Top Ten 2012

Top Ten

Here we are with the list of top albums, events and whatever else our adoring contributors thought was great in 2012. Some had ten, some had 5, some just went crazy and put how ever many they wanted. No standards here, just a list of great things from 2012. Enjoy! 

Johnny Wilson

I just honestly couldn’t do top Ten this year and who the hell is going to tell me I have to? So many great albums ended up in my rotation and were serious contenders for my top albums of all time. I’m putting a small explanation of each one, but they are all great albums and this is in no particular order. All of these albums made my year full of wonderful music.

1. Hostage Calm – Please Remain Calm
This band and album changed my year entirely. I had not heard of them much before this year, but once I started spinning Please Remain Calm, I also went back and found their other albums which were as inspiring as this new one. Also got a chance to see them live. Hands down, my top band of the year!

2. The Sidekicks – Awkward Breeds
This album shines through with creativity and talent. If you have not heard this, do yourself a favor and pick it up. Also got a chance to see them live this last year and they stepped up in my top live band of the year!

3. Vultures United – Girls
A cover album based on songs fronted by or full female bands. Done so well and has some super catchy versions of all the songs. Still rotating in my mix and will probably last another year in my rotation.

4. False Colours – Excess and Design
I was lucky enough to catch this Denver local band throughout the whole recording process and watched a gem unfold. Hard hitting and full of exciting moments. This hasn’t even officially been released yet, but had to make the list.

5. Propagandhi – Failed States
What is to be said about this except they exceeded my expectations? After a long wait for a new album they stepped up their game and came out with a fantastic album filled with what you’d expect, and then some.

6. Teenage Bottlerocket – Freak Out!
My feel good pop punk album of the year. Puts a smile on my face every time I start with the first song. Even though not entirely happy-go-lucky in all the tracks, it still brings a smile. I have a feeling this will make it back to constant rotation once I’m out of my winter phase and ready for summer again.

7. Astpai – Efforst and Means
This was my first year of Astpai and I was so surprised by this Austrian punk band. Just now really starting to listen to it more and every time gets better and better.

8. Morning Glory – Poets Were My Heroes
What a surpise this album was. Not your typical anarcho punk album by any means. As a first release on Fat Wreck Chords it carries you through bouts of heavy, to an almost Pink Floyd concept dance and then back into straight ahead Clash influenced roar. Not a dull moment on this album and still going strong in my rotation.

9. Stat Dad – Mominatrix
My straight ahead, 80’s punk influenced album of the year. I put this in when I want to slam myself around in my car, front room, wherever. One hell of a great surprise from Wyoming and I’m hoping for another release already.

10. Menzingers – On The Impossible Past
The Menzingers have yet to put out anything that I don’t like. They keep progressing without ever losing that spark that got them started in the first place. Amazing recording and always goes on ten in the car.

11. The Dopamines – Vices
I love this band and probably would listen if they took a crap on a slab of vinyl, but this album is so much fun and so….Dopamines…in every way. Also saw them live this year twice and it was two of the most fun shows I witnessed. Viva Le Dopamines!

12. Masked Intruder – S/T
I almost wrote this off as a just a simple pop punk album until I really started listening closer and heard that doo wop influence that set this apart from the rest. A great album full of mouth-watering hooks. Also saw them in a very intimate setting in Fort Collins this year and their live show is filled with terrible Brooklyln accents and tongue in cheek antics. So much fun!

13. Black Dots – Again and Again
Another great Denver act that emerged out of seemingly nowhere. This album is about songs, not riffs and no filler. Just great songs. Makes me proud to be from this town.

14. Snuff – 5,4,3,2,1…Perhaps?
Jumping the gun a little on this one because it is really has a release date of January 2013, but nonetheless, I got the download early and this was the most anticipated album of my year because I’ve been a Snuff fan since the early days. They can do no wrong in my eyes and they did no wrong on this album.

