DS Staff Picks: The Torchbearer’s Favorite Albums of 2018

I feel like I say this every year, but 2018 was a great year for music. I went to some great shows; everything from small intimate house shows to big spectacles and festivals. I personally played my first show in over a decade, so that was cool.  But you all don’t care about all that, you just want to see if any of your favorite albums of the year are also on my list. Let’s compare notes below!

10) NATTERERS – Head In Threatening Attitude

Head In Threatening Attitude is a hell of a debut full length from the UK’s Natterers, and is kind of the perfect mix of a lot of what makes up a lot of the rest of my list.  They have the hardcore chops of No Problem, the manic energy of Night Birds, and the garage sensibilities of Neighborhood Brats and Chiller.

 

9) NO PROBLEM – Let God Sort Em Out

No Problem is just good old fashioned hardcore punk from Canada.  They mix things up with some post-punk style guitar here and there, but for the most part, Let God Sort Em Out is just a good album for all punks in 2018.

 

8) NIGHT BIRDS – Roll Credits

What’s left to say about Night Birds that hasn’t already been said.  They write incredible hardcore punk songs with a surf tinge, and their energy is apparent in every recording and live show they do.  Roll Credits is no exception.  It’s a 17-minute exercise in aggression, awesome riffs, manic vocals, and of course, instrumentals.

 

7) NEIGHBORHOOD BRATS – Claw Marks

I wasn’t expecting new music from Neighborhood Brats after their breakup in early 2015, so when they announced they were back shortly thereafter in 2016 I was stoked, especially because I didn’t discover them until after they had already broken up.  Claw Marks is their first full length since getting back together, and it’s still the great high energy garage punk that the band always brings.  This is just a fun band and you should give them a listen if you haven’t already.

 

6) IDLES – Joy As an Act of Resistance

Idles were my surprise of the year.  I got the recommendation from a Reddit post and wasn’t sure what to make of them at first.  They’re weird and experimental, with a dash of despair but a whole lot of hope.  When I showed them to a friend he said they reminded him of a modern day Crass if they could actually play their instruments, and I think that’s just a perfect description.

 

5) CINDER WELL – The Unconscious Echo

Featuring members of Blackbird Raum, this is slow, dark folk featuring very talented musicians and some haunting vocals.  I knew I liked the album as I listened to it over the year, but it really clicked with me in the last couple weeks as the weather started to get colder.  Something about hearing the cold and beautiful folk music while bundled up in the cold and beautiful weather (let’s be honest, I’m in Florida, so it’s still nice out when it gets “cold” here) just hits me in the right way, and I have been listening to this almost every day lately.

 

4) MIND SPIDERS – Furies

What can I say, I’m a sucker for dark music.  Whether that’s regular punk or folk with a dark tinge, or a synth heavy affair like Mind Spiders, I just can’t get enough.  The Marked Men boys create gold in whatever project they write through and Furies is no different.  It’s catchy as hell and sure to get you dancing.  I think what sealed this one for me though was the David Lynch-esque music video for “Outside.” Definitely check that out if you haven’t seen it yet.

 

3) CHILLER – Chiller

Like Cheap Whine last year, Chiller is another band featuring some former members of Feral Trash, but this time it also features members of some of my other favorite Ottawa bands, Black Tower and The Visitors.  This is more of the dark garage punk that I love from that scene, and the album is a short 8 song affair that is very cohesive from beginning to end, which I always appreciate.

 

2) LEMURIA – Recreational Hate/Companion

I’m cheating on this one a little bit on a couple fronts.  First off, this is technically two albums; well one new album and then a sort of b-sides album. Also, Recreational Hate technically came out in late 2017, but the vinyl copies didn’t get sent out until early 2018, so I’m counting it!  Anyway, Lemuria is probably my favorite pop-punk group going right now.  They blend interesting arrangements with catchy and thoughtful vocals in ways not done by anyone else.  The new album is a little softer and more laid back than some of their previous stuff, but it’s just as anthemic as ever.  I was so happy to catch their two sets at FEST this year before they take a break.  Here’s hoping they won’t be gone too long!

 

1) THE CREEPS – Beneath The Pines

As a Crusades side project (or is Crusades the side project?), I knew The Creeps’ new album would be on this list somewhere before I even heard it, and for the first half of the year, it sat around the 2nd and 3rd spot.  But as it grew on me, I realized I was listening to it non-stop and even after I listened to it probably a hundred times, it was still the first album I wanted to listen to every day.  It’s mid-tempo and melancholy all the way through, and the vocals are heart-wrenching yet catchy as hell. After almost 20 years Skottie, Jordy, and Ian show they know how to craft amazing songs, and I will say this on any top 10 list including a band with Skottie, but he has the best voice in punk right now!

 

Honorable Mentions: NO LOVE – Choke On IT; LARRY AND HIS FLASK – This Remedy; THE GODDAMN GALLOWS – The Trial; THE ROYAL THEY – Foreign Being; PROUD PARENTS – Proud Parents; GLOOM SLEEPER – Luminous Galaxies; LAURA JANE GRACE & THE DEVOURING MOTHERS – Bought To Rot

Favorite EPs: TRAGEDY – Fury; DAYLIGHT ROBBERY – Signal Bleed; TARANTULA – The Very Best of Sex and Violence; THE ERADICATOR – The Court’s Closed on Christmas; CONVERGE – Beautiful Ruin; CHAIN CULT – Demo; KATIE ELLEN – Still Life; ELYSIAN – Elysian

Favorite Non-Punk Albums: GHOST – Prequelle; SLEEP – The Sciences; THOUGHT GANG – Thought Gang; DEATH GRIPS – Year Of The Snitch; MURDER BY DEATH – The Other Shore; POST ANIMAL – When I Think Of You In A Castle


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