It's not exactly out of the ordinary anymore for bands to jump major-label ship and start releasing their own stuff, but it's still exciting to see this proud pop-punk group putting down roots with their own Heart and Skull label (with a little help from Epitaph, of course). The well-coiffed Chicago lads kicked out their seventh disc last winter and stuffed it full of melancholy tales of addiction, loneliness, and the time they found out their hairdresser was on vacation. Hints of four-on-the-floor click tracks and glittery keyboards find their way in, but overall, you still got a steaming pile of melodic SoCal-ish punk. As always, punk continues to splinter into a bajillion different scenes and sounds — just take a look at the mixed company in this year's runners-up circle — but these Vagrant and Warped Tour veterans have kept strong by staying pretty close to home.
2. Jay Reatard
4. Fucked Up