Best of 2007 - (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Best of 2007 (2007)

staff picks is staffed by volunteers, writing when they have time and largely of their own individual motivations. There is no editorial mandate here, no bands that we collectively plan coverage of, and likewise none that we collectively plan to praise or pan in reviews. It's fitting then that this overall site list is first seen by most of the editors when the public sees it.

Thus this overall list is determined entirely by math, scoring the albums on the individual writers' lists and running the totals. Sometimes these equations lead to some unexpected results. Last year's number one album surprised even most of the staff, so we're hoping our re-tooled equations have provided a more representative list. Looking over this year's results we believe you'll find nice cross-section of the tastes of the Punknews editors and reviewers.

Of course the real meat of our yearly retrospective can be found in the individual staffers lists. Make sure to check them out.

Without further ado...'s Top 20 Albums of 2007

#20. Tegan And Sara - The Con
July 24 on Sire Records
I'm amazed at this band's appeal. I'm not even really surprised anymore when I hear their praises from people who otherwise dine exclusively on the manliest of manly hardcore. It's not hard to see why the sisters Quin have gained so many accolades, as their knack for stringing together deceptively simple yet razor sharp pop hooks is second to none. (Adam)
#19. Streetlight Manifesto - Somewhere in the Between
November 13 on Victory Records
There were a few ska discs that made me get out my skanking shoes this year, but none hit me quite as hard as Somewhere in the Between. A natural progression from Everything Goes Numb, this disc's 10 songs cover a lot of ground and manage to provide some of the best sing-along moments of 2007. (DarrenMcLeod)
TIE - #17. Fake Problems - How Far Our Bodies Go
April 24 on Sabot Productions
To be perfectly honest, it took a little while for me to really get into How Far Our Bodies Go. Fake Problems' first full-length effort sounds as though it was crafted by a band as excited as they were anxious to get an album out from under their belts. However, I now believe that my initial hesitation comes from being exposed to the band truly being themselves for the first time and writing the record they wanted to write. After taking some time to settle, How Far Our Bodies Go has proved to be quite the little gem. (Ben)
Joel Plaskett Emergency
TIE - #17. Joel Plaskett Emergency - Ashtray Rock
May 1 on MapleMusic
Last year Halifax indie rocker Joel Plaskett released three songs on an EP included with his Make A Little Noise DVD. Each was an absolute classic -- and they promised something anthemic and mighty on the next full-length. Ashtray Rock isn't what I imagined at all: It's something with much more heart. The album's narrative follows a pair of friends in a high school rock band as their relationship shatters over a girl. It's remarkably fun and playful at times yet strikingly poignant at others... (Adam)
TIE - #15. The National - Boxer
May 22 on Beggars Banquet
Yes, this is probably the most obvious indie rock pick a guy could place in his top 5. But there's a reason that every hipster this side of a thrift store lost themselves over Boxer -- it's simply a great album. A brooding, menacing disc that grows on you with each listen, Boxer certainly earns its spot in the top 5 of any list. (DarrenMcLeod)
TIE - #15. Filthy Thieving Bastards - I'm a Son of a Gun
For all the Pogues namedropping bands like the Tossers and Flogging Molly get, the band that deserves it most is Filthy Thieving Bastards. I'm a Son of a Gun manages to channel the spirit of the Pogues with a highly memorable blend of folk, pop, Celtic and punk songs without actually sounding like the Pogues much at all. Then again, the Pogues never restricted themselves to sounding like the Pogues. (JonDaley)
The Menzingers
July 17 on Go-Kart Records
The Menzingers' confoundingly compelling, proper debut is one of the most passionate and earnest punk rock releases in years. Gravelly, Clash-inspired sing-alongs regarding political and social unrest come in spirited, rigorous form multiple moments. Now I have two things to love about Scranton, Pennsylvania. (Brian)
#13. Minus the Bear - Planet of Ice
August 21 on Suicide Squeeze Records
As you can surmise, Planet of Ice is a a somewhat more serious effort from the hard to pin down Minus the Bear. The only thing that perhaps could leave one feeling cold is the bit of distance that is created between listener and band via MtB's constantly evolving and impressive musicianship on display. (JonDaley)
#12. The Copyrights - Make Sound
April 24 on Red Scare Industries
Lifting a line from my review: "The best pop-punk album of the year goes to the Copyrights." Simply put, there are very few bands that approach the Copys in terms of pop-punk songwriting prowess. This isn't "gritty midwestern" pop-punk, this is born of cheesy leather jackets and too many listens to the Queers and Screeching Weasel pop-punk. While my taste for neither of those bands were ever well-developed, Fletcher and company have that special something that keeps me coming back for more. And it's not just an embarrassing story about my birthday last year. (Justin)
#11. Against Me! - New Wave
July 10 on Sire Records
These guys could've made The Shape of Punk to Come for their major label debut and some of you still would've bitched, so why not just let them make the album they wanted to make instead? New Wave is blast after blast of intelligent punk rock tackling issues no other band on a major label dares even speak of (the fucked up nature of the music business, the futility of protesting the war in Iraq, the need for something new to keep music from stagnating). It's worth every line of critical acclaim it's receiving if more 15-year-olds become tired of Hinder. look for a change, pick a copy up and have their life changed. (Scott)
