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Best of 2005

Best of 2005: Scott's picksScott's picks (2005)
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Contributed by: maverickScott
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Scott Heisel is an alumni news editor, reviews editor and reviewer here at Punknews.org -ed

Death, taxes and fest cancellations: The only constants in life

So, 2005's just about over. I'm listening to some mediocre Death From Above 1979 remixes (seriously, that remix record they just put out? Pass on it, kids). It's about 3am on New Year's Eve, and I have to write an intro to my whole year-end list thing.

I got nothin', really. Did anything good happen this year? I mean, shit: Eddie fuckin' Guerrero died. That constitutes a pretty awful year, if you ask me. But there were some good records that came out. We'll get to those shortly.

While I'm sure good things did happen this year, 2005 also was home to terrible losses, in both musical and physical realms. The old guard (Snapcase, the Get Up Kids, Engine Down, Karate, Rocket From The Crypt) suffered just as much as the up-and-comers (Beloved, Hey Mercedes, the Frenetics, Faultlines, Malady, Bear Vs Shark, Tsunami Bomb) in terms of diminishing ranks. Of course, the band break-ups were nothing compared to the true tragedy that befell this scene over the year. From the suicides of former Lagwagon drummer Derrick Plourde and former All-American Rejects touring keyboardist Tim Jordan, to the tragic vehicular deaths of Bayside drummer John "Beatz" Holohan and Silkworm drummer Michael Dahlquist, to Bleed The Dream drummer Scott Gottlieb and electronic-instrument pioneer Bob Moog succumbing to cancer, to music legends such as R.L. Burnside and Laurel Aitken passing after long and prosperous lives, it was impossible not to be touched by the death of someone in music this year.

On the upside, the biggest trend in music (aside from the ever-growing legion of MySpacecore bands epitomizing fashion over function) seemed to be reunions, as odds are, one of your favorite bands from yesteryear saw how much bank the Pixies made and got back together, some permanently. Bands coming out of retirement included Slint, Gang Of Four, Dead Boys, Dinosaur Jr, the Promise Ring, Gorilla Biscuits, Coalesce, Lifetime, Kid Dynamite, Smoking Popes, and dozens of first-generation hardcore bands better left six feet under.

Of course, the other trend of 2005 -- or curse, as it may be -- was the cancellation of virtually every major fest on North American soil. Hellfest, Wasted USA, Polarfest, Unite The United, and even last-minute Hellfest replacement WhatTheHellFest had the plug yanked out of the wall before the first band on any of the bills could even soundcheck. The only major North American fests to actually deliver in 2005 seemed to be the Bamboozle and Riot Fest, both of which found themselves plagued by myriad problems, including capacity issues, lineup shuffling and general disorganization. Oh, and of course, the Fest 4 went off without a hitch -- but that's just because Punknews.org sponsored it, duh.

Personally, 2005 was a big year for me -- my first full year spent at my job; my first real, honest-to-god beard; but most importantly, it was my first full year away from all duties here at the 'Org. It's hard, having to rejoin the peanut gallery (no offence to you readers; you're the best group of people any website could ask for), and it's taken me pretty much all year to get used to the fact that my opinion doesn't matter that much around here. To all those -- editors and users alike -- who humored me at some point this year, I thank you. It's a pleasure to be invited back to do a year-end list for the website I owe the majority of my well-being to; with that being said, let's get into it:

The Top 20 Albums Of 2005
#20. The Suicide Machines - War Profiteering Is Killing Us All
This politically charged ska-punk combo return with another blistering set of, well, politically charged ska-punk. And the result is yet another awesome album in this band's catalogue (4-for-6 ain't bad at all, guys!).
#19. Decibully - Sing Out, America!
I'm not sure how to describe this album. Alt-country, sorta? Mellow indie rock, I guess? Really, really creative and inspiring music? Definitely.
#18. The Hold Steady - Separation Sunday
I shamefully missed the boat on Lifter Puller, but after this disc, Craig Finn has become one of my new favorite vocalists. I've also found an appreciation for Thin Lizzy I never thought I had.
#17. Gatsbys American Dream - Volcano
One of the most innovative bands in the scene make good on their third full-length. Where's the fucking chorus? Who cares?
#16. Spitalfield - Stop Doing Bad Things
Far more mature than their 2003 effort Remember Right Now, Spitalfield's new album should have put them onto the radars of anyone who champions mid-'90s post-hardcore (Braid, Texas Is The Reason, et al). Unfortunately, it seems like a lot of people glossed over the record due to the bulldog on the back of it. I urge you to reconsider, as this is one of the most solid rock records I heard all year.
#15. Settlefish - The Plural Of The Choir
Something's in the water in Italy. And apparently, it's the collected back catalogs of American Football, Sunny Day Real Estate and At The Drive-In. Drink up, boys!
#14. The Bled - Found In The Flood
A complete dark horse for this list -- I didn't realize how much I was really into this album until just a few days ago, as it's been a staple in my car stereo for four months. Progressive post-metalcore that utilizes no cliches to get its message across and makes no excuses for its ambitiousness.
#13. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
Sometimes, it's nice to have an album that both you and your mom can listen to at the same time without either of you wanting to turn the stereo off. My only complaint? My mom got a copy of this with Superman on the cover; I didn't.
#12. Vendetta Red - Sisters Of The Red Death
Epic
Lots and lots of guitars + lots and lots of hooks = lots and lots of catchy, crunchy, built-for-singalong songs. I can't believe how badly Epic botched this album; this disc should be selling like gangbusters to anyone who even remotely enjoys any part of the "rock" genre.
#11. Boys Night Out - Trainwreck
A band who refuse to be stuck in the pop-screamo scene create a massively ambitious, intruiging and grotesque concept album, and it actually works on all levels. Why isn't this band bigger?
#10. Queens Of The Stone Age - Lullabies To Paralyze
Interscope
It's like, the blues, man.
#9. The City On Film - In Formal Introduction
Bob Nanna's "solo" debut, seven or so years in the making, is the perfect thing in this post-Elliott Smith singer-songwriter world.
#8. Circa Survive - Juturna
I guess this is what prog-emo sounds like. I just figured it was what good music sounds like. With his explosive vocals, penetrating lyricism and cathartic stage movements, Anthony Green is one of the best all-around frontmen of indie rock currently.
#7. Bear Vs Shark - Terrorhawk
Only the good die young. Bear Vs Shark will probably never truly be understood like their forebearers in At The Drive-In. But that's okay; Marc Paffi couldn't grow an Afro if his life depended on it.
#6. The Mars Volta - Frances The Mute
Strummer/Universal/GSL
And speaking of afros...
#5. Mando Diao - Hurricane Bar
More restrained and polished than 2003's brash Bring 'Em In, Mando Diao may have cut back on the attitude a bit, but more than make up for it by being the best mod band, songwriting-wise, in years. Take that, Pete Doherty.
#4. Death Cab For Cutie - Plans
Atlantic/Barsuk
Death Cab's major-label debut didn't rock any sort of musical boat, but it didn't have to: All Ben Gibbard has to do is keep writing love songs, and we'll keep listening.
#3. A Wilhelm Scream - Ruiner
One of the hardest-touring bands in punk rock (I've seen them six times this year, and actually missed them a seventh time in order to go to the Fest 4), A Wilhelm Scream are refreshing, exciting, dangerous and catchy as all fuck. And something tells me they're just getting started.
#2. Minus The Bear - Menos El Oso
The thing about Minus The Bear is this: There isn't a single band in the world they sound like. And I commend them for both being unapologetically original and absurdly catchy. You don't just listen to Menos El Oso; you feel it.
#1. Against Me! - Searching For A Former Clarity
Every album Against Me! released has been better than the one prior, and this is no exception. Tom Gabel's lyrics continually cut to the core of whatever issue he feels like addressing, whether it be personal or social-political. It excites me to know I'll be able to witness every single step of Gabel's maturation as a musician, and to know that every single one of those steps is in the right direction. Gentlemen, take a bow: You are the most important band in punk rock.
Honorable Mentions

