5. The Wonder Years – Suburbia I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing
Deemed one of the best pop-punk albums of all time by yours truly, The Wonder Years’ critically acclaimed Suburbia I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing served as a fantastic follow-up to the widely successful The Upsides in 2010 and showcased band’s growth as musicians as well as people. Dan “Soupy” Campbell’s lyrics are as relatable and heartfelt as ever and Mike Kennedy delivers one of…no, the best drum performance of the year, which is enough to land Suburbia in my top five.
4. La Dispute – Wildlife
Love them or hate them, La Dispute are undoubtedly talented. Their new full-length Wildlife demonstrates that pretty well. Jordan Dreyer’s winding, overwrought wordplay is always a joy to listen to, and it always amazes me how well the rest of the band is in sync with his storytelling. The music behind the words of Wildlife captivate and awe just as much as the lyrics, and that’s all that is needed to be said about La Dispute.
3. Balance & Composure – Separation
To be honest, when I first spun Separation this summer, I had not previously heard anything from Balance & Composure, and I honestly didn’t care for the album. Boy, was I wrong. Separation is a breath of fresh air in this increasingly redundant music scene. Jon Simmons’ vocal performance on Separation is one of the most passionate of the year, and the rest of the band’s talent of transitioning from hard-hitting post-hardcore to well-structured emo makes for an exciting listen each time.
2. Thursday – No Devolucion
It was incredibly difficult to put Thursday’s glorious masterpiece No Devolución as my number two album this year given the circumstances of their heartbreaking hiatus, but the number two spot is still a valiant position to hold. With airy, atmospheric instrumentation coupled with Geoff Rickly’s best vocal performance of his career, No Devolución is Thursday going out with a bang and it should find a place on everyone’s Album of the Year list this year.
1. Transit – Listen & Forgive
Transit separated themselves from all of their pop-punk counterparts with their 2011 release and Rise Records debut Listen & Forgive. Maturity and poise are two of the most definite terms that Listen & Forgive can be identified by. Joe Boynton’s vocal delivery is the best I’ve heard in years and the guitar work of Tim Landers and new member Torre Cioffi runs circles around many of the other guitarists to release material this year. Throw in an incredibly solid rhythm section and a plethora of fantastic one-liners from Boynton and you have my Album of the Year.
Biggest Surprise: A Loss For Words – No Sanctuary
With nothing but a mediocre full-length and a merely ok cover album in their past, it was shocking to see the amount of growth and maturity featured on No Sanctuary.
Biggest Disappointment: This Time Next Year – Drop Out of Life
Best Live Show: Enter Shikari
I saw Enter Shikari twice this year and each time they were energetic, quirky and downright hilarious. My most recommended band to see live.
Most Anticipated of 2012: The Early November
The attitude that The Early November has going into recording their first album in five years has me beyond excited to hear the result.
Listen to my year end Spotify playlist here