Top 20 of 2003

Top 20 of 2003: Adam's PicksAdam's Picks (2003)
staff picks

Reviewer Rating: 5

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

I've been thinking about writing this article for months, now I find myself rushing to finish it on New Years Eve. That's pretty much how this year has gone for me, and when I think back to the events of last winter they seem a world away. This has been quit.

I've been thinking about writing this article for months, now I find myself rushing to finish it on New Years Eve. That's pretty much how this year has gone for me, and when I think back to the events of last winter they seem a world away. This has been quite a year for us at Punknews.org, in a word "busy," but it's also been very gratifying. We've managed to talk to some fascinating people (see the Lawrence Arms and Less Than Jake interviews, which stand out to me as two of our best) and work with some awesome bands. This has been a surprising year to me, as quite a few of my all-time favorite bands from the past 5 years didn't even make it into my top 20, their places usurped by releases I never assumed would captivate me like they have. This isn't a discredit to those groups either, it's a credit to the amount of great records that were released in `03.

I can't end this introduction without an acknowledgement of those we lost this year, particularly the legendary Johnny Cash. The scene is also now missing singer Adam Cox, bassist Matt Fitzgerald, and drummer Jeremy Gage of the brilliant Exploding Hearts.

So here's my picks for 2003, ranked in order (or at least, in the order of my preferences last night).

Who Rocked The Casbah In 2003:

November 18 on SideOneDummy Records

This has been a pretty good year for power-pop and bands seem to be realizing there's a world to explore in that spectrum without ever having to touch the much-maligned "mall-punk" genre. Case-in-point: Maxeen's debut. This is irresistibly catchy new-wave inspired rock that will stay in your head for weeks. [ full review ]

The Bouncing Souls
Anchors Aweigh
August 26 on Epitaph Records

Underappreciated. The Bouncing Souls have always had a very down-to-earth charm about them and now they've matured their music and lyrics to a point where that they can fully realize that potential. There's something satisfyingly soulful and poignant about this release.

Cave In
March 18 on RCA Records (BMG)

I wasn't too interested in Cave In's melodic turn at first and certainly didn't think much of Antenna early on. Yet over the course of the year for whatever reason I kept finding this disc in my stereo and now I've come to love the big epic anthems here. Despite the genre, Cave In is simply a great band and that shines through.

The Artist in the Ambulance
August 12 on Island Records (UMG)

Thrice unfortunately suffers a backlash due to their overzealous fans, which is also funny considering the band's comprised of some of the most soft-spoken and low-key personalities in punk. While I enjoyed their past work I've never been one to shower Thrice with excessive accolades. However The Artist In The Ambulance amplifies the band's best qualities with far more solid and thought-out songwriting. A frequent resident of my stereo as of late.

The Slackers
Close My Eyes
September 9 on Hellcat Records (Epitaph)

The worlds best active ska band releases one of the best ska records of the year, which is really not too surprising at all. Ruggerio, Hillyard et al haven't set out to break any new ground this time around, as Close My Eyes is very much a "back to basics" approach, but their classic songwriting is as strong as ever. [full review | interview with Dave Hillyard]

The Planet Smashers
July 1 on STOMP! (Union Label Group)

The most musically interesting and mature album of the Planet Smashers career. Transcending the 'ska revival' this is a batch of surprisingly folky pop tunes that work remarkably well for a band with an already well established sound. [full review]

The Lawrence Arms
The Greatest Story Ever Told
September 23 on Fat Wreck Chords

The Larry Arms have so much going for them: well-read intelligent lyricism, a fantastic sense of wit, captivating dual vocals and the ability so switch on a dime between snotty and downtrodden. This album could have been the band's opportunity to storm the mainstream, but have instead delivered something far more smart and interesting then I was expecting.

Ted Led & the Pharmacists
Hearts of Oak
February 11 on Lookout! Records

Just what makes Mr. Ted Leo "the motherfucking man" as we so frequently proclaim? It just may be the passionate, heartfelt mix of amazing songwriting, boundless energy, wonderfully literate lyrics and an original sound that no one can touch. Ted Leo and his Pharmacists are well on their way to becoming legends.

Rise Against
Revolutions Per Minute
April 8 on Fat Wreck Chords

They're starting to become victims of their own hype, but like a few others on this list the overbearing praise is rooted in the reality of a great record. This is an honest and exciting melodic hardcore album; it's really that simple. A good mix of the personal and the political keeps the band from ever falling into the usual lyrical traps. This is a huge jump in passion and energy from their debut.

