Discordance and Destruction II: The Best Rock, Noise Rock, and Shoegaze Albums of 2015Cody DavisJanuary 7, 2016Best of Lists3 Comments 032 min read Facebook242Twitter0Google+4Pinterest2LinkedIn0People that say “rock is dead” or whatever are stupid and obviously not paying attention. – Jon Discordance & Destruction Part I: The Best Metal Albums of 2015 is here. The Best Rock, Noise Rock, and Shoegaze Albums of 2015 Deaf Wish – Pain I am glad that someone at Sub Pop remembered that they used to be a rock label, and over the last couple of years they have been releasing some killer records; Deaf Wish’s Pain is one of them. Imagine the cold, rickety, angular manglings of Swell Maps, Hüsker Dü, and Mission of Burma falling face down into the whacked out guitar washes of the Dust Devils and unhinged guitar freak outs of early Sonic Youth. It’s discordant, it’s melodic, it’s brash, and it’s pretty in all the wrong places. – Brandon Perras Blood Drugs – Blood Drugs One of the newest additions to the top notch roster at Good To Die Records. Their debut album has nine songs plus an extra special nugget at the end (the remix of Leaves). It is definitely a creeper. With each listen it gets better and better. Dare I say it is catchy? Yes, I dare. Also, super stoked to hear some new Shawn Kock guitar wizardry! Been missing that style (R.I.P. Monarchs). – Matt Jamison Mansion – Early Life It has been awhile since I’ve heard a band play this style of noise-rock, and on the first listen of Early Life, I was grinning ear to ear. MANSION taps into those dark, gritty and dissonant demons that early Swans, Sonic Youth, Dust Devils, etc. were known for summoning. This album drags you kicking and screaming through a minefield of sudden sound explosions and tempo shifts, where the air is riddled with vocal haranguings to rub some additional salt into the wounds. MANSION is a much-needed antidote from the wacky-zany-shenanigans epidemic that noise rock has slowly gotten sick with over the last few years. – Brandon Perras Early Life by MANSION Weakwick – For Show Two-piece destruction unit Weakwick have once again successfully demolished rock as we know it. For Show is an all-encompassing whirlwind of other-worldly guitar sounds, frantic vocals, and rabid drumming, executed with ship-in-a-bottle precision. Once you are done Q-tipping all the blood out of your ears, it’s probably the catchiest noise rock you’ve heard in a long time. Read my full review here. -Brandon Perras For Show by weakwick Spectres – Dying So yeah, about last year (2014), I was all about that shoegaze revival and couldn’t get enough of it. Fast forward to 2015, and you find yourself in a locust swarm of delay pedals, blurry album covers and drug rugs; suddenly, it just isn’t cute anymore. Right now modern shoegaze has become the equivalent of adult baby talk (obviously there are some exceptions). So if you are going to try to take shoegaze out of hospice, you better plan on breathing some new life into it, and Dying may just be the CPR it needs. This album is a sludgy, squealing, creepy, distorted, washed out, haunted house that is always on the verge of popping out of a closet and scaring the shit out of you, and it often pops out of a closet and scares the shit out of you. It has the freewheeling, ear-piercing, aural assault of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Psychocandy mixed with the dreary and ominous atmosphere evoked by Evol, Bad Moon Rising era Sonic Youth. This is a promising new band to keep an eye on. – Brandon Perras Dying by Spectres Zulus – II This is the type of album that will wear its shoes in your house, spill drinks all over your couch, get piss all over your toilet seat and feed your dog chocolate. It’s fun, noisy, upbeat and reckless, featuring members of Battleship, RICE, the Homosexuals, and Aa. Here is my full review of II and an interview with the kind gentleman of Zulus. – Brandon Perras Toupee – Leg Toucher Leg Toucher is an album that could have come from either the future or from the 80’s and you would never know. All the best parts of Siouxsie and the Banshees/trashier Bauhaus tracks meet the best parts of 90’s weird rock. Amidst the musical madness are some of my favorite vocals of the year; imagine Pazuzu on bath salts entering the body of Kat Bjelland. Now that’s a party. Feel free to read my full review here. – Brandon Perras Toupee – Leg Toucher by Moniker Records Blis. – Starting Fires In My Parents House Show up for the opening track “Floating Somewhere High and Above” and stay for the other three tracks full off smart math-rock emo stuff. Favorite lyrics of the year “I sold my soul to Jesus it turns out God doesn’t need us. My arms now marked by the beast. He taught me how to be empty.” . – Jon Blis. live review here. Chastity Belt – Time To Go Home Chastity Belt’s indie-pop eschews the typical “sugary-sweet” feeling evoked by most of this decade’s CMJ-toppers, instead going for a vibe that pushes the foursome’s youthful cynicism to the forefront. The sound gathers influences from post-punk, dream pop, and even grunge, sounding gritty, contemplative, and evocative at once. But variety and innovation don’t necessarily make for a compelling listen, and fortunately Chastity Belt make it work with their refreshing candidness. Some of the lyrics may be White Feminism 101—namely, mansplaining (“He was just another man trying to teach me something”) and sexual autonomy and double-standards (“Ladies, it’s okay to be slutty/So what?