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World Inferno Friendship Society: The Anarchy and the Ecstasy
This album came to me as a surprise as I didn't even know about it until two months after its release date. However, I picked it up as soon as I became aware of its existence knowing the band has never disappointed me in the past and I have to say I was rather impressed. The album itself might be my favorite World/Inferno release, ousting Red-Eyed Soul from this coveted position. It's perhaps their most eclectic and diverse record to date which is saying something given the band has been known to showcase a variety of sounds on each of their records. The fact that no two songs on the record sound anything alike might be what I enjoy the most about the album.
Joyce Manor: Joyce Manor
A little over two years ago I saw Joyce Manor open up for Andrew Jackson Jihad. At the time they were an acoustic two-piece that weren't too impressive but since then have grown to become a full four-piece band that released one of my favorite albums this year. The energy found on this album is virtually unmatched by any other release this year and with lyrics that give Blake Schawarzenbach a run for his money what's not to like?
Good Luck: Without Hesitation
Good Luck went three years without putting out an album, a wait that I feel is justified considering how amazing Without Hesitation turned out. It's probably one of the few albums that came out this year that I fully enjoyed upon the first listen. It wasn't a waning love either as I still play the album several times a day. When comparing it to their previous work it seems as if everything about the band has improved greatly, from their ability to play their instruments to their songwriting abilities. I personally like to think the band spent those three years going through an intense training regimen that one normally sees during the inspirational montage sequence in a movie. Regardless, this band made an album that greatly exceeded my expectations and that's all that matters.
Dead to Me: Moscow Penny Ante
Every time Dead to Me records a full-length they have a different line-up and because of this each album they've put out sounds drastically different than the last. Their latest is no exception; the band is now a four-piece again with arguably their strongest line-up to date and has delivered an album that displays their willingness to stray from routine. Some of these songs are the most aggressive they've ever written and remind me somewhat of A Wilhelm Scream. Other songs, however, are some of the poppiest they've ever written. Regardless of how heavy or poppy they may be I love them all. This is easily my favorite Dead to Me album yet.
Laura Stevenson and the Cans: Sit Resist
Topping my list this year is an indie pop/rock record and with good reason. Without a doubt this album is the best one I've heard all year. Laura and the Cans were able to craft songs that had me dancing like a silly pixie one minute to and shedding tears the next. No other record was able to illicit the same reactions from me and this is one of the reasons it holds my number one spot. If that wasn't enough to get you to check it out then perhaps the fact that Laura's voice is absolutely amazing might convince you. Of course we can't forget the musicianship of either her or her band. The group is able to deliver "the goods" on every single track. With a sophomore album this strong I can't wait to see where this band goes for album number three.