Year-End Top Ten Part 1

2023 Year End Top Tens, Part One

Another year wrapped up, another round of Maximum Rocknroll Year-End Top Tens! As always, we asked MRR contributors, friends, and extended family from around the globe about what punk records made their 2023. This year, we had plenty of long-time YETTers, a number of folks returning after one or more years absent, and a good deal of new contributors as well.

Part one of four this time around, part two to follow next week.


Alex Howell is a record reviewer for MRR and hosts the bi-weekly punk podcast/radio show Garbage in My Heart. When he’s not doing that (or working a boring nine-to-five), you can find him out and about in Indianapolis reading comics at millennial-ass coffee shops, running long distances, or hunched over his phone obsessing about the day’s HoopGrid.

What was your favorite part of 2023? Livvy rizzing up Baby Gronk? Girl dinner? The big red boots? The president leaning fascist on immigration policy as a ploy to keep an absolute meat grinder of a war funded while simultaneously backing an ethnic cleansing? Uhhh…what else? Maybe something about the quality of the punk releases? Let’s talk about that, I guess.

Here are ten things I liked this year in alphabetical order:

BURNT ENVELOPE – I’m Immature: The Singles Vol. II LP (Hozac)
This apparently came out as a digital-only release back in 2020, but I imagine it slipped under most folks’ radars (including my own) until Hozac committed it to wax this year. And kudos to them for doing so! This is an excellent entrant into the canon of anti-social punk made by bilious weirdos, and more folks needed to hear it. Think some mix of FLIPPER, FANG, BUCK BILOXI, the PENETRATORS, and STICK MEN WITH RAYGUNS, plus a little deep-fried psychedelia. Feel-bad record of the year!

DATA UNKNOWN – Cylinder 1 cassette (self-released)
Hidden among the inordinate number of hardcore acts that populate Indianapolis’s growing scene is DATA UNKNOWN, a freeform project who play an unfashionable blend of rinky-dink THROBBING GRISTLE, MARTIN REV-y minimal synth, The Thing from the Crypt UK DIY, and early ’00s slop-punk. This cassette is equal parts annoying, cool, experimental, catchy, and noisy—I love it. If you walk away from my list only listening to one thing from it, let it be this.

FAMOUS MAMMALS – Instant Pop Expressionism Now! LP (Siltbreeze)
I reviewed this release back in September, and, at the time, I said it was “easily the best record I’ve heard all year.” I have not heard ten better records since.

Feel It Records
Sam from Feel It looked at 2023 and was like, “What if I put something out every ten days?” What an absolute madman! I’d like to tell you that all 34 goddamn releases are good, but I honestly haven’t been able to keep up. I assume they are. What I can tell you is that a bunch of them—the total output of a normally prolific label’s worth—are excellent. CLASS, BEEF, OPTIC SINK, the DRIN, WHY BOTHER?, DISINTEGRATION—they all put out stellar records this year. WHY BOTHER? put out two! Anyway, let’s all give Sam the round of applause he deserves! I just hope someone was waiting for him at the end of this run with one of those foil blankets and some chocolate milk and bananas, because I bet that dude was worn out!

ITCHY AND THE NITS – Itchy and the Nits cassette (Warttmann Inc.)
It’s best not to overthink things. This scabby trio out of Sydney certainly didn’t when they whipped up this cassette of dum-dum, frills-free Raffaelli rock. So, seeing as how no amount of permethrin has been able to purge their lousy theme song from my head since I was infected with it back in March, it feels like a no-brainer to include this tape here.

NAG – Human Coward Coyote LP (Convulse)
Back in 2020, I made the claim that every year Bannon Green puts something out is a year he’ll make an appearance in my top-ten. My tune has not changed. Green’s project NAG released a record in 2023. Here it is.

THE PARTICLES – 1980s Bubblegum LP (Chapter Music)
I think this is the first release I’ve ever purchased based on a hype sticker. I had no idea who this band was, but as I was skimming the new release bin at my local record shop, this cover caught my eye. Its aesthetic was clearly punk, but it was also bright and gentle. And I was all, “Huh, 1980s Bubblegum? I mean, I like music from the 1980s, and I’m literally wearing an ARCHIES t-shirt”. Then the hype sticker referred to the band as “Australian indie pop pioneers,” and I was like “Sold!”. It ended up being my most played record of the year. Punky exuberant pop that made a few of my favorite contemporary Aussie bands (like UV RACE or TERRY) make more sense.

PRIMITIVE FUCKING BALLERS – You Gotta Do Somethin’ cassette (Earth Girl)
Sometimes you just need a dose of snotty, straightforward hardcore, and these folks really fuckin’ delivered. It’s like they combined all the punker things about TEEN IDLES with the more brutish elements of S.O.A. and infused that with enough eel goo to make it feel a little more contemporary. Then they give themselves a perfect band name, carve out a set of perfectly titled songs, record them with this perfect loosey-goosey, no-fi production (it sounds like the whole band is falling down a set of stairs!), and wrap it all in some perfectly dumb artwork. The whole package!

THEEE RETAIL SIMPS – Live on Cool Street LP (Total Punk)
Montreal sleazeballs graduate from the frats of the mid-’60s to bring their seedy brand of proto-punk into the late ’60s/early ’70s, dropping most of the “Wooly Bully”-isms of their debut and replacing it with some album rock and budget funk trappings. Is it a more mature effort? It is not. Thank god!

SPIRAL DUB – Spiral Dub LP (Sanctuary Moon)
If you time-traveled back to 2011 and told me that Chad from OUTDOORSMEN (probably my favorite band at the time) would front a project in 2023 that could be called “groovy” or “melodic” or “uplifting” and that it would end up being my most listened to record of the year, an ass would probably have burst out of my scalp, causing me bend over backwards and shit out of my stupid brain.


Bobby Cole

Bobby Cole is an MRR record reviewer based in Leeds, England. Member of the ANNIHILATED, CHURCHGOERS, PLEASURE, and ACCUSATION. Owner of Brainrotter Records. Photo by Joe Briggs, wardrobe malfunction by Bobby Cole.

PEOPLE’S TEMPLE – I’m With the People’s Temple EP (Roachleg)
New York via Orange County punks PEOPLE’S TEMPLE returned early this year for their first vinyl release. PEOPLE’S TEMPLE distills the very best of ’80s DC, Midwest, and L.A. thrash ‘n’ bash, and delivers raging results on this slab whilst also retaining a sound all their own. A must-own release, this one belongs slotted right in between your OFFENDERS and POISON IDEA 7″s.

BLACK BUTTON – Rejoice LP (Anthems of the Undesirable)
Self-released at the start of the year and getting the vinyl treatment in October, BLACK BUTTON unleashed an all-time classic of the esoteric “outsider” offshoot of hardcore. Elements of the deranged thrashings of DIE KREUZEN and CHEETAH CHROME MOTHERFUCKERS converge with the twisted “anti-hardcore” sounds of SPIKE IN VAIN and NO TREND—add some no wave, psychedelia, and a splash of the religious imagery and beat ramblings of SACCHARINE TRUST, and you have an entirely unique approach to what is ultimately an artistically limiting form of music. This is a special record—Rejoice spits in the face of the “worship band” and strives to craft a new sonic landscape from the rudimentary scraps of hardcore music.

DELCO MF’S – March of the M.F.’s EP (MF)
After a lo-fi solo EP last year, lead motherfucker Jim Shomo gets together a full lineup for his DELCO MF’S project—the end result is this blazing thrash monster of a 7”. Packed with tons of “fuck you” American hardcore attitude and hyperspeed RIPCORD and GAUZE noise, this unhinged ripper cannot be overlooked. Music to punch cops to.

