Now after releasing your top voted shows and albums of 2014 in the past few days, we are ready for the third and final installation of our three-part best ofs feature and that is your favorite songs of the year coming from local Springfield bands. This part of the best ofs, just like all of the others, has write-ups done by different Springfield musicians and people involved with our local music scene. This time we are just going to start off with the #1 voted song and just work our way down to #10. Each of the winners has a player embedded of the song that was chosen. Here we go!
1. “Kill Pizza Punks” by King Worm
“Kill Pizza Punks” was my first impression of Springfield’s mighty King Worm. It is the first song from their supreme debut album, No Future City. This 40-second long masterslice wastes no time getting down to business. The band’s lead entertainer, Mike Tighterblouse, blows the lid off the tune by barking, “I love pizza, I love punk” over and over again. Without a doubt, this song kicks all of the butts in the face. Do yourself a favor and download their album now… or just keep being a dick all your life.
-Robbie Kording (The Timmys)
2. “Succubus” by Teen Freak
Let me paint you a picture in your brain. You’re walking alone down a dark alley like a dumb idiot, just minding your own stupid dark-alley business. From behind you, slightly to the left, maybe a little bit above your head, guitar feedback. A creepy crawly riff makes you sweaty hot. A fog rolls in alongside the words “teen freak teen freak teen freak teen freak”. Then you see it. The shape of a woman walking towards you through the fog, from the end of the alley. Oh no, don’t you trust her. If its who you think it is, you’ve heard things. SHES A DEMON IN FEMALE FORM SHES A DEMON IN FEMALE FORM. She’s getting closer and bigger and you can’t look away. She’s mumbling, she’s yelling, you are cowering as she is towering over you. Demanding, insisting, there is no escape. FUCK ME IN MY SLEEP, you’re screwed, COME TO ME IN MY DREAMS, you’re never gonna wake up. THE SUCCUBUS GOT YA AND YOU’RE NEVER GETTING FREE.
-Alistair Reynolds (SAP, War Magic)
3. “Keep Hanging On” by The Complaint Line
When people say “classic rock” they usually mean stuff like The Eagles and The Doobie Brothers – music that came out, what? 40 years ago? At this point isn’t music like that more like hieroglyphics? By that chronological standard, “classic rock” in 1975 would have been what all the cool kids were listening to in 1935, more than 20 years before there even was rock. No, I would contend that today’s classic rock is the late ‘80s-early-‘90s era music of artists such as Bob Mould, Dinosaur Jr. and The Pixies. By these terms. The Complaint Line are every inch a classic rock band, and “Keep Hanging On” would have sounded completely at home on an episode of MTV’s alternative rock show, 120 Minutes. A catchy chord-progression, bouncy drum beats, male-female call and response vocals from married band members (John and Shawnda Phillips), introspective, philosophical lyrics (“Time is a tricky thing / It’s emphasized by man”), it’s all here. And once you’ve heard it, I defy you to get the hooky chorus out of your head, because, (Spoiler Alert) this track is earworm city. Classic.
– Scott Faingold (The Illinois Times, Epsom)
4. “Wolf” by Our Lady
That chorus. That chilling, spine tingling chorus. No matter what I do I can’t seem to shake the darned thing out of my head. Whether I am at work, home, or Asthma practice I find myself humming along to Tim Williams’ crooning accompanied by the screams of Hollywood Kyle and the faint yet familiar voice of a certain former bandmate. Our Lady’s ‘Wolf’ (from their latest split with Milwaukee’s Estates) truly showcases the bands knack for writing emotionally captivating tunes that stick with listeners long after they’ve moved onto whatever is trending within their Tumblr circle. I recently joined the ranks of this rag tag group of pups so I might be a bit biased, but trust me when I tell you I’ve listened to ‘Wolf’ A LOT! I’ve listened to Our Lady’s current set so much that the lines are starting to blur. Buque, Coping, Decayer… I’ve pushed myself to learn these so quickly that they’ve sort of morphed into this one big, sad, emo entity. But ‘Wolf’ always manages to stand out. And I think it stands as a testament to how far my dear friend Tim has come along as a song writer. Our Lady has always been thematic. They have strived to make their releases work as one huge consecutive piece that rides through the peaks and valleys that make up the spectrum of sound as is evident through 2013’s ‘II.’ But trying to represent what you create on a full length with only the limited runtime of a split can be a tricky endeavor. I feel that ‘Wolf’ does just that. The song encompasses everything that makes Our Lady Our Lady. Swirling guitars, tastefully subtle yet emotive percussion, the ever present haunting drone of Molli’s cello… and yes that catchy as all hell chorus. I can safely say I will enjoy playing this jam every night on tour.
