DS Staff Picks – Top 10 Albums of 2014 (Lauren Mills)

What’s up? My name’s Lauren and I have been lucky enough to write for DyngScene for four years. 2014 has been decent. I saw some killer punk shows and made a new friend. I put together my first compilation for charity. If you haven’t checked it out, please do. All proceeds go to the SPCA. Ryan of Off With Their Heads started his podcast Anxious & Angry and it rules. I also checked out a ton of music. Below are my top 10 favorite albums of 2014.

10 (b) The Downtown Struts – “Hope You’re Dope”

Downtown Struts – “Bipolar”

The quality I value the most in music is honesty. I love when musicians share an intimate part of their lives with audience members through their music. Take the case of Against Me’s album “Transgender Dysphoria Blues.” Although, I could not relate to the gender identity issues discussed in the songs themselves, I felt like I was brought into a new world and forced to look through someone else’s eyes. I learned about their experiences through a “heart on your sleeve” kind of album. It’s not easy to open yourself open to people. This is especially true in the internet age, where keyboard warriors are willing and ready to point out your every flaw and inconsistency. The willingness to be forthright about your personal struggles is something I greatly respect as it helps us better understand each other and aids people going through similar tribulations feel less alone.

This brings me to Downtown Struts’ EP “Hope You’re Dope” EP. As detailed here, the EP centers on their singer’s struggle with bipolar depression and suicidal thoughts. Each song chronicles a difficult period in his life. Along with tackling serious subjects, the music itself is an interesting step forward. It’s not a straight forward punk album. I feel like they really push the boundaries of what they’re used to. This is the first ever EP to make my top ten favorite albums list. It’s not an album. It’s definitely worth it to me to bend the rules here. This EP is special to me.

10. (a) Not Scientists – “Leave Stickers on Our Graves”

This is the second ever EP to land on an end of the year list for me and it’s for the same year. I don’t care. It’s my list and I will do what I want. Not Scientists are another one of my favorite newer punk bands in the scene. Their brand of jangly pop-punk is perfectly suited for me. I can’t WAIT for their upcoming album to be released next year!


9. No Problem – “We’re Already Dead”


Kids of the Black Hole will be stoked!

8. The Binz – “How to Freak Out Responsibly About the Rise of the Robots”

This album came from left field like a comet! My friend Russian Tim showed me them and now I’m totally into The Binz. They’re from Vancouver and destroy!


7. The Shell Corporation – “Mandrake”

The aspect that impresses me the most about The Shell Corporation is their ability to incorporate various influences to create dynamic records. Favorite track is definitely “Trust Us.”

6. The Rebel Spell – “Last Run”

Everything I’ve ever wanted to say about The Rebel Spell, Carson said better.

5. Sick of it All – “Last Act of Defiance”

Sick Of It All is favorite band in the whole world. I hate that these lists even have to include numbers. They’re one of the most consistently kick ass bands around. I was lucky enough to catch them with Negative Approach earlier this year. It was amazing. I don’t know how they always put out rad albums and kill it live. Yes, I’m gushing, but I’m right.

4. Lagwagon – “Hang”

Lagwagon – “Obsolete Absolute”

Lagwagon will always have a special place in my heart. It was through their album “Blaze” that I got introduced to punk rock, which has completely taken over my life in the best possible way. It’s great to know that the band that got me hooked is still around and still ripping!

3. PUP – “PUP”

Pup – “Dark Days”

I find new things to like about this album each time I listen to it. I love that it’s filled with cool riffs, but not in a metal way. It’s poppy, but not in a glossy, no guts sorts of way. It’s aggressive, but not hardcore. The album is hard to pin down. I LOVE every song on it. That is something I don’t say a lot. It’s a perfect album to me. Worth the hype.


2. Bracket – “Hold Your Applause”

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or have no interest in keeping track of the interests of a pseudo “punk” “journalist,”  you probably know that I love Bracket. Duh. They remain one of the coolest, most unique, awesome punk bands around. “Hold Your Applause” is GREAT.


1. PEARS – “Go To Prison”

Pears are one of the best new hardcore/punk bands around.  Go see them live! I can’t explain how much I love this record so I’ll be lazy and direct you here. That sums it up.


Add PEARS to My Radar   Add to My Radar

One Comment

  1. bob9746
    bob974612/11/2014 9:10 AM | Permalink

    Nice pic with the most friendly guy in the entire punk rock world M.Lou Koller got the chance to itw him when the band was on fat…whatever great list LW SOIA for sure and The shell corporation …but i need to listen to PUP and PEARS not very familiar to me

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