ENZYME – Golden Dystopian Age LP (Hardcore Victim / La Vida Es Un Mus)
Long-running Melbourne noise punks ENZYME have outdone themselves with this rager. Golden Dystopian Age delivers the blown-out CHAOS UK and CONFUSE sound the band is loved for, with elements of psychedelia, industrial, and even techno added with great success. Make no mistake, this record still distorts to deafness, it just does it with a whole new set of deadly weapons.

DIZTORT – Vengeance is Mine LP (Advanced Perspective)
Their long-awaited new record that finally dropped this year only reinforces the fact that DIZTORT is the most vital heavy hardcore band on the scene. On Vengeance is Mine, this band goes harder than they ever have before whilst never falling into the cartoony “tough guy” thing that so many others of this ilk tend to. There’s no bullshit on this release—just 100% pure HARDcore.

FASHION CHANGE – Smoking Kills EP (Iron Lung)
FASHION CHANGE started as the solo project of Ryan Matthews, but on Smoking Kills, the project is beefed up to a full band. This record sounds like GAI and CONFUSE were into NO TREND and PIL. This flexi-disc offering is short but sweet(???), clocking in at just over five minutes—it only leaves you wanting more.

ASININ – Demo cassette (P.M.T. / Roachleg)
These young rascals from Norway hit paydirt right out of the gate with the primitive hardcore attack of their first demo. Recalling the brutal thrash of GAUZE and the more esoteric thrash of DECLINO, this tape makes one hell of a first impression.

PHYSIQUE – Again LP (Iron Lung)
After laying low for a while, Olympia crasher crusties PHYSIQUE came roaring back to life with this uncompromising effort. Again continues the brutal GLOOM and FRAMTID influences of their previous work—hey, it’s D-beat, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This record includes a couple re-recordings of tunes from their last release The Rhythm of Brutality and a dragging reprise of the title track to close out proceedings. PHYSIQUE’s prolific reign as leaders of the crust war rages on.

HAUNTED MANSION – Fake Money EP (Unlawful Assembly)
Prolific HC musicians Brendan Reichardt (HOLOGRAM, BLACK BUTTON, CICADA) and Ryan Matthews (FASHION CHANGE) join forces to create the twisted, lo-fi thrash of HAUNTED MANSION. This blazing hardcore 7” blasts through four songs in just over five minutes (one minute of which is occupied by theme park-esque sound effects), and you are once again left hanging on the edge of your seat with anticipation for their next release. Short and spooky.

STIGMATISM – Ignorance in Power LP (Static Shock / Toxic State)
Another long-awaited follow-up, New York/Montreal duo STIGMATISM unleashed some old-school-style hardcore à la New York circa ’83. Ignorance in Power would’ve fit very well in the Rat Cage or Big City catalogues alongside AGNOSTIC FRONT and ARMED CITIZENS. Stick this heat on and slam in a circle, A7-style.


This year has so many outstanding releases and I had to make painful cuts even to the honorable mentions list—do not overlook these.

AXXE CRAZY – Black Winds Blowing, An Indifferent Sky cassette (Roachleg)

CICADA – We Are Going to Kill You cassette (Dream Home)

FAIRYTALE – Shooting Star LP (Quality Control HQ / Toxic State)

HEAVY DISCIPLINE – Your Scapegoat EP (Painkiller)

INSTITUTE – Ragdoll Dance LP (La Vida Es Un Mus / Roachleg)

SECRETORS – Comparing Missile Size Vol. 1 EP (Roachleg)

THE SHITS – You’re a Mess LP (Rocket)

SKOURGE – Torrential Torment LP (Lockin’ Out)

SNARLING DOGS – Demo cassette (self-released)

STINGRAY – Fortress Britain LP (La Vida Es Un Mus)

Dany Álvarez

I’m a gay guy in his thirties who loves punk and lives in a horrible city in Mexico called Monterrey. I try to make music with a few bands like CREMALLERAS, ARPONERAS, MALDAD Y MISERIA, and my solo project D.E.A.R.

AMIGOS ROCK – “Lágrima” digital single (self-released)
When I started thinking about what bands make me more excited lately, this was the first one that came to my mind. For now, “Lágrima” is the first single that AMIGOS ROCK from Colombia has released, and it’s one of the most beautiful punk songs I have listened to in a long time. From what I have heard and seen live, sometimes they remind me of stuff like HEAVENLY, and also there are moments when they make me think about bands like SHUDDER TO THINK. Can´t wait for the whole record, but for now you can enjoy “Lágrima.”

MISS ESPAÑA – Niebla Mental LP (La Vida Es Un Mus)
There’s nothing I love more than punk bands without guitars, so MISS ESPAÑA really caught my attention for sure. One of the things I love about this record is that every song feels like a different story. I just love how Violeta always writes lyrics that make me create scenes in my mind, as if I was watching videos even when the songs don’t have one. Fave song from this record is probably “Lirio Blanco,” but the whole record is amazing, so it’s hard to pick just one.

THE EYEDROPS – The Eyedrops demo cassette (self-released)
I was really surprised when I listened to this demo, specially ‘cause I have listened to every band my friend Dave has played in, and this one is so different from what I have heard—vocals are so beautiful and not trying to sound mean (didn’t expect that), the melody between the two voices are just precious. Five songs that make you feel really nostalgic and travel between pop and obscure moments. Fave song is probably “Cold (Never Enough),” but not sure ‘cause I also enjoy “The Devil” a lot.

SIN BRAGAS – Como Un Animal  EP (Discos Banana / JGC Producciones)
Since their first demo, I’ve been waiting for them to release something new, so when this came out a few weeks ago, I totally fell for it. Six brutal techno punk songs made in Barcelona that include a cover from one of my all-time favorite punk bands, DESECHABLES. Really love when punks make music that not many people are doing these days, and they totally slay. Fave song is “Como Un Animal.”

GRITO EXCLAMACIÓN – “Tierra de Nadie” digital single (self-released)
I’m really happy that this came out from Mexico, ‘cause this year I was feeling like not much stuff was happening here lately that I appreciate when it comes to new music, so finding this no wave punk treasure is really exciting for me. They have just released this song, but I feel like they totally deserve a spot in my top ten this year—can’t wait to see them live.

¿LA PREGUNTA? – ¿La Pregunta? LP (Fall Down)
This record came out at the end of last year, and I feel like it didn’t make it to any 2022 year-end top tens because of the time of its release, but they have to be on my list for sure—one of my favorite synth punk bands to come out lately. Love that they have two vocalists that totally go along with the hysterical seven songs from this record. Fave track by far is “Miedo”—fucking love that song.

COSAS ILEGALES – Vol. 2 EP (self-released)
Another band from Mexico that got me excited lately is the duo COSAS ILEGALES—to be honest, I discovered them a few weeks ago and found out they put out an EP this year, and I knew from that moment that they would be in my top ten. Really enjoy bands with fun drum machines and I also like that the vocals are not super hardcore, I find it kind of catchy. Fave track is “Ventanas Rotas.”

POWERPLANT – Grass EP (Static Shock)
I really think that nothing that POWERPLANT makes will ever disappoint, and this EP is no exception. To be honest, this year I almost only played the same songs I have listened to since forever and didn’t leave much space for new stuff, but when it comes to this specific release, I can totally think about several days trying not to die in the gym while listening to this, so I guess this should be here. Fave song is “Beautiful Boy.”

PUERTA NEGRA – Playa Sola EP (Synthcide)
The first thing that impressed me about this band is the power of the vocals and the lyrics, and that’s saying a lot, because the music is fucking amazing. Synths on this record are fucking beautiful, I really think there is no room for boredom with Playa Sola. You should pay attention to the whole EP, but if I have to choose a favorite track, it would be “Caida al Mal.”

