It’s that time of year where I feel comfortable organising the music I enjoyed in the previous twelve months into some kind of list and share my opinions on them with the general public. What follows are ten LPs I found to be rather enjoyable, and while it was pretty gosh darn difficult sorting through the multitude of excellent releases from 2015, I think I’ve got a pretty solid selection.
Stay tuned for a second post of my favourite demos and EPs of the year, and make sure to check out the links I’ve included for each release.
‘As A Four Piece Band’ Cured Pink
Cured Pink are a wickedly inventive and odd hybrid of post-punk, industrial, no wave and noise channeled into a jarring and unique collage of sound. Tracks like ‘I’m Swimming’ will see you bopping around like an idiot with it’s infectiously catchy groove; whereas tracks like ‘Live in Sydney’ or ‘Rosetta’ will have you scratching your head and going back to understand what exactly it was you just listened to. I’m always hesitant to have an actual AOTY, but ‘As A For Piece Band’ is more than deserving of this title. Please, oh please, check it out if you haven’t already.
Choice track: ‘I’m Swimming’
‘I Am A Problem: Mind In Pieces’ Wolf Eyes
October saw everyone’s favourite ‘trip metal’ band, Wolf Eyes, unleash this particularly desolate and hallucinogenic collection of sounds onto the general populace. Drones, clicks, squelching synths, sputters, guitar freakouts and saxophone all make a very welcome appearance on these 6 tracks culminating in what sounds like the soundtrack to a dying man crawling across a desert in search of peyote. Hopelessly bleak but with Wolf Eye’s trademark catchiness running beneath the doom and gloom.
Choice track: ‘Catching The Rich Train’
‘Force The Zone’ Cuntz
Once the tinny, distorted guitar kicks in on opening track ‘Cooked’, ‘Force The Zone’ bludgeons its way through a wonderfully sardonic assortment of punk jammers. Existing as both an ode to middle class Australiana and an outright piss take, Cuntz take the pummeling repetition and grunt from the likes of Cosmic Psychos, and turn it into a much more apathetic and uglier monster with the addition of noisier and slower instrumentation and gruff, yelped vocals.
Choice Track: ‘Tanning’
‘Excluded’ Total Abuse
One of my most anticipated releases of this year was Total Abuse’s ‘Excluded’, and boy oh boy the wait was worth it. A veritable ode to all things transgressive, this album packs its scummy subject matter into dirty, frenzied bursts of hardcore and leaves you to mop up the suspicious stains it left on the floor. As always Total Abuse aren’t afraid to show off their more noisy, free-form tendencies (see ‘Watching The Paint Dry’ for your delirious, noise rock fix) and when combined with the pure grunt of their faster tracks it makes for a excellent time indeed.
Choice Track: ‘DNA Evidence’
‘The Body & Thou’ You Whom I’ve Always Hated
I’m not gonna lie, I slept on this for aaaaaaaaages and was only roused into listening it upon finding out about the Nine Inch Nails cover on it.
I learned that, a) Terrible Lie works excellently as a sludge metal song, and b) this was in fact an amazing collaboration between two of heavy music’s best bands right now.Absolutely earth shaking and soul destroying music with a very healthy amount of experimentation, noise and distortion cranked into the mix. I will not complain at all if these two bands collab again.
Choice Track: ‘Terrible Lie’
A fairly late entry into this year’s list, but after thrashing the preview track released earlier this year (album closer ‘Never Returner’) and hyping myself up for this release and had to include it. ‘Circular Time’ is Ramleh in extremely heavy psychedelic rock mode, with plenty of noise rock, drone, prog and krautrock influences. Running at roughly two hours this a gargantuan collection of crushingly nihilistic, yet soaring music. If you can set aside a sizeable block of your time to devour this in its entirety, you will not be let down.
Choice Track: ‘Never Returner’
‘Self Titled’ No Form
Good news! If you ever wanted a hardcore band that sounded like an actual descent into madness and/or oblivion, No Form exist to fulfill this niche desire. Sounding like a collision between Siege and a noisy free jazz ensemble (some marvelously skronky trumpet playing makes a very welcome appearance on ‘Side B’), No Form are a band that can pull off frenzied hyper-speed hardcore as well as sludgy, atonal goop. Catch me waiting feverishly for more music from these guys.
Choice Track: ‘Side B’
‘Negative Feedback Resistor’ Destruction Unit
The musical equivalent of the sunglasses emoji, aka Destruction Unit, are frighteningly adept at molding walls of fuzzed out guitar and psychedelic noise into ridiculously catchy music, and ‘Negative Feedback Resistor’ is affirmation of this. If you like your riffs smothered in at least three layers of delay pedals and your amp stacks blown to smithereens I’d wager that you’d probably enjoy this album. Hey, I know I did.
Choice Track: ‘Chemical Reaction/Chemical Delight’
‘High’ Royal Headache
‘High’ is something of an anomaly on this list, in that I could use words like ‘bright’ and ‘happy’ to describe the music contained within. Uncharacteristically positive connotations aside, this album is absolutely brimming with energy and has excellently written garage rock tunes to boot. Tracks such as ‘My Own Fantasy’ and ‘Another World’ show of Royal Headache’s punchy punk side perfectly, while ‘Carolina’ and ‘Wouldn’t You Know’ slow things right down and provide some much welcome, soulful relief. Oh, and the organ. So good.
Choice Track: ‘Another World’
‘Behold. Total. Rejection’ Revenge
I’ll close this list on a much more nihilistic and brutal note with Revenge’s latest LP. The Canadian band have never really been ones for subtlety or finesse, choosing the much more noble path of beating your ears senseless with their concoction of death metal, grindcore and black metal. ‘Behold. Total. Rejection.’ begins immediately with pummeling blast beats, inhuman grunts and growls and plenty of Kerry King-esque divebomb solos and does not let up. At all. I worry sometimes about the toll this kind of music must have on the musicians playing it – but at the same time I’m so glad there are people out their plumbing the depths of the musical abyss and producing this kind of filth.
Choice Track: ‘Silent Enemy’
The Body & Krieg – Self Titled
Koufar – Lebanon For Lebanese
Lightning Bolt – Fantasy Empire
Ghastly Spats – Spinozism Excorcism
Helta Skelta – Beyond The Black Stump
Soma Coma – Dust
Blanck Mass – Dumb Flesh
Follakzoid – III
Oneohtrix Point Never – Garden of Delete
Broken Prayer – Misanthropocentric AKA Droid’s Blood
L.O.T.I.O.N – Digital Control And Man’s Obsolescence
Kitchen’s Floor – Battle Of Brisbane
Prurient – Frozen Niagra Falls
Sunn – Kannon
Health – Death Magic
Battles – La Di Da Di
Thee Oh Sees – Mutilator Defeated At Last
White Walls – Afterthoughts In Limbo
Pissgrave – Suicide Euphoria
Special mention also goes to No Zodiac’s ‘Eternal Misery’ for being the guiltiest pleasure of 2015.