Tara’s Tunes: My Top 10 Albums of the Year

December 19, 2016

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Along with holiday season, we are also at the time of year for end of year wrap up and recaps of music released this year. Here is my list of top 10 albums of the year! I work for a college radio station, so I listen to a bunch of different music all of the time, but I really love anything that falls in the indie rock/punk spectrum. The genres, sound and type of music vary, so really something for everyone.


  1. Balance and Composure – Light We Made – self released – alternative rock/post hardcore

I think this is my favorite Balance and Composure released to date. I think that’s a big statement, but it’s true. Balance makes music with influences of my favorite genres, but something distinctly different. A little more electronic, a little darker, and a little bit more moody. I had the chance to see them this year, and they put on an amazing show. The album is complete, and really has an overarching theme/vibe to it.

My favorite tracks: “Postcard”, “Fame” and “Afterparty”



  1. Elvis Depressedly – Holo Pleasures/California Dreamin – Run for Cover Records – lo-fi indie rock

I always laugh whenever I see this band name. Not only is it a great pun, it really fits the band. It’s a bit hard to describe lo-fi unless you listen to it, but it doesn’t have as clean of a sound as normal recordings (it isn’t as high of clarity), but it isn’t a bad thing. It’s a very specific style of music and it isn’t for everyone. I really love listening to this album late at night, or when I’m relaxing. Regardless, the lo-fi to me is really cool, and creates a very unique sound. A staple in the lo-fi scene, and I highly recommend.

My favorite tracks: “Pepsi/Coke Suicide”, “Thinning Out”, and “Weird Honey”



  1. JPNSGRLS – Divorce – Light Organ Records – alternative rock

Just a feel good album. An album that you listen to in your car on a sunny day with the windows down. I don’t know else to explain it. This album always puts me in an amazing mood. The sound of the album ranges, but the entire thing is high energy, and lots of fun. This is truly a band and album that I would recommend to anyone, no matter what they listen to. I discovered JPNSGRLS on Spotify this summer, and I they are one of my best discoveries this year.

My favorite tracks: “Gap Year”, “Oh My God” and “A Comprehensive List of Things I Love”



  1. The Gooch Palms – Introverted Extroverts – Summer Camp Records – alternative

The Gooch Palms, Kat and Leroy, and honestly two of the coolest people I’ve ever met, and as an introverted extrovert, this album speaks to me. Kind of like a Matt and Kim style duo, but a lot more fun, The Gooch Palm’s Introverted Extroverts another high energy album that is just a good time. A little bit of rock, a little bit of pop, and a whole lot of fun.

My favorite tracks: “Eat Up Ya Beans”, “Ask Me Why”, and “Don’t Look Me Up”



  1. Slaughter Beach, Dog – Welcome – Lame-O Records – indie rock

Probably my favorite side project of all side projects. Slaughter Beach, Dog is the project of Modern Baseball’s Jake Ewald. I honestly will support anything any of the members of Modern Baseball but I think this album is something really special. I think Jake writes some really important and impactful lyrics. This album just means something.

My favorite tracks: “Forever”, “Monsters”, and “Drinks”



  1. Moose Blood – Blush – Hopeless Records – alternative/pop punk

This is the album I recommend to all pop lovers who want something different. Moose Blood’s Blush has that mainstream pop catchiness, with the emotion of pop punk and rock sense of indie rock. This is the album that just got stuck in my head for a long time, and was one of the soundtracks of my summer. A genre bending album, and very well rounded on top of that. I had the pleasure of seeing Moose Blood for the first time when they opened up for The Wonder Years this fall, and they killed it!

My favorite tracks: “Knuckles”, “Freckle”, and “Glow”



  1. Joyce Manor – Cody – Epitaph Records – punk rock

Straightforward. Hard hitting. Honest. These are all things that describe Joyce Manor’s new release. With most of the songs clocking in at under 3 minutes, I think the songs really get to the point and exemplify great punk rock. This release is a bit more grown up than their previous, Never Hungover Again, but I like the growth. For any fans of rock, this is a great album to listen to if you want to explore the punk scene!

My favorite tracks: “Last You’ve Heard Of Me”, “Eighteen”, and “This Song Is A Mess But So Am I”



  1. Trophy Eyes – Chemical Miracle – Hopeless Records – punk rock

I had casually listened to Trophy Eyes before, but I never really gave them much mind until I heard their single for Chemical Miracle, “Chlorine”. I instantly fell in love with not only the song, but the band. This album sure doesn’t disappoint, having a range of sounds from pop punk-esk jams to real punk heavy hitters. I feel like this album has the catchy lyrics of pop, but the heaviness of punk, and I really enjoy it. A really great album, through and through.

My favorite tracks: “Chlorine”, “Nose Bleed”, and “Heaven Sent”



  1. Chase Huglin – You Deserve An Island – InVogue Records – acoustic emo/indie rock

Hands down my favorite music discovery of the year. I don’t even remember how I heard about Chase Huglin, but I just remember it was a few days before You Deserve An Island came out. I listened to the album for the first time after it was released, and I was blown away. Chase is the same age as me, and I really cannot believe someone is this talented for being so young. This album is raw, honest, and resonates with me. The album has some super cute songs like “You Deserve An Island” all the way to some really emotional and heavy ones like “Folded Hands”. Chase is just such an amazing guy, and he is really gonna do great things. If you are a fan of acoustic or singer-songwriters, I highly suggest you check out this album!!

My favorite tracks: “Niagara”, “You Deserve An Island”, and “Folded Hands”



  1. Modern Baseball – Holy Ghost – Run for Cover Records

I’d say this album defined my year. I knew Modern Baseball’s follow up to You’re Gonna Miss It All was gonna be great, but I didn’t know it was gonna be THIS great. The album is super short, clocking in at about 23 minutes, but it lacks nothing. The range of catchy jams like “Wedding Singer”, slower songs like “Apple Cider, I Don’t Mind” and pretty intense and meaningful songs like “Just Another Face” really round out and make the whole thing complete. I highly suggest this album to literally anyone. It’s my album of the year for a reason, ya know!

My favorite tracks: “Wedding Singer”, “Breathing In Stereo”, and “Just Another Face”.


What albums were your favorite this year? What are you excited for next year? I’m super excited for new albums from Paramore, The Menzingers, New Found Glory, Have Mercy and Set Your Goals next year. Be sure to let us know your faves on twitter @weknowtheDJ!

-Tara Howell @taraisntpunk

Feature image by Leslie Crow

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