Tag Archives: Best Of

BHP Best of 2017

It’s crazy that 2017 is coming to an end already.  I feel like I always seem to say that around this time of the year, but it’s true.

It feels like it was just yesterday that I turned into a 40 year old.  Let me tell you, that was kind of a big change for me and I might have sulked about it for 7-8 months.

More importantly, my wife and I welcomed our amazing, chill little daughter to the world in July.  She is the coolest, but don’t tell my son I said that.

Clearly dadage life takes up most of my time these days and this blog is not what it used to be, but I still try to crank out reviews and whatnot when I can because I love it.

I may be busy with life, but I am always listening to music and have checked out tons of albums by amazing bands and artists.  Where I wish I could review everything that I have come across, I simply have to pick and choose when I can.

It’s been a tradition of sorts for me to do a Best Of post, and there is nothing I would rather do that share with you some of my favorite releases of 2017.  So, without further delay…[well maybe some as I am trying to narrow this down to just 20, but who am I kidding???  Edit: I might have added to this best of list a few times now…]

I ‘m super proud to say that four of my favorite releases in 2017 are all Cleveland bands so they obviously need to be mentioned first:


Heart & Lung – You Wanna Know the Truth?
This is the album that caught me by complete surprise.  My pal told me to check them out and I did and I loved this entire pop punk jam of an album to the point that I still listen to it almost daily.  If I was able to sign them and put out a record, I would have already.  This band has so much potential to be huge.


Heart Attack Man – The Manson Family

Words can really not express how great this album is.  It’s punk, it’s grunge, it’s good, and it’s comprised of great folk.  Do not sleep on this one.


Two Hand Fools – Falling In / Falling Out
I was lucky enough to hear this album over the summer and was beyond blown away by how amazing it was.  It is seriously the best thing the band has done so far and I adore it from start to finish.  This is one of Cleveland’s best bands if you ask me.


Warbrides – Regrets

Oh man this album rips…

Of course there were others too…


Iron Chic – You Can’t Stay Here

Do I really need to even say anything?  This album is damn near perfect.


Smith Street Band – More Scared of You Than You Are of Me
These Aussies have put out one of my favorite albums of the year.  I loved how catchy, fun, and overly personal it was.  I still have intentions on getting one of the lyrics off this album tattooed on me. I also need to buy the damn record already for my collection.


Propagandhi – Victory Lap 
It should say a lot how politically charged this album was from a Canadian band about the US mess we are in.  I really adore this album from start to finish.  It’s damn perfect.


Hot Water Music – Never Going Back
The more I listened to this album, the more I appreciated it.  It is a wiser, more mature release by this iconic punk band.


Scorpios – Scorpios Vol. 2

When Joey Cape told me in an interview that Scorpios might just return and someone with the initials C.C. would take over where Sly left off, I was beyond stoked and instantly knew it was Chris Cresswell.  This is one of the albums this year that everyone needs to just give a chance.


Demons – Embrace Wolf
I just found out about these guys from a good friend recently and I have listened to their debut release almost daily since.  This band packs a severe punch with their post-hardcore greatness.


Ho99o9 – United States of Horror
Hardcore punk mixed with hip hop?  Yes please.  This album was beyond insane.  Death Grips ain’t got nothing on these dudes.


Frank Carter and the Rattle Snakes – Modern Ruin
I miss Gallows so much, but what Frank Carter and crew released has me happy that he still puts himself out there for everyone to hear.  This is more of a rock album but it’s so rad.


Sweet Apple – Sing the Night in Sorrow
I was not sold on my first listen, but after a few more I realized I should have paid more attention the first time.  Remarkable release by some amazing musicians.


Anti-Flag – American Fall
I do not really care with anyone thinks here, Anti-Flag released a political, poignant album that everyone who has a clue needs to check out.  They have perfected their sound so much on this album.


The Flatliners – Inviting Light
Upon first listen I was not totally sold on the band tapping their brakes compared to previous releases, but the more and more listened to it, the more and more I appreciated what they had to offer.  This really is a hell of an album.


Fred Thomas – Changer
This man can do no wrong.  I love his style and uniqueness and the fact he gets excited about my Instagram posts every once in a while.  His latest release just hit me as it encompassed change.


