5. Tragedy - Darker Days Ahead
Tragedy is a legendary crust/hardcore band that was born out of the ashes of one of the most influential crust bands of the 90s: His Hero is Gone. Sticking to an incredibly strict DIY ethic when it comes to their releases, Darker Days Ahead illustrates the abrasive, heavy sound that Tragedy is known and respected for. It's their first release in quite some time, and definitely stands up with the rest of their discography
4. Code Orange Kids - Love is Love // Return to Dust
Code Orange Kids are a changing of the guard with modern hardcore. One of the issues I have with the scene is that on a nigh constant basis, it seems that Punks are always retracting into comfortable nostalgia instead of pushing the envelope of sound towards new and awesome places. Code Orange Kids do not do that, and that reason is probably why Jacob Bannon of Converge signed them to Deathwish records to put out Love is Love // Return to Dust. Heavy, inventive hardcore. Plus, one of their guitarists is a woman, which I always think is awesome is hell. The Punk scene is still a fucking boys club, and it's always awesome to see gender roles and outdated concepts of femininity shattered by a woman who is just as hardcore as any other fuckstain out there.
3. Title Fight - Floral Green
Hell to the yes. I included Title Fight's last release on my list for 2011, and I had no idea they were going to be super productive and rock out another great record in 2012. Floral Green is pretty spectacular, emotional, poppy punk. It's like a glorious mix between Lifetime and Sunny Day Real Estate: all intense, no bullshit, no filler.
2. Propagandhi - Failed States
Propagandhi is perhaps the most political band that I listen to. And I love them for it. They lean really far to the left, and whenever I listen to them, it connects me to my politicized, hell-raising youth. Like when I got detained in Minneapolis in 2006 for protesting the Republican National Convention. I've been listening to these guys for a long time, and the only thing I really disagree with is there harsh vegan stance (I regularly consume the dead flesh of animals). As such, I've heard the complete evolution of their sound from their early days as straight up punk rock to their modern, melodic hardcore sound, which even contains elements of thrash. Failed States is another great entry to their discography. They maintain that tense energy, like a riot is bubbling under the surface, and a great technicality to their music that makes there messages seem more genuine. Worth listening to for the music alone.
1. Masked Intruder - Masked Intruder
Fuck to the fuck to the fuck yes. Masked Intruder is pop punk band that wears ski masks of different colors while preforming, and sing songs about breaking the law, the police, and girls. It's pretty awesome. This is their first release since being signed to Fat Wreck Chords, the record label owned by Fat Mike of NOFX. To make it even more awesome, they're from Madison, Wisconsin. I've seen them like three or four times in the past year. I think it's cool as hell that someone from the local scene made it. Possibly the greatest thing about it is that its encouraging everyone else to try hard as fuck. There have been so many great punk shows going on in Madison recently that I'm hemorrhaging money like a motherfucker. It's incredibly catchy, toe-tapping pop punk. Which is made all the better when you're shoulder to shoulder with strangers in front of the stage and everyone is singing along. Btw, this album officially came out last year, but the vinyl wasn't released until this month on Fat Wreck.