Apollo Sunshine - Apollo Sunshine (spinART); Armor For Sleep - What To Do When You Are Dead (Equal Vision); The Blackout Pact - Hello Sailor (Astro Magnetics); Coldplay - X & Y (Capitol); The Decemberists - Picaresque (Kill Rock Stars); The Life And Times - Suburban Hymns (DeSoto); Matt Pond PA - Several Arrows Later (Altitude); Modern Life Is War - Witness (Deathwish Inc); OK Go - Oh No (Capitol); Over It - Silverstrand (Lobster); Sigur Ros - Takk... (Geffen); The White Stripes - Get Behind Me, Satan (V2)

The Top 5 EPs Of 2005
#5. The City On Film - American Diary
This shit is B. Nanna's.
#4. This Is Hell - This Is Hell
Finally, hardcore produces something worth listening to!
#3. The Loved Ones - The Loved Ones
Finally, dudes from old hardcore bands form a new band and it doesn't suck!
#2. The Felix Culpa - Thought Control
Every song the Felix Culpa writes peels off another layer of their incredibly complex post-math rock atmospherics. Who needs verse-chorus-verse-chorus when you have songs as interesting as this?
#1. The Cardinal Sin - Oil And Water
This is why the Midwest is great: Devoid of the musical trends which ravage both the East and West Coast scenes, the Midwest punk scene is content to just crank out really, really good, melodic punk. The Cardinal Sin's debut EP is exactly that, and with a full-length on the way in 2006, expect to see this name again -- a lot.
The Top 5 Disappointments Of 2005
#5. Franz Ferdinand - You could Have It So Much Better
Epic/Domino
The single is great; I couldn't hum a single other song on this album. A complete letdown from their self-titled effort, where every single song was memorable, catchy and fun.
#4. Finch - Say Hello To Sunshine
Drive-Thru/Geffen
I appreciate the band's attempt to grow musically (and it's obvious they're paying for it, as any of the half-empty venues they've headlined recently will attest to), but for all the talk of maturation and musical exploration, it sounds an awful lot like nu-metal. Even one of the best drummers around (in Counterfit's Marc Allen) couldn't save this.
#3. Alkaline Trio - Crimson
Sure, it's good; but it could've been great. I'd like to see what would happen if you put the band in the studio for two weeks with Matt Allison and told them to make a new record, with no songs prepared beforehand. Enough of this super-slick production and boring songs, guys -- three albums of it is more than plenty.
#2. Every Time I Die - Gutter Phenomenon
Their attitude towards music is dead-on; unfortunately, the music they created with that attitude is far off the mark. Once one of the most charismatic vocalists in hardcore, Keith Buckley has resorted to the same growl found on every single album Trustkill puts out, and the band's Southern-rock influence, while clever on Hot Damn!, just gets boring and sloppy here. Points for trying, but there's nothing worth listening to again on this album.
#1. The (International) Noise Conspiracy - Armed Love
American
Hands down, the most disappointing, and quite possibly worst overall, album of 2005. And had I downloaded it (like apparently everyone else did) in 2004, it would've won this same spot last year. How's smashing the state working out for you on that plush tour bus, Dennis?
The Most-Improved Band Of 2005
Armor For Sleep - What To Do When You Are Dead
This band went from making one of the most boring, by-the-books freshman efforts (2003's Dream To Make Believe) to creating a powerful concept album that rocked in all the right places. Kudos to the band for really getting their shit together.
The Best Compilation Of 2005
Various Artists - Tony Hawk's American Wasteland
A bunch of classic punk songs covered remarkably faithfully by people who were as moved by them as you and I probably are. A great compilation with tons of replay value.
The Best Record Of 2005 I Couldn't Place On My Top 20 List
(A.K.A. The First-Annual Conflict Of Interest Award)
Somerset - Pandora
I couldn't in good conscience place this on my proper Top 20 list since I had a hand in putting it out, but honestly, this record would've made my top 10 easily. I dare you to listen to this record and describe Somerset as anything but original. I can't think of a single band they sound like, and I can't get a single one of these songs out of my head, even having listened to them for almost the entire length of 2005.
The Best Record Of 2004 That I Didn't Get Until 2005
The Arcade Fire - Funeral
I managed to avoid the hype train behind this release in 2004 until shortly after Christmas last year, when a faithful 'Org reader bought me a copy as a belated Christmas present (Thanks, Marlon!). I quickly fell in love with it and found myself returning to it often over this year. A fantastic debut that sounds like the band's been making music together for 20 years.
The Best Record Of 2004 That I Didn't "Get" Until 2005
Head Automatica - Decadence
Warner Bros.
I remember the first time I heard this record -- it gave me a headache. However, after watching the Suicide Girls DVD earlier this year, and noticing how virtually every song off this record has prominent placement in the documentary, I found myself with a newfound appreciation for Daryl Palumbo's dance-pop side. It ain't no Glassjaw, but it's still quite enjoyable.
The Best Record Of 2005 By Andrew WK

