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Tiny Moving Parts – Swell


a2334147848_10Band: Tiny Moving Parts
Album: Swell
Label: Big Scary Monsters
Release date: January 2018
Sounds like: Sending applause to your heartstrings. A rapid detachment.

“Scan an open road, distort the traffic/Never getting used to these second guesses…”

Due to mishearing lyrics, I thought that on Malfunction, track 8 from the new Tiny Moving Parts album, Swell, vocalist Dylan Mattheisen said “I got dizzy right before the vapid detachments.” I thought “hell, that’s a terrific band name, The Vapid Detachments*!” However, I’m reliably informed that the word is rapid, which is still decent, if not better? Probably?

Tiny Moving Parts then, completed by the brothers Chevalier (Matt on bass, Billy on drums) are back with the follow up to 2016’s Celebrate and their second release through the Big Scary Monsters imprint. It’s quite an impressive move by BSM main man, Kevin to sign these dudes a few years back – they tick a lot of boxes and overlap into several others. Twiddly-math-emo styles? Check. Huge punk rock choruses that feel like a bone-crunching hug of joy? You betcha. An impassioned and earnest vocal lead that makes your heart…er…swell? Thumbs up.

Opening track Applause, asks for veritable ovation be sent to your heartstrings. There’s an edge of darkness in this though, whilst the twinkling guitars, math-punk riffs, scattered percussion and plethora of tambourines litter this, Mattheisen’s cries of “I want to give up” and the line “struggle with every single breath” seem to hold some desire to overcome and breakthrough a period of sadness. Luckily, the cry of “applause my lungs still breathing” on every single one of this song’s damn hook-laden choruses makes the glass seem half-full.

Building bridges is the topic of the soaring Smooth It Out – a track that seems to be about improving a relationship, talk of missteps and “smoke breaks” (taking time out) and offering to be the “weight on your shoulders” hey, it’s about love everyone! Aw. Mattheisen and the Chevalier boys carve out a crackling slab of spirited up-tempo heartland rock, which bursts with even more vigour thanks to the rising background strings/(keys?) and subtle gang-vocal melodies.

The jagged, punchy guitars on the aggravated Feel Alive, give the track a crisp, yet busy feel, whilst Mattheisen’s breathless and erratic vocals compliment the title incredibly well (fella really does want to feel alive it seems). Bloody love the underused additional vocals from Kelc Galluzzo and her call-and-response of “I still miss you.” Kind of makes me think of the additional vocals on High Speed from the Single Mothers album from last year; i.e. not used enough – more of this please.

Caution could well be your favourite single of 2018 and we’ve not even made it through February yet! That mathy-guitar 40 seconds in will do it, or even the massive chorus hook of “I’m still waiting…FOR A SLIGHT BREAK!” or maybe it’s the brilliant video? Whatever it is, this is indeed, love.

Someday we’re all going to die…but not tonight!” shouts Matthesien on the discordant but emo-rock-tastic Wildlife, showcasing how Tiny Moving Parts are striving to create huge fucking slogans to be shouted during their live shows, and all power to them for it. There’s a jagged urgency to the stumbling and frantic Whale Watching, whilst the riff-laden scuzz of Malfunction sets a more aggressive tone, especially the lyrics, with cries of frost filling Matthesien’s head and the repeated scream of “it’s a message” which you can see hordes of fans at their shows bellowing back at the band – superb. Warm Hand Splash starts with an apology and launches headfirst into regret. Should we be happy? It asks for forgiveness, and brims with venting and rending gusto and some lush horn sections adding to the punchy and flamboyant emotional conclusion. The Hotelier are probably taking notes.

Tiny Moving Parts couldn’t have picked a better title for this collection of songs really. These 10 tracks on Swell are fit to burst with impassioned beauty, melancholy, tales of loss and re-connection; from their erratic time changes to the heady blasts of breakneck punk rock and contemplative, brooding lyrical couplets. Sure, it might be cheesy in places, but sometimes that’s what you need in order to feel and care a little too much.

You can purchase Swell by absolute top lads Tiny Moving Parts from Big Scary Monsters. Or stream below.

 

Top tracks: Swell It Out, Caution, Malfunction, Warm Hand Splash

Links

Tiny Moving Parts
Tiny Moving Parts Webstore
Big Scary Monsters

*Also, The Vapid/Rapid Detachments will be releasing their debut album in 2020.

Lizard Hips

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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The Royal They – Foreign Being


theroyalthey-foreign-beingBand: The Royal They
Album: Foreign Being
Label: King Pizza Records
Release date: Out Now
Sounds like: Be Your Own Pet cutting you open with their guitar strings. 

The stark contrast between the explosive snarl of album opener C.N.T. and the closing pop-punk blast of Weekender is one of the many, many great things about Foreign Being, the second album by New York trio, The Royal They. In fact, this album twists and turns itself inside out, reshaping constantly, but it is anchored by one common goal – to hit you hard and make you take notice. At first, it felt solely driven by anger – sure, there’s rage in this – boy, is their rage. The guitars howl and fizzle with acidic intent; but there’s also a hell of a lot of heart in this and that heart is pumping raw, bloody emotion from every ventricle.

