For no reason other than the fact that we are super fucking nosy, we poked, prodded, and hassled some of our favorite artists into giving us an idea of what they loved in 2014. Meredith Graves of Perfect Pussy caved in first, Nicky Palermo of the hard-touring favorite NOTHING gave us his next, and now we've been able to harass Chris Shaw of the amazing Ex-Cult into giving us his favorite records of the year, available below. Chris, please let your lawyer know that the restraining order is no longer necessary.
1. Total Control - Typical System (Iron Lung)
Earlier this month a group of people (including myself) gave Noisey quotes on why Typical System was the best album of 2014. We were right. There was no better album. I think the world is ready for the first Daniel Stewart Book of Modern Philosophy.
2. Low Life - Dogging (Disenfect, RIP Society)
Not a record for the weak. Aussie Synth Punk seems to have made a resurgence this year with bands like NUN, Ausmuteants and Low Life coming out of the woodwork, but no other band released a better synth punk record this year than Dogging (even though it was recorded in 2012.) Dogging is as catchy as it is offensive, and exactly the type of album you'd expect from a band who decided a grainy surveillance photo of a guy getting head was acceptable as an album cover. The singer isn't afraid to go into what I'd call "Chronic Sick" territory, which could turn some people off. Leaders in Thug Synth.
3. Merchandise / Destruction Unit / Milk Music- USA 13 (540)
USA 13 was made to commemorate the tour that all three bands participated in last year, and for those of us who missed out on that incredible lineup, this is a pretty awesome consolation prize. If you slept on the chance to snag your copy during Record Store Day, allow me to rub it in.
Merchandise offers the incredible "There's No You and Me" and "Figured Out" before Destruction Unit slices through all your feelings and reminds you that this is still a punk record. The B side proves Milk Music can pretty much do whatever they want at this point and still sound fucking awesome. Yes, they cover CCR and Johnny Thunders. No, I don't have a problem with that. USA 13 is a testament not only to the power of these three bands, but also to the mastermind behind this tour and 540 Records, Timmy Hefner.
4. OBN III's - Live In San Francisco (Castle Face)
I can't think of a band more fitting to release a live album than OBN III's. Sure the studio albums are great, but OBN III's have always been a band that you needed to see live to really get the gist of what they are capable of. This is Texas style rock and roll captured for all eternity. It's loud, fast and cocky, and since they've recruited Tom Tripplet on lead guitar, shit has really started to get out of hand. Their latest album for Tic Tac Totally, Third Time to Harm, is also excellent.
5. Hank Wood & the Hammerheads - Stay Home (Toxic State)
Finally a new record from the best band in New York City. Stay Home was worth the wait and (true to Toxic State form) comes with an amazing silk screened poster and stamped insert. I was a little worried when I read a description saying that the band's sound had matured, but luckily this album picks up right where Go Home left off. Noise like this should never mature. An essential record to own as a delinquent in the modern age.
6. White Fence - For the Recently Found Innocent (Drag City)
This is the first White Fence album recorded in a studio (Ty Segall's house), but honestly it could have been recorded underwater and still sound better than 90% of the records I heard this year. Lyrically, Tim Presley is reaching 13th Floor Elevators status, and musically he's been there for years. For The Recently Found Innocent could be his best album since Family Perfume 1 & 2, but really anything this guy touches is great. A modern classic.
7. CHEENA - All The Cheena Money Can Buy (DEMO)
A few months ago, photographer Renate Winter played me the Cheena demo along with some other tapes that she received at Meltasia where The Hammerheads, Crazy Spirit, and Dawn of Humans had all played. Out of all the tapes we listened to, this one was my favorite and I was lucky enough to track it down. Six tracks of solid gold weirdo punk from an all-star lineup that you'll have to figure out for yourself. Hopefully the rumors of an upcoming LP are true.
8. Total Abuse - Looking for Love 7" (Deranged)
This is the nastiest record I received this year, hands down. This whole EP is fucking sick, and lyrically just as bleak as all the other Total Abuse classics we've grown to know and love. After reforming this year (or maybe last year?), the band got a lot fucking louder, beefing up there already heavy brand of hardcore punk. The non-tour version of this EP comes with an awesome zine that features Rusty Kelley's lyrics next to artwork by the ripper M. Bellosi.
9. Predator - The Complete Earth (State Laughter, Scavenger of Death)
This year gave us more downer vibes from Predator, who are a good starting point when looking into all the punk bands associated with the Scavenger of Death / State Laughter scene in Atlanta. I always thought this band sounded like they could have fit on the Australian Murder Punk compilations, but this LP has more of a DC hardcore thing going on. Incredible samples, too. Nuclear Checkmate.
10. Discovering new bands, new friends and hearing new music from The Achtungs, Prolife, Mercenary, Warthog, Ukiah Drag, Vial, Lace Curtain, Aquarian Blood and Captive.