Top 20 Best Emo & Punk Albums Of 2016

Our main non-genre-specific albums of the year list is coming soon, we need some time to process the whole thing and be fair. Just for the record, our end/best of the year lists were not made in October or even November, it’s called the end of the year lists for a reason!!! So, in the meantime, here’s something a little more specific: our Top 20 (no specific order whatsoever) emo & punk albums of 2016 and what we said about those albums over the year. More lists are going to be unveiled in the following days… Enjoy!

The Hotelier – Goodness (Tiny Engines)

2013’s Home, Like Noplace Is There was emotionally overwhelming, and its crafty compositions left people in awe of The Hotelier’s musical and human capacities leading to a state of extreme expectation towards what would follow-up for the Worcester, Massachusetts-based self-proclaimed “anti-pop” outfit. If proceed in following the same footsteps would be an easy way to sustain the momentum, then Goodness comes off as a bold statement – not only with its artwork but more so with its sonic expressions. Where the last album was action-packed, this new one feels more comfortable with silence and so the progression of the band on Goodness is made with a lot more oxygen, space and steadiness. The Hotelier maintain their heavily emotional side, but they’ve realized that sometimes you need to stop screaming (literally) and find some peace to make sense of it.

(Tiago Moreira) // Listen at Bandcamp.

Vanishing Life – Surveillance (Dine Alone Records)

Comprised by Walter Schreifels (Quicksand, Gorilla Biscuits), Zach Blair (Rise Against), Jamie Miller (Bad Religion, …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead), and Autry Fulbright (…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Midnight Masses), Vanishing Life are not just another supergroup, their CV is just a minor detail. Surveillance is strong, noisy and energetic, these dudes don’t fool anyone, this is not just a side-project or whatever, this is an ambitious and ballzy punk rock album that sounds raw, spontaneous and lyrically straight to the point. It’s perhaps one of the most exciting old school punk efforts in years and theirs is the sense that here stands a band who know what they’re doing and know just how to do it.

(Fausto Casais) // Listen at Spotify.

Joyce Manor – Cody (Epitaph)

From the opening track “Fake ID”, it is clear that Cody is not going to disappoint. Not in the slightest! Singer Barry Johnson seems like the second coming of Morrissey and there’s this new sense of clarity in his lyrics, everything seems more direct, mature and straight-forward. Cody is an evolution, perhaps their most ambitious and diverse album, all the songs are tender, sound big and ballzy, but at the same time are raw and intimate. From Morrissey to Elliot Smith, from Rancid to Sun Kil Moon, this is a band that’s not stuck in the same old formula, they are creative minds and they’re always renewing their own sonic influences. Simply magnificent.

(Fausto Casais) // Listen at Spotify.

Basement – Promise Everything (Run For Cover Records)

With crashing guitar structures and entertaining riffs galore, the band don’t sugar-coat with unnecessary features, it’s all raw and relevant. Songs like “Hanging Around” stick to that formula well. Its infectiousness comes from the engrossing chorus and melody, vocalist Andrew Fisher sings with harmony in his voice, spurting lyrics that enforce a sense of longing. And “Oversized” is a track that is balanced with enough pop punk energy to make the grade. With Promise Everything, Basement have clearly worked on their sound and above all their lyrical input. There’s a burning surge of empathy towards the world and there’s a constant bellow for hope in the words, words that fit in well with the musicality. And by dragging out their feelings and grievances too, the band tell a good enough story.

(Mark Mcconville) // Listen at Bandcamp.

Frank Iero And The Patience – Parachutes (BMG/Vagrant Records)

A new album, a new band name. That’s how Frank Iero approached this new effort and, actually, it makes totally sense. In 2014, his first solo album, Stomachaches, was released under the name frnkiero andthe cellabration, because the celebration was a way for Frank to kind of hide his inner struggles that he was going through. Now, with a much confident and uplifting attitude, he wants to take a step back and appreciate the moment. And with that mindset, he delivers another exceptional and strong album. Edgy and energetic, but vulnerable and honest as fuck when it needs to be, Frank and his bandmates are extraordinary on each riff, each beat and each lyric. Parachutes probably means to you an object that prevents you from smashing on the floor when you jump off a plane, but for Frank Iero is more than that, it’s his family and his art, and that’s what this album stands for. Bravo!