/We like to fuck”)—but there’s also enough vulnerability on display for a million depressed-artist types to go around (“Now when I close my eyes I envy/Anyone who feels alright/It’s all in front of me/Living, breathing, dreaming, dying”). The record slows a little towards the middle, but picks back up on the penultimate “IDC,” before closing on the pensive, yet triumphant title track. “I just want to have a good time/I hope you have a strong heart.” A strong heart, indeed. -Ben Braunstein HEADS. – S/T The dudes in HEADS. know what they are doing and I am honestly stoked to see how much they progress with their next release. It’s everything you want from a noise rock, but you didn’t know you could get it all in one until now. – Jon Interview with HEADS. here. Foxing – The Dealer Foxing funneled the angst that permeated through The Albatross into gloomy post-rock gold. The lyrics on Dealer are sharper, from the repressed sexual guilt on “The Magdalene” to heartbreaking post-traumatic stress confessionals on “Indica,” and each track’s arrangements are wondrously intricate, doubling down on the lyrical tension and refusing to give in to catharsis until the moment is right. – Sam Clark I have to admit, I am one of the people who simply cannot get over the accidental magnitude of Foxing’s debut LP The Albatross. It grabbed me by the boo boo and never let go. I wasn’t quite taken back with Dealer from the get go. And the band themselves have described it as a slow burn and a grower. Which it definitely is. Every time I listen I like it that much more. Very excited to see what’s next from this talented group. Don’t miss them live if you get the chance. You won’t regret it. – Isaac Palm – Trading Basics Probably one of the most fun and interesting rock records to come out this year, Palm sound like a playful hybrid of This Heat, Yukon, Eureka Farm, Make Believe, Lynx, Volta Do Mar maybe even some American Don-era Don Caballero. Pair that with vocal melodies that are often off-putting, adding an edge of lunacy to the melee of battling guitars. Trading Basics is what being on mushrooms in Algebra II class is like. I am sure this album is equally awesome live, so keep an eye out for these whackos! – Brandon Perras Trading Basics by Palm Ringo Deathstarr – Pure Mood Pure Mood was my introduction to Ringo Deathstarr and because they made such a great album of driving shoegaze rock I now sleep in the band members beds when they aren’t home. Shhhhh… don’t tell them. – Jon Årabrot – You Bunch of Idiots Ya boy, Phil Maye called them “noise glam”. I think that works. – Jon No Spill Blood – Heavy Electricity Sargent House is plugged in when it comes to the Irish music scene. Heavy Electricity had lofty expectations following the incredible Street Meat EP and somehow they were able to exceed and crush those. The nine tracks on the album will please anybody that has ever been a fan of old horror movies. The synth-heavy noise rock makes it impossible not to think about John Carpenter at times. These dudes keep it heavy throughout though. – Matt Jamison Brandon asked the band about Goblin and turtlenecks. Mamaleek – Via Dolorosa This record creeps me the fuck out every single time I listen to it. It’s not quite black metal and not quite anything else either. But if you liked the last two Horseback albums, you might just have found your new go-to record for when that old acquired taste rears it’s ugly head. – Jasper Hesselink Via Dolorosa by Mamaleek Indian Handcrafts – Creeps They shred. Promise! – Jon Creeps by Indian Handcrafts Lower Dens – Escape From Evil Every time I peruse this particular “best of” line up and notice Lower Dens listed with the likes of Motherfucker, Torche, and Metz I laugh out loud imagining the face of the smooth-as-silk singer Jana Hunter locked in a full-fledged cringe over such associations. Despite how appropriate Escape from Evil is for this list, I loved it so much this year (my second favorite disc of 2015 right below the immortal Viet Cong debut) that I just had to contribute a prop. Much has been written since the release of Escape from Evil about Hunter’s androgynous, queer perspective on pop music (see the noirish video for “To Die in LA” for a taste of that stuff), yet any expression of these sensibilities becomes lost in the vibey synths (“Heart Still Beating”), dance rhythms (“To Die in LA”), and slow jams (“Electric Current,” and “I am the Earth”), as well as an amazing vocal performance (every song) on this intriguing album. – Nate Jones Coliseum – Anxiety’s Kiss It drives, it rocks, it goths, it post-punks, it is good. – Jon They answered some questions for us. Title Fight – Hyperview I never thought I’d be listening to Title Fight