Ⓐ THE WORM Ⓐ
An injection of energetic punk, new wave, and alternative music to electrify the morning.
FORGET THE EARLY BIRD, WAKE UP WITH THE WORM!
FRESHEST WORMS of 2019
MATT PARTY’S TOP 10 of 2019
10. Grumpster / Underwhelmed (Top Track: Underwhelmed)
Excellent naming and wordplay abound in this fast album full of artfully crafted jams that scream with the righteous intelligence of someone young who is breaking through their chains.
9. Hatchie / Keepsake (Top Track: Obsessed)
Hatchie gently carries you into her dreams in this landscape of sound so full of layers that you’ll find yourself uncovering more and more as you listen.
8. LONE WOLF / Together Alone (Top Track: Can’t Stop You Anyway)
Optimistic, catchy, and inspiring. LONE WOLF demonstrates their talent with excellent tunes, driving guitar riffs, and interesting lyrics that you’re compelled to shout with a smile.
7. Tamaryn / Dreaming the Dark (Top Track: Path to Love)
Tamaryn finds beauty in the hidden corners and dark alleys in their nostalgic dreamland led with a twanging guitar and soft, pretty vocals that expertly combine the best elements from the entire history of alternative music to create something comfortingly familiar and new.
6. CHAI / Punk (Top Track: I’m me)
A perfect foil to their previous record, Pink, CHAI kicks it into high gear with playful, energetic J-pop/punk music that drips with personality, integrity, and girly self-actualization.
5. NOTCHES / New Kinda Love (Top Track: Museum of More Dumb Art)
Songs driven by emotion that could fill a room, each member of the band plays with a confidence in themselves and the larger message giving the album a feeling like the auditory equivalent of watching a punk ice skating team, or perhaps a choreographed roller-derby crew, creating something much more than the sum of its parts.
4. The Regrettes / How Do You Love? (Top Track: California Friends)
Carefully simplistic lyrics and attentive song structure give the Regrettes a feeling not unlike a broadway show, filled with multi-leveled metaphor and creative hooks that are needle-threaded together with smart planning and a wild guitar that demands urgent concern and empathy.
3. Amyl and the Sniffers / Amyl and the Sniffers (Top Track: Got You)
Honest, fast, and emotional. My top track, Got You, tells a story through simple lyrics that is reminiscent of a feeling of exhausted anxiety becoming completely relieved at the unexpected kindness of friends, told in a way that makes the listener reflective and happy about the people around them. The band follows all the best teachings of the Ramones with catchy, infective, timeless tunes.
2. Martha / Love Keeps Kicking (Top Track: Love Keeps Kicking)
Martha has built something special in this album. Every piece fits together well and the energy doesn’t ever let up. The dual masculine and feminine vocals give rise to a harmony in identity that celebrates life and love in spite of a cynical world. Everything is perfectly timed and sequenced, the record compels the listener to re-listen and dig for more of its abundant bounty.
1. Lizzo / Cuz I Love You (Top Track: Juice)
Lizzo transcends. Her joyous nature is infectious and each song is a celebration of the self that climbs into your psyche and drives you to believe, just for the length of the track, that you could touch the sky, too.
TOM’S TOP 20 WHICH IS 10 BETTER THAN MATT
20. UBIK – NEXT PHASE
Surfy post-punk, but its also hardcore. Catchy, sarcastic, and mean. Some songs are about political stuff and some are just about hating you. I was really into their EP from a couple of years ago, but this is such a good step up. Australia is killing it. IRON LUNG records are killing it too.
19. AUSMUTEANTS – …PRESENT THE WORLD IN HANDCUFFS
Synthy, snotty punk from Australia. Kind of a concept record as all the songs on it are about cops. For some reason, the tracks are the same on both sides of the LP but they are in a different order on each side. I’ve liked this band for a while, but haven’t been too crazy about their last few releases. This record is a welcome return.
18. FATAMORGANA – TERRA ALTA
Moody, dark, and dancey minimal synthpop from Barcelona. This record was very surprising to me. It’s been my favorite record to draw to for most of the year and it’s incredibly catchy.
17. STRANGE PASSAGE – SHOULDN’T BE TOO LONG
Jangly indie punk from Massachusetts. I was a fan of their previous LP and went and saw the record release for this in Boston early in the year. I was expecting to like it, but dang it really surpassed expectations. Reminds me a bit of REM or something on SARAH RECORDS like ANOTHER SUNNY DAY or something. The singer plays a 12 string guitar or something which is wild to hear live.
16. TAMARYN – DREAMING THE DARK
Dreampop/synthpop from California. Another one that took me by surprise as I don’t typically seek out music like this (THERE ARE PLENTY OF KATE BUSH RECORDS FOR ME TO LISTEN TO). I was immediately grabbed with video for “PATH TO LOVE” and had to check out the rest. It definitely fits among the aforementioned KATE BUSH, but also some COCTEAU TWINS or 80’s synth stuff vibes.
15. ELECTRIC CHAIR – PERFORMATIVE JUSTICE
HARDCORE AS FUCK. Easily one of the best HC records I’ve heard all year. No frills or subgenre here, just fast HC in the vein of KORO. I loved their “PUBLIC APOLOGY” EP and this just turns things up. The production is hard and heavy and everything feels huge and powerful.
