2018 wasn't without its downs but man what a year. I put out two LPs and 8 singles on Total Punk, started work on a new label called Mind Meld (Timmy Vulgar's Genetic Armageddon LP out next month), a new job that I love, did lots of traveling, and started a wrestling promotion with some friends. Probably the busiest year of my life, but I somehow managed to find time to listen to a ton of music. I revisited a lot of records from my youth as well as stuff from the early/ mid 2000s. For me the most exciting period of music I've lived through. It's when I first started booking shows, running the distro, and putting out records. This year was the first that I felt the pangs of nostalgia (a true sign of middle age) and I fully embraced it. 2018 wasn't all about the punk though. If someone would have told me I would spend this year listening to a steady diet of ELO, Abba, and Neil Young I wouldn't have believed them, but that is exactly how this year played out. TOTALLY NOT PUNK! I haven't thrown in the towel yet though. I've got a few more years of stamping left in me and I still found time to get completely obsessed with quite a few 2018 releases. Ten of which are listed below. Looking forward to 2019. Brand new Golden Pelicans LP as well as some big tour plans, going to Puerto Rico in February and Norway in May, and much more MAYHEM ON MILLS!!!
CARBONAS- Your Moral Superiors 2xLP (Goner)
Case in point about revisiting the "Aughts." Carbonas put out some of my favorite singles of that period, many of which I play regularly on Turnbuckle Tuesday, and having them all in one place is enough to get excited about. The fact that it is piled on with a ton of top quality unreleased material made this one of my best purchases of 2018. I'm even more excited that they are now back to doing the occasional show. See you in January Atlanta.
SIC- High Voltage & Uncontrolled LP (Belgian Waffles)
It's wild that we've reached 40 years into this punk thing and there are still gems like this from it's beginning's to be mined! Apparently Sic went on to become a minimal synth outfit in the early 80's but these recordings from 1977 find these Belgians making some viciously tight and pounding synth punk with a real proto edge and some of the nastiest female vocals I've ever heard. 19 songs total and absolutely killer front to back. I can't believe more people aren't raving about this one.
DONKEY BUGS- Ancient Chinese Secrets LP (Lumpy Records)
Next time someone tells you that modern music is boring and derivative put this on. Not sure who makes up the ranks of this Cleveland clan, but in a time when weird has just become another lazy tagline they managed to put out one of the most captivatingly weird albums I've heard in a long time. I hope this wasn't a one off thing and that there is more Donkey Bugs to be delivered.
PLASTIC EP & THE RECORDS- Best Of 7"/ Well You Want To Make A Record 7" (Xerox Music)
PLASTIC EP & THE RECORDS were from Melbourne and released two singles between 81 and 82 and recorded a third ironically titled "Well You Want To Make A Record" which never saw the light of day. New Australian label Xerox Music compiled all three 7"s on these two slabs. At times almost sounding like a goofy Stranglers, at others like a herky jerky Penetrators, and on the one record they go straight new wave with great results. Kicking out the drummer and replacing him with a drum machine that goes by the name of Dr. Rhythm and with the addition of an organ player/ producer named Rudy who has set his organ to the tuba setting. Add to that dog barking and baby crying sound effects, and electronic hand claps. As strange as it all sounds they manage to make it work. On top of that Plastic has a youtube channel he runs and still updates that I recommend visiting. Easily my most fun discovery of 2018 and the one I probably talked about the most.
CIVIC- New Vietnam 12" / Those Who No 7" (Anti-Fade)
Quickly becoming my new favorite Australian band. They put out two killer records in the course of 2018. 'New Vietnam' harkens back to the days of late 70's Aussie punk. They bash out 7 hard rocking hits in just under 20 minutes. IT's quite a powerful debut and the 7" which followed is far from a slouch. 'Those Who No' puts the pop hooks out in front and 'Pleasure' is one of the best songs I heard in 2018.
DAVID NANCE GROUP- Peaced & Slightly Pulverized LP (Trouble In Mind)
When I wasn't listening to Neil Young I was listening to David Nance. I spent the first half of the year obsessing over the previous two LPs, and ended the year with Peaced & Slightly Pulverized being routinely flipped on my turntable. This year had some serious bumpy turns and David Nance was there to get me through many of them. He is a seriously gifted song writer and seeing his group live was one of my highlights of the year. Cannot wait to see what he comes up with for Mind Meld.
BLACK VIRGIN- .44 Killer 7" (WYLN)
Crucial reissue. Lo-fi punked out metal two sider from early 80's New York. The perfect soundtrack for smashing beers in the parking lot.
CHEAP NASTIES- S/T LP (HoZac)
Absolutely killer pre- Scientists/ Manikins thugged out punk from Perth Australia. Lo-Fi scuzzy and absolutely brutal. The kind of record you can put on when DJing and just walk away.
V/A NIHON NOWAVE 2xLP (Mecanica)
One of the great things about music is no matter how long you have been listening there is always something new to discover. Such is the case with this comp of early 80's Japanese electronic music inspired by no wave, and post-punk. Thankfully labels like Bitter Lake are now reissuing this kind of stuff because it's been my favorite discovery of 2018.
TERRY- I'm Terry LP (Upset The Rhythm)
I'm a total Terryhead. They are three for three now. I'm sure there are bands who sound like them who I have made fun of my friends for listening to, but something about their song writing approach really speaks to me. Perfectly layered but simple songs. I approach each new Terry LP with a hefty dose of skepticism. Do I really need another Terry LP? And each time the answer is a resounding yes.
PUNKEST PUNK OF 2018
The first show I booked this year was for a visiting six year old named Sadie, who ended her Disney vacation playing a brand of music she self describes as 'Skull Rock' to a room of people mostly 5 times her age. She had song titles like 'Nightmare Moon' and the aforementioned 'Skull Rock'. Sadie stood in front of a room full of strangers with nothing but her leather jacket, a small synth, a drum machine, and a healthy dose of confidence and commanded their attention. I've followed her since through updates from her parents and her instagram account. She played Cropped Out Fest a couple months ago, a series of shows a few weekends ago, and her first release showed up in the mail just last week. A self released five song cassette titled 'Lost In Space.' While full grown adults are out there complaining about their scene sucking or the state of modern music there is a six year old sitting in her room in Columbus actually doing something about it.