[6-6-6] of 2018 Part 3: Top Tracks

It’s that time of year again where I spend three days going over my favorite music from the last 365 days. Just like the many music blogs I follow, you probably won’t agree with this list and also just like those sites I’m not really qualified to recommend anything to anyone … Just like last year, I’m breaking this down into three posts: 6 favorite new releases of 2018, 6 favorite NOT new releases I rocked hard in 2018 and 6 songs I killed my eardrums with — both new and old — in 2018. Because there were a few close calls, I’ve chosen to provide 6 honorable mentions as well.

All three sets are in no particular order.

This is Part 3/3

TOP 6 TRACKS, NEW AND OLD, OF 2018

Mutoid ManBridgeburner
Album: Bleeder — Released: 2015

Everyone has at least one band, one album, one song that has gotten them through a rough time in their life. I’m sure I’ve had several over the last 34 years but in recent memory, none is more important to my well being as Bridgeburner by Mutoid Man. This opening track to the band’s 2015 album Bleeder has everything you want in a good rock song: it’s easy to sing along to, the guitar parts are fast and furious, the bass tone is dirty as SHIT, the drums are pure madness, the outro is both fast AND heavy and the message the song conveys is one that a passionate guy such as myself can easily identify with.

Time to wash our hands of you; time for naivete is through // time to wash your hands of us; bring on the fuss!

It’s heavy like metal, it’s simple like punk and it’s emotional just like you and me.

Power TripExecutioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe)
Album: Nightmare Logic — Released: 2017

I learned about Power Trip a year or two ago from my boss, of all people. It was around this time their album Nightmare Logic was released with its accompanying single Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe). 2017 must’ve been a good year for thrash because that was also the year Gods of Violence was released by Kreator and was one of the best new thrash releases I’d heard. Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe) fits that mold as well.

The dual guitars of Blake Ibanez and Nick Stewart chug-chug-chug along with a heaviness I haven’t heard since middle-aged Anthrax (their song London comes to mind) and mustached lead singer Riley Gale has a voice that’s as unique to the genre as his stage presence (Ice-T even dubbed him Lil Jumpy Mane referring to his high-energy performance). This is definitely a jam you want to crank if you about to go deadlift. Or hit a guy. Two things I’m always ready to do!

RunnyI Don’t Wanna Listen to Trump
Album: Back on Gack — Released: Unreleased

Okay, so this song isn’t truly an original. And it hasn’t been given a proper release. Doesn’t mean it’s not DOPE. While early punk bands like the Dead Kennedys and more recent punkers like Anti-Flag have given us angry punk rock with deep, meaningful lyrics, punk at its core is just fast, hard and simple (the Ramones proved this by having countless hits with merely five or fewer lines per song).

Enter Runny. With album titles like We’ve Come for Your Women (And Some of Your Men) and California Uber Phallus, Runny shows they’re well aware of punk rock’s often tongue-in-cheek sense of humor and with this track they show they know how effective a simple, angry punk song can be. Nearly a direct cover of I Don’t Wanna Listen to YES by The Mighty High, I Don’t Wanna Listen to Trump says everything we’re all thinking. Is it the most well-versed or formal song? No. Is it the most mature or appropriate song? Not even close. Is it a song you’ll want to loop over and over again whilst singing along louder each time?

Hell yes it is.

TurbowolfThe Free Life
Album: The Free Life — Released: 2018

Just like with a lot of other bands I’m unfamiliar with, I learned about Turbowolf when they were linked on MetalSucks. On the day their third major release The Free Life, I checked out their lead single by the same name and immediately fell in love. The intro has so many changes, yet so much energy. The song, itself, has moments that are danceable, yet somehow still hang-banging. And their vocalist Chris Georgiadis provides a stark contrast to their psychedelic/electronic/heavy metal sound.

I would imagine fans of the Darkness and Foxy Shazam would dig these guys. And that’s a good thing because I love both of those bands. Just add Turbowolf to my ever-growing list of bands with annoyingly quirky compound-word names.

Zeal and ArdorBlood in the River
Album: Devil is Fine — Released: 2016

Oh, my god I love this band. And this is easily my favorite song by them. With elements of black metal and negro spirituals, the overall listening experience is already jarring enough. But then …

THE RIVERBED WILL RUN RED WITH THE BLOOD OF THE SAINTS AND THE BLOOD OF THE HOLY

Chanted. Over. And over again.

I’ve found myself cranking this song in my car and belting out the simplistic, yet evil lyrics with hopes of opening up some kind of portal. Hoping I’d be shown some kind of sign that either my nihilistic attitude is correct or that god is actually real. Unfortunately, neither have happened but that doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying.

Frank Carter and the RattlesnakesDevil Inside Me
Album: Blossom — Released: 2015

With a few exceptions, England has always done rock and roll better than us here in the states. They maybe didn’t create metal, but they took it to a higher, heavier level. They maybe didn’t create punk but they made it snottier. They maybe didn’t create ska but they did it the best. And does anyone remember a band called the Beatles?

