Fat Wreck Chords bands list their top LPs of 2016 ++ other related news
Fat Wreck Chords have had quite the eventful 2016. A “punk-u-mentary” on the label was released, they reprised their “Not My President” shirts for Trump’s election (and are donating proceeds to charities), and label head Fat Mike’s band NOFX released a new album, autobiography, and audiobook version of that autobiography read by Tommy Chong. Just this past Friday (12/16), they reissued the first three Face to Face albums. (Face to Face also put out a solid new album this year.)
We asked some Fat bands to send us lists of their favorite albums of 2016, and we got lists from Mean Jeans, Night Birds and Western Addiction. Mean Jeans put out their own 2016 LP, Tight New Dimension. Night Birds’ latest LP is 2015’s Mutiny at Muscle Beach. Western Addiction just announced that they’ll release their new Joey Cape-produced album, Tremulous, on March 10. Watch a trailer video for that below.
Night Birds’ list came from guitarist PJ Russo, and it’s got punk legends Descendents plus a bunch of smaller, newer bands like Warthog and Tenement. PJ also gave us lengthy commentary for each pick.
Mean Jeans’ list came from guitarist/vocalist Billy Jeans, including the legendary Iggy Pop and newer garage punks like Natural Child and Dirty Fences.
Western Addiction vocalist/guitarist Jason Hall sent a list that includes both albums and live experiences (and more interesting commentary), with Metallica, Conor Oberst, Roger Waters, Against Me!, and more. Check out all three of those lists below.
In one last bit of Fat news, Direct Hit!, who released Wasted Mind, earlier this year, are touring with Reel Big Fish and Anti-Flag. They play NYC’s Playstation Theater (1/18), NJ’s Starland Ballroom (1/20), and more. All dates here.
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PJ Russo’s Top 10 of 2016
1. Blood Pressure – Need To Control LP
I’m going to start off by saying that Beach Impediment Records has been knocking out nothing but hits this year. Cream of the crop, cock of the walk, top of the top, holy shit. Anyway, I need to paraphrase an old friend of mine by saying that this record pulls down your pants and puts a dunce cap on the end of your cock. Blood Pressure does not waste a second of your time and does not miss a beat or a note. Perfectly executed, perfectly written hardcore. If you don’t like this then you’re a tasteless poseur. Eric Montanez has never been in a band that has proven to be anything less than stellar and this is certainly no exception. Pittsburgh has some fucking scene right now and other cities need to take note.
2. Stuck Pigs – Demo
I learned in the midst of putting this together that Stuck Pigs are no more, and I’m bummed. Okay, I know, this was released in December of 2015. Congradu-fucking-lations if this made your top 2015 list, you fucking nerd, it didn’t make mine, so I’m putting it on here because this demo tape is amazing. A casual listen would yield the response, “doesn’t this band have a track on the Peace/War comp?”, to which you’d say, “Oh shit, no they don’t, this was a current band in 2016 that dumbasses like PJ will never see because he’s a lazy idiot”. Straight up pissed off fast proper hardcore. Fierce vocals, blown out guitars, primitive yet tight speedy drumming. Stuck Pigs grab you by the throat and don’t let go until they’re done doing a Neon Christ cover. NWODCHC4LYFE.
3. Rixe – Les Nerf A Vif EP
France has got Youth Avoiders, Syndrome 81, Stalled Minds, and the mighty Rixe, just to name a few, in its current punk pantheon, and that is impressive, to say the least. The second EP from the monstrous Oi trio is a massive step forward from the already interminable Coups & Blessures EP from last year. Thudding, stomping rhythms underneath precise guitar work with a tasty mechanical tone serve as an objectively perfect plate for the meal of three French skins forcefully chanting anthems from the gut. I don’t even speak French and I sing along to this. You’re a fool if you’re sleeping on this band.
4. Warthog – EP
Easily one of, if not, the best hardcore punk record to come out of New York City in a very long time. Warthog sit on top of the pack with more than competent playing, solid riffing, and unhinged vocals. The quality production is a refreshing departure from the in vogue lo fi slop that has become all too common with NY bands, and it serves the music superbly. Robust, fast, hard. Take notes, poseurs and amateurs; this is how it’s done.
