crushes of the year '15
2015 has been an exciting year for us. We introduced two new categories to our community, interviewed tremendously talented musicians and wrote a shitload of reviews. Furthermore we accounted for one of the most scandalous interviews - we just call it the 'Saetia-V-Neck-Dude-Gate'. As 2015 draws an end, we'd like to give you a glimpse into our personal soundtracks of the departing year, a year which brought us tons of great releases. Here are Carl's and Michael's crushes of the year, including the most brilliant and fantastic albums, EPs, demos and split records of 2015. There's no classification, just two elitist lists of ten releases plus some honorable mentions above.
Part I (by Carl)
10 - The Saddest Landscape - [Released: 23-10-15] [listen]
This was a very late addition to this list. Everlasting screamo legends The Saddest Landscape still manage to supply us with new musical outputs of high quality. And if you take a close listen - they change. There are minor changes, but they are there. And they’re for good. ‘Darkness Forgives’ took a slight turn to the metallic side of underground music. Exemplified in the third song ‘Til Our Ears Bleed’, with its short blast beat episodes, the band delivers a refreshing sound of screamo with a metallic varnish. Beneath they are still the desperate kids doing extraordinary things. Favorite track: ‘Til Our Ears Bleed.
"Cause we’re still singing like we mean it. And I’m still screaming 'You still got a friend in me'”
9 - THURM - Selftitled [Released: 10-08-15] [listen]
It seems for me there will not have been any snow in 2015 so here is my dose of grimness and frostbite. Reformed from the remains of Anteater, the former vocalist of Amber and one of the most versatile young drummers I have ever seen play, for me this is the most exciting metal record of the year. Just as lovely and nice the people behind the band are, the heavier and grim their sound is. Live a sheer monster the bands manages to shine just as dark on record. As a freshly formed combo they even got support from Fall Of Efrafa / Light Bearer vocalist Alex Bradshaw. The lyrics range from personal struggle up to criticism of modern age society, politics and the destructive way of life human race keeps pursuing on this plant – probably pissing of quite a few people in the rather apolitical or even right-minded black metal community. Favorite track: Dawn.
… And the award for the silliest song names in 2015 goes to *drumroll* MARAIS! I still have no clue how they come up with stuff like “Beer in John Alkowitch; Juwelendieb, Der” but hey, it most definitely does not make their side of the Split EP any worse. In my opinion the skramzy to emo-violent sound shines the brightest in the slower parts and when Patrick picks up the mic while still thrashing his drums. For quite a while I ignored the Auszenseiter side of the split up until the point where it came up in my shuffle and took me by surprise. Oh what have I ignored for too long! As a huge fan of Alpinist I could immediately connect with their sound. Really great record as a whole with two bands complementing each other’s sound. Favorite tracks: Schon Okay Irgendwie Aber Nicht Mein Cup Of Mixery & Denkfaul.
7 - Daily Ritual - Selftitled [Released: 18-05-15] [listen]
Another band that became very important to me during my time in Singapore. It was the second show I went to in the SEA city state. And it surely got me to dig deeper into political/anarcho/dark punk as well as take a closer look at the Singaporean politics as the band constantly chalks down the nuisances in their country. Soon after leaving the country the band officially released their first full length record and started touring Europe for almost a full month during summer where I was able to catch them in Munich for their last show. And it was an great little reunion for us where I could listen to the new album first hand played live. It was wonderful. So here it is. Favorite track: Desperation In A Police State.
6 - Forests - worst beach vacation ever, circa 1997 [Released: 24-07-15] [listen]
The one show I could catch by this super energetic and super silly mathy emo three-piece in Singapore really blew me away. By the time of the official release of their EP I had already returned to Germany and I still listen to it a lot when trying to get back the feeling of lightness I had while living on the other side of the world. I have already expressed my joy in one of our Short but Sweet reviews, just go and check it or just listen to the EP on bandcamp and make up your own mind. Favorite track: Dakota.
"You're a song that I can't sing. You're a book that I can't read."
5 - I Hate Sex - Circle Thinking [Released: 31-07-15] [listen]
Such a soothing first three quarter minute until Nicole’s screams shake you up speaking of fear, anxiety and the nightmares that come along with it: it’s January 24. With Circle Thinking the Edmonton quartet undoubtedly blessed us with one of the most interesting screamo EPs of this closing year, relatively non-linear and different from most output from bands you’d associate with the genre. I have to admit that I only discovered them later after their EP had already been released through a disgustingmusic comic (you should check the shirts in the comics if you want to find new bands). Michael and I got super excited about the discovery and followed it up with a very cool interview with the band’s vocalist. That was very very nice. Favorite track: San Francisco.
