Top Ten 2015

Top Ten 2015

As 2015 draws to a close, the staff here at FtLP has gathered their favorite LPs, EPs, songs, photos and memories to bring you the best of the year.

We also want to say thank you to our readers as well as the bands, songwriters, labels, promoters and more who support us. Without that support, we’d be just a bunch of over-enthusiastic jerkwads on our couches blathering off into the cyber unknown.

FtLP Contributor Top Ten 2015

Brad Petrik - Contributor and Photographer - Chicago, IL

Brad Petrik - Contributor and Photographer - Chicago, IL

I tried my best to break out of my comfort zone this year. I had become too frustrated with the music in my little sphere that I was letting it affect how much I enjoyed music. This meant listening to less, going to fewer concerts, and being much more selective than I once was. This helped me find more music that I love while no longer being grounded in a culture I don’t know I fit into anymore. While my top albums list doesn’t necessarily reflect the variety of music I enjoyed this year, it’s definitely more varied than a previous version of me would have made.

1.Beach SlangThe Things We Do… (Poly Vinyl Records and Dead Broke Rekerds)
Holy shit, I still can’t believe that they hit the ground running like this. I caught Beach Slang at Riot Fest Chicago before Have Mercy and really enjoyed my impromptu introduction to the band. I instantly fell in love with this album, pulling from all the bands I love like The Gaslight Anthem and The Lawrence Arms, and the band. Knowing that this is only the first album of many makes it more exciting to hear where Beach Slang goes next.

2. No DevotionPermanence (Collect Records)
I’ve always been a huge fan of Thursday and anything Geoff touches. Once I found out that he was starting a new band with the screwed-over members of Lostprophets I knew I would be interested. I didn’t expect such great work from them right out of the gate. No Devotion is this current wave’s Joy Division. Permanence is a great follow-up to Thursday’s final album No Devolucion, making for a great one-two of heartbreak and new found love.

3. DesaparecidosPayola (Epitaph)
There’s nothing like 13 years between albums to remind you how great a band is. Desaparecidos released a banger of an album dragging every negative in the current socioeconomic state of the United States through the mud. I would love to hear more from them on recent events to fuel my angst and get me back out in the protests.

4. FoxingDealer (Triple Crown Records)
I initially wasn’t a big fan of this album when I first heard it. It felt like Foxing was trying too hard to be what everyone expected – the next Manchester Orchestra or Brand New – and had cut themselves short. In retrospect, I was the one unfairly pigeonholing them and didn’t give the album a chance. It’s a great album that stands out amongst the current wave of bands.

5. PentimentoI, No Longer (Bad Timing Records)
I was reluctant to listen to this album. I had grown increasingly tired of the whiny pop-punk that is seemingly more popular than ever and Penitmento had fallen into that category for me. It also brought the potential of bringing up some memories I didn’t want to unearth but, thankfully, the band didn’t do either with I, No Longer. It’s great to hear a band that knows they’ve become lost in the noise and become something better.

6. Mayday ParadeBlack Lines (Fearless)
I’m a sucker for pop-rock at moments and this album shows that Mayday Parade isn’t that anymore. They grew up, dropped the saccharine-sweet hooks for a grown-up, sad but angry album. I couldn’t stop playing it this fall.

7.Pet SymmetryPets Hounds (Asian Man Records)
Who doesn’t love three guys in glasses writing pop-rock? I’ve always been a fan and it’s great to have a whole album worth of material to listen to. It’s simply a great, straightforward album.

8. Diamond YouthNothing Matters (Topshelf Records)
Much like Pet Symmetry, it’s great to have a whole album of material for Diamond Youth. I already knew this band was great with their EPs and a full-length confirmed it again. Surf rock at it’s finest.

9. Hop AlongPainted Shut (Saddle Creek)
Hop Along will forever hold a place in my heart. This lo-fi indie band has an energy that you don’t find in many bands. They’re leading the way for a branch of indie rock that punks will fall in love with. It’s exactly what I needed to get into the indie music scene and feel comfortable, which I definitely have not before I found acts like Hop Along.

10. CHVRCHESEvery Open Eye (Virgin/Glassnote)
Again, I’m a sucker for some good pop. CHVRCHES is one of those guilty pleasures that continually puts out great music that I can’t stop playing. Their mentality is definitely punk rock so that’s something, right?

 

Brad’s FtLP Profile

Damon Workman - Contributor - Las Vegas, NV

Damon Workman - Contributor - Las Vegas, NV

Jeez could it be a tougher year? It was so easy to find fantastic music this year that it really is as one friend says “a golden age” for punk. So in no particular order here we go:

Caskitt This Machine Kills Sadness (La Escalera Records)
Seriously this album would be up here if every song but the title track sucked, it’s truly that good. Lucky for us they don’t. Just great songwriting from start to finish.

Western SettingsYes It Is (Dying Scene Records)
Much like their San Diego brethren in Caskitt, these guys came up with an album you could throw on repeat for a week at a time and find no flaw.

CastoffLines and Passages (Morning Wood Records / Bird Attack Records)
Is it skate punk? Hardcore? Old school? Do labels even matter when songs are this tight? This is a band that really should get a lot more love and it should start with you.

Sic Waiting Derailer (Felony Records)
I call it skate punk for adults, and I stand by that. These guys write some of the best lyrics surrounded by the sweetest riffs around. Perfect to skate to, smart enough to just sit and listen.

Allout HelterRuins (Self released)
When Ross Hostage screams “Crawl outta holes / Climb outta basements and / Take your first steps out into the wasteland” you fucking listen. Another band that really should get more attention.

Playing DeadTransient (Saint Elsewhere Records)
So friggen good. Imagine if 10 years ago all those emo bands you loved kept writing smart, adult-oriented songs.

SuccessRadio Recovery (Red Scare)
Another start to finish killer album. Remember when albums used to have three great tracks and then filler? Yeah, apparently the guys in Success hated that idea.

Break AnchorIn A Van By The River (Paper + Plastick)
Equal parts upbeat fun and socio-political point of view this is one of the best things you’ll listen to.

SpraynardMable (Jade Tree)
The guys in Spraynard did it again. They’ve crafted an album of pure fun and yes Pat does kinda remind one of Kevin from the Office.

The Penske FileBurn Into The Earth (A-F Records / Stomp Records)
I shouldn’t even have to tell you why I love this album.

The LippiesThe Lippies (Self- released)
Just an all around great band out of Grand Rapids, Michigan that should definitely turn some heads

Brent LovedayComedown from the Comedown (Self released)
This one is a little different than the other offerings on my list, and in a really good way. This is an album my Dad and I can listen to and enjoy together.

Eli Whitney and The Sound MachineTiny Refuge (Self released)
An EP that has you wishing it was full length….or double album.

Jeff RosenstockWe Cool? (SideOneDummy Records / Quote Unquote Records)
There’s a reason everyone loves this guy. One listen to this and you’ll know exactly what that reason is.