Body Count – Bloodlust
Back in ’93, I was a huge Body Count fan.  I am sure I can still recite most of the lyrics off their debut.  After that first album, I just never got into them the same.  Then Bloodlust came out and once again they have grabbed my attention.  Ice T, Ernie C, and crew really delivered a heavy ass album with plenty of special guests.


Menzingers – After the Party
I feel like every album they release I am putting it on my best of list, but hey, it rules and deserves to be noted.


Ride – Weather Diaries
This album is incredible from start to finish.  I honestly was not expecting this seeing how the band hadn’t released material in over 20 years.  Clearly I am dumb for thinking that.


A Giant Dog – Toy
This band is straight up insane and I love the hell out of them for that.


Lil Peep – Come Over When You’re Sober (Part One)

I was strangely fascinated with this kid and his emo rap to the point that I was listening to this album almost daily.  I could not stand some of the topics he was singing about and just felt like I was too old to even admit I was listening, but I loved the music and his overall singing style.  Sadly he OD’d last month so the world will never know how big he could have gotten.  I really felt this kid had so much talent.


Tim Barry – High On 95

Once again this man has taken his honest music and beat up all the emotions inside of me.  Working class hero musician with storytelling abilities like none other.


Quicksand – Interiors
I honestly was not anticipating this release to be as good as it is.  I hate to be that guy, but I was not impressed with the couple of tracks the band released prior to the album.  Little did I know they were just puzzle pieces to a killer album.


Iron Reagan – Crossover Ministry
So much thrash goodness here.  Also, best album cover too.


Needles // Pins – Good Night, Tomorrow
I am thinking that a lot of people might not have hear of these guys here in the states, but you can change that.  This punk rock group released a great album.  Note to self:  Buy the LP already!


The Electric Grandmother – Cancelled.
There is no way I was going to overlook this concept album by two very close friends of mine.  Even if they are too good to play a Cleveland show, I love them dearly and am amazed with Cancelled.  It’s the best thing they have done to date in my opinion.

Honorary Mentions:

  • Choke Up – Stormy Blue
  • Bad Cop/Bad Cop – Warriors
  • Shedders – Dangerous Jumps
  • Rancid – Trouble Maker
  • Gorillaz – Humanz
  • The Afghan Whigs – In Spades
  • Me First and the Gimme Gimmes – Rake It In:  The Greatestest Hits
  • Ethan Danial Davidson – Crows
  • No Use For A Name – Rarities Vol. 1: The Covers
  • Stutter Steps – Floored
  • Western Addiction – Tremulous
  • Cloud Nothings – Life Without Sound
  • Japandroids – Near To the Wild Heart of Life
  • Swingin’ Utters – Drowning in the Sea, Rising with the Sun: Best of Swingin’ Utters
  • TSOL – The Trigger Complex
  • Greg Graffin – Millport
  • Powerflo – Powerflo
  • Quicksand – Interiors
  • Beck – Colors

As always, this was fun to take some time and think about all the great releases that came out over the past year.  I probably could have put even more up here, but the ones listed (along with the honorable mentions) are the ones that impacted me the most.

I’m glad I did not sunset this site as I actually thought about over the summer.  I’m going on 10 years now and after careful thought have no intentions of closing shop anytime soon.

A big you to all the bands and the great PRs who have even thought of asking me to check something new out.  I am sorry I can not always get the review out, but I promise you, I listen to just about everything that is sent my way.

Thank you to you if you are reading this for checking out my site.  Whether you are new or visit often, I appreciate you for checking me out.  Without you, this site would be meaningless.

Happy Holidays to you and yours and all that jazz.

 

BHP Best of 2016

It’s that time of the year again folks.  Time to sit here and type out a list of bands that have impressed me one way or another.  I am not keeping to a set number as it would take me forever to narrow it down.

A sincere thanks to everyone who’s ever visited this site – seriously.  I know I tend to say that around the time I do my best of lists, but I really mean it.  I almost called it quits  earlier this year and reconsidered at the last minute.

This blog is very personal to me and even if more people find it while Googling how to fix their headphones, it is still fun to do.  If I can turn someone on to a new band just by one post, then my job is done.

With that said, I plan on sticking around for a while.

I am sure I will add a few more as they come to me in the next couple of weeks (as I always do [up to 3 edits now]), but for now, here’s the list of the albums that really caught my attention in 2016:

[EDIT:  The year is not over yet and I needed to throw in just a couple more…]


Chandeli’ers – Breaker
-This was the album that hit me in the right way.  It was fun across the board and sounded like the Clash meets Elvis Costello.  What more could you ask for?


