Top Ten of Twenty Fourteen: Clayton Stevens of Touche Amore

Touche Amore

Touche Amore

Touche Amore are a thought provoking, passionate hardcore/punk band from Los Angeles, California. From the first strikes of their angular yet melodic chords, it’s apparent that Touche Amore have awoken something long forgotten in the hardcore/punk genre. Bringing to mind the balance of rage and melody that “Revolution Summer” era DC bands Rites of Spring and Ignition once carried.

Within each song they build an awe inspiring musical tension while impassioned vocalist Jeremy Bolm’s shouts resonate, ripe with intellectual introspection. This collective outpouring of traditional hardcore anger and emotional hardcore openness ultimately coalesces into something beautiful, vulnerable, and refreshingly real.

Although the band is currently taking a break to recharge, their Is Survived By album, released in 2013, topped many end of year lists. Ghettoblaster recently caught up with guitarist Clayton Stevens to find out what was topping his end of year list in 2014.

Swans- To Be Kind (Young God Records)

Swans follow up to 2012’s masterpiece The Seer and the band’s thirteenth album, To Be Kind, is an absolute instant classic. A frighteningly beautiful and horrific display of the entire human experience is captured within these songs. Hands down the most powerful album I heard this year.

Ryan Adams- Ryan Adams (Pax Am)

Ryan Adams has been my favorite songwriter for over a decade now. Its hard for me to not like something he does and his self titled album is no exception; in fact its my favorite release of his in quite some time. A nice blend of the heartbreaking alt country he’s best known for and a new take on a more pop driven side that fits in nicely on this record.

Ryan Adams- 1984 (Pax Am)

Ryan Adams puts out a 10 song 7″ that sounds like Husker Du and early Replacements. This shit rules dude.

Warpaint- Warpaint (Rough Trade)

Warpaint has been consistently one of my favorite touring acts for a few years now. This album added new hip hop influenced elements to the band while still maintaining their signature minimalist sound. The rythm section of the band is the best its ever been and the live shows I saw them at this year were absolutely jaw dropping.

Tigers Jaw- Charmer (Run for Cover)

The Best indie pop record that I heard this year. A lot of the bands best material is on this record. Its full of infectious grooves, catchy pop hooks, unique lyricism, and lush harmonies. I love this record.

Run The Jewels- Run The Jewels 2 (Mass Appeal)

The best true hip hop album i’ve heard in a long time. Killer Mike and El-P have made a record that perfectly incapsulates the spirit of hip hop music. Excellent lyricism that is both sociopolitically on point and a fun shit talking, blunt smoking, banger. If you are a fan of hip hop you will love this record. Respect to El-P and Killer Mike. I equally want a new solo album from both and a new RTJ already.

Pianos Become The Teeth- Keep You (Epitaph)

Now they sound like The Appleseed Cast meets The National. What isn’t to like? Seriously its great.

Sun Kil Moon- Benji (Caldo Verde)

Beautiful compositions and intensely beautiful storytelling by Mark Kozelek . Contributions from Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth) and Will Oldham are a nice new element, but overall what you have here is Mark doing exactly what we need him to do. An important songwriter who is uncompromising in a day and age where we desperately need it.

Wovenhand- Refractory Obdurate (Deathwish)

David Eugene Edwards and his new backing band made up of members of Planes Mistaken for Stars put out the most groove heavy and dark album of Wovenhand’s career. An album that grows on you with every listen.

Weezer- Everything Will Be Alright In The End (Republic)

I love this album. Produced by Ric Ocasek this record is a pretty far departure from the last couple of Weezer albums and a return to rock form for the band. Some of my favorite Weezer material since the early 2000’s. Dense and interesting power pop arrangements are throughout the album while finally apexing in the three song Futurescope Trilogy with some just ridiculous guitar playing.

(Visit Touche Amore here: http://toucheamore.com/.)

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