So this is another guest “top ten of 2018” list. This time out we have Mark Lind, a man of many fingers in many pies, so to speak: running a label, State Line Records and an online record store get-punk.com; plus playing in many bands which cycle in and out of hiatus (The Warning Shots, The Unloved, The Ducky Boys, Sinners & Saints to name but a few). Sometimes he even writes reviews for this very site…
Anyways, Mark has provided us with both a list of his best albums by longstanding established artists, as well as a “top five” of relative newcomers…
Longstanding established artists
1. Mighty Mighty Bosstones – While We’re at It
If the Bosstones had released this album in 1998, then there would have been a slew of hit singles off this album. For me, this is their best one since Let’s Face It.
2. The Longshot – Love Is For Losers
This is technically a Billie Joe Armstrong solo album though he is backed by a band. It has a bit of a Foxboro Hottubs feel to it. Some of the songs are performed in the style of the early Beatles or Dion and the Belmonts. It’s the best collection of simple, great Billie Joe Armstrong songs since maybe Warning.
3. Street Dogs – Stand For Something or Die For Nothing (tie)
This is the album everyone has been waiting for Street Dogs to make. It’s unquestionably their best. They sound like a tight, cohesive band on this record… like a gang. They’re all in it together and we’re along for the ride. You gotta hear the song The Round-Up.
3. Swingin’ Utters – Peace and Love (tie)
Somehow Swingin’ Utters may have also written their best album to date. These guys already have a handful of landmark punk albums to their credit. They’re full of piss and vinegar on this one. The songs are excellent and continue to expand the Utters’ sound. The last song, sung by Jack, is one of the better songs about a lost friend that I can think of. He puts you there and then makes you feel it. That song alone is one of the best of 2018 but the whole album is killer from stem to stern.
5. The Living End – Wunderbar
These guys had hit-making abilities in 1998. If they can jump on a Foo Fighters or Green Day tour and play these songs to a massive audience then they’ll do well.
6. The Casualties – Written In Blood
I did not expect this from the Casualties. They’re relatively late in the game and just brought in a new singer. This is a whole new band and one you will love. The new singer takes them to the next level which they have sometimes approached but the album is solid front to back. Actually, it may end on one of the best end sections since GNR’s Rocket Queen.
7. Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers – Bought To Rot
Absolutely fantastic songs on this one. In my unimportant opinion, this should have been the latest Against Me! album. Just take Crash and a few others from that one and add them to this and it’s another AM stand out.
8. Lucero – Among the Ghosts
At this point Lucero is what Lucero is. You know you’re getting something good. It’s not gonna break new ground but they may vary in feel from album to album. This one reminds me of some of my preferred Lucero moments. I think of Nobody’s Darlings when I hear this. That was a good one. I’d like a bunch more songs in that style.
9. Sick of it All – Wake the Sleeping Dragon
Sick of it All are the heir apparent to the Ramones and Motorhead. You know what you’re getting. They’re gonna give it to you 110% and if you love Sick of it All then you’re gonna be happy. That’s just to level set. That’s your baseline. This is a particularly good one on top of that.
10. William Elliott Whitmore – Kilonova
Apparently these are all covers. I didn’t know any of the songs so it just sounds like another great William Elliott Whitmore in a long line of great albums that he’s made. However, to hear him sing a Ray Charles song is really something else. You gotta check that out.
1. Art Thieves – Russian Rats
I’m biased on this one. My label put it out. But I don’t look at it that way. I see it as “Wow – MY label got to put out one of the best albums anyone will hear this year.” It would still be my #1 pick if Fat or Red Scare had released it.
2. Red City Radio – Skytigers
On the one hand, I only wish there was a second side to this one because every song is spectacular. On the other hand, there is no filler here. The type of band that Red City Radio has become requires a significant amount of attention to each song. Maybe they bang these harmonies out like a bell but even if they can sing like Toto, it still takes time and time is money. I’d rather this band put out a 6 song EP every couple of years and lay it on thick like they do here than have them reach for 10 and need to leave some of that cheddar on the table because they ran out of money.
3. The Drowns – View From the Bottom
Some arsehole from the UK (yep, I’m guilty on both counts – Tony) told me about this band. They’re from Seattle! I’d never heard of them but their album is a solid 10. In any other year, The Drowns or Red City Radio would have been the #1 band. All of these top 3 are incredible and if you can only afford one then buy the one I put out. But if you can get all 3 then I recommend it.
4. Bundles – Deaf Dogs
This band has a sound of their own. The singer is in the weird voice club with singers like Matt Freeman, Lenny Lashley, Matt from Noi!se and this other dipshit I ahhm, know. Weird voice is actually a great thing. It doesn’t mean unpleasant to the ear. It means it’s just different enough that you’re gonna remember it and you’re gonna be able to immediately identify it when you hear it. Bundles have true chemistry as a band. They play off of each other in a way that I can’t quite explain in words.
5. Culture Abuse – Bay Dream
This was my most highly anticipated album of the year. The guitars are a little lighter than I had hope for. The songs are still great. It’s just more in the Strokes area now than the Nirvana style I was hoping they’d continue. This one is still really good. But I prefer their previous album, Peach.