POLVO DE HADAS – “Hada” digital single (self-released)
I just realized that this year, I really paid more attention to stuff with synths, so to finish my top ten, I really need to mention this single from POLVO DE HADAS, an electronic punk band from Barcelona. It’s super punk and super pop at the same time, the two things I love the most in life. I wish they had more songs recorded ‘cause I really enjoy their music, but anyway, that’s what we have for now, and I think they deserve a spot in the list of my favorite stuff from this year.


erika elizabeth

Erika Elizabeth plays bass in the band COLLATE, puts out records via Domestic Departure, and does reviews and radio for MRR. She lives on unceded Cowlitz/Clackamas land in so-called Portland, Oregon. 

Ten(-ish) things from 2023, in alphabetical order:

ATOL ATOL ATOL – Koniec Sosu Tysiąca Wysp LP (Red Wig)
Percussive, hyper-rhythmic Polish post-punk/no wave wound so tightly that it seems like it will snap at a moment’s notice, like a rubber band stretched to the point where it can’t withstand any more tension. Urgent dual-vocal shouting, hopscotching bass lines, brokedown disco drums, fractured electronics, absolute perfection. The same sort of visceral rush that I (still) get from DOG FACED HERMANS and the EX; not comparisons that I’d throw out lightly.

CUTICLES – Major Works LP (Siltbreeze)
Blown-out, hook-packed ramshackle garage pop from Kiwi DIY lifers (if name-dropping the PORTAGE doesn’t mean anything to you, it should), traipsing through the kaleidoscope world of early Flying Nun as they gleefully kick up dirt all around them.

DEBT RAG – Lost to the Fantasy LP (Post Present Medium)
Sideways art-skronk collages pieced together from sardonic gang chants, minimal drums pounded out in sparse, tranced-out patterns, fucked-up junkshop electronics, and calculated, ping-ponging bass lines. How many other bands in our modern day and age are capable of triggering thoughts within me of NOH MERCY, DANNY AND THE PARKINS SISTERS, or Y PANTS, let alone all of the above within the span of a single song?!

FAMOUS MAMMALS – Instant Pop Expressionism Now! LP (Siltbreeze)
…and don’t the kids just love it.

KICKING GIANT at the Lollipop Shoppe, Portland, OR – July 21, 2023
Hearing KICKING GIANT for the first time during one of my obsessive all-night college radio listening sessions as a young teen in the late ’90s completely upended my brain—I was hit by this raw, stripped-down, perfectly imperfect racket that was simultaneously completely punk as fuck and achingly beautiful, sending me secret messages passed down from Olympia that there was a world of other weirdos like me that I would eventually find somewhere far outside of my Houston bedroom. I have zero interest in lifestyle punk festivals or legacy reunion tours, but being able to see KICKING GIANT bash it out in a room with a bunch of fellow freaks three decades later was an emotionally resonant experience for me (and a lot of other people around me, I could tell).

Kleenex/LiLiPUT book (Thrilling Living) / Pull Down the Shades: Garage Fanzine 1984–86 book (Hozac)
Two books covering two of my musical obsessions from two very disparate corners of the world. Everyone I know seemed to be reading the first-time English translation of KLEENEX guitarist Marlene Marder’s 1986 diary this year like some de facto book club, and it really is a mandatory text for anyone who believes in the liberatory power of punk and what can be possible when working with a limited set of tools—as editor Grace Ambrose says in the book’s introduction, “proof of prior life on earth, an inspiration but not a prescription.” Meanwhile, Pull Down the Shades reproduces in full the original six issues of Richard Langston’s rare NZ fanzine Garage, which chronicled the ’80s Aotearoa underground in more-or-less real time by reviewing and interviewing the likes of LOOK BLUE GO PURPLE, the CLEAN, and the BATS, as well as dozens of other bands who never reached canonical status but still live on in Garage’s pages. The threads connecting these books? Subculture as world-building; the importance of documenting our own (future) histories as they happen.

ROCKY – Rocky LP (Lulu’s Sonic Disc Club)
Raven Mahon (of GRASS WIDOW and GREEN CHILD) and Xanthe Waite (of PRIMO! and TERRY) paired up as ROCKY, and their debut LP is a work of quiet beauty—a minimalist grid painting of meticulous post-punk brush strokes on a paper-thin pop canvas, with a very YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS-inspired balance between chilliness and warmth, simplicity and complexity.

TYVEK – Overground LP (Ginkgo)
After almost twenty years and approximately a million different lineups, TYVEK resurfaced with their first album in seven years, and it’s like no time has passed at all—always changing, always the same, and now featuring 2/3 of the mighty XV (who put out their own great LP on Ginkgo this year) with Emily Roll joining on sax to add some skronked-out groove to TYVEK’s trademark frustration rock. That anxiously yelped “Value Village scores / When it rains it pours” couplet from “Return to Format” is pure poetry.

WATER MACHINE – Raw Liquid Power EP (Upset the Rhythm)
Shouty, PUSSYCAT TRASH-ed neo-Slampt sounds from Glasgow, going from raw-throated, HUGGY BEAR-coded sloganeering backed by stomping drums and frenetic bare-bones guitar strum, to nudges in a UK DIY/early Rough Trade direction with coolly detached vocals and disjointed, almost COUNTRY TEASERS-esque cowbell-spiked rhythms. Viva la punka.

YFORY – Chwaer Pwy? EP (Static Age)
A quartet of smart, spiky post-punk/whiplash pop bops delivered primarily in Welsh (with occasional lapses into English) that are right in step with post-millennial heirs to the ELASTICA throne like PRIMETIME or CHILD’S POSE, with various ’78–’83 Rough Trade singles and the collective works of DATBLYGU serving as YFORY’s lingua franca.



Erin Yanke publishes the review zine Chasing the Night, and plays drums in NOXEEMA. She reviewed demos for MRR for many, many years. Recent projects include It Did Happen Here: An Antifascist People’s History (published by PM Press), and Stories I’ve Told the Stars, a documentary film about the Ethiopian refugee experience.

This is a fuck of a world to figure out how to find our place in resistance. Appealing to politicians to stop a genocide. Fighting displacement and attacks on the vulnerable and marginalized by brainwashed normies and squares who believe in nationalism and borders. Surviving in late-stage capitalism where greed is our societal cancer. You know, you know. These records helped. Now songs for now times. I didn’t include reissues in this list, but if I did, VICE SQUAD, STEEL POLE BATH TUB, and These Guys are From England and Who Gives a Shit would be included. Alphabetical order.

BB – The Spiral Times radio show (Refugee Worldwide)
Radio is the perfect punk medium. In the most obvious way, like the punks, it’s borderless, sneaky, and although mostly tame, it can be astonishing and captivating! The Spiral Times has been blowing my mind this year. I love how Bryony brings the world into my house. As the genocide of Palestine continues. I recommend the Sounds of Sumud shows in particular. Solidarity Forever is also an excellent compilation of creative protest in music and action. It’s also a great record of how we can stretch the definitions of punk to fit what we want and need in this shit world. New episodes monthly. Tune in.

BLACK BUTTON – Rejoice LP (Anthems of the Undesirable)
This record was my surprise super hit of the year. Its grimy opening bass notes just grabbed me and didn’t let go. Straightforward and aggressive and also unhinged and free and surprising. Scratching to get out and in at the same time. True love.

C.O.F.F.I.N. – Australia Stops LP (Bad Vibrations / Damaged / Goner)
They captured the whole history of Australian rock and punk into one record. Riff-heavy, energetic, and cathartic. This is the record for when it’s all too much and you just want to be in a small room with a loud band and freak the fuck out. This record made it possible to recreate that sensation at home.

