Saturday, 24 December 2016

Pan of The Burnt Tapes' Top Ten Albums 2016

2016 eh? What a shit show of a year. Forget it, it’s almost over so let’s dive in and get moist with some of the best albums of the year.

10. Blink 182 - California

Maybe this choice is due to nostalgia - Enema of the State was the first punk album I ever heard and it was love at first sight (mostly due to the front cover). Then Blink 182 started getting progressively weirder until my once idol Tom Delonge totally flipped out and started chasing little green men and eventually left the band. Then Matt Skiba came along and they made this album. And hey, it’s cheesy, it’s overproduced and the autotune on the vocals is horrific but I’ll be damned if it isn’t catchy as hell. It’s nice to have them back.

Fun Fact: My esteemed colleague Phil once took the center photo from the Take Off Your Pants and Jacket booklet to his hairdresser so he could get the Tom Delonge fringe.

9. Pears - Green Star

Are these guys Hardcore? Punk? Thrash? Pop Punk? Who cares when they can flawlessly combine all those genres and make a 16 track, 100 mph, wild ride of an album? You know when you’ve been listening to too much Moose Blood and you start turning emo? This is kinda like the antidote to that - a shot of adrenaline straight to your cold, calloused heart . Snowflake is my jam but all the songs blast through like a hot dog in a hallway. They apparently put on a real humdinger of a show too, which is nice.

Fun Fact: Pears are one of my least favourite fruits ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

8. The Murderburgers - The 12 Habits Of Highly Defective People

Up until 2016 The Murderburgers were a band I’d heard highly of but never got down to listen to. I thought they were just another hype band but it turns out I was just being a judgemental asshole. This album is punk perfection, 12 songs that are so infectious you’d be forgiven for thinking you were listening to a new strain of avian flu. My Bones Are Full of Holes, The Waves and Lung Capacity are standout tracks but to be honest there’s not a bad song on here. Fast, polished and featuring members of Masked Intruder and Off With Their Heads this is by far the best thing these super nice dudes have put out. Stick it on and have a rammy.

Fun Fact: Rumour has it that their singer Fraser once ate his own puke.

7. Spanish Love Songs - Giant Sings The Blues

OK, so technically this was released in the US in 2015 but you know what, it was released in Europe this year so I win on a technicality. Spanish Love Songs may have the most un-Googlable band name I’ve come across but this album is a real gem. Imagine Menzingers, but like really depressed. Concrete, Mexico and Remainder are the standout tracks but all the songs are awesome. If you like punk which is honest, depressing and self deprecating then Spanish Love Songs are your new favourite band. Expect them to blow up soon, you heard it here first.

Fun Fact: They are on page 2 of a Google search for “Spanish Love Songs”.

6. The Hotelier - Goodness

If you can get past the spoken word introduction, interludes and THAT COVER then you’re in for a treat. These guys have been pushing the boundaries of “emo” since their first album and Goodness is a natural progression to the excellent Home, Like Noplace Is There. It’s a more muted, subtle album but somehow also manages to be more nostalgic. More optimistic but just as honest, Goodness is full of small pockets of hope - moments to help you realise that tomorrow might not be so bad. And that’s why it’s a beautiful album.

Fun Fact: I know a certain band that has blatantly copied the drums from end of the last song on this album.

5. Chris Farren - Can’t Die

Yeah baby, it’s Chris Farren! Internet celebrity, creator of pop culture t-shirts and owner of one of the most luscious manes in punk rock. When I first heard this album I was a little confused - what was this sugary pop I was listening to? Where are the guitars? Why are there so many synths in this? And then it hit me. It’s an album that deals with deeply personal issues built on a backbone of poppy melodies. Classic Chris Farren bait and switch. It’s such an interesting album due to this juxtaposition - dealing with anxiety, self doubt, loss and depression yet musically it’s glowing and upbeat. Celebrate your fuckedupness by listening to this album.

Fun Fact: Chris Farren, me and you all have something in common. We’re all going to die.

4. PUP - The Dream is Over

PUP’s previous album was pretty much my album of the year so it was always going to hard to beat. Initially I was slightly disappointed, it seemed like more of the same but with slightly less angsty energy. Guess what: I WAS WRONG. This album is self deprecation and self loathing done right - raw, honest and delivered in a package that almost celebrates how fucked up life can be. Musically it’s unconventional, interesting, inventive and furious. Their music videos are possibly the best I’ve ever seen and they tour like dogs, so buy this album and prepare to get weird at a show (Spoiler: They are disgustingly good live).

Fun Fact: “The Dream is Over” is a direct quote from the lead singer’s doctor after damaging his vocal chords (thanks Wikipedia).

3. Jeff Rosenstock - WORRY

A list featuring Chris Farren isn’t complete without an appearance from his brother from another mother Jeff Rosenstock. I loved “We Cool?” and I FUCKING LOVE WORRY. This album is split in two parts, the first part is traditionally structured featuring banger after banger. Then it kinda goes mad and packs 10 songs into one continuous mega track that shouldn’t work but ends up being perfect. Fuck you Jeff for being so talented. In a sense, this is one of the most punk albums I’ve ever heard given its musical diversity. Jeff sings off key at times, there are noisy guitars, fuzzy feedback and backing vocals that most artists would have cut out/autotuned. But it’s all there on purpose, it’s not perfect and it’s proud of it. The last line of the album is testament to this: “Perfect always takes so long because it don’t exist. It doesn’t exist.”

Fun Fact: If I could marry two dudes, it would be Jeff Rosenstock and Chris Farren and I’d totally be OK being the meat in that sandwich.

2. Tiny Moving Parts - Celebrate

What’s this? A perfect album from an insanely talented band of dudes? You bet it is. Not a bad song on this bad boy. I liked their previous album but felt it was a bit too “shouty” so imagine my mind-boner when I realised they had released an album that was more melodic, catchier and had more sick math rock guitar riffs than a middle aged algebra teacher in a Slint cover band. The drums are kinda wild and the guitar work is purely erotic yet the consistent level of great musicianship make this one of the best records I’ve heard in the past few years.

Fun Fact: After hearing this record I started taking guitar lessons - that lasted 2 months.

1. Touche Amore - Stage Four

This album man. I knew I’d love it from the first few notes on Flowers and You, before I even knew what the album was about. Obviously it’s about a guy mourning the loss of his mother to cancer but writing a near perfect album about that is an astonishing achievement. From the end of New Halloween which alludes to the his mother’s last ever voicemail played at the end of the album, to the audible pain and loss in the crescendo of Skyscraper - this shit is real. Musically it’s cleaner and more melodic than their previous work, but it’s perfectly balanced and respectful of the subject matter. Lyrically it just slays me. This is an important album for so many reasons and was an easy choice for #1. 

Fun fact: In the 3 months since its release, I’ve listened to this album 206 times.

Honourable mentions: Joyce Manor, “Cody”, Modern Baseball, “Holy Ghost”, Moose Blood, “Blush”, Pinegrove, “Cardinal”, Apologies I Have None, “Pharmacie”, Against Me, “Shape Shift With Me”, Dowsing, “Okay”, NOFX, “First Ditch Effort”, Direct Hit, “Wasted Mind”, MakeWar, “Developing A Theory Of Integrity”.

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