In our end-of-the-year segment we look back and follow up on some of 2017’s most memorable records and moments recalled by labels and artists of different genres from around the world. If you are a regular reader of IDIOTEQ, you probably know I have a penchant for DIY screamo / post hardcore variations that I truly believe are on the serious rise these days, so I’ve decided to ask some of the ‘industry’s’ most active promoters to drop their year-in-review lists. Soon after the recent check-in from Shawn Decker of Middle-Man Records, we’re incredibly pleased to welcome his kindred soul, the one and only Dave Norman of Zegema Beach Records / (((((OPENmind/SATURATEDbrain))))) blog, who gave us his Top 10 records and personas of the year! Read and listen below and be sure to browse through our Zegema Beach related articles HERE.
Here are 10 bands that I think have just killed it in 2017. – Dave Norman
Surprised? No one is surprised. I think most lists that omit the band didn’t listen to any of the releases this year, which was three, each of which owned. Their first 12″ split with Flesh Born got everyone salivating. Their 12″LP ‘Last’ was beyond exceptional. And to cap it all off they released two more songs on the ‘Yarrow’ 4-way 10″ split. I also saw them twice in Europe and was able to interview them before they played Cry Me A River Fest 2017 in Germany. Amazing band. Amazing music. Amazing people.
HEDGE FUND TRADER
The little known New Zealand band released two unreal EPs in their current, short 8-month existence and have at least three more songs coming in 2018 on a 4-way split with a band I was in, Swallow’s Nest. One guitar, a drummer and vocalist somehow manage to make all this noise. One of my friends put it best, “New Zealand’s answer to Cloud Rat.”
TRUMAN / SAMARRA
Mitchie and Benson play together in both Truman and Samarra, who cumulatively dropped three releases this year, each being genre-bending and phenomenal. The batlike shrieks are layered over either lush, ambient movements or ridiculously heavy screamo/hardcore with Truman, while the two focus more on the ax in Samarra while vocalist Drew pounds out the primary vocals and drummer Will lets loose shrieks that would shame Jeromes Dream.
Releasing two short but insane EPs in 2017, this Chicago band is very quickly making a name for themselves by playing one of the most intense, panicked and breakdown-heavy styles of metalcore/emo-violence on the entire planet. If they put together an LP everyone is going to be in a world of hurt.
While we’re on the subject of panic chords and breakdowns, I’d be insane not to include the EP of the year, SeeYouSpaceCowboy’s ‘Fashion Statements of the Socially Aware’ 7″. The cacophonous and sassy mixture of Fear Before The March Of Flames, The Blood Brothers, Daughters and Heavy Heavy Low Low is done so well it’s fucking stupid. I was also lucky enough to release their cassingle ‘Atrocities From a Story Book Perspective’ and an upcoming split 7″ with Secondgradeknifefight, for which I can vouch that the songs are even better!
Keeping in the theme of one word bands with strong metalcore ties, the WristMeetRazor demo and 2×7″LP ‘I Talk to God…But the Sky is Empty’ were outstanding, to say the least. Combining a love of metallic hardcore and one of my all-time favourites NeilPerry, members Jonah, Justin and Zach have created some incredibly concise hardcore that will appease fans of any heavy genre. Jonah is also the mastermind behind Secondgradeknifefight, the solo, grind/noise/emo-violence project that released so many songs and albums this year that I’m not even going to try and count.
My southern brother Jesse Mowery gave me a heads up about his new band Majorel as soon as they formed, and I was lucky enough to help release their debut EP ‘Restless in Memory‘ on cassette. These five tracks are so lush, beautiful, dark and unstable that when coupled with pretty much every band member contributing vocals, how did this not make more lists? They also boast members from Mothlight, Gas Up Your Hearse, Yusuke, Dawn, Altar Of Complaints, Apostles Of Eris, Van Hagar, мятеж, Samarra, Swan of Tuonela, Caust, This Land Is Now Dead, etc. and will be on an upcoming 4-way 12″ split next year.
Oh my god, I fucking love Crowning. Also from Chicago, the reincarnated Pregnancy Pact band took their screamo to the next level with the inclusion of bassist Vanessa and played a few shows and fests in both the U.S. and Canada (including my 3-day event in Toronto, during which they managed to drop many a jaw). Their debut EP ‘Funeral Designs’ was just going to be a digital release until I convinced the band to let me do some tapes for them, thus pushing the release date from December 2016 to January 2017. The band has recently added James, the vocalist from Itto and Ikaray, to round out three of the five members contributing to the screaming department. They’ve also got a new 7″ split coming out early next year, again with my New Zealand band Swallow’s Nest.
I mean, c’mon… Shawn Decker. And Middle Man Records. And Coma Regalia continuing to release an insane amount of records. Shawn also dabbled in numerous other projects, such as Never Better, Under Glass, The Longer We Stray From The Light, etc. and to say the they are not the most influential person in screamo would be a travesty
SHAUN HARRISON HANCOCK
The Shawn Decker of the U.K., Shaun Harrison Hancock spends time playing any and all instruments, generally while screaming his head off, in Moss Rose, Yuri, Kodos and solo project thisismenotthinkingofyou. Shaun also runs the fantastic Adorno Records. In additional to all of that, he’s a beautiful human being, which makes him making this list even better. I wish my name was Sean Norman and then we’d all be family in name, too.