Top 20 Albums of the Year
20. Palms – Thrice
Thrice is one of the most consistently good bands, and this is no exception. Palms is a solid entry into their storied catalogue, and any fan of theirs will enjoy it. Though not as ambitious as Alchemy Index or as catchy as their last release, Palms is still really good that has some good replay value.
Check out: The Dark, My Soul
19. In Spite of Me – Like Pacific
Like Pacific continue to grow and progress, and this new album proves they’re growing nicely. Really catchy pop-punk with clear influences from the early and mid-2000s, and Jordan’s vocals and lyrics are so strong on this release. Great, bouncy music for any fan of pop-punk.
Check out: In Spite of Me, Had It Coming
18. Empty Black – Greyhaven
In a year where Every Time I Die did not release music, Greyhaven steps in perfectly and holds the chaotic rock/metalcore torch. These guys are incredibly unique, and the production reminds me of those early 2000s Solid State recordings of The Chariot, Norma Jean and Lutikriss. It’s a perfect album to break up the genres and keep listeners on their toes.
Check out: Blemish, Ten Dogs – Red Heaven
17. Delta – Mumford & Sons
After a hiatus, they are back, and I can’t get enough of it. Delta showcases all the best aspects of Mumford & Sons, from their folkish beginnings to the more rockish sounds of their last release. “Guiding Light” is the clear standout track, but from front to back this album is worth revisiting over and over.
Check out: Guiding Light, Woman
16. KOD – J. Cole
Other than Kendrick, J. Cole is the best rapper working right now. From calling out and guiding the young generation of hip-hop artists to addressing the normalization of cheating culture, J. Cole leaves no stone unturned and does it all over unique beats. This release is the peak of the craft, dealing with real problems with special flow and inventive writing. Though not as catchy or beat-heavy as the current wave of Soundcloud rappers, KOD is the album that stands out and rewards repeated listening.
Check out: Motiv8, ATM
15. Beside Myself – Basement
Promise Everything was so important to me in 2016, and I was nervous about this album because I wasn’t sure it would live up. However, it fully did, keeping the same unique properties that make their previous works so special. Their grunge, noise rock approach to music harkens back to previous decades while also being unique. They continue to grow in their craft, writing music that stands out and is catchy, grabbing and riveting.
Check out: Disconnect, New Coast
14. Malibu Nights – LANY
Heartbreak is terrible, and I would never wish it on anyone, but having a broken heart often leads to incredible music, and that’s the case here. There’s no question Dua Lipa wrecked lead singer Paul Klein, and he takes listeners through all his different emotions from betrayal, sadness, begging to be taken back, claiming there’s no love anymore, and every shade between. Though lyrically melancholic, the instrumentals have never been as summery, as sunshiney, or as poppy. So many catchy songs and so much talent are encapsulated on this album.
Check out: I Don’t Wanna Love You Anymore, Thick and Thin
13. ruiner – nothing,nowhere.
Between Lil Peep, Juice Wrld, and xxxtentacion, it seems emo hip-hop is the new trend. However, nobody does it as well as Joe aka nothing,nowhere. Ruiner fully embraces and confronts Joe’s struggles with depression and mental illness, and he wears his heart on his sleeve. Musically, there’s nothing out there that matches his ability to mix trap beats with beautiful guitar riffs that could easily appear on an American Football album.
Check out: hammer, ruiner
12. Pleasant Hill – WHATUPRG
WHATUPRG came out of nowhere for me after his signing to Reach Records. Though short clocking up at just over twenty minutes, this 7-track full-length album takes listeners on a journey through RG’s struggles with faith, fame and self-doubt, all resulting in lovely, a hopeful track about never straying too far from God’s grace. Christian Hip-Hop has gotten a bad name over the years, and while YouTube comment sections have become toxic, the scene itself has fallen behind the current state of hip-hop. WHATUPRG, along with the new crop in the indie tribe have refocused CHH on current trends, making good music. The talent is unmistakable, and he has something that so many artists don’t have, especially in the CHH world.
Check out: Wesside, Lil Holy
11. New Others – This Will Destroy You
The one-two punch of This Will Destroy You’s latest album is beautiful, haunting, and worth everyone’s time. Clocking in at just under 1 hour 20 minutes, this pair of albums will keep listeners busy and entertained the entire time. Part One sounds a lot like their older material, with clean guitar tones and structured songs, while Part Two sounds more like steps forward for the band, with a lot of distortion and irregularities, proving to be the more adventurous of the two. Whether you like the older sound or newer, they’re both worth discovering, as this instrumental post-rock band has never been better.
Check out: Go Away Closer, Clubs
10. Crown Shyness – Trash Boat
Trash Boat has moved out from the shadow of the pop-punk genre, setting themselves apart from a crop of bands that all started around the same time with a similar sound. Crown Shyness truly sets them up as a powerhouse band, establishing their punk, hardcore, and rock roots, revealing the rawness that all their fans knew was there. This album sees the band expand their influences and stylings a little more, with some songs revealing an almost ballad-like approach. Regardless, this is the best they’ve sounded, and are worth spending some time with.
