It’s been a zonkers year for us! We put out an EP, made 3 music videos, covered a KISS song, played CMW, played NXNE, played JOPOFEST, and made a bunch of friends along the way.
It’s been a good year for independent punk music as well. Looking through this list, I’m seeing a lot of new bands pushing out old dinosaurs for the top spots. Here’s our favourites from the year:
10. Cherym – MouthBreatherz
Irish pop-punk that has a smörgåsbord of influences, but to me sounds like bay-area Lookout!-era punk.
9. Talk Show Host / Chump / BIAS – PCT Musique Split Vol.4
A skate-punk ménage-à-trois that reads like a love letter to the golden era of Fatwreck (one song is even named Tony Sly). All three bands do a great job.
8. Reckless Upstarts / Streetlight Saints – S/T Split
Two bands, four anti-fascist scream-a-long street-punk anthems.
7. The Hunger Artist – Uh…
Self aware indie-rock/pop-punk that might be mistaken for the Jam, the Stokes, or Gang of Four.
6. Gnarly Horse – Maybe I’m Certain
Picking up where they left off with last year’s Kissing, Gnarly Horse deliver the not shitty Weezer you’ve come to expect, but with some curveballs thrown in. Watch out for fun acoustic fake outs, progressive song structures, and punk beats that’ll keep you guessing what’s next? Spoiler alert: it’s infectious alternative rock.
5. Emmett O’Reilly – EP 1
That guy who plays in every Toronto band ever put out a solo EP of thoughtful lyric-driven punk. It’s great to see Emmett take center stage, and with great song front to back, this EP is a contender for the best music he’s been a part of yet. For fans of Against Me’s “The Disco Before the Breakdown” or AJJ.
4. Pity Party – Are You Happy Yet?
Pity Party cover a lot of ground on this 4 song EP, from slow burn pop songs to anthematic punk ragers. For fans of Iron Chic and RVIVR, looking forward to the next full length.
3. Razorbath – S/T
A stunning debut EP that came out of nowhere around the end of the year, blackened crust-punk in the tradition of Integrity, Cursed, or Black Breath.
2. The Murderburgers – Shitty People & Toothache
The Murderburgers continue hiding deep introspective confessionals inside of Scottish accents and weasel-esq pop-punk songs. Four songs, under 9 minutes, infinitely replayable.
1. Fat Heaven – Crybaby
Channelling early-Greenday with trace elements of 50s rockabilly, Fat Heaven achieve pop-punk perfection on this back-to-basics 4 song EP. Working under the constraints of the pop-punk formula, they shift gears before anything gets too boring. Their memorable hooks will remind you why you bothered getting into music.
Shook Ones – Body Feel
Classic hardcore band Shook Ones finally come back after a nearly ten year absence. They deliver a more refined and mature record that takes a few spins to sink in, but sticks in you like a good splinter once it’s there.
Ship of Fools – A Perfect Place for Harmony
Ship of Fools are a cool band that have been gigging around Toronto for awhile now, this year they finally made their first full length album. Worth the wait, reminds me of Sacrilege, Gallows, or Inepsy.
Trashed Ambulance – Flashes of Competence
A fun as hell melodic hardcore album that doesn’t take itself too seriously, keeping a consistent quality throughout it’s twelve songs.
10. Mass Grave – Our Due Descent
Heavy-ass drop B riffs with an angry cookie monster on vocals screaming about imperialism, war, and racism.
9. Hit The Switch – Entropic
The best pure skate-punk album of the year. It’ll bring you right back to the glory days of the mid-90s but with flashes of progressive hardcore.
8. The Last Gang – Keep Them Counting
An excellence record that fills the empty void of ‘Let’s Go’ era Rancid that’s been missing from your life for all these years.
7. The Brokedowns – Sick of Space
One part Dillinger 4, one part Minutemen; the Brokedowns continue their tradition of clever song titles and muscular bass riffs.
6. Liver – Capital
If you like the Weakerthans but need it to be harder hitting, this is the band for you. Growling indie-punk songs with pop hooks that’ll catch you like a winter cold. If you’re Canadian, watch out for the fun references from your childhood sprinkled throughout the album.
5. The Good the Bad and the Zugly – Misanthropical House
Top notch Scandinavian hardcore that blends Fear, Turbonegro, Circle Jerks, and John Belushi into a perfect party mix cocktail. Neat!
4. Moonraker – Lanterns
The orgcore’s most underrated band continue on the path they carved out on their first album. Catchy as chlamydia, but with more laughs.
3. The Dirty Nil – Master Volume
I was a skeptic of this band for a long time, but on Master Volume the Dirty Nil finally deliver on their promise. Balancing tension and release on the edge of their razor sharp riffage and perfectly timed mistakes.
2. IDLES – Joy as an Act of Resistance
On ‘Joy as an Act of Resistance’ IDLES revive and make relevant the dead ghost of first-wave anarchopunk. With a gruff vocal delivery reminiscent of Steve Ignorant, but set in a modern relatable context, IDLES are the answer to ‘where’s political punk?’ in the age of neo-mercantile economics, nine-to-seven, and credit card welfare.
1. Youth Avoiders – Relentless
Youth Avoiders rewrite the book on how modern punk should sound, balancing the insane geometry of their shred with a raw vocal delivery on par with G.L.O.S.S., Pure Disgust, and Negative Approach. This sound is the future.
It’s been a busy year for us as well! First we ripped the lid off of various illuminati secrets with our educational music video Conspiracy:
Later on in the year we announced our new EP Where the Buses Don’t Come with an infomercial:
Then in November the EP came out to overwhelming critical adulation:
Our smash-hit Hollow Animals went straight to home video:
Physically exhausted from the year, we’re gonna go into winter hibernation. But stay tuned, we got big plans for 2019…