Said the Gramophone - image by Kit Malo
by Jeff

An impressionistic photo of Montreal at dusk, taken from the train bridge

Chavez - "The Bully Boys" [buy]

The crushing riff at the heart of "The Bully Boys" feels archeological, like it was discovered deep in a mountain cave or found sun-scorched in the desert after years of searching. Hypnotically repeated, the riff is our careening path into the song, something to follow as the whole thing lights up with pyrotechnics. Geological bass, sick guitarmonies, and ragged singing over drums galloping forward into double-time. When it all feels a bit too much, the band relents, pulling back into a breakdown as it fades. The first new Chavez song in two decades finds the band easily picking up where they left off, updating and refining a sound that was quintessentially nineties into a twenty-first century jam.

by Sean


Trust Fund - "Like a frog".

A cathedral of marshmallow - the dyed kind, pale green and cotton-candy pink, marshmallows for looking at more than eating. It was designed over six years and took 80 more to build. Portico, cantilever, gothic spires like arrows to the sky. Artisans were brought from the other side of the world - architects, sculptors, carpenters, glaziers, mallow-masons, plumbers to raise the holy water. What a cathedral it would be. What a cathedral it was. A cathedral of marshmallow - the dyed kind, pale green and cotton-candy pink. When it was finally finished the bishop stood in its nave and closed his eyes, feeling God upon him. The pilgrims came, the congregants. They worshiped there. When no one was looking, they delicately licked the walls. Seven months later, the cathedral melted in a fire.

[buy]

by Emma

Leather Jacuzzi - "Check My Piss"
Leather Jacuzzi - "Coca Cola Hammock Station"

A kitchen cart. A haircut. One single milky moonstone in a small translucent blue bag. 6 thin sticks of Palo Santo in a black velvet pouch. A candle shaped like a small crystal. At least 5 cards that made me cry a little. A beautiful calendar that Paterson made. A gigantic chocolate cat with orange candy eyes that follow you as you walk around the apartment, like the eyes in portraits lining the halls of cartoon haunted mansions. A tape with my friends singing punk songs about each other and their dogs and relaxing in hammocks. Jesse's book. 4 beautiful glass bottles of Topo Chico, lined up and shining in the windowsill now that we've cleaned up from the party, like magic tokens plucked from a dream.

[buy Monsters, Narcs and Idiots]

by Mitz

(photo source)
ctznshp - "Tropical Kings" [Buy]

My top 10 albums which had a huge impact on me when I was an infant.

-dad farting(best of)
-mom farting
-dog barking
-birds singing
-dog farting
-dog burping(B-sides)
-dad burping
-mom burping
-brother farting(Peel sessions)
-dad snoring(Demo)

by Jeff

a photo of a mountain in Banff, Alberta

Black Mountain - "Don't Run Our Hearts Around" [buy]

The mountain path was narrow and it had been days since Lin had seen a fellow traveller. Barnabas, loaded down with her few possessions, was growing tired. His tail was drooping, and his paws were sore. There was no food for him on this narrow trail.

Together they moved forward along the thin edge, always hoping that around each corner the path would lead down into the valley, or open into a plateau where they could both rest. They were exhausted after hours of walking on slate and knowing that any lapse in concentration might bring about a long fall into nothingness.

Barnabas stopped, noticing a vulture wheeling high above them, effortlessly riding the wind.

Lin tugged on his harness, and spoke quietly into his raised ear. "Come Barnabas, that bird will not make a meal of us today." Lin's voice cracked as she talked. She found her waterskin and drank from it freely. She had been refilling it along the way from the freshets of meltwater that ran down the mountain rocks.

Lin poured water into a small bowl, which Barnabas lapped quickly. "There you go," she said. Then she reminded him "We have many days of walking ahead of us. We can't slow down. Mica's life depends on this." Barnabas dipped his head in understanding and Lin patted him between the eyes.

But as she turned to start walking she felt something, an unexpected weight pulling at her. It was as if an invisible hand was pushing her off the cliff face. She tried to steady herself but couldn't resist the force. In a moment she was leaning sideways and then falling from the mountain.

Barnabas howled. In a second Lin disappeared from his view as she plunged into the unknown.

by Mitz

(photo source)

Taeko Onuki - "Carnaval" [Buy]

Happy new year! I hope everyone had great holidays.

I had a great time back home in my motherland. I felt like Matt Damon in the movie, "Martian" when he returned to the earth.

On my way there, I was at the airport and watching news. It just reminded me how privileged I am. How lucky I am. I get to fly home to visit family and friends freely.

I totally forgot I was complaining about stupid little things like how slow my wi-fi was, how my neighbor plays his guitar to Gypsy Kings all night long, etc.

how lucky, I am to work, eat, sleep, sleep, shit, fuck, and live. and surf on world wide web, watching segway fail compilations on youtube.

I am really grateful for what I have.

Happy new year to you and your loved ones.

by Jeff

Two panels from an issue of Love and Rockets comics
(Letty changing Maggie's life forever in Jaime Hernandez's Love and Rockets)

Happy New Year everyone, it's 2017! But I'm still looking back for now. Here are 30 amazing punk songs from 2016. They're not ranked and I won't make any claims about them being "the best," but I love them all. (The 2015 list is still great, too!)

I define punk broadly, loud or quiet, big or small, super weird or not so weird. For me it's about a relationship to the politics of community and DIY, more of a feeling than a label.

On the list there's hardcore, power-pop, post-punk, garage, doom, twee, etc.. etc. I hope you like these songs. They are in turns discordant, melodic, rocking, and quiet. They're happy, sad, angry, political, personal, necessary. If one song isn't your cup of tea, skip ahead and you might love the next one.