Tartar ControlWe Forgive You Mormon Hardcore (Self released)
No kidding, these guys are one of the most exciting bands you will ever see live. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll hug and you’ll mosh like the rapture is coming

It was suggested that we post some great stuff from local offerings. My town has just a ridiculous amount of talent, so here’s a few of the best releases out of Sin City this year:

Franks and DeansHow’d You All Get In My Room (SquidHat Records)
You kinda have to love when crazy talented musicians get together to do fun cover versions of 40s and 50s crooner favorites.

New Cold War/ SvetlanasSplit – (SquidHat Records)
Two new tracks from these guys until the next full length will have to suffice!

Guilty By AssociationComing Home (SquidHat Records)
Good, solid punk rock made by guys who love good, solid punk rock.

Pet TigersShort Leash (Sphynx and Minx Records)
This pair really defies/defines what punk is. They have a unique sound and a die-hard work ethic making them one of the most exciting acts in town.

War Called HomeGhosts (Self released)
Punk from Sin City, nuff said.

Damnit JimsNever Die (SquidHat Records)
Talented friends getting together for fun and making some fantastic tunes in the process. A great first offering!

Eliza BattleCheers to That (Self released)
Unique is the word that comes to mind when thinking of these folks. A group of punks who loved outlaw country and southern rock wanted to create something new. And what they have created is just fan-friggin-tastic.

Lawnmower Death RidersDeadgrass (Self released)
Bluegrass – punk hybridy goodness!

I’m sure I’m missing some folks and for that I apologize. It was an amazing year for shows and albums and music in general. A lot of highs and some crippling lows, into 2016 we go. Remember what this year taught us: be sweet to each other. Shut up, get rad.

Damon’s FtLP Profile

Jackie Wilding - Contributor - Denver, CO

Jackie Wilding - Contributor - Denver, CO

1. Elway Better Whenever (Red Scare)
Not only is this my favorite record of the year, but I feel like it may be one of my favorite records ever. Every song on it is amazing and shows so much growth in Elway as a band.

2. Beach SlangThe Things We Do… (Poly Vinyl Records and Dead Broke Rekerds)
This record is very important and says a lot of things I could never find the words to say. They were also a band I didn’t “get” until earlier this year after trying, but damn, has that changed.

3. TimesharesAlready Dead (SideOneDummy Records)
I’m not sure how Timeshares managed to stay off of my radar for so long. I received this record from my Side One Dummy record subscription, and I fell in love with it instantly. I’ve probably talked about this album more than any other this year.

4. War On WomenWar on Women (Bridge Nine Records)
I remember the first time I saw War on Women play. The whole time, I was just thinking, “What is happening right now and why is it so amazing?” This album just reinforces my initial impression: this band is amazing. They’re different than what I normally find myself listening to, but I think that speaks even more to the strength of this record.

5. Western SettingsYes It Is (Dying Scene Records)
Not only is this record incredible, but the people who made it are, too. Western Settings is definitely a band to watch; you can’t ignore talent like that.

6-10. Because there were so many amazing full-length records this year, I decided to just make a set top five list. Every record I heard this year was beautiful, but I also didn’t listen to nearly as many albums as I would have liked to this year; there’s just too much good stuff out there. So, in no particular order, here are five other albums that I absolutely loved this year:

The Stupid DaikiniEverything is Fine (Self released)
This album is incredible, but I don’t need to tell you that. You need to listen to it. What this group has created is so raw, emotional, and important, you’re only hurting yourself if you don’t give it a listen.

Caskitt This Machine Kills Sadness (La Escalera Records)
I’d like to reiterate what I said about Western Settings: Caskitt are the best dudes and make some of the best music.

Oh My Snare!Høyeste Gang (Say-10 Records / Sick Scene Productions / Fireworks Collective)
If you want to know what I think about this record, read the review I wrote about it!

SpraynardMable (Jade Tree)
Spraynard are a fantastic band made up of fantastic dudes. This album did what they do best – it made me have a lot of emotions.

Pet SymmetryPets Hounds (Asian Man Records)
I’m a huge fan of anything that Evan Weiss touches, so naturally, I thought this was a wonderful album. The line, “I spent the last year motivating everyone else / When I should have been motivating myself” hits a little too close to home.

 

Jackie’s FtLP Profile

Jay Caption - Contributor - Calgary, Alberta

Jay Caption - Contributor - Calgary, Alberta

2015 was ripe with excellent releases. Pinpointing who should be on this list was a little bit of a task. BUT… Nevertheless, here are who I felt were the top contenders this year:

5. Yotam Ben HorinCalifornia Sounds  (Hardline Entertainment)
Hailing from the other side of the world from Israel, Yotam puts together some of his best songwriting skills outside of Useless ID with this acoustic album full of sing alongs and cleverly written tunes. I felt that what stands out with this album was Yotam’s skill to incorporate lyrical ability and musical variety seamlessly. The songs are diverse in nature, and full of personal reflection. Whereas songs like “Platonic” and “Silver And Gold” are robust with feeling and honest close to the chest emotion, you have the ever catchy “Catastrophe” and “Days of Living”. Enjoyable to listen to, powerful in meaning, California Sounds is an album not to be overlooked by anybody in search of great music.

4.  SplitfistStraight Outta Halton (We Are Triumphant)
There is something to be said for bands who can find a fresh approach when it comes to a genre that can at times get lost in the weeds of sub par musicianship. Splitfist breaks through the common stereotypes of the punk rock world with their own brand of Canadian punk rock tunes. A mixture of raw, gritty lyricism with well placed vocal and instrumental harmonies, Splitfist makes a mark on the scene with this year’s release of Straight Outta Halton. Blending elements of traditional rock and fun punk music, the EP is solid, and exciting to listen to. “Not Reminiscing” is an excellent tune, in my opinion one of the best tracks off this release. Straight Outta Halton is a refreshing change of pace from the often politically driven themes that characterize a lot of punk rock these days. These boys are no doubt on their way to many more well written releases in their career.

3. Good Riddance – Peace in Our Time (Fat Wreck Chords)
So Cal Punk Rock veterans Good Riddance have kicked down the door with this latest release earlier this year. Right from the start, we have “Disputatio” which kicks off the album with an energetic blast, wasting no time in setting the precedent for the rest of the album. “Grace and Virtue” makes waves with a fun harmonious tone throughout that I felt was a great change up for this fast paced record. There are so many sing along moments in this album, it’s hard to pinpoint just one song to recommend. For those who have not heard this album yet, I would caution to not expect just another regurgitated effort from the boys in Good Riddance. Of course, familiar tones run throughout the album from previous releases, however where Peace in Our Time you can truly hear the passion that this album was composed with. Pleasing to fans old and new, Peace in Our Time is sure to make the “Play on Repeat” list in anyone’s repertoire.