Take C.N.T. for example (what’s missing? Just “U”) a rabid, powerful, brackish snap of furious noise; a rallying cry for those who have ever felt alone or lost in light of certain events in the entertainment industry. It points fingers and calls out all those with their “perverted breach” and talks of their “sick deceit” and is capped off with the huge “I know you’ll try to fuck the world/But you will not fuck me” scream from vocalist/guitarist Michelle Hutt. Powerful, emotional, burning rage spat with such passion and such vitriol and one of the best album openers I’ve heard in a long while.

Addiction and loss pepper the buzz-saw raw rock of Sludgefucker (excellent song title alert) as talk of twitching eyes, misunderstood anger and referencing moments of pure bliss (but being unsure why) are punched into your ears, whilst the dual guitars scrape and contort through a muddy slide of clawing turmoil. It’s also excellent and a brilliantly constructed rapid-fire piece of fiery riot-punk. This is met with the sledgehammer drums and booming riffs of Pandemic, which belch and hack a hoarse rasp of detuned, Torche-lite noise, held together with shuddering and bruising intent. Absolute credit to the guitars on this track, which chime with trepidation and stalwart misery and expand The Royal They’s discordant and blemish-erupting sound even wider.

The pedal isn’t always slammed firmly to the floor though – there are moments of reflection, especially on the cool-sounding indie-jam of Veritas, which builds into a crunching hard rock number, with an ever-so Smashing Pumpkins-vibe to proceedings and showcases the delicate beauty of Michelle’s vocals as opposed to her earlier snarls of cutting rage. Needler follows a similar path, as though you’re being stalked by the taunt guitar lines, the “I want you to know…” vocal croons and the churning, discordant riffs which lurch, belch and batter the airwaves, only to suddenly revert back to that eerie, menacing tone. Don’t be fooled by the sing-song voice Michelle has on the scything Say Less – while it might all sound all rainbows and smiles in the delivery, the noisy, ramshackle Be Your Own Pet-riffs and teeth-rattling percussion are devilishly corrupting.

It’s when we reach the end of the album everything starts to crackle with three chords and permanent joy. I cannot get out of my head how much Weekender sounds like a 90’s TV show theme. There’s something so “sunshine happy good times!” about the melody on this. “Yeah, I’m where I wanna be right now/Yeah, there’s nothing else to figure out” states Michelle, her lyrics bouncing brilliantly on this pogo-tastic pop-rock banger of an album closer, which absolutely shreds with infectious and confident zest and ultimate enthusiasm – superb.

More people need to hear this band. The frothing rage and high-five fun times in The Royal They is utterly captivating right from the word go. Foreign Being is a jagged, snarling, heckling, vitriolic blast of cathartic, boiling and positive punk. Join their racket now, you need this in your life and your ears.

Grab a slice of Foreign Being by The Royal They from King Pizza Records here or download directly from their bandcamp. Treat yourself.

 

Top tracks: Sludgefucker, Needler, Gullethead, Weekender

Links

The Royal They
King Pizza Records

Lizard Hips

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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Booji Boys – Weekend Rocker


weekendrockerBand: Booji Boys
Album: Weekend Rocker
Label: Drunken Sailor Records
Release date: 25 December 2017
Sounds like: Wasps in a dustbin covering early Black Flag by way of METZ. 

I want to count this as 2018 release really. Good of Jesus to have his birthday on the same day Booji Boys dropped a new album, eh? Top lad that JC fella, wonder what happened to him in the end? So, what do you need to know about Weekend Rocker then by these Halifax lads? It’s brief, I mean – at 12 tracks and 27 minutes (one of those tracks being over 7 minutes long) you barely have time to gulp a mouthful of air as another song launches itself at you. Taking their name from a character created by the mighty Devo, Booji Boys construct music that sounds like guitars being smashed through concrete walls, a whirling spin-cycle of flailing limbs and several people throwing up inside an amp, drenched in stale beer.

Good luck to anyone who can make out any words (save for the odd song title) spat by vocalist Alex. Lyrics are more gargled than sang, delivered in this breathless, inward-gasping rasp. They’re also fairly low in the mix, which is dominated by the scratching caterwaul of the twin guitars, courtesy of six-stringers, Cody and Drew who attack their instruments with savage and rending intent. Take the title track, the opening barrage to this slab of nuisance. The wailing screech of the guitars, the rabid bass-thumping build, which hammers away at a speed far too unsafe to be called healthy. Vocals sound as if they’ve been launched into a wind tunnel at high speed, slowly disintegrating apart due to the force in which they’re hurled.

This pace continues on the crackling energy of Pisscine Perfect, until we get to the scrappy indie-punk of Doin’ The Pyre, where some melody begins to take shape, especially on the upbeat sing-a-long chorus, which can be interpreted as shouting the songs title in a voice laced with sneering derision.

