Published on December 24th, 2015 | by Denise Borders
Top 10 Album of 2015: PWV Staff Picks
It’s that time of the year again! I love doing a top 10 albums list because it forces me to dive back into the albums I’ve enjoyed the most throughout the year and share why I love them with everyone. I spend a lot of time on my lists, not just narrowing them down but actually spewing out the words as to what I love about the band/record, and I LOVE to hear what albums you had on your list, whether the same or different! Tell me in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook!
Denise Borders – PWV Founder
10. Supersuckers – “Holdin’ the Bag”
Acetate Records, released 10.16.2015
This one may come to a surprise to some that read PWV, but a band that refers to themselves as “the greatest rock ‘n roll band in the world” is more of a country-twist on a classic rock sound. However, I am extremely open-ended when it comes to genres I listen to. While I mostly enjoy a good fast, punk tune, I do like to chill to a more slow-paced country inspired jam every once in a while. The Supersuckers are great at what they do and I expect many more albums from this band in the future.
9. Strung Out – “Transmission.Alpha.Delta”
Fat Wreck Chords, released 03.24.2015
Strung Out is a staple band in the Fat Wreck bundle. For a band that’s been releasing albums since the early 90’s, you’ve gotta give it up for them to still be churning out albums that are worth a damn. Their sound has evolved a tremendous amount over the course of twenty-something years, and while many of us are huge fans of their early stuff, their more recent albums still make it into my listening rotation. Transmission.Alpha.Delta is no exception. This is only the beginning of the Fat Wreck Chords appearances in this list!
8. PEARS – “Go to Prison”
Fat Wreck Chords, released 09.24.2015
Only at the third album on the list and we’re already at Fat Wreck Chords again. PEARS has taken the scene by storm since they’re inception just about a year ago. I think where this band really excels is their live show. As great as the album sounds, if you haven’t heard it played live, you’re missing the real essence of the band. The New Orleans based group really has an energy that is unlike any other (I would say comparable to that of letlive., if you need some sort of basis of comparison). You never know which way the songs on the record will go, but if you’re looking for a high energy whirlwind, this is a record for you.
7. Margate – “Beards in Paradise”
Cyber Tracks, released 06.30.2015
This is a band making their Top 10 Albums debut on PWV, along with the record label. Cyber Tracks is owned by NOFX’s El Hefe and his lady, Jen Abetya and has been pumping out some pop-punk classic-sounding albums, like Beards in Paradise (don’t miss my album review!). One of my favorite things about this record is the easy listening factor. It’s a great summer jam (or winter if you’re missing the warmth) with an all around feel-good sound. I was pleasantly surprised with this one, considering this band hasn’t been active in quite a while. Each song is under three minutes long, so you’ve got the time to check them out 😀
6. Superheaven “Ours is Chrome”
SideOneDummy Records, released 05.04.2015
Superheaven is a band that formerly went under the name Daylight (Daylight made my Top 10 Albums of 2013 with their release, Jar). The Pennsylvania quartet released their first record under their new name on SideOneDummy, which is a solid label all around. This album gives me sort of a 90’s grunge-alternative, nostalgic feeling. It’s got a modern feel with something familiar about it, which I really like. It’s a solid release from track one to eleven. They aren’t making history or anything, but they’re making it into a good rotation of shit I’m listening to, for sure.
5. Bad Cop / Bad Cop “Not Sorry”
Fat Wreck Chords, released 06.15.2015
This band is such a great addition to the Fat Wreck Chords family. With an essence of a modern day Bikini Kill, Bad Cop/Bad Cop is a fun band to listen to, and this album goes along with everything they represent. As much as I hate the whole “female empowerment” speeches, it is refreshing to see an all-girl band that holds their own amongst other bands they share the stage with. They kill it every time, and I think they hit the nail on the head with Not Sorry and the upbeat, catchiness of every track.
4. Joey Cape “Stitch Puppy”
Fat Wreck Chords, released 09.04.2o15
This is Joey Cape’s first solo album since 2011’s Doesn’t Play Well with Others, amongst a few other releases with the late Tony Sly (2012) and Cape’s band, Scorpios (with Jon Snodgrass and Brian Wahlstrom). More than just the general content of Stitch Puppy, I think this record deserves such a good spot in the top 10 list because of the leap he took with this one. Lagwagon is such an upbeat, fun band (although Hang definitely has some darker moments) and this this record really has an overall dark, moody feel. However, it’s so sincere and I get the feeling none of it is for show or “trying to be different” or anything of like that. You really connect with the dark emotions in this record, and I think that it was a somewhat of a milestone for Joey and definitely deserving of the number four spot.