(Sigh.) Here's to hoping for 2006...

The Punknews.Org Mixtape, 2005 Edition

Click on any song to download/stream it (where applicable).

    Side A
  1. Criteria - Prevent The World
  2. Weezer - Perfect Situation
  3. Vendetta Red - The Body And The Blood
  4. Thrice - The Earth Will Shake
  5. Minus The Bear - Drilling
  6. The Hold Steady - Your Little Hoodrat Friend
  7. Bear Vs Shark - 5, 6 Kids
  8. Armor For Sleep - The Truth About Heaven
  9. Anberlin - Paperthin Hymn
  10. The Cardinal Sin - Quarter-Life Crisis
    Side B
  1. Smoke Or Fire - California's Burning
  2. Alkaline Trio - The Poison
  3. Motion City Soundtrack - Everything Is Alright
  4. The All-American Rejects - Move Along
  5. A Wilhelm Scream - Me Vs. Morrissey In The Pretentiousness Contest (The Ladder Match)
  6. Matt Pond PA - Halloween
  7. Hot Hot Heat - Shame On You
  8. Modern Life Is War - D.E.A.D.R.A.M.O.N.E.S.
  9. Comeback Kid - Wake The Dead
  10. Somerset - House Of Knives
  11. (hidden track) Ted Leo - Since U Been Gone/Maps
The Most Anticipated Records Of 2006

Thw following bands are supposed to have records out in 2006; if they all do, we're in for an exciting year of music: Aloha, Andrew W.K., Angels & Airwaves, the Ataris, the Blood Brothers, Boy Sets Fire, Brand New, the Bronx, the Cardinal Sin, Cursive, Death From Above 1979, Deftones, Dillinger Four, the Draft, the Felix Culpa, the Flaming Lips, Gatsbys American Dream, H20, Head Automatica, the Lawrence Arms, Lifetime, the Loved Ones, the Mars Volta, Mates Of State, Mogwai, Moneen, Mono, Murder By Death, Muse, NOFX, None More Black, the Offspring, the Plastic Constellations, Plus 44, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Radiohead, Rise Against, Rx Bandits, Ryan's Hope, Saosin, Saves The Day, Smoking Popes, the Sound Of Animals Fighting, Strike Anywhere, Ted Leo/Pharmacists, This Is Hell, Thursday, the Weakerthans and Wilco.

In Closing

In all seriousness, the last few months of this year were rather hard for me, as my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer in late September, and due to its advanced stage, was unable to fight it whatsoever, passing two months after the initial diagnosis. If any of you might have some leftover cash from the holidays and are looking to be a bit philanthropic this season, I would greatly appreciate it if you considered donating to the American Cancer Society or Syrentha Savio Endowment, or treat yourself to some new threads courtesy of Shirts For A Cure. As cliche as it sounds, every little bit does help.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy 2006.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Texas Is The Reason - Do You Know Who You Are?Bear Vs Shark - Right Now You're In The Best Of Hands. And If Something Isn't Quite Right...The Cardinal Sin - Oil And WaterBlink-182 - Blink 182Set Your Goals - Mutiny!A Wilhelm Scream - Career SuicideThe Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in AmericaBrand New - The Devil and God Are Raging Inside MeColossal - Welcome The Problems

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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.
Godfather (January 9, 2006)

this argument should just die....sort of like what punk did when jawbreaker broke up

ryan_e34 (January 7, 2006)

Scott your still the man.....your my fuckin hero.... dont worry about any of these other bitches on here

fistchode (January 7, 2006)

I've gone to college, moved out of my parents house, and pay my bills, and I believe in will's definition of punk. I don't always follow it, nor do I expect anyone else to follow it, but I also don't call anyone "the most important whatever in punk".

Anonymous (January 7, 2006)

You're clearly someone who knows nothing about the punk scene of today. Cool.

-Will

Anonymous (January 7, 2006)

memo to Will -

the 80s are over and so are your punk ethics.

I'm sure against me dont give a flying fuck about what you think about thier integrity and you arguing over it wont change shit. do yourself a favor and either find something that is worthwile to waste your energy on or find a gun and shoot yourself in the face. Either way. Your opinion is still fucking meaningless. Deal with it. I know mine is, why because no one gives a flying fuck and I like reading what I type on the interwebs.

- Normie

Anonymous (January 6, 2006)

Scott, plently of people way older than you have maintained a level of credibility. Stop it. You just sound like a crazy guy who comes to stalk the message boards.

