23. Alkaline Trio, 'From Here To Infirmary' (2001)
Shortly before Alkaline Trio released their third album, From Here to Infirmary, guitarist-singer Matt Skiba told The Chicago Tribune, "We definitely like to write songs about darker things, but we like to think of it as a celebration of the evil ideas that run through everybody's head." Skiba, bassist-vocalist Daniel Andriano and drummer Mike Felumlee (of local pop-punk heroes Smoking Popes) nailed that sweet spot throughout From Here to Infirmary, especially on "Armageddon," which mines self-doubt, romantic woe and, yes, the end of the world for a limber, rocket-fueled burst. Alkaline Trio's taste for gothy aesthetics was as strong a hook as their ironclad melodies, and they started raking in new fans with From Here to Infirmary. But as much as their taste for darkness set the trio apart from every other suburban Chicago pop-punk band of the day, From Here to Infirmary also showcased the Trio's strengths as succinct songwriters who knew how to command the pulse of the living. L.G.