2.  Strung OutTransmission Alpha Delta (Fat Wreck Chords)
In listening to several different records and deciding on this top 5 list, I felt that Strung Out had to be part of it. Transmission Alpha Delta is the 8th full length studio from the boys, and it is, to the very core, a work of art. The record is a robust mixture of past and present formula’s for Strung Out, and in my opinion is one of 2015’s highlights in the music industry. Not only is this album a display of excellence within the punk rock scene, but I really feel that with Transmission Alpha Delta Strung Out has successfully broadened their musician boundaries to different areas of rock and roll. Obviously, the chords played by guitar smith’s Jake Kiley and Rob Ramos carry the punk rock feel throughout the record, however you also feel as if you are being exposed to a new level of music with this Album. Not to be left out are the technical styles in bassline performance by Chris Aiken and orchestra like percussion demonstrated by Jordan Burns. Fan favourites like “Spanish Days” and “Westcoasttrendkill” are superb in displaying the versatility as musicians that Strung Out have so clearly achieved by putting together Transmission Alpha Delta. I have long awaited for a release by Strung Out to captivate me since their release of Exile In Oblivion, I would say that Transmission Alpha Delta has not only done that for me, but for thousands of fans worldwide. A solidly crafted album, this is one to enjoy over and over.

1.  MillencolinTrue Brew (Epitaph Records)
Personally I feel that to find an album to fall in love with right from first listen is a rare thing. In True to form fashion, Millencolin delivers a “love at first listen” with this masterpiece. True Brew, released earlier in 2015, is an epic endeavor from Millencolin, paving a new era for the Swedish rockers. True Brew is a comeback album in the best way for Millencolin. Carrying a slightly more political tone than previous records, True Brew still delivers a different brand of punk rock, emanating an honest back to roots for the band. That may in a sense seem like a contradicting statement, but Millencolin has always been known for catchy, upbeat, fun rock music. I felt that MACHINE 15 was in a way, not really Millencolin throughout. However, True Brew is all around the full Millencolin experience we have been waiting for the last 7 years. Fun, empowering, full of melody, True Brew is a tremendously well written record that stands all on it’s own and brings back the awesome raw energy we all fell in love with when they first appeared on the scene. Showcasing some of the best music Millencolin has released, songs “Chameleon” and the title track “True Brew” are sure to catch the attention of all who have a chance to listen. Add to that the anthem like songs such as “Bring me Home” and “Something I would die for” and you can see that True Brew is a melting pot of musicality in an honest way. Appreciatively, True Brew highlights that the boys have not yet packed it in and are ready to have a hellava good time making more music, and bringing it to your hometown when on tour. Back in action, Millencolin’s True Brew is guaranteed to delight one and all.

Jay’s FtLP Profile

Johnny Wilson - Founder, Editor In Chief - Denver, CO

Johnny Wilson - Founder, Editor In Chief - Denver, CO

This year was one of the first years in my life that pretty much all I listened to was records from friends. It’s not like this year was somehow the first year friends sent me music by any means, but the fact is, they all put out amazing LP’s / EP’s that I just couldn’t put down. So it’s not like I’m just sitting here mentioning my friends out of some place that isn’t warranted. 2015 was just the year of the buddies and I am so absolutely happy for all of them. So much so that I actually paid for most of this stuff to get vinyl!

I really couldn’t keep this down to ten because some of those outside the buddy list were listened to a lot as well. Also I’m not going to sit here and explain / give reviews to all these albums. My hope is that if there’s anyone that gives a shit about what I like will also check out these records. Isn’t that why we do this?

LPs:

Break AnchorVan Down By The River (Paper + Plastick)
Russian Girlfriends –  All Around (Self Released)
Red City RadioS/T (Staples Records)
DwayneS/T (Paper + Plastick)
Head InjuriesBail (Self Released)
Bud Bronson and the Good TimersFantasy Machine (Greater Than Collective)
MidrakeS/T (Monster Zero Records)
Poor Me.Cosplay (Self Released)
Joy Subtraction – Hate Will Keep Us Together (Sailor Records)
Tenement – Predatory Headlights (Don Giovanni Records)
Civil War RustHelp Wanted (Self Released)
SpraynardMable (Jade Tree)
Leftover CrackConstructs Of The State (Fat Wreck Chords)
Wonk UnitFeel The Wonkness (Drunken Sailor Records)

EPs / Comps.:

The Sound CollapseStagger, Stagger, Crawl (Self Released)
The FlatlinersDivisions Of Spoils (Fat Wreck Chords) [this plays like a proper record]
Allout HelterRuins (Self Released)
PEARSLetters To Memaw (Fat Wreck Chords)
Brutal Youth – Bottoming Out (Paper + Plastick)
Pitch Perfect II Soundtrack

 

Johnny’s FtLP Profile

JoJo King - Contributor - Denver, CO

JoJo King - Contributor - Denver, CO

Top 10 of 2015

Break AnchorIn A Van By The River (Paper + Plastick)
If the reference to Chris Farley’s memorable Matt Foley character from SNL isn’t enough to sell you, opening track “First World Problems” will be. Every track is to itself and though influences from East Bay punk can be drawn, Break Anchor does not lose their Midwestern touch. In short, it’s an incredible album.

Red City RadioRed City Radio (Staple Records)
Watcha Got? So the OKC-based punkers went through some lineup changes – well one – but it wasn’t felt as much as anticipated with Garret Dale still helming vocals, the rest of the band seemed very well in tact. As a whole, I can’t say I like the self-titles as much as 2013’s Titles, but it contains my two favorite RCR tracks “Pretend Kings”  and “…I’ll Catch a Ride.”

toyGuitar – In This Mess – (Fat Wreck Chords)
Jack Dalrymple has his hands in a lot of projects, and why not? With that kind of talent, I wouldn’t stop creating either. In This Mess allows nostalgia to roam free with its solid Lo-fi production value. Now, where’s that Dead To Me release I’ve been hearing so much about?

Darius KoskiSisu (Fat Wreck Chords)
Speaking of Swingin’ Utters, how fucking awesome – can I say fucking? – is Darius Koski? Though a “debut” album from Darius, Sisu is made up of songs that Darius, by his own admission, had been sitting on for 25 years looking for an outlet. Now older and not really giving a shit what people think about him secretly tapping his glockenspiel in his basement (not a euphemism), Darius has that outlet and we are fortunate enough to finally have it our disposal. If you haven’t heard this one yet, get on it.

Teenage BottlerocketTales From Wyoming (Rise Records)
The pop-punk sound can be fleeting and repetitive at times, but that hasn’t happened to Teenage Bottlerocket. They proved capable of making a label switch and producing a standout record. “They Call Me Steve” is a satirical revelation. Whatever happens next for the band, there is no questioning how complete this album is.

