Best of 2012 - Punknews.org's picks (Cover Artwork)

Best of 2012

Best of 2012: Punknews.org's picksPunknews.org's picks (2012)
staff picks

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:

Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Here's the Deal

Punknews.org remains, as always, staffed by volunteers. We write, edit and bring the mosh on our own time ‚??n' dime. There is no such thing as a full time staff, nor is there a guided mandate for how editorial content turns out. In other words, we don't all agree on the same bands (except for Hot Water Music, who is in fact our spirit animal), and nobody tells us to tell you otherwise. As far as reviews go, Joe Pelone literally made the schedule up last minute all year-long. If something wasn't covered, it wasn't because of politics or money; it's because nobody thought to write about it.

Basically, we can't believe how seriously ya'll take us, but then again, nobody is as serious as the punx.

Regarding Number Magic

This overall list is determined by your good friend, math. In late November members of the Punknews.org editorial, review and interviewer staff, along with Org alumnus Brian Shultz, were asked to submit a ranked top 20 list of LPs and a separate list of EPs. These lists were submitted in isolation and each person's list was kept private from the rest of the staff. While a majority of the people involved in Punknews.org submitted lists, several missed the deadline or otherwise chose to abstain, and as such their opinions may not be reflected here. The individual lists were weighted so that we could tally up the results. For example, a person's #1 pick was worth 20 points, #2 was 19 points, and so on down to #20 being worth 1 point. The summation of those rankings determined the list you see below. No additional weighting was given to how many times a record appeared on those lists, except in the instance of ties. Over 150 full-lengths were voted on; these 20 are the closest we came to an agreement.

While we believe you'll find a nice cross-section of the tastes of the Punknews editors and reviewers here, the real meat of our yearly retrospective can be found in the individual lists. Make sure to check them out, as there are quite a few this year. Also, don't forget about YOUR list, the top 20 releases of the year as voted by the Punknews community. That list should be posted following this one. Feel free to leave observations and conspiracy theories in the comments section below.

Punknews.org Staff's Top Five EPs of 2012


One Man Army: She's an Alarm [7-inch]


I've missed Jack Dalrymple's voice so much. This nifty little EP sounds far more like a follow-up to Little Brother than anything Dead To Me has done since then. I want more, as soon as possible. Tori Pederson


Masked Intruder: First Offense [7-inch]

Hang Up Records / Red Scare

I'm a bigger fan of this than the full-length. Even the songs which were re-recorded for the latter sound better to me here. While I get that the ‚??50s pop sweetness is part of the band's shtick, it's more balanced here. Adam White


Desaparecidos: MariKKKopa [7-inch]


Look, I'm just glad they're back, OK? That they would take on Arizona's immigration issues (something near and dear to me), and do it with one of the best songs in their admittedly brief canon just makes the reunion that much better. I forgot how awesome Conor Oberst is when he's politically pissed off. Joe Pelone


Candy Hearts: The Best Ways to Disappear

Bridge Nine Records / Violently Happy Records

Candy Hearts becomes the first act on Violently Happy Records, and knocks it out of the park with their debut EP for the label. Everything sounds great, especially the layered vocals from Mariel, and the songwriting is top-notch. If you're gonna be heartbroken, you've got one hell of a soundtrack here. John Flynn


Restorations: A/B

Tiny Engines

Restorations just keep getting better and better. Their self-titled album for Tiny Engines was utterly captivating, and this new EP shows the band continuing to grow and engage. If this doesn't get you stoked for their new full-length, your ears may be broken.John Flynn

Punknews.org Staff's Top Twenty Albums of 2012


Loma Prieta: IV

Deathwish Inc.

Hands down, my favorite record of the year. I still feel like this band is heavily underrated but if they are anywhere near you, do not miss the chance to see them. Flawless live, they are so explosive and bring a new light to post-hardcore.Amelia Cline


Bouncing Souls: Comet

Rise Records

Of all the sick ink I have, 40% of my tattoos are Bouncing Souls-related. Real talk. I never miss a chance to see them live and as goofy and sometimes cheesy as they can be, I find pretty much everything they do endearing. And although I'm not sure any album will ever touch the greatness that is How I Spent My Summer Vacation or Hopeless Romantic any new release they do I fully support. Kira Wisniewski


Basement: Colourmeinkindness

Run For Cover

"Covet" and "Wish" fucking rock. There's great rage, distortion, rhythm and melody in this album and it's soundly diverse. This is a stroke of genius. The raw, unfiltered honesty of Andrew Fisher comes full-circle with his drawn-out and captivating vocal delivery that we'll miss heavily. It has something for all fans of various rock genres and they sign out guns blazing. If you go out, go out in a blaze of glory...well, so said...so done. I couldn't ask for anything more from them. They exited by giving us their best musical arrangement, so here's hoping they reunite sometime soon. Renaldo Matadeen


The Casket Lottery: Real Fear

November 6 on No Sleep Records

This year alone there've been quite a few reunion records emerging from the "scene" I've followed most closely for the last decade or so. While a few are conspicuously missing from this wrap-up, none have been particularly bad; however, the Casket Lottery are the only band that somehow woke from their slumber musically and lyrically peaking. Real Fear is the best thing this Kansas City, Mo. trio (now a quintet) have conceived. Far more expansive and more haunting than the already emotionally damaged content of their last opus (2002's aptly titled Survival Is for Cowards), Real Fear took a risk by adding keyboards to the mix, but it merely enriches and illuminates the atmosphere, while the band stylistically touch upon a wider timeline of styles, from grunge to early new wave and '90s emo/alternative, operated at a punk-minded tilt and perfectly complemented by pedals and disconsolate uncertainty. It's aggressive, dynamic, ambitious and rewrites the odds for what a group of musicians can accomplish after considerable time away from each other. Brian Shultz


P.O.S.: We Don't Even Live Here

Rhyme Sayers

If I had to describe this record in a single phrase it'd be "Occupy Hip-Hop." A much more focused album than Never Better, We Don't Even Live Here sees P.O.S articulate the righteous fury that can often seem like the default position for thinking people of our generation. This is a record about a generation which has been failed by the institutions our parents paid into, by the governments we trusted to back us up in tough times, and our peers, many of whom seem more interested in conspicuous branding than equality of opportunity.

