PLAYLIST: The best of November 2016

PLAYLIST: The best of November 2016

By Glen Bushell

Dec 2, 2016 9:03

As the year begins to wind down and the entire world is thinking about their end of year lists, there was still a vast amount of great music released throughout November. Some will make our end of year list, others no doubt will be ones to watch in 2017. With new bands emerging, and even a few bands returning from last months playlist with new singles, these are just some of our favourite tracks released last month.

Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes – ‘Wild Flowers’

As Autumn comes to an end and Winter sinks its frosty teeth into our skin ‘Wild Flowers’ is a welcome and warm embrace to shield you from the cold. Once again Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes have surpassed all expectations with another track from their forthcoming album ‘Modern Ruin’. ‘Wild Flowers’ is a song about “falling in love” and the overwhelming feelings you get “when you meet someone and you know you need them in your life” explains Frank. This track although melodic still flirts with aggression that comes in the form of guitarist Dean Ward’s furious riffing over the choruses. In an almost complete contrast to ‘Blossom’, ‘Wild Flowers’ is an up tempo punk / rock ‘n’ roll track that tackles the thorny issue of love and happiness in a positive manner. This song is the perfect Winter warmer. [James Davenport]

Zao – ‘A Well-Intentioned Virus

In an age of nostalgic reformations, it tends to lose the element of surprise when bands come back. Except for when that returning band is Zao. They resurfaced late in 2015, and now they are ready to unleash their ferocious eleventh album, ‘The Well-Intentioned Virus’. The title track proves they are just as brutal as ever, and is without a doubt, classic Zao. The complex and intricate musicianship is carried by Dan Weyandt’s caustic screams, and is the rejuvenated shot in the arm that modern metalcore has desperately needed for so long. [Glen Bushell]

Petrol Girls – ‘Touch Me Again’

It’s an equal mix of political disaster and timely release schedules that helped me choose this cut. Any of the tracks from ‘Talk Of Violence’ could have made it on here, as the hydra-headed debut from Petrol Girls twists and contorts in so many different ways over its ten tracks. But with the catastrophe that is Donald Trump assuming the mantle of Groper-In-Chief, one song stood out amongst all the rest. ‘Touch Me Again’ is an explosive melting pot of jaggy punk riffs, righteous indignation, furious breakdowns and scorching rhythms. And as the chorus of “it’s my body, it’s my choice” resonates with more urgency than ever before, Petrol Girls’ anger becomes a statement of defiant intent, a rallying cry of positive affirmation in the face of reactionary oppression. Equal parts intellectually technical punk-rock and pure hardcore feminist celebration, ‘Touch Me Again’ is a stand-out on an album that could go down as one of this year’s most timely releases. [Matthew Wilson]

Stray From The Path – ‘The House Always Wins’

The protest single SFTP dropped on November 18th exemplifies how punk music, in all its forms and genres responds to political unrest. Hardcore stalwarts, Stray From The Path have been producing politically charged albums for 15 years.This single hits hard and doesn’t take prisoners, it is an outpouring of rage and discontent that speaks to the majority of our minds in the present moment. The lyrics reference Trumps obsession with Mexican immigration, and the beat is infectious – you can protest mosh your heart out to it. “You want to keep them silent, but the people want to riot”, this is a song for a moment in time, and its moment is now. [Rhian Wilkinson]

Cloud Nothings – ‘Internal World’

Along with the previously released ‘Modern Act’, ‘Internal World’ poises Cloud Nothings’ upcoming fifth effort, ‘Life Without Sound’, to be one of 2017’s best releases. It is a scuzzy fuelled powerhouse track that worms it’s way with charm and sincerity in it’s lyrical content. With each record, the Cleveland, Ohio quartet keep bettering themselves, this excellent tune furthers that point. [Aaron Lohan]

Surprise Vacation – ‘The Kids Don’t Know What They Want’

Surprise Vacation hail from Los Angeles, but look more toward Washington, DC and Chicago in crafting their sound. Nowhere is the Chicago influence more evident than on the closing song of their debut full-length LP, ‘Stealing Office Supplies.’ Big muscular guitars move to the forefront, echoing some of the Windy City’s greats of the past, such as Naked Raygun and Bhopal Stiffs. This song leaves me homesick for my hometown and its music scene of yore. [Paul Silver]

The Empty House Band – ‘Jacket (Live Acoustic)’

New act The Empty House Band have quietly emerged from the shadows to bring a fantastic live track in the form of ‘Jacket’. Highly reminiscent of Deaf Havana, they lay the vocal hooks and harmonies on thickly; add in a catchy chorus and melodic group vocals, and it’s easy to fall head over heels in love with this band. Learn the lyrics for this so you can sing it at the top of your lungs in preparation for any live shows The Empty House Band announce.
[Jess Tagliani]

Owel – ‘Slow’

Owel’s latest album, ‘Dear Me’, has been a hidden gem amongst a sea of big releases this year. One of the stand out tracks, ‘Slow’, glides along with grace and beauty, capturing an early 00’s emo sound and marrying it with current day indie rock. Any track from the album could have made this list, but ‘Slow’ tugs at the heartstrings of the listener in all the right places. If they get in the right ears, Owel will go down as one of the modern masters of the genre. [Glen Bushell]

Estrons – ‘Belfast’

