Steven Pongrac's Top 10 Albums of 2013

10. The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die - Whenever, If Ever
Whenever, If Ever was a recent addition to my list, though I enjoyed it so much when I first heard the leak that I purchased a copy of it before I finished my first listen (and that was when I was still a semi-broke college student). After I saw TWIABP live in October, my love for this album was recaptured. I think it's excellent all the way through – especially the end, as "Getting Sodas" is one of my most-played songs of the year.

9. State Champs - The Finer Things
State Champs' The Finer Things is the first of two pop punk albums to really surprise me this year. The vocals on this album are some of the best I have heard from a pop punk band and the instrumentals have improved drastically since the band's 2012 EP. "Elevated" and "Over the Line" are my personal favourites, but nearly every song is a gem and I can already predict that I'm still going to be listening to this album in the summer of 2014.

8. Daylight - Jar
The big three of Run for Cover (as I will call them) all put out excellent albums in 2013, but Daylight's Jar is just a little bit stronger than the other two (Youth and Magnolia). Daylight slowly evolved from a melodic hardcore/punk-ish band to a '90s emo/grunge/alternative titan, and I hope the members continue to embrace the change because Jar is as close to a perfect release that a band can get without actually reaching that level.

7. Seaway - Hoser
The second pop punk album that caught me off guard was Seaway's Hoser. There's nothing groundbreaking about it, but it's just a fun and catchy album that I could listen to on repeat for hours. I had the privilege of seeing Seaway six times this year (five of which were in the past few months...with another to take place tonight) and the songs that I've heard from Hoser sound even better live. I'm usually not one to get too into shows, but I always find myself at the front when Seaway is playing now.

6. Conveyer - Worn Out
The five-piece, spirit-filled melodic hardcore band Conveyer with its new album titled Worn Out is brand new to me, but I have been forced to include it in my list because I was captivated by it. The guitars are extremely melodic (and reminiscent of The Current Will Carry Us-era Counterparts) and the vocals and lyrics are filled with passion, but the drumming is what really puts this release over the top; it's extremely upbeat and technical. If this album came out earlier in the year, I could see it possibly making its way into an even higher slot.

5. Grandview - Everything Between Paint and a Wall
Grandview released an incredible EP (Absolutely Nothing) last year, and I thought the band was going to blow up because of it. Sadly, it didn't happen. With that being said, the band has improved so much in the past year and the slight change in direction to more of an indie/emo/punk style works perfectly with what the vocalist has going on, which leads me to believe that 2014 will be this band's year. Before, Grandview's sound reminded me more like Such Gold; on Everything Between Paint and a Wall, the members of Grandview take the best parts of Seahaven and Citizen and blend it with a bit of their own style and a bit more ambience.

4. Counterparts - The Difference Between Hell and Home
Considering Counterparts has been one of my favourite bands for a few years, it comes as no surprise that The Difference Between Hell and Home is in my top five. It's hard for me to say I like this album more than Prophets (because that album has serious sentimental value to me) or The Current Will Carry Us, but it's clearly a more technical, mature and complete album. There isn't one mediocre song and there isn't really one song that steals the show – and I think that's a good thing. The album is just incredible all the way through.

3. Erra - Augment
I have been growing tired of metalcore (especially if it's "progressive"), but I was looking forward to Erra's Augment since the day the band announced they were recording earlier in the year. I am still baffled by the fact that this album is over 50 minutes long, yet it never gets stale to me. "Hybrid Earth" may be the best song I have ever heard from a band in this genre and "Dementia" is another contender for that very same title.

2. Balance and Composure - The Things We Think We're Missing
Earlier this year, I fell in love with Balance and Composure's Separation; for months, I listened to it almost every night before I went to sleep. After the band released a split with Braid (which featured two of the band's best songs to date, in my opinion), I grew anxious for a new full length. When I finally got my hands on The Things We Think We're Missing, I could not stop listening to it. "Parachutes," "Tiny Raindrop" and "When I Come Undone" are all contenders for song of the year, but I wholeheartedly love the entire album.

1. The Wonder Years - The Greatest Generation
Here we are. My favourite album of the year – and quite possibly of all time – is The Wonder Years' The Greatest Generation. From the chilling intro of "There, There" to the final words of "I Just Want to Sell Out My Funeral," this album is one heck of a journey. Both of the aforementioned tracks still give me chills/bring me to tears every time I listen to them – despite already hearing them both well over 200 times. It doesn't stop there, though. The album as a whole is utter perfection and it makes me wonder if any band in the current pop punk scene will be able to top it in the next five or 10 years.

Honourable Mention
Knuckle Puck - The Weight That You Buried EP
Turnover - Magnolia
Better Off - (I Think) I'm Leaving
Bring Me the Horizon - Sempiternal
Safe to Say - With Everything in Between

By Steven Pongrac ~ Me Gusta Reviews



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