mikexdude: Best of 2009Best of 2009 (2009)
staff picks

Reviewer Rating: 5

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

Mike French is a staff reviewer at Punknews.org - ed. Introduction In 2009, I was added to the Punknews team; I met my favorite band that isn't the Descendents; I recorded two EPs; and I celebrated a one-year anniversary with my girlfriend. There were definitely low points (I discovered I.

Mike French is a staff reviewer at Punknews.org - ed.


In 2009, I was added to the Punknews team; I met my favorite band that isn't the Descendents; I recorded two EPs; and I celebrated a one-year anniversary with my girlfriend. There were definitely low points (I discovered I have a paralyzing fear of hospitals, for one), so the year wasn't all sunshine and laughter. Regardless, I made it and 2010 will see the release of my own music and the start of many great opportunities and projects. I want to skip any further rambling and just get right to the music!

Honorable Mentions

NOFX - Coaster; The Arteries - Blood, Sweat and Beer; American Steel - Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts; The Catalyst - Swallow Your Teeth; Coalesce - Ox; Converge - Axe to Fall; Government Warning - Paranoid Mess; Hatred Surge - Deconstruct; The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart; Propaghandi - Supporting Caste

Top 20 Full-Lengths/LPs


Teenage Bottlerocket: They Came from the Shadows

Fat Wreck Chords

Teenage Bottlerocket has definitely upped the Descendents influence. The most fun record of the year.


Outbreak: Outbreak

Think Fast!

Nothing could have been worse for Ryan and the rest of Outbreak, but they really outdid themselves. As stated in my review: Their best record yet.


Doomriders: Darkness Comes Alive


I remember seeing this band open for Danzig in 2007 and I had no idea who they were. It also seemed like no one was really into them live, but I looked them up, and sure enough they ripped. Two years later, they release Darkness Comes Alive and really kicked my ass. Remember when metal was catchy? They do.


Nothington: Road, Bridges and Ruins


This replaced Dream Homes as my stereotypical Orgcore choice. There's something in their basic approach that is painfully nostalgic. Also, the band knows exactly when to hit the climax notes in their melodies. Doesn't "Not Looking Down" remind you of the type of song that would be on a Tony Hawk Pro Skater soundtrack?


Tegan and Sara: Sainthood


This album reminds me of Elvis Costello's Armed Forces in the way that there is both a prominant synthetic and organic (or "classic") sound to it -- not to mention "Don't Rush" has a chorus that sounds like it was taken straight off it.


AFI: Crash Love


AFI almost poured out every last ounce of hardcore in time for Crash Love, but this Morrissey-influenced pop album isn't devoid of heaviness; the drums have a pounding, energetic and assertive punk rock feel that recalls old-school AFI. Good job, Adam.


Blacklisted: No One Deserves to Be Here More Than Me


"Mike, it's not that good." "Mike, it's too slow and pretentious." Don't give a fuck; this album rules. It's got influences coming from everywhere and in a world where the "album" is slowly dying, Blacklisted really establishes an atmosphere and mood throughout. You kind of need to listen to the whole album in sequence to "get it."


Bomb the Music Industry!: Scrambles

Quote Unquote / Asian Man

Nothing more needs to be said from me. Read my review. As far as I'm concerned, the most ethically "punk" band in the past few years.


Pulling Teeth: Paranoid Delusions / Paradise Illusions


Basically a metal band now, but Pulling Teeth's frontman Mike Riley has a punk rock spirit to his lyric and vocal attack. There are some fucking awesome guitar solos here.


Owen: New Leaves


Another beautiful-sounding Owen record from Mike Kinsella. Despite his seemingly miserable past, the differences in his new life (husband and father) really shine here.


Punch: Punch

625 Thrash

Punch really knows how to take generic hardcore parts and use them against the listener, deceiving them into thinking they know the formula. You don't know the formula. You probably thought a breakdown was coming after the build up in "Ol' Factory." Wrong


Cymbals Eat Guitars: Why There Are Mountains


Cymbals Eat Guitars wears their influences proudly on their sleeves, but in an extremely captivating and epic fashion. I'm sure these guys will get huge; it's easy to spot good songwriting.


Baroness: Blue Record


I understand the Mastodon comparison, but I really believe Baroness found their own sound. It's hardly even metal -- just heavy. This is really mind-blowing music that I, for one, prefer over anything Mastodon has ever done.


Paramore: brand new eyes

Fueled By Raman

Never understood how people have such a deep hatred for pretty simple pop. "Ignorance" is easily the best mainstream single to come out this year -- maybe because the verse reminds me of Marathon's "Matchmaker, Matchmaker." Regardless, Paramore really stepped up their game and wrote both an aggressive and tender pop record.


