2023 Year End Top Tens, Part Three

And now, part three of the 2023 Year End Top Tens! There will be a part four next week, as we got a huge response this year! Stay tuned, as Tim and the Gang would say!

Parts one and two, in case you missed them.


Annaliese Redlich

Annaliese Redlich makes cathartic clang in LOTHARIO and presents the radio show Neon Sunset on 3RRR FM, an enduring force of independence and anti-commercialism in Melbourne, Australia.

While I enjoy the offerings of others, I am never one to offer a “top ten” or “best of” list. As a music fan, I don’t like the constraints, constrictions, or inevitable “how could you forget (insert band here)” outrage. But here we are…in no particular order.

JOHNNY DOLE & THE SCABS – Lucky Country / Living Like An Animal 7” (Winter Garden)
No bullshit, fat, or front on these two classic cuts of first wave Aussie punk from one of Sydney’s first-evers for the genre. JOHNNY DOLE & THE SCABS formed in 1976, lasting only a few years before disbanding in 1979, and this 7” marks the band’s first official release. For those that know, Melbourne’s Winter Garden records is a labor of love, with each record they release a handcrafted package to prize. If you’ve gotta wait over 40 years for something, then you may as well do it properly. This 7” release is hand-lathed, with a fanzine featuring in-depth interviews and archival pictures, plus a riso print poster. A release for the love of punk, fitting of the legacy.

ALF – The Demo LP (Goodbye Boozy / Optimal)
UK ’77 and post-punk vibes on this absolute corker out of Perth, in Western Australia. Featuring members of GHOULIES and PLEASANTS, their debut eight-track release blending the best kind of monotone slabbery of Mark E. Smith with the sinewy guitar clang of early INSTITUTE. Punk riffs that both repeat and explore the spaces in between. Neither noodling indulgently nor lingering, but bringing you just enough so you want even more.

DOGS – Melodies Massacre Years LP (Reminder)
Get a dog up ya, or so the saying goes. What this actually means is one of life’s great mysteries. What we do know is that this phrase is often used in the midst of libations and revelry. And for mine, there’s no more perfect soundtrack to a wild romp than Rouen, France’s finest sons…DOGS! Reminder Records has been responsible for unearthing essential, forgotten punk, power pop, and gritty glam for quite a while now, and despite their legacy of nine albums and two dozen singles and EPs, DOGS are far less a household name than they should be. This comp of their first recordings for the Melodies Massacre label is flawless. Eight tracks of snotty, infectious and effortless KBD punk, glam, and good times—“19” fucks particularly hard.

BIG CLOWN – Beatdown LP (Swimming Faith)
Beatdown is the latest guest to the BIG CLOWN party. This full-length LP on Swimming Faith is all swampy punk molasses with a caustic punch. Lucy Isadora’s flailing, urgent vocal intensity contrasts a sense of humor and fun that we don’t see enough in the genre. The Memphis four-piece straddles opposing territories of acidic DIY lo-fi and full-bodied lush fuzz to make durgy, highly danceable punk.

PYREX – Pyrex LP (Total Punk)
Brooklyn’s PYREX delivers a paranoid beauty and menacing propulsion on their debut full-length LP. Purging through the acrid addictive drone, these eight tracks are a nightmarish fever dream that you don’t really wanna come back from. All the tracks are vital parts of the landscape, but “Neptune” and “Lizard Teeth” are doggedly sublime.

WAYNE PAIN & THE SHIT STAINS – Heinous Action cassette (Sludge People)
More mean-spirited surl and snarl from Kansas City’s most unapologetic bastard son on his second full-length LP. Heinous Action is eight tracks from the scummy side of humanity, and goddamn is it fun to wallow! It’s an uncomplicated, offensive, and energizing purge, like a two-star motel enema. “Tits From the Shadows” is particularly infectious garage sleaze.

GUTTER PIG – Perv EP (self-released)
Hardcore and Gabber have long been willing roommates; think CHAOS UK/SEATS OF PISS. Well, straight out of Sydney’s piss-stained pants, comes your latest Grindr Gabber thot, GUTTER PIG. All dilated pupils and skid marks. Four tracks of no-nonsense amyl-drenched aggro perfection. “Ripe” is perfectly on-the-nose.

R.M.F.C. – Club Hits LP (Anti-Fade / Urge)
The genius of Buz Clatworthy’s brand of slightly off-kilter hypnotic harmonics is both its hook-laden satisfaction and also the unexpected territory you find yourself traversing to reach that inevitable endpoint. You get the sense that you’re listening to something both familiar, but not reaching it by the regular rock route. Resist More Futile Comparisons, Club Hits slugs you with a velvet punch and scratches the deep itch.

WITCH PISS – Grease Me Up / Grow Mold Die Old digital single (self-released)
More demented, screaming synth punk from the enigmatic solo project basting outta California’s Simi Valley. WITCH PISS’s chain-whipped egg mutations vibing the best of anthemic BLITZ and early-era SPITS, et al. I won’t pretend I know more about the brain behind this creation; I don’t need to, I just want more.

Melbourne on the Mississippi – 6th October 2023, South Broadway Athletic Club & Roadrunner Warehouse, St. Louis

South Broadway Athletic Club (early show)

Roadrunner Warehouse (late show)

(In the interest of full disclosure, I played in two bands at this show, LOTHARIO and NEW BUCK BILOXI. Regardless, this gig was undeniably insane!)

Memorable moments:
ALIEN NOSEJOB / STILL ANIMALS crew provided the backing band for a brief reunion set from LUMPY AND THE DUMPERS(!!) and BLACK PANTIES—dead.

CRUELSTER making the world’s largest and most impractical setlist by painting it onto a twenty-foot piece of canvas half an hour before their set and putting it on the floor. It was wet, illegible, and in the way—brilliant.

SCIENCE MAN, just in general. What a damn band!

The audience who dutifully dressed, and then undressed and tore limb-from-limb LOTHARIO’s sex doll “little Timmy Cornpop.” RIP, forever in our hearts.

CHUCK BERRY’s old Cadillac parked in the lot at Roadrunner Warehouse. There was a certificate of proof of ownership for all you doubters out there.



Billiam is a Naarm-based musician known for making music under the name BILLIAM, as well as doing Under Heat Records and Magnetic Visions zine.

This was the first post-lockdown year for music. Everyone’s bedroom record is out, every band that split during lockdown is in the rearview mirror, and new blood is left to fight for attention in a never-ending battle. What’s left is some absolutely indescribable and incredible noise; people are fighting to make new and interesting music in a genre where it seemed like everything had been done. Here are 2023’s victors:

ERIK NERVOUS – Immaturity LP (Feel It)
The most fully-formed and powerful ERIK has ever sounded, Immaturity has the sound of anxiety down to a scientific precision that’s as scary as it is alluring. Jumping from idea to idea —by the time you’ve processed something, this record has moved on and left you in the dust  as the grandiose and stupefying scale of the music dawns on you. This is an achievement for one of the greatest minds we have in modern punk.

BUSTED HEAD RACKET – Junk Food 10” (Painscale)
Fun, just pure fun. It’s the simplest way to describe the genius of BUSTED HEAD RACKET without going down a rabbit hole of dopamine receptors and ever-increasing BPM adjustments. Junk Food tastes like candy from the 1800s, where they shoved in anything they could to make it sweeter—this record might be bad for your health, but I don’t care. An ethereal and minimalist look at the chemicals that make us happy. So good, I bought a 10”.

