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

Best of 2017's Picks (2017)

Staff Picks

I always prefix the Punknews overall Best Of list with a disclaimer about our methodology. This year shall be no different, so take heed! continues to exist because a rag-tag group of weirdo volunteers content to it daily, mostly to pass the time as we await the sweet release of a planet-killing asteroid strike. When it comes to recapping the year, everyone independently works on their lists with a minimal amount of criteria. We don't require everyone to listen to the supposedly important releases. We don't have any back-channel discussions on the merits of a particular album. We don't even have editorial debates on whether we should blackball a band for committing despicable acts against their fellow humans (cough). Only I, in fact, even really knew what everyone had picked prior to publishing. There's been no collusion, people. No collusion. You should recognise though that while these results are pretty organic, the sample size of our staff is tiny. One person's ranking goes a long way, and outside of the top 2 or 3 records I'd be wary of reading this as true consensus.

To create this list we tally up the scores of the individual lists written by our contributing editors and staff reviewers. We've tracked the results of everyone's lists in a spreadsheet you can find here if you want to check our math. 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 152 full-lengths were voted on by the 12 staff. No collusion though. - Adam White's Top 20 LP’s of 2017

18 (tie). Brand New: Science Fiction

Procrastinate! Music Traitors

This album is so dark and when you look back at the lyrics, they feel like Jesse Lacey was foreshadowing the scandal that ensued. Even looking back, the lyrics are pretty demonic when you factor in what he admitted to and I did feel when I first heard this that something was wrong. This was a confessional, a documentary. Some of the band's best music with so many great slow-burners like "451", "137" and "Lit Me Up" -- but all from a guy who deserves to have the book thrown at him. They weren't kidding when they said "2018 RIP". Let's hope these predators are axed out of all industries. - Renaldo Matadeen

18 (tie). Open City: Open City


Rubino, Yemin, Nelson, and Wilson team up for a record that sits between "hardcore" and "post-hardcore." Call it... pre-post-hardcore? What I am saying is this record takes the thoughtful aggression of Mackaye, throws in a splash of gleeful bleakness ala Ing & Dagger, and then spits it out in trademark mature-thoughtful-but-still-kind-of-an-angry-teenager Rubino/Yemin venom. What does it mean when a band sounds this furious and frantic after taking time to sit down and think about the state of the world? - John Gentile

18 (tie). Rainer Maria: Rainer Maria

Polyvinyl Records

They're back with their best album ever. There, I said it! Every song here is simply irresistible. Sucks I didn't get to see them at Fest because this album is another one that hits all the right emotive notes. Love, fear and anger. All from a band that's been through so much. Grunge fans, post-hardcore fans... rock and roll fans, just dive in and let the warmth swallow you whole. This is true beauty. - Renaldo Matadeen

17. 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. - Samantha Barrett

15 (tie). The Lillingtons: Stella Sapiente

Fat Wreck Chords

This might be the most unexpected album of 2017. There was very little warning that The Lillingtons would make their first record in 11 tears. It also happens to be far darker musically and lyrically than anything else they've done. It's heavily influenced by metal and cold wave and focuses on the occult, conspiracies, and secret societies. It was a gamble for the band, but the risk paid off with a wonderful, multifaceted LP. Check out "Night Visions". - Tom Trauma

15 (tie). Telethon: The Grand Spontanean

Halloween Records

It's right there in the title; there is truly no way to describe this record without reference to its grandiosity. Clocking in at just under 90 minutes, The Grand Spontanean is Telethon's power-punk rock opera, chronicling the implications of an apocalypse in the modern era. It's a pretty ambitious undertaking, but Telethon pulls it off without exuding a shred of pretentiousness. In fact, The Grand Spontanean remains surprisingly intimate for its colossal thematics, and comes through with some great tunes along the way. - Sean Crawford

13 (tie). Slowdive: Slowdive

dead oceans

When all your past albums have become shoegaze touchstones, how do you possibly follow it up new music 22 years later? Answer: this is how. The reunited veterans show us all how spacey, dreamy music is done, while bringing added power to the rhythm section. It impossibly stacks up. - Greg Simpson

13 (tie). Run the Jewels: Run the Jewels 3

Run the Jewels, Inc.