Coke Bust: Lines in the Sand

Six Weeks

Coke Bust has accomplished what most in this genre fail to do: Write actual songs. With the awkward dichotomy of melodic octave lines and dissonant power chord riffage, there's so much more going on here than meets the eye...or ear, I guess.


Social Circkle: City Shock

No Way

About fucking time, eh? There's a certain energy to this record that is refreshing; those drums have me scratching my head. Also, those riffs! Hot damn!


Trapped Under Ice: Secrets of the World


Ignorantly brutal, fun, and involving. Maybe Scott (OverDefined) will mention something about that infamous promo shot too, but their music speaks for themselves. They aren't really singing about "the streets," and they aren't flexing their muscles (at least with any kind of agenda). These guys are just brilliant musicians and that's really all it comes down to.


Castevet: Summer Fences

Count Your Lucky Stars

A powerful mix of emo, post-rock and beard punk. It was my biking soundtrack until my bike got stolen.


Shook Ones: The Unquotable A.M.H.

Paper + Plastick

Painfully infectious; the catchiest record of the year. Does that one riff in "T-Monk" remind you of the Jazz June?


Polar Bear Club: Chasing Hamburg

Bridge Nine

I stand by my theory that anyone who doesn't appreciate this band is just not looking hard enough at their actual music. But really, between an incredible live performance (yet modest and endearing, like a good hardcore show) and disgustingly in-depth songwriting, Polar Bear Club is currently the best active band. Fight me.

Top 5 EPs


Paint it Black: Amnesia

Bridge Nine

In 2008, Bridge Nine seemed to be an unstoppable force; who knew in 2009 one of their best releases would be a 7-inch? Paint it Black got a lot more intense on Amnesia and finally recorded in a way that complements their heaviness better.


Title Fight: The Last Thing You Forget

Run for Cover

Less Saves the Day and more mid-'90s emo amalgamation. Way to sound like Polar Bear Club, guys.


Capital: Blind Faith

Iron Pier

Tommy Corrigan, 'nuff said.


Daylight: Demo


One of the more honest bands attempting the post-hardcore sound.


Make Do and Mend: Bodies of Water


I got this on a DIY CD-R in December of 2008, subsequently reviewing it and being blown away. I told everyone in that review that you could download it for free, but by that time, they had already gotten a deal with Panic. One of the most sincere live shows I've ever seen. Make Do and Mend, thanks for giving me a friend on one of the loneliest winter nights of my life.

DC/Metropolitan Locals Spotlight

Most of my weekends were spent alongside the DC/metropolitan punk/hardcore scene. These are my favorite local artists who released music in 2009:
  • Coke Bust - Coke Bust is DC's hadcore powerhouse. They released their debut LP Lines in the Sand this year and finally made me a fan. Kudos.
  • Deathrats - They released a self-titled seven-inch on To Live a Lie Records and put on my favorite local hardcore show -- all this year. Deathrats has some seriously unorthodox playing that's refreshing for the genre.
  • The Ambulars - DC's answer to the Alkaline Trio. "Lighthouse," from their 2009 EP (Summer of the Ambulars), is one of the catchiest melodies ever.
  • Give - Started sounding like a Revolution summer throwback, but with their LP, they sound kinda like a mixture of indie rock and straight rock 'n' roll.
  • Troops of Tomorrow - A bunch of hardcore kids playing some genuinely sloppy street punk -- the way it should be. It's really cool to hear their youth crew influence in their music. In 2009, they released a demo casette and opened for Trapped Under Ice and Title Fight.


People who liked this also liked:
Big D And The Kids Table - How It GoesThe Sidekicks - Sam [7 inch]Red City Radio - To the Sons & Daughters of Woody GuthrieAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseCrime in Stereo - Is DeadMitch Clem - Nothing Nice to Say [book]The Ataris - So Long, AstoriaBigwig - Unmerry MelodiesFairweather - LusitaniaBandits of the Acoustic Revolution - A Call to Arms

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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.
nick_heitman (December 29, 2009)

solid list. link me to the deathrats 7" one day soon, dawg.

hayman (December 28, 2009)

Yep, Capital are real good. Not once have I seen Rentokills "The O.S.E." listed in the top 10's though. Come on people - get with it!

mikexdude (December 28, 2009)

Do you see the "but really" in there? Meaning the first sentence was slght sarcasm, like: "i n all seriousness." Regardless, everyone is like that about a certain band, and I feel sorry for you if you do not feel that passionately about at least one band. It's your choice whether you want to respect my musical opinion or not based on something EVERYONE does.