COLLATE – Generative Systems LP (Domestic Departure)
Classic post-herky-jerky-dance-moves-punk with strong rhythm and vocals. But classic does not mean copycat. It’s got a lot of groove and a lot of heart and a lot of piss and vinegar. An undeniable treasure.

Copy Wright – compilation tape series (Escape Cassettes)
Copy Wright tapes volumes 8–12 came out this year. Pat Wright was a creative and excellent lifer for punk rock, union organizing, radio stations, and collecting! He died in 2020, and left behind a lot of community space to fill, but a lot of physical goods as ingredients. This project is a perfect tribute: the raw materials of recordings of radio shows, live shows, answering machine messages, any recorded sounds. These collage mixtapes are incredible, and a tribute to a well-lived life, and how to build on the work of those that came before us.

DISPLAY HOMES – What If You’re Right and They’re Wrong? LP (Erste Theke Tonträger)
Vivacious. Post-punk without the angst. It’s so alive and sharp and curious. It’s a fucking gut-wrencher that the guitarist Darrell Beveridge died. Thanks for leaving such a catchy, groovy work of art.

HEZ – Panamaniacs LP (Discos Enfermos)
HEZ plays the intoxicating, ferocious, raw hardcore that’s also got hook and groove. The guitar effects show off the same frequencies as pissed-off insects, industrial machinery, nightmares. These people are having fun! Favorite drummer of the year.

THE JONSTER – The Jonster 7” (self-released)
Jonny, of Jonny Cat Records/CYCLOPS/the CHEMICALS/the TRIGGERS, gave out copies of this record at his Death Party. Here’s what he said about it when I asked him:

“I worked on it for a year-and-a-half. Doug Burns did tracking and got some vocals down. We probably recorded seven to ten songs. Eventually, I did a duet with my good friend, Fawn Li, a cover of ROKY ERICKSON’s ‘For You I Would Do Anything,’ and when I heard her vocals, I just could not step on it. I just say ‘for you’ . It turned out beautiful. She’s amazing, And then we narrowed down the songs that felt right, which I know are hard songs to listen to. I was struggling with my singing because I was losing my voice a lot and the cancer was just really bad. Anyway, we took it into Blackwater and gave it a proper mix and came up with the four songs. Tim Kerr did the artwork . it just happened to come out the day before the Death Party. I’m very glad the 7” came out while I was alive, ha ha!”

The most beautiful record of 2023.

PHYSIQUE – Again LP (Iron Lung)
PHYSIQUE is incredible. They’ve been around long enough that most MRR readers already know. This record adds to their perfect catalog. Passionate, pissed, fierce, among the fucking best.

PIÑÉN – Nicolasa Quintremán EP (self-released)
PIÑÉN is the real fucking deal. It’s raw and cathartic and pissed, cacophonous anarchist hardcore from two of the best people. I appreciate the effort they take to live by their ideals and the political education I got with this record. Ferocious. Inspiring.


Nick Odorizzi

Nick Odorizzi is a writer, teacher, and dad from Charlotte.

It’s top ten time already! Hope you’re doing well and staying safe.

BRAIN TOURNIQUET – .​.​.​An Expression in Pain LP (Iron Lung)
Filthy and intricate powerviolence rage machine from start to finish. When the blasting lets up, it’s replaced by crushing dissonant noise. Nasty.

C57BL/6 – LP1 cassette (Richter Scale)
Opening track “Open World” is a seven-minute, two-chord lurch through the standing water in your basement. Seven drum machine punk jammers follow, like a switched-on Death Church revival.

DAUÐYFLIN – Þorparaþjóð cassette (self-released)
Feral, noisy hardcore from Reykjavík that shares some members with BÖRN. As good as shrieking, feedback-laden, teeth-loosening punk gets. Vocalist Alexandra has a blistering howl that is as unnerving as it is thrilling.

THE DRIN – Today My Friend You Drunk the Venom LP (Drunken Sailor / Feel It)
Sinister backwoods post-punk meets motorik experimentation. “Go Your Way Alone” is classic goth-leaning VELVET UNDERGROUND for the new age, and “Peaceful, Easy Feeling” is by far the best song with that title.

ELECTRIC EELS – Spin-Age Blasters 2xLP (Scat)
Were they first? This comp documents the OG Cleveland weirdos as they mixed noisy garage jams, CAPTAIN BEEFHEART-style surreal lo-fi experiments, and onstage fistfights into a smoking ground zero for several future genres. Get your spinach blasted.

INU – メシ喰うな!= Don’t Eat Food! LP reissue (Mesh-Key)
Reissue of the cult Japanese band’s record from 1981 that rides the line between first-gen punk and new wave. Created by frustrated teenagers, the songs are super crisp and diverse in sound; opening track “Fade Out” has a God-tier garage hook, while “Don’t Eat Food!” is a droning dragger. It rules.

KORO – 700 Club EP reissue (Sorry State)
Proto-fastcore EP made by Tennessee teens in 1984. Righteous anger played very, very fast that is still relevant today (maybe not the 700 Club references, but everything else). Total ripper.

MUTANT STRAIN – Murder of Crows LP (Sorry State)
My favorite contemporary hardcore band. At first listen, it’s impenetrable D-beat mayhem shrouded in feedback and noise. But this band contains multitudes: venomous vocals, classic riffs that pile up like a rock’n’roll car wreck, and drum cadences that are as complex as they are devastatingly heavy. I am fortunate to live in the same town as them and see them play often, and they kill every time.

SUKATANI – Gelap Gempita LP (Dugtrax)
Heavy synths and snaky guitars reign on this Indonesian electro-punk band’s first album (released online, free for download). Full of anti-consumerist screeds delivered in catchy co-ed call-and-response vocals over dance beats, SUKATANI performs in the Banyumasan dialect of Java and folds their local culture into the vocabulary of dance, new wave, and post-punk. Check it out.

TEE VEE REPAIRMANN – What’s on TV? LP (Computer Human / Total Punk)
Twelve scruffy pop gems that combine the melodies and grit of BUZZCOCKS and JAY REATARD to burrow into your ears forever. Endless hooks and timeless songwriting make this undeniably enjoyable. I have seen frontman Ishka Edmeades in three bands now, and they were all great. Australia has the lock on garage magic, it seems.

ZORN – Zorn LP (Sorry State)
Evil blend of DISCHARGE and VENOM that earns the demon standing on flaming skulls artwork. Total blackened hardcore shredders. Amazing live show too, with a stage gimmick way too good to spoil here.

Honorable Mentions:

HEAVY METAL – IV: Counter Electrode Iron Mono 2xLP (Total Punk)
This is a vinyl press of a 2019 tape, so it wasn’t truly issued this year. It’s amazing, though.

MINOR THREAT – Out of Step Outtakes EP (Dischord)
Just like Dischord’s First Six Records box set from last year, this is obviously essential.

Best Live Shows:




Rachel does the radio show Uneasy Listening at WPRB in Princeton NJ and sings in the band the DISSIDENTS.

Even with the last couple months of the year being caught up in a cycle of simultaneous hope at a turning tide and horror at a seemingly unstoppable unfolding genocide (free Palestine) that makes things like listening to new music seem trivial, it’s extremely hard to narrow down my favorite 2023 releases to just ten. I think it’s always important to speak clearly and plainly about politics in every platform available to us, so I prioritized artists who do that.

These are listed in roughly the order they came out.

