DS Staff Picks – Best albums of 2014 (Meredith)

Well, hello there. I’m Meredith, also known here on DyingScene as Hopeless Romantic, and below are my favorite albums of 2014. When compiling my list, I tried to stick with albums that I have listened to on repeat throughout the year, although I did not include EPs in the main countdown (there is one honorable mention). I wish I could have done a top 13, as Lagwagon, Rancid, and Pup just missed making this list. Personally, 2014 will go down as one of the best years ever, as I got engaged to the love of my life, who also happens to be a huge fan of punk music. These albums will forever be the soundtrack of our exciting year of wedding planning. To top it off, by the end of this month, I will have seen 9 of these bands live during 2014 – some multiple times!

Honorable Mention (Best EP of the Year)

Bad Cop/Bad Cop – Boss Lady 

I tried to keep my list to full length albums, but I can’t overlook this amazing EP. Bad Cop/Bad Cop is my favorite musical discovery of 2014 and these boss ladies kill it live. I am really looking forward to their upcoming full length album, which I’m sure will make my year-end list in the future. If you haven’t checked them out yet, please do so now. I’ll wait.

Top Ten Albums of 2014

10) Counterpunch – Bruises

We’re big fans of Chicago bands in our house, so it was inevitable that we would check out Counterpunch’s latest, Bruises. This album is a perfect package of pop-punk, and gets better with every listen. They were just added to the Cyber Tracks christmas show here in LA and I’m psyched to see them live for the first time.

9) Some Nerve – Some Nerve

Not only is this a plug for Dying Scene Records, but this is also one of my great new discoveries of 2014! To be honest, I first tuned in because it was on DS Records and I was supporting my own, but it has been in my constant rotation this fall. If you’re looking for fast, aggressive punk, check this one out (and not just because I write for DS!).

8) Joyce Manor – Never Hungover Again

Joyce Manor was a new discovery for me this year. I had never really gotten into them, but thanks to my fiancé getting tickets to their record release show in LA, I started listening and realized I had been missing out. This album is jam packed with sing along tracks and is consistent from beginning to end.

7) Masked Intruder – M.I.

This was tough for me. Masked Intruder’s self-titled album is one of my favorite albums of recent years and I don’t think M.I. rises to the same level. That being said, this is still a really strong album for 2014 and their live show brings their music to life. I appreciate good pop-punk and this is a band I will be following for years to come.

6) The Menzingers – Rented World

I am one of the people who thinks …On The Impossible Past is damn near perfection. I had really high expectations for Rented World and it took me a little bit of time to come around on this album. It’s really solid, but I think it’s more of a slow burn; the more I listen to it, the more I see the layers of awesomeness. The highlight for me is the anthemic “I Don’t Want To Be An Asshole Anymore,” which is even better live.

5) Frank Turner – The Third Three Years

Some may say this is cheating because it is a compilation, but it’s my list so I get to add it. Many of these songs are from EPs, so I think it’s fair! Frank Turner is one of the most consistent songwriters out there and I always look forward to his new music. Mongol Horde’s debut album just missed making this list, but I prefer his solo work. Even when FT covers a song, he breathes new life into it and it can seem fresh. Now all we need is for him to release this on vinyl. Hint, hint…

4) Pears – Go To Prison

This is another great musical discovery of 2014. I like hardcore, but a band has to really blow me away for me to love hardcore. Pears did this with one listen of Go To Prison. I am still amazed at how cohesive and hard-hitting this album is in only 22 minutes. Seeing them live at a secret warehouse show proved that their live set is just as powerful. If you don’t have this album, please get it and catch up before their next release.

3) The Lawrence Arms – Metropole

My fiancé’s favorite band is The Lawrence Arms, so this release was highly anticipated in our household. When you love a band, and you haven’t had any new music in years, you tend to have high expectations. I’m happy to say that The Lawrence Arms lived up to ours with this release! I (we) really appreciate that TLA tend to age with us, and the thematic elements of this album (growing older but still wondering what the hell we’re doing) are relatable to those of use who grew up on their earlier albums.

2) Me First and the Gimme Gimmes – Are We Not Men? We Are DIVA!

As a child of the 80s, I grew up surrounded by the music of the Divas represented on this record. I love the Gimmes and I love thematic albums, so this rose to the top of my favorites of the year. As I said in my show review earlier this year, it was the first time I had seen a circle pit to Paula Abdul and it was glorious. Some of these songs will make it on our wedding playlist for sure.

1) Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues

When I started putting together this list, I thought about the albums that have been in my heavy rotation throughout the year. Transgender Dysphoria Blues came out in January, but has consistently been one of my most listened to albums all year. While many people argue that, while musically phenomenal, they can’t connect to the subject, I feel as though we can all connect to the feelings of wanting to live a more authentic life and taking the chance to truly be ourselves. In that sense, I think this is something anyone can relate to, and I feel honored that Against Me! chose to share this fantastic album with the world. I shot their set at Punk Rock Bowling and the energy was electric; Laura Jane Grace’s smile while singing all of the new songs was contagious!

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