Top 5 Punk Albums of 2012
Happy New Year loyal punk fans.
If you really tied one on and you're nursing your hangover by chugging some Pedialyte, punk music may be the last thing you want to listen to. But 2012 was a great year for punk releases, which made this list difficult to narrow down to a top five.
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Teenage Bottlerocket once again struck pop punk gold; Hot Water Music came back with a vengeance with Exister; and Jesse Michaels' Classics of Love is his best work since Operation Ivy. These three albums would be designated somewhere in the top 10 range, as these five other albums blew them out of the water.
The Gaslight Anthem, Handwritten
It was only a matter of time before these Jersey boys got signed to a major label. Making the jump to the majors usually pisses fans off, just look at what happened to Against Me! after they released New Wave.
Gaslight benefited from the extra production, as the band recruited producer Brendan O'Brien, who worked with some of the band's biggest influences, including Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam. The album takes a back to basics approach, focusing on the themes of young love and romantic visions of America first heard on Sink or Swim and The '59 Sound. The switch to Mercury Records was a little risky, but the move is allowing The Gaslight Anthem to finally get the recognition it deserves.
Screaming Females, Ugly
There's nothing "ugly" about this record, which features powerhouse female vocals and a DIY aesthetic. Marissa Paternoster's signature singing style falls somewhere between Carrie Brownstein and PJ Harvey; only with much more vibrato. Paternoster continues to kick ass in the all-too-typical boys club of punk rock with the help of the two backing musicians that comprise the band.
Titus Andronicus, Local Business
Though Titus Andronicus isn't an explicit quote-unquote-punk band, the group's third full length album is once again great, and bursting at the seams with the kind of punk rock, righteous fury that earned the band its fervent fanbase.
Some critics have complained that Business isn't as great as The Airing of Grievances, but Titus Andronicus' most recent work shows that the band continues to grow and evolve. This time around, they don't shy away from personal issues (see: "My Eating Disorder" and "Tried to Quit Smoking") while continuing to have a silly, good time with songs like "Food Fight."
The Menzingers, On the Impossible Past
Remarkably, The Menzingers get better and better with each release. Past is full of anthemic songs: How could you not relate to the chorus of "I will fuck this up, I fucking know it" in "The Obituaries?" The songwriting is vivid, and you can't help but root for the songwriter as he longs for "Casey." The songs aren't just about heartache, some are devastating, like the title track about drunk driving, which segues into the masterful "Nice Things."
Keith Morris is perhaps best known thanks to his contributions to Black Flag and Circle Jerks, so it's pretty impressive that this punk vet continues to make music, this time forming a supergroup with members of Rocket From the Crypt, Burning Brides, and Red Kross.
This Los Angeles hardcore band is only a few years old, but uses its collective experience to sound like yet another classic SST band from the late '70s. In 50 years, I wouldn't be surprised if "I've Got News For You" is held in the same esteem as "Nervous Breakdown."
Honorable mentions: Metz, S/T; FIDLAR, Don't Try; Classics of Love, S/T
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