The Blood Brothers
‚?¶Burn, Piano Island, Burn
March 18 on ARTIST Direct Records (BMG)

Sure, The Blood Brothers come off as spasmodic and maniacal (and they are‚?¶) but hiding under all that chaos is the band's real quality of incredible songwriting. Sure, we've had our share of driven, pissed-off hardcore this year, but none of it is as undeniably infectious as this. Without a doubt this is one of the more important and original hardcore records in recent memory.

Every Time I Die
Hot Damn!
July 1 on Ferret Records

It's not too hard to see that my tastes don't usually extend far into the metalcore universe. Every Time I Die won me over with the underlying thread of irresistible dirty rock `n roll in their sound. Combined with brilliantly sarcastic and well-written lyrics, Hot Damn! has demanded my attention and will not let go.

Clann Z√ļ
September 16 on G7 Welcoming Committee Records

A low-key overseas release from 2001 gets revamped by a Winnipeg political label and emerges as one of the year's most surprising sleeper releases. Songs of cultural reclamation put to a mixture of haunting violins, electronic house percussion and dark gothic rock. If that sounds strange and different, it's because it is. [ full review ]

The Weakerthans
Reconstruction Site
September 26 on Epitaph Records

John K. Samson and company release an incredibly literate and touching batch of songs. Lyrically The Weakerthans convey ideas of urban alienation like none other and deliver messages of sorrow and hope with a depth and maturity that simply isn't found in most punk rock. The Weakerthans continue to eloquently convey tensions between forces urban & rural, traditional & progressive, east & west.

Against Me!
as The Eternal Cowboy
November 4 on Fat Wreck Chords

Against Me! Is really everything I want in a band. They move from soulful to furious in a heartbeat and write fresh punk rock without ever losing tough of their roots rock origins. Against Me! has the distinction of being one of those rare bands that continuously makes it's own path, regardless of trends or the opinions of fickle punk rock commentators. This is 25 of the sweetest minutes recorded this year.

The Bronx
The Bronx
August 26 on White Drugs (Ferret)

I'd been waiting with bated breath for this record ever since this band's red-hot demos showed up online last year. Raw, scathing punk rock recorded with flaws intact. It makes for one of the most exhilarating and genuine records of the year that easily lives up to and surpasses its hype. [full review ]

March 18 on Merge Records

The reviewers in the major publications would have you believe this is nothing more than average, and while I don't deny my own opinion is likely affected by this group's legendary past, I maintain that this is an awesome punk rock record. Few bands could pull off such a revitalization of sound as their members push 50, but the fact remains that no one writes a hook like Shelley and Diggle. [full review ]

Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros
October 21 on Hellcat Records (Epitaph)

With Streetcore Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros finally meshed together into a solid, driven band, giving up world music experimentation for fantastic roots-rock songwriting. The real success of this record is not that it ends Joe's career on a positive note, but that totally isolated from that context it still holds up as a great record. A fitting epitaph‚?¶ [ full review]

The Exploding Hearts
Guitar Romantic
March 24 on Dirtnap Records

The Exploding Hearts, in both recording and songwriting, sound like the reincarnation of everything exciting, charming and hopeful about the pioneering 70s punk bands. Guitar Romantic exists in a time warp, unaffected by everything that went wrong since this time that I'm struggling to idealize. Through shockingly effective and straightforward songwriting the Exploding Hearts could never be mislabeled as one of today's garage revivalists, from their recordings alone you could tell they had too much charisma and passion to get caught up in that petty cycle of hype, backlash and irony. Three members of the Exploding Hearts died tragically in an automotive accident this past July. What we lost is immeasurable.

