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Best of 2006 - Chris' picks (Cover Artwork)

Best of 2006

Best of 2006: Chris' picksChris' picks (2006)
staff picks

Reviewer Rating: 5


Contributed by: adamChris
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Chris Moran is a news editor and reviewer here at Punknews.org -ed

Words Cannot Express How Much Fuck This Yearâ?¦

If I had to sum up the world of punk/hardcore/etc in one word for 2006 it would be "melody." Maybe it's the wider circulation and exposure that bands, even on the smallest of labels, have access to. Everything from MySpace to on-demand cable television music videos are giving today's groups more chances to succeed without the constraints of some of the larger labels. Or, maybe it's just the overall evolution in music. Trends come and go, but good tunes are good tunes, and as much as I enjoy the abrasive nature associated with punk rock, the monotony of three chords and yelling can get a little stale. We saw this progression in hardcore acts like Strike Anywhere and Ignite, punk staples like Anti-Flag and Against All Authority, and of course the plethora of frontmen opting to go out on their own. Included were Boy Sets Fire's Nathan Gray, Ann Beretta / Foundation leader Rob Huddleston and even hardcore mainstay Avail's Tim Barry. Of course we can't forget the "solo man of the year," Chuck Ragan. Many of us shed a tear with the final demise of Hot Water Music, but from its ashes rose Chuck and his traveling one-man show, and of course the Draft, which consists of the other three members, carrying on in a similar musical style as their prior journey.

I could continue on, but the following list will pretty much sum up my feelings on the year. Working with the editors at Punknews.org has been a great experience, and I look forward to what we can do in the coming year. Thanks to everyone, staff and readers, for a fun 2006. Here's to an even better 2007.

20 Pieces of Plastic from 2006 Everyone Needs
20. This Is Hell - Sundowning
Trustkill
Building from a model perfected by bands like American Nightmare and Bane, This Is Hell carved their own place in hardcore with this edgy and aggressive debut full-length.
19. Against All Authority - The Restoration of Chaos and Order
Hopeless
After a lengthy hiatus of recording new material, AAA came back with an album rich in their patented street-punk/ska blend, but fused with harmony and a more mature sound while still maintaining their snide and sarcastic outlook on society .
18. Tim Barry - Rivanna Junction
Suburban Home
In the most honest and humble release of the year, Avail's Tim Barry released this relaxed collection of songs influenced by his early musical experiences of bluegrass, country-western and folk combined with the spirit of his current laidback southern lifestyle.
17. Sick of It All - Death to Tyrants
Abacus
What better way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of your band than to release of the best albums of a successful career? Anyone that feels a hardcore band can't make it more than a couple of years without some serious altering of their sound obviously is unfamiliar with these guys, the walking definition of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Chunksaah
Eclectic, spontaneous, and fun, the Inferno delivered their unique style of "caberet / circus punk" in one of the more original and stylish releases the punk community has seen in some time.
15. Rise Against - The Sufferer and the Witness
Geffen
With their second major label release, Rise Against have only further proven why they are in the upper echelon of melodic hardcore. With an impressive mix of furious aggression, catchy hooks and dynamic arrangements, this album only further cements why they continue to get better with each album.
14. Anti-Flag - For Blood and Empire
RCA
Under some of the most intense criticism for opting to move to the RCA music label, Anti-Flag managed to put out the definitive album of their catalog. Sharp, clever and lacking the generic sloganeering of past releases, this record served notice to any finger-pointers that the term "sell-out" doesn't always equate to signing to a bigger label.
13. Shook Ones - Facetious Folly Feat
Revelation
Being compared to a band like Kid Dynamite is a doubled-edged sword. Sure, it's a compliment at first, but to truly succeed and obtain your own identity, you have to distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack. With their second full-length, Shook Ones still wear their influences proudly on their arms, but have finally made that very distinction influence, not interpretation.
12. Ignite - Our Darkest Days
Abacus
With high expectations, Ignite didn't disappoint with one of the better hardcore albums of the year. Zoli's voice has always been one of the band's stronger suits, and they finally chose to lay it all out in a brilliant array of hard-hitting tracks touching on the problems of war, global issues, and personal reflection.
11. None More Black - This Is Satire
Fat Wreck
None More Black have always experienced the other side of the coin when it comes to notoriety. With such a recognizable and powerful voice as frontman Jason Shevchuk's, combined with his prior stint in "that other band," many would always be doubting anything living up to set expectations. In their sophomore full-length, what really shines in the songwriting and arrangements layered throughout the record. Rooted in rock but brimming with punk flavor, this album only gets better with each listen.
10. Strike Anywhere - Dead FM
Fat Wreck
Making the leap to one of the biggest independent labels in music is always a little easier when you're already considered one of the best new bands in punk. Instead of clinging to the exact same style that got them to the top, or worse, experimenting in some form not indicative of what they are about, Strike Anywhere chose to use their Fat Wreck Chords debut to return to their roots. Loaded with melody and gang-choruses, yet still keeping the intensity and thought-provoking lyrics,Dead FM is proof that stepping forward sometimes involve stepping back.
9. Street Dogs - Fading American Dream
DRT
I'll summarize this with a little of my review of the album: The best description of Fading American Dream is that it begins EXACTLY where Back to the World left off: pure punk-influenced rock music. No gimmicks, no pseudo-image, no bullshit. Anthem-laced tracks that provide that feel-good, fist-pumping spirit reminding us why we listen to punk music, and how it's one of the few music genres that transcend culture and trends.
8. The Draft - In a Million Pieces
Epitaph
Carrying on a legacy left by a band as influential and adored as Hot Water Music is quite the task, however, the Draft's debut follows the same line and progression. I think bassist Jason Black said it best in a recent interview, how it's similar to what HWM did but with "less flailing."
7. Dead to Me - Cuban Ballerina
Fat Wreck
No album grew on my over time more than this one. On my first few listens, I had pretty much written them off as another side project dud. Over time, the songs started to click. The distinction between Jack's smooth crooning and Chicken's abrasive vocal styling provide a completely new aspect to this street-punk-inspired band. It rocks, yet is heartfelt in a manner void of any whining.
6. The Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!
Fat Wreck
Anyone familiar with our little website knows the love we and our readers have for Chicago's bastard sons. On their fourth full-length, the band finally managed to harness the abilities of having two distinct vocalists. Rather than switching off duties from track to track, the vocals often battle and blend in an array of aggressive yet cleverly crafted songs. Their best work to date? Maybe, but there's always that damn compilation to start an argument.
5. Bouncing Souls - The Gold Record
Epitaph
A new disc from those New Jersey mooches is always a treat. This year, we saw the Souls reach into their past with an album reflective of past influences, places and overall good times. Just another band showing that a time-tested tradition just shouldn't be fucked with.
4. No Trigger - Canyoneer
Nitro
In a year filled with the biggest names in punk, these Mass-holes dropped the proverbial bomb on the hardcore scene and stole the show. With an album full of abrasively harmonious anthems and a non-stop touring schedule, 2006 proved to be the come out and conquer party for No Trigger.
3. Ryan's Hope - Apocalypse in Increments
Punknews
This album proved to be the definition of overachievement. Concentrating on past influences of melodic punk from the `90s and thrashing metal riffs, the sound generated by Ryan's Hope would have flourished in the high-power roster of early Epitaph Records.
2. The Falcon - Unicornography
Red Scare
Providing the feel-good album of the year was merely a side-project for the Falcon. This punk rock supergroup carved this incredible collection of tunes in their spare time, and this laidback approach is what makes this record one of the year's must haves.
1. The Loved Ones - Keep Your Heart
Fat Wreck
Who would have thought that combining members of some of the best hardcore bands of the past 10 years would have created the best record of 2006, with absolutely no elements of hardcore? The Loved Ones built a load of hype with a stellar EP in 2005, and a schedule of non-stop touring in support of some of the best acts in punk today. But the final piece of the puzzle was fit into place with their debut full-length, with a stripped down style of early pop-punk, combined with the strong vocals of Dave Hause and song structures that build from obvious influences, rather than replicate. The Loved Ones are the type of band that you can imagine heading straight to the top. I can display my thoughts only in a way used to measure the greatness of any record: by playing it for that friend with the absolute worst taste in music and getting that head nod and smile from them, followed by the question "Hey, this is pretty good, who are these guys?"
Other Great Albums of 2006

Bad Astronaut - Twelve Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment, the Sainte Catherines - Dancing for Decadence, AFI - Decemberunderground, Riverboat Gamblers - To the Confusion of Our Enemies, Latterman - â?¦We Are Still Alive, Fifth Hour Hero - Not Revengeâ?¦Just a Vicious Crush, NOFX - Wolves in Wolves' Clothing, the Lillingtons - The Too Late Show