Basically, it's an unapologetically pissed off record, and although there's a lot of humor here too, it's got an edge to it. In terms of overarching themes, there are a lot of similarities with ill Manors, but P.O.S. forgoes the concept album route in favor of a collection of individual tracks that, while they sit well together, are works in their own right. Likewise, where Plan B follows an individual character through, the closest P.O.S gets to this is dropping into the first person plural. As such, it's a much less grueling work, and this allows much more comfortable listening, which in turn allows the lyrical content to get under the skin in a much more intense and insidious fashion. Andrew Waterfield




Oh, you think your band rocks? Keith Morris is better. Oh, you think your band has clever lyrics? Keith Morris is better. Oh, you think your band has explosive sound recordings? Keith Morris is better. Oh, you think your band tears it up on stage? Keith Morris is better. Oh, you think your band has cool dreadlocks? Keith Morris is better. No one beats Keith Morris at punk. No one. Long live the King. John Gentile


Titus Andronicus: Local Business

XL Recordings

Being from New Jersey originally myself I can relate to some of the self-loathing documented on this album and in Titus Andronicus' other LPs. I mean, the state is sandwiched between two of the country's largest cities and is the butt of every joke nowadays it seems. Frontman Patrick Stickles' line in "In a Big City" sums up the Jersey mentality: "I'm a dirty bum / But I wipe my own ass." Andrew Clark


Teenage Bottlerocket: Freak Out!

Fat Wreck Chords

Every time I think I'm done with pop-punk, I realize that pop-punk isn't done with me. Do you people realize that Teenage Bottlerocket might yet best the Ramones' discography? This is dawning of a new era shit right here. Joe Pelone


mewithoutYou: Ten Stories

Pine Street Records.

I've missed this band. "Fox's Dream of the Log Flume" completely blew me away upon first listen and gave me a feeling I haven't felt since the first time I heard Brother, Sister back in 2006. It's sprawling, it's epic, the spoken/shouted lyrics come so fast it takes a lyric sheet to fully appreciate the gravity of Aaron Weiss' words. On the other side of the coin, "Cardiff Giant" has a huge, immediately singable chorus that REFUSES to quit. Ten Stories is a consistently great, stylistically diverse album that ranks among the group's best. Tori Pederson


White Lung: Sorry

Deranged Records

The days of supernova female-fronted punk bands never really ended, they just sort of ebbed and flowed as the scene evolved. Is Mish Way this generation's Kathleen Hanna? Her sharply revealing lyrics tackle warped beauty standards, drugs and bad decisions in a way that hasn't been this awesomely brazen in a long, long time. It certainly doesn't hurt that the band behind her follow suit, particularly guitarist Kenneth Williams, whose jagged riffs are never recycled, twisting and turning to fit the mood and delivery of Way's lyrics and vocals. Bryne Yancey


Masked Intruder: Masked Intruder

Red Scare

I am a sucker for catchy pop-punk and Masked Intruder stole my heart with their self-titled debut. I love the harmonizing vocals, woah-ohs, chants and hand claps. The lovesick criminal schtick is adorable and hilarious with lines like "Every single day is lonelier than the last / Cried so many tears that I had to wring out my mask." One minute they're trying to unsuccessfully serenade the object of their affection ("Heart Shaped Guitar") and the next they're making a living off their criminal ways by robbing people at knife-point ("Stick 'Em Up"). It must be hard to find love when you're a criminal but at least a good song or 13 can come of it. Brittany Strummer


Hot Water Music: Exister

Rise Records

Everything I could have hoped for and more from one of my favorite bands of all time. There's not much I can say about HWM that hasn't been said before; if you like HWM you probably own this record. If you don't like HWM, your loss. Chris Moran


Torche: Harmonicraft


Torche have never been louder, sludgier or catchier than on Harmonicraft. Their songwriting has improved, their musicianship is as impressive as ever, and as one of the last bastions of heavy music that's fun but not dumb, they're a formidable representative. Listen to "Reverse Inverted" and try not to bang your head. You can't. Bryne Yancey


Baroness: Yellow & Green


I completely fell in love with Yellow & Green on first listen. It's rare that a band can completely reinvent themselves without even a trace of awkwardness in the transition. Every experiment here, and there are a lot of them, works on every level. There are remnants of the group's sludge metal past apparent, but for the most part they are replaced with the three "posts;" post-punk flourishes, angular post-hardcore riffs and soothing instrumental post-rock passages. However, upon hearing the news of their near-tragic bus crash, and knowing that this will be the last music we're getting from Baroness for a long time, possibly ever, many of these songs took on a new poignancy. Yellow & Green is a masterwork, one of the best rock records in years, and probably for years to come. Tori Pederson


Ceremony: Zoo

March 6 on Matador Records

Ceremony's most complete and engaging album since their aptly titled, polar-opposite-of-this-kind-of-punk debut, Violence Violence, Zoo is a surfy post-punk record in the most literal and figurative senses, finding the band sneering and slurring their way through cuts that unexpectedly crib notes from acts like Dead Kennedys and Gang of Four. Brian Shultz


