No Future: Year in Review 2007

No Future: Year in Review 2007
1. Career Suicide Attempted Suicide (Deranged)
"This is not just flattering, it’s also really strange,” Career Suicide vocalist Martin Farkas says of his band’s place atop the No Future best of the year list. "When we started Career Suicide, we had all played in bands since we were kids. Never in our wildest dreams did we think that we’d have our own records, or people coming to our shows to see us. We were just playing in this band like every other band we’d played in, just for the fun of it.” But Attempted Suicide, the tenth release from the Toronto hardcore vets, demonstrates a level of quality that few peers can match, regardless of how seriously they take themselves. Pummelling listeners with breakneck speed and straightforward aggression, the record is a fitting tribute to early ’80s hardcore that retains the punk and garage energy that the band are known for. From the blistering eruption of "Play the Part” to the addictive chant of "Attempted Suicide,” the record explores variety without abandoning its raw ambitions.

Universally accepted as the band’s crowning achievement, Attempted Suicide is particularly remarkable for its filler-less songwriting courtesy of guitarist Jonah Falco. Though he doubles as the drummer of Fucked Up, he never seems to run out of time or ideas. "Jonah is a music machine. For him to be in a practice space 20 hours a day with five different bands is the greatest thing in the world,” Marty emphasizes, "He might’ve just come off a month-and-a-half tour with Fucked Up, and in the meantime he’s written 25 new songs for Career Suicide. Just when you think there isn’t another early ’80s-style hardcore song that could be written, Jonah shows up with something that gets us super pumped.”

The record also benefited from a lot of care in the studio. "Usually we start and finish the record within a week, and it’s usually super exhausting,” Martin says, "But this time we planned it a bit more. Instead of a week, we ended up spending six or seven months. We went through two or three mastering jobs until we were happy with it.” As well as a better performance from the band, the time also allowed Signal to Noise producer Jon Drew (who recorded Fucked Up’s opus Hidden World and Tokyo Police Club’s A Lesson In Crime) to achieve a sound both messy and crystal clear.

From the charged riffs and confrontational vocals down to the stripped-down album art, the simplicity of hardcore fans doing what they love lends a special timelessness to Attempted Suicide. This can be credited to the band’s casual attitude towards their output. "We play the music that appeals to our ears,” Martin explains. "I don’t mean this in a self-congratulatory way, but if I didn’t play in Career Suicide and Career Suicide existed, they would be one of my favourites. Really, all I’m doing is writing the music that I want to hear.” Josiah Hughes

2. Pissed Jeans Hope For Men (Sub Pop)
With Hope For Men, Pissed Jeans manage the oft-daunting task of moving forward by looking back. Taking the slow, drudging drones of the Stooges and adding a healthy dose of Slip It In-era Black Flag, they still throw in enough original ideas to make songs that sound relevant, but aren’t afraid to show they know where they come from. Matt Korvette’s voice hisses, growls and bites like a man on (or maybe over) the edge, the guitar of Bradley Fry squeals and screams, often favouring sheer ear-splitting noise over any sort of obvious melody, while the rhythm section of Dave Resonstrauss (bass) and Sean McGuiness (drums) moves the record along at a heavy-handed punishing pace. Despite all of this there is still most certainly enough underlying melody and structure to make the songs stick in your head. Hope For Men is a volatile record that still manages to keep things interesting. Ty Trumbull

3. Black Lips Good Bad Not Evil (Vice)
Self-declared "flower punks” the Black Lips may be the wildest band in indie-dom — chaotic live shows have featured puke, piss, flying bottles and man-on-man make-out sessions — but the young Atlanta outfit’s fifth release proved they were more than debauched hipster-bait. Inspired by ’60s-era garage-rock and fuelled by "slime and oxygen,” Good Bad Not Evil offers odes to hurricane Katrina, lips-curled sing-alongs about being "Bad Kids,” rowdy blues stomps, a single as catchy as herpes ("Cold Hands”) and even a twisted country ballad. It’s no idle boast when the Lips chant: "I came. I saw. I conquered all.” Joshua Ostroff

