Best Albums of 2019

This hasn’t been my favorite year for punk albums. The past few years have been really hard to beat in comparison. We will still shine some much-needed light on the albums that did break through the competition in 2019.

This definitely has been the year of awesome concert tours. Most of my music listening has been in venues and not in headphones. I firmly believe the local Austin scene has been very active with releases this year and my top favorites are below. Also, check out the Spotify playlist with all the artists listed below and then some!

Top Picks of 2019

Pup: Morid Stuffpup_morbid_stuff

This was a much-anticipated album for Pup and I have to say it didn’t disappoint.  It gave off a lot of the angsty fed up vibes which was the theme of 2019. They are touring into 2020, which I am looking forward to seeing this album live.

Favorite Tracks: “Kids” and “Morbid Stuff”

The Menzingers: Hello Exilea0671515294_10

I will never understand how The Menzingers became one of my favorite bands. I felt like some weird music inception happened in my sleep and now I am obsessed with every album they put out. This is a great release for this year. Personally, After the Party and On the Impossible Past were perfect albums in my opinion. Hello Exile is my third-place choice, which isn’t a bad place to be. This is still a very memorable album and worth the listen.

Favorite Tracks: “Anna” and ” America (You’re Freaking Me Out)”

Bad Religion: Age of Unreasonbad-religion-age-of-unreason-1556896181-720x536

2019 definitely needed a Bad Religion album to get us through the year. This album is a good mix of what Bad Religion does best with some fun new tricks. What I like most about this album is that they didn’t take themselves too seriously and it seems like a natural progression for this band.

Favorite Tracks: “My Sanity”, “Chaos From Within”, “What Tomorrow Brings”

Lagwagon: Railerlagwagon-railer

This album definitely wins my favorite cover for the year. Lagwagon has a great way of nailing their album covers which really speaks to the overall theme of each one. They open this album with the important question “what’s another word for fuck?'” Which ultimately makes you want to find out more. I really loved the last album Hang due to it being a heavier side of Lagwagon. I feel this album is a good mix of heavy sound, sad Joey Cape lyrics, and the clever sides of Lagwagon as a whole.

Favorite Tracks: “Surviving California” and “Bubble”

Strung Out: Songs of Amor and DevotionSO_Armor_Fat112_3000pxl_2000x

Strung Out was one of the top shows I went to this year and where they debuted this album. As a band who has an extensive discography, this album holds up among them. There were tracks that I clung to more than others on this album but whenever Strung Out creates a great song it is truly a master class within itself.

Favorite Tracks: “Under the Western Sky” and ” Ulysses”

Amyl and the Sniffers: Amyl and the Sniffersa3824714544_10

Amyl and the Sniffers are all the things I love about the classic punk sound. It is in your face and has simple yet very clever lyrics that are fun to sing along to. This is their debut album and I hope they do some more touring stateside. I don’t know what is happening in the Australia punk scene this year but I am ready for more of it in 2020 for sure.

Favorite Tracks: “Cup of Destiny” and “Got You”

Clowns: Nature/Nurturea3139792815_10Clowns were exactly the band I felt I was missing in my life.  Clowns/Mean Jeans/ Teenage Bottle Rocket was hands down the best tour of 2019. This album is hauntingly beautiful and raw. It is in your face and is here to shake up what you think about the punk genre.

Favorite Tracks:  “Freezing in the Sun” and ” Bland is the New Black”

Teenage BottleRocket: Stay Rad

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Teenage Bottle Rocket puts out albums at an almost Prince level pace. Luckily this one didn’t slip under my radar which has happened in the past. The video for “I Wanna Be a Dog” was a great promo and introduction to the album. Like I said before, this tour couldn’t have been a better combination to support this rad album.

Favorite tracks: ” I Wanna Be a Dog” and “Anti-Social Media”

Millencolin: SOS87671_Millencolin.jpg.925x925_q90I sometimes forget how much I love Millencolin until they release a new record. When I listen to this album it is like falling in love all over again with this band. It has the riffs, pop sensibility, and fun that Millencolin encompasses. They have remained golden throughout their years and I will also look forward to every release they put out.

