Continuing with more of our End Of Year Awards looking back on the great and the disappointing of 2017, this time it’s the turn of our senior photographer Fran Dignon for her choices. Over to you Fran!
Album Of The Year: Anti-Flag – American Fall
I spent the majority of this year being absolutely positive that my Album Of The Year would go to The Menzingers – After The Party, it took me a few months after its release to listen to that album but once I finally did, I listened to it on repeat for about 2 weeks straight and then at least once or twice a week after that. I don’t think a new album had captivated me quite like this in a very long time and I couldn’t possibly see anything taking over its spot this year.
Fast forward to mid-November and I was lucky enough to go to Anti-Flag’s UK album launch party for their upcoming album American Fall. The event included a small exhibition of a selection of the art included with the album, a play through and discussion of a selection of songs from the album and finally a short acoustic set. It was an amazing event in more ways than one but the highlight had to be hearing the band talk through a number of the tracks from the album. Anyone who knows Anti-Flag know they are a band with an incredible message behind all of the music they write, but being able to hear the band speak so in depth about the meaning of each song they played was incredibly insightful and gave the album a whole new level of meaning that you may miss from just casually listening to it. Anti-Flag have been one of my favourite bands for years now and I think had I not attended this event it may stand as my second favourite album of the year, but this album was more than just the music. Being able to hear the story behind each of these songs as well as seeing and reading all of the pieces of art and writing that have been created alongside it just take it to a whole new level. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a release with quite so much time and effort from different people with different talents put into it and I really hope more bands take notice of it and begin to do similar.
The Menzingers – After The Party
Julie & The Wrong Guys – Julie & The Wrong Guys
Blood Command – Cult Drugs
Weezer – Pacific Daydream
Song Of The Year: The Menzingers – Black Mass
After The Party is one of those albums that almost any song from it could be considered my song of the year and in fact I have actually spent the last couple of weeks relentlessly listening to it in order to finally decide which song it is. I eventually came to the realisation that as incredible as every single song on this album is, Black Mass has to be the stand out track for me. Again every song on this album shows what amazing song writers The Menzingers are, each song is absolutely filled with emotion and tells a detailed story every single time but I found Black Mass somehow does it even better than the rest.
The Menzingers – After The Party (every other song on the album)
Stray From The Path – Goodnight Alt-Right
Weezer – Any Friend Of Diane’s
Feed The Rhino – Heedless
Gig Of The Year: Giants farewell show @ Old Blue Last
I spent the last few weeks trying to decide which of my three honourable mentions would take the spot for my gig of the year this year, I hadn’t really considered that my last gig of the year would have the ability to change that completely but it most definitely did. Giants have been a special band to me for years now, being into heavy music and growing up in Essex there wasn’t all that much to shout about but there was always Giants and right until their final show, they were never ones to disappoint. Despite how bittersweet it was to see them playing their last ever show, I don’t think there could have been a better send off for this band. Everyone in the room from the bands playing to the fans who had come from all across the globe were there to just have a lot of fun with their mates and enjoy some great skate-punk music one last time, this atmosphere is exactly what Giants have been about for the last 8 years and it was amazing to see this carried on right up until the end of their time as a band. Although it is incredibly sad any time a band split, I’m glad a band who have put as much into their scene as Giants have over the years could go out on such a high and just provide one final amazing and incredibly special night for everyone involved.
Rise Against @ The Garage
Every Time I Die @ Koko
Weezer @ Wembley Arena
Festival Performance Of The Year: Against Me @ Slam Dunk
I almost knew even before their set that Against Me at Slam Dunk festival was going to be my festival set of the year, there was never really much doubt about it and they just proved that with the show they put on. For me, the best festival sets are the bands who of course play a great and well picked setlist but also those who just keep you smiling the entire time and give you the opportunity to just have 40 minutes to an hour of the best time with your friends (and maybe a few beers). Against Me will always be one of these bands.
Amon Amarth @ Bloodstock
Ghost @ Bloodstock
Venom Prison @ Bloodstock
Music Video Of The Year: Pup – Old Wounds
Pup took things to a whole new level with their music video for Old Wounds being an interactive take on 90’s FMV games. You play as the bands tour manager and essentially you’re tasked with keeping your chosen band member alive (not always the easiest task). It’s probably the most fun and unique video released in the last 12 months and nothing else really competed with it this year.
Most Disappointing Album Of The Year: All Time Low – Last Young Renegade
I’m so incredibly upset to be calling this my most disappointing album of the year, as someone who has enjoyed every release All Time Low have ever put out (yes, even Dirty Work), it is a real let down that Last Young Renegade didn’t carry this on. I will happily admit that All Time Low have always been a but guilty of having a few (or more) filler tracks on their albums, but you could always count on at least half of the album if not more to be brilliant and to pull the rest of the album up. Sadly that’s not the case with a Last Young Renegade and it comes across as an entire album full of filler tracks or even an incredibly weak B-sides record.
I think the easy reason to dislike this record would be because it is quite a departure for All Time Low, they left their pop punk roots and did go for more of a just pop record this time around. This is something I have no issue with at all, one of my favourite records of the year (Weezer – Pacific Dream) went down a similar route, the only difference being Weezer kept their excitement and originality within the record. I really hope this is just a one off poor record from All Time Low and that they pull it back with their next release, it would be sad for a band with a back catalogue as great as All Time Lows to fall like that.
Favourite New Band Of 2017: Julie & The Wrong Guys
Although Julie & The Wrong Guys have technically been a band for a number of years now, they only released their debut album in September this year, so I feel they definitely qualify for this award. Julie & The Wrong Guys are formed by Canadian indie rock legend Julie Doiron, Mike and Jaye of Cancer Bats and Eamon McGrath and together they have created an album full of incredible unique Garage Rock, that for me personally is unlike anything else I have heard this year.
Band Of The Year: Venom Prison
I really struggled to pick my band of the year this year, every year previous to this I have had one stand out band that have both released both an amazing album and played some incredible shows and it’s easily put them above the rest. Now I’m not saying I haven’t seen any band be at that standard this year, I’m just saying I’ve seen a lot. In that sense it’s been an amazing year for music, but there has also been a much darker side to our music scene this year revolving around countless horrible stories of misogyny and abuse and this is what has lead me to choosing my band of the year.
Every member of Venom Prison uses every possible chance they have to speak about and fight against the abuse that has been going on in our scene (and the rest of the world), something that although it is becoming more popular is still far too rare within this scene. Venom Prison are an incredible important and passionate band but also they’re one of the strongest bands around right now, they’ve put on a consistently amazing live shows, their set at Bloodstock Festival was one of the best festival sets I’ve seen in a very long time.
Although I am calling Venom Prison the winner of this category, they aren’t the only people to speak out about these problems within our music scene. This year has seen a lot of misogyny and abuse come to light and I want to use this as a platform to commend every person, both the victims and those standing by them, who has spoken out against these things. As disheartening as it is to see these stories constantly being brought to light, I am incredibly proud of anyone who is brave enough to speak out about it and I really hope that the more these things are called out and spoken about, the closer we can get to stopping it and removing these poisonous people from our scenes.
You can also check out End of Year Awards from other members of the Rock Sins team, including: