I can’t believe it’s already 2018 and time to post top 10 best of lists. 2017 was a turbulent year for the US and much of the world, but also personally for me. I didn’t get to check out as much new music or make as many posts as usual due to a concussion I spent the majority of the year tackling to overcome which resulted in very limited screen time.
That said, I did get to check out a decent amount of new releases, and it was tough picking my top 10 (some runner ups: The Lillingtons, BANDIT, The Virus, etc). Let me know your favorites in the comments! So without further ado here are my top 10 of 2017:
EDIT: I slept hard on The Dopamines latest album that came out in 2017, but it’s easily in my top 5, so just pretend it’s in there.
10. Rancid – Trouble Maker
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that this was the soundtrack of my summer. The first Rancid release I actually liked since Rancid 2000, songs like “An Intimate Close Up Of A Street Punk Trouble Maker” and “Where I’m Going” is Rancid at their finest: catchy, energetic, and the perfect mix of classic street punk with the occasional ska influenced upbeats thrown in. A solid and fun album.
Favorite songs: Ghost Of A Chance, An Intimate Close Up Of A Street Punk Troublemaker, Where I’m Going
9. Converge – The Dusk In Us
I hate the term metalcore because it usually invokes shitty images of bands taking the worst aspects of metal and mixing them with the worst aspects of hardcore, but Converge is metalcore done right. With their 9th album The Dusk In Us is easily their most deliberate album to date. Instead of the unleashed fury found in their earlier releases, The Dusk In Us is incredibly calculated, brooding, and just another ripper from Bannon and company.
Favorite songs: Eye Of The Quarrel, I Can Tell You About Pain, Arkhipov Calm, Cannibals
8. Phobia – Lifeless God
The Orange County, CA grindcore kings Phobia return, and from the cover art alone you know exactly what you’re in for with Lifeless God: incredibly pissed off and politically charged grind. Not much to say here, if you like grindcore at all, Phobia’s Lifeless God is a must.
Favorite songs: Damaged, Everything’s Vicious, New 4th Reich
7. The Menzingers – After The Party
Easily my favorite Menzingers release since Chamberlain Waits, usually I hate when bands take a more mellow approached (which for some reason is always called “mature”), but The Menzingers make it work on their 5th studio album. Mixing catchy melodies with a touch of the aggression of their earlier work with lyrics about hitting your 30s and not really sure where to go from here, this album hits just a little too close to home.
Favorite songs: Tellin Lies, Charlie’s Army, The Bars, After The Party
6. Teenage Bottlerocket – Stealing The Covers
I feel like putting a cover album on a top 10 is cheating, but Teenage Bottlerocket’s Stealing The Covers isn’t your ordinary cover album…besides, I’ve listened to it way too much and it’s too fun of an album to not include. Covering punk songs from lesser known punk bands, chances are you haven’t heard most of these songs before and the album flows so seamlessly that if if you didn’t know it was a cover album you would be forgiven for confusing it with a Teenage Bottlerocket studio album. A must for any pop-punk fan.
Favorite songs: Back and Forth, Robocop Is A Half Breed Sellout, No Hugging No Learning
5. Limp Wrist – Facades
Queercore punks Limp Wrist’s Facades didn’t receive the attention it deserved, which is a shame because it’s a complete fucking ripper like we’ve come to expect from them, even after not releasing anything new in almost a decade. And Limp Wrist is as pissed off as ever. With songs taking stabs at the current fucked political climate, from calling out people within the gay community itself “Fem fearing cock-suckers (lame homosexual alphas who dislike women)” to G.O.P extremists taking over and everything in between, no one is safe. With the addition of 3 electronic/industrial songs on the b-side of the album (and the last 3 tracks), the band clearly isn’t afraid to experiment a bit either.
Favorite songs: Facades, Thick Skin, They Tell Me
4. Western Addiction – Tremulous
It’s been years since the last Western Addiction full length, and these California punks haven’t missed a beat if Tremulous is any indication. Playing no bullshit, no frills hardcore inspired by bands such as Minor Threat and Good Riddance, Western Addiction’s sophomore album is a gem. Now hopefully we don’t need to wait another 12 years for their next full length.
Favorite songs: Clatter and Hiss, Masscult Vulgarians and Entitlement, Taedium, Honeycreeper
3. Open City – Self Titled
While I really fucking hate the term “super-group”, there is really no better way to describe Philly’s Open City. With Dan Yemin (Paint It Black, Lifetime, Kid Dynamite, Armalite), Rachel Rubino (Bridge And Tunnel, Worriers), Andy Nelson (Paint It Black, Ceremony), and Chris Wilson (Ted Leo And The Pharmacists), Open City’s debut Self Titled album is the perfect amalgamation of hardcore like Paint It Black mixed with more post hardcore influences such as Swiz and Rites of Spring with just a touch of Ink and Dagger. And it’s one of the best albums released this year.
Favorite songs: Hell Hath No Fury, Whose God?, Brother I’m Getting Nowhere, Sofa Drugs
2. PEARS/Direct Hit – Human Movement
It’s rare for me to like both sides of a split, but Milwaukee based pop-punk dudes Direct Hit recently teamed up with New Orleans melodic hardcore punks PEARS to release Human Movement and managed to pull it off. While Direct Hit’s last release Wasted Mind steered the band in a more pop-punk direction, their side on Human Movement has a bit of a return to form for them, with more hardcore influenced and heavier songs.
PEARS as usual manages to bounce between some of the catchiest pop-punk and heaviest melodic hardcore all within the same minute, creating a rager of a side with lyrics including but not limited to attacking hipsters complaining about gentrification, depression, and somehow managing to cover two Direct Hit songs and a Masked Intruder song all within the same track. I haven’t been able to stop listening to it since it’s been out.
Favorite songs: Hey There Begonia, Mollusk’s Mouth, You Got What You Asked For, Nothing
1. Propagandhi – Victory Lap
Is this really a surprise to anyone? Canadian punks Propagandhi have been at this for a long time and have more than perfected their sound, mixing skate punk, hardcore, thrash and even some post-hardcore for their most concise album yet. Victory Lap is more nuanced than their previous albums and thus was a grower for me at first, but has easily become one of my favorite albums not just of the year, but also from the band. Like their music, Propagandhi’s biting political commentary has also become more nuanced over the years and they attack the fucked state of the world and the human condition with wit and tact.
It wasn’t even a question to me which would be the album of the year, and Propagandhi is one of those rare bands that seem to be constantly in their prime… pretty impressive for a band that’s been around for over 30 years.
Favorite songs(Pretty much all of them… but if I have to pick): Comply/Resist, Failed Imagineer, Call Before You Dig, Tartuffe