15. Municipal Waste – The Fatal Feast
Holy shit does this album rip! This is my try to practice to album to improve on my playing. It’s not going so well because as musicians, these guys are no slouches and this album is full of fantastic musicianship and great songs.

What a year in music and have to give serious kudos to our local Denver scene this year. Keep your ears to Denver people, it’s not over by any means. We’re just getting started!

Ross Hostage

1. Propagandhi – Failed States
This was my most anticipated album coming into 2012 and Propagandhi didn’t disappoint. Failed States is their thrashiest and most challenging record yet. From the opening chords of “Note to Self” to the final moments of “Duplicate Keys Icaro”, it’s a banger through and through that makes me, once again, curse Propagandhi for being better than I will ever be as a musician.

Favorite Song: “Devil’s Creek”

2. The Sidekicks – Awkard Breeds
This was the record I didn’t know I needed until it hit my turntable. It has a lush, psychedelic feel that I wasn’t expecting layered overtop walls of guitar that doesn’t take away from the fragile pop melody in Steve Ciolek’s voice. Whenever I needed a break from my standard milieu of aggressive music or needed an early morning pick-me-up on the way to work, this is what I put on.

Favorite Song: “Grace”

3. Tin Horn Prayer – Grapple the Rails
Given that I reside in Denver, I have a unique relationship to these songs compared to the rest of the listeners around the country. I’ve seen Tin Horn Prayer play most of them live for some time so this album was like a homecoming after having been away for a while. I was instantly able to sing along while, at the same time, finally absorbing the band’s true vision for the arrangements of these well-crafted slices of Americana.

Favorite Song: “Stumble”

4. The Menzingers – On the Impossible Past
Another highly anticipated release for 2012, I really enjoyed spending my time with this one and hearing how much The Menzingers have grown as a band. I’d say this album is, from start to finish, the most tightly themed record that they’ve put out. This year was huge for them, and rightly so, as they continued to build upon their anthemic catalogue. My only regret was not pre-ordering in time to get the blue vinyl.

Favorite Song: “Sun Hotel”

5. False Colours – Excess and Design
When False Colours resurfaced as a trio after the departure of their singer, I certainly was not expecting the ferocious and dynamic leap that they took as a band. Though it doesn’t occupy the number one spot on my list, I’d say that it’s the best punk record out of Denver this year.

Favorite Song: “My Greatest Sphere”

6. Perdition – Hispanola
I’ve had so much fun singing along with the songs on Perdition’s debut this year. Not only are they fantastic dudes but they write some of the best bearded pop-punk that you can find. They win for having the most clever song titles i.e. “I Don’t Get Drunk, I Get Awesome”, “The Narwhal Bacons at Midnight” and the epic, “Only in Dreams”-esque “Bitch, I Hold Babies All the Time”.

Favorite Song: “These Are the Droids We’re Looking For”

7. Larry and his Flask – All That We Know
The musicianship on this album is unparalleled and the haunting melodies get stuck in my head for days. The band did a fantastic job of transferring the energy of their live shows into these takes. Also, it’s easy for songs with so many layers of instrumentation to sound muddy but the recording is crisp and I can hear every detail, despite how poor my hearing is these days.

Favorite Song: “Ebb and Flow”

8. ASTPAI – Efforts and Means
I first heard Efforts and Means when a friend posted a link to it on Facebook so, in this case, I’m really thankful for my addiction to social media. I was immediately blown away by the stylishly-aggressive songs that leapt from my speakers. Since we didn’t get new albums from A Wilhelm Scream or The Flatliners this year, ASTPAI stepped in to fill my need for technical punk rock. The first track, “Suburban Prelude”, may also be one of the best uses of a sample in punk history.

Favorite Song: “Intentions”

9. Calder’s Revolvers – Steady By Your Side
Never mind the fact that I played saxophone on three of these thirteen tracks or that Calder’s Revolvers is comprised of a couple former bandmates. This is my favorite rock ‘n roll album of the year and, when I was approached to play on a few songs, I couldn’t have been more honored when I heard the soul-filled jams they’d concocted when I wasn’t looking.

