The end of the year is finally here, and it’s time to go over your picks for favorite albums/releases, songs, and shows of Springfield in 2015! We are going to start today off with your favorite albums/releases of 2015. Each of the top ten favorites for each category come with a writeup from different musicians or people somehow involved in the Springfield music community. Let’s get into it!
10. Sgt Karate – The Frost Giant’s Lament
Sgt KARATE is the first Springfield based black metal project I’m familiar with, and it is killer. It’s a one man black metal project that has come nasty riffs and abrasive blasts that are broken up by somber slowed down sections that break out of the rigid traditional black metal sound. The project features a few layers of instrumentation that culminate into something fearsome. A must listen for anyone interested in metal and the Springfield music scene.
-Drew Kodrich (Ooey Gooey Tapes, GUSH)
9. SAP/Person – Split
SAP is still killin it with their new bangers on this split, my favorite being the first track “U.V.” Still holding down those bass driven groovy songs, with grungy riffs and Clare’s spooky and melodic vocals. SAP knows how to construct a song for a build up that will give you goosebumps. They just know when to get loud.
-Tater Cronin (Mouthsex, Pryss)
8. The Complaint Line – Stick Ninja
The Complaint Line is no stranger to chunky rock songs. Last years write up made that clear. July ’15 brought us their next effort. This time around, they’ve turned up their amps. The four piece waste no time laying out what they’re all about in the guise of buzzed out, punchy indie songs. One right after another, “Stick Ninja” sonically nods even deeper into the no frill “Sixteen Candles”-flannel-clad-sunglasses-at-night rock world that put loud guitars back onto pop charts. They don’t waste time on gristle or beefy egos. The Complaint Line doesn’t have time for any of that. All they want to do is serve the almighty “hook.” This quick record is honest, raw, catchy and fuzzy. What more could you want?
-Cory VanMeter (Say Something, Attic Salt)
7. Epsom – Ah, Youth!
There were three LPs that were released by local bands this year on vinyl- of course Looming’s Nailbiter, the more recent Never Get Cold by Hospital Job, and one that might have gone more overlooked by the regular Black Sheep community- Ah, Youth by Epsom. The Epsom album was the band doing it all themselves, pressing something like a limited 100 copies. The album features a good number of guest musicians from other bands in the Springfield area such as Eric Rogers of Luzhin Defense, Josie Lowder, and Bruce Williams and Damon Sooper of NIL8 (there are probably a good handful of others that I don’t even know about). Most of the Black Sheep crowd might dismiss this as “not punk” or whatever. If punk is what you’re looking for, I encourage you to look into where this band is coming from. This video of vocalist Scott and drummer Tim’s previous band “Backwards Day” performing their song “Satan on Acid” at Douglas Park in 1992 is quite possibly the punkest thing I have ever seen. Once you understand all of that and listen to Backwards Day, Epsom’s music makes a whole lot more sense (to me at least). The band describes themselves as “acid reflux rock” which I would say is also pretty accurate. This band and album is weird, and in a great way.
-Brian Galecki (Dumb Records, Black Sheep)
6. Hospital Job – Never Get Cold
Any PBR/Mike’s Lemonade toting punker can tell you that winter sucks, Santa isn’t real and there a lot of people who try to put coal in your stocking; there is one band who can tell you about this with catchy lyrics, conducive guitar riffs, and driving jams all at about 150 bpm.
Hospital Job’s newest LP, Never Get Cold, will be that warm soothing wave of warmth you need to battle the +50 degrees this winter has been so far. The record starts off with some hard hitting and driving Anthems that you can yell out of your car windows on the west side of Springfield at Middle Class Normies with nothing better to do. These are all songs that we know Hospital Job for and it’s the ‘thing they do’ but the ladder half of the record turns the page. The last half of the record has tons of riff-age, tasteful starts and stops, and quiet breaks that take us on the voyage from the loud all the time jams we know.
So in conclusion, if you listen to this record its going to take more then doing some beers do get these lyrics out of your head. It’s power pop at what it needs to be heard at; simple structure with catchy lyrics with giant waves of volume, noise, and riffs sprinkled with the message of how life can suck. Good job hospital.
-B.J. Pearce (Our Lady, GUSH)
5. Diaper Rash – Demo 4: Eat, Shit, and Cry
EAT, SHIT, AND CRY: first of all I’m gonna say that Diaper Rash is one of my favorite local bands and I love listening to their music and seeing them perform and when I found out that they released another demo I was really stoked because they release new stuff like it’s nothing and it never disappoints. DEMO 4 is Rowdy, loud, in your face, catchy, and anybody can get into it. I really liked the riffs, the bass groves, the drumming and especially the fit throwing vocals. I really hope to see more from Diaper rash.