again after high school, but they proved me wrong with Hyperview. I think they knew that they needed to do something new with their sound, and while this record was released amongst the slew of other “heavy music goes shoegaze”, it still retained that energy that the band became known for and stood out from the bunch. – Quinten O’Neal Full reviews for Hyperview here. Creepoid – Cemetery High Rise Slum A splash of shoegaze, a pinch of Jesus and Mary Chain, and a heaping help of awesome and you have Creepoid. – Jon Cemetery Highrise Slum by CREEPOID Girl Band – Holding Hands With Jamie Are these songs or are they nihilistic post-modern apocalyptic death chants? I don’t know, but I love Girl Band either way. – Jon Upon hearing the machine gun guitar riff ripping out of the first five seconds of Girl Band’s debut full-length album, it becomes immediately clear that this project is anything but a flashy retread of the Bengals or Go-Gos. Girl Band most certainly is a “we don’t give a shit what you think of us,” sort of a punk/noise rock band that refuses play to any categorical expectations. The vibe Girl Band puts out on Holding Hands with Jamie at times recalls the desperation of Black Flag (see My War), the lyrical weirdness of Sid Barrett (see Piper at the Gates of Dawn), and the abstractness of Liars (see They Were Wrong, So We Drowned). What really sets this album apart from other contemporary punkesque efforts though is Adam Faulkner’s eclectic, anything-is-possible drum beats. The chaotic nature of Alan Duggan’s constant starts-and-stops guitar and Daniel Fox’s at times grating bass perfectly complement Faulkner’s beats and singer Dara Kiely’s undecipherable lyrics. To put it simply, the integration of the strange musicianship on Holding Hands with Jamie works (at least for me), and makes for one of the most unique albums of 2015. – Nate Jones Elephant Rifle – Ivory We interviewed Elephant Rifle earlier this year strictly because their lead singer likes to pour colorful goo all over him. Luckily for us the band makes the kind of noise rock that makes you also want to pour colorful goo down your own chest – Jon KEN Mode – Success Ouch! – Jon Clutch – Psychic Warfare I’ll be honest… Clutch’s Psychic Warfare is not a great album – it’s barely even a really good one, but it’s just so damned fun to listen to that it might be my biggest guilty pleasure of the year. Stealing liberally from a couple of decades of rock and metal, the album pays homage to 70s and early 80s era KISS-style choruses (“Sucker for the Witch”), Ronnie James Dio ballads (“Our Lady of Electric Light”), and Deep Purple guitar riffs (“Firebirds”), among literally dozens of others. In addition to these callbacks, the fun of Psychic Warfare is listening to the lyrical buffoonery of band leader Neil Fallon all packaged within a deep Texas boogie vibe. Certainly the album bogs down at times (maybe skip the gloom of “Doom Saloon”), but Fallon’s high-energy scream of the band member roll call on the best rock song of 2015 candidate “X-Ray Visions” could redeem just about anything. – Nate Jones Full review here. Spylacopa – Parallels Created by John LaMacchia of Candiria, Spylacopas first EP thing was pretty great and featured some really killer contributions from Greg Puciato of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Jeff Caxide of Isis , Julie Christmas of Made Out Of Babies. According to our interview with LaMacchia earlier this year it seems like he went through a lot to get Parallels released and even though it may not feature the above named contributors as much or if at all, that doesn’t mean that Parallels doesn’t rule, because it totally does. Interview with LaMacchia. Parallels by Spylacopa California X – Knights in the Dark This album rules. Knights In The Dark came out of nowhere for me. When I throw my music on shuffle and anyone of the tracks came on I always found myself looking to see who the artist was. Great stuff. – Isaac Blacklisters – Adult I have Matt Jamison to thank for this one. Upon editing his review of Adult and first hearing Blaklisters music I was amazed at how solid and complete it felt. If there was blueprint for how to build a dope ass noise rock band I think Blacklisters have perfected it. – Jon Matt’s full feature here. Adult by Blacklisters Motherfucker – Confetti This band name would not work for me if it wasn’t three females making some of the most amazing post punk (or whatever) music I have heard in some time. These ladies have a crazy good dynamic and I think I could listen to track four on Confetti,”I Want the F” over and over. Erika Rickson (drums) who is an insanely great drummer, Erica Strout (guitar), and Mandy Branch (bass) you have my heart do what you will with it. – Jon Confetti by Motherfucker Great Falls – The Fever Shed Noise rock? Metal? Post Metal? Who fucking cares! This album is fun for the whole family! The songs are long, ferocious and imposing, dipping in and out of crushing sludge, 90’s math-rock riffage, and pummeling “post” metal. (What else would you expect from an ex-member of Playing Enemy and Kiss