22-12-12

twnnytwlve

Okay, so I have a music blog, which basically means I have to write about the "best of 2012" or something.
This is hard work, ya guys. 365 days of music is a fucking lot to reflect on in one blogpost. It's a lot.
So, now it's December and this horrible task is upon me. I will not make some stupid lists cause that's not how I rolllll (although I really like lists mostly). Like last year, I will try to make an overview of records I liked this year, shows I've seen and enjoyed this year, bands whose dicks I sucked this year, and more. What? Don't judge me.

UPDATE (08/01/2013): I totally forgot to mention The Helltons' Nowhere On The Map, which is absolutely one of the best pop punk records of the year. So, I hope that's cleared up now!

Let's start of with something really obvious: the competition for absolute best album of the year.
There are quite a few contenders, 3 of my favourite contemporary bands put out a new record, all in the first half of 2012. I'm talking about The Hextalls' Rock You To Sleep, The Fake Boys' Pig Factory and The Dopamines' Vices. These are the first that come to mind when picking an album of the year. I'm pretty sure The Fake Boys would feel weird being in competition with 2 pop punk bands and they (rightfully) think pretty highly of themselves, so I guess they'd feel weird being in competition with anyone actually. The stupid thing is that none of these bands have toured Europe this year, so I can't make a decision based on album goodness:live performance ratio.
The Hextalls, in my opinion, stand out because they make the most catchy songs on the planet. No question. They find a way to use chords unlike other bands and their vocal melodies are definitely somewhat original in comparison with other pop punk acts. The Fake Boys are one of my favourite bands and I easily lose my shit to any of their songs, but with this new album they proven to be on another league. Another league of losing shit and perhaps finding shit back. The slowest punk record of 2012, but possibly also the best, and certainly the realest. Makes me wanna headbang, be angry at the world and also dance like a motherfucker. The Dopamines, finally, are such a consistently good band but yet they manage to impress me with every record. Whereas the band used to be compared to death with other bands (most notably the Copyrights, which I never understood), they now wrote the blueprint for dopaminescore (I use this term as an analogy to ramonescore, please don't use it regularly).
And then in August Masked Intruder put out a full length and that one didn't leave my stereo for a few weeks. It's tha catchiest shit of the year (did I just contradict myself regarding my comment on The Hextalls? yes, I did. fuck off.). Definitely also a contender for record of the year. At this stage, the gimmick isn't old yet, the music and lyrics are super fresh and really fantastic, so I absolutely love the shit out of the album. Same for Apologies, I Have None's debut album London. Seeing them perform 4 times the last few months I'm convinced that this is one of the most solid records of the year. I'm hooked start to finish, the album is perfectly sequenced, put together, mixed. It sounds like an album. You know what I mean? It sounds like it was made for the purpose of being a beautiful package of harmonies, sound dynamics and awesome songs. And from the same country, yet not the same region, The Murderburgers! They made their best record yet with How To Ruin Your Life. I'd like to award the world record for most words in 15 songs ever to them. Also the most incromprehensible words. Yeah... Good job guys!

So I think I've made my decision: I'm not gonna choose. Fuck choosing.

