Punknews.org

Best of 2005

Best of 2005: Adam's picksAdam's picks (2005)
staff picks

Reviewer Rating: 5


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

.gh-artwork { background: url('/images/icons/albumborder.gif'); padding: 5px; float: left; margin-right: 0px; border: none} .gh-name { font-variant: small-caps; border-bottom: 1px solid #C5C5C5; width: 65%; padding: 1em 0 0em 7em; } .gh-label { font-variant: small-caps; padding-left: 7em.


Adam White is a news editor and reviewer here at Punknews.org -ed

My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)

When historians sit down to write the annals of the House Of A, 2005 will span chapters. I finished school in May and with degree in hand moved from the wonderfully cultured city of Guelph back to my ever perplexing border-town of Niagara Falls. For months the seas between the two were rough and uncertain, and I nearly veered north and westwards as the winds toyed with me. I now find myself working a full time job and living on my own. For purely personal reasons, this has been a huge year of transition, and I've yet to be hit by the sense that my status quo is in place.

Meanwhile the world continued to spin as it often does. We found the giant squid. Hockey came back. Nature tried to kill us more than a few times. America continued to scare the bejesus out of the rest of the world. Nothing Nice To Say came back. Molson bought Creemore to my dismay. The CBC was locked out and I was one of the .06% of Canadians who really cared. Earth-2 Superman came back. I assume other things happened but if one word can summarize my year it would be "preoccupied."

For Punknews this was a huge year. Most obviously Aubin, Scott and myself realized a dream in launching Punknews Records with the release of Somerset's full length Pandora. While it seems we've often found ourselves fumbling in the dark for the proverbial light switch I'm so incredibly proud of the band and the record, and can't wait for what 2006 will bring (and on that note, Pandora's not in the running for this list, I've got too much emotionally invested in that baby). Also in the new year we're putting out the new full length from Ryan's Hope, and Apocalypse in Increments will knock your socks off. We've made an effort to balance the news site and the label, quite conscious that one has been the step that brought us to the other, and think we've done a decent job of keeping Punknews.org objective and fair. A huge part of that has been the efforts put in by reviews editor Brian and our new news editor Justin, as well as our staff of reviewers. It's the voluntary hours of all these people that keeps this site running and I can't thank them enough.

Musically this was a fine year, although my expectations and the reality of certain releases were often misaligned. I see several threads converging in this list, as my interest in garage-oriented punk rock and my zeal for supporting independent Canadian music is tied up together among these 20 choices. I found that while many of the bands I expected to find here put out solid punk records (that I do enjoy) I just couldn't can't find it in me to rank among the year's best. I'm not sure if my tastes are maturing or if I'm just in the cloud of some trend I can't yet identify, but here's my look at 2005.