The New Pornographers
Electric Version
May 6 on Mint Records & Matador Records

I'll make the bold assertion that the New Pornographers are indeed one of the best pop bands on the planet, indie or otherwise. Touring has bonded this one time side-project supergroup into a full fledged band. This takes Carl Newman's songwriting and Neko Case's captivating vocal presence to an entirely different level than their debut. What results is a dynamic comparable to the Pixies, only filtered through the New Pornographers' proven ability to layer more hooks in a single song than some bands do in entire albums. [ full review]

The Constantines
Shine a Light
August 19 on Three Gut Records & Sub Pop Records

The Constantines deliver on the promise shown in their Fugazi influenced debut with one of the years most stunningly complete and visionary albums. Shine A Light simultaneously embraces traditional roots-rock elements and pushes the boundaries of its genre. This is punk music with soul, which in a year of purportedly "emotional" records has been sorely lacking. [ full review]

The 2003 Mixtape

Side A: Side B:
1 "Don't Look Back Into The Sun" by The Libertines
^ Pitchfork called fun little song vapid, so you know it's good.
2 "Love Pretender" by The Exploding Hearts
3 "Explosive" by Planet Smashers & Neville Staple
^ Soon to be classic song from an awesome record [ review]
4 "X Ray Eyes" by Randy
5 "Start Now" by Rancid
^ Tim writes great pop songs [ review]
6 "Love Goes A Long Way" by Maxeen
7 "Plea From A Cat Named Virtue" by The Weakerthans
8 "Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?" by Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
^ One of the year's best songs, and a sentiment I'll gladly agree with
9 "Vampires & Failures" by Grandpaboy (Paul Westerberg)
10 "Tears Don't Matter Much" by Lucero
11 "Its Only Devine Right" by the New Pornographers
12 "Burnin' Streets" by Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros
13 "Sub Domestic" by The Constantines
1 "Ambulance Vs. Ambulance" by The Blood Brothers
2 "I Been Gone A Long Time" by Every Time I Die
3 "Inspire" by Cave In
4 "Your Silence" by The Suicide Machines
^ From an album I love [ review] that just barely missed the list
5 "Sweating Blood" by F-Minus
6 "Sick City Sometimes" by Buzzcocks
7 "You Look Like I Need a Drink" by Against Me
8 "They Will Kill Us All (Without Mercy)" by The Bronx
9 "Blood Red, White, & Blue" by Rise Against
10 "Cut Me Dead" by Fifth Hour Hero
^ From another great 2003 release [ review]
11 "Infrared" by Strike Anywhere
12 "The Artist In The Ambulance" by Thrice
13,14 "We Got Two Jealous Agains" & "13 Stiches" by NOFX
^ Love songs to the scene Fat Mike grew up in, absolutely charming.

Top Compilation / Reissue Of 2003

Sticks & Stones
The Strife & Times
September 16 on Chunksaah Records

Such an underappreciated band is eulogized in a fantastic two disc set. Anyone interested in the roots of the current East Coast punk scene needs to pick this up. [ full review]

Honourable mention goes out to the New Wave for the Next Generation compilation from the newly resurrected Sire Records. It's all old and familiar songs, but damn is it a great mix.

Thoughts on Other Releases

I thought it would be best to offer some justification for various popular or noteworthy releases that I've left off my list this year. The most glaring to most here will be Strike Anywhere's Exit English. While that album had some great tunes it failed to hold my interest like their previous. Don't get me wrong, I still think quite highly of the band, but their new record just didn't hook me. Other records I liked quite a bit were simply pushed off the list as more and more albums became contenders. I'd like to mention my affection for The Suicide Machines' A Match and some Gasoline, Less Than Jake's underrated album Anthem [ review], Tangiers' breakthrough Hot New Spirits, Fifth Hour Hero's Scattered Sentences, Andrew W.K.'s unbelievably fun The Wolf and NOFX's unfairly maligned War On Errorism.

Now the big two: Rancid and AFI. I liked Indestructible, as you can see in the above linked review, however it lacks something that the band's previous two albums had. Although different in style and execution Live Won't Wait and Rancid (2000) are two of my favorite records. What was the new one lacking? It's hard for me to say. Call it ambition if nothing else. It doesn't help that my faith in Rancid's sincerity is much weaker after their unnecessarily shadowy and bewildering Warner deal.

On the other hand I have no doubts that AFI is sincere in what they're doing. In fact I think they're taking a more honest approach to their music now then when they were trying to hold the balance between their intended direction and the opinions of their old-school fans. Does their current sound bother me? Not one bit. I've always been more of a Cure fan anyways, so the influences shown on the new material are fine by me. In fact, despite some over-production issues, I really like Sing The Sorrow.

Finally a note on The Mars Volta. I can appreciate the band's instrumental ability and ambition to make challenging music. However De-Loused In The Comatorium is dreadfully uninteresting. I find the songs repetitive and some of the band's art-noise rather irritating. Like most prog the music is rather alienating; Music to me is more about fun and passion then it is about high-art. Anyone who praises this band as a savior has their priorities mixed up.

