So I’ll start by saying that I’m really irresponsible. Technically, the deadline for this list is one hour and twenty seven minutes from now, and I’m only just starting. I’ll continue by saying that writing this list is going to be really difficult. You know why? Because this was a fan-damn-tastic year for new music. Like damn guys, a really great year. I had the chance to buy almost every release I was stoked on, and each one has stayed in constant rotation since I purchased it. I’d almost bet that you could go to a record store, say “give me a record from 2012”, and you’d love it. For this reason, I’m only going to number the three releases that I know I’ll carry with me out of this year. So, here we go.
First, my favorite Non-Punk releases of the year:
Jack White – “Blunderbuss”
Cory Branan – “Mutt”
The Alabama Shakes – “Boys and Girls”
JKutchma and the Five Fifths – “Pastoral”
New God – “Motorcar” (was released on vinyl this year, so I’m COUNTING IT)
The Working Week – “Circuits and Veins”
Lucero – “Women and Work”
Killer Mike – “R.A.P. Music”
Honorable Mentions/Records I Didn’t Get the Chance to Hear In Their Entirety Yet But Am Impressed By/Assorted 7″
Caseracer – S/T 7″
The Sidekicks – “Awkward Breeds”
forgetters – S/T
Run, Forever – “Settling”
Tightrope – S/T 7″
Cobra Skulls – “Eagle Eyes” 7″
Mixtapes – “Even on the Worst Nights”
Green Day – “¡Dos!”
Alright then, here we go. My Top 10 Punk Albums of 2012:
Brendan Kelly and the Wandering Birds – “I’d Rather Die Than Live Forever”
When BK released his debut EP with the Wandering Birds, I was a little shocked. But this full-length really grew on me. The subject of each song is shockingly revolting, and always interesting. Be sure to listen to “Covered in Flies” if you get the chance.
Red Collar – “Welcome Home”
“Welcome Home” is Red Collar’s second full length, and first for Tiny Engines. I found the group years ago, when the songs “Used Guitars” and “Pilgrim” were streaming on RCRD LBL, and I immediately fell in love. The group were quiet for a long time between albums, and I have to admit I feared the worst. When “Welcome Home” was announced, I knew I’d be writing about it this year.
Ceremony – “Zoo”
Apparently this album didn’t go down so well with everyone who loved “Ronhert Park”? Well, that’s goofy as hell because this album rules. As soon as “Hysteria” kicks in, the album really never stops being a super solid, super impressive punk record. Ceremony should be proud of having this in their discography.
The Gaslight Anthem – “Handwritten”
So here we go, Gaslight’s first major label release. I feel pretty comfortable saying that I love it, but I’m not in love with it. There’s no doubting that this is a Gaslight Anthem release, and carries with it everything that made the band so great in the beginning. There are moments, though, when I can understand the critiques that are often leveled against the band. Do I still think it’s one of this year’s best? You bet your ass I do. Am I still excited for whatever they follow it up with? You bet your ass I am.
OFF! – “OFF!”
Because I don’t think it’s even legal to be a fan of the punk genre and not love this album. Because it’s occasionally even better than Keith’s material with Black Flag. Because it shows the kind of anger and maturity in song-writing that could only come from spending literally decades honing your craft.
Perfect Future – “Old Wounds: Warmth in the Winter of 1914-1915”
So I’m not sure if this is a punk record, or a post-hardcore record, or an emo record or what. I’m sure that it’s awesome as all hell, though. The dudes in this band are some of my favorite people, so I may be a bit biased when I say that if you’re sleeping on this album, you’re the world’s biggest dingus.
I’m pretty sure that’s accurate, though.
Propagandhi – “Failed States”
Holy shit, you guys, this album rules. There is not a thing I don’t love about this record. Every song is so perfectly well written, so emotional, and so blistering. There are not enough good words to say about this record. Honestly, I kind of wish this year had been just a little worse for new music so I could really give this record it deserves.
3. One Man Army – “She’s An Alarm” EP
Maybe I shouldn’t be putting an EP in the “Top 10 Albums”, but I’m making the statement right here and now that these four songs are collectively every bit as good, sometimes even better than, every album on this list. This is truly a special EP, and has quickly become one of my favorite EPs of all time.
2. Hot Water Music – “Exister”
When I bought “Caution”, my introduction to Hot Water Music, the band was already on hiatus. I soon fell head-over-heels in love with the group, quietly resigned to the fact that I’d may never see them live. Chuck’s solo career was doing well, as was Chris’, Jason was in Senses Fail, and George was drumming with Against Me!. I had no reason to hope.
But then reunite they did, and this is their first professionally recorded album since 2004. Does it live up to the band’s Epitaph releases? It really, really does. There are almost no signs of the group’s time apart, and while the songs occasionally show traces of the frontmen’s solo work, the aggression that made the band so legendary always comes back to the forefront.
1. The Menzingers – “On the Impossible Past”
This record is perfect. Utterly, completely perfect. How anyone can dislike this album is well beyond me, because I don’t think the necessary words to describe how I feel when I listen to “On the Impossible Past” are in my vocabulary.
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