Best of 2019 - Samantha Barrett's Picks (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Best of 2019

Samantha Barrett's Picks (2019)

Staff Picks

Oh, Hey there!

This list marks seven long years of contributing to Punknews. I have truly been blessed to have such a supportive group of dudes and gals that works with me here at the Org and to still have the opportunity to do this type of work every day as my creative side hustle. So thank you to my crew and thank you for still reading the site.

As the year comes to a close here is a mini recap on my life.

2019 recap

Finally fulfilled a dream trip to Japan, including a very happy husband witnessing Japanese Baseball twice, a Japanese punk show and a tour of a Japanese Frank Lloyd Wright building.

My baby sister graduated college (Hooray!) She did it and I am so proud of her.

I have checked into 53+ shows this year, including traveling to Richmond to see Avail, and traveling to Montreal to see Satanic Surfers and Belvedere.

I saw the Backstreet Boys for the first time ever.

My fur child is still adorable.

My life partner is still the most amazing mate ever.

Hoping 2020 will be filled with less personal fires to put out. More trips to faraway places and hoping for a change to come November 2020.

Without further ado, here is my 2019 End of the year list. I also made an EOY Mixtape for you, you can click here to take a peek at my picks.

Top 10 LP’s

10. The Menzingers: Hello Exile

Epitaph Records

My husband and I love this band so much. Having spent over 10 years listening to this band, from seeing them in tiny loft apartments in Bushwick to seeing them headlining sold out 2000 cap rooms. They have come back this year with Hello Exile. The band put out by far my favorite Menzingers album back in 2017, After The Party. I knew it was going to be hard to top that very high bar. While Hello Exile continues to pull on the heartstrings of nostalgia in their lyrical narratives of relationships, the past, and present feelings and memories, the album seems very top-heavy with very strong hits and is a great effort. The songs I love on the album like "Strangers Forever" and "Anna" have been my go to on this album.

9. Carly Rae Jepsen: Dedicated


Dedicated is Jepsen’s fourth album while staying true to her youthful sound, this series of songs are the most self-aware of them all hidden between synthy 80’s pop.

8. Anna Of The North: Dream Girl

300 Entertainment

As I age, I find myself looking for fun pop albums to balance out all of the punk/hardcore albums that fill my ears to drown out the awful chatter at my day job. I have found Anna Of The North through a romantic teenage movies on Netflix. Her heartbreaking 2017 release Lovers was on my constant rotation in late 2018, filled with sad break-up songs and pop beats. This year Anna Of The North returned with her sophomore album, Dream Girl. This album is filled with songs of moving on from the breakup and sad songs of her first album. Her new outlook is captured within the sparkling pop beats and her airy/angelic vocals.

7. Not On Tour: Growing Pains


Israeli punks Not On Tour have created the record of my summer. Their fourth studio album is a gritty, poppy and catchy album that seems to bridge the genres of skatepunk, hardcore, and pop-punk. These 17 short but fast tracks are super straightforward and just fun tracks of positive messages of mental health to the struggles of growing old.

6. Oso Oso: basking in the glow

Triple Crown Records

Working off of the hype train of his 2017 release The Yunahon Mixtape, Basking In The Glow is a perfect testament to the growth and artistry in writing catchy melodies and choruses by singer Jade Lilitri. The album is a mid-tempo, bright and shiny third album. Like the title of the album... This album is basking in its own glow.

5. Torche: Admission

Relapse Records

The classic poppy gloom and heavy doom that you would expect from Torche are found with their 5th studio album. The title track, "Admissions" is the best representation of this album.

4. American Football: American Football LP3

Polyvinyl Records

American Football (LP3) was such a happy surprise. With LP3, American Football has achieved a record of peak shoegaze/dream pop songs that rock you into another atmosphere where you can get lost in. The vibes on each track flow right into one another and feel very cohesive. The experimental production, layers of sounds and collaborations with some notable emo/indie vocals fit the general esthetic that flows throughout the record.

3. Much The Same: Everything is Fine

Thousand Island Records

Thank You, Much The Same for this comeback! It has been a good 13 years since they have last put out, Survive. They returned this year with 9 melodic punk tracks filled with energy, catchy lyrics, beautifully composed solos and riffs following the progression of their last 3 albums. Closing out the album, "Passengers" is by far my sparkling favorite on this album and possibly the strongest display of their progression from their preceding album Survive.

2. Somos: Prison On A Hill

Tiny Engines

I am notorious for getting into most bands late. Somos was one of them, and when it got to me, it was a fast love that grew strong. Prison On A Hill was announced early, due to the death of guitarist Phil Haggerty. I was surprised and glad to have new music after an announced hiatus but also deeply saddened at the news of his death. Prison On A Hill is such growth from their previous two efforts. This album really pushes the band in the direction of 80’s shimmering new wave/synthpop/rock with lyrics that encapsulate the capitalistic/political weight on humans of now.

1. Waterweed: Diffuse

Maximum10 Records

This gem is literally the best find I have heard all year. This melodic hardcore/skatepunk influenced band from Osaka, Japan ruled much of my year. Formed in 2003, the band has been linked to playing with such legends as Comeback Kid, Rise Against, Belvedere and much more. Diffuse is the third full-length album from the 4 pieces and it continues on their hard melodic trajectory from their 2017 release Brightest but with a harder edge. The album as a whole is great from start to finish. Waterweed might be Japan’s best-kept secret.

Top 3 EP’s

3. Patch Kid: Guts

Self Released

Brooklyn based Patch Kid released a four-song EP titled Guts this year and boy is it a fun 11-minute indie punk taste of music. I cannot wait to see what comes out of them next.

2. Bloom: Withered


After the Boston emo-punk band Transit disbanded duo, Bloom was formed by Torre Cioffi and Matt Dipieto in 2017. The band has been releasing EPs and singles for the last 2ish years. This year, they released Withered, a 6 song indie-pop album that seems truer to the sound of the 2010ish era Run For Cover output.

1. Neckscars/Goddammit: Split EP

Creep Records

This split is so good. This EP is a 4 song split from New York’s Neckscars and Philly’s Goddamnit. The bands contributed two-track to the release including Goddamnit covering one of my favorite Gameday Regular songs. The Neckscars side is exceptionally good. Working off of the demise of their former band Gameday Regulars, Neckscars is Gameday 2.0, still writing fun punk with the raspy edge and disappointed lyrics of Will Romero’s gruff vocals.