DRAGNET – The Accession LP (Polaks / Spoilsport)
Part of me worried that if I didn’t include this record, lord Cherry and the DRAGNET army would use their royal might to smite me—thankfully, this is probably the best record Jack has fronted. At times calculated and constant in its delivery, while at others frantic and forcefully trying to get every idea out before a guillotine comes down, the ever-solid rhythm section and blaring synths and guitars attempt to truncate the chaos into a post-whatever delight with tales of Tony Hawk and self-confidence.

THE UNKNOWNS – East Coast Low LP (Bargain Bin)
2023 may be best remembered as the year power pop was back. It was once again OK to sing of love and heartbreak in spandex and leather, and none did it better than the UNKNOWNS. No tighter collection of ten heartbreaks was collected this year, perfect to soundtrack a night at makeout point or a lonesome walk through raining streets of neon. There’s no low point, it’s hit after hit, greatest to greatest, a lightning bolt straight to the heart and brain.

GEE TEE – Goodnight Neanderthal LP (Goner / Urge)
There’s a case to be made that the hype surrounding this record was greater than for any Marvel product (at least from kangaroo-land)—we were this close to a truck of these records being robbed by a mob of angry fans. Kel has provided a worthy follow-up to the self-titled record, more bold and confident in its hammer-to-head approach to pop melodies and sweet love ballads. It’s an oddly reflective-sounding album by a band people will brag about following in the years to come.

ABORTED TORTOISE / GHOULIES – Euro Tour split EP (Goodbye Boozy)
I’m pre-writing my 2024 best-of by simply putting one spot for Perth, since I know that crew is gonna produce something utterly brilliant—this year it was a two-for-one combo. ABORTED TORTOISE graces us with some of the best and smartest lyrics a punk band will write, while the Mach-five-speed drum beat backs the clanging guitars. But it’s GHOULIES’ side that pushed the record here. Oddly self-reflecting and continuously more ambitious as every aspect battles for the front of the mix, it’s mesmerizing as my heart rate climbs to dangerous rates.

KOSMETIKA – Illustration LP (Spoilsport)
The collective crime of modern music writing this year was sleeping through the gorgeous dream of KOSMETIKA’s masterpiece. That religions weren’t started off the back of this record is a mystery I hope to solve someday. There’s a sense that there’s some missing context from this record that would make the story it tells fall into place; instead, the record’s dense arrays leave more and more questions as to the tale it is trying to tell. It clings to your mind as you try to piece it together, but perhaps the tale Illustration is trying to tell is over, and you’ve just missed out.

TEE VEE REPAIRMANN – What’s on TV? LP (Computer Human / Total Punk)
This record is perfect. A warm ray of sunshine from the single most brilliant musician alive, as comforting as it is confronting the underlying sadness, like hanging out on the beach after getting dumped in the rain. It’s more of a sweet taste, but there might be something bitter underneath.

CHECKPOINT – Drift LP (Erste Theke Tonträger)
The best record of this year. I’m not accepting comments from anyone. A marker in the ground for modern guitar music that all bands will have to revisit. Not content with staying on one riff, tempo, time signature, or concept, Erik constantly switches to euphoria after euphoria, drawing from equal parts ’70s prog and ’80s hardcore, all pushed so far into the red that most speakers will pop upon looking at the record cover. If you aren’t scared of this record, you should be—it leaves no survivors as it runs over any riff it can find, and melts it into a tar-like substance of ethereal synth and stabbing chromatic riffs.

BLONDE REVOLVER – Good Girls Go to Heaven, Bad Girls Go Everywhere LP (Rack Off!)
What happened to new wave? Why are bands going either to the start or end but not the middle of the most gloriously decadent genre? BLONDE REVOLVER is brave enough to search for the new with their dense synth and aggressive ear-splitting riffs, as likely to catch in your mind as they are to stab you and steal your car. It’s an incredibly sharp impression and one hell of a debut album from one of this state’s most impressive bands.


Erick Bradshaw

Erick Bradshaw is a successful fuck-up who hosts Spin Age Blasters with Creamo Coyl on WFMU. He makes music via CYANIDE TOOTH, MAXIMUM ERNST, ROGUE CHROMOSOME, and BLANK ACCOUNT. He writes for MRR, Maggot Brain, and Bandcamp Daily. Mr. Bradshaw is currently working on a book about New York City underground culture.

(in alphabetical order)


BERLINER DOOM – Wer Das Hört ist Doom EP (self-released)
Perfect angular art-punk that doesn’t skimp on any aspect of that clichéd descriptive, delivering a head-spinning amount of quality in the original punk format.

THE DRIN – Today My Friend You Drunk the Venom LP (Drunken Sailor / Feel It)
All the Cinci bands are great, but the DRIN rises to the top. Really great songs with really cool sonics will help with that. When I saw them play, I thought “yes, the HAPPY MONDAYS should have been on Crass Records.”

FAMOUS MAMMALS – Instant Pop Expressionism Now! LP (Siltbreeze)
This is cosplaying on a rarefied level, to the point that it doesn’t matter that these folks are from SF, not the UK, and it’s 2023, not 1979. When the tunes are this good, context shrinks like an event horizon, and soon you are standing face-to-face with the hologram of authenticity. Surrender to the void, and raise this LP as your battle-flag.

LANDOWNER – Escape the Compound LP (Born Yesterday)
This band has yet to make a misstep, and here is another impressive entry in their meticulous catalog. I bet they never get parking tickets.

NAG – Human Coward Coyote LP (Convulse)
For years, I wished for a hardcore band in the intense, paranoid style that NAG excels at. Now, I just want more bands that sound like NAG.

RECEPTACLES – The Pie LP (Maternal Voice)
Fantastic Swedish power trio that locks into mesmerizing patterns like a post-punk MAGIC BAND, or U.S. MAPLE after a plateful of space cakes. Lyrics so arch that they mock you even as you laugh along with them. But are they laughing? That grin is concealing a festering wound, I reckon.

STELLA RESEARCH COMMITTEE – Killed Alive cassette (self-released)
This band may have received little notice during their tenure, but this album finds them bowing out in peak form. Deconstructionist art-punk in the mold of fellow southern Ohio freaks BRAINIAC, STELLA RESEARCH COMMITTEE deserves at least a few of your ears in repayment for their toil.

TEXTURE FREQ – Masochistic Episode cassette (Tumble Mat)
Ferocious and pleasingly noisy hardcore that has gobs of self-loathing and spite dripping from its fangs. One song is about David Wojnarwicz, and another about Antonin Artaud. The singer knows he’s smarter than you, and probably a better dresser, too.

TIMMY’S ORGANISM – Lone Lizard LP (Sweet Time)
Look, if Timmy puts out a record during any given year, it’s gonna be on the goddamn list. This isn’t favoritism, this ain’t payola—this man is the last vestige of true outsider rock’n’roll left in, I dunno, probably the whole fuckin country, if not the world. Give this guy a MacArthur Genius Grant already.

WEEGEE – Primitive Thrill cassette (self-released)
This NYC band came outta nowhere and knocked me out with this fully realized debut. WEEGEE gives off the same sophisticated gutter-trash vibe as prime THESE IMMORTAL SOULS, which is some damn fine filigree.


ALTERNATIVE – If They Treat You Like Shit, Act Like Manure LP reissue (Sealed)
Anthemic and excoriating in equal measures, this album is just a straight-up punk classic.

