Here’s LUNKHEAD’s countdown of the year’s best albums. Let us know in the comments section if you disagree.
10) Subliminal Criminals, Stray From The Path
Flip the tables, and the sofas, and everything else. New York’s resident bleh-creators unleashed an untamed leopard of an album in Subliminal Criminals. Mercilessly heavy and even more so in its lyrics, but straddling beats and flows, accessible in the way that turn of the millennium nu-metal was. Tackling everything from police brutality, yuppie capitalism and band member predators, this brings riffs straight out of early Deftones flying into hip-hop flows and hardcore screams that feel like a thousand uppercuts.
Check out: D.I.E.P.I.G, Eavesdropper and Future Of Sound.
For fans of: A sonically heavier Rage Against The Machine and turn of the century nu-metal.
9) The Callous Heart (EP), Creeper
Alongside Moose Blood, the most exciting British band to emerge in the past couple of years, but where the Canterbury emo boys write love letters to how they felt last summer, these Southampton goths channel an eyeliner-black merge of The Misfits, MCR, AFI and Alkaline Trio. Drunk ghoulish love plays a part in The Honeymoon Suite, while Allergies is a charismatic punk-rock diamond. The jewel in the crown, though, is Henley’s Ghost, some kind of pitch-black mix of Queen and Bright Eyes, a song that’s so good that it’s still only second to Gloom from their first EP. Writing songs this good this early on? Watch the fuck out.
Check out: Henley’s Ghost, Allergies and The Honeymoon Suite.
For fans of: The Misfits, AFI, Alkaline Trio, goths and Halloween.
8) Copacetic, Knuckle Puck
It’s fair to say that following its underdog triumph of the last five years, nu-school pop-punk has absolutely dominated this year, emphasising that once bands lead, a whole lot more will follow. Like all scenes, some shone while others honed off the edges but, almost out of nowhere, Knuckle Puck firmly fell into the former and with some gusto. Copacetic is a hell of a debut album, having more in common with the heart on sleeve heyday of Taking Back Sunday, Fall Out Boy and Jimmy Eat World. The record hits home runs throwing curveballs throughout (spoken word mosh passages Pretense, stellar emo balladry In Your Crosshairs), while still having the serious balls to end on a Goodbye Sky Harbor-channelling seven-minute song, pulling it off no question. Very impressive in a world that falls into the realms of safe way too easily.
Check out: Disdain, In Your Crosshairs and Untitled.
For fans of: Taking Back Sunday, Jimmy Eat World and The Wonder Years.
7) Carrie And Lowell, Sufjan Stevens
One of the year’s heaviest listens, Sufjan returned to his folkier roots on this memory-washed tribute to late estranged mother Carrie and supportive step-dad Lowell in the wake of her death. Stevens’ ghostly vocal performance feels more like memories swirling through an inner monologue than singing, while disturbing harsh truths of being left and forgotten about at a video store meet with wistful savoured moments such as accidentally being called Subaru. The entire album feels like a reminiscent and poignant walk through the green hills of Eugene in the early morning, remembering the many people that someone was and, ultimately, who that made them.
Check out: All Of Me Wants All Of You, Carrie & Lowell and Eugene.
For fans of: Neil Young, Elliot Smith and Bon Iver.
6) Happiness In Self Destruction, The Plot In You
Mostly overlooked by the press, The Plot In You offer a darker, more varied and much more interesting take on what can be considered “metalcore”, a term that couldn’t be more stale and dried out. Bringing the aesthetics of nu-metal and noughties emo into dark territories occasionally similar to Nine Inch Nails, the album switches between brutal anger and twitching frustration (Hole In The Wall, A Song About Myself) to shadow-lurking ballads that feel all too real in their stories of drug addiction and self-loathing (Forgive Me, Happiness In Self Destruction). This is a more enveloping and genuine alternative in the sphere of the American breakdown scene with a slew of knock out bangers for varying tastes. Well worth your time.
Check out: Hole In The Wall, Forgive Me and Happiness In Self Destruction.
For fans of: A modern metalcore base that’s built upon with a far more interesting execution and influence.
WORDS: WILL CROSS
Miss the previous part of Will’s roundup? Here are places 15-11.