Jeff here! I joined Punknews earlier this year as a staff reviewer and, through organizational necessity more than skill on my part, was bumped up to editor two months later. I took these opportunities because I wanted to renew my involvement with the scene that I have been a part of for almost thirty years. So far, it has been a success. Stressful at times but, overall, pretty darn cool. As 2016 winds down to an ignominious end, we all begin to put together our end of year lists. The job was to list our Top 20 albums of the year but, although I am one who doesnâ€™t commonly buck the rules, I felt that twenty was 1) too much, and 2) didnâ€™t adequately reflect the â€˜newsâ€™ side of Punknews. As such, I only picked out ten total, and this list doesnâ€™t just include albums, but also concerts, stories, and events that have affected me personally, or the punk rock community as a whole, throughout the year.
This album got the best score of any review I've done yet (not counting the '96 retro reviews we did earlier this year). I received a preview copy about a month in advance and it has been playing just about non-stop for me. If it were a cassette, I would have worn it out already. This album flat-out rocks.
These French-Canadians held my top spot for most of the year, and were only knocked down a slot because this is an EP, whilst No Matter is a full length. Don't let that put you off, though. This is 90's-style melodic punk at its finest. I've had the honor of previewing two new tracks, and can guarantee that this band is only getting better! The rumor mill has it that they are working on new material in both English and French... so keep your ears ready!
13 Stitches punk rock
I first saw these guys back in April and quickly fell in line with their music. Fun, fast-paced, and a genuine mix of styles. Regretfully they disbanded just two months after the release of this album, which is a shame. Thankfully, it appears that most, if not all, of the members have already moved on to other projects. Until we get to hear more from them, we still have this great LP to listen to.
Another great album coming out of the UK (can you tell this is where I live right now)! The Murderburgers have weathered a roster change that would've decimated most bands, and with the help of a bunch of great musicians coming to Fraser Murderburger's assistance and filling in, we get the banging album. Now the band has settled down with a new bassist and drummer (both of whom also play in Maxwell's Dead) and is banging out gigs left and right. I would yell out "Pastry Rammy!" but I still have a sneaking suspicion I'm using those terms incorrectly.
Apparently, I gave this band their 'first good review.' A bunch of great guys who play intelligent and dramatic (but not overly) music, this is a fun EP. In my review I questioned whether or not they could do these songs live. It turns out they come pretty darn close to it.
Anthemic, sing-along party punk at its best. Foot-stomping beats, hilarious lyrics, and catchy hooks all around. If you are just looking for some fun music, these guys are a kick any way you split it. A blast to listen to.
I've been a big fan of Consumed for a long time. This free gig was my first time seeing them live. It was definitely awesome. The power and ferocity of their stage show was amazing. A huge bonus though, was that the four opening bands (two of which are on this list) were all great. Not one band half-assed it, each gave it their all, and the crowd ate it up.
Even longer than Consumed, I have been a huge fan of Bracket. In researching my Bracket-ology story for Punknews, I got to chat with Marty and Angelo from the band, which was simply mind-blowing. Imagine a Stones fan getting to interview Jagger, and you can sense how wowed I was through the whole experience!
Live! from The Rock Room is the pet project of several of my friends from back home in the Chicago area, most notably Mike Felumlee, drummer for the Smoking Popes and former drummer for Alkaline Trio. A simple enough proposal: artists are invited to come and play a brief set in Mike's home studio (The Rock Room), and the performance is filmed and released online. There are also interviews and podcasts, as well. So far a bunch of great bands both established and new have stopped by to play songs and talk about music in general, including Bad Cop/Bad Cop, The Brokedowns, Shawn Harris (The Matches), Mikey Erg, and others. Twice a week I look forward to these videos, and sharing them with you, as well.
In 2012 the punk community was shocked at the sudden death of No Use For A Name frontman Tony Sly. Then, last year, we were all gut-punched again when Teenage Bottlerocket's Brandon Carlisle slipped into a coma right at what would've been Tony's birthday, and eventually passed away after being taken off of life support days later. As much of a bummer as all of that is, this year my social media exploded with remembrances of both artists at the beginning of November. Friends all over the world shared their experiences, love, and respect for these two amazing musicians, both of which were always friendly with the fans, and put their heart and soul into the scene of which they were a part. This outpouring of support and celebration is why our scene is so rad. The photo is of me and Brandon, Southampton, UK, August 2015... Uhhh... I'm the dork just over his right shoulder (thanks for the photo, Olly).