-Nick DeMarco (Asthma, Table Drama, King Worm)
5. “Bird Girl” by Bad Banshee
Especially hard-hitting blow to the chest. Kristin’s shrieks are volatilely unsettling, switching from manic to affectionate and back again, all while the ensemble behind her follows suit in well -rehearsed perfection. Even more impressive with this track, and really for the whole record, the recording is as sincere as the live performance, and with no injury to the band’s vibe. I also applaud the band’s true uniqueness. Amidst many talented groups playing fairly straightforward music in our scene, Bad Banshee does the job of invoking fantasy-like and fictional moods. With their grim yet whimsical brand of ska, Bad Banshee can sweep us off our feet to another dimension. It’s a break from rigid genres, a fault in the line between dreams and reality, that Bad Banshee brings to Springfield No other band in town today has this distinct ability, and “Bird Girl” tells this tale with it’s uneasing twists and turns that carry it’s own plot line in 91 seconds flat. “Bird Girl” is a song to be remembered well into beyond 2014 as not just shocking but innovative and as helped us find a place in our hearts for something completely new to us. In response to the song’s lyrics, yes, we do love you, Bad Banshee.
-Mario Cannamela (Slam Dinner, Wir Können, Soap Scum, Meredosia, I’m Dead Inside)
6. “Growth” by Looming
Looming is one of those bands that when you first hear them you show them to all of your friends and cherish their reactions. Ever since their first show last September I’ve been completely enamored with every element of the bands music, I think it’s safe to say that everyone in the Black Sheep community adores Looming with all of our hearts. With this new track featured on compilation It Came From Plan-It-X put out by the absolutely essential diy label Plan It X records Looming is simply growing in the exact way I knew they would, bitter sweet, eclectic and absolutely beautiful. Jess’s voice pierces through my entire body to shake me at my core. I can’t see anything but success for this band in the future, and if anyone deserves it, it’s them.
7. “So High I Want To Die” by Asthma
WOW, those deviants in the band ASTHMA are at it again and WOW. This stomper of a track deserves its place on whatever list Brian is making me write this for. Kicks right off, wow, none of that intro bull shit, straight into a verse. Clearly the vocal-styling echos the name of the band, and it works with layers of reverberation and delay, set delicately in the mix. The stomping is HALTED half way through as one is hypnotized by the luscious guitar tone. That THICK solo drives into and fuck now you’re so disoriented. I don’t know if it’s my paranoia tendencies, but I am hearing something SINNISTER low in the mix during that bestial wail the guitar cries out. After the bridge, when you’re standing there dazed in your mom’s cocoon, Asthma comes back and stop on your lifeless melon on the way out the door.
-Asswolf (Wolf Luv)
8. “Dude Girl” by The Timmys
When I was recently asked to give my opinion on The Timmys new record I could’ve spent my entire day constructing a senior thesis. That is how awesome the Timmys are. I have followed them for more than half of my life and it inspires me to see that they are still at it. I know most of you don’t understand what the band means to the city … therefore you can read my 140 character tweet along with the TinyURL to the band. Here my write up please post it verbatim @thetimmys Thank you for reminding me its ok to still love Punk Rock & Kick those that criticize right in the cock.
-Jeremie Bailey (Lincoln’s Legends Podcast)
9. “Springfield” by Good Times
This song was GOOD. I had good TIMES while listening to it.
-Kevin Bradford (The Black Sheep Cafe, Caterpillar Club, Soap Scum)
10. “Not Alone” by Big Storm
This year marked the end of one of Springfield, Illinois’ best melodic rock bands, Big Storm. Not a band to just fade away unannounced, Brandon Carnes and company pulled together one last EP (aptly titled “Final EP”) and loaded it with their trademark musicianship and hooks. The EP, and ultimately the band, closes out with the emotional track “Not Alone”; an introspective tune filled with sweet arpeggios and harmonized guitars. The song that builds to a peak with Carnes passionately belting out the final verse before closing the song with harmonized feedback. A fitting conclusion to a solid EP. Overall, a great song by a great band that will be greatly missed.
-John Phillips (The Complaint Line)