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Best of 2011Best of 2011: Scott Heisel's picksScott Heisel's picks (2011)
Reviewer Rating: 5
Contributed by: JeloneScott
(others by this writer | submit your own)
Scott Heisel is a former news and reviews editor for Punknews.org and is the current Music Editor for Alternative Press. - ed.
Sainthood Reps: Monoculture
It's been thrilling to watch this Long Island band come into their own throughout the past year or two. They've discovered their inner Jesus Lizard (thanks in part to guitarist Derrick Sherman, who moonlights as a touring guitarist in Brand New), and their live show is nothing less than pummeling. In fact, their Fest 10 set at the Atlantic was probably the best 30 minutes of live music I've witnessed in 2011. And the record's good, too! (Honestly, I would've ranked this album higher on my list had the band not recently approached me and asked me to release this album on vinyl. I don't want to appear too biased.)
How is this band only on their first full-length? So much lyrical and musical maturity for such young kids. I think just about everyone sees big things in the future for these guys, but they're forgetting the present: This album rules.
Well, the Great Label Experiment Of 2011 didn't pan out all that well for Bayside; this album sold just about as many copies as their last one on Victory did, and the one thing Wind-Up Records actually does well--get their bands played on the radio--didn't happen. But hey, at least Anthony Raneri & Co. got to record with a bonafide legend in Gil Norton, and they also wrote the best guitar solo of the year in "It's Not A Bad Little War."
Considering how popular the screamo revival has gotten, is it safe to assume Saetia will do a reunion show sometime next year? If that happens and this band isn't the opening act, the world has failed.
Can we just elect this guy Prime Minister of punk already? Amazing songs, honest lyrics, wonderful showmanship--the total package. (I guess that would make him the Lex Luger of punk, too, no?)
One of the most infectious dance-pop albums of the year, and one that most people probably overlooked due to its self-released nature and the fact that the band (led by former Matches frontman Shawn Harris) have played, like, four shows in the U.S. due to co-frontman Jake Grigg living in Australia. Still, despite the thousands of miles between the two, they created one hell of a debut that sounds straight out of 1987 in the best possible way.
Old post-punks don't get old, they just get awesome. Kudos to J. Robbins for never losing the plot and delivering an impassioned debut with his new band. It's better than Channels, better than Burning Airlines and on par with Jawbox's best material.
Cloud Nothings: Cloud Nothings
Cloud Nothings' spiky, quick-paced indie pop-punk makes Wavves' spiky, quick-paced indie pop-punk feel like prog-rock. These songs--written by one-man band Dylan Baldi--are as infectious and repetitive as they come, digging into your head and camping out longer than your average Occupy Wall Street protestor.
First off: How on earth has this album not been reviewed on Punknews yet?!? Y'all are blowing it something fierce. Aficionado's self-titled debut takes all the best parts of Tim Kasher's recorded works (melodramatic vocals, aggressive guitar lines, unusual instrumentation, biting lyrics) and throws in a healthy chunk of Piebald's wit and candor to wind up with a powerhouse full-length that's as enthusiastic as it is memorable.
Childish Gambino: Camp
I don't claim to be anything but a novice when it comes to the world of hip-hop, but I love the ever-loving shit out of this record. Highly recommended.
I'm still awestruck at how this band not only beat the odds and actually released a good full- length after the endless hyping of their early material, but they really beat the odds and made a phenomenal punk record. The 15 or so seconds of the title track’s chorus are probably the best 15 or so seconds of punk rock in 2011.
Farewell Continental: ¡Hey, Hey Pioneers!
Paper + Plastick
Motion City Soundtrack frontman Justin Pierre's other band is more than just a self-indulgent side project; they're a full-fledged unit with a number of songwriters reliving some of the best musical parts of the '90s. This record is a nonstop freight train of catchy guitar-pop with slight shoegaze overtones that deserves permanent placement on your turntable.
"Can I still get into heaven if I kill myself? / Can I still get into heaven if I kill myself? / Can I ever be forgiven 'cause I killed that kid? / It was an accident I swear it wasn't meant for him! / And if I turn it on me, if I even it out, can I still get in or will they send me to hell? / Can I still get into heaven if I kill myself?"
Dear Columbia Records: Way to fuck up the best thing you had. Love, the rest of the music-loving world
Ever wanna get drunk reallllly fast? Put on a Foo Fighters live DVD and take a shot every time Dave Grohl says "C'MON!" or "HERE WE GO!" or “YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!" instead of finishing any given line of any given song. You'll be comatose well before the encore.
It's so good to see pop-punk do well with young kids and not have to resort to neon bullshit to do it. I love this band, but moreover, I love what this band stands for: real music, played loud, sloppily and with boundless energy.
If I ever won the lottery, I would pay Brian Fallon and Ian Perkins to sit in the backseat of my car and play these songs on repeat everywhere I go for the rest of my life. This record is that brilliant.
The epitome of class is going out on top. Thank you, Thrice. Thank you for everything, but especially this album.
Ernest Jenning / Really
The shit that you hate don't make you special. The shit that you hate don't make you special. The shit that you hate don't make you special. The shit that you hate don't make you special. The shit that you hate don't make you special. The shit that you hate don't make you special. The shit that you hate don't make you special. The shit that you hate don't make you special. The shit that you hate don't make you special. The shit that you hate don't make you special.
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