We’ve reached the end of our list. It’s been one hell of a year here at Hellhound, with much more in store for 2013. Happy holidays!
Best of 2012:
Go Radio – Close the Distance
Go Radio definitely appeals to my more mellow side. They are such a great band to listen to while you’re working or playing in the background while you hang with friends. Close the Distance may not have the anthem type ballads that of previous releases but this really is a solid record that deserves to be praised.
Stellar Corpses – Dead Stars Drive In
When I first listened to this record, I was instantly taken back to ’96 when the Misfits did their resurrection thing with Graves at the front man spot. I liked it and not afraid to admit it. Then you listen a little more, low and behold…Graves actually does some guest vocals on the record. This record is a great mix of punk, horror punk and psychobilly.
Bearcat – Bearcat
I will freely admit I am a sucker for a pretty face, especially when it matched with an equally pretty voice. Renee Yohe is no exception. Her vocals do teeter on the exotic and might not be everyone’s forte’ but that’s what makes it so amazing to me. She’s such a talented vocalist and her back story is quite compelling. It’s great to see that things turned out the way they did, bringing us this gem that is Bearcat.
Dead Rabbitts – Edge of Reality
I’ve known Craig for several years and I can truly say I’m stoked to see him doing projects like Dead Rabbitts, getting back to his roots again. I know I know….Post Hardcore is on its way out, whatever. Records like this help keep it alive. Haters gonna hate…do your thing Mabbitt.
A Loss For Words – Returning to Webster Lake
I fucking love these kids. I have been hooked ever since their publicist sent me the No Sanctuary record. They are just a great band. This record is for all intents and purposes an acoustic/and covers accompanying type record, just to add to your collection but it is still some great work from Matty. Throw in a cameos from Tay Jardine and Evan Pharmakis and you’ve got yourself a great little record.
Glass Cloud – The Royal Thousand
Team Roush, yup I’m on it. I’m lucky enough to call Jerry one of my boys. It is seriously great to see Jerry back in the saddle, especially with something that belongs to him. No replacement drama, all real, all original. Glass Cloud writes some technical, brutal and unique material. These dudes also absolutely throw down live. You have got to check them out. Promise.
All That Remains – A War You Cannot Win
A lot of people may say that All That Remains lost their way the last few records. Well, ya know what, if progressing is losing your way then I guess everyone is right. A War You Cannot Win holds to form BUT, the record also seems to relight that lost torch. It has some hint of earlier days. Those catchy chorus’ come out from time to time making this record a glimmer into the past yet still eyes still forward on the future of metal.
The Word Alive – Life Cycles
I have been a TWA fan from the beginning, yeah, the drama, front man changes all that. This band hit the ground running when Telle took over and never looked back. They have had a couple speed bumps along the way but they NEVER stopped getting better. This record also contains Astral Plane, a track to me that takes a peek into the soul of Telle. Possibly one of my favorites tracks of all time. I can’t even put my finger on it, this track just seems to move me every time.
Hands Like Houses – Ground Dweller
These kids weren’t playing when they debuted this record. They dropped a ringer. It is solid all the way around. I was extremely surprised when I let this record play through. Single after single after single….it didn’t seem to end. Trenton Woodley’s vocals give them such an edge, so much purity, really set them apart.
The Used – Vulnerable
What can I say, it’s The Used. Bert does it again and again. Each record has its own feel but it is still The Used. Vulnerable is a bit of a throwback to the bands hay day when they were on the tip of everyone’s tongue. If nothing else, they are masters at what they do, writing amazing shit.
Senses Fail – Follow Your Bliss: The Best of Senses Fail
Okay…so it’s a Best of BUT it’s Buddy Nielsen, one of my all-time favorite front men. Senses Fail to me is timeless Post Hardcore that should get a bid for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for simply being . Petition anyone? They have influenced more than a fair share of bands. There’s only a few bands that can claim to be reigning kings of Post Hardcore and I’ll be damned if Senses Fail isn’t one of them.
Heartist – Nothing You Didn’t Deserve
This band snuck up on me…I was not prepared for how good they were going to be. Seriously, I was blown away. Don’t believe me?? Go listen to “The Answer” and tell me that you didn’t hum that chorus to yourself for 3 days afterwards. I am looking forward to the next release for Heartist. I also haven’t had the chance to see them live as of yet. *sad face
Honorable Mention for my good friends Honour Crest with Metrics
This record took a while to see the light of day, a couple setbacks but Honour Crest secured a deal with Indianola Records and Metricswas finally released. Proud of our boys and stoked to see things moving in the right direction.
A Loss For Words
If ALFW can pull off another record even close to No Sanctuary, I’ll be a happy camper. That record was amazing, start to finish.
See above. Haha, I’m a fan and patiently waiting for these kids to drop a full length.
Escape the Fate
I am anxious to hear the next chapter of ETF. I am a longtime fan. ETF has definitely been through its share of drama and changes. Hopefully 2013 will be the year that they can turn things around and get back on track.
No doubt my MOST anticipated release of 2013. I am a devout Conditions fan. Through and through. No other band even comes close to the amount of playtime Conditions gets on my speakers. I am lucky enough to call these dudes friends and I never let them forget it. Haha. On a serious note, these are some of the most talented dudes that I know. Everything they write is special and unique. Each song has its own story to tell and you can actually feel the emotion that went into every single song. Go buy their music, help them out. They deserve it.
