It’s been a tough year for most folks, that’s for certain. With unemployment rates soaring, the Tea Baggers and their bullshit, airport screeners groping our junk, and unexplained missiles shooting off the coast of California, it’s a wonder any of us made it through with our sanity intact. Luckily, there have been quite a few stellar albums to while the days away. Check out the top 10 albums that perked our ears in this great and terrible year of our lord, 2010.
1’. Valient Thorr –- Stranger:;;;;;;: For fans of Valient Thorr, the all-engulfing ferocity and sheer power of 2010’s Stranger came as no surprise; the rest of the galaxy was flabbergasted. When these Venusians (by way of North Carolina) get together, whether in the studio or on tour, there’s no question they’re coming out with guitars-a-blazin’; and leading the charge, the epically bearded, always poignant beast-of-a-singer, Valient Himself. Picture a meeting of Lynyrd Skynyrd (pre-plane crash) and early Metallica; add PCP and you’ve got one hell of a party on your hands. Consider the list officially topped.
2>. OFF! -– The First Four EPs : Sign us up for anything Keith Morris does ever; whether it be knitting quilts or fronting a new band, we’re down. Luckily, the So Cal front-man has found a new band instead of a craft fair. Harkening visions of an abandoned church in Hermosa Beach, with 1 minute bursts of an aggression often forgotten in today’s punk world (ala Circle Jerks Group Sex), OFF!’s First 4 EPs are leaving the next generation of punkers with their pants pissed.
3. Street Dogs -– Street Dogs : Mike McColgan and the boys have been together for 8 years now (damn, has it really been that long?), and one album after another, they’ve continued releasing some of the most moving material within this scene. Whether it be workingman’s political call-to-arms such as Hang’em High and Up the Union, endearing tunes like Yesterday and Bobby Powers or fist-pumping and motivating anthems such as In Stereo; the Street Dogs have solidified their place in the annals of the punk rock history books.
4. Against Me! – - White Crosses: This year’s winner of The Ramones award goes to Against Me!’s White Crosses ;a perfect example of a band realizing the age old adage “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. White Crosses clearly illustrates Against Me!’s established strong suit (their brand of seamlessly fused folk & punk) while adding a few subtle tweaks and experimentations to the formula here and there. The result? Continued success with or without the major labels or blowhards.
5. Blacklist Royals –- Semper Liberi:_ Nashville’s native sons may not get the name recognition that their fellow listers Gaslight Anthem or Against Me! do. And although the bands’ sounds are varied, all 3 are anchored somewhere in between folk and punk. Blacklist Royals’ take a more straight forward rock’n’roll route with a soulful southern-tinge. The results can be found on Semper Liberi; an old muscle car of an album shootin’ down a Tennesee interstate in a trail of pot smoke and Jack Daniels bottles; and may just earn the Royals the attention they deserve.
6. The Menzingers –- Chamberlain Waits: When you’re from Scranton, Pennsylvania you have to work extra hard to outshine the likes of Dwight Schrute. And the Menzingers do in impressive fashion. All jokes aside, on their 2nd full-length, Chamberlain Waits, the band has reached a passion soaked depth in song writing ability most of their peers can only yearn for. All the while never staring directly into the mirror or taking themselves too seriously. After all, they are pop punk, aren’t they?
7. G.B.H. -– Perfume and Piss : 30 years after their inception and 6 years since their last album, G.B.H. stroll straight out of left field as Charged as ever. And this time they’ve come with the noticeable (and appropriate) spit and polish of Hellcat Records. It sounds like somebody unleashed a bomb that’s just been itching to go off for an eternity. Hell, we’re still trippin’ out at the fact that Colin Abrahall still has the pipes to belt out the fire the legend and iconography of G.B.H. was built on.
8. The Dopamines - Expect the Worst : The unapologetic pop punk catchiness of Jon Weiner‘s emotion soaked cadence paired with the infectious sing-a-long choruses that permeate throughout Expect the Worst muscled the Dopamines onto this year’s Top 10. Crank the stereo up to 11 and enjoy a couple of 40 oz. bottles of PBR.
9. Alkaline Trio - –This Addiction : (teeth gritting time, kids) I’ve never been a fan of Chicago’s A3 (they’ve always been a little too melodic and emotionally based for my tastes) but the more years go by and the more material they put out the harder it is to deny their evident talent and raw ability to put together some ultra-catchy tunage.
10. Gaslight Anthem - American Slang : Rounding out this year’s top 10, New Jersey’s 2nd coming of Springsteen. American Slang takes about half the album to hit it’s stride, but when it does its relentless. So much has been written on these guys and this album I won't bore you. After all, it's time to party this bastard of a year into oblivion!
May your New Year be most righteous!
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