Beartooth – Disease

Beartooth Disease
Beartooth’s Disease sees frontman Caleb Shomo exposing himself more than he ever has on previous records with catchy, mostly major-key tunes. This juggling act between positive and negative emotions manifests on Disease as a clever juxtaposition between heavy, even crushing lyrics and triumphant uplifting sounds. While Disease is still clearly a Beartooth record, there’s an energy that is drastically different from anything Shomo has written before. It’s a fire not fueled solely by frustration, but revelation. Of course, the self-doubt found in Beartooth’s discography hasn’t disappeared, and the sadness has not entirely dissipated—but that’s not the point.—Taylor Markarian

Silent Planet – When The End Began

Silent Planet When The End Began
Silent Planet’s When The End Began is an explosive blast of metalcore that will leave your heart as battered as your eardrums. Frontman Garrett Russell paints us a portrait of doom so vivid that only those who’ve experienced it firsthand could be expected to understand. They’re purposefully lighting the way in a world predisposed to destruction. Powerful tracks such as crushing addiction dirge “Share The Body” and “In Absence”—a touching alt-metal ballad dealing with loved ones experiencing memory disorders—mark the band at an enviable and wholly unique post, a spot seemingly unchallenged by any other artist.—Philip Trapp

Bearings – Blue In The Dark

Bearings Blue In The Dark
Canadian quartet Bearings sound familiar and completely fresh at the same time. Although it can be said their music evokes the likes of Jimmy Eat World or Like Pacific, making comparisons to other groups will make you miss the point entirely. Sure, the pop-punk outfit’s debut, Blue In The Dark, has its fair share of fast beats and gang vocals that will have you singing along—but the band’s rampant enthusiasm makes it positively, gloriously fresh. More importantly, the extremely personal lyrics—which touch on everything from dealing with death to struggling to maintain a relationship—make you feel something. What more do you really need from an album?—Natasha Heinz

The Story So Far Proper Dose

The Story So Far Proper Dose
The Story So Far had no problem keeping us waiting from their lofty pop-punk throne after the release of their 2015 self-titled effort. After years of poking fun at fans on Twitter desperate for any new material, our appetites were finally whetted with the perfectly in-step single “Out Of It.” But as more singles such as “Let It Go” and “Take Me As You Please” emerged, things got murkier—are those acoustic guitars? What’s this rhythm? Come the release of Proper Dose, however, everything fell into place. Cuts such as “Keep This Up” harken back to the group’s more raucous routes, while “Upside Down” is a sobered but content reflection on how life’s changed since 2015. Proper Dose stands to do what each of their past records has done before it—to confidently lead the new direction of the genre, growing gracefully with their fanbase while never compromising in honesty and style.—Kika Chatterjee

Trophy Eyes – The American Dream

Trophy Eyes American Dream
The title of their latest album might sound somewhat political given the current climate, but for Trophy Eyes, The American Dream symbolizes a celebration of starting anew. Comfortably their best work yet, this is a record that owes as much to Bruce Springsteen and Brian Adams as it does Trophy Eyes’ pop-punk roots. Highlights include anthemic lead single “You Can Count On Me,” the euphoric “Friday Forever” and epic album closer “I Can Feel It Calling.”—Jake Richardson

Trash Boat – Crown Shyness

Trash Boat Crown Shyness
This British quintet have only been active four years, but the creative curve of their passionate pop punk feels like a quantum leap. Trash Boat’s anticipated new album, Crown Shyness, is best summarized by “Shade.” It’s one compelling display of pop punk bobbing with some ducking-and-weaving melodic hardcore.—Jason Pettigrew

Vein – errorzone

Vein errorzone
Hardcore upstarts Vein digitize human suffering lyrically, sonically and visually, making them one of the hottest commodities in the genre right now. Their brazen and unruly thrash elements, dissonant chords and constantly changing tempos turn this listening experience into a virtual panic attack. By doing so, they dare you to enter what they have dubbed the errorzone: a place where the flaws and pains that come with living an honest life are embraced, not feared. Beyond the noise are surprisingly profound lyrics that need to be read to fully understand Vein’s sound. You are weak. You are hurt. You are guilty. Enjoy it.—Taylor Markarian