-Will

Anonymous (January 6, 2006)

tell you what scott how about you a) put lagwagon in the top 20 b) admit that it sucks that your 13 year old sister will see against me! on mtv and like them c) say its possible that against me! will have the same concequences as rise against did by leaving fat (aka their first shitty album) and d) tell everyone else including yourself to leave and let adam and aubin run the site

Anonymous (January 6, 2006)

this... conversation... is... over.

tyler durden

maverick (January 6, 2006)

Tell you what, Will, check in with me in five years, once you've:

1. Moved out of your parents' house
2. Gone to college (or is that not punk rock?)
3. Gotten a full-time job
4. Found yourself with bills to pay

Then we'll see how you feel about your definition of "punk."

-Scott

Anonymous (January 5, 2006)

But that's just it, Scott... As I've said to the point of redundancy, punk is not a job. If you get popular in punk, it should be thru talent. If you get popular enough to tour the world, that's the ultimate raise.

Punk isn't working at a huge company. That's huge companies. That's what you should be doing if you want to make money. Not hawking faux-rebellion to the hungry young masses.

-Will

maverick (January 5, 2006)

It's not an issue of being anti-major label. It's an issue of not giving a shit about major labels (which I'm sure they did, and still do to an extent). What, do you think the band was PRO-major label or something?

Tell you what: When you finally get out into the real world and get a job working somewhere, NEVER take a raise; NEVER take a promotion; NEVER try to move up within the company. And don't even think about taking a better offer doing what you're good at from another company! If you do that, you're totally a sellout, dude. The only way you stay true to what you believe in is to never advance whatsoever, amirite?

-Scott

Anonymous (January 5, 2006)

When they stopped by KC in 2003, they said they'd never sign to a major. Specific example.

Also, Scott, if you think Against Me weren't anti-major when they were playing it up for the folk-punk crowd, you're the stupid one.

-Will

Anonymous (January 5, 2006)

It must have seemed like a reasonable defense at first... I guess he's just a fan. Now that his point has been deflated and laughed at, maybe he'll get some dignity and stop.

-Will

maverick (January 5, 2006)

No, my specific argument is that the band never wrote any song that was specifically anti-major label in nature. If you go about 10-15 posts down, some dude said the band's lyrical stance used to be very anti-major label. I'm asking for one single example of Tom Gabel writing lyrics like that, and no one can give me any.

And fine, you say they were anti-major label, but not in their lyrics? Well then, show me in what way! Cite interviews they did; show me a journal Tom wrote; SOMETHING. Prove to me that the band were anti-major label! The DVD they put out does not prove the band were vehemently against major labels. Frankly, I thought it pretty much showed Warren as the only one completely against it, whereas the rest of the guys definitely considered what was going on (especially Tom).

And so what? So fucking what? The DVD wasn't supposed to be some sort of "Against Me! is the best band ever because we didn't sign to a major label!" movie. It was supposed to be a tour documentary. They didn't plan all that shit. It just happened.

And if you really, truly think this band would sign any sort of label deal that doesn't allow them to A)control the price of their merchandise, B)control who they tour with, C)just control any creative/musical aspect of their career as a whole, you're stupid. Do you really think these guys would ostensibly sign their lives away without knowing exactly what they were getting themselves into?

-Scott

fistchode (January 5, 2006)

So, just to get this straight: is Scott's argument that if a band says they were against major labels, but don't write a song that states it in a specific way, then they infact were never against major labels, and to think so would require you to be a "mindless stupid fucking shittalking Against Me! hater"?

Wow man, check fucking mate.

Anonymous (January 5, 2006)

Scott, if you haven't seen the DVD, my friend might send you a copy for free. Most non-music biz types got over them a while back.

-Will

maverick (January 5, 2006)

Thus far, no one has posted a single lyric proving the band were previously anti-major labels.

Come on, shittalkers, let's go! Show me how the band are hypocrites! Cite specific lyrical examples! If you can't, then maybe it's time to shut up, realize that you have no right to tell someone else how to live their life, and go live your own, far away from me.

-Scott

Anonymous (January 5, 2006)

as much as I love against me!, Will has got a point. I dunno what you're trying to hide, against me! have loads of lyrics (explicit or not) about majors and capitalism. in fact, so many lyrics have been posted on their "against me! signed to sire"-news if that's what you're looking for...

Anonymous (January 5, 2006)

"SHOW ME LYRICS.

What the fuck, can no one read?"

Oh, Scott. I thought you were arguing that they never shit talked major labels, period. It turns out you're trying to trump an argument you can't win on a technicality.

Okay, I guess. Maybe I saw the wrong copy of the DVD and the I mistook them for another band that shit talked major labels at their shows before they signed to Sire.

It's all on me, I guess.

-Will

Crookedsuperhero (January 5, 2006)

"SHOW ME LYRICS.

What the fuck, can no one read?

-Scot"

Really, isn't that DVD enough?

I can't wait till This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb start locking them in their dressing rooms.

CaveatMalefactor (January 5, 2006)

No love for System of a Down, Mesmorize/Hypnotize on this site? Too bad.

deathbyguitar (January 5, 2006)

good choices, some goofy ones though

Anonymous (January 4, 2006)

oh man scott, no lucero?

maverick (January 4, 2006)

SHOW ME LYRICS.

What the fuck, can no one read?

-Scott

Anonymous (January 4, 2006)

"So, show me evidence of this anti-major label lyrical stance.

-Scott"

Uh, what about their DVD? Or their speeches at live shows?

-Will

fistchode (January 4, 2006)

Ethics are so 2004. The political trend is over, it's trendy again to be apathetic about social and economic issues. Everyone, put away your revolutionary "not my president" shirts, and wear your apathetic grins again. Accept corporations as an integral part of your life, and if you think you have any right to say that they have no part in punk rock, then you're an idiot. Punk is about making money, but not enough to buy a bus. Punk is about making money, and driving in vans.

Remember the Broadways lyrics "and it hurts me when my friends transform into my parents/they don't call here anymoooooooooore"? I've always liked those lyrics. I so think I misquoted it though. That'd be awesome.

