Recently I've been on a massive binge of trying to listen to as many albums from 2019 as I can. I mean, doing CPRW I feel like I've listened to a lot but, when you look at just how much punk rock has been released this year, our reviews are only really scraping the barrel. To help myself work through all of the punk releases of 2019, I've made a mega playlist which currently contains 3733 songs and is almost 186 hours long (you can check it out here). So to make this new binge addiction of mine productive, I've decided to start a new series of top tens. I'm going to run through some of the favourite releases I've discovered recently, from earlier in the year, that the CPRW team haven't reviewed. Hopefully you'll find some hidden gems like I have!
Dollar Signs – I Need Some Space
Dollar Signs’ 2018 album This Will Haunt Me was one of my favourite albums of the year so I have no idea how I managed to miss their next EP I Need Some Space which was released by A-F Records in January. Here we have four older Dollar Signs songs that have been given a fresh lick of paint with the band’s current line-up – and they're sounding great. This EP is a cool introduction for new fans of Dollar Signs to get a feel of their history whilst being exposed to their current sound.
Celebrity Hangover – Upon Reflection
Originally from Ireland but now based in San Diego, Celebrity Hangover released Upon Reflection on New Year’s Day. The album features sixteen highly infectious melodic punk rock songs. From start to finish Upon Reflection is full of sing-along fist in the air moments that you instantly pick up. The band also released an EP titled Older in June which also fantastic.
A Crash Republic – Homewreckers: Sweet Apathy
I wasn’t sure I was really going to like A Crash Republic after reading they were influenced by bands such as Neck Deep and Knuckle Puck but I was pleasantly surprised by Homewreckers: Sweet Apathy. What really stood out to me was the vocals. They were so much rawer than the clean cut polished vocal I expected and really help A Crash Republic stand out from other modern pop punk bands. They remind me of one of my favourite bands Problem Daughter and are definitely worth checking out.
The Specials – Encore
Despite being a fan of The Specials it took me eight months to listen to Encore, which was the legendary ska band’s first new album in over twenty years. It took me so long to listen because I couldn't see how it would match up to all those classic songs the band had written during their career. It doesn't match up, but it doesn't try too. This is a different sounding Specials tackling the issues of today in their own distinctive way. Given the reach that The Specials have, this could be one of the most important political albums of the year.
Good Shade – Way Out
Ohio's Good Shade is the ambitious solo project of Shane Natalie. Shane writes, composes and plays all of the music in Good Shade themself and gets friends to help perform it live. In February, Good Shade released a new album named Way Out. Twelve songs of energetic indie/power pop goodness that is a breath of fresh air.
Millencolin – SOS
Swedish skate punk legends Millencolin released their ninth studio album SOS back in February to quite the fanfare. Why it took me so long to check it out I don't know as I thoroughly enjoyed their previous album, True Brew, from 2015. SOS continues that new found form the band had with their previous album and, for certain, it doesn't stray from the Millencolin sound we've become accustomed to over the past twenty-five years. When such an influential band from the scene continues to put out such accomplished work it does make me happy.
Lenny Lashley's Gang Of One – All Are Welcome
You might know Lenny Lashley from his days fronting Darkbuster or from playing guitar with the Street Dogs. All Are Welcome is the title of his new solo album performed under the pseudonym of Lenny Lashley's Gang Of One. All Are Welcome is a powerful and emotional album combining Americana and folk with a slice of punk rock. Lashley proves just what a fantastic songwriter he is on All Are Welcome as he manage to grab your attention without having to resort to blisteringly fast and loud punk rock.
Coral Springs – Always Lost, Never Found
Always Lost, Never Found is the debut album from Dutch pop punk band Coral Springs. Released in February on Umlaut Records in the UK, Coral Springs continue to show why they are one of the most exciting bands in mainland Europe. Imagine if you take Rise Against and add Agent M from Tsunami Bombs’ vocals, that's what you get from Coral Springs. This is an album I really regret sleeping on for so long as it's very very good.
Bony Macaroni – Bony Macaroni
I first listened to Bony Macaroni whilst travelling around the North Wales coast in early October. The weather was pretty bleak and I was a bit tired, then this EP came on and it really raised my spirits. Playing poppy emo punk tunes with jangly guitars and a stunning vocal, it was hard not to take notice. They quickly reminded me of one of my favourite UK based bands Toodles & The Hectic Pity. One to keep an eye on for sure.
Clarkkent – Stranger Than Fiction
I discovered Clarkkent thanks to F.O.D's Lode De Feyter. The Finnish skate punk act’s latest album Stranger Than Fiction is on the heavier side of skate punk and I found this refreshing. It managed to hook me in immediately with some soaring vocals, technical guitars that at time verge on metal riffs and some ferocious drums. If all punk rock from Finland sounds like this then I best do some more research into the country's scene.
This top ten was written by Colin Clark.