There were 2 records this year which made me wish I wrote them. I mean, there's probably more, but two of them are so relatable it's kinda scary.
The first one is Like Bats' Midwest Nothing. This records is primarily underrated, I feel, so please go check it out. It feels like a slow punk record, but these guys actually play pretty wicked songs. And yeah, the lyrics are what tops this of for me. Excellent.
- This is all I know. Aimless nights and targeted frustrations. Why can't I just leave you alone? All I want is to see you in my dreams.
- I know you’re tired of me because you don’t laugh at my jokes anymore. I know that I’m ugly and in your way. 
- I guess this ain’t the worst that could happen. I guess I’m still here. I guess that means the worst will still happen because I’m still here. But I don’t give a fuck where I’m going to, just as long as I’m slowly fading there with you. 
- I don't wanna be loved. Don't wanna kiss. Don't wanna fuck. Twenty. No hope. Just pushing my luck. Staring at my shoes.
- They might call this giving up. I think we’ve only just begun to see what’s real.
Absolutely love it. Fucking hell.
The other one is actually a Belgian release, The Dutch Rudders' Black Holes EP. A huge step from their previous release, a huge step forward. Or upward. I don't know. Fact is that this EP sounds a lot like my life at times. And it sounds great. It's pretty dark though.
- Sometimes I wish I could stop falling in love.
- Getting drunk is so cliché but it's the only thing that works for me.
- Maybe I'm just not your type of guy. But then tell me why you had to try.
- Everytime I say that I'm okay I die a little more inside. I can't go on this way. I'm not okay. I'm not okay.
- I'm facing black holes. I just smacked my head.
- Once again, I'm waking up and wish I'm dead. Once again I goit this bottle in my hand.
- I'm just waiting for another day to die. Life just disappoints again.

Speaking of EPs, some of my favourite releases of 2012 were also really short. The best song of 2012 is Unfun's Caroline, put on an EP with the previously released Shallow Graves 7". The most punk song of 2012, clocking in at 8 minutes, the embodiment of anger and for a long time a song I tried to fall asleep to. Also one of my favourite songs to scream out while walking home drunk from a lousy party. One of my favourite song to bulk when I felt stupid and alone. One of my favourite songs.
House Boat, though, made a song longer than Caroline, but also less coherent. It's called 21st Century Breakroom and it encases everything you love about punk rock.
All of Be My Doppelganger's monthly singles were really cool, especially In Yr Wires/Spring Break Up
The Drug Church EP was another big surprise in my musical life. Excellent songs. Soul Control released the Bore Core 7". Grooviest hardcore band around. The Wellingtons wrote another batch of songs on a Hey Hey 10" and they're always delightful. I was really happy I could see them again this year. Australia's best.
But good music doesn't have to come from the other side of the world. There's been a lot of great Belgian releases to. The Adjectives surprised me with 15 minutes of super-fun pop punk rock on their debut Bam! Trapped Inside also put out a bunch of songs on a demo, pissed off female-fronted old school hardcore. Or, you know just "hardcore".
Off The Charts released a new EP at the start of this year, which was a phenomenal couple of songs, bound to get stuck in your head. Outline came out of their hole and put out a tape, also with 3 songs of turn-of-the-century 2000s hardcore, pissed off music by super nice guys.
The same description goes for Ashes. Pissed off, heavy as shit and ready to take over the world. They put out a 2-song EP and a videoclip for a new song, each one harder than the last. You better watch out.
Our neighbours from the Netherlands in This Routine Is Hell also released some new songs under the name Repent. Repeat. Fucking fuck, angry songs for angry people. Love it.
Then from the land of Great Britain I discovered a whole bunch of bands. Nai Harvest put out the Feeling Better 7". Loose Cannons put out a new 7". Hindsights put out their debut Wheathered 7". Forrest. put out a great EP. Losing Sleep put out a rad demo. So many great bands, I'd be glad to live there.

I actually did live in the UK for 5 days last summer. Just to see At The-Drive-In. And of course, other great bands such as The Subways, Ceremony, Touché Amoré, Apologies, I Have None, Fidlar, Social Distortion, The Vaccines, Mastodon.
I had the chance to see Ten Speed Bicycle, who I'm really psyched about. and Chalk Talk and Everyone Everywhere in London the day before Reading, so that ruled. Chalk Talk is amazing (they have a new record called Bad Influences), Everyone Everywhere is... also amazing actually. Got to see them twice on that tour so that ruled.

I'm not gonna get too much into shows I saw this year, cause that's a hassle and I like a lot of shows I see generally. Let's say though that Apologies, I Have None in Leuven was off the hook, The Copyrights in Nijlen ebenso, Crossbone fest ruled in its entirity with the cherry on top being Mikey Erg (who released a split 7" with Alex Kerns this year, sick shit! and a Fucifier 7", trashy stuff). Oh, and seeing Dr. Frank play songs was marvelous. The Direct Hit! shows were super fun, Groezrock was really good because of Refused, Alkaline Trio, Dillinger Escape Plan and others, and Joyce Manor in Antwerp is another one worth remembering. And let's not forget the Midnight Souls release party.

