Wall of Sound presents “2016 YEAR IN REVIEW” – by Wall of Sound Loyal Reader ‘Connors’

Here at WoS HQ we love getting feedback from everyone who gets involved with us, even give you the opportunity to have your say and this feature is just that from one of our loyal viewers. His Year in Review for 2016 is below but first, here’s a bit about the man we call ConnorsOld punk rocker that has followed the music for a long time. I even have all of the old “Hot Metal” magazines in my shed ☺. Now married and living in the bush, I don’t get to as many gigs, but always on the lookout for new music.

So, after much consideration, I thought I would jump into this Wall of Sound thing. I discovered this place through the Twittisphere and I thank Plugga and Browny for the encouragement to join in (and the many music conversations we have had over the year). The main reason I enjoy this site so much is that is covers a broad range of bands and does so without the high-brow, talk-down style language of other sites. The lists here already include a range of bands, and I intend to keep that going. Whilst I come from the more-punk side of things, sites that constantly argue what is and is not punk quickly lose my interest.

Furthermore, I rarely ‘hate’ a release. If bands I like continue to make music, I am generally pleased. I may not like the album as much as others, but I rarely express such strong negative emotions as hate. (It happens, but it is rare). As such, I have been very impressed with a lot of the releases this year. In fact, squeezing down to a list of 20 albums has been a hard process.

Anyway, without further ado, here are my picks for 2016.

TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2016

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1: Violent Soho  – WACO

These guys just write consistently good albums. This one seemed to have more louder songs than previous albums, which worked for me. If I included multiple songs from the same band, these guys would have 5 of the spots in my Top 20.

2: letlive – If I’m the Devil…

The first two singles from this album caught my attention more than any other individual songs this year. The album supports them with a few more politically-conscious, hard-hitting belters as well as some sentimental slower tunes.

3: Whores – Gold

If you like your music loud, gritty and fuzzed-out, you must listen to this album. (Just be careful on your YouTube and Google searches ;)).

4: Problem Daughter – Fits of Disorganised Boredom

Captivating lyrics, catchy tunes from slow to flat out, raging vocals that can also deliver on the slower tunes: these guys have it all and pack more into the 8 songs here than others get onto twice that many. Just try and peg this band down. I can’t, but I also can’t stop listening to this short LP (or is that a long EP?)

5: Blink-182 – California

Yes, I miss Tom too, but I do not miss the slow, emotion songs of Blink’s self-titled LP. This one brings back the fun. Immature at times for sure, but isn’t that why we all liked the old Blink? Well I did. I’m getting on, but maturity is over-rated, believe me. Get this and have some fun by the pool.

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6: Guttermouth – Got it Made

Speaking of fun… After watching their ‘farewell’ tour a few years ago, this is not something I expected to see this year. To add to the surprise, these guys have not put out new music in years, and their last couple of albums were far from their best. Consider this a return to form. Six poggoing, hilarious numbers. And yes, of course “Old Man” and “A Punk Rock Tale of Woe” appealed to me for being so true to life these days 😉

7: Every Time I Die – Low Teens

Brutal, yet very touching at the same time. Vocalist Keith almost bleeds to death right in front of you (fully channelling what may have almost happened to his wife). This is what the term ‘Emo’ was developed for. A pity it is now a tainted word, because this album is nothing but emotion…and breakneck riffing! Might also take out ‘Best Song Title of the Year’ in “I Didn’t Want to Join Your Stupid Cult Anyway.”

8: NOFX – First Ditch Effort

I am one that has stated that these guys are actually getting better with age. I have loved the last couple of albums, but one thing I don’t miss is Mike’s bragging about his drug use. I always thought it was a bit of a front for a rough patch in life he was hiding. Seems this may well have been the case given the lyrics on this album. Bold, self-evaluating (and deprecating) lyrics that seem honest. Not something normally associated with many NOFX tracks. But don’t worry, there is still plenty of fun to be had too.

9: The Virginmarys – Divides

I know absolutely nothing about these guys, other than this is one of the best rock albums I have listened to in some time. Recommended on someone’s mid-year list, I am glad I checked it out. Last few songs as good as the first few. Solid LP.

10: Glory Days – Gaining Perspective

Whilst doing this list, I kept telling myself, “You can’t put this album too high. It is an EP; they are basically unknown on the big stage; they draw their musical influences from the likes of A Day To Remember – who have an LP this year, and I surely can’t put it higher than that.” Then I stopped calling myself Shirley and here it is. I can’t deny it. This has been on very high rotation and I have found a place for each of the 5 tracks in my Hotterest100 list for 2016. So, check these local lads out.

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11: Pierce the Veil – Misadventures

Okay, so I know this one may cause a stir. Ranking it higher than Metallica might just get me a ‘Don’t Bother Writing for Us Again’ notice, but I enjoyed this album. I have never listened to the band before, but have heard their name bandied about. I threw the album into my playlist on a whim. Even my kids laughed at me when I turned this up in the car, thinking I had been converted to One Direction or something, and yes, some moments are very poppy, but just so irresistible. Try not to sing along to “Circles”.

12: Metallica – Hardwired… To Self-Destruct

Clearly, I’m not the biggest metal fan, and I always seem to like the wrong metal albums, so I hope this is not a bad omen for Metallica. This album has brilliant bookends. It took me a few more listens to get into some of the tracks in the middle, but I do have a short attention span. They were aiming for a combo of the Black album and Kill ‘Em All, and I would say they succeeded given the broad range of fans of both that seem to like it.

