Best of 2013 - Punknews.org's picks (Cover Artwork)

Best of 2013

Best of 2013: Punknews.org's picksPunknews.org's picks (2013)
staff picks

Reviewer Rating: 5
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Contributed by: BryneAdam
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All! Since 1999 Punknews.org has been the shameful secret hobby of a transient batch of volunteer contributors who eke out spare moments from their real lives to talk about angry music on the internet. We have no full time staff, no real editorial mandate, and no consensus on what bands we.


Since 1999 Punknews.org has been the shameful secret hobby of a transient batch of volunteer contributors who eke out spare moments from their real lives to talk about angry music on the internet. We have no full time staff, no real editorial mandate, and no consensus on what bands we should even be writing about. If we've ignored, overlooked, or completely misjudged something you've loved this year, by all means tell us by submitting some news or writing a review.

No! All!

This overall list is calculated from the records chosen by our editors, staff and alumni on their individual lists. We provide those individuals with no real guidance as to how they format their lists, so long as they're based on a ranked list of the top albums of the year. Even that gets fuzzy, as sometimes when you squint hard enough January 2013 and December 2012 seems to all blur together. Punknews writers create their lists in private and with no guidance from any higher authority as to what should be on them. Granted, it's entirely possible that Toby from Red Scare buys certain writers speedboats to favour Direct Hit. We leave that for for the courts to determine, in any case.

With all the lists published we turn our everyone's secret boyfriend, math. The individual lists are weighted so that we can tally up the results (A person's #1 pick was worth 20 points, #2 was 19 points, and so on down to 1). 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, which we didn't have this year). Over 220 full-lengths were voted on overall. By all means, see for yourself: here's the spreadsheet.

While this list reveals at least what some of us here at Punknews agree upon, you're best to check out the individual lists to really see what an individual writer was into this year. Also, don't forget to check out YOUR list, the top 20 releases of the year as voted by the Punknews community. That list should be posted following this one. See you in 2014, punks.

Punknews.org's Top 20 of 2013


Crazy Arm: The Southern Wild

Xtra Mile Recordings

I make no secret of my love for this band. Both the previous and the new lineups have provided me with some of the most enjoyable live music experiences I've had in the past five years. The Southern Wild shows a band who can rock out with the best of them, deliver an acoustic long player influenced by a plethora of roots, country and folk artists yet one which still has Crazy Arm written all through it like a piece of rock. The messages are slightly more personal this time around, and Darren Johns' lyrics open a door into another part of his head/heart which adds to the depth that this record contains. –Rich Cocksedge


Allison Weiss: Say What You Mean

No Sleep

What a wonderfully, earnest album this is! I want to be friends with her. Choice track: "Making It Up" –Kira Wisniewski


The Front Bottoms: Talon of the Hawk

Bar/None Records

I didn't know what I was getting into when I got a copy of Talon of the Hawk. I couldn't decide if it was too whiny, nasally or if it told the perfect story of relatively mundane life events (with the obvious exception of "Lone Star"). Suddenly it was the only album I was listening to and the simplicity of the frank and vulnerable stories are a lullaby to the rough days we all experience. –Britt Reiser


The Bronx: The Bronx IV

ATO / White Drugs

I can always depend on the Bronx to release a heavy, eye-opening dose of reality and good lyricism. And while this latest album is a bit lighter than the rest, like all Bronx records, it gets my blood going every time I listen to it. After taking a brief (but glorious) hiatus to make some mariachi music, IV is a solid return to the rock and roll roots they started with. While most songs are more straight-up rock (and even borderline pop - gasp!) than hardcore, the snarl and grit and sentiment are still present throughout and I love every moment of it. Favourite tracks are "Ribcage," "Too Many Devils" and "Torches." –Gen Handley


Beastmilk: Climax


Ignore the ridiculous band name. Imagine Morrissey and Danzig had a lovechild that went on to front a band that listened to a lot of Ghost BC and you're halfway there. Beastmilk combine all these disparate influences into something uniquely their own, and ended up making one of the coolest, weirdest, most unclassifiable records in recent memory. –Tori Pederson