Who Rocked The Casbah In 2005
20. Greg MacPherson Band â?? Night Flares
April 19 on G7 Welcoming Committee Records
I still think his best work is ahead of him and a few songs do mire Night Flares in pacing problems, but I'm a believer in the gospel according to Greg. The Winnipeg-based singer-songwriter's Clash / Springsteen inspired rockers are top notch and his social views are expressed with as much tact and subtlety as one could hope for. [ ...read the review / interview]
19. Teenage Bottlerocket - Total
April 12 on Red Scare Records
Maybe it makes me a musical conservative, but it's remarkably reassuring that there's new bands emerging to carry the torch of the Ramones and Screeching Weasel. This is solid meat & potatoes punk rock, charmingly free of whatever today's trends are yet still youthful and vibrant.
18. Neil Young - Prairie Wind
September 27 on Reprise
Not the best Neil Young record, but rather a nice way to end a year I've spent obsessing over the man's catalogue. Neil wrote this one while his very life was in question, threatened by potentially fatal brain aneurysm, and that's a fascinating context for the record. It shares that mix of retrospection, fear and an almost childlike innocence that you could be heard on the last songs Joey Ramone wrote before succumbing to cancer. It's certainly an odd position for a songwriter to be in, and Mr. Young channels it through a nice batch of Harvest style Americana.
17. Invisible Eyes - Laugh In The Dark
November 22 on Bomp! Records
This is the last band Greg Shaw signed to Bomp, and while it's hard not to be sentimental about that Laugh In The Dark is a fantastic record that's completely characteristic of the music Shaw built his life around. This is a hybrid of sorts, dabbling in stomping garage punk as much as it does hazy psychedelia, and it's utterly infectious. This is the type of record that slips through your fingers if you try to get a solid grasp on it, yet you keep on coming back to try again.
16. Chixdiggit! - Pink Razors
April 19 on Fat Wreck Chords
Unlike this year's other comeback from a long running Western Canadian punk band, Chixdiggit's new record sounds like a band still willing to find some joy in their craft. As one of the first live bands I ever saw this group's always got a bit of a free pass from me, but no longer feel the need to justify my support for them. I just love this band. It's amazing how close a band of Ramones-inspired goofs can get to the spirit of this genre.
15. Cuff The Duke - Cuff The Duke
July 26 on Hardwood Records
While there's a handful of acts playing punk-minded "alt-country" these days none of them have produced quite the same mix as Cuff The Duke. The band's self-titled sophomore release is far from perfect, but the songs here (backed with the band's great live show) are remarkably compelling. This is very much a college band for me, as their two full lengths more or less bookended my years in Guelph. [ ...read the review]
14. Paint It Black - Paradise
March 8 on Jade Tree Records
I've never found modern hardcore remarkably interesting, and while I can appreciate the energy and passion involved the songwriting tends to bore me. Paint It Black broke through that, and it's likely because this still feels like hardcore as an extension of punk rock, rather than some later permutation. Mr. Yemin can craft quite the hook, and he smartly relies on them to carry his songs instead of lumping on another "breakdown" or whatever you metalheads get off on.
13. The Soviettes - LPIII
June 28 on Fat Wreck Chords
There are more than a few tracks on LPIII that are completely brilliant. This is quite the proficient punk band on a good day, but frenzied, multi-voiced, delightfully manic tunes like "(Do) The Swagger," "Multiply and Divide" and "How Do You Like That" take it to another level entirely. [ ...read the review]
12. Black Mountain - Black Mountain
January 18 on Scratch Records (Canada) / Jagjaguwar (US)
Black Mountain claims territory that falls somewhere between the Velvet Underground, Black Sabbath and Queens Of The Stone Age. This is lumbering, psychedelic hard rock that's more content with establishing a tumbling groove than it is in crafting singles. Dual male and female vocals courtesy of Stephen McBean and Amber Webber tie things together and create something quite different than the sum of its influences.
11. The Ponys - Celebration Castle
May 3 on In The Red Records
Everything the Ponys did on Laced with Romance is more fully realized here. Celebration Castle still makes a cerebral mix of Richard Hell swagger, Television's artful take on punk and the atmospherics of My Bloody Valentine, but the songwriting and production are vastly improved. Tracks like the Stonesy "Get Black," urgent "Glass Conversation" and poppy "Discoteca" are among the year's best.
10. Elliott Brood - Ambassador
October 4 on Six Shooter Records
Their press calls it Death Country, and with a number of Nick Cave-styled murder ballads maybe that's not a bad description of this Toronto three-piece. Even Elliott Brood's slow material seems to have more drive and purpose than most of this season's punk bands. Ambassador frequently shifts gears form haunting, literate, historically minded folk tales to aggressive, stomping, banjo-driven songs. A long overdue and beautifully packaged follow-up to their excellent EP.
9. FemBots - The City
September 6 on Paper Bag Records
Anyone who's seen the Weakerthans on tour in the past year or so has seen the FemBots, as the core duo of the band's been moonlighting as members of Samson's ensemble. Likewise, Weakerthan Jason Tait joins the FemBots, violinist Julie Penner and a host of others for this clanging, waltzing, layered piece of rock art. Indie folk? Post-Waits singer/songwriter? MacKinnon and Poirier's duo is impossible to define at times, and that's part of what makes the FemBots such an interesting band.
8. Turpentine Brothers - We Don't Care About Your Good Times
January 18 on Alive Records
When I first heard this record nearly 12 months ago I knew they'd end up on this list. This three-piece plays a dark, propulsive set of garage punk/soul tunes, the entire record simply dripping with style. The Boston based act rips through an amped up set of Motown and blues standards as well as killer original works. Turpentine Brothers have taken a lot of old pieces and used them to construct something new. [ ...read the review]
7. The Constantines - Tournament of Hearts
October 11 on Three Gut Records (Can) / Sub Pop Records (US)
This is the Constantines as Crazyhorse, playing themselves up as an earthy hard rock band willing and able to get out of the garage and conquer the arena. Tournament of Hearts is a difficult album though, and for a band that has been at times so caustic a decidedly restrained record can seem underwhelming. Their focus is on composition, and the songs are carefully built and layered only to explode in the last few seconds. The learning curve this time is steeper, but this is my favourite active band and I'm more than willing to put in the time. [ ...read the review]
6. The Hold Steady - Separation Sunday
May 3 on Frenchkiss Records
Craig Finn's a storyteller, first and foremost, and the Hold Steady's Separation Sunday is a wonderfully effective narrative. Much has been said about the classic rock sound of the band, but far more important is how well their music fleshes out Finn's tale of self-destruction and resurrection. Proof that concept albums can be done without pretension, self-importance or forced epics.
5. The Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir - Fighting and Onions
July 15 on Shoutin' Abner Pim Records
Hidden gem of the year, and one of three bands on this list I discovered through the indispensable CBC Radio 3 podcast. The Agnostics call themselves "gospel for the unbeliever" and that couldn't be more perfect. This is raw-throated, aggressive music in the spirit of Leatherface and Husker Du, only with its sights set on swampy blues, infectious southern gospel and Appalachian folk music. Make no mistake though, this is no rock band dabbling in a hybrid genre. The bare honesty and authenticity of sound this Calgary band creates is remarkable.
4. The Briefs - Steal Yer Heart
October 18 on BYO Records
The knives have been out as publications trip over themselves to complain that the Briefs take so much from the Buzzcocks. What shocks me is that these easy shots from banal critics are often too ignorant to even bother mentioning the Undertones, which would at least make for a convincing argument. What the Briefs have done is tapped into the sensibilities that those bands captured: that celebration of the nervous, depraved pop-geek. It's a theme in punk that was there in the early days, only to be ignored and buried when things got too political and serious. If you must, go ahead and write it off again in your endless pursuit of bleeding edge music, but I'm not coming with you. [ ...read the review]
3. The Deadly Snakes - Porcella
September 27 on Paper Bag Records (Can) / In The Red Records (US)
Each Deadly Snakes record has been a departure from the previous, but the gear change between the soul-influenced garage rock of Ode to Joy and the haunting Porcella is remarkable. The band sequestered themselves in a cabin somewhere in Northern Ontario to craft this one, and they must have been spinning Tom Waits and Nick Cave albums on that long drive up the 400. Porcella is a feast for the ears, as multiple genres are touched upon, a host of instruments are mixed and matched, and a prominent theme is developed. This is one of Canada's best bands, and more than deserving of all the hype we shovel onto Montreal these days.
2. The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema
August 23 on Mint Records (Can) / Matador Records (US)
At this point in the game I shouldn't let this band astound me, but yet they continue to do so. A.C. Newman's songwriting is as gifted as ever, even more so since he's now proven he can mix up the Pornographers' near perfect balance and still achieve something incredible. In what seems like a risky decision Neko Case is given slow, quiet songs, and the gamble pays off by creating some emotionally intricate and moving compositions. However where Twin Cinema really breaks new ground for the band is in how epic it sounds. The New Pornographers have always succeeded at layering pop hooks, but never like this. This is something more.
1. Sleater-Kinney - The Woods
May 24 on Sub Pop Records
Every time a track from The Woods shows up in the shuffle I tend to stop what I'm doing and just listen. While I liked a lot of records this year nothing came even close to capturing my attention like this has. Sleater-Kinney's always quality songwriting is mixed with an impossibly loud and imposing set of instrumentals, captured by a brutally raw production style. The band's vocals, guitars and drumming are all pushed to the breaking point and the results are staggering. The Woods is one of the most confident albums of the decade, and the band's command over this material is breathtaking.
Honourable Mentions