– Dontrell (WARRS)
4. Garter – Demo
Please listen to this band, Brendan Durbin you play the guitar like Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth and i’m so proud of you for dedicating yourself to a project and i feel like it’s really paying off grin emoticon Cassie Crawford you make bikini kill sound like the wiggles (your vocals A+) Brian Galecki your bass lines remind me of Agent Orange’s Living In Darkness album Nick Murphy you kill it as always! The overall energy of this band brings a lot of excitement to their shows. The Garter experience has never let me down. Also, NightHawk Rulez.
– Quincy Curran (Mystery Gift)
3. GUSH – Naughty NuFF
“Naughty NuFF,” the debut tape from GUSH, is a solid release. It’s packed with plenty of feedback, driving drums, gritty bass, and a unique near-blood-curdling vocal delivery. It feels like a natural step from the 2014 slimey thing that was buzzing around Springfield, but with moshier (dare I say bro-ey?) flare. Split-second breaks from circle pits to floor punches make the songs on Naughty NuFF an interesting listen that’s sure to get you moving. For fans of: eating your own skin, being a party girl, hating everything.
-Brandon Carnes (Looming, South Town Studio)
2. SAP – Maiden, Mother, Crone
Maiden Mother Crone was SAPs first release this year (followed by a split with Person!) and they killed it right off the bat. Clare’s chilling vocals paired with sporadic guitar and melodic bass lines gives the album a vibe you can’t help but love. The lyrics are dreamy and thoughtful but provoking and emotive. It quickly became one of my favorite releases to ever come out of the Springfield music scene.
– Jessica Knight (Looming)
1. Looming – Nailbiter
I think the Nailbiter LP had our community floored and immediately in love, as well as so proud and in awe of our friends Brandon, Jess, Mitch, and Jordan for putting together such a hit release.
Looming’s first full-length is an album brims with total raw emotion as well as musical intention; the theme of change and the anxieties related ring clearly and elegantly throughout the entirety of the LP, with the order of the songs themselves fitting together meaningfully.
Nailbiter opens with a refreshing and reflective intro, a piece that delicately coaxes the audience seemingly into the beginning of a sort of adventure, and is immediately followed by “Cotton Tongue”, an angsty in-your-face song that reels us in with lyrical metaphor “I can feel it… the monster breathing.” That being said, one of the most interesting aspects of the album is Jess’s lyrical content, which consistently depict a sophisticated pattern of acute body awareness in the midst of processing challenging emotions and interpersonal situations, with lines such as Cotton Tongue’s “Do you hold your breath, when your eyes meet mine?”, New Eye’s “Sometimes I think about you, and the way that you hold in place, as the air puts a mode on your body, your lips across your face”, or Impermanence’s “I long to kiss you on the mouth.”
With such relateable yet personal worldplay, the songs themselves are able to carry meaning that is realistic and true to the difficulties that everyone in life faces, and invites listeners to fairly and expressively process their own issues in regards to personal transformation.
With intentional and creative percussive strength, drummer Brandon hauls the musical weight as guitarists Jordan and Mitch weave whimsical yet poignant melodies, while bassist and vocalist Jess brings it all together with strong yet romantic basslines.
The album ends aptly with warm and inviting song “Nailbiter”, with cathartic lyrics “The worst that can happen, is it all will stay the same”, allowing a sort of compassion that looks forward with clear vision at the fragility of emotional progression, and the strength of human willpower to press forward despite all challenges and changes. As the final song draws to a close, there is a note of hope that suggests that the adventure of life continues.
The entirety of the pop album Nailbiter is truly magical as well as thoughtful, and has set the highly emotive tone that resonates with pure enchanting honesty, angst, and compassion in the hearts and minds of all its listeners in 2015.
-Kristin Walker (Bad Banshee, Moondead)
2015 was a huge year, especially for local superstars Jess Knight, Mitch Baker, Jordan Fein, and Brandon Carnes. First, being signed to No Sleep Records (Former home to Into It. Over It., Balance and Composure, La Dispute, The Wonder Years, etc.), then announcing their first full-length LP. Looming’s “Nailbiter” was one of the most anticipated releases of 2015, and for sure lived up to the hype. This album, track after track, hits you in all the right places, with emotional depth and dope riffage. This is the sickest of the sick, and the tightest of the tight. I’m so proud of everyone person in this band. They’re on tour right now with Run Forever, and hopefully 2016 will bring even bigger opportunities for these guys. They deserve it.
– Austin Connelly (Wir Können, GRINN)