Punk's aesthetic has been copied by people who don't adhere to the punk ethos, and therefore there isn't a unified anti-whatever in the punk scene. Bands that copied the aesthetic, and not the ethos are then labelled punk, and fans of those bands have a different conception of punk than people who like punk for the aesthetic and ethos, and it leads to stupid internet arguments, no?

maverick (January 4, 2006)

Will, read the comments before you post something. The guy a few down from you posted:

"saying these bands mean less than a band that just signed to a major(against their earlier lyrical stance) is a tad ignorant"

So, show me evidence of this anti-major label lyrical stance.

-Scott

Anonymous (January 3, 2006)

"Please, using direct lyrical quotations, provide evidence where Tom Gabel wrote about never signing to a major label.

-Scott"

No one ever said that. Are you arguing that they never had anti-establishment lyrics?

I think you've lost this argument. It's okay, if I cared about a band that fucked up, I'd get confused, too.

-Will

the_other_scott (January 3, 2006)

damnit scott, i thought my comment would get people to stop talking about this shit

i didn't really, but i hoped

their last album is what, 4 months old, and still fucking amazing, so lets just hang on to that until the next one comes out

and then we'll judge them (mercilessly)

maverick (January 3, 2006)

To all mindless Against Me! haters out there:

Please, using direct lyrical quotations, provide evidence where Tom Gabel wrote about never signing to a major label.

-Scott

the_other_scott (January 3, 2006)

as surprised (and somewhat bummed) as we all were with against me's decision to jump to a major i think we need to wait and hear their next record and quit talking about this shit

and to the dude who made the D4 comment a couple below, apparently you haven't been reading this site for too long.

Anonymous (January 3, 2006)

"So what you're saying is that once a band starts succeeding on any level, they can no longer be a part of the underground punk scene? Talk about desertion. You realize that when it comes down to it, NOTHING matters but the music. And there isn't a single punk band making more relevant, heartfelt, urgent and downright important music than Against Me!. If you ca'tt see that, you're not focusing on the music.

Get over your politics and beliefs and thoughts that you know what is best for someone else.

Lastly, I'm not sure I should be flattered or insulted that you refered to me as a"music industry hype-wizard."

-Scott"

Evidently you haven't heard of The Ex, they have done everything Against Me! has done with their music and then some. They live a comfortable, happy life. Against Me! is just greedy.

Anyway, you are wrong when you say "nothing matters but the music." Against Me! grew huge by advertising their anti-establishment beliefs and working the DIY and underground scenes. They touted them so long that the basic principles almost became a joke. They sang about these beliefs, wrote lyrics about these beliefs. Last I heard lyrics were part of a song, and songs are music. I dunno, I'm pretty jaded.

To me, it sounds like the band has given their fans the royal screw-job, and, with comments like these, you seem all to eager to provide the lube.

Anonymous (January 3, 2006)

Merely listing Dillinger Four as a band with an anticipated album made me shit my pants and cry. Not because I shit my pants, but because I was so happy someone else appreciates them. Even in the slightest.

Anonymous (January 3, 2006)

i dunno, saying Against Me! is THE most important band in punk rock is a little bit of an overstatement. I mean when you have bands like The Lawrence Arms, Latterman, and Big D and the Kids Table(some of the biggest for runners of the DIY ethic) saying these bands mean less than a band that just signed to a major(against their earlier lyrical stance) is a tad ignorant, in my opinion ofcourse.

JohnTravoltron (January 3, 2006)

Whoa I didn't know Ted Leo covered those songs till I read this. I always thought that bridge part in Kelly Clarkson's song sounded almost EXACTLY like the one in "Maps." Awesome. Also...

has live Ted Leo song that Scott posted a few months ago on this website going to get any kind of studio treatment?

benz (January 3, 2006)

Totally agree with the disappointment with Every Time I Die's album. I really enjoyed their other stuff, but the new stuff is not only boring, it sucks musically.

--benz

Anonymous (January 3, 2006)

Nice list.

Honestly, do you expect to see a death metal band on these lists? I mean, the new Opeth cd is fucking awesome, but its not surprising that no one picked it. I don't think it even got reviewed on here.

Testiclese (January 3, 2006)

did anyone at this site listen to the opeth cd??! come ON

Anonymous (January 2, 2006)

lagwagon gets NO respek

Anchors (January 2, 2006)

"Ass Cactus" may be one of the funniest things I have ever read on this site.

Anonymous (January 2, 2006)

Yeah, that kind of stuff sucks. Churches can be fuckin' shifty. And when shit gets to peoples' heads and they think they are the gods of the underground scene, shows get lame... Thank god Kansas City doesn't have enough people in the scene to afford to do that.

-Will

Anonymous (January 2, 2006)

Will, I live in a big ass city which is directly south of another big ass city (San Jose and San Francisco respectively). We ain't got shit for DIY.
Just fucking around. But for a long time the scene around where I lived was way fucked up because some nut bag (who I won't mention to be kind) promoted a lot of smaller DIY shows, but he only booked shitty ass emo bands. He was nearly single handedly reasponsible for fucking up the scene around here. Running a no swearing and no moshing policy at shows.
It was terrible. Luckily it ain't 2001 anymore.
I actually was just about to go to a local show at a place called The Cave and interview one of the bands.
BUT no where for an interview and a $9 cover scraped those plans. I'd seen the band twice before, once for free and once for $8 opening for another band. This place was whacked if they thought a $9 cover was acceptable...Course it was a church venue, probably tryin to copy Scientologists...Dick holes.
-Dante

Anonymous (January 1, 2006)

""the punk scene that you want to believe still exists doesn't. and it hasn't for a long ass time. get over it"

i agree to a huge point, but i also think that in new ways the DIY thing is making a huge comeback. just through myspace, purevolume, and fan sites bands can build a gigantic fan base without the help of a label (i.e clap your hands say yeah"

Yeah, this idea that DIY punk is dead is a completely lazy cop-out joke. I live in Kansas City, and we have at least one DIY show a week usually. Imagine how much more bumpin it is in cities like Minneapolis or Chicago... Or SF, Oakland, or NY.

