Last year was probably the most creatively bankrupt year for the punk scene in my lifetime. It felt like their was nothing new to get excited about. Dead to Me released Moscow Penny Ante, which was good but not quite as good as Cuban Ballerina or their EPs. Joyce Manor was probably the most notable new band on the scene, with their infectious reinvigoration of pop-punk.

2012 so far feels even worse then 2011. The Sidekicks, Cheap girls, and the Brendan Kelly solo outing all disappointed me with their new albums. That being said, the Menzingers kinda surprised me and released their best album ever. And the Classics of Love debut was not too shabby either. The Sharks made a good record too. Here is what we think about the freshest batch of new releases from our favourite bands:

Teenage Bottlerocket – Freak Out

When I first heard their “Mutilate Me” 7 inch last year, I started getting excited for this album. I think this band has been getting a little bit better with each album, “They Came From the Shadows” was my favourite thing they had done yet. This band is probably the best ramones-core band of all-time, and probably the best pop-punk band right now. They’re live show is amazing. Unfortunately for me, the two best songs from the “Mutilate Me” 7 inch are on this album, and they’re the probably the best songs on the album. That’s not to say that the other songs are bad, “Headbanger”, “Necrocomicon”, and “Who Killed Sensei?” are all goofy fun cheese ball tunes. All in all, I would say that this is a solid release, just not as good as their last one. 3.5/5

Burning Love – Rotten Things to Say

Toronto’s Burning Love are probably the best Black Flag like punk band going right now, with their killer guitar riffs/solos and their brutal lyrical delivery. This album has them going in more directions then the last one, with a more slow paced metal approach to “Karla”, and a more hyper-paced 80s hardcore “Tremors”. Songs like “No Love” and “Hateful Comforts” really stand out with the vocals, guitars, and pacing creating some really atmospheric moments. This is a really good album, but for me it’s not quite as good as their last. 4/5

The Bouncing Souls – Comet

The Bouncing Souls have always put out consistently good albums, even their last one which was made up of songs from their singles club was great. But their streak is over, this is probably the first bad album they’ve made (I guess the first one wasn’t that great either). None of the songs are awful, but none of them really stand out. I honestly would be quite alright with them not including any of these songs in their live show (which is probably still a great time). “Static”, “Comet”, and “Coin Toss Girl” are probably the best ones; but none of these measure up to “The Gold Song”, “Highway Kings”, “Kids and Heroes”, “Say Anything”, “Bryan’s Lament”, “Freaks, Nerds, Romantics”, “Gone”, and all their other classics. This kinda sounds like a band out of ideas, which is sad since this band has always felt so fresh. 2/5

That’s all for now. Will the Gaslight album save the year? Will our aging bitterness reach new heights? Stay tuned.