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
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”
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)”
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”
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 Devotion
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 Sniffers
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/NurtureClowns 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
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: SOSI 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 Lifestyle
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”
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
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”
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”
The Butts: Nightmare at Area 51
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 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 2
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”
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”
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 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”
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.****