Red City Radio: Titles

Paper and Plastick

Loud, harsh and gruff pop-punk done right. That's what this is. The charisma, aggression and versatility no doubt play to the band's tout that they are fucking juggernauts. This album cannot emphasize that any more. Punk connoisseurs would have no problem absorbing Paul Pendley's commanding vocals and the band's take on politics, life and the overall disposition on why punk is something that'll never die or fade away. This is one of the year's most cutthroat records, in the best way possible. –Renaldo Matadeen


Defeater: Letters Home

Bridge Nine

I was completely addicted to Empty Days, Sleepless Nights so when they announced Letters Home, I couldn't wait to see what the band would be bringing to the table. Such a perfect follow-up to the story within their last two releases and I loved how they really went back to their roots for this release. –Amelia Cline


Off With Their Heads: Home


Off With Their Heads are one of my "staple" bands which in turn causes me to see them every time they're in town and purchase any release of theirs I come across. They have yet to disappoint me with a release and I will be requesting songs from this album at shows just as much as their previous releases. It was also oddly comforting in a way to hear "Janie." Granted, I still prefer the original but it's always nice to find something familiar in a new place. –Brittany Strummer


Nightmares for a Week: Civilian War

Broken English / Suburban Home

Nightmares For A Week wrote a very heartfelt album this year. Working off of their 2010 release Don't Die, Nightmares For A Week really gave a new dimension to their music with the inclusion of keys to the mix and lyrically, this album can be relatable to anyone. "Bloodshot Mondays" is the perfect jam for every weekend. –Samantha Barrett


Iron Chic: The Constant One

Bridge Nine

While The Constant One doesn't rise to the heights of Iron Chic's first record, Not Like This, it still does enough to merit inclusion on any list of top records of 2013. It's a testament to the quality of this band that even when they disappoint, they still manage to produce one of the better albums of the year. –Adam Eisenberg<


A Wilhelm Scream: Partycrasher

No Idea

I anticipated this release for too long and boy, am I glad it came out. A Wilhelm Scream did not disappoint with Partycrasher. Everything about this album is perfect. This batch of songs seems more effective due to the howling gritty nature of Nuno Pereira's vocals. Mike Supina and Trevor Reilly have outdone themselves this time by with all of the amazing shredding and dueling riffs in this album. –Samantha Barrett


The Flatliners: Dead Language

Fat Wreck Chords

Cavalcade was a revelation, so good that it (to me) overshadowed everything the Flatliners had done prior. It may as well have been a new band. Dead Language had a tougher job. Instead of the opportunity to delight unexpectedly, it had to shoulder expectations. In the end these songs had to work harder, they had to be smarter. They do, and they are. This record's hooks aren't as immediate, but they lie waiting. These songs don't wear anthem status as comfortably as "Monumental" or "Count Your Bruises," however there's a depth and robustness to Dead Language that, on subsequent listens, proves itself the better record. If only all melodic punk rock can be as well written and performed as "Birds of England." –Adam White


Comadre: Comadre

Vitriol Records

In the end, Comadre proved they were far weirder, more innovative and more willing to take chances than any of their hardcore contemporaries. This album–with its theremin parts, keyboards, and completely triumphant, instrumental untitled track–is so off-the-wall perfect that it's hard to imagine how the band would follow it up had they stayed together. –Bryne Yancey


Bad Religion: True North


The elder statesmen of classic California punk rock's sixteenth album finds them calling back to their classic Against the Grain-era records in places, kicking out speedier anthems than many would have thought them capable of at this point. Hit or miss-- that single, "Fuck You?" Come on, guys-- but when it hits, it feels just as exciting as when you were 15. –John Flynn


Balance and Composure: The Things We Think We're Missing

No Sleep Records

Following up Separation, eastern Pennsylvania band Balance And Composure's 2013 LP was probably the best example of an album that showed great maturation for a band. B&C didn't recreate Separation, but instead took it and layered what they learned over the past two years. There's a lot layered on this album, in terms of guitars both in the forefront and background, and if you don't pay full attention to it, there's probably more than a few nuances you miss.–Gregg Harrington


The National: Trouble Will Find Me


Since Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers, no one does somber, sad jams like the National, and the band excels here. Singer Matt Berninger might not scream like he used to, but he doesn't need to. –John Flynn


Direct Hit!: Brainless God

Red Scare

I already wrote an extensive review for this album earlier in the year (which you can find here), so I suppose I better come up with something different to say, so here goes.

