10. The Gold Record, The Bouncing Souls (Epitaph)
These days, when you think of "New Jersey" and "punk," chances are, you think of a host of newfangled neophytes who spin emo sentimentality, pop-punk melodies and ambitions summarized by the term "bandwagon." While most of those bands will be forgotten before their fans get their braces off, The Bouncing Souls uphold the Garden State's rep for the punk-rock faithful. With a sound that's brazenly pop while still sounding unabashedly underground, The Gold Record's pop-punk without that embarrassingly saccharine aftertaste. If Green Day and Blink never made pop-punk the currency of hormonal, teenage faux-rebellion, this is where we'd be at. Uplifting yet gritty, the Souls' latest proves the Jersey quartet to be one of the punk world's most criminally underrated outfits, as The Gold Record provides inspiration for everyone to hang in there. Polishing the band's signature blend of '77-era punk, modern pop-punk and touches of streetwise style with songs like the title track congealing everything magical in the band's 19-year career into a three-minute punksplosion, while "Midnight Mile" gets sentimental. Anyone who says punk is dead isn't looking in the right places for it.
-- Matt Schild