Here we go with the third and final installment of our best of Springfield music 2016 series with your favorite songs that came from local bands this year! With there being well over 30 releases put out by Springfield bands, and also a few that put out individual single songs, it is safe to say that this year there sure were a lot of hot HITS hitting the airwaves of The Black Sheep Radio Show. Here are your top ten favorites along with writeups by different musicians and members of the Springfield music scene as usual.
10. Starlorde – “My Laser Is Bigger”
“Look at those lasers, are they small lasers? And, Milk Tirehaus referred to my lasers: ‘If they’re small, something else must be small.’ I guarantee you there’s no problem. I guarantee.” – Nick DeMarco (Torture Trend)
9. Livin’ Thing – “Becoming A Bug”
What can be said about Livin’ Thing that hasn’t already been said in their hard-hitting tell-all VH1 special “Milk Tirehaus is a Human Bag of Garbage”? More Specifically, what can be said about the song Becoming A Bug that wasn’t already mentioned in the chapter of “Milk Tirehaus is a Human Bag Of Garbage” entitled “Becoming A Bug is a Horrible Song Title”?
I’ll do my best.
This song is the least Rock N’ Roll of all the Livin’ Tunes, beginning with a sample that is upsetting at best & hilarious also at best. Perfectly in time with the sample, drummer Bangin’ Jack Pearce slams out an open hi-hat four count to usher in a swarm of Pitch Shifted bends from Mario “Jim’s Boy” Cannamela, and a brooding, trudging almost proggy rhythm line blasted loud and proud by Brian SKAlecki, and “Big Dick” Nick DeM…ahem…Foley. A tempo change arrives thusly, met with the aural assault of Milk “Mike Reisinger” Tirehaus’ vocals, unrelenting and brash in all the ways a punk vocalist should be. The discordant tonality meshes well with the tapey, distorted character of the cassette this song rode in on.
A Ripper. A Slammer. A Banger. A Rager. A song that leaves your ears ringing and begs the question “Whatever happened to Obi Wan Kanblo Mi?” -Brandon Carnes (Midnight Fall, M.I.O.K.A.P.)
8. Moondead – “Death”
“Death,” with its revving tempo and alternately deadpan and harrowing vocals, is prime Moondead, a powerful track by one of Springfield’s most dynamic young bands. I don’t know whether or not Kiki Walker – guitar and vocals – is aware of the work of Lydia Lunch, but to my ears they are kindred spirits regardless. The ghost of Lunch’s bands Teenage Jesus & the Jerks and Eight-Eyed Spy lurk around the corners of “Death” – less in specific sound than in an overall vibe combining menace, humor and catharsis. With Dani Sakach’s driving, nimble bass and Nick Murphy’s skillful and muscular drums propelling Walker’s self-possessed but emotional display, Moondead is the last band you’d wanna mess with. Proceed with care. – Scott Faingold (Epsom, Heptanes)
7. Animals With Human Names – “Pound Bricks”
I seriously love this song. I love this project and Jim is a super tight guy, I’m glad I know him. I remember the first time I saw Animals with Human Names perform at Black Sheep, this song really stood out to me and hooked me in for real. I wanted to hear it again because in this song, Pound Bricks, I am in a hot city jungle getting ready to prowl the town with my boots on and the sky is purple and I am getting some mad business done and life is real. It’s is a perfect landscape for city jungle smells that groove around in the air and keep things rolling. This song puts you in a mental space where you have to think on your feet and put the no nonsense smack down on all the haters and on all the things that stand in your way, especially yourself. I think it could’ve been written about going on a run or skating on the town, hence the super cool play on words in the song name, and I relate to that because getting exercize in the outdoors is super fresh and it puts me in the moment. Overall, jungles are tight and so is this beat and this world might try to slow you down but you just have to keep going. Thanks guys, see you later. – Clare Frachey (SAP, Shark Week)
6. Say Something – “Lawgiver”
Say Something in general reminds me of a form of punk lost in translation over the years. Its simple and straight forward as punk music typically is but somehow Say Something holds onto something that is honestly refreshing in its own right. Reminding me of Bush-era punk like “NOFX”, or “No Use For a Name” it also somehow manages to be a bit more mature than that. In a way I almost see it as a character of its genre but played by immensely solid and steady musicians.