Anticipated for 2004:

2003 was a really great year, but 2004 promises new records from such classic bands as Bad Religion, Descendents and Social Distortion (for real this time). On top of that we'll have new stuff from Green Day, Tiger Army, Avoid One Thing, Bedouin Soundclash, The Frenetics and (likely) Planes Mistaken For Stars. Look out for the new Cave In record, as that band's sudden rediscovery of their metal period is sure to provide fodder for a more aggressive release.
...and there you go. All the best in the new year.


People who liked this also liked:
Les Breastfeeders - Les Matins de Grands SoirsMilky Ways - Milky WaysToys That Kill - Shanked!The Undertones - The UndertonesThe Deadly Snakes - Porcella -or- A Bird in the Hand Is Worthless [12 inch, double LP]Green Day - WarningBouncing Souls - The Gold RecordThe Marked Men - Fix My BrainTeenage Bottlerocket - TotalBouncing Souls - Hopeless Romantic

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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.
fatbrendan (May 20, 2004)

Here's my top 10, a couple months too late:

10) Thursday - War all the Time (however brilliant this album is, it won't be Full Collapse)
9) Coheed and Cambria - In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 (CoCa really brought a lot to the table with their diversity, the only reason it's number 9 is that I overplayed it a little too much)
8) The Buzzing Bees - You'll Wish You Were Deaf (local band that definitely shows some 'honesty' in their work)
7) Park - It Won't Snow Where You're Going (while mp3.com was still alive, i discovered Park and fell in love with their 'emo'-ish style
6) The Mars Volta - De-loused In The Comatorium (probably the greatest concept album ever, it's number 6 only because i can't listen to it more than once a week so as to let the genius sink in)
5) Rise Against - Revolutions Per Minute (RA raised the bar by releasing a killer melodic hardcore album)
4) Broken Social Scene - You Forgot It In People (this just got to me. it's not punk, it's just indie in some of its purest forms)
3) Moneen - Are We Really Happy With Who We Are Right Now? (this album is fun, and it definitely captures the moneen sound)
2) Gatsby's American Dream - Ribbons and Sugar (this album is really short, however I admit that it's a grower. this has still not gotten old for me)
1) Thrice - The Artist in the Ambulance (what can i say? this album is quite possibly the greatest melodic hardcore album ever created. it's mature and refined yet heavy and raw)

Anonymous (January 8, 2004)


You guys and your precious music, I lather in a pool of distortion and Japanese guys shouting.


jimmyarndt (January 8, 2004)

It's about fucking time someone is backing me up with the constantines putting out the album of the year.

Anonymous (January 7, 2004)

No, none of this is as good as the new Guitar Wolf CD. No modern band could fuck with them... They have a song called "Kung Fu Ramone"!!!


Anonymous (January 7, 2004)

Mighty was alright, but personally, it didn't nearly compare to the Smashers last album. In fact, it is probably my least favorite Planet Smashers disc... Explosive was damn near the best song they've ever written though...


Anonymous (January 6, 2004)

I think Fallout Boy is actually a really strong pop-punk band, more in the vein of pre-Blink182 pop-punk. They didn't quite make my top ten of the year, but their album was a good fun summer record.

GreenVandal (January 6, 2004)

fall out boy, early nov, something corporate, lagwagon, Acceptance, Story of the year, Hey Mercedes, Inspection 12.

In general those bands mentioned all are. Im not a big lagwagon fan...but they are better then the shit they are snadwiched inbetween up there.

Anonymous (January 5, 2004)

person below this, lagwagon is as punk as britney spears? is that what you are saying, cause i disagree. anyhow, just keeping an open mind, try it, it's enlightening.

GreenVandal (January 5, 2004)

I dont see why anyone would mention the bands "positive or otherwise". They have about as much to do with punk as britney spears.

Anonymous (January 5, 2004)

This is really great, especially the mixtape (Weakerthans, Joe Strummer, Grandpaboy, Constantines, Rancid, Ted Leo, the New Pornographers, Buzzcocks, Thrice, Exploding Hearts..)
I love it.


Anonymous (January 5, 2004)

do you read "positive or otherwise" i love most the bands on the list. Also, though the genre may not be what you like, i thought at least one (yellowcard for instance), if not more, could have been mentioned "positive or otherwise". Not that they should be number one.
read what is said before giving your 2 cent opinion.