Because I’m better at making life and death decisions than making a simple list (which is almost like life and death when discussing music), I’m going to just put these in alphabetical order by artist:
Best of 2012:
The American Scene – Safe For Now
This album blew their debut EP out of the water. It’s a no brainer that Safe For Now cemented its spot in my top albums the first time I heard it. It’s a perfect album in all aspects: from the lyrics, to the flow from one track to the next. Months later there’s still not one song I skip when I listen to it.
Brendan Rivera – No Ocean In Ireland
Brendan Rivera came out of nowhere. No Ocean In Ireland is made up of 11 huge, lush tracks (aside from the occasional pure acoustic) that absorb your full attention. In my review of the album I compared his skill with an acoustic guitar to Jeff Mangum (Neutral Milk Hotel) and Chris Carrabba (Dashboard Confessional), a claim I still stand by.
Dads – American Radass (this is important)
This was the last album I really dove into before the fall semester began. It’s the sort of album that you’ll be singing random bits and pieces of long after you’ve taken your headphones out, and that you’ll scream along to in the car no matter the mood you’re in. It’s definitely worth a Google search if you haven’t heard them before.
Daytrader – Twelve Years
Call me crazy, but this album didn’t make the cut right away. It wasn’t until I came back to it about four months after it was released that I truly grew to love it. Now I’m more bummed than ever that the band decided to call it quits, but they definitely left something worthwhile behind.
The Forecast – Everybody Left
I’ve loved The Forecast for a long, long time. I didn’t hesitate for a moment when they launched their Kickstarter campaign to fund this album, and wasted no time in spinning the record five times the day it came in the mail. The lyrics left me with the impression that we won’t be hearing from the band for some time, but I hope like hell that’s not the case.
fun. – Some Nights
Another band close to my heart. I’ve been wishing success for Nate Ruess since hearing The Format’s Interventions and Lullabies for the first time. These guys don’t ever let up on the theatrics and it finally payed off. While “We Are Young” is my least favorite track on the album, I’m glad it gave them some mainstream attention. The rest of the album, including the bonus track, are phenomenal.
The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
This album had to grow on me. I liked it, but I didn’t love it, and that scared me a bit since I loved every other Gaslight Anthem record on first listen. It’s definitely the sort of album you have to listen to all the way through – no skipping around from track to track. It’s a damn powerful record all at once.
Hostage Calm – Please Remain Calm
Sophomore slump, schlofmore slump. Or something like that. These guys progressed in all directions for their second release. They experimented with their sound and proved that, when done well, you can dabble in different styles without producing junk. Their lyricism improved slightly too, which is hard to do when you write so well already.
I Am Carpenter – My God Clara
Here’s another band that’s breaking up when they’re ahead. My God Clara was a huge and heavy hearted album that I truly believe could have taken this band somewhere. Luckily, it has enough depth to keep everyone interested until the guys create new bands.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – The Heist
The only reason I even knew about Macklemore was because Fences sang in “Otherside.” I didn’t really care one way or another when I heard he was releasing a new album. Then I heard it, and I couldn’t stop listening to it. And I still can’t stop myself from spinning it at least once a week.
The Menzingers – On The Impossible Past
If I had forced myself to put this list in numerical order from favorite on down, this album would have been number one. I’ve enjoyed their albums more and more with each release, but On The Impossible Past has worn down my iPod’s battery on repeat on more than one occasion this year. A perfect album.
Misser – Everyday I Tell Myself I’m Going To Be a Better Person
This one phased in and out of the list a few times but made a strong comeback these last couple months. It’s solid from start to finish, which says a lot since it’s stacked with 13 tracks. That’s a lot for an album these days. But it doesn’t feel so long when the songs are a nice, diverse mix.
Mixtapes – Even On The Worst Nights
If you like your music to be fun, relatable and energetic then Even On The Worst Nights is the album for you. Despite the fact that Mixtapes releases new music every few months (I could double check but I don’t think I’m exaggerating much), nothing is ever bad. And this LP may be their best.
Motion City Soundtrack – Go
I liked the album when I first heard it – in fact, “Boxelder” is one of my favorite songs released all year. I didn’t really appreciate the album as a whole though until I heard the songs played live. Only then was I able to feel the energy that pulses more as an undercurrent through the 38 minutes.
Now, Now – Threads
All the band’s previous releases have been great, but Threads is stronger in every aspect. There’s a central theme that ties it all together nicely, the instrumentation is tighter, and it embraces a sort of soothing factor while avoiding becoming boring. I’m already excited to see what they do next.
Pentimento – Pentimento
If you follow me on Twitter or Tumblr or you’ve read my vinyl record reviews, you’ve seen me drop the name Pentimento quite a bit. These guys have improved exponentially from what was already fine tuned and aggressive, to something just a little more refined. They’ve been fighting to get the album out there – I suggest you Google it.
The Tower and The Fool – How Long
(The only reason this isn’t in my top 15 is because half the record is previously released material)
Yellowcard – Southern Air
Milo Greene – Milo Greene
(I didn’t put EPs on my 2010 or 2011 lists and it haunts me to this day.)
Anthony Raneri – New Cathedrals
A Great Big Pile of Leaves – Making Moves 7”
Bearcat – Bearcat
Coasta – Sunzal
Dowsing/Parker – Split
Lydia – Acoustic EP
Missive – Not a Minute Goes By
Open To Fire – Open To Fire
Prawn – Ships
Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson – Small Changes We Hardly Notice