Here is part two in our series of releases that we criminally have overlooked in 2019. This year has had a incredible amount of great new releases and I continue to find more and more gems than I didn't get round to checking out when they first came out. (You can read part one here.)
Sweet Empire – A New Cycle
Dutch punks Sweet Empire are a band that I've been a fan of for years but don't give anywhere near enough time to on CPRW. In April, they released A New Cycle on Shield Recordings and Umlaut Records and it's another album of political and socially conscious themed bangers. Something that has always made Sweet Empire stand out to me is lead singer Rowald's superb and distinctive vocal. I can't think of anyone else who sound like him and it really helps you take in Sweet Empire's message.
Hans Roofthooft – Skeletons
Belgium’s Hans Roofthooft is an acoustic folk rocker. His album Skeletons may be one of my biggest musical surprises of the year. Acoustic folk isn't often a go to of mine but I checked the album out and was hooked. It's an album expertly crafted and full of stories. It's spellbinding and captivating. There's also a fantastic song about Bjorn from Bearded Punk Records, a label that Hans is also a member of.
Potty Mouth – SNAFU
Boston's Potty Mouth are a three piece who play wonderfully poppy pop punk music. SNAFU is a super accessible album whether you're a fan of punk music or pop with hook-filled songs and superb sugary sweet vocals. At their best when they play with a harder edge and at a quicker pace but also fantastic when they slow things down. Lovely harmonies.
Wasting Time – Separation From Your Senses
Canada's Wasting Time are a fast paced punk rock band. Falling between the 90s skate punk and a 2000s pop punk sound, their EP Separation From Your Senses really grabbed my attention when I first heard it. As you might expect from that description, it's a lot of fun but there's also a lot of thoughtfulness in these four songs. If you're a fan of MxPx or Midtown you will adore Wasting Time. I can only imagine what a good band they are to watch live.
Youth Fountain – Letters To Our Former Selves
I discovered Youth Fountain thanks to my pal Rojarax on Bandcamp. They are an emo/pop punk duo from Vancouver who released the album Letters To Our Former Selves on Pure Noise Records back in March. Emo isn't really my thing but I loved the vocals from both Tyler Zanon and Cody Muraro on the album. They manage to strike the perfect balance of clean poppy and raspy screaming vocals throughout the album. Neither are over done and they work fantastically together. This is better that 99% of the emo that the kids are listening to these days.
Younger Than Neil – Write New History
It was only a matter of time before a ska punk band found its way onto this list. Younger Than Neil have already been a Band Of The Week on CPRW but I never found the time to review their album Write New Hero. Younger Than Neil combine third wave ska and 2000s hardcore to create than high octane blast of skacore that will get you skanking and moshing in equal measure. The Denver based eight piece have put together one of the best ska albums of 2019 and are showing that ska certainly isn't dead.
The Peabodys – Concentrated Satanic Attack
Long running Pennsylvanian pop punks The Peabodys released the EP Concentrated Satanic Attack in March. The EP is only four songs long but is so varied. Sometimes playing blisteringly fast pop punk, then switching to some garage rock and then some slow paced surf rock, the EP has it all. Concentrated Satanic Attack has somewhat of an old school recording sound, at times sounding a bit grainy or distorted, this adds to the charm of the EP. It's not super clean and overproduced and has more of a live feel.
The Murderburgers – What A Mess
These Scottish pop punk legends have seemingly done it all in the time that they've been together. Perhaps that's why they are calling it a day (for now) at the end of this year. If we're not getting another Murderburgers album for a while then What A Mess is a great album to leave us with. The band have progressed from a fast paced Ramonescore pop punk act to a band oozing with melody. This really allows Fraser's dark lyrics to shine on the album.
Angel Du$t – Pretty Buff
Pretty Buff by Angel Du$t was a massive surprise. I kind of assumed they would be a hip hop band. I was very wrong. Pretty Buff is an acoustic guitar lead pop punk album full of absolute crackers. Ranging from upbeat ragers to soft quiet songs, it's an impressively varied album. Emma and I listened to Pretty Buff on a long drive home from Wales at the beginning of October and both said "wow, who's this?" It was Angel Du$t. I'm very keen to see them live now.
Cabana Wear – Cabana Wear
Cabana Wear's debut self titled LP is full of fuzzy pop rock songs that will quickly get stuck in your head. The four piece from New Jersey have a fantastic knack of writing easy listening pop tunes that you'll be humming for days on end. I love the laid back feel of the album, it's a great one to sit back and just chill out and listen to. It's not one to get you amped up, it's not one to make you feel full of emotion but it will put a smile on your face and get your toes tapping.
This top ten was written by Colin Clark.