You know what they say; “Best Of… lists are like a box of chocolates”. When Red Scare Industries co-founder Tobias Jeg asked if we wanted to publish some Top 10 lists from Red Scare artists on Dying Scene I said “Hell, yeah!” but I definitely had no idea what I was going to get.
What follows is a schizophrenic compilation of the “Best ‘Whatevers’ of 2016” according to some of the lovable characters from your favorite Red Scare bands. Enjoy!
Tim from Elway
Ladies and gentlemen, 2016.
It was a year that played much like the newsreel montage at the beginning of a movie getting the viewer up to speed about how humanity managed to wash every last inkling of evolved society it took millennia to develop in filthy exhaust and nuclear fire. It had all the arts of a self-induced end of days: Brussels, Nice, Orlando, Zika, Flint, Russia, Standing Rock, the Panama papers, Brexit, Trump, Aleppo, Bowie, Prince, Cohen, Castro, and John Glenn! The world intensified it’s circling of the drain while we wasted time sanctimoniously bloviating on the internet. The most baleful figures in the history of the Vatican in congress with the writers of House of Cards couldn’t on pain of death concoct this level of fire and brimstone or political headfuckery. This, my friends, is the hell we created.
As we hasten toward that perdition that we cannot deny we deserve, let’s take some time to reflect on this year’s beautiful distractions from the madness.
Pup – The Dream Is Over
David Bazan – Blanco
Touche Amore – Stage Four
Apologies I Have None – Pharmacie
Descendents – Hypercaffium Spazzinate
Jeff Rosenstock – WORRY
Arms Aloft – What A Time To Be Barely Alive
Best celebrity meltdown:
Tila Tequila’s flat earth twitter rant. Submitted without (my) commentary:
Best scientific advancement that serves as an augury for a future where we can depart this shitball planet and explore the universe:
The “impossible” EM drive propulsion system.
Best hangover cure:
The $8 plate of various savory and spicy Indonesian dishes at Hardena in South Philadelphia. An uncommonly delicious and fascinating way to burn the remaining shame from your aura and get yourself right with god again.
Stay positive out there, y’all. The world may seem like it’s going to hell from what we can surmise from our facebook newsfeeds, but with determination, level-headedness, good humor, and a little luck, we may someday before the fallout gives us all leukemia escape this rock and find ourselves elsewhere in this vast cosmos curing our space-hangovers with god knows what out of the way planet’s finest cuisine, while blasting the interstellar punk records of the future and laughing at the vapid Earth internet personalities of yore that caused us to leave in the very first place.
Luke from The Copyrights
1. Mind Spiders – Prosthesis
2. Music Band – Wake Up Laughing
3. Vince Staples – Prima Donna
4. Wheeler Walker Jr. – Redneck Shit
5. Toys That Kill – Sentimental Ward
6. Clipping – Wriggle
7. Conor Oberst – Ruminations
8. Direct Hit – Wasted Mind
9. Wilco – Schmilco
10. Sonic Avenues – Disconnector
Kole from The Lippies
I’m sitting here in my Firehouse in Grand Rapids MI working on various projects, chain smoking, and listening to Toby’s Red Scare playlist on Spotify and I get an email from that dummy asking me if I want to submit a top ten of 2016 as “Kole from The Lippies”. It triggered memories of the past year and all of the shit that has happened, for better or worse, so here we go, in no particular order.
1. PUP – “The Dream is Over”
When this came out, I had a hard time listening to it. I loved the first record so much. So damn much. It took me a minute, but this record is an absolute crusher from front to back. Erratic, melodic, raw, and honest. No bullshit, I spin this at least twice a week. At least.
2. The Falcon – “Gather Up The Chaps”
We were that lucky bastard band that got to tour with these guys. Watching the guys play these songs every night for a week was mind blowing. Taylor and I would be half drunk screaming along with Dave Hause every night with our fists in the air and hugging each other during “If Dave Did It”. You can’t fuck with that chorus. The record itself is solid as fuck. You can hear how much fun these guys had recording these songs. It’s like there’s a constant commentary track running under the whole thing, and it’s hilarious. Also check out the songs “Black Teeth” and “War of Colossus”.
3. MakeWar – “Developing a Theory of Integrity”
Speaking of touring with The Falcon, we hooked up with these guys just as Toby and Brendan were scouting them out, so I was excited to hear this record when it came out. After multiple listens I am more and more in love with this record every time. The song writing is quality. Like, “Fuck ,I wish I wrote that song” quality. It’s big, but still simple. It’s perfect and I’m happy that they found a home at Red Scare. Check out the song “Ode”. Learn the words to that song, go back, turn it up really loud on a Tuesday morning and sing along to it at the top of your lungs. Then everything will make sense. You’re welcome.