Favorite Tracks: “Sour Days” and “Yanny &Laurel”

 

Pkew Pkew Pkew: Optimal Lifestylea3395329665_10

Pkew Pkew Pkew has the most singable songs in the universe. This album and most of their catalog are about being broke, too old, and restless. Especially when this feeling remains into their older age and realizing that there are no fucks left to give.

Favorite Tracks: “Passed Out” and “Adult Party”

Honorable Mentions:

These albums are not exactly punk albums in a traditional sense but definitely are in the same spirit.

Frank Turner: Tales From No Man’s Land -jx1ztubf-ft_talesfromnml_3000_mainart4

This is a project by Frank Turner was very interesting and fun to follow along this year. If you are into history and the songwriting process, Frank Turner released a podcast that went along with the album release. I thought I knew a decent amount about women’s history but it was interesting to see it through an international lens. I highly recommend listening to this podcast and then the album if you haven’t already

Favorite Tracks: “Lioness” and “Jinny Bingham’s Ghost”

FIDLAR: Almost Freefidlar_almost free

I don’t exactly know how to categorize this band but  I do know that FIDLAR is a way of life. I loved their self titled release so much that I wanted to see if this band would live up to the hype. FIDLAR takes you through all the stages of partying, recovery, and relapsing throughout this album. But just remember, fuck it dog life’s a risk.

Favorite Tracks: “By Myself” and “Alcohol”

Best Local:

The Butts: Nightmare at Area 51a3955632133_10

The opening of this album reminds me of the opening to Rocky Horror Picture Show’s “Science Fiction/Double Feature”, which is epic. This album was definitely on trend this year with the supposed raid of Area 51. I also can stand behind any band that takes on Alex Jones. The theme runs throughout the whole album, which makes it worth listening to all the way to the end.

Favorite Tracks: “Down You Go” and “Alex Jones is One of Them”

Dylan Disaster: Remissiona1635388135_10

Dylan Diaster’s Remission is a much-needed breath of fresh air when it comes to 2019 releases. It’s pure and simple musical tracks with complicated themes of self-discovery and reflection. This album has a sophisticated sound with layers of instruments and guest stars throughout each song. ” Milestone”, which was the single from this album really got me through the rough patches of 2019 and made me optimistic about what was ahead.

Favorite Tracks: “Milestone” and “Sun Came Rising”

Hans Gruber and the Die Hards: Hans Gruber and the Die Hards 2a3759970576_10

If you didn’t get enough of Hans Gruber in the first installment, welcome to the sequel! I am obviously super bias when it comes to my love for this band. The members of Hans Gruber and the Die Hards work really hard at their craft and concepts which are showcased throughout their live performances and albums. Whether it is explaining flat earth theories or making a theme song for the Antique’s roadshow, we are all in on the joke.

Favorite Tracks: “The Ballard of Boro the Man” and  “Real Life Walter White”

Nowherebound: Morning Glory

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What can I say about Nowherebound that hasn’t already been said? It is a supergroup of the best Austin has to offer. There are a lot of layers of vocals, multiple instruments, and musical styles on Mourning Glory. I think this is an album that encompasses hope and unity in a very unique way for a punk album.  I think this is why this particular album made it on several best of the year lists. It was obviously a labor of love.

Favorite Tracks: “Featherfist” and ‘Love to All”

All Opposed: A New Clear Life a1681381460_10

This is album cover is a masterpiece of American life. It is like Norman Rockwell painting that went in a terrible direction. What I love about All Opposed’s A New Clear Life is that it marries street punk elements with the right amount of melodies, which makes their music is very dynamic and enjoyable all around. I am definitely ready for a full-length album from All Opposed in 2020? Stay Tuned.

Favorite tracks: ” A Life Recycled” and ” Plurality”

Pickles: Pickled Remaina0291981595_10

Pickles is a band that I discovered in the beginning in 2019. I am not the biggest folk-punk person but I can’t deny their charm and clever song lyrics. It is the right amount of political consciousness, self-depreciation, and humor. There are a lot of personal touches within the album art and storytelling. I look forward to seeing this band again and what they come up with next.

Favorites: “Hate Mosh” and “An Upbeat Song About Depression”

Sober Daze: The Seasona2148927867_10

This was an album I was looking forward to listening to in 2019. Austin definitely needs more skate punk within its city limits. This album has been a long time coming and years of grinding it out in the Austin punk scene. The Season definitely has skateboard anthems but also covers some deep personal growth. I hope this band continues to do releases in the future because the Austin scene hasn’t been the same since their relocation.