Weekend Rocker feels and sounds like a throwback to the late 70’s-early 80’s punk, with elements of mud-covered swamp rock thrown in…

There’s no time to take stock, as the next track, Sister, batters past with scuzzy, bouncing punk fury – a thundering blast of turbulence, driven by those razor-sharp guitar riffs, which at times, attempt to clean themselves from the mire of feedback, before launching back into the fetid grime. This is the kind of track the mosh pit salivates for and it’s all too welcoming to dive right in. Songs like the slight-Creedence sounding (melody only) Crowes Kitchen throw the odd curveball to Booji Boys and their racket; moving away from the onslaught, this adopts an almost psychedelic/stoner-vibe, as the guitars devour everything in his enoromous chomping wash of reverb and see-sawing percussion.

I! Have got not satisfaction/I! Only listen to the hits!“* Screams Alex on Satisfaction, an 85 second vein-bursting attack on the senses, bringing to mind the raw fury of Land Speed Record Husker Du. There’s a surprising amount of comprehension on the garage-rock of Locked Up In The City, (from the scrappy NOFX-opening guitar wail) which is a relief after the continuous pounding that Weekend Rocker delivers and I’m A Ripper Too couldn’t be more aptly named – a tearing, serrated, teeth-baring growl of ugly rock ‘n roll. By the time Oh Yeah rolls round, a distortion-drenched pile-driver of frantic cymbal-fills, twiddling guitars, panicked vocal rants and wails, it feels strange that this journey through the world of the Booji Boys has come to an end. At over 7 minutes though, they make the most of it – stringing out what can only be a set closer; burying the listener in a heavy build of noxious feedback and teasing, frustrated noise.

Weekend Rocker feels and sounds like a throwback to the late 70’s-early 80’s punk, with elements of mud-covered swamp rock thrown in, as well as a modern take and destruction of the current state of hardcore. What I’m trying to say is, it’s excellent and you need it.

Stream/smash shit up to Weekend Rocker by Booji Boys below. It’s free as well, or pay what you want. You can order this bastard on vinyl as well.

 

Top tracks: Sister, Satisfaction, Locked Up In The City, I’m A Ripper Too

*Disclaimer – I THINK this is what he’s saying?

Links

Booji Boys Bandcamp
Drunken Sailor Records

Lizard Hips

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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Happy Accidents – Everything But The Here and Now


happyaccidentsBand: Happy Accidents
Album: Everything But The Here and Now
Label: Alcopop!
Release date: 16 February
Sounds like: indie-dream-punk-sunshine

The joyful and raucous noise of Happy Accidents is the kind of adrenaline shot we all need at the moment in these testing times. Hailing from the big smoke, this London trio comprised of Rich (guitar & vocals), Neil (bass) and Phoebe (drums & vocals) have crafted an album that will pique the interest of those involved in the dizzying fracture of the DIY punk rock scene.

The double A-side single, Wait It Out and A Better Plan both have “absolute stone-cold bangers” scrawled all over them in jagged, splattered spray paint. The former, a punchy uppercut of hook-drenched, dual-vocal punk rock, drips with wistful charm and crunching, rolling riffs. Meanwhile, the latter, in the form of A Better Plan, is a scuzzy, indie-rock number that has traces of the huge, fuzzing choruses of The Thermals (circa The Body, The Blood, The Machine, so you know it’s fucking great) and it’s a fist-pump of elated, fizzling, comforting energy, coupled with co-vocalist Phoebe’s soothing, dream-like vocal delivery. Bloody hell, this makes me want to stick on Returning To The Fold right now.

Is it possible to fall in love with a chorus? Yeah I reckon so. Take Act Naturally, a song that ends far too quickly just as it gets going (that means you slam it on again, right?) As the vocals slowly build and overlap in the song’s growing and evolving final chorus, you kind of wish it would go on longer, the teases. The weaving vocal interplay between guitarist Rich and drummer Phoebe complement each other superbly, whilst Neil’s steadfast bass keeps this upbeat and pulsating blast of Johnny Foreigner-esque pop-rock rumbling forward. This kind of brilliant vocal-back-and-forth is present on the bouncing-pop of the smiling Free Time, which grows into this blazing wall of sound, before abruptly cutting off before the feedback begins to shred the airwaves to bits. Happy Accidents know the score, there’s no messing around here – Everything But The Here And Now channels a direct, no-bullshit rush of tunes that never outstay their welcome and warm the heart.

Unwind is the best post-Weezer-turning-shit-song that Weezer never fucking wrote. It’s completely sublime, huge, fuzzy guitars, gorgeous backing vocal crooning, rumbling drum patterns and that slow-burn hum of completely lightness and elation of a warm summer’s day. Crack open a beer and drain it dry, this is the kind of fist-in-the-air anthem of slacker-rock that deserves your undivided attention immediately.

The soft melody of the atmospheric Text Me When Your Home exudes the dream-pop vibe of this three piece perfectly, from the noisy burst of maudlin guitars and crashing drums to Pheobe’s lead vocals talking of “walking home with headphones blaring…” it ends with another heady blast of distorted noise, book-ending the almost spoken word tale within. Even the guitars on the wistful Maybe Tomorrow sound nostalgic – how is that even possible? The wanting to stay together, the looking back at a friendship, it feels so equally melancholic but bursts with ardent love.