Anonymous (January 4, 2004)

i agree planes mistaken for stars will kicking ass next year. hopefully they will finally get the credit they deserve.

adam (January 4, 2004)

"fall out boy, early nov, something corporate, Acceptance, Story of the year, Hey Mercedes"

Out of this I've only heard Something Corporate and Acceptance. The former was boring and tame, the latter was terribly derivative...


GreenVandal (January 4, 2004)

"i am surprised no one even gave slight mention, positive or otherwise, to yellowcard. Ocean Avenue in my opinion was just incredible. If not placing in the top 20, at least an honorable mention.
also, not all, but at least one of these bands I am surprised were not noted. fall out boy, early nov, something corporate, lagwagon, Acceptance, Story of the year, Hey Mercedes, Inspection 12.
(that is ignoring the roots of some, and the popularity SINCE it's release, and judging solely on music)"

Judging solely by music...I think you should head over to this site http://www.absolutepunk.net

enjoy your shit!

Haggard (January 4, 2004)

"fall out boy, early nov, something corporate, Acceptance, Story of the year, Hey Mercedes"

All terrible bands.


Anonymous (January 4, 2004)

i am surprised no one even gave slight mention, positive or otherwise, to yellowcard. Ocean Avenue in my opinion was just incredible. If not placing in the top 20, at least an honorable mention.
also, not all, but at least one of these bands I am surprised were not noted. fall out boy, early nov, something corporate, lagwagon, Acceptance, Story of the year, Hey Mercedes, Inspection 12.
(that is ignoring the roots of some, and the popularity SINCE it's release, and judging solely on music)

adam (January 3, 2004)

Ramo, Mighty was simply pushed off. It's at like #21 or 22.


Anonymous (January 3, 2004)

observational question #3:

i understand streetlight manifesto (even though i like the band). but how come planet smashers "mighty" is not on your list? i thought it was a really good record.

(but kudos to you for choosing the slackers)

Anonymous (January 3, 2004)

I think that list is pretty rad. Several bands I don't know that much of. The great thing about this year was that both the majors, major-minors and minors all put some great stuff out.

Here's my top 15, consisting of mainly mainstream releases.

-poor production aside, I think Skiba has written a fantastic album. Andriano's contributions are equally strong, can't wait for their next one.

-whoah!! I didn't expect this to be any good at all, but when Cold Cash, Colder Hearts started pumping through the speakers, I was hooked immediately. Love Mcternan's production to.

-okay, now this album reminded me of why I love Fat-style punk. fast drums, sing-a-long anthems, catchy riffage and political lyrics. You should own this already!

-fuck the haters, these guys rock out. Just listen to tunes like Eviction Article, Foundation to Burn, and High Wire Escape Artist. the superior production to ATE is a bonus to.

5. BRAND NEW- DEJA ENTENDU (triple crown)
-okay already, everyone loves this. So do I. Its just so damn good.

-I prefer this to SSTB. I think Claudio's voice is even better now, and the music is really catchy. Like SSTB the production is a little sub-par though, y'all gotta hear the hidden song. So damn good, I always think of LotR when i hear it for some reason.

-I listened to this solid for quite some time, and I kept finding new stuff I liked about it. It's a little dead to me now, but some tracks still make me rock out. God I loved ATDI.

-this cd didn't appeal to me at first for some strange reason, but then after seeing how awesome Chris Cheney is live, I had to rush out and get this. In short, it was well worth it. A little poppier then previous, but TLE's song writing is as good as ever.

9. AFI- SING THE SORROW (dreamworks)
-all I kept hearing was how crap this was by people who had the leaked version. Well, I don't think it is. For the haters, AFI were always going in this direction. I think it is their 4th best album, still good enough to make my top 10.

-semi-disappointing, but far from poor. It was a near-impossible task to follow up Full Collapse, but this was a pretty good attempt. I love the opener and the title track.

-great easy listening music. Samson is a really great song writer, I real surprise for me, but a pleasant one to say the least.

- this album gew on me in a big way, the Deftonesesque change is really great and the harder moments are harder then anything previous. Nothing short of the "m" word applies better here.

13. BLUELINE MEDIC- TEXT BOMB (fueled by ramen/ redline)
-okay Scott, this is yet another album i think you got it all wrong with in your review. great song writing and really original vocals make this a pleasure.

