By John Villegas
FIVE: Sheer Mag – Self Titled 7″
This might be my most listened to record of the year. Perfect rock with a pop sensibility and killer guitar leads that will be caught in your head all day. I’m going on the record saying the song “Point Breeze” is the feel-good song of the whole year. The way the acoustic guitar is layered in the song accompanies my obsession with Boston’s eponymous 1976 debut album, which I also couldn’t stop listening to this year. Extra points for bringing it live as well, and most definitely looking forward to hearing more from these Philadelphians.
FOUR: The Coneheads – Total Conetrol
First a 7″ and now a demo tape. FUCK CONVENTIONAL TOP 5s. This demo completely took me by surprise and left me wanting so much more (luckily I didn’t have to wait long, their second tape just dropped). The obvious comparison is that this sounds like a more punk DEVO, but The Residents cover lets you know they are a seriously weird group. Simple but fast and fitting drums mixed with killer bass lines and perfectly executed guitar leads make me want to pogo till my arthritic knees disintegrate, and the vocals really drive it home. Two versions of Hack, Hack, Hack might not be enough.
THREE: Gas Chamber – Kairos Will Erase
What is crazy about this is it is a collection of unused songs and ideas they decided to make an hour long tape out of. Besides the tape having a really beautiful and minimalist layout (shout out to Peterwalkee Records), this keeps me coming back more than their LP Hemorrhaging Light, which also came out this year (not downplaying that record – it absolutely rips). Maybe it’s all the ambient noise parts, or the way all the power violence parts hit out of nowhere that has me continually intrigued, but it definitely showcases how unique this Buffalo band really is. This might be the most progressive “extreme” band currently active, and I hope that they don’t stop anytime soon.
TWO: Impalers – Psychedelic Snutskallar
This is so much more than just a d-beat record. Apparently, this was just thrown together for them to have a tape to take to New York’s Alright and was then turned in a 12″. This is pummeling, metal-influenced hardcore at it’s best, and the fact that the A-Side is a 12 minute long song that isn’t boring blows my mind even more. Austin, TX might have some generic-but-the-cool-band-in-the-moment coming out of it, but Impalers are not that fucking band. You will absolutely be rewinding “Mower,” as it contains what might be the best riffs of 2014.
ONE: Nancy – (Get The) Revvup
If you aren’t familiar with Nancy by now, I am very sorry for what must be your tired, boring existence. Eat The Life Records hits goddamn gold again with this single. Between The Muff Divers, Dangus Tarkus and Nancy, I cannot get enough of Joe’s songwriting and his truly distinctive voice. Collect all you can from the aforementioned bands and take a chance that you’re old enough to dance the night away. Truly Rock ‘N Roll for the people.
If this were a top 10 it would also include:
Kurraka – S/T Lp
EEL – Endless Fucker LP
Hounds of Hate – Hate Springs Eternal
The Achtungs – Full of Hate
V/A – Easier Said Than Done (Containing all of the best bands from Philadelphia currently)