BOGSHED – The Official Bog-Shed Bog-Set 5xCD (Melodic)
The true sound of 1980s England: BOGSHED was a slashing, off-kilter, muscular, smart as hell, and gut-bustingly hilarious band of wackos. The playing is serious, but the goals are nebulous. While entertaining themselves, BOGSHED makes sure there’s enough room in the latrine for everyone to dance. It’s the shit!

DAWSON – Discography+ 2xCD (Sorceror)
Taking compulsive focus to a superhuman level, I can’t praise this whirlwind of a band enough. They will leave you breathless. Do yourself a solid and plug into these Scottish dynamos’ collected works for instant floorjaw action.

THE DARK – Dressing the Corpse LP (Scat)
Supreme Cleveland death punk that brings all the skeletons out to dance. Put it on the slab next to the expanded SPIKE IN VAIN double.

DREDD FOOLE & THE DIN – We Will Fall – 1983 CD / See God (1985–1986) CD (Corbett vs. Dempsey)
These jumbo-sized collections dig deep into DREDD FOOLE’s soul-scouring testimonials that featured heavies from the Boston scene (VOLCANO SUNS and BULLET LAVOLTA members back him here). This is epic, hard-hitting rock music—the kind that used to give people faith in this stupid country. How the mighty have fallen, indeed.

ELECTRIC EELS – Spin Age Blasters 2xLP (Scat)
You might say “Of course, doofus,” and I might say “Contractual obligation plus NDA, or is that DNA?”

Мир – Mindecision LP (Beach Impediment)
Unearthed wilds-of-Virginia hardcore punk that is a combustible mix of early HONOR ROLE, RUDIMENTARY PENI, and contemporaries like SPIKE IN VAIN. No “mihr” collection is this.

NERVOUS GENDER – Music From Hell 2xLP (Dark Entries)
Dark Entries performs a public service by finally getting an official reissue out there, and they padded it out with a whole extra cauldron’s worth of goodies. Time to stir the pot.

V/A – Klar!80 LP (Bureau B)
Take a swan dive into an amazing scene that percolated in Dusseldorf, Germany around the Klar record shop, which issued an impeccable run of cassettes in the early ’80s. Utterly modern yet thrillingly primitive, every cut on this comp is a banger.

VIOLIN SECT – Vile Insect 12” (Minimum Table Stacks)
As if reissuing the obscure 1981 single by this Welsh group wasn’t swell enough, Minimum Table Stacks managed to supersize it with two songs as good as the originals. Diolch.

Bonus mention: 

Tapetopia LP reissues (aufnahme + wiedergabe)
This ongoing project has been vinyl-izing music from the ’80s East German cassette underground, and this year they released seven new volumes. Each one is fascinating and worth exploring.

Gonza Perez

Gonza Perez has been a reviewer for Maximum Rocknroll since 2022. He is a punk guitarist from Zarate, Argentina, and his current bands are SENTIMIENTO FATAL and FOGUEO. He is part of the DIY label Discos Corrosivos, likes editing and making zines like Futurodificil, and he is also a shitworker.

I’m ending 2023 with my country being ruled by the extreme right-wing, fascist politics of liberal-libertarian roots, bringing back the most putrid hatred and dictatorial old ghosts all around us. I think each year ahead is gonna be tougher, globally speaking. Embracing and nourishing punk as a resistance act is what we should grasp, it’s one of our weapons against the shithole we are all in and against any form of fascism. Things are screwed, I’ll take refuge in punk, just like I did through this year—here you have my selections (not in any particular order).

ELECTRIC CHAIR – Act of Aggression LP (Iron Lung)
Olympia’s ELECTRIC CHAIR dropped their debut LP Act of Aggression on Iron Lung—a dense yet addictive listen exuding fury and non-conformist violence. In the territory of the golden sounds of classic ’80s hardcore punk, with a fresh twist of madness and chaos that is very much appreciated.

PEOPLE’S TEMPLE – I’m With the People’s Temple EP (Roachleg)
Brooklyn, NY-based hardcore punkers released by Roachleg Records. Filled with nods to classic USHC and all its raw energy. A great surprise of ’80s-infused songs combining the most classic skate punk from all over, a hint of charged punk rock, and a fresh pinch of no wave in there.

3D & THE HOLOGRAMS – 3D & the Holograms LP (Roachleg)
Chaos rock’n’roll and snuff sounds on this one. Frantic, fast-paced project filled with noise that scratches egg-punk with pure punk’n’roll. The drum machine is enhanced by the maniac vocals plus an intoxicating 8-bit atmosphere, giving us the best relentless egg-punk album of the year (and it’s been a great year for this sub-dimension).

EXTASY – Ira Total cassette (Corona RX)
Visceral project full of anger and tension-raising “pick up the tempo” kind of D-beat raw punk from Argentina. Rudimentary yet effective hardcore overlapping D-beat cadences with crusty female vocals. I went to see them live every chance I had, and I gotta tell you, there’s something vicious in the air while they are playing. Recommended.

DESBORDE / INCENDIARIA – Split C/ EP (Discos Corrosivos)
This split is an example of cooperation through solidarity between projects with different sounds. Enriched with statements from Gerardo Dekadencia about liberation from the shit system and state oppression, this split goes from chaos-driven cyberpunk mixed with hardcore in Zárate/Campana DESBORDE’s brutal recipe, to blunt force crust punk on the INCENDIARIA side. Both bands are rippers and very active, and play most often in the Buenos Aires area but also tour in other scenes.


GEL – Only Constant LP (Convulse)
Ripper debut LP from New Jersey hardcore band GEL, exuding the new era of groove, aggression, and anger that defined metallic forms of hardcore punk this year. Razor-sharp attitude and a reachout stance to hardcore freaks all around. Very well-executed into a chaotic-feeling atmosphere.

HEZ – Panamaniacs LP (Discos Enfermos)
This interesting LP comes from a decade-long band that’s been defining their sound through the years, and it can be appreciated in their work Panamaniacs. Sick and distortedly maniac raw punk from Latin America that screams chaos and destruction all around. Blasting songs filled with pedal board effects, reverbed vocals, and a crunch to the strings that must marinate to be achieved. Recommended project that has been forgotten for too long.

SALVAJE PUNK – Salvaje Punk LP (Toxic State)
Chaotic hardcore atmosphere achieved in this shit-fi distorted sound yet very well-executed, and changes in tempos seem to be thought out before they were created. Tupa-tupa powerviolence-like drums all over your head, plus metallic, doomy grindcore doomy vocals and a grindy deep fry on the strings make this a recipe for mayhem. Great messy and super sick debut LP.

CASTILLO – Pleasure and Pain LP (Mendeku Diskak)
Traditional street-style Oi! From L.A. filled with nods to UK82 and early streetpunk sounds, mixing cleanish guitars and rugged vocals. Taking the anthemic and inspiring side of Oi! and classic punk with a modern twist. Their sound is unique in some aspects, and totally classic in others; I liked that contradiction.

MOCK EXECUTION – Rebels Without a Cause cassette (Unlawful Assembly)
Chicago’s damaging crust punk noisers with a unique sound, mixing ’80s USHC vibes and raw punk with crusty vocals and strings that go mental from time to time. Blasting explosive.



Greg Benedetto plays guitar in S.H.I.T. and has been making shows and tours happen for years.