5. Descendents – Hypercaffium Spazzinate LP
We should consider ourselves lucky that the Descendents are still playing. The fact that they put out a full length LP that more than holds up to their already supreme recording output is nothing short of astounding. We don’t deserve the Descendents, but they’re still here, and they deserve every ounce of praise they receive. Distance, age, health scares, and careers are clearly non-factors in these storied punk rock veterans’ quest for ALL within the often spastic, always masterfully melodic songs on this record. Another one for the ages.
6. Dark Thoughts – LP
Philly’s best punk rock outfit, hands down. See them live to witness the best right arm of any current punk drummer, stay for the delicious, Ramones-ey tunes that bite through at T.S.O.L. speeds. Simply perfect.
7. Tenement – S/T LP & Bruised Music Vol. 2 LP
Tenement is proving to be the most important band of this decade. With styles ranging from pop rock to hardcore punk to soul to experimental noise to free jazz and combinations of those and more, Amos and crew have offered up two releases after the monolithic double LP Predatory Headlights from 2015, one being a compilation of singles, eps, splits, etc and the other being a full length of new material that further pushes the already seemingly boundless progressions Tenement has already achieved. This band is exceptional, and deserve, if nothing else, to go down as one of the all time greats in American independent rock.
8. Planet Y – Demo
Copenhagen’s best new band. Dark, rudimentary punk rock. Think Gorilla Angreb with more of a spooky Dead Moon vibe, and yes that is literally the cheapest, laziest way to describe this band, but unfortunately it’s the best I can do. I was lucky enough to see them play their second set ever and I was completely floored.
9. No Parole – Violent Thoughts EP
Ray Cheek and Johny G are my punk rock guitar dads and their bands always deliver the goods. No Parole has proven not to be an exception. Stomping tracks that get stuck in your head, ear worm guitar melodies, and Jesse Gasface telling it like it is. Cream of the crop. Oi.
10. Omegas – Power To Exist LP
The often endearingly odd, always satisfying Omegas have returned in 2016 with a new LP that not only ups the weird factor but also does not disappoint in bringing 15 slam skank worthy hardcore gems. Armed with anything but predictable arrangements in a style that all too often falls into the realm of boring shit, this record should leave even the most jaded consumer of hardcore punk exhilarated and impressed.
It was beyond difficult to pick just ten. Honorable mentions in no particular order: Releases by Mean Jeans, Brain Slug, S.H.I.T., Big Eyes, Pure Disgust, S-21, Red Death, Steve Adamyk Band, Kombat, Cinderblock, NYC Headhunters, Spectres, Arms Race, Misc., Sonic Avenues, Freedom, and G.L.O.S.S.
Billy Jeans’ Top 10 of 2016
1. Nancy – With Child (Eat The Life Records)
This record would win a Grammy if the songs weren’t so stupid and it wasn’t recorded with Garageband©.
2. Apache – Alcatraz (King Rocker Records)
Real rock and roll!
3. Natural Child – Okey Dokey (Natural Child Records)
Natty Child’s new record sucks you into a delightfully stoney realm. All of their albums are solid, but this one will withstand the test of time as legit good music.
4. CG Roxanne and the Nightmares – Halfway to Hollywood
I don’t know who this band is, but it’s the best slimy rock and roll I’ve heard in a while.
5. Iggy Pop – Post Pop Depression
When Lemmy and David Bowie died, I resolved that I’d go see every legendary rocker that I love while I had the chance. Iggy live was incredible.
5. Honey Bucket – Magical World (See My Friends Records)
One of Portland’s best bands debut album.
7. Dirty Fences – Hit a homer (Obey Records?)
I just heard this after Mean Jeans played with Dirty Fences this month. Completely sick, and they cover my favorite Equals song ever.
8. Gary with a Cicle around the A – Used Cars (Burger Records)
Both sides are pure gold. ‘Wish You Were Hair’ is a perfect Ramones ballad about being bald. And I did the cover art!
9. Patsy’s Rats – Burnin’ Honey (Dig Records)
I like this band mostly because I am in it.