TOXIC RITES – Toxic Rites cassette (Oscuridad Mi Vida)
Extremely slept-on melodic punk from France. This sounds insanely good for a demo and lives in some weird zone between the earliest BAD RELIGION records and UK peace punk. Lyrics are absolutely on-the-nose, hit-you-over-the-head political, with songs about capitalism, poverty tourism, gentrification, the environment, and did I mention…capitalism? It even has a spoken part over a breakdown, OI POLLOI/CONFLICT-style!

SIAL – Sangkar EP (La Vida Es Un Mus)
There is so much amazing music of all genres coming out of Singapore now! SIAL is absolutely ripping hardcore with amazing vocals that still manages to be extremely catchy, with influences ranging from metallic Japanese HC to UK82. Vocalist Siti sings in Malay, the language of the indigenous people of Singapore, and espouses resistance in a society where that can be legitimately dangerous.

ABI OOZE – Julia’s Apartment cassette (self-released)
Lo-fi, good-times rockin’ punk, snotty and snarky with cutting personal lyrics. Obvious comparisons are an ultra-primitive interpretation of the RAMONES or the FASTBACKS. This is ABI OOZE’s fifth tape, no records, no CDs, no producer, no label, almost no other musicians, fuck yeah!!!

D.O.V.E – D.O.V.E. LP (Grow Your Own)
D.O.V.E. from L.A. is one of my favorite bands going. There’s a lot of callback to ’80s anarcho/peace punk here (on the more melodic/post-punk side à la ZOUNDS or ANARKA AND POPPY), with beautiful plaintive vocals, spoken segments, songs that get downright dubby, and atmospheric chorus-y guitar. This is a band with obvious influences, but they are also doing something very much their own, and it really works.

TERRY – Call Me Terry LP (Anti-Fade / Upset the Rhythm)
TERRY just keeps outdoing themselves. The upbeat faux-naive sound is reminiscent of UK DIY and indie pop (BEAT HAPPENING, PARSNIP, or PRIMO! and XR/ROCKY who both share members with TERRY), but underneath the attitude and message is as angry and incisive as any punk band—the theme of the album is Australia’s history of colonialism and greed. Retro keys and four voices singing in unison have rarely sounded this ominous.

DISPLAY HOMES – What If You’re Right and They’re Wrong? LP (Erste Theke Tonträger)
I’ll admit I am a sucker for basically any garage-y/post-punky band from Australia, but the ones who really win my heart have a punk edge to them. DISPLAY HOMES from Sydney fit that bill. They remind me a bit of COLD MEAT—super catchy and bouncy with an aggressive tinge and very angry vocals with pointed enunciation. The balance between angry punk, jerky, dubby post-punk, and downright pretty melodies is wonderful. Unfortunately, this is it for the band, as their guitarist, clearly an integral part of their sound, sadly passed away in 2022.

DISAFFECT / SANCTUS IUDA – Fuck All Borders split LP (Armageddon / Sanctus Propaganda)
As a ’90s teen, it’s a thrill to see Scotland’s DISAFFECT back like it’s 1995 and here’s the latest unbleached sleeve release on Flat Earth. Dual-vocal anarcho hardcore like this has not had much of a 21st century revival, so it’s nice to hear. This sounds like they practiced their instruments and could afford better recording, so it loses a little of the old material’s anarchic edge, but the songwriting, performance, and message are still top-notch. SANCTUS IUDA from Poland also rips, but I don’t have as much to say about them. Love to see a big lyric booklet!

ROMANCE – Seven Inches of… EP (Meatspin)
Speaking of the punker side of Australia, ROMANCE has members of DISPLAY HOMES and BB AND THE BLIPS among others, with one of the best, wildest screamy vocalists I have heard in ages (and who has never been in a band). I’m gonna say it again…this is so catchy! Yet also hard-hitting and angry.

AT NIGHT – At Night digital (self released)
OK, I’m prejudiced—I share a practice space and a band member with this band. But AT NIGHT blew me away when they released this album. Influences are all over the place, from goth to punk to girl groups and ’90s Dischord bands. In the end, they remind me of THATCHER ON ACID and CHUMBAWAMBA, not because they sound like them, but because they’ve created their own truly distinct sound that is pop and punk at the same time (not pop punk, though!!!)

DEAD PIONEERS – Dead Pioneers cassette (self released)
I wish I could give this to every young kid in their Punk Rock Starter Kit. The music is super accessible; covers of MINUTEMEN and CIRCLE JERKS give you an idea of what they sound like. But instead of being a tired nostalgia trip, DEAD PIONEERS aren’t afraid to get uncomfortable with a sharp, Indigenous leftist perspective that is targeted at smug liberals as much as it is at capitalists, bigots, and fascists.

Reissues and book:

NON BAND – Vibration Army / Silence​-​High​-​Speed 7” + magazine (TAL)

ALTERNATIVE? – If They Treat You Like Shit… Act Like Manure LP reissue (Sealed)

KLEENEX / LiLiPUT book (Thrilling Living)

INU – Don’t Eat Food LP reissue (Mesh-Key)

CHIN-CHIN – Cry in Vain LP (Sealed)

Honorable mentions:

CONSENSUS MADNESS – Madness EP (Iron Lung)

PHYSIQUE – Again LP (Iron Lung)

FLOWER – Hardly a Dream LP (Profane Existence)

ONYON – Last Days on Earth LP (Trouble in Mind)

CHECKPOINT – Drift LP (Erste Theke Totrager)



Romain lives in Paris and runs the award-winning blog Terminal Sound Nuisance. In his spare time, he sings in BARREN? and TURQUOISE, runs a radio show called Détruire l’Ennui broadcast on Radio Libertaire, and puts on gigs locally for touring bands. He has been the head of the local Department of Crust Studies since 2012, and is a proud Honorary Member of the International D-Beat Society. 

TOXIC RITES – Toxic Rites cassette (Oscuridad En Mi Vida)
From the rainy lands of Britany emerged TOXIC RITES, a cracking old school anarcho-punk  band. Forget about Insta-posing and faux goth-punk, this is punk rock. This demo tape is replete with catchy tunes and brilliant choruses with a vocalist who can actually sing (I know, it sounds weird). The core ingredients are classic UK punk and ’80s anarcho-punk  bands like TOXIC WASTE, STALAG 17, and early CONFLICT, with almost traditional folk music moments and PASSION KILLERS-level melodies. Excellent.

SWORDWIELDER – Wielding Metal Massacre LP (Wielding Metal Massacre)
When one of the best current crust bands releases something, expectations are high, the anticipation immense. This is yet another victory in the grand crust narrative, as the Swedes explore the concept of “crust ballads” popularized by classics like AMEBIX and AXEGRINDER and worked on by acts like XAOTIKO TELOS and ACROSTIX. Five songs of mid-paced, powerful old school crust epics with some synth. It makes me want to ride a bike into an apocalyptic wasteland under a nuclear sunset—but with a helmet, safety first.

WARKRUSHER – Epitaph cassette (Audacious Madness)
It is said that WARKRUSHER’s music can make a pair of dusty crust pants mosh on their own—I wouldn’t be surprised if such a sighting ends up on Crust Tok one day. The vinyl version of this was released in late 2022 but the tape came out in 2023 with three additional songs, including covers of the mighty COITUS and AXEGRINDER. This recording confirms the Montreal band as a leading force in the war between stenchcore and the rest of the world. In battle there may be no law, but there definitely is crust.

RÉGIMEN DE TERROR – Disputas EP (La Vida Es Un Mus / Roachleg)
In these troubled times of uncertainty, one must be able to rely on stable things, and there is one style that purposefully never changes, monomaniacally anchored in one thing forever: bloody D-beat. RÉGIMEN DE TERROR’s EP delivers perfectly orthodox raw, angry D-beat in Spanish. Think classic ’81 DISCHARGE and DISASTER, as well as proto D-beat bands like MG15 or SUBVERSION. Tastefully executed and absolutely unoriginal. Best D-beat record of 2023.

