2007 IN REVIEW
From a musical standpoint, 2007 was somewhat unremarkable. Not a washout by any stretch and I definitely saw some killer bands live and there were some well above average records released during the year, as well. But there weren’t a lot of records I’d call “great,” that stand up next to my all-time favorite releases. Same with live shows. The punk rock road trips I took to
In all honesty, I spent a lot of time loading up my MP3 player with both old and new stuff and organizing my files on there. The music I spent the most time listening to, when not in review mode, came out roughly between the early 70s to mid 80s. That covers my pre-punk adolescence and then various punk, post-punk and hardcore that followed. Hell, as I write this, I’ve got my MP3 player plugged into my stereo and I’m listening to the Saints’ “International Robot Sessions” of unreleased demos from the “Eternally Yours” album. And the songs from the original album have stuck with me a lot longer than I expect this year’s “best of” list will. I don’t think any song I hear today or have heard over the past year can hold a candle to “Private Affair” or “Know Your Product.” That’s just the way it is. I suppose we all gravitate towards the music that inspired us when we were younger, that really got the ball rolling.
As I look through my plastic mail tub holding my favorite releases of 2007, one thing I notice is that most of them are vinyl. It seems as though there was an increase in the amount of 7”s sent for review this year, on top of the records I bought myself. Yes, I DO still buy a lot of new records and now I’m trying to figure out where the hell to put them. And, NO, you’re not invited to come over and take the ones that you think I don’t need. CD’s are useful for the radio show, if I don’t have the release on vinyl already, and they’re easily ripped and put on my MP3 player. They’re also useful if they have a bunch of bonus tracks from earlier releases, demos, etc. When I saw the Vicious, I got the CD instead of the LP and two 7”s that it comprised. That may cause some vinyl purists to scoff at me—there are definitely a lot of folks who have a completely dismissive attitude towards CDs. Sometimes, though, give me convenience or give me death. Vinyl, CDs and MP3 files can all exist in harmony in my musical universe.
I also notice that quite a few of them could loosely be classified as old-school hardcore punk. A lot of it falls into the “good but not great” category and I suppose that’s what I mean when I say the year was unremarkable. I’m always looking for different permutations of punk, hardcore, garage, metal and other elements that sound fresh, that sound vibrant, that move me in some way and that stick with me. A lot of the time, I’ll listen to something for a bit and file it away. There have only been a handful of records this year that I keep coming back to. And that’s why I’m more inclined to listen to older stuff.
Don’t take that to mean I’m completely jaded. There’s no better feeling (well, for the most part, if you know what I mean) than putting on a record and having it pin your ears back and giving you the urge to stomp your foot uncontrollably, maybe even start dancing around the room and be grateful that no one is catching that moment with a video camera! It’s the same when I see a live band. Just this weekend I saw Out Cold play at Welfare Records up in
Actually, the Dio lineup of Black Sabbath aka Heaven and Hell played nearly two hours at the Tsongas Arena up in
Of course, sometimes quantity doesn’t equal quality. As an example, I give the Neighborhoods, a local band who were one of my favorites in the early 80s. I saw them on my 20th birthday, in fact. I wrote about the band in another SV blog about a year ago, reminiscing about that show. I’ll reiterate that they were one of the best live local bands at that point. See for yourself:
Unfortunately, all they released then was the “No Place Like Home/Prettiest Girl” 7”. They did record an album around that time though, and it’s going to finally be released at some point—or so I’ve heard. All the recordings that came after were tepid, at best. In any case, they played 90 minutes at the Dodge Street Grill in
I guess I’m just spoiled by DIY shows where it costs between $5-10 and shirts are rarely over $10. In fact, the Shanks and ‘Hoods shows were the only over 21 shows I saw the entire year. The only other club shows I saw were in Richmond for the No Way fest, at a crappy club called Alley Katz, the “Few Hours More” fest at Valentine’s in Albany, Cobra Noir and Psycho at Dee Dee’s lounge in Quincy (I somehow missed the brawl outside during Psycho’s set) and a few matinees at the Midway in Jamaica Plain, which is more of a neighborhood bar than a club.
The balance of the shows were at various basement, warehouse and hall spaces. And some cool venues popped up this year—in particular, Welfare Records in
TRUE LOVE AT BABY SAFE HAVEN
Not every live show was great. The worst performance I saw this year was Pure Hell, the 70s era punk band who have re-formed in the past few years. They played at Welfare Records on Halloween Night and their vocalist Kenny was literally falling-down drunk and slurred the lyrics he could remember. The band gamely soldiered on but it was like watching a trainwreck.
Let’s get to the list. They’re in alphabetical order but Double Negative put out the best record of the year, in my opinion, and they were also the best live band I saw this year, at the No Way fest. One of the things I like about them is they range in age from their mid-30s to early-40s and, once again, don’t look like a bunch of old men trying to recapture past glories. This is a new band with all new material. There’s definitely a lot of early COC in their sound and that makes sense since they’re from
Two more items—Brain Handle’s LP was released in a limited tour edition of 300 that is long gone but it’s going to be re-released in the new year by No Way. I only have MP3s but still include it in the best-of. I also just received the new Skitkids CD, Besöket Vid Krubban at the last minute. I’ve had files of it for a couple of weeks and it also deserves to be on the best-of list. Look for a review in an upcoming blog.
If you have any questions or need info about these releases, don’t hesitate to drop me a line. Scroll through the blog archives for the reviews. Also, to see live photos from many of this year’s shows, go to my Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/MrAlQ
Happy New Year!
Double Negative-The Wonderful and Frightening World Of…
B.U.S.H.-New American Century
Clusterfuck-How The West Was Won
The Daily Void-s/t (ex-Functional Blackouts, review coming soon)
Eddy Current Suppression Ring-s/t (released late Oct. '06. Close enough)
Look Back and Laugh-State Of Illusion
Punch In The Face-At War With Everybody
Repercussions-11 Song EP
Skitkids-Besöket Vid Krubban
Street Trash-Into The Wasteland
Totalitar-Vi Ar ElitenViolent Minds-Eyes Of Death (this was actually supposed to come out a few years ago but finally got released this year. It would have been in my top records the past two years, as well)
Catburglars-Holy Shit EP
86 Mentality-Final Exit
Nightstick Justice-s/t (originally released as a demo)
Straightjacket Nation-6 song EP
Total Abuse-Sex Pig EP
Wasted Time-No Shore
DEMOS (kind of neglected these this year—sorry)
American Cheeseburger, Valentine’s,
Annihilation Time, Braddock Elks and
Armitage Shanks, Abbey Lounge,
Brain Handle, basement in Allston and Mr. Roboto Project,
Breakfast, Baby Safe Haven
Career Suicide, Alley Katz
Criminal Damage, Braddock Elks
Double Negative, Alley Katz (
86 Mentality, Ratscellar,
Government Warning, Ratscellar
Inmates, Incubate Warehouse,
Look Back and Laugh,
The Pist, Braddock Elks,
The State, Midway
BEST LIVE LOCAL BANDS: Conversions, Out Cold, Waste Management, Civil Crisis, Social Circkle, Fruit Salad