4 - rûth - Demo [Released: 04-10-15] [listen]
My time over in SEA seems to have left its mark on me and my awareness for music of the region. rûth managed to convince me from the first few seconds on that they’d be high up on my list for this year. The sound is rough enough for me to give me a feeling of honesty, that I value so highly about this kind of music. But just well enough recorded and produced to enjoy the fine differences in guitar sound, cymbals and vocals. Especially the sometimes even hopeful melodies and the exciting changes in beats and rhythm make every song recognizable and unique. We all should be excited for what 2016 brings for Shafiq, Izuan and Darul. Favorite track: Retaliation.
3 - Piri Reis - Demo [Released: 29-01-15] [listen]
Sometimes life has its odd ways. Almost exactly one year ago I spent the Christmas holidays over in Kuala Lumpur going to a punk festival at the infamous Rumah Api, one of the most punk places I’ve ever been to. There I met Arwith, former band member of the legendary screamo band Utarid, currently running the great label Utarid Tapes. Back then he told me about his new band Piri Reis and that they’d release a demo soon. A few weeks later Michael contacted me super excited about this band he just found out about – Piri Reis. Turns out we both, independently of one another, found one of our top 10 releases for the year.
Favorite track: First There Was Ophera, A Masquerade.
2 - Jungbluth - Lovecult [Released: 01-09-15] [listen]
Probably one of the most troublesome records for me this year when it came out, and yet it really grew on my over time as I was trying to understand it a bit better. There has an unfinished review of this LP been sitting on my laptop since the record was released and we will, hopefully be able to present it to you sometime soon. So far probably most of you have already listened to this so there is not much more for me to say than I am glad how this turned out and how the three-piece developed their sound to end up as one of the most respected bands of their genre in the world (seriously!). Not only as musicians but also as the persons they are. Favorite track: Lokalkolorit.
1 - Chinese Football - Selftitled [Released: 12-09-15] [listen]
What to say about this mighty release by the Wuhan indie/emo outfit? Personally this band singlehandedly delivered one of the greatest and most interesting indie rock respectively emo long players of this current decade. I won't deny that my fascination for the 汉语 lyrics and that I'm currently learning the language add to my impression. Yet the band from 武汉市, 中国 never fails to amaze with an incredible variety in their melodies, instrumentation and therefore evoking emotions. This 13 track takes you on an amazing journey through the most beautiful and diverse soundscapes of this year. Favorite track: 再见米卢.
"来不及准备 / 来不及后退 /来不及浪费 "
Part II (by Michael)
10 - OsoLuna - S/T 2014 [Released: 25-02-15] [listen]
It was a close decision between Jungbluth's Lovecult and this awesome release, but in the very end, the selftitled LP by Torrelavega's OsoLuna is the only full-length album, which made it into my top ten. Even if you listen to this album on repeat, it never gets old. Quite the opposite - it's getting better with each single run! The dark blend of metallic post-rock and screamo, created by Elsa, Emilio, Borja and Eloy, is one of the best compositions 2015 gave birth. Favorite tracks: La belleza del vuelo & Miradas.
“Extiende tus alas y salta. No hay que intentar entender la vida, hay que vivirla.”
The first time I heard of this collaboration was at last year’s Fluff Fest in Rokycany during the set of Øjne. Well, what should I say? I was pretty excited from the very first moment on and eight months later we finally heard the result in the form of one new song each band. Published by UK’s Dogknight Productions the Split of Rainmaker and one of my all-time-favorites was one of my absolute highlights of 2015. Favorite track: Da Qualche Parte, Nel Momento Giusto.
“Every night, when the light is turned off, nothing remains but the burden of the sarcasm in which I drown, as if you and everyone else were all just names written over an arm.”
8 - Lilith - O [Released: 13-10-15] [listen]
O is the follow-up of Lilith's outstanding demo tape and sadly marks the end of Lilith as a band. The threepiece always knew to connect screamo with jazz and other genres to create their very unique interpretation of punk music. On this last Extended Play, the talented band from my neighborhood was able to develop their sound, taking their style to a whole new level. Make sure to follow the new project of Nico and Oliver called Todlowski.
Favorite tracks: fallen.