Run The Jewels – RTJ3
-This album was not supposed to drop until 3 weeks into the new year, but El-P and Killer Mike decided to drop it on Christmas day for all to enjoy.  I can not stop listening to it.  I know I am not the only one either.

MakeWar "Developing A Theory Of Integrity"
MakeWar – Developing a Theory of Integrity
-Hands down one of my favorite surprise releases of the year.  This punk rock band has thrown together an album I will be listening to over and over for years to come.

joe-mcmahon
Joe McMahon – Another Life
-This is another one of my favorite albums this year.  McMahon shared with the world an outstanding collection of tunes that everyone needs to check out.  His solo material is a lot different from his Smoke or Fire days and that is not a bad thing at all.

Bob Mould
Bob Mould – Patch the Sky
-Mould recorded a masterpiece with Patch the Sky.  If you have not had the chance to listen to this album, you are missing out.  This album is perfect to listen to any day.

Jonathan Richman
Jonathan Richman – Ishkode! Ishkode!
-I am kicking myself for not putting this on my list initially.  Richman is one of the most prolific songwriters out there and put out quite the release.  I loved how song his songs were fun at times while others were just complex and reached across borders.  He really showcased his musical abilities on this release.  This guy has been writing music for longer than I have been alive and still is able to put out quality albums.

Dinosaur Jr.
Dinosaur Jr. – Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not
-I have been a fan of this band for over 25 years now, so it only makes sense that this release made my list.  Oh, it also kicks so much ass.  Lou Barlow singing on it made it that much better.

All Dinosaurs
All Dinosaurs – Total Dissatisfaction
-Where do I even start with this one?  It’s like listening to the Bronx, but better, and from Cleveland.  I love this album so much that I literally just bought the LP from their bandcamp page.  No lie.

Useless ID
Useless ID – State is Burning
-This band will always be one of my favorites and this release continued to keep me a fan.  With a much more harder approach, they really killed it on this one.  I also adored the nod to the late Brandon Carlisle of Teenage Bottlerocket.

pulley
Pulley – No Change in the Weather 
This band was a huge favorite of mine in the late 90s and I thought they were done in the mid-2000s, but low and behold, they came back with an album that seemingly continued where they left off without missing a beat.  “Sometimes” is such a great track.

Beach Slang
Beach Slang – A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings
-James Alex (and former crew) have created a timeless album for music fans of all ages.  Catchy yet poignant, the album has been on a weekly rotation to my ears since the album dropped.  It may clock in at around 30 minutes, but it is a hell of a ride from start to finish.

Worship This! - Mint
Worship This! – Mint
-So what if these guys are my pals, their sophomore release blew me away.  I can not say enough good things about this album.  It is poppy, punky, and addictive.  More people need to check this album out as these Akron/Cleveland boys really know how to make sweet jams.  They are the next big thing in my mind and I love them all dearly.


Descendents – Hypercaffium Spazzinate 
-Having one of my all time favorite bands release something new in 2016 was pretty rad.  Having one of my all time favorite bands stick to their sound from start to finish and have no indication of slowing down made it that much better.

Nothing
Nothing – Tired of Tomorrow
-I never thought I would like shoegazing.  To be honest, I really never knew what shoegaze was until I heard this album and I am still not quite sure.  Indie rock and neo-psychadelica mixed with plenty of distortion and emotion made for an album that I could not get out of my head for weeks.  That’s a good thing.

Mean Jeans
Mean Jeans – Tight New Dimension 
-Mean Jeans are probably one of the most underrated bands out there right now.  This album further proved that.  A modern-day Ramones-like banger.  I loved it.


Bouncing Souls – Simplicity 
-The Souls are like a fine cheese or wine to me.  With age, this band seems to just get better.  Their latest release was just full of punk rock fun.  When I started singing along to the first song during my first listen, I knew I was going to love this album and play it over and over.

Blink 182 - California
Blink 182 – California
-I can’t help it, I got sucked in to the new Blink and I know why…  Matt Skiba.  He was the perfect addition to reinvent this band.