Title Fight: Floral Green

SideOneDummy Records

They've never prided themselves on being the traditional punk rock band, but despite their unconventionalism, they've given some of the best music of the past few years. I didn't think Shed could be topped, but this album blows it away. Displacing its predecessor was no easy feat, and it seems Title Fight keeps finding the ingredients to deliver amazing music. Carry on gentlemen. Renaldo Matadeen


Japandroids: Celebration Rock


Pardon my language, but this album is fucking flawless. From start to finish, what you have here are eight perfect tracks. It makes me want to pump my fist in the air, dance real hard and yell every lyric while in my living room, my car and with best friends in a million degree venue in Washington, D.C. the night after the Derecho hit and left us without electricity. With sweat pouring out of every pore in a sold out crowd, yes, I want to walk on heads singing along to "The House that Heaven Built." Kira Wisniewski


Classics of Love: Classics of Love

Asian Man

Jesse Michaels and Hard Girls doing hardcore punk. Oh, you didn't catch that? Here, let me say it again. Jesse Michaels and Hard Girls doing hardcore punk. You still didn't catch that? I know, I know, the pure awesomeness IS hard to perceive. JESSE MICHAELS AND HARD GIRLS DOING HARCORE PUNK. The sheer lyrical genius of Michaels backed by the uncompromising viciousness of Hard Girls combines like a sledgehammer to the head. No band has ever combined deep musings with berserk energy like this before. Also, there is a little bit of ska. John Gentile


The Gaslight Anthem: Handwritten


The jump to a major label and a legendary producer had no negative impact on the best record of the year. The title track alone makes this album worth the purchase, and the rest is far from filler. Chris Moran


The Menzingers: On the Impossible Past

Epitaph Records

More than any other band today, the Menzingers feel less like performers or artist and more like peers to me. I'm not certain why, perhaps it's just the artificial intimacy created by the Internet. Perhaps it's that this hooky yet melancholy set of melodic punk has been influenced and borrows from by pretty much everything I've come to love in music. In any case, this is the record that, more than any, I'm coming back to this year. I just want to shout along with these songs live, over and over. Adam White


People who liked this also liked:
Hot Water Music - ExisterThe Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsThe Gaslight Anthem - HandwrittenThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Against Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseThe Menzingers - A Lesson in the Abuse of Information TechnologyThe Menzingers - On the Impossible PastNOFX - Punk In DrublicNOFX - The DeclineRefused - The Shape of Punk to Come

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
jpaulcrosby (February 6, 2013)

I think the grievance against Propagandhi not being on the list is legitimate. True, it wasn't as good as Supporting Caste (Which was a once in a career, amazing album). But songs like Devil's Creek and Note to Self are among the very best Propagandhi songs I have ever heard.

elephantdwarf (January 16, 2013)

1. The Menzingers - On The Impossible Past
2. Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind
3. Mount Eerie - Ocean Roar
4. Gaza - No Absolutes in Human Suffering
5. Baroness - Yellow & Green
6. John K. Samson - Provincial
7. forgetters - forgetters
8. Burning Love - Rotten Thing to Say
9. Torche - Harmonicraft
10. Elder - Spires Burn
11. Enabler - All Hail the Void
12. Mrs. Magician - Strange Heaven
13. Code Orange Kids - Love is Love // Return to Dust
14. High on Fire - De Vermis Mysteriis
15. Om - Advaitic Songs
16. Title Fight - Floral Green
17. Why? - Mumps, Etc.
18. Apologies, I Have None - London
19. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Allelujah! Don‚??t Bend! Ascend!
20. Neurosis - Honor Found in Decay
21. Old Man Gloom - NO
22. 16 - Deep Cuts from Dark Clouds
23. Pig Destroyer - Book Burner
24. Planks - Funeral Mouth
25. Necro Deathmort - The Colonial Script
26. Everyone Everywhere - Everyone Everywhere
27. Sun Kil Moon - Among the Leaves
28. The Tallest Man On Earth - There's No Leaving Now
29. Sharks - No Gods
30. Kowloon Walled City - Container Ships

irish_punk_is_gimmickry (January 3, 2013)

this list makes a lot more sense when you see the ad for 'designer brand home goods' to the right of it......................................

exitflagger (January 2, 2013)

I would love to make your butt hurt, girlie.

onegirlarmy (January 2, 2013)

I love end of the year lists and watching everyone get so butthurt over the staff picks. You guys must not have any serious problems in your life if all you get so angry over is the fact that your favorite album of 2012 didn't make the list of this website.

Might I suggest go outside for a bit?

Btw, as I said before, the Propagandhi record should not be on a list simply because "it's Propagandhi". You can all say what you will but Supporting Caste was far superior. Failed States had some good songs but didn't have the mind-blowing, genius quality of Supporting Caste. Does this make me like Propagandhi less? Nope. Their record didn't make my top 10 here either. Not losing sleep over it either.

levidolphin (January 2, 2013)

1Propagandhi- Failed States
2the Sidekicks- Awkward Breeds


as for the rest:

3ELP 4Hostage Calm 5Brendan Kelly 6HWM 7Teenage Bottlerocket 8Future of the Left 9 Toys that Kill 10Dopamine‚??s 11Snuff 12Classics of Love 13The Treasure Fleet- (Cocamotion and Future Ways) 14Apologies I Have None 15the Holy mess 16Morning Glory 17NOFX 18Masked Intruder 19the Menzingers 20Killer Mike or POS or Aesop Rock- lots of good hip hop this yr 21 No Trigger 23Matt Pryor or Jeff Rosenstock or John K Sampson 24Bouncing Souls 25Luther

Best EP's 1Joyce Manor 2Spraynard 3One Man Army 4Chemical Ache 5Cobra skulls
Also Millencolin put out a really good bsides record

exitflagger (January 1, 2013)


sciulli (December 31, 2012)

no Joyce?