Favorite Tracks: “The Sums of All Beers” and “Seeing Change”

****Happy 2020! Thanks for the constant support for my blog from the punk community around the world. I have many things to share this coming year and look forward to another year of Punk Rock Anthropology.****

Punk In Drublic Craft Beer & Music Festival: Forth Worth

I was super pumped that this tour was even considering coming to Austin. This city has a small but great punk scene, it just doesn’t attract major punk tours like other cities. Unfortunately, there were a lot of sad punks here since the venue decided to pull out of the deal two days before. Whatever your opinion on the matter is, real life happens and everyone lost out on a fun Cinco de Mayo.

Except there was a bit of hope to be had. Let me just start out with why I love punk bands and their devoted fan base. The festival decided that if you lost out on the Austin date that the next tour date was available to ticket holders. They also upped the ante by allowing a free plus one. Did I mention that included a beer tasting as well? If this was some other major label band they would have just refunded the money or rescheduled with some public statement. And yes, there were some issues with tickets and other details. If you were able to take that sweet deal it was definitely worthwhile.

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I was one of the lucky ones from Austin. Plus we got to bring some extra friends that couldn’t afford a ticket or couldn’t make the original date.

The set up was interesting and was at the Panther Island Pavillion park in Fort Worth. You get drink tickets for beer tastings from vendors which set up before the music begins. You get 10 tastings which are equal to about 2 full beers. The selection was half local and half national brewers. It was tough drinking in the hot Texas sun but it was fun hanging out the all the fans before a show. Here’s the lineup:

The first act I caught was the Mad Caddies. I have seen them previously but they are an old favorite. I was excited that they played a couple of new tracks for an album that takes punk songs and makes them ska style. They did a cover of “She” by Green Day which was very fitting for this band. I skipped The Interrupters just because they open for every Hellcat Records tour and I have seen them a thousand times. They are a good band but find them a bit redundant.

The highlight was seeing Bad Religion play Suffer front to back. That is one of the most quintessential punk albums of all time. You could literally see Fat Mike sing the entire album word for word from the side of the stage. That album cover, those lyrics, are absolute perfection every time. They also sprinkled some hits from their vast discography. I honestly have to say they are the highlight of this festival. I think Fat Mike also finds ways to book them on any tour or festival he curates since he feels the same.

 

 

 

NOFX is still NOFX. The small banner and they sometimes can play the songs they write. I think they have an interesting setlist these days. I think they tend to stick to newer albums rather than their hits. I do enjoy First Ditch Effort quite a bit, so this isn’t a bad thing in my opinion. This wasn’t their best set but I am glad that things are on the up and up for NOFX as far as trying new things such as this festival and camp. Here are some highlights from this date and looking forward to September.

 

*** Note from the Editor:

I previously wrote this review before their comments at Punk Rock Bowling in Las Vegas. I was at the festival and will cover the subject in a future piece. Stone Brewery pulled their sponsorship and NOFX was pulled from the remaining festival dates. On their website, they also took off the postponed Austin date.

Festivals: Riot Fest Denver 2016 Day 3

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This is what dreams are made of. Before I die and my life flashes before my eyes, I will see the Misfits in that sequence. Before I get any further, let’s discuss the bands up till this historic moment in music history.

I got there a bit late on this Sunday. It’s day three. Festin’ in the sun and drinking Denver beer is hard. Regardless, I got to catch the last bit of Converge. They are pretty damn awesome. They come to Austin quite a bit and I see them usually on the Fun Fun Fun (RIP) lineup. Shout out to the guy in the crowd doing the best air drumming I have ever seen at the Converge set. Nailed it.img_7004

I finally got to see Murder by Death. They come to Austin a lot too. I also seem to miss them because there is a lot of musical competition in the live music capital as far as shows every night. They were better live then I expected in my head. I love their energy and musicianship. It even started to rain a bit but they kept firing away songs. I really want to see them in Denver again. They usually play at the Stanley Hotel every year. I totally get why this band would do such a crazy thing. I too enjoy the Shining. I hope that is something I can cross off my music bucket list.