-Will

Anonymous (January 1, 2006)

"So what you're saying is that once a band starts succeeding on any level, they can no longer be a part of the underground punk scene? Talk about desertion. You realize that when it comes down to it, NOTHING matters but the music. And there isn't a single punk band making more relevant, heartfelt, urgent and downright important music than Against Me!. If you ca'tt see that, you're not focusing on the music.

Get over your politics and beliefs and thoughts that you know what is best for someone else.

Lastly, I'm not sure I should be flattered or insulted that you refered to me as a"music industry hype-wizard."

-Scott"

Scott, you can succeed in huge ways without signing to a major label. If you think Against Me make good music, cool. I just don't think that a band that does nothing DIY and is on a major label has anything to with a music scene based around trading tapes/demo CD R's , scheduling shows yourself and not caring how much money you get payed to play. Once you abandon that, you have abandoned the realm of punk for hope of mainstream success- Which is not inherently anti-punk or anti-underground, but in this day and age (where as I said, DIY music scenes are struggling to survive), that's the case.

Kirby, punk shouldn't be about getting to the next stepping stone of success. There's no problem with growing musically, but if you pretend to care about DIY music, you pretty much don't go off and sign to Sire. Dischord and Jade Tree have huge artists and really mainstreamed distro, but by operating their labels the way they do, they have kept their integrity. Fugazi played world tours and maintained that. You don't need to be on a huge label to if you really care about what you're saying.

-Will

the_other_scott (January 1, 2006)

"the punk scene that you want to believe still exists doesn't. and it hasn't for a long ass time. get over it"

i agree to a huge point, but i also think that in new ways the DIY thing is making a huge comeback. just through myspace, purevolume, and fan sites bands can build a gigantic fan base without the help of a label (i.e clap your hands say yeah)

KirbyPuckett (January 1, 2006)

Scott used this analogy last night...

I went to college to get a good job and succeed in life.

I did not go to college just to continue working at CompUSA my entire life. As soon as I get a job offer I am going to take it. I am not selling out my ethics by trying to make my life as lucrative as possible.

Against Me! were in the same situation.

They graduated and were ready for the next step.

- Kirby

Anonymous (January 1, 2006)

DIY is a bullshit attitude. the punk scene that you want to believe still exists doesn't. and it hasn't for a long ass time. get over it. the new T(I)NC is pretty shitty. the new Against Me is pretty great. i don't give a fuck about anything else.

p.s. - i'm going to keep bitching about Lucero until it gets acknowledged. seriously. best record of the year. definitely maybe almost sorta.

the Jason.

stevejonestherealbones (January 1, 2006)

i own 3 of them plus the album that i was hoping scott would put as his top dog, but couldnt because he isnt shady like that. so 4?

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

- myspace.com/jonesthebones

Dante3000 (January 1, 2006)

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
-Dante

maverick (January 1, 2006)

So what you're saying is that once a band starts succeeding on any level, they can no longer be a part of the underground punk scene? Talk about desertion. You realize that when it comes down to it, NOTHING matters but the music. And there isn't a single punk band making more relevant, heartfelt, urgent and downright important music than Against Me!. If you ca'tt see that, you're not focusing on the music.

Get over your politics and beliefs and thoughts that you know what is best for someone else.

Lastly, I'm not sure I should be flattered or insulted that you refered to me as a"music industry hype-wizard."

-Scott

Anonymous (January 1, 2006)

"You are the stupidest fucking person I have ever talked with. Punk music isn't supposed to be a job?!? Why can't someone make a living doing what they love, and doing it well? Why must one suffer their entire lifetime for their art (art which spoiled kids like you will bitch about endlessly, regardless of how hard they worked on it)?

---

Guess what: I did say shit. Stop thinking someone's personal belief system is more important than the music they make. Tom Gabel has grown as a songwriter with each release, and each release gets more complex musically and lyrically"

1) You can stop with the 2nd grade internet insults. Especially if you want to demean me by calling me "one of those kids."

2) In punk music, especially in an era where huge companies buy and repackage ideals, real art and revolution to pass them as trends, it's really important to not be a hypocrite about the underground music scene.

3) You can make a living off your art without making art to make a living.

4) I never said Against Me were the worst band ever- I said that you calling them a punk band was an insult to people who actually work to contribute to the punk scene. It's clear that Against Me don't give a shit about that- I never said that was a horrible thing. If you turn your back on the scene by being huge hypocrites (not even in the Fat sense- I'm talking Sire here), that's your choice to not be a punk band. It's okay not to be a punk band, but when music industry hype-wizards like you start calling them an "important punk band," much less "the most important punk band," it's an insult to people who actually do make underground punk music.

-Will

boba_fett (January 1, 2006)

scotts picks get kudos cause hes scott.

Dante3000 (January 1, 2006)

I think the clear distinction (in my mind at least) is that I really like Against Me!'s last disc and I wasn't too big on Armed Love.
I don't care whatcha do as long as you make good music.
I think ya'll just have differing opinions on the issue, you both have strong beliefs in your feelings and both have valid points in your own ways.
I agree one should never set out to make music their job. Doing so ensures you'll do exactly what you do in a job, work to make the higher ups happy. However, if you go about making music you love and enjoy, AND just so happen to make a living off it, good for you. Selling records is fucking impossible to do. I love music but I'd rather do the 9 to5, and I'm not very good at music.
Now, AM! did write some strong anarchist lyrics in their past and maybe they've changed their view, it happens. In reality those old songs don't matter too much anyhow as I imagine a good majority of their fans who took those songs to heart might of already abandoned AM!. They aren't the same band they were 4 years ago, they've changed their sound (progresively, not trend hoppingly), they've changed lables (three times), they've changed fans and maybe they've changed their ideologies a bit. Maybe they should change their name as they are quite different from the Against Me! that wrote those songs.
Wait...No one asked me. Fuck.
-Dante
My car system is louder than your belief system.

