DS Staff Picks – Best Albums of 2014 (Sean)

I live in Melbourne (Aus) and the scene here is awesome. I love being part of the community here whether I’m in a band, running a show or writing! There are so many great artists coming up who are putting out great music that by the time I’ve listened to it all and I’m ready to pen my views something else comes along and grabs me with its riffs and blasts all over again!!! I’m a relatively new contributor to DS but it’s been a great experience so far and I’m looking forward to adding more in 2015. Til then here‘s what grabbed me the most this year locally and internationally. Some bands you probably won’t know, some you will. Enjoy :)

10. People Like You – “This is what you learnt” (Independent)

A new project from former members of the amazing mathy-punks IKILLGIANTS (r.i.p.) this is another mathy, jazzy trip down a very enjoyable emo road. The combination of jarring off-time signatures, busy riffs and clean guitars, random brass arrangements, indie-punk flavours …plus of course yelling..lots of yelling and singing! It all makes for a rather intriguing and easy album to come back to .. over and over!

9. Tiny Moving Parts – “Pleasant Living” (Triple Crown)

A seriously good follow up to the bands debut, saw them building on the formula that put them in the spot light in the first place. I think the refinement and polish that has been applied to this album shows off all the best noodly-guitars and frantic drumming the band is known for and they’ve never sounded better.

8. Shizune – “Retro Engineering Artifacts” (Driftwood Records)

This is a collection of Shizune’s material released on cassette which included all of the bands 7”s and EPs that actually fits together really well as if it were an album… which is kind of rare for a comp! There’s a full length on the way in 2015 from these guys BUT THIS..this is a great introduction for any new listeners and for fans like myself it was a fast paced, high octane blast of half Italian/Japanese punk and screamo to get me psyched for what’s to come! Highly recommended!

7. Trophy Eyes – “Mend, Move On” (Hopeless)

Trophy Eyes came up with the goods on their debut long player and it didn’t dissappoint. Essentially building on the foundations laid by the EP before it, this album saw more raw melodic hardcore & pop punk with all the good bits you’d expect. Great energy, some moving choruses and memorable riffs..just a great record to jam loud and sing along too.

6. Outright – “Avalanche” (Reason & Rage Records)

The best new hardcore band I heard all year. This album blends straight up punk/hardcore with metallic riffs and abrasive vocals resulting in a furious The Haunted-meets-Bikini Kill sort of awesome!! If you didn’t hear this one, get on it right away. Punchy tracks, well written songs, an incredible female vocalist..just all great! Very powerful messages about social justice, domestic violence and more. So so so good.

5. Racoon City Police Department – “Nightlife” (Dog Knight Productions)

Another aussie band that blew me away this year was Racoon City Police Department and it was with this knockout 7 track release ‘Nightlife’. A powerful collection of punk charged skramz loaded with messages and social commentary. Such a cool release that stands up next to the bigger names in the genre and has lots of replay value! Very dynamic songwriting and unpredictable twists kept me engaged the whole way.

4. Love Alone/Hindsight – Split (Independent)

Two bands from neighbouring states each contribute 3 tracks to a split, drop it online with a short run of CD’s and hit the road together. Not an unfamiliar story. The result however was an absolutley outstanding collection of songs that felt so raw and real that it transcended the typical scenester criticisms and just captivated audiences. I havn’t stopped listening to this thing since i bought it in April and it’s now December. It compelled me to see the bands play live several times this year as a result. That’s how you know when something really good has come along. RIYL Post-rock mashed with melodic hardcore.

3. Direwolves – “Aegri Somnia” (Throatruiner)

From France, 5 piece punk/hardcore outfit Direwolves debut full length was no disappointment. This album blazes by with searing riffs, fast drums and the kind of dark overtones that belong to dark-hardcore and crust bands but with more melody and surprises than most in the genre. Production is waaaay big and raw, songs are intense and relatively to the point, art is weird and creepy. A spot on combination!

2. As We Draw – “Mirages” (Thoatruiner)

French trio ‘As We Draw’ might not be well known to many outside of Europe but this monstrous album deserves to be heard. It’s a punishing post-hardcore experience which incorporates everything from punk infused hardcore and crust to trippy ambient post-rock and has more twists and turns than you can imagine. Massive production, epic arrangements..just amazing.

1. Such Gold – “The New Sidewalk” (Razor and Tie)

This album was an obvious standout amongst so many great albums in 2014 due in part to the bands attention to detail, technical wizardry and sheer energy.  Such Gold continues to evolve well beyond their punk/hardcore roots and found a whole lot of new ground with this release. Melodic, fast, powerful and intense to a standard that is in fact better than the bands debut. Total win.

 


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