Good Riddance – Peace in Our Time (Fat Wreck Chords)
After eight years, the Santa Cruz punkers return to remind us of why we got hooked on that Fat Wreck sound in the first place. “Disputatio”, “No Greater Fight”, “Dry Season” and “Washed Away” all conjure memories of the traditional Good Riddance sound from the 90s.

Anti-FlagAmerican Spring (Spinefarm Records)
A band with a catalog as large as A-F has a lot to prove with a new album. Punks are pretty fickle. We hold on to what we know from our favorite artists and tend to ignore or lambast the new shit. American Springs is pretty fucking hard to ignore. It’s the band’s most complete album since 2006’s For Blood And Empire (Complete Control Sessions notwithstanding) and is a necessity for A-F fans.

Sic WaitingDerailer (Felony Records)
I love Oceanside. That has nothing to do with this album, but the surf there is actually alright and fairly vacant the right time of year and day. Jared Stinson has a pretty infectious voice (bastard) and he puts it on full display in Derailer. What I enjoy most, however, are the lively solos from Anthony Ciandella.

DwayneS/T (Paper + Plastick)
A force majeure of eclectic sound and style, Dwayne’s debut is difficult to label but easy to describe: awesome. “Be With Me”, suggests traditional up-tempo pop-punk, while “Catch and Release”, “Low Expectations” and “Can’t Keep up With You” all differ from anything traditional. Good year for Paper + Plastick.

Damnit JimsNever Die (SquidHat Records)
I don’t usually include EPs in this space, but wholly shit how can you not love The Damnit Jims? It’s a flashback to everything that made me who I am. It’s a choral atmosphere that brings to mind broken boards, tattered jeans (that were purchased un-tattered) and Katie Sumner. I wouldn’t have given this a listen if not for Damon Workman’s glowing review, so thanks Damon. Is it ok to thank a co-contributor? It is if you end it with fuck you.

Records you also must check out:

Caskitt This Machine Kills Sadness (La Escalera Records)
PEARSLetters To Memaw (Fat Wreck Chords)
G.L.O.S.S. – Demo (Self-released)
Allout Helter
Ruins (Self Released)
Western SettingsYes It Is (Dying Scene Records)
SuccessRadio Recovery (Red Scare)
Bad Cop/Bad CopNot Sorry (Fat Wreck Chords)

 

JoJo’s FtLP Profile

Judd Irish Bradley - Contributor - Kampala, Uganda

Judd Irish Bradley - Contributor - Kampala, Uganda

I like plaid. My taste sucks, but hey here I am. I only pulled off a couple of reviews this year and only a few shows were photographed by me so my top 10 is what I did see.

Top 10 miscellaneous shit in 2015

10.  Russian Girlfriends All Around (Self-released)
It’s still in my rotation, and that says something serious about the album.

9. Stabbed in BackDasvidaniya (Dying Scene Records)
This one is in not only because it’s a good album, but it’s my last chance to give some credit to a great group.

8. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones live at Punk Rock Bowling (Las Vegas) and 9:30 Club (Washington D.C.)
I have seen the Bosstones so many times since the mid 90s and they are just as great now as ever!

7. The BombpopsCan of Worms (Self-released)
Solid punk rock. All that needs to be said.

6. The Lippies live in Las Vegas
Up and coming greatness with a particularly wonderful songwriting style

5. The Lillingtons live in Las Vegas
L.I.L.L.I.N.G.T.O.N.S

4. $wingin’ Utter$ live at Punk Rock Bowling (Las Vegas)
They’re legendary live performances should be a jewel in any concert goer’s crown.

3. The Pietasters live at Ram’s Head Live (Baltimore, MD)
Anyone who knows me knows that The Pietasters were the first opening band I ever saw that completely outshined the HUGE (at the time) headliner. They have never disappointed since. Seeing them west of the Mississippi was always a treat, but nothing compares to the shows in D.C.

2. Dan BernHoody (Kababa Records)
Seem like an odd choice for a FTLP write up? Yep, but when it comes to the DIY work ethic, Dan Bern has it in droves. Bern is the songwriter’s songwriter. If you haven’t picked up one of his recordings, do so. Intelligent music never goes out of style

1. Hub City Stompers Life After Death (Stubborn Records)
Always consistent. Always Dirty. Always Jersey. Always good. Eight years ago Bucket from the Toasters told me to pick their music up and I haven’t regretted it once since then.

I’m giving a special shout to PEARS for their PRB Performance (truly spectacular) and to The Interrupters I saw then this year at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC I don’t know what to say. They’re pretty incredible live and on their tracks. The Interrupters on stage presence can’t be ignored and their album is great.

 

Judd’s FtLP Profile

Kendra Sheetz - Chicago Editor - Chicago, IL

Kendra Sheetz - Chicago Editor - Chicago, IL

Bad Cop/Bad CopNot Sorry (Fat Wreck Chords)
Before this album ever came out, I was sure that it would make my list. However, I had no idea that it would be my #1 most played album of the year. The vocal harmonies are infectiously catchy while never being over the top. I am all 13 songs incarnate. I have been in abusive relationships and helped others out of them. I deal with depression. I love. I loathe. I am a woman who demands to be taken seriously and it’s about time we have punk anthems that incorporate our point of view.
Favorite Track: “Rip You to Shreds”

Dead BarsEmergency & Off the Ground Split (Eager Beaver Records)
Having witnessed Dead Bars play an acoustic set at Fest and having once witnessed John karaoke “Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty, I am sure that there is little that these guys could put out that I wouldn’t love. This two-song seven inch is exactly the fix I needed after the 2014 EP.
Favorite Track: Both. There are only two, guys. Come on.

Braver – Torpor (Self-released)
You know when you go back and listen to the old pop punk albums you loved in your youth, only to find that the lyrics suck and the melodies aren’t nearly as catchy and fun as you recalled? Now imagine if there was a band and album that gave you all that, plus they’re not in their 50s on a reunion tour because they’re strapped for cash. Well, they ARE strapped for cash but not because they drank all their money away. Well, actually… whatever. This album is amazing.
Favorite Track: “Miles to Sleep”

Caskitt This Machine Kills Sadness (La Escalera Records)
These songs won’t save the world, but they’ll save me. Sorry, guys. I HAD to. <3
Favorite Track: “Lackluster”

Western SettingsYes It Is (Dying Scene Records)
The band is melodic without ever taking it over the top. The vocals are gruff but not so much so that they alienate listeners. The music proves the band members’ skills without seeming showy. Yes It Is is a perfect blend of gang vocals, melodic hardcore and pop punk. Plus these dudes took on my dare to post a dick pic during their FtLP Instagram takeover during Fest and got us shut down, so they will forever have my heart.
Favorite Track: “Kicking and Screaming”

Good ShadeBreakfast (Self released)
The album was just released on Dec. 3, so I have not had the chance to fully digest it. However, I know that I am in love with the album as a whole. Full review to come in early 2016!
Favorite Track: TBD

Absolutely Not/Rat HammerSplit (Berserk Records)
I was introduced to Rat Hammer at a DIY space in Chicago. A man dressed in a frilly Prince-style shirt was jumping, sweating, convulsing all while his vocals rotated between practically spitting out the lyrics and ending each line with an entrancing vibrato. SDown the road, Rat Hammer introduced me to Absolutely Not, who are just as amazing and animated live but seem to sweat a lot less.
Favorite Tracks: Rat Hammer – “Rip OFF!”, Absolutely Not – “The Queen” (which is perfect since the bands did a split music video for these songs. You can check that out here!)