The next block of bands was an interesting booking choice for Riot Fest. I don’t think I will ever see this at a festival again. They literally booked two cover bands back to back. I think they did that on purpose to see how people would react. It was pretty funny in my opinion. Chevy Metal is a fun project by Taylor Hawkins while he is not doing the Foo Fighters thing. They are said to be the “ultimate cover band” but I think I have to beg to differ. While Chevy Metal soothes my classic rock soul, they are just not Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. Me First is just so good about taking a song they love and making it their own. They have matching outfits. Their stage banter is worth the price of the ticket alone. Chevy Metal did have Spike Slawson come out and sing a song with them. It was kind of a nice musical break from the regular lineup but I am sure people that were attending Riot Fest will have plenty to say about this booking choice.img_6860

I took a meal break before Bad Religion. I needed all my nutrients for this band. It was the worst wrap I have ever eaten. The food there was mediocre at best. Seriously.

Bad Religion is everything. I don’t think they have casual fans. You are either all in or out. It was a bit rough during their set since it the sun was setting. The fans and band were sweating it out but their set was worth every ounce. They started with my personal favorite “Generator” which got me super hype for the rest of the set. The song “Stranger Than Fiction” has been speaking to me lately since I saw it live. It was also fun to see Fat Mike ambush ” 21st Century (Digital Boy)”. I get that excited when I hear a bad religion song and it is really cool to see other bands have the same reaction. Personally, I think they should have opened for the Misfits. img_6876

The next band was Gogol Bordello. I think they are one of the best live bands out there. When I go to a Gogol Bordello show, I don’t expect to be quiet or have my feet touch the floor the entire show. I kind of bummed that there were no country flags flying around. I think that is what makes this band very unique. They can have this all these people from all over the world, come and dance together. Plus they look like traveling gypsies and have drums. They are such a touring beast of a band. I would also like a new record from them.

At the end of the festival, I was tired. I flew several hours, had no sleep, and lived in the sun. I saw Samhain at Riot Fest a few years ago and that was pretty rad. I was starting to wonder if after all this time and energy, would I go home disappointed? Is this reunion an attempt to recapture a lost moment in time?img_7022

It literally one of the best shows of my life.

Let’s start with the stage. It was spooky. I expect no less. Skulls, pumpkins, devilocks, B-Movies, and Marilyn. All the things we love about the Misfits. The sound was awesome. I heard the Chicago date might have had issues, which was a fear for me. When I saw the Cure the last time I went to Riot Fest, the sound was really awful. I am sure things would have to up to this band’s high standards in order to make this reunion even happen.

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I loved how they did their set list. They did a little bit from each album. I think this was the best strategy for this reunion. When you have a long history and solid albums, this set must be carefully crafted. Here’s the whole list:

  1. Death Comes Ripping
  2. 20 Eyes
  3. I Turned into a Martian
  4. Where Eagles Dare
  5. Mommy, Can I go out and Kill Tonight?
  6. Vampira
  7. All Hell Breaks Loose
  8. Hybrid Moments
  9. Teenagers from Mars
  10. London Dungeon
  11. Earth A.D.
  12. Green Hell
  13. Devilock
  14. Horror Business
  15. We are 138
  16. Hollywood Babylon
  17. Halloween
  18. Die, Die my Darling
  19. Astro Zombies
  20. Skulls
  21. Last Caress
  22. Bullet
  23. She
  24. Night of the Living Dead

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I was going to highlight what songs I lost my shit over but there was way too many. I know I have sung “Skulls” a thousand times over. Usually at a local punk show. This time was so gratifying. The stage changed with every song and album. I loved how they still looked like the ideal of the Misfits. I mean it is hard to take a B movie sci-fi look serious. I honestly loved it. I feel Jerry Only, Doyle, and Dave Lombardo played the part. I felt like nothing had changed since 1977. Danzig did his class leather. I was curious to what angle he was gonna go. He is known for taking himself and his craft too seriously. I was also curious as to how his voice would adapt back to the Misfits’ sound. I have seen him sing in Samhain and Danzig. They are different than the smooth 50’s style voices of the Misfits. Not far off but different none the less. His voice was flawless and didn’t miss a beat. The guitars were buzzy and full of that classic Misfits’ tone. I actually saw Danzig smile and he just laid everything he had out on the table.img_7018

I usually come back from a show and I could at least name one thing that could have been better. I was absolutely speechless. I have talked to several fans and have read countless articles about this reunion. Most people can agree this was an amazing reunion. We thought it would never happen and might have been overdue. People were joking that The Smiths and Fugazi/Minor Threat are the only ones left to reunite. All I can really say about this reunion and festival is that I am a super lucky girl that got to be part of an important moment in punk music history. Here’s hoping for more music from the Misfits and a tour. If you believe the rumors.

