Thursday, 5 July 2018

Top Tens: Colin's Top Ten Albums From The Blasting Room

Since opening its doors in 1994 The Blasting Room in Fort Collins, Colorado, has birthed some of the very best records in the world of punk rock and ska. The recording studio is run by Bill Stevenson of the Descendents, ALL, Black Flag, Only Crime and Jason Livermore. Looking at their website and the list of artist who have used the Blasting Room over the years is astounding. The idea for me to put together a top ten albums created was put to me well over a year ago and I've been putting off doing it since then. The time has now come for me to now attempt this difficult task of making my choices. To try and make it a bit easier on myself, and to add a bit of a variety, I've decided not to pick any albums from the Descendents, ALL or Black Flag.

Ann Beretta  To All Our Fallen Heroes (1999)
Ann Beretta are such an underrated band. The Virginian based band play hook filled punk rock music that easily gets stuck in your head. To All Our Fallen Heroes features many tracks that I consider classic Ann Beretta including Fire In The Hole, Burning Bridges, Eye For An Eye, Like A Riot and a great cover of Cheap Trick's classic Surrender. I never understand why I don't know more people who love Ann Beretta because they were and still are such a great band.

Anti-Flag  Terror State (2003)
Terror State is considered by many (including myself) to be Anti-Flag's best album. Featuring songs such as Turncoat, Rank N File, Power To The Peaceful, You Can Kill The Protester But You Can't Kill The Protest and Death Of A Nation, for me it is fantastic from start to finish. Songs from Terror State still, fifteen years later, get huge reactions when they're played live. When you think about timeless albums then Terror State has to be one of them.

Authority Zero  Broadcasting To The Nation (2017)
Broadcasting To The Nation is the newest album on this list. On Broadcasting To The Nation, this long running melodic skate punk reggae act managed to blend their many sounds perfectly. The thing I've loved about Authority Zero for a long time is the contrasting styles that they play but I've never felt they managed to get the right blend of styles on an album until Broadcasting To The Nation was released. The songs Broadcasting To The Nations, Revolution Riot and When We Rule The World are among my favourite ever Authority Zero songs.

Lagwagon  Let's Talk About Feelings (1998)
It's been well documented that the late 1990s were a huge time for skate punk. One of the bands who really made a big name for themselves during that time were Lagwagon. The album Let's Talk About Feelings of course has THE Lagwagon favourite May 16 but it also features other classics such as After You My Friend, Leave The Light On, Owen Meaney and Love Story. I feel like Lagwagon are one of those bands where you don't realise just how many great songs they have until you actually go back and look at their albums. This, for me anyway, is without a doubt the best.

The Lillingtons  The Too Late Show (2006)
It makes me sad that many people only know The Lillingtons as Kody from Teenage Bottlerocket's other band - if indeed they were aware of them at all before 2017's Stella Sapiente was released. The Too Late Show was the last album that The Lillingtons released before they took an eleven year break. The Lillingtons became famed for their horror and science fiction themed buzzsaw pop punk, themes that have been used on many of Kody's songs for Teenage Bottlerocket. Kody has one of the best and most recognisable vocals in the world of pop punk and is a delight to listen to on every track on The Too Late Show. Check out the songs Mars Vs Hollywood, All I Hear Is Static and Zombies.

Mustard Plug  Evildoers Beware (1997)
Mustard Plug's Evildoers Beware has got to go down as one of the best ska punk albums in history. Released when ska punk in America was peaking in the late 1990s it features twelve songs of sing along, skank all night songs that will remain permanently lodged in your memory forever. I must have gone about five years without listening to this album until I randomly found it on vinyl. I got home, stuck it on and could still sing every word. This album contains what are probably two of the most popular Mustard Plug songs – the single, You, and the classic, Beer Song.

Off With Their Heads  Home (2013)
Off With Their Heads are one of the most beloved punk bands of the last ten years, no doubt about it. I was quite surprised doing my research for this top ten that Home, the last new album that OWTH released, came out in 2013. That's five years ago and it's still an album that I listen to a lot – and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Off With Their Heads' front man Ryan Young has always had a great skill in writing these heartbreaking lyrics that really whack the nail on the head, making Home – and to be honest the rest of OWTH releases – incredibly cathartic. Highlights from this album include Shirts, Start Walking, Nightlife, Focus On Your Family and Seek Advice Elsewhere.

Rise Against  The Sufferer And The Witness (2006)
Few punk rock bands have had as much mainstream success whilst retaining their credibility as Chicago's Rise Against have. 2006's The Sufferer And The Witness, their first on a major label, really opened many doors for the band. What's so special about The Sufferer And The Witness is that despite moving to a major label the album is not a watered down, more commercial sounding album. It retains all of what made Rise Against so great in the first place, politically charged melodic hardcore punk rock with massive hooks. My personal favourite tracks on the album include Chamber The Cartridge, Prayer For The Refugee (obviously) and Behind Closed Doors.

Street Dogs  Street Dogs (2010)
I'm a big fan of everything the Street Dogs have released and I think that 2010's self titled album is probably their best. This is the Street Dogs at their working class best with twenty-one songs about working together, fighting the man and the strength of community – all topics that we all can relate to. This is a powerful and emotive album that will get your blood pumping and fists going high in the air. My favourite songs on the album are Punk Rock And Roll, Up The Union and Fighter.

Teenage Bottlerocket – They Came From The Shadows (2009)
They Came From The Shadows was a real breakthrough album for Wyoming pop punk kings Teenage Bottlerocket. Featuring many fan favourites such as Skate Or Die, Bigger Than Kiss and Fatso Goes To Nutzoid, it helped to showcase the band to a more international audience. Truth be told to my untrained ears it doesn't sound that different to their other work so I don't really know why it became such a classic but I love it never the less.

This top ten was written by Colin Clark.

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