BEST PUNK BAND - 2005
Who knows what lead screamer Travis Bos is carrying on about, and who cares? His larynx-destroying ululations are just one hyperanimated component of this essentially instrumental band. Arty but not phony, danceable but not trendy, mindful of history but not retro (check how Bos's '60s garage organs never seem to be wearing tapered slacks or Beatle boots), Chariots play loud fast punk with the kind of we-own-this-club confidence that fills competitors with ego-crushing anxiety. In other words, if you're in a band, share a bill with these guys at your own risk--in all likelihood, they'll mop the floor with you. Impressively, most of that live whomp comes through on the group's debut album, Congratulations. It's very difficult to play music this energetic for more than a few years, so catch them now before the tempos slow and the strings come in.