Favorite Song: “One More Chance”

10. Classics of Love – Classics of Love
After the Walking in Shadows EP, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this full length. Blistering ska-punk played with the maturity of seasoned musicians, it’s an album filled with the vitriol and social-consciousness I’ve come to expect from Jesse Michaels.

Favorite Song: “Bandstand”

Top 5 EPs/7”

The Shell Corporation – Time and Pressure
Cobra Skulls – Eagle Eyes
Abolitionist – Bleeding Kansas
Random Orbits – Evergreen
Why I Hate – Prom Night 3: Murder in Mississippi

David Williams

In a very particular order…..

Top 5 full lengths I listened to a lot.

1. Propagandhi – Failed States
2. John K. Samson – Provincial
3. The Menzingers – On the Impossible Past
4. Masked Intruder – S/T
5. The Dopamines – Vices

Top 5 shows I got the most drunk at.

1. Propagandhi and Comeback Kid: Highline Ballroom (NYC) – I hadn’t seen Propagandhi in over 5 years. They played just about everything off of their new record, which is incredible.
2. Bruce Springsteen: Metlife Stadium (NJ) – My dad (NJ native) and mom flew out to NYC for this. We partied.
3. Refused: Terminal 5 (NYC) – I’ll be honest, the Refused reunion tour got a little out of hand. But I’m glad that so many of my friends from around the country were able to see Refused.
4. No Use For a Name and NOFX: House of Blues (San Diego) – Little did I know that this would be the last time I would see one of my favorite bands. So much more meaningful to me now that Tony Sly is gone.
5. The Menzingers, Cheap Girls, Sidekicks, Elway: The Marquis (Denver) – A lineup full of great bands, made up of great people, that are all very important to the small underground punk scene that they are apart of.

Chris Coleshaw 1. Aplogies I Have None – London
2. The Skints – Part & Parcel
3. Sam Russo – Storm
4. Hot Water Music – Exister
5. No Trigger – Tycoon
6. Cory Branan – Mutt
7. The Menzingers – On The Impossible Past
8. Justin Townes Earle – Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me No
9. Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball
10. River Jumpers – Chapters

Jo Jo King

Allow me to preface by saying I dislike lists of any numerical variant. Top 10 movies of all-time, Top 100 albums of 2000s, Top 20 songs my brother and I listened to while snowboarding from 1991-1997. It’s all very subjective, personal and often biased.

I can’t produce a list of best albums, because I listen to albums per mood. One month I may be in a skating mood and have NoFx, U.S. Bombs, Pennywise, No Use For a Name, et al, playing on a loop in my preferred digital music device. Another I may find myself in a state of social and political angst (like November 2012) and living nostalgically hardcore, playing Damaged, I Against I, 13 Songs and Frankenchrist. Then there are those times when I jump in my TARDIS and turn my attention to anything across the pond.

With that backdrop, I give you:

A List of Songs – in no particular order – That I Really Enjoyed Listening to This Year

Comet ­– The Bouncing Souls, Comet
This track on the album by the same name epitomizes the rock fusion of pop punk and The Boss this band has been gravitating towards since Anchors Aweigh.

Woke Up Next To A Body – Hostage Calm, Please Remain Calm
This is the fourth track on the band’s third, and possibly best, LP. It’s a great song on a great album that deserves a thorough listening.

My Sycophant Others – NoFx, Self-Entitled
An excellent piece of self-reflection from a well-to-do artist whose wealth is primarily garnered from years of social commentary based on the haves exploitation of the have-nots – hubris, anyone? You can also impress your friends by using “sycophant” in casual conversation. And as stated on the album review from this site, Mel yells a lot, that’s a good thing.

My Old Friend – The Adicts, All The Young Droogs
Once a proponent of everything The Adicts, I hadn’t listened to any of their new material since the release of Twenty-Seven in the mid-90s, so hearing this song made me feel like the band I loved so much 20 years ago was saying: “welcome home, minger.”

