Punktastic’s 2013: A Year in Music

By James Brown

2013 a year in music logo

As every year reaches its conclusion, conversations over the quality of music begin to emerge. As ever, 2013 has proved contentious – some argue that the year failed to bring any heavy-hitters to light, while others view the year as yet another gem in the history of music.

For us, as with every year, the year has been about finding the gems in a sea of wavering quality. For every ‘Talons of the Hawk’ there has been a ‘Love Lust Faith + Dreams’. Even the albums eagerly awaited by diehard fans proved difficult to swallow – take Black Flag’s recent ‘What The…’ effort.

Perhaps more so than any other, Fall Out Boy divided their following straight down the middle with the more commercially focussed ‘Save Rock and Roll’. To top it all off, Ronnie Radke returned with Falling In Reverse’s ‘Fashionably Late’ – a record which singlehandedly sparked a fun-versus-quality debate yet to draw any definite conclusions.

In a live setting both Fall Out Boy and Paramore swapped stadiums for intimate venues, Lonely The Brave built a reputation as a live force to be reckoned with, and The Wonder Years garnered attention as they travelled across the UK with up-and- coming pop-punks Real Friends.

Flag played live while Black Flag managed a short lived reunion in an epic (if not slightly moronic) battle for rights, and Biffy Clyro were crowned the royalty of festivals as they smashed their headline Reading and Leeds performances – despite Trent Reznor’s of Nine Inch Nails objections.

With 2014 already promising the eagerly awaited return of Brand New, the best Groezrock line-up we could have imagined, Linkin Park playing ‘Hybrid Theory’ in full on the legendary Download main stage, Metallica taking requests at Sonisphere, blink-182 returning to Reading and Leeds, and Against Me!’s album shaping up to be the best damn piece of music we have heard in a long time, things are looking fucking good.

And a year of 13 Punktastic Compilations

2013 was also the year we attempted to release a compilation of awesome music every month. It was a pretty ambitious project for us, and they would have looked a bit rubbish without any music being contributed.

156 songs later, we’re stoked to have given it a go.

We’d like to thank every single person that’s listened to or downloaded them, and also give a massive shout out to the bands, PRs and labels that made it happen.

If you’ve already heard em all, then you might want to skip to our Best of 2013 Spotify Playlist at the end.

And if you want to know what we’re doing next year, just sign up here.

From all of us here at Punktastic, have a brilliant 2014. Cheers you guys.

13.01 – The Original

We’re never happier than when we hear an amazing new song or a brilliant new band for the first time. So this was us celebrating all things new and excellent with the release of our first 2013 compilation.

Many of the bands were only in here because you sent them our way. Thank you and please keep it up.

13.02 – The Darker One

This brought together some of our favourite new bands and new music to create a mesh of wonderful styles for your expectant ears. I’m pretty sure we’re allowed to call this one a corker.

The weather could have impacted on our song choices this time around. You could probably call it a little darker than the last one – but it definitely isn’t dull.

13.03 – The Mixtape

Our Editor Tom was in Japan all month, and he left us in charge. So we went mad, from the electronica-fuelled Anaevae, to the eery punk tones of Baby Ghosts, and Fake Club’s balls-out rock. Sit back, relax, and enjoy some outstanding new music.

13.04 – The Acoustic Special

We all love an acoustic singalong, so put your feet up and relax with our hand-picked selection of the best new acoustic artists out there. 13.04 was a golden grab-bag of acoustic goodness.

We’ve got English, American, Austrian, some that are more folky, some that are more punky, and there’s even some politics thrown into the mix. Get stuck in.

13.05 – Gnarwolves, Marmozets & more

Back again with a full-band banger, and one of our most popular of the year. It had exclusives, brand new and never-heard-before music from some of our favourite UK bands. Plus one from across the pond.

And seeing as festival season was just about to start, we chucked in a few bands that we were excited to see over the summer.

13.06 – The Stay-at-Home

This was created right in the middle of festival season. While many of you were getting your wellies on and hitting the road, we put together a list of new favourites closer to home.

13.07 – Pop to Punk Rock

We’re always taken aback with the sheer quality of bands emerging from the underground scene, and this month was definitely no different. For our seventh compilation, we put added focus on grassroots bands mostly from the UK, with a couple of sneaky surprises from stateside and down under.

There was no huge theme this time around, other than really fucking good new music. That’s not bad though, right?

13.08 – Beach Community signees + more

Autumn was looming and it continued to give us a stackload of great new music for our ear-holes. 13.08 featured the likes of Hindsights and Bangers, who were both recent Beach Community signees, plus many many more besides.

13.09 – The Fest Special

We know that September is upon us when Maryam starts going on and on about The Fest. She tells us there’s nothing quite like thousands of punks taking over a town in Florida for a weekend full of bands, beers and great pizza.

So this month we dedicated the compilation to bands playing The Fest, including a few you might not know but that you should definitely check out. Crack open a PBR and start pretending you’re in that Florida sun.

13.10 – New and unreleased

Number ten. Or številka deset, as they say in Slovenia (we think), where this month’s cover photo was taken. These tracks were all new releases, or songs from upcoming releases. And we threw in a re-release for good measure.

As ever we’d watched and chatted with each of these bands personally, which only makes us want to spread the love for all of them far and wide.

13.11 – Scottish DIY

There was loads to get excited about in 13.11’s Scottish DIY compilation. A couple of our team live up north of the border and they tell us it has made them seriously proud of the number of talented people.

Scottish DIY punk is filled with brilliant, charismatic people who put on loads of fantastic gigs and have created some of our favourite records.

13.12 – Rising Bands

Our final originals compilation of the 2013 series, 13.12 was another chunk of huge music. There are some excellent tracks here from 13 rising bands, and we think it’s one of the strongest ones of the year – ones to watch for sure.

13.13 – The Best Of The Year

To finish off, we’ve pulled together 13 songs that sum up our year at Punktastic. There are so many songs that could have made this short playlist, and one or two that you may argue shouldn’t have (hey, we wouldn’t want to deprive you of an opinion!).

If anything, these 13 tracks prove that there are bands out there striving for excellence, and for that we salute them.

What next?

Who the hell knows what’s gonna happen in 2014. If you want to be kept in the loop, you should follow us on Facebook, chat to us on Twitter, and sign up for our very ocassional email thing. Happy New Year!