Here are the best records of the year. Not much label diversity here, but that is just how it goes sometimes.
1) Joie De Vivre – We’re All Better Than This (Count Your Lucky Stars)
2) Dowsing – It’s Still Pretty Terrible (Count Your Lucky Stars)
3) Dikembe – Broad Shoulders (Tiny Engines)
4) Dads – American Radass (this is important) (Flannel Gurl)
5) State Faults – Desolate Peaks (Tiny Engines)
6) Best Practices – The EP LP (Tiny Engines)
7) Suis La Lune – Riala (Topshelf)
8) You Blew It! – Grow Up, Dude (Topshelf)
9) Beach House – Bloom (Sub Pop)
10) The Dandelion War – We Were Always Loyal To Lost Causes (Deep Elm)
Holy cats, you guys. This is a fucking record. If you want a good distillation of what hardcore and emo can be, this is certainly a great example. State Faults (formerly Brother Bear) remind me why I love this type of music. To me, listening to Desolate Peaks is like hanging out with an old friend.
While this record borrows from a lot of things, it eschews the blatant style biting that a lot of screamo (or skramz, or whatever the fuck we’re calling it these days) bands seem to be doing. State Faults is able to navigate the middle ground between the chaotic screamo and the twinkly emo. The vocals are aggressive as hell, but the instrumentation hangs out in an inviting, melodic place a lot of the time. To my ear, this has some pretty obvious influence from bands like Antioch Arrow, Saetia, and maybe Maximillian Colby. For a boring comparison to more recent bands, this has a lot in common with bands like Caravels, Pianos Become The Teeth, Circle Takes The Square, and The Saddest Landscape.
Where this separates itself from the super chaotic bands of yore is in the grounded instrumentation. State Faults are fantastic at playing up the more jagged, hard line stuff while still maintain a bit of atmosphere and space. The production is great and makes the two book ends completely compliment each other. Unlike some other bands, the fluctuation of style sounds fluid instead of forced.
This shit rules. Check it out, ok?
Tiny Engine Records
Stream/Buy It (Bandcamp)
Buy It (Physical)