Saturday 31 December 2022

Planes Mistaken For Stars

As we bring another year to a close, I've got to give some recognition to a long-awaited band to be featured here (which seems to mostly be this month's theme). Thanks again for a great year, we actually did over 100 posts this year, which hasn't happened in a long time. Admittedly my passion for keeping up with blog does wane from time to time, but I would never abandon it completely. It's been such an integral part of my life for over a decade now that I could never part ways with it, and do still love doing this when the mood strikes. I don't think I'd revisit as many bands I used to listen to or be on the prowl for new projects quite as much if it weren't for this blog, which I ultimately have to give it credit for. It's kept me active in something for a longer period of time than I ever imagined it doing (as one commentator pointed out, it's rare for anyone to stick to something for over 10 years of their life, which still baffles me that it's been this long). It means a lot to me to stay connected to this, so I do have to thank the people who continue to come back here after all these years for that. I'd still be doing this regardless, but to continue reaching an audience to share this with is a major factor in the desire to keep it going. So thank you again, and I will wrap up this long-winded self-import ramble by saying Happy New Year, and enjoy! 

Planes Mistaken For Stars were a four-piece post-hardcore band that formed in Peoria, Illinois in 1997. Shortly after, they relocated to Denver, Colorado in 1999. The band self-released their debut in 1998, which was reissued by Deep Elm Records the next year. This was followed up by an incredible split with The Appleseed Cast and Race Car Riot, also released by Deep Elm, and two EPs put out by Dim Mak Records (Steve Aoki's label, another cool reminder of his involvement in the hardcore scene early on in his career). They released three more albums during their initial run, which ended in early 2008. They quickly reunited, and were back by 2010, which their first new album in 10 years being released in 2016 by Deathwish. Tragically, founding member and vocalist/guitarist Gared O'Donnell passed away in 2021. Prior to his passing, the band did complete another album, which is set to be released at some point in the future, and would also mark the finality of this incredible project.

This band has evolved a ton over the years, managing to exist somewhere in an intersectional sweet spot between hardcore, emo, rock and metal. You'd be hard-pressed to find a band that singularly encompasses such a wide sonic palette with the same level of vigor and finesse as Planes Mistaken For Stars. Just to give you a quick surface-level rundown, their earlier work is rooted in a punk-emo hybrid, sort of akin to bands like Hot Water Music and Small Brown Bike. There's a raw, driving energy to it, but with a vulnerable and often melodic backdrop in play. Though never a band I would describe as "simplistic", their technical prowess did become more prominent as the years went on, with their varied influences piling on alongside of it. They kind of went in the opposite direction that most bands do, become increasingly heavier and more experimental. Having said that, they still weren't shy about bringing in slower, acoustic elements well into their later years, and always wore their love for straight up rock n roll on their sleeve. If you're new to this band, I honestly think the best way to delve into their discography is to go from the start and work your way forward (Planes Mistaken For Stars > Fuck With Fire > Up In Them Guts > Mercy > Prey), though you could easily inverse that order and work your way back as well. My personal favourite album is probably Mercy, though that's a fairly interchangeable stance. Definitely give this band a shot if you haven't heard them before, I think they're right up the alley for people interested in the general niche of music that this blog covers. Again, enjoy!

1. Copper And Stars
2. Division
3. The Time It Took
4. The Past Two
5. Somewhere In September
6. Standing Still Fast
7. Knuckle Hungry
8. Where The Arrow Went Out

1. Planes Mistaken For Stars - Staggerswallowswell
2. Race Car Riot - Broken
3. Race Car Riot - Raincheck
4. Race Car Riot - Racing California
5. The Appleseed Cast - Tale Of The Aftermath
6. The Appleseed Cast - Remedios The Beautiful

1. Fucking Fight
2. The Part You Left Out

1. Scratching Rounds
2. Leaning The Room
3. Pillbox
4. Anthem
5. 66 Crush

1. Leveless
2. End Me In Richmond
3. Funeral For A Friend
4. Hollowpoint And Whiskey
5. Bloody But Unbowed
6. Fuck With Fire
7. Rhythm Dies
8. Sicilian Smile
9. I'll See You In Hell
10. Get Burned