Meat WaveDelusion Moon (SideOneDummy Records)
Favorite Track: “Vacation”
This is the sophomore full length from these Chicago natives which stands just as strong as the prior. The band further expounds on their unique sound while carving out a path for others to follow.

Dollar Signs – Yikes (Self released)
This band is everything that is great about punk today as they dish out intelligent, sarcastic laden commentary about everything that is terrible about punk today.
Favorite Track: “I Hope I Don’t Fuck This Up”

SecondariesAlways Like This (Self released)
Picking up where American Lies left off, this band reboot is catchier and tighter than its predecessor. A solid 5 track EP which left me hopeful and wanting more.
Favorite Track: “Full Moon”

Ryan Adams1989 (Taylor Swift Cover Album) (PAX AM Records)
Yeah, that’s right. Fuck you.
Favorite Track: “Style”

2016 releases which I am looking forward to:
Western SettingsOld Pain EP
I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this EP in advance. Guys, if you think their LP was amazing… just you wait!

The RidgelandsThird Times A Harm EP
A fast and solid 6 song EP from a great Blue Island punk band who weighs more on the side of the traditional punk mentality than worrying who may be offended by their actions and lyrics. I can already imagine all the ways that the more PC minded will hate this and I can’t wait!

Dead Bars LP (No Idea)
As I said above, I can never get enough of this band!

The Lippies LP (Red Scare)
I have had their 6 song EP on repeat for some time now and I am excited to see what their new material sounds like.

PEARS LP (Fat Wreck Chords)
I wasn’t a huge fan of the Letters to Memaw EP so I’m intrigued to see what the next full length sounds like after their signing to one of the majors.

Nervous Passenger EPs and LP
Acoustic, electric, self-released, label released, I don’t care. I love this band like this band loves sandwiches.

 

Kendra’s FtLP Profile

Kevin Rettie - Contributor - Oceanside, CA

Kevin Rettie - Contributor - Oceanside, CA

End of the year lists. As much as I love putting them together and remembering all the great music that came out this year, there is only so many ways I can say I liked this album. So here is my list, from singles to seven inches to full length albums, with some examples of my favorite lyrics. Boom. Nailed it.

15. Iron ChicY’s (Dead Broke Rekerds)
“The words come apart/like razor blades in my mouth/cut my tongue upon it/and bled that fucker out”

14. Western AddictionI’m Not the Man I Thought I’d Be (Fat Wreck Chords)
“I’m not the person I thought I’d be/a disappointment to say the least”

13. Dead BarsEmergency b/w Off the Ground (Eager Beaver Records)
“I started shakin’ in my sleep/I’m having a panic attack/this is an emergency/please, you got to help me”

12. PEARSLetters to Memaw (Fat Wreck Chords)
“Driven only by the tide/my darling anhedonia/GIVE ME DEATH!”

11. The Coathangers/Black LipsWatch Your Back/Freedom Fries Split (Suicide Squeeze)
“I’m stuck here/no way out/Back you can never go/back, nope no no”

10. Fools RushWe Have Clementine’s (Bummer Dude! / Pizza Shoe Records)
“Love is a brick/is a broken window/message strapped to it/I’m not upset/I’m not like them”

9. The FlatlinersDivision of Spoils (Fat Wreck Chords)
“Grab me by the throat/you’re hands are freezing cold/and fingernails tear nice and slow you know”

8. Red City RadioRed City Radio (Staple Records)
“You can help help help/you can help me up/and we can try love till it’s not enough/and we can hope and pray that we don’t grow up/but it’s not something that we choose/I got nothing left to lose”

7. Civil War RustHelp Wanted (Self released)
“Goodbye comfort and security/hello cold nights and anxiety/I’ll be sleeping on couches/and drinking myself to sleep”

6. The Stupid DaikiniEverything is Fine (Self released)
“Blood on the mirror/her blood on the floor/now she’ll never hurt us/no, not anymore”

5. Dollar SignsYikes (Self released)
“Now I only love things ironically/because I’m afraid of being taken seriously/I don’t try hard at anything I do/16 year old kids might not think I’m cool”

4. Caskitt This Machine Kills Sadness (La Escalera Records)
“The scratches and bruises will heal/one by one they’ll slowly fade away/but the sound of thunder down those halls/is burned into my memory”

3. Bad Cop/Bad CopNot Sorry (Fat Wreck Chords)
“I’ve been taking myself way to literally/I’m tapping out/need to make some time to listen just for me/nobody else”

2.Western SettingsYes It Is (Dying Scene Records)
“So you’re lost/one day you’ll be found/until then just raise your head/screaming always/I’m not fucking dead”

1. SuccessRadio Recovery (Red Scare)
“I work these hands until they hurt/I drag these legs down through the dirt/I work my back until it burns/to earn my grave/because we work/we work to build our lives into lives that we deserve”

 

Kevin’s FtLP Profile

Krista Gjestland - Managing Editor - Detroit, MI

Krista Gjestland - Managing Editor - Detroit, MI

Break AnchorIn A Van By The River (Paper + Plastick)
With a breadth of socio-political lyrics and a heavy dose of 90s nostalgia, it’s no wonder this record has secured a permanent spot in my regular rotation. They managed to squeeze the entirety of my angsty Midwestern experience into 12 tracks.

Anti-FlagAmerican Spring (Spinefarm Records)
American Spring represented a massive return to form from one of my all-time favorite bands. Explosive hooks and a bigger-than-ever sound are coupled with new lyrical territory making this a standout record for Anti-Flag. FFO: Giving a shit.

The Penske FileBurn Into The Earth (A-F Records / Stomp Records)
I feel silly for only discovering The Penske File this year. And if you haven’t heard this record, you will too. No matter where I am or what I’m doing, their gang vocals and pop sensibilities have me reaching for the nearest can of dad beer to hoist in the air as I sing along.

Red City RadioRed City Radio (Staple Records)
RCR’s follow up to Titles was everything I wanted and more. A major change in the lineup would cause most bands to falter a bit, but their sound only got bigger and better.

Jeff RosenstockWe Cool? (SideOneDummy Records / Quote Unquote Records)
I found this record while I was unemployed and having just a real bummer of a time. Rosenstock’s keen ability to turn complicated feelings of disillusionment and underachievement into catchy, upbeat music is unmatched.

