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.****

Summer 2018: Jawbreaker Reunion Austin

As you can tell from this blog, I love a good reunion show. Jawbreaker is no exception. Austin was lucky enough to get a date added to the reunion tour on July 13, 2018 at the Skyline Theater. Jawbreaker wasn’t always my favorite band. I had to give it several listens. After I started seeing the pattern of the bands that I liked have an affection for Jawbreaker, I started to see the bigger picture.

What also caught my attention was the release of the documentary Don’t Break Down: A Film about Jawbreaker. Seeing all the collective bands and fans of Jawbreaker talk about this moment in time and telling their story of making it brought real light about how life is in a band. Success is defined and showed in different ways. By industry standards, Jawbreaker wasn’t as successful as they wanted. Fans saw something completely different and were hoping for a longer run than they had as a band. Just like any tragic music story, the fallout is the hardest. In the end, the band came to terms and turned it around this year.

In true punk fashion, Riot Fest got a jump on their reunion plans in 2017. Riot Fest has been responsible for hosting a few reunions under their belt and this was no exception. Luckily, this reunion wasn’t short lived and this tour actually happened. At the Austin date, we had local openers Lemuria and A Giant Dog. I definitely believe Lemuria was influenced by a band like Jawbreaker with their introspective lyrics and riffs.

A Giant Dog might be the crown jewel of the current Austin music scene. I am not surprised they opened for sure a high profile show. I am not sure they are completely underneath the umbrella of the punk genre but at the very least you will be entertained by their garage influence.

This was the first show I have seen at this made-up venue. The Long Center is a theatre but doesn’t normally do concerts of this kind. Margin Walker events put on this tour date and built the stage for the Jawbreaker show specifically due to the Mohawk being a smaller more intimate venue in town. It was a cool venue and you could see the whole stage from the hillside. I would like to see this venue set up again for another artist. I would also love to see Jawbreaker again.

Here is the setlist from this date and some videos from this show:

  1. Boxcar
  2. West Bay Invitational
  3. Sea Foam Green
  4. Save Your Generation
  5. Do You Still Hate Me?
  6. Condition Oakland
  7. Chemistry
  8. The Boat Dreams From the Hill
  9. Jet Black
  10. Parabola
  11. Accident Prone
  12. Ache
  13. Sluttering (May 4th)
  14. Housesitter
  15. Kiss the Bottle
  16. Shield Your Eyes

No encore for some weird reason. It was rumored they were going to play Chesterfield King but honestly, it was stupid hot outside so who knows what really happened at the end of the night.