Check out: Old Soul, Nothing New
9. Time & Space – Turnstile
Arguably the most creative and unique band on my list, Turnstile continue to impress me with each and every release. Though labelled a hardcore band mostly because of who they tour with, Turnstile feature hints of Jazz, Motown, Funk, Hip-Hop, and Anthem Rock. Their creative nature and raw energy overflow on the record, and the unmistakable catchiness merely suggests the energy their live show has.
Check out: Real Thing, High Pressure
8. Blue In The Dark – Bearings
Ontario natives Bearings’ new album proves what progression sounds like. Though often labelled as a pop-punk band, songs like “Blue In The Dark” could easily appear on the latest hot indie-rock band’s album, full of acoustic guitars and gang vocals. Overall, this album is the perfect followup to their EP Nothing Here Is Permanent and marks them firmly as one of my favourite bands right now.
Check out: Blue In The Dark, Where You Are
7. Skinny Dipping – Stand Atlantic
For a debut album, it’s not fair how good this is. Every song has a hook that will not leave your mind, and extremely relatable and vivid lyrics accompany those hooks. Though Skinny Dipping doesn’t reinvent the genre, it does the genre incredibly well, and Bonnie’s vocals shine as the defining factor that sets this band apart. Though there’s definitely room for the band to grow, this album has so many shining moments that this band will be around for a while. If you’re looking for catchy and enjoyable pop-punk, this is your album.
Check out: Lost My Cool, Lavender Bones
6. Holy Hell – Architects
Architects cannot write a bad album. It’s been proven by now. Even the ones that were not as well received are still miles ahead of their counterparts. However, Holy Hell proves the band are at their peak right now. After the loss of their lead guitarist and founding member Tom Searle to cancer, nobody would have blamed the band if they had called it quits. However, the addition of Josh Middleton of Sylosis has proved to be the right move, as he knew Tom well and is able to build off the ideas he left over, as well as write new songs that shred just as hard. The emotion Sam put into his vocals on this album induces tears immediately, and its unmistakable how much they miss him. To Tom.
Check out: Hereafter, Royal Beggars
5. Everything Is Temporary – Between You & Me
This record is so fun, just the perfect blend of bouncy, catchy pop-punk done to the top level. Whether telling off a girl, remembering friends from the past or apologizing for the way they are, Between You & Me cover a myriad of relatable topics synonymous with the genre. However, the writing in the guitar department sets the band apart with so many catchy hooks and bouncy melodies accompanied by rhythmic, often off-tempo palm-muted chugs. If you like pop-punk, you’ll like this.
Check out: Dakota, Friends From ’96
4. New Levels New Devils – Polyphia
Many different instrumental metal/prog rock bands exist, and I can’t seem to enjoy any of them. From Animals As Leaders to Chon, they all sound like someone who likes to play guitar solos decided to have a backing band for an entire album. Polyphia started this way too, but they’ve grown into such incredible songwriters that this album is number four on my list. These songs are so catchy, showcasing their talents while also serving the song as a whole. What’s unmistakable is these guys are inspired by pop and hip-hop far more than metal, and that’s why the song structure serves them so well, so they avoid the metal-pitfalls of the aforementioned bands. Once again, these songs are extremely catchy.
Check out: G.O.A.T., O.D.
3. Errorzone – Vein
This album slowly climbed its way up this list since its release in June. Though I wasn’t huge on it upon my initial listen, I found myself coming back to it over and over. Much like Turnstile, though in a different way, Vein has taken the hardcore style and flipped it, infusing it with other genres and being as creative as possible. There are clear influences from early screamo and nu-metal, and the energy bleeds through the recording. It’s extremely original and rips all the way through.
Check out: End Eternal, Broken Glass Complexion
2. When The End Began – Silent Planet
Silent Planet is one of the most talented metalcore bands in the world, and every member can hold their own when compared to others in on that same instrument. Alex is one of the best, and most underrated drummers in the scene, Thom and Mitch craft such unique instrumentations that many bands are ripping them off now, and Garrett uses his lyrics are often more of a history lesson than a song, complete with footnotes. What’s unmistakable is that this band demands your full attention, complete with research, all while you nod your head along to the groovy, inventive songs.
Check out: In Absence, Vanity of Sleep
1. Proper Dose – The Story So Far
Though this album only came out on September 21st, most of these songs appeared in my most played of 2018 Spotify playlist. That’s how much I listened to this album. Their move towards a softer alternative rock-inspired sound was welcome for listeners like me while leaving many others alienated. However, their indie rock, shoegazing inspirations mixed with a pop-punk past, all accompanied by a passionate story throughout the album of love, lust and loss of life, is the greatest album, cover to cover, for 2018. Please give this album a shot, its one of the best pieces of music I’ve ever heard.
Check out: Take Me As You Please, Proper Dose