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CVLT Nation’s Top
10 PUNK Albums of 2021

#10 SPREAD JOY Spread Joy

When I imagine a visual scenario for the sounds I hear on the new album from Chicago punks Spread Joy, it would be a bright sunny day with a slightly psychedelic hue. Everything seems normal, birds are chirping and a breeze is blowing, but there’s something a little off in a delightful way. Like maybe someone brewed some mushrooms into your morning coffee.

#9 TUNIC Exhaling

There’s something in the calm rage of TUNIC‘s music and visual presentation that’s both soothing and scary. Like how we’re coerced by society into wearing our own little doggy collars, blocking our personal vision of the world. Don’t think for yourself, we do the thinking for you! Here’s your own personalized shitmix of opinions and media and search suggestions and porn and anything that exists outside of this just isn’t for you! Like all that sugary, delicious, cancer-inducing candy raining down on your head, filling the space around you, so you can’t speak or hear or see—you can only ingest.

#8 SARCASM Creeping Life

Off-kilter, nostalgic, and ominous, Sarcasm’s record Creeping Life is like walking in between two buildings, always on edge waiting for something to jump out at you. In a world full of ’80s death rock zombies.

#7 CHAIN WHIP Two Step To Hell

From the second you hit play on Two Step To Hell you’re going to be running down the highway. Because if this world is Paradise, we must have gotten the wrong idea about Hell. If you want some fast punk that will light a fire under your gentrifying ass, Chain Whip is it.

#6 COLD BRATS Punk In The Digital Age Extended

Ok, let me get this out of the way — WOW, COLD BRATS is sonically on some WTF this band Rules SHIT! I need your imagination for a minute; imagine if the 1st album from Suicidal Tendencies, the 1st album from Christian Death, the 1st album from Dead Kennedys, the 1st album from Flipper, and the 1st album from MC5 got together and recorded an album — the outcome would come sort of close to “Punk In the Digital Age Extended.”

Yeah, this band has its feet planted in the rich soil of the Punk Rock past but their arms are reaching high into the atmosphere of futuristic sound Punk. COLD BRATS don’t make songs, they make manic aggro anthems that get stuck in the brain for days and days. While listening to “Punk In the Digital Age Extended” be warned you will become addicted to the sound that this band is exposing your eardrums too. Fuck that, real talk, I’m so excited to share COLD BRATS “Punk In the Digital Age Extended” in full below. I want to give a MASSIVE shout to CONVULSE Records for doing it again and turning the world on to the future sound of what Punk is. I would say that it’s time to give the drummer some, but it’s actually time to give the whole band some, because COLD BRATS slaps Hard AF!

#5 LYSOL Soup for My Family

This LYSOL punk show simulation video low-key makes me sad while I’m laughing because this is the kind of punk shows tech bros want us to go to. Seriously, when COVID hit, big tech was salivating at the thought of getting us all into simulated versions of our lives. Do we really need the smelly, sweaty, sticky reality of our local DIY spot when we could have the pristine experience of a multiplayer RPG show? Hell fucking yes, I can’t tell you how badly I want to be sitting on the manky couch at the back of CBDBs or weaving my way through the DTES street market to see a show at the Black Lab! And I’d love to see Lysol perform “C-4” at any of my old DIY spots here, and hopefully, at the new spots that open up in the new world we create after this mess is all over.

#4 MILITARIE GUN All Roads Lead To The Gun

Released just months after Regional Justice Center’s magnum opus, Crime and Punishment, Militarie Gun released All Roads Lead To The Gun 1 and, shortly thereafter, All Roads Lead To The Gun 2, in June and September respectively. These releases also found the band finally able to share these songs in front of live audiences. Featuring guitarists Nick Cogan (of Drug Church) and William Acuña, drummer Vince Nguyen (of Modern Color), and bassist Max Epstein, Militarie Gun’s eagerly-awaited live debuts also featured Ian Shelton at the front of the stage instead of behind the drum throne.

Combining the inside-out approach to melody and song structure of Guided By Voices and Pixies with the post-hardcore rawness of Lungfish and Unwound, the songs on these dual EPs deliver on and build upon the promise of My Life Is Over, cementing the fact that Militarie Gun is no side-project. Shelton, Cogan, Acuña, Nguyen, and Epstein have invested skill, passion, and ingenuity into this band, and All Roads Lead To The Gun 1 & 2 pay high dividends.

#3 ANGEL DU$T YAK: A Collection Of Truck Songs

I spent most of 2021 thinking I couldn’t love Angel Du$t any more than I already did. But in October they proved me wrong by releasing YAK: A Collection Of Truck Songs. This is the happiest, darkest, sing-along record I didn’t know I needed. And my 10-year-old daughter said they were her favorite punk band so that just makes this record more special to me.

#2 The CHISEL Retaliation

This is punk with a healthy dose of groove, but as soon as you start dancing some’s foot is going to come flying into your face. The CHISEL’s Retaliation sounds like the post-apocalyptic party I want to spend my last night at! I mean, the world is already burning, and we’re paying for it, so why not see some heads roll in Beverly Hills or Knightsbridge and then head to a punk show?

#1 Chubby and the Gang The Mutt’s Nuts

Once I hit play on this record I knew it was going to be addictive. Every beat is like a mini dopamine hit and they’re snowballing and I’m starting to feel really fucking good. Chubby and the Gang’s psychedelic pop rock punk and their perfectly placed breakdowns are what puts The Mutt’s Nuts in the #1 spot.

Written By

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation.

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