Needless to say, this year has been rough. Yet, during the least profitable time in the music industry, artists still managed to release an influx of unforgettable records for themselves & their fans. That's what music is all about, after all, the community!
It was incredibly difficult for me to narrow down just 10 albums I loved this year, so I decided to just highlight an umbrella of alternative rock LP's... which was still difficult to narrow down. In any case, I managed to pick out a few that really stuck out to me while also throwing a few honorable mentions at the very bottom.
Here are my thoughts for each record!
1. No Good Left To Give - Movements
Starting out strong, we have Movements' sophomore album, No Good Left To Give. This California-bred group built up a great amount of fan appreciation over the past 3 years for their debut record, Feel Something. High anticipation for its predecessor was undeniable. As a listener, you can tell that NGLTG was meticulously thought out & presented as it is so sonically cohesive yet each song has its own individuality. This being said, to any first listeners: listen to the tracks in order!
Track Recommendation: "Living Apology"
2. Who Are The Girls? - Nova Twins
Who Are The Girls? is Nova Twins' debut album and MAN, is it impressive. This UK-based duo bring a great dynamic to the alternative rock genre as they meld punk, hip-hop & electronic elements with each song leaving listeners eager for more. They also more recently featured on Bring Me The Horizon's latest project, Post Human: Survival Horror with the track "1x1," which will only make their rise to stardom within the scene even more inevitable.
Track Recommendation: "Bullet"
3. Harmony - Rich People
These Philly-based folks "leaked" their own album earlier this year through Bandcamp before officially dropping it in August. I knew back then that this record would be a highlight of this year's music. Harmony sonically encapsulates pain, heartache & retrospection in a comforting-A24-indie-film kind of way. It's impossible to not keep this LP on repeat.
Track Recommendation: "Broad Strokes"
4. Burst - Snarls
Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, we have the groovy alternative rock group, Snarls, with their debut album Burst. Another debut LP I found quite impressive-- so much so that it's in my top 10! Every track features the dreamy vocals of Chlo White & Riley Hall with the ever-looming punk rock reverb & melodies. For a more refined description, they like to consider themselves "glitter emo alt rock" and I'd have to agree.
Track Recommendation: "Marbles"
5. GLUE - Boston Manor
English pop punk band, Boston Manor, dropped their third album, GLUE, early this summer. Each track on this record has a distinct personality which could make the first listen very daunting. Out of all their previous projects, this one seems the most diverse as it pushes beyond the boundaries of (what can be) the confined genre of pop punk. I also did an in-depth review of GLUE back in May, if you're interested: here.
Track Recommendation: "Plasticine Dreams"
6. I Let It In And It Took Everything - Loathe
Hardcore English group, Loathe, released their sophomore album I Let It In And It Took Everything at the very beginning of this year. This LP holds the perfect balance of upbeat, heavy tracks with melodic & distorted ambience. The 1-minute interludes serve as unique soundtrack-esque transitions as the listener delves deeper into the album. With the amount of recognition this group has been receiving this past year, it would be no surprise if their success grew exponentially over here in the states in the next year or so.
Track Recommendation: "Aggressive Evolution"
7. Hello, It's You - Bearings
Another group from another place with free healthcare... is the Canadian rock band, Bearings with their sophomore LP, Hello, It's You. When they released the first single for the album, "Sway," I knew immediately it was going to be a staple pop punk record. This release is wonderfully structured; the slower tracks sandwiched between upbeat guitar-driven songs. They even experiment with some emo-trap tracking on their song, "Dreams," which somehow fits very nicely with the rest of the album. Hello, It's You demonstrates Bearings' versatility & talent in such a fresh way, specifically in the pop punk scene.
Track Recommendation: "Super Deluxe"
8. Underneath - Code Orange
Although, the hardcore group Code Orange have been around for a while, they still know exactly how to jump back into the scene with straight heat. With Underneath released right before everything shut down, they still managed to make this era an unforgettable one with livestream performances & a full live-recorded album. These Pittsburgh natives have truly nailed the essence of industrial hardcore with this album.
Track Recommendation: "In Fear"
9. Self Care - Yours Truly
Australian pop punk group, Yours Truly, dropped their highly anticipated debut album, Self Care, this fall. Vocalist, Mikaila Delgado, has such an electric & addicting voice perfectly suited for the alternative genre. This album is a solid introduction to the band's musicianship. Even the sadder songs feel like an uplifting pop rock anthem, which is a musical juxtaposition I'm often attracted to. Needless to say, I'm very excited to see what's to come for Yours Truly.
Track Recommendation: "Vivid Dream"
10. Down Through - Gleemer
Colorado shoe-gaze group, Gleemer, released their third album back in May titled Down Through. Fans were instantly thrilled with the new material seeing as it was their first full project since 2017. Down Through's tracks are beautifully woven together as it creates an ethereal but haunting atmosphere with every listen. Each song will leave you with the desire to experience it live. Sooner than later, hopefully!
Track Recommendation: "TTX"
MANY HONORABLE MENTIONS: Melee - Dogleg, Ivy - Charmer, 20/20 - Knuckle Puck, I Disagree - Poppy, The World You Want To See - Glacier Veins, Tite! - Fox Teeth, Post Human: Survival Horror - Bring Me The Horizon, Lie Out Loud - BLOXX, Distance - Boys Of Fall
*You can listen to all of the listed recommended songs & artists on our playlist below*
Make sure to try & support your favorite bands as much as possible during these times. It's the least we can do for them making great music! Let us know if we forgot any alternative albums that made your top 10. Or if we share any in common!
Written & reviewed by Deirdre Kelly
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