ABISM – Abism LP (Toxic State)
Seeing this band sealed the deal for me. It’s no secret that the best DIY music is style before proficiency—it’s about willing something into existence before it’s about being “good.” Music made by people with a point to make. ABISM is that. D-beat at a tempo that is uncanny. Borderline hypnotizing. Indebted to the likes of FIRMEZA 10, OTAN, and CISMA. Wouldn’t be out of place on Alta Intensidaz Tapes. My absolute favourite kind of shit.

ASININ – Demo cassette (P.M.T. / Roachleg)
Just beautiful. Hardcore punk from Norway. A scorching demo that goes into all sorts of different places at breakneck speed. I’m certainly tired of hearing about “music for freaks,” and this easily bests anything that someone is presently trying to market to you. I’ll always be a sucker for a song that’s written with absolute disrespect for the principles of music theory. The only way to pick chords for a hardcore punk song is “eeny, meeny, miny, moe.” Just play fast and it’ll figure itself out. Perfect recording, too. I hear they rip live.

BÉTON ARMÉ – Second Souffle EP (Roachleg)
Man, I spent a week in Paris for the first time ever this year and didn’t find one French Oi! record I didn’t already own. Easy to get over it, when BÉTON ARMÉ is cranking out fresh tracks like this, though. Top to bottom, front to back, fist in the air. It’s a true miracle when punks with fists like cinderblocks create melodies like this.

DESTRUCT – Cries the Mocking Mother Nature LP (Grave Mistake)
This band does not get their due in punk and hardcore. DESTRUCT was undoubtedly the best live band I saw in 2022, and this LP delivered on high expectation. Many a band member will rock the Japanese hardcore shirt, but few will study the art, and even fewer will practice it. DESTRUCT is among the best of the best going right now. Unrelenting in the best way possible. Also worth acknowledging their participation on the Screaming Death compilation as well. That might as well be record #11 on this list.

KINETIC ORBITAL STRIKE – The True Disaster EP (self-released)
Militaristic drumming, unhinged guitar tone, vocals from the maw of hell. Zero fucking frills. Philadelphia is ground zero for American punk music once again, and the list of top-shelf shit the city (and adjacent towns) breeds just gets longer and longer. Going to take the liberty of adding here that you need to hear the K.O.S. self-titled as well as the Bloody Flag demo.

PIÑÉN – Nicolasa Quintremán EP (self-released)
PIÑÉN is perhaps the best actual punk band of the past decade. A pure, unwavering DIY force, that uses their music as a means of communication first and foremost. Can you believe this is just drums, guitar, and voice? Sonically, it’s not unlike the aforementioned ABISM LP. This record makes the point of communicating the story of Nicolasa Quintremán, an Indigenous woman who was murdered by the state for attempting to defend her land. Fucking important music.

SALVAJE PUNK – Salvaje Punk LP (Toxic State)
About as brutal as a modern punk record can get. Certainly indebted to the likes of LOBOTOMIA, BLASFEMIA, PARABELLUM, and early South American primitive music. Will blow your hair back on first listen. Blink and you miss it changes, raging top to bottom. Can’t think of another record from this year that sounds this angry.

SIN OFFERING – Charnel House cassette (Sound Grotesca)
This tape unfairly floated under the radar of 2023. There was an era when most punk and hardcore end-of-year lists would have CC or the Paincave all over them. Let it be known the master is still at work. Many moons ago, there was a MENTALLY CHALLENGED 7” with a cover of “Bloodfeast” on it. This tape, at times, feels like the spiritual successor to that very moment. Gloom, dirge, goth. Glad to see him revisit that string and tug on it. Unlike anything else out at the moment.

SPIRITO DI LUPO – Vedo La Tua Faccia Nei Giorni Di Pioggia LP (Iron Lung / La Vida Es Un Mus)
Proper surging anarcho-punk out of the Sentiero Futuro Colletivo in Milan, with some of the familiars from KOBRA or LUCTA. Veering into that phaser-laden, repetitive anarchism where a punk band can find their inner HAWKWIND. Indebted to the likes of CONTROPOTERE, DISPERAZIONE, and that mental Italian punk mindset that you know and love. Not untethered from the RUDIMENTARY PENI/FLUX world of putting a hammer to your head.

TUBE ALLOYS – Magnetic Point LP (La Vida Es Un Mus)
I will forever be a sucker for pounding drums, chorused-out guitars, and sardonic lyricism. As that goes, Magnetic Point delivers. In the modern age, DIÄT set the bar quite high for this type of nonsense, but TUBE ALLOYS don’t miss. CRISIS (or CRO-MAGS) forever the best reference point.



I’m Jensen. I play in IRON LUNG and do most of the shitwork for the label with the same name. I purposely did not put any of our releases in this list, because that is just silly.

GIZON BERRIA – Gizon Berria EP (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Straight-up GISM worship by the guitarist of FLASH. Totally unexpected and ripping, and just slipped in under the wire for 2023.

COLLATE – Generative Systems LP (Domestic Departure)
When we found ALL HITS had broken up, we were legitimately sad. They lived a short but essential life. COLLATE is on a parallel trajectory in terms of essentialism (they even share a member), but seem to have more staying power and vision for the future. Brilliant post-informed punk music with a knack for design and hook alike. Wonderful stuff here.

CICADA – We Are Going to Kill You cassette (Dream Home)
I love HOLOGRAM, and CICADA feels like a somewhat twisted extension of that genius. Lo-fi Italian HC-influenced tuneage with a slash of darkness to it. Some of the best four minutes put to tape in a long while.

LASSO – Ordem Imaginada EP (Sorry State / Static Shock)
Everything about this release rips. Weird hardcore from the bowels of Brazil with stellar artwork to help set the mood. The previous EPs were good, but this is divine.

PIÑÉN – Nicolasa Quintremán EP (self-released)
I had the pleasure of seeing this band a few years back and loved their two-piece raw punk fire. I admit I lost touch with them since then and was delighted to see a new EP this year—it blew my socks off. As furious and raw as ever. I hope they make a thousand more records.

NURSE – Nurse LP (State Laughter)
One of Atlanta’s best groups of recent years, no doubt about it. Raspy hardcore with some kind of effects wash that makes the whole group sound like it’s about to explode. The EPs were incredible, and this swan song footlong is exactly what I was hoping for in a longer-form release. More space to flesh out the off-kilter madness that is NURSE. RIP to a great one.

DELIRIANT NERVE – Contaminated Conscience LP (Malokul)
Grindcore has always been a mostly garbage genre with so much empty Z-grade shock-valued presentation. And then every once in a while, a record comes out that completely destroys that opinion. Meet DELIRIANT NERVE, a drum-driven wrecking machine that renews all faith in the genre. Excellent. Aidan is definitely on the list of drummers to see live. Don’t sleep.

80HD – Destabilize LP (Artifact Audio)
Speaking of drummers to see, Sasha and the 80HD crew released this thrash-oriented HC mania a little later than expected after all the covers were stolen from their porch. A quick reprint and a reminder that no one keeps a punk down for long, and voila, an off-kilter shredder was hatched. We’re all better for its existence.

BLACK DOG – Overthrow EP (Roachleg)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Halifax has a special thing going on. Might be a remote place, but they have a mighty reach. BLACK DOG brings the raging crust with reckless abandon and has removed all the safety protocols. Dangerously good shit.

SLAN – Skiter I Allt EP (Bunker Punks)
When I first heard this, I thought it was a long-lost SKITSLICKERS recording. Incredible GBG82 worship with relentless riffs and more energy than just about anything else. I dare channel the late Bruce Roehrs when I say “fuck yes!”.

