Pittsburgh emo band Short Fictions returned to the road with a recent fall tour, and they're set to play some Midwest dates in February, including a few with Your Arms Are My Cocoon (all dates and ticket links here). No word on a followup to their 2019 debut album Fates Worse Than Death just yet, but while you wait, here are Short Fictions' favorite albums of 2021.
The list was made by guitarist/vocalist Sam Treber and bassist Alex Martin, and it includes a killer mix of albums from across the punk, emo, hardcore, screamo, etc spectrum, as well as archival releases by John Coltrane and The Beach Boys and the new Brockhampton album. They also wrote interesting commentary for each pick. Read on for what they had to say...
SHORT FICTIONS' FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2021
Portrayal of Guilt - We Are Always Alone
Portrayal of Guilt does the best job of bridging the abrasive proclivities of screamo with the more listenable qualities of hardcore music. Everything they touch is gold and they’re extremely prolific. The other album they released this year, Christfucker, is also really good but I think I like WAAA a little better, maybe just because I’ve had more time with it. We’ll see. [Sam]
Origami Angel - Gami Gang
It's really hard to write and record a 20-song record pretty much completely on your own, but Origami Angel did that and did it without writing one band song. The unbreakable chemistry between producer/engineer Jake Checkoway and songwriter Ryland Heagy is unmatched and I'm excited to see what will happen next. [Alex]
Closer - Within One Stem
Closer is the gold standard for what a good skramz album should sound like. Too heavy to be indie, but too pretty to be hardcore. That middle ground is hard to come by but when it happens it’s *chef’s kiss*. [Sam]
Full of Hell - Garden of Burning Apparitions
Full of Hell have been incredibly consistent in their releases, in a good way. I feel like a lot of hardcore or screamo bands reach a level of sucess and then say, “how can we deviate from this sound?”. Full of Hell says, “how can we make this more brutal?”. Somehow, they succeed every time. [Sam]
John Coltrane - A Love Supreme Live in Seattle
Obviously this wasn’t recorded in 2021, in fact it was recorded in 1965, but as far as I can tell this is the first time it’s seen the light of day, which is astounding when you consider that this is one of ONLY TWO recorded live performances that we know to exist of this album. Coltrane died less than two years after this was recorded. In my opinion the best era of Coltrane is the live shows he did close to his death that exhibit the absolute hardest of hard bop and often teeter heavily into the free jazz realm. RIP the GOAT. [Sam]
Turnstile - Glow On
Easy answer here. I’ll be honest I haven’t listened to any other albums by this band but I heard enough people talking about this one that I decided I needed to check it out. I really like the old school hardcore influence but the contemporary flare of synths, drum machine sounds, and catchy ass hooks is what really makes this album a knockout. This album to me sounds like if Gorilla Biscuits collabed with Van Halen, and like, Fatboy Slim. What’s not to like? [Sam]
Hazing Over - Pestilence
Gotta give it up for the hometown homies. I’m gonna miss Shin Guard but the sheer meatheadedness of this EP is so alluring. I get that opening riff stuck in my head all the time. Excited to see what’s to come for this band. [Sam]
The Beach Boys - Feel Flows
Beach Boys are an all time top-three band for me, so getting some new old stock from them is always exciting. I feel like this interesting phenomenon happens where a band shelves some of their best material because it doesn’t line up with the cultural trends of the time (in this case, the 1970s). This is near primo-era Brian Wilson though, and of course in his case it’s always been more a matter of “the world wasn’t ready for it yet.” The world is now ready for it. [Sam]
Taking Meds - Terrible News From Wonderful Men
This record is by far Taking Meds' most mature and focused music to date. Often fusing aspects of modern punk with mathy riffs and humming distortion. Kurt Ballou's genius shines throughout the record, the band's first release working with someone other than Jon Markson on his own. [Alex]
Brockhampton - Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine
Brockhampton’s a great group. I’ll be honest I think they peaked with Saturation III but this album still has some undeniable bangers on it. Also big ups to them for getting Danny Brown back on people’s radar.
Upcoming Short Fictions tour dates here.