Now that 2016 has closed, the staff here at FtLP has gathered their favorite LPs, EPs, songs, and memories to bring you the best of the year. It’s pretty clear there are a few unanimous top albums!!!
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 jerks on our couches blathering off into the cyber unknown.
FtLP Contributor Top Ten 2016
Chris Roob – Contributor – Denver, CO
PUP – The Dream is Over (Side One Dummy)
Joyce Manor – Cody (Epitaph)
I still don’t understand any of the lyrics.
Direct Hit! – Wasted Mind (Fat Wreck Chords)
I like cheese curds from Wisconsin. These guys are from Wisconsin. Win/Win.
Jeff Rosenstock – Worry (Side One Dummy)
I guess this is growing up.
Sum 41 – 13 Voices (Hopeless Records)
Stick to your roots. Get over it.
Ramona – Sad Brunch (Self Released)
More like….Badass Brunch.
Noi!se – The Real Enemy (Pirates Press Records)
The Bigfoot of bands. Dammit. Play in Colorado.
Okkervil River – Away (ATO Records)
I have a soft side.
The Casualties – Chaos Sound (Season of Mist)
But…I’m also hardcore.
Pkew Pkew Pkew – S/T (Royal Mountain)
I like playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 to this record.
Damon Workman – Contributor – Las Vegas, NV
2016 became a total shit show, lets be honest. But with all the bs and negativity a lot of fantastic music got released. It was overwhelming trying to come up with a list that would both highlight all the great stuff yet be short enough that you’d want to read it without me going on and on. like I am now. So without further ado, and mostly in no particular order:
First off i’m cheating by doing a little creative breaking down. There were a few releases that I absolutely dug whose creators called it quits this year. Things happen, we know that, it’s sad. That said these bands left us on a high note.
Up For Nothing – Swindled (It’s Alive Records)
These guys released a fantastic album, and like the series finale of Breaking Bad went out the right way.
Kill Corporations– 432Hz Felony Records()
Fast fun skatepunk from SoCal. Def a band I would have dug seeing a full length from
The Lippies – S/T (Red Scare)
Many of you already know my love for this band. If you hadn’t/haven’t heard them then you should. Members going on to other projects which we all should be excited about!
EP’s – again, trying to find room for so many great releases
LightSpeedGo– Just A Memory (Felony Records)
A great disc that I played over and over and over
Western Settings– Old Pain (La Escalera Records)
WS, Ok, they got two spots in one year. Old Pain is just flat out great songwriting. WS has some fun moments (8bit songs) but it also has an acoustic version of “Iocaine Powder” that will make you cry.
Kid You Not– Almost Home (Felony Records)
Another release I couldn’t turn off. Keep an eye on these guys in the coming years..
Less Deceived– We Could Find New Ways to Walk Home (Self Released)
These guys released one of my favorites of last year, this year they topped it. Everything about this band rules.
and last ep but not least:
Matt Wixson– I Know I’m Not A Very Good Person (Self Released)
This EP means a ton to me probably due to the two friends who told me I “absolutely need to hear this guy” I Agree, many thanks to Tay and Kole for cluing me in.
Cold Wrecks – Breaking (Self Released)
A renamed band meant a revamped sound, the result was a phenomenal “debut” album.
MakeWar – Developing a Theory of Integrity (Red Scare)
Feel good music for bruised and battered hearts. If this doesn’t touch you nothing will.
Useless ID – State is Burning (Fat Wreck Chords)
The title says all you need to know.
Wolves&Wolves&Wolves&Wolves – The Cross and The Switchblade (Wiretap Records)
A banger for sure.
Pears– Green Star (Fat Wreck Chords)
This band is a force of nature live, and this album captures them doing what they do best.
PUP– The Dream Is Over (Side One Dummy)
This is what happens when a band picks a solid direction and puts their heart into it.
John K Samson – Winter Wheat (Anti- Records)
It’s Samson, and that’s beyond enough for me.
Bracket – The Last Page (Self Released)
A lot of us were excited that these guys were going to release a new album. And what we got was 70 minutes of brilliance. Reminding me of the very first time my dad played Pet Sounds for me, there was no way I couldn’t have this album on my list.
Two Cow Garage– A New Flag (Last Chance Records)
I don’t know what it is about music that makes me want to cry this year but these guys seem to get better with every release.