The Avalanches
The Avalanches – Wildflower
-16 years after their debut, The Avalanches came back with an all new release that very well probably took all 16 years to create.  I know some of my pals were not digging this release fully, but I adored it.  It probably helps that the likes of Danny Brown and Biz Marke helped make this album what it is.

Arms Aloft
Arms Aloft – What a Time to be Barely Alive
This is the one album I really need to do a proper review on, but I keep getting sidetracked.  I listen to it all of the time and it is freaking amazing.  Punk rock from the 80s perfectly blended with punk rock from the mid 2000s is one way I can describe these fellows.  The music is infections, the lyrics are fun, and from what I hear the band is pretty cool too.  This kind of sounds like a review, but it is not.  This is just me telling y’all that this album was impressive.

Signals Midwest
Signals Midwest – At This Age
-This is their third release and probably their most tied together, mature material I have heard them create.  They have pushed their limits from a one time local band and are more or less prepping themselves for what’s next to come.  I am proud of these dudes.

Arilss Nancy
Arliss Nancy – Greater Divides
-This band really should be at Lucero levels by now.  They are exceptional at what they do and it can be heard throughout their latest release.

har-mar-superstar
Har Mar Superstar – Best Summer Ever
-Har Mar continues to put out incredible material with each release.  This man is so talented that he drops albums that cover various genres and avoids any and all gimmicky sounds.

NOFX
NOFX – First Ditch Effort
-After all this band has been though, it only makes sense that they dropped a more personal album.  It took me a couple of listens to truly appreciate.  Don’t worry, it’s still crass at times as well as hilarious, but man, that Tony Sly tribute song will put tears in your eyes.

Harvey Pekar
Harvey Pekar – The Astral We
-This Cleveland hardcore band is just that…  This album was insane yet intelligent, and I loved every moment of it.

the-falcon-gather-up-the-chaps
The Falcon – Gather Up the Chaps
-I love that Dave Hause was on this album.  I love that he had to play ska riffs knowing how much he hates ska because Brendan Kelly decided it was a good idea.  This album was far from serious and a good time all around.

NOTE: I promise you, Red Scare did not pay me for putting so many albums on this list.  They just had a hell of a year with releases…  Toby, I take plastic btw.

I wanted to throw a couple of EPs on here as well:

Jonathan Richman
Jonathan Richman & Tommy Larkins – That’s All We Need at Our Party
Blue Arrow Records and the creative vinyl masters Wax Merge teamed up to put out an insane variant of this 7″.  I was lucky enough to score #100 out of 100.  It’s a thing of beauty plus the tunes on it kick ass.  I love me some Jonathan Richman.  I am sure there are a few left, so snag one if you can.

Throw Shade
Throw Shade – Self-Titled
-I have talented friends who make beautiful music.  This EP is absolute proof.


Nine Inch Nails – Not the Actual Events
-I really did not know what to expect from Reznor and crew with this EP seeing how I just lost interest in their material for the last 10 years.  Man, was I pleasantly surprised.  This EP brought me back to 90s NIN and I can not wait for their full-length to drop in 2017.

bracket
Bracket – The Last Page
-At just over 70 minutes, this is one long-ass song and it’s amazing.  The track keeps it together for the listener and takes them on a punk rock voyage.  My first listed was distracted thanks to my paying gig, but my second listen with headphones on was incredible.

Finally, I know this is a best of list, but it would not be right if I did not make mention of this:

RIP Dag House…
Dag HouseIt goes without saying, sometimes you find yourself in the right situations by chance.  Thanks to an amazing batch of pals who kept Dag House going for years.  Not everyone gets to experience basement shows, and some of that could be by choice, but goddamn, if you are a music fan, basement shows are the best shows.  Dag House threw together a hell of a rager for their last show, and I was happy to be a part of it.  Thanks for the memories Dag.

2016 was a crazy year.  If you’ve made it this far in my post, thanks for sticking around and being so rad.  It is people like you and the bands above that keep me doing what I do.  Be well.

BHP Best Albums of 2013

It’s that time of the year again folks.  Eggnog, booze, maxing out credit cards on tasteless gifts, being nice to family members you would rather avoid,  and also that part where I take days upon days to think about all the amazing releases that came out throughout 2013 and list them on this here ol’ blog.

This year I decided to keep my list to only 10 albums.  That decision did not come too easy for me, so I am doing 11.  Deal.