There were a lot of great releases this year and I didn’t want to leave any out, but limitations dictate we must. These are also badass and should be heard:

ASININ – Demo cassette (P.M.T. / Roachleg)

DESTRUCT – Cries the Mocking Mother Nature LP (Grave Mistake / Skrammel)

SALVAJE PUNK – Salvaje Punk LP (Toxic State)

KINETIC ORBITAL STRIKE – The True Disaster EP (self-released) / Rotten Lies EP (Phobia)

HAUNTED MANSION – Fake Money EP (Unlawful Assembly)

SHITSTORM – Only in Dade LP (Alt MIA / Malokul Industries)

GOLPE – Assuefazione Quotidiana EP (Beach Impediment / Static Shock)

PHANTASM – Conflict Reality EP (Hardcore Victim)

S.H.I.T. – Demo 2023 cassette (Homie Shit Magazine)

DELCO MF’S – 100% Complete & Total Motherfuckers 12” (Static Shock)


Jason Harding

Jason Harding is a NY/PA-based writer and artist.

ELECTRIC CHAIR – Act of Aggression LP (Iron Lung)
I can’t think of another year in the past decade that was so wildly potent in great punk releases than 2023, and this ELECTRIC CHAIR LP was crucial in creating that sentiment. Just crazy energy here—every tune is a banger, and the album is crammed with cool and memorable moments that keep you reaching for the play button like some type of rodent test subject in a lab experiment. You can’t help but keep hitting yourself with another blast of that juice!

ILLITERATES – No Experts LP (Sorry State)
Pittsburgh’s ILLITERATES’ debut LP was a solid first effort, but this sophomore album blew it out of the water. Ripping, sarcastic, and catchy as hell, I had a good time blasting these sick bursts of awesome old school hardcore over and over.

SPEED PLANS – Statues of God LP (Iron Lung)
Sixteen furious jams go whipping by on this essential new entry to the American hardcore legacy from Pittsburgh’s indomitable SPEED PLANS. This pummeling procession has got to be one of the most action-packed twelve minutes ever put to wax, and all on a single 12” side, even.

PHYSIQUE – Again LP (Iron Lung)
Ooh baby, I like it raw, and this insane, fuzzed-out D-beating from PHYSIQUE scratched that particular itch until it bled this year. I must have exclaimed “damn!” about a dozen times when I first heard this. It’s just relentless, with song after song of brutal, riff-driven, pounding lo-fi punk noise, brilliantly bookended with the menacing title track.

DISPOSE – The Garbage Sessions cassette (Garbage Fountain)
Another amazing raw punk ripper, this tape from Sweden’s DISPOSE saw the band breaking through the shell of DISCLOSE-worship they were born from and into an addictive and raucous identity of their own. It kills, and while it’s a bit hard to come by in physical form (I had to trade some original artwork for a copy because the distributor wouldn’t accept money!), it’s well worth seeking out.

G.U.N. – G.U.N. LP (Sorry State)
Misanthropic smoker from these nasty Nashville punks. Thematically centered in the ugliest of realism, this album has an early ’80s hardcore sound that’s indistinguishable from music actually released in that era. I’m just hoping they follow this dark masterpiece up with another great record and not real-life acts of depravity, but if they did, I’d probably pitch in for bail money.

WOUND MAN – Human Outline LP (Iron Lung)
The sound of authentic frustration is unmistakable, and it seems to be the secret ingredient in WOUND MAN’s latest work. Adding nuance to the band’s mean hardcore/powerviolence style in the vein of CROSSED OUT, these songs contain a lot of doomy, brooding moments that makes the oscillating hatred of the explosive parts all the more impactful. I had been anticipating this one since they first teased a few songs back in 2021, and it didn’t disappoint.

Ian Teeple from WARM BODIES offers a delightful blur of atmospheric entertainment on his second solo LP. Conjuring up a truly singular creative personality, this album gushes with folky, homespun psych soul, dreamy pop melodies, and layers upon layers of groove, jangle, tension, and flash. Each song is like a magic spell in its own right, from the sinister fun of the opening “Serpent in the Grass” to the immersive cosmic charm of closer “The Minotaur,” and this was without a doubt my favorite album of the summer.

CLASS – If You’ve Got Nothing LP (Feel It)
Twisting gleams of ’70s punk and first-wave power pop into shining beacons of rock greatness, the latest album from these Tucson, AZ upstarts hits the mark with startling accuracy. These twelve well-polished tunes exemplify the band’s triumphant spirit while carrying splashes of the BEATLES, TELEVISION PERSONALITIES, the STOOGES, and others into the uncertainty of this modern age. So good.

PEOPLE’S TEMPLE – I’m With The People’s Temple EP (Roachleg)
Listeners have drawn a wide range of comparisons for this hot little EP from NYC’s PEOPLE’S TEMPLE, but one thing is certain—it’s an especially rich outing demonstrating the band’s great taste that has resonated with many. Personally, I’m hearing an earnest early USHC style infused with a bit of UK82 spirit, but the overall appeal of the music renders any particular classifications unnecessary. Just rock it, enjoy, and look forward to hearing what these guys do next.

Other very cool things that deserve to be mentioned: 

IGNORANTES – Eso Seria Todo cassette (self-released)
IGNORANTES spiked their down-and-dirty punk sound with a bit more metal than usual on this sweet little two-song tape, but it’s an excellent excuse to include this prolific Chilean band on this year’s list. Here they sound like a Spanish-language spawn of G.I.S.M., and sometimes they manifest as an evil RAMONES, but they always cook up wicked punk insolence that appeals to the darkest recesses of my sensibilities. And they drop new releases left and right—be on the lookout.

GORILLA MEN – High Power Tube Blaster EP (Goblin)
On this introductory EP, the GORILLA MEN serve up top-quality garage snot with a delightful lo-fi juvenility. Adding to the albatross of formidable Australian bands in the process of taking over the punk genre as we know it, this new group is elementary in their excellence, aping the attitude of classic Rip Off Records and the raw rocking of the STOOGES, and even slipping in a GREEN DAY cover that doesn’t make me want to vomit.

GLAS NOST – “Narcissist” video
This Melbourne outfit shot the video for this shimmering post-punk/indie pop number from their forthcoming EP to look like they’re the musical guest on an episode of classic BBC series The Young Ones! The singer hilariously portrays all four of our favorite Scumbag University alumni, and it’s a cool tune set to a comforting nod of nostalgia.


Jason Ryan

Jason Ryan has been a columnist for Maximum Rocknroll since 2011. He is a graphic designer and illustrator from New York living in San Francisco.

This latter part of 2023 has been a shitshow, globally and in my life, but new music, new friendships, new creative endeavors, and new city destinations have been inspiring and uplifting. I saw a freakin’ orca breach yards from our boat—pod goals, I can’t complain too much. Other highlights included participating in Analog Attack’s What Are You Listening To? series on YouTube twice. That’s a great show, check it out on Fridays. With heartache, I otherwise wish for peace at this time and forever, goddamnit. 

FLOWER – Hardly a Dream LP (Profane Existence)
Apparently this record was released less than a week before the new year, but c’mon, I think it needs to be mentioned as it didn’t make last year’s top ten deadline, and I’m putting it first. This list does not reflect any order preference from this point on. NYC crust with strong NAUSEA metallic stylings and I think even more influence from INSURGENCE (part of the same Squat or Rot ’80s scene, with vocalist Morgan of 13, definitely check them out). Nick Blinko-inspired art, but with even more dimension and negative space. Just tops all around.

