Well here we go…..into the dreaded 00s. Any friends of mine will know that I’ll no doubt struggle when we get to the middle of the decade as I just complained about the lack of good new music at the time so this should be fun to go back and see what was there. Enough of the negaticvity though, things are still good at the start of the decade so here we are. let’s do it…..
35.The Mighty Mighty Bosstones-Pay Attention
You always know what you’re getting from The Bosstones and it’s more of the same here which is never a bad thing. Rock and Roll influenced ska punk with frontman Dickie Barrett’s distinctive gruff tones and the always impressive horn section. Fun stuff that is softer than some of their earlier albums but fits nicely in it’s discography timeline.
Highlights-“High School Dance” “Riot On Broad Street”
34.Alkaline Trio-Maybe I’ll Catch Fire
Their last album on the excellent Asian Man records (run by punk’s nicest man Mike Park) before they left for the majors shows that the goth punk band never really changed their style to fit in with a more major friendly sound. There are several of the same sounds and chord progressions that would go on to define their sound along with the dark storytelling and nihilistic, depressing lyrics.
Highlights-“Madam Me” “Tuck Me In”
33.Slick Shoes-Wake Up Screaming
Christian tech punk eh? Can’t say it’s entirely my forte but I know a good album when I hear one. Rapid skate punk in about girls and teen angst with very good musicianship.
Highlights-“Angel” “Another Day”
Proteges of the Insane Clown Posse Twiztid came into their own with this album of horrorcore rap that took on cartoonish storytelling about monsters and demons to serious subjects like suicide and depression.
Highlights-“I’m Alright” “Mutant X”
31.Dashboard Confessional-Swiss Army Romance
I remember when these guys hit the scene I was just starting to play in bands and become a more active member of the local music scene and jeeeezo singer Chris Carrabba created a sea of soaking wet emo girls with his good looks and emotional, open songs. I should hate these guys as it’s the scene that really killed mine off but I appreciate it for what it is and it’s a fine album of acoustic heartache.
Highlights-“Again I Go Unnoticed” “Age Six Racer”
The usual strong song craftsmanship from Billie Joe Armstrong is here but with a softer edge than previous albums. The guitar tone is less distorted, the pace is often slower and there’s more experimentation with different instruments like the moothie and accordion. There’s a maturity in the song writing which is saying something because it was always their strong point.
Highlights-“Church On Sunday” “Waiting”
29.Sum 41-Half Hour Of Power
I usually have a rule of no E.Ps on the list but seeing as this is 11 songs deep it’s pretty much an album. It’s a good one too and introduced the young Canadians to the world. They stood out a little from a lot of their pop punk contemporaries with Dave “Brown Sound” Baksh’s intricate guitar work leading to some thrash and hardcore moments.
Highlights-“Makes No Difference” “What We Believe”
28.Insane Clown Posse-Bizzar/Bizaar
A double album both released on the same day from the horrorcore icons. Probably the last of their albums that I thoroughly enjoyed too with their signature sense of humour and self deprecating style mixed with the horror stories the characters of Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope are known for.
Highlights-“Let A Killa'” Radio Stars”
27.MXPX-The Ever Passing Moment
There’s a definite and noticeable growth in the band’s song writing and structure as there is more variety in the speed and there’s more to the lyrics than just teen love. Little cool guest appearances from Dave Grohl and more importantly Stephen Egerton from Descendents help make it one of the band’s strongest albums.
Highlights-“It’s Undeniable” “Is The Answer In The Question?”
More industrial metal with breakbeats and fiddly diddly electronics from Nottingham’s finest. Seen as a disappointment sales wise after the success of their previous album which was a sleeper hit. Nonetheless from a critical point of view it did well with fans enjoying it and reviews being generally good.
Highlights-“Condensation” “Dead Battery”
A much more laid back and melodic effort from punk rocks biggest and proudest scumbags. They dedicated the song “River City” to the new president George W Bush as they felt the chorus of “I Want To Rape The USA” was appropriate. Clocking in at just over 20 minutes it’s another blast of Dwarves goodness straight to the face.
Highlights-“How It’s Done” “Production Value”
24.The Living End-Roll On
The second album from the Australian Punkabilly band is more of the same 77′ era influenced working class punk with songs about unions and left wing politics. It’s more slick and polished than their debut with higher production value but that doesn’t take any of the street level punk sound away from them.
Highlights-“Dirty Man” “Carry Me Home”
23.Dillinger Four-Versus God
Surely one of the most underrated bands in punk. Their inactivity in terms of releases may contribute to that as they’ve only released 4 studio albums in a 20 year run. Whatever the case their second album contains the harmonies, unique vocals and lyricism that makes them such an excellent band.