3. Leftover Crack “Constructs of the State”
Fat Wreck Chords, released 11.27.2015
As I mentioned in my review of this album, Leftover Crack has always been an interesting band. I never really know what to expect from them when it comes to the sound because they range from a very ska-heavy feel to an almost thrash metal, squealing sound. I’ve always respected their unique style of mixing genres and Stza most definitely has a distinctive, particular voice. I really like how the record starts out, with a strong but short intro track that really gave a great idea as to what you were in store for with the album. I don’t think they’re breaking down any new walls with the record, but it’s fucking solid. I really enjoyed their 2004’s Fuck World Trade, and I think that was a hard act to follow because that record still holds its own today amongst albums I listen to regularly. I think Constructs of the State will be in the same boat, plus it’s a Fat Wreck Chords release, which I always have a soft spot for (being pretty much my favorite label of all time, and all). LOC might turn a lot of people off as a band, considering many of their lyrics are offensive and shocking, but I think they’re a seriously talented group of musicians and have a hell of a thing going.
2. Good Riddance – “Peace in Our Time”
Fat Wreck Chords, released 04.21.2015
This album came out so early in the year, it’s easy to slip through the cracks when thinking of your favorite releases of the year…. except that I listen to it all the time. I have a GR tattoo for crying out loud, so you know that I was beyond excited when they were working on a new album. Earlier this year, I had a great interview with frontman Russ Rankin about the new album, so don’t miss that! But back to the topic at hand, this album lived up to every bit of anticipation I had built up for its release. It’s got everything I want from a Good Riddance album and this band hasn’t lost one step in their years. After their “final shows” in 2007, no one was sure they’d ever make a new album. Then, a few short years later, they reemerged with a few shows here and there, but still it didn’t seem like new music was in the future… but here we are! Not only did they release a killer album that landed at the number two spot in my year-end list, but I will be listening to this record for years to come. I’m so happy that a band I love SO much is still able to release such a solid album. Thank you, forever, Good Riddance <3
1. Millencolin – “Trew Brew”
Epitaph Records, released 04.28.2015
Since this record dropped back in April, I was pretty confident it would land the number one spot in my top 10 albums of the year list. Millencolin seems to be an easily forgotten band since they don’t make their presence [lately] very known in the United States. In fact, I saw them play in Hollywood back in September and it was the band’s first US tour since over six years. At that show, I interviewed the band about Trew Brew so be sure not to miss it! It seems many Millencolin fans weren’t even aware of their new album, which isn’t surprising since they haven’t released a new album in over seven years. While this record sounds a bit different than a typical Millencolin album, it shows the band has developed a sound that is still rad as fuck and from start to finish, you’ll want to sing along. If you missed my album review of Trew Brew, feel free to go back and check it out.
Don’t miss some of the PWV staff picks for their top 10 albums of the year!
Olly Hanks – Staff Photographer
10. Great American Ghost – “Everyone Leaves”
9. Thy Art Is Murder – “Holy War”
8. Hundredth – “Free”
7. Stick To Your Guns – “Disobedient”
6. Atreyu – “Long Live”
5. Beach Slang – “The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us”
4. Superheaven – “Ours Is Chrome”
3. Teenage Bottlerocket – “Tales From Wyoming”
2. Bad Cop Bad Cop – “Not Sorry”
1. Turnstile – “Nonstop Feeling”
John Paul Allen – Staff Photographer
10. The Exhausts – “Leave the Suburbs”
9. Dwarves – “Radio Free”
8. Woozy – “Blistered”
7. Good Riddance – “Peace in our Time”
6. War On Women – “War On Women”
5. Dwarves – “Gentleman Blag”
4. The Flatliners – “Division of Spoils”
3. Leftöver Crack – “Constructs of the State”
2. Teenage Bottlerocket – “Tales From Wyoming”
1. PEARS – “Letters to Memaw”
If you’re curious to see what the previous lists looked like, check out Top 10 Albums of 2014, Top 10 Albums of 2013, Top 10 Albums of 2012 and the first PWV top 10 list year-end list, the Top 10 Albums of 2011.