Gemini – Cursive – I Am Gemini
I know, technically not a punk band, technically I don’t care – this song is awesome. Tim Kasher deserves his place among the great song writer/composers of this generation’s indie movement (Conor Oberst and Chris Carrabba be damned).

This is Where it Starts – The Jealous Sound – A Gentle Reminder
Because you can’t be mad at the world forever, there is The Jealous Sound to put you in a somber, mellow place. I’m not sure how to interpret this song, yet. I just know I really, really like it. In case you missed it, Rise Records will reissue a deluxe edition of the album in February. Do yourself a favor; catch the live act with Balance and Composure this year.

Mary Poppins – Snuff – 5-4-3-2-1-Perhaps?
Everything about this song is wonderful. The entire album is instrumentally balanced, but it really all comes together on this track. I realize the album doesn’t officially release until January 8 under Fat Wreck Chords, but I heard it in 2012, so bugger off.

Poor Dorian – The Casket Lottery – Real Fear
Will the next 90s indie/hardcore outfit to reunite please turn the light on. Braid, The Jealous Sound, The Casket Lottery, Boy Sets Fire, Refused, At The Drive-In (sort of) it is a welcome sight for those of use who spent most of the 90s listening to this brand of rock. This is a great album and Poor Dorian with its ample mix of Nathan Ellis vocal inflection, melodic guitars and burgeoning keys, is just the kind of track that will put The Casket Lottery where it never was before: on everyone’s playlist. Now if only Sunny Day Real Estate would stop teasing and release some new material.

Class(war) Room – Great Apes – Split 7” with Know Your Saints
Much like this entire list, this particular selection is entirely subjective. Having worked in inner city schools the last three years (and yes, I started that sentence with a gerund), this song speaks loudly to the bleak future of public education. Give it a listen, then, once you’re done analyzing and comparing it to your artist of choice, listen again.

There are so many more amazing releases from this year I could mention like The Menzingers’ On The Impossible Past, whichis awesome. As is Masked Intruder’s poppy self-titled. Freak Out! from Teenage Bottle Rocket is a blast (crappy pun intended). Exister isn’t quite Fuel for the Hate Game, but it is worthy of your Hot Water Music record collection and, of course, Title Fight’s Floral Green deserves attention. I won’t mention those, though, because I’m not doing a list of best albums.

Now things to look forward to in 2013:
Ink-N-Iron Festival featuring Iggy and the Stooges, NoFx and, yes, Dead Kennedys
Pennywise 25th Anniversary tour
Hot Water Music Super Bowl party with The Menzingers and La Dispute
Balance and Composure with The Jealous Sound
Boy Sets Fire to release new material this year
And all the many “yet to be determined” surprises of the New Year

Finally, a farewell to one of the greatest songwriters of my generation: you will be missed Tony Sly.

Krista Gjestland

I have a problem with making lasting decisions. Much like the ones that are required for top ten lists. So I’m only doing a top five list. That’s all I can commit to!

5. NOFX – Self Entitled

NOFX could put out a dub step album, and I’d still rate it in my top five. Honestly, I don’t think these guys could make bad punk rock if they tried.  OK, well maybe they could but that’s not the point. It’s good fucking record, and I’m disappointed at the low levels of buzz around it.

Favorite track: “My Sycophant Others.” Fast, funny and is heavy on Mel Yells, a personal favorite of mine.

4. Hot Water Music – Exister

Simply put, this album gives me the feels. I want Chuck Ragan, and his glorious beard, to sing the whole thing to me as I sleep. Exister is warm and comfortable without being repetitive or boring.

Favorite track: “Drag My Body.”  Good lord, the feels!

3. Teenage Bottlerocket – Freak Out!

Freak Out! was easily my favorite pop-punk album of the year. It’s catchy, weird and I can’t get enough of it. Teenage Bottlerocket consistently prove that pop punk is not dead and won’t be defined by the clean, MTV versions touted about during the 1990s and 2000s.

