Chris Moran is a news editor and reviewer here at Punknews.org -ed
I won't lie. Being affiliated with such an amazing website has afforded me opportunities to experience some of the things in life I've always wanted to do. I traveled across the country touring with some new friends in an amazing band, and attended shows and festivals experiencing our awesome scene in action first hand. Additionally, releasing a free compilation with some great bands and using artwork from one of my favorite artists was a dream come true. I also increased my skills in video and photography, upgrading equipment on both and learning new technologies and the best way to utilize them. I helped in an amazing reunion weekend of one of my favorite local bands, meeting people from all over the country, and abroad.
Unfortunately, 2007 also was a year of loss. A lot of my favorite bands called it quits this year. Many ended their run earlier than hoped for, including None More Black, Fifth Hour Hero, Latterman and Black Tie Bombers. Others realized it was time to end things, but we still were bummed, such as Good Riddance (no pun intended), the Explosion, Groovie Ghoulies and the Blood Brothers. More importantly, we lost a lot of people, some much sooner than deserved. I'd like to dedicate my list to Casey Calvert, Hilly Kristal, Tom Snyder, Ben Hutson, Jonny Z, Kurt Vonnegut and anyone else that left us too soon in 2007.
Top 20 of 2007
20. The Methadones - This Won't Hurt
Solid release from one of the top pop-punk bands around today. With a band like the Methadones, you always know what you're gonna get, which is actually a good thing.
19. Down To Nothing - The Most
With well-constructed songs and solid production, Down To Nothing honed their aggressive hardcore style in one of the year's best releases of the genre.
18. Comeback Kid - Broadcastingâ¦
Despite a major lineup change with a new vocalist, Comeback Kid put out a ferociously intelligent and tecnically proficient record
17. Cobra Skulls - Sitting Army
With one of the best surprises of the year, Cobra Skulls delivered a great album. Their creative blend of punk rock with hints of psychobilly and ska was a refreshing new face.
16. Streetlight Manifesto - Somewhere In The Between
Easily one of the most anticipated releases of 2007 (for those who actually believed it would come out), one of ska's premiere groups put out a great follow-up to their legendary debut.
15. Signal To Noise - Kodiak
Initially, the production on this record really bothered me, as it seemed almost too polished. However, it was definitely a grower on me, as its rich depth of rock, punk and intricate melodies found this album in constant rotation.
14. Big D And The Kids Table - Strictly Rude
Unlike many, I can't say Strictly Rude tops the band's prior LP, How It Goes; however, the ska-punkers definitely crafted another fine album that deserves to be heard by ska and non-ska fans alike.
14. Giving Chase - A Cheap Print Of A Masterpiece
When four years passes since your last release, an EP, and you've yet to even put out an LP in your band's history, most would consider said band done with. Philly's Giving Chase proved all doubters wrong with a solid outing displaying their fine mix of hardcore, harmony and a touch of metal-inspired guitar riffs.
12. Sundowner - Four One Two Five
The solo side project has been a recent trend lately. For Chris McCaughan, guitarist and co-vocalist of The Lawrence Arms, his lone debut focused on his strengths in his full-time gig, intelligent lyrics and melodic song structures. If you think solo acoustic material is too whiny, Sundowner will change your perspective and make you appreciate a true singer/songwriter.
11. Dillinger Escape Plan - Ire Works
For their third LP, the masters of some of the most technically impressive, yet brutally aggressive hardcore/thrash/whatever picked up where they left off with their prior release. By pushing boundaries and crafting music which argues to be defined, DEP continue to impress, and probably contribute to headaches and seizures for innocent bystanders.
10. Nothington - All In
First, anyone promoting this band that refers to them as "ex-Tsunami Bomb" needs to stop. Aside from frontman Jay Northington playing in said band, the comparisons end there. Nothington's brand of country-influenced punk ân' roll is a great addition to the music collections for fans of bands like Social Disortion and Swingin Utters.