Album Released in 2006 by a Band I Love and Have Heard Nothing But Great Things About Yet for Some Reason Haven't Listened To
The Hope Conspiracy - Death Knows Your Name
Deathwish Inc.
Best Non-Punk Albums of 2006:
Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
Best EPs of 2006:
Off with Their Heads - Hospitals
Recess
Whole Wheat Bread - Punk Life
Fighting
Best Live Album of 2006
Against Me! - Americans Abroad!!! Against Me!!! Live in London!!!
Fat Wreck
Best DVD Releases of 2006
Kid Dynamite - Four Years in One Gulp
Jade Tree
Bad Religion - Live at the Palladium
Epitaph
Best Tour Packages of 2006
  • Lagwagon / the Lawrence Arms / A Wilhelm Scream
  • NOFX / the Lawrence Arms / the Loved Ones
  • Bouncing Souls / Street Dogs / Whole Wheat Bread / World/Inferno Friendship Society
Best 3 Days of Live Music in 2006
  • The Fest V -- Gainesville, FL
Annoying Trends of 2005 Significantly Reduced in 2006
  • Guitarists doing "jumping spin-kicks"
  • White belts
  • Men wearing women's jeans
Things to Work on in 2007
  • Pointless reissues of albums not out-of-print / out-of-print for legitimate reasons / released less than three years ago
  • Taking appropriate measures to ensure your band's equipment isn't stolen
  • Accusing Green Day of plagiarism
Best Feuds of 2006
  • Mark Hoppus vs Tom Delonge
  • Dillinger Escape Plan vs. Avenged Sevenfold
  • Eagles of Death Metal vs. "Guns N' Roses"
Anticipated Albums of 2007
  • Dillinger Four
  • Lifetime
  • Smoke or Fire
Da mix fo' da 0-6
    A New Hope
  1. World/Inferno Friendship Society - Brother of the Mayor of Bridgewater
  2. The Lillingtons - All I Hear is Static
  3. The Street Dogs - Not Without a Purpose
  4. Strike Anywhere - Allies
  5. Shook Ones - Pheasant
  6. No Trigger - The Honshu Underground
  7. The Bouncing Souls - Sounds of the City
  8. The Falcon - The Unicorn Odyssey
  9. The Loved Ones - The Odds
  10. None More Black - Opinions and Assholes
    The Empire Strikes Back
  1. Latterman - Water Manes At the Block's End
  2. Dead to Me - Something New
  3. Rise Against - Injection
  4. The Riverboat Gamblers - The Art of Getting Fucked
  5. Sick of it All - Die Alone
  6. Anti-Flag - Confessions on an Economic Hitman
  7. The Lawrence Arms - Are You There Margaret? It's Me, God
  8. The Draft - Not What I Wanna Do
  9. This Is Hell - The Polygraph Cheaters
  10. Ryan's Hope - The Sword

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Reel Big Fish - Our Live Album Is Better Than Your Live Album [2-CD/DVD]Scouts Honor - I Am the DustThe Kings of Nuthin' - Over the Counter CultureU.S. Bombs - We Are the ProblemThe Sainte Catherines - Dancing for DecadenceBouncing Souls - Hopeless RomanticBuzzcocks - Flat-Pack PhilosophyThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Slackers - PeculiarThe Loved Ones - Keep Your Heart

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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.
Cos (January 7, 2007)

I've been scanning the comments for clarity, but Chris = sickboi, no? I looked to his list last year because he had the most actual "punk" on it. This one seems pretty good, but if you ask me, the Souls have lost the fire in them. Their new record bores me so much..

--Cos

ILOVESCOTT (January 3, 2007)

"As much as I hate to say it, I feel Chris may have the most "pedestrian" tastes, as far as editors. However, they're also the closest to mine (I may be a tard), so I totally like this list the most.
I'm really quite suprised the World/Inferno album didn't make more lists. It was really an amazing album with something for everyone."

This is the bitchiest comment you've ever written, Dante.

dazed (January 3, 2007)

your list is, as expected, org to the core, but it's the best list of orgcore and (without having read the Punknews.org total list) is probably the closest to the taste of most of the people on here.

And I still gotta get "Unicornography" =/

baseball (January 2, 2007)

i'm inclined to agree about Much The Same, definitely top 20 material IMO

Anonymous (January 1, 2007)

i like your short and quick list of albums your looking forward to. Aside from agreeing with it (especially D4 and Smoke or Fire), its nice to see certainty.

Anonymous (January 1, 2007)

DId anyone at punknews even listen to the record from Much the Same this year or better yet even know it exists. Anti-Flag? the worst record they have ever made it in your top 20? Im dissapointed.

dir (January 1, 2007)

This is the list that is most identical to mine. Except Fucked Up is my number 1.

Anonymous (January 1, 2007)

Oh! Calcutta! is actually The Lawrence Arm's FIFTH full-length album (not their fourth). Their 4 prior albums are A Guided Tour..., Ghost Stories, Apathy and Exhaustion, and The Greatest Story....

AphasiacIIC (January 1, 2007)

oh btw chris i still like to know that i originally sent you off with their heads!