The Julie Ruin – Hit Reset (Hardly Art)
I’ll be the first to admit that like most guys my age I had a huge crush on Kathleen Hanna in the Bikini Kill days. Little has changed, and this album proves why. Smart lyrics and great music. One listen to I Decide and this album was on the list and the moment you waited for: My favorite for 2016
Caskitt – Old Fires New Frontier (La Escalera Records)
This album is just incredible. The writing, the playing, the production, everything here is outstanding. This is a band that should be way bigger than they are, and this is the album that could put them there. If you only bought one album a year, then 2016 is the year you get this. I’d add more adjectives, but I think you get the point.
So, go ahead and comment about how I’m wrong, or that I’m right. What matters most to me is that you give a listen to new music and find some stuff you like, go to a show, buy some merch, show some love. Coz in the end, you are the scene.
Dirk Mathews – Contributor – Oklahoma City, OK
I’ve always used music as a mood enhancer. Or, a crutch for an awkward social interaction. If I’m feeling lethargic, Red Fang comes in like a trusty side kick and lights fires. When a punisher pulls on my ear for too long, a quick bash of teeth-kicking soul from St. Paul and the Broken Bones ruins their train of thought. These are the releases from 2016 that really changed the way I’ve looked at music, songwriting, and my internal soundtrack to life. Enjoy.
Top 13 Releases of 2016 (in no particular order)
Red Fang – Only Ghosts (Relapse Records) – These cats have become my personal spirit animal. Each release adds to an already impressive arsenal that appeals to a wide variety of fans. They raise money for charities, while writing gorgeous melodies over driving riffs. To top it all off, all of their videos are comedic genius.
Bob Mould – Patch the Sky (Merge Records) – It’s Bob Mould. That’s really all I need to say about this record. If you don’t know who he is, do some research. Then send me a thank you email.
PEARS – Green Star (Fat Wreck Chords) – Currently, the hardest working band in rock n roll. These NOLA rollers never take a break. Tuff as nails guitar work is interlaced with harmonies that No Use For a Name would be envious of. And when they come to town, I get to hug Dante. Don’t snooze on this band.
Descendents – Hypercaffium Spazzinate (Epitaph Records) – The Descendents were the first band that ever made me feel like I belonged somewhere. Their records are empowering, heartfelt and absolute art. Anything they release is already solid gold to me. Watching them play some of these tracks at Riot Fest this year was an absolute dream come true. I’ll never forget it.
Wolves & Wolves & Wolves & Wolves – The Cross and the Switchblade (Wiretap Records or Bandcamp) – Dave at Oklahoma Lefty turned me onto this band. The layering of guitar parts and bass hooks reminded me of old school HWM. The lyrics resonate deep in the soul and allow you to ponder what they mean to you without being invasive. Their drummer has fills that sound like boulders falling down canyon walls. I’ve definitely terrified some other drivers with my air drums and screaming out of open windows. Ten thumbs up, dudes.
St. Paul & The Broken Bones – Sea of Noise (Records Label) – These Birmingham crooners recently shimmy-shaked their way into my heart. Modern soul with the dance moves to boot. They’ve taken the industry by storm and if there’s a glass ceiling above them; I hope they come knocking with sledge hammers.
Lost Empires – Death: The Unveiling of Eternity (Bandcamp) – Local Oklahomies and some of the most solid dudes I know. This isn’t your dad’s metal, and it isn’t your 12 year old cousin’s either. The progressions are methodically planned out and executed. These guys are starting to pull the gears that will thrust them forward. Catch them live when they storm through your town, tear your earholes open and leave without an apology.
Beach Slang – A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings (Polyvinyl Records) – If a whisper could have the wings of a scream, then Beach Slang would sore. This record has the perfect levels of garage raw rock with the cherry of production layered on top. These songs get me fired up and swell my heart to the point I feel like it’s going to leak out onto the floor. Some of us still remember Weston and carry the flame.
Caskitt – Old Fires New Frontiers (La Escalera Records) – When Blinders kicks in, the Propagandhi fan in me went all warm fuzzy. Riffage, riffage, riffage….then bone crushing melodies lay waste to any preconceived notions. The one takeaway I have from this record…. I’ve been failing myself horribly by not following this band. Why they aren’t one of the biggest up and comers is something I can’t wrap my degenerate brain around. I’m gonna go light all my guitars on fire now.