DESTRUCT – Cries the Mocking Mother Nature LP (Skrammel)
This is the most intense, manic, and punishing LP of the year. Forget the syntactically enigmatic title, DESTRUCT is the hardcore punk equivalent of your local pub’s hard man: no fucking about. This tornado of an album sees the band at their best: a relentless blend of FRAMTID and BASTARD with TRAGEDY-like anthemic chorus of colossal proportions. The drumming is mad: tight, fearless, as energetic as a Ninja Warrior contestant with an avalanche of punishing drum rolls. It does not get much better.

ΠΥΡ ΚΑΤΑ ΒΟΥΛΗΣΗ – Θύματα Ειρήνης LP (self-released)
In a scene where TOTALITÄR lookalikes have become common, it can be hard to stand out. And this Athens hardcore band does, seemingly effortlessly. The riffs are catchy and aggressive without being too much on the rocking side, the production is direct and without frills, and the vocals—from the singer of the brilliant ΠΑΝΔΗΜΙΑ—are incredible, distinctly raspy and genuinely angry. I am a massive sucker for Greek punk music, and the proper käng style had never really been done there. It has now, and it is a top-drawer scorcher.

DISTURD / ULCER – split CD (Hardcore Kitchen)
Pretty much a perfect pairing of old school metal-crust bands made in Japan and the ideal soundtrack to a crust pants fashion show. ULCER from Kagawa offers four songs of their trademark mid-paced, dark, groovy primitive crust somewhere between MISERY, REVÖLT, and CELTIC FROST, while DISTURD slows the tempo this time around and incorporates heavy, apocalyptic AXEGRINDER-like narrative moments to their usual powerful ANTISECT/SDS worship—not something I expected, but it fits well with their songwriting, bringing a touch of atmospherics. People who dislike CDs will be missing out.

A long overdue reissue of the band’s 1986 demo tape that will hopefully incite people to (re)discover CONTROPOTERE from Napoli. While they could rightly be defined as a proto-crust anarcho-punk  band, CONTROPOTERE escaped easy categorization. Brilliant fast and angry female vocals in Italian with that typical delivery, a unique theatrical narrative aspect to the songwriting, and a crushing ANTISECT/ANTI-SYSTEM/POTENTIAL THREAT influence. A genuine, oft-overlooked visionary crust classic that strangely sounds like early ’90s NAUSEA.

ALTERNATIVE – What Revolution? EP (Sealed)
I already ranted about this delicious slice of crucial ’80s anarcho-punk from the golden age, back when Thatcher was in power, Britain was still in Europe, and Beckham was still a playground football player. ALTERNATIVE epitomizes what has come to be known as the classic anarcho-punk  sound and politics of the era, with their energetic and tuneful music full of passion, anger, and hope. “What Revolution?” could be seen as the most representative song of the genre. Archaeologically essential.

FLOWER – Hardly a Dream LP (Profane Existence)
Possibly 2023’s most unexpected kick up the arse. This is, simply put, an old school anarcho-crust masterpiece. The obvious comparison with NAUSEA is relevant, what with them being from NYC, having an amazing female singer, and working with a similar powerful metallic crunch, but there is also a lot of ’87 ANTISECT tastefully involved, and let’s throw in ΞΕΧΑΣΜΕΝΗ ΠΡΟΦΗΤΕΙΑ, too. A sincere band with vindictive political lyrics, perhaps more in line with ’90s anarcho-punk  bands. The LP looks stunning with its impressive, highly detailed Blinko-esque artwork. A lot of care has been put into this almost flawless crusty record. A future classic.



Rotten Ronald McReady

Rotten Ron has been a contributor to this mag since cows had wheels. He now resides in Brooklyn, USA, where he participates in harm reduction street outreach, tattooing, and occasional fetish modeling. He has long enjoyed motorcycles, cats, and punk, but now also loves NYC and his beautiful punk wife. 

Here we go…2023. War, famine, conquest, disease, pestilence, death…the twenty-plus horsemen are upon us without even leaving the city limits. Hitler’s coming back as president. The world is melting. You’re fucked. Go start a band. FTW.

FLOWER – Hardly a Dream LP (Profane Existence)
This band has gone from being slagged off as NAUSEA worshipers to becoming a bulldozer of the apocalypse, crushing all critics and leaving peace, anarchy, and chaos in their wake. This may have been recorded in 2022, but well worth waiting a year for the artwork alone. You can smell New York City oozing out of the speakers as you cruise the streets of this broken world searching for hope.

STATE MANUFACTURED TERROR – State Manufactured cassette (self-released)
The most visually pleasing bunch of shit-starters to grace any DIY space as of late. Uncontrolled noise and urban decay funneled into a well-curated melee of what some may call “songs.” Fronted by the fierce and feral Wombat, and featuring the coolest heads in NYC. Savage.

ABISM – Abism LP (Toxic State)
Really hard to top the sheer rawness and brutality of their practice demo from a couple years ago but here this band has excelled in slowing the groove just slightly enough to inject an earthmoving heaviness that brings some nice added power to compliment the still excellent songwriting. The bands SSXX and BSN could be kindred spirits. Beautiful artwork. Beautiful noise.

HOT LOAD – Accursed EP (Painted Pony)
Your favorite band members from the mean streets of the real Los Angeles unite and put down their MOBS and GAI worship to make some wonderfully dirty rock’n’roll. If MOTÖRHEAD drank quarts of Regia and smoked dust for breakfast, you might hear something like this. Fire, blood, and broken glass. It’s all here. Lick it up.

ORGAN-ISM – Demostracion 2023 cassette (Unlawful Assembly)
Broken up right as they’re peaking, in true crash-and-burn punker style. Glad I got to witness them live beforehand. Snotty as shit. Bigger things to come from these geniuses, I’m sure.

NECRON 9 – Peace by a Rope cassette / Demo II cassette (Unlawful Assembly)
Honestly, you could pick up anything on this label as it all destroys, much like Roachleg. Pure factory-made brutal hardcore like only the Midwest can do. The FIX, VIOLENT APATHY, and 0DFX. Kill.

SECRETORSComparing Missile Size Vol. 1 EP (Roachleg)
So glad this made it out before the end of the year. I can sing this band’s praise without regret, as they slaughter wide-eyed youth and well-crusted old heads alike. Featuring Roachleg’s CEO on vox, along with a band of infamous miscreants here to ruin your Sunday brunch. Simply brutal.

MELISSA – Melissa II cassette (Urge)
More punky blackened horror slime from this crew that might outdo their last release. There’s just a touch of art school sensibility to keep things interesting, like black metal without the nerds and video games. Go see them live now or be an eternal poser.

GLOBAL THERMONUCLEAR WAR – Seeking Mastery cassette (Dogs of Altamont)
Bleak, grim, and fucked as hell. Like Earslaughter II, if there was such a thing. The masterminds behind RIGOROUS INSTITUTION and SUCK LORDS take you from Bristol to Nagasaki via Interstate 5, getting you to look up from your gluebag only to sing along to cheerful ditties like “Industrialized Meat Production” and “B.T.H.A.T.A.” (“Between the Hammer and the Anvil”). Perfect.

SAVAGEHEADS – Summer Demo MMXXIII cassette (Active-8)
This supposed teaser of demos for an upcoming record is a force in its own right. Four songs (one an INSANE cover) that will keep your head bopping and is a guaranteed pick-me-up. The songs keep repeating so you never have to stop, ever. Tuck your jeans in your boots and hit the floor. Who knows when that next record is coming anyway?

