10 – Crime In Stereo – I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone
Crime In Stereo always had a hard job topping their efforts on one of my favourite records ever ….Is Dead, but they did a pretty good job with this. Although the Brand New influence is still apparent and they’ve gone in the same direction as them, this record isn’t as retarded as Daisy despite the fact that some of the structures simply do not make any sense. A couple of songs sound like Nirvana though, which is definitely cool.
9 – The Wonder Years – The Upsides
Probably one of the only ‘pop punk’ records I actually liked this year. Fast, caustic and catchy as fvck, my friends in the Wonder Years made four years of touring their asses off playing shitty venues count when they released this ‘modern day masterpiece’ and promptly got signed to Hopeless for a re-release and everyone else in the music industry came running. Watch for them to be absolutely huge next year following stints on the Kerrang Tour and the Warped Tour.
Against Me! aren’t the band they once were and once you get over that (like it should really be an issue) then you’ve got a great record here. Sounding a lot more 80’s with the addition of keys on several tracks the sound follows on from the progression of New Wave and is full of sing a long anthems. Tom Gabel has never sung so well.
7 – Girl Talk – All Day
I didn’t like this as much as some of his other records but it’s still better than most of the shit I listened to this year. I thought the decision to make the mixes longer was a bad one though as tracks seemed to go on longer and the bits in between the sweet drops seemed to get lost. Most of the internet disagreed with me on this though. Highlight has to be Miley Cyrus V MOP.
6 – Anarbor – The Words You Don’t Swallow
I thought Anarbor were going to be the lamest dudes and play the lamest music when I found out I had to work a tour with them. Turns out neither was true and they were awesome dudes and an awesome band. Sounding a lot like Fallout Boy crossed with Weezer, they sing great guitar based rock songs about girls and being young.
I didn’t really get this record when I first got it, it sounded like it could be good but I just couldn’t put my finger on it, something about the songs just seemed off. I listened to it a bunch more though and I can’t even remember why I thought that. I think maybe the guitar lines are just a big ‘angular’ for this kind of genre? Anyway, this is effortlessly catchy, sung with real emotion and the songwriting is kind of unusual without really ever drawing attention to itself. Great album.
4 – Lower Than Atlantis – Far Q
This is a monster of an album as it absolutely explodes out of your speakers into your face. I might not be the biggest fan of Mike Duce’s conversational lyrics but the way he changes his voice to suit the song is something else. Effortlessly switching between speaking, shouting, screaming and singing he really grabs the listener by the balls and demands you listen. This, coupled with a noticeable grunge influence, worked wonders for the record and made it the standout release from any British band this year. With a new album due in February and a constant touring schedule expect 2011 to be their year.
Despite the fact they clearly rip off bands such as Vampire Weekend, Frank Turner and Against Me! at various points on this record, my friends in Fake Problems have probably made the record that will finally break them into the mainstream. Intricate guitar work, sensibly structured songs (for once) and catchy repeated vocal lines make this a radio friendly hit that can still appeal to the majority of indie rock and punk fans.
2 – The Flatliners – Cavalcade
The Flatliners built upon 2007’s the Great Awake in every single way with this release, and probably filled the claim I made following that record that they were destined to be the new NOFX. Probably helped that Fat Mike helped write some of the songs on this record. Fast as fvck, catchy as hell with memorable lyrics brilliantly matched by Chris Cresswell’s superb guttural rasp.
1 – Vampire Weekend – Contra
I used to hate Vampire Weekend. What an idiot. This album took their trademark African inspired sound and made it better in every single way. Still listening to it regularly even though it came out in February.
Honourable mentions – Banquets – This is our concern, dude; Riot Before – Rebellion; Make Do and Mend – End Measured Mile; Tigers Jaw – Two Worlds; Man Overboard – Real Talk; Good Old War – S/T; Bright And Early – Louder Than Words.