Best of 2014 - Samantha Barrett's picks (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Best of 2014

Samantha Barrett's picks (2014)

staff picks

[Samantha Barrett is a contributing editor at]

Hello All, This year has been another great year, besides reading and being promoted to an editor for these lovely articles on PN, this year has brought me a new addition to my family, an awesome toy fox terrier, an even more wonderful husband, I got to see Rocket From The Crypt and Marathon reunite this past year. For 2015, I am looking forward to The Stereo State getting back together, The Fullblast recording and hopefully my husband and I will be in Costa Rica this summer. As far as this list goes, those who know me or follow me know none of this is surprising. So without further adieu, thanks for reading. You can also check out my 2014 Best of Mixtape.


Nothing: Guilty of Everything


The '90s is back and shoegaze is in. Guilty of Everything is Nothing's debut album which encompasses so much of the shoegaze sound. The band creates a beautiful blend of distorted out guitars, sound feedback and fuzzy vocals that will leave your head bobbing throughout the album.


The Mighty Fine: Brothers and Smugglers

Creator-Destructor Records

California's The Mighty Fine is great! This band combines the speedy riffs of melodic punk and a tinge of the pop-punk sprinkled in Brothers Smugglers. Their way of cultivating group sing-alongs and carefully crafted hooks in the songwriting will get you every time.


Prawn: Kingfisher

Topshelf Records

This record came out of nowhere for me. Kingfisher is Prawn's sophomore release and it collects a lot of influences from the emo-rock and indie sounds, but working off of their Ships EP. The poetic way Tony Clark use of lyrics with the post-rock riffs of the guitar helped get this album on this list.


Masked Intruder: M.I.

Fat Wreck Chords

These masked criminals have done it again! These creative criminals have infected my ears with another batch of catchy tunes. I am a sucker for some cheesy love songs and this set of poppy punk rock songs still revolves around the same common themes as their self-titled album -- love songs for girls with an undertone of criminal acts. This album features a song entirely in barbershop vocal style titled "Almost Like We’re Already in Love.", The harmonies here are so good I'm wishing they were singing to me.


Comeback Kid: Die Knowing

Victory Records

Die Knowing is the fifth full length for Comeback Kid and it incorporates everything great from the previous four albums into one LP package. They managed to perfect the use of breakdowns, technical parts and catchy vocals into just the right areas of each song. This album is Andrew Neufeld’s third attempt as the vocalist for the band, and it seems like his lyrical progression for each song was made to flow perfectly into translating very well live. Between the aggressive lyrics and the nonstop intensity of the music, you will find yourself pumping yourself up every morning so you can take on the day.


Nightmares For A Week / Banquets: Split [12-Inch]

Black Numbers

I really love splits that are made due to band's friendships with one another, and this one is a great one. Nightmares For A Week really emphasized a progression of added keyboard to the music from last year’s release Civilian War. In the song "Canadian Tuxedo," listeners can feel the heart and love that was poured into the writing, between the heartfelt lyrics by Bill Manley and the creative nuances that brings you back to the sound of Don’t Die. On the flip side you have the Banquets side that is a very solid grouping of songs. Super energetic songs that was like B sides from their self-titled release. Travis Omilian's lyrics provide such catchy hooks and there are great aggressive guitar riffs that are embedded in their five songs. "The Engineer" is a highlight for this side. Both bands contributions work so perfectly to complements the bands' friendship.


The Menzingers: Rented World

Epitaph Records

For The Menzingers, Rented World is this year’s release. They seem to effectively blend the sounds of the great characteristics from the last two records, Chamberlain Waits and On the Impossible Past. Rented World is full of catchy tracks. My favorite on this album is "Transient Love," which is a super catchy, moody and self-reflective not so love song.


Banner Pilot: Souvenir

Fat Wreck Chords

For about 10 years now, Banner Pilot has been churning out renditions of the same great Orgcore sound, and this year’s effort titled Souvenir follows in this tradition. This entire album is so catchy, filled with nostalgic melodies from their previous records with a more cohesive package. My favorite on this album is the song "Letterbox," a song that hearkens to so many things about looking back at your youth.


Restorations: LP3

Side One Dummy

Coming from the greatness known as LP2, Restorations has expanded on their expansive sound range. Jon Loudon howls out lyrics that are relatable and relevant to grown-up punks. He uses lyrical content based off of experience that seems to paint a clear picture of a life story or feeling for listeners with each song. The single off of LP3, "Separate Songs," resonates with me so much for these reasons.


Gates: Bloom and Breathe

Pure Noise

Working from their previous releases, Gates has really brought it for their debut LP. Bloom and Breathe encompasses the same great Gates sound with lovely variety of emotional impacts embedded in each song. With the introduction of a new longer format the band has decided to expand on ideas that they have been working on for a while. The hard work has paid off and you can really tell the subtle in differences from Bloom and Breathe to their last EP You Are All You Have Left to Fear. The guitar works up to a wonderful fluidity for the track “The Thing That Would Save You,” which complements the flow of Kevin Dye’s vocal progressions of soft and impactful lyrical parts. The album is filled with lyrics that evoke a sense of your own personal life experiences. This album is a very solid album from start to finish filled with a very cohesive stream of motifs. Kudos guys in perfecting your debut LP.