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes are a hardcore punk act from Hertfordshire, England, and their song Devil Inside Me encompasses everything I love about the genre: strong vocals, loud guitars playing simple riffs and the devil. Killer workout song, killer driving home on a Monday song — just a killer hardcore punk song all around.

Honorable Mentions:

[6-6-6] of 2017 Part 3: Top Tracks

With a few days left in the year, I figured it was my turn to add my two cents to the “best records of the year” like so many of the blogs I follow. Where I differ from these posts, though, is that I don’t always listen to brand new music all the time and often uncover stuff that came out decades before I was even born, choosing to spend my time with it instead. Therefore, I’m breaking this post down into three parts: my 6 favorite new releases for 2017, my 6 favorite NOT new releases I jammed the most in 2017, and the 6 songs I blasted the most — both new and old — in 2017.

All three sets are in no particular order.

This is Part 3/3

— TOP 6 TRACKS, NEW AND OLD, OF 2017 —

Mutoid ManKiss of Death
Album: War Moans — Released: 2017

This may not be my favorite song from this record but it’s definitely the song that gave this band my attention. So heavy, so dirty, so gritty. It’s everything I want in rock and roll. Is it punk? Is it metal? Is it sludge? Answer: YES. The only thing that tops how heavy this song is on the record is standing two feet away from drummer Ben Koller’s drum kit while they play it live!

ConvergeHomewrecker
Album: Jane Doe — Released: 2001

This song comes shredding right out of the gate with a rumble of drums provided by the above mentioned Ben Koller (who in addition to Converge and Mutoid Man lends his talents to Cave In and All Pigs Must Die). If you’re okay with shrieking vocals, you can’t help but thrash to this song as it quickly rises to peak energy level and stays there for nearly four minutes. I don’t know how the guys in the band stay in their skin while playing it because I have a hard enough time doing it while listening.

Every Time I DieWe’rewolf
Album: The Big Dirty — Released: 2007

Spotify fed me this song after a playlist ended earlier this year and I developed an instant crush on it. The record’s name is The Big Dirty and there’s no better way to describe the music of Every time I Die. While the animal being referenced in this song is of the party variety, the lyrics get my juiced to do all things in life at full volume. But I didn’t put my hair in a pony tail for nothing so if I’m going home alone — I’m not going at all!

Tyler, the CreatorI Ain’t Got Time!
Album: Scum Fuck Flower Boy — Released: 2017

This is my favorite Tyler song since Transylvania. Beats are varied but so rad, the sampling is brilliant, lyrics are top-notch and he’s included one of his best hooks to date. A little chaotic at times, maybe, but it works as a whole. It’s not as mean and evil as a lot of older Tyler but neither is this entire record. I ain’t mad about it. I went through the entire record four or five times when I picked it up, then I left this track on repeat for the rest of the week.

The AquabatsThe Shark Fighter!
Album: Hi-Five Soup! — Released: 2011

I’ve always been a fan of the Aquabats. I have an Aquabats tattoo for Christ’s sake. But admittedly, I’m mostly in love with “old” Aquabats and the nostalgia they bring every time I listen to Super Rad!, Pool Party!, Anti-Matter and whatnot. After I saw them in concert this past Summer, though, I got a better appreciation for later songs like Fashion Zombies!, The Legend is True!, Hey Homies! and Look At Me (I’m a Winner)! Standing above them all, though, is The Shark Fighter!. He fights sharks. He fights them in the water, ’cause that’s where they are. Is it ska? No, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an amazing song that’s still classic in the Aquabats sense.

The Velvet UndergroundAfter Hours
Album: The Velvet Underground — Released: 1969

Written by my boy Lou Reed in 1969, After Hours is probably my favorite Velvet Underground song. A little different from other Velvet tracks, this song brings drummer Maureen Tucker to the lead vocalist position and tells the story of someone dealing with a loved one struggling with alcoholism. Maybe a dark subject but the song itself is simple and innocent in its delivery. It’s also fun to bang out on an acoustic guitar.


This is just me, though. Got any tracks you really dug this year? Tell me about them!

[6-6-6] of 2017 Part 1: New Releases

With a few days left in the year, I figured it was my turn to add my two cents to the “best records of the year” like so many of the blogs I follow. Where I differ from these posts, though, is that I don’t always listen to brand new music all the time and often uncover stuff that came out decades before I was even born, choosing to spend my time with it instead. Therefore, I’m breaking this post down into three parts: my 6 favorite new releases for 2017, my 6 favorite NOT new releases I jammed the most in 2017, and the 6 songs I blasted the most — both new and old — in 2017.

All three sets are in no particular order.

