DS Staff Picks – 10 best albums of 2010 (Travis)

Well, another year is drawing to a close. People are gearing up for the holidays and it’s almost time to start creating your New Year’s resolution list. But before we begin looking to the future, let’s employ a different kind of list to help us appreciate the past. You know what I’m talking about. Yep, a Top Ten list! Each day I’m going to publish a different editor’s Top 10 albums of 2010 list for you to praise, completely disagree with, or just outright ignore.

Today’s list comes from Dying Scene’s own Travis Murray. You can check out his picks for the 10 Best Albums of 2010 right here.

I won’t lie to you, I got really excited when I learned of my opportunity to compile a list of the best records of 2010.  Not only do I love writing in general, but I love opportunities to share the music I love with just about anyone willing to listen.  Maybe I got a little too excited, but why not get excited?  After all, the prospect that someone might discover a new favorite band through my influence is pretty awesome.  Even if that doesn’t happen, these are still my favorite records of 2010.


10. Bad Religion – The Dissent of Man

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If a new Bad Religion album did not make the list, I would be worried.  These guys are true legends of punk rock, and 30 years later they still kick ass.  As for this one, it is by no means my favorite Bad Religion album, though it is still a fantastic punk rock album.  I would have ranked it higher on the list, but songs like “Cyanide” and “I Won’t Say Anything” dragged it down a little for me.  No matter though, as “The Resist Stance”, “Meeting of the Minds”, and “Avalon” deliver more than enough punch to counter the album’s lesser moments.

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9. Real McKenzies – Shine Not Burn

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.The only thing that would make me love the Real McKenzies more would be another tour of the United States, as I’ve only ever had one chance to see them.  Well loved throughout Europe, it makes perfect sense that they would play there more and record this live acoustic album in a Berlin pub called Wild at Heart.  Featuring all my favorite songs in excellent and instrumentally varied low key renditions, this is a great introduction to Celtic punk rock for anyone not ready for the full barrage the sound can offer.

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8.  Devil’s Brigade – Devil’s Brigade

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.Matt Freeman has been one of my favorite bass players for a long time, so it should be no surprise that giving him on an upright bass makes for an excellent album.  Throw in his gravelly vocals, elements of psychobilly and old time Americana and you’ve got at the very least an album worth a listen.  Add to the mix the potential for Rancid covers at live shows (Tenderloin and LA River with Tim and Lars when I saw them) and Devil’s Brigade solidifies its place as a great addition to the list of Rancid side projects.

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7.  Continental – Death of a Garage Band

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Featuring vocals and guitar from former Dropkick Murphys guitarist Rick Barton, Continental kicks my ass with the powerful Boston sound I’ve come to love.  Based in punk rock with hints of many other styles, I was excited to see these guys open for the Street Dogs back in October.  Sad as I was to catch only their final two songs, at least I got a copy of this excellent debut record as a consolation prize.

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6.  Gaslight Anthem – American Slang

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Ever since I got into punk rock, it’s been all too easy for me to forget that there are in fact other genres of music out there.  The Gaslight Anthem have been one of the most enjoyable bands I’ve discovered in recent years, and one of the most effective at bringing more than just straight ahead punk rock.  American Slang is a little on the slow side, as their records go, but oh how be rich I’d be if I had a dollar for every time I’ve played “The Diamond Church Street Choir”.

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5.  Against Me! – White Crosses

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As excited as I am to find new genre-bridging bands like the Gaslight Anthem, it makes me even happier when a band I’ve loved for years can do the same.  I don’t consider White Crosses a great departure from Against Me!’s signature sound, but from some of the comments I’ve heard about it you’d think Tom Gabel started rapping about four loko fueled orgies in hummer limos.  To me, this is an excellent record from a talented band with loads of potential that doesn’t want to make the same record over and over again.  I absolutely love “Because of the Shame”, I think “White Crosses” is one of the catchiest songs of the year, and love “Rapid Decompression” for the accusatory question “how can you expect from someone what you won’t do yourself?”

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4.  Kings of Nuthin’ – Old Habits Die Hard

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I can’t think of a band I want to see live more right now than Kings of Nuthin’.  Piano, sax, and washboard combine with punk rock for a sound they call “rhythm and booze”.  I can’t imagine what their live show is like if it comes anywhere close to the energy in this record, but based on the stories I’ve heard and the photos I’ve seen, I think these guys can deliver on that potential.  Plus, their singer’s name is Torr Skoog.  If you can expect awesomeness from anyone based on just their name, I’ve got my money on Torr Skoog.

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3.  Authority Zero – Stories of Survival

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I can credit my discovery of Authority Zero to nothing but dumb luck.  There I was, aimlessly wandering the desolation that is the music aisles of Target when the video for “Revolution” off the band’s album “Andiamo” came on.  My ears perked up and I became dangerously and unreasonably hopeful that I might discover a great band in such an unlikely place.  I picked up a copy of the album, noticed that they covered an obscure 80’s song called “Mexican Radio” that I loved as a kid, and on a whim decided to buy it.  Several years and two albums later, “Stories of Survival” brings out the best blend yet of ska, reggae, and surf infused punk rock from these amazing Mesa, Arizona legends to be.

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2.  Smoke or Fire – The Speakeasy

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Uncomfortably accurate comparisons of today’s social and political tensions to those of 1968 is just the beginning for Smoke or Fire in their third excellent album.  The useless and dishonest mainstream news, wall street monsters, environmental degradation and self-destructive friends are among the targets in this pessimistic, realistic, and stunning record.  Seriously, these guys aren’t much more optimistic than Propagandhi on this record, but as I’ve been feeling equally as hopeless about the state of our world lately, this has been my perfect soundtrack of the last two months.  Considering that I’ve loved Smoke Or Fire since I first heard “Above the City” in 2003, it would take something epic to top “The Speakeasy” on my top ten list.

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1.  Street Dogs – Street Dogs

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I’ll admit right up front that I’ve felt the Street Dogs are a band that can do no wrong from the first time I heard “Savin Hill”.  Every record since has just gotten better and better, and when I read Mike McColgan explain that this “album is self-titled because it’s collectively as a group coming forward and saying this is our best and most definitive work so far” I nearly lost my mind with excitement.  Excitement like that can be difficult for an album to live up to, but this record gets me fired up and singing along every single time.  Every song has its own sound and appeal, though honesty, integrity, and loyalty come through clearly throughout the entire album.  I’ve always loved their support of organized labor and “Up The Union” is a damn fine anthem for the fight, while “Hang ’em High” is a blistering anti-wall street rager.  “Portland” serves as a focal point of the American economic collapse, while on the lighter side “Punk Rock and Roll” is a perfect soundtrack to drinking with friends.  All in all, this is without a doubt my favorite record of 2010.

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If you made it this far, thanks.  Here’s to an excellent 2011.



One Comment

  1. poisonedfate
    Jeremy Stacks1/3/2011 6:14 PM | Permalink

    Great list!

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