Crash Doubt – Staff Picks 2014
Yes, it's that time of year again! Our annual round-up of the Crash Doubt's favourite records of the year! What are your top picks? Let us know in the comments below...
Matt Hendry (Founder)
Transit – Joyride
PUP – Self titled
Against Me – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
Rancid – Honor Is All We Know
Eagulls – Self titled
Chris Coleshaw (Editor)
The Smith Street Band – Throw Me In The River
It took me a long time to “get” the Smith Street Band but the way the first two tracks of this record intersect completely won me over. The Smith Street Band are making huge waves and deservedly so. Refreshingly poetic lyrics, catchy melodies and the guitar tones are just killer. ‘Throw Me In The River’ is one of those rare “no filler” records.
Ryan Adams – Self titled
One of those artists that was fortunate / unfortunate enough to release a critically acclaimed record early on in his career, meaning that the rest of his work is always measured against that early benchmark. This latest record is right up there with Hearbreaker though and has some of the best songs he’s penned. After spending a lot of time experimenting with different sounds and genres he’s come full-swing and released a straight-up ‘rock’ album. It’s trademark Ryan Adam’s Americana but it’s also haunting and desperately lonely at times.
Martha – Courting Strong
Catchy, nervous pop songs with bags of charm and wit. Durham’s answer to the Housemartins.
Chuck Ragan – Till Midnight
Chuck Ragan has always won people over with his warmth, honesty and humble attitude towards music. The camaraderie that he shows to fellow musicians and his efforts to bring together different corners of the punk and folk cosmos are rightly applauded. That passion and spirit is captured perfectly in Till Midnight and features some of his best vocal performances to date. ‘Non-typical’ sounds halfway between Fleetwood Mac and The Corrs.
Creeper – Self titled
It’s no secret that it’s getting harder and harder for bands to get their music listened to these days, but having a clear identity, even if is a bit silly, can go some way to making you stand out from the crowd.
It’s clear that Creeper are a well packaged operation, there’s a definitive 00’s goth-punk aesthetic at play, with ghoulish fonts and colour schemes that is obvious to see and certainly plays well on the nostalgia of mid-20’s punks like myself. That said, having a story that connects with people is only half of the battle and all the black nail varnish in Davey Havok’s sock draw could only shine a turd for so-long, so there needs to be a lot more to a band than just skeleton prints and fingerless gloves.
Lucky for us/them, Creeper, have written some of the best melodic punk rock to come out of these shores for a long time. Probably my favourite UK release this year and without a doubt a band to keep an eye on in 2015.
Hard Girls – A Thousand Surfaces, Gnarwolves – self titled, The Menzingers – Rented World, Against Me – Transgender Dysphoria Blues, Maycomb – Little Ease, Hellwinners – self titled, Harker – Gasping For Air, The Lion and The Wolf – Symptoms.
Jake Berry (News Editor)
Moose Blood – I’ll Keep You In Mind From Time to Time
This record always had a big buzz behind it, after Moose Blood had become a cult phenomenon with the release of their debut Moving Home EP, but this, their debut full length, blows it clean out of the water. Not a single bad track upon the release, and every song is brimming with emotional personal lyrics that are so full of conviction on every level. If Moose Blood are not one of the biggest UK rock bands by the time of their next album I will eat my own hat!
Martyr Defiled – No Hope No Morality
These Lincoln deathcore bruisers were always on the cusp of becoming a very big deal indeed, and this new release tips them just over the edge. Certainly the best heavy album this year, it may not be reinventing the wheel, but it contains some of the biggest riffs this side of Mars, and the gang chants are as catchy as a rather unruly cold. This record should elevate the crew to one of the key players of the deathcore scene, truly a band we Lincolnites should be proud of.
Architects – Lost Forever // Lost Together
2012’s Daybreaker might have been the comeback that Architects really needed after the rather patchy The Here And Now, but Lost Forever // Lost Together is the record that really shows that Architects mean serious business. Where Bring Me The Horizon have strayed from their metalcore style and written an radio metal record, Architects have taken a look at that and decided to stick with what they know best, with 11 tracks of white hot riffs, shout-out gang vocals, and pure frenetic energy, the Brighton band shine throughout the release. Sam Carter must be given a ‘man-of-the-match’ award for his performance here, not only does he sound vicious and angry again, but he delivers some of the best vocal performances of his career on the record.
More Than Life – What’s Left of Me
When More Than Life released the first single from What’s Left Of Me, the brilliant Do You Remember, many heads were turned and opinion was polarized. A band who formerly played fast, angry, emotional hardcore had just released a song with almost no screaming in, very little in the way of distorted guitars, and a piano in one section, which naturally left many fans wondering if this move would pay off. Thankfully for all involved, not only did the move pay off, but over the 33 minutes of What’s Left Of Me the group showcase their truly captivating songwriting ability, whilst experimenting with their sound yet clearly remaining recognisable as More Than Life. Whilst the release does only clock in at just over half an hour, it feels like a much longer listen, not to say it drags on but that it’s such a grueling journey through the lyrical content and heart wrenching performances on offer here.
Everytime I Die – From Parts Unknown
I love Everytime I Die more than a lot of bands, however I was really late listening to From Parts Unknown (about 4 months late if I remember). I do now and then see how foolish I was not to listen to this immediately, as it’s the best hardcore release of the year, and one of ETID’s best records. As soon as The Great Secret opens the record, it is clear that the band are taking no prisoners here, smashing their way through 12 tracks in 32 minutes. That’s not saying that there isn’t light and shade though the record, as Moor takes the pace down for a couple of minutes, and Old Light features an inspired guest vocal spot from Brian Fallon from The Gaslight Anthem.