LOOSEY – Winter Promo 2023 cassette (self-released)
Maybe the best for last? Hands-down, the most fun live band in NYC right now. Led by the incomparable Fizzy (CRIMINAL, NY HOUNDS) and a top-notch band of yobs of the highest musical caliber. Stamp your hands, clap-your-feet-style glam street rock. The tape is amazing, but don’t skip seeing them live. Oi!

Jeezus, that’s already ten. No, wait, eleven! There’s so many more I wanted to add, like new releases from SALVAJE PUNK, MOCK EXECUTION, TOZCOS, NO TIME, PEACE TALKS, MOWER, CONCEALED BLADE, HEAVY DISCIPLINE, the MASSACRED, BLACK DOG, CROSS, and some mysterious demo rereleases from EVIL SPIRIT, GUILLOTINE, and DEMON.

Too many great shows to mention. Skull Fest ruled. INMATES! TOWER 7 ending (boo).

Also, this is likely the last thing I’ll be writing for Maximum Rocknroll as life gets bigger and busier. It’s been a long and memorable 25-year involvement that began with tiptoeing around Tim Yohannan to tape as many rare punk singles as possible, to slapping a zillion labels on envelopes, skipping records (accidently) and swearing needlessly on MRR Radio, interviewing bands like K9 67 and hanging with Fred and Toody Cole with Bruce Roehrs and a huge bottle of Jack, and of course reviewing the endless avalanche of releases good, bad, and unforgivable. The MRR compound provided me with a refuge and computer access as a homeless alcoholic, and helped me to build myself back up as a sober punk. I got to know and break in a revolving door of a thousand coordinators, and I made lifelong friends, including my future wife, at MRR, where we played GG ALLIN excessively on the radio and even laughably interviewed John Joseph together. Cheers to Jaqueline, Rema, Martin, Scott, Randy, Clara, Layla, Merm, Chris, Lydia, Mike, Hal, Ari, Amelia, Justin, Doogie, Mundo, Paul, Graham, Dan, Heidi, Alan, Jason, Golnar, Bruce, and anyone I’ve forgotten who I fought with in the trenches of punk and newsprint.






Seth McBurney

Seth McBurney is an artist who experiments with available mediums. A dedicated follower of noise, they can be found making home recordings. Graphic design and music overlap into zine and punk art-making. Occasionally, you’ll find them attending DIY gigs in Pittsburgh. More often, they’ll be taking care of animals or gardening. Networking with distros, artists, and promulgating punk rock is their prime directive.

2023…? What to say? Another year of struggle locally and globally. I’m aging at an accelerating rate due to the global environmental catastrophe and a lifetime of questionable decisions. Finding solace through music, both recorded and live, has become part of my mental health regimen. This list is the order of albums I’d play if you decided to stop by for a listening party. There’s not really a particular order, the order is always shuffling, but these albums have maintained a position near the top of the stack throughout a good portion of 2023.

GUARDIAN SINGLES – Feed Me to the Doves LP (Trouble In Mind)
My current and longest-running favorite—articulate, emotionally intelligent, punk from New Zealand. Retaining the energy and disillusionment of punk, while taking more inclusive perspectives of the sonic environment. Music that embraces alt-rock and post-punk whilst remaining ardently individual and able to lyrically capture the collective conscience. Riffs that are reminiscent of early punk and pub rock lead to shoegazing introspection and back. I’ve spent weeks of 2023 laying on the floor with this album playing.

ALLUSION – Allusion demo cassette (Bitume Rugeux / Urticaria)
One of the more wild bits of punk I’ve encountered. It’s genius in its production! From the A-side originals to the B-side remixes, the 100% “fuck you” attitude is palpable. Raw, vicious, and noisy, yet somehow still catchy, fun, and wholesome. Weird punk for weirdo punx. Je veux du punk brut!

HOPE? – Your Perception is Not My Reality EP (Desolate / Fight For Your Mind / Symphony of Destruction)
This EP appears relentlessly towards the top of my stack. Four tracks raging with urgency, embracing despair, and still somehow evoking resilience through its blinding maelstrom of crusty D-beat. Sonically precise, with a unique tonality.

TOTAL NADA – II EP (11 PM / Discos Enfermos)
Structurally tight and blindingly fast—this buzzsaw of hardcore is punk crudo of the best variety! This album reminds me a lot of AGENT ORANGE à la Living In Darkness, but with a bit more aggro driven energy. Bigger crunch, muy grande shredding, mas rapido rhythm shifts, pero generalmente el skate/surf vibe.

UZU – Uzu LP (Symphony of Destruction)
Definitely one of those albums that I want to snuggle up with and spend hours just existing in its aural atmosphere. Energetic enough for dancing yet captivating, the sound draws one to listen intently, and focuses into a noisy serenity. Dark echoes yearning dynamically to be heard.

ELECTROLYTES – Ultralyte cassette (It’s Eleven)
This is one of those albums that could become the soundtrack of your life. Evolving psych-rock riffs buzz and then land against groove-heavy rhythms, only to combine with spirited, blues-addled vocals. Rambunctious rock with a no wave twist; this cassette is an ideal traveling companion.

ENZYME – Golden Dystopian Age LP (Hardcore Victim / La Vida Es Un Mus)
Witnessing the fury that is ENZYME at Skull Fest was a high point of my year. This LP encapsulates contemporary punk spirit while blasting with abrasive delight.

EASTERN SYNDROME – Brain Driller cassette (Brainwasher)
This cassette has a lot going on in a short amount of time. The blend of punk rock captures sounds from the growing history of punk without being derivative. Angst-ridden and current, while capturing artifacts of nostalgia.

WET SPECIMENS – Over Pale Bodies LP (Brain Slash)
I like this album because I simultaneously like CHRISTIAN DEATH and hardcore. They played with DROPDEAD this year. Do I need to say more?

MONONEGATIVES – Crossing Visual Field LP (Dowd / No Front Teeth)
This record is so full of bop that it’s impossible to deny. Scathing commentary verbalized through morose humor, laid atop bouncing, overdriven new wave. Hop around!

With punk’s affinity for developing alongside social and political unrest, 2023 has certainly been a banner year for delectable music offerings. Here’s an additional grip of choice listening I recommend.

TOXIC RITES – Toxic Rites demo cassette (Symphony of Destruction)

INYECCION – Vicio EP (A-Z / Discos Enfermos)

PYRRHIC – At What Cost? Cassette (1753)

LOVE INTEREST – Motherwound 12” (Council)

TRENCHRAID – War Mentality cassette (Blown Out Media)

DAY RESIDUE – Deadly Walk cassette (self-released)

Sims Hardin

Sims Hardin is a freelance music writer who runs an Instagram account called @u2_is_a_government_drone, where he writes dumb blurbs about modern punk records, and has written reviews for Bandcamp. He runs a punk music festival in Philadelphia called You Too Fest. He plays guitar in the Philly band MESH, and has a solo project called SOCIETY. 

The following records are the ones that I listened to the most this year, but goddamn, there were so many good records. For that, I am thankful. It wasn’t easy to distill all of that music down to just ten albums, but that was the task at hand. These are those records in no particular order:

BLUE DOLPHIN – Robert’s Lafitte LP (Cleta Patra / Post Present Medium)
Robert’s Lafitte was recorded in Houston, Texas in 2016 by a bunch of musicians who have since comprised many great punk bands including CHALK, INSTITUTE, CHRONOPHAGE, NOSFERATU, etc. The music could simply be described as avant-punk. It is a wholly cohesive mix of SUBURBAN LAWNS-ish arty punk, sound collage, and twangy Texas cowpunk. This record feels like a lost ’80s basement new wave artifact captured in warm tape glow.

