Blink-182 - California
2016 saw the return of Blink-182, and I think we can all agree that it was glorious! California managed to combine new influences with the classical tongue-in-cheek Blink style that we have all come to know and love in a way that was fresh and innovative, while retaining a sense of familiarity. Following an incredibly successful world tour, California has become the band’s first Grammy nomination, for rock album of the year. This album is available for purchase here.
Sum 41 - 13 Voices
While 2016 may have been a veritable disaster in a variety of other ways, it was an incredible year for the so-called “emo-revival,” a return of many early 2000s musical titans like Sum 41. 13 Voices shows the world a newly revived Sum 41, with a renewed enthusiasm and a mature sense of nostalgia and reflection. After an epic run on this summer’s Vans’ Warped Tour, and a successful tour in support of the album, Sum 41 are charging into 2017 as vibrant and rebellious as ever. This album is available for purchase here.
Set It Off - Upside Down
After catching half of Set It Off’s Warped Tour set, I became hooked. Their raw energy and magnificent stage presence made their live show absolutely electric, and their most recent release, Upside Down, perfectly recreates that exact feeling. Combining their legendary theatrical flair with catchy lyrics and infectious melodies, Set It Off truly did make one of the best albums of 2016! This album is available for purchase here.
Good Charlotte - Youth Authority
Youth Authority solidly reaffirmed two things: celebrated producer John Feldmann remains the wunderkind savior of the so-called “emo-revival,” and Good Charlotte are still one of the greatest bands around. Good Charlotte crafted an album that harkens back to the era of The Young and the Hopeless, while also including a nuanced commentary on success and growing up. Honestly, words cannot appropriately describe my feelings about this album, you just need to listen to it. This album is available for purchase here.
The Summer Set - Stories for Monday
The Summer Set were the very first concert that I ever attended and the very first concert that I ever photographed, and as such, they will always hold a special place in musical soul. I have loved this band for a very long time and I feel completely comfortable saying that this is their best album to date. Teeming with poignant lyrics, fun melodies, and the omnipresent finesse of a band that has a thorough grasp of who they are and what they do best, Stories for Monday reaffirms why The Summer Set are not to be ignored. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, I am so incredibly thankful that this super talented group of amazing humans did not break up this year. This album is available for purchase here.
Green Day - Revolution Radio
What can you possibly say about Green Day that hasn’t been said already? They continue to push social, musical, and political boundaries in a way that only a true punk rock band can. Constantly, they remind us all that punk music started as a safe haven for those who felt their ideas and voices were not being properly represented in “mainstream” society, and in a day and age where many people take the safe road of political silence, Green Day refuses to be anything less than exactly who they have always been. This album is available for purchase here.
Pierce the Veil - Misadventures
It can safely be said that a lot of people have been waiting for this album for a while, and Pierce the Veil did not disappoint. With musical elements ranging from classic Southern California punk to flamenco-esque guitar riffs, Misadventures is a perfect example of the eclectic musical style that makes Pierce the Veil so unique. As a band that never fails to spectacularly entertain, I can’t wait to see what’s next for Pierce the Veil in 2017! This album is available for purchase here.
Panic! At The Disco - Death of a Bachelor
2016 may have been a rough year for a lot of people, unless you’re Panic! At The Disco’s Brendon Urie, then 2016 was your year. Death of a Bachelor is the theatrically Sinatra-inspired Panic album that we all needed in our lives, whether we knew it or not. Musically and lyrically, Brendon reminds us all why he is one of the reigning princes of the pop-punk/punk-rock/pop-rock/emo/whatever-it’s-technically-supposed-to-be-called kingdom, and with a Grammy nomination and abundant rumors that new music is already in the works, 2017 is shaping up to be Brendon’s year as well. This album is available for purchase here.
Simple Plan - Taking One for the Team
Simple Plan have gotten a lot happier over the years, and I for one, am totally here for it. Taking One for the Team gave the world a lot of radio-friendly dance jams, while also providing that classic brand of defiant angst that Simple Plan does so very well. Overall, Simple Plan accomplished quite a feat in that, they made a record that aims to satisfy all of their fans, old and new, and is most definitely worth a listen! This album is available for purchase here.
With Confidence - Better Weather
I had the opportunity to interview the hilarious and talented guys of With Confidence at this summer’s Vans’ Warped Tour and I have to say, they are as sweet and genuine a band as bands come. Their debut album, Better Weather, took the scene by storm and poised them to be one of the next pop-punk giants. Citing influences as diverse as Iron Maiden and New Found Glory, and with a touring resume that includes the likes of Marianas Trench and 5 Seconds of Summer, With Confidence comfortably mix the classic and the new-age, and Better Weather is one of the best examples of such a fusion that we’ve had in awhile. This album is available for purchase here.
Bowling for Soup - Drunk Dynasty
Bowling for Soup are nothing if not fun, and Drunk Dynasty is Bowling for Soup at their most fun. Featuring their familiar caustic dialogue about relationships turned sour, Drunk Dynasty reminds us why we need Bowling for Soup, and their particular kind of care-free humor and it’s-going-to-be-alright attitude, especially in years like 2016. Also, massive kudos to them for only furthering an impressive and long-standing career, which is not an easy feat in today’s world. This album is available for purchase here.
Secret Tree Fort - Litter
I was only just introduced to Secret Tree Fort this year, but this EP has me hooked! I completely recommend checking it out because 2016 was just the beginning, and I have a hunch that 2017 is only going to see Secret Tree Fort get bigger and better. This album is available for purchase here.
SayWeCanFly - Blessed Are Those
I’ve loved SayWeCanFly for a while now, and his most recent release has only made me love him more. Braden manages to craft poignant ballads and emotionally charged masterpieces with an unparalleled ease, and his live show is one of the best I have ever experienced. If you haven’t heard of him yet, be sure to check him out because he is wonderful and lovely in all the best ways. This album is available for purchase here.
A Day to Remember - Bad Vibrations
2016 saw A Day to Remember finally resolve a long-standing dispute with their former record label, tour extensively with All Time Low and Blink-182, and release a kick-ass new album, so I’d say they made it through the year in pretty good shape. Bad Vibrations stands as a testament to everything that ADTR has been through, and how they refuse to do anything other than what they want, the way that they want, which is something that we could all use a little more of. Mostly, just give it a listen and you’ll see why it’s so hard to verbalize everything that has to be said about this incredible album. This album is available for purchase here.
Asking Alexandria - The Black
Frontman drama and line-up changes aside, The Black is still one of my favorite Asking Alexandria records to date. The Black harnesses a raw emotional energy that few other bands could have evoked so well. In 2016 Asking Alexandria reinforced that, no matter what happens to them, they are always going to remain dedicated to making good music and putting on good shows! This album is available for purchase here.