HIATUS – Out of Hands LP (Ruin Nation)
Belgian crust maniacs, and my absolute favorite ’90s crust band. They return here, bringing compositions from their best traditional crust recordings as well as from their later, more melodic output, including a new recording of one of those original songs to finish out the LP. This is as complex as it is classic, and I was again impressed after decades on HIATUS.

ETERAZ – Destined to Kill 7” flexi (Iron Lung)
Although this is only two tracks, ETERAZ fills up the space with more passion and raw fury than several new entire LPs. Replay after replay. I would love to see this band live someday.

D.T.A.L. – Dark Dimensions of War LP (Dis:Nihil)
This LP from Swedish kängpunk legends was recorded in 1990 and never saw the darkness of day. It is significantly more crust-synth then their early ’80s material, and successfully at that. More ONSLAUGHT, DEVIATED INSTINCT, or AXEGRINDER—maybe the change did not get a good reception, but 33 years later, I think it stands on its own.

KINETIC ORBITAL STRIKE – The True Disaster EP (self-released)
Additionally, their long-sold-out debut demo cassette was pressed on 7” this year. The two recordings arrived to me together, and KINETIC ORBITAL STRIKE is one of the most bombarding D-beat distortion bands happening today. Totally crushing every second, whether ruthlessly fast or mid-paced.

PHYSIQUE – Again LP (Iron Lung)
This band just gets better and better, and Again is a peak distortion wash of anguished hardcore noise à la DISCLOSE, GLORIOUS?, or FRAMTID, yet burning with their own unique, raw emotion.

TIIKERI – Punk Rock Pamaus!!! LP (Open Up and Bleed / Vox Populi)
Super catchy feel-good record from Finland, and I wish I understood Finnish, but the vibe is 1000%. Reminds me a little of the ’90s Chicago scene, RAMONES (duh), and some ’80s French punk. A must-hear, and so fresh! If my list has any variety, this one is it.

DÖDSKONTROLL / WORFÖR? – split LP (Burning Anger)
Crust-as-fuck homies doing it like ’92. Cold and mechanical rhythms, yet organic and with brutal delivery. “What the world needs now…” is more split LPs!

SVAVELDIOXID – Världselände LP (Blown Out Media)
I’d like to think this band is getting the recognition they deserve. No-hype, classic Swedish mangel hardcore. Same drummer as one of my honorable mentions. The Will Never Die.

DELETÄR – Deletär LP (Destructure / Kick Rock / Vox Populi)
Pulverizing French käng. Think BOMBARDAMENT, TOTALITÄR, GOLPE, add fire.

FAIRYTALE – Shooting Star LP (Quality Control HQ / Toxic State)
“Q: And Children? A: And Children.” Dis nightmare continues. Echoing D-beat attack from NYC. Buoyant, hypnotizing, and menacing.

AVSKUM – En Annan Värld Är Möjlig LP (Prank)
Again, everyone’s still got it! I’m feeling this one. Absolutely killer return record from ’80s EP legends. Guest vocals from DISFEAR and UNCURBED. “Another World Is Possible.”

Honorable mentions:

DISFEAR – Everyday Slaughter LP (Disfear / Havoc / La Familia)
The low-end production on this is a must-hear. There is a term that was introduced to me about Swedish hardcore in this style, “Vevarsle,” and this is quintessential. Heavy D-beat mangel. Remastered by Audiosiege.

PAINTBOX – Earth Ball Sports Tournament LP (Prank)
This is essential Japanese hardcore with artistic flair. You cannot comprehend sometimes, or even compare this album. Chelsea’s (DEATH SIDE) guitar work, that’s for starters. A must. 



SCIENCE MAN and @SwimmingFaith in Buffalo, NY. 

ASININ – Demo cassette (Roachleg)
Ever hear something and just say “fuck” out loud, cuz it sounds like something you would try to write but it’s way better, and it simultaneously makes you want to quit music or pick up your guitar to play harder than ever? I love it. Ballistic, ripping hardcore. A great example of being able to take the past and put it in the blender with what’s presently hot while still managing to have your own flavor. Can’t wait for an LP.

THE DRIN – Today My Friend You Drunk the Venom LP (Drunken Sailor / Feel It)
Third record in three years, and each has been in my top faves. The seamless mix of post-punk, dub, krautrock, and psychedelia through a rusty punk lens still builds the world. But the real magic here, and probably what will continue to make this such an exciting project for years to come, is Dylan’s ability to take a very simple idea, tap the vein of its potential, and ride it all the way down the rabbit hole. You lose yourself in the layers and energy of every track so deeply that you forget that if you pull the curtain back, it’s really just one part rolling for two or three minutes straight.

THE HELL – The Hell LP (Drunken Sailor / Not for the Weak)
After seeing this band in Cleveland in October, I immediately went home and listened to the LP a ton. Short, snotty punk at hardcore speed with tons of catchy hooks. Is this my favorite, current Cleveland punk band? Damn. Kinda feels like it right now, and that’s saying a lot.

ILLITERATES – No Experts LP (Sorry State)
I kinda tricked my own brain by seeing a bunch of these songs live a few times before spinning the record. I was playing air guitar and singing along on the first listen and was like, “man, how do these idiots do it?!” Which is probably just a testament to them being a great band and writing catchy jams. Anyways, the only real change from the first LP is some bonus ripping guitar leads and gang vocals added to their classic stew. Though not to spoil the broth here, these guys aren’t the “dumbest band in hardcore.” These are just some nice boys. Dads, actually. Hell, Lawson is a fucking electrician. And actually, that realness is what separates them from the pack.

INSANE URGE – My America cassette (Down South)
Kind of a perfect name for this band. Two minutes in, and I’ve already fully surrendered to forbidden desire. I’m ready to jump on someone’s sweaty back and ride around ’til the poor donkey slips in a puddle of beer. Ten-and-a-half mins of sonically embodying basically everything I love about punk/hardcore. It’s a frenzy and I’m having a fucking blast.

PAPRIKA – Smoked cassette (Chaos and Chill)
OK, sure, a four-song tape isn’t exactly an album of the year, but listen, this band rules. Smoked is just a few songs to get people spicy for their LP coming out on Iron Lung. This pick is as much an endorsement for the tape as it is seeing them live. We played with them in October, and it was one of the best sets I saw all year. If the LP is anything like that savage metalwork shop gig in NOLA, you better crack a nitrous canister and buckle up, cuz everything is about to get fucked.

BAD ANXIETY – Demonstration II cassette (Earth Girl)
Hattiesburg’s most harebrained schemer set six songs on fire in five minutes, then went on tour in Europe with only like ten minutes of total live music and a killer jump kick. Fun, fast as fuck, and doing it for all the right reasons. Hardcore punk. Play it on repeat. Do it!

SPEED PLANS – Statues of God LP (Iron Lung)
There is such immediacy here that I wouldn’t be surprised if they wrote and recorded all of these in like three or four days. Trust your gut, turn it up, and don’t overwork the dough. What could have easily come out as some boring, retreaded hardcore is instead filtered through a strange, natural confidence with a little hilarious stupidity, and comes out the other side like a missing tooth with a bad haircut that somehow makes your weird friend suddenly look…kinda handsome. This is a misbehaving puppy. How could you not love it when it wrecks the place?

