DS Staff Picks: Dropkickeith’s favorites of 2018

Hello! I’m pretty new to DS and a little hard pressed to accurately express how excited I am to be part of this team and community. I fell in love with punk rock and have wanted to shout it from the top of a mountain but I did not have a mountain, and now thanks to this website I have an awesome mountain top community that shares that love. That being said, the reason I fell in love with punk is that there is a distinct streak of chaos that permeates the genre. There is a sense of limitless exploration and through that exploration there is a chance to stumble across something unique. Therein lies the beauty, the sense that something amazing can happen just from mixing the ingredients in a slightly different way. So here are my favorites from 2018, Check them out below.

My “but that’s not punk” favorites

Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra – The Capitol Studio Sessions
Aubrey Haddard – Blue Part
Northeast Traffic – Riff City
Eminem – Kamikaze
Weakened Friends – Common Blah

Honorable Mentions

Senior Discount – The Best Revenge
Barstool Preachers – Grazie Governo
Amber Lamps – On the Lamb
English Beat – Here We Go Love
Worriors – Survival Pop

The Main Event

10. Sweet Babylon – New Beginnings

The first album on the list that defined my summer playlist. Sublime-esque reggae punk that is equally light-hearted and heartfelt. It’s just a fun album with a lot of danceable tunes.

 

 

 

 

09 Carissa Johnson and the Cure-Alls – Talk Talk Talk

Released back in March, Talk Talk Talk has been in heavy rotation all year. 70’s punk mixed with power pop with guitar licks that embedded themselves in my brain. I had the pleasure of seeing these songs played live and it goes down as one of my favorite shows this year.

 

 

 

08. The Casualties – Written in Blood

Prior to this album I was pretty unclear in my feelings towards The Casualties but Written in Blood changed that. I cannot say with one hundred percent certainty that it was the vocals but the slightly cleaner delivery did make a difference. They delivered an album that performed a full frontal assault on my brain and it got stuck in there permanently.

 

 

 

07. Street Dogs – Stand for Something or Die for Nothing

From start to finish Stand for Something or Die for Nothing is fantastic. They have some songs that are classic to their sound and there are several where they tried something new, and those attempts are executed to perfection. Then the Rolling Stones cover to end the album was the cherry on the top of this punk rock sundae.

 

 

 

06. Lollypop Lorry – Ural Station

I am an unabashed ska enthusiast and I do not care who knows it. Ural Station is a high point in the world of ska-jazz orchestras. Its a soulful, highly technical take on a traditional sound. This is ska, Jamaican ska, from Russia.

 

 

 

 

05. Hub City Stompers – Haters Dozen

Another album that was a course correction for my views on a band, Haters Dozen demanded I pay more attention to the Hub City Stompers. It’s very clear these guys are masters of a traditional ska sound mixed with oi and punk. The instrumentation is super tight and catchy as hell and the lyrics range from poignant to humorous which creates an unpredictable yet highly danceable chaos.

 

 

 

04. Mad Caddies – Punk Rocksteady

Rocksteady reggae covers of punk rock songs was a high heat fastball right in my strike zone. The Mad Caddies’ ability to change songs that are guitar driven angsty anthems into bright and mellow laid-back jams is a testament to their song writing skills. With no uncertainty I would not have listened to Bracket without the cover of 2RAK005. The covers of Nation-States and AM can only be described as beautiful. This was the soundtrack to my entire summer.

 

 

03. Talco – And the Winner Isn’t

I found And the Winner Isn’t randomly in a Facebook group and out of pure curiosity gave it a spin. Touted as ska-punk from Italy, I quickly found an album that is way more. Much as the Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly take elements from Irish music and incorporate the punk aesthetic, Talco does the same with traditional Italian music. There is an eclectic mix of instruments punctuated by some phenomenal brass work, delivered in a super fast march. This probably does not come as a surprise to fans of the band, but as my first taste it was a fantastic album that was played on repeat to a high degree.

 

02. The Hempsteadys – Séance! Séance!

The Gaslight Anthem of ska, the Bruce Springsteen of two-tone. Séance! Séance! combines a working class New Jersey rock vibe to a English Two-Tone sound. I went into this album expecting 90’s third-wave ska-punk and was completely blindsided by something I did not know I needed. This album has an energy that is unique and that energy is exponentially exceptional when experienced live.

 

 

01. Piñata Protest – Necio Nights

In terms of combining different styles to make something that is chaotic and unique, I feel no one did this better than Piñata Protest. Taking a punk rock approach to Mexican Norteño music creates an accordion attack with a super infectious energy. This style further dives into chaos as they bounce back and forth between Spanish and English lyrics, sometimes in the same song. There are some moments where they slow down and really deliver on some emotions which makes the faster songs seem to accelerate even more. Albums like this are why I continue to fall in love with punk rock.


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