Records that fought for a spot on the list included the Epoxies' Stop The Future, Solomon Burke's Make Do With What You Got, Tangiers' The Family Myth, Kaiser Chiefs' Employment, Lagwagon's Resolve, Angel City Outcasts' Let It Ride, Against Me's Searching For a Former Clarity, Queens Of The Stone Age's Lullabies To Paralyze, Mando Diao's Hurricane Bar, Controller.Controller's X-Amounts, the Dropkick Murphys' The Warrior's Code, the Raveonettes' Pretty In Black, A Wilhelm Scream's Ruiner and the Bloody Hollies' If Footmen Tire You among a ton of others I'm surely forgetting.

Top EP
The Loved Ones - The Loved Ones
February 22 on Jade Tree Records
Sure, one song makes the band sound curiously identical to Hot Water Music, but the other 4/5s of this EP are comprised of some of the most hooky punk rock of the year. While they've maintained a lower profile than others in the Kid Dynamite-related crop of bands, this is the group to watch for in 2006.
Oh come on! What about...
Propagandhi - Potemkin City Limits
October 18 on G7 Welcoming Committee (Can) / Fat Wreck Chords (US)
Propagandhi is a great band but I'm having a really hard time connecting with them lately. It seems that when John left he took with him some of what humanized the group, because if Potemkin City Limits can be described in one word it's cold, even more so than Today's Empires. For a group that goes to such lengths to be funny though their label (ever read a G7 press release?) their political message has become increasing alienating and joyless. Of all the issues out there, the fact they devote a song to raging against pragmatism is evidence of this. It seems that its simply not enough to be on the same end of the ideological spectrum -- if you're not on the same paragraph of the same page as Propagandhi you're the enemy. Potemkin has some killer tracks ("A Speculative Fiction" in particular... wow) but I'm just not ready to drink the kool aid this time.
Against Me! - Searching For A Former Clarity
September 6 on Fat Wreck Chords
There was a sadly aborted Punknews interview from earlier this year in which Aubin and I had a chance to sit down and talk to Against Me! prior to this release. They're the nicest guys, but it really does seem like they're going to pay for those early anarchist lyrics for the rest of their careers. Being an independent artist is one thing, but singing about is almost guaranteed to come back and bite you in the ass: it invites those who believe the ideology trumps the music. In the wake of recent events Fat Wreck doesn't seem all that extreme a home for them, but they still had people slashing their tires for making that decision. While these actions are inexcusable, the band is (in a way) guilty of inviting the extremists to the party in the first place. Clarity is fuelled by this conflict, and I'm completely into the richer, Replacements-style sound J. Robbins brought to the record. A few songs felt under-realized to me, which is why you don't see it listed above.