SPLLIT – Infinite Hatch LP (Feel It)
This is a wild one. Post-punk, psych-prog madness. I can’t imagine the amount of work that went into crafting something so incredibly dense yet groovy. And oh boy, they did not forget to roll out the zany riffs. As nuts as it gets, there is always a plank floating nearby for you to hold onto while they take you down the rushing river of their creative indulgences. In the day and age of “just skip to the hit,” this is a full-ass, album-long experience. Buy the ticket…

80HD – Destabilize LP (Artifact Audio)
Non-stop great riffs. A singer that sounds like a three-headed monster. Insane drumming. Awesome songwriting that’s in control of its own chaos. First four songs relentlessly flow into one another before you get a breath. The recording is legit awesome and is about as hi-fi as you can ever go without losing any of the grit, intensity, and excitement of a band playing right on the edge of its ability. Turn it up.


Luke Henley

Luke is an Albuquerque-based writer and musician in a couple of bands you haven’t heard (like their new project PEGGY) and defunct “helium punks” microdoser.

Here are my favorite records from the worst year of my life.

THE DRIN – Today My Friend You Drunk the Venom LP (Drunken Sailor / Feel It)
A slippery, cool-as-hell dubby psychedelic punk record that goes even deeper than the group’s previous efforts. Slides in under your brain and rearranges neurons. Frequent spinner this year. Hits like a drug.

PHYSIQUE – Again LP (Iron Lung)
The most fierce D-beat/hardcore band going. Them against the world. Their most cohesive and devastating release to date.

THE STOOLS – R U Saved? LP (Feel It)
God bless Detroit and its mutant rock’n’roll. This is nasty business. The history of rock, blues, R&B, and punk put through the shredder and sewn together wrong on the other side. Beautifully deranged.

ARTIFICIAL JOY – 100% Pure Joy LP (Shitkicker)
Beautiful, anthemic hardcore with some of the best vocal performances of the year. This band sits comfortably alongside other blurringly fast contemporaries like ELECTRIC CHAIR, deftly handling unreal BPMs while reaching into a seemingly bottomless bag of riffs. Some of the most fun, cathartic, and hard-as-nails punk this year.

CURIOUS THINGS – Naif LP (Snappy Little Numbers)
One of the biggest surprises for me this year. Power pop is rarely done this well, channeling the best of the ’70s–’90s, including plenty of BUFFALO TOM and LEMONHEADS influence. Great hooks and harmonies for days.

HOME FRONT – Games of Power LP (La Vida Es Un Mus)
As grimly industrial as this band can be, and as laid bare as the world’s horrors were this year, I found a lot of hope revisiting this record again and again. It’s a bold statement start to finish, placed in opposition to the evil that surrounds us all. But it’s also stirring; an album that won’t let you give up. Musically, too, it’s another level.

RAT CAGE – Savage Visions LP (La Vida Es Un Mus)
A bone-rattling soundtrack to hell that is deeply cathartic. The only solace in a worsening world is that RAT CAGE gets more and more vicious. Some of my favorite vocal performances of the year.

NO TIME – Suffer No Fool LP (Mendeku Diskak / TKO)
The modern Oi! revival continues with this catchy and furious rager. I’m glad this snuck in just before the cutoff for the year. Rock’n’roll hooks delivered with intensity. You’ll have fun getting your teeth knocked out to it.

CLASS – If You’ve Got Nothing LP (Feel It)
There are a lot of great bands in Tucson, and this is one of my favorites. They’re prolific, too, but clearly only because they’re brimming over with ideas. Drawing from the classic ’77 sound to power pop and beyond. A band as fun as they are ferocious.

MSPAINT – Post-American LP (Convulse)
One of the few game changers this year. This Hattiesburg crew dropped true ordinance with this aggressively positive blend of cyberpunk neo-spiritualism, hardcore, dripping synth, and nü-metal. That last one is still a sticking point to some fossils in the punk community, but it’s a genre that holds weight and got a lot of kids into music that’s hard and heavy. Those who know how to wield the influence properly can cut a pit off at the waist like nothing.



AKA Mattistocracy, AKA Leo Delightful is a photographer, writer, and DJ based in Roanoke, VA. He’s co-owner of Culture Desert Records and does reviews for MRR. His current bands are EX PARENTS and SULTRY.

Mark 2023 as yet another disastrous year for our grievously ailing planet. While it’s hard to prevent one’s sense of hope from being siphoned into the gaping maw of despair due to genocidal wars and vampiric overconsumption by soulless corporations, the state of punk and hardcore seems more vital and buoyant than ever. This list could easily have been twice as long! Here are the ten releases that I just couldn’t get enough of this year, in chronological order. 

ΠΥΡ ΚΑΤΑ ΒΟΥΛΗΣΗ – Θυματα Ειρηνησ LP (self-released)
I had the pleasure of reviewing this scorcher shortly after its release in February, and it has been a regular spin ever since. Relentless, raw D-beat from Athens, Greece that never lets up.

TEE VEE REPAIRMAN – What’s on TV? LP (Computer Human / Total Punk)
Ishka Edmeades seems to have a hand in producing some of Sydney, Australia’s most compelling and freaky punk, contributing to a growing list of killer bands such SATANIC TOGAS, GEE TEE, and RESEARCH REACTOR CORP, to name a few. It’s no surprise that his solo project is writhing with earworms. A superb debut.

ELECTRIC CHAIR – Act of Aggression LP (Iron Lung)
Sure to be found on many year-end lists, ELECTRIC CHAIR’s first full-length is absolutely explosive. Picking up where the preceding EPs left off, Act of Aggression is an unbridled hardcore assault on the senses. I’ve been fortunate enough to catch them live on a couple occasions, and they are a true force to reckon with. One of the more energetic bands I’ve ever seen…not to be missed.

CONSEC – Wheel of Pain LP (Not For The Weak)
CONSEC’s set was one of the highlights of 2023’s The Floor Is Gone fest in Roanoke, Virginia. After seeing them, I couldn’t wait to blast Wheel of Pain, and after a few plays I quickly realized that it would be the album of the summer for me. Raging USHC with soaring guitars and distinct vocals. Every Not For The Weak release rips, and Wheel Of Pain fits nicely into their impressive catalog.

G.U.N.G.U.N. LP (Sorry State)
This record has to be one of the meanest, most gritty releases of 2023. It’s just so fucking tough! Not for the faint of heart, G.U.N. injects each song with a massive jolt of frenetic, destructive energy. The album is what Vyvyan Basterd of The Young Ones would describe as “a very special blend of psychology and extreme violence.”

ENZYME – Golden Dystopian Age 12” (Hardcore Victim / La Vida Es Un Mus)
With Golden Dystopian Age, ENZYME has set a new precedent for noise punk. Each track plunges the listener into a masterfully crafted sonic landscape, pulsing with layers of swirling feedback and buzzsaw guitars. Somehow, everything sits so perfectly in the mix that each element is audible and though there is a lot going on, there’s nothing extraneous. Concussive in the best possible way.

MUTANT STRAIN – Murder of Crows LP (Sorry State)
Having honed their sound to the sheerest razor edge, MUTANT STRAIN’s sophomore outing cuts with a vicious blade. Murder of Crows is a whirlwind, over-before-you-know-it album that takes a few listens to properly digest. It’s dense, but loaded with hooks and dripping with discomposing charm. MUTANT STRAIN are sublimely unsettling and consistently produce some of the most innovative and punishing hardcore on the planet.