Favorite track: It’s a tie between “Necrocomicon” and “Mutilate Me.” “Necrocomicon” cracks me up, but “Mutilate Me” is an extra quality track. Don’t make me choose!

2. OFF! – OFF!

I shouldn’t even have to explain this. It’s everything I wanted to hear this year and then some. While a lot of people tend to mellow out and become less intense as they age, Keith Morris proves he not only still has the anger for the music, but the passion as well. We all need more of this.

Favorite track: “(I Need One) I Want One.” It’s like falling in love with punk all over again.

1. Anti-Flag – The General Strike

I listened to this record every day during my 20-minute commute to and from work for six weeks after it came out. Being a 23-minute long record, that meant I heard this twice a day, minimum, for more than a month. And I still can’t get enough of it. I love the passion, I love the anger, I love the energy and I love Anti-Flag.  It’s as simple as that.

Favorite track: “Bullshit Opportunist.” Bring on the rage, brothers!

With how great 2012 was musically, I’m excited as all hell for 2013. Bad Religion’s next album, “True North,” has already been preordered, and I’m gearing myself up for a pretty rad year.  

Donny Kent 1. Title FightFloral Green
2. KillersBattle Born
3. Ryan AdamsLife After Deaf
4. Muscle & BoneMuscle & Bone
5. Gaslight AnthemHandwritten
6. Titus AndronicusLocal Business
7. CeremonyZoo
8. OddczarOne Word
9. Bob MouldSilver Age
10. SharksNo Gods

Edward Ma
My top list thingy of 2012.


  • Placeholder – I Thought I Would’ve Been Somebody by Now
  • Captain, We’re Sinking – Montreal
  • Comadre – Cold Rain
  • Restorations – A/B


10. 2 Chainz – Based on a T.R.U. Story
There’s a reason why “All I want for my birthday is a big booty hoe” is my most said phrase of the year.

9. Burning Love – Rotten Thing To Say
All I really get from this album are just heavy riffs, dark vocals, and a general disdain of everything.

Bang your head.

8. Title Fight – Floral Green
This band isn’t just hype, this band just continues to grow into their own style of hardcore influenced music.

7. Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind

6. Waxahatchee – American Weekend
This album just kept finding itself to be replayed over, and over. I really can’t explain why I needed a reason to play it again, but it just felt like it needed to be heard more than once.

5. Birds In Row – You, Me, and The Violence
Beauty in violence. This perfect mixture of chaotic melodies and vocals full of angst carries this collection of songs above the norm. The overall musicianship of this trio really showcases everything heavy music can, and will, be.

4. Ceremony – Zoo
It’s not the same ol’ powerviolence that everyone seems to love about this band, but honestly, Ceremony’s sound just keeps growing, and not adhering to genres. This album is weird, and I LOVE weird.

3. The Menzingers – On the Impossible Past
Taking a slower approach from their 2010 release, On The Impossible Past takes a step away from the fast-paced side of Chamberlin Waits to really showcase the band’s abilities to write some really heart-wrenching lyrics. Love is such a fucked up thing.

2. Masked Intruder – S/T
When you learn every word, every riff, and every harmony to a single song, that song may be one of your favorite songs, but what if you did that to EVERY song on an album? That’s what happens when you listen to this LP. 

This album is so catchy, it hurts.

1. The Sidekicks – Awkward Breeds
Everything about this album just is brought together in such perfect harmony. The vocal dynamics, and upbeat songs coupled with the slow, harsh, and very emotional counterparts proves that this band is one of the best within our scene today.

Honorable Mentions:

John K. Samson – Provincial
Swearin’- S/T
The Fake Boys – Pig Factory
Secret Plot To Destroy The Entire Universe – I Only Miss You When I Want To
Dikembe – Broad Shoulders
Circle Takes The Square – Decompositions V. I



  1. So much amazing music in these lists! I really need to catch up. At least now I have a great starting point. Oh, and Tin Horn Prayer? Yes please!

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