Another guest top ten of 2018… once again coming at ya from across the pond, courtesy of Floridian Lauren Mills. Lauren is a much respected member of the US punk scene and runs a punk rock PR service called Mills on Wheels Media and a webzine / site called Unity in Detachment. She used to write for Dying Scene, but at some point jacked that shit in. We’ve been pals via the mdeium of Facebook for about a year or so – she’s a really insightful and amusing individual, not to mention inspirational who doesn’t let a little thing like a wheelchair get in the way of going to shows and taking part in the scene.
She’s also been kind enough to offer up not one, but TWO lists for you jack-asses to check out…
Lauren’s best LPs of 2018
Hospital Job – Haze Like Me LP
Luke McNeil is a pop-punk prince. I would refer to him as a king, but then I couldn’t pull off that sweet alliteration. With his contributions to the bands, The Copyrights, Hospital Job, Starter Jackets etc, he’s responsible for a fair amount of the music that’s in my Spotify library. When you see his name on a project, you know it’s going to be special.
To me, this is the best album he’s released. The songwriting, production, harmonies and everything else works perfectly here. The bouncy lead on “The Purest WiFi in Western Europe” steals my heart each time.
Swingin’ Utters – Peace And Love LP
When I was first getting punk, Swingin’ Utters were one of the bands I glommed on to courtesy of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 soundtrack. Most millennials will tell you that the first time they were exposed to punk was through that soundtrack. Swingin’ Utters have played a big role in my life and I’ve followed them no matter what niche music phase I was going through. They write timeless punk songs. I admire them for keeping at it for so long and making each record sound different and fresh. This record is timely and poignant. Watching my country be ripped in two has left me heartbroken and angry. It seems to me that they’ve channeled those feelings into their songs. The chorus of “Yes, I Hope He Dies” warms my heart and puts a smile on my face every time I’m pissed about the state of nation. This is a flawless record by punk veterans who get better with age.
Melted – Thin Skin LP
Melted are a band that more people need to check out. In an interview I did with them, the band told me “Angst is forever.” I think that’s a pretty good summary of their record in the best way!
Mercy Music – Until The End Of Your World LP
Mercy Music are one of the best newer bands in the scene right now. Reviewers throw around “heartfelt” a lot, but when it comes to this band, it couldn’t be any more apt. Front man Brendan Scholz takes you to the darkest corners of his mind, laying out his internal battles for the whole world to see. The urgency and realness of the lyrics combined with the soaring melodies make for an addictively cathartic listen.
Call Me Malcolm – I Was Broken When You Got Here LP
England’s Call Me Malcolm know how to put together a heck of a record. I worry that what I’m about to give a backhanded compliment, but I’ve never been a huge ska fan. Most of the fourth wave stuff I’ve been exposed to has been too peppy and well-adjusted for my taste. This record is a powerful listen. If you’ve ever struggled mentally, this record will hit home and be your new best friend.
Nag – Nagged To Death LP
These Norwegian punks know how to lay down a sinister, grimy record that makes you want to put your fist through a wall. I’m not a violent person, but this record gets me pumped and ready to crush at life.
Direct Hit – Crown Of Nothing LP
Are you having an existential crisis? Do you like pop-punk? If you answered “yes” to both of these questions, this record is for you!
Not Scientists – Golden Staples LP
Not Scientists are one of the best live bands in Europe. I’ve been following them since their inception. This album is the perfect blend of indie-rock and punk.
Living With Lions – Island LP
It’s been 7 long years since Vancouver pop-punkers, Living With Lions, have released an LP. They’ve made it well worth your wait.
We Are The Union – Self Care LP
We Are The Union have made a record that perfectly reflects the landscape many of us face today. We’re attached at the hip to technology. We’re more connected, but more alone. This is the perfect companion for lazy Netflix binging Sundays.
Lauren’s best 7in / EPs of 2018
Goodbye Blue Monday – Misery Punk Ruined My Life
Picking off where Off With Their Heads left over, GBM capture the intense pain of mental illness that some of us face.
Debt Neglector – The Kids Are Pissed
These dudes are my hometown heroes! OK, so I live an hour away. This is a smart, catchy, pissed off record. I love it.
Lift – Harsh Light of the Truth
Lift is a new band featuring members of Ambitions and With Honor. They do Snapcase style hardcore a lot of justice. I’m looking forward to their first LP, because EP is promising.
School Drugs – Relative Suffering
This EP has gotten a lot of plays out of me. I wish I had more words for it. It rules. Just listen.
Royal Dog – Cupola
This is the new project from my friend Anthony Elliott. His former band, Wringer, was one of my all-time favorites. If you wish Green Day still wrote angst ridden, fist pumping anthems, they’d be lucky to be this good.
Swear Jar – Self-titled
If you dig sad, fast Daggermouth style pop-punk, this is for you!
Failing Up – Voices In My Head
All the old punks that I know whine about AFI not sounding punk anymore. If you fall into that category, this will hit the spot.
Matt Caskitt and The Breaks – All Good Things Come To An End
This is the front man for Caskitt’s new band. I had the pleasure of seeing them at FEST. It was freaking awesome. Matt sweats out his relationship demons in style with this release
Remo Drive – Pop Music
Epitaph’s indie-punk darlings, Remo Dive are back with 3 new bangers
Shrug Dealer – Shrug Dealer
FFO: A Wilhelm Scream, the Roswell level in THPS3.