Best Of…. November 2015

By Maryam Hassan

So we get to the last couple of months of 2015, and what a year it’s been! December’s best of will obviously be our picks from the whole year but before we get into review mode we have one last go at new tracks you should have heard in November. Get your headphones on and get this into your ear holes.

Ringo Deathstarr – ‘Guilt’

In a world where almost every band that has a penchant for reverb and delay gets labelled shoegaze, you won’t find Texan trio Ringo Deathstarr’ staring at their feet. From bassist Alex Ghering’s dreamy, spaced out vocal, to the blistering guitar solo embedded in walls of fuzz, ‘Guilt’ delivers 3-minutes of psychedelic bliss. Fitting somewhere between the more tuneful end of Sonic Youth, and My Bloody Valentine’s hypnotic noise, it sets the band apart from some the current wave of alternative punk bands. Lifted from their new album ‘Pure Mood’, it is just the tip of the iceberg from what is easily a late contender for album of the year. [Glen Bushell]

Get Inuit – ‘Pro Procrastinator’

Pop vocals, fuzzy bright guitars, intelligent lyrics and heaps of musicianship. Everything just seems to have hooks! Guitar hooks, bass hooks, vocal hooks, HOOKS! [Lee Male]

Laura Stevenson – ‘Torch Song’

Laura continues to amaze in her new album ‘Cocksure’. Beautiful vocals, this power pop masterpiece juxtaposes lyrics of loneliness with the catchiest hooks around. Torch song has a 90’s pop/grunge feel to it, but don’t let that put you off – Laura takes that sound and brings it right back to the modern day and makes it more relevant than ever. [Mark Gadong]

After Words – ‘Tiny Citizens’

Taken from the Norwegian trio’s mini-album of the same name, ‘Tiny Citizens’ fully encapsulates the band’s musings with Seahaven-esque sounds and math-pop guitars. Alex Øksby’s droning vocals compliment the sound beautifully, cementing the foreboading yet soaring soundscapes that After Words have mastered on this record. Everything on their mini-album is excellent, but the title-track is simply exceptional. [Ben Tipple]

The Dirty Nil – ‘No Weaknesses’

I don’t have anything witty to say, nor anything profound, about this latest single from Dundas, Ontario’s best export. And that’s appropriate, because there’s nothing witty or profound here; It’s just rowdy, raucous rock’n’roll music, loud and furious, ready to fuckin’ punch you in the jaw then in the gut with a one-two combination that you’ll never see coming. Luke Bentham’s vocals are ready to rip you apart, and the out-of-control ending seems like the band is ready to explode – which it just might one of these days. I can’t wait! [Paul Silver]

Fatherson – ‘Always’

Having locked themselves away in the studio over the summer to work on the follow-up to 2014’s ‘I Am An Island’, Scottish trio Fatherson have given us our first taste of what’s to come in the form of ‘Always’. Bursting in with a dark and echoing vocal and swooning guitar chords, ‘Always’ swiftly jumps into an idilic alternative anthem with a bouncing chorus – you can just hear the Festival crowds singing along to it next summer. With major label backing as well as an impeccable talent for songwriting, there’s no doubt that Fatherson’s next album is going to be an absolute corker. [Tamsyn Wilce]

Milk Teeth – ‘Brickwork’

Anyone who enjoyed the ‘Sad Sack’ EP, or who’d had the fortune of catching their incendiary live shows over the last 12 months, was already eagerly awaiting Milk Teeth’s début album. That eagerness grew tenfold with the release of ‘Brickwork’, the first track from aforementioned LP ‘Vile Child’. Although we still have to wait until January for the record, the wall-of-fuzz guitars and infuriatingly catch chorus on display here make a strong case that it’ll be worth the wait. Reminiscent of early Foo Fighters in its perfect balance of melody and aggression, ‘Brickwork’ showcases why Hopeless Records picked up Milk Teeth and why they’re going to be ones to watch in 2016. [Rob Barbour]

Campfires – ‘Same Streets’

When Autumn In Disguise called it a day, the pop-rock community lost an absolute gem. But fear not, for some of the members have returned in the guise of Campfires, a five-piece pop-punk group. They’ve released their absolute stormer of a first single ‘Same Streets’ to critical acclaim; it’s got the slick riffs, the thundering drum-work, the defiantly sad lyrics. Put together, it’s a huge single and is a great start to what will, hopefully, be a fruitful career. [Jess Tagliani]

