As we continue to unveil more contributions to our individual year-end lists published by a variety of artists, bands and labels, we are exctied to give yout the newest installment, the newest wrap-up and end of the year commentary by Grant from North Carolina DIY hardcore punk label Bitter Melody Records, who took this chance to announce his newest co-release with Ugly and Proud Records (FOREWARNED‘s 7” EP, mentioned by Greg Bennick in his end-of-the-year wrap-up) and two limited tapes for INDECISION and MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD! Here’s what Grant had to say about 2018 for Bitter Melody:
This year, on a personal level, was pretty good. I traveled to some interesting places and had a good year at work. At a country/societal level it was grim, things aren’t good and it’s palpable, but all we can do is keep at it, make change where we can, and keep confronting those standing in the way of progress.
We stayed busy as a label this year. It felt like I was working on something all year long. I didn’t include any Bitter Melody releases in my top album list because it should go without saying that I think all of these were great albums and should land on top lists everywhere. Our year consisted of:
Wake of Humanity – Fight / Resist LP
No Restraint – Growth 7”
No Restraint – The First Three EPs CD
Totally Slow – Imperium CD EP
God Program – Fragments of Illusion CD EP
No Right – Unjustified cassette
Final Expression – Demo cassette
Most Precious Blood – Merciless (limited cassette release) coming soon
Indecision – Unorthodox (limited cassette release) coming soon
The label have had the INDECISION and MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD reissues in the works for a couple months and hope to have the delayed shipping to them any day. The reissue will feature 150 copies of each release. 50 of which will be limited and have some special unique additions. More details on that will follow in a separated article soon! Stay tuned!
To finish off the year, we have teamed up with Forewarned to bring their stellar EP “Unforgiving Years” to vinyl (Co-released with Ugly and Proud).
Top 3 shows of 2018
I didn’t make it to any of the big festivals this year but I did manage to travel to some big shows.
Jawbreaker, Lemuria, A Giant Dog (Austin, TX)
Finally got to see Jawbreaker after all these years and it was as magical as I thought it would be.
Action Patrol and Iron Reagan (Richmond, VA)
Another band I’m finally glad I got to see is Action Patrol. They were a legendary 90s RVA band. They broke up before I saw them in the 90s and I found out about the ’07 reunion the day after it happened, so I was very excited when they announced this year’s show.
Earth Crisis, Ecostrike, Magnitude, Search for Purpose (Charlotte, NC)
What a stacked lineup of hardcore. EC played a nice mix of songs. It was my first time seeing Ecostrike but I’ve been digging what they’ve been doing for a while so it was cool seeing them.
Top (non Bitter Melody) albums & EPs of the year
I try to keep open ears throughout the year, but that said, this list is bound to have things left out that I haven’t gotten around to listening to yet or just plain missed. In no particular order:
True Love – The Pact
What a ferocious straight edge album. This kept me coming back to it all year.
Alkaline Trio – Is This Thing Cursed?
I love Alkaline Trio. That said, some albums are weaker than others, but this one is a great return to form, not a single track I skip.
Lucero – Among the Ghosts
Another one of my favorite bands, with a great new album.
Candy – Good to Feel
I was late to the party with Candy, but this album is so killer. Weird, noisy, but makes you want to pick up your feet and move.
Superchunk – What A Time to be Alive
Another band I just love, and will probably always support. This is classic Superchunk with a lot of political anger and frustration at the current climate. You can’t get much better of a Superchunk track than “Erasure”.
Mindforce – Excalibur
One of the last additions to this list, but it’s too good not to add. I know I’ll be listening to this well into the new year.
Converge – Beautiful Ruin
I enjoyed last year’s The Dusk in Us but this EP is my favorite type of Converge – short, fast, and furious.
Portrayal of Guilt – Let Pain be your Guide
Solid screamo. Great art from Chris Taylor. Carrying the flame that Pg.99 and Majority Rule lit.
Tempest – ST
XVX EP with members from all over. I can’t wait to hear what’s next from them.
Great Reversals – Stalactite
This is a great follow up to Mere Mortals from 2016. Great production and a solid LP from solid dudes.
GO HERE to see our official premiere of the record, including the band’s first hand track by track commentary!
Racetraitor – 2042
Great return from a great band.
GO HERE to see our recent feature on RACETRAITOR, including their official word on their classic debut LP!
Graf Orlock – Examination of Violent Cinema Vol. 1
This is my last addition to this list. As a huge fan of movies and samples in hardcore, I appreciate what they do. They also continue to impress when it comes to packaging.
GO HERE to see the official track by track commentary for IDIOTEQ!
Vein – Errorzone
There’s no denying the hugeness and hype of this release this year. It was a solid LP though and a long time coming.
Yashira – Shrine
Crossing between metal genres with ease, this LP is packed with riffs and crushing dirges.
Ogikubo Station – We Can Pretend Like
Ireally liked this LP from Mike Park (Asian Man Records) and Maura Weaver (Mixtapes). It’s a pleasant indie/punk album that I found myself going back to a lot.