No more disclaimers…there are some I COULD make but eh…fuck it.
10. The Bouncing Souls – How I Spent My Summer Vacation (2001)
Much like D4, there isn’t a whole lot about The Bouncing Souls that I can really say…they’re one of those bands that has just transcended and become such an important part of the (specifically East Coast) punk scene that I lack the ability to really talk about them in the grand scheme of things. However, over the course of their lengthy catalogue, this record would be my pick regardless of what decade it came out in…the fact that it was this one just gave me an easy entry.
Choice Track: True Believers
9. Thursday – Full Collapse (2002)
This record has timing on its side almost completely…it entered my life at the most perfect point for me to achieve the maximum impact from it…and to this day it finds regular playlist love. Like many records on this list, it pulls the “loud and abrasive vs. calm and melodic” card as the means for its message…but unlike all of them, it does it the best.
Choice Track: Cross Out the Eyes
8. Samiam – Astray (2000)
Admittedly, I did not hear this record until VERY recently. However, the speed in which it entered my must listen pile is honestly astounding. It is an almost perfect example of how 90s post-hardcore can be done to its most profoundly heartbreaking extent but still remain completely uplifting at the same time.
Choice Track: Dull
7. Kid Dynamite – Shorter, Faster, Louder (2000)
The keynote in the all too brief history of Kid Dynamite. Although chances are had they continued to this day, they would not ultimately be as influential as they eventually became. However, that does not make this interpretation of the classic DC hardcore sound transplanted to New Brunswick any less successful at embodying the pure and unbridled fun of the genre that so many bands have forgotten about. Punk should be fun people…and this record knows that.
Choice Track: Cheap Shot Youth Anthem
6. Small Brown Bike – The River Bed (2003)
This is how post-hardcore is done. Loud (except when its soft), fast (except when its slow), honest (except when it tricks you) and inspirational (except when it breaks your heart.) All of the above can be used to describe this record and all of the above are completely legitimate.
Choice Track: Safe in Sound
5. Botch – We Are the Romans (2000)
Probably the last time complete aggression combined with odd time signatures has been done this successfully. The fire from which every half successful metalcore act found its sound. Often imitated, but never repeated.
Choice Track: To Our Friends in the Great White North
4. Paint It Black – New Lexicon (2008)
I mince no words when I say that this record reaffirmed my existence more times than I can remember in its year and a half long lifespan. Very few in the scene take the uplifting nature of positive hardcore as seriously as Dan Yemin and for this record he pulled out all the stops…leaving no stone unturned he manages to comment on the current political climate in both the country and the punk scene and addresses it perfectly in relation to anyone listening along (“don’t let the bastards get you down”) while still managing to throw his own personal ethos in the mix to be learned from by those who are willing (“live fast but don’t die young…slow down, but never, EVER, stop.”) Thanks Dr. Dan.
Choice Track: Past Tense Future Perfect
3. Hot Water Music – Caution (2002)
It’s Hot Water Fucking Music. Must I really say anything other than “DUUUUHHHRRRR”?
Choice Track: Trusty Chords
2. At The Drive-In – Relationship of Command (2000)
When I visited the Berkinow concentration camp in Poland and walked silently down the train tracks that lead so many people to their deaths nearly seventy years prior I had the refrain to “Invalid Litter Dept.” stuck on repeat inside my skull. If you need any more evidence as to this record’s haunting intensity then there is a very good chance you have zero soul.
Choice Track: One-Armed Scissor
WARNING: EXTREME SENTIMENTALITY ALERT!
1. Against Me! – Reinventing Axl Rose (2002)
When I drove away from my high school graduation, “We Laugh at Danger and Break All the Rules” spilled from my car stereo. Four years later, I ended my last radio show with the same song. When I get married, I will serenade my wife with “Baby, I’m an Anarchist” (or possibly “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong.”)I will make sure my children know the chorus to “Walking Is Still Honest” by heart and know that I mean every word when I sing it back to them. Quite simply, no record has meant more to me in my life, let alone the last ten years of it (scene be damned.) Far more concerned with the honesty, intensity and purity of the message rather than the recording, this record is about love, friendship, integrity and perseverance in its purest form…and we can’t ask any more of our music than that. (Melodramatic I know but I mean every word…more or less.)
Choice Track: We Laugh at Danger and Break All the Rules.
That’s it. Get outta here.