Best Albums of 2016Friday, January 6th, 2017
Despite all the bad press, 2016 was a pretty great year for music, with a great mix of old favourites and newer bands releasing awesome music. I thought I’d do a quick roundup of my favourite releases of 2016 (excluding DD releases)!
So, in no particular order!
Face To Face – Protection (Fat Wreck)
This one goes first as it came out pretty early in the year, ‘Protection’ was a true return to form from one of punk rock’s best loved bands and legends of the scene, Face To Face. Fast paced, crazy basslines and that iconic voice all combine for a punk rock hit.
Useless ID – State Is Burning (Fat Wreck)
I love Useless ID, from the super fast skatepunk influenced early stuff, to the super poppy elements of their Kung Fu releases and into the politically charged rager of latest album ‘State Is Burning’. With no song clocking in over the two and half minute mark until the album closer, Useless ID dont wait around to get their message across, and blast through 15 tracks in 28 minutes.
Tiny Moving Parts – Celebrate (Big Scary Monsters)
Tiny Moving Parts are a band I hadn’t listened to a massive amount prior to 2016. That soon changed after a listen through to their brilliant latest album ‘Celebrate’. Celebrate brings together twiddly-emo style guitars with a post-hardcore background creating a massive sound for a three piece band. Check out ‘Happy Birthday’ and tell me you dont want to smash out the riffs on your guitar after that.
Touche Amore – Stage Four (Epitaph)
Touche Amore’s follow up to 2013’s brilliant ‘Is Survived By’ is every bit as good, with a gentle dab of more melodic influences helping to create an album which has all the great, dark and atmospheric post-hardcore / screamo sounds of previous releases with a bit more of an immediate and accessible sound. I think the album is wrapped up as always by vocalist Jeremy Bolm who screams (sometimes literally) passion throughout.
Brightr – Year One (Flix)
On the opposite end of the musical spectrum, I’ve found myself turning increasingly back to ‘Year One’ the brilliant debut album collection from Laurie Cottingham aka Brightr. Showcasing his brilliant acoustic guitar skills and vocals, Brightr doesn’t need to bring much more than this to create an album which sounds fresh in the often bland singer-songwriter field. One to watch.
PUP – The Dream Is Over (Side One Dummy)
No longer a secret, Canadian’s PUP followed up 2014’s self titled effort with ‘The Dream Is Over’, an album full of singalong’s and one of 2016’s best songs DVP (which also has another brilliant video)!
Direct Hit! – Wasted Mind (Fat Wreck)
Whilst I’ve enjoyed most of Direct Hit’s previous material, it wasn’t until I heard ‘Wasted Mind’ that I properly stood up and took notice of the band. Wasted Mind brings together great melodic punk rock with some their typical fun lyrics for one of 2016’s most enjoyable punk rock albums.
The Interrupters – Say It Out Loud (Hellcat)
Apart from the ‘classics’ I don’t listen to too much ska-punk these days – however, The Interrupters new album ‘Say It Out Loud’ is just too good to ignore. Every song is a singalong, and will have you tapping your feet to that classic Hellcat Californian ska beat in no time.
Belvedere – The Revenge Of The Fifth (Bird Attack / Lockjaw)
I was very excited to hear that Belvedere were getting back together to release a new album in 2016. It was no surprise when it came out that we had one of the fastest, riff-filled slices of skatepunk released in 2016. Welcome back Belvedere.
Descendents – Hypercaffium Spazzinate (Epitaph)
Descendents need no introduction. These legends of the punk rock scene were another band making a 2016 comeback, and although Hypercaffium Spazzinate didnt quite reach the heights of Everything Sucks, it was great to have Descendents back with some new tunes!
Antillectual – Engage! (Redfield)
One of Europe’s hardest working punk rock bands, the prolific Antillectual gave 2016 what I believe is their best album to date. Fast and thought provoking punk rock / skatepunk from the Netherlands favourite punk rock sons.
Get Dead – Honesty Lives Elsewhere (Fat Wreck)
Before ‘Honesty Lives Elsewhere’ I found Get Dead a bit hit or miss, but everything has just seemed to fall into place on their latest full length, with a perfect blend of raw punk rock, country and folk influences creating 12 songs of fist in the air anthems.
Wolves&Wolves&Wolves&Wolves – The Cross and the Switchblade (1513)
Filling the gap left by Hot Water Music is North Carolina’s Wolves & Wolves & Wolves & Wolves. On their second album, Wolves retained the gritty punk rock sound from their great debut ‘Subtle Serpents’ released in 2014.
Foxtrot – Habitats (Jackknife)
If you dont know these Aussies – change that now. Foxtrot play brilliant singalong melodic punk rock, with a lazy comparison putting them alongside compatriots The Smith Street Band. With great songwriting and structures throughout, ‘Habitats’ is a great record front to back and well worth adding to any punk rock fans collection.
Pulley – No Change In The Weather (Cyber Tracks)
The final album on my list is another comeback album, this time from Punk-O-Rama legends Pulley! This was always going to be a winner, with another 10 tracks of melodic punk rock / skatepunk – including a No Use cover! Unfortunately Cyber Tracks have let us down with it not being available for you guys to buy / stream on either Bandcamp or Spotify – so you’ll have to check it out here, which I unfortunately cant embed: http://www.brooklynvegan.com/stream-pulleys-first-album-in-12-years-no-change-in-the-weather/
Obviously this list can only be so long, and I’ve probably missed a bunch but I also really enjoyed albums from NOFX, Brutal Youth, Ship Thieves, Ducking Punches, Rob Lynch, Nerf Herder, Ignite, Saosin, Friends With The Enemy, Carpenter, Mute and a load more!
I hope this list has inspired you to check out a few new bands and here’s hoping for more of the same in 2017!