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.