14. EVERY TIME I DIE- HOT DAMN! (ferret)
-someone described this as dirty rock'n'roll. I can do no better. The second best metal core album I have heard, KsE's "Alive or Just Breathing" being an admirable no. 1.

-My fav SE trck from Change is a Sound was chalkline. So obviously, Exit english was destined to be a hit with me when i find out the band chose to follow this slower tempo on most of Exit English's tracks. The second best melodicore album of the year.

Blood Brothers- Burn Piano Island, Burn
-wish i still had my $15. This is just too crazy, I like some songs, but others are way out of my musical taste ball park.

Killswitch Engage- Alive or just Breathing

The Decendents, GreenDay, Alkaline Trio, Bad Religion, Hot water Music, Saosin, Strung Out

(happy new year)

Anonymous (January 2, 2004)

I agree Streetlight Manifesto have been totally passed over.

fAt mAn

Anonymous (January 2, 2004)

Easily the top "best-of 2003 list" that I have read so far. Kudos!

Anonymous (January 2, 2004)

Adam- totally gotta go with your Sticks And Stones pick for best reissue...I still listen to that thing constantly.
And love that Buzzcocks made #5 for you...
once again, my top 5:
1.TSOL - Divided We Stand
2.F-Minus - Wake Up Screaming
3.From Ashes Rise - Nightmares
5.Darkest Hour - Hidden Hands Of A Sadist Nation

hmmm...but now that I think of it, Discharge had all reissues this year too of WHY, HEAR NOTHING SEE NOTHING SAY NOTHING, and NEVER AGAIN!!

adam (January 2, 2004)

I liked Stocks & Bombs, I think it was a good record and I like Warsawpack in general. However in a year of awesome releases they were just one of many, and it came down to how often their CD graced me stereo.

I still think Streetlight Manifesto's been getting a bit of a free ride by some people due to their nostalgic love for old Catch 22. Outside of that fanbase I don't see the album making much of a ripple... so they're not getting "the shaft," they just haven't managed to catch our attention. This comes from a ska fan.


Anonymous (January 2, 2004)

Observational question #1:

How come Warsawpack "Stocks and Bombs" is not in your list?

just wondering.


losingstreakca (January 2, 2004)

adam picked a ton of great records. here are mine, i doubt anyone cares though

10. eisley - laughing city
9. the format - interventions & lullabies
8. jack johnson - on and on
7. brand new - deja entendu
6. against me - the enternal cowboy
5. weakerthans - reconstruction site
4. the slackers - close my eyes
3. rx bandits - resignation
2. bouncing souls - anchors aweigh (the only reason this isnt number one is because LTJ toured more than them this year)
1. less than jake - anthem

my honorable mentions were nofx(glad to see em play ska tunes again) and the larry arms. i really enjoy both records, and they would have been in my top 15, but i only did a top 10. so blah

i must have been the only person who didnt like the new thrice cd. i mean it was OKAY but it was no where as good as the illusion of safety

Anonymous (January 2, 2004)

Streetlight Manifesto is seriously getting the shaft. What the fuck?


Anonymous (January 2, 2004)

Glad someone way down the comment list took note of Pistol Grip's Another Round album. Also, Virus 9 Blastin' Away deserves to be somewhere in the mix.

8dollarclarinetsolo (January 2, 2004)

well i didnt even know they were releasing that, but that will be awesome! and what you said, adam, makes sense to me, although i dont think i really got into it until i gave it a good amount of listens, the songs are long and often subtle, but if you werent a fan of catch 22 i can obviously see you not really getting into it.

Anonymous (January 2, 2004)

haven't made my top 20 yet. but enjoy my 99 cent super duper 90 minute mix tape, 15 songs each side, of 2003.

1. Strike Anywhere - Infrared
2. Every Time I Die - Ebolarama
3. Darkest Hour - Marching To The Killing Rhythm
4. Since By Man - Light Fuse Get Away
5. The Avenging Disco Godfathers of Soul - Reflex Point
6. Death By Stereo - Wasted Words
7. Comeback Kid - Die Tonight
8. Shai Hulud - Given Flight By Demon's Wings
9. Horse The Band - Cutsman
10. Sick Of It All - Paper Tiger
11. Rise Against - Blood Red, White, and Blue
12. F-Minus - From Here
13. Paint it Black - Void
14. The Blood Brothers - Ambulance vs. Ambulance
15. Black Cross - Black Market Cigarettes