AphasiacIIC (January 1, 2007)

my favorite list by far.. it seems that chris and justin and meg (sorta meg) are the only ones who like good music (IN MY FUCKING OPINION) . though i dont necessarily like every band on this list, its a great list overall

chris are you lookin forward to nothington at all for 2007?

consolationprizefighter (January 1, 2007)

Great list.

relix (January 1, 2007)

Score is for having a Lillingtons track on your mixtape.

misterspike (January 1, 2007)

This is the list that is probably closest to where my own "end-of" tastes lie. The World/Inferno album gets better with every single listen. My enthusiasm for them is often met with a "What do they sound like?" I can only reply, after a few false starts, "You just need to See them.'

Anonymous (January 1, 2007)

good list sickboi, my #1 = no trigger-oldpunker-

Dante3000 (January 1, 2007)

Oh, also as far as non-punk albums go P.O.S.'s album simply blew me away.
-Dante

Dante3000 (January 1, 2007)

As much as I hate to say it, I feel Chris may have the most "pedestrian" tastes, as far as editors. However, they're also the closest to mine (I may be a tard), so I totally like this list the most.
I'm really quite suprised the World/Inferno album didn't make more lists. It was really an amazing album with something for everyone.

Anonymous (January 1, 2007)

very fine list indeed

ozmanx (January 1, 2007)

Out of all the official lists here I agree with yours the most.

Congrats.

punkinohio (January 1, 2007)

No love for Much The Same's "Survive"??? What the fuck?!

allison_le_gnome (January 1, 2007)

With the notable exception of the Evens, this list is very close to what mine would be was I not too lazy to actually make one.

sickboi (December 31, 2006)

As far as listing the live AM!, consider that musically it's good. But for a live album, you always want something "extra". It's a basic representation of any night on tour for them. They're never too into the whole "banter" aspect, and as far as playing older material, well, I think they mix it up nicely. I think more people are just bummed that "Impact" didn't make it on here.

swingline (December 31, 2006)

orgcore to the max. o well, it's a step up from absolutepunk

almostpunkenough (December 31, 2006)

best list of the year...

where have you been? haven't see you online forever.

GlassPipeMurder (December 31, 2006)

this is satire. good call.

Anonymous (December 31, 2006)

C'mon, Oh Calcutta is way better than Unicornography.

Other than that, great list.

baseball (December 31, 2006)

unsurprisingly very close to mine

victim (December 31, 2006)

Did anybody else hear the Wilhelm Scream EP Diver this year? It was *really* short but it would make my list of EPs.

And Slaughter of the Insole EP was better than Facetious, Feat, Folly although The Drop almost makes it even.

Oh and Guttermouth put out a better album than NOFX this year

Problematiclogic (December 31, 2006)

Yep, very good list.

Anonymous (December 31, 2006)

Nice list!! I have 13 of those in my top 40.

My top 20 albums of the year.......if you want to read my entire top 40 list check it out on my blog here.......myspace.com/kpy85

20. Strike Anywhere-Dead FM
19. Domain-StarDawn
18. Falconer-Northwind
17. Ryan's Hope-Apocalypse in Increments
16. Bouncing Souls-Gold Record
15. Time Again-The Stories are True
14. NOFX-Wolves in Wolves Clothing
13. Rhapsody of Fire-Triumph or Agony
12. Good Riddance-My Republic
11. Rise Against-The Sufferer and the Witness
10. Street Dogs-Fading American Dream
9. Cellador-Enter Deception
8. I Am Ghost-Lovers Requiem
7. Damone-Out Here All Night
6. The Loved Ones-Keep Your Heart
5. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes-Love Their Country
4. Ignite-Our Darkest Days
3. Iron Maiden-A Matter of Life and Death
2. Blind Guardian-A Twist in the Myth
1. DRAGONFORCE-Inhuman Rampage

Anonymous (December 31, 2006)

Best list on the site

MrStylson (December 31, 2006)

you win the "best 'best-of' list" award this year. I agreed with everything, save for a few order changes. nicely done.

victim (December 31, 2006)

By far the list closest to mine. Did you listen to Goodbye Cool World from Bomb The Music Industry? Some of the bands listed here are ones I think I should like but can't get into for whatever reason..

Fuzzy (December 31, 2006)

That AM! live album is so terrible.

Archangel (December 31, 2006)

Haha the "trends reduced/things to work on" lists are great.

mcgregor107 (December 31, 2006)

good list.. i've got a lot of the same bands, just re-arranged..

Vincent_M (December 31, 2006)

Fix the W/IFS label...it's Red-Eyed Soul. Can't believe it wasn't on more lists, too, thanks for including it.

Anonymous (December 31, 2006)

The Loved Ones aren't even close to #1.

AmericaRules (December 31, 2006)

Yes great list!!!

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