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Is Total Control's 'Typical System' the Best Album of 2014?

We spoke to some people who seem to think that it is.
November 20, 2014, 5:03am

We’ll get straight to the point and you can thank us later when all those bullshit ‘best of year’ lists start clogging your feed.

Many of us here think that Total Control’s Typical System is the best album of 2014. We've thought it for a long time.

The long-awaited second album from Melbourne post-punk super group featuring members of Straightjacket Nation, UV Race and Eastlink dropped in August on Iron Lung, the small Seattle label run by the band’s friends Jensen Ward and Jon Kortland. The hotly anticipated follow up to 2012’s Henge Beat did not disappoint. From the first sneak preview of the track “Flesh War” (and accompanying video), the album proved to be a confident and assured exercise in creativity and subversiveness. Look into their creative process with an interview we did in June.


But don’t just take our word for it. Here are some other thoughts on what is a truly exceptional record.

Christopher HansellWarthog, Ligature
The first time I heard it I was floored. I remember seeing them playing some of the songs on their last US tour and couldn't stop hounding Daniel and company about when they’d see the light of day on a record. I’m so glad that they did. One of my favorite of the year hands down.

Bill RoeTrouble in Mind Records
Henge Beat was my album of 2012 so my expectations were high. I was not disappointed in the slightest. The punk snarl is dialed back (overall) and everything is just better. If you can’t walk away from this one stuck in your noggin (most likely it will be “Safety Net” – what a fricking song!) then I think you may be beyond repair.The best album of 2014 by a country mile from the best band we ever had the honour of sharing Thanksgiving.

Kevin PedersonWhat’s Your Rupture? records
Typical System is very hard to describe and reminds you the wonder in good music. Total Control have a strong sense of history and are futurists … Influenced by very incompatible styles of music --- Their cover art is beautiful and ugly. Their writing is aggressive and at times allows you to dream.

Richard StanleyAarght Records, Drug Sweat, Power Supply
After the colossal artistic achievement of Henge Beat it was reasonably easy to predict the second Total Control album would be more sophisticated in the interplay between the organic
instrumentation and electronic effects/production. On returning from a US tour they wrote a new batch of songs, the work of a gritty road-travelled unit, and noises about a raw,
three-pronged-guitar-heavy album were heard. Had they followed this path the resulting album would have befuddled audiences worldwide. Instead they stayed true to type and tarted the songs up with every shiny trick they could conjure. And it sure worked! Even Kingsmill likes this radio and festivalfriendly pop pulp. Music to shine cutlery by.

Andrew SavageParquet Courts
Most of the post-punk revivalists we've seen lately heavily rely on posturing. It may be an innate convention of the genre, but when done without enough attitudes to necessitate the "punk" suffix, it feels like it lacks something essential. Similarly, electronic music often drapes itself in stoicism and coldness. Not to say that Total Control doesn't posture or isn't stoic, but the group shines because it isn't afraid to show its humanity. They're similar in that respect to landmark groups like Suicide, who embedded so much tenderness and passion within electronic mechanisms. This is music that, by precedent, should be cold and calculating -- but isn't.

Jake RobertsonAusmuteants
When I first saw them in 2009 they blew me away. I thought it sounded like The Adolescents with Spit Stix drumming. Seeing them made me want to play drums in a band and meeting them made me realise it is ok to play in a punk band and not act like a dick. None of them have the slightest ego even though they have accomplished so much. Every release they have is amazing. Typical System is my favourite to date

Timmy HefnerChaos in Tejas
It's such a perfect record in that it will be timeless and just as good in 20 years. They should be bigger then the Beatles because they are better then the Beatles. In a sea of a 150 bands at Chaos in Tejas 2013 they still stole the show in my eyes. Now if they would please just come back to the US.


Chris ShortRoyal Headache
“Expensive Dog” is a legit banger!

Jenny BranaganNun
Typical System will be a familiar friend to me in years to come. Extraordinary lyrical content from DX, delivered in pure unity within the complex and precisely measured sonic dream hole.

Chris ShawEx-Cult
Forget how amazing Typical System is as an album, the back of the record and lyrics could (and probably will be) published as its own separate package. This is “evil minded” music disguised as a self- help package for the end of all culture as we know it. Long live the land of Nose Jobs. Long Live Total Control.

Fred PessaroNoisey
The greatest gift that Total Control gave the US was touring the ever-living shit out of their perfect LP Henge Beat. I must have seen them around ten times, but could have seen them ten or twenty more. The new record isn't quite as delightfully primitive, but instead points to a refinement and maturity in song writing and approach that the band wears well. I sure as fuck hope to see none of that maturity at their wild-as-hell live shows.

Nic WarnockRIP Society records , Bed Wettin Bad Boys, Ruined Fortune
As much as I think it’s a GREAT album it's one of the only good records of this year that got the attention it deserved. Although the band and labels that released this record operate in a completely dignified manner it was frustrating one for me as someone that sells records / attempts to champion independent music. So many fanboys attempting to hunt down a vinyl copy completely oblivious that in their obsessing with securing this record they are shutting out everything else. Why not try Cheveu's excellent Bum LP? Or Mordecai - Neil's Generator?" This did not stop me from enjoying Typical System but I do not want to participate in painting this record as the only record that matters as there's a lot of excellent music out there that doesn't have an ounce of pull/hype in the music press.