At the end of the year, like many others, I like to look back on the year and the music. 2016 had to be my toughest year. In fact, at the end of 2015 it started to get bad that I didn’t do one of these. I made a conscience thought not to skip 2016. This year I hit two major road bumps, my professional career and my love life. Not to go into details, but both sent me spiraling out of control. However, both taught me what it is I want and what I am built to handle. There was good in 2016 though. I traveled a good amount, even out of the country for the first time, photographed 62 concerts, met amazing, talented people, and managed to get my feet back on the ground. Yet, I couldn’t have done it without the music in my life. The majority of the list is in the vain of punk rock, which is great, and deciding number one was tough. I think I made a good list that defines my 2016 and can’t wait to see what 2017 brings.
10. Face To Face – Protection
Face to Face released their ninth studio album and returned back to Fat Wreck Chords. True Face to Face sound and clocking in at about 30 minutes, this album was my go to while out in Portland. My cousin is also a fan. While we drove around, this album was on repeat and became the soundtrack through the hikes, drives, and walks.
9. Vinnie Caruana – Survivor’s Guilt
Finally, we got Vinnie Caruana’s first full length. Being a fan of his other bands and his solo e.p., I couldn’t wait for his full length. Surprisingly there was more full band songs on here than I thought there would be. Delving into a lot of personal matter, this is a good album for rainy days.
8. The Bouncing Souls – Simplicity
Another quick punk album was The Bouncing Souls latest album. A lot of listeners didn’t go for Comet, but I didn’t mind it. However, Simplicity definitely showed the New Jersey boys going back to their roots and putting out a good, fun, summer time album. I thought the Souls were going to slow down, but this album definitely made them start gaining speed again.
7. Against Me! – Shape Shift With Me
This was a release I was waiting for this year. After their last album, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, I wasn’t sure Against Me were going to top that. They did, this album puts together all their best work into one album. A lot happen with Against Me this year and 2017 doesn’t show them slowing down. I have to get a copy of Laura’s book in 2017.
6. Jimmy Eat World – Integrity Blues
Jimmy Eat World has been one of those bands that when they put something out I always listen, but nothing has hit me hard enough like their last work. Integrity Blues did for me though. With a lot of different musical styles I feel Jimmy Eat World pushed themselves in a different but good direction. This album was released later in the year, but I am hoping we see more of Jimmy Eat World in 2017.
5. St. Paul & The Broken Bones – Sea Of Noise
St. Paul & The Broken Bones became one of my favorite bands a few years back when I heard their first full length. Since then I always made it a point to check tabs on them. Sea of Noise is nothing like their first album. With a lot more instrumentation, less love songs, and lead singer Paul stretching his range, St. Paul has only just begun. I read that from here on out it get weirder, which I am already curious what the next album will sound like now.
4. Fialta – Shadow Of A Drought
Fialta is a band that needs radio play, tours, and everything. Their latest album has everything that would make them a commercial success. Taking more of a dancy, indie approach, Shadow Of A Drought shows that Fialta has a lot of creativity. However, being able to see them live brought in a whole never level. These two couples are very talented musicians and I hope they become huge.
3. Eli Paperboy Reed – My Way Home
I didn’t think I would see a new Eli Paperboy Reed album for years, but he got the courage to return to his roots and put out an album to remind me why I fell in love with his music in the first place. My Way Home is an album about hope, an album that may not have horns, but has so much soul in it that it can’t be ignored. This album had a mixture of emotions for that I still put it on the record player and feel the same way I did when I first heard it.
2. Brian Fallon – Painkillers
If it wasn’t for Sherwood, this album would’ve been my number one. Brian Fallon once again put out an album that hits me in every direction and helped me through my low times. Painkillers is Brian’s first solo album, and it leaves off where Gaslight Anthem, but proves Brian can write amazing songs no matter who is with him. This album, and Sherwood’s album, sum up my 2016. The song “Smoke” best describes what happen to me in my relationship. I still get chills listening to that song, definitely my number one song of 2016. Also I believe I saw Brian more than anyone else this year. When someone’s music does a lot for me I have to pay them back. Brian is working on new material, which I will be waiting for, until then Painkillers will be on repeat.
1. Sherwood – Some Things Never Leave You
The title alone fits this year perfectly. Sherwood has been one of my favorite bands since college. When they broke up, I didn’t know if they were ever getting back together. Yet 2016 saw a new album, a little tour, and hopefully, maybe new music in 2017. This album helped me through a lot and also lead me to travel out to Portland to see them live again. I didn’t think they were ever going to come to the East Coast. Each song on this album is nonskipable. Like “Smoke” from Brian Fallon, “Back Home” is another song that sums up my year. The guys in Sherwood joke that this album is the same as their other ones but with adult themes. That may be true, but I am aging with Sherwood and it’s making it more relatable.
“I know the path to take,
And I’m the only one in my way.”