Neck Deep – Wishful Thinking, Dispossession – Plagues, We Came Out Like Tigers – Ever-Crushed At Pecket’s Well, That Night Forests Grew – Old Hands Young Hearts, Destrage – Are You Kidding Me? No!, and Nexilva – Eschatologies.
Kev Fenton (Contributor)
Bane – Don’t Wait Up
Bane released not only the best album of the year, they released the best album of their career! Don’t Wait Up is also the bands final album and the emotion shows throughout. A hardcore masterclass.
Gnarwolves – Self titled
It’s been said many times before, but these dudes are gonna be huge! A pretty flawless debut full of massive sing-a-longs and immense hooks.
Bear Trade – Blood and Sand
The sound of UK punk from the last 20 years condensed into one booze-fueled collection of melodic peaches
The Holy Mess – Comfort In The Dischord
2014 is the year The Holy Mess became contenders. Not an inch of fat throughout, catchy, honest and sincere.
Cold World – How The Gods Chill
Cold World should be the biggest band in the world! So much going on throughout this record that it never fails to impress
Carlos Montero (Contributor)
Weezer return with their new album Everything Will Be Alright In The End and many fans were terrified that we would be hearing a repeat of Maladroit, they were wrong. Very very very wrong.
The Xcerts -There Is Only You
Here is a band that have not given up on anthemic rock. The Aberdeen trio have recently dropped their new record which is going to blow up, watch this space.
Creeper – Self titled
Bloody hell, read my review.
Decade – Good Luck
Pop punk at it’s finest, having supported some of the biggest act in the UK rock scene, their debut album was crafted from the depths of pizza hell. And they will never leave their friends behind.
Gnarwolves – Self titled
Gnarwolves released their self titled album this year and it lived up to the hype. Thrashy fun for all you punkheads.
Roo Pescod (Contributor)
Cloud Nothings – Here and nowhere else
Caves – Leaving
Lawrence Arms – Metropole
Hold Steady – Teeth Dreams
Rash decision – Seaside Resort to Violence
Thom White (Contributor)
Architects – Lost Forever // Lost Together
What a comeback! 2014 is definitely Architects’ year – ‘Lost Forever // Lost Together’ is perfect proof of that! With this baby, the Brighton boys let loose a record which clearly shows their progression as songwriters, hearts and souls poured into all eleven songs. As soon as the album kicks in, your heart’s in your mouth until the album finishes. There are plenty of kick-to-the-teeth and blow-to-the-head moments, but when Architects get dark and political, they mean business. A bold move with painstaking attention to the music, ‘Lost Forever // Lost Together’ is the standout best metal album of the year.
PVRIS – White Noise
An unexpectedly absolutely brilliant album– and that’s an understatement. There’s not a single song on ‘White Noise’ that makes you think “this could be better” or “I can’t really connect with this at all”. The only negative about ‘White Noise’ is that at 40 minutes, it’s at least an hour too short. With perfect emotion-filled and hard-hitting performances throughout the album, in ‘My House’ and ‘White Noise’ the band has written two killer tracks destined to last the test of time. PVRIS are the ones to watch next year!
In Hearts Wake – Earthwalker
Australia has produced some fantastic hardcore and metal bands this year and the same can be said of albums! Byron Bay’s In Hearts Wake released a third album, ‘Earthwalker’ – an incredible journey that simultaneously provokes the urge to mosh as well as to immerse oneself in some emotionally-charged, heavy riff material. The band’s worked hard on this release and it’s definitely paid off – surely, this is only the beginning of something very special.
Bury Tomorrow – Runes
One of the most anticipated follow-ups of 2014 and Bury Tomorrow really delivered the goods! Bringing new guitarist Kristan Dawson into the fold worked a treat and songs like ‘Watcher’ and ‘Of Glory’ were as staggering as they were awe-inspiring. With not a dud in sight, the entire album knocks your socks off – it was the return to form that was needed and boy! – they nailed it!
The Hotelier – Home, Like No Place Is There
Easily one of the best releases this year, this arrived almost out of nowhere as an instant classic. With over 30 minutes of genre and game-changing material, it’s no wonder they landed themselves on a tour with La Dispute and Title Fight next year! It’s gritty yet light-hearted and very easy on the ear – a fantastic debut from the Massachusetts four-piece!
Sean Redmond (Contributor)
The Bots – Pink Palms
Made up of two brothers from Los Angeles, with one still in his teens, there’s a hell lot of potential with this band. There’s a crazy mix of genres in one album, sounding like the Circle Jerks one minute to sounding like The Smiths the next. Remember where you heard them first, because you’ll soon be pissing people off saying how you knew them before they were massive.
Mongol Horde – Self titled
This album sees Frank Turner turning away from his regular folk singing day job to writing songs about communists ruining Christmas, a vengeful unicorn and Keith Richards being the T1000. What more could you possibly want?
Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
I’m sure this will be on everyone’s list, but it’s well deserved. Facing the limelight after a transition was never going to be easy for Laura Jane Grace, but this album was a confident, emotional and brilliant album to return with
Slaves – Where’s Your Car Debbie?
My friend dragged me to the lock-up at Leeds Festival to watch what she thought was the vocalist from Dance Gavin Dance’s new band. However it turned out to be a completely barmy two piece from Kent, who are the musical equivalent of getting your head kicked in by The Kray Twins. Best mistake ever.
Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 2
It may be strange seeing a hip hop duo on this list, but here’s why they belong here; Tonnes of furious songs, a guest appearance from Travis Barker, an amazing verse from Zack De La Rocha, songs about racial segregation, burning down police stations and a massive hatred of the establishment. Run the Jewels 2 is easily my favourite release of 2014. Don’t knock it until you try it.