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Rock Sound’s Top Releases Of 2016: 30-21

Rock Sound
Rock Sound 29 December 2016 at 19.50

Who made it onto the list?

30. Every Time I Die - 'Low Teens'
Heavy in both sound and sentiment, the Buffalo legends showed no signs of slowing down or dipping below their own incredibly ferocious standards on album eight. Combining the beautiful and the beastly with Keith Buckley’s usual array of killer couplets, this was an exercise in untouchable punk ‘n’ roll by masters of the craft. Just when you think you’ve heard every trick they have up their sleeves...

29. Too Close To Touch - 'Haven't Been Myself'
Authentic emotion can sometimes feel in short supply in the fast-paced world of modern music, but here Too Close To Touch produced a heart-breaking and beautifully realised second record. Made in the wake of the death of frontman Keaton Pierce’s 3-year-old sister, it’s a document of a young man’s utmost grief. That his voice is one of the most powerfully affecting we’ve heard in a long time only compounds the impact.

28. Fire From The Gods - 'Narrative'
What makes ‘Narrative’ so special is its unflinching honesty. With magnetic frontman AJ Channer at the helm, Fire From The Gods blend reggae, dub and hip-hop influences over a melodic metalcore template while avoiding genre pitfalls. The fact that the band are also smart enough to tackle political issues across these 10 tracks only helps to make it one of the year’s finest debut offerings.

27. Cane Hill - 'Smile'
Rock music urgently needed an injection of out-and-out weirdness in 2016 and Cane Hill delivered in spades. Friendly, smiley lads you’d take home to meet your mum these are not. And with songs like ‘(The New) Jesus’ packing a Marilyn Manson-esque punch this debut album looks like being just the start of a deliciously twisted journey for the New Orleans quartet. Viva la freaks.

26. Trash Boat - 'Nothing I Write You Can Change What You've Been Through'
Pop-punk is still thriving, but here Trash Boat attempted to turn the genre on its head. ‘Nothing I Write You...’ was urgent, angsty and troubled. What’s more, it melded the genre with hardcore in a way that hasn’t been done this well since The Story So Far emerged. One of pop-punk’s essential releases of 2016.

25. Basement - 'Promise Everything'
It’s strange to think that a throwback album was released in 2016, but that’s exactly what Basement’s latest and greatest ended up being. The likes of ‘Submission’ and ‘Aquasun’ could go toe to toe with pretty much any staple ’90s radio rock anthem, and ensured that the wall of noise that was ‘Promise Everything’ wasn’t just a good comeback, but a great one.

24. Modern Baseball - 'Holy Ghost'
Combining pulse-raising punk with profoundly personal confessions, Modern Baseball released one of the most immediate and deeply loveable records of 2016. The half-n-half writing split between guitarists and vocalists Jake Ewalds and Brendan Luckens ensures that this is an album that keeps revealing hidden depth with multiple listens. 

23. Good Charlotte - 'Youth Authority'
Banishing memories of 2010’s lacklustre ‘Cardiology’, the Baltimore veterans returned with a sun-drenched, nostalgic summer soundtrack. Whether embracing their quirky side on ‘40 oz. Dream’ or rekindling the pop-punk flame on ‘Makeshift Love’, Good Charlotte sounded like they were having the time of their lives. It’s good to have them back.

22. Real Friends - 'The Home Inside My Head'
‘The Home Inside My Head’ was a more refined, understated version of the Real Friends we knew and loved, but carried forward all of what made them so special. This time around, their signature frank lyrics were married to crisp production and radio-ready choruses, and showed that these scrappy Illinois boys are still on course to achieve something big. 

21. I Prevail - 'Lifelines'
The pressure I Prevail were under was palpable. Having shot to fame thanks to a cover of Taylor Swift’s ‘Blank Space’, ‘Lifelines’ was their chance to prove they were a ‘proper’ band. And they wildly exceeded expectations, with an album that basks in moments of brilliant melody and crushing heaviness. A collection of impressive sophistication, depth and song-writing class.

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