World’s Scariest Police ChasesAdolf Hipster (A-F Records)
You know that guy in your group of friends who takes things just a little too far, but somehow everyone loves? That’s Police Chases. They’re pushing your tolerance for inappropriate behavior and what you’re willing to laugh at.

Pretty GhoulsDead at the Dandy Teen Club (Self released)
I stumbled upon this gem of an EP this summer. Its under produced, raw quality has transcended beyond the (sometimes) sycophantic nature of punk rock. It’s bullshit-free, and if you get a chance to catch this threesome live you’ll be sold on their raw energy, too. “Hey cool girl / You’re not that cool.”

Playoff BeardPlayoff Beard (Between The Days Records)
OK, so I have a thing for Pittsburgh. The first step toward recovery is admitting you have a problem, right? But somehow the Steel City keeps pumping out gritty-ass pop punk and I cannot get enough of it.

The FlatlinersDivision of Spoils (Fat Wreck Chords)
The Flatliners put together a compilation of scraps from previous albums and still made a better record than everyone else. Is there anything these Canadians can’t do extraordinarily well?

 

Krista’s FtLP Profile

Kyle Janis - Contributor - Chicago, IL

Kyle Janis - Contributor - Chicago, IL

2015 felt like a building year, musically. While there were a handful of really standout debut albums, the majority of the ones that stuck out, and stuck around, came from some known names really hitting their stride. But let’s not bullshit with some stupid introduction paragraph where I pretend to know everything about music because first that’s just flat out untrue and second you just came here to read this list. So let’s get to it.

Absolutely Not/Rat HammerSplit (Berserk Records)
It’s amazing that two bands can make so much god damn noise but still put out such a cohesive and addictive split. I know split releases are super punk rawk and all that, but with the exception of a small handful I’ve heard, they are mostly a collector’s item or a dark horse track from a band you already really like. With ‘Split’, Absolutely Not start off with six tracks that immediately make me think back to the manic energy of early Yeah Yeah Yeah’s if Karen O spent a lot of time listening to the Blood Brothers. They combine snarky swagger and explosive bursts of instrumental abuse into something really unique…and manage to make a hell of a lot of noise for a three-piece band. Rat Hammer takes over the back half and delivers 7 cuts of spit flying punk rock. Growling, howling, and fully unhinged they really compliment the spastic nature of the first half of album and do something really rare for split albums, MAKE IT ENTIRELY ENJOYABLE FOR THE WHOLE GOD DAMN THING. And each band covers one of each other’s songs and I always love to hear that, especially from these two.

Standout track(s): “Absolutely Not” – Queen / Rat Hammer – “Go To Work”

Against Me!23 Live Sex Acts (Total Treble)
“A live album can’t be on a top 10 list!! It’s not even new material!” some might say. To them I’d respond with a hearty “fuck you”. If you’ve been paying any attention at all in the past few years, there have been some big changes in the world of Against Me. The kind of turmoil and changeover that is more than enough to sink most acts has only made them stronger…becoming one of, if not the, best live band in punk. 23 Live Sex Acts is a testament to their live chops and the ability to whip a crowd into a frenzy using their oldest staples to newest material. This is a big “fuck you” to anyone who wrote them off after White Crosses or even earlier than that. Take a listen to 2006’s Americans Abroad! then give this a spin and tell me I’m wrong.

Standout track: “Osama Bin Laden as the Crucified Christ”

The BrokedownsLife Is A Breeze (Red Scare)
Yes, I know this came out in 2014. But it was too late to make most lists and it’s too good to be forgotten. If you grew up in the suburbs, this is a must listen album. There is a special ferocity behind The Brokedown’s sound that can only be cultivated in a place like Elgin, Illinois. From front to back, this release lays out everything you could want in a solid punk album. Miserable jobs, fractured relationships, self-loathing, and a general sarcasm presented on driving drum work and guitars with more hooks then Bass Pro Shop. This is the perfect album for drinking a bottle or two of Malort with your friends and putting a hole in the wall. But in a way that has you all laughing your ass off as you immediately try to patch it up and get your security deposit back.

Standout track: “Murder Junkie/CPA”

Dollar Signs – Yikes (Self released)
Everyone, myself very much included, shed a tear when Bomb the Music Industry! threw in towel and we were left wondering what would fill the awkward, angsty hole in our hearts that was patched by albums like Scrambles and Get Warmer. Then Charlotte’s finest put out Yikes and we realized that everything is going to be okay. This is the soundtrack of fighting back an anxiety attack while being out with friends, and your best buddy gives you a knowing look that everything is going to be alright. It’s one of the most relatable albums of the year, with song topics ranging from panic attacks to being over punk to failed relationships to drinking shoe beers at Fest. The first time I heard Yikes I was stopped dead in my tracks and began to question if they had somehow been watching the last year of my life and writing a concept album on it. If you’re a mid-20’s fuck up like myself, this is the release you’ve been waiting for. It’s catchy, it’s smart, it’s perfectly produced and it’s going to be on repeat once you give it a listen.

Standout track: “Try Hard”

Elway Better Whenever (Red Scare)
There’s already been so much written about this album, that I’m not sure if I have anything new to say about it. A step down in production, moving out of Chicago’s Atlas Studios, lead to huge step up in heart. Before I heard his record I had read that Elway felt this to be their favorite release to date and that absolutely devastated me. It put the kind of expectations that you usually can’t get over going a new album from one of your favorite bands. But then it took those expectations and kicked them right in the chest. You can feel the pride that they put into this work and the heart that went into Tim Browne’s lyrics. The title track is hands down my favorite song put out this year, especially when you hear it sandwiched between ‘Albuquerque Low’ and ‘Lunatic Thirties’. Better Whenever will always be an album that came out at just the right time for me personally and hopefully I can buy those Colorado boys an appreciation shot sometime for it.

Standout track: “Better Whenever”

FIDLAR – Too (Mom + Pop Music)
If the first FIDLAR album is the skate punk party of the decade, then Too is the inevitable, unrelenting comedown. Not to say that this is a bummer of an album, in any way, but rather the feeling you get when you’ve burned past the 4 a.m. bar, drank all your roommates booze, and woke up at 8 p.m. the next day wondering what the fuck happened and how the fuck you got there. Coinciding with singer Zac Carper’s stint in rehab for, well, everything under the sun…Too relays the struggle of coming to grips with your crutch, the fallout from those choices, and starting the road to recovery. This cycle is hard enough to go through, let alone when you’re bands only record to date is a party anthem for fucked up punks everywhere. But Carper and FIDLAR attack this lifestyle change with the same ‘over it’ tones that made their 2013 self-titled debut so compelling. A little more poppy and refined, there are still dick kickers like ‘Punks’ (aka ‘The Punks Are Finally Taking Acid’) and sing along gems ’40oz on Repeat’ and ‘Leave Me Alone’, combined with some more complex songs like ‘Overdose’ and ‘Sober’, which is second place to Elway for song of the year. Have an ex who made your attempts at recovery about her/him? Listen to that song and block their Instagram once and for all.

