Christophe's top 10 albums of 2018... and then some
Saturday, December 8, 2018 - 12:42
- by Christophe Vanheygen
I didn’t write a lot of reviews this year. Sorry Tom… However, I did find about a handful of records I really enjoyed listening to this past year. And a few EP’s. And even one compilation album.
2018 Full-Length Album Top 10 (although one album is only 17 minutes long and qualifies more as an EP, but whatever)
1. Drug Church – Cheer
The volatile, shaky marriage between 90s grunge and hardcore punk has its ups and downs. This is definitely a sexy, raunchy, nasty highlight. Like the fight and subsequent make-up sex after a drunk Saturday night when you got home from a tasteless dinner at the parents-in-law. That’s some very sloppy, somewhat angry and awkward but still very good sex for ya.
2. The Creeps – Beneath The Pines
I always associated The Creeps with traditional pop-punk like The Lillingtons and Huntingtons and the like. That was true at some point. Not anymore, though. This record is pop-punk as much as it is indie rock and emo. These heartfelt 35 minutes make me feel less bummed Crusades (singer Skottie was in that band, too) called it quits.
3. Idles – Joy as an act of resistance
Yeah, I know … Hipsters like this band and they’re reaching a mainstream audience. That’s a good thing. Maybe this will breathe some new life into the somewhat lacklustre scene punk rock has become. This is a very intense, interesting and refreshing album.
4. Night Birds – Roll Credits
Night birds? Night birds! Night birds. Night. Birds. After three records, the recipe still hasn’t changed. Except for some salt and pepper maybe. But (wo)man, it still goes down so easy with a couple of brews.
5. Alkaline Trio – Is this thing cursed?
Never thought I’d include the Alk3 in an end of year list again. And yet, here we are, with arguably their best work since ‘Crimson’.
6. Smoking Popes – Into the Agony
That opening track. What a hit song. And all the other good songs. Which ones? Well, check out my review if you’re curious. That will be all.
7. Sick Things – Sick Things
Best power pop record of the year. If you’re into Thin Lizzy, Cheap Trick, later era Hellacopters and … Ehm … More things like that. People need to know about this band. I hope my end-of-year list helps. Go listen to ‘em now, please. Thank you.
8. Zeal & Ardor – Stranger Fruit
I still can’t get over the fact that someone actually has the balls to merge black metal with black spiritual music. And even more so that he’s successful in doing so. ‘Strange Fruit’ is a challenging listen and a wonderful gem at the same time. I hope this “shtick” won’t get old.
9. Alice In Chains – Rainier Fog
In some way, I can’t help but feel sorry for William DuVall. He’s a good singer but Alice In Chains will never make an album as good as what they did with Layne (and heroin). Still, whatever they make now is still better than 95 % of all rock albums out there.
10. Super Unison – Stella
How does one choose between Super Unison’s excellent ‘Stella’ and Gouge Away’s equally excellent ‘Burnt Sugar’? Meh, let’s just go with gut-feeling. I love the gloomy, unsettling atmosphere on this one.
Three somewhat honourable mentions (for artists I really like, yet failed to deliver something as good as (or better than) previous work)
Anderson.Paak – Oxnard
Yeah, this is something completely different. This dude’s an incredible talent. However, it’s not in the real list because the album just isn’t as insanely awesome as ‘Malibu’ was.
Single Mothers – Through a wall
More hardcore than any of their previous efforts. I like it when Single Mothers are yelling angrily at me. Although it didn’t stick with me as much as ‘Negative Qualities’, it’s better than the slightly overproduced ‘Our Pleasure’.
Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats – Wasteland
Face it, ‘Night Creeper’ is a very hard act to follow up on. ‘Wasteland’ is great, but not quite “top 10 in a punk rocker’s end of year list” great.
Five EP’s that came out in 2018 (and are well worth your time and attention, if only because of my witty blurbs)
1. The Get Up Kids – Kicker
This lovely EP is a wonderful reminder of how good The Get Up Kids can be. Or better yet: how good they are, were and will be. Forever and ever.
2. Goodbye Blue Monday – Misery punk ruined my life
Three songs you have to have heard in your life before you become as miserable as these Scottish punks are. That title track is one killer of a singalong tune.
3. Converge – Beautiful ruin
These guys get better and better and better and better … And better. Even if it’s just an EP. I have no funny things to add. Converge is no laughing matter.
4. Permanent Debt – Demo
Very angry demo, raw and brutal hardcore with some D-beat. It packs so much “oomph” that Willy Wonka’s minions destroyed his factory to this EP and now go by the name Oomph-a Loomph-a’s. Damn, that joke is far-fetched. Sorry.
5. Rich Widows – Half-empty glasses & despair
Where’d this come from? And why is nobody talking about these guys? This is without a doubt the most refreshing, daring and catchy gruff punk I ever heard. I wonder why this site never reviewed it. All killer, no filler and the most innovative rhythm guitarist in the entire world … Yes, I’m talking about me. Shameless self-promotion? Yeah, sue me.
One compilation album in 2018 (that I’ve played more than once and it’s one by my favourite punk rock band so I really had to list it here)
1. The Lawrence Arms – We are the champions of the world
This is an excellent selection of tunes. I’m still trying to figure out what they’d be champions at, but whatever … I hope they come back to Belgium soon to celebrate that well-deserved title some more.