Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 Unravelled

Better late than never, as they say.

In preparation for putting together this traditional end of year post, I just re-read my year-end post from last year, and the final sentence I wrote was 'Hopefully 2017 will be kinder to me!'. Wow. The power of those words kinda knocked me for six. When I wrote it last year I was referring to record collecting, because last year I had terrible luck when a parcel of almost 100 records got lost in the mail. In 2017 I definitely DID have much better luck with records, but I had much worse luck in my personal life. I don't really want to say much, but the things that happened in 2017 really put things into perspective and made me realise that, if the worst thing in life is losing some plastic in the mail, then life is probably not so bad after all.

So I look back on 2017 as a pretty shitty year, defined by two big negative events, one at the start and one at the end. But there were some good moments too. I went on a plane for the first time in over 20 years in a bid to beat my phobia of flying, and I have to say, I enjoyed it. I also started skateboarding again, in a small way, and I really enjoyed that too. And after three long years of planning, work finally started on our house extension. So there was some good with the bad. But overall I'm glad 2017 is over and we can wipe the slate clean and start over.

Anyway, as is tradition on here, I'll now get to my run down of the year in terms of music & records. These end of year posts are always a bit of fun, but damn, every year I manage to forget how much work they involve.


I'm not going to attempt to rank my favourite releases of 2017, but these were the ones I spent most of my time listening to:

Precious 'Unravelings' 12" - members of Threadbare & Snapcase playing some 90s style hardcore which manages to sound fresh in 2017. This is really interesting stuff and I'm desperately in need of more.

Higher Power 'Soul Structure' LP - a great UK band playing groovy hardcore a bit like Turnstile, with a big 90s alternative vibe going on.

Miracle Drug 'How Much Is Enough?' 12" - another band made up from older dudes, this sounds different and interesting to me, and my only disappointment was that this record only contains 6 songs.

Damnation A.D. 'Pornography' LP - a long term project which finally saw the light of day in 2017, this is a really interesting and 'mature' hardcore record. Probably because it's a cover of an album by The Cure.

Integrity 'Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume' LP - any Integrity record is always going to get my attention. This one took a bit of getting into, but I got there in the end, and it's good to see them on a 'big' label and getting some really positive attention as a result.

Burn 'Do Or Die' LP - a Burn full length finally dropped in 2017. It seemed to me a lot of people weren't into it. My view is that you need to skip the first song and start at the second and it seems much better. Despite a high lievel of scepticism, I was into this and played it a lot.

Insist 'Here And Now' 7" - a UK straight edge band who got my attention when I saw & heard them for the first time at Outbreak fest in Leeds, which just happened to be the release show for their 7" on React! Records.

Search 'Between The Lines' 7" - a straight edge band featuring Tim from Mouthpiece on vocals, this is very much as you'd expect, and very welcome in the current day and age.

True Vision 'Against The Grain' 7" - another current UK band, this one features dudes from all the other NWOBHC bands of the last couple of years, playing straight up hardcore a la YOT or SOIA.

Rot In Hell 'A Thick Rope And A Strong Branch' LP - I listened to this one a lot, but in compiling this post realised that I somehow never posted it on the blog. Not sure what happened there. Sloppy work.

So basically I spent 2017 listening to either current UK bands, or records from American dudes in their late 40s.


2017 was pretty good to me. So much so that I've struggled to narrow this list of my favourite pickups down to only ten records. But these are the ones that stand out:

Shown in the photo:

Sensefield 'Killed For Less' test press - I never ever thought I would own this. One of my favourite records of all time, and there are only 4 test presses on the planet.

Cold World 'How The Gods Chill' LP test press - one of my favourite albums of the last few years.

Ressurection 7" with pre-release cover - so stoked to pick this up after 20 years of wanting one.

Reinforce 'One Life, Thug Free' 7" with Sporty Spice cover - another 7" that had been on my want list for 20 years or so. Such an awesome cover too.

The Damage Done 'City Of Hope' 7" Test press - a great record from a good friend.

Union 'You Fell For It' 7" on purple vinyl - one of those obscure & forgotten 7"s which I always loved, and picking up this rare and cool colour was very satisfying.

Right Brigade 7" with Clevo Sucks sleeve - had been on my want list for probably 15 years or so, and was god to get it for a good price.