Standout track: Sober

Jeff RosenstockWe Cool? (SideOneDummy Records / Quote Unquote Records)
Oh, Jeff. You beautiful, beautiful bastard. If you read my feelings on Dollar Signs
Yikes, you know just how much I love the music of Jeff Rosenstock. BTMI! meant a lot of things to a lot of us out there and while that incarnation of the Rosenstock musical saga is over, Jeff Rosenstock The Band has given us the theme music to our advancement from 20-somethings to 30-somethings. Dealing with the realities of friends moving away, getting married, buying houses, getting real jobs, and doing the things that take them out of the cycle of shows and nomadic wanderlust that we’re all used to, this album addresses the lonely (‘Beers Alone Again’) and nostalgic (‘You, In Weird Cities’) moments that come when you realize that the party has emptied out and you’re one of the few left in the room. But these downer tones are, like most Rosenstock projects, are layered on top of songs meant to be screamed along to at the front of a stage. It’s that dichotomy that has made his music so endearing for so long. When compared to 2012’s I Look Like Shit, this is a much more cohesive release and what is hopefully a good indication to where Jeff and company are headed from here. Thanks again, for another amazing record to get sad-drunk to.

Standout track: “Polar Bear or Africa”

Pet SymmetryPets Hounds (Asian Man Records)
Let’s start off with this albums cover: the ever darling Chris Farren dressed in a while suit with the droopiest of bloodhounds perched on either side. Definitely one of the top cover art choices this year. Did you also know Pets Hounds could be preordered with a dog bowl option? This speaks volumes for this power pop trio made up from notable Chicago bands like Into it. Over it. and Dowsing, who during live performances look like three Devon Kay’s playing all at once. Incredibly bouncy tunes with song titles each featuring bracketed subtitles, this album puts out foot taping, sunny day tunes that don’t take themselves too seriously. Which is a great change of pace from some of heavy hearted, drearier tones of their respective other projects. My only hope is that they all take the time more time off from those bands to continue releasing music in this vein.

Standout track : “Go Outside (Stare at the Sun)”

Success – Radio Recovery (Red Scare)
HOLY POSITIVITY BATMAN! You might have noticed a theme throughout the other listed albums (fuck ups, bad decisions, and regret) and Radio Recovery is a serious departure from those subjects. These Seattle punks are chalked full of heart and energy, which bleeds through in every note of this stellar Red Scare debut. A perfect record for getting back on the horse and remembering why we live this way and why we do what we do, it pumps you up like a Rocky Balboa montage and makes you want to fight for a better future. One of the downfalls with overly positive bands is that it can sound repetitive or clichéd, but none of that comes through in Success’ music. This record is earnest, endearing and will strike a chord in those who want more out of life. They’ve put their money where their mouth is and have spent so much of this year touring this album and playing anywhere, anytime they can. It doesn’t hurt that they’re some of the nicest dudes you can meet. If you haven’t listened to this album, or seen them live, make it a point.

Standout track: “Head for the Hills”

The Wonder YearsNo Closer To Heaven (Hopeless Records)
Before this album I had written off The Wonder Years, probably unfairly, as a ‘Warped Tour Band’ since my angsty, guilty pleasure phase with ‘The Upsides’ almost five years ago. Then this album happened. It’s a 13-track punch in the gut for any of those who can relate to failing those closest to us or losing the ones we’ve loved. I’d like to say more about ‘No Closer to Heaven’, but it truly is a personal experience for each listener. Head out for a drive around your town and listen to this from front to back. Get sad about it.

Standout track: “A Song for Ernest Hemingway”

 

Kyle’s FtLP Profile

Lauren Mills - Assistant Editor -Port Saint John, FL

Lauren Mills - Assistant Editor -Port Saint John, FL

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain

Full lengths:
Titus Andronicus – The Most Lamentable Tragedy (Merge Records)
DwayneDwayne (Paper + Plastick)
Break AnchorVan Down By The River (Paper + Plastick)
Sic WaitingDerailer (Felony Records)
Motion City SoundtrackPanic Stations (Epitaph)
SpraynardMable (Jade Tree)
Poor MeCosplay (Self-released)
The Penske FileBurn Into The Earth (A-F Records/Stomp Records)
Youth DecayThe Party’s Over (New Damage)
Jeff RosenstockWe Cool? (Quote Unquote/Side One Dummy)
Not ScientistsDestroy to Rebuild (Kicking Records)

EPs:
Deforrestors – Deforesters (Black Numbers)
Assassinate The Scientist – Let’s Talk About Getting Fired (Self-released)
Braver – Torpor (Self-released)
Mansbridge – Mansbridge (My Fingers! My Brain! Records)
Less Deceived – Average Songs About The Best Days Of Our Lives (Disillusioned Records)
Spoilers – Stay Afloat (Brassneck Records)
Allout Helter – Ruins (Self-released)
The Kimberly Steaks – Chemical Imbalance (Round Dog/Don’t Ask)
Eli Whitney & The Sound Machine – Tiny Refuge (Self-released)
PMX Dark Days (Self-released)
Top Bunk – Top Bunk (Bloated Kat Records/Round Dog Records)
Plan 37 Space Junk (My Fingers! My Brain! Records)
The Helltons Dead Wrong (Round Dog Records)
Gutterbird – Speak Easy (Self-released)
Triggers – Prairie Resilient (Self-released)
Grease Thieves – The World This Hour (Self-released)
Safety – Congratulate Me, I’ve Lost My Mind (Community Records)

 

Lauren’s FtLP Profile

Patrick Houdek - Photographer - Chicago, IL

Patrick Houdek - Photographer - Chicago, IL

In 2014 I had photos from 2013, this year I’m adding an 11th band photo plus one of a tree. This list is in chronological order so you just pick your own favorite.

01. PEARS at Brauerhouse, Lombard, Illinois. First time I finally made it out to see the PEARS, I am now a huge fan.

PEARS

02. OFF WITH THEIR HEADS at Brauerhouse, Lombard, Illinois. Off With Their Heads always put on a great show, very happy they brought PEARS along with them. They’d better watch it though, in a few years it might be them opening up for PEARS!

Off With Their Heads

03. MEAT WAVE at Liar’s Club, Chicago, Illinois. For some reason I feel I don’t get the best photos of Meat Wave but I really like this one.

Meat Wave

04. AUTONOMY at Liar’s Club, Chicago, Illinois. I don’t get so see this band play enough, they’d better be at the Lost Cross House 30th Anniversary in October!

