Punknews.org is the collective effort of an ever-shifting group of friends and music lovers whoâ€™ve been volunteering their time to this project since 1999. Whenever we post a year-end list we feel it necessary to point out that we're not quite like other publications. We have no editorial mandate. Nobody tells our contributors what bands to write about and everyone's encouraged to allow their personal passions to contribute to the mix of the site. If we've missed your favourite band this year, let us know by submitting some news, writing a review, or getting in touch with us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.
Damned Lies and StatisticsThis overall list is tallied up based on the individual lists written by our editors, interviewers and staff reviewers. We provide those individuals with no real guidance as to how they format their lists, so long as they're roughly in the form of a ranking of the top albums of the year. Even that gets fuzzy, as often release dates don't quite line up (particulate between countries, here's looking at you PUP).
We've tracked the results of everyone's lists in a spreadsheet you can check out here. By all means go ahead and check it for accuracy, I was fighting one hell of a head cold when putting it together so if the #3 album of the year may have been given to Buckley's cough syrup. The individual lists are weighted so that a person's #1 pick is worth 20 points, #2 is 19 points, and so on down. Overall 165 full-lengths were voted on. The EP tally had no meaningful consensus but you can find the list on the second tab of the spreadsheet.
While this list reveals at least what some of us here at Punknews agree upon, you're best to check out the individual lists for more in-depth picks. We'll post YOUR list, the top 20 releases of the year as voted by the Punknews community, soon.
All the best to you in 2015, punks, and best of luck to our dear friend and departing editor Kira Wisniewski. You can count on whatever she does next being absolutely delightful.
Punknews.org's Top 20 LPs of 2014
Morning Glory: War Psalms
Fat Wreck Chords
I have always been a huge fan of Morning Glory's earlier material and I really liked Poets Were My Heroes, but I wasn't prepared for this even after listening to "Pet Monster," the Always Alone EP and the Born to December EP (over and over again) in 2013. If there were a category for "Best Album Cover of the Year," this would be my pick. When I listened to War Psalms all the way through for the first time I was speechless. I couldn't believe how musically complex the instrumentation was. All of the songs transition seamlessly. They seemed to have transitioned from ska-punk to this juggernaut-of-a-band with incredible anthemic melodies. In this album they have brought back the horns and violins and cranked up the distorted guitars, while mellowing it all out with just the right amount of piano. Ezra Kire and the band are some of the most creative and talented musicians in punk right now. Regardless of whether this is M-Glory's new sound or it keeps evolving, I think we can expect great things from them in the future. I have always wanted to see them live, but now I am dying to. - Ricky Frankel
Neighborhood Brats: Recovery
Neighborhood Brats combine the unhinged effects of baking in the California sun with the meat and
potatoes of the Midwest and the swagger of NYC and the result is a near-perfect distillation of American hardcore.
After a slew of shorter releases, Recovery shows a band that has no trouble performing over the long haul,
too. - Adam Eisenberg
Side One Dummy
I don't care what Adam White says! Pup's debut album was released
in America in 2014 so it definitely makes my list! Here is another album and band that
caught me by surprise. Admittedly, I didn't know of them when they were called
Topanga, but once I heard the song "Reservoir" later on when they were PUP
I was hooked. This album is so musically dynamic and that's what I love about it.
