Hi I’m Mitch. Musically 2014 was a brilliant year for punk rock with a lot of really good releases, making my task of assembling a top 10 way trickier than it was last year. I started the process with a top 30 list and have painfully had to reduce it down to something resembling a top 10. I was also quite strict on who I covered so left out bands like Taking Back Sunday and Weezer who have both released their best albums in a good while.
So after a lot of immense deliberation, eternally switching list positions, tantrums, self doubt and loathing while listening to a hell of a lot of great music released this year, here is my top 10-ish. R.I.P. Tommy Ramone.
10a. Red Scare Industries: 10 Years Of Your Dumb Bullshit
I wouldn’t normally put a compilation on an end-of-year-list but this isn’t just any compilation; it’s a 10 year anniversary celebration of one of the hardest working and important labels in the scene today. And as such it’s an embarrassment of Red Scare roster riches with brand new music from the likes of The Lillingtons, Direct Hit! and Nothington and most importantly also featuring my absolute favourite song of the year ”TV Set” by Teenage Bottlerocket. Here’s to another 10 years, Toby!
10b. Not Scientists – Leave Stickers On Our Graves 12”
Again not a release that would normally appear, being a mini album, but it is so good that it had to feature. It was the first release of the year that I loved and features 6 tracks of really catchy and intelligent punk rock. When you learn who is actually in this band its quality is no surprise, a French punk ‘supergroup’ if there ever was one! I’m very excited to see what 2015 has in store for Not Scientists
9a. Lost Years – Traditions
This is the third full length from Lost Years and to me it shows a band that are maturing and now consistently writing really good heartfelt music. In the same vein as The Ataris, Lost Years concentrate their efforts on broken relationships and broken hearts and with songs as good as ”I’ve Still Got A Soul Left To Lose” and ”Last Call” it was rarely off my iPod this year.
9b. Swingin’ Utters – Fistful Of Hollow
The only band on the list that made my 2013 one have done it again with another belter of an album. As a band I loved when I was wee, it really is heartening to see the Utters releasing albums of this quality and depth. From the straight up fast paced punk of ”From The Towers To The Tenements” to the irresistible pop style of ”Tell Them Told You So” to the folky Pogues dripped ”Unaffected”, it is more than a worthy follow to last year’s excellent Poorly Formed.
8. Masked Intruder – M.I.
It took me a lot longer to get up to speed with this than it did the band’s 2012 self-titled album, but once I got there I found myself listening to yet another insatiably catchy chapter of the band’s ongoing legal issues. To release such happy and poppy music while trying to stay one step ahead of the law is testament to the four balaclava wearing punks. Here’s hoping they continue to evade the cops for another album next year.
7. Lagwagon – Hang
Without a doubt one of the most anticipated albums of the year and another album that would most likely be much higher up my list had it been released earlier. The thing is it took me a while to warm to it, but warm to it I did. If you had told me before ‘Hang‘ was released that Lagwagon would be releasing potentially their best album to date with its best track being a heavy riff-filled 6 minute song I wouldn’t have believed you, but you would have been right, you smart arse! In a few months I’m sure I’ll regret not pushing this higher up the list, but Lagwagon are back and despite having literally nothing to prove , they’ve gone and proven it all again anyway!
6. Pears – Go To Prison
I initially listened to this when it was released on bandcamp not knowing anything about it apart from the label it was on and I was immediately floored! Pears are making exciting and ferocious punk hardcore that lets up for no one! Songs like ”Sycophant” and ”Terrible” remind me why I got into punk in the first place, blistering yet melodic tracks that don’t hang around for too long but leave their permanent mark. If Dying Scene had a best newcomer category my vote would be Pears.
5. The Kimberly Steaks – To Live And Die In West Central Scotland
In what was personally a monumentally disappointing year for my home nation of Scotland I could at least take solace in the great punk coming from its shores. The Kimberly Steaks, based in Glasgow, play short-sharp-shock punk rock whose songs, quite rightly, barely ever bother the two minute mark. The only thing faster than the songs on the album are the same songs played live, and if you get the opportunity to see The Kimberly Steaks play in 2015, grab it!
4. Spycatcher – Lies
Spycatcher are a band I have loved for a good while now and I am a sucker for their self-proclaimed ‘Grit Pop’. Aside from this album’s release in March, I haven’t heard much else from the Spycatcher camp which is a shame as this album, a follow up to 2011’s ‘Promises‘, is simply stunning. There are ten tracks on this and ten great ones at that. If you aren’t up to speed on this band then head over to their bandcamp and fill your boots, you have good taste so are bound to love it!
3. Wank For Peace – Fail Forward
I was genuinely surprised by how much I loved this album. Although I had been a Wank For Peace fan previously, nothing prepared me for how often I would actually listen to it. My favourite track on Fail Forward has changed about thirteen times, once for every track on the album and it changes still! If brilliant French-punk-gruff-hardcore-rock with hefty gang vocals is your thing then look no further than right here.
2. The Copyrights – Report
I had the pleasure of reviewing this album for the site earlier in the year and my five star review certainly hasn’t changed. I can’t see past this being the pinnacle of pop-punk in 2014 and duly cemented The Copyrights up there with the genre’s heavyweights. From start to finish it’s a melodic masterpiece and for me was surprisingly a better album that 2011’s ‘North Sentinel Island‘, controversial I know but that’s how highly I rate it.
1. The Holy Mess – Comfort In The Discord
In the end there wasn’t too much deliberation on my number one spot. ‘Comfort In The Discord‘, A follow up to 2012’s superb ‘Cande Ru Las Degas‘, was as an immediately likeable album as I’ve heard all year. The Philadelphia three piece are a punk band with soul and swagger in abundance and tracks like Speak Uneasy, Worthless Original, Spencer Reid and The Weight all showcase their raw melodic energy and songwriting prowess that left me with little choice but to crown it as my punk album of 2014!
The Smith Street Band – Throw Me In The River
The Lemonaids – Back To The Beach
Counterpunch – Bruises
First Step To Failure –When Best Friends Become Strangers
Joyce Manor – Never Hungover Again
Comeback Kid – Die Knowing