DS Staff Picks – Top Albums of 2013 (griffintainment)

Hey what’s up, beautiful people.  My name’s Dustin, I’m a reviewer of many fine records here at Dying Scene.

This is my list of the Top 10 releases of the past year.

I realized as I was compiling my list that shaving it down to just 10 was a lot tougher than I thought it would be.  The Creepshow, Off With Their Heads and The Flatliners released albums that all sat around the 11 spot.

Also I think I should mention why I didn’t include The Songs of Tony Sly: A Tribute. It’s a great album, a great idea and features the best collection of bands I’ve ever seen in a single comp. I just felt that to rate it or place it a certain spot on a list is missing the point of it in the first place.

Not so for the ten that follow. Agree, disagree, kiss you computer screen or punch it, it’s all good to me. Cheers.

10. Get Dead – “Bad News”

I hadn’t heard of these guys before Fat Wreck signed them.  For my money, Fat is one of the greatest record labels of all time and they haven’t let me down with Get Dead.  Stripped down production, a live sound, insanely catchy songs and heartfelt, honest lyrics make this the best record this year from a band I hadn’t heard of before.

 

 

 

 

9. Bad Religion – “True North”

True North isn’t Bad Religion’s best album. But it was still one of the best album’s of the year and for a band that’s been around since, what, 1980? That’s pretty freakin’ amazing. The punk scene is full of living legends, but a large proportion of them seem to only succeed in making asses of themselves and sullying the work they did previous with the money grabbing work they’re doing now. Not so for Bad Religion. Then again, that could depend on your opinion of Christmas Songs…

 

 

 

8. US Bombs – “Generation Kennedy No More”

Ok, this one’s kind of a cheat as it was never actually released on a record label and the only way you could obtain a copy was by hitting up a U.S. Bombs show this past year. But for those of us who did have the privilege, let me just say thank you punk rock gods for Duane Peters. Generation Kennedy No More isn’t all new material though, it’s actually a collection of B-sides, demos, comp tracks and two new songs. The demos are mainly from the War Birth and The World sessions and they’re fantastic. They basically sound like U.S. Bombs but with all the production value ripped out, leaving only the gritty, heaving, crack fueled carcass behind. If that doesn’t make your mouth water, I don’t know what does.

 

7. The Bronx – “IV”

The Bronx have been one of the best bands in the punk scene since their eponymous 2003 debut. They’re also one of the best three or four live bands I’ve ever seen. IV keeps everything that defined the band on their earlier releases and adds a little more melody, without sacrificing any of their energy. It also features the single best song of the year for me in ‘The Unholy Land.’ Just in the nick of time too, I was starting to worry their alter egos Mariachi El Bronx were taking over their psyche’s completely.

 

 

6. The Tossers – “The Emerald City”

I was hoping that with the release of the phenomenal Emerald City, and with Flogging Molly more or less in hibernation and Dropkick Murphys releasing a disappointing, treading water record, The Tossers would finally step out from those other band’s shadows and be recognized as the single best celtic punk band working. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are and that The Emerald City was the best celtic punk record to drop in 2013.

 

 

5. Face To Face – “Three Chords And A Half Truth”

As well as releasing one hell of a good record, jammed from cover to cover with exciting, catchy, classic Face To Face punk rock, I think it goes without saying that Three Chords and a Half Truth wins the cover of the year award as well. Good job boys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Alkaline Trio – “My Shame Is True”

My Shame Is True is everything an Alkaline Trio fan could hope for in a record. Aggressive when it needs to be, toned down when it needs to be, catchy all the way through. Add to that the fact that Skiba wrote the whole record nursing a broken heart and you have one hell of a tasty cocktail to slam down. It won’t do anything for Goddammit fans who are still waiting for another Goddammit, but it’s their best batch of songs since Crimson.

 

 

 

3. Swingin’ Utters – “Poorly Formed Ideas”

One of the top three greatest punk bands currently active is the legendary Swingin’ Utters. A band who have never released a bad record, barely ever released a bad song and just keep getting better with age. I won’t say I liked Poorly Formed as much as Here, Under Protest (not many people will). It definitely shows that One Man Army’s Jack Dalrymple had a heavy hand in the writing of this album, but that isn’t a bad thing as his writing compliments Johnny and Darius’ nicely. The more I listen to this record, the more I like it.

 

 

2. Nirvana – “In Utero Super Deluxe”

Nirvana’s my all time favourite band. You can scoff at that if you like, but there it is. And In Utero is my favourite Nirvana record. So why #2 and not #1? Well, to be honest, these Nirvana releases that have been dropping every couple of years since the Courtney Love/Grohl/Novoselic legal battles were settled are starting to feel a little Sublime-ish. In that, you can only release the same songs in slight variations so many times before people start to say, ‘wait a minute. I’m starting to sense something fishy afoot.’ That doesn’t erase the fact that In Utero is still the best record on this list though. The deluxe edition of this release is kind of joke, featuring three mixes (yes, three) of most of the album that sound awful similar, plus a few B-sides we’ve heard many times and some instrumental tracks. But the super deluxe adds the Live and Loud concert on DVD and CD and a fat booklet. Probably isn’t worth the money they’re asking but as far as pure content, us Nirvana die hards will take what we can get.

 

1. The Clash – Box Set

This was a no brainer. 12 discs (!) featuring every album remastered and sounding better than ever, live shows, three discs of extra tracks, plus a DVD of all their videos, live performances and behind the scenes stuff and all of it housed in a gorgeous (fake) boom box packed with goodies. This is how you do a box set. The Clash is the single greatest and most important punk band that have ever, or will ever, exist.


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