1. The New Pornographers - Electric Version
2. warsawpack - Pig Dog
3. Mars Volta - Inertiatic ESP
4. The Slackers - Bin Waitin'
5. The Planet Smashers - Mighty
6. Streetlight Manifesto - point/counterpoint
7. Colossal - Brave the Elements
8. Constantines - On To You
9. The Lawrence Arms - Chapter 13: The Hero Appears
10. Against Me! - Slurring The Rhythms
11. Grabass Charlestons - Beer Exile
12. Small Brown Bike - A Scream In Silence
13. The Weakerthans - The Reasons
14. Thursday - For The Workforce, Drowning
15. Joe Strummer - Get Down Moses

(late happy new year)

GreenVandal (January 2, 2004)

The streetlight CD is wonderful. Its not that great....but it has some incredible moments on it.

but there is one thing we should all agree on...

Bandits of the acoustic revolution will own next year if they get there album out. Im surprised everyone is ignoring the fact that they are rereleasing their "call to arms" ep with somehting like 8 cover songs as a bonus. Its gonna be phenomenal methinks.

For all doubters, I point you to the song "heres to life" and that song about painting with the ridiculously long title.

so good.

and the best song on Artist in the ambulance was "the abolition of man" Adam, not the S/T song. I found it to be quite cheesy...just a opinion :)

adam (January 1, 2004)

You're not the first person to ask me why Streetlight Manifesto was left out.

Their album did absolutely nothing for me. I was never a Catch 22 fan, despite being a big ska fan. Therefore the appeal of reliving the glory of Keasbey Nights is lost on me. I've tried to enjoy Streetlight's album, but I don't see what all the fuss is about.


GreenVandal (January 1, 2004)

good list.

8dollarclarinetsolo (January 1, 2004)

i guess i liked adams list the best. the lack of streetlight manifesto on everyones list suprised me i guess

15 nofx
14 alkaline trio
13 OIL comp
12 d4 live cd
11 rise against
10 brand new
9 suicude machines
8 motion city soundtrack
7 less than jake
6 lagwagon
5 strike anywhere
4 blood brothers
3 rx bandits
2 streetlight manifesto
1 lawrence arms

3 short round split
2 fingers cut megamachine S/T 7"
1 t(i)nc EP - great because of the videos

just throwing that out there

Haggard (January 1, 2004)

Hm, I've always thought Adam as a Lagwagon type of guy.

Glad to see Clann Zu on their.


adam (January 1, 2004)

Answering a few questions:

1) I haven't heard the new Lagwagon, but I was never a fan of their old stuff so I would have made a difference if I had.

2) What someone said below about brotherhood & The Bouncing Souls is right on the mark. It's not as immediately catchy as their past stuff and doesn't have any goofy fun songs, so people expecting more pop from it will obviously be disappointed.

3) Mr. Ohio, thanks for the compliment. I'll do all I can to fight this trend towards self-important prog crap.


MrOhio (January 1, 2004)

What in the world? Punk albums appreciated on Punknews.org? Absurb.

On a serious note, I keep thinking about changing my home page from here, but, thanks to praises like these for good albums, I change my mind.

And thank you Adam, for not liking that Mars Volta prog rock crap.

Anonymous (January 1, 2004)

oh yeah, I forgot that ted leo and joe strummer are on my list as well, and another honorable mention goes to the s/t by the dexateens

SOYBOMB (January 1, 2004)

The Lawrence Arms and Against Me! represented.


Anonymous (January 1, 2004)

Top 5:
1.Alkaline Trio-Good Mourning
2.Blink182-"s/t", 3.Rancid "Indestructible"
4.Anti-Flag "The Terror State"
5. NOFX "War on errorism"

Haggard (January 1, 2004)

Good list. But what about Lagwagon's record? That was pretty good.


Anonymous (January 1, 2004)

sorry to dissappoint you anti poppers, even though these bands arent all poppy, OVER IT (by far totally amazing), STARING BACK, RUFIO, YELLOWCARD, STRETCH ARMSTRONG, and maybe even Senses Fail (if you wanna count them) so yeah, eat it. a7x and lawrence arms too. mama. good riddace and anti flag wasnt bad either.

Anonymous (January 1, 2004)

If anyone cares, my list is at http://bkservo.tripod.com/top10.html

maverick (January 1, 2004)

To all who had to look at the horribly butchered code of Adam's review for the past few hours:

My apologies. I fucked up big time, and Aubin, being the good father figure that he is, bailed my ass out and fixed everything.