Constructing something with as much heart as the songs on Everything But The Here and Now is no easy task. Happy Accidents have crafted a delightful collection of positive and life-affirming songs that shimmer and equally, roar with gusto and crackle with life – superb.

Stream/download Everything But The Here and Now by Happy Accidents below or order from Alcopop! Records.

 

Top tracks: Act Naturally, A Better Plan, Text Me When Your Home

Links

Happy Accidents
Alcopop!

Lizard Hips

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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Terrible Love – Doubt Mines EP


terrible-love-doubtBand: Terrible Love
EP: Doubt Mines
Label: Big Scary Monsters
Release date: 19 January 2018
Sounds like: Emotional hardcore wreckage

Remember when I wasn’t sure which members of loads of post-hardcore bands were in Terrible Love? Well, I still don’t, apart from possibly Gareth Davies who used to hit the bass strings in Funeral For A Friend. Anyway, line up changes to the TL roster have meant there’s a new set of lungs on the microphone in the form of a fella called Jack Saunders. With this second EP, Terrible Love continue the tension and gloom-laden, stripped back attack their debut EP, Change Nothing had. The mixture of stark, pummeling aggression, married with the more atmospheric moments on this new EP, Doubt Mines, add depth to their strained and ravenous soundscapes.

Opening track First Flowers begins with some sullen guitar strumming, leading into a morose bass-led thump of grim feelings that continue this morbid tone through this scathing hardcore strut. The snapping, isolated blasts of each instrument rip through alongside Saunders’ rasping vocals, as bass, drums and guitar punctuate with a strained earnestness to be heard. On the scorched attack of Burn The Fields, there’s a Jeremy Bolm-feel to the screeching vocals, whilst musically it romps home with the agitated discordance of La Dispute destroying their instruments and tossing them into a huge monument of roaring flame. The dense and scratching tension bleeds through on Doubt Mines; it’s either in your face at once – or not there at all. One minute your being gripped by the throat and hurled around the place, the next your slumped on the ground trying to figure out what the hell has just happened.

Part of me feels Separate Graves could be a love song in a sense. The chorus of “I’ll hope and I’d pray/You’ll lay beside me/In a separate grave” which I initially took as fairly venomous, is oddly full of longing sentiment and has that neck-chill bristle of a gang-vocal participation. This strongly reminds me of some of the greatest moments from Wes Eisold’s American Nightmare (so that’s every single moment then) both musically and lyrically deep. Yeah, this has all the feels, even with the weird feedback-strewn outro of tripping noise whacked on at the end.

Launching itself from a stack of speakers, Doubt Mines is a guitar-windmill of hot-headed old-school hardcore; it thrashes, smashes and bashes through all the checkpoints without slowing down at all. “So I will always sing/Those songs that I have always sung/And cherish memories that they bring” roars Saunders, content to punch us all in our hearts. A Better Light follows a similar grim-faced punk rock onslaught; taunt, bullish, pit-worthy hardcore that feels both encompassing and brotherly, as well as intimidating and rejecting, much like everything about Terrible Love’s savage and emotionally raw output.

Fans of modern, wrought and scathing post-hardcore will find some absolute gold on this 5 tracker – Terrible Love’s Doubt Mines is a cracking second EP and showcases some great song writing by this London mob – excellent work.

Listen to Doubt Mines below and download for pay as you want. 12″ Vinyl available from Big Scary Monsters.

Links

Terrible Love Facebook
Terrible Love Twitter
Terrible Love Bandcamp

 

Lizard Hips

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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Chiller – S/T


662da180-581e-49f5-a50c-63486d8b5db9Band: Chiller
Album: S/T
Label: Rockstar Records / Dirt Cult
Release date: 2 February 2018
Sounds like: darkwave emotive punk left out in the rain.

There is a weird coldness to Chiller‘s sound, making their moniker surprisingly apt. Featuring member’s of Feral Trash, Black Tower and Mother’s Children this Canadian four-piece are a somewhat of a super-group in the deep underground of the punk rock world. A film-noir cloak envelops Chiller; from their quirky, irregular sound, to the sinister simplicity of their album cover and logo – which brings to mind a Jo Nesbo book about someone who cuts off people’s hands and probably sews them together, or something equally weird (note: I’ve not read any).

The off-kilter indie-punk jangle of opener, Agony, has a haunting 90s-style melancholy to it. Especially on the crooning, chest-pounding chorus, where the dual-vocal overlap is used to terrific effect and will go on to feature on the remaining 7 tracks that make up this self-titled effort. The call and return male/female vocals on the Son of Sam Heretic should be enough to touch your heart, especially the frantic and grasping way the track’s title is spat in the song’s thrashing coda. The guitars chime and belt out a crisp, sometimes buzzing racket and it fizzes with determination and raw feeling. The pacy Offred, launches itself forward through a twisting and teasing grunge-indie bounce, with the back and forth vocals, which seem to reference a lost spirit or an apparition. Like many of the tracks on offer, there is a pensive and solemn tone hidden beneath the breakneck three-chord attack. The spaghetti-western style intro on the noir-sounding Satisfied is superb and evolves into this snotty, brackish tune, that berates the listener for swallowing lies and ultimately, accepting desertion.

