10. Hey Mercedes - Everynight Fire Works - Chicago indie lost a critical component when Bob Nanna's Braid disbanded. Luckily, it was to be replaced by the non-typical pop-punkishness of Hey Mercedes. While Hey Mercedes is primarily driven by Nanna's unique vocals and poetic lyrics, the music was tight, friendly and catchy. Hey Mercedes would only complete two full-lengths before breaking up, but Everynight Fire Works is, was, and always will be a classic.
9. Less Than Jake - Pezcore - What can one say about Less Than Jake? The band certainly has staying power, surviving two unsuccessful runs on major labels (the second much more unsuccessful than the first). Even though they continue to put out quality recordings, Less Than Jake had to start somewhere. Pezcore brought an attitude to ska reminiscent of Operation Ivy, but LTJ brought it even faster and with more fun. This is still a stand-out album in my book. Track from Losing Streak.
8. New Found Glory - Nothing Gold Can Stay - We all know the stigmas that come from being an NFG fan. I don't care; I'll say it loud and proud right now: I listen to New Found Glory. What's more, I believe Nothing Gold Can Stay is one of the most influential pop-punk albums of all time. The album set the pace for a generation of admittedly questionable pop-punk, but remains quintessential in the face of such criticism. Track from New Found Glory.
7. Rise Against - The Unraveling - By now, everyone knows who Rise Against is. I wouldn't be surprised if a large portion of the band's base hadn't yet delved into the awesomeness of The Unraveling. RA started off on Fat Wreck and completed an album that fit the label purposely, simultaneously making some of the label's more veteran bands sound comedic. Case in point: NoFX, who apparently want people to think they're a joke anyway. Well, at least Fat Mike has an ear for good music, whether he can create it or not.
6. Catch 22 - Keasbey Nights - What can you say about New Jersey's Catch 22 except that the band has seen better days. Before Catch 22's remaining members decided to release a couple of shitty Reel Big Fish rip-off albums, ska visionary Tomas Kalnoky led them to create one of the (arguably) best ska albums of all time. Although Kalnoky's later project, Streetlight Manifesto, went on to re-record the entire album, there's nothing like the first time. Sorry about this one -- I have both albums, but neither are loaded onto my computer. Check out this Streetlight Manifesto track, as its the closest band to Catch 22 I have readily available.