Here are my top ten albums of 2014
10. Roughneck Riot – Out Of Anger
Warringtons folk punks returned with Out Of Anger towards the end of 2014. The album marked a slight change in sound for the band as they slowed things down musically to help put their political message across. The result of this makes of the smartest and hardest hitting albums of the year. These guys and girls have created an album that you will enjoy and learn a lot from in equal measure. Learning things is fun. Stand out songs include Parasites and England’s Desperate Liars.
9. The Menzingers – Rented World
The Menzingers were really going to have to pull out all of the stops to top their previous release On The Impossible Past. On Rented World they very nearly did it. On The Impossible Past will always be the Philadelphian four pieces classic album but Rented World came really close to eclipsing it. This is a slower paced album that focuses more on song writing that previous efforts and the result is an album full of perfectly crafted punk rock gems. Stand out tracks are I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore and My Friend Kyle.
8. Ducking Punches – Dance Before You Sleep
Music, in any genre is at its very best when it’s heartfelt and honest. That’s exactly what Norwich’s Ducking Punches achieved on Dance Before You Sleep. It’s a folk punk record The topics on the album are far cheerful and include dealing with death, drug addiction and break ups. Musically it offers a nice amount of diversity, there are some slower tempo songs and some great big foot stomping albums, defienitely an album for everyone. Check out Bug Brown Pills From Lynn and Six Years.
7. Mike TV – Sausage Hospital
When it comes to make fast, fun pop punk music few bands do it much better than Mike TV. Sausage Hospital is their first album in six years and everything that makes this band great is still there. Sausage Hospital contains sixteen hook filled pop gems born for singing and dancing to. Dombs lyrics are as smart and insightful as ever and cover a wide range of areas such as break ups, alcoholism, growing up and life in a band. Also, there are fantastic harmonies. Have a listen to 90s Teenager and Cool Wave Magnolia.
6. Wank For Peace – Fail Forward
French hardcore punks Wank For Peace came out of nowhere for me this year. After seeing them support Ducking Punches and River Jumpers at the Windmill in Brixton they blew me away and couldn’t wait to check out their brand new album Fail Forward. Fail Forward cements Wank For Peaces place as one of the finest bands in mainland Europe with its passionate and anthemic punk rock numbers. Stand out songs include Was That What You Expected Kid and Twelve Cheese Sticks.
5. Leagues Apart – Brief Interviews With Hideous Men
Manchester melodic punk rockers debut album Brief Interviews With Hideous Men seemed to be a very long time in the making but when it was finally released fans of the band were in for a treat. From the opening of the first song Kat Dennings; You Are My Everest (best song title of the year) and the closing of the epic To Know The Night is To Live Forever it’s an album full of fist in the year sing along moments. Having three different singers and songwriters keeps the album fresh and gives you a feeling of not knowing what’s going to happen next, something few bands in this genre of punk can pull off. Check out the two songs I mentioned as well as Rampant Horse Is Rampant.
4. Martha – Courting Strong
Pity Me punks Martha released the best album by a UK based band this year in Courting Strong. It contains ten of the best written pop songs you will hear anywhere in the world currently. Another band with multiple vocalists that keep the sound of the record fresh and fun, the way pop should be. The brilliantly written lyrics speak about growing up, gender, being unable to avoid going down a bad path and living in the moment. A must for anyone who likes music. Check out Present, Tense and Bubble In My Bloodstream.
3. Rancid – Honor Is All We Know
Honor Is All We Know was a real return to form for Californian legends Rancid. Everything you loved about Rancid when you first heard them is on display on their first album in five years. Fourteen punk rock anthems about sticking together, standing up for what you believe in and brotherhood delivered in a way no band can top. Lars and Tim’s dual vocals sound better than ever and Matt Freeman again proves why he is thought of as the best bass player in the world. Listen to Raise Your Fist and A Power Inside.
2. Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
Despite being released in January Transgender Dysphoria Blues was the most anticipated album of the year and boy it did not disappoint. This was the first album since Laura Jane Grace came out as transgender person and there was a slight worry about how the album will sound. For me this was the best album the band have put out in years, there are ten rousing, fist pumping, foot stomping punk rock jams. Despite the subject matter being mainly about Laura’s new life the songs still feel relatable and really make you want to sing along loud and proud. I’ve said this before but bands like Against Me! really make me feel proud to be a part of the punk rock scene. Check out Talking Transgender Dysphoria Blues and FUCKMYLIFE666.
1. The Smith Street Band – Throw Me In The River
It’s probably no surprise what I’ve picked as my number one album of 2014. No band has caught my attention more than The Smith Street Band this year. Whether it’s a slow burning song or a full on punk rock party Wil Wagners lyrics are always so brutally honest and sung with such passion. Throw Me In The River was a continuation of that them as he basically wrote a self help book to himself. The album is an emotional roller coaster of lives highs and lows in which he sings about belonging, being yourself, travelling, love, drinking and coming through all of the bad things you encounter in life. The final track I Love Life is the best song of 2014. It’s an uplifting song about celebrating life and finding what makes you happy. Also have a listen to Something I Can Hold In My Hands and East London Summer.