Hello I’m Mitch and I have been writing for Dying Scene for three happy years and it’s that agonizing time of year again where I make an attempt to whittle down this year’s punk releases to construct something resembling my list of favourite records; as ever it has been a difficult task compiling it, but after a wealth of delirious deliberating, self doubt and great tunes, below is my top ten for 2015.
10) Alison Weiss – “New Love”
I’ve always been aware of Alison Weiss but for some strange reason never paid much attention until this year’s release of her SideOneDummy Record’s debut New Love and I have clearly been missing out! From the first track ”The Sound” (one of my songs of the year) right through, the album boasts song after song of classy and bright song writing. On the face of it New Love is an upbeat pop record but there is a bleeding heart that beats beneath it all, which as the aforementioned song ”The Sound” makes reference to, makes listening to it an absolute pleasure!
9) Direct Hit! – “More Of The Same (Satanic Singles)”
Ever since I first heard 2013’s Brainless God I have been absolutely sold on Direct Hit!, lapping up anything I could listen to; so I was delighted that they chose to re-record a bunch of their earlier recordings in the form of Satanic Singles. I know it’s not an album proper, only a collection of revisited songs but it’s my list and I’ll do what I want! Not that there was necessarily anything wrong with the original tracks but the re-recorded versions are now up to the same beautiful sounding standard as Brainless God and everything is right with the world, until its inevitable and imminent apocalyptic end that is!
8) Science Made Us Robots – “Paper Bones”
Scottish punks Science Made Us Robots self-released Paper Bones earlier this year and it really is a fantastic listen; full of well played, well written and rousing sing-a-long punk anthems. If you don’t love this album after one listen then I’d likely raise my eyebrows in a very surprised fashion. First song ”Hopeless Attitude” is the type of track just built for a good jump around to and I will hopefully get the chance to do that in 2016!
7) Motion City Soundtrack – “Panic Stations”
Motion City Soundtrack have been a band for nearly 20 years now and I’ve been a keen fan for most of that time. There has been, as with most bands, a fluctuation in album output quality but thankfully Motion City Soundtrack are back to their very best with Panic Stations. Pretty much as soon as the first track ”Anything At All” begins you get the feeling that things are great again and by the epic finale of ”Days Will Run Away” you know they are!
6) Civil War Rust – “Help Wanted”
East Bay punks Civil War Rust are a band who take a tried and tested formula in pop punk and make it seem fresh! With tracks like ”Photograph” (another of my tracks of the year) and ”California Bleu” Civil War Rust prove they are adept at writing smart dual-vocalled punk rock dripping with honesty and heartbreak and Help Wanted is brimming with it!
5) Walking With Ghosts – S/T
Walking With Ghosts are a Swiss 3 piece and a band that were brand new to me this year; when I stumbled upon them I fell immediately in love with their brand of melodic punk. They write extremely catchy pop punk with more hooks than a fishing boat, with every song a potential single! And if that’s not enough to temp you to listen, the album also boasts stellar guest appearances from none other than Mike Herrera (MxPx) and Jennie Cotterill (Bad Cop/ Bad Cop).
4) Screeching Weasel – “Baby Fat Act 1”
For about a month straight this album was all I could/ would listen to. If you don’t already know, this album is the first act of Screeching Weasel’s punk rock opus Baby Fat and it’s a mightily impressive effort. With more guest appearances than your average hip hop album it’s a punk rock tour de force that seems to offer up something different on every listen. You can say what you like about Ben Weasel but he sure writes a damn fine multi-character punk rock opera!
3) State Line Syndicate – “Go Back To The 90’s”
State Line Syndicate are another band on this list that I wasn’t aware of at the start of the year but when I first listened to Go Back To The 90’s I was hooked by it’s sheer immediacy. As the title suggests the album is laced with that classic Epi-Fat pop punk sound but it’s all more a loving tip of the cap than pastiche. If you’re like me and still yearn for that 90’s style pop punk or are simply searching for hook laden punk that will swim around in your head for days then you have found what you’re looking for!
2) Teenage Bottlerocket – “Tales From Wyoming”
Before the shock and tragic November passing of Brandon Carlisle, a founding member and drummer extraordinaire of Teenage Bottlerocket, Tales From Wyoming was released. As every Teenage Bottlerocket album is, it was chock-full of catchy and memorable tracks, covering topics as wide-ranging as heartbreak, fast food and serial killers. We now honour Brandon by listening to the band’s amazing music and that simply makes a great record all that more special. RIP Brandon, you are missed! 1, 2, 3…
1) Millencolin – “True Brew”
Millencolin were a band I grew up listening to so I was excited when tasked with reviewing True Brew for Dying Scene in February; to get my hands on 13 brand new tracks and their first new album in 8 years was personally a massive deal. From the first track ”Egocentric Man” to the last ”Believe In John” the album is an absolute triumph and more than worth the wait. Whether it’s tackling racism with ”Sense & Sensibility”, pondering the meaning of life with the album’s title track or even just recording flawless punk rock such as ”Chameleon”, ”Bring Me Home” or ”Perfection Is Boring” Millencolin, for me, have released the album of the year by some margin. Just please don’t leave it another 8 years until the next one.