could have sworn that was on around 75% of the individual lists.

anyways.... I didn't even know who the Menzingers were before this summer but I'm in love with Impossible Past now. Thumbs up for the One Man Army EP getting on the list and they better release an LP next year.

exitflagger (December 31, 2012)

The last time I ordered something from Red Scare, I found some pubes stuck to my invoice.

teaessare (December 31, 2012)

I'd like to repeat everything RedScare said

exitflagger (December 31, 2012)


1. Hey Hey Spaceman
2. Captain`s Dead - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6fhnHu6d6I
3. Lips of Steel
4. A Visit to the Creep Doctor - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vLzlpKFcMo
5. Sometimes I Cry
6. Old Battery
7. The Drinking Jim Crow
8. Pendulum - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cImvoCL_Sbs
9. The Hard Way
10. Navigating Flood Regions - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t28h2tpTHfE


1. Maggie Turns to Flies
2. Flat Beauty - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfpqmqdrAFM
3. Release the Sunbird
4. Girl Called Captain
5. Make Use - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Su3Bv11SQI
6. Subspace Biographies
7. Wrinkled Ghost
8. We All Got Out of the Army
9. Blessed in an Open Head
10. Stiff Me
11. The Numbered Head
12. Dancing Girls and Dancing Men - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAJt7f54OWY
13. Symbols and Heads
14. I Surround You Naked
15. The Right Thing - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LkJ_PXey3E

exitflagger (December 31, 2012)


1. Ha Ha Man (Long Version)
2. Top Chick Silver Chord
3. Hey Aardvark - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_AIfBGCYwU
4. Trader Vic
5. Delayed Reaction Brats
6. Taco, Buffalo, Birddog and Jesus
7. I Am Decided - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZ86QzAyN7I
8. Home by Ten
9. Jabberstroker
10. Harboring Exiles
11. Glow Boy Butlers
12. Bunco Men
13. Matter Eater Lad
14. Tricyclic Looper
15. Dusty Bushworms
16. Perch Warble (Suitcase 2 Version) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AW01zf6hhNI
17. Janet Wait
18. Optional Bases Opposed
19. Dropping the Bomb
20. Planet`s Own Brand
21. 100 Colors
22. 158 Years of Beautiful Sex - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbeled7vITw
23. Cocaine Jane
24. Let`s Go Vike
25. Sensational Gravity Boy - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrhuR4qJTTA

vocalyouth (December 31, 2012)

I still can't get over how many completely "blah" albums from established artists are on this list while legitimately really good albums got passed over. Serious question: is anyone on earth gonna care about "Exister", "Comet", "Freakout!", "Ten Stories", or "Zoo" a year or two from now? Handwritten is a real snoozer, too (but maybe I'm alone in feeling that way).

A list of really great records that came out in 2012 that are inexplicably nowhere near this list that I'll likely be spinning for a very long time:
The Sidekicks - Awkward Breeds
Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory
Swearin' - S/T
Cheap Girls - Giant Orange
Joyce Manor - Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired
Screaming Females - Ugly
John K. Samson - Provincial
Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind

I can also think of a bunch of other bands that put out releases this year that I'd easily take over half of this list: Glocca Morra, Dikembe, Code Orange Kids, DADS, Hop Along, The Mountain Goats, No Trigger, Propagandhi, etc. etc. etc.

I appreciate the work the people do on this site, and I'm not normally a complainer about stuff like this, but I'm honestly still shocked by how many great records apparently flew completely under the radar here this year.

exitflagger (December 31, 2012)


1. Jane of the Waking Universe
2. Little Lines - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nj-tj_MS-vE
3. Not Behind the Fighter Jet
4. Things I Will Keep
5. Wormhole
6. Surgical Focus - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvxXHdicSqs
7. The Best of Jill Hives
8. Everywhere with Helicopter
9. Cheyenne
10. Useless Inventions
11. Fair Touching - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65_gdbEDPv0
12. Twilight Campfighter
13. Unspirited
14. Glad Girls
15. Privately
16. Everybody Thinks I`m a Raincloud
17. Gonna Never Have to Die - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9YT-nQ6iJI
18. Huffman Prairie Flying Field
19. Chasing Heather Crazy
20. Perfect This Time
21. Chocolate Boy
22. All of This Will Go
23. Class Clown Spots a UFO
24. Everywhere Is Miles from Everywhere
25. She Lives in an Airport - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVcYBopf3BU

exitflagger (December 31, 2012)

A new year means new Guided by Voices lists. This first one is quite pared-down (only 100 songs!) and meant as a primer for those of you who are unfamiliar with the band`s discography. It is meant to familiarize you to the band`s four primary song types: the classic lo-fi songs (everything written between 1992-1996, basically), the hi-fi songs (from 1997 until today), the rarities (songs found on their most obscure releases), and the early songs (everything before 1992). Since there are less essential tracks in that fourth category, I have also supplied you with 15 essential Bob Pollard solo tracks to complete the list.