R.M.F.C. – Club Hits LP (Anti-Fade / Urge)
Sydney, Australia’s Buz Clatworthy’s first full-length album Club Hits is a journey into the young punk’s deep, focused, and elaborate musical oasis. This record is unique and not worthy of cheap comparison…but the jams are like if Mark E. Smith or Colin Newman were part of the UK anarcho scene, and throw in a touch of ARTHUR RUSSELL’s sensitivity. This is truly a great record that I will undoubtedly wear out.

PEOPLE’S TEMPLE – I’m With The People’s Temple LP (Roachleg)
This record immediately and continuously blows me out of my La-Z-Boy and right out the chimney. Raw, fast, yet musical ’80s hardcore worship from these NYC-based heads. Definitely some heavy BAD BRAINS and VOID vibes flowing on this record, but not in a rip-off, corny way. None of this is a surprise, as this band is formed by some of the heavy-hitters from bands like GLUE, GUNN, ADVOIDS, etc. This is some legendary shit and I’m PEOPLE’S TEMPLE-pilled now. Amen, brother.

THE DRIN – Today My Friend You Drunk the Venom LP (Feel It)
Like a serpent enveloping its prey, Cincinnati’s the DRIN pulls in the listener with deep chasms of krauty groove. Dylan McCartney (the SERFS) spends endless hours krafting the DRIN—an exercise in dubby, psychedelic post-punk and everything else that’s intangible, cosmic, or ethereal, ad infinitum. The arrangements are tastefully minimal, until they aren’t, and then you’re hit with the blazing chaos of sax, organ, and synth texture coalescing fluidly. Bravo, legend.

TERRY – Call Me Terry LP (Anti-Fade / Upset The Rhythm)
Melbourne legends TERRY return with a new batch of intricately wound, stompy yet heartfelt punk songs. These folks are not afraid to shine and sparkle with their decadent arrangements featuring loads of synths, xylophones, a slew of percussion instruments, and the kitchen sink. Rich harmonies expel earwormy choruses expounding paranoid concepts. TERRY can do no wrong!

TEE VEE REPAIRMANN – What’s on TV? LP (Computer Human / Total Punk)
You might recognize guitar-slinging droog Ishka Edmeades from the handful-and-a-half of synth and guitar punk outfits that have exploded on the Sydney scene over the last few years…bands like GEE TEE, REMOTE CONTROL, SATANIC TOGAS, etc. TEE VEE REPAIRMANN is Ishka’s love letter to guitar-driven power pop classics like the NERVES, the BOYS, and PROTEX. A treasure worth adding to any collection.

PHYSIQUE – Again LP (Iron Lung)
PHYSIQUE delivers a gut-wrenching punch with their 2023 LP Again. This record is an unbridled exploration of sonic terror. Crasher punk at its best. This is hands-down my favorite D-beat record of the year. Stoked for the forthcoming EP.

EYE OF THE CORMORANT / EYE OF THE HERON – Demo cassette (Roachleg)
Debuting this insane double release, Donna Allen shares EYE OF THE CORMORANT and EYE OF THE HERON. EYE OF THE CORMORANT explores glimmering art-rock landscapes akin to CHRONOPHAGE. There are many great hooks and rich melodies here. EYE OF THE HERON is a battle axe dripping blood. These songs are raw and heavy and feel like a wild combination of WIPERS songs and lost ’80s proto-metal tracks. Altogether, this is a truly impressive and unique collection of punk music.

Mutant Midwest-based ripper Ian Teeple crawls out from the abyss with another aberrant artifact in his sophomore release Vol. II. The music is equally surreal and raw. Ian goes very hard on the arrangements, crafting dense but spatially-mindful tunes that are rooted in punk, while accessing aspects of krautrock, world music, and the secrets of the unknown universe. Ian is undoubtedly a wizard, a true star.

THE TOADS – In the Wilderness LP (Anti-Fade / Upset the Rhythm)
Melbourne’s the TOADS’ debut LP In the Wilderness hit me like a brick hurled across an empty parking lot…but in a good way. From some of the folks who rock in a personal favorite group the SHIFTERS, the TOADS take a less lo-fi, bedroom-y path, and have captured their lush sound in a big, mid-fi recording. Their unique brand of art-rock is linear, groovy, and sardonic—not a far cry from the FALL, but with their own charming swagger. A truly cool vision.


Tracy Wilson

A new music advocate, Courtesy Desk online shop + digital radio show, Turntable Report editor-in-chief, DJ Lightning’s Girl, and OUTER WORLD, POSITIVE NO, RINGFINGER, and DAHLIA SEED band member.

In no particular order:

DURING – During LP (Chunklet)
Ominous synths gush mournful melodies, while vocals tick like a timebomb along with chunky bass tones and drums that turn Hoosier hardcore wavers into something way more demonic. Chillingly despondent, this barrage of brooding metallics is the kind of cheerless racket that inexplicably brings me great pleasure.

CUTICLES – Major Works LP (Siltbreeze)
Siltbreeze winning my heart this year, this time with TELEVISION PERSONALITIES absurdist quirk from New Zealand that has tossed pop into an atomic blender and set it decimate.

FAMOUS MAMMALS – Instant Pop Expressionism Now! LP (Siltbreeze)
Amelodic eccentric antics borrowing from decades of psychedelic revival and art-punk to birth their own divine, detached romantic flare. Microdosing now has a masterclass soundtrack.

THEEE RETAIL SIMPS – Live on Cool Street LP (Total Punk)
Sitting at the very top of the garage punk food chain, these Canadians contain the explosive quaver of DEAD MOON baked into unbridled gospel music for a punk house filled with anarchists and atheists.

DANCER Dancer cassette (GoldMold)
This new Glasgow band includes members of CURRENT AFFAIRS, NIGHTSHIFT, ORDER OF THE TOAD, and ROBERT SOTELO, with LIFE WITHOUT BUILDINGS in their DNA but with the heat turned down to a low simmer. Irresistible yet humble, punk goes bare.

TOMBOUCTOU – Tricky Floors LP (Araki / Cheap SatanismDay Off / Hidden Bay / Last Disorder / Outrage / Permafrost / Pied De Biche)
Experimental post-hardcore act from Lyon, France, who may major in VOIVOD-adjacent jazz calculus, but also minor in acrobatic theater arts.

WIREHEADS – Potentially Venus LP (Tenth Court)
Crunchy garage punk from Australia that makes me think of BAILTER SPACE taking over a bouncy house; wildly fun, but also a wee bit scary.

HANS-A-PLAST 2 LP reissue (Tapete)
There were three HANS-A-PLAST albums reissued by Tapete this year, but this one from 1981 is my absolute favorite. This barely-celebrated German punk classic leaves me wondering why they aren’t at least as beloved as the X-RAY SPEX. Melodic hiccoughs have never sounded so feverish or demanding of your attention.

DISPLAY HOMES What if You’re Right and They’re Wrong? LP (Erste Theke Tonträger)
It is heartbreaking to know this nearly perfect tour de force that blends PYLON with the elastic bounce of a red rubber kickball doesn’t get to be just a ferocious first long-player from this Sydney post-punk trio. It now lives on as their final album and epic display of the Herculean talents of their guitar player Darrell who left this planet way too soon.

NON BAND – Vibration Army / Silence-High Speed 7” + magazine (TAL)
Japanese no wave from 1982 sounding impossibly fresh in 2023. These tracks are so potent that it is impossible to imagine why they weren’t included on their debut album. This single contains creepy, crawly strings applied to a primal rhythm section that chips away at darting vocals, and comes packaged with a 48-page magazine filled with never-before-seen images of the band from Yuichi Jobiki of Telegraph Records fame.