Boston Manor – Welcome To The Neighbourhood

boston manor welcome to the neighbourhood
Welcome To The Neighbourhood is Boston Manor’s best work yet. Full of anthemic riffs that are sure to shake the floors of both arenas and festivals, it cements the fact that the quintet are here to make rock music. Packed with scuzz and grit, electronics and synths, this album locks you in from the first keening notes (the title track) to Cox’s last wavering chorus (on the heartbreaking “The Day That I Ruined Your Life”).—Mackenzie Hall

With Confidence – Love And Loathing

With Confidence Love And Loathing
The songs from With Confidence’s’s sophomore record, Love And Loathing, deal with self-improvement and seeing all experiences in a positive light. Focusing on mental health isn’t something new for the band, so naturally many songs on their debut album, Better Weather, revolved around both personal experiences and situations they saw friends go through. All they can really do moving forward is be open and honest, both in their lyrics and in their lives.—Natasha Heinz

Panic! At The Disco – Pray For The Wicked

Panic! At The Disco Pray For The Wicked
Given Panic! At The Disco’s penchant for torching their sound in favor of a bold, new musical direction with every album, Pray For The Wicked is an outlier in that it’s not a full-scale reinvention from the boisterous stadium pop of Bachelor. Rather, it subverts expectations by being a calibration of that sound, as it sprinkles more than a dash of Urie’s trademark musical weirdness atop a Top 40 templated destined for massive commercial success. It’s still bursting with nervous musical energy, but the songs on Wicked are tempered with a sense of grounding the singer has never before tapped into. It’s his most emotionally resonant album yet.—Evan Lucy

Juice WRLD – Goodbye & Good Riddance

Juice WRLD Goodbye & Good Riddance
Forget coming out of basements swinging: This year,19-year-old Jared Higgins—better known to the masses as Juice WRLD—came out of the Illinois suburb he grew up in tearing through the Billboard charts like a 300 mph tornado rips through a small town in the Great Plains. Whether he’s singing about his insecurity entering a new relationship because of past trauma (“Candles,” “Scared Of Love”) or his struggles with substance abuse (“Wasted” (feat. Lil Uzi Vert)), his lyrics are painfully honest even when they don’t paint him in the best light (which is a lot of the time). Although some music purists have grumbled at the level of histrionics displayed in his music, it’s important to remember that Juice WRLD is speaking to a new generation with heart-on-your sleeve lyrics yelled over trap beats rather than screeching guitars. If you don’t get it, then maybe it’s not meant for you.—Rabab Al-Sharif

Bishop Briggs – Church Of Scars

Bishop Briggs Church Of Stars
Bishop Briggs’ debut full-length packs quite the punch from the first note. The indie-pop singer is a force to be reckoned with as she grooves from track to track. One moment she’s channeling driving electro-tinged beats (“Hallowed Ground,” “Wild Horses”), and the next she’s launching into a soulful belt (“River,” “The Fire”). The unique blend coupled with intense lyrical imagery make her truly stand out.—Rachel Campbell

Thrice – Palms

Thrice Palms
Thrice have completely elevated themselves to something that transcends the post-hardcore tag they’ve been saddled with. Neither too clever by half or harboring a need to bludgeon listeners with volume, and far too accomplished as players to been stuck in alleged ghettos of “cool,” Thrice are leading their fans toward sonic possibilities inherent in the layered vocals of “Just Breathe,” the implied urgency of “A Branch In The River” and the emphatic vistas of “Everything Belongs.” They never did become the American version of Radiohead the way some critics (and a handful of fans) tried to make them out to be. Maybe they’re Tool without the mystery and the bombast? We’re going to take a big swig from the STFU fountain and surmise the reason why they’re none of those things is because they’re too damned busy being Thrice.—Jason Pettigrew

