In the second part of our Best of Springfield Music 2014 series, we are going to jump straight into the albums/releases that came out this year! This year Springfield saw a boom in bands putting out demos, EPs, and full lengths, in all sorts of different formats. We seem to think that South Town Studio might be something to thank for all of that. There were a total of 35 releases we had in the running on our poll, and we ended up picking the top ten from those releases. Just like the best of shows, we have different musicians and people involved with the music scene doing write ups about each of the releases. Ready? Here we go!]
10. Wilt Candy – EP
No microphone you say? No, no microphone. They don’t need one because this two piece fills the room with full bodied folk songs. Dani and Haleigh both have such full bodied voices that they accompany with acoustic guitar and mandolin. Wilt Candy formed this year and released their first EP with 8 songs full of conviction and drive. All of the songs are real. They push a message about standing up for yourself and pushing forward while holding one another accountable for our actions in a world full of injustice and frustration. It’s full of conviction. The EP is relatable and the songs are really well put together with floating harmonies tied all throughout. “I can blame you if I want to”
-Jess Knight (Looming, Asthma, Teen Freak, Knives)
9. Wir Können – God It’s Getting Bad
“God, It’s Getting Bad” is one of my personal favorites from this year, including two songs that keep you on your toes without question. The three-piece works together perfectly, creating a sound that overwhelms you with a multitude of different emotions all at once. Austin Connelly’s vocals contain a sense of honesty without beating around the bush; he gets straight to the point, and that is something I can appreciate a great deal. Wir Konnen’s stage presence is unlike any other, and every time their set is over, a strong feeling of understanding is always present with me. This January, they kick off a baby tour which has been well-deserved, and I have no doubt in my mind that they will blow away everyone that they come across. Each member of this band has entirely put their hearts into what they do and it is beautifully portrayed through this album.
-Haleigh Parks (Wilt Candy)
8. Estates/Our Lady – Split 7″
When you think of Springfield Emo, who do you think of? Probably Our Lady, they’ve been around for a long time and have endured our scene, and have gone through many phases along with it. Recently, Our Lady decided to record a split with none other than the wonderfun Wisconsin Emo band, Estates. Let me tell you, this pairing is nothing but pure genius. Our Lady hits the angry angsty emo vibes, and Estates brings your home with the Teenage feelings. From start to finish this split is pure creative genius, Estates is a great topping to some Our Lady Emo cake. If you’re looking for a quality release to unleash the vibes, and feel refreshed: this is it.
-Austin Duffie (Milchjunge)
7. The Complaint Line – 3P
I spent a majority of my musically formative years listening to “1990s radio alternative” music. K-Mart sold me a $3 “Top 10 Alternative Hits” CD, and I spent quite a bit of my time listening to it. It was the first glimpse into something outside of the musical world my mom lived in. Sponge, The Lemonheads and PUSA we’re my stepping stones into punk. I still have a soft spot for that music, and “3P” plays up to it in all the right ways. It’s a short, punchy trip to an nostalgically abstract, pretense-free headspace of a youthier me. It’s an entertaining step down an interesting path, and I’m excited to see what’s next.
