It's finally here! The time of the year where everyone around starts gathering up their "Best Of" lists, and I have racked my brain trying to drum up what were the best albums over the past year that I played endlessly on repeat and couldn't get out of my system? Well, after much deliberating, I've finally compiled my list of the Top 10 albums of the past year. One of the most diverse and deep lists by far, this collection represents what was a diverse and entertaining year for music, with British pop-punk, local Boston indie rock, and even some Swedish indie rock thrown in for good measure that connected from all points of the musical quadrant to discern what truly was the best of the past year. And without further ado, here are my picks for the Top 10 albums of the year:
As It Is - Never Happy, Ever After
As It Is ruled the roost over my musical playlist this past year, and roared its way onto American shores with this elctrifying and riveting collection of tunes. Bringing back the youthful and energetic vibe of early 00's pop-punk, these charming lads wove its way into your collective consciousness with the catchy as hell first single "Dial Tones", then churned along with more creative sparks like "Cheap SHots an Setbacks", and doesn't let up until the very end. The British pop-punk movement is in full swing, and these kings from Brighton, UK are leading the charge. Won't be the last you'll be hearing from these guys for sure!
Today Junior - Ride The Surf
Allston's based indie/dance rock trio Today Junior blew the door open with their sophomore LP "Ride The Surf". The collection finds brothers Mike and Harry O'Toole taking a more laid back approach, with songs geared towards sun and surf, with a little bit of a psychedelic rock flavor that strengths the band's character and resolve. Harry evolves his voice to ways never before thought of, while Mike continues to bang the drums into oblivion, and bring forth a different side of trhe band that is quietly evolving into one of the great joys of the local Boston music scene. Highlights include "Come of Age", the title track, and "Daydrifter".
Jack Romanov - After Ignorance, Before The Start
If you didn't know about Jack Romanov before this year, you definitely felt their presence in one way or another either listening to this album, or seeing their electric stage presence live at one of their local area shows. With varying degrees of progression and the ability to change tempos immediately on a dime, the guys delved deep into creating this sonic masterpiece. Frontman Nick Aikens made sure his voice reached low and found that creative spark, bassist Esteban Cajigas made sure to bear his soul both on record and literally on stage, while drummer Nico Renzulli and guitarist Mike Mirabella rounds out this collective that holds nothing back. Standouts from this one include "EVen The Homeless Have Wifi (And Blue Dreams)", "Summer of Our Life", and "Allycat".
Boy Meets World - Become Someone
Cincinnati based pop-punkers BoyMeetsWorld made it their year with their full length debut that offered up a little something for everyone. Featuring twin brothers Ryan and Craig Sulken, plus older brother Brad and the 2 Drews, the guys made it their year with explosive pop-punk rhythms and a good natured, fun loving sensibility that makes the fans part of the band as well. If you saw them at Warped this past summer, you know how well loved and respected they are by their fanbase, which is only going to grow after this album. My personal favs from this one include "Best You've Ever Had", "Where This Road Leads", and "Feel It In The Air".
All Time Low - Future Hearts
The pop-punk kings from Baltimore continued their musical progression with their latest album titled "Future Hearts". Proving that they're not young kids anymore, All Time Low evolve into a steady powerhouse capable of achieving whatever it is that they see fit, and their fans have grown along with them as well, and still provide that extra spark that puts them at the forefront of the pop-punk scene to this day. There is still hints of that youthful vibe embedded deep within the confines of the album, but with a more mature degree of confidence enstilled within the guys. My favs from this one include "Something's Gotta Give", "Kids In The Dark", and "Runaways".
Four Year Strong - Four Year Strong
Worcester, MA's handsomely bearded punk rockers made another career defining effort with their brand new self-titled album. Four Year Strong have always been known for creating insanely catchy hooks within the intense, pounding and melodic hardcore that is the essence and fiber of their being, and have harbored to develop hard edged sounds that bridges the gap between the two tempos, and creates something that fans seem to go apeshit over. Highlights from this one include "Stolen Credit Card", "Wipe Yourself Off, Man. You Dead", and "Here's To Swimming With Bow Legged Women".
The Foresters - Sun Songs
Emerging from Bethany, CT The Foresters made their mark with their sophomore EP titled "Sun Songs". This trio of immensely talented brothers made the transition from a bunch of kids playing music together, to confident and capable musicians who are starting to come into their own. It's awe inspiring to see their talent develop and flourish right in front of you, and it's only the beginning for this collective who create music styled within the indie rock genre that suits them best. Some tracks for you to discover include "Everything Is Temporary", "Machines", and "Afternoon".
The Royal Concept - Smile EP
If you haven't heard of Stockholm, Sweden's The Royal Concept by now, chances are you certainly will be by the end of this reading. Known for crafting superbly catchy beats across an indie rock spectrum like The Strokes, The Royal Concept crafted this exquisite musical nugget that added a more glossy, pop texture to it without drowning out the superb musicaluty that abounds, and allows the band to evolve and expand their creative boundaries as well. Standouts from this one include "Smile", "Fashion", and "Hurricane".
Me in Capris - For Those Who Think You EP
Local guys Me in Capris burst onto the local scene this past year with their debut EP "For Those Who Think You". The guys come equipped with a string of deep, poignant musical rhythms that have the ability to weave in and out through collective interludes that leave you gasping and yearning for more. Seeing them at Charlie's Kitchen this past September made me well aware of their musical capabilities, and have an under the radar approach that suits them best and are starting to make some rumblings ahead. Great tracks from this odyssey include "Little Faith, A Bit of Romance" , the title track, and "Summer of Scowling".
Twin Berlin - Drowner
Emerging from the basements of Connecticut comes the grunge infused sounds of local favs Twin Berlin. A mainstay on the site over the past few years, the guys emerge refreshed and renewed with a strong sense of musical confidence and wisdom that is just yearning at the seams right here. Matt Lopez and Sean O'Neil are at their musical apex right now, and are looking down from the mountain with some hard edged sounds, and a grittier musical texture that represents their musical lifeblood. Some standout ones from this effort include "Nate's Volvo", "Longing For The Sun" and "My Baby".