I am leaving out a ton of great songs here, but I do feel that this list still provides a thorough introduction to Guided by Voices` greatness:


1. Over the Neptune/Mesh Gear Fox
2. Unleashed! The Large-Hearted Boy - http://www.noidearecords.com/labels/dongiovanni.php
3. Quality of Armor
4. Exit Flagger
5. On the Tundra - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j22fnL-56uQ
6. Jar of Cardinals
7. Non-Absorbing
8. Tractor Rape Chain
9. The Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory
10. Smothered in Hugs
11. Echos Myron - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QetZC5TIISI
12. Gold Star for Robot Boy
13. I Am a Scientist
14. Shocker in Gloomtown
15. Watch Me Jumpstart - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QetZC5TIISI
16. Game of Pricks
17. Motor Away - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9J-V6AGuA2k
18. My Valuable Hunting Knife
19. Blimps Go 90
20. A Salty Salute
21. Man Called Aerodynamics - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PFlJ0hapXM
22. The Official Ironman Rally Song
23. Don`t Stop Now
24. Drag Days
25. Redmen and Their Wives - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__q87LmkD8Y

exitflagger (December 31, 2012)


thepasswordistaco (December 30, 2012)

I'm just glad we've finally gotten this menzingers jerk off festival over with and am looking forward to hearing about albums that aren't self indulgent snoozers next year.

Also, smith street band, hop along, chotto ghetto, dikembe, you blew it, and new bruises put out records better than half the things on this list.

PunkerFrank (December 30, 2012)

I love your site but seriously, no Propagandhi?. I'm trying to understand and stay polite (both are hard here!) but do you guys live in a rainbow or some shit?

ThomasCarty (December 30, 2012)

Surprised Anti-Flag's "The General Strike" isn't on here. Feels like that was a 2011 record, coming out so early in 2012 (and being leaked in December '11, I guess), but absolutely deserves more credit.

However, The Zingers deserve their place on this 100%, as do Gaslight. Cheap Girls' "Giant Orange" should be here too.

mcfly (December 30, 2012)

Please don't use math anymore.

exitflagger (December 30, 2012)


"Fallo n has begun to use those same influences toward more personal ends: Rather than define himself as part of a group, he has been defining himself against the world, portraying himself-- and the characters in whose voices he often writes and sings-- as defiantly, proudly, grumpily out of time. You text, but he writes longhand. You put your iPod on shuffle, but he spins 45s (and "45" is actually the title of the new album's lead-off track)."

"Fallon seems to be growing more self-righteous about it, the punk as curmudgeon. Worse, on Handwritten he sounds content to let some of his references do the heavy lifting, whether it's Ginsberg ("Howl") or Van Morrison (the grave sha-la-las on "Here Comes My Man"). If in the past he managed to transform similar icons into a communal mythology, here it too often sounds like regurgitation, as though the reference were an end in itself."

moop (December 30, 2012)

hahaha Handwritten sucks.. no filler? 80% of it is oh sha lala lame

exitflagger (December 30, 2012)

No, I am correct. Everything I have to say about bands is objective and factual.

Cleavesworth (December 30, 2012)

"Nope. Every Propagandhi song essentially sounds the same. They are a well-bred, one-trick pony."

This statement is so foolish that it automatically voids anything else you will ever say about music.

exitflagger (December 29, 2012)

Nope. Every Propagandhi song essentially sounds the same. They are a well-bred, one-trick pony. If you want a Canadian band that shreds AND is capable of being diverse, check out Nomeansno.

jenningstheanesthetist (December 29, 2012)

Forgetters - S/T
Future Of The Left - Plot Against Common Sense
Classics of Love - S/T
Hot Water Music - Exister
Mountain Goats - Transcendental Youth
Propagandhi - Failed States
Fang Island - Major
Menzingers - On The Impossible Past
Screaming Females - Ugly
Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind

Bam. There's your top 10.

Misinterpreter (December 29, 2012)

"Propagandhi is just a smarter, but less-catchy version of Pennywise. They have been putting out the same album since Potemkin City Limits."

What a fucking stupid thing to say. Supporting Caste and Failed States are noticeably dissimilar, and there is lots of variation to be found on both records.

SloaneDaley (December 29, 2012)

@Chris, well yeah

Say Anything's most recent LP >>Handwritten

Say Anything attempted to create a modern pop record that bridged all their previous efforts together and they accomplished that.

The Gaslight Anthem set out (according to them) to creat a big rocking album that pleased their Sink or Swim fans. What they created was a tepid pop rocker that is derivative of early 90s alt-rock that was already derivative of The Replacements, Pearl Jam and White guy blues rock, all done with "whoas" in place of any memorable hooks.

You may prefer the latter to the former and that is up to one's own prerogative.

Say Anything accomplished their goals, Gaslight did not. Say Anything has more place on an end of year list, overall I think Gaslight has a stronger catalog but this isn't a "list of bands whose entire recorded output is really good when taken as a whole."

@the Sidekick deep elm comparison.

You have the genre, label and era all off. Perhaps it garners similar lukewarm feelings with you but direct comparison is impossible. From a writing standpoint the level of detail and attention the Sidekicks put forth is unmatched by most pop bands, that is interesting. Melodrama perhaps but cliche tends to lend itself to that and Sidekicks rarely ever resort to that in their lyrics.

I have reasons for things, it is nice.

exitflagger (December 29, 2012)

I just listened to two Sidekicks tracks on Youtube ("Incandescent Days" and "1940s Fighter Jet"), and found them both laughably mediocre and melodramatic. They sound exactly like that emo-pop crap Deep Elm used to release in droves back in the late 90s.

dirtydacoitdan (December 29, 2012)

sorry, can't take this list seriously without sidekicks lp on it.

flowerfeeder (December 29, 2012)

Insanely amazing albums and EPs that didn't make this list:

No Trigger - Tycoon

Astpai - Efforts and Means

Backmasker - Effigies

Bob Mould - Silver Age

Campaign - Black Album

The Downtown Struts - Victoria! (how did this not make the list?! seriously? this record is a masterpiece!)

Forgetters - Forgetters

The Jealous Sound - A Gentle Reminder

Mission of Burma - Unsound (not their best work, but it's Mission of Burma for Christ's sake!)

Placeholder - Thought I Would Have Been Somebody By Now

Sharks - No Gods

The Stereo State - Crossing Canyons (OMG so good. Samiam fans download this asap.)