The debut E.P from Estrons had shown that the keen Cardiff Punk rockers mean business. The track ‘Belfast’ shows the true potential that this band has. Resembling the early works of Marmozets, having head banging riffs and catchy choruses. Full of uncontainable energy and unique vocals from lead singer Tali Källström. Perhaps one of the more exciting bands to come through in 2016 and certainly one to look out for in 2017. [Charlie Conibear]

Metallica – ‘Spit Out The Bone

This month saw the long awaited return of Metallica, 8 years in the making we finally got the album we’d all been waiting for in ‘Hardwired… To self-destruct’. Setting the metal world ablaze the album is one of the fastest selling of the year from any genre and the final track from the album ‘Spit out the bone’ encompasses all that’s great about it from Hetfield’s furious vocals to Kirk’s mind blowing solo and even comes with a pretty insane video to boot. Metallica are back!! [Chris Lee]

WVRM – ‘Can You Hear The Wind Howl’

South Carolina’s WVRM have been kicking around for a few years now, having last been heard splitting eardrums with 2014’s ‘Swarm Sound’. They’re back with a new track this month, recorded as part of the Converse Rubber Tracks programme courtesy of Converge legend Kurt Ballou at Godcity Studio. ‘Can You Heat The Wind Howl?’ is a venom-spitting blast of crust-infused grind that rattles your very skeleton at 40 paces. The band’s rusted-chainsaw guitars and blistering blastbeats should appeal to fans of Trap Them, The Secret, and being generally miserable. [James Lee]

Beach Head ‘Wild Flower’

You may not have heard of them just yet, but I can guarantee you that Leeds’ Beach Head will be in your face sooner than you think. Since forming earlier this year from the veterans of the Leeds scene and playing their debut gig supporting Basement, the levels of hype surrounding this band have been building gradually. Luckily, with the timely release of their debut EP ‘Take Me To Heaven’, Beach Head match the hype, bringing their reverb heavy mix of pop-punk melody, fuzzy riffs, emotively melodic vocals and shoegaze drama to the fray. Any of the four tracks on this EP could have made this list, but I went with ‘Wildflowers’ for the beautiful fuzzy arpeggios, sappily romantic chorus and those catchy lyrics. “You were a perfect ten, maybe eleven” sings Joe Armitage. Killer.[Matthew Wilson]

Tiny Kingdoms – ‘Wait Here’

Tiny Kingdoms took a step out of their comfort zone with their latest EP ‘I’ll Wait Around’ and the results were stunning. The hooks and melodies were still there but the decision to go acoustic gave the band the perfect opportunity to explore and expand their musical horizons. ‘Wait Here’ is subtly haunting in the way it builds from a simple beginning to an emotional crescendo in the space of four minutes. The release of a debut album can’t come soon enough. [Chris Hilson]

Holding Absence – ‘Dream Of Me’

Welsh quintet Holding Absence have really honed their sound in the short, few months that they’ve been together. Their riffs are staggering and come together to create an atmosphere that simply bristles with electricity. Add in emotional lyrics delivered with a fierce determination and you have one of the UK’s most exciting up-and-coming bands. [Jess Tagliani]

Me Rex – ‘Heart Of Garbage’

If there’s a gig going on in someone’s basement, rehearsal space, book club or the backroom of a beat-down bar, there’s a good chance Me Rex will be there, singing about five decibels too loud for the soundman and cramming more words into a sentence than you thought is humanly possible. A veteran of the coffee-shop, toilet sink venue circuit, Myles McCabe is equal parts Elliot Smith self-depreciation, Virgina Woolf stream of consciousness, punk-rock DIY ethics and an unhealthy lyrical obsession about skin. ‘Heart Of Garbage’, the opener to EP ‘Stegosaurus’, is a suitably lo-fi affair, as McCabe struggles to find a balance between the alienation of self-loathing, the collapse of relationships and the redemption of reaching out. Yeah. Heavy stuff. But luckily, the stripped back guitar, simplistic tribal drums and incredibly infectious chorus stops ‘Heart Of Garbage’ from being self-destructive soul searching and turns it into a redemptive message of positivity. Straddling the line between poetry and punk, ‘Heart Of Garbage’ is a great introduction to one of the UK DIY most talented, if unknown, lyricists. [Matthew Wilson]

Faultlines – ‘Voices’

Exciting metalcore quintet Faultlines have come racing out of the stands this year with the release of their debut EP ‘All We’ve Ever Known’, an appearance at Facedown and Butserfest, a headline run of dates, and an upcoming tour with Griever. Pretty incredible that, amongst all that, they’ve found time to film a new video for track ‘Voices’. It’s deliciously dark and haunting, filled with powerful riffs and impressive vocal interplay that consists of deep, rough growls and soaring cleans. Keep an eye on this lot – 2017 looks set to be even more jam-packed for Faultlines. [Jess Tagliani]

Enter Shikari – ‘The Last Garrison – No Sleep Tonight’ (Live)

The thing about Enter Shikari is whatever basement, theatre, arena or festival you put them in, they will find a way to focus their energy on you, the individual. The ‘Live At The Alexandra Palace’ record makes you feel like you were in the room that night. It’s a personal affair. This track is a live mashup of two crowd favourites, ‘The Last Garrison’ and ‘No Sleep Tonight’. The hair-raising narrative at the start of the song makes you feel like you’ve taken David Attenborough to see The Prodigy. That’s something everyone can enjoy. If your spine isn’t tingling when the key change drops during the ‘No Sleep Tonight’ section then I refuse to believe that we’re listening to the same song. Exceptional stuff from the genre-bending St. Albans Electro-Rockers. [William Scott]