Male - 20 Years Old
Best of 2012 List
The #1 Album
1. The Menzingers- On the Impossible Past (Simply nothing moved me like this did. The lyrics, the song structures, the passion behind it all floored me, and I found myself listening to the entire album on repeat time after time, personal favorites coming and going every few weeks. Having been released in February, I Think it certainly has stood the test of time in order for it to be called my AOTY of 2012 (the same bottom line criteria for my AOTY last year, Moving Mountain’s Waves).
The Next Best
2. Enter Shikari- A Flash Flood of Colour (I have been an unabashed fan of Enter Shikari from the first time I heard Take to the Skies back in 2009, and have been a defender of their unique blend of post-hardcore, dubstep, cheeky electronic and industrial sounds up through this day. All the right components came together for this album though, with more memorable acoustic tracks (Constellations, Stalemate), the best pulverizing, balls to the wall numbers (Sssnakepit, Hello Tyrannosaurus, Meet Tyrannocide) and the most downright filthy and mesmerizing track they’ve ever released (Ghandi Mate, Ghandi). Haivng barely come out in 2012 (way back in January), this has also stood the test of time, and with the notoriety the band is receiving with their first US headliner and their domination of overseas markets, hopefully the momentum from this album is what they’ll need to conquer America, a far cry from a mere 3 years ago of playing in my suburban hometown 5 minutes away from where I type this).
A Further Top 10 (No Particular Order)
Sharks- No Gods (Probably #3, and it’s a damn shame these guys didn’t tour America in 2012 although I was fortunate enough to see them twice in 2011. This album is a benchmark for punk rock, no frills, great lyrics, catchy leads and a fuck you attitude, evident by the album title. Already recording their next album, these guys are set to have an even bigger impact in 2013. Every time I wear my Sharks shirt to a concert, I get a complement from a fan or band member. Let’s hope that continues.
Silversun Pickups- Neck of the Woods (Maybe the most consistent band in music, this album showcases all their talents, the damn grooviest riffs of the Pit to the ambience of Here We Are (Chaser), SSPU continues to rise in prominence, hopefully soon to the status of festival headliner and household name, because these guys deserve it (all done on an indie label as well).
Silverstein- Short Songs (These songs kick ass. I dug the idea of the album right from the start, but I though that they may turn out as a novelty. I was dead wrong. SOS and Sick of Your Secrets contain some of the best vocals from Shane and the best riffs from Josh and Neil (I’ll miss ya) in Silverstein’s career. The covers are badass as well, and the opening track of the new album slated for 2013 gives me a lot of hope for prolonging their 12 year career as much as possible.)
Daytrader- Twelve Years (Didn’t get into this album as much at first, but after their breakup was announced and the depressing Chicago winter weather started to take hold, this album clicked. The tones and moods throughout the album are awesome, with Tim’s voice expressing a sense of urgency during the faster paced moments of Firebreather unparalleled in the scene. Such a shame I didn’t get to see them this year, but this album will hopefully stick with me for years.)
The American Scene- Safe for Now (This was a sleeper album for me as well. I liked it upon my initial listen, but it took quite a few more for it to really sink it. I just love how you can’t pigeonhole this album into one specific genre, it presents a sound really all its own. The album as a whole reminds me a lot of Balance and Composure’s Separation from last year, which is definitely a good thing, being my #2 album of last year.)
Title Fight- Floral Green (Initially I was skeptical of this album. Shed had been such a (no pun intended) watershed album for me in getting me into the current pop punk/hardcore scene going on right now, and I initially missed the raw production and shorter song lengths that resulted in a more condensed spurts of energy and emotion on Shed. With further listens, I realized that Floral Green had all of these, just with more attention to songwriting and production than before. Shed may still be my favorite, but Floral Green is an extremely close second.
Caspian- Waking Season (What an album. I could sum up my feelings for this piece of work with this album. Listening to this, even being an instrumental album, is going through an experience. This is really hard to describe for me, but the passion contained within the meandering songs and the layered effects completely makes up for and surpasses anything lyrics could have done. Truly a work of art.)
Every Time I Die- Ex Lives (I think the guitar solo on Revival Mode could make this list all by itself, but fortunately the rest of this album is also phenomenal. A huge fan of New Junk Aesthetic, I was pleased and then some by this album. The banjo on Partying is Such Sorrow, the opening screams on Underwater Bimbos, they all show ETID at their heaviest, most brutal, whatever you want to call it really. The lyrical mastery carried throughout is all icing on the cake to a fantastic hardcore album.
The Chariot- One Wing (“DON’T STICK AROUND, DON’T STICK AROUND!” For months now I haven’t been able to get these opening screams from One Wing’s “Forget” out of my head, and with good reason. One Wing brings The Chariot’s live intensity to album form, with blistering screams and frantic song structures that take a dramatic twist from the scorching to the somber, as the church-esque track “Your” demonstrates. It’s A monster of an album that’s over just as soon as you’ve recovered from it beginning).