All can be considered equally awesome and are listed in no particular order.  Trust me, this was difficult as hell to narrow down, but in the end, these were the  albums that really stuck with me throughout the year.

Worship This! – Tomorrow, I’ll Miss You

Iron Chic – The Constant One

Ma Jolie – Polars

Banquets – Banquets

The Flatliners – Dead Language

Worlds Scariest Police Chases – NOFX And Out Come The Wolves Dookie

Rumspringer – Stay Afloat

Two Hand Fools – Two Hand Fools
Two Hand Fools

Sundowner – Neon Fiction

Signals Midwest – Light On The Lake

Restorations – LP2

Best Group Effort:

Tony Sly: A Tribute

Props to all the bands out there that released albums in 2013.  I can not wait to see what 2014 brings.

Happy holidays to everyone.

 

BHP Best Albums of 2012

For the record, I suck at blogging and I apologize.  Maybe one of my New Year’s resolutions will be for me to pay more attention to this blog of mine.  In all seriousness though, I have been busy with the paying gig and school, so please excuse the lack of posts and whatnot.  I really do plan on changing that.

Moving from Ohio to New Mexico earlier this year was pretty hard on me for more reasons than one.  The number one thing, aside from extremely missing all my friends and family back home, is the lack of continual live shows out here.  Sure, I could drive to Albuquerque to catch something, but that is a 6 hour round trip I would prefer to avoid alone.  El Paso even had a couple good shows I was all about until I found out they were either sold out or that I had to be up at 5 a.m. the next morning.  Yeah, getting old sucks.  Luckily for me, I still can keep up with new music and pretend I know what is going on.  That is not to say that Las Cruces doesn’t have a music scene, I just have not gotten my feet wet in it yet.

Regardless of my situation, 2012 was an exceptionally good year for music.  I am sure you can easily think of 5 albums that blew your mind this year.  I know I can, in fact I have a whole bunch.  With 2012 is coming to an end,  I suppose it is my time where I get to tell everyone my top albums of 2012.

I think what kills me the most about talking about all these great releases is that I was not able to review them like I originally intended to.  So, do me a favor if you can; if you have not heard of any of my top picks below, please check them out.  Thanks.

In no particular order, here are a bunch of releases that amazed me in 2012:

 

Masked Intruder – Self-Titled Release

-Surprise release of 2012 if you ask me.  The most unique pop-punk you could imagine by a group of fun dudes in ski masks.  I can not even tell you how many times this album played over and over in my car this summer.

 

Luther – Let’s Get You Somewhere Else

-I was so looking forward to this release by these Philly champs.  Easily one of the best releases of the year.  This band is going places.

 

Ma Jolie – …Compared To Giants

-More Philly love.  Once upon a time, Ma Jolie played a basement show for a couple of cool dude’s birthdays in Akron.  They rule and you need to check them out.  Still shocked no one has signed them yet.

 

Cherry Cola Champions – Self-Titled Release

-Last year they made my 2011 Best of list with their EP.  This year they debuted their full-length release and it just rules.  I can not even tell you how many times I have spun this amazing album.  Solid dudes too.

 

Lucero – Women & Work

A bunch of good ol’ boys making some good ol’ music.  I really dug this album a ton.

 

Tony Sly / Joey Cape – Acoustic Volume Two

-This covers project sequel by two of the best names in punk rock was just all so good to listen to.  Sadly as many of you know, Tony Sly passed away on July 31st.  Needless to say, this record is more important than ever to this fan of Sly who has been providing tunes to my ears since I was a young punk rocker.  RIP Tony…

 

The Menzingers – On The Impossible Past

-This band continues to impress me and I am so stoked to watch them mature as musicians in such a short amount of time.   Now that they are on the Epitaph roster, I am pretty sure things will only excel for them.

 

Cheap Girls – Giant Orange

-This is one of those bands that if you have no idea who they are, you need to familiarize yourself with them immediately.  I loved this release from start to finish.  I am also so bummed to have missed them live twice this year!!!  Oh well.

 

The Sidekicks – Awkward Breeds

-Right at the beginning of the year, The Sidekicks shot out an incredible release.  I love this northeast Ohio band.

 

Annabel – Youth In Youth

– Right at the end of the year, Annabel shot out an incredible release.  I love this northeast Ohio band.  Deja vu.  You have no idea how proud I am of these guys.