We Are Wires - The Arsonist (shameless self promotion :) )

exitflagger (December 29, 2012)

Propagandhi is just a smarter, but less-catchy version of Pennywise. They have been putting out the same album since Potemkin City Limits.

iwantyourskulls (December 29, 2012)

I didn't like that Menzingers album. It actually made me not like their first 2 albums as much. Just really boring and mediocre, in my opinion.

martinnz09 (December 29, 2012)

How can there be no Propagandhi or No trigger?!!

sickboi (December 29, 2012)

I think Sloane is just bummed that Say Anything didn't make the list...

SloaneDaley (December 28, 2012)

don't have the math on this but:

Because the top 20 is based on what records appeared most over everyone's list the things that are most likely to appear on the most individual lists are likely going to be the records by more popular or easily accessible bands so people of many individual tastes can jam to it.These aren't really a list compiled from some sort of consensus. I don't think a consensus is possible, I for one only share two releases in common with this overall list.
So yes most of this music isn't anywhere near great, let alone the best, especially Gaslight (I mean seriously how do you write a pop rock album and not have any hooks in it? Not to mention the lyrics peee yew). But there is no way to get that type of list from a group of individuals.

xherojuanax (December 28, 2012)

@nate81 Half of your top ten list is in this top twenty. What more do you want?

blackpowerballad (December 28, 2012)

No Sidekicks? No Propagandhi? No Forgetters? What the fuck?

gutless (December 28, 2012)

why would anyone want to be summed up by the lyric 'im a dirty bum/but i wipe my own ass.'?

nate81 (December 28, 2012)

Ok punknews.org. I think you did a pretty good job last year, but this years list is pretty shitty. And yes I'm so full of myself that I think people actually care what my top ten list is. Here's the list you should of done. You can argue the order, but I think all of these of worthy of top ten.

10. Luther " Lets Get You Somewhere Else" classic catchy well written album.
9. Title Fight " Floral Green" - see Thrice's Illusion of Safety
8. Titus Andronicus " Local Business" so much better than their critically acclaimed album "The Monitor" where the said "the enemy is everywhere" a million times.
7. The Snips " Highs of Lows" - Flatliner's Calvacade part two
6. Teenage Bottle Rocket " Freakout!" - anyone who puts Masked Intruder over this album is just stupid.
5. The Menzingers "On the Impossible Past"- still no Chamberlain Waits, hoping this album is like Face to Face's Ignorance is Bliss for the Menzingers, I'll appreciate it more later, but it will be their only departure from punk rock.
4.The Holy Mess " Cande Ru Las Degas" the style of music I wish the Menzingers were doing.
3. The Gaslight Anthem "Handwritten" still not my fav Gaslight Anthem album. But lived up to the hype nevertheless.
2. Cheap Girls " Giant Orange" - probably the most careless, catchy, effortlessly brilliant album.
1. The Sidekicks "Awkward Breeds" not having this anywhere in punknews's list is embarrassing. One of the few albums that's great from first listen , to your 1000th listen. Complete gems from start to finish. I don't get it punknews, did The Sidekicks run over your dog or something?

Honorable Mentions-
Japandroids " Celebration Rock" - 3 phenomenal songs doesn't make a great album, or at least not top ten.
Sharks " No Gods" - don't understand the backlash for this album. Great sophomore effort.
Joyce Manor " Of All the Things I'll Soon Grow Tired Of" -ok I get it you're punk rock. Now record an album that's longer than 12 minutes. I feel like I'm listening to your album on iTunes , but I haven't bought it yet. I just hit preview all. Still love this band tho.

Release I'm looking forward to the most for 2013- A Wilhelm Scream

Also like to mention The Coup " Sorry to Bother You" would be in my top 5. I'm not going to get into what is punk rock, but it doesn't quite fit the genre I'm reviewing. But thankful that punknews follows them for whatever reason that may be.

RedScare (December 28, 2012)

Not to sound like a homer, but the fact that "Awkward Breeds" isn't on here pretty much invalidates the list and the whole process. Their last record was AOTY, but this new one (a vastly superior outing, science fact) didn't even rank? The emperor has no clothes, I say! Then again, I was certain that The Copyrights and Nothington were gonna be top PNO albums in 2011, but somehow neither of them ranked.

I've been chastised on here for suggesting this in the past, but it seems that they make an effort to divide the top 20 among different record labels. How else do you explain the glaring omission of "Failed States"?

And no lists from Justin, Aubin, or Rich? Can someone at least make the joke about how they're off counting their SPIN/Buzzmedia money?!? I gotta do everything around here...

iconoclast (December 28, 2012)

no propagandhi? fuck the 'org!

angryderek (December 28, 2012)

menzingers album is terrible

gugl0003 (December 28, 2012)

I also question the math that puts the Casket Lottery on the list and leaves Awkward Breeds off it. Thought I saw the sidekicks record on like every list. Oh well...

gugl0003 (December 28, 2012)

I really don't understand the appeal of the Bouncing Souls. Like the Larry Arms, everything they do sounds "middle of the road" for me.

gutless (December 28, 2012)

apparently no one will be happy with anything ever.

assassinsmatt (December 28, 2012)

Wow, no Propagandhi "Failed States"?
Probably because everything Propagandhi does makes all the bands on this list sound like amateurs.

thepopeofchili-town (December 28, 2012)

8 of my top 20 made it. I can't complain too much. Swap out Masked Intruder and Bouncing Souls for Sidekicks and Murder By Death

swagboss69 (December 28, 2012)

wow what an awful list. very few good albums--just albums that happened to be released by bands this website hypes.

kylewagoner (December 28, 2012)

No Propagandhi, no Sidekicks, no Joyce Manor. Not saying it's a garbage list...but COME ON. "Comet"and "Freak Out!"?

danperrone (December 28, 2012)

guys failed states sucks...and this is coming from a big propagandhi fan.

so many good bands put out bad records this year...propagandhi, hot water music, bouncing souls, sharks, the gaslight anthem, make do and mend...the list goes on. it's weird...the bands we love are getting a lot older and the quality of their releases is quickly dropping.