The song Lawgiver has a sobering affect. As with the title the song inspires the feeling of outrage of control. An incredibly popular subject over the years for punk music. This song does not ring a bell with the lesser of this era in punk but is incredibly straight forward, no goofy chorus, no chanting, and no bullshit. Just straight up pissed off. Lawgiver is a song on the frontline of discourse. The rest of the record “Black Coffee, Black Cats” does not disappoint and mixes evenly a sardonic as well as a serious tone and commentary. – Tim Williams (Our Lady)
5. Fuck///\\\Mountain – “I Love You”
Three words. A statement simple, yet profound. From every utterance in every cliched pop song and movie, to the most sincere admissions, the ones that make or break you. Everyone wants to be told, with the utmost sincerity, “I Love You.” With the track of that title, Brandon Carnes of Fuck///\\\Mountain made clear his feelings and those of hundreds of contributors, whose sampled voices repeat this mantra for over four minutes, over the swells of Brandon’s guitars, and the comings and goings of a dog, whom I can only presume to be sweet Gypsy Rose. Seeing Brandon perform this song in Dumb Records was a highlight of the year for me, and a moment that moved me emotionally.
2016 was year full of rage, hate, violence and death for far too many people. Nearly everyone knows someone who was marginalized because of where they are from, the color of their skin, their identity or their orientation. Let Brandon’s beautiful song be a reminder to those people: If the world at large, your countrymen, family, or one’s own self treats you with hate and disparity, YOU ARE LOVED. – Tony Colantino (Chili Mac)
4. Epsom – “Dick3Blues”
Epsom’s Dick 3 Blues is a wonderful example of how recent news can lead to a damn fine song. Back in 2015 sometime, the body of one time British King Richard III was found to be buried under a parking lot in some city outside of London. The song developed around the line ‘one man’s mausoleum is another man’s parking lot’ and just kind of flowed from there ccording to Scott Faingold, Epsom’s singer/songwriter. If you dig Freudian psychology, Shakespeare, and/or recent news you just might love what Epsom has done here. – Joe Coffey (best guy ever)
3. Attic Salt – “Hometown”
Attic Salt is the new up and coming! With their new song “Hometown” they will make you want to get up out of your seat and jump around. I always enjoy their lighthearted shows and look forward to seeing where they go. – Madison Chessare
2. Pryss – “I Fear No Man”
You guys, PRYSS so gets me right now, especially the title track off their album, “I Fear No Man.” PRYSS presents those rare tracks that could narrate a billion different experiences, including but not limited to: being nasty; telling off some loser who called your friend by a body part; or attending a rally because a certain fleabag is Not Your President. I’ve been so angry lately it’s almost consumed me. But listening to “I Fear No Man” takes my anger from a dejected and poisonous place and whips it into something more furious and powerful. I used to fear just about the whole world, but that’s a privilege I can’t afford to let swallow me anymore. Y’all, “I Fear No Man” is America’s 2017 lullaby—the finger on the pulse of the rage we need. Make it your soundtrack while you’re burning shit down 😉. – Emma Wilson (The Studio Show)
3. Animals With Human Names – “Old Man”
“Punks don’t die, no we just change genres.” – AWHN. Well ain’t that the TRUTH, especially for those of us who have been hanging around Black Sheep for most of its 11+ years now, we’ve seen crowds and waves come and go, plenty of friends who regularly come to shows fizzle out and maybe move away, sometimes getting into Dubstep or whatever the heck else (R.I.P. Donnie’s Homespun). Fortunately for us we have Jim Whitehead, one of Black Sheep’s most unsung heroes (in my opinion) still making music in the Springfield scene after all of these years and this year mixing it up hard with this new hip hop project of his “Animals With Human Names.” I have to also take a second to mention that Jim has been still going hard in his punk band Say Something, and also raises a family of two kids. He started a band with his 5 year old son Malcom this year called “Statues of the Dead,” which having them play a couple of punk shows was by far one of the coolest things we have gotten to see happen at Black Sheep. AWHN’s debut release The First Tape may have been my favorite to come out this year. It’s got a wide mix of instrumental tracks, samples, and a few full on tracks where Jim is rapping. It’s hard to sum up this project in one song, but I would say “Old Man” does the best job at that. Especially with the chorus turning into a theme song for the project “Alright, Okay, Animals With Human Names.” I for one am very unfamiliar with what old school rap artists I can compare AWNM to or anything like that as it is a genre I am not well versed in. BUT I also want to say that I love how in touch Black Sheep has become this year with the Springfield hip hop community. And AWHN also has yet to really connect with the hip hop artists and projects who have been going for longer than this year, but I see that happening in the very near future. Just yesterday I got a message from “Torche” himself saying how much he digs this new AWHN tape and asking for contact info for Jim! – Brian Galecki (Band Lotto Band #4)