As I wrote in my introduction to last year's list, my best mate Lee died in November 2012, and his death set me to thinking about the value of the time I've got.

I made a decision after Lee died to live my life that little bit harder, that little bit fuller than before, and when you strip away all the storytelling (and it is great storytelling), that's the message of Brainless God too. That it's a layered, hyperactive, super-catchy, concept album about armageddon is a bonus.

Every last song on this record is a finely tuned blast of tooth-melting punk rock goodness. This is an album that examines death in some detail, but doesn't venerate it. On the contrary, this entire album is life-affirming in the extreme. The final song is about storming heaven and battering God himself (and his angels) for doing us in before we were finished partying. Punk rock songs about defying death, and kicking the arse of the heavenly host; what could be more life-affirming than that?

Brainless God is a truly great record, and it came along right when I needed it. Can't ask for more than that, really. –Andrew Waterfield


Night Birds: Born To Die In Suburbia

Grave Mistake Records

Fast, snotty punk rock with surf guitars and some garage tendencies. While this probably isn't very smart, original or artistically laudable it's absolutely what I want to hear ranging through my speakers. –Adam White


Deafheaven: Sunbather

June 11 on Deathwish Inc.

Deafheaven have staked out their place as the marquee name for the changing face of modern black metal, but it's likely because they don't really fit the template that cleanly. Pulling in elements of post-rock and screamo, Sunbather toys with the formula laid out on 2011's Roads to Judah just enough to deliver astounding moments of brightness and a greater abundance of climactic payoff for investing in their epic, sprawling compositions. Something about George Clarke's poetic screeds seem melodramatic, but when he delivers them in these cacophonous cackles while guitarist Kerry McCoy delivers a furiously rippling wave behind them, it's a wild, emotional punch.Brian Shultz


Restorations: LP2

Side One Dummy

The local boys done good in Restorations have been steadily dropping vinyl releases of various sizes for a few years now, and it's so dang awesome that they're getting a push from Side One Dummy now. LP2 finds the band continuing away from post-rock in favor of Springsteenian rock 'n' roll. That is totally cool with me. I don't really listen to music digitally when I'm at home, but my wife and I keep turntables upstairs and downstairs. No matter where I am in the house, my son and I listen to records. We spent a ton of time dancing to side one of LP2. The record gradually builds itself into a tizzy, especially "D." A fitting continuation of their anthemic 7-inch A/B from last year, LP2 rocks, straight up.

Baby Memory: Besides the story I already told? Restorations are the first band I went to see live after becoming a dad. –Joe Pelone


People who liked this also liked:
The Swellers - Ups and DownsizingBouncing Souls / Hot Water Music - Split [7-inch]Iron Chic - Not Like ThisThe Flatliners - CavalcadeCrusades - Perhaps You Deliver This Judgment with Greater Fear Than I Receive ItThe Future Now - Hazy Orange SundayComeback Kid - Broadcasting...Sundowner - Four One Five TwoMake Do and Mend - End Measured MileThe Swellers - Vehicle City Blues [7-inch]

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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.
SisterSue (January 11, 2014)

m b v

jacknife737 (January 3, 2014)

Eh, not an awful list. But - that Bad Religion album while good, definitely not top 10 material.

Captain Were Sinking and Banquets should have both been included.

controbert (January 3, 2014)


Banger (January 2, 2014)

Every year I have the same feelings with these lists. I'm happy to see that some of my favorites made the list (Red City Radio, the National, Direct Hit!, the Bronx), surprised to see that some of my favorites didn't make it (Less Than Jake, Moving Mountains, Streetlight Manifesto, Alkaline Trio, Frightened Rabbit, Swingin' Utters), and intrigued by some of the albums on the list that I haven't heard yet. Over the years I've gotten into a lot of bands through the punknews.org year-end lists.

RiotOfWordsRVA (January 2, 2014)

Always dig these lists since I don't have much time to check out new music, but I always find a few new bands at the end of each year. Really digging Comadre, Iron Chic, Red City Radio, and Beastmilk.

Defeater's 3rd LP was a big disappointment to me after how great their 2nd record was.