Here's to lots of amazing live shows in 2017. Support touring bands and those in your town, support small venues, buy shirts and seven inches and mp3s. Support the scene, always and forever.

Love, Jeff
--

Anxiety - "Delayed" [buy]
Like the best bands of recent years, Anxiety's songs are inventive and weird. "Delayed" travels from moody art-damaged guitars straight into the maw of jittery blown-out hardcore.

Barcelona - "Caudillo / Infierno De Cobardes" [buy]
The A side of Barcelona's new 7 inch is technically two songs, but the whole thing comes in under 3 minutes so I'll count it as one. On "Caudillo" the rhythm section locks in and punches you in the gut over and over. "Infierno De Cobardes" picks up the pace and is the best circle pit song of the year.

Big Eyes - "Leave this Town" [buy]
Kait Eldridge fuses glorious riffs with the most heartfelt lyrics in every song she writes. The jangly power pop of "Leave This Town" is perfect for a summer roadtrip soundtrack.

Big Knife Little Knife - "Anarchist Calisthenics" [buy]
Montreal's BKLK deliver a frenetic blast of mathy late-90s post-HC into the cold wastes of post-everything 2016.

CC Dust - "Never Going to Die" [buy]
Mary Jane from Vexx goes electro. In my mind this life-affirming dance song soundtracks a montage of disaffected teens out late at night, in love with the world and tearing up the town.

Dag Nasty - "Cold Heart" [buy]
Who could have guessed that these DC vets would have this much fire in their bellies thirty years later? New / old singer Shawn Brown remains one of the most consistently great voices in hardcore.

Dauðyflin - "Drepa Drepa" [buy]
Feel the rage of the north! Iceland's recent volcanic activity has produced a stream of lava-hot punk bands (see also Roht). Dauðyflin harness the feedback wave and the results are startling.

Frankie Cosmos - "If I had a Dog" [buy]
This song is about possibility. What if I had a dog? What if jerks stopped bugging me about how I looked? What if I wrote a minute-long song that put these things together? Brevity = brilliance.

GLOSS - "Give Violence a Chance" [buy]
Another shredding call-to-action from these Olympia ragers. GLOSS may have been short-lived, but their influence will be felt far and wide in the coming years.

Good Throb - "Slick Dicks" [buy]
Bass squarely in the front, Good Throb are smuggling the best ideas of post punk into hardcore.

In School - "Bloodlust" [buy]
Total beast of a track from America's angriest graduate students.

Janitor Scum - "Shopping Cart (live)" [buy]
It came from Calgary! A weird hardcore salute to the abundant joys of supermarkets.

JJ Doll - "No One" [buy]
Most surprising new vocalist! Former Ivy members bring the noise and the vocals are pure joy, even as the lyrics excoriate.

Lumpy and the Dumpers - "I'm Going to Move to New York" [buy]
A revenge cut from every townie that refused to leave their small scene for the bright lights of the big city. Lumpy's vocals in the breakdown crack me up every time.

Lysol - "Ill" [buy]
Best performance at Brasserie Beaubien this year? These Seattle garage brats have all the swagger of their Emerald City forebears Death Wish Kids and the Murder City Devils. Suburban switchblade styles.

Nancy Pants - "Take" [buy]
Nancy Pants songs have the same lived-in feeling as every great Teen Beat record. Breezy but full of grit, the soundtrack to excellent conversations.

Neurosis - "Broken Ground" [buy]
I don't have a Times of Grace tattoo on my forehead for nothing, okay?

Not You - "haha" [buy]
Perfect mid-tempo grunge with haunting vocals the way only Haligonians can.

Nots - "Inherently Low" [buy]
New Wave stomp. On their second LP Nots built out their short sharp ragers into moody downbeat party-rockers, with a tinge of melancholy.

Primetime - "Pervert" [buy]
Primetime send us funny, sassy, and totally nonchalant postcards from the workaday world. "Pervert" feels like an answer song to "Orgasm Addict" lost in the mail for forty years.

Pup - "Sleep in the Heat" [buy]
Pup have logged thousands of clicks on the Trans Canada and "Sleep in the Heat" captures the contagious energy of small town shows in places that that don't get many touring bands.

Sheer Mag - "Can't Stop Fighting" [buy]
An anthem of resolute determination. Sheer Mag nails it on this cut, the riffs are sharp, the beat is hot, the vocals are fire. To the barricades!

Surveillance - "Life" [buy]
NSCAD kids recreate an installation of Stereo Mountain circa 1992 for their grad show at Anna Leonowens.

Tacocat - "Men Explain Things to Me" [buy]
If there was a musical based on Rebecca Solnit's essential feminist essay this would be the hooky crossover hit.

Tender Defender - "Hello Dirt" [buy]
Anthemic workout track of the year. I'm guessing at least half of the bearded old punks at the gym have this on their playlists.

Tenement - "Witches in a Ritual" [buy]
Tenement are a soul band now, and that's fine by me. Groovy as all hell "Witches in a Ritual" is the art punk jam of the year.

Tyrannamen - "I Cant Read Your Mind" [buy]
This song fits like a perfectly worn-in jean jacket. Blue-eyed pub rock from down under, to listen to when things go sideways.

Vanity - "Don't Be Shy" [buy]
Hey, hey rock and roll. Caffeinated boogie rock with a tinge of British guitar to keep you interested.

Warthog - "Culture?"[buy]
A perfect mid-tempo hardcore song, complete with singable riffs, and -- shockingly -- a few full-band work outs towards the end. Also the record cover features the most stoked skull of 2016!

Weaves - "Shithole" [buy]
Jasmyn Burke's distinctive vocals soar over a noisy art guitar stomp. Weaves leave a massive sonic footprint.