10. Michael Hurley – Bad Mr. Mike (Mississippi records)
Still making great records in his 70s.
Jason Hall’s Top 10 of 2016 (in no particular order)
Conor Oberst – Ruminations
One of my favorite songwriters and lyricists of all time. A true restless spirit. He can hit the magic moment in a song, a majority of the time…just like the Beatles, Stuart Murdoch from Belle and Sebastian, Paul Simon, Rhett Miller of the Old 97’s, Laura Jane Grace of Against Me!, etc. When he sings, “I miss poor Robin Williams” in the song, “A Little Uncanny,” I feel like crying. He’s magic.
Against Me! – Shape Shift With Me
Their last album captured a truly incredible experience for a human to go through. What’s harder than that? Writing the next record! Where do you go from there? Well, Shape Shift With Me, is just that, a great record and an evolution for the band. It feels modern and fresh with the same great songwriting.
Pixies – Head Carrier
There is no band like the Pixies. Incredibly interesting lyrics and odd dissonant parts that burst into something poppy, catchy and memorable. I can feel “happiness” from the band at this stage of their career and they deserve every accolade they get. Listen to “Classic Masher” and “Bel Esprit. ” What an awesome victory for good music.
Angel Olsen – My Woman
I don’t know much about her but I know this record is good and I’ve recommended it to many people. This feels like if Lana Del Rey sang in a modern indie band with cool, retro influences. I feel real heartache in this record. You can’t keep a good song down and this record is full of them.
Descendents – Hypercaffium Spazzinate
Just like the Pixies, this band deserves every ounce of adulation and riches that come their way. This feels like a real story that has a real happy ending. The song “On Paper” is vocal melody mastery. It’s like something out of the Sound of Music.
Savages – Adore Life
This band is the definition of “cool.” You can place them right next to the Clash and Elvis Costello on the cool spectrum. They are exciting and stylish. For the life of me, I don’t understand why a band like this can’t be on Saturday Night Live.
The Dillinger Escape Plan – Live + Dissociation
I challenge you to name a better live band than DEP. These are the most exciting, tense, exhilarating live shows I’ve experienced in my time on Earth. When I’m watching some boring band, I just think, ok, that guy from DEP would have done a cartwheel off a balcony and then blown fire onto people, in a respectful and caring way. I’m sorry to see them go but greatly respect their decision. They made a wonderful parting record. The sound at 2:41 of “Limerent Death” made my spine quiver. Bands are lucky if they ever hit that moment where they make something that feels completely “new.” DEP… thank you.
Roger Waters with My Morning Jacket and Lucius at Bridgeschool Benefit
There are certain bands that I know are good but I’m just not ready for them. I feel you have to be in a particular stage of your life to truly understand and appreciate their music. I know Pink Floyd are good and important but I’ve never fully understood the phenomenon. Now, I get it. We saw Roger Waters play “Mother” and “Forever Young” with Neil Young and it was utterly spectacular. The best part was these two women (dressed like superheroes) from the band, Lucius, that sang back up vocals. I’ve never heard anyone sing more perfect, more powerful or more beautiful, live, than these ladies. They just crushed it and stole the show.
Dead To Me – I Want To Die in Los Angeles
I think Chicken is a great songwriter. He really understands vocal melody and how to make a song catchy. And now that Jack is back, they are unstoppable. With these songs, I feel they aren’t afraid to try anything and that’s when a band really evolves. They have the confidence and the material to make it happen. I can’t wait for their new record. I love these guys.
Metallica – Hardwired…To Self-Destruct
I’m forever thankful for Metallica. I really enjoy this record. It makes me feel nostalgic and excited that they can still make songs like “Atlas, Rise.” That song makes me feel the same way “Seek and Destroy” does. They are biggest metal band on the planet and one of the most popular bands of all time. I often say that “good” and “popular” don’t always intersect, but this time, it does.
· The Avett Brothers – True Sadness
· Dragged Into Sunlight – Live @ the Golden Bull in Oakland
· Psychic Ills – Inner Journey Out
· Belle & Sebastian – The Jeepster Singles
· David Cross – …America…Great…
· NOFX – First Ditch Effort
· Cobalt – Slow Forever