PKEW PKEW PKEW – Self Titled (Royal Mountain Records) This is one of those feel good bands that make you forget about the day to day refuse that we collect. Who knew that songs about shitty neighbors and ordering pizza could manifest a smile on even a cold hearted creep like me. When life gets heavy, order a pizza and give this a spin.
The Holy Mess – Trash Age EP (The Holy Mess) – Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s an EP. But I dig it, and this is my list. 3 soul crushing anthems that re-lit that fire I’ve been missing. The break down in Caught Like This should be studied by every garage band looking at buying a van. This is how you build dynamic songs. When you listen to this EP, listen to all of the background layering that your brain normally pushes into oblivion. Absolute genius.
Almost People – Songs For Best Friends (Anchorless Records) – Recorded with Pete Steinkopf of Bouncing Souls, this heartfelt 10 song epic will not disappoint. “Nobody died, but some of came close.” This line killed me. It has pop sensibility with lyrics that aren’t for the faint of mind. The songwriting is clever, but in all the right ways. This is a perfect record for long drives and rainy afternoons. It doesn’t hurt that Scotty Sandwich is one of the handsome mugs in this band.
Drakulas – Raw Wave (Dirtnap Records) – “Call it a super-group if you must, but don’t call it a side-project.” You’ve been warned. Comprised of members of Riverboat Gamblers and Rise Against (and Hagfish, let’s be real), among others. Drakulas have that intense, catchy, and mortifying energy that first got you into rock and roll. Raw Wave is a concept album that ties together many different styles of early rock n roll to modern punk. This album makes me want to light a dumpster on fire, then invite the firefighters to drink beer and watch it burn. I can’t wait to catch these dudes live.
Jackie Wilding – Photographer / Contributor – Denver, CO
- Arms Aloft – What A Time to be Barely Alive (Red Scare)
- The Lippies – S/T (Red Scare)
- Caskitt – Old Fires, New Frontier (La Escalera Records)
- Muncie Girls – From Caplan to Belsize (Animal Style Records in US)
- Tens – S/T (Self Released)
- PEARS – Green Star (Fat Wreck Chords)
- Problem Daughter – Fits of Disorganized Boredom (Dying Scene Records)
- Pkew Pkew Pkew – S/T (Self Released)
- Toys That Kill – Sentimental Ward (Recess Records)
- Great Apes – California Heart (Asian Man Records)
Johnny Wilson – Founder, Editor In Chief – Denver, CO
I had a lot of different musical loves this year. It varied from pop punk, to melodic hardcore, to somewhat progressive and the list goes on. Apparently a moody SOB.
All the records below made my year and in no particular order.
Top 16 Full Lengths of ’16
PEARS – Green Star (Fat Wreck Chords)
There’s no doubt this band is such an invigorating force. Me being someone that initially started music from the more melodic metal side, then dove into punk rock, this band tickles all my needs. They are intricate, they are energetic, they are raw but controlled and they NEVER lose my attention live or on record. I will be up front about something, when I first got the vinyl and heard “Green Star” while reading lyrics, I got a bit teary. That’s music folks. All that is should be.
Descendents – Hypercaffium Spazzinate (Epitaph Records)
No secret I’m a big fan of these guys since back in the younger days when I definitely couldn’t get the girl and was spending a lot of time in my room alone and letting these guys make things okay. This new album to me feels like they combined elements of Milo Goes To College and Everything Sux to create a masterpiece. I believe this album brought me back and took me forward.
Zach Quinn – One Week Records (One Week Records)
This is a hauntingly beautiful album. I don’t think I need to say much more than that first statement.
The Windermeres – Continental Divide (FtLP Records)
Yeah, so I put this out. Sue me. I put it out because I love it. This album contains great songwriting and is what I consider a cohesive piece. While a lot of bands are straying from the album process to lean toward EP’s, these guys I feel tackled something I hope never dies.
Tiny Moving Parts – Celebrate (Triple Crown Records)
This is my sweet guitar album this year. This album is complex yet controlled and I really think these guys have a long future ahead of them. Every album gets better and better.
Redbush – Gaslight Lockdown (Self Released)
OMFG!!! REDBUSH!!! I am really smitten with this band. I feel this band completely stands on their own and has never strayed from their original path of writing, for lack of a better term, very original music. Every song seems to give you something new but it’s always at its core, Redbush. Do yourself a favor, fall in love with this band.