*Apologies for the tall video, I am 5’3. The struggle is real at shows*

Punk Rock Festivals 2016: Lineups, Reunions, and Hang Overs

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Photo by Tyson Heder

This time of year, in my opinion, is the beginning of the punk festival season. I think between Punk Rock Bowling and Fest is the prime picking for festivals in the United States. With these amazing lineups and the Misfits reunion, we can all see the money flying out of our bank accounts. Just remember there is no price on memories even if we might black out and forget….

Here is the break down for every major punk lineup in the U.S. and a few international mentions:

Punk Rock Bowling: Las Vegas, NV( May 26-30), Denver, CO (June 2-4), and Ashbury, NJ (June 10-12)

I am VERY biased when I say this is my favorite festival. I have been several times now and it is the quintessential punk rock festival. All the punk kids having fun against the glitzy Las Vegas lights is a sight to be seen. This festival also brings cool and unique club after shows. Did I mention there is a bowling tournament too? With the gambling, pool parties, and karaoke, the fun never stops in this 24-hour festival. This year they are attempting to branch out by having dates in Ashbury and Denver. Here are the lineups for each date:

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Riot Fest: Chicago, IL (Sept. 16-18) and Denver, CO (Sept. 2-4)

Riot Fest REALLY brought the surprise of the year by only announcing the Misfits reunion in their initial band. They didn’t mention any of their other stellar artists and let us just freak out for a moment because hell froze over for a second. Of course, in our heart of hearts, we could see this happening but no one was holding their breath. But it’s happening! I will be there this September to give all the details of this reunion for you guys. This might be my favorite lineup of all the festivals this year. It has such punk gems as Bad Religion, Lagwagon, NOFX, The Aquabats, Against Me!, and Leftover Crack to name just a few. Both lineups are very similar but it depends on how much you want to see certain headliners and old school favorites. They are still announcing more to each lineup so stay tuned:

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Fest 15: Gainesville, FL (Oct. 28-30)

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Fest is on my bucket list of punk festivals to go to before I die. I think it should be on yours as well. Anyone that I have discussed Fest with says that it is a place where new punk bands are made and found. This year is very special since it is an anniversary of the festival. They have a heavy lineup of alumni playing, which makes it harder to decide who you want to see. This is a great problem to have. So cancel all your Halloween plans now and make it out to Fest 15 this year, check out the official lineup below:Image-14-05-2016-at-01.02.jpg

Remember the Punks Fest: San Antonio, TX (October 1, 2016)

A super surprise for the state of Texas. As a punker growing up in Texas, we tend to miss out on bands from the other coasts that can’t afford to tour here often. So when this festival popped up, the internet lit up! I feel the lineup is equal parts street punk, pop punk, and ska. It will be amazing to see Bigwig, Slapshot, The Exploited again since it has been a hot minute. I think this festival will do well since the venues will cater to every kind of punk. I will also be covering this festival since it is in my backyard, which in Texas means a 2-hour drive.

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Fun Fun Fun Fest: Austin, TX (Nov 6-8)

This has been my favorite local festival for many years now. This 10-year festival is uniquely Austin. These festival people love bands such as the Descendents, GWAR, and Fat Wreck bands, and reunions. And don’t forget tacos. I hope this is not the end of the road for this festival since the company has changed owners this past month. It is a great festival that is equal parts electronic, hip-hop, comedy, punk, metal, hardcore, and indie rock. Every year they do a recap video and I think it gives a good depiction of what good times to expect. Fingers crossed for another great year and lineup to come!

Other Honorable Mentions:

Since some of these festivals are overseas or have already happened, here is a quick list of festivals to hit up outside the U.S. Get those passports ready!

Get FESTING in 2016 and feel free to share local festivals within the comments. See you out there!