2017 was a year filled with things I had been looking forward to for a long time as well as some surprises in life, movies, TV (Twin Peaks Season 3 anyone?), and of course in music. Aside from multiple honorable mentions, which you can see at the bottom, this years list of favorite albums was surprisingly easy to narrow down for me. Check out what caught my ear this year below!
Impalers play a fierce style of d-beat, drawing equally from crust and hardcore punk as they pummel you with 17 minutes of the punk rock perfection that is Cellar Dweller.
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The Lillingtons are back and better than ever. Stella Sapiente is dark pop punk that focuses on themes of the occult, astrology, and secret societies. The band found a perfect way to mix the melodic pop punk they are known for with a dark side that drew me in right away and has kept pulling me back.
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Straightforward garage punk with swagger and bite. Piss Test pull no punches on LP2, going from catchy and groovy to frantic and snarling without losing a beat.
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Featuring members of Feral Trash, Crusades, and The Steve Adamyk Band, Cheap Whine sounds just like what you would expect those bands coming together would sound like. The ridiculously catchy power pop of Steve Adamyk, the lo-fi garage pop-punk of Feral Trash, and the dark edges of Crusades come together with the end result being an instant classic for any fan of Ottawa pop-punk, or just good garage punk in general.
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Days N Daze know how to write powerful and catchy folk punk songs, and they continue that with their latest album Crustfall. They mix both the heavier crust inspired folk punk as well as the softer side of folk punk masterfully. There is a reason this band continues to get bigger year after year, and it is because they continue to get better year after year.
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Another great Deranged Records release. UV-TV plays melodic pop-punk with just enough of a dark edge to keep it fresh. This is the go-to Deranged Records style and one that has become my favorite super specific subgenre lately. UV-TV plays it with perfection on Glass.
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This is one 20 minute song more than it is an actual album, but Heartsounds takes what they do best, thrashy melodic hardcore riffs with poppy melodies and vocals, in what I have been calling “thrash-pop-punk,” and crafts it into an epic journey.
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Cayetana know how to write catchy songs, and this sophomore effort from them is filled with just that. It’s simple indie-punk on the surface, but just give it a few listens, and the songs will be stuck in your head for weeks to come.
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I grew up listening to classic rock as a kid, and never really grew out of it, even as I started getting into punk music as a teenager. So when I came across Sheer Mag last year, with their flawless mix of classic 70s riffs and punk rock attitude, I was immediately on board. Need To Feel Your Love is the bands’ first proper full length release, following 3 EPs released over the last couple years, but for such a young band, they have gotten their style down to a science and will get you dancing along after the first riff.
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No surprise here. Crusades is currently my favorite band, and they put out another fantastic record this year. The band continues to evolve, with more expansive and atmospheric songs presenting themselves in an album with higher production values than previous efforts. But that’s not to say that the dark pop-punk from “The Sun Is Down…” and the moody melodic punk of “Perhaps You Deliver…” is gone. In fact, it feels like Crusades takes what was great on each previous album and then adds to that. This is definitely one band I can’t wait to see evolve on every record they put out. Plus Skottie Lobotomy just has the best voice in punk rock right now.
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Honorable Mentions: IRON CHIC – You Can’t Stay Here, PAWNS – The Gallows, DIE HEXE – Coven, KATIE ELLEN – Cowgirl Blues, THE ERADICATOR – The Eradicator, DIRECT HIT/PEARS – Human Movement
Favorite EPs – RVIVR – The Tide/Shaggy, TARANTULA – Weird Tales of Radiation and Hate, RADIOACTIVITY – Infected/Sleep, EIGHT – Eight, WILDERNESS DREAM – Paralysis Rise, HEX – La Voisin, THE WRAITH – Shadow Flag, COMPOSITE – Artemisia, FOTOCRIME – Always Hell