American Steel
#10. American Steel - Destroy Their Future
October 2 on 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. (Chris)
#9. Big D and the Kids Table - Strictly Rude
March 20 on Side One Dummy Records
Maturing is generally equated with becoming substantially more crappy. Not so here, as the lyrics improved tenfold and the compositions seem thoroughly thought-out. Oddly enough, there were some duds on here: "Deadpan," "Strictly Rude" to name a few. However, the good songs were my favorite of the year: "Shining On," "Raw Revolution,""The One," "Try Out Your Voice" and the epic 7-minute "She Knows Her Way." And even more oddly, some of these songs…not that good live. But on Strictly Rude, they're next to perfect. (GlassPipeMurder)
#8. Feist - The Reminder
Interscope Records / Cherrytree Records
What can you say about a well-written album? Leslie Feist has put in her time with punk and indie bands in Canada for years, and just now she's getting some well-deserved recognition. The last album she put out revolved around a distinct vocal jazz style with electronic sounding instruments. This one is a warm assortment of classic vocal jazz stylings over acoustic accompaniments. (Jesse)
#7. Chuck Ragan - Feast or Famine
August 7 on Side One Dummy Records
After Hot Water Music's unfortunate split, 3/4ths of the band went on to put out a record as the Draft; Chuck Ragan was the remaining fourth, and this fine solo endeavor full of heart and grit proves that he can succeed without the rest of HWM. When he belts "I feel it in my bones when the storm is close," it's next to impossible to not feel it in your bones as well. (Anchors)
Crime In Stereo
#6. Crime in Stereo - Is Dead
October 23 on Bridge Nine Records
This is one of those records where no individual tracks jump out, yet when played start-to-finish takes on a life of its own -- and what a tortured, fractured, difficult life it is. This band went from being just another run-of-the-mill pop-punk band to becoming a full-fledged progressive rock unit, capable of the highest of emotional highs and lowest of their lows all within the span of one record. Remind you of anybody? (Scott)
#5. Career Suicide - Attempted Suicide
April 19 on Deranged Records
While aiming to sound like Morris-era Black Flag is an often attempted but rarely met goal, it's refreshing to see a band who does it, pats itself on the back and then looks forward to see what might have happened had Morris remained the frontman of the band; if "Nervous Breakdown" was a band instead of just an awesome song, this would be the band. (Aubin)
#4. The Gaslight Anthem - Sink or Swim
May 29 on XOXO Records
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. (Chris)
Attack in Black
#3. Attack in Black - Marriage
July 31 on Dine Alone Records
A splendid, diverse array of songs that remind me of a hybrid among the Get Up Kids, the Weakerthans and Smoke or Fire. Marriage is a thematic, impressively cohesive record that perfectly encapsulates the beauty and frailty of what happens when we begin to take our relationships seriously. (Brian)
#2. Lifetime - Lifetime
February 6 on Fueled by Ramen Records / Decaydance Records
The triumphant return! Ari Katz, Dan Yemin and the rest of the gang haven't lost a step in ten years and even though this was my first Lifetime record, I still felt like it was part of a much broader picture. With eleven flawless melodic-hardcore-pop-punk mini-masterpieces, this disc rarely left my car's CD player. (GlassPipeMurder)
The Weakerthans
#1. The Weakerthans - Reunion Tour
September 25 on Epitaph Records / Anti- Records
Despite the sheer reverence shown for the Winnipeg act, the Weakerthans are really a delightfully simple band. Particularly in Canada, the indie scene's treated them with the acclaim afforded to luminaries like Broken Social Scene and the Arcade Fire. While I'd argue that John K. Samson and company certainly deserve it, they're clearly of a different breed. When I listen to those bands I'm well aware that I'm listening to art, intentional art, and the bands know it. The Weakerthans? They're a rock band. They play rock songs. However literate their songwriter, however many roots tangents they travel, that's always been the case. Reunion Tour rides a wave of anticipation but it delivers exactly what makes this four-piece so endearing: touching, exciting, and accessible rock music. (excerpted from my full review) (Adam)

Honorable Mentions

The Swellers - My Everest (Search and Rescue); Saves the Day - Under the Boards (Vagrant); Nothington - All In (BYO); Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Living with the Living (Touch and Go); Comeback Kid - Broadcasting... (Victory); Maritime - Heresy and the Hotel Choir (Flameshovel); 108 - A New Beat from a Dead Heart (Deathwish Inc.); Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank (Epic); Sundowner - Four One Five Two (Red Scare); A Wilhelm Scream - Career Suicide (Nitro)

Top 2 EPs

#2. Bridge and Tunnel - Bridge and Tunnel [7"]
May 9 on No Idea Records
Yes. Long Island's punk rock formula mixed with what sounds like Sunny Day Real Estate and other mid-`90s emo and indie rock influences. Awesome. It's powerful and moving without being cliche, yet feels so comfortable all at the same time. Hoping for more from these guys. (Justin)
July 17 on Bridge Nine Records
On Scared People, Bay Area thrashers Ceremony have about eight minutes to prove why they‘re one of the best active hardcore bands -- and yet, that‘s plenty of time for them. Scared People is convincingly angry, abrasive, and full of menacing, maddening fury, and that‘s why it‘s my favorite 7" of the year. (Brian)