Prawn – ‘Seas’

New Jersey’s Prawn have done it again. This band just goes from strength to strength and ‘Seas’ (from their incredible split with Moving Mountains , out on Triple Crown now. Buy it. Seriously) is another beautiful, atmospheric, swirling concoction of twiddly guitars and pounding drums and a whole ton of reverb and delay. It makes you want to get in the car with your friends and drive through some mountains or something. I don’t know, it makes you want to do something. If that isn’t the best feeling, then I don’t know what is. If you don’t know Prawn, it’s time you get yourself acquainted. Man, this band rules. Also, the video has bears in it, so…y’know. Check it. [Conor Mackie]

Tilian – ‘Dreaming’

Tilian Pearson is no stranger to an infectious melody. Whether it’s with Tides of Man, Dance Gavin Dance or his solo material, Tilian has been crafting hooks for years and excelling at it. His debut solo album ‘Material Me’ was full of electro-pop magic and though his second album ‘Perfect Enemy’ sees him dialling back on the electronics for a more stripped-back sound, the catchy, pop elements are as strong as ever. ‘Dreaming’ hits hard with the sings-a-long moments, delivering one of the best choruses of the album and the more organic instrumentation just draws out Tilian’s perfect tone even more. [Mark Johnson]

Leftover Crack – ‘The War at Home’

After 11 years without a proper full length, Leftover Crack storms back onto the scene with Constructs of the State. Like with previous albums, they have re-recorded an older song of theirs. Only this time, instead of a previous C-Squat band, (“Gang Control” was an old Morning Glory song), Leftover Crack has tackled, “The War at Home”; a song that was previously released by techno-punk band Intro5pect that featured vocals by Stza. This selection makes sense considering that the band’s new guitarist and drummer were previously in Intro5pect and the song deserves a much wider release. As with the aforementioned Morning Glory track, “The War At Home” functions much better as a Leftover Crack song. The band is clearly having a great time revisiting this jam as the synth lines drive the song over the guttural vocals and guitar work brought forth by the slick production levels present on this record. I would never have guessed that such a scathing send up of the horrid treatment immigrants, particularly Mexicans, in the States face could be so much fun. However, after a few listens, you too will have a hard time not singing “Run cover, here comes la Migra. Run cover, here come the pigs” over and over in your head. It’s an issue in this country that does not get nearly the amount of coverage that it deserves, so it’s refreshing to hear someone embrace so wholeheartedly. [Mat Stokes]

Handguns – ‘Conjuring My Youth’

With Pure Noise Records having built a reputation for quality releases, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Handguns’ latest album ‘Disenchanted’ features many moments of pop-punk perfection. ‘Conjuring My Youth’ is a real highlight with the way it shapes Handguns’ established sound, current pop-punk trends, and hints of early Saves The Day into something that is not only insanely catchy but with layers of depth beneath the sing-along chorus and rapid riffs. [Chris Hilson]

Loma Prieta – “Merciless”

Loma Prieta built their discography on atmospheric emotive hardcore that garnered many a “#skramz” in the tags of tumblr posts. Self Portrait follows the tradition but it’s not the trudging through a black hole fans might expect. The vibe is much more confined, still hectic as ever. “Merciless” is that feeling encapsulated in one noisy raucous run. It sounds like waking up inside of a buried coffin and the breakdown feels as anxious as the climax of a Hitchcock movie. “Eerie” is probably the word for this one. [Jay Papandreas]

Foo Fighters – ‘Sean’

The Foo Fighters new EP, Saint Cecilia, follows up Sonic Highways perfectly. It proves that the band is back to their older sounds that fans know and love all the while keeping things fresh. All five songs are a culmination of their entire back catalogue. “Sean”, being the most punk sounding track on the entire EP, is packed with heavy, fast riffs that are reminiscent of the Foo’s The Colour and The Shape days. Between the throwback sound and the “break down” in the middle, “Sean” seems to be the most fun track out of the five songs. Also, as an added bonus to an already stellar song, and release, the band put the entire EP up as a free download on their website. [Daniella Heminghaus]