20. Far From Finished - Living In The Fallout (Think Fast!)- Somehow this band went under my radar for a long time. They play punk rock the way I like it: influenced by the Clash and Social D. I can't get enough.
19. Neurosis - Given To The Rising (Neurot)- The most aggressive album of the year totally lived up to my expectations.
18. Pelican - City Of Echoes (Hyda Head)- Pelican are so good that even though this is their weakest record yet, it's still superb. "Dead Between The Walls" is one of their best songs.
17. Cloak/Dagger - We Are (Jade Tree)- I liked this band from the start, especially because I was a huge Count Me out fan in high school. I don't think all the songs are as strong on those from their demo or the "Pinata Breaks" 7'', but it's a great record nonetheless. "Kamikazes" and "Walk The Block" more than make up for the couple of filler tracks.
16. Torche - In Return (Robotic Empire)- I fucking love Torche. That's all that really needs to be said.
15. Pig Destroyer - Phantom Limb (Relapse)- I am not a metal head. Never was and never will be. But there's something about the violence and severity of Pig Destroyer that has always drawn me in. "Heathen Temple" makes my mouth water, lusting for destruction and ruin. Is that too cheezy to say about PD?
14. Explosions In The Sky - All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone (Temporary Residence) -They (still) do it best.
13. Modern Life Is War - Midnight In America (Equal Vision)- Nothing MLIW will ever do will be as good as "Witness". MIA is really good, though; better than most people have been giving it credit for. Standup tracks include "These Mad Dogs Of Glory," "The Motorcycle Boy Reigns" and the title track. "I drag my chains, they don't drag me."
12. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible (Merge)- Neon Bible reminds me a lot of last winter. Snow days and cold apartments. Walking around Philadelphia freezing my ass off. It's a terrific collection of songs and though a little indulgent at times, it's really triumphant.
11. Ceremony - Scared People EP (Bridge 9)- Obsession.
10. Blacklisted - Peace On Earth, War On Stage EP (Deathwish)- Believe the hype! "Canonized" was the best hardcore song of the year.
9. Baroness - Red Album (Relapse)- I-can't-stop-listening-listening-to-this.
8. The Dillinger Escape Plan - Ire Works (Relapse)- Miss Machine part II. That's a really good thing. Sidenote: Gil Sharone is a maniac. Top tracks include "Nong Eye Gong," "82588" and "Milk Lizard." The closer is right on, too.
7. Grinderman - Grinderman (Mute)- Nick Cave is a fuckin role model. "No Pussy Blues" takes the award for best song title in music history.
6. Chuck Ragan - Feast Or Famine/Los Feliz (Side One Dummy)- This stuff has been on heavy rotation since it came out and was the soundtrack to my autumn. Really strong songs, namely "Do You Pray?"
5. Jesu - Conqueror (Hydra Head)- I always thought shoe gaze was really overrated. This proves me wrong.
4. Radiohead - In Rainbows (self-released)- Q: How did a new Radiohead record come out and it's not my number 1?
3. Dinosaur Jr. - Beyond (Fat Possum)- A: Because Dinosaur Jr. got back together.
2. The Good, The Bad & The Queen (Parlophone)- And because Damon Albarn made a record with Paul Simonon.
1. Pissed Jeans - Hope For Men (Sub Pop)- And because aside from Tragedy, Pissed Jeans are the best punk band on the planet.