Highlights-“Music Is None Of My Business” “Maximum Piss And Vinegar”
22.Jurassic 5-Quality Control
In (for me) a horrendous year and period for hip hop Jurassic 5 were still bringing the old school fun and beats to the table with a group of MCs spitting bars with intelligence and skill rather than the guff Puff Daddy and his cronies were pumping out at the time. A breath of fresh air in a dark time for the genre…..although sales were probably higher than ever…….it still sucked.
Highlights-“The Influence” “Monkey Bars”
Essentially The Pogues for a newer generation. Celtic instruments and punk rock energy and fuzzy guitars. All the songs have an anthemic pub vibe that transfers well to their live show with the crowd hugging each other and dancing around. Unique and a standout in the punk scene of the time.
Highlights-“Salty Dog” “The Likes Of You Again”
20.The Suicide Machines-The Suicide Machines
As the cover gives away,, the band focused on a more traditional pop sound to go along with their usual punk with layered and overlapping vocals with janglier guitars. This upset some fans but even a lot of them have come round to the merits of the album as it respectfully pays tribute to 60s bands they were no doubt listening to at the time.
Highlights-“No Sale” “Sometimes I Don’t Mind”
One of those rare rare bands where the drummer is the lead vocalist. Always interesting to see that but it means nothing if the band sucks. Thankfully Snuff are ace with a great sense of humour and anthemic OI style English punk.
Highlights-“Chalk Me Down For More” “Yuki”
The second Rancid album to be self titled…..a bizarre decision but nonetheless it’s the music that counts and as usual Rancid deliver. The experimentation of their previous album is gone in favour of straight forward punk rock with tinges of hardcore thrown in there. The tracks have little to no break in between them so they just blend into one massive socially aware, thrashing punk rock beast.
Highlights-“Rwanda” “Dead Bodies”
17.Bowling For Soup-Let’s Do It For Johnny
I saw these guys at Leeds festival in 2000 and a year or two later supporting (Spunge) in Edinburgh which was odd as they’re on a major label but seeing them explode just after that was really cool as they’d clearly put the miles in and deserved their big break. This is their first major label album and it’s filled with pop rock gems. It’s odd, in a scene that constantly debates what is punk and what isn’t this is a band that is definitely on the poppier side of things but they were always pretty much accepted in the scene because they are so likeable and their songs are great.
Highlights-“You And Me” “Belgium”
16.Less Than Jake-Borders And Boundaries
In my humble and meaningless opinion this was the last great album Less Than Jake released. That’s not to say there isn’t great stuff out there that came after but in terms of full albums this ended the classic era of the band. Anthemic trumpunk songs about the band’s hometown and the pressures of being a touring make up the majority of the topics.
Highlights-“Look What Happened” “Gainsville Rock City”
15.The Offspring-Conspiracy Of One
Another collection of snotty, obnoxious punk rock from the leaders of the renaissance. Much like their last album their was a crossover comedy song featuring Redman called Original Prankster and a heady mix of fast skate punk and poppier love songs.
Highlights-“I Want You Bad” “Dammit, I Changed Again”
14.Nerf Herder-How To Meet Girls
Best known for doing the theme tune to Buffy but a really fun band in their own right. Taking themselves seriously is the last thing on their mind as almost every song has laugh out loud lyrics. From making fun of Courtney Love to forming new wave bands to keep a girl to heavy metal fans falling in love in the mosh pit.
Highlights-“Pantera Fans In Love” “5000 Way To Die”
13.Lagwagon-Let’s Talk About Leftovers
You may be wondering about the lack of Lagwagon on my lists considering they are clearly in my wheelhouse but none of their studio albums ever connected with me in a way other did. Always liked them as a band but just never got really into them. This compilation of B sides and covers is excellent though and earns it’s place.
Highlights-“A Feedbag Of Truckstop Poetry” “Want”
The Brooklyn hip hop duo got their big break with Warriorz and the phenomenally successful single Ante Up. Their super aggressive delivery feels like you’re being scolded it’s s o vicious but that’s what makes them so good. It’s that kind of delivery that is sometimes missing in the genre and it’s passionate and angry which is a nice change. Like a lot of their stuff they worked with producer DJ Premiere who has appeared on these lists so many times before.
Highlights-“Ante Up” “Follow Instructions”
11.Marilyn Manson-Holy wood (In The Shadow Of The Valley Of Death)
What a great cover. This was Manson’s response to the disgusting treatment he received at the hands of media, many of whom blamed him directly for the Columbine school shooting. It’s a dark, heavy and angry album that heads back to the Antichrist Superstar era rather than the glam rock experimentation of Mechanical Animals. Some of the lyricism is out there and incredibly dark, something of a new Edgar Allen Poe with his goth imagery and storytelling.