The emo-rock of the solitary Strangers changes pace for a bit – vocals drip with desperate loss, radiating this forlorn longing, cries of never-ending pain all backed by this gloom-drenched, fast-paced Alkaline Trio maudlin punk. The chorus is also absolutely huge, cries of “STRANGERS! STRANGERS!” is so deliciously pained (and catchy) it sounds as though he could have fallen off the soundtrack of a certain 80s inspired sci-fi show that’s pretty popular at the moment. Crank it to 11.

Absolutely absorbed by the glowing, Cold Cave gloom on the dramatic Unanswered – Someone tell me, why? WHHHHYYYYY???” roars from Chiller’s mournful lungs, coupled with some beautiful backing vocal “woohs” concluding with a flourish of rain-drop-sounding keys within this wistful and heavyhearted scrawl of chewy, post-punk spite. Don’t be fooled by the high-noon-esque intro to closing track, The Void – the 20 seconds of wistful guitar strokes are trampled under hooves by a stampede of rapid fire punk rock. Lip-curling vocal snarls, crunching chords and bruising percussion thunders past in a breathless, scrappy exhaustion of sound.

Chiller’s debut is rough around the edges, but that’s what gives it that certain charm. Through these 8 tracks and 24 minutes they incorporate enough styles, menace, aggression, loss and love to pique your interest. A promising and sharp-sounding debut.

Stream Agony below. Chiller’s self-titled album is released on 2 February through Rockstar Records, pre-order it here.

Links

Chiller
Rockstar Records

Lizard Hips

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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Guest Post: Jack Murray’s top 10 albums of 2017


IMG_20170706_154125

Having listened to every single piece of recorded music this year (even both Gallagher albums and the new one by Nick Knowles) and rated everything as a Pitchfork score of 6.66,  Jack Murray is here to provide us with his top 10 albums containing songs that he likes to listen to with his ears. Got it? Good.

Also, here’s his top 10 albums of 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

10. Atomic Bitchwax – Force Field

This is the seventh full length from the legendary stoner power trio. It’s full on pedal to the metal stuff that goes at 100 mph and doesn’t let up until the end.

CHECK OUT: Shell of a Man

9.’68 – Two Parts Viper

This is album number two from the Josh Scogin fronted blues noise duo. This album is just as visceral as their debut, yet contains some more expansive moments.

CHECK OUT: Whether Terrified or Unafraid

8. Mastodon – Emperor of Sand

This new album from the sludge heavyweights contains elements of all their previous 6 albums. It’s also their first concept album since ‘Crack the Skye’.

CHECK OUT: Steambreather

7. Mutoid Man – War Moans.

This is the second album from the supergroup containing members of Cave In and Converge. This is the perfect blend of thrash, powerpop and Van Halen worship. Over the top and a hoot live.

CHECK OUT: Melt Your Mind

6. Unsane – Sterilize

This is the first album in 5 years from the seminal noise rock kings. Music does’t get more angry and pissed off than this!

CHECK OUT: Factory.

5. At The Drive-In – IN*TER A*LI*A

This is the first album in 17 years from the influential post hardcore group. This album was highly anticipated but received a lukewarm reception on its release. It sounds good to these ears though!

CHECK OUT: Call Broken Arrow

4. Pissed Jeans – Why Love Now

This is the fifth album from the Pennsylvanian hardcore punk/noise rock outfit. This is something of a concept album exploring themes of masculinity and femininity in a tongue-in-cheek manner.

CHECK OUT: The Bar Is Low

3. Ginger Wildheart – Ghost In The Tanglewood

This man is a regular fixture in my end of year list and there is a reason. This is being billed as his first country/folk album. This contains some of his most personal lyrics to date.

CHECK OUT: Golden Tears

2. Jamie Lenman – Devolver

This is the second solo album from the former Reuben frontman. This contains many musical elements while still managing to sound like a cohesive body of work. The man is a wizard!

CHECK OUT: Hell In A Fast Car

1. The Bronx – V

This is the fifth album from the Los Angeles punk band. This band is known for their consistency and this is a very welcome addition to their catalogue!

CHECK OUT: Two Birds

Lizard Hips

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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Keep It Fast’s Top 10 Tracks of 2017


Untitled DesignWe’ve already talked about my top 10 albums of the year, so let’s focus on the top 10 songs of the year.  All guaranteed to be absolute bangers, if not, I’ll send Tiger Crew round your house to have a word. (YEEEEEAAAHHHHH) Enjoy.

Japandroids – Arc Of Bar (Anti-)

This 7 and half minute opus that bridges to two sides of Near To The Wild Heart Of Life, is so simple, yet it utterly ROARS with anthemic mic-swinging passion. It’s at a slower pace to the useful Japandroids scuzz-frenzy, employing a hypnotic, synth-sounding guitar loop from guitarist Brian King, with drummer David Prowse hammering out this spirited and layered marching beat. The song is apparently an allusion to the crescent arch of the city of New Orleans (also due to the city’s relaxed culture to partying and drinking and the number of bars). Clever eh? Also, the line “But I got no plans at all/Except to drink as soon as possible” is so in culture with Japandroids work and a huge nod to the fantastic Nights Of Wine And Roses from Celebration Rock. Stunning.