So yeah, just fessing up to screwing up. This score is for my stupidity.


lieutenant (January 1, 2004)

The Bouncing Souls album was amazing. I definately know it is not a universal CD but it spoke volumes to me. This band, I believe, is one of the few that really represents a brothership and that is what I heard on this album. These are guys with the energy to be punk rock for life, because they are doing it for one another.

Sappy enough?

Anonymous (January 1, 2004)

The link directly below me....that guy has the idea. Rise Against is hands down the best CD of 2003. I dont think anyone could have guessed this release would be as good as it is, nor would it get them on a major label, headlining warped tour, and becoming a premire act. hands down the best CD of 2003

Anonymous (January 1, 2004)


Anonymous (January 1, 2004)

I loved the new Bouncing Souls record. Maybe you have to see it live to appreciate it...


joeg (January 1, 2004)

the new bouncing souls record was a huge disappointment to me. i expected much more from them but that has to be hands down their worst record. like the new rancid record, the songs were overall ok i guess, but there was just something that was missing. and props to the new f-minus record too.

Anonymous (January 1, 2004)

What a joke including the new Bouncing Souls CD on this list. Their are a lot of other CDs on here i dont agree with as well but i really thought Anchors Aweigh was a far cry from being top 10. I dont think a CD should be allowed to make the top 10 if its worse than their last effort.

lieutenant (January 1, 2004)

Adam please fix the html formatting! It is very painful to the eyes in its current state! (or maybe I am just picky) Thank you!

TheOneTrueBill (January 1, 2004)

top 10 albums
10) Sick of It All - Life on the Ropes
9) Give Up The Ghost - We're Down 'Till We're Underground
8) The Unseen - Explode!
7) Rancid - Indestructable
6) NOFX - The War on Errorism
5) Pennywise - From the Ashes
4) Down By Law - windwardtidesandwaywardsails
3) 311 - Evolver
2) Swingin' Utters - Dead Flowers, Bottles, Bluegrass and Bones
1) F-Minus - Wake Up Screaming

Honorable Mentions
The Locust - Plague Soundscapes, Andrew WK - The Wolf, Bouncing Souls - Anchors Aweigh, Pistol Grip - Another Round, TSOL - Divided We Stand, Iggy Pop - Skull Ring

TheOneTrueBill (January 1, 2004)

I hate Rise Against and Metalcore.

And I totaly agree on that Buzzcocks album. I just got it for christmas, and i'm mad at myself for not getting it earlier. It's thart good!

YourBloodyValentine (January 1, 2004)

My list:

1. Manitoba - Up In Flames
2. M83 - Dead Cities, Red Seas, and Lost Ghosts
3. Explosions in the Sky - The Earth is not a Dead Cool Place
4. British Sea Power - The Decline of British Sea Power
5. Xiu Xiu - A Promise
6. Guided By Voices - Human Amusements at Hourly Rates
7. Shins - Chutes Too Narrow
8. Mogwai - Happy Songs for Happy People
9. Against Me! - As the Eternal Cowboy
10. Exploding Hearts - Guitar Romantic

Honorable Mention:

The Unicorns

Best EP:

I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness - S/T

Anonymous (January 1, 2004)

Best List of early 2004:


I agree pretty much. I like the Bronx, too. From Ashes Rise would be up there though...


Anonymous (January 1, 2004)

ok, i'll just type these up before i get too drunk...
since the computer i'm on doesn't support japanese characters, all the japanese titles are in english.
if you want to discuss or something... im me at thefighttolive

1. The Blood Brothers - Burn, Piano Island, Burn...

2. The Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever Told

3. Highway 61 - Best Of Highway 61

4. Cursive - The Ugly Organ

5. The Tossers - Purgatory

6. Death By Stereo - Into The Valley Of Death

7. GO!GO!7188 - Tategami

8. Thursday - War All The Time

9. The Back Horn - Ikiru Sainou

10. Dir En Grey - Vulgar

Honorable Mentions: Rise Against, Shai Hulud, Adventures Of Jet, Since By Man, The Mars Volta, The Planet Smashers

2003: A great year for sasscore, a bad year for musicians (especially Count The Stars, hehehehe)


-el vaquero

Anonymous (January 1, 2004)


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