13: Luca Brasi – If This is All We’re Going to Be

Another album with great bookends. My favourite tracks are at the start and make sure you stick it out to the end for the brilliant “Anything Near Conviction” and interesting “Count Me Out”. These guys have scratched my Horsell Common itch since that awesome band died.

14: Bouncing Souls – Simplicity

Another entry from a punk band best known for their 90s output, but these guys just do not release a poor album. So many ‘whooooahhhs’ you’ll be howling along in no time.

15: Red Fang – Only Ghosts

There was no leaving these riff-masters out. Although I still don’t believe these guys have nailed a full album, there is no denying these swampy songs whose riffs and downtrodden bass just worm their way into your head.

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16: Monster Truck – Sittin’ Heavy

Another band known for their stoner-like riffs and that’s exactly how this album starts, but there is a lot more to it than that. It also diverges into ‘southern-rock’, country-tinged rock and organ-backed boogie. Bound to get any ‘twiggy’ going.

17: Sink Alaska – Battlelines from Better Times

Another EP for which I found a place for every song in my Top 100 songs of the year. Four simple punk rock tunes. Nothing more to be said: just listen.

18: Mean Jeans – Tight New Dimension

An upbeat, ‘Ramones-core’ styled album that will have you dancing around on your own. They even sing about the master of dance: Michael Jackson. I am sure this will feature on several punk sites around the web and now it is here too

19: Sum 41 – 13 Voices

This, NOFX’s album and Green Day’s all came out in the same week. I so wanted to like Green Day’s the best, but I didn’t. (I loved their triple album and move away from rock-opera, but the new album was just good, not very good, not brilliant). Whilst this is not brilliant either, there are some great moments on here and first single was an awesome lead in. Some of the cool riffing from Chuck-era return to lift this above the rest.

20: Sixx: A.M – Prayers for the Damned

Maybe another odd selection. Yes, it is highly-produced, positive, stadium-rock, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. There were several albums fighting for this last spot, but truth is I have listened to this one a lot more.

TOP 10 SONGS OF 2016

(Sticking with how the other reviewers have not included multiple songs from one band, as I would definitely have doubled up on Violent Soho and letlive. However, I could not restrict to 10. If we’re doing 20 albums, I had to do 20 songs too).

1: letlive – “Good Mourning, America”

2: Violent Soho – “Blanket”

3: Glory Days – “Turning Pages”

4: Taking Back Sunday – “Tidal Wave”

5: Blink-182 – “Kings of the Weekend”

6: Dune Rats – “Bullshit”

7: Pierce the Veil – “Circles”

8: Guttermouth – “A Punk Rock Tale of Woe”

9: Problem Daughter – “O’Brother, Where Art Thou?”

10: Whores – “Mental Illness as Mating Ritual”

11: Mobina Galore – “Vancouver”

12: Bouncing Souls – “Digital Twilight Zone”

13: The Menzingers – “Lookers”

14: Sum 41 – “Fake My Own Death”

15: Luca Brasi – “Aeroplane”

16: A Day to Remember – “Paranoia”

17: Every Time I Die – “I Didn’t Want to Join Your Stupid Cult Anyway”

18: NOFX – “Oxy Moronic”

19: The Cult – “GOAT”

20: Bombus – “Deadweight”

TOP 5 MUSIC VIDEOS OF 2016

(To be honest, I don’t know a lot of videos, but these are a few I remember. I would have included Sum 41 “Fake My Own Death”, but Browny did that, so here are all new ones).

1: letlive – “Good Mourning, America”

2: Dune Rats – “Bullshit”

3: Blink-182 – “She’s Out of Her Mind”

4: Red Fang – “Shadows”

5: Bad // Dreems – “Mob Rule”

TOP 5 GIGS OF 2016

(I don’t have any photos or video footage – I don’t even own a mobile ;). I’ve included links to Setlistfm website – you can even embed these – I do on my website).

#1: CLUTCH  March 5th @ The Forum, Melbourne, VIC

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#2: VIOLENT SOHO October 31st @ Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC

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#3: BARONESS December 9th @ Prince of Wales, St Kilda, VIC

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#4: FRENZAL RHOMB April 2nd @ Karova, Ballarat, VIC

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#5: THE BRONX October 31st @ Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC

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WHAT AM I MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2017?

Simply getting to more gigs, but seems as I don’t get to many, it would be great to see a new punk & metal festival step up to the void of the lost Soundwave. Less bands playing midweek shows in Melbourne would also help. 😉

NEXT BIG BAND IN AUSTRALIA

Well now the The Smith Street Band, Clowns and Bennies are conquering the world, I guess they don’t count. Bad//Dreems and The Hard Aches probably already there too?

How about fellow yob-rockers, the Dune Rats? Been on big tours, but let’s hope they continue to get the exposure they deserve. I guess, if I had to go with a band on the way up, I would like to give a shout-out to Glory Days. They should be the ones to support acts like A Day To Remember when they tour, that is for sure!

There is always good music out there – you just have to find it.

Connors @Connors707 (Also run @7SongsCup)

Website: http://connorscampaigns.wikidot.com/

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