The Year-End Music Nerd List

It's about that time where every music blogger, and publication in the world is putting out their “Best Of 2014” lists. In the spirit of staying true to the aesthetic of No One Likes Your Band, I'm gonna do my year-end list a bit differently than everyone else. It is my belief that here in South Carolina, and the surrounding area, we are champions without opponents. There is really no need to rank our output because it all reflects us as a whole. We do things our own way, and that attitude has served us quite well over the past year. While most lists are made to generate arguments (and clicks, can't forget about that almighty ad revenue!) view this list as a round of applause for all us outsiders, and weirdos doing our own thing with blatant disregard for what's popular. So, without further filler text (why say “adieu”, just call it what it is, right?) here are just a few of the releases that have been blasting from my speakers this year, in no particular order.

This came out at the beginning of the year, and has remained in my regular rotation ever since. I already wrote a glowing review for this, but it bears repeating: this album is damn near perfect. It's filled with lush instrumentation, and stellar rhymes, running the gamut from wavy to hardcore. Katalyst brings his own unique style, and revolutionizes trap music on this release. No wonder it got nominated for “Album of the Year” by NOLYB listeners.

This is only a three song E.P., but that doesn't make it any less awesome in my opinion. It's kinda Metal, kinda Hardcore, and kinda just dark, nasty Rock and Roll. There's groove, and pounding drums galore, all brought together by a commanding vocal performance. Anger has never sounded like this much fun.

One of the best Metal bands in South Carolina, hands down. They combine all their favorite parts of Black, Death, and Thrash Metal to create something that is uniquely their own, but still permeates with the aura of classic Metal bands like Death, or maybe Dismember. Hang on, let me put on my “elitist” hat before I type this next line... anyone who claims to be a Metal fan, but doesn't like this, is not an actual Metal fan. (Oh shit, son! Shots fired! Shots fired!)

Also one of the best Metal bands in South Carolina, but these guys are slower, and lay on the groove extra thick. The heavily-reverberated sound at the venue manages to add a little to the atmosphere of the music, not that it really needs help sounding huge. This is highly recommended for Metal fans who worship at the altar of the riff, and anyone who might want a fitting soundtrack for their weekend haze. It's a pretty good teaser to get you hyped up for their upcoming full-length as well, I'm sure that'll be making it's way onto next year's list.

Another one of Upstate South Carolina's ridiculously heavy Stoner Doom bands, but there's a distinct element of Death Metal in Coffin Torture's sound. Over the course of about 18 minutes, these two guys melt every face in the room with their wall of sludgy sound. It's no wonder that every time these guys play live it's viewed as a must-attend event., and this is a great document of one of those occasions.

This is a release that could've easily made the running for “Album of the Year” if there were more than five slots. That's one of the problems with awards shows, but I digress. House of Francis is full of well-written, thought-provoking rhymes over dark, cinematic beats in addition to quite a few memorable hooks. “Biggie Drake” flexes his lyricism, and production prowess all over this album, and creates a true underground classic. No surprise this release garnered him a bit of attention from major labels.

The current front-runner for “Album of the Year” according to the NOLYB listeners, and by no small margin. This is perhaps the deepest, most intelligent Hip-Hop release I've heard since the mid '90s heyday of Wu-Tang Clan, and their affiliates, particularly Killah Priest. Dissecting religion, our capitalist economic structure, global politics, and even their own lives; these two men dropped a true jewel on the masses with this one.

This is a release that's just plain fun. It comes blaring out of the gate with feedback, and almost barked vocals. Borrowing from Noise Rock, as well as old-school Hardcore Punk, Ningas Tongas have made a mark on the scene rather quickly with their unique approach to Rock music. This is unlike anything I've heard coming out of this area, perhaps ever, but definitely in recent memory. A must listen for anyone searching for something a little out of the ordinary.

I recently wrote a review full of flowery ways to say how excruciatingly heavy this album is, and my opinion has remained unchanged. This thing is a beast. It's a raging, terrifying, nihilistic beast determined to destroy everything anyone has ever loved. I mean that in a nice way. In short, oh my damn this thing is heavy.

The world's crustiest, heaviest, Anarcho-Pop-Punk band. Rubrics takes everything from the realm of Punk Rock, and makes it a little meaner. They're pissed off because they care enough to be pissed, and that translates into the music that they make. This band truly is equal parts catchy Pop-Punk, and nasty powerviolence; a combination that not many other bands could pull off so well. Don't be surprised if you see this in the running for “Album of the Year” next year.

Of course this is hardly even close to all the releases coming out of this area in the past year, but I left it at ten for the sake of saving space, and because I have to stop at some point. I didn't even include the HU/LK demo, or the two-song E.P. by Deathstill; both of which also got a lot of spins from me this year. Come to think of it, I didn't mention anything from North Carolina. A state that has not only been producing some quality Hardcore, and Heavy Metal recently, but also has a growing Hip-Hop community, particularly around the Charlotte area.

Speaking of Hip-Hop, New Success Culture is a new group out of Columbia, SC that released a pretty solid mixtape this year, and Greenville's Z Generation Rebels had a couple members release some stellar solo projects this year too. Overall, I'd say the takeaway here is that our little corner of the world is experiencing a bit of a musical renaissance. We may only be known to the rest of the world for “Alt-Country” and Hootie & the Blowfish, but I expect that could change in 2015. Best of luck to all of us, and may we continue to kick ass into the new year!

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