Also, one album that might not belong on a top 10 but certainly would make my top 20: AFI's Burials. I realize that's probably an unpopular opinion, but that record is fucking tight and a huge surprise after the prior 2 albums.

oprahjr (January 2, 2014)

??? no front bottoms? no national? no restorations? !! ?>?? !

Grue (January 2, 2014)

'Wilhelm and Flatliners should be 1 and 2"

Agree with this guy.

enigmaticpsychotic (January 2, 2014)

I have never gotten into A Wilhelm Scream. But there's some really great albums on this list that I'm glad I checked out.

jizzyinatizzy (January 2, 2014)

Everyone forgot about that Julie Ruin record.

dogfacetaco (January 2, 2014)

This is a pretty decent list. My favorite of the year was definitely Close Talker's debut LP, though. Everyone should check it out. http://closetalkerva.bandcamp.com/

rodney1134 (January 1, 2014)

No RVIVR, Coliseum, Red Hare, Retox, Big Business, Caves, Great Apes?

TomTrauma (January 1, 2014)

Did everyone forget about The Bugs-Missile to the Middle East? Humorless bastards.This was a good year for senior citizens. Iggy and the Stooges-Ready to Die and Black Sabbath-13 were better than what most of the whippersnappers had to offer.

DRN (January 1, 2014)

No Streetlight Manifesto = joke list.

sadastronaut (January 1, 2014)

Wilhelm and Flatliners should be 1 and 2

EchosMyron (January 1, 2014)

Night Birds have a cool vibe but they just don't know how to write a catchy chorus.

EchosMyron (January 1, 2014)

I just streamed that Captain, We're Sinking album over at their Bandcamp page. They sound like a goddamn Victory Records band with slightly more interesting musicianship.

I hate the overall #1 pick, but a few of these picks also made my year-end list, so I can't complain too much. There are definitely some glaring omissions, though, such as the latest albums by Future of the Left, Kurt Vile, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Pissed Jeans, as well as any album that was released by Dirtnap Records in 2013.

danperrone (January 1, 2014)

do you know why you don't see the captain we're sinking record? because it sucks

charliedecker (January 1, 2014)

I'm drunk, but Night Birds is the best. Sounds like a PUNK album. Listening to restorations now. It's good, but doesn't make me feel like I'm 15 drinking a forty in an alley before a show then going out to cause trouble. To me a good punk album should

charliedecker (January 1, 2014)

I will check these out. Kinda nice to see a lot f bands I've never heard of instead of the same bands from the 90's dominating.

charliedecker (January 1, 2014)

Audacity- Butter Knife

nickspit (January 1, 2014)

1) Red City Radio - Titles / Direct Hit! - Brainless God / A Wilhelm Scream - Partycrasher

2) everything else

chawkins (January 1, 2014)

Signals Midwest and Captain, We're Sinking: You are not forgotten.

Okayface (December 31, 2013)


Might as well shut the site down.

jeffernator (December 31, 2013)

Baptist's "Bushcraft" was the best hardcore album of 2013.

jeffernator (December 31, 2013)

I agree with you suffer1986, that Implants album was a friggin' banger.

sleepwalker (December 31, 2013)

Usually I don't care enough to comment on the year end list, but...

No Captain, Touche, or Streetlight AT ALL? Not to parrot everyone else, but damn.

Does everyone really hate Deafheaven that much? I thought Sunbather was pretty good.

Will some please explain the appeal of The National?

Lastly: Paint It Black's EP was the best piece of punk rock to be released this year. Period.

Scruffy (December 31, 2013)

I am really confused about the total lack of The Wonder Years on these lists. Sure, it was my number one, but I'm used to my taste not being everyone's. I'm mostly confused because two years ago their last album was plastered over all of these staff lists so much it made me check it out, and, by any objective quantification, The Greatest Generation is immensely better than Suburbia.

Well, for whatever reason, it's not listed, so here is me, some guy you don't care about, telling you, please, listen to The Greatest Generation.

