ALARM's 51 Favorite Albums of 2013

ALARM’s 51 Favorite Albums of 2013

Saving the best for last, we’ve chosen our 51 favorite albums of 2013, pulled from the acclaimed and the unsung — some of the best as well as most boundary-pushing releases from rock and beyond.


Life as a touring punk musician: Watch Retox’s YPLL doc in full

Last week we premiered footage from Retox’s YPLL documentary, giving an in-depth look at the existence of the punk-hardcore outfit and touching on realities that face bands looking to play music for a living. Now, as promised, here’s the hour-long film in full.

Retox redefines police brutality in gory video for “Mature Science”

Retox: YPLLRetox: YPLL (Epitaph, 5/7/13)

Manic punk band Retox is an intelligent machine made of unstable energy. And in the NSFW (unless you work in a butcher shop, I guess) new video for “Mature Science,” the band throws on leather jackets to hold court on a classic musical topic, previously pondered by groups like Black Flag, NWA, and Body Count: the police.

Interview: Salem metalcore vets Converge send home the guests for an explosive new album

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Converge: All We Love We Leave Behind (Epitaph, 10/9/12)

“Sadness Comes Home”

Converge: “Sadness Comes Home”

Being one of the most consistently devastating and innovative hardcore bands on the planet doesn’t come easy. In fact, it requires countless hours of hard work, a highly disciplined work ethic, and a level of stamina that even the youngest punks in the game can’t always muster.

For nearly 20 years, Salem, Massachusetts-based metalcore titan Converge has continually pushed its intense sound to new and progressively head-spinning extremes, hammering out 90-second explosions of speed and energy on one track, while delving into a gut-wrenching mixture of emotion and melody the next. Though expectations are best left wide open when approaching a new album from the group, two things remain constant: it’ll never be half-assed, and it most certainly won’t be boring.

Converge’s Jacob Bannon in “Rungs in a Ladder”: “I’m not ready to find that peace yet”

Converge: All We Love We Leave BehindConverge: All We Love We Leave Behind (Epitaph, 10/9/12)

Vocalist Jacob Bannon, frontman of Converge, balances a career of music, fine art, and business. His raw vocals belie a depth, beyond the bleeding paint and canvas of tattoos, explored in the short documentary “Rungs in a Ladder.”

A twelve-minute meditation on life, meaning, and intention, “Rungs in a Ladder” is an eloquent creative manifesto — the musings of someone fighting insecurity, staying active, and dealing with being out in the open when he really just wanted to “be a bass player or a drummer…to be completely anonymous.”

Check out “Rungs in a Ladder,” directed by Ian McFarland.

ALARM's 50 Favorite Songs of 2012

ALARM’s 50 (+5) Favorite Songs of 2012

Last month ALARM presented its 50 favorite albums of 2012, an eclectic, rock-heavy selection of discs that were in steady rotation in our downtown-Chicago premises. Now, to give some love to tunes that were left out, we have our 50 (+5) favorite songs of last year — singles, B-sides, EP standouts, soundtrack cuts, and more.

ALARM's 50 Favorite Albums of 2012

ALARM’s 50 Favorite Albums of 2012

Another year, another torrential downpour of albums across our desks. As always, we encountered way too much amazing music, from Meshuggah to The Mars Volta, Converge, Killer Mike, P.O.S, and many more.


Video: Converge’s “Aimless Arrow”

Converge: All We Love We Leave BehindConverge: All We Love We Leave Behind (Epitaph, 10/9/12)

Did you catch this last week? That’s right — it’s the first track and video from Converge’s All We Love We Leave Behind, a brand-new dose of hardcore pyrotechnics due out in a scant five weeks.

Syncing with the blazing tempo, director Max Moore’s cinematography offers ultra-low-attention-span cuts with a dark, blue-grey palette. Try to count the many quick tie-ins to vocalist Jacob Bannon’s cover art.