Saturday, December 22, 2012

Top 30 Albums of 2012: 20-11

Here is part two of my Top 30 Albums of the year.

20.  Midwest Mess by Alone At 3AM
Alone At 3AM blend alt country and college rock resulting in a sound that is Two Cow Garage meets The Replacements.  As I stated in my review, Midwest Mess is an “excellent album of heartfelt and earnest songs--some rockers, some ballads, all good.” 

19.  No Expiration Date by The Forty Nineteens
The Forty Nineteens play a brand of rock 'n' roll that is equal parts Dramarama and Two Cow Garage.  Fans of college rock, alt country, and classic rock should give No Expirarion Date a listen.

18.  Glory by Stolen Bikes
 Stolen Bikes is a young punk band that mixes elements of pop punk and ’77 style punk.  From my review –
What I really like though about Stolen Bikes' music is that there is more going on here than your standard Blanks 77 meets The Business meets Rancid songs; there are distinct hints of groups like Lagwagon and Dillinger Four.  In other words, this band has taken influence from two of punk rock's catchiest sub-genres and melded them together beautifully. 

17.  Classics of Love by Classics of Love
 Classics of Love is Jesse Michaels’ return to the high energy punk, with ska highlights, that made him a legend in the American underground in the band Operation Ivy.  While Op Ivy was driven by their love of The Specials, Classics of Love taps into the early years of hardcore punk, resulting in a record that is blistering and catchy all at the same time.      

16.  Giant Orange by Cheap Girls
Cheap Girls in a lot of ways is the second coming of Buffalo Tom.  They write very catchy power pop/indie rock songs that display a great appreciation of Husker Du and Dinosaur Jr.   

15.  Pig Factory by The Fake Boys
Pig Factory is an ode to underground music.  Fromy my review –
In fact the entire record is an ode to The Fake Boys influences.  Many of the band’s different nuances didn’t become clear until I was looking at their Facebook page where they listed everyone from The Fastbacks to Superdrag to Black Flag to Weezer to the Ramones to Stiff Little Fingers to Superchunk to The Beatles to The Jam to Morrissey to Queen as influences (just to name a few).  That’s when it really sunk in and how really freaking good this band is became clear.  The Fake Boys have taken the best of what punk rock, and everything that followed it, has offered over the past 40 years and seamlessly and flawlessly mixed it together to create a sound that is all their own while entirely familiar all at the same time.  This band should appeal to fans of just about every sub-genre the lives under the “alternative” umbrella (with the possible exception of fans of the electronic stuff).  Kids who grew up on Jimmy Eat World and The All-American Rejects and their parents who got to see Black Flag and The Replacements back in the ‘80s should all love Pig Factory.   

14.  Dan Vapid and The Cheats by Dan Vapid and The Cheats
 In my humble opinion, Dan Vapid was the true heart of Screeching Weasel.  All of that’s band’s best records, including the classically brilliant My Brain Hurts, included Mr. Vapid playing either bass or guitar.  Subsequently Vapid’s contributions to The Riverdals’ records were almost always the best songs on the records.  Dan Vapid and The Cheats is a record that showcases Vapid’s excellent songwriting skills and his love of everything from pop punk to power pop to doo wop.  This record is a must for fans of The Methadones, Noise By Numbers, The Copyrights, Teenage Bottlerocket, and the aforementioned bands.    

13.  Comet by The Bouncing Souls
The Bouncing Souls are one of the best bands in punk rock.  Period.  For over 20 years this band has put out consistently great records that mix the best of pop punk, hardcore, and (sometimes) emo creating a sound that is energetic and uplifting.  The band’s latest album, Comet, continues that streak of greatness.    

12.  On the Impossible Past by The Menzingers 
On the Impossible Past was my first exposure to The Menzingers.  The record pretty much lived on my MP3 player since March.  It wasn’t a record that I would listen to all the way through, but every time one of its songs played I couldn’t help but think “man this is good.”  On the Impossible Past is a record that displays the band’s growth and maturity as songwriters with songs that are “catchy and at times roaring anthems played with earnestness and honesty.” 

11.  Celebration Rock by Japandroids
Celebration Rock is a ridiculously fun record.  From my review –
This guitar and drums duo has created an eight song collection that is simple, energetic, hook filled, and exceptionally fun.  Mixing elements of garage, classic, indie, and punk rock Japandroids have tapped into the soul and true spirit of rock ‘n’ roll. 

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