МИРMindecision 12” (Beach Impediment)
My personal favorite release of the year, Beach Impediment struck gold mining the vault of small-town ’80s punk. While tapes of Mindecision have been circulating for decades, it wasn’t until this year that these recordings from 1984 would get a proper official release. I happen to live in the town that МИР was from, so this record has significant personal appeal, but this is an objectively brilliant collection of nearly forgotten hardcore ragers. Fans of early CORROSION OF CONFORMITY should take note of this one.

CLASS If You’ve Got Nothing LP (Feel It)
The first CLASS album, Epoca de Los Vaqueros, was impressive to say the least. If You’ve Got Nothing may just be a modern classic. CLASS channels the spirit of ’77 in a way that doesn’t come across as contrived or inauthentic, twisting the formula into a new shape altogether. This record is packed with catchy, memorable punk hits.

QUARANTINE – Exile 12” (Damaged United / La Vida Es Un Mus)
QUARANTINE set the bar exceptionally high with their first album, 2021’s Agony. Well, Exile is just as devastating—if not more so! Total USHC madness, with a noisy underbelly. The intensity is ratched way up, to the point where the sequencing plays an important role in the way the album is experienced. The tracks work so incredibly well together that everything flows in a nearly seamless way. It’s no small feat to construct an album that is greater than the sum of its parts, but QUARANTINE makes it seem effortless. Every song is like a self-contained bomb blast, and the album amounts to an all out nuclear eruption. Punk perfection.



Hi! I’m Yoni, a college radio DJ and freelance reporter based in Philadelphia. I’ve been in the punk scene here for way too long, and always love the chance to hype up our bands. Here are ten of my favorite things that came out of Philly this year, with some bonus releases tacked on at the end ’cause it’s hard to stop at just ten!

AT NIGHT – At Night digital (self-released)
I know we like to celebrate youth culture here at MRR, but sometimes those years of experience are pretty useful. That’s certainly the case when it comes to AT NIGHT, the new post-punk band that features Nicole from early ’00s crusters WITCH HUNT along with a bunch of other scene vets. What I love about this album is that instead of aping a specific sound, the band has taken influences ranging from DEAD MOON to ZOUNDS to all that early ’90s Sub Pop stuff and synthesized it, made something new. The resulting album, their debut, is exciting, fun, and most of all just a delight to listen to.

CARNIVOROUS BELLS – Room Above All LP (Human Headstone Presents)
CARNIVOROUS BELLS continues to be one of the most electrifying and interesting bands in Philly. Combining punchy hardcore with playful, jazz-influenced post-punk—think SACCHARINE TRUST or the best of AmRep noise rock—it’s clear that every member of this group is both an extremely talented musician and also knows how to fucking bring it, a rare combo. The fact that they brought on saxophonist James McKain on about half the tracks makes the whole thing even cooler and more unhinged.

THE HIRS COLLECTIVE – We’re Still Here LP (Get Better)
One of the best things about punk is how much the lines are blurred between band and audience. That’s clearest at a show, especially when everyone is going off and feeding off each other’s energy. But it also shows up in other places, like on a record or even with social media. There is no better example of this than HIRS: now in their twelfth year, they have become one of the most important queer and trans bands in the world, a guiding light both for their legions of fans and also for their fellow noisemakers. On We’re Still Here, their sixth full-length, the punk/grind duo have expanded even further—that’s the “collective” part—to include a huge swath of musicians from across the DIY spectrum like MELT-BANANA, the BODY, PINKWASH, GHÖSH, SOUL GLO, and so many more. While their songwriting has evolved past the thirty-second blastbeats, screams, and samples of their first few albums, that’s definitely not a bad thing. It all still packs a punch. In fact, it’s better than ever before.

NORTHERN LIBERTIES – Self-Dissolving Abandoned Universe LP (self-released)
Two decades in, and NORTHERN LIBERTIES are still managing to amaze. With musical and artistic influences ranging from CRASS to early NIRVANA to LUNGFISH to so many forgotten West Philly basement bands, this three-piece—drums, bass, and a vocalist who doubles as a second percussionist—creates absolutely catchy and dynamic post-punk. While they’ve done a lot of DIY recording over the years, Self-Dissolving Abandoned Universe was made at Electrical Audio in Chicago, and Albini absolutely worked his magic capturing the band at their best.

QUARANTINE – Exile 12” (La Vida Es Un Mus)
If you don’t like this, you don’t like hardcore. Period. The band’s sophomore release is pure punk anger: eight YDI and NEGATIVE APPROACH-influenced songs clocking in under fifteen minutes. Put this on and run straight into a wall.

DELCO MF’S – The March of the MF’s EP (MF)
The hits keep coming for the DELCO MF’S on this, their second EP. Despite not everyone in this hardcore band being from Delaware County—that’s the Delco in question, in case you didn’t know—this recording manages to perfectly convey that feeling of misery and anger straight from the Philly burbs. Plus it’s catchy as hell, so what’s not to love?!

KINETIC ORBITAL STRIKE – The True Disaster EP (self-released)
An instant classic of the genre. Heavy, absolutely wild, and completely punishing! Not as good as seeing the band live, but definitely a close second. Between them and PSYCH WAR, Philly is in good hands when it comes to new D-beat bands. I can’t wait for what’s next.

RASKOL – Testimony EP (Invisible Audio)
You definitely can’t go wrong with any hardcore release that starts off with someone yelling “fuck you” real loud. This EP is just one big angry mosh part split up into five tracks. Like, in a good way.

NEGATIVE WORLD STATUS – Negative World Status EP (self-released)
Excellent garage-y synth punk from the people who brought you BLANK SPELL, BIG SLIP, and many more great bands. Saw them open for NATURE BOYS a couple months ago, and I’m stoked to see what they get into in 2024.

SWEEPERS – Demonstration cassette (self-released)
This was one of my favorite things that came out all year. Super tight and proper weird poppy no wave that, yes, really is all about cleaning. With songs like “No Sleep, Yes Sweep” and “Take This Mop,” you know they mean business. You better sweep!


BE NOTHING – Be All the Nothing You Can Be cassette (Strange Mono)
Real fun, quirky rock’n’roll—BUTTHOLE SURFERS and ALICE DONUT are both clear influences—by a one-time member of SPAZM 151.

DISAPPEARANCES – Meat Clown cassette (self-released)
Cranky old people (members of HIRS, the SOUND OF FAILURE, and lots of other bands that have graced these hallowed pages in decades past) make good hardcore music.

HELLCO – Hellco LP (SRA)
Dave Rochon from the mighty FLAG OF DEMOCRACY has joined forces with a couple excellent musicians half his age to create HELLCO. Their debut album is chock full of riffy, bouncy punk tunes.

ZORN – Zorn LP (Sorry State)
Hail Satan, light some shit on fire, and enjoy some metal. ZORN rules.

V/A – Benefit For Prevention Point EP (Strange Mono)
Outside of being a fundraiser for a great org, this is also a really good musical cross-section of the Philly DIY scene that includes the first new song from post-punk sweethearts MESH since 2021.

COLOR CHARGE – Demo digital (self-released)
Exceptionally catchy post-punk that would fit perfectly alongside MAGAZINE or HOME FRONT on your next mixtape.

PSYCH-WAR – Demo ‘23 EP (Sore Mind)
Totally killer raw punk D-beat with tons and tons of riffs.

SKILL ISSUE – Total Doom cassette (Chooch Bear / Richter Scale)
Noisy queer hardcore with absolutely flawless breakdowns.