4. Brand New The Devil and God Are Raging Inside of Me (Interscope)
Released at the end of 2006, but destined to be its generation’s winter album of choice forevermore, Brand New’s The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me is the rare album to arrive atop a sea of mystery and still deliver expectation-shattering, elusive, enigmatic brilliance. The spectre of big label accountability and their own self-imposed press boycott led to questions about the band’s chemistry and, indeed, Jesse Lacey’s mental health during its conception. But informed by everything from Modest Mouse to Rudyard Kipling to tragedies both in and out of the band’s stead, Lacey’s own crash course at the crossroads of family, faith and fame results in his most poignantly consuming lyrics to date. Tristan Staddon

5. Against Me! New Wave (Sire)
Many cried "Sacrilege!” when Gainsville’s DIY punk heroes Against Me! jumped from Plan-It-X to Fat Wreck Chords, so it was no surprise that the giant leap to Sire found original Against Me! fans dropping like flies. Their loss. The Butch Vig-produced major label debut reinvented the folk punks as a commercial rock force capitalising on their brewing popularity and brought Tom Gabel’s raspy call to the masses with killer single "White People for Peace.” Sure there aren’t any acoustic guitars, but they’re still standing tall with emotive messaging on "Stop!” and even get kinda pretty with Tegan Quinn on "Borne On the FM Waves of the Heart” without losing any of that frothing angst that got them this far. Cam Lindsay

6. Lifetime (Fueled by Ramen)
Did someone call this a comeback album? Anyone paying attention knows that Lifetime's sound didn’t go away when they broke up in 1997, it was just imitated by every subsequent melodic punk band. Lifetime is a fine demonstration of why pop punk should not be thrown out the window all together. Straight from the opening song, "Northbound Breakdown,” and through soon-to-be anthems "All Night Long” and "Monday Morning Airport” that don’t apologise for throwing some snootiness into otherwise clean vocals, it’s clear that the band haven't forgotten what made them so great to begin with — uncomplicated and unabashedly melodic pop punk. Ben Conoley

7. Coliseum No Salvation (Relapse)
Barraged by the roaring of unyielding guitars, savage, antagonistic vocals and menacing drum beats copped directly from Philthy "Animal” Taylor’s finest moments, Coliseum’s second full-length is wisely dubbed No Salvation. The aural equivalent of a CD player spitting up Exorcist-worthy bile, this album attacks with the precision of a antisocial serial killer but is so enshrouded in punk rock’n’roll, the filth it carouses in is almost disgusting. Devoid of frills, No Salvation is calculated, relentless blast of metal-defiled punk rock that finds the Louisville-based trio at their most wily: cramming the Dukes Of Nothing, Discharge and New York hardcore into a 13-song aural pipe bomb. Keith Carman

8. Bad Brains Build A Nation (Megaforce)
Hardcore punk pioneers Bad Brains made a triumphant return this year with Build A Nation. It was the first new studio album in a decade to come from the band’s original line-up, and each track erupts like a blistering shot to the head. Produced by Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys, Build A Nation transmits back to the Brains’ original approach of separating their punky reggae from their rock tracks. Full of slick, metal-tinged discord, this album is full of the erratically charged energy that first earned Bad Brains their place in history. (Megaforce) Liz Worth

9. Brutal Knights Feast of Shame (Deranged)
Some punk bands use metaphors to convey political opinions. Brutal Knights on the other hand, still write songs called "Government is Asshole.” And, while the subject matter on their newest full-length Feast of Shame still consists of songs about sex, diets, and doing nothing, their sound is faster, rawer and more likely to cause alcohol-induced riots than ever. The Toronto kings (and queen) of dirty garage punk have produced what is likely their best recording to date, just don't get too upset when you discover that brutal fucking knights dot com doesn't actually exist. Michelle Campbell

10. The St. Alvia Cartel (Stomp)
This was a summer record if there ever was one. Comprised of members of Grade, Boys Night Out, Jersey, and the Video Dead, no one could have predicted the reggae-laced sunny sounds that would emerge from this debut full-length. Songs here recall … And Out Come The Wolves while tossing out homages to Big Audio Dynamite and the band’s hometown sound, that recognisable brand of Burlington punk rock, and the results are as diverse and exciting as you could hope. Check out country-tinged closer "Stones on the Road” for definitive proof that this band has something to say. Sam Sutherland