There's "Guilt Trip," "Reservoir" and "Back Against the
Wall" that just rip, there's "Yukon" which is sort of bluesy, and then
there is "Mabu" which has that indie sound, awesome guitar work, and suddenly
goes into these incredible vocal harmonies towards the end. I saw them play live twice this
year and let me tell you, Pup puts on one hell of show. - Ricky Frankel
Fat Wreck Chords
As a longtime Lagwagon fan, the expectations for this album were pretty high. Thankfully, Joey Cape and the rest of the crew delivered in a big, loud way with Hang. The album has heavy doses of those riffs and melodies signature of Lagwagon's long-established sound. I was worried the band mellowed with age but they haven't at all and these songs are proof of that. Hang is reminiscent of their earlier albums (like Trashed) which got me into the band and into punk rock in general. Highlights: "Reign," "Obselete Absolute" and "One More Song," a tribute to the late, great Tony Sly. - Gen Handley
The Hotelier: Home, Like Noplace Is There
I had given this record a listen or two before seeing these dudes live in our local DIY space. Christian Holden opened the set with his mournful, emotion-driven opening track â€œAn Introduction to the Albumâ€ and the audience was stunned. The dude gets on stage and sings to you the nightmares of the past few years and you canâ€™t help but listen. And then the band sets in and youâ€™re sold. The live performance cemented the genius of this album, but the album deserves its place in my top five albums. This is an important record, this record deserves to make waves. - Britt Reiser
Pianos Become The Teeth: Keep You
I don't think anyone expected for Pianos Become The Teeth to do a complete 180 with their sound, but they did, and uh, it's incredible. Sure maybe it's a little Smiths-esque, but slow and atmospheric songs will always be compared to to The Smiths. But, Pianos created an album that took everyone by surprise and hopefully I'm not the only one who thinks that they made a beautiful record that transcends genres and is at the very core a great and honest emotional expression through music. - Xan Mandell
Cayetana: Nervous Like Me
I fell in love with Cayetana after their first EP demo came out on Bandcamp. Since 2012, these Philly ladies have been making waves. The warbling sincerity that Augusta Koch delivers makes it hard to not empathize with the situations or emotions laid out in the lyrics. â€œSerious Things Are Stupidâ€ felt like a personal anthem (along with a few others) all the while having a toe-tapping lo-fi sound. - Leanne Cushing
Joyce Manor: Never Hungover Again
At first, I though this would my record of the year. It's a great record with such authenticity. While this record still kills it on every level, it didn't have the staying power I expected. But, that doesn't change the fact that every song is great in its own way. I'd stage dive to this record. - Xan Mandell
The Copyrights: Report
Red Scare Industries
The Copyrights are one of the best pop-punk bands going right now. This album is incredibly addicting. - Brittany Strummer
White Lung: Deep Fantasy
Relentless, as you'd expect from White Lung given their past two records, but produced in a way that's far more listenable. It's tough capturing on record a band that relies so heavily on speed, volume and discordance without sacrificing some of that in the name of fidelity, but this gets the balance right. This is the best White Lung's sounded on record and the most re-listenable. - Adam White
Emo? Post-punk? Post-rock? Iâ€™m struggle to label this album. It boasts the best guitar- work I've heard all year long and amid intricate finger-picking/solos, it's the way the jams all barrel into huge crescendos that gets me. Prawn's grown from strength to strength by the record and if they top this, theyâ€™ll be Gods to me. The recordâ€™s consistently awesome and with the soothing horns to complement, youâ€™re left dazed. "Halcyon Days" and "Prolonged Exposure" are majestic examples of this visceral journey of self-discovery and comfort. A metaphor for love and life, lost at sea. It crashes down like waves which wash you up on the shore. And when it ends, a heavy bout of catharsis hits you flush and leaves you gasping for air. You just experienced a record that'll forever change your life. It's fucking astounding. - Renaldo Matadeen
The Dwarves: The Dwarves Invented Rock 'n' Roll
Recess Records/Greedy Records
Dwarves records have become collaborative efforts, drawing great songs from members past and present. This album pays tribute to the early rock sounds of the '50s and '60s. It's fun to listen to just to try and pick out the small song fragments "borrowed" from the girl groups, Motown and even the Ramones. Lyrically, nothing is sacred, lust and drug abuse are considered virtues. Blag and the boys are firing on all cylinders. Check out "Trailer Trash." - Tom Crandle
