2011 was seriously an incredible year for music. I’m a pop punk kid, and I always will be, and this year was the year pop punk, emotional hardcore, punk, whatever you want to call it came back with a vengeance. I feel like people finally got sick of click tracks and auto tuned lyrics about shaking it, and some quality music began to make its mark again.
PLEASE NOTE: There is no particular order to these records. They all make themselves stand out records for different, but equally great sounding reasons.
Joyce Manor– Joyce Manor
Favorite track: Beach Community
I really like music that tells a story not only lyrically, but also in the way that the sound progresses, songs that feel like they are moving, songs that ebb and flow, swell and crash from verse into chorus.Besides having this perfectly rough vocal that walks the line between yelling and singing, that is what Joyce Manor’s self titled release does for me.
Mansions– Dig Up the Dead
Favorite track: City Don’t Care
When I used to see Mansions in high school, I somehow pegged him as a wannabe Chris Carraba with an acoustic guitar and a backpack full of self hatred. He is anything but. That backpack is more like a suitcase, and it’s full of all all the hatred he’s got for everyone else. Let’s face it, everyone fucking sucks.
Dig Up The Dead is ten tracks of everything you’ve ever resented in everyone articulated almost too perfectly. When I saw Mansions perform at Piano’s in October, I almost had to leave halfway through the set, because I got so upset hearing him perform….which was everything I was supposed to feel, and everything his performance was supposed to do to me. Now hows that for Emo?
I Am the Avalanche– Avalanche United
Favorite Track: You’ve got Spiders
I already wrote this record up here, but straight up it is solid and everything you’ve been waiting the past 6 years for. You should listen to it, simply because.
Lemuria – Pebble
Favorite track: Pleaser
I am generally not huge on bands with female vocals, but Lemuria plays on their dueling male/female vocals in a way that that remains playful all while still being punk.
The Front Bottoms– The Front Bottoms
Favorite Track : Swimming Pool
Listening to this record kind of feels like you’re watching a rain soaked teenager peel his clothes off, song by song to reveal an awkward bony kid with pruned fingertips and holey socks. It’s honest, and infectious, and you should listen to it.
Into It. Over It. – Proper
Favorite track: Write it Right
A really solid debut LP from the king of EPs. Evan Weiss tells stories through his songs, and although he mostly tours acoustic, the full band brings so much depth to his music.
Balance And Composure– Separation
Favorite Track: I Tore You Apart In My Head
This record is just solid emotional punk. Its not to heavy, but heavy enough. At first it didn’t stick out to me as a top 10 record, but then I realized how often I listen to it, and how it has made itself the soundtrack to my every day life.
Touché Amoré– Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me
Favorite Track: Condolences
This record is a frontrunner in the resurgence of punk and hardcore that happened in 2011. It is heavy, it is fast, the songs are short, and MAN it is self loathing. Every song has a handful of quotes you want to scribble on your trapper keeper, as you think about how much everyone in your town fucking sucks. If you could wear out an mp3, I would have worn this record through at least a month ago.
“If you fantasize about your funeral, I understand I’ve been there before.
If there’s more importance in the music played, than who’d attend, we are the same.”
Little Comets– In Search of Elusive Little Comets
Favorite Track: One Night In October
Little Comets were my favorite surprise of SXSW 2011. They put on performance that warmed me up and out of my hangover, many thanks to their clothesline of percussion. Like many UK indie pop bands that I love, they drop girls’ names like wildfire, and pine away. Although this is technically a much awaited re-release. I’m countin’ it!
Grouplove– Never Trust A Happy Song
Favorite Track: Tongue Tied
Infectious, bouncy pop that’s just hip enough to be acceptable. Despite having a girl rap in the middle of Tongue Tied, and being incredibly jingly, Never Trust A Happy Song never gets too cheesy.
What are your favorites from last year? Was there anything that I missed?