655321 (December 28, 2012)

No Failed States = Failed List

danperrone (December 28, 2012)

just not a good list...disappointing

whatchokesbegin (December 28, 2012)

Well most of the stuff on this list is "not that good," so if that's the way you want to look at it, it should at least be somewhere in the middle. It sure as shit is better than Comet.

bowlercap (December 28, 2012)

Hey guys, guys, no wait, GUYS.
Failed States wasn't that good.

leecoreyoswald (December 28, 2012)

Um, Sidekicks? Awkward Breeds? One of the best albums EVER?!

imadeanaccountjustforthis (December 28, 2012)

Candy Hearts is so, so bad. Why do so many people like them?

sleepwalker (December 28, 2012)

The new Menzingers is punk-rock comfort food. It's aural meatloaf and mashed potatoes. That is the only explanation that makes sense to me as to why so many love it so much. Don't get me wrong: I like it too. But album of the year?

fattony (December 28, 2012)

Menzingers is in the right spot, but TGA is waaaaaaaaayyyy too high. And the absence of No Trigger, The Sidekicks, Murder By Death, and The Dopamines makes me sad. Maybe the user list will be better...

deputywinston (December 28, 2012)

What a boring year for punk. Also, I have to echo the shock at no Sidekicks or Propagandhi. For shame.

jacknife737 (December 28, 2012)

Pretty solid list.

Menzingers are definitely the album of the the year. My only slight complaint would be that Hot Water Music is a little too high great album, but even then i'm not sure if its top 10 with all the fantastic stuff that came out this year.

Misinterpreter (December 28, 2012)

Decent list, but the lack of Converge or Propagandhi is disappointing. Also Gaslight at number 2, what a joke.

Amateurchemist (December 28, 2012)

No Murder By Death, Converge, or Propagandhi? Failed States was by no means my favorite Propagandhi album, but I think it should be in the top 20. TGA and HWM both put out incredibly mediocre albums as far as I'm concerned...at least Celebration Rock and Classics of Love top the list.

desertburst92 (December 28, 2012)

How OFF! is 2 behind TBR I'll never understand. Other than that I fine with the list

ak3punk (December 28, 2012)

Lot's of great albums on there. Where is "Failed States"??? Let's be honest, it's the only album better than the new Menzingers and it didnt even make this list.

enchant (December 28, 2012)

ITT: everyone bitching

teaessare (December 28, 2012)

how the FUCK is there no Sidekicks?!

stivy (December 28, 2012)

no Converge? for real? go kill yourself ¬¬

SloaneDaley (December 28, 2012)

I should say the EP list is pretty swell though.

SloaneDaley (December 28, 2012)


HWM, Gaslight and Menzingers shouldn't be on any top 20 list, pure mediocrity.

jamespastepunk (December 28, 2012)

ctrl f blacklisted Phrase not found

You guys can't be serious.

nedsammy (December 28, 2012)

Will people stop using Gang of Four as a shorthand for post-punk? Zoo was great, but there wasn't much in the way of funk - or even dischordant soloing and hyper-analytical lyrics - in there. My Bloody Valentine would be as good a comparison, because there were definitely some shoegazey tracks.
I reckon the list is pretty obvious, and as usual I haven't bothered buying every record people rave about on here (because my house would fill with music I don't really like that much). But hey, Restorations, Torche, CoL and the aforementioned are all pretty great.

Jay3313 (December 28, 2012)

The Sidekicks record is mentioned in nearly every other top list for 2012 that has been posted on this site, yet it doesn't make it in the top 20?

Fuck this shitty list.

nicknocturnal (December 28, 2012)

So much this... Classic Ronaldo... I'm gonna go eat a sandwich...

MN_DrNick (December 28, 2012)

I'd say they got it right with about 50% of that list, and Menzingers isn't number one worthy. Hell, not even top twenty. It's good, but didn't think it was great.

killtaker (December 28, 2012)

Every year is a great year for music.
I'm certain Propagandhi will be on the reader's list which is the only list that really matters.

gugl0003 (December 28, 2012)

Totally agree with the Masked Intruder/TBR comment. Masked Intruder are fun and good live, but TBR's record blows theirs clean out of the water.

Apeman_on_the_moon (December 28, 2012)

Masked Intruder over Teenage Bottlerocket? I love those guys, but I think that should be flip flopped. Masked Intruder is AAA Baseball, Teenage Bottlerocket is MLB.

mike_killroad (December 28, 2012)

Glocca Morra, Dikembe, and Propagandhi should be on this list, in my opinion. The Menzingers put out a great record, but I don't it was the best. Either way, to each their own, 2012 was a great year for music, can't wait for 2013.

Piata (December 28, 2012)

On The Impossible Past was okay but definitely not album of the year (not to mention Chamberlain Waits was better). I'm also surprised by the complete lack of Converge on this list. I'm not even a Converge fan but I can appreciate how solid of an album All We Love We Leave Behind is.

This kind of reminds me how The Riot Before released their best album (Rebellion) and never got mentioned anywhere at all in the "Best Of" lists.

skolarx (December 28, 2012)

8 of my top 10 made it into the top 20. i'll have to check out some of those other records that i'm not familar with

brittisrad (December 28, 2012)

If you looked at the editor's list, and read how this list was created, then it makes perfect sense that bands wound up where they did.