(Andreia Alves) // Listen on iTunes.

Clique – Burden Piece (Topshelf Records)

Hailing from Philadelphia, Clique’s sophomore effort is a stellar and bright gem, another awesome ride into this current indie-emo-alternative revival. Burden Piece is a straightforward and honest statement. PJ Carroll’s voice sounds lazy, but tremendously passionate, this sort of slackness is all over the album, making it even more delicious and beautiful. Somewhere between Modern Baseball’s emotional catharsis, Pedro The Lion storytelling songwriting and Radiohead’s The Bends cerebral melodic esque, Burden Piece is a damn good effort that goes beyond genres, if somehow you think adulthood is just a path into something brighter, think again. Thematically heavy, we can’t ignore songs like “Top Field” (“Make the piggy work for his paycheck”), “Wishful Thinking” and “Boundaries”, because they’re so damn easy to relate with. I’m not sure if these dudes know that they have made something quite special, the class of 2016 is really making a statement here.

(Fausto Casais) // Listen at Bandcamp.

Dowsing – Okay (Asian Man Records)

It’s quite easy to fall in love by this album. It’s honest and pushes all the right buttons in my being. Okay is perhaps one of the best efforts from this kind of emo revival. But don’t call them emo, their sound is so damn random and vast that this kind of redundancy of genres is almost like an insult to their creativity. Honest and straightforward, Okay is noisy and ballzy, they seem pissed and full of nostalgia. Singer Erik Czaja pushes his voice to the limit and lyrical wise Okay is intense and straight to the point. Between the lack of optimism and frontal honesty, Dowsing are the real deal, they have the balls to pinpoint all the right issues and it’s something to praise about. They don’t give a single fuck about you or what you think. This was liberating!

(Fausto Casais) // Listen at Bandcamp.

Pup – The Dream Is Over (SideOneDummy Records)

Menacing noisy, raw and scrappy. The Dream Is Over is Pup’s sophomore effort, so get excited! But is the dream really over? Not really, but if you’re a singer and for some kind of stupidity a doctor diagnosed you with a vocal cyst and hemorrhaging (meaning your vocal chords were filling up with blood) and says literally your dream is over, it’s quite irresponsible, and that happened to Stefan Babcock. So, the dream is not over and Pup’s are back with ten new tracks (that means an album you fucking assholes). Dealing with disappointment and getting to that age where the big challenge is growing up is always fucking hard to do. The Dream Is Over is a confident feast of noisy anthems, it’s dangerously insane, but will please everyone of you, if not go to hell and fuck off!

(Fausto Casais) // Listen at Spotify.

White Lung – Paradise (Domino)

On their fourth album Vancouver-based White Lung have managed to further establish their own and unique sound, which makes the following statement imperative: Kenneth William’s guitar work is as stellar as highly underrated. Following the guidelines that made 2014’s Deep Fantasy an amazing work, Williams perfected the dual effect that his work with the strings has. The ten tracks are a stellar parade of riffs that sound as sharp as killing blades and extremely addictive, providing, with Anne-Marie Vassiliou’s extremely tight drumming and Mish Barber-Way’s unmistakable, powerful and memorable vocals, soundwaves that provoke a state of ecstasy and euphoria. If sonically it comes as a huge achievement, the more matured and incisive lyrics of Mish that found success on the task of put things into perspective make Paradise another vital work of the punk history.

(Tiago Moreira) // Listen at Spotify.

Billy Talent – Afraid Of Heights (The End Records)

Billy Talent have become pioneers of the rock genre since their inception in 1993. And they’ve gone onto create some of the most politically engaging records that have hit hard with honesty. Leading man Benjamin Kowalewicz has installed his remarkable and distinctive vocals as well as his cut throat songwriting on every release, and by channelling his inner demons, he’s perfected his muse. Now, in 2016, the band are back with another record that features more songs that reflect the world we live and bask in. Afraid Of Heights is the fresh new album that pinpoints the chronic disenchantment that many feel. Songs such as “Ghost Ship Of Cannibal Rats” and “Time Bomb Ticking Away” are stupendously infectious with well-constructed riffs and hardened messages of bleakness.