This party was to celebrate the release of Going Through The Motions, an album I have thoroughly enjoyed this year and although it sounds great coming from my speakers, it's even better on a stage or floor in some venue. Dudes are killing it.
Let's talk other full lengths. As we speak the new Sugar Stems record is blasting on my turntable. It's called Can't Wait and it's probably not as good as Sweet Sounds (it's a lot softer) but nonetheless a great record. The guys and gals breathe pop music and I fucking love it.
Talking pop music whose previous album was most likely better, The High Hats put out an album called And Then Came Cancer which is real cool, but yeah... The same country (I think) brought us Tyred Eyes, who released The Piercing Stare, The Thousand Lies. There's something about Scandinavia and power pop that makes it evil but overtly fun at the same time.
The new Billy Raygun record arrived at my doormat today and that rules too. They're amazing songwriters. On one hand it's a shame they don't manage to record/mix/produce their stuff very well, it seems, on the other hand it has its charm and I like the songs regardless. Great band.
Mixtapes finally put out something you could call an full-length album, Even On The Worst Nights. I used to be all about this band and I still love 'em to death but I haven't given this that many spins. Great songs, though, super catchy stuff, like always.
Oh, and the new Teenage Bottlerocket of course. On of my favourite bands released Freak Out! this summer and managed to yet again put out an album of amazing pop punk gems that are as fresh as Will Smith in Bel-Air.
There was a new Chotto Ghetto record, called Sparkles, which kinda got under the radar I think but I really like it. Some of the strongest material they've written.
Other mentions for The Ponches - The Long Goodbye, PJ Bond/Brian Bond - Brother Bones/Baby Bones, Sick Sick Birds - Gates Of Home, Gateway District - Perfect's Gonna Fail, and many others.

If you're like "where is Make Do And Mend?", "why isn't Title Fight in this blog?", "what the fuck, why don't you mention The Menzingers", well, I have one answer for you, and I bet you're not gonna like it: I didn't check out those albums. I really enjoy Make Do And Mend, the Menzingers and Title Fight but for some reason I am just not motivated to check out their new material. Weird, innit? Super weird. But yeah, you should know by now that that is how I roll, and you'll just have to accept the way I roll. If you want 2012-lists with those albums included, please visit more relevant blogs than this one. You should know better than to think I would listen to relevant records. Fuck no. I liked Coexist by The XX, though. That is a relevant record I think. Lotsa people liked it. Me too. I like that record. I think it's nice. It's hard to not like it I think.
 I wouldn't have listened to it if it wasn't for my internship at V2 Records though. Got some nice records there, like the Riverboat Gamblers' The Wolf You Feed and JJ DOOM's Keys To The Kuffs.

Some bands I've listened to a lot in 2012, but should've done earlier, are definitely Cheap Girls and Crusades.
Asian Man recently reissued the first 2 Cheap Girls records so that's rad. I should probably check out Giant Orange but I haven't yet so I'm not gonna say anything 'bout that.
Crusades put out a new EP Parables which leaves me wanting more, but I just discovered The Sun Is Down And The Night Is Riding In about halfway through 2012 and it's radical!

For 2013 I'm really looking forward to the Be My Doppelganger Artless LP, A Strength Within LP,  the MC Karel Unluck EP, songs by Parry Gripp, new material by Nerf Herder maybe? Possibly more, I can't think anymore.

Oh, and here's my last.fm list of most listened artists of 2012:
  1. Parry Gripp
  2. The Dopamines
  3. Nerf Herder
  4. Teenage Bottlerocket
  5. Ultimate Fakebook
  6. The Hextalls
  7. Mixtapes
  8. Lifetime
  9. Cheap Girls
  10. Be My Doppelganger
That's it, bye.

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