14. Police Story/Wasted

1. Thunder In The Night Forever! (We Ride To Fight)
2. Earning Ire
3. Bastards

1. To All Mothers
2. Belly Full Of Hell
3. Glassing
4. Dying By Degrees
5. Pigs
6. Dancing On The Face Of The Panther
7. Say Not A Word
8. No Prize Fighter
9. Spring Divorce
10. A Six Inch Valley
11. Bastards
12. The Last Winter Dance Party

1. One Fucked Pony
2. Crooked Mile
3. Widow: A Love Song
4. Keep Your Teeth
5. To Spit A Sparrow
6. Never Felt Prettier
7. Killed By Killers Who Kill Each Other
8. Little Death
9. Church Date
10. Mercy
11. Penitience

1. Copper And Stars
2. Divison
3. The Time It Took
4. The Past Two
5. Somewhere In September
6. Standing Still Fast
7. Knuckle Hungry
8. Where The Arrow Went Out
9. Staggerswallowswell
10. Fucking Fight
11. The Part You Left Out
12. Scratching Rounds
13. Leaning The Room
14. Pillbox
15. Anthem
16. 66 Crush
17. Fall On Proverb
18. Wasted
19. Police Story
20. Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie
21. Depression
22. Thunder In The Night (We Ride To Fight!)
23. Earning Ire
24. Bastards

1. Dementia Americana
2. Til' It Clicks
3. Riot Season
4. Fucking Tenderness
5. She Who Steps
6. Clean Up Mean
7. Black Rabbit
8. Pan In Flames
9. Enemy Blinds
10. Alabaster Cello

Friday 30 December 2022


SSD were a five-piece hardcore band Boston, Massachusetts that were active from 1981 to 1985. They began as a four-piece under the Society System Decontrol, but went by SS Decontrol. They were foundational in establishing the Boston hardcore scene, and are also regarded as one of the first straight bands to crop up. Their debut LP The Kids Will Have Their Say came out in 1982, with a follow-up EP Get It Away coming out the following year. Both of these are staples of early hardcore punk, and should not be missed. The EP in particular is absolutely incredible. They were a four-piece prior to its recording, so the addition of a second guitarist brings the material to a new frenzied level.

By 1984 they officially had shortened their name to its abbreviation, subequently going by SSD. Their sound changed a fair bit too. They began moving away from their punk origins and venturing into more metal-inspired territory, with the pace slowing down and the inclusion of actual guitar riffs and solos. 1984's How We Rock is still a fairly straight-forward hardcore record, but they had mostly shed that skin by the time of 1985's Break It Up. They called it quits after that, and haven't had any kind of official reunion since. A compilation was released in 1992 containing unreleased session tracks and a handful of live songs. Enjoy.

1. Boiling Point
2. Fight Them
3. Do You Even Care
4. Not Normal
5. Wasted Youth
6. Jock Itch
7. Fun To You
8. V.A.
9. How Much Art
10. The Kids Will Have Their Say
11. Headed Straight
12. War Threat
13. Teach Me Violence
14. Screw
15. Who's To Judge
16. Police Beat
17. Untitled
18. The End

1. Glue
2. Forced Down Your Throat
3. Get It Away
4. Under The Influence
5. Nothing Done
6. X-Claim
7. No Reply

1.SSD - Jolly Old Saint Nicholas
2. Jeff & Jane - Jingle Bells
3. Christmas - O Holy Night
4. Sonny Columbus & His Del Fuegos - That Punchbowl Full Of Joy
5. Native Tongue - Do You Hear What I Hear? 

1. How We Rock Intro
2. How We Rock
3. Words That Kill
4. The Choice
5. On The Road
6. What It Takes
7. What If I

1. Break It Up
2. Children Will Rock
3. Heart Failure
4. Hit The Bottom
5. Blood Flood
6. No Solution
7. Baby Black
8. Calendar
9. Screams Of The Night
10. Feel The Flame

1. Glue
2. Control
3. Boston Crew
4. Words That Kill
5. Nothing Done
6. Break It Up
7. Remember
8. X Claim
9. Boiling Point
10. Fight Them
11. Forced Down
12. What If I
13. Screams Of The Night
14. Drug Fools
15. How Much Art
16. Wasted Youth
17. Jolly Old Saint Nick
18. Headed Straight
19. On The Road
20. Under The Influence
21. Police Beat
22. Baby Black
23. Typical
24. Get It Away
25. Star Wars
26. No Reply
27. Francois' Journey
28. Eighteen
29. Infinity

