One day it was 2018 and the next, it was 2019. This past year went by extremely quick. Before I knew it, it was Christmas again and 2019 started. A very busy year, some traveling, nothing like the past years, and less concerts. The latter was by my choice, I wanted to step away from all the driving and editing to enjoy everything else around me. Only about 37 concerts were captured in 2018, and I am still editing them! Even some from April! As I said, a busy year, but every year comes with new music and 2018 was no exception. A good amount of releases from artists that haven’t released new material in quite some time and the wait was worth it! While a few new groups emerged with some good debuts and for 2018 I was able to get vinyl to each release. A good year regardless, and I think 2019 will be just as good with some big changes I feel. For now though, here are my top 10 albums of 2018.
10. The Silvertones Meet The West Kensingtons – Push The Fire
I’ve known the members of the West Kensingtons for quite some time now. Each E.P. they put out featured great quality of reggae, ska, and rocksteady music. Majority of their releases are instrumental, but in this debut LP they teamed up with the Silvertones to have them lend their voices over the siganture West Kensingtons sound. What we got was a great album with two artists for the price of one. For anyone that likes reggae, this is a must have album in your collection.
Listen To – “Don’t Break My Heart”
9. Dashboard Confessional – Crooked Shadows
I will admit, I only started listening to Dashboard Confessional a few years ago. I knew his songs, “Screaming Infidelities” was everywhere, but when he was on the rise in the late 90’s I couldn’t get into the acoustic music as much. Yet, as you grow older your tastes change and I finally understand Chris Carrabba’s music, Twin Forks is still my favorite. Almost 10 years since his last release, Crooked Shadows finds Carrabba and company performing a more polished sound, but relatable subject matter in the songs. A short nine track album that flows nicely and probably his best effort yet.
Listen To – “Heart Beat Here”
8. Roger Daltrey – As Long As I Have You
Another album that was released this year with the previous album being years ago, was Roger Daltrey’s latest solo album, As Long As I Have You. After battling with viral meningitis and recovering, this album was planned to never be released. However, after Pete Townshend heard the demos he pushed Roger to release the album with him on guitar for certain songs. The album itself features original songs by Daltrey, but for the most part the songs are covers from artists like Nick Cave, Stevie Wonder, and Steve Stills. The sound is what interest me the most, where there was more of a soul/blues vibe and Daltrey’s vocals sounded raw and raspy. As of now the Who announced a new tour and new album, but I pictured this album was the closest we would get as a new Who album. Here is to a Who 2019!
Listen To – “As Long As I Have You”
7. Eli Paperboy Reed – Meets High & Mighty Brass Band
2018 was a busy year for Eli Paperboy Reed. The beginning of the year he released the Record Store Day exclusive vinyl, Meets High & Mighty Brass Band and then by the end of the year the 10th anniversary reissue of Roll With You. 2019 promises a new full length which we can only hope more live shows, but for 2018, number seven album for me was his collaboration with the High & Mighty Brass Band. A greatest hits album of sorts, but with re-imaginings, this album is a great collection of Eli’s songs but in a different way. Also included is his Beyonce cover “Love On Top” and a new song “As I Live And Breathe”.
Listen To – “As I Live And Breathe”
6. Mighty Mighty Bosstones – While We’re At It
After 7 years, the boys in plaid released their follow up to The Magic Of Youth with a heavy hitter known as While We’re At It. The Bosstones have been releasing thought provoking music for years and the latest album is no exception. The album, according to Dicky Barrett, was the third part of their last two albums with this album being focused on the current state of politics. Each song is the classic ska-core sound the Bosstones are known for and it is great to see them also change it up a bit like in “Divide”. Their catalog is nothing short of amazing and this album just adds to the greatness that is Mighty Mighty Bosstones.
Listen To – “Closer To Nowhere”
5. St. Paul & The Broken Bones – Young Sick Camellia
St. Paul & The Broken Bones have become one of those bands that release a different album each time, but still staying to the core of what made them. For Young Sick Camellia, St. Paul explores more of the disco/funk side of music and for those that boast disco sucks would quickly realize St. Paul clearly doesn’t suck. The album explores the relation the band has with their home state of Alabama along with personal relationships. The album as far as sound is nothing like their previous efforts, but this is what makes St. Paul’s longevity last. Never pigeonholing themselves to one music genre.
Listen To – “Apollo”
4. MxPx – MxPx
It has been 5 years since MxPx put out a proper full length, and even though Plans Within Plans was good, their latest self titled release had something different about it. The process to record MxPx had everyone in the band together recording for the first time since Secret Weapon. For this release MxPx wanted to get back in a studio together like they used to and put out their best effort yet, and it shows. After a very successful Kickstarter campaign for this album, it showed that MxPx meant business and so did the fans. Clocking in at just about 30 minutes, this album is the true form of a punk rock album, you get in and out without slowing down. From the recording to the design and release, MxPx now control 100% of their art and this release couldn’t have been done any better. 2018 was a busy year for them, but it looks like 2019 is going to be just as busy from the reaction to this release.
Listen To – “All Of It”
3. Mae – Multisensory Aesthetic Experience
There was a theme this year with bands that haven’t released new albums in years and Mae is no exception, their last proper release was in 2010. Leading up to this new album they released a song here and there, but never a proper full length. From those songs it was clear Mae was expanding their musical tastes with songs that had more depth and aesthetic experience in them. Songs like “Flow” and “Our Love Is A Painted Picture” are songs that an Everglow fan might find out of place, but if you have been following Mae all these years they fit perfectly in their next evolution as a band. However, there are classic styling Mae songs on this album like “Sing” and “5 Light Years” that will keep the long time fans pleased. I am glad Mae keep evolving because I think the next round of material is going to be even better.
Listen To – “Let It Die”
2. Found Wild – Found Wild
Good Old War had a pretty busy year, they released the final two E.P.’s to their Part Of trilogy, toured a lot, and drummer Tim Arnold and frontman Keith Goodwin managed to put out a side project called Found Wild. Their debut self titled E.P. is everything a Good Old War fan wants except there is more country influence and Tim does multiple roles as drummer, pianist, and lead singer. The songs are very soothing and show that the guys in Good Old War are extremely talented, the only problem with this album is it is too short. I am unsure how much this band will tour or if more music will follow, but for what is presented with us, it would be a shame if others don’t hear it.
Listen To – “Ghosts”
1. Brian Fallon – Sleepwalkers
Somehow, some way, when ever Brian Fallon releases some sort of album it always hits me at the right spot and right time. It is like he is following me around and is able to put my words into songs. I’m not complaining, but how does he do it? Regardless, Sleepwalkers is more of a rock album compared to Painkillers, but it still has the folk/acoustic vibe throughout. The highlight is when he has New Orleans’ Preservation Hall Jazz Band join on the song “Sleepwalks”. Brian Fallon has said he isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel with his music, which is fine, because I think it all lies in his lyrics. The lyrics are what captivates me and this album does a great job at storytelling.
Listen To – “Etta James”