 

All Dinosaurs – Rules Of Civility And Decent Behavior

Right in the middle of the year….just kidding.  All Dinosaurs did release an hard album that I am still having trouble getting my hands on the vinyl version.  I am not even sure if that is the right album cover above, that is how hard of a time I am having finding it!

 

Old Flings – Spite

Found this pop punk folk indie 90s rock awesomeness totally on accident.  This Asheville, NC trio has my approval.  Looking forward to seeing more from these guys.

 

Joyce Manor – Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired

-This was the quickest and most well written release of the year if you ask me.  9 songs in 13 minutes and it all makes perfect sense.

 

Dikembe – Broad Shoulders

-This was a release I almost overlooked – I said almost…  Boy am I glad that did not happen.  Killer album.

 

Hot Water Music – Exister

-It took me exactly two listens of this album for me to fall in love with it.  These punk rock heroes have not lost their touch at all.

 

Japandroids – Celebration Rock

An amazing follow up to their debut that continues their musical expression of fun and living life the rock n roll way.

 

Dinosaur Jr. – I Bet On Sky

-I have adored Dinosaur Jr. since I was a kid.  This release shows no wear and tear of the boys whatsoever.  Love this release.

 

The XX – Coexist

– I remember years ago when I heard Portishead for the first time and the chills I got.  The XX brought back that feeling on their sophomore release.

 

The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten

-Haters, hate.  I loved this release.  Catchy as hell.

 

Brendan Kelly and the Wandering Birds – I’d Rather Die Than Live Forever

It’s like The Lawrence Arms unplugged, but different.  Seriously though, this was a solid release by a great musician that may have slipped through the cracks for many.  If you like honest, real situations expressed in music, listen to this.

 

The Avett Brothers – The Carpenter

-This band continues to impress and remains one of my all time favorite bands out there.  I will admit, this album took a couple listens for me to fully appreciate it and now I just can not stop listening to it.

 

The Fake Boys – Pig Factory

-Once upon a time, a bunch of dudes from hardcore bands decided they wanted to play the music that they grew up on.  The result is this gracious nod to the 90s that is enjoyable as hell by this music lover.

 

Titus Andronicus – Local Business

-There is just something about this album that appealed to me.  Punk / Indie / Rock goodness.

 

NOFX – Self-ENtitled

-I was like 6 years old when this band first started.  I have been a fan of them since high school.  They have once again not failed in putting out a clever, hilarious pop-punk gem.  If you can not appreciate this band for doing things their way for over 30 years, then I must tell you, they probably do not care, nor do I.

 

Mixtapes – Even On The Worst Nights

-Pop punk dudes and a nice young lady from Ohio continue to make fun singable tunes for all to love.  It was almost impossible to not like this release.

 

Minus The Bear – Infinity Overhead

-I really can not say much about this release aside from how great it is.

 

I am sure I missed a couple there and for all you know, I added more after I initially posted this.  Like I previously mentioned, 2012 was a great year for music.  It seemed like every other week something new and noteworthy dropped.  I really think that this year was the best year for music releases in a long time.

I am proud of all my friends who are in bands that released albums this year as well as the ones who played tons of shows and toured their hearts out.  Nothing pleases me more than seeing you all do what you do for the sake of loving music.  Keep it up everyone.

In 2012, a bunch of bands called it quits or parted ways.  Leatherface broke up as did Daytrader (I really thought they were going to find a replacement for Tym too).  I was so bummed when Spraynard announced they were finished.  Refused broke up again, although I was not really phased by this.  I was bumming when I learned Ween announced they were no more.  Apparently Chumbawumba disbanded too but no one cared.   Ninja Gun even announced at the Fest that they were through – that sucks in my book.

Luckily for us music lovers, as fast as bands break up, new ones form and release sounds for us all to hear.

Let’s see what 2013 has in store for us all.  I can only hope it is just going to continue to get better.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Best Of 2011 According To BHP

Well it would appear that 2011 is coming to an end.  With that said, it’s time for a “Best Of…” Broken Headphones 2011 edition.

There were a ton of amazing releases throughout the year as well as live shows that I was able to attend.  Below is just a various list of bands that caught my attention, be it a recording or live show, over the past 12 months.