Oh, and the Sire thing? Yeah it bums me out, but these are adults who can make their own decisions and I don't presume to be so enlightened that I should dictate how they live their lives. That move has been made, and no amount of petty bitching on my part is going to un-sign their contract, so I'm more interested in what they do with this.
Dropkick Murphys - The Warrior's Code
June 21 on Hellcat Records
It's really easy to write this band off, as they've been around forever had have their established sound, so to the wider world a new Murphys album doesn't seem like much of an event. However The Warrior's Code may just be the best realized record they've ever put together. I'm not even thinking of the Celtic stuff, just listen to "The Burden" or "Sunshine Highway" --- where did this ability to craft a perfect pop hook come from? This band is one step away from writing that huge populist anthem. It's going to tick off the skinheads and street punks, but Creedence here we come. [ ...read the review]
Top Reissue
The 101ers - Elgin Avenue Breakdown Revisited
June 21 on Astralwerks / EMI
There will come a point where I've been exposed to everything the good Mr. Strummer ever put out there, but until I reach that plateau I've got little bits of joy like this 101ers reissue to savour. The mid-70s pub rock band is fascinating to hear from a pre-Clash perspective (who else got really excited that a "Junco Partner" cover is on here? What about the proto-"Jail Guitar Doors" of "Lonely Mother's Son"?) but the band had a lot of fun rock energy in their own right.
Top Podcast
CBC Radio 3
One of those things I'm proud that my tax dollars are paying for. The Radio 3 podcast is hosted by Grant Lawrence of the Smugglers and showcases the best in independent Canadian music. A given show can hit on any number of genres and features new music from coast to coast (to coast). Not that I'm keeping score, but I can credit the show with introducing me to three of this year's top 20, as well as spinning nearly every Canadian act I've mentioned here.
2005 Mix Tape
    Side A
  1. Elliott Brood - Second Son
  2. Sleater-Kinney - What's Mine Is Yours
  3. The Ponys - Get Black
  4. Paint It Black - Memorial Day
  5. Propagandhi - A Speculative Fiction
  6. Against Me! - From Her Lips To God's Ears (The Energizer)
  7. The Briefs - Razor Blade Heart
  8. Angel City Outcasts - I'm an ACO
  9. The Raveonettes - Twilight
  10. Constantines - Soon Enough
  11. Dropkick Murphys - Sunshine Highway
  12. John Doe with Neko Case - Hwy 5
  13. Lagwagon - Automatic
  14. The White Stripes - Denial Twist
  15. Teenage Bottlerocket - Crashing
  16. Common Rider - Dogtown
    Side B
  1. Cave In - Trepanning
  2. Maximum RNR - I Hate The Cold
  3. The Riverboat Gamblers - Smoking Crack with L.A. Reid
  4. Broken Social Scene - Windsurfing Nation
  5. Cuff The Duke - The Ballad of Poor John Henry
  6. Against Me! - Don't Lose Touch
  7. Latterman - Fear and Loathing on Long Island
  8. Chixdiggit - I Remember You
  9. The Loved Ones - Candy Cane
  10. Kaiser Chiefs - Oh My God
  11. The Soviettes - (Do) The Stagger
  12. The Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir - Buried Them In Water
  13. Black Mountain - Don't Run Our Hearts Around
  14. The Deadly Snakes - Work
  15. The New Pornographers - Stacked Crooked
Looking forward

Neko Case will release Fox Confessor Brings The Flood on March 7 though Anti-. Now I'm a huge fan of Ms. Case and she's again teaming up with the spectacular Sadies for a few tracks, but what really has me on the edge of my seat is the fact that Garth Hudson of The Band is on this. That just blows my mind in so many ways. You really have no idea.

The Loved Ones' EP this year was a lot of fun, and I can't wait to see if they could carry over that hooky punk sound to February's Keep Your Heart on Fat Wreck. Speaking of Fat, they're set for another great year with the Lawrence Arms' Oh! Calcutta and releases from the Sainte Catherines and many others on deck. While we're talking about Quebec, make sure to keep an eye on the upcoming Fifth Hour Hero full length on No Idea.

Buzzcocks will finally release Flat-Pack Philosophy next year on Cooking Vinyl. I loved their self-titled record from a few years ago so I can't wait to hear the follow up. Of course I wouldn't mind hearing some new recorded material from bands like Statues, Million Dollar Marxists, the Frenetics' Malcolm Bauld, the Weakerthans, the Marked Men, the Lashes and the Futureheads among others, but we'll see what the new year brings.

Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)

Happy New Years folks. You guys make this possible so thanks for sticking around for another year. Cheers!

 

 
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

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (January 5, 2006)

What about My Chemical Romance? I think they're cuter than buttons.

lushj (January 5, 2006)

Grant's radio show, er, the CBC3 show, year end edition was not so good, though the last couple of songs were pretty cool. I'm liking the Canada Day show a lot better, less indie rock blah and more beats and weirdness.

Grant's a treat to listen to, so it's worth enduring the bad songs to hear his banter. Priceless!

Anonymous (January 4, 2006)

Ugh, Choke. But then, I did pick Copeland's (terrible) In Motion over Choke's new album, so I have little room to talk. However, I do find it disturbing that Smallman albums are distributed through Universal Music. I mean, that's less cred than The Militia Group's whole roster combined...

-Chinatown

Anonymous (January 4, 2006)

You forgot the new Choke album.

Anonymous (January 2, 2006)

Here's my list. I've indicated in parantheses which albums I bought due to a review I read on this site.

25. Lungfish - Feral Hymns
24. Make Believe - Shock of Being
23. Settlefish - The Plural of the Choir
22. Grabass Charlestons - Ask Mark Twain
21. Troubled Hubble - Making Beds in a Burning House (Greg's review)
20. The Bomb - Indecision
19. No Use For A Name - Keep Them Confused
18. Snitches Get Stitches- I Liked You Better When You Were a Corpse (Toby's review)
17. The Glow - The Ghosts are Out (Adam's review)
16. 31Knots - Talk Like Blood
15. The Evens - S/T
14. The Oranges Band - The World & Everything In It
13. Desert City Soundtrack - Perfect Addiction
12. Teenage Bottlerocket - Total
11. Love As Laughter - Laughter's Fifth
10. Crystal Skulls - Blocked Numbers
9. Hockey Night - Keep Guessin'
8. Turpentine Brothers - We Don't Care About Your Good Times (Adam's review)
7. Greg MacPherson- Night Flares
6. Paint It Black - Paradise
5. Stephen Malkmus- Face the Truth
4. Fingers Cut Megamachine - S/T
3. Constantines - Tournament of Hearts
2. The Briefs - Steal Yer Heart
1. The New Pornographers - Twin Cinemas

Honorable Mentions:
Annalise - Here's to Hope
xbxrx - Sixth in Sixes
The Holy Mountain - Entrails
Wolf Parade- Apologies to the Queen Mary
Horace Pinker - Texas One Ten (Jordan Pastepunk's review)
Chixdiggit! - Pink Razors
French Toast - In a Cave

-Chinatown

adam (January 2, 2006)

I sort of suspected my Propagandhi comments were going to get a lot of the attention here.

