DS Staff Picks – Top 10 Albums of 2015 (Lauren Mills)

2015 was an interesting year. I went bonkers due to unemployment and going stir-crazy. Despite that it was best year of my life because I got to attend my first FEST. I met some of my dear friends and heroes for the first time in person. I had never been happier in my life. I was looked after like their sister. For those times, I owe them everything. Thank you to everyone who gave to the GoFundMe campaign and made it a wonderful experience. I could write a book about it. I cried tears of happiness. I love Jared, Johnny, Jan, Mike, Blake, Guli, Billy, Tom, Chris, Forrest, Tim and everyone who embraced me.

America and the world in general were plagued with mass shootings, bigotry, extremism, terrorism and insanity. It’s always been this way but this year, it really broke my spirit and left me in shambles. My seemingly never-ending battle with debilitating depression and anxiety continued. Thank you for your kind words and support. When appointment and extra efforts seem fruitless, I know I have you all and it makes it all worthwhile.

Other highlights included getting a letter from my hero, Sam Esmail, creator of my favorite television series, Mr. Robot. My jaw dropped and my heart was filled with joy. Remember that a little kindness goes a long way. Music sort of took a backseat to my excitement of hugging and meeting my pals. I did feel a connection with some records though. Maybe you’ll find some gems on this list. Also, be sure to pick up my latest compilation “Hope.” All proceeds from the name your price download go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Check out my top ten favorite albums of 2015 below

10. Not Scientists – “Destroy To Rebuild”

I am an avid fan of the French punk group, Uncommon Men From Mars, so you can imagine my excitement for their new band, Not Scientists. After years of following them and adoring their music, I finally got to see Not Scientists perform at Fest. My Mom even went to see them with me. It was her punk show and I was so proud of her. I knew Not Scientists were a great band, but they blew me away live. Seriously, do yourself a favor, go buy their records and see them live. They’re amazing. I feel like Destroy To Rebuild’s lo-fi recording doesn’t do them justice. They’re great pop-punk/power-pop tunes that I hold dear. Not Scientists is the next band I hope with every fiber of my being gets huge because nobody knows of them and they sure as hell deserve love. Give the record a listen and purchase it here.

9. The Penske File – “Burn Into The Earth”

The Penske File’s new album lifts my spirit when I need it. It’s great the whole way through. Snatch it HERE.

8. Youth Decay – “The Party’s Over”

I love Youth Decay. You may be aware they’re somewhat of a super group featuring members of Living With Lions, Daggermouth, Comeback Kid and more. This album embodies every element I enjoy about punk rock. Fast beats, aggression, strong melodies and singalongs. It’s a melting pot of pop-punk, hardcore and skate punk. There are surprises around every corner. The way everything is tied to together is beautiful. I’ve always missed Daggermouth dearly and this fills the gap for me. You can grab the record HERE.

7. Poor Me – “Cosplay”

Denver’s punk outfit Poor Me has something special. On their debut full-length, they came into their own. I’m sure this record will be overlooked because it was released in the month of December. They’re one of the most exciting young punk bands right now. Buy it HERE.

6. Spraynard – “Mable”

I often spend a lot of days alone in my room, terrified of the future and the state of the world. This Spraynard album serves as my companion during those times and makes me feel less alone. Secure your copy HERE.

5. Break Anchor – “Van Down By The River”

Heartfelt punk rock! That’s all there is to say. Purchase a copy HERE.

4. Sic Waiting – “Derailer”

I know they’re my dear friends so that influences my opinion, but I can wholeheartedly say that “Anchors Astray” and “Derailer” by Sic Waiting are honestly two of my favorite records ever. They’re fresh and in my opinion, some of the best skate punk albums in the whole genre. The musicianship, song-writing and consistency of the albums throughout is tight. I often think to myself that bands I enjoy should be bigger than they are, but it genuinely frustrates me and boggles my mind that they aren’t as big as the likes of Strung Out, A Wilhelm Scream, Millencolin etc. They are just so good and such amazing people. They should be way more popular and loved. I firmly believe that and will do everything I can to make it so. Secure your copy of the album HERE.

3. Motion City Soundtrack – “Panic Stations”

I’ve been a fan of Motion City Soundtrack for a long time. I love all of their records. Some more than others, but they’re an extremely important band to me. I love to pine through their introspective lyrics. The pop hooks are killer and grab my attention. Despite not knowing Justin Courtney Pierre personally, I think of us a kindred spirits. There is a common theme of searching for happiness and trying to find relief from existential fears and the chaos of your own mind. In my opinion, Panic Stations is their strongest album. So it sitting at number four is actually weird. Ignore the numbers of this list. You can pick up a copy of this masterpiece HERE.

2. Dwayne – “Dwayne”

It’s no secret that I love The Gamits, so of course I love Chris Fogal’s side-project, Dwayne  Great diverse pop-punk. Buy it here.

1. Titus Andronicus – “The Most Lamentable Tragedy”

I have to admit, prior to this record, I had never heard Titus Andronicus. Going into the record, I had all sorts of assumptions. I assumed they were a hipster band. Pretentious, folk-punk bullshit. On its surface, I was prepared to dislike it. It’s a rock opera that is 29 tracks long. I discovered the record because Marc Maron interviewed their singer on his podcast, WTF. I’m a die-hard Maron fan. I envy his wonderful interviewing skills. I throw on his podcast on in order to get zine writing done. Without Maron’s intimate tales, I’d never be able to accomplish a damn thing. So if Marc likes it, I’ll check it out. I’m glad I did. As I listened to the album, I was blow away by it’s personal subject matter. You’d think an album that long would drag, but it flew by. I love every piece of it. It resonated a lot with me due to my struggles with mental illness. I can’t listen to this album enough. I never thought I’d agree with Pitchfork. This is a phenomenal album. Shoot me. You can buy it HERE.

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