Carly Rae Jepsen – Cut To The Feeling (604/School Boy/Interscope)

You’re not prepared for how RIDICULOUSLY catchy this is. Oh sure, it is cheesy as hell; it’s a huge block of cheddar smashing down. It’s just the song to replace Call Me Maybe from that continuous loop inside your head. The 80’s synthwave vibes, the weird flourishing key chimes that sound like a message alert tone, the pounding disco-beat and let’s not forget the bouncing power-pop energy that is righteously infectious and glorious. Cut To The Feeling is so damn euphoric and positive; it bristles with unrelenting joy, passion and huge theatrical ham – an absolute banger. Take a bow, Jepsen.

Down I Go – Heracles (self-released)

The best band in the world (no hyperbole) return with a cheeky little EP and make everything else pointless. Heracles is the final song from Mortals and it’s suitably deranged/epic/noisy/creatively jaw-dropping. I’ve no idea if all 12 labours of this god-man are shouted in all their glory (vocalist Pete Fraser falls somewhere between bellowing wounded dinosaur and Mike Patton gargling tizer in your bathroom) but the maddened, schizophrenic ramblings dip into the mathcore waters, whilst the riffs are monstrous, lurching Botch-esque bone-crunching slabs of terror. The closing croons of “bring it back, bring it back…” coupled with some maddened, muted-sax playing all add to this whirlwind of delightful chaos.

USA Nails – Does Format Matter? (Bigout Records)

“VINYL CASSETTE! EJECT YOUR VINYL CASSETTE! REWIND YOUR VINYL CASSETTE! BUT TAKE CAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRREEEEEEEEE!!!!” spits Steve Hodson, professional deadpan snarker and mouthpiece of USA Nails, the most dangerous manicurists in London. Does format fucking matter though? The abrupt heaviness of this nearly punctures the airwaves it’s so sharp and cutting. Guitars are tuned somewhere in the Event Horizon dimension, whilst the drumming is sickeningly caustic and loud, so ungodly loud. I think the genre is just misanthropy. Or hate. Actually, it’s both of them – yeah we’ll go with that.

Closet Disco Queen – El Moustachito (CrazySane)

As someone who lives for groove-laden instrumental rock, it’s a good thing Closet Disco Queen exist, one of my favourite discoveries in the last few years. This arm-flexing, swan-sickening strut of positive stoner-jam-dance-metal-noise is delicious. It’s heavy enough to bang your head to, yet it’s got that hip-shaking teasing sound that will burrow it’s way inside your brain. You can smell the burnt rubber on the asphalt as this roars away from you, the horns thrown high in the air, the muscle-car tearing down the strip, dust billowing from behind. Why aren’t you air-drumming yet? Let’s jam.

Christian Fitness – Slap Bass Hunks (Prescriptions)

They made all their money, so fuck you, FUCK YOU” intones Andy Falkous on the ripping hand-clap-a-thon that is the title track from the fourth Christian Fitness album. The very fact this sounds like thousands of fucking angry bees playing thousands of kazoos should be enough to convince you what genius this is. Seething with the kind of anger at the current state of everything, coupled with scratching, acidic fuzz-punk energy, Slap Bass Hunks is the anthem for the those feeling particularly furious at the world and with this they can let vent with the utmost amount of bile.

Blanck Mass – Please (Scared Bones)

Manipulating dimensions to somewhere absorbing and wholly different from our own is perhaps a safe bet right now. That technology doesn’t exist, but maybe in Blanck Mass‘s music we can find some solitude akin to that. Please is a mind-bending trip to be able to properly explain in words. The chopped-up vocal loops, the glistening and radiant energy it pulsates, the glow and warmth it makes you feel. It sounds like blood running through your veins, your heart keeping you upright; it’s gorgeous and thoroughly absorbing.

Pissed Jeans – The Bar Is Low (Sub Pop)

This was released in February and no other music video has touched it really for absurdity or the sudden mood-whiplash in the closing seconds. Pissed Jeans are bizarre, and The Bar Is Low, from their “laughing at every day life” concept album, Why Love Now, is laced with their trademark oddball humour and boastful quirks. The opening line of “I’ve been described as good/some have even said great/what have I done/to deserve such a fate” should tell you all about what to expect. Also, listen to that gurgling bass, absolutely lovely and the set of pipes on vocalist Matt Korvette – wonderful, antagonistic and sarcastic punk rock.

HCBP – The Patriot (self released)

Bridging the gap between  genius and insanity, HCBP (Haggard Cat Bothday Present) are half of the recently split HECK. If you’re wondering what this sounds like, it’s in a familiar ballpark of being nerve-rattling and utterly chaotic. Riffs splatter and shriek with a feral, robot-rock bludgeon of early Queens of the Stone Age, whilst the drums hammer out the kind of muscle-car roar you’d expect from a Fu Manchu album. A blistering, howling storm of feral sounds barely held together, but by god it’s bloody excellent.