I just wanted to be clear that DO like the band and record, a lot. I DO however feel the record is inconsistent at times and not the yearâ??s absolute best recording, but it is up there. I DONâ??T honestly think the guys in Prop are crazy zealots in person, but speaking purely in terms of my listening experience with this record, I had a hard time connecting with it for the reasons I stated above.

If I didn't care so much about the band I wouldn't have bothered mentioning it. It's wonderful that it's something that we can debate, and maybe since it's causing so much talk it's doing its job. I don't subscribe to giving the band a free pass just because I have such fond memories of them. I'm trying to keep a critical eye here.

-adam

Anonymous (January 2, 2006)

"It seems that its simply not enough to be on the same end of the ideological spectrum -- if you're not on the same paragraph of the same page as Propagandhi you're the enemy."

That's an iinteresting comment considering Propaghandi have collaborated with a long list of activist organizations over the years that they're not necessarily "on the same page" with, including many faith based grassroots organizations.

For example the show they played here in Winnipeg two weeks ago in conjunction with two faith-based aborignal groups doing harm-reduction organizing for sex-trade workers in the city and missing native women in Western Canada. That's $4000 to some desperately underfunded groups who aren't anarchists or vegetarians or atheists or whatever other pigeonholes people use to paint a picture of these men as sectarians.

Clearly, you're projecting.

off_the_fucken_map (January 2, 2006)

yes, propagandhi's new stuff is a bit colder and darker than previous efforts. but before anybody judges these guys, you really should meet them in person. i have a couple of times, the last time being on the most recent tour, and they are incredibly genuine and friendly people. they stayed after the show and talked to tons of people and were soooo nice. its very unfair for everyone to pass judgements based on interviews and lyrics. now thats fuckin' shallow. i can still here much passion in their music, its just taken a different direction. and personally i think its brilliant.

Anonymous (January 2, 2006)

best re-issue what about inquisition

lushj (January 2, 2006)

Score's for the list! Nice! I just subscribed to the CBC podcast too...

"Punk Voter and the political process in America only worsen things by telling kids to only get involved in politics once every four years."

As an endorser of Punk Voter I can honestly say this: Your statement is completely false. Seriously, it's incorrect, wrong, not based in reality, however you want to put it. We can jaw about the other critiques of Punk Voter another time another thread (again?), but that one just leapt out at me.

Go to punkvoter.com to read the latest.

Anonymous (January 2, 2006)

Toomany gossipers that like to spread rumours..

Maybe actually go talk to the boys in Propagandhi after a show before you start assuming they are cold pricks because of their "dark lyrics"

They are really nice guys and I know this from personally speaking to them at a Gmac show.

jamespastepunk (January 2, 2006)

I don't remember anyone suggesting that Punk Voter would be an elixir for the problems in America's voting system, and as for their "grand agenda" being promoting "mainstream" liberal pihlosophies

I'm gonna bring it back to Shai Hulud, but my view is that Punk Voter and the Rock Against Bush compialtions are simply that, to get rid of W. and to try to get more "punks" involved in the political process. It has buyer beware on it, much like on the CD they released this year which was fucking titled: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Release Bad and Useless Recordings.

That's not terribly sexy, I understand, but its trying to get people involved in the political system. What did you expect? Git-er-done?

Propoghandi's right, it is for sustainable capitalism, but that's what western civilization is built on. Before the peanut gallery gets started, yeah the US doesn't use slaves any more. But we employ people who do. That makes me sick.

7 Seconds, the Explosion and the Briefs were kick ass shows. Bill, maybe I'll see you in 2006 sometime.

P.S. Best compilation of previously released material: the Suicide File retrospective.

stevejonestherealbones (January 1, 2006)

i only have that many.

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

- myspace.com/jonesthebones

dev (January 1, 2006)

"None of you should forget that PROPAGANDHI HATES YOU!....its that simple....if you were to meet Chris Hannah these days and strike up a conversation that included your personal beliefs, he would make sure that you knew how much he hated you, and how wrong you are."

Who are you and when did you last talk to Hannah?

Anonymous (January 1, 2006)

From all personal accounts, I've heard that the boys in Propagandhi are very very nice people. I guess they just have opinions that they feel strongly about. They've repeatedly stated their not above compromise, but they're not going to call something rebellion when it's the exact opposite (Punk Voter). It wasn't splitting hairs, it was showing people that voting democrat does not equal rebellion.

Anonymous (January 1, 2006)

I don't think anyone can disagree with your propagandhi analysis. Alot of people listen to them because of their music, and not the politics. None of you should forget that PROPAGANDHI HATES YOU!....its that simple....if you were to meet Chris Hannah these days and strike up a conversation that included your personal beliefs, he would make sure that you knew how much he hated you, and how wrong you are. No one can live up to there lofty opinions, especially not the band members themselves. I remember when they used to be a positive band. Who were approachable at their shows (circa 96), now they don't seem so positive, and their views seem unfocused and fanatical.

off_the_fucken_map (January 1, 2006)

its nice to see gmac on a list! "night flares" is incredible. if anyone gets the chance to see this guy live, do it, i guarentee you will be blown away, he is much more intense and powerful than i ever would have thought.

album of the year: Propagandhi "Potemkin City Limits"

adam (January 1, 2006)

"There are tons of bands like Prop that would say "fuck no," and I have to agree. Punk Voter and the political process in America only worsen things by telling kids to only get involved in politics once every four years. Pretending the president matters isn't going to help much compared to efforts to better ones' self and obtain a distinct, individual social conscience. Punk Voter didn't do that- it just said "go vote."