Stand Atlantic – Skinny Dipping

Stand Atlantic Skinny Dipping
Pop punk is certainly not dead if Stand Atlantic have anything to say about it. On Skinny Dipping, the Australian alt-rock trio built upon the sound they first established on their 2017 Sidewinder EP, delivering an impressive full-length debut from front to back. While they certainly nailed the same catchy-as-hell hooks, they proved they’re not a one-trick pony. The trio pushed themselves outside of their comfort zone and embraced an arsenal of new sounds. From the first pounding sing-along (“Lavender Bones”) to the tongue-in-cheek lines (“Lost My Cool”) to relatable vulnerability (“Toothpick”), there truly isn’t a weak song in the bunch.—Rachel Campbell

Tiny Moving Parts – Swell

Tiny Moving Parts Swell
Tiny Moving Parts are the musical equivalent to the phrase “turn that frown upside down.” On Swell, they sift through mental muck and come out on the hopeful side of bleakness in the form of dynamic and frenetic emo rock adorned by their signature mathy guitar work—which is both falling confetti pretty and thumbtack-tip sharp.—Bobby Makar

Alkaline Trio – Is This Thing Cursed?

Alkaline Trio Is This Thing Cursed?
The long-awaited follow up to our favorite Chicago trio’s My Shame Is True brings with it a little piece of every Alkaline Trio era. From anthemic punk sing-alongs to raise a PBR to(“Pale Blue Ribbon”) to a miserable love song with lyrics about bleeding from your eyes (“Sweet Vampires”) to dueling vocals (“Is This Thing Cursed?”) and a forlorn acoustic ballad (“Krystalline”), Is This Thing Cursed? holds bits of all the things that the Trio have been filling the dark recesses of our hearts with for two decades.—Rabab Al-Sharif

Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers – Bought To Rot

Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mother Bought To Rot
The Devouring MothersLaura Jane Grace, drummer Atom Willard and bassist/engineer Marc Jacob Hudson—took time away from Against Me! to explore different sides to Grace’s psyche that didn’t fit the sonic parameters of her day job. There are plenty of reference points at work here, with the Mothers approximating everything from Mark Kozelek’s hyper-detailed narratives to semi-familiar updates of the Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main Street. Depending on who you talk to, Bought To Rot is a pressure valve being slowly turned for gradual evacuation or a low-key tap of the rest button. Either way, moving forward, it’s all ears on her.Jason Pettigrew

Halestorm – Vicious

Halestorm Vicious
Producer Nick Raskulinecz charged Halestorm like a bull to get Vicious where it needed to be. With his guidance, Halestorm ended up taking risks they wouldn’t have otherwise thought of—and it paid off. Vicious is Halestorm at their most confident. If you’ve never listened to Halestorm before this record, now’s the time to jump in. It’s as accessible to new listeners as it is to longtime fans.—Taylor Markarian

Waterparks – Entertainment

Waterparks Entertainment
Where Double Dare was relentless, tight-as-hell pop-rock, Entertainment proves Waterparks’ Awsten Knight has gotten inspiration from far more than just blink-182. From the detailed programming to to the double-bass hits, Entertainment pirouettes between electronic-pop, upbeat rock and everything in between. Songs feature nods to Melanie Martinez (“Crybaby”) and Justin Bieber (“We Need To Talk”), while maintaining the wise-but-cheeky lyrics every Parx fan has come to love. From opening chord to final chorus, Entertainment is a cheerful fuck-you to every jaded bro who shrugged their shoulder and assumed the scene was dead.—Mackenzie Hall

