As we’re starting to sink our teeth into 2019 and beginning to anticipate what our favourite bands have in store for us this year, we’re looking back on our favourite releases of 2018… Or at least, I am.
When I sat down to think about my favourite releases for 2018, I frankly struggled quite a bit. 2017 was great years for new releases, but 2018 was quite dry for me. Hopefully everyone’s just taking a break before cracking on with bigger and better things in 2019.
That said, the ones I liked this year, I really loved. It was great seeing Another Side of the Number Ones, as well as their drummer’s other talents with Music City, plus new music from some people back home in Baltimore (Glue Traps) and our friends here in the UK (The Speedways), and as always a boatload of great releases from our friends at Static Shock Records.
The Number Ones – Another Side of the Number Ones
This is the first release from these Dublin boys since their debut album came out in 2014. It was completely worth the wait; this powerpop/punk EP demonstrates a lot of their growth as musicians and lyricists. Everyone in this band is seriously talented and it’s a testament to the band’s creativity. Every song is so catchy you’ll catch yourself wanting to sing along as soon as possible.
While this list isn’t in a particular order, it’s no coincidence that this EP is number one. This is easily one of my most listened to records of 2018, even when stacked against albums from previous years.
Rata Negra – Justicia Cósmica
The Spanish punk scene has really been on fire over the last few years, churning out some of my favourite bands and albums this side of the decade. Rata Negra’s 2017 album, Oído Absoluto, is easily one of my most listened to albums to this day. So, I was obviously really stoked when Justicia Cósmica came out. Justicia Cósmica seems less raw than Oído Absoluto, but it maintains the band’s trademark melodic, punk infused style. The songs are all haunting and infectious. This is the perfect follow-up album.
The Speedways – Just Another Regular Summer
This is an absolute classic modern powerpop album. Ten years from now teenagers getting into powerpop will go nuts for this album the same way we did over The Exploding Hearts, well they’ll still probably be going nuts for The Exploding Hearts (I hope), but you get what I mean. This started as singer, Matthew Julian’s solo project, and has turned into one of London’s best live bands. The album itself is a tribute to Matthew’s genius songwriting abilities and romantic heart. I live with the live band’s bass player, so I’ve heard this album A LOT and I’m still not sick of it.
Tommy and the Commies – Here Come…
This is solid classic 70s-style punk rock from Canada. It’s got the upbeat tune you see with 70s bands like The Undertones and Stiff Little Fingers. The songs aren’t over polished and they don’t come across like they’re trying to hard to achieve that classic punk rock sound – they just do it. It’s a good, fun, fast-paced album from start to finish. It checks all my requirements for a good album to drink to – no filler, doesn’t slow down, dance worthy and you don’t feel the need to skip any tracks.
Dark Thoughts – At Work
The sophomore album from this Philly-based Ramones worship band serves as the perfect follow up to their self-titled debut. It’s just as fun and poppy as their first release, while still showcasing the band’s growth. Most of the releases on this list are more niche, but At Work is just a fun album that’ll appeal to people across the various punk rock subsets. Plus, they’re constantly touring, so if you’re really into them there’s a good chance you’ll get to see them live soon.
Glue Traps – Future Shock tape
This is straight up classic 80s style hardcore out of Baltimore. All of the songs are super short and fast, with only one track clocking in over one-minute. It’s exactly what you want from a hardcore band. The singer, Tony Pence, runs Baltimore’s best record store, Celebrated Summer – Seriously, I’ve had people in the UK ask me about it when I mention that Baltimore’s my home scene. So clearly, the man has great music taste.
Bad Nerves – Can’t Be Mine 7-inch
Can’t Be Mine is the band’s third 7-inch, but the title track was the song that first got everyone hooked on the band back in early 2017, before they’d pressed anything to vinyl. These Essex lads fall somewhere between indie, punk and powerpop. They’re a bit like Marked Men – who they’re obviously inspired by, in that their exact subgenres are a bit difficult to pinpoint. But no matter what you classify them as, their discography is catchy as hell and ‘Can’t Be Mine,’ is their most quintessential track… But unfortunately ‘Can’t Be Mine’ isn’t on their bandcamp site, so check out B-side ‘Wasted Days’ here and go out and find the 7-inch.
Music City – Pretty Feelings 7-inch
From the mind of the Number Ones’ drummer, Conor Lumsden comes Music City. Jokingly described as the least punk rock band on Static Shock Records, this two-track release sounds like it fell right out of the 70s. If they didn’t make a reference to untagging Facebook photos in ‘Pretty Feelings,’ you might think you’d just found an overlooked classic.
Warthog – Warthog 7-inch
Yet another solid release brought to you by Static Shock Records. Warthog is four tracks of a more ‘modern’ sounding hardcore, with clear metal influences. The songs are on the longer side for a hardcore band, at least for my tastes, two songs clocking in over three-minutes in length, but the tempo in the tracks keeps them from feeling too long or drawn out, kinda like with Poison Idea’s longer songs. It’s not necessarily anything new, but it is damn good.
Brower – Buzzsaws
This is classic glam rock. A lot of bands going these days under the moniker of ‘glam rock,’ are barely glam and more bovver. The same can’t be said for these guys – it’s got the campy vocals and the fun beats. This is Saturday night dancing music.