I should add that some of my favorite releases were from local Akron/Cleveland acts.  I am not just dropping their names because we are pals or anything, they all worked hard and put out some excellent releases.  If you have not heard of any of them, you really should check them out.

I may have missed a band here or there, but the following were the ones that stood out over the rest.

Albums of the Year:

SeahavenWinter Forever

*Hands down this is one of my favorite albums to drop this year.  They just have this indie punk rock sound that is ever so likable – trust me on this.  The first time I listened to it, I was hooked.  I see big things happening with this band in the near future.

NothingtonBorrowed Time

*This is another album I favored over the rest this year.  Catchy lyrics layered over wholesome punk rock is what this album is all about.  To make matters even better, they kick ass live.  They are coming back to Cleveland next month and I can not wait to see them again.  Listening to this band brings me band to the punk rock 90s I grew up on.

All DinosaursParanoid Indigenous

*So maybe the music was released in 2010, but the LP dropped this past Spring so I consider it a 2011 release.  This Cleveland act is beyond fun to listen to plus they put on one of the best live shows ever.  They are funny, quote 80s movies and are in it for the fun.  It helps they are also all super cool dudes.  If you are a Cleveland native, you should already know how amazing this band is.

Dave HauseResolutions

*I was a little late checking this album out as it was released in early 2011, but am glad I did not pass it up.  Hause (The Loved Ones) is an amazing musician and proves it in this killer solo release.  With help from his friends, he put together one hell of a release.  Do me a favor, if you like music, listen to this.

Living With LionsHoly Shit

*Words can not really describe how impressed I was when I heard these guys.  All I know is I will have this album playing regularly for a long long time.

Deer TickDivine Providence

*The boys in Deer Tick changed it up a bit and put forth a bitching rock album that I really dug.

DawesNothing Is Wrong

*Oh Dawes…you’ve done it again.  What a solid release.  You guys are on your way to being huge.  Keep it up.

Those DarlinsScrews Get Loose

*The girls and Lynwood dropped a impressive follow-up to their debut this year and I adore it.  Still kicking around the country-punk attitude, the foursome toyed with a more indie / garage rock sound and did a fine job doing so.

Old Man MarkleyGuts n’ Teeth

*This self-proclaimed “New Grass” band was one of the more fun releases I had have the pleasure of checking out this year.  I can not wait to see what happens next with these guys and gals.

Banner PilotHeart Beats Pacific

*Impressive release by a great punk rock band.  They need to play Cleveland soon.

White WivesHappeners

*This was the surprise release of the year for me.  Featuring members of Anti-Flag, this album is far from a pop-punk rock album.  On the lines of indie rock, White Wives needs to be heard.

A.A. BondyBelievers

*This guy really outdid himself.  You really have to check it out for yourself to realize why I appreciate it so much.  It’s a really beautiful release to listen to.

Bon IverBon Iver

*Not normally something I would listen to, but holy shit – it rules.

The Black KeysEl Camino

*Yeah yeah yeah… The former Akron, OH boys once again put out a release I admit I love.  I do not love the fact that the next time they hit Cleveland, they will be playing an arena.  It is safe to say they made it big time.  Let’s hope they don’t screw it up.

Signals MidwestLatitudes & Longitudes

*And yet another local act.  These guys are a big deal though…to me at least.  The dropped a really good record.  For serious.

EPs of the year:

LutherSiblings & Sevens

*Folk / Punk / Rock awesomeness.  I was caught off guard by this band.  They rule.  Sadly they had to cancel their Cleveland show after the band was involved in an accident in Chicago.  Luckily no one was seriously injured.  I can not wait for their full-length to drop.

Harvey PekarThirty Ghosts

*Dear Harvey Pekar (the band), thank you for existing.

Worship This! – Demo

*I normally do not mention bands that I am really good friends with the members, but I adore this band.  That’s all I have to say about that.

Two Hand FoolsBelieveland

*These guys better get signed in 2012 or else I am going to fight someone.  Another Cleveland act with plenty of talent.

Cherry Cola Champions – EP

*I remember the first time I saw these guys live.  I was not into them during their first song, and once their second song started, I was blown away.  Looking forward to seeing what this duo has up their sleeves next year.

