DIY Conspiracy
The (International) DIY Conspiracy

The 10 Best Overlooked Records of 2018 by Dave Norman (Zegema Beach Records)

Zegema Beach & OMSB's Dave Norman shares some great records you might have missed this year.

Dave Norman of the amazing Zegema Beach record label and OPENmind/SATURATEDbrain blog is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to real emo / screamo / skramz bands and records from all over the world. We couldn’t resist the urge to ask Dave himself to share some of his favorite releases of the year.

Hi friends! Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my silly opinions on amazing music.

Honestly, 2018 was a super shitty year for the human race so it makes sense that fantastic art was created in opposition to the evil forces at work (governments, corporations, churches, racists, etc.), some of which art I helped release on my small DIY screamo label from Canada called Zegema Beach.

I haven’t included my own releases in the list, but I would highly recommend checking out Улыбайся Ветру, Blue Youth, Crowning, Nuvolascura, Blind Girls, Respire, Coarse and Komusō. So here goes my list of favourite non-ZBR, EP and LP releases (no splits for this one), in alphabetical order.

…and its name was Epyon – S/T cassette EP

Sometimes things don’t resonate with me initially, and this was one of those releases. I heard it two or three times before finally realizing how awesome it is. Three songs from the States that combine more early 2000’s screamo, but this time with tons of anime references and audio clips. More material coming in 2019 and I’m beyond stoked. If you like People’s Temple Project, Snag and Saetia you should be too.

Closet Witch – S/T 12″ LP

After their split 7″ with Euth I was expecting to enjoy this LP, but not this much. Raging, blackened, shrieky hardcore/emo-violence from the US that reminds me of Cloud Rat, Converge and Carol… that’s a whole lotta Cs. Anyways, this’ll blow your socks off. I love the inclusion of very Rats Into Robots-esque, immersive, invasive space-riffs embedded within the violent, metallic hardcore.

dianacrawls – sporadic defenestration cassette EP

This new Montreal band features members of Commuovere, The Ultimate Screamo Band, Politess and Hérésie, releasing a debut cassette EP on my good friend Nate’s label No Funeral Records. The band is self-described glam-skramz and a more apt genre is not possible. Screamy, sassy, primal and wonderfully constructed, these six tracks are hopefully the first of many. Fans of Kill Sadie and To Dream Of Autumn…and maybe Primus?

Emma Goldman – S/T cassette EP

This Vancouver offshoot of Dad Thighs released their debut 4-track cassette EP at a show I went to before ever hearing them and was completely blown away. Amazing live show, great sound from a three-piece, both calming and chaotic as well as reminiscent of late 90’s early 2000’s screamo along the lines of Bright Calm Blue, Indian Summer and Drive Like Jehu.

Frontierer / Sectioned – Unloved / Annihilation 12″LPs

Both of these albums should be mentioned together because they are both similar, with 4/5’s of one band appearing in the other. They play extremely technical hardcore/metal in the vein of Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza, Psyopus and The Dillinger Escape Plan. These are likely the two releases you’ll see most often on other lists, and for obvious reasons, this is high-level, unstable, experimental, sonically crippling, tech-metal shit right here.

hawak – lift the mist demo EP

Demo of the fucking year, jesus horseshit christ. Three songs of epic, stunning screamo that would give City Of Caterpillar and Funeral Diner a run for their money. Full length coming most likely next year and will most likely be the best screamo release of 2019…most likely. I’m salivating over here.

Hex Lariat – Empyrean cassette LP

A project comprised of members of Coma Regalia and Untold Want, this sophomore release blew me away. Generally it’s blackened screamo/metallic hardcore/post-hardcore not unlike Tentacles, but there are glimmers of melody and even singing that can resemble Connor Oberst’s much heralded side-project Desaparacidos. Plus, there are 12 very unique and rewarding jams here.

Kid, Feral – Live and Let’s Die! 12″ LP

A screamo no-brainer, this Swedish three-piece dropped a bomb on everyone via the UK’s Dog Knights Productions. Mixing Suis La Lune’s knack for intricate noodles with the sonic assault of Loma Prieta, if you haven’t heard this by now you probably don’t listen to screamo. I’ve heard their live show is something else, to boot.

Life In Vacuum – All You Can Quit 12″ LP

This Canadian trio pumped out another incredible record with this year’s All You Can Quit. Perhaps not quite as exceptional as their previous LP, this thing is chock full of catchy, sassy and abrasive noise/rock/hardcore…kind of like Refused meets METZ. Without a doubt one of the hardest working bands I know.

Minaret – XX LP

Holy shit! I didn’t even know about this Russian band before getting pummeled by this release. Alternating between ambient/noise interludes and explosive black-metal/emo-violence, fans of technical, dark and extreme music will be all over this. I’d compare this to Converge, Love Lost But Not Forgotten and Euglena. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it blows Converge’s last record out of the fucking stratosphere (and I still liked that record!).

That’s it for me. I hope you find something new from this list to enjoy.

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