RIP 2021 finally. This year has been long with everything going on. I did a bootcamp for web development in addition to my full-time job for most of this year and I’m freakin tired y’all.
I missed a lot of music being holed up in my little computer world. These aren’t in any kind of order, just the order they came to my brain. Also I still have a LOT of stuff to listen to from this year. So this list isn’t exactly the “best stuff released.” It’s things I have gotten around to listening to multiple times and enjoyed.
1) Chain Whip: Two Step To Hell
I feel like there has been no better soundtrack to 2021 than this album. I’ve been pretty isolated this year due to the pandemic, the fact that I have worked from home for several years now and doing a coding bootcamp on top of my 40 hour work week. So this has often been the needed kick in the teeth that I need to motivate me to actually do anything. My life has been pretty sedentary, so I’ve gravitated towards some of the more aggressive releases this year. Full of energy and emotion, this record just rips. Music gets weird sometimes. The releases are endless and time is finite, so things fall to the wayside pretty easily. That being said though, this is an album that I feel like will hold up in another 10 years as just a prime example of hardcore in the 20s.
Seth’s Top Track - Fresh Paint and Philanthropy
2) Bootlicker: S/T
This album is just solid as they come, like a freakin brick wall. These songs don’t feel super fancy and over thought out. They are straight and to the point. That being said, there’s still lots of melody packed in these songs. They’re all barn burners while still being extremely catchy songs. There’s something about the twangyness of the one guitar mixed with the overall fuzziness of everything (almost like everything was clipping when recorded, but it works so well). Definitely an ear full of noises to discover in the depths of everything.
Seth’s Top Track - Another Body
3) Slant: 1집
Insert all of the expletives here. I skipped Slant’s earlier releases, much to my dismay. I guess I assumed it would more so be capital h hardcore. Talk about egg on my face. As I mentioned, these are more so the things that made it under my very large rock I live under that I was intrigued enough to listen to multiple times. I have jammed this album endlessly. It is just a complete rager. If I still drank, this would make me want to shotgun a beer while throwing half of it on all of the people around me. Every song is just sharp and scathing, like being drenched in boiling water. The guitars have a very Minor Threat on speed feel to them. This album just doesn’t relent though and god I freakin love it. All Killer No Filler. Like I keep trying to come up with smart sounding things to say about this (I’ll leave that up to Daniel and Rich) but in my head just keep thinking “Damn this rules”. I feel like if this isn’t on your top ten of the year then I might not trust your taste (I mean jk, but maybe not?)
Seth’s Top Track - Violent Minds
I’ve never really listened to this band. I think the artwork always made me assume they sounded like Dystopia or something. I’m an idiot. So artwork aside (don’t get me wrong, the artwork of their albums is always super cool and reminds me of older sci-fi novels (which I love), it just always led me to wrong assumptions musically) this record is great and all of my friends are bad friends for not correcting my action earlier. It was on a big playlist of stuff that came out this year that I made and the second Juokse Kovempaa came on I HAD TO HEAR MORE. I was instantly hooked. This band does just such a fantastic job of mixing in some of that reverbed out post-punky sound along with their very Comes-like brand of hardcore. The guitars aren’t super heavy and crunchy but still do a lot of the heavy lifting along with the drums, while the vocals feel like an endless stream coming at you super quick, backed with fury and power. Every time I get to the end I am just left wanting more, but luckily due to my short-sightedness I have a whole lot of material from them to comb through and enjoy.
Seth’s Top Track - Juokse Kovempaa
5) Imploders: S/T
Yo, do you like Minor Threat but want something cooler and modern? Then get this 7". So maybe it’s just that first song kind of reminds me of Minor Threat. Still, this record is fantastic. Truly gritty and riffy with lots of interesting ear catching vocal chord shredding. Like I could go in depth about how it mixes some of that DC flavor with some of the grit and melody of the west coast or some dumb thing like that, but if you like hardcore and punk then you can’t go wrong with this record. It gets me hyped up and makes me feel like a teen again every time I put it on.
