Sunday, December 18, 2016
The Top Ten Post- Punk Albums of 2016
So this list was spawned out of the goth/ industrial list, but the divide is widening with artists both new and old as the punk becomes more predominant, I am also including shoe gaze in this list, though there are only artists who could claim influence by that genre rather than being a hundred percent committed to it. These album's are dark, but at the end of the day not dark enough to be "goth" or too steeped in punk. The top five are really rough , but at the end of the day it falls on the album I listen to the most to rise to the top of this post- apocalyptic heap. So here are the top 10 post punk albums of 2016. Try the links to the full reviews in order to give these albums a listen.
10-Torture Love- They Came Crawling"
This band from Chicago is much more aggressive than your average post-punk, they are solidly a punk band. "The Big Hand" finds them singing more than shouting, this gives them more of a Bellicose Minds sound. The Misfits would also be a reference point, though their singer is further from Glenn's croon and the vocals sit back further in the mix. One of the better post- punk releases of the year.
9- Bellicose Minds- "the Creature"
It's been three years since the Portland post-punk trio released "the Spine". Their newest opens with a more frantically upbeat number than I remember them having on their 2013 album. One their Bandcamp page the band says that they use big amps and electric drums to make music inspired by rain and cloud. This song seems a little too peppy for rain and clouds. It might take the kinder and gentler version of the band a little more time to warm up to me, but they get the job done. The other bands at the forefront of the post-punk revival have been pretty quiet this year so it's good to hear from these guys. This album came out under the radar last week with no hype around it. If you are a fan then it is worth your time to listen to it and hopefully with Halloween creeping up on us more of this will be coming out to play.
8-Hollow Sunshine- "Bible Sea"
The drugs must have really kicked in on this one, as the band they once were has given way for a more dreamy electronic sound. I quit doing drugs years ago so I didn't not get much from some of the moods created here and it didn't get a ton of play from me , but I can not deny how well done this was . Fans of forward thinking shoe gaze will like the new direction this duo has taken
7- Okkultokrati- "Raspberry Dawn"
The ragged lo-fi punk this band from Norway dives into is somewhat darker, with the more growled vocals of the first song it sounds like something from Darkthrone's black n roll period, which is a comment I also made about a song on the new King Dude, so maybe old black metal is seeing a spike in it's influence on the darker corners of garage punk. The title track makes more sense out of the jagged chaos and packages into a neater punk presentation. This keyboardist that they added to the line-up can't be heard until you get to "We Love You" and then it's not like they have suddenly turned into a dark wave band, it's still raw punk just with more textures to the wall of noise they slam themselves up against.
6- Alter- "Embers"
Where does the shoe gaze begin and the punk rock end is one question that could stand to be asked of this album. But I am not sure you really want to ask too many questions here as they seem to have a good thing going. The vocals to "Deja Vu" are rather pained and fragile to what other wise moves like a brisk cloud passing you over head as you stared in a stoned haze out of the passenger side window.It does recall some almost emo moments if you think back to bands like Elliot. Fans of moody music be it emo or shoe gaze will find something to like here. http://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2016/11/alter-embers.html
5-Swans- "the Glowing Man"
Yea, it is weird to think of Swans at number five rather than number one, but the competition was pretty strong. This is the last album by this incarnation of the re-vamped Swans. It opens with a darker elegance and a get deal of sonic texture. Gira's croon is a little more refined and less like the rants of "To Be Kind". This comes a little closer to what I want from the band though I enjoyed the albums of this phase of the band, the only thing I haven't liked it the hipster hippie crowd that began to show up post- Bonnaroo thinking they were a jam band and Gira's perhaps unintentional indulgence of this. They ride the wave rather than riding the groove here, building into some punches at the end. They go into the sound of an orchestra tuning up on "Cloud of Unknowing". Twenty four minutes is asking a lot of a song.My only real complaint being the length of the songs that touch the twenty minute mark, the song writing could have been more efficient and still gotten the point across, allowing them to jam it out more live if they so choose.
The Sophomore effort by the British Post-punk band finds them maturing into a more melodic sound. Their debut had more of a punk energy to it and "Ullages" embraces lush textures of guitar and sharpened sense of song writing that brings a greater emotional depth to the table. The punk in the post-punk equation is taking a back seat much like it would as fellow Brits the Cure would. Overall it doesn't pack the punk punch of their first album, but the songs are well written and they have matured into something with what sounds to be more staying power to my ears.
3-Alaric- End of Mirrors"
I've been a fan of this band since the whole death rock revival came into my consciousness. Now five years later, my fears that they might have broken up are put to rest making this a very welcome return. All the things that have made them work in the past are in place here. Like a doomed out version of Killing Joke the band plows into the post- apocalyptic wasteland their music conjures. There are varied levels of gloom ridden melody thanks to their bassist. It took a few listens before this slow working drug is fully in my system, but it lives up to the legacy they began.
2- Savages - 'Adore Life"
Their new album opens with "the Answer"one of the lead singles that been on the web for a minute and it rocks harder than when these gals were around last time. The guitar tone is thicker almost to the sludge point of fuzz , but rumbles with more of a "Manic Depression" meets punk drone. This album grew on me and stayed in rotation earning it's spot above the likes of the new Swans.
I guess the fact the band is on classic goth label 4AD , has finally settled in on them, so it should not come as a surprise that the trappings of shoe gaze are more prominent in the guitar department on this album. It took a couple listens for me to fully appreciate the opening track.Perspective is a funny thing. If I went Overall this album is great and Carson once again throws you a sonic curve ball and refuses to replicate past work and forge ahead creatively into the album not knowing it was Carson Cox and co, I would have latched onto the darker tones driving the songs.