Chumped: Teenage Retirement
Thereâ€™s no way youâ€™ve missed this Brooklyn-based band being labeled such things as, â€œThe band to watch!â€ or â€œpop-punk prodigies!â€ So, it canâ€™t be surprising their debut full-length, Teenage Retirement, is making AOTY lists all over the Internet. Vocalist Anika Pyle captures the uncertainty of leaving home for a new city, relationship monotony, the struggles of the space between friendships and the general lack of confidence in whatâ€™s ahead. This is a band that took their punk rock roots, their expansive influences, and created a sound thatâ€™s authentic, to the point, and so very relevant for the time and place of so many of us as we decide if weâ€™re growing out of the scene, if weâ€™re not, or whatever the fuck it is weâ€™re supposed to do next.. Responsibilities? What are those? Fuck. Wait, what? Listen to this album, start there. - Britt Reiser
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 Weâ€™re Already in Love.", The harmonies here are so good I'm wishing they were singing to me. - Samantha Barrett
World/Inferno Friendship Society: This Packed Funeral
Me and the Inferno, we've got history. I've been a fan for the better part of a decade, following the band through huge lineup changes and subtle stylistic ones. Their 2014 was one I had eagerly anticipated, and I wasn't disappointed. This Packed Funeral continues more of the interplay between Jack Terricloth and Sandra Malak's vocals seen on their previous release, The Anarchy and The Ecstasy, with the emphasis on horns, violin and piano giving it a moodier feel. The Inferno doesn't quite sound like the anarchists of before, but as long as Terricloth is in charge, you know it's going to be just close enough so as to be dangerous. - Mark Little
The Lawrence Arms: Metropole
I'm becoming my father. I see my odd little tics and eccentricities in my son. I tend to think everything is connected and nothing ends so much as it changes. And that's pretty much what the Lawrence Arms talk about on Metropole, the much belated follow-up to 2006's Oh! Calcutta!. Musically, the record sounds like classic Arms, albeit maybe a little slower and more melancholy. Otherwise, they're still a mighty power trio of grungy bass, chiming guitars and pounding drums. They even bring back some of the vocal interplay of The Greatest Story Ever Told. But lyrically, there's conflict between being world weary yet also feeling connected, a part of a cycle. "Paradise Shitty" and the title track in particular make 99 percent of all drunk punk irrelevant. I sing "October Blood" to my son most nights before bed and hope we'll still be close when he's a father himself. I kept returning to this record during every seasonal change, and from January to now, it's served me well. - Joe Pelone
Side One Dummy
Like the previous self-titled and LP2 before it, Restorations continues to be a hard to classify band that takes every album as a new opportunity to push the envelope. While I adore the catchy melodies to heartfelt lyrics and raspy voice of Jon Loudon, every song on this album isnâ€™t driven by just that. The bass lines, organ overtones, layered guitar and backup harmonies are what balance the album and makes it repeatable for hundreds (literally, hundreds) of spins. - Leanne Cushing
OFF!: Wasted Years
The third part of a trilogy? While the band's first album set the theme, and the second whittled the theme to its bare essence, Wasted Years blows the songs up into jagged, vicious, multi-part epics. The band just smashes out killer riff after killer riff and Keith Morris, astonishingly, is the angriest he's ever been in his almost 40-year career. This band is amazing. Morris is the champion of punk rock. - John Gentile
The Menzingers: Rented World
With every release, The Menzingers raise the bar a little higher and Rented World is no exception. This album reaffirms their position as one of the best punk bands out there right now, while surprising us with mid-tempo, almost Pixies-esque moments. Although we hear less of Tom May on this record, him and Greg Barnett continue to be one of the best one-two punches in rock and roll, as always complementing each other perfectly. Highlights are "Transient Love," "My Friend Kyle" and "In Remission." - Gen Handley
Against Me!: Transgender Dysphoria Blues
This is such a remarkable and beautiful album. When I saw them play this album in some small town in Pennsylvania earlier this year, it was honestly one of the best shows Iâ€™ve ever seen. I was raised on Florida sunshine, so Iâ€™ve seen Against Me! many, many times and this particular show, showcasing this particular album was just such a treat; everyone in the band looked so happy. My love for this band runs deep. - Kira Wisniewski