Well, again, I don't totally disagree with Prop's view on these things. I just think that they're being overly divisive on issues that the kids arn't totally engaged in in the first place. Punk Voter was in it's own way taking the "big, dumb and obvious" approach, and they didn't address the larger systemic issues involved, but they likely got more people talking than Prop's more difficult argument over the value of pragmatism in politics ever will.

-adam

Anonymous (January 1, 2006)

You're correct about the Propagandhi release. I'm always excited to hear this 3-piece punk band come out with something new and I'm glad that I bought Potemkin City Limits even with what I have to say shortly. There are some killer tracks here ("Die Jugend Marschiert", "A Speculative Fiction", and "Name And Address Withheld" for examples) but it didn't so-call "gel" with the rest of the album that makes me seem to miss John. When he left, instead of going a straight path after Today's Empires..., the band kept taking the high, low, high, then low paths. It can easily be said that this album would've been up more in the Top 20 rank if it stayed consistent.

Ramo
(Adam, no Best Compilation category for Take Pennicilin Now? I feel a little sad right now...)

Anonymous (January 1, 2006)

Propagandhi only got better when John left

gladimnotemo (December 31, 2005)

I got to see the Sadies a couple weeks ago five minutes down the street from where I live. I had to cut out early, but they were really great for what they play. I thought of the Neko Case / Adam connection there, for whatever that is worth.

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

"I realize they didn't quite agree with how the Punk Voter stuff went down, but it just strikes me as Prop splitting hairs when they need to write a song about it instead of engaging in the debate with a group of people who they'd probably agree with on 90% of the issues anyways."

No, that song was important because it showed that while Punk Voter was pretending to be "socially aware," it was ultimately a submission to the bullshit political process in America... No doubt, John Kerry over George Dubya, but is the better evil anything to "rock" for?

While Punk Voter gets props for attempting to get punks voting, it ultimately did nothing to help. No matter who votes, the two party system in America is still a monster. As I said, John Kerry's financial interests aren't as scary as Bush's, but is supporting him the answer?

There are tons of bands like Prop that would say "fuck no," and I have to agree. Punk Voter and the political process in America only worsen things by telling kids to only get involved in politics once every four years. Pretending the president matters isn't going to help much compared to efforts to better ones' self and obtain a distinct, individual social conscience. Punk Voter didn't do that- it just said "go vote."

-Will

the_wang (December 31, 2005)

good to see the new neil young offering in there. no wonder sends chills up my spine everytime i listen to it.

adam (December 31, 2005)

'You'll have to remind me which track that is. I think its a safe bet to safe propagandhi has never 'raged' against practicality. You sure the song isn't a wee bit more specific what's being raged against?"

I was thinking of "Sustainable Capitalism" combined with all the shit between them and Fat Mike. I realize they didn't quite agree with how the Punk Voter stuff went down, but it just strikes me as Prop splitting hairs when they need to write a song about it instead of engaging in the debate with a group of people who they'd probably agree with on 90% of the issues anyways. It's not going to be easy for all these "revolutionaries" to effect change if we all start sniping at each other on matters of procedure instead of focusing on the areas where they can mutually agree.

Again, I like Prop a lot and like the record, but I think it's hampered by both inconsistent songwriting (some songs amazing while others are just rather forgettable) and this lingering sense of... just hopelessness I get from them. They didnâ??t used to be like that.

-adam

dev (December 31, 2005)

Nice job mentioning G-Mac. But seriously, anyone who's ripping on the new Propagandhi album needs to give it a couple more listens. It's their best songwriting yet, both musically and lyrically. If I were to make a top-whatever list, Potemkin City Limits would top it.

SalsaShark (December 31, 2005)

Much, much love for mentioning the Soviettes. These girls (and guy) are fucking amazing.

The Briefs rule, too!

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

"Of all the issues out there, the fact they devote a song to raging against pragmatism is evidence of this"

you'll have to remind me which track that is. I think its a safe bet to safe propagandhi has never 'raged' against practicality. You sure the song isn't a wee bit more specific what's being raged against?

It's a cold world. The colder it gets you expect warmer records?

Did you guys even listen to the end of 'rock for sustainable capitalism', the part about musics ability to inspire compel renew?

Criticism is not cynicism, I chalk there cynicism up to writing songs that get downloaded onto some kid who digests albums like meth adicts calories.

wyzo

swingline (December 31, 2005)

wow. people are giving too much credit to the new brief's record and not enough to lagwagon. i dismissed Resolve at first but now that i've listened to it a few time i can honestly say it's the 2nd best lagwagon record. the briefs record on the other hand, sucks. i'm as big a fan as any of you but come on... the new record can't compare to any of their previos works. the only song i actually enjoy is "move too slow" but that's even getting old fast.

TheOneTrueBill (December 31, 2005)

Forgive me, but I'm going to hog some attention and post this a few times.