Sciulli (December 31, 2013)

wish Waxahatchee was on here.

stillanonymous (December 31, 2013)

That thing at #2 is just ridiculously bad. What is this Pitchfork?

suffer1986 (December 31, 2013)

How did Implants - From Chaos To Order not make ANY list?

chutley (December 31, 2013)

wilhelm scream should be #1

xherojuanax (December 31, 2013)

I don't understand why an album I liked a lot this year wasn't similarly liked by a consensus of Punknews staff. I have the correct opinion, guys, really.

davebrave4 (December 31, 2013)

Yes CWS should be on here but FOTL is the real tragedy.

yinzer (December 31, 2013)

Seriously, how is captain were sinking not on here??

telegraphrocks (December 31, 2013)

I like 4 of these albums.

FredPhelps (December 31, 2013)

I just don't get why Captain Were Sinking's album isn't on this list. It's in my top 5 for 2013, no doubt. The reviewers must have missed it or something. It's on Sputniksmusic's list at #21. And that's not really a punk site. Maybe that's why.

-Fred fuckin Phelps.

cincodemilo (December 31, 2013)

Captain Were Sinking has just been snubbed in general this year. You go to see them and everyone there is hearing them for the first time. It's frustrating because they're certainly on par with The Menzingers. Also am I the only person who finds Sunbather boring as fuck??

blaarg (December 31, 2013)

Brainless God is approximately three spots too low.

damnitsderek (December 31, 2013)

No Captain, no Laura Stevenson, no credibility.

leecarlson (December 31, 2013)

Yeah Captain deserved a spot in the top 5, if not the top 10, that fact it didn't make the top 20 is pretty upsetting. One of my favorite memories of 2013 at the run for cover CMJ showcase and how me and 4 other dudes lost our shit for their set, while everyone else waited for tigers jaw (to be honest, one of the most boring live bands around.)

Direct Hit is my AOTY so i'm happy to see it on here.

davebrave4 (December 31, 2013)

Ugh what a shitty list. They should just call it the BUZZiest albums of 2013. Without the new FOTL as an option they were never going to get it completely right, but, man.....

irish_punk_is_gimmickry (December 31, 2013)

restorations and night birds?? bands must get extra points for being boring and old...............................

sho-nuff (December 31, 2013)

Not as bad as I expected except for that pink piece of shit at #2.

thepopeofchili-town (December 31, 2013)

BOOM! List just got a lot better.

renaldo69 (December 31, 2013)

This list is invalid without Kanye West.

dante3000 (December 31, 2013)

I may be wrong but I believe this list also includes staff and others who may not have had lists published. So you may not be able to get all the info independently.

adam (December 31, 2013)

Simon: You are correct sir! Apparently Defeater and Deafheaven are different bands with different names. Deafheaven is bumped to #2.

Piata (December 31, 2013)

This reminds me of the year The Riot Before got shut out despite having one of the year's best albums.

Almost no mention of Captain Were Sinking or Less Than Jake and absolutely no mention of Streetlight Manifesto or Touché Amore.

Even fucking Beyonce got a few mentions. Talk about shit lists all around.

nedsammy (December 31, 2013)

Weird, weird list. Infernal calculus indeed.

At least that blowhard who whines about people liking Restorations is upset though!

simonf (December 31, 2013)

Defeater not OWTH

pokinatcha (December 31, 2013)

How did Captain, We're Sinking not make this list? My no. 1 this year.

Streetlight is a simply shameful omission as well.

GuiltyofBeingMike (December 31, 2013)

This site lost its collective mind over Future Is Cancelled...for, like, a solid month or two.
No offense, as I do have a personal bias towards CWS, but these list always end up with a few shiny new albums in them, simply because their at the top of your pile at this moment.

simonf (December 31, 2013)

Tori Pendergras has Deafheaven number 1, your spreadsheet has OWTH as number 1 on that list if I'm reading it correctly.
Bumps Deafheaven to number 2.

thepopeofchili-town (December 31, 2013)


theproblemwithfieri (December 31, 2013)

I will second the no Captain We're Sinking no care comment.

ak3punk (December 31, 2013)

Signals Midwest
Captain We're Sinking

Slagathor (December 31, 2013)

But... Streetlight Manifesto.... =(

wtfkc (December 31, 2013)

This year end best of list always ends up becoming my albums I listen to during the first quarter of the next year list.

johnlocke (December 31, 2013)

No Captain, We're Sinking, no care.

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