-Cory VanMeter (Say Something, Soap Scum)
6. The Timmys – Dude, Girl EP
Springfield’s second-longest running punk band certainly outdid themselves in 2014. In September, the Timmys released their 4-song EP, “Dude, Girl” in digital format (with a vinyl release to follow in 2015!) to the masses, and let me tell ya…it’s some of their finest work to date! Recorded right here in Springfield, IL at South Town Studio by bassist Brandon Carnes, and mixed/mastered at Bill Stevenson’s (Black Flag, Descendents, ALL) infamous Blasting Room Studio in Fort Collins, CO, the EP takes the listener on a 9 minute and 4 second ride through a variety of topics ranging from the hopelessness of love to the ignorance of violence and, you guessed it…the difference between girls and dudes. The EP starts off extremely strong with the tune “Ash & Bone”, which quickly became my most favorite local song of 2014. The song’s rapidly changing tempos expertly executed by Tyler Orton, Ian Kelly and Brandon Carnes and flawless drumming held down by Gary Swaggerty III along with Robbie Kording’s witty vocals all come together beautifully to give the listener a 2:54 assault on the senses leaving you wondering what hit you and saying, “Yes sir! May I have another?” No shit. When I first heard this song, I hit repeat immediately and played it again. I couldn’t believe how great it was! I listened to it for the first time in my car while driving around town and at about 2:30 I literally sat at a stop sign for the rest of the song staring at my car stereo wondering what just happened. Yeah. It’s that good! The momentum doesn’t stop as the fellas go right into the next song, “Death Grip” which couldn’t have come at a more relevant time and has Robbie continuously asking the question, “How many homicides will it take to get to you?” Brilliant. “Bissell Bicycle” is actually an older tune that was originally written in 2009 and had a short residency on the band’s MySpace site around that time. It was a pleasant surprise to see this tune get brought back and re-worked. The EP ends just as strongly as it began with the title track, “Dude, Girl” which is a weird and hilarious take on the confusion of love. It even features a sweet-ass guitar solo! Another fine release from the Timmys! I’m excited to see what lies ahead for these fellas! WELL DONE!!!
-Anthony Bollero (Some Things Can’t Be Ignored)
5. Hospital Job – The Believer
Looks like Hospital Job’s The Believer has made it to the top five on our list this year, and I also want to point out it is the only full-length album on the list. Believer sounds like previous Hospital Job material, but things might get a little poppier, and the songs might get a little weirder and dreamier. The whole album I believe is based on some sort of cult. It’s also cool that this album is making a splash in other parts of the country, especially more around the “Fest” crowd (which I hear HOJO’s set at Fest this year went really well). Yes, this is just as good as any other Copyrights record, as was HOJO’s last record Downer, Downer, Downer in 2012. Luke has his songwriting down to a science, and was not afraid to give pointers when we had him on the Black Sheep radio show last time around. Never repeat a chorus more than twice, and never have songs go over the 2:30 minute mark. I think I agree with Luke, and Hospital Job’s Believer is a great pop-punk album (almost just straight pop) that holds true to that. I think that Downer, Downer, Downer has more of HOJO’s classic hits on it, but Believer might be the one that works better as a full album. It’s really cool hearing Luke, Tim Reynolds, and Brandon Carnes doing vocals on this. I also want to point out how cool it is that this album cover is of The Carrolon in Washington Park in Springfield and this album is getting distributed around the country. Pretty neat stuff.
-Brian Galecki (Teen Freak, Soap Scum, Dumb Records)
4. Diaper Rash – Demos 1-3
There was a lot of punk that came out of Springfield this year (as I’m sure many of these reviews will point out) and that really took me surprise. However, for the most part I found myself largely unsurprised by a lot of the punk releases that came out this year. That’s not a bad thing though. It’s just that I had heard about the bands, sat in on their practices, and/or heard leaked cell phone recordings months before they ever played their first show let alone released a demo. At a certain point I felt like I was pretty “in the know” when it came to any punk coming out of springfield. Then Diaper Rash came along and fucked it all up. Its pretty safe to call Brandon Carnes one of the best songwriters in Springfield. I’d even go as far as to say he’s one of our best musicians period. When I think of local music, I think of Brandon. When I think of local “punk” though? I don’t. And that is where I think a lot of the beauty in Diaper Rash truly lies. Brandon may be somewhat far removed from cliche “leather jacket” punk culture