Technically this came out Christmas Day 2016, but the official release date was in 2017. Either way, El-P and Killer Mike have another perfect record under their belts. The lyrics, political or personal, only resonate harder as we come to the close of a turbulent year. These guys are leading politically charged rap. - Nick Poyner

10 (tie). Direct Hit! / PEARS: Human Movement

Fat Wreck Chords

I make it no secret on the Org that Direct Hit and PEARS are two of some of my favorite bands, but when I heard that they were putting out a split album together I was completely taken aback. I was incredibly excited the two bands that I have been following and writing about for years were going to be joining forces. Both sides of this LP are examples of both bands’ best work, plus their covers of each others’ songs are absolutely fantastic. It really seems like both PEARS and Direct Hit! went harder, meaner and faster this time and in return they easily made one of the best albums of 2017, the top of my list and some of their best songs to date. I can't wait to see what we get next from both of them. - Ricky Frankel

10 (tie). Western Addiction: Tremulous

Fat Wreck Chords

This is how you make an effective comeback. True to legacy, without succumbing to qualitative stagnation, Tremulous took the charged riffing and hardcore edge of the band's 2005 debut, and kicked things up a notch to create an exhilarating half hour of melodic hardcore euphoria. - Sean Crawford

10 (tie). Bloodclot: Up In Arms

Metal Blade Records

New music from John Joseph? Yes please! Up In Arms is album that I had no trouble letting play all from front to back through out 2017. The fact that the rest of the band are also notable musicians in the punk scene made me extra curious to hear how this would sound when it was first announced. I have to say that John Joseph has still got it and this record easily holds up when compared to the Cro-Mags catalog. - Ricky Frankel

9. Integrity: Howling, for the Nightmare Shall Consume

Relapse Records

HOLY SHIT! This album was so good that it caused my entire head to explode and ricochet throughout the cosmos. My flailing body had to hire paradaemons to warp throughout the galaxies in order to re-collect my brain atoms and reassemble my consciousness. Listen, it's one thing for a band to put out an album that completely changes the game (For Those Who Fear Tomorrow). But then, it's an entirely different thing for that same band to put out an album that just completely burns away everything that came before it (Humanity is the Devil). BUT THEN, it's a whole other thing for that same band to put out an album that goes to the next level from that previous next level and puts out what might be their very best LP (a double/triple one at that!), some 30 odd years into their career! - John Gentile

8. Power Trip: Nightmare Logic

Southern Lord Records

I've always loved Power Trip's crossover appeal in both sound and ethos. This LP also shows their undeniable ability to write great songs that draw in all sorts of listeners. "Executioner's Tax" recently won Metal Song of the Year at the Loudwire Music Awards. Cool, but also well-deserved. This LP shreds. - Mike Musilli

7. The Flatliners: Inviting Light

Rise Records

Chris Cresswell is one of the best frontmen in punk. His voice should make any singer jealous. His songwriting is impeccable. On Inviting Light, the Flatties took some noticeable chances (“Chameleon Skin”) to mixed critical results. But the whole album is plastered with giant hooks and loud guitars. The songs are about discomfort, the band’s bread and butter. Without a doubt the record I listened to most this year. - Max Power

5 (tie). The National: Sleep Well Beast

4AD Records

The National may not be a punk band, but they are an amazing band nonetheless. This is one of my favorite releases of the year, it is atmospheric and well put together. I recommend it to anyone with ears, enjoy. - Max Power

5 (tie). The Mountain Goats: Goths

Merge Records

Goths is John Darnielle and crew's ode to black-clad outcasts, but it's a surprisingly peppy and jazzy album filled with choirs, winds and electric piano in lieu of guitar. Lyrically, it's perfect as usual, with so many gems: "I'm hardcore, but I'm not THAT hardcore." They again prove why they are one of my favorite bands of all time. - Greg Simpson

4. Prawn: Run

Topshelf Records

One of my favorite bands of all time. They're less aggressive than the last album and go back to their old days. It's mid-tempo, without horns but still got that post-rock flavor that'll make fans of Explosions in the Sky cry. Melodic, shimmery and beautiful. No wonder Jimmy Eat World took 'em on tour. "North Lynx" and "Leopard's Paw" are some of the best songs this year. - Renaldo Matadeen

3. Iron Chic: You Can't Stay Here

Side One Dummy Records

What is there really left to say about Iron Chic. They're the most dependable of punk bands and this LP reflects that. It rocks with all the melodic existential introspection we've come to expect from Iron Chic. Quirky songs about modern life, a truly unbeatable mix. I can listen to "To Shreds, You Say?" all day and I suggest you do the same. - Mike Musilli

2. Propagandhi: Victory Lap

Epitaph Records

Victory Lap is Propagandhi at their best: biting political commentary -- comprehensive without being vague -- delivered with palpable anger and thrilling instrumentals. From the title track's killer opening riff to kick everything off, to the concluding bass noodlings, this is another 44 minutes of Propagandhi repeatedly posing the question of whether they'll ever pass their prime. - Sean Crawford

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. - Samantha Barrett