But, fuck yeah for Menzos being number one. That shit is deserved.

vocalyouth (December 28, 2012)

Big year for black and white photos/cover art!

HeresLookinAtYou (December 28, 2012)

So let me get this straight... you guys didn't include bands X, Y or Z? All those bands were on MY top 20 list.

Oh wait... music taste is subjective and it's possible that you guys like different bands than I do?

Oh yeah...

mrdogg45 (December 28, 2012)

Needs more Torche. Needs more Downtown Struts.

Also, I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. Everyone likes that Mezingers album so much and I don't get it. Too much waitress longing, not enough shouting.

switcharoo (December 28, 2012)

No Propagandhi? What are you guys smoking over there?

Sho-Nuff (December 28, 2012)


Sho-Nuff (December 28, 2012)

I'm not usually one to complain about these lists but this one is a fucking joke.

Rodeo (December 28, 2012)

Thank god for a new Fucked Up record in 2013.

canaandrumzz (December 28, 2012)

The top half of the list has a bunch that are in my top half so good on y'all.

The only album on this list I didn't like (that I listened to, can't speak for the others) is Exister but I pretty much pretend that HWM stopped existing after No Division with the exception of Trusty Chords.

i-like-food (December 28, 2012)

Not a single one of my favourites is on here. Huh.

John K. Samson- Provincial
Advance Base- A Shut In‚??s Prayer
Propagandhi- Failed States
Converge- All We Love We Leave Behind
Mindset- Leave No Doubt
The Mountain Goats- Transcendental Youth
Gaza- No Absolutes in Human Suffering
Jeff Rosenstock- I Look Like Shit
Burning Love- Rotten Thing to Say
Dikembe- Broad Shoulders
TS & The Past Haunts- Gone and Goner
Teen Suicide- I Will Be My Own Hell‚?¶
You Blew It!- Grow Up, Dude
Molten Lava- Heavy Party
Code Orange Kids- Love Is Love//Return To Dust

vocalyouth (December 28, 2012)

All that said, I guess one thing I will say is that I am glad Classics of Love and The Menzingers landed so high, I really liked both of those records and I feel like a lot of people slept on Classics of Love.

vocalyouth (December 28, 2012)

Where is Awkward Breeds? Probably my AOTY. Also where is Attack on Memory? Half of these albums aren't even very good. Lots of "eh" albums from bands that used to be good on here. I listened to most of these records, only actually liked 8 of them, out of those, I'd say 5 are even worth mentioning in a year end list. This is missing a lot of good stuff.

What a boring list.

exitflagger (December 28, 2012)

I am glad to see that Joyce Manor did not make the top 20.

exitflagger (December 28, 2012)

The OFF! album has good production and a good vibe, but the majority of the songs are melodically deficient and blend into each other. It`s lively background music, but hardly an essential record. The three Classics of Love songs that I heard sucked pretty bad; they sounded liked a punkier Mustard Plug.

wyld_stallyns_rule (December 28, 2012)

Not incredibly surprising here. I was expecting to see Hop Along on here, though.

exitflagger (December 28, 2012)

Eight of these albums made my list, none of which are in the top 3. Lame list. No forgetters, no Screaming Females, no Killing Joke. These new unpaid interns have seriously lame taste.

Renry_Hollins (December 28, 2012)

I don't wanna be a stone cold hater, but I do not enjoy that Classics of Love record. In my opinion it's pretty generic.

sleepwalker (December 28, 2012)

And no Converge either!!! To-each-their-own, but damn...

whatchokesbegin (December 28, 2012)

It's been a slow morning. And hey, if we had comment editing, I'd seem slightly less cracked out.

sleepwalker (December 28, 2012)

Where are the Sidekicks?! Wow...

Zero surprises of the albums included, but a little surprised about the order. Gaslight is much higher than I would have thought, while Title Fight is much too low.

Rodeo (December 28, 2012)

@whatchokesbegin Four comments in 20 minutes? Niice.

whatchokesbegin (December 28, 2012)

Speaking of riding coattails, I was disappointed in OFF! and Classics of Love, too. Just couldn't get into them. They both sound like punk pioneers trying to recapture old magic. They sound loud and fast, but where's the content? Ok, you know what, I'm done. Different strokes for different folks, etc...

whatchokesbegin (December 28, 2012)

...and Comet making any list is absurd. Exister was at least pretty good, but it is riding on the band's coattails more than anything. I must be turning into EchosMyron or something, which makes me hate myself, but I probably disagree with this year's list more than any in the past.

Rodeo (December 28, 2012)

I really really loved No Trigger's Tycoon. I found myself going back to that record a lot. The OFF! record is by far my favorite of the year, though.

Biggest let-down was SHARKS.

Also, it kinda sucks and rules at the same time that the new Bad Religion comes out in January, One one hand that means I won't have to wait that long to listen to what will probably be my favorite record of 2013.... on the other hand, I have to spend the whole year comparing it to everything else that comes out.

whatchokesbegin (December 28, 2012)

You know what also wasn't great? Handwritten. But it made number 2 here. You know what was infinitely better? Failed States and a ton of other records.

mcflynnthm (December 28, 2012)

Regarding jelone: you're wrong not right.

jelone (December 28, 2012)

Regarding Propagandhi: It was good not great.

Regarding Red Collar: It was good not great.

Yossarian (December 28, 2012)

No Red Collar??? Someone didn't do their homework

mcflynnthm (December 28, 2012)

I'm against it.

whatchokesbegin (December 28, 2012)

TGA at number 2 and nary a mention of Propagandhi. What is this world coming to?

jelone (December 28, 2012)

Boooo Torche should be higher.

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