My Fifteen Favorite Albums of 2005
1. Teenage Bottlerocket - Total (best pop punk album ever? I seriously can't stop listening to it, they came out of nowhere to become one of my all time favorite bands)
2. 7 Seconds - Take it Back, Take it On, Take it Over (Kevin Seconds is finally bitter, but still positive!)
3. Suicide Machines - War Profiteering Is Killing Us All (the name says it all)
4. The Yuppie Pricks - Broker's Banquet (imagine if the Dead Kennedys were coke addled yuppies)
5. Dropkick Murphys - The Warrior's Code (total fucking comeback album)
6. Kill Your Idols - From Companionship to Competition (They used to be positive, but I like the new pissed off one better. It's a good sign when at lest five songs are about how much "the scene" sucks)
7. Paint it Black - Paradise (every song falls between the one and two minute mark)
8. Napalm Death - The Code is Red, Long Live The Code (It even has Jello on it!)
9. Pennywise - The Fuse (a great album, best since 'Full Circle')
10. The Epoxies - Stop The Future (Seem a bit out of place? Who cares, it's awesome)
11. The Bomb - Indecision (sounds like a lost Naked Raygun album from 1988)
12. Throw Rag - 13 Feet and Rising (rock and roll in its purest form)
13. The Briefs - Steal Yer Heart (not as good as Sex Objects, but that one's hard to touch)
14. The Soviettes - LP III (a bit slower but without losing much)
15. New Black - Time Attack (another one that's out of place, but so weird that I love it)

EPs of the Year
Bullets to Broadway - Drink Positive Three ex-Teen Idols, what's not to like
F-Minus - Won't Bleed Me/Failed Society A reissue of two old EPs, but it goes here because it's 20 songs in 15 minutes

Biggest Disappointment
311 - Don't Tread on Me. You'd think a band that I've loved since I was ten would never cease to amaze, but this was just sort of mediocre.

Shows of the Year
1. Teenage Kicks Tour - Methadones, Groovie Ghoulies, Teenage Bottlerocket, Teenage Harlets, J Church - July @ the Bottom Lounge. Teenage Bottlerocket stole the show, 100%. And that's hard to do, considering that I've made a vow to never miss the Methadones (seen them 8 times) or the Ghoulies (four times).
2. 7 Seconds, The Briggs - March @ the Metro. I can't put into words how much 7 Seconds have meant to me personally, so finally getting to see them was amazing. The acoustic Alkaline Trio set sucked, but that's OK because I finally saw 7 FUCKING SECONDS!
3. Bad Religion, Pennywise, Sick of It All, Murphy's Law - November @ the Congress Theater. Just look at that lineup; how could it not be amazing?
4. Bob Mould Band - October @ the Metro. I saw Bob Mould perform Husker Du songs with a full band. Holy shit.
5. Riot Fest Day 2 - November @ The Congress Theater. Channel 3, Agent Orange, The Effigies, Bouncing Souls, and a surprisingly amazing Germs. Shane West isn't Darby Crash, but it was still soooooooo fucking fun.
6. Paul Westerberg and His Only Friends Band - April @ The Riviera. Two and a half hour set, over thirty songs, numerous Replacements songs, and drunken shenanigans abound.
7. Motorhead, Zeke - March @ House of Blues. Loudest, and one of the best, band on the face of the earth.
8. Subhumans, From Ashes Rise, I Attack - July @ Logan Square Auditorium. This totaly made up for its cancellation the previous October, it gave me a chance to see From Ashes Rise before they boke up and sold me on I Attack being the best local hardcore band.
9. The Briefs, Street Dogs, Brain Failure - August @ the Bottom Lounge. This is another one where it was just FUN! And everything that the other Briefs show this year wasn't.
10. The Explosion, Throw Rag, The Loved Ones, The Matics - May @ The Bottom Lounge. Coldplay was playing the same night at the Metro, so all the "cool" people were there, leaving about 100 people, the true fans, to witness a great show.

Worst Show
The Briefs/Clit 45/Street Brats/Rotten Fruits - November @ The Studio. Horrible new venue, horrible staff, two horrible bands playing for 45 minutes each, show ruined by 15 year old suburban "punx." $12 to see 30 minutes of the Briefs.

adam (December 31, 2005)

"Out of THIRTEEN end of the year lists, ONE is written by a woman. A little biased, wouldn't you say?"

It sure beats last year's record of zero. Of course we'd love to see women participating more, but it's not something I'm sure we have a lot of control over. We ask people to be staff reviewers because they've written a lot of reviews voluntarily and we like their writing. Meg was in that boat.

-adam

TheOneTrueBill (December 31, 2005)

I haven't even read the other ones, but the mere fact that you have Teenage Bottlerocket and the Soviettes in there means it's my favorite list.

skaboom (December 31, 2005)

Exactly how I feel towards Propagandhi. So many good ideas to have, but its just so damn defeated sounding. After sitting through the whole thing, I don't know how to feel anything but helpless.

Also,

Pink Razors "Waiting to Wash Up" > Chixdiggit "Pink Razors"

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

This is more a general comment for all of the lists, but since you are an editor I think it is appropriate. Out of THIRTEEN end of the year lists, ONE is written by a woman. A little biased, wouldn't you say?

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

Good list. I was (as a stupid brat) let down by the fact that Neil Young did a fucking acoustic album, but his general songwriting is still good.

Sleater didn't make my Top Ten (which can be read in Jesse's list), but that is a damn fine album, I will admit. Paint It Black's album was pretty good, too, but this was a pretty busy year for hardcore and their sleak production/songwriting didn't make the cut for me... Maybe my Top 20, though.

-Will

Anonymous (December 31, 2005)

so do you think Sony will try to buy punknews.org in 2006?

psychoos231 (December 31, 2005)

This year i recently got into The Deadly Snakes and Greg MacPherson Band and what can i say about them but wow, kickarse bands i tells ya!

ryanbolger (December 31, 2005)

elliott fucking brood.

i saw them at the toronto beer fest this summer, and they had me smiling and clapping the entire time they were on stage.

the album is good, but their live show rivals just about anyone.

skankin_in_the_pit (December 31, 2005)

"not even one john doe mention in any of this year's reviews? come on guys."