(Mark Mcconville) // Listen at Spotify.

Columbus – Spring Forever (UNFD)

Brisbane trio Columbus are finally releasing their debut album, Spring Forever. Nostalgic and strangely addictive, this might be one of the most interesting and fresh releases of this Summer. Everything sounds new, kicking and screaming the pains of growth, where life and getting older is challenging enough to make you fight for your own comfort and peace of mind. Spring Forever is not your average power punk, now and then we find the influence of late 90’s emo indie infused, guitar driven paean for young adults, full of hooks and insanely catchy soaked anthems. Moody, dreamy and painfully honest, this is an emotional effort that blends punk aggression with a real ear for melody. The sky is the limit for the Australian gang, but Spring Forever is aiming squarely at your heart, and they’re showing no mercy about it.

(Fausto Casais) // Listen at Spotify.

Descendents – Hypercaffium Spazzinate (Epitaph)

The Descendents, the punk legends that made a name for themselves with extremely witty self-deprecating remarks and an entrancing melodic sensibility and vision, are growing older. Now all in their 50s, they’re releasing their first album in 12 years without losing a fucking ounce of relevancy, power, and appeal. As a matter of fact, it adds to what they had – they know they have grown up, even though back in the day they didn’t want that to happen. Hypercaffium Spazzinate can be a record “made for old people by old people” but it often gets a universal appeal with its relevant social subject matters… not to mention that musically we find an extremely energetic band that delivers their most musically matured album to date. More than a record, a huge statement.

(Tiago Moreira) // Listen at Spotify.

Hellions – Opera Oblivia (UNFD)

Even though 2015’s Indian Summer hinted that something massive could be around the corner, it wouldn’t be fair or even honest to say that one was expecting something of the magnitude of Opera Oblivia. Hellions, the Sydney-based quintet, have delivered one of the biggest albums in recent memory. Making a wonderful use of operatic and theatrical elements, the Australians have learned from the cues given by the masters Queen and My Chemical Romance and applied them to create their own and distinctive identity, that is filled with a myriad of different and cutting-edge musical ideas that celebrate an absolutely astounding and even over-the-top anthemic feel. Opera Oblivia is extremely rich in details, a hopeful testimony of a group that is willing to be as socially conscious as well self-aware. A majestic celebration of life, even when everything seems irremediably bleak and lost.

(Tiago Moreira) // Listen at Spotify.

Moose Blood – Blush (Hopeless Records)

I’ll Keep You In Mind, From Time To Time, Moose Blood’s debut album, took the band to a stage that even they weren’t expecting. It was a massive release and that led to a lot and a lot of touring and experience as a group. It’s quite normal that bands learn and develop their sound while on the road and playing their songs over and over again, and the UK quartet took those experiences and life events to write their sophomore album. Blush is neat and appealing, their emo rock and pop punk energy continues to engage their tunes with fresh and strong guitar riffs and a steady rhythm section. The band is more grown for sure and feel stronger playing together. Blush isn’t so different from their previous album, but it’s another great effort.

(Andreia Alves) // Listen at Spotify.

Against Me! – Shape Shift With Me (XTra Mile Recordings)

Against Me! are a band situated between the rush of fire and the refreshing clean air. That’s the contrast that unfolds on the bands new record Shape Shift With Me, a contrast of love and war, of dreams and doubts. Lead singer Laura Jane Grace batters her voice, screaming out, overlapping the tension. She also bellows out words that describe the pollution of the world, a world falling down, crumbling piece by piece. And on the new album, politics is examined and truly unpacked, thrown to the vultures. And Grace doesn’t powder over the cracks on songs such as “Crash” and “333”. They’re both highly tuned to provoke a response, they’re truly engineered with creative guitar lines and bubbling energy. The tones are there and as well the lyrical decisiveness.