Anonymous (January 1, 2006)

I need someone to change my diaper.

-Will

maverick (January 1, 2006)

"You see, punk music isn't supposed to be a job."

You are the stupidest fucking person I have ever talked with. Punk music isn't supposed to be a job?!? Why can't someone make a living doing what they love, and doing it well? Why must one suffer their entire lifetime for their art (art which spoiled kids like you will bitch about endlessly, regardless of how hard they worked on it)?

"You also can't say shit about Dennis when the guys who wrote "Axl Rose" (a much more scathing attack on "the system" than anything (i)NC has ever written) are now on Sire."

Guess what: I did say shit. Stop thinking someone's personal belief system is more important than the music they make. Tom Gabel has grown as a songwriter with each release, and each release gets more complex musically and lyrically. Dennis Lyxzen wrote the worst album of his career with Armed Love, mainly because he was forcing himself to write songs about this non-existant "revolution" (something which, even if it were real, he was doing nothing to help succeed -- and what is the purpose of the revolution, anyway? To overthrow who? And then what?), and use some of the most trite lyrical metaphors possible (Really, Dennis? We can all live under a Communist moon? Neato!).

-Scott

Anonymous (January 1, 2006)

"In other news, I'll note Saul Williams made no ones list...I'm pretty sure his S/T came out in 2005 (though maybe it was 2004 and the video was 2005). Still, it was the Shiz-nite"

DANTE, did you see his tour? FUCKING AMAZING. And yes, I amend my list to put Saul Williams' S/T somewhere... Amazing disc. Best live show I've ever been to.

On another subject:

Yeah, only playing music if you get payed a lot of money puts you in a position where you have nothing to do with "punk" anymore. Sorry, Scott. God knows Against Me could never you know, work a real job. Or schedule a DIY show. Or play on a bill at a DIY show.

You see, punk music isn't supposed to be a job. It's not supposed to be about compromise and big studio sound. You also can't say shit about Dennis when the guys who wrote "Axl Rose" (a much more scathing attack on "the system" than anything (i)NC has ever written) are now on Sire.

Sorry. If you want to believe that Against Me are the best band in the world, fine. That's a matter of taste. I like the Hives a lot, but I know that they don't give a shit about the underground art scene (or politics, for that matter). Unfortunately, Against Me are (by choice) at odds with the nature of punk/DIY music. What you said is just insulting to the bands who actually are part of the punk scene.

-Will

maverick (January 1, 2006)

Wait, so getting a guaranteed paycheck means you're no longer "common folk?"

What the fuck are you, mentally retarded?

I hate this site sometimes.

-Scott

Anonymous (January 1, 2006)

Happy New Year Scott.

brian k

Dante3000 (January 1, 2006)

It's funny to watch two people scwoble (that's right I said it, and almost spelled it) over two "punk" (whatevet that shit is) band who are both on major labels and who both have amazing histories that are now coming back to haunt them.
I think Green Day made the right move by becoming a huge band and then writing political songs. That shit just confuses people.
In other news, I'll note Saul Williams made no ones list...I'm pretty sure his S/T came out in 2005 (though maybe it was 2004 and the video was 2005). Still, it was the Shiz-nite!
-Dante

Anonymous (January 1, 2006)

Yeah, I'm sorry, Scott. Playing stadium shows with Green Day and getting guaranteed nightly paychecks for every gig just didn't lead me to believe that Against Me was still struggling with the common folk.

So, Tom, how's that underground revolution coming along on Sire?

-Will

maverick (January 1, 2006)

I haven't slept in 24 hours, so I'll make this quick: The (International) Noise Conspiracy tour on a plush tour bus. Against Me! tour in a van. Tom Gabel writes what he feels; Dennis Lyxzen writes boring, cliched songs about "revolution" and "rising up."

Will, eat shit.

-Scott

NoUse4aScnName00 (January 1, 2006)

I'm glad you made the Kelly Clarkson cover by Ted Leo as your hidden track Scott. That song is sure good. I don't remember how I even found it anymore but I sure have it on a few mixes of my own.

Crookedsuperhero (January 1, 2006)

""How's smashing the state working out for you on that plush tour bus, Dennis?"

I'd imagine the same way it's working out for Tom.

-Will"

A huge ZING!!!!

Anonymous (January 1, 2006)

decent list, not as good as previous years but still good. my favorite part was the fact that he actually admited to watching the suicide girls dvd, seriously.
i thought blink 182 also broke up this year.

Anonymous (January 1, 2006)

dear whomever,

Faith No More invented nu-metal. ask anyone. Korn, the Deftones, Limp Bizkit. any band that was at the forefront of nu-metal will agree that Faith No More was there before them. then ask Def Leppard what they think so they can take credit for it just like they took credit for grunge.

the Jason.

seriously Scott, Lucero.

Anonymous (January 1, 2006)

For what it's worth I just donated 50 bucks to that cancer foundation because I know what it's like to lose a loved one to the disease. I think it's a admirable thing for Scott to suggest that we all give whatever we can to the cause.

Anonymous (January 1, 2006)

Two things:

One, being that the new Franz Ferdinand requires a few listens to pick up on. The catchiness is still there, and the song writing is better. If you're not singing the ending of I'm Your Villain, then something's wrong with you because that hook, like many of the others on the album, are so damn good.

Two, if anything, the new Finch sounds more like Faith No More than "nu-metal". I don't know where you're getting nu-metal from.

Godfather (December 31, 2005)

score is for #4 and #6

flamebaitnickloving (December 31, 2005)

Man this list fucking sucks. Scott if I catch you at a show (which is highly probable) I'm going to stomp you and then I'm going to frog splash you Eddie Guerrero style. Dirty Work rules. This is a flamebait.

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

Scott your tastes are very similar to mine as well. Except for the Spitalfield and the VENDETTA RED, its good man, NOT AS GOOD AS YOU MAKE IT OUT TO BE

Barkley" viva Mando Diao"

Marlon (December 31, 2005)

Props for including Decibully.