Thank – Fragile Ego (Cruel Nature Recordings)

The twisted wreckage that make’s up Thank’s universe is so utterly gruesome, you cannot help but stare or at least, hear as their…. “sound” hisses, crackles and pops as it begins to melt through into your mind. Staggering between the realms of caustic noise, punk and industrial dance revolution, this five piece from Leeds sound like the end of the world. Fragile Ego is a snapping, rabid, mind rot of decay and bubbling, nonsensical ramblings. This is the new noise you were warned about and it’s finally here – that new beat, that sound you were warned about and it’s utterly deranged and impossible to ignore.

BONUS TRACK!!!

The Night Flight Orchestra – Gemini (Nuclear Blast)

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 Actually, scrap EVERYTHING ABOVE we quite clearly peaked musically back in April 2017. This might be the best thing I’ve ever heard and I once experienced a long note that had a powerful sense of dread attached to it.

Lizard Hips

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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Lizard Hips – Top 10 albums of 2017


Weird year for stuff, some of it bad some of it excellent. My top 2 will not surprise some people and it’s mostly business as usual. Some returning bands – The Bronx have absolutely excelled themselves on the new one – USA Nails might not be in the giddy heights of their first two records, but their new one is as brutal and horrific as ever and it’s a simple fact that there’s been some exceptional albums. Some truly outstanding work all round though and even albums hat didn’t make the top ten (sorry Pissed Jeans, you’re in at 11…) were stonking great. Enjoy.

10. Onsind – We Wilt, We Bloom (Specialist Subject)onsind-wwwb

A somewhat late inclusion, but this third album from Durham’s Onsind has made a massive impact on me in just a short space of time. Raw, brutally honest and some incredible lyrics throughout, We Wilt, We Bloom is a moving, cynical and cutting statement, heavily referencing our current see-sawing political climate of bullshit and misery. However, it’s laced with hope, with a direction that states we can do something, that there is time for change and better days are on the horizon. Listen to the lyrics on the brilliant Shining-referencing Sectioned – superb, thoughtful and reflective storytelling locked down into a four minute pop-punk banger.

Top track: Sectioned

9. USA Nails – Shame Spiral (Bigoût Records / Hominid Sounds)usanails-shame

Hello nasty. Noise and speed are two words to sum up Shame Spiral, the third album from London teeth-grinders, USA Nails. This is an ugly, boiling cauldron of rage; the guitars are overclocked to the max, especially on the acidic bedlam of Play It Again Johnny and the shredding Does Format Matter? It’s got that scrawled, caustic quality of the first METZ album – utterly savage, loud, volatile and seriously uncomfortable to experience. Every track feels as though it has been submerged in a barrel of noxious feedback and it howls with implacable tension and serves to move the band further from their debut, Sonic Moist. Chilling and strangely intriguing. (Review)

Top track: Does Format Matter?

8. Christian Fitness – Slap Bass Hunks (Prescriptions)a0968992665_10

Slap Bass Hunks is apparently the least successful Christian Fitness album, which is a shame because it is fucking brilliant. For one thing, the bass sounds utterly gnarled/ugly/disgustingly noisy. Also, some of Falco’s best work exists on this excellent 10 tracker, from the vomiting-fury of the title track, to the vest-appraising National Insurance, an Anglican mouse on the handclap frenzy of Hallowed Be Thy Naming Rights and the dread-inducing creep of Nobody Likes a Snitch. Just under 30 minutes of pure surrealism that will leave you either laughing your head off or whimpering in the corner and we should all be thankful for it. (Review)

Top track: Slap Bass Hunks

7. The Bronx – V (Cooking Vinyl)a2581068749_10

THIS AIN’T NO SOBER SONG, KILL ME OR TURN ME ON!” screams Matt Caughthran on opening track, Night Drop At The Glue Factory. Yes, so The Bronx have always been a bit word salad at times with lyrics, but Bronx V, sees them crunch back into the punk rock scene with a cracking selection of fresh cuts. Fill The Tanks is a pure thrash excellence, whilst the abrasive Sore Throat, is a vein-bursting roar for blood. Here’s hoping they keep up the wrecking machine of energy and vitality forever with their fire-starting vigour and fucking brilliant songs. (Review)

Top track: Stranger Danger

6. ’68 – Two Parts Viper (Cooking Vinyl)two-parts-viper-68

Every song by ’68 sounds as if it’s been pushed to its very limit. All the dials are spiking into the red, alarms are blasting, blood is spurting from the console. Meltdown achieved. Josh Scogin and (now-ex) drummer Michael McClellan attack their instruments with the similar “throw it in” bravado of their debut, but the amps don’t explode this time; the riffs though, are still there and it’s still uncomfortably discordant, channelling Scogin’s Nirvana worship even more (see No Apologies) and the rap-rock swagger of This Life Is Old, Borrowed and Blue. Utterly unique and constantly evolving, Two Parts Viper is a venomous beast. (Review)