Seth’s Top Track - Keeping A Close Eye
I mean I’ll never be one to hide that I love things that pop and bop and are super melodic. I have liked all of Rata Negra’s releases and most everything these people have been involved with. That being said, the opening track, Venid A Ver, might be one of my most listened to songs this year. It’s just such a sonically interesting song to me. It has turned into like an addiction to hear it at least once a week or something. The rest of the album is up to par as for Rata Negra songs (I really enjoy the video for El Escarmiento), but for some reason that specific song has just been turning around in my brain since this came out. I feel like everyone’s had enough time to decide on if they dig what Rata Negra’s selling. I don’t think this album is going to be the gamechanger if you haven’t dug their last two albums. For the uninitiated, Rata Negra plays catchy punk that is very poppy and jam packed full of melody. On top of that is a weird darkness/somberness that seems to cover the whole thing. It’s hard to explain but always feels to be there. It’s one of those things that as soon as a song of theirs comes on, it’s unmistakably a Rata Negra song. While they definitely have “their sound” they 100% take the time to explore what they can do within that.
Seth’s Top Track- Venid A Ver
I really haven’t spent enough time with this record to write in depth about it. This band has been on my periphery for a long time (I’ve definitely seen the band name and logo before) but I’ve never checked them out. This is 100% a Seth Record though. It has a very 70s sound mixed with a bit of grit and grime. The vocals remind me of something very specific but on the tip of my tongue (maybe a bit of Los Saicos in how grating the vocals are in comparison to the bouncy/trebly/very ‘77 guitars). This is my most anticipated record to sit and listen to closely though. I’ve had it on in the background a lot but haven’t sat and given it the attention I feel it needs. I almost didn’t write about this, but it is just so up my alley that I’d feel remiss to not make everyone else to listen to it. This one will more than likely be a big hit of 2022.
Seth’s Top Track - En El Cubil
I’m sure everyone is writing about this. I mean it flat out rules. Every time I put it on I panic thinking it’s at the wrong speed because it’s so fast. I don’t know if I’m going to have any gleaming, original revelation past “this rules” so yeah.
Seth’s Top Track - Social Capital
So this record made it on like some bandcamp list of top Psychedelic records of 2021 or something. I assumed it was simply because of the cover art. My mind went down some weird rabbit hole somehow ending at a very young me listening to Black Flag for the first time. My brain couldn’t comprehend it as music. It was just so alien and different from everything I had heard until that point. So then I listened more closely and realized how kind of alien and out there this record is compared to anything accessible to the masses. There’s a lot in these songs to unwrap. Overall, though, it drips with something cool and unidentifiable. All I can think about is coming into this album as an entry into developing your own tastes and as an outsider to music aside from what’s on the radio and how freaking cool and different it is. So yeah, that was a long rant that ended nowhere close to explaining how this sounds. All I can say is give this album a try,, it’s really good and like one of those albums I kind of want to show every weird misfit kid I run into now.
Seth’s Top Track - El Chico En La Discoteca
10) Illiterates: S/T
This reminds me of the best parts of the 00s, which are now so long gone. Like it sounds rough and tough with no silly machismo added in like some NYHC macho, I lift weights and eat only protein powder music, I don’t know. I had several albums for this last spot to pick from, but this album just does it for me. It just takes me back through the past 20+ years of suffocating in sweaty basements and some of the life choices I’ve made. Definitely hardcore for those that love hardcore. It just brings a dumb grin across my face.
Seth’s Top Track - Justin’s Song
Things I need to check out more:
Spread Joy (I’ve really enjoyed what I heard)
Taqbir (that was this year right?)
like millions of demos etc.
Check out a Spotify playlist of Seth’s top tracks here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5L6bFBi7twdcUoOFANXfy4?si=baa9117680ac4112