Best Songs That Didn’t Suck in 2018

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I realized after typing these up that this years top 5 is pretty punk-centric compared to last years, which was a bit more mellow. I promise you however, that if you’re a fan of the blog, there is something in here for you. I’ve decided to include a whole pile of great tunes in addition to the top 5, so give them all a listen. You probably haven’t heard most of these songs. (I mean I hope you haven’t cuz I look way cooler that way). If you like a song, go check out the band responsible for it and show your support. Also!: Make sure you come back for the Top 10 ALBUMS of 2018 in a few days. Follow me on twitter or facebook or subscribe by email to get notified! Links are all over there, in that direction roughly, maybe up a bit —->

Idles – Danny Nedelko [Buy it on Amazon!]
Everyone decides their own song of the year, but for me it needs to be this. An anthem of unity and sameness in the face of partition. I could have said the same thing last year, or the year before, probably any year ever. The fact is, songs like this are always needed. It’s uplifting, it’s energizing, it’s empowering, it’s made of you, it’s made of me. It’s unity and we can dance to it.

Balsamic Cigarette – Country Song [Buy it on Amazon]
The source of inspiration for this one may align with that of Danny Nedelko, but in the spirit of hardcore punk, there is nothing subtle about this, and it is not meant to be uplifting at all. This is the what-we’re-all-thinking-but-not-necessarily-saying song. This is the musical equivalent of a rotten egg being hurled at the trump tower. This is punk rock satire meets dead-pan hardcore. If you’re wondering how that’s even possible, all you have to do is listen.

The Apartment Club – Bad/New
Settling into something a bit more fleshy and fine-spun, this is the bleeding heart of the year. Smooth and emotional with a righteous build up, this is the song you can really get lost in, and excuse me while I throw up because I’m starting to sound like a music journalist.

Briscoe – House Show
If you remember my top 10 albums from last year, you know I was (and for the record, still am) obsessed with this band. At the time I wasn’t sure if their album was from a currently active band, or if it was a relic from the past someone posted on bandcamp. This November I was delightfully surprised to see that they posted a couple new songs. The band still remains a bit of a mystery to me but at least I know they’re making new music, and this song re-enforces my infatuation with them. I can only hope there’s more to come in 2019.

The Apparents – Nothing Is Set In Stone
Alright back to the uplifting stuff. This is just vintage UK punk rock from Scotland. No bells, no whistles, just that classic sound with classic vocals and that classic working soul that can’t be faked. It is often faked though, and that’s why this particular genre is easy to overlook, but there are still guys like this doing it justice. If you work hard for a living without much to show for it, this is your on-your-way-to-work song. Turn it up in your car or in your headphones and gut it out for another day. Life can suck you guys, but don’t forget how lucky we are that it doesn’t suck a whole lot more.

And here are the runners up:

























Top 5 Albums/EP’s That DON’T Suck [APRIL 2018]

houseparty keep it simple german punk rock 2018Houseparty – Keep It Simple
Holy ravioli this is good! You may remember this band from the Weird But Wonderful Song Titles Department. They’ve made a few contributions. Check out the song titles and you’ll see what I mean, but don’t forget to check out the music too cuz this is awfully nice. It’s Indie-punk on a surf board from Germany. Is there even surfing in Germany, you ask? Hey, they have an ocean don’t they? The Great German Ocean I believe it’s called. As I’ve said before, I would ask that you please not fact-check anything you read on this blog. I’m highly intelligent ok. You can trust that all of this is accurate. Going back to the song-title conversation; Is it not true that “I’ve Got 99 Problems And Calling A Woman Bitch Is One” might be definitely the best song title of all time, and will be for forevermore? I don’t see how it could be topped. Gosh this album is choice af guys.   Listen on Bandcamp

chill parents call ACAB DC punk 2018Chill Parents – Hail ACAB
Oh man, you know I’m a sucker for haunted sound clips being mixed into songs. There’s plenty of that going on here. Also plenty of straight up punk rock with cut-throat vocals. I have to confess I used a thesaurus just now to get ‘cut-throat’. I was originally going to say “killer vocals” but it made my tummy hurt. It came down to either ‘cut-throat’ or ‘assassin’. To be honest, I’m not sure if either choice was the right choice.. The whole “straight up punk rock with cut-throat vocals” part of that sentence is starting to make me sick actually. This is not going well. My sincerest apologies to Chill Parents for giving you such a dumb review. This one really got away from me fast. I have one like this every month. This month it was you. I’m sorry. Great album though. Amazing actually.   Listen on Bandcamp

nein or gas mus china emoNein or Gas Mus – Self Titled
In a word, these lyrics are mystifying, but as seemingly nonsensical as they might be, I think there are some real messages to be deciphered here if you listen hard enough. The 2nd track for example (confusingly titled ‘1st’) is quite likely a protest song about guns. You can make what you want of it but I’m finding it highly contagious. Track 3 seems to me like a comment on the media and technology, and have you ever heard a lyric more profound than “this world is sucks sensitive”? Show me one and then I’ll believe you. It may seem a bit comical at first, but in my opinion, the weirdness of their lyrics only adds to what is already a totally bonkers band. You’ve got this sketchy emo math thing going on. It starts and stops on a dime. Male/female dual vocals, songs structured in a way I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard before. This is the musical equivalent of a squeaky mouthful of silly putty. I think this EP might actually be able to unhinge whatever scrap of sanity you’re holding on to. Proceed with caution.   Listen on Bandcamp

erik withak silhouettes indie weird 2018Erik Withak – Silhouettes
The description on Bandcamp compares this guy to Conor Oberst which is a dangerous thing to do. Right away the listener is thinking “this better be goddamn incredible”. Well, I gotta say, it kind of is incredible. I mean if he can write about 20 more albums like this, we MIGHT be able to validate that comparison (probably not). Really though, this is the kind of songwriting that can only happen naturally and only if you’re rather gifted. Erik Withak has the gift. Or so it would seem. I’m pretty sure he does (maybe). I’ve already added one of these songs to my best-of-the-year list. I won’t say which one, but I will tell you this: It’s called Life On Lease. Man that’s an assassin of a song.   Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify

hinny half dairy air michigan indie punk 2018Hinny – Half Dairy Air
Michigan punk rock reminiscent of some mid 80’s indie rock. All instruments played and recorded by one guy named Josh, which I think officially makes him the most talented Josh of all time, and yes, I’m aware of Joshua Jackson from Dawson’s Creek. It’s close but this Josh is better. Definitely better than that bum Josh Homme. Probably better than Josh Ritter too. Not quite as appetizing as roghan josh, but possibly a better hockey player than Josh Gorges. Hey, if you’ve ever wondered (and I know I have) what a cabbage patch doll would look like as an interpretive dance marionette, you should check out Hinny’s music video for Gotta Give Up. I was a little concerned for Josh after watching it, but then I realized, who am I to be projecting psychosis? Have you read my blog? Clearly I should talk to someone.   Listen on Bandcamp

ENDNOTES:
Be sure to check out the Scrap Heap section for links to all the releases that were in the conversation for Top 5. There’s loads of good stuff in there!