Plus no Vic Bondi or Easy Action (John Brannon of Negative Approach's newish Stooges-esque rock and roll band) mentions at all. Everyone is forgetting the oldies.

joeg (December 31, 2005)

"He's on my mix tape"

and that's why you have the bestest here

and i'm very surprised and disappointed nobody mentioned the most important change to pn.org this year: the snazzy new comment button

thirtyseconds (December 31, 2005)

Adam even though you have the most horrific list imaginable, I can't help but love you. Maybe it's the Chixdiggit thing

BrandonSideleau (December 31, 2005)

WTF where the fuck is my list? I spent an hour making that thing

adam (December 31, 2005)

He's on my mix tape. I haven't actually been able to find the record yet. `tis a slippery fish.

-adam

joeg (December 31, 2005)

not even one john doe mention in any of this year's reviews? come on guys.

BizzleBrizzle (December 31, 2005)

2005 Music Review

Top 20 Releases of 2005:

20.)Hollywood Handgrenade - The Savage
19.)Death is not Glamorous - Demo
18.)Against Me! - Searching for a Former Clarity
17.)Hank Jones - Saturdays of Thunder
16.)Renee Heartfelt - Death of a Ghost
15.)When Tigers Fight - When Tigers Fight
14.)How We Are - How We Are
13.)Doomriders - Black Thunder
12.)Betrayed - Addiction
11.)The Loved Ones - The Loved Ones
10.)The Bomb - Indecision
9.)Killing The Dream - In Place, Apart
8.)Propagandhi - Potekim City Limits
7.)Minus The Bear - Menos El Oso
6.)This is Hell - This is Hell
5.)Shook Ones - 16
4.)Lagwagon - Resolve
3.)Modern Life is War - Witness
2.)Cursed - II
1.)Paint it Black - Paradise

2005 Releases That I've Ordered But Are Still MIA:

Under One Flag/Pale Horse Split
Iron Boots - Weight of the World
Abandon Ship - 'Til I Burst
Ceremony - Ruined
The Helm - The Helm
The Ergs - Jersey's Best Prancers

15 Best Shows of 2005:

Rise Against/Most Precious Blood/A Wilhelm Scream/Black Tie Bombers @ RadioDown in Covington, Kentucky in January

R.A.M.B.O./Municipal Waste/Asshole Parade/Caustic Christ/Endless Nightmare @ First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia in February

Cursed/The Process/Abandon Ship @ The Underworld in London, UK in March

7 Seconds/Kill Your Idols/Champion(sorta) @ First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia in March

Turmoil/The Promise/All Else Failed/Nine/One Dead Three Wounded @ First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia in April

The Lawrence Arms/The Methadones/A Wilhelm Scream/Hazle Weatherfield @ Top Cats in Cincinnati in June

This is Hell/Another Breath/How We Are/Tradition @ Eastgate Vineyard in Cincinnati in June

Bane/Evergreen Terrace/Cursed/Verse @ Bubba's Bowling in Indianapolis in July

Strike Anywhere/Lords @ Keswick Democratic Club in Louisville in July

This is Hell/Crime in Stereo/Bail Out/Breaking Ground/Dead Frequency @ Bubba's Bowling in Indianapolis in July

108/Champion/Betrayed/Good Clean Fun/Outbreak @ First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia in August

Lifetime/108/Smoke or Fire @ Starlight Ballroom in Philadelphia in August

Kid Dynamite/Grey Area/Voice in The Wire/Take My Chances @ CBGBs in NYC in August

Blacklisted/Horror Show/Kill Verona/One Dead Three Wounded @ First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia in October

Strike Anywhere/Paint it Black/Yah Mos Def/A Global Threat/Torche @ First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia in December

What I'm Anticipating for 2006:

Just about every upcoming Fat Wreck release
The Helm
Shook Ones
Pulling Teeth
Death is not Glamorous
Kid Dynamite's DVD
Pink Razors
Damnation A.D.
When Tigers Fight
Verse
Another Breath
Bigwig
Less Than Jake
Sick of it All
Ignite
AFI
Bracket
Tradition
Seven Orchids
The Pledge
Under One Flag

gladimnotemo (December 31, 2005)

So many good Canadian bands, and none of them are on here! Fucked Up, Career Suicide...where are you? Other than that, props on the Briefs being praised. The last two songs on that album are superb.

Dante3000 (December 31, 2005)

Strange, though I don't totally agree with your list I do think it's probably the one I agree with most. Very balanced.
As for the Propagandhi CD, I think you're right. It's just not as human as their old stuff. I love it, but in a different way than Less Talk, More Rock. But it's wierd because their live show was actually more enjoyable than older shows. Less talking, and less yelling at people, more rock.
And finally someone with MacPherson. I like most of Night Flares. It does have some real lag songs but the ones that rock, just fucking kill.
-Dante
P.S. Funny story Greg had never been to California til recently , yet he as a song by the title "California"...Strange

KirbyPuckett (December 31, 2005)

I would not mind taking a long road trip w/ Adam and a huge iPod playlist created by him.

- Kirby

theundergroundscene (December 31, 2005)

AHHHHH

sleater-kinney

:[[[[[[

theundergroundscene (December 31, 2005)

FIRST

comment later!

Contests

Exclusive Streams

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go