Chris Williams was kind enough to send over his favorite releases of the year. Check it out.
1. Rotting Out - Street Prowl
I've always thought Rotting Out was a decent band, but not outstanding. That was until Walter moved to vocals. Dude's voice is great, and he writes awesome lyrics. "Iron Jawed Angel" is my favorite. Such a heavy personal song. I really appreciate when vocalists step outside their comfort zone and dig deep for lyrics. I wish I felt like more bands dug this deep and put something this real into their lyrics. Musically this record rips too. Definitely has a southern California sound. When it seems like everyone in the world is writing mosh music this band is writing skate music. Love it.
2. Vacant State - LP
This record is so close to the Rotting Out LP for best of the year. If this band was from Boston or L.A. instead of Vancouver B.C. they would be the biggest thing on earth right now. This LP has a Negative FX/Negative Approach vibe and rips from start to finish. Total skinhead hardcore. If you haven't heard this band yet, change that ASAP.
3. Trapped Under Ice - Big Kiss Goodnight
This band does hard and heavy yet melodic like few bands are capable of. "You and I" is my favorite, but everything on this record is solid.
4. Ill Intent - demos for the upcoming 7"
Like Rotting Out, Ill Intent was a decent band before changing singers. Jake moved from guitar to vocals and wow, this band is so brutal now. Their previous singer Matt, had a cool voice for his old band Stop at Nothing, but this band is a huge gnarly band and they need a huge gnarly singer. In steps Jake, who is also just romps all over the stage live. This band is destined for big things. Super hard working kids and fun.
5. Praise - 2 songs 7"
Andy is one of my best friends so I would have to like this band even if they were horrible, but damn, they are far from horrible! He told me that some of these songs were originally written for Champion, but unfortunately we broke up before we could use any of these gems. Champion's loss was Baltimore's gain. Musically these could be Champion songs, but Andy's voice gives a really cool different feel to them, and his lyrics are top notch; Definitely in the Rotting Out class of digging deep.
6. Wreck - Reap What You Sow 7"
This band has been playing around for a year or two now and they impressed me early on. These kids know how to play their instruments. This 7" has solidified them as kings of NWHC. Their shows are fun and rowdy and they are super tight live. The 7" at times reminds me of Undertow and has some BURN style riffage here and there. I'm really curious to see where these dudes take this band because I think they can do some cool things.
7. Outlook - s/t 7"
Adrianna is possibly the best front(wo)man in the NW. This band is Olympia at it's finest. Fast and pissed and socio-political. I don't even know what to compare them too.. at times i hear Antidote, at times DYS, at times Side by Side. Just good fast hardcore.
8. Seaweed - Service Deck/The Weight 7"
These aren't the best two Seaweed songs and they aren't the worst, but they are two NEW Seaweed songs! The packaging is really cool too. Especially with the green vinyl.
9. DNA - Demo
Best demo of 2011. Cam gave me this thing early this year when Cruel Hand was in town and i never listened to it. He gave me another copy the next time they came through and I finally checked it out. Wow, I'm glad I did! This demo is a rager and hasn't left my 5 disc changer since! I'm sure they were going for a Bad Brains vibe, which it definitely does sounds like, but I hear alot of the Accused in there.
10. Take Offense - Tables Will Turn
This might be the most hyped record of the year, but for good reason. It's a shredder. They do that crossover better than any band I've heard in years. And when they solo they aren't just string mashing, they are shredding. Only thing I don't really like is the singing parts, but even those are kind of cool.
*honorable mention: Title Fight - Shed: this was originally on my top 10, but I had to add the DNA demo. I'm really stoked on this record and really happy for what these kids are doing. They are genuinely some of the nicest kids I've met in my life and if they become huge international pop-stars they deserve every second of it. I still want to see Disengage sometime though!