Release 'No Longer' 7" in Wolverine sleeve - I was SO happy to pick this up after years and years of wanting, and this copy is brand new, which made it even sweeter.

Ashes 'S/T' 7" test press - one of my favourite bands of the 90s, I've never heard of anyone having this test before, so I was happy when it fell into my hands.

Dwarves 'Drug Store' 7" with 'Fuck You Up And get High' pin - another one that had been languishing on my want list for over 20 years. So good to finally have one.


Another traditional category for the end of year posts, this is stuff I listened to a lot that, for one reason or another, I didn't feature on the blog. It's either stuff I didn't get around to buying yet, or stuff that I'm not too fussed about buying on vinyl for one reason or another. But it feels good to document it as I spent a lot of time with these in 2017.

Foo Fighters - everything. One night in late June I put the TV on and came across Foo Fighters playing live at Glastonbury. I've never really been into them before (I actually saw them live in 2002 and walked out after 3 songs), but for some reason I was really into it, and then ended up downloading all of their albums and listened to them constantly for the second half of the year. That's 9 albums I got through in less than 6 months. I think I listened to Foo Fighters without fail every single day for four months straight. Crazy.

Sex Pistols 'The Great Rock N Roll Swindle' - I used to own this one on cassette when I was 16 and then forgot about it for 26 years. This year I remembered it and enjoyed listening to the songs again. I even found the time to re-watch the film. Good stuff.

Renee Heartfelt 'Death Of The Ghost' - I never got this album when it came out as it was CD only. But when their 7" came onto my ipod a few months ago I decided I needed to hear more of their songs, so downloaded this missing piece and couldn't get enough. Shame it was CD only.

Walleye 'Familiar Forgotten' - following on from Mike's post about this album, I decided to listen to it for the first time since it came out 22 years ago. I don't know why I missed it originally, as it's right up my street and is exactly the kind of thing I was most into in the 90s.

Fairweather 'S/T' - similar to the Renee Heartfelt record, a Fairweather song came on my ipod at some point and made me want to hear more from this band. I figured I wouldn't enjoy this album, but I was wrong. Apparently it's just been repressed on blue vinyl too, so I'll probably pick one up at some point.

Nuisance 'Confusion Hill' - not sure what brought this one to my attention exactly, as this is an old band from the early 90s that I have heard a couple of songs from on old compilation albums. But for some reason I can't remember, I downloaded this album from 1991 and it's great. Bits of it sound exactly like Nirvana.


And finally... kind of a dumb category, but I seemed to pick up a few records this year that 'completed' collections for me, and each time I posted an updated collection photo. It felt that there were a lot of these collection photos posted in 2017, so I thought I would put some of them up here. Because, as you know, there's little more interesting than photos of coloured records...

Thanks for the support from the few of you who still ready this. See you in 2018...



Mike said...

I absolutely love your year end posts, and I'm so glad that your blog is still going strong. It makes me happy to have this view into your world, and connect with you on this level. Cool to see Walleye make an appearance here, and knowing that I had the influence in it...especially because you were the influence behind Higher Power and Insist making in onto my year end list.

Anonymous said...

Hello. I've been a long time reader of your blog even though I've long since lost contact with contemporary punk and hardcore music (although still a keen record collector). Your passion for this music and these records really shines through and is what keeps me coming back despite not knowing much about the bands you are discussing,

I just wanted to say that I am sorry 2017 was not a great year for you and put things in perspective. I myself had the hardest year personally in 2017 that I have ever had to endure and fervently wish that 2018 will be more positive for all of us. While my priorities have had to shift somewhat this year I have found my passion for music and records has grown (partly due to being a constant and a happy space aware from harsh realities) and that has brought some measure of pleasure to what, at times, was a very bleak period,

All the best for 2018 and please find the passion and enthusiasm to continue sharing your experiences within record and music, they are much enjoyed.


itallcomesdowntothis said...

Great post to finish off 2017. I'm looking forward to next year and many years to come.

Kola said...

Keep up with the good work! Regards from Poland

mcs said...

Stephen - thanks for your kind comment. Your 2017 sounds like it wasn't great. I sincerely hope things are now better and you are ok. Thanks also for reading, it's appreciated.