Prince Daddy & the Hyena – I thought you didn’t even like leaving (Broken World Media)
This band came to me in the form of an emails submission. From the second I played the first song, I went and ordered it about 10 minutes later. There’s something fun yet really interesting in the songwriting and I can’t honestly wait to hear what these guys do next.
NOFX – First Ditch Effort (Fat Wreck Chords)
It’s been a while since NOFX has adorned my top albums of the year. Not that I didn’t like some of the last releases, but this one really seems to bring back what it was like the first time I heard Punk in Drublic. There’s something reminiscent of that era but not to say it’s just a rehash. I guess to put it best, they just kinda nailed it on all angles.
Nocturnal Habits – New Skin for Old Children (Glacial Pace Records)
I am a long time fan of all of Justin Trosper’s projects. From Unwound to Survival Knife and everything in between. This album really focuses on Justin’s songwriting abilities and leaning more toward the experimental / atmospheric side of things, but I just feel in love after first spin. This one came to me just a few weeks ago, so still have a lot of listening to do
Brutal Youth – Sanguine (Stomp Records)
I have been a fan of this Canadian melodic hardcore foursome since I first heard the album Stay Honest. Always catchy, always powerful and always writing lyrics I feel like I can relate to. They are the total package in my opinion.
Moonraker – Fail Better (Felony Records)
This album is filled with so much more than I first realized in the first few listens. Albums that are “growers” tend to stick with me and now that I’ve really acclimated myself to what this album is about, I just can’t stop listening to it. I first discovered these guys from an email that turned into an FtLP ‘Scene Watch’ and they are growing musically and lyrically. So many things to sink your teeth into with no frills.
MakeWar – Developing a Theory of Integrity (Red Scare)
I am really just jumping onto this ship and it makes me want to go back and check out some of the previous music because this album just makes me want to sing and cheer with my friends. It’s anthemic without being, well, anthemic and it just inspires me to want to travel and experience life!
The Hotelier – Goodness (Tiny Engines)
This album is a feat production wise and musically. This is not a record for the fly by night music listener. This takes commitment to listen to the album as a whole, to consume every last note that was put down, and to really pay attention to its full layout. I feel like this really comes from a pretty artsy side of creativity and being a person from Olympia, WA in the 90’s it is something I am well acclimated to. I just want these guys always in the studio creating for me, but I guess that could get a bit expensive. I really cannot wait to see what they do next.
Caskitt – Old Fires New Frontier (La Escalera Records)
Seems it’s pretty unanimous that this album grabbed pretty much everyone here at FtLP and beyond. This album is smart, technically challenging from a musicians standpoint and beyond catchy after even the first listen. The step forward in their recording production really did these guys justice as well. Not a detail missed and will be in my playlist for years to come.
Against Me! – Shape Shift with Me (Total Treble)
I haven’t stayed in the Against Me! radar much the last few albums, not meaning I didn’t like them, but I guess we just had a little separation period after New Wave. A friend of mine told me I had to listen to this and they know me very well, so of course I did it. I’m very glad I did. Something about the first few times through made me feel something reminiscent of The Clash’ Give ’em Enough Rope. I say this in the approach of how the album was written, how it came out sonically and I guess that is just the first thing that came to mind. I just really think this is a really top notch spin in the Against Me! camp.
School Damage – Battered Lives (Brain Candy Records)
I’m really starting to get into these guys brand of melodic hardcore. High energy, technical and catchy to the last drop. Really excited to see what is next. Expecting great things…no pressure.
Lowjob – We Share (Self Released)
I have not removed this EP from my CD player since the day I got it. These guys are local to Denver, CO and that’s how I discovered them, but make no mistake, they are destined to bust out and do so much more. There is so many elements reminiscent of the 90’s punk sound without being stale or sounding like they’re trying to do that at all. I honestly believe these guys just sat down and wrote songs. Songs that touch me lyrically and musically. TEAM LOWJOB FTW!!!
Screwtape – S/T – (Self Released)
Another awesome Denver, CO treasure. These guys bring back some of that 80’s hardcore spirit / sound and get me riled up in a way I haven’t been for a long time. This EP is like drinking a cup of coffee with 5 cups of sugar. Always a great way to start my day if I want to destroy any obstacles blocking steps forward. Seeing their highly energetic live show is what got me to check this out, and I am so damn glad I did!
