Best of 2017 - Samantha Barrett's Picks (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Best of 2017

Samantha Barrett's Picks (2017)

Staff picks

WOAH! Is 2017 really over?

This year have been great for me. I was able to travel around to some rad places this year and complete some of my bucket list items, able to explore and fall in love with Amsterdam and Berlin this year, went to visit a very iconic architectural building in Pennsylvania, and traveled up to one of my favorite punk AF cities, Montreal for another very successful year at Pouzza Fest. With all of this amazing exploration, this year has been another year of stellar releases, so many great albums came out and I have paired down the list to my favorite 10. As I look forward to 2018, I am hopeful that I will be traveling some more this year and is thankful for the ongoing love and support from my amazing husband and pup.

I made a mixtape of all my favorite songs from this year’s releases for you. Check it out here! :)

Top 10 LP’s of 2017

10. Sammy Kay: Untitled


New Jersey native singer/songwriter, Sammy Kay seemed to pull at the right heartstrings with “Untitled”. Working off of recovering from one of the lowest points of his life and touring with some of my favorite bands, Transcribing his travels and experiences into his Untitled record. The record is a such a heartfelt album on growing up, sorrow and hope. The strength in the album lies in the familiarity of songs like Wanderlust and I Believe, he pushes forward in fulfilling that hole that was vacant when older The Gaslight Anthem albums left off. What is left in its place is something fresh, endearing and very true Jersey sound.

9. Laureate: Landmarks

Jump Start Records

These Canadian punks released Landmarks in March this year. This album is so damn catchy. The wonderful chemistry of the play of gritty but smooth vocals from Giancarlo Talarico versus the airy and sweet vocals of Erin Power is the perfect. Landmarks is catchy, super heartfelt, poppy, and highlights the best of what this band has done so far.

8. Iron Chic: You Can’t Stay Here

Side One Dummy Records

A lot has happened for Iron Chic in the four years since The Constant One came out. With the release of You Can’t Stay Here they continued to maintain their momentum despite the sudden loss of guitarist Rob McAllister. Rob’s spirit is maintained throughout the makeup of this album and the band continues to maintain the same process of a cosmic journey into their recurring themes of anxiety, depression, relationships, and mortality. The dark lyrical content in the album is contrasted by moments of hope and optimism that will light a fire in your soul.

7. Slowdive: Slowdive

dead oceans

After a 22 year break up, English rock band Slowdive recorded a spectacular comeback album this year. Their self-titled album is an 8-track dream pop album mixed with shoegaze. The infectious album shines with hits after hits leaving you in a transient swaying daze. It would have been easy for this band to pick up directly from where they left off but I am glad they didn’t. They seem to have updated their sound to reflect the past and future of the band. “Sugar for the Pill” is my favorite on this album.

6. Propagandhi: Victory Lap

Epitaph Records

In such a weird political space we all live in, these socially aware punks gave us a banger to rock out to this year. Victory Lap is the band's 7th album is it is immersed in so much politically charged pissed off lyrics with all of the riffage any long standing Propagandhi fan can ever ask for. The album starts with such a damn great riff in “Victory Lap” that previews you for all of the goodies to come in the rest of the album.

5. Modern Chemistry: Everything in Gold

Modern Chemistry

The album is golden! New Jersey-based rock band Modern Chemistry has created a series of emotional tunes for their debut full-length album. The tracks seem to flow seamlessly into each other mixing low dreamy musical parts with gut bursting cries of pure emotion, “Tripping Over You” is the best example of this. I have been obsessed with this album since the first listen.

4. Prawn: Run

Topshelf Records

I have had a love for this band for some time now. Finding out that they will be releasing a new album and there is a dog on the cover. Maybe you had me at putting a beautiful dog on the cover... In all seriousness Run is a total delight. Vocalist/guitarist Tony Clark’s lyrics really paint a beautiful rustic painting of life and relationships with people through the use of nature references. His lyrical compositions are emotional yet humanistic, reminding me to be present in the moment while keeping to their dreamy, post-rock sound.

3. Heartsounds: Dualistic Nihilist


I love me some good short fast melodic punk tracks, but this year Bay Area’s Heartsounds decided to record something quite special and broke any preconceived notions of what good melodic punk songs should be. Heartsounds recorded one menacing LP clocking in at a non-stop 20-minute ride of riffs and melodies. The lyrical content is dark and encapsulates a very personal and dark journey of mental decline. This LP breaks down the traditional means of punk rock 3-minute songs, which for me was a pure joy to experience despite my old lady hangups.

2. Tigers Jaw: spin

Black Cement

With 4 LP’s and a number of EP’s under their belt, Tigers Jaw returns with their 5th LP, Spin. With Spin, Ben Walsh and Brianna Collins wrote and recorded the album as a two-piece, similarly to their earlier albums. They re-discovers a familiar formula and it worked for Spin, they managed to create a confident and mature record.

1. The Menzingers: After The Party

Epitaph Records

Like fine wine, The Menzingers just keeps getting better with age. After The Party seems to reflect with a good mixture of the earlier aggressiveness and their later more mature sound, lyrically driving on nostalgia, reflection on the past and for me the question “Where are we gonna go now that our 20's are over?” This band, in general, resonates with me personally, seeing them so many years ago in tiny loft-like apartments in the middle of Brooklyn to now, I am so glad they have continued to resonate with me into my 30’s.

Top 5 EP’s

5. Forever Unclean: Float

Disconnect Disconnect Records

From the demise of Danish band Stars Burn Stripes in 2015, Forever Unclean formed and released their debut EP titled Shreds in 2015. This skate punk trio released a four-song follow up EP titled Float. Float follows the same formula of drunken skate punk singalongs with fast and melodic tunes but with a more aggressive edge than it’s predecessor. Worthless is my favorite track off of this EP.

4. Static Radio NJ: Resentiments

Black Numbers

The dudes of Static Radio NJ could not quit each other and are back with a 5 song EP. Having spent some time on other musical projects like Crimes, Hot Knife, Pale Angels and more. Static Radio NJ wrote an EP that shows off the time spent in other bands and the influences they took with them. Resentiments is a slower, moodier version of the band in the best way. “Anything” is my favorite track off of this album.

3. Anchors: Anchors


Australia’s Anchors is melodic, fast, aggressive and amazing.

2. No Trigger: Adult Braces

bird attack records

I am thrilled that No Trigger is back out of hibernation and have snuck in a four-song EP release this year. Adult Braces offers the same great catchy fast melodic hardcore punk that we can expect from the guys of No Trigger.

1. The Fullblast: Attack.Sustain.Decay


I have waited so many years to see the return of The Fullblast and they certainly did not disappoint. its has been 10ish years since their break up and it is like no time has passed, they picked right back up from where they left. Upon listening to this EP, couldn’t help but think How has this band sound like they have gotten faster and more technical? lyrical qualities that pull on emotional strands of relationships and personal trials and tribulations of the band. I cannot wait to hear more from this band.