Besides, if you read my CH review, besides ONE sentence, I was objective and levelheaded. But, like I said, people want to believe what they want to believe, and for some reaso, it's always the worst. There's always away to say someonehas bias. Good day to you, sir.

xIxKilledxJesusx (December 28, 2009)

grue is right though. youre allowed to like the album mike, but to say if one doesnt like the album then they arent looking hard enough IS blatant fanboyism. Youre supposed to be a part of the review staff, and in my opinion that means you should try to make reviews as levelheaded as possible. Calling people who dont agree with you more or less wrong (not looking hard enough sounds like someone is not allowed to actually hate it to me) takes away all credibility you have as a reviewer

mattramone (December 28, 2009)

Mike is tru til coll-edge.

mychoice (December 27, 2009)

Great list, enjoyed the majority of these this year and will check out the ones I haven't listened to.

mikexdude (December 27, 2009)

Hey Grue:


overdefined (December 27, 2009)


Grue (December 27, 2009)

Chasing Hamburg is not good. Stop being such a fanboy.

mikexdude (December 27, 2009)

"Tegan and Sara don't belong in the same sentence as Elvis Costello EVER. Especially Armed Forces."

Yeah man, you'd be surprised though. What I meant was that, like Armed Forces, there's equal parts synthetic pop and rock music. Armed Forces, IMO, is probably one of the best record that displays that. EC is dear to my heart, so I wouldn't make the comparison unless it wasn't true. Whether you like Tegan and Sara, the influence is there.

mikexdude (December 26, 2009)

I haven't gotten around to listen to Cult Ritual, and Converge was good (in my honorable mentions), but I thought it was going to be more like the title track, but it wasn't. A little disappointed.

sugarfull (December 26, 2009)

I enjoyed reading your list, but I thought that it would be better (of course better means more in line with my tastes, and it is subjective, but why no love for Converge, Cult Ritual, or Black Kites?)

damnitsderek (December 26, 2009)

Your Top 3 LPs are winwinwin.

Michael_Berryman (December 25, 2009)

i think this is my favorite list so far. maybe just cause Blacklisted. and no one gives a fuck but here's a link to my top 10


givemeamuseumandillfillit (December 25, 2009)

Nice list. I could only compile a top 10 this year (..my first in 4 years though, so for me it's still alot) and I don't think we share more than one or two records; but I'm definently going to check out the records I havn't heard.

Yeah, this is such a weird year. I mean huge bands like Green Day, AFI, Rancid and NOFX released records, right? And this is one of the first lists I've seen that mentions ANY of them - but then again I've heard all records and don't remember a single track from any of them so maybe that's a hint to what's going on.. The Tegan & Sara record sounds more like AFI than Crash Love.

I'm dissapointed that there aren't any "top ten shows" lists this year - it's always fun to hear about those. I recently attended my #1. Trash Talk - it was fucking _insane_. It wasn't even my first time seeing them this year and I'm not really a big fan - but shit, it was the most chaotic gig I've ever been to.

The singer choked a guy with his microphone cord, then punched his way through the crowd all the way back to the bar, punched the bartender, started guzzling booze from three bottles at the same time and on his way back to the stage - passed out in the crowd.

Deadpan (December 25, 2009)

Me too, man. That's what makes it so baffling.

mikexdude (December 25, 2009)

I used to be an AFI super fan.

Deadpan (December 25, 2009)

You put Crash Love in there over Supporting Caste? Crash Love got a mention at all?

I'm not gonna lie, I'm confused.

14theroad (December 25, 2009)

Tegan and Sara don't belong in the same sentence as Elvis Costello EVER. Especially Armed Forces.

With that said and a few very suspect choices aside, this isn't the worst list.

sloanedaley (December 25, 2009)

We have 8 things in common, you're my special little guy!

TheChemist (December 25, 2009)

Aw dude. What a homo. You have a Tegan and Sara.

GlassPipeMurder (December 25, 2009)

how did i miss out on a new Social Circkle record? erg.

paulsilence (December 25, 2009)

All the good stuff is in your honorable mention list.

theonetruebill (December 25, 2009)

I like that there are two listings of Punch in the best of lists when to the best of my knowledge there's never been any other mention on the site.

greg0rb (December 25, 2009)

Nice lists. Cymbals should be higher though. :)

Babrook (December 25, 2009)

Excellent list.

PtvnSux94 (December 25, 2009)

Amnesia is so fucking good.

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