I’ve never done something seasonal like this before, but so much mind-blowing music has already come out this year that I felt like there was the need for something more than just a Year End Top 10. Who knows if I’ll stick with it, only time will tell… OK! Enough chatter! Let’s listen to some records!

P.S. No particular order

…an Expression in Pain – Brain Tourniquet (Iron Lung): A bleak one. Something plodding here, even during the fast parts, builds a sense of dread without much satisfaction of release. When the drums and bass plow into these slow, thick riffs leaving the guitars to squall away it’s misery bliss. A glance at the tracklist sums up the lyrical content: “Little Children Working,” “Desensitized By Bloodshed,” “The Depths of Human Suffering (Are Boundless)”. Trust me when I say that, despite a sick sense of humor, Brain Tourniquet go beyond edgelord shit into thousand-yard-stare despair. The low-point (a compliment for this music) is the 10-minute closer that gives the record its name. Fave tracks: “Suicide Gown,” “…an Expression in Pain”

What’s On TV? – Tee Vee Repairmann (Total Punk): Papa Ishka brings home the bacon once again. I’m not gonna tell you what it sounds like, just do yourself a favor and put it on ASAP. Something genuinely miraculous would have to occur for this not to be my album of the year. I’m not much of a singles-listener – I’d rather just hear the whole thing when it comes out – but “Bus Stop” hasn’t left my morning-walk-to-school queue since the day it dropped. In fact, What’s On TV? is the only thing I’ve ever pre-ordered. I don’t regret a cent of it. A perfect record. Fave tracks: “Bus Stop,” “Drownin’,” “People (Everywhere I Go)”

2 Big 4 Mah Boots EP – Tee Vee Repairmann (Goodbye Boozy): Some bonus songs. They rule too. Fave track: “2 Big 4 Mah Boots”

Goodnight Neanderthal – Gee Tee (Goner): Cheap synths, bad eggs, worse drivers. This brand of car-musclin’, beer-swillin’ rock n roll has been pumped out by a handful of prolifs Down Under for the past few years. Synth hooks so catchy they’ve got me feeling like a mouse on a glue trap. I really loved 2019’s Chromo-Zone but Goodnight Neanderthal has definitively topped it as my favorite Gee Tee release. Fave tracks: “Rock Phone,” “Within the Walls”

S/T LP – 3D & The Holograms (Roachleg): More Aussie shit… they just don’t quit! They must not have anti-trust laws down there because these guys are also in Tee Vee Repairmann and Research Reactor Corp and probably 500 other bands too. It sounds a bit like RRC but somehow both catchier and more hardcore. Sometimes the synth is earwormy, others it’s just wilding out. Like Rainbow Road if Yoshi was off a speedball. Fave tracks: “VR Execution,” “Asshole Hotline”

I’m With The… – People’s Temple (Roachleg): Punk with a capital Pee. People’s Temple is old school in a real FUCK YOU way. I believe some of these guys are also behind Orange County’s G*U*N*N. You can hear that SoCal slosh, but the NYHC takes the reins here. I wouldn’t want to be against them. Fave tracks: “JANGLING TUNE,” “PATRIOTIC & BRAINDEAD”

Act of Aggression – Electric Chair (Iron Lung): I can’t tell if this is technically out yet or what but if you’re into this sort of thing you’ve almost certainly heard the YouTube rips by now. I mean, it almost goes without saying but this is going to be one of the most blistering records of the year. Guitars go absolutely nuts. The vox are apeshit and hooky. Looks like they might play around this summer — they def come to Philly for Something To Talk About fest (tix on sale April 1 I think!) — so catch them if you can. Fave tracks: “Fatal Disease II,” “OD’d and Died”

S/T – Zorn (Sorry State): Rising from the depths of Hell… or as close as one can get on this mortal coil… Philly’s Zorn summon some true necromancer shit for their first LP. Take a mid-80s thrash band of your choice and add a little Poison Idea. It’s what metal should sound like. Zorn dial into the perfect mix of camp, riffage, and genuine nightmare. Their live shows are not to be missed either (coffins and shrouded figures are involved). HAIL SATAN!!! Fave tracks: “Already Dead,” “Nothing Left”

Destabilize – 80HD (Artifact Audio): First off, this record just sounds sooooo good. Beautifully defined without sacrificing any intensity. Sasha (the mastermind behind this recording) also plays the drums which are so inventive on each and every track. Every time I think I know what she’s doing I listen closer and realize I don’t have a clue what’s going on. Hogan’s vocals switch between two modes — it almost sounds like different people — that bandmate Mike described as “big monster, little monster” in my interview with them. Hog wild! Fave tracks: “Criminal Mischief,” “Destabilize”

at the edge of our abilities – Scrounger (self-released): This is the sort of Minneapolis punk I would read about in Razorcake when I was 15. It’s poppy, rough around the edges, just overall loveable. Plus they played a Hickey cover at their release show which is major points in my book. Fave track: “nola”

S/T EP – Raskol (self-released?): The first EP ruled. This takes it to the next level. I love the guttural vocals, and the guitars are so big and buzzy. The production is so nice on this, no wonder because it’s recorded by legend Trish Quigley. They’ve got a full length, Heights of Despair, coming out later this year. Fave tracks: “Lust,” “Piss & Moan”

We’re Stupid As Fuck (Promo 2023) – DELCO MF’S (MF): Endorsed by stupid (yours truly). 2 songs. 102 seconds.

S/T Tape – Kinetic Orbital Strike (Sorry State): Best band name on this list and it’s not even close. Drums go nuts, tom fills out the whaz. Saw them over winter break and right before they started I turned to my friends and said “you know Chris Ulsh from Power Trip is in this band?” and they went :0!!! and immediately disappeared from sight when the drums kicked in. Fave track: “Rotten Lies”

My Pillow – Rat-Nip (Song Book): One of maybe three bands I missed at Something To Talk About last summer because I was working the door. Wasn’t familiar with them at the time but now I’m bummed because this 7” rips AF! Fave tracks: “Hurt People,” “Too Late”

10,000 gecs – 100 gecs (Dog Show/Atlantic): Not every track is good but some are great. Hey, I enjoy this, who cares. Fave tracks: “mememe,” “Frog On The Floor”

Upcoming releases to look forward to

Poison Ruin LP

Delco MFs EP

Phantom is putting something out

Purling hiss LP

Raskol LP

Other notable releases

Desire Pathway – Screaming Females

S/T – Wasted Space

Too Tough To Chew – Spados

Limits to Growth – Shitty Life

Parker’s First Song Diary – Parler Allen

Cries the Mocking Mother Nature – Destruct

Broken – Nick G

Julia’s Apartment (Demos) – Abi Ooze

Consume Me – Big Laugh

My Pillow – Rat-Nip

No Experts – Illiterates

Human Outline – Wound Man

Demo – Ordinance

S/T – Mirth

Promo C/S – Body Cam


Demo 2023 – Hollow Point

Demo 2023 – S.H.I.T.

Free Violence – Feral/Judy & The Jerks


Hardly A Dream – Flower

Again – Physique

S/T – Waste Man

Ferris Wheel on Fire & Everything Is – Neutral Milk Hotel

Post-American – MSPAINT

Maria’s Hunt – Glyders

Go Soft – The Gobs

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