„Die Freiheit ist eine Erfindung derer, die uns einsperren wollen!“
7 - ikiru - ikiru [Released: 01-09-15] [listen]
This year, I could only attend Fluff Fest on Sunday, the final day of the festival. Together with my dear friend, Carl, we drove to Rokycany, to meet some old as well as some new faces. Even if it was only one day, we both had a really good time. However, I asked a bunch of folks about their favorite live performance of the past days of the festival. Quite often the answer was Ikiru. Back home I realized, that I missed one of the festival’s highlights. Their selftitled EP became my pre-Fluff-soundtrack and just a few months later, it made its way into my top 10. Favorite track: A řeka plyne dál.
6 - Rangka - s/t [Released: 12-04-15] [listen]
Getting better with every listen, the s/t EP by Rangka ended up in sixths place. The band was a short-time-project of three Singaporean kids plus Carl doing the Vox and this EP could be considered as their legacy. While the opening song instantly got me with its beautiful intro, slowly rising until those heart-breaking vocals come in, the following tracks on this fantastic four song collection needed more time to grow on me but also have the potential to be, or at least become, someone’s favorite track. It saddens me that I will probably never see them perform since I really enjoyed listening. Favorite track: EINS
„I haven't loved you (for a while). Wasting your time with hope on your mind that we could be fine (but we're not).“
5 - Lord Snow - Winterhold [Released: 12-07-15] [listen]
Lord Snow’s music has been a steady companion through this year for me. The sound on Winterhold is chaotic and violent, definitely resuming the style of the band's previous releases. This is emoviolence at its best. Currently being on hiatus, the band from Chicago, Illinois, is about to write their sophomore full-length called riften, which will be released in early summer 2016. No need to say, that I’m totally stoked for this record.
Favorite tracks: asmr request & oh god no pt 2.
4 - Chaviré - Démo [Released: 11-01-15] [listen]
Chaviré already appeared in the second issue of Short But Sweet in 2015. Since then, we've seen a lot of great releases. Allthough, their demo made it in the top five of this exclusive list. With 2015 coming to an end, I can finally say, that this Demo by Chaviré is the best French record this year - at least for me. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out the two new songs on their upcoming mini LP called Des Bruits Qui Restent which easily could have replaced their demo on this spot of the list. Favorite tracks: La Commune & Je Suis Cioran.
3 - La Petite Mort / Little Death - Dear Reader [Released: 18-06-15] [listen]
I was wrong. Dear Reader by La Petite Mort / Little Death is not just one of the best German screamo records of 2015. Pul, Jen and Fen really did a great job on this outstanding EP, since it turned out to be one of the best records overall and probably as one of the best German screamo records, released in the last few years or maybe ever. Hopefully, the upcoming year will bring a physical release of this collection of eight fantastic songs. Can't wait to see them at next year's Miss The Stars Festival. Favorite track: Paper Is Patient.
2 - Piri Reis - Demo [Released: 29-01-15] [listen]
Discovered somewhere in the deep web, the demo by Piri Reis also would have been a great number one place. For me, the likeable punk collective from Shah Alam, Malaysia, is Asia's most exciting screamo project these days. It'll be very exciting to follow the band on their further way, hopefully paved with more releases like this overwhelmingly great Demo. Favorite tracks: First There Was Ophera, A Masquerade & Of Debris and Bruises.
“Spit it out. Your words like a knife. It stabs me to death. Bury me with your lies! Been stabbed I didn't die. I am breathing your sins.”
1 - I Hate Sex - Circle Thinking [Released: 31-07-15] [listen]
Even if this race was quite close, my absolute favorite in 2015 is Circle Thinking by Edmonton’s I Hate Sex. Not at least because of its groovy melodies and emotive lyrics, which exert a certain fascination on me, Circle Thinking is a grandiose masterpiece of emotive punk music. Played on heavy rotation, this stellar EP is my number one spot. Also make sure to read our interview with the lead singer of the band, Nicole Boychuk. Favorite tracks: San Francisco & Happy Anniversary.
“If you died I wouldn't be light, but I wouldn't be heavy anymore."
Conclusive: We'd like to thank Nicole, Heinzel, Brian, Amat, Mimi and of course the dude who runs disgusting music for taking their time to answer our questions, everybody who participated or was involved in our Fluff Interview Series (Hopefully we can repeat it next year!!), all the great bands for their beautiful music and last but definitely not least everyone who recommended music, read or shared our reviews or gave us a shout-out. You guys are utterly amazing.
“This is a remix of the same tears you shed before. This is a remix of the same fears you shared before. I thought that they made it clear (and they did). Our sound is not welcome here (you should know)...” - Crush Of The Year by Give Up The Ghost