Death Grips - "Exmilitary": This debut mix-tape from the California avant-gard hip-hop trio is one of the most punishing releases I've heard all year, no joke. With Zach Hill manning the drums and some of the production duties, and an MC who screams his guts out at you over some of the most noisy and pummeling beats I've ever heard, Death Grips have created one of the most interesting, and loudest records I've heard all year. You can download the mix-tape for free on their website.
Rotten Sound - "Cursed": The Finnish masters of grind have returned at full force with this, their 6th full length album. Definitely their most varied album, Rotten Sound have seamlessly blended D-Beat crust, sludgey riffs, dick-wavingly fast grind, and incredibly catchy songwriting to make one of the most solid and listenable grind albums I've heard all year. Yes, this thing is catchy, but Rotten Sound still have plenty of intensity left in them, and it definitely shows on "Cursed".
Touche Amore - "Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me": I'm admittedly a bit new to the whole "emo hardcore" scene, but this record really blew me away. One of the most emotionally powerful and sincere records I've heard in a long time, Touche Amore have created an album that you can mosh too, but can also really tap into that vulnerable side we all have. You may laugh at and dismiss the heartfelt, revealing lyrics, or you may cry when you read them. Either way, this record will definitely leave mark.
Dethroned Emperor: "War Grind Hell": I heard this EP from the Brooklyn duo last year when they sent it to me to review, but it got an official cassette release this year, and I think it still holds up. A good mix of old-school grind and bestial death metal, with a lo-fi, bassy recording and catchy riffs to boot. Definitely a band that you should all check out, visit their website to find out how to purchase the tape. Quality stuff.
Psychic Limb: "Queens": The best grind album you may never hear from this year, Psychic Limb - "Queens" is some of the most solid, kick-ass, no bullshit, original 10 minuets of grind I've heard. Perfect production, perfect songs, perfect album length, I really can't say anything wrong about it. And if you wanna hear it, you better be ready to search long and hard. No social networking pages for this band, Jack. Good luck.
Beastie Boys - "Hot Sauce Committee Part 2": I am so fucking happy that the Beastie Boys came back strong with their latest full length. Arguably the best stuff they've done in at least a decade (sure as fuck better that "To the 5 Boroughs"). The Beastie Boys are back, as forward thinking as ever. The beats are as psychedelic as they are funky, drenched in futuristic sounding synths, blips and bloops, and some kick-ass guest spots from Nas and Santigold. Welcome back boys, I've missed you!
Agoraphobic Nosebleed/Despise You - "And On and On...": Being the die-hard ANb fan I am, I had to put this on my best of list. ANb give us 7 tracks of sludge and grind, a logical continuation from "Agorapocalypse", with maybe a more up-front thrash/crossover influence. And the Despise You side, forget about it, of course it's great. Some of the best hardcore I've heard all year. Fast, heavy, and direct. Fantastic.