Senses Fail – If There Is Light, It Will Find You

Senses Fail If There Is Light, It Will Find You
Senses Fail frontman Buddy Nielsen’s songwriting has gotten tighter and more poignant, drawing on the good and the bad of life—but mostly the bad. His lyrics have tended to focus on his depression, his addictions and a general dissatisfaction with life. His songs never leave room for interpretation: They’re very much literal and like the man himself, brutally honest and forthright. If There Is Light, It Will Find You conveys all of these things, while experiencing a thematic shift, focusing on life’s joys (his baby daughter, Penelope) while still exploring dark tragedies (his wife’s miscarriage and the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando).—Gen Handley

Black Veil Brides – Vale

Black Veil Brides Vale
On their fifth album VALE, Black Veil Brides continue to offer more fist-pumping anthems than full-contact, wall-of-death riffery. “My Vow” is Whitesnake for a generation that doesn’t know it needs one and “When They Call My Name” and “Ballad Of The Lonely Hearts” are better than any Bon Jovi song. And if you have a problem with that, fuck you: There aren’t enough young hard rock bands who understand unabashed fantasy, intricate shredding and the pop hook the way BVB do. Their aims have always been bigger than Warped Tour and whatever little subculture you’re clinging on to in order to fill the space between sips of craft beer and energy drinks.—Jason Pettigrew

Justin Courtney Pierre – In The Drink

Justin Courtney Pierre In The Drink
Justin Courtney Pierre, the voice who fronted Motion City Soundtrack, returned with a solo release (produced by his longtime foil Josh Cain) that wondrously conveys his personal tastes, pop charm, love of Guided By Voices (read: really short songs) and way around neurosis. Couple this with a live show that’s shocking musically (the tender “Goodnight Hiroyuki” turning into a blistering noise jam with pedals set to “kill” position) and at points inadvertently hilarious, Pierre is on the ground floor of an illustrious solo career. Hold him close to your heart.—Jason Pettigrew

Mayday Parade – Sunnyland

Mayday Parade Sunnyland
With unforgettable melodies and emotionally charged lyrics to back it up, Mayday Parade didn’t skip a beat when they dropped their sixth studio album, Sunnyland. The band’s latest album is a hodgepodge of songs that range from dreamily poignant ballads to a few crafty pop-rock anthems. With the perfect balance of catchy beats and thought-provoking lyrics, the band’s 13-track release proves that Mayday Parade will be a mainstay in the genre for many years to come.—Beth Casteel

Hail The Sun – Mental Knife

Hail The Sun Mental Knife
If you’ve been searching for polished grittiness and unconquerable energy, look no further than Hail The Sun’s Mental Knife. Lead vocalist/drummer Donovan Melero effortlessly transforms his tranquil, dream-like voice into a force of urgency and aggression that unleashes a raw honesty and range of emotion on each track. A plethora of meticulous guitar work paired with Melero’s impressive vocal range offers an intricate perspective of self-improvement and the yearning need to purge negativity, making Mental Knife a standout album that you’ll want to have on repeat for the next year.—Paige Owens

Fall Out Boy – MANIA

Fall Out Boy Mania
Torn between die-hard Under The Cork Tree fans, enthusiasts who were barely born when Take This To Your Grave was released, critics and the general public, Fall Out Boy will never please everyone. And with Mania, they’ve opted to please no one but themselves. The result? The best album they’ve released in 10 years. Admittedly, it took a while to see that. With the first single, “Young And Menace,” the band debuted not only a more EDM-inspired sound, but a baffling new aesthetic of purple, neon and…llamas. They seemed a little lost; it was hard to have faith in something that was so visually and aurally abrasive. What the vastly different singles all showcased is that Fall Out Boy still refuse to be confined to any one genre. The beauty of Mania is that it’s so completely batshit, so initially obnoxious, that it begs for five or 10 re-listens to really appreciate it.  In Mania’s absolute rejection of genre, common sense and expectation, it’s everything that makes the band special; it’s a pure Fall Out Boy record. Not everyone will love it, but if you’re not willing to give it a fair shot (or five), you don’t deserve it.—Marianne Eloise