[Kira Wisniewski is a News Editor, and pretty much the only person on the staff who isn't a curmudgeon.]
HowdyThe year is 2012, so let's give you a top 12 records. It's been a great year for what I guess, for better or for worse, has been coined "org-core." You're not going to find too many surprises in my list, but I do hope that you loved these albums as much as I do. And by all means, let me know what I left out. I feel like I could always do a better job of being a new music consumer.
Outside of Punknews, 2012 has been pretty great. This year brought me a move to Baltimore, a new Bouncing Souls album, a fake husband as part of an elaborate 10-year high school reunion prank, President Obama's reelection, two more experiences at Sleep No More and my pet rabbit, Billie Jean, remains perfect.
I love the Org and all the delightful weirdos that make this site possible. Here's to you, dear reader. Happy new year, y'all!
Sleigh Bells: Reign of Terror
Mom + Pop
It's loud, fun and dancey. The brash guitars of the former Poison the Well guitarist Derek Miller coupled with Alexis Krauss vocals ranging from cooing to screaming makes for a fun combination. Honestly, I loved 2010's Treats a bit more, but this is still worthy of a year end list. It's really "Comeback Kid" that does it for me.
What kind of Punknews editor would I be if this wasn't in my year end? Personally, Forever and Counting will always be near and dear to me (because of "Three Summers Strong"), but who can poo poo on new material from these Gainesville heroes? If there was an award for consistency I think they would be strong contenders. I'm really looking forward to seeing them again in January with Punknews news editor and celebrity, John Flynn!
Last year, I really loved their EP and was hoping that their debut full-length would make it to my top 10 this year and it did! In a weird way they remind me of a younger, "punker" version of Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start. I keep missing them live, so I'm hoping to catch them in 2013.
Rye Rye: Go! Pop! Bang!
As a newly minted Charm City resident, I feel practically proud of this debut by the young female MC Rye Rye who also calls Baltimore home. The album isn't flawless, but there are a handful of straight up jams that I've played over and over again. Rye Rye's strengths definitely lie in the ability to have smart, playful verses with toe tapping choruses.The two tracks in particular I think I'll pop on playlists for years to come are "Boom Boom" and "You'll Never Be Mine," featuring the always delightful Robyn.
The Forecast: Everybody Left
Don't you love that moment when you first hear a song that you instantly love and want to listen on repeat? That's how I felt with the track "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts." I went online to pre-order the vinyl and missed the boat so I instead bought one of two physical CDs that I purchased in 2012; I liked this song that much. Seriously guys, that song rules. The album as a whole is pretty quintessential midwest pop-punk complete with coed vocals.
If I can't get a new Weakerthans album, having a solo John K. Samson record is a very sufficient consolation prize. This record is perfect for pretty much any situation you can listen to it at work, mix a few tracks into a party playlist and it can easily be the soundtrack to a lazy Sunday afternoon. Versatility, ladies and gentlemen. That all being said, let's all keep our fingers crossed for a new Weakerthans album in the near future.
Titus Andronicus: Local Business
You see, I never really got on board with The Monitor. Not that I'm throwing any shade on it, I just never really gave it a proper listen, so I basically listened to Local Business with fresh ears and I have to say I love it. The first adjective that comes to mind when describing this record is earnest. I'm very curious of their live show, please come back to Baltimore in 2013.#LOCALBUSINESSFOREVER
Of all the sick ink I have, 40% of my tattoos are Bouncing Souls-related. Real talk. I never miss a chance to see them live and as goofy and sometimes cheesy as they can be, I find pretty much everything they do endearing. And although I'm not sure any album will ever touch the greatness that is How I Spent My Summer Vacation or Hopeless Romantic any new release they do I fully support.
I hear some people griping over their "one-dimensional lyrical content" but who cares? This is a great, fun, catchy album complete with handclaps! I also really appreciate the commitment to performing while wearing those masks. All I can think is "It's gotta be so hot!" So kudos to commitment to the schtick and a great record.
There are a couple bands that can really do no wrong in my book and the Gaslight Anthem is one of them. Even though I personally don't enjoy their live shows quite as much as I used to (it's all about the crowd, not the performance) I did meet this release with a lot of excitement. All the hoopla about this major label debut going to change how they sound and yadda, yadda, yadda that's all just a bunch of bologna. This is a solid record that is a positive step in the evolution of this delightful band. xoxo Gossip Girl
Even though this is not my number 1 on this list, this is the album that I definitely played the most this year. It was the other physical CD I impulsively bought one day just so I could listen to it in my car immediately. "Mexican Guitars" is a song I just played on repeat. That moment at 1:18 is probably my favorite moment in a song this year. I hope to see this band a million more times.
Pardon my language, but this album is fucking flawless. From start to finish, what you have here are eight perfect tracks. It makes me want to pump my fist in the air, dance real hard and yell every lyric while in my living room, my car and with best friends in a million degree venue in Washington, D.C. the night after the Derecho hit and left us without electricity. With sweat pouring out of every pore in a sold out crowd, yes, I want to walk on heads singing along to "The House that Heaven Built."
Top Ten Live Performances I had the pleasure to witness in 2012 (in chronological order)
- February 25, 2012: The Promise Ring @ The Metro, Chicago, Ill.
- April 1, 2012: Andrew W.K. @ 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C.
- April 23, 2012: Refused @ Terminal 5, New York, N.Y.
- May 18, 2012: Menzingers @ Pouzza Fest, Les Foufounes Ã?lectriques, Montreal
- May 19, 2012: Dave Hause @ Pouzza Fest, Underworld, Montreal
- May 19, 2012: Lawrence Arms @ Pouzza Fest, Underworld, Montreal
- June 30, 2012: Japandroids @ Rock and Roll Hotel, Washington, D.C.
- July 20, 2012: Gaslight Anthem @ U Street Music Hall, Washington, D.C.
- October 5, 2012: Dismemberment Plan @ Ram's Head Live, Baltimore, Md.
- November 27, 2012: R. Kelly @ Lyric Opera House, Baltimore, Md.