Oh My Snare! / Freya Wilcox & the Howl – Split (FtLP Records)
Yes, I put this out too. Here’s the thing, I put out things I love. When I first heard the unmastered tracks I instantly fell in love with all of the songs. From the somewhat indie approach of Oh My Snare! to the flat out no holds barred rock n roll of Freya Wilcox & the Howl, the 4 songs just leave you wanting more. The topper is the song “Quantum Entanglement” by Oh My Snare which features guest vocals by Freya and the combination of what the song is about (pretty much sums up the friendship between the bands and more) and the combination of musicianship is a force to be reckoned with. I simply love both of these bands.
JoJo King – Contributor – Denver, CO
Top “these go to” 11
02. PUP – The Dream is Over (SideOneDummy Records/Royal Mountain Records)
Holy shit PUP. The Dream is Over is excellent follow-up to their self-titled debut. I think they also won the Internet’s favorite video of the year award.
03. PEARS – Green Star (Fat Wreck Chords)
The perfect combination of Punk and Metal. The most anticipated album of 2016 did not disappoint.
04. The Windermeres – Continental Divide (FtLP Records)
I’m pretty sure Chris Windermere sold his soul to Santa or Satan for that voice. There’s no way he came by it naturally.
05. The Falcon – Gather Up The Chaps (Red Scare)
Brendan Kelly could put his Twitter feed to music and it’d make my list. That said, this is the most entertaining album of 2016.
06. NOFX – First Ditch Effort (Fat Wreck Chords)
I’m a huge, unapologetic NOFX fan. The toned-down vibe of “Ditch Effort” takes me back 25 years every time I hear it. As Jay Caption said it is the best NOFX album in years, maybe ever.
07. Moonraker – Fail Better (Felony Records)
I’ve pretty much already said everything I could about this one.
08. Four Lights – Death To False Posi (Bomb Pop Records)
With so many people telling me how shitty 2016 was and how we’re all doomed, I’m so happy Four Lights exist to remind me that music is meant to be entertaining.
09. Caskitt – Old Fires, New Frontier (La Escalera Records)
Digital platforms have evolved greatly in 10 years, but to not listen to this gem on vinyl or CD would be a grand injustice. I still can’t fathom how they get so much out of a three piece.
10. Great Apes – California Heart (Asian Man Records)
Another band that can do no wrong. Here they give us a fictional account of a disgruntled teen figuring shit out in Fresno. Richard Linklater’s favorite album of the year…probably.
11. Useless ID – State Is Burning (Fat Wreck Chords)
To hear Yotam describe it, State Is Burning is the album that almost wasn’t. How fortunate Useless ID broke out of their lull to create something as powerful as this.
01. Dead To Me – I Wanna Die In Los Angeles (Fat Wreck Chords)
Probably my favorite album of the year. There is no single band I enjoy more than Dead To Me. I’m ecstatic we have new material from them.
02. Filthy Hearts – I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead (Inside) (624880 Records DK)
There is so much talent in the Denver area, Filthy Hearts are one of many exhibit As.
03. Lowjob – We Share (Self Released)
Excellent effort from another rising local talent. I’m anticipating much, much more from these guys.
04. Western Settings – Old Pain (La Escalera Records)
As good as 2015’s Yes It Is was, Old Pain is better.
05. Oh My Snare! / Freya Wilcox & the Howl – Split (FtLP Records)
I’m absolutely smitten by Freya’s voice, but when it’s combined with Snare! bassist Lily, it’s magical.
Lauren Mills – Assistant Editor -Port Saint John, FL
01. Caskitt – Old Fires New Frontier (La Escalera Records)
02. PUP – The Dream is Over (SideOneDummy Records)
03. So So Glos – Kamikaze (Shea Stadium Records)
04. The Murderburgers – 12 Habits of Highly Defective People (Asian Man Records/Round Dog Records)
05. Bracket – The Last Page (Self Released)
06. Moonraker – Fail Better (Felony Records)
07. PEARS – Green Star (Fat Wreck Chords)
08. Up For Nothing – Swindled (It’s Alive Records)
09. Plow United – Three (It’s Alive Records)
10. Brutal Youth – Sanguine (Stomp Records)
11. Almost People – Songs For Best Friends (Anchorless Records)