Top track: Whether Terrified or Unafraid

5. Mutoid Man – War Moans (Sargent House)mutoid-man-war

Nick Cageao’s Mutoid Man might be the greatest band of all time. I mean, he’s got Stephen Brodsky and Ben FUCKING Koller in tow. War Moans doesn’t so much as tick all the boxes as smash several guitars through walls and walls of amps to make its point. This album is hilarious; it’s packed with the most ridiculous, cheesy, heavy, thrash-tastic riffs imaginable, the sickest drumming courtesy of Koller and it is infectiously joyful and an unstoppable thrill ride from the face-punch of the start to the haunting end. There’s no way you can finish even the first track without air-guitar/bass/drumming your arms off. If you thought Bleeder was good, get a load of this baby. (Review)

Top track: Irons In The Fire

4. John – God Speed In The National Limit (Pets Care Records)john-godspeed

You could be forgiven for thinking there were double or even triple the amount of band members in Crystal Palace duo John, such is the absolute racket they both make. God Speed In The National Limit is a brutally fast, concentrated and bludgeoning rush and it makes no bones about being anything else, other than a fucking great punk rock album. There’s everything on this – songs about haunted printers, the shitness of everyday life and resetting your mobile phone. Probably. Whatever it is, this is an absolute killer of a debut album and I bloody love it. (Review)

Top track: Straight Lines

3. Single Mothers – Our Pleasure (Big Scary Monsters)singlemothers-our-pleasure

Whatever happened to Single Mothers?” screams vocalist Drew Thomson on Our Pleasure, the second album from the “pissed at everything” Canadian four piece. With the kind of rapid-fire vocal delivery (and disdain) akin to that of Jason Williamson from Sleaford Mods; Single Mothers are a free-flow nuisance of seething, bile-spitting obnoxious punk rock debauchery. This churns, boils and rages at everything, especially on the pocket-digging bravado of Long Distance to the hardcore fury of Well Wisher.  Cracking sophomore album that vents with urgent, wild energy and will ultimately make you want to smash things and oddly, has a lot of heart if you delve into Thomson’s thoughtful and compelling lyrics.

Top track: Long Distance

2. Japandroids – Near To The Wild Heart Of Life (Anti-)japandroids1

An album that you keep returning to must ring some alarm bells in your mind. Near To The Wild Heart Of Life by Japandroids was released at the tail-end of January, yet it’s something I am constantly listening to, over and over and over again. Is it down to how beautifully all 8 of the songs on this are crafted? Is it the fact it fills me with unrelenting happiness and optimism? Is it the fact it makes me want to shout every single lyric at the top of my lungs? Is it the fact it makes me so fucking emotional every time I listen to it? It’s all of these things and a heap more, loaded with the all the real feels and sweaty, melancholic emotional nostalgia. (Review)

Top track: Arc of Bar

1. Blanck Mass – World Eater (Sacred Bones)blanckmass

The fact that World Eater seems to have endless layers the more you listen to it shows just how staggeringly inventive Blanck Mass (aka, Benjamin John Power) is as a musician. It’s a hypnotic, mind-melt of emotions, ranging from fear, serenity, hate and even joy. I’ve struggled at times not to go a week, sometimes a day without putting this on – without being lost in the industrial-rave-death-dance party of Rhesus Negative or the trippy percussion-driven club bounce of Silent Treatment. This is the sound of ripping through the fabric of our dimension and becoming totally submerged in the deadlights. Beep, beep, Benny – a phenomenal and hypnotic, mesmeric trip into the void and my album of the year, hands down. (Review)

Top track: Please

Other great stuff from this year you should stick in your ears.

Alpha Male Tea Party – Health

Bat Piss – Rest In Piss

Cassels – Epithet

Converge – The Dusk In Us

Death From Above – Outrage! Is Now

Frauen – Unreal City

Gallops – Bronze Mystic

Goddamned Animals – My Second Cult Suicide

Gnarwolves – Outsiders

Idles – Brutalism

Intervals – The Way Forward

Jamie Lenman – Devolver

Krause – 2am Thoughts

Mastodon – Emperor Of Sand

Metz – Strange Peace

Part Chimp – IV

Perturbator – New Model

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – Feed The Rats

Pissed Jeans – Why Love Now

Pulled Apart By Horses – The Haze

Run The Jewels – RTJ3

Sleaford Mods – London Tapas

Slotface – Try Not To Freak Out

Sorority Noise – You’re Not As _ As You Think

Stnnng – Veterans of Pleasure

Tricot – 3

The Jimmy Cake – Tough Love

The Menzingers – After The Party

UpCDownC – I, Awake

Unsane – Sterilize

Yagow – Yagow

Yards – Excitation Thresholds

Additional

Science Fiction by Brand New didn’t make the cut this year for obvious reasons. Would it have done in other circumstances? Yes, it would easily be top 5 material, perhaps higher. It’s their best album as well. There, I said it. However, to give the band any kind of accolade this year is not something I am not comfortable with doing at all. Thank you.

Lizard Hips

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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