DS Staff Picks – 10 best albums of 2010 (Johnny X)

Alright, I guess its high time I did one of these lists myself, considering I run this website.

A couple weeks ago I asked my team of Dying Scene writers to put together their top 10 albums of 2010 lists.  I figured it was an easy assignment, but as soon as I sat down to write my own, I realized how nearly impossible this task really is.  I have listened to an absolute SHIT load of new music this year and still haven’t gotten to nearly as many albums as I wanted to.  I’ve spent so much time digging through the unknowns in search of new bands I didn’t get to dedicate as much time as I’d like to some of the more prominent releases.  Without a doubt, there are a lot of great releases that came out this year that I haven’t yet had a chance to get to.  With that in mind, you can check out my list of favorite albums of 2010 right here.  Feel free to tear it apart in the comments.

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10. Street Dogs – “Street Dogs”

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I’m embarrassed to say that I had not given Street Dogs a proper listen until this release.  When Tommy lined up a Dying Scene Session with them I figured I should familiarize myself quickly with their latest release at the very least to save myself from looking like a complete jackass when I met them.  Needless to say, I loved what I heard.  This album is straight up, sincere, working class, punk rock written and sang the way it should be.  After doing the DS Session and then catching their live set I immediately bought every single one of their releases.  They’re all good but this one is by far my favorite.

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9. Flatfoot 56 – “Black Thorn”

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I feel like if you have Street Dogs on your list and you don’t have Flatfoot 56’s “Black Thorn” then you probably just haven’t heard the latest release from this Chicago based foursome.  In terms of sincerity and heart Flatfoot 56 have a similar sound to Street Dogs but with a much heavier Celtic influence.  This album also has enough variety and originality between its tracks to allow for a handful of immediate stand outs.  If you’re not familiar with the band yet and you consider yourself a fan of street or celtic punk, you should quit reading right now and go give them a listen.

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8. Fake Problems – “Real Ghosts Caught On Tape”

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OK, I’ll be the first to admit this album isn’t exactly “punk” rock.  It’s more folky-indie rock but I’ve really been digging the folky stuff lately, and in spite of myself I found I could hardly take this album out of my musical rotation for weeks after I picked this release up.  I think it was the acoustic version of “Songs For Teenagers” that originally caught my attention.  Check it out here.

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7. Joey Cape – “Liverbirds”

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Technically this release was a split with Jon Snodgrass but on Joey’s half the Lagwagon front man does acoustic renditions of five classic Lagwagon songs off the releases I grew up listening to.  The acoustic version of “Angry Days” was enough to sell me on this album all on it’s own, and I think I might even like the acoustic version of “Whipping Boy” better than the original.  This is a must have release for any fan of Lagwagon’s first 3 releases.

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6. We’re Not Afraid – “Adventures In Poverty” EP (demo)

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Pretty sure most of you are unfamiliar with these guys.  I barely know anything about them myself.  What I do know, however, is that they offered a free download of 4 songs from their full-length “Adventures In Poverty” which seems to have only been released in Japan and which I can’t seem to track down a copy of anywhere.  I’m not sure if these 4 songs were just a demo of the full-length or from an actual EP that preceded it but damn, they’re good!  Technical.  Melodic.  Pretty poppy but sometimes heavy and aggressive.  It’s really hard to describe their sound so just go download the songs yourself and let your ears sort it out.

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5. Backyard Surgeons – “Totally Numb” EP

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This band from Australia was introduced to me when our resident Australian editor, Brittles, told me she wanted to do a Band Spotlight on them.  Naturally, I headed to their MySpace to give them a listen, and 30 seconds into the song “Amigo Let Me Go” I knew I was buying the album.  Fast, melodic and technical, their music is reminiscent of that 90’s “EpiFat” sound which I’m an absolute sucker for.  Unlike most bands that try to emulate that style, however, these guys actually wrote some really catchy songs and managed to self release a solidly produced and well recorded album.  Frenzal who?  These guys are my new favorite Australian punk act by far.

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4. Comeback Kid – “Symptoms And Cures”

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As angsty and aggressive as I like my punk rock, I’ve always needed a healthy dose of melody in the vocals to become truly smitten with a band.  In this respect Comeback Kid is somewhat of a deviation from my usual musical proclivities, but for reasons beyond my own understanding I became enthralled with this release.  Admittedly, I don’t listen to this album a lot because I have to be in the right frame of mind, but when I’m in the mood and my speakers are at max volume, holy shit does it fire me up!

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3. The Menzingers ” Chamberlain Waits”

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These guys caught my attention with their earlier release and as a result I had high hopes for “Chamberlain Waits.”  I wasn’t disappointed.  I love bands that can combine melody and angst and The Menzingers are masters of the craft.  They’ve got a truly unique sound but are decidedly punk rock and “Chamberlain Waits” was a great progression for the band with enough variance between their songs to provide a slew of stand out tracks.

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2. Mixtapes – “Maps”

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Yeah, yeah.  Technically this album was self-released in 2009 BUT it was re-released by Death To False Hope Records in 2010 so I feel I’m justified in adding it to this list.  Again, this is an album that fell outside the realm of my normal stylistic preferences but this time in the opposite direction as Comeback Kid.  This album is poppy as hell and lies somewhere on the border of punk and indie rock, and it is the most fun album I’ve heard in years.  Dueling male/female vocals.  Some fast songs, some slow songs – there is a lot of variety here except maybe in it’s lyrical content, which plays like a soundtrack to the life of a confused teenage wallflower – perfectly relatable for most of us punk rock outcasts.  And if you think they’re not punk enough just jump to the song “Nothing Can Kill The Grimace” and when you get to the 1:30 mark, put your middle finger in the air and crank the volume to full blast.  I absolutely guarantee you will end up loving this album by doing so.

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1. Authority Zero – “Stories Of Survival”

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When this album came out everybody immediately said it was great, and to be honest I have no idea why I waited so long to pick it up.  I own their first album and really like it but for some reason (probably cuz they don’t sell their albums on Interpunk or ShopRadioCast – WTF is up with that, by the way?) I never picked up another one of their releases.  I figured I’d probably like “Stories Of Survival” but since I’m one of those weirdos who actually like to own a physical CD I just thought that I would purchase it next time I was in the vicinity of a music store.  Of course, music stores have sorta gone the way of the typewriter so I did what any 8 year old kid would do when in want of something not within their faculty to obtain – I asked Santa Clause to get it for me for Christmas.  Unlike the failing music industry, that fat bastard never let’s me down and sure enough, by noon on Christmas day that album has been in my stereo and it hasn’t left since.  Amazing album.  If you want to know more about it, read this review.

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Honorable Mentions:

A) Gaslight Anthem – “American Slang”

B) The Creepshow – “They All Fall Down”

C) Chaser – “The Big Picture”



4 Comments

  1. ghostcountry
    Ghost Country1/7/2011 12:15 PM | Permalink

    Seriously feel like I missed out on Authority Zero and Flatfoot 56! They’re on everyone’s list but mine!

  2. dying
    Johnny X1/7/2011 5:31 PM | Permalink

    Have you heard the albums???

  3. ghostcountry
    Ghost Country1/8/2011 6:15 PM | Permalink

    Nope, but I definitely should get on that. Clearly.

  4. werenotafraid
    werenotafraid1/8/2011 6:52 PM | Permalink

    Well shit my face, aren’t you a dear? We FINALLY got the fucking album ready to go! aaaaand to answer your question, those 4 were from the album itself. Sending it out in the next 2 days so be looking out for it! Thanks a million for the support Johnny X!

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