mikexdude is a staff reviewer for Punknews.org - ed.
INTRODUCTIONIn 2010, I slept on the couch of the illustrious Scott Brown, I endured the sudden death of a friend, and strangely enough, I didn't listen to much new music as I would have liked. On this list, I hope you find something good on here that you haven't heard of before; if not, then that means you're awesome.
Elvis Costello: National Ransom
When the King isn't penning Grade-A rock 'n' roll, it's usually because he's too busy crafting elaborate and appreciative celebrations for his infinite list of influences. If I've learned anything from Mr. MacManus, it's the importance of homage.
First Blood is a barrage–one immediately infectious garage pop jam after immediately infectious garage pop gem. Shit will never leave your head, but why would you want it to?
Square of Opposition
1994! is a presumably sloppy post-hardcore two-piece from PA. Their sophomore hardly-a-full-length, FCKYRHEAD, has an intriguing depth to it that brings the guitars up front, while the sing-alongs linger in your head like a distant, childhood memory.
Heart & Skull / Epitaph
While Agony & Irony seemed to me like an exhausting battle between two different creative directions, This Addiction thrives on cooperation. Call me a Trio apologist, but "Off the Map" and "Eating Me Alive" are easily some of the best material the band has ever written.
I'm glad more bands listen to the Promise Ring: You can still noodle on your guitar, be obscure, pretentious, moody and conceptual–etc. etc.–while still writing an actual song. But whatever, I have bigger fish to fry.
Paper + Plastick / Panic
End Measured Mile is the exact moment when your high school girlfriend finally decided to put out after all those years of waiting. That's for you, Anthony Dye.
Traffic Street / Toxic Pop
Sure, Baltimore has a lot of sweet hardcore bands, but what about Dead Mechanical? Without shoving the hooks down your throat, Dead Mechanical produces the most underrated punk rock record of the year. It's effortless.
The Upsides is a collection of uplifting and nostalgia-inducing tunes. It reminds me of all those "gateway" bands that were around when I was getting into punk, except with...talent. In a nutshell, it's just got ridiculous amounts of playability.
Paper + Plastick
Egerton executes brilliant, jagged and quirky patterns and progressions over a mind-boggling cast. Yeah, a lot of the vocalists may not live up to their pedigree; however, my personal guitar hero delivers 110%.
Hostage Calm's self-titled isn't necessarily relevant, nor is it irrelevant. And it most certainly isn't the sound *you* wanted to hear from them: This is a true don't-give-a-fuck record. It will ignite you like Change Is a Sound, yet it spins as smoothly as My Aim Is True.
Sacred Love: Dividing Lines
A perfect mix of nineties and eighties hardcore: catchy, fast, and progressive.
HONORABLE MENTIONSThe Riot Before: Rebellion; Off with Their Heads: In Desolation; Praise: Growing.Changing.Healing. EP; End of a Year: You Are Beneath Me; Nails: Unsilent Death; We Were Skeletons: We Were Skeletons; Castevet: The Echo & The Light; Black Breath: Heavy Breathing; OFF!: First Four EPs
MOST ANTICIPATED OF 2011
- Pulling Teeth
- Polar Bear Club