Highlights-“Disposable Teens” “Burning Flag”
10.Linkin Park-Hybrid Theory
I remember the hype train was at full speed as this debut album was nearing it’s release date. The magazines were filled with interviews and articles about the new metal band that were going to take the world by storm. They weren’t wrong as 17 years later they are still huge. It’s a hell of a debut album and nostalgia is definitely coming into play here as listening back to some of it the rapping is cringe worthy at times and screaming has never been my thing but it’s undeniable how catchy and memorable many of the songs are.
Highlights-“Runaway” “One Step Closer”
9.(Spunge)-Room For Abuse
One of the most fun bands to ever come out of the UK punk scene. I went to several (Spunge) shows in the early 00s and always had a blast and the band always had time for fans. A fantastic ska punk band that deserved to be so much bigger than they wer. The nearly men of the UK scene.
Highlights-“Get Along” “Break Up”
Pretty much entirely ditching the ska parts they used to incorporate into their songs (which is a good thing as it was their weakest attribute) Goldfinger hit with their first great album. John Feldmann’s booming vocals are backed by a mix of raging guitars and rapid beats to more relaxed sliding surf rock and snare rim taps. Just a great melodic punk record.
Highlights-“San Simeon” “99 Red Balloons”
I think most people in the punk scene that Millencolin operated in were very happy for happy when the hard working Swedish band finally found success with this album. Dropping the ska punk sound they had used in a lot of previous records (seeing a pattern here) they went for a more straight forward punk and rock sound and there’s a definite maturity in the songwriting here that progressed them from being a solid band to a band to be taken very seriously. Unfortunately for me this was the last of their albums that I really enjoyed as they continued going down the rock route more and more and got a little boring for me.
Highlights-“Penguins And Polar Bears” “The Mayfly”
An exceptional melodic hardcore album released on Fat Wreck that combines ferocious sonic booms of aggressive hardcore with a great ear for tuneful chord progressions and melodies. None of the melody takes away from the aggression though and it doesn’t fall into that horrible trap that many melodic hardcore bands do of having a thrashing verse and then transitioning to a harmonic, melodic chorus. They just mix it all together perfectly.
Highlights-“Taken” “High Lonesome”
5.Wu-Tang Clan-The W
Wu Tang had always been a group of grade-A MCs right from the start which my 1993 list shows but this album shows their growth as wordsmiths and the production from RZA is as strong as ever. Often overlooked for some reason The W is a strong album that sounds deliberately less polished than the previous album and more like their phenomenal debut without quite reaching those heights.
Highlights-“Chamber Music” “Protect Ya Neck (The Jump Off)”
4.AFI-The Art Of Drowning
Sorry that the list isn’t as eclectic as usual for this year but it is what it has to be. There wasn’t too much going on for me than punk rock. AFI deliver again with angry goth punk with The Days Of The Phoenix being one of their best songs ever and an absolute classic in the genre. AFI were angry at the world and let it all out, they were on absolute fire at this time.
Highlights-” The Days Of The Phoenix” “Sacrifice Theory”
3.Vandals-Look What I Almost Stepped In…
Filled with their characteristically funny lyrics and delivery with inventive and fun compositions, The Vandals 8th album is a riot of self deprecating, juvenile fun with genuinely good musicianship as well. One of the best Vandals albums.
Highlights-“What About Me” “Jackass”
2.Eels-Daisies Of The Galaxy
Their previous album which did well in the 1998 list was a horrific look into a severely depressed man’s mind, much like a diary. While this album certainly has plenty of dark and emotional moments it’s not as disturbingly candid and a lot of songs can be played for fun. I’m by no means saying the candid darkness of Electro Shock Blues is a bad thing, I’m purely stating the difference in the albums. Mr E still stands as one of the best pop rock writers of all time with simple songs that connect deeply with me and I played this album so much I must have worn it out. It’s a special album from a special band.
Highlights-“It’s A Motherf’%#r” “Wooden Nickels”
1.Bad Religion-The New America
Oh what a surprise, Bad Religion is on the list. Well I can’t help if they are consistently amazing…..blame them. Socially aware with left wing anthems and songs about kindness and treating each other with respect. They are punk rock through and through and don’t have to scream and shout to make their point. Greg Grafin’s cool, smooth voice is perfectly fitted to the thrashing guitars and it creates a beautiful juxtaposition that makes them one of punk’s real treasures.
Highlights-“Believe It” “You’ve Got A Chance”
There we go then, not very eclectic this time but still plenty of great albums for you to check out if you haven’t already. As usual give me a shout with ideas for lists or if you just want to chat @swing_kinker