy paper anyway. I think I've created the anti-list.
I hope, if you managed to read it all the way till down here, you enjoyed reading it and got a clue about what I liked this year and what you would perhaps like. Someone please pat me on the back.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST:
Thanks everybody for a great 2011. I've made tons of friend in the punkrock/hardcore scene this year, some more casually than other but I'm really excited about having met so many people. I'm actually quite the shy type, so this is a huge deal for me to talk to "strangers" at shows.

ALSO: Please buy my zines. #3 (Parry Gripp, Hot Water Music, Not On Tour, Make Do And Mend) and #4 (PJ Bond/Greg Laraigne, Banner Pilot, Broadway Calls/Swellers, Priceduifkes/Octopussys) are still available!

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