My 10 Favorite Records of All Time – Craig Shay (Cold Wrecks, Answering Machine)

Hi everyone! My name is Craig Shay and I play in the Brooklyn-based bands Cold Wrecks and Answering Machine. I’m also currently working on putting out some solo material. I like all kinds of music, but pretty much exclusively listen to punk music. Here’s my heavily biased top 10 list.

Against Me!As The Eternal Cowboy

Against Me! is my favorite band, and they’re consistently the best live band. All of their records are great in their own way, but this one brings me back to listening to music alone in the basement at my parent’s house, not sure of anything except that Against Me! had the best songs and the best sound of any punk band around.

WorriersSurvival Pop

The songs are catchy and energetic, but the real strength of The Worriers is the lyrics. Lauren has great insight and a unique perspective, Mikey Erg brings energy into every band he plays in, and y’all should check it out.

The ClashLondon Calling

The Clash are the best of the old guard, and I learned my bass style by learning how to play this album. The Clash show you can sound however you want, and still be punk. Being punk is about attitude and approach, and it’s about staying informed and caring about other people.

Bomb The Music Industry!Scrambles

This release captures all the chaos of Bomb The Music Industry! while also giving us good production and a solid band line up for the first time. The vinyl came with a zine that gave great DIY tips for touring and recording. The perfect DIY band and the perfect example of getting somewhere by only making the music you want to make with your friends.

NelsonvillainsOur Evil Inside Joke

You’ve never heard of this band, but back in 2011 they were the coolest band in the college town of New Paltz, NY. This album blew my mind when it came out, and changed my approach to songwriting. The lyrics are smart and emotional, the vocals hit hard, the musicianship is impressive, and it sounds like they did a great job of recording it themselves.

The MenzingersOn The Impossible Past

My favorite Menzingers album changes with the day, but this is probably their overall best album. Lines like « I’ve been having a horrible time » and « I will fuck this up I fucking know it » pull me in, and songs like « Mexican Guitars » and « Casey » take me on a glorious nostalgia trip. I’m the guest on the « I Can’t Seem To Tell » episode of On The Impossible Pod if you want to hear me geek out about The Menzingers.


I didn’t understand PUP until I saw the Guilt Trip music video and heard the lyrics « How many times have you lied to my face? » later followed by « How many times have I lied to you? » This whole album is the best of punk music today. High energy, weird time signatures that feel natural, and lyrics that get me riled up about any time I’ve ever been upset. I like all of PUP‘s albums, but feel like their first one hits hardest.

The SidekicksAwkward Breeds

I remember hearing this album and thinking « How can I make a record that sounds this good? » I heard a rumor once that this record was mixed several times before they got the final result. Similar to the PUP record, The Sidekicks use weird time signatures in a way that feels completely natural. The songwriting is there, the energy is there, and the harmonies are untouchable.

The Mighty Mighty BosstonesLet’s Face It

This album has everything I want out of ska punk. Lyrics that decry racism, sexism, and bigotry over a beat anyone can dance to. The band is tight, the songs are timeless, and nobody can deliver vocals like Dicky. Also, they’re like 50 and still play killer live sets.

Sincere EngineerRhombithian

It’s catchy, it’s sad, it’s unique. Not a lot of tricks on this record, just a great punk voice and great songs. I have a tattoo of a tombstone of my arm that says « You can’t catch me. »

Bonus EPs from Brooklyn bands that are all 10/10

Nervous Dater100 Beers

This EP literally changed my life.

steve.Drunk @ Brunch

You wish your college band sounded this good.

Good Looking FriendsYou Won’t Die

It should be a crime to be this good at singing and screaming and songwriting.

The MisstepsSocially Distanced

ska ska ska

Ellen and the DegeneratesHerb Alert

Elena has a lot to say and you’re gonna listen.

Stay InsideThe Sea Engulfs Us And The Light Goes Out

Bartees Strange made this EP to show us he was better at emo than anyone else before moving onto his current solo work, which is also great. The current line up of this band is also very good. They’ve gone in a post-hardcore direction since this EP and you should check out their new album.

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