Thursday 29 December 2022


Squint are a five-piece hardcore band from St. Louis, Missouri that formed in 2021. I couldn't close out this year without including two of its finest EP's, both courtesy of this band. They came out swinging, with dual offerings of hard-hitting and cathartic tracks that waste no time pulling their punches, with most songs barely scraping the two-minute mark. They cite their influences as bands including Turning Point and Rites of Spring, which is definitely apparent in their impassion vocals and tightrope-walking of melody and aggression. Add in the huge, fuzzed-out guitars of 90's alt-rock and you've got some of the most thrilling hardcore releases of the year. As loose references, if you're a fan of bands such as Church, One Step Closer, Fiddlehead, and GIVE, then Squint should definitely be on your radar. Enjoy.

1. Squintro
2. Ghost
3. Dealer Wins
4. Homesick
5. Mantra

1. Pig Pen
2. Seeds
3. Circles
4. Treading Waters

Tuesday 20 December 2022

Best Of 2022

Here we are again, wrapping up the past 12 months with the albums that made this year definitive to me. This year was especially excruciating, as there were tons of fantastic albums, but here a condensed 50. As always, keep in mind that this isn't a definitive or objective "best of" list, just a collection of personal favourites in relative order. You can check out a Spotify playlist of all the albums below, along with one of select songs from each. There are no download links to avoid copyright issues, though a few of them are already on here if you want to check out their respective posts. 

Thanks again for continuing to check this blog out, this year we hit both 1000 and 1100 posts and passed the 10-year mark on this thing. So thank you, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, though there should be a few more posts coming before the year is out. Let me know what your favourites this year have been too, I'm curious to know what you guys have been listening to. Enjoy.

Honourable Mentions:

Alexisonfire - Otherness
Brockhampton - The Family
Drake - Honestly, Nevermind
Frank Turner - FTHC
Pianos Become The Teeth - Drift

50. Flight Patterns - Flight Patterns

49. Punitive Damage - This Is The Blackout

48. Skullcrusher - Quiet The Room

47. Piri Reis - Ritma

46. Atameo - It Sure Is Sad To Hope For The Best While Expecting The Worst

45. Gillian Carter - Salvation Through Misery

44. OFF! - Free LSD

43. Mindforce - New Lords

42. Candy - Heaven Is Here

41. Earl Sweatshirt - Sick!

40. Death Cab For Cutie - Asphalt Meadows

39. The Weeknd - Dawn FM

38. Knifeplay - Animal Drowning

37. Sharon Van Etten - We've Been Going About This All Wrong

36. Plains - I Walked With You A Ways

35. Camp Cope - Running With The Hurricane

34. the Mountan Goats - Bleed Out

33. Father John Misty - Chloë And The Next 20th Century

32. Florence + The Machine - Dance Fever

31. KEN Mode - Null

30. Vince Staples - Ramona Park Broke My Heart

29. Foxtails - Fawn

28. Massa Nera - Derramar | Querer | Borrar

27. Birds in Row - Gris Klein

26. Bartees Strange - Farm To Table

25. Björk - Fossora

24. Arm's Length - Never Before Seen, Never Again Found

23. Joyce Manor - 40 oz. To Fresno

22. Caroline - Caroline

21. Perfume Genius - Ugly Season

20. Pool Kids - Pool Kids

19. Single Mothers - Everything You Need

18. Backxwash - His Happiness Shall Come First Even Though We Are Suffering

17. Pusha T - It's Almost Dry

16. Oso Oso - Sore Thumb

15. Gospel - The Loser

14. Beach House - Once Twice Melody

13. PUP - The Unraveling Of PUPTheBand

12. Angel Olsen - Big Time

11. City Of Caterpillar - Mystic Sisters

10. The Smile - A Light For Attracting Attention

9. Kendrick Lamar - Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers

8. Petrol Girls - Baby

7. Black Midi - Hellfire

6. Anxious - Little Green House

5. Wet Leg - Wet Leg

4. Soul Glo - Diaspora Problems

3. Alvvays - Blue Rev

2. Chat Pile - God's Country

1. Black Country, New Road - Ants From Up There