14. LOOSE NUKES – BEHIND THE SCREEN
Hardcore from Pennsylvania. Again, some killer no-nonsense HC! This one is closer to like, FORMALDEHYDE JUNKIES or something from the early 2000s for me. Members of DARK THOUGHTS and BLOOD PRESSURE who are both great bands in their own right.
13. VIVIAN GIRLS – MEMORY
Dreamy twee inspired indie punk. A welcome return from a band that hasn’t played in a very long time. Nothing will be as good as their first LP but this is a very good attempt. Sludgy, noisy, but super poppy somehow and they hit that punk vibe the first record has.
12. ANGEL DU$T – PRETTY BUFF
Pop-punk played by hardcore dudes? I hated this when I first heard it, as I REALLY like “ROCK THE FUCK ON FOREVER” and this has a certain different vibe. The songs are undeniably catchy and the acoustic guitars played like electric guitars in a hardcore band really works for me.
11. JUDY AND THE JERKS – FRIENDSHIPS FORMED IN THE PIT / MUSIC FOR DONUTS
PUNK. From Hattiesburg. This is kind of a cheat since the “FRIENDSHIPS” LP is actually a collection of stuff that came out from 2017-2019 but the “MUSIC FOR DONUTS” EP still holds strong. This band is PURE energy.
10. ADULT MAGIC – ADULT MAGIC
GOO-CORE. ADULT MAGIC worships at the alter of the GOO GOO DOLLS and boy oh boy do they worship well. Some people may think its derivative but those people are stupid. The ‘GOO ripped off THE REPLACEMENTS anyways. Extremely well-written alt/pop/rock songs with great harmonies and hooks. Plus some extra vocals from the singer of NONA which is a big bonus for me.
9. SENSUAL WORLD – FEELING WILD
WIPERS post-punk sung by FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE or something. STRONG vocals and good riffs. The songs are perfectly moody and MAD and they get bonus points for being named after a KATE BUSH record. I think this is the year that I fall in love with post-punk.
8. RAMONA – DEALS, DEALS, DEALS
POP PUNK from Philadelphia (but also kinda Seattle). I’ve wanted to hear recorded versions of most of these songs for SO long and I’ve wanted to hear what RAMONA does with a full length. They have not disappointed. The vocals are wonderful, the melodies are BEAUTIFUL, the lyrics are funny but pointed, and goddamn does Shannon know how to bang the drums. I almost wish this had an even BIGGER production cuz I think they can pull it off. Hooks for days!
7. HOTLINE TNT – GO AROUND ME / FIREMAN’S CARRY
Fuzzy alt-rock with some shoegaze bits and an overall punk mentality by members of WEED. I can’t get enough of this band. They tick all the right boxes for me and every release has sounded different but still could fit together in a setlist. We got two releases from them this year and I think I liked “FIREMAN’S CARRY” more but they are both SOLID. Good hooks and interesting songwriting played with intensity. Watch their AUDIOTREE session because it RIPPPPS.
6. LAIKA’S ORBIT – CHOSEN NO ONES
Power Pop by the punx. I was so anticipating this record as I’ve basically worn out my copy of 2016’s “NO MATTER WHAT IT TAKES.” Now, I don’t think this is as strong as that record, but that was an unachievable goal. Everything here is cleaner and more confident. The guitar work is insane and dang do they know how to write a hook. These songs get stuck in my head DAILY.
5. DARK THOUGHTS – MUST BE NICE
1234. RAMONES to the bones. One of the only bands I’ve heard do RAMONES-core correctly. They’ve put out three releases in as many years and each one is golden. This one takes a couple of interesting twists in the back half which I think is necessary to keep making music like this. Good melodies, FAST and UNRELENTING riffs/beats, and sappy ‘FEEL BAD FOR ME’ lyrics that I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF. I LOVE THIS BAND.
4. NOTCHES – NEW KINDA LOVE
Alt-Rock/fuzz-pop but it’s by punx. NOTCHES have gotten better with each release. That’s a tall order for most bands. Their confidence is through the roof on this record and they do weird stuff that works SO well that could only be done by three musicians who are so fully confident in their abilities. They work well as a BAND too. They let their bandmates do their thing and nobody is trying to be the focus. Excellent songwriting, melodic, fuzzy, powerful, and recorded/mixed perfectly. I can’t wait to hear what they do next.
3. DEAD BARS – REGULARS
DEAD BARS are a pop-punk band I guess, but really this is almost a noisy glam record. The production is GIGANTIC and it works SO WELL for these songs. They’re a band that wants to blend in the back but can’t help stage diving or pushing through the crowd to sing along. That’s what you wanna do while listening to this. Anthemic and HUGE. Easily their best and most confident release.
2. URANIUM CLUB – THE COSMO CLEANERS
DEVO worship. The CLUB somehow NAILS the DEVO guitar tone of those early couple records and just runs with it. Sarcastic futurist anthems of consumer destruction. They rip through the songs and leave you wondering what happened. The interludes are welcomed breaks that are also interesting but don’t see typical play from me unless I’m listening to the record straight through. Seeing this band live is a revelation.
1. MARTHA – LOVE KEEPS KICKING
Anarcho pop-punk from the UK. This is by and large the most listened to album by me on the list this year. Something about this band hits me perfectly. They’re saccharine sweet, but also radically leftist and well-read. The lyrics are almost too clever and the songs are almost too poppy but they walk that line with EASE. This record has a bit more deviation from the pop-punk formula and they are more successful from it. Every single song on here gets stuck in my head and every song I think is my favorite gets replaced daily.