The Awesome:

-Going to SXSW and seeing bands such as The Dead Milkmen, Flatliners, Dead To Me, Eyehategod, and tons others at various venues in Austin, TX earlier this Spring.  It was one hell of an experience to see so many bands cramped into such an amazing city.  Sadly when you have that many bands, you tend to miss out on some great sets by amazing bands.  Regardless, it was just awesome.  Plus…I saw Dale Watson play at Ginny’s.  That right there made my trip.

-Hanging out with Ninja Gun for a few days.  These guys are some of the best dudes I know.  They wanted to play shows on the East coast and I was able to lure them to Kent to play a show in September.  We all enjoyed hanging out so much that they kicked it for a couple more days where I took them up to Melt for some cheesy deliciousness.

-Getting Dave Hause to play a house show in Akron.  After seeing that Dave Hause was not playing a show in the Cleveland area just 2 weeks ago, I threw him the idea of a house show and he and tour mate Cory Branan were totally down with the idea.  The result was a show to remember with Hause and Branan trading off songs all night long.

-Hanging out with friends, new and old, at the Inner Sanctum Pier show on the E. 9th pier.  More people could have showed up, but regardless, I had a killer time that sunny day and got to watch Pat The Producer turn into a human tomato.

-Hanging out with Rise Against and doing some charity work them at the Malachi House in Cleveland.  The guys were super cool to hang with and really did not have that “rock star” attitude built from success.  Props to 92.3 for making that happen.

-Making the trip back to Austin, TX early November and attending Fun Fun Fun Fest.  I got to see some of my favorite bands all in one weekend including Murder City Devils, Hot Snakes, Hum, Slayer, Eyehategod, The Damned, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, and Russian Circles.  This was one of my favorite festivals of all time.  It was a festival I had wanted to attend for a a few years now and I decided to go for it.  I am so glad I did.

-It’s A Kling Thing House & Girley House.  Both houses put on some amazing shows in 2011 with local acts as well as touring bands.  Seeing Jeff Rowe over the summer as well as Mixtapes just a month or so ago in a basement is as good as live shows get for this guy.

-Daytrotter’s Barnstormer Tour.  What a great evening of music that was.  The show was in a freaking barn.  Yes, I do not remember much as the beers were going down like water, but I know I had a blast with some pretty special people.

The Suck:

-Ben Weasel’s SXSW blowout.  Sadly I was on the other side of town watching Cleveland’s very own Ringworm in a ghetto ass bar.  Don’t ask me why I skipped out on seeing Screeching Weasel live, I was under the influence of many ice cold Lone Star beers.  Honestly, I am kind of glad I missed Weasel acting like a little girl on stage.

-Danzig’s Fun Fun Fun hissy fit.  One of the main reasons I wanted to go to Fun Fun Fun Fest was because the Danzig Legacy was playing it.  I was stoked to finally see Danzig sing some Misfits songs with Doyle on stage.  Instead I witnessed a diva take the stage late and get their set cut as they played past curfew.  I only heard two Misfits songs and left with a bad taste in my mouth.  People can think what they want about Danzig and that night.  I was in the crowd watching heater being pulled on stage as well as the side of the stage tarped up so that little Glen would not get cold.  It was over an hour until the stage met his needs and the dude was fully aware of the curfew.  I will say that the two Mistfits songs had me feeling like a kid all over again.  Shame I could not witness the entire set that he had planned.  Lucky for me Ted Leo did a TV Casualty set the next day and made up for the Danzig drama.

-Seeing NOFX over Those Darlins.  I regret that decision a lot.  Two of my favorite bands played the same night and I had to choose one over the other.  The good news was that I got to see and meet Old Man Markley.  Sorry Darlins, I will not miss you next time you all hit up Cleveland.  Please forgive me.

-Atari Teenage Riot’s Cleveland show getting cancelled.  I was stoked to see these guys and was prepared to lose my hearing that night.  Hours before the show, their promoter cancelled the show.  Needless to say, I was pissed.

-92.3 and 107.3 changing formats.  Cleveland is a lost cause with radio now that both those stations were yanked.

Wrapping it up…

2011 ended with a bang for this music lover.  Thanks to all my friends from all over who made this year extra special for me.  You all know who you are.  From letting me crashing on couches to allowing bands to play in their basements you helped make this year what it was.  Also to everyone who attended shows with me and shared the same passion I have for music, thanks.

Happy holidays everyone and thanks for taking a part out of your day to visit this site.

Ok 2012, let’s see what you have in store.