Isaac Hurt - Post-rock from New Jersey.  A mostly instrumental band that sounds like a mixture of Explosions in the Sky and Russian Circles.  There are some sparse vocal moments ala Mogwai, but Isaac Hurt pushes them more to the forefront of the song rather than lower in the mix.  Members have also played in Fight Amp.

Isaac Hurt player 

Scrape and Scatter Media 

p.s. All of the bands posted in the last week or so are bands that Scrape and Scatter Media is working with to get a vast majority of their material out there, which is for the most part unreleased or released at a very limited capacity.

(not so) Random Start (because of this guy): Fight Amp - “Should’ve Worn Black”

Haven’t listened to these guys since Hungry for Nothing, but a review I read reminded me about Fight Amp and I started on their latest record yesterday. Didn’t want to break the cycle so nothing random about this and hearing the line “even empty, this town disgusts me” is a fun way to begin the morning. Can’t really say that about where I am now, but there are plenty of former residences that this feels relevant to. Fight Amp is kind of like a sludgy Young Widows mixed with a little Kylesa and I dig it. Props to Lambgoat for reminding me this band is still churning out good heavy material.

(Source: Spotify)

2012 Top 10

10. The Life and Times – No One Loves You Like I Do
Even though I wouldn’t say that the review I did of this record for Mezzic was a ringing endorsement, I still was excited to see this band perform at Middle of the Map Fest back in April. After witnessing the expansive heaviness and volume with which this record was performed live, the album finally engulfed me. With each listen after that show the album made much more sense and this emotional, overbearing, forlorn indie rock record made its way back into rotation.

9. Between the Buried and Me – The Parallax 2: Future Sequence
Whatever you’re expecting from these guys that’s exactly what they’re going to deliver. It just depends on whether you like what Between the Buried and Me is throwing down or not. I’m always impressed with their musicianship and know exactly what I’m getting into when I put on a BTBAM record. The only thing bad I can say about this release (and pretty much anything post-Alaska) is that it’s pretty hard to not listen to songs out of context as each album seems to be one song just separated by track breaks.

8. For Sleeping or Jumping – Dead Languages
I sifted through quite a few really good EPs this year and was actually surprised that only a couple made the list. Seems it’s because it is hard to rank a good EP over a solid full length, yet that’s where we stand with For Sleeping or Jumping. My immediate analysis of FSOJ is that they have a Botch mixed with Helmet feel. Throw in that it was produced by the same guy who did Glassjaw’s Coloring Book and that Ben Weinman of The Dillinger Escape Plan did the sound design and I think you can get a pretty accurate idea of what For Sleeping or Jumping sounds like.

7. Bone Dance – Bone Dance
This is where the list gets a little difficult for me. Not that the first three don’t belong on a top 10, but the rest of the list could leap frog each other at any moment. For instance, A “7” next to Bone Dance? That just doesn’t seem right. This Boise, ID quintet works technicality into their brand of metallic hardcore, relentlessly bashing away at your ears for ten straight tracks never yielding. This record is pissed.

6. Windshear – Yesterday Moaning
The second EP of the list and this band seems to be a bit of an enigma. If you go to their Facebook page you’ll see that they released this record back in February and then ceased to make any kind of updates. Then you notice that they only have 55 likes. I wouldn’t expect this kind of well-recorded output from a band of this stature. I don’t even remember how I found out about this album, but these St. Petersburg (that’s Russia, not Florida) crushers churn out heavy music that’s reminiscent of Norma Jean, but without any singing, just tortured agonized screams that cut through pounding head nodding rhythms.

5. Fight Amp – Birth Control
When I was faced with compiling this list I queued up about 20 records that came out this year to refresh my memory convinced that Fight Amp’s latest release was going to be number one. That’s not a knock against Fight Amp, just a testament to how much I realized the top 4 records actually affected me. I hadn’t even heard the Fight Amp record that came out before this one ( I have now), just the one prior to that (Hungry for Nothing) and it was OK. This one plows through the gate and offers up 8 nasty tracks that fuse dirty rock ‘n roll with metal. Think Young Widows meets Kylesa.

4. The Casket Lottery – Real Fear
Another band that I saw at Middle of the Map Fest, I have been a fan of The Casket Lottery for years mostly because I’m a Coalesce fanboy and can’t seem to shake anything that their members are a part of. I was weary of a new record, though, because TCL had added a keyboard player and a second guitarist to their formerly 3-piece lineup. Not only that, but some of the vocal duties of older songs had been passed on to one of the newer members. I left that show very unsure of what to think of a reunion so I really wasn’t expecting much from Real Fear. Change is good folks, as this is easily The Casket Lottery’s most mature release. When refreshing myself with this record I was often surprised and amazed by the riffs and catchy songwriting. This record almost sheds any indie rock leanings and is quite the formidable straight up rock album.
The Casket Lottery on Facebook

3. Gaza – No Absolutes In Human Suffering
Definitely the heaviest album of this past year. I may not be floored by every song on this record, but Ballou’s production fits this band so well which begs for the record to be listened to in full, not sporadically jumping back and forth through tracks. Just front to back a complete metal album.

2. Death Grips – No Love Deep Web
I slept on Ex Military last year, but that album made its way through my speakers quite often this year and for the first time since hearing about Wu-Tang’s Forever I was eagerly awaiting a new hip-hop record. I wasn’t as impressed with The Money Store and that left expectations kind of low for their second release of the year. Then Death Grips threw up their middle fingers to the entire industry, and really just about anyone that isn’t named Stefan Burnett or Zach Hill. What followed was the grimiest and dirtiest hip hop album I’ve ever heard as these guys released this record to the world for free when Epic tried to shelve it for another year.

1. Deftones – Koi No Yokan
I tried really hard for this to not be the #1 record on my list. I mean it’s not even in my top 3 favorite Deftones records. It’s also, easily, their mellowest album they’ve ever released. The fact is that even though this record came out in November it’s the record I listened to the most this year. It’s flawless. There’s no track worth skipping, everything flows together so well, and it’s an enjoyable listen for just about any time and mood.

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):
Vision of Disorder - The Cursed Remain Cursed

Graven - The Filth Will Cleanse(
Godspeed You! Black Emperor - 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
These City Limits - The Modern Standard(

Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind

The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza - Danza 4: The Alpha - The Omega