It’s been an exciting year for independent / DIY music lovers and our readers sure know we’ve been treated to everything from ambitious follow ups by iconic artists to exciting debuts from fresh talent from all over the world. No matter what genre you dive into, music was full of ambition, but mainly fury and confusion (guess why!). Artists did get both emotional and political, and searched for identity and purpose in these mad times we live in. Some of the year’s best records came from harsh sounding screamo, emoviolence, and powerviolence acts we love so much here on IDIOTEQ, so it’s a great pleasure to join our forces with the one and only Shawn Decker, a DIY post hardcore / screamo patron, the ever-active owner of Indiana’s prolific label Middle-Man Records, and a member of screamo act COMA REGALIA, and give you his ten End Of The Year picks worth a check!
Following Shawn’s work from its early days, we have seen Middle-Man Records grow from an enthusiastic seedling of a DIY venture to a level in which it almost dominates North American screamo sector with a number of amazing records in its catalogue. Be sure to browse the label’s releases and feel free to do your own digging and share your own favorite screamo torchbearer labels and bands with us using the comments below!
Favorite 5 non Middle Man Records Releases:
Synth heavy stuff that reminds you of the 80’s. This album concludes a trilogy of albums with a horror theme centered around a vampire love story. The albums are all written and arranged by Massimo Usai who enlists accompanying performers including legendary horror filmmaker John Carpenter’s son Cody Carpenter.
Jeremy Enigk – Ghosts
I’ve been a fan of Jeremy Enigk for a very long time but since World Waits came out in 2006 I’ve been waiting for something substantial from him. I was pretty skeptical of him describing this release as a revisit of old demos, for one, because it took so long and for another reason because that’s what his last couple releases felt like. Ghosts does not disappoint.
Add Violence takes me back to Pretty Hate Machine and The Downward Spiral era NIN and I’m sure that’s not what everyone was hoping for but for me it was dead on. I wish this were a more full releases but the “deluxe” version does fill in some space and add a dynamic thatt I can’t really imagine the release without.
Esazlesa – Společnost psů
I wish we would have played with this band when we played Prague earlier this year. I listened to their 10″ so much when I first got it and kind of thought that they were not making any more music but wow am I glad to be wrong about that.
Your Ad Could Be Here – ’17
While this might be a little more straight forward and less melodic than their debut in 2014, this is such a solid release through and through.
Favorite 5 Middle Man Releases:
Fans of City of Caterpillar and Envy will be all over this record. Pair that with the fact that these are some of the most hardworking and earnest people I’ve met over the last couple years and you can’t go wrong. This debut LP is 7 song of epic screamo with a flawless production and stunning package design by Connie Sgarbossa.
Frail Hands is the best new band I heard this year easy. Chaotic vocals and guitars paired with manic and still incredibly technical drumming that blows 10 songs by you in around 15 minutes.
This just blew me away. Stay tuned for big things coming next year.
Featuring members of Chicago emo stalwarts Stillwell and Towers, Engines sounds nothing like either but lives up to the reputation of both. If you are a fan of Designing a Nervous Breakdown era The Anniversary or Something to Write Home About era Get Up Kids, then this noisey pop record is exactly what your life needs.
While I never quite clicked with bands like Underoath and Hopesfall, Lyed breathes a new and genuine air into a sound that’s been missing in DIY. The bass and drums lock in so hard, letting the vocals and guitars do their own thing while having a cohesion that is downright hard to explain.
Former members of Forstella Ford is really all you had to say to get my attention but listening to this record is something else altogether. Brothers Mark and Nick Sheppard, along with guitarist and vocalist Eric Madl bring you a completely punishing 6 track full length album in the vein of Neurosis or Fall of Efrafa.