This is Part 1/3

— TOP 6 NEW RELEASES OF 2017 —

Mutoid ManWar Moans
Release Date: (June 2, 2017)
My Favorite Tracks: Afterlife; Kiss of Death; Headrush

The release date of War Moans marks the exact date I found out about these guys. Every Friday for the last year or so I check the Shit That Comes Out Today section of MetalSucks.net to see … what shit came out that day … and came across a favorably written review of this record. It sounded like something I would be into so I checked out the lead single Kiss of Death and was immediately hooked. From the chug-chug-chuging introduction and the man-making bass tone to the lyrical content and the melody with which it’s presented are unlike anything I’ve heard in a long time. No, I was not a fan of Cave In or Converge prior to this so don’t bother asking. I get it, you’re probably a bigger Brodsky fan than I am, and I don’t care. Mutoid Man rips. I said earlier that this is in no particular order, but this is easily #1.

The Lees of MemoryThe Blinding White Of Nothing At All
Release Date: (November 24, 2017 )
My Favorite Tracks: Bring it Home to Me; It’s Too Late to Change; Last Thing I Wanted to Do

It might be easy to say I only added this to my list because I’m friends with the guys in the band (former Superdrag bandmates Brandon Fisher and John Davis) and you could easily say that I’m partial because I helped with the layout of the CD and LP … and you wouldn’t be entirely incorrect. However, this ambitious double album really highlights the musical genius these guys possess. I’m a big fan of John as a songwriter anyway from Superdrag to his solo stuff to Epic Ditch and beyond, but in my opinion this record contains some of his best work. Running hardcore with the Freedom Rock banner, this record runs the gamut musically from bare-bones Velvet Underground-esque tunes to songs with nearly stoner-rock-level guitar solos. Would a lot of bands be stretching to fit 24 quality songs onto four sides? Probably. Just not these guys.

Lana Del ReyLust for Life
Release Date: (July 21, 2017)
My Favorite Tracks: Love; Tomorrow Never Came; Cherry

Everyone knows I love Lana Del Rey. And I love every one of her records. She’s one of my favorite singers of all time right up there with Amy Winehouse, Frank Sinatra and Nina Simone. From her “First” record through to Paradise, Born to Die, Ultraviolence and Paradise, you listen to her voice and you hear pure beauty. There may be a lot of mystery and a lot of sadness, but it’s unmatched beauty. One of the things people immediately pointed out about the new record was the virtually nonexistent sadness. Songs on this record reflect a happier Lana — a more hopeful Lana. This is also reflected in her first-ever cover image portraying her with a smile and the overall vibe on the record. Add to that some quality collaborations with A$AP Rocky, the Weeknd, Stevie Nicks and Sean Lennon and you have one of Lana’s finest performances.

Tyler, the CreatorScum Fuck Flower Boy
Release Date: (July 21, 2017)
My Favorite Tracks: Foreword; Who Dat Boy; I Aint’ Got Time!

July 21 must’ve been a great day for new releases! Tyler is back with his fourth studio album and it’s his most solid record yet. The beats and lyrics on this record hit me in a way that I haven’t heard from him since Goblin. Not to mention I Ain’t Got Time! has one of my favorite hooks in hip-hop. Is his language often unnecessary? Sure, but that’s Tyler, the Creator for you. Dude’s a talented poet with a unique voice in an otherwise boring sea of unremarkable artists. All 14 tracks on this record, including the short one-minute interlude Droppin’ Seeds featuring Lil Wayne is just ear candy.

ExhumedDeath Revenge
Release Date: (October 13, 2017)
My Favorite Tracks: Dead End; Unspeakable; The Anatomy Act of 1832

I was familiar with Exhumed from years of being a metalhead, but honestly, with the exception of some of the more popular selections (see Cannibal Corpse, Dethklok), I’ve just never been a huge fan of Death Metal. Exhumed set out to change that this year and they pulled it off in the most brutal way possible. I caught these guys in Johnson City just after Thanksgiving and saw firsthand why these guys are widely accepted as the Masters of Gore in a metal genre that solely exists to glorify gore (gorify?). Death Revenge is Exhumed’s first record since 2015’s Gore Metal: A Necrospective and despite it being 19 years since their first studio record — 25 years since their first EP — they’re tighter than ever. Death Revenge is arranged as a fun concept album. That is, if your idea of fun includes brutal murders and the underground trade of grave-robbed cadavers.

Cursed MoonRite of Darkness
Release Date: (October 27, 2017)
My Favorite Tracks: Gates of Hell; Rise of the Antichrist; Creatures of the Night

Just in time for Halloween, Cursed Moon (representing Hell’s Headbangers) comes out on a day where they could’ve easily been overshadowed by same-day releases by All Pigs Must Die and even Powerman 5000. Granted, I’ve not seen hardly any press talk about Rite of Darkness, but that’s not surprising since this very Black Metal record has been self-identified as Deathwave, bringing together the sounds of macabre basement Black Metal and the drum machine electronica of the 80s. When I first heard this record, I realized it was unlike anything I’d ever heard before so I coughed up the $6.66 to buy the digital record and headed over to Hell’s Headbangers to put an order in for a t-shirt. True story. This record is scary, it’s unique, and it’s one of my favorite listens of the year.


This is just me, though. Got any new releases you really dug this year? Tell me about them!