Autonomy

05. IRON CHIC at Fizz, Chicago, Illinois. As the photo shows, EVERYONE loves Iron Chic. (If you look closely you can see Kendra Sheetz taking notes about the show.)

Iron Chic

06. RAD PAYOFF at Awesome Fest, Soda Bar, San Diego, California. Jon Olson’s hair makes it hard for me to get good photos of him but when I do…

Rad Payoff

07. THE BOLLWEEVILS at Liar’s Club, Chicago, Illinois.
Daryl Wilson’s hair on the other hand makes it easy for me to get good photos of him!

The Bollweevils

08. THE DAMNED at Riot Fest, Chicago, Illinois.

The Damned

09. RANCID at Riot Fest, Chicago, Illinois. Tim needs to shave, fucking hippie.

Rancid

10. BAD TASTE at The Swamp, Carbondale, Illinois. Back to the basements for me…I’m glad BAD TASTE is there to make it easy.

Bad Taste

11. THE COPYRIGHTS at Hangar 9, Carbondale, Illinois. Come to the Lost Cross House 30th Anniversary in October and you’ll see the most fun show by The Copyrights you’ll ever see.

The Copyrights

12. TREE, Carbondale, Illinois. I look at this tree when I sit on the porch and smoke cigarettes. I like this tree.

Tree

 

Patrick’s FtLP Profile

Ross Hostage - Reviews Editor - Denver, CO

Ross Hostage - Reviews Editor - Denver, CO

1. War On WomenWar on Women (Bridge Nine Records)
2. BraidedveinsBVLP (Self-released)
3. Night BirdsMutiny at Muscle Beach (Fat Wreck Chords)
4. Allison WeissNew Love (SideOneDummy Records)
5. Caskitt This Machine Kills Sadness (La Escalera Records)
6. Jeff RosenstockWe Cool? (SideOneDummy Records / Quote Unquote Records)
7. Not Scientists Destroy to Rebuild (Kicking Records)
8. Western SettingsYes It Is (Dying Scene Records)
9. Sic Waiting Derailer (Felony Records)
10. Civil War RustHelp Wanted (Self released)

 

Ross’ FtLP Profile

Madeline Bridenbaugh - Assistant Editor - Los Angeles, CA

Madeline Bridenbaugh - Assistant Editor - Los Angeles, CA

RadioactivitySilent Kill (Dirtnap Records)
Best record of the year. I don’t even want to talk about it. Denton, TX is where it’s all happening right now.

DarkbusterNo Revolution (Pirates Press Records)

Downtown BoysFull Communism (Don Giovanni Records)
Art as social activism. Rhode Island punks with saxophones.

Civil War RustHelp Wanted (Self released)
Hella dope. Doesn’t even drop for another week from when I am writing this but the demos have been on almost constant rotation in my car this month. And I live in Los Angeles, I spend a lot of time in there.

Royal HeadacheHigh (What’s Your Rupture Recordings)

Beach SlangThe Things We Do… (Poly Vinyl Records and Dead Broke Rekerds)
If there is a community I think deserves special mention right now other than Denton, it has to be Philadelphia, and if you don’t dig this band then we probably aren’t friends. As someone said to me at their Los Angeles show the other night, “Beach Slang is my heart.”

SpraynardMable (Jade Tree)
I definitely did not get the title of this record tattooed on my ankle one night after seeing them play a show in San Diego. Definitely not. But if I did, I was definitely not drunk. And if I did, it was totally worth it.

SpellsBustin’ Out and Back Window + Second Home (Self released)
And while you’re on this “What can make me more jealous of people who live in Denver?” kick, check out Allout Helter’s new EP and the first single from Native Daughters’s ‘Master Manipulator.’

WorriersImaginary Life (Don Giovanni Records)
Nicest humans, and one of the raddest records. Brooklyn.

Frank TurnerPositive Songs for Negative People (Xtra Mile / Interscope)
Songwriting superhuman.

VideoThe Entertainers (Third Man Records)

Western SettingsOld Pain (Unreleased)

The All Brights…Are Wild For The Night (Red Scare)
This EP is (or will be) out on Red Scare. You’ll probably be dying to know where they get their Hawaiian shirts, but the answer is pretty much anywhere in broCal.

Red City RadioRed City Radio (Staple Records)

FIDLAR – Too (Mom + Pop Music)
I don’t really feel the need to explain this because you probably know who FIDLAR is and if you don’t I don’t have any reason to sell a band that already sells out large venues to you.

*The soundtrack of Dope was also pretty dope. If you’re into that kind of thing. Curated by Pharrell. (Columbia Records)

 

Madeline’s FtLP Profile

Zack Jacob - Photographer - Detroit, MI

Zack Jacob - Photographer - Detroit, MI

01. Against Me (Riot Fest Chicago) Laura has a bit of a Cousin It vibe in this shot.

AgainstMe!

02. Andrew WK (Riot Fest Chicago) I’ve seen Andrew WK before, and it’s always a fun time. But you can’t imagine what it’s like when he’s backed by his whole band at the last day of Riot Fest Chicago. NON STOP PARTY!

AndrewWK

03. Anti-Flag (Frankies Toledo) This one is a bit of a twofer. It shows how considerate punks can really be. In the second frame Anti Flag’s bassist, Chris #2 is telling me to put my camera aside so his microphone stand doesn’t hit my lens when he tosses it forward.

Anti Flag

04. Bars of Gold (Fat Guy Fest, Kalamazoo, MI) This was my first time seeing this band, put together by some founding members of local legends Bear Vs Shark. I heard they put on a great show but had no idea what I was getting into with this one. These guys are wild and relish interaction with enthusiastic festers.

Bars of Gold

05. Break Anchor (St Andrew’s Detroit) So, the Suicide Machines don’t play much anymore but when they do its a packed party. The only way to make it better is to throw Jay’s more current project Break Anchor on the bill.

Break Anchor

06. Eagles of Death Metal (Riot Fest Chicago) C’mon, this band is just too fucking cool.

Eagles Of Death Metal

07. Legendary Shack Shakers (Blackout BBQ at the Majestic Theatre Detroit) This was a unique festival because instead of using the stage, all of the headlining acts played on the floor in front. It was much more intimate and resulted in some serious close up shots.

Legendary Shack Shakers

08. PEARS (Riot Fest Chicago) Sometimes the side stages at Riot Fest pack a huge punch. The crowd was packed in for this show in the middle of the second day in Chicago this year. PEARS goes from 0-60 within the first few seconds and never really stop. Zach is particularly fun to photograph because you never know what he’s going to do.

PEARS

09. Pennywise (Riot Fest Chicago) Jim’s glasses show just how many people still come out to see the old dogs in the middle of the day.

Pennywise

10. Symptoms (Blind Pig, Ann Arbor) Super nice guys from Portland. This was taken at Break Anchor’s record release show for In A Van Down By The River.

Symptoms

 

Zack’s FtLP Profile

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