but who says you gotta be “white trash” with “black gloves” that “always get(s) fucked up” to make hard ass fuck you punk rock music? How many people can say they wrote and recorded 3 (!!!) demos in secret entirely by themselves? How many people who’ve done that can say that it was actually good? To me Diaper Rash is Brandon walking out and looking into the dead, stupid eyes of the “punx” and telling them “Fuck you and your shitty attitude. I’m going to do what you do and I’m going to do it better than you. And it’s all just one big laugh!” Did i mention it’s funny? It’s really funny. Sometimes its silly (we hope you beat Brian at fooseball too) and sometimes, more often than not, it’s cutting (king of the scene if youre under 18). But it’s always funny. Okay that’s the intro here’s the review: DEMO ONE: -I like black gloves fuck you -thanks for the recipe DEMO TWO: -Obi Wan Can Fucking Blow Me!!! DEMO THREE: -As I listened to the opening of the first song on demo three I thought “you could tell me this was the hot new band out of (insert punk rock hype town here) and I would believe you -lalala lalala 6.5 out of 10
-Mike Tirehaus (King Worm)
3. King Worm – No Future City
2014 was a year that produced A LOT of punk music in Springfield, IL. One standout release was King Worm’s tape ‘No Future City’. Teeming with energy, this album was 5 tracks of aggressive instrumentation and Mike Tirehaus’ delightful blend of shit talking and self-deprecation. From the humor of the opening line “I love pizza, I love punk”, to the final refrain, “YOU’RE DUMB AND EMPTY”, King Worm bring lyrics that are playful and memorable, while still delivering much more thoughtful commentary “ (I) really hope that you like me even though I talk shit. Yeah I’m a phony, it’s okay I’m lonely. I’m a hypocrite and I hate being me”, and what I consider to be one of the greatest insults in the history of punk music “I never met your father, but you’re just like your father”. Because really, telling a punk kid that they’re just like their dad is usually, like, SUPER harsh. I could write a much longer story on the sheer energy behind Tirehaus’ delivery of the lyrics to the fourth track ‘Cockroach’, and maybe I will another time, but believe me. Being in the same room as Mike while he tracked those vocals gave me chills. The instrumentation on the album comes across as vulgar and unrefined in the best way. Half of the band began playing their instruments shortly before this album was recorded, and I see that as a virtue to the album. People I have been bumping into at The Black Sheep for nearly a decade are suddenly approaching music with a new imagination, and putting out some DAMN good music while they’re at it. The use of 2 guitars also sets this album apart from many of the local punk/hardcore releases this year. Tyler Curry’s sweet riffs are a nice offset to Bo…being Bo. All in all, No Future City is under 10 minutes of punk, made the way punk should be made. Intelligent but not overthought, playful but not stupid, and raw but not shitty. I’m excited to hear what King Worm bring to the table next.
-Brandon Carnes (Looming, Diaper Rash, The Timmys)
2. Teen Freak – Demo
One of Springfield’s new bands this year, Teen Freak, was formed from Black Sheep’s very first band lotto that took place this summer. This band was immediately captivating, providing an incredibly abrasive yet immersive experience for their audience. The members were randomly selected to band together, and from their culmination spawned a 5-track EP, titled “Demo.” Their overall sound is reminiscent of 90’s female-fronted punk rock, producing a raw musical experience with no walls left to tear down. Their EP is strong and cohesive, brought together by catchy progressions mixed with both rhythmic and climactic measures. Their EP’s first track “Succubus” coaxes the listener to join their world, chanting “TEEN FREAK TEEN FREAK” and from then on the song becomes even more lyrically interesting with memorable lines such as “She’s a demon in female form.” Their next two tracks, “Laundromat” and “Teen Freak (I’m Just a Kid and My Life is a Nightmare)” follow immaculately with equally addicting, totally punk-rock lyrics, melodies, and rhythm. Track 4 erupts with a thick, exciting cover of The Urinals’ “I’m A Bug.” Their EP ends with “Glue Lagoon,” the longest track, which starts out fast but slowly winds down, lulling the listener into a quiet, wondering what hit them. Teen Freak offers aggression, charisma, and an insanely fun experience – from listening to them alone in your room to watching their live performances.
-Kristin Walker (Bad Banshee, Lovecow)
1. Bad Banshee – Skitter/Skitter
I can give this review thing a shot. Can i still turn in that review to you? I was gonna get it to you tonight, okay????? Also, how many of them there zines do ya have. Can i just bring u the written review tonight??? I need to stop committing myself to things. I’m sorry.
-Kat Tuttle (Teen Freak)