Cheap Girls- Giant Orange (What a fun album. Seriously, this is the best feel-good album I’ve listened to all year. The throwback sound is welcomed without being repetitive, and the guitar hooks are catchy and the vocals are strong, a winning combination. An awesome summer album, hopefully their tours with The Menzingers and The Front Bottoms have given them more exposure, because this album has the potential to connect with a lot of people who dug 80s and 90’s college and alt rock.)
The Best of the Rest (Chronologically) (* accentuates a standout in the bunch)
-Departures- Teenage Haze** (I feel bad leaving this one out of the top 10, but it’s only been out less than a week as I write this. With time, I’m sure this will become one of my most important albums of the year, a must listen to for fans of Pianos Become the Teeth and Defeater.)
-River City Extension- Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger*
-The Jealous Sound- A Gentle Reminder
-Nada Surf- The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy
-No Trigger- Tycoon*
-Fun- Some Nights*
-Good Old War- Come Back as Rain
-You Blew It!, Grow Up Dude*
-John Mayer- Born and Raised
-Japandroids- Celebration Rock
-Make Do and Mend- Everything You Ever Loved*
-Such Gold- Misadventures*
-Jr. Juggernaut- Wake* (Just missed the top 12, awesome alt-rock)
-Circa Survive- Violent Waves*
-Propagandhi- Failed States* (As did this one, 80’s Thrash meets punk rock)
-Cancer Bats- Dead Set on Living
-Birds in Row- You, Me, and The Violence*
-Able- Make it Right
-Converge- All We Love We Leave Behind*
-Troubled Coast- Awake and Empty
-Run, Forever- Settling
-Dikembe- Broad Shoulders*
-The Casket Lottery- Real Fear*
-Ocean is Theory- Future Fears.
Top EP and 6 More Great Ones (No particular order except for #1)
1. Hail the Sun, Elephantitis (Holy fucking balls are these guys awesome. The instrumentation is phenomenal, as is the singing/screaming, all done while the vocalist is also being an insanely awesome DRUMMER. See them live and see what I mean).
2. Cut Teeth- Televandalism
3. Troubled Coast- I’ve Been Thinking About Leaving You (Better than the full-length by a noticeable amount in my opinion)
5. Lowtalker- The Marathon
6. I The Mighty- Karma Never Sleeps
7. The Swellers- Running Out of Places to Go
Special Mentions (Past material re-released/reconfigured)
-Polar Bear Club- Live at the Montage
- Balance and Composure- Acoustic EP
-Moving Mountains- New Light EP
-O’Brother- Basement Window EP
- Foxy Shazam- The Church of Rock N Roll (Not nearly as dynamic or
Wild as their past material, this album was just kind of bland overall).
- The Gaslight Anthem- (A lot of hype, but I couldn’t get into this like I could with the 59’ sound.)
- Parkway Drive- Atlas- (The addition of the atmospheric and other ambient elements just doesn’t fit their style).
Top Albums from 2011 I got into this year
1. Into It Over It- Proper
2. Transit- Listen and Forgive
3. The Story So Far- Under Soil and Dirt
4. A Loss For Words- No Sanctuary
5. NOT from 2011, but I went on a huge Nevermind kick about a month ago and haven't left it since.
Top Concerts from 2012
1. Enter Shikari/letlive/At the Skylines- April 12, 2012. Bottom Lounge, Chicago IL
2. Dance Gavin Dance, A Lot Like Birds, I The Mighty, Hail the Sun, The Orphan The Poet (probably the most surprisingly awesome show I've been to in recent memory, every band was better than exceptional.) November 30, 2012. Metro, Chicago IL
3. Glamour Kills Tour (TWY, PBC, Transit, TSSF, IIOI) March 17, 2012. Bottom Lounge, Chicago IL
4. Bayside, PBC, MDAM, IIOI. June 13, 2012. Gabe's, Iowa City IA
5. IIOI full band, Owen, Hostage Calm. October 31, 2012. Beat Kitchen, Chicago IL
6. Circa Survive, Touche Amore, Balance and Composure, O'Brother. October 20, 2012. Vic Theater, 2012.
7. U.S. Royalty. March 7? 2012. Schuba's, Chicago IL (this one slipped my mind for about 6 months but damn did these guys put on a great show.)
7. La Dispute, B&C, All Get Out, Sainthood Reps. May 6, 2012. Metro, Chicago IL. (Tie)
8. Moving Mountains, Pianos Become the Teeth. May 9. 2012. Beat Kitchen, Chicago IL
9. The Swellers, YMA6, Twin Atlantic, We Are the Ocean. Beat Kitchen, Chicago IL
10. August Burns Red, Silverstein, Texas in July, I The Breather, House of Blues, Chicago IL.