09. The Swellers - My Everest
Search and Rescue
When I first heard about a young (late teens/early 20s) band playing skatepunk, I immediately looked for Christopher Llloyd. There was no way that kids so young were playing this style of music in 2007. Luckily, the Swellers didn't bow to trends, and released an amazing record which DeLorean'd my ass back to mid-`90s Fat Wreck Chords.
08. Lifetime - Lifetime
Considered one of the most influential bands in modern punk rock today, many questioned whether Lifetime should tarnish their legacy by releasing their first new LP in over 10 years. Luckily, they did, and delivered a record that picked up exactly where the godfathers of melodic hardcore left off.
07. The Menzingers - A Lesson In The Abuse Of Information Technology
Another unexpected surprise this year, this Office-core (Scranton, PA) group released a solid album soaked with influences from everyone including the Clash to Anti-Flag. As part of the increasingly impressive new Go Kart roster, I eagerly await what they'll release next.
06. Smoke Or Fire - This Sinking Ship
Fat Wreck Chords
Smoke Or Fire are a band that has been made to grow up quickly, due to the decrease in big names on their famous label, and the band has risen to the occasion. On their newest LP, the group displays a maturity in their songwriting that has you wondering if they will be the next Fat alum to be offered a big major label deal. div>
05. The Copyrights - Make Sound
Hearing the Copyrights' new album reminded me of the first time I heard Green Day's Kerplunk. Pop-punk has always maintained a juvenile innocence to it, but with Make Sound there is a feeling of both fun and mature reflection. The ability to insert simplistic, yet thought-provoking lyrics into three simple chords in an anthemic manner make this record one of the year's best div>
04. Fake Problems - How Far Our Bodies Go
Defying label and genre stereotypes, Fake Problems crafted a record difficult to describe. Folk-punk-influenced? Sure, but with a vast assortment of structures, instruments and tempos, there's much more. Metaphors, storytelling and self-reflection are just a few of the reasons why each song easily stands on its own merit.
03. Against Me! - New Wave
The record that many had already written off before hearing it, New Wave didn't have a fair chance. First, this album is not folk-punk, or even really punk, in a technical sense. It is a rock record, rooted in pop, yet with influences consistent in the band's prior output. I can see it being viewed similarly to Jawbreaker's Dear You in coming years; a remarkable release, stifled by scene politics.
02. American Steel - Destroy Their Future
Fat Wreck Chords
I first got into American Steel after they broke up a few years ago. I checked out Jagged Thoughts, and enjoyed much of it, but nothing stuck in terms of continued listens. Upon receiving a promotional copy of their return this year, I was blown away by their refreshing brand of post-punk with deep melodies and thunderous choruses. What amazed me even more was after seeing them for a few consecutive days on the road, my least favorite songs on the record became my new favorites. Hopefully they will stick around a little while longer this time around.
01. The Gaslight Anthem - Sink Or Swim
Not often does a band come out of nowhere and release an album you want to tell every single person you know about. An album that defies practically every classification in independent music. I saw the Gaslight Anthem, and heard Sink Or Swim in the same night, and was blown away. The pure and raw emotion contained within every song immediately brought to mind other bands that had cemented my loved of punk rock -- bands like Hot Water Music, Kid Dynamite and Avail. Since hearing the record, I haven't gone a day without listening to a least one song from it, with the exception of the two weeks I spent with the group traveling cross-country, where instead I had the pleasure of hearing the songs live every night and seeing people developing the same appreciation that I have. In my review of Sink Or Swim, I originally gave it a score of 9 out of 10; however, I can honestly say I now believe this is a 10: a perfect record.
Best EPs of the Year
02. Dirty Money - Far From Homeâ¦
01. The Riot Before - So Long, The Lighthouse
Quote Unquote / self-released
Best Weekends of Music
- The Fest 6 (Gainesvile, FL - October)
- Inquisition Reunion Weekend (Richmond, VA - May)
|The Gaslight Anthem - Drive (live in Portland, OR)||American Steel - "Smile on Me" (live)|
|Against Me! - "Stop!" (live)||Nothington - "Bottom Line" (live)|