It Goodbye?). I love when a band is unclassifiable, and Great Falls is one handsome anomaly. And yes, I may be sexually attracted to this album. – Brandon Perras Matt does it again! The Fever Shed by GREAT FALLS Raketkanon – RKTKN II I have no idea what is going on when I listen to RKTKN II. All I know is that I really really enjoy it and I guess that is all that matters. – Jon Grizzlor – Cycloptic I seriously dig how short and chaotic Grizzlor’s music is. I feel like I’m sucking on a nitrous tank while bungee jumping every time Cycloptic comes on. – Jon Matt does it one more time! CYCLOPTIC by GRIZZLOR Failure – The Heart is A Monster I didn’t think Failure would ever get back to together let alone create an album that was as good if not better than Fantastic Planet, but guess what?! They did. – Jon Heart Is A Monster Review Failure Interview Pinkish Black – Bottom of the Morning Haunting dark rock from Daron Beck and Jon Teague, formerly of The Great Tyrant. Pinkish Black utilize drums, synths, keyboards and other instruments to craft an unsettling, horror movie-esque soundtrack on Bottom of the Morning. I was fortunate enough to see the duo perform live and talk to them about their music earlier this year. – Cody Davis Bottom of the Morning by Pinkish Black Fight Amp – Constantly Off These six songs are basically a 20 minute session of punching yourself straight in the taters and loving every possible moment of it. – Jon Phil asked them some uncomfortable questions here. Constantly Off by Fight Amp Marriages – Salome The most complete and well thought out album of 2015. The entire band play so well off of each other and the compositions on Salome are top notch. I really feel like Emma Ruth Rundle (vocals / guitar) Greg Burns (keys / bass) have really grown as musicians and songwriters and with the addition of Andrew Clinco on drums it just made Marriages that much better – Jon Interview with Marriages Salome by Marriages Metz – II One of my favorite bands of the last few years, Metz once again has released another grueling rock record which is as equally sweaty and disgusting as their previous self-titled release. II takes all the heaviest riffs from your favorite 90’s “grunge” bands and blows them the fuck out. The mix on this album is massive, and as the non-stop walloping plays on, you wonder at what point your speakers are going to prolapse. – Brandon Perras Cloakroom – Further Out Nicest dudes ever! – Isaac The guys in Cloakroom really made a heavy hitter with Further Out, and most of that I think can be attributed to the sick nasty bass tones that Bobby Markos is known for. “Mesmer,” track of the year. – Quinten O’Neal The bridge / breakdown / build up of the opening track “Paper Weight” seriously brings a tear to my eye every time. It fills me with this happy, nostalgic, melon collie, longing that I can’t explain. That’s just the first song, so you can only imagine what an emotional wreck I am after listening to all 10 tracks of Further Out. You need this album and Cloakroom in your life, trust me. – Jon Cloakroom Interview Further Out full Review Torche – Restarter This sure is one groovy sludge album. Restarter became the soundtrack to my car rides for the early part of 2015. This album is riddled with churning riffs and contagious melodies that kept me singing along to songs like “Bishop in Arms” or “Undone.” This is simply a fun record to put on and turn the volume up very loudly. – Cody Davis Interview with Torche. Cherubs – 2 Ynfynyty This album seriously sounds so gnarly! I love how deconstructed it sounds, while still functioning as a songs. Glad to have Cherubs back, even if 2 Ynfynyty was my gateway into their insanity. My favorite interview of the year is here, a must read from the band and Brandon. – Jon 2 Ynfynyty by Cherubs Chelsea Wolfe – Abyss This album made me feel comfortable with being susceptible to darker emotions. Miss Wolfe combined elements of drone and industrial metal into her gothic, neofolk music. I instantly became a huge fan of this album when I heard “Carrion Flowers” and “After the Fall”. Abyss drags the listener into a restless purgatory, manipulating their minds and showing them vulnerability. It’s all a beautiful, gloomy moment. – Cody Davis Abyss feature here. Abyss by CHELSEA WOLFE Kowloon Walled City – Grievances This is more like it! Grievances only made #31 on our site wide list. This album is killer. And there is no other band like KWC! In a class all their own! – Isaac Kowloon Walled City, we are obsessed with you! You should know that already though. – Jon Grievances by Kowloon Walled City Discordance & Destruction I: The Best Metal Albums of 2015 Cody Davis Knows he doesn’t look like he listens to metal, but trust him. He does. He spends an overwhelming majority of his day listening to it. When he isn’t busy becoming a physical therapist at Duke University, he splits his time as a writer for not only Bearded Gentlemen Music but at Metal Injection, Noisey, and Treble as well. Cody can be found on Twitter or Instagram and if you ever see him in person, please buy him a cup of coffee.