Andy Lefton’s Top 10 Punk Records of 2022
Tune in for this year's top picks by War//Plague's Andy.
What a time to be alive, as death seems to be looming over everyone’s shoulders these days. Another EOY list that will be chock full of artistic angst that has kept death in the shadows…for now.
In an era of global uncertainty, it’s good to know our little world of punk rock has always had our backs. A big thanks to DIY Conspiracy for the chance to share my voice in what I feel is the continued spirit of DIY punk.
1 Soldera – S/T EP
Soldera is a new hardcore punk band from Japan that immediately caught my attention as this record seemed to stand out a bit more than the usual take on Japanese hardcore. This has a touch of melody that makes it a fist-pounding sing along record that really injects good energy and character to the genre. Get this now!
2 Disfuria – No Tengo Boca Y Debo Gritar EP
This Argentinian based band is simply outstanding! Aggressive crust punk with a slight twist of death metal. Excellent structure in this band’s writing that really gives a good sense of musicianship while retaining buzzsaw style guitars and pummeling tempos. Fans of Terrorizer take note!
3 Warkrusher – Epitaph EP
If there’s one place in this world that I always rely on between excellent shows and good punk culture, it’s Montreal. That city has a great history of hardcore punk and crust and 2022 was especially good to this city. Warkrusher has been around for a handful of years but this latest release is something powerful and gives justice to the realm of stench/crust. Some heavy Axegrinder and Bolt Thrower sounds can be found with these guys, but it’s not cloned…rather influenced, and done well. Check them out, every note is a goddamn gem.
4 Syndrome 81 – Prisons Imaginaires
I realized I’ve had a heavy Syndrome 81 slant lately, but this band keeps on nailing it with every release. Their latest album is no exception and gives rise to some good fucking punk rock. There’s something going on over in France as there’s been a heavy swath of punk that’s blown me away (honorable mentions Bombardement, La Fraction, Brigada Flores Magon, etc.). Syndrome 81 have a classic sound, something I can’t quite put my fingers on firmly but it pumps adrenaline and gives a true sense of hope in these very trying times.
FYI Jacky of Syndrome 81 just released an excellent album with his solo project Prisonnier du temps that every fan of S81 should check out!
5 Blemish – S/T
Blemish are a Canadian punk/post-punk band that play a style that is a palette cleansing refresher and reinforces how great music of this nature can be. FFO Poison Girls or Old City (Seattle) this band lays the groundwork for some well-written punk that not only strikes a powerful chord musically, but politically as well. Mid-tempo punk that stands out from the quintessential tropes and has an almost beautiful overtone to it, get on this release immediately!
6 Lasso – Amuo EP
This right here is excellent Brazilian punk rock off Static Shock Records. Lasso unleash a fury of seven ear piercing tracks that’s reminiscent of early classic US hardcore like The F.U.s, Kraut, etc. This is Lasso’s second EP and has a biting edge that seems to stand out with its perfect punk production. Not overly done or sterile, but has an old school analog feel with. I’m really stoked to hear what else this band is going to do. Pay attention to these guys!
7 Axe Rash / Therapy – Split 7”
First off, I’ve reported on Axe Rash in previous lists and always loved what they’ve pumped out. However, this latest split with Therapy from San Diego, California is out-fucking-standing! Axe Rash gives us two tracks of blazing hardcore punk that is a constant blow to the adrenaline and keeps us on our toes throughout. Their first track is a more mid-tempo paced with a menacing riff that seems to switch gears into a hard crushing beat that keeps our senses in check. Keep your eyes on them, everything they release is amazing. Therapy give us something that will bend our emotions into a state or relentless rage and punk fury that doesn’t let up throughout every song. A thicker production with pulverizing drums and good low-end that will make your speakers shake with absolute intensity. The female vocals are top notch, it is anger that’s convincing and upfront…exactly how a hardcore punk band needs to be. The slab is worth every single penny.
8 Scarecrow – Crisis EP
Scarecrow come out of Raleigh, North Carolina, but with the whirlwind käng style punk they deliver, it seems like they’ve come from the bowels of Swedish hardcore punk. Good mangel-attack from these folks that deliver an intensity reminiscent of Infernöh, Desperat, etc. What stands out is the production, you can blast your face off while retaining some of the clarity in the riffage. Good solid punk that will be played for quite some time. Get this.
9 Anymal Function – In Constant Use
I stumbled upon this band last year and was instantly drawn into what they were doing. In their bio, they state “We are friends and unprofessional musicians” and that stood out to me. This band delivers something honest in their music and for me, that’s what punk is about. You sense they have a strong socio/political stance while the music carries you through some intense and at times mid-tempo angst. I appreciate this and FFO Lost World or Post Regiment, take note. Good and sincere punk rock that needs to be recognized.
10 Crutches –Dödsreveljen
If you aren’t familiar with Crutches from Malmö, Sweden, drop everything you’re doing, put on a seatbelt and prepare for a hardcore punk ass kicking. Crutches are a staple in the global d-beat/mangel scene and they deserve a seat at the front of the table. Insane hardcore punk with riffs and driving d-beat that will bring all that anger and rage to the surface and spew it out into this world of unforgiving treachery. These guys have been pulverizing the punk rock world for a good handful of years now and each release gets stronger with unrelenting thrash attacks. I hope to share the stage with these fine folks someday, as it would be quite the treat. Get this record and barricade yourself against a storm of songs that will leave you shaking.