When asked to compile the “Best of” list for all things punk in 2014, I was both humbled and a little freaked. Where to even start? Despite the awesome strides made in other punk sub genres this year, I decided to focus on those teeming with emo and post-punk influences. In no particular order, these were my favorites.
Dads – I’ll Be the Tornado
The sophomore album from this New Brunswick duo, Dads’ I’ll Be the Tornado combines drummer/vocalist John Bradley’s straightforward lyricism with complex instrumentals to offer an interesting twist on things you might say yourself.
You Blew It! – You Blue It
Playing off an almost inevitable pun, You Blew It! offered us a fun bunch of reimagined Weezer hits in honor of The Blue Album‘s twentieth anniversary. This was a pretty landmark year for the Orlando crew, and we expect even greater things from them in 2015.
Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else
With this record, Cleveland trio Cloud Nothings, led by vocalist/songwriter Dylan Baldi, delivered an explosive follow-up to 2012’s Attack On Memory. This seems to be a standard on most other Best of 2014 lists, so you better give it a listen if you missed it.
Nothing – Guilty of Everything
This debut of irresistibly dreamy shoegaze signals great things to come from Nothing. It wouldn’t be fair to choose track favorites from this one — Guilty Of Everything is incredibly cohesive and best enjoyed all the way through. If you know what’s best for you, you’ll also check out their new split with Whirr.
Priests – Bodies and Control and Money and Power
A shout out to some hometown heroes, DC’s Priests offer a dark but overall fresh take on post-punk that contrasts well with the hardcore and grind that dominate the scene. This is the follow-up 2013’s Tape Two deserves.
The Menzingers – Rented World
While there’s nothing particularly innovative about The Menzingers latest album, Rented World is impossibly catchy and more cohesive than ever. They produce addictive, perfectly honed pop-punk with well-crafted lyrics and a solid juxtaposition of chaos and melody.
Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
There’s little one can say about Against Me!‘s latest record aside from it’s incredibly moving. In this world, that’s still a good thing. The first record to come from these punk veterans since Laura Jane Grace’s transition, it’s a raw, unadulterated, deeply profound look at a woman’s struggle to be true to herself.
Gnarwolves – Gnarwolves
I’m really stoked that Gnarwolves are starting to come around stateside. This UK trio caused some ripples with their 2013 Funemployed EP, but it’s this album that has really earned them some notice. With skate punk this solid, it’s only a matter of time until they really blow up.
Death From Above 1979 – The Physical World
One word comes to mind when considering Death From Above 1979’s The Physical World: FINALLY. The much anticipated follow-up to 2004’s You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine has an explosive energy and terrific DIY aesthetic you can’t find anywhere else.
Joyce Manor – Never Hungover Again
Joyce Manor just seems to grow more and more popular with each record they produce. And for good reason too, as the Torrance, CA foursome’s latest effort is the perfect combination of their S/T’s fast-paced sound and Of All Things I’ll Soon Grow Tired’s more mellow feel.
Don’t have enough time to listen to all those albums? We put together some choice cuts from all ten in a Spotify playlist. Give it a spin below.