Staphs Top 10 Albums of 2018

At the beginning of 2018 I created a playlist in Spotify to keep track and anticipate all the upcoming albums I was looking forward to for the year. There are so many great albums to choose from so it was pretty tough to limit this list however, these are the albums that I found myself coming back to consistently. I also had the opportunity to see 6/10 bands live! Of course, if you want to know about who I saw and how those experiences went then please get in touch or come say “Hi” to me at any upcoming shows.

This list is in no particular order and uses a combination of music players to showcase the albums.

1. Shannon and The Clams “Onion”
Onion is at the top of the list because it just so happens to be the first album that I was anticipating for the year. At the time, my friend was teaching me how to drive and we found ourselves playing this album on repeat as we cruised the streets of Santa Barbara. I must say Onion makes great cruising tunes with its nostalgic oldies style hooks and melodies. To top it all off vocalist/bassist Shannon Shaw somehow found time to record a solo album that also released this year, titled Shannon in Nashville. You can check that out here.

My Favorite Tracks: “I Never Wanted Love”, “Did You Love Me”, and “Don’t Close Your Eyes”
Sounds like: Rock n’ roll oldies with a tinge of surf pop-punk.

2. Frank Turner “Be More Kind”
Anyone who knows me knows that Frank Turner is one of my favorite musicians and has been since 2009. So, of course, it was great to start the year with Frank’s voice gracing my ears. It’s great when artists try to evolve their style and don’t limit themselves to regurgitating the same sounds over and over again. Be More Kind is Turner’s experimental album as he holds onto his classic acoustic style but also offers some sounds that have not been heard on previous albums such as is exemplified on the track “Blackout.”

My Favorite Tracks: “Be More Kind”, “Braveface”, and “There She Is”
Sounds like: Acoustic, Punk/Rock

3. Camp Cope “How to Socialise & Make Friends”
I will admit, Camp Cope had been on my radar for a while before I finally sat down and gave them a listen. As soon as I heard their self-titled album last year I was captivated. I yearned for more and luckily for me, I didn’t have to wait too long before How to Socialise & Make Friends came out. As an added bonus, I would recommend checking out their NPR Tiny Desk video here.

My Favorite Tracks: “The Opener”, “How to Socialise & Make Friends”, and “The Face Of God”
Sounds like: Indie, Pop-punk

4. Alice Bag “Blueprint”
Punk rock pioneer, activist, and all around amazing human Alice Bag continues to break down the boundaries of punk with her newest release. Blueprint recounts stories of Bag’s past as well as tackles issues on topics such as sexism and racism, just to name a few. This album showcases the progress that Alice Bag has made as a musician, demonstrates her continued contributions to punk, and all the important work that she continues to do.

My Favorite Tracks: “77”, “Se Cree Joven”, and “White Justice”
Sounds like: Punk

5. War on Women “Capture The Flag”
“You wanna legislate it, but you can’t even name it,” the opening line to the title track “Capture the Flag” which encompasses the political rhetoric of the rest of the album. Capture The Flag is a hardcore punk album with clean guitar sweeps and brilliant lyrics that challenge social conventions. War on Women is here to let you know that you can’t tell people how to live and they make it very clear throughout the album especially with the track, “YDTMHTL” featuring guest vocals from riot grrrl pioneer Kathleen Hannah.

My Favorite Tracks: “Predator In Chief”, “The Violence Of Bureaucracy”, and “Pleasure & The Beast”
Sounds like: Hardcore Punk

6. The Interrupters “Fight the Good Fight”
Picture it, Santa Barbara 2018, it’s a sunny beautiful morning, I’m just getting up, and pouring my morning coffee. Even though the day has had an alright start and there is nothing to indicate that anything will go wrong per se, I can’t help but feel a vague sense of void as I head out to my monotonous job. So I hop on my bike and take off for the day while blasting my morning ride tunes. Fight the Good Fight ended up being my pump up album, with the opening track “Title Holder” about overcoming obstacles, helping set the mood for the days that felt particularly challenging. The ska riffs definitely help with the upbeat feeling as well as the songs about finding hope in a world of despair. These elements all contribute a great blend of sound and make this album my go to pick me up for the year.

My Favorite Tracks: “Gave You Everything”, “She’s Kerosene”, and “Broken World”
Sounds like: Ska Punk

7. Snail Mail “Lush”
Pristine, that’s exactly how I feel about this album and also happens to be one of my favorite tracks on Lush. I listened to this one track, in particular, every day at least once a day for probably a month or so after it released. Associating this album with punk might be a stretch but the DIY ethos of this band definitely makes them punk to me. This band plays indie pop-punk in the style that I absolutely appreciate and love.

My Favorite Tracks: “Pristine”, “Heat Wave”, and “Let’s Find An Out”
Sounds like: Indie, Pop-punk

8. Basement “Disconnect”
It seemed like out of nowhere Basement dropped the news that they were releasing a brand new album AND touring for it. I eagerly anticipated the release, and the tour, but was glad that they provided a few singles to give us a nice little sample of what was to come with “Disconnect” and “Stigmata.” Disconnect is more on the melodic side than hardcore but their blending of the two genres is sonically pleasing.

My Favorite Tracks: “Just A Life”, “Disconnect”, and “Be Here Now”
Sounds like: Melodic Hardcore

9. Larry and His Flask “This Remedy”
This album almost went under my radar and that’s mostly due to the fact that I hadn’t seen any music from this band since 2013’s By The Lamplight. Thankfully, fellow folk punk musician Chris Fox posted a Facebook status praising this album, which quickly caught my eye. I’m glad that Larry and His Flask took their time with This Remedy because it is an absolute masterpiece from front to back.

My Favorite Tracks: “This Remedy”, “Ellipsis”, and “Behind The Curtain”
Sounds like: Folk Punk, Bluegrass

10. Fatty Cakes and the Puff Pastries “Self Titled LP”
This album came out just in time for me to add to this list and was produced by none other than legendary punk icon Alice Bag! To be honest, I had been anticipating this album for quite some time. Although I had the pleasure of seeing many of these tracks performed live this past year, it is great to finally have a physical copy of this. Shout out to Kezia Harrell for designing this incredible artwork. I love every single one of these tracks but “Magic Girl” evokes such an emotional response that I ended up listening to it ten times in a row when I first heard this album. Thank you Fatty Cakes for creating such an empowering track for the marginalized. If you’re not familiar with the church of Fatty Cakes then do yourself a favor and get familiarized with the gospel!!!

My Favorite Tracks: “Antifa Cakes”, “Magic Girl”, and “Panic Attack”
Sounds like: Pop-punk

Honorary mention: Princess Nokia “A Girl Cried Red”

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Hip/Hop artist Princess Nokia released what she proclaimed as an “Emo mixtape.” A Girl Cried Red took some getting used to because it is so different from anything that I listen to. However, after a few listens I finally understood what Princess Nokia was going for and absolutely fell in love. “Smash My Heart in Pieces, It Looks So Good On The Floor” is the rallying cry of this album. Give it a listen, who knows you might be pleasantly surprised as well.

Notable tracks: “Look Up Kid”, “Little Angel”, and “Flowers and Rope”
Sounds like: Rock, Hip/Hop, Emo