DS Staff Picks – 10 Best albums of 2011 (Lightnin Punk)

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Yo, I am Lightning, the newbie here at the Dying Scene. For me, 2011 sorta fell short when it came to all out classic albums. That’s not so say there weren’t some good ones, but with the exception of my number 1 and 2 picks I just didn’t find any of them as great from top to bottom as say “Seedy” or “And Out Come the Wolves.”  Call me an old schooler if you will, I just expect more from bands these days.

And after that cheery intro, you can check out my list of the 10 best albums of 2011 right here and then inform me of what’s punk and what’s not in the small comment box. Happy friggin’ New Year. Prost!

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10. Face To Face – “Laugh Now, Laugh Later”

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Having six other albums under their belt and nine years rest, Face To Face has emerged with their seventh. A good mix of pop and punk with great gang vocals. It’s still a good one to have in the player but keep in mind that it is at the bottom of my list. If you think my take sucks, feel free to read a review from a fellow Dying Scenester. The best track on here is “It’s Not All About You” in which frontman Trevor Keith describes the “assholes” that we all work with everyday.

Favorite album lyric: “…everybody wants to have it made, they don’t wanna do nothing but they still get paid…”

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9. The Old Firm Casuals- “The Old Firm Casuals”

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This really should be higher on my list but since it’s an EP it gets punked down. Rancid’s Lars Frederiksen has brought forth The Old Firm Casuals and they are about as raw as you can get. The recording is great and old school and it reminds me of my Minor Threat days. A little bit of anger, fights and running in the pit. If you are looking for something nice and polished it ain’t here, baby. A true old style punk rockers’ paradise.

Favorite album lyric: “…we bring back the original style, something you haven’t seen in awhile, we bloody your nose and break down your doors…”

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8. Social Distortion – “Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes”

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I love me some Social D. There seem to be long spans of time between albums but when they appear, they’re good. I love this album due to the good mix of punk and blues. Mike Ness once again has written kick ass songs with good story lines that put you right there in the mix with each line. I’ll be rocking this one out for a good long while or at least till the next release.

Favorite album lyric: “…everyone’s got some sorta ball and chain, what’s life without a little pain”

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7. Big City Bombers – “10,000 Mile From Nowhere”

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There’s nothing like good old raw punk from Orlando, Florida. “10,000 Miles From Nowhere” is a no holds barred, unpolished punk rock anthem. This is the 3rd album from BCB and you can tell there was a little more post production done here than the last two albums, but not too much to take its freshness away. You can check it out right here.

Favorite album lyric: “…got no regrets, lessons learned, less is learned and bridges burned, it’s do or die no turning back”

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6. The Nondenoms – “Take It Back”

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I am sure that the majority of you readers have no clue who this band is but they are from Greensboro North Carolina, about 25 minutes from where I live. These guys (and gal) are one of a kind and have been in the scene for a good long while. I have played shows with Goldstein and crew and talent oozes from each performance. This album is a great one with a solid punk rock sound. Give a it listen, especially to the bass line in “Escape From Hell-A.” Check it!

Favorite album lyric: “…got 15 minutes of fame coming to me, you can bet your ass I’m gonna use them…”

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5. Roger Miret & The Disasters – “Gotta Get Up Now”

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I’m sure you all know who Roger Miret is. In case you don’t here’s a little education: Roger Miret = Front man of Agnostic Front. Now that that’s out of the way you gotta check out his other band, Roger Miret and the Disasters. This album is a mainstay in my ears and much better (in my opinion) than the AF stuff. It’s choc-full of driving guitars, pounding drums and steady bass lines. Not a lot of psychobilly here but it’s one for your good ol’ circle pit punk rock days. You can read a review from one of our own right here.

Favorite album lyric: “…we’ve always been locked out, they’ve always put us down, tonight we’re gonna show ‘em – gonna run this town”

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4. Swingin’ Utters – “Here, Under Protest”

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Ok, here are some veterans in the punk rock world we all live in. Once again, they have brought together a killer set of songs. Not much to say here except that it sounds just like the Swingin’ Utters. There are some sweet old recordings of some dudes talking before and at the end of some of the songs. That’s the stuff I like…it’ll make you chuckle.

Favorite album lyric: “Medicate yourself you’ll feel much better…”

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3. The Rabble – ” Life’s a Journey”

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Great music straight out of Auckland, New Zealand. This album is a mainstay in the CD player along with their last one (the best one yet), “The New Generation.” The new album consissts of great rhythms, political lyrics and an appearance of Al Barr from DKM. Need I say more?

Favorite album lyric: “You’ll only get what you bring to this life”

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2. Cerebral Ballzy – “Cerebral Ballzy”

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Here’s the story behind finding these punkers. I’m sitting in my man Cody’s studio (Jerk Music Productions) in Burlington NC on a comfortable broke down couch with a PBR in hand. I had just finished recording the guitar tracks for my band’s new album and Cody says “dude, you gotta hear this shit.” He proceeds to pull up the video of Cerebal Ballzy’s “On the Run.” I was friggin’ blown away. It took me back to the days of skating in the streets with friends and circle pits at the Friday night punk show. I was bitten by the Ballzy. This whole album is 14 songs in under 23 minutes. These kats know how to make 80’s skate punk.  You can listen to this album top to bottom and still want more. I have not seen them live yet but my new year’s resolution is to be there in the middle of their pit and I’m not coming out until something is busted and bleeding. Enough of my jabbering, go buy their album if you really think you’re punk. Blah!!

Favorite album lyric: “…catch me if you can, catch me if you can, catch me if you can, catch me if you can, I don’t think you can”

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1. Have Nots – “Proud”

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Ok I’m gonna set the scenes. Act 1: I’m in Myrtle Beach SC with my best friend and band mate to see the Dropkick Murphys. Couple of Guinness’s later this ska/reggae/punk band comes on to open for the Murphys. They were like if Operation Ivy, Rancid and Downfall were making sweet love and nine months later a Have Nots baby came sliding out. These guys are pumped full of ska and punk and wait for it, wait for it….Lyrical Genius-ness! Act 2: In Charlotte NC with my lovely wifey to see the Street Dogs and guess who else…Have Nots. Once again a show to remember. After being in the pit while they’re playing I come out with scuffed up checkerboard shoes and a busted lip. These guys are the coolest kats you’ll ever meet. I shared a PBR and chatted with Matt and Steve for awhile before the show. A punk rocker’s moist dream. This album was mixed by the legendary Stephen Egerton, master guitarist of the Descendents. Check out this album here and their last one, “Serf City”…you won’t be disappointed.

Favorite album lyric: “…where was the world when an ounce of prevention could have saved a pound of cure”

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Worthy Mentions:

A) Dropkick Murphys – “Going Out In Style”

B) Saint Hooligan – “Maniac Punk” (because I’m a shameless self-promoter)


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