4. Mikey Erg – “Tentative Decisions”
At that same show in a warehouse DIY space in Brooklyn where The Lippies played with MakeWar for the first time (again, blown away by them), I had an excessive amount to drink (thanks to those bastards in The Scandals, they’re fun guys! Dangerous, but fun!) and after the show we wandered to some bar close by. I’m normally pretty aware of how drunk I am. I really try to keep my composure. I really do. But when I walked in and sat down at the bar and I found myself sitting next to Mikey Erg, I lost it. Right then, all of the alcohol hit me and I was hammer-faced. I turned to Mikey and said, “HEY! You’re Mikey Erg… I’m VERY sorry, but I’m going to nerd out on you a minute, and you’re gonna deal with it… “Dorkrockcorckrod” is probably the greatest pop punk record ever written, and you need to know how much it influenced my writing and my life…” Mikey, maybe a wee bit knackered himself, responded with “That’s cool man, I appreciate that! Now I’m going to nerd out on you about this new record I have coming out. It’s my favorite thing I’ve ever done!” Needless to say, he wasn’t lying. this record came out and met every expectation I had. Mikey Erg knows how to write a fucking song. My favorites are “Comme Si About Mi” and “Faulty Metaphor”.
5. Bong Mountain – “You’re Doing Great (For the Record)”
These guys. I can’t say enough great things about them. Four of the most genuine guys you’ll ever meet, and that comes across when they play. This record is what Fest in Florida sounds like. It’s friendship, it’s melodic, it’s gruff, it’s intricate and simple at the same time. Being from my city, I’ve had the pleasure of watching these guys in various bands over the years and have watched them grow as individuals and musicians. I even conned their drummer Matt to be in a hardcore band with me recently (SHAAAAARK!!!). He doesn’t even really like hardcore that much, haha!! Their singer Chris did the backup vocals on The Lippies song “Sleeping” and that was my favorite song on our record, but mostly because he fucking nailed the vibe and the harmonies. They just played one of the most talked about sets at Fest in Florida and trust me when I say that you need to get hip to these guys immediately. My personal favorite is “Sydenham”. I’m a big fan of cartoons, and there is a nod to “An American Tale” in the chorus. My other favorite song is ALL OF THE OTHER SONGS. Seriously. This album doesn’t fuck around.
6. I’ll group a bunch of stuff all together here. Another cool thing that happened in 2016 is that I finally acquired a DIY space, a small record label (Independent Fries), recorded with a lot of different people I love and respect, continuing writing music and being in bands with Taylor from The Lippies, started many more bands (SHAAAAARK, The Bloody Lips, The Mighty Ducks, more…), and the support we’ve both received since “the incident” has reminded me that my world can sometimes seem smaller than the bigger picture. So that’s pretty cool. Props to Derek from Homeless Gospel Choir for dropping that advice on me.
7. The Lippies – “S/T”
Yep, I’m throwing my own record out there. I love this record. A few weeks ago, Taylor and I sat with a bottle of whiskey and put this on the stereo at the Firehouse I live in and for the first time since the band break up, we were able to look back on some positive memories. We wrote these songs ‘cuz they were songs we wanted to hear. We’re still insanely proud of what we recorded and what we accomplished with this band. Especially “Sleeping”. We’re really proud of that one despite the fact we were just trying to write an Off With Their Heads song, haha!!
8. Direct Hit – “Wasted Mind”
I hate this band. I hate how good they are. I hate that they could fart into a microphone and make a killer anthemic punk song out of it. I also laugh that their drummer Danny is in another of my favorite bands, Eradicator, with Andy from Stonewalled Records and it’s the best thing I’ve seen this year. Andy and Danny happened to be in Grand Rapids for a bachelor party. Danny got bummed at me because I was more excited to meet the workout guy from the Galactic Cannibal video than I was to meet the drummer from Direct Hit!. But seriously, have you seen that video? It’s the fuckin’ best!
9. Control Group – “II”
Control Group put out an amazing cassette this year on the label I now run, Independent Fries. It’s underground punk. Hard, fast, short. Dylan is one of my favorite drummers out there. His bands practice at my place. He can do those blast beats for hours on end, take a 5 minute smoke break, and then do a few more hours. He’s a machine. Their vocalist Hunter has become one of my favorite punk singers. He has the kind of delivery that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand at attention. His stage presence is manic and borderline insane. This band reminded me of the kind of punk rock I grew up on. It was the whole reason I got into punk. Punk was dangerous and it was challenging. If you get it, you’re one of us. If not, fuck you. There is nothing mainstream about this band. It’s pure. It’s punk being punk. And props to Rick Johnson for having the kind of talent in the studio to go from recording a slick record like The Lippies, and then being able to drop it down into the gutter and completely capture the sound and vibe of Control Group without sacrificing quality. He knows how to capture a band and a sound.
10. Dead To Me – “I Wanna Die in Los Angeles”
Jack and Chicken are back together!! Dead to Me has always been one of my favorite bands. I’m hoping that they have a full album hiding somewhere that they will spring on us soon, ‘cuz this EP is pretty great.
Kris from The Brokedowns
10. Uranium Club : “All Of Them Naturals”
9. Brickfight : “To What End”
8. The Falcon : “Gather Up The Chaps”
7. Big Business : “Command Your Weather”
6. Busman’s Holiday : “Popular Cycles”
5. Fake Limbs : “Matronly”
4. Two Houses : “I Feel So Good I Can’t Stand Myself”
3. Repos : “Poser”
2. Toys That Kill : “Sentimental Ward”
1. Sass Dragons : “True Adventure”