Xine (December 31, 2005)

Your grudge against the Lyxzen makes me sad.
But we won't get into that again.

theundergroundscene (December 31, 2005)

Ass cactus

lol

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

yo Heisel, you ass cactus. where's the love for Lucero? Nobody's Darlings was one of the best records of the year. you suck.

love, the Jason.

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

"How's smashing the state working out for you on that plush tour bus, Dennis?"

I doubt a record shelved for over a year, hard to promote, from europe, with a year of bad word of mouth really set dennis up for a plush bus from his major label, but here's to the INC hating.

it is the worst album ive possibly ever heard. Rick rubin was supposed to capture their 'live' sound. Overmixed vocals does it evidently.

wyzo

Marlon (December 31, 2005)

I've been waiting for that best record of 2004 I didn't hear till 2005 all year.

theevilmonkey (December 31, 2005)

Besides Radiohead, I'm expecting Ted Leo to put out the best album of 2006.

TheOneTrueBill (December 31, 2005)

I wouldn't call Riot Fest unorganized. Sure, the US Bombs and 45 Grave dropped off, but that was because of internal band problems, not because of the fest. I was at both nights and they seemed like they were running a tight ship for the most part.

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

"How's smashing the state working out for you on that plush tour bus, Dennis?"

I'd imagine the same way it's working out for Tom.

-Will

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

"Gentlemen, take a bow: You are the most important band in punk rock."

Is this a joke? I don't mind people saying they still like Against Me post-sell out... I don't care if people say "but they'll introduce new kids to the underground."

But saying Against Me are the most important band in punk... That's just so bizzare that it's funny. What do they have to do with punk anymore? They aren't one of the bands that stuck to their guns and kept doing things the DIY way. They don't work to promote an artistic underground scene and they aren't gonna be there for the kids who book bands at indie/non Clear Channel venues. They sure as hell don't care about creating their own microcosm of pop culture- they became part of an existing one (a really disgusting one, at that). If you find nothing wrong with that, cool, but explain to me what they have to do with "punk."

-Will

youwinalemon (December 31, 2005)

Pretty solid list, even if it does contain the biggest disappointment of the year (The Mars Volta) for me. Having Against Me! in the top spot forgives that, anyway.

So, did you ever get your Slow Gherkin shirt, Scott?

TheOneTrueBill (December 31, 2005)

The Best Record Of 2005 By Andrew WK
(Sigh.) Here's to hoping for 2006..."

I was actually watiing to see if you would do this again. Even though I replaced you as leader, I still love you forever Scott.

Anchors (December 31, 2005)

I STILL have not listened to that Arcade Fire album, and to be honest, I really never intend to.

Good call on Settlefish and The City On Film, both fantastic records that I unfortunately overlooked when I was drafting my list.

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

I must say overall I don't like anyone's top 10 list. At all.

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

I'm way off from you in opinion about the T(I)NC record. Ithink it's one of their best. I've had it for about a year and a half, and I'm still playing it regularly.
You and the rest of the AP staff have been hating on this band alot, and the personal attacks are childish, unprofessional, and show a great degree of pettiness - something everyone involved in this scene needs to avoid more in 2006.

greg0rb (December 31, 2005)

Boy Scott, you sure picked a lot of records that were "jocked hard" by AP this year... hmmm.... HA! Jk, good list man.

There sure is a lot of debate over two records in particular as i look through all the lists: Propagandhi and Against Me! Weird.
-Greg

Steveman (December 31, 2005)

Yes! Finally one of you guys put The Felix Culpa on there. That dvd/ep rules. Also Terrorhawk is a great album.

I'd say more but everything else is already mentioned.

psychoos231 (December 31, 2005)

Score is for mentioning the late Eddie Guerrero

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

2005: Year of the Bear (Minus or vs Shark)
2006: Year of the Weakerthans (hopefully)

colin (December 31, 2005)

did everyone on this site forget about lagwagon?

maverick (December 31, 2005)

The Blackout Pact got bumped out for the Suicide Machines. They're in my honorable mentions. It's an awesome record.

-Scott

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

Sure T(I)NC sold out hardcore, but that album is pretty damn solid. There are about 2 or 3 songs in the middle of the record that aren't that great, but over all I'd give it the thumbs up. You crazy mang.

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

i officially barely like any bands you like.

my list is waaaay different.

-phdecontrol

the_other_scott (December 31, 2005)

no blackout pact scott?

gladimnotemo (December 31, 2005)

The QOTSA was better than anything else on this list. 6 more points for living in Ohio!

Dante3000 (December 31, 2005)

Oh right and I forgot:
and it's taken me pretty much all year to get used to the fact that my opinion doesn't matter that much around here.
Quit the cryin emo queen, you still know that people pay more attention to you than anything that 99.9% of the poster of say and probably a good majority of the staff on here.
I'm not sayin it's good or bad but people still listen when you type...Or read when you type rather.
-Dante

k-dubs (December 31, 2005)

you're my fucking hero for putting settlefish on your list.

and you're right, i was pretty close.

theundergroundscene (December 31, 2005)

also, very cool inclusion of the links with the mixtape

great list

dude this is totally the best music website ever

Dante3000 (December 31, 2005)

I gotta be honest...I was a little suprised. QOTSA? That album was okay, but I don't think I would of found it anywhere in the top 20....Mars Volta? You either smoke a lot of pot or have a huge attention span. I forgot what 90% of the songs were supposed to be about by the time they eneded..
Of course, it is only a personal best of list, so I can't really complain about ones opinions.
Still, glad to see Against Me! found its way on there.
Is the Loved Ones EP that good? I've heard snipettes of it but I haven't picked it up...Should I?
-Dante

theundergroundscene (December 31, 2005)

"this shit is b. nanna's"

LOL

I FUCKING LOVE IT

that is absolutely hysterical

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