(Mark Mcconville) // Listen at Spotify.

American Football – American Football (Polyvinyl/Wichita)

17 years have passed since the pioneering Illinois emo band American Football released their debut album. It was such a long time ago and it’s interesting to see how the only album they released has become a classic. When they announced their comeback, it was such a thrill. How could we imagine that American Football would actually return? Besides the overwhelming excitement of their return and live shows, it was announced the sophomore album, entitled simply as American Football. It’s an amazing and exciting record, with a much more mature and focused band that knew exactly what they wanted to achieve at this moment of their lives, but their essence as the band we knew years ago is totally there, they’re just a bit older. The melodies are right on point with well-crafted guitar parts and the lyrics are much more introspective. Well, it’s still weird for them to have such a huge and loyal fan base, but for us it’s really amazing to have them back and with such compelling album. Let’s keep it that way.

(Andreia Alves) Listen at Spotify.

Boston Manor – Be Nothing (Pure Noise Records)

Boston Manor are one of the most exciting bands you’ll hear for some time. With one foot firmly rooted in late 90’s emo and another in melodic punk, Blackpool’s Boston Manor managed to craft a near perfect debut album. Be Nothing is intelligent, melancholic and explosive, that reflects on personal yet relatable experiences. Nothing is bad on this record and overall it’s impressively strong. Vocalist Henry Cox distinct voice finds the perfect balance between their raw energy and some emotionally charged moments, adding some depth, new dynamics and some perspective to the whole album. Be Nothing is an ambitious effort and demands your attention.

(Fausto Casais) // Listen at Spotify.

Taking Back Sunday – Tidal Wave (Hopeless Records)

tbs_tidalwave_5x5_500Taking Back Sunday are one of those bands that will always lead me back to those school days and the teenage angst, especially with the records like Tell All Your Friends and Where You Want To Be. But as the years go by, people change and grow, and TBS have grown into be more ambitious with what they wanted to really do with their sound and lyrical content. On their seventh album, the band is more audacious than ever, and is not by chance that their still going strong with everything surrounding the band. Tidal Wave is eclectic and fascinating. They’re just doing what they want and playing what they love, drawing influences from bands like The Ramones and The Clash. They’ve never sounded as focused as they do right now and this is clearly a great album.

(Andreia Alves) // Listen at Spotify.

Modern Baseball – Holy Ghost (Run For Cover Records)

Over the last few years, Modern Baseball went through some heavy experiences. Making Holy Ghost was a way to process all that and kind of figure out how to deal with those things. With no surprise, they just wrote a memorable record and their most in-depth to date. This is a band that have grown both as bandmates and musicians. Brendan and Jacob wrote separately their songs and split the record in half, the two sides just simply match together. Jacob’s part is a cathartic explosion of emotions inspired by the loss of his grandfather, and Brendan’s side is more energetic and more intense inspired by his personal struggles over the last years. After listening to this record you will for sure feel even more connected and engaged with them.

(Andreia Alves) // Listen at Bandcamp.

Green Day – Revolution Radio (Reprise Records)

There are songs on the band’s new album Revolution Radio that are truly entertaining and spontaneous, created to spook the brain into abiding by the record, like a fanatical, impulsive, rebel. Political angst yet again towers over as a pivotal theme on the record. It bubbles over and covers every angle, but it doesn’t wreck the opus in anyway, it adds that flair that the band have perfected over their illustrious careers. Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has penned the lyrics with intent. They’re harsh at times, overblown maybe, but they have a purpose. They’re truly ingrained in the record, like dirt on the harsh-lands. He also bellows out his grievances that situate around American Culture. He can’t stand the way his Country is run and how guns are in the holsters of many. And with Revolution Radio being a battle cry from a band that brought us the remarkable American Idiot opus, it just adds fuel to the flame. But, Green Day are a political act that write songs to tell their tales of unrest. They’re ambitious and fearless, commanding and ruthless. Revolution Radio could be perceived as Green Day’s most audacious effort. But it works and it will empower many old fans to replenish their interest.

(Mark Mcconville) // Listen at Spotify.
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