By Scott Murry
In 2015, I was surprised how bad some long anticipated albums were. Sometimes they just lack the motion to move to the new beat. Luckily, for every let down, there was at least one other veteran or new blood waiting in the wings. The word “punk” is an ever-evolving term, but each of these bands keeps the fire burning in their own way.
10. Cobra Skulls – Live at the BBC (Red Scare)
The Cobra Skulls remain one of my favorite bands, even having broke up 2 years ago. This 7” is live in London roughly a year before their split-up, capturing an uprising of twangy discontent—and reminding me why they are sorely missed.
9. Jeff Bridges – Sleep Tapes (SquareSpace)
Jeff Bridges is punk as fuck. He put together this soothing record of relaxing sounds and nurturing narratives to help you drift into a deep sleep. 100% of proceeds even benefit easing childhood hunger in the States. “The Dude” wins again.
8. Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love (SubPop)
In the 90s, prior to the spare change, punk-clad Carrie Brownstein of Portlandia, she formed a badass riot grrl band, Sleater-Kinney. In 2015, they reminded us they’re not all just funny ladies, but that the band can make dynamic, wailing noise, too.
7. Bad Cop / Bad Cop – Not Sorry (Fat Wreck)
These powerpop punk ladies warmed up our ears in recent years with a couple of catchy EPs. Not Sorry, their debut LP kicked over some kerosene and set everything on fire. The bubblegum 3 part harmonies accented with snarl are so choice.
6. Trophy Lungs – Day Jobs (Antique Records)
Boston, MA has had its share of punk bands through the years, but it’s nice to have one not associated with weight lifting. Highly appropriate to Boston, this debut covers cold weather and crushing classism. It’s excellently fast, snotty punk.
5. Dan Webb and the Spiders – Perfect Problem (Gunner)
DWATS have released a few albums over the years—some pop-punk, some folky/bluesy, and a good deal of garage. Perfect Problem combines the best of all—it’s catchy and to the point in low-fi genius.
4. Matt + Kim – New Glow (Harvest)
Not classically punk, Matt + Kim come from good roots and know how to make a fun, fast track. New Glow is aggressively upbeat and positive. If clouds are hanging in your apartment, this shit will clear ‘em out and make you wanna dance.
3. PEARS – Go to Prison (Fat Wreck)
Bite a spoon and strap yourself down. When PEARS come on, you’re thrown into a feverish seizure. Zach Quinn jolts around at the mic as though he’s mid-exorcism. It’s so gritty and grimy in delivery; it’s an album that makes your pores tingle.
2. toyGuitar – In This Mess (Fat Wreck)
I’ve never surfed; I grew up in the Midwest. This album has smooth bass lines and a jangly rhythm that make me want to get some sex wax though and give it a shot. In This Mess is a raucous beach day with beers. (Sidenote: Fuck that new Point Break.)
1. Haybaby – Sleepy Kids (Tiny Engines)
I couldn’t be any happier with the art-garage-punk sound of Sleepy Kids, I love this album. The awkward stories and humorous, repeated use of the word “underwear” make me snicker. Grumbling, effective rhythms and a range of emotions keep me deep in. The soft, unassuming vocals of Leslie Hong battling against erupting walls of noise have caused this album to play on heavy rotation. Does it sound like I’m gushing over it? Well, yeah —it’s my number one, old sport!