STAFF LIST: Kyle’s Top LPs and EPs of 2018

Posted: by The Editor

While I spend most of my time here contributing photography to The Alternative, I’ll never miss a chance to rank my favorite albums and EP’s of each year and talk about them a little bit and the reason why I chose them. Take a listen and I hope you enjoy.


1. Animal Flag – Void Ripper

Animal Flag has been one of my favorite bands for years now and with their album Void Ripper, my love for them grew even stronger. Made up by the brains of singer/guitarist Matthew Politoski, Animal Flag is joined by guitarist Sai Boddupalli, drummer Alex Pickert , and bassist Zach Weeks to craft this nearly four year long project of a rock, ambient, and acoustic masterpiece. Every song on this album delivers to it’s full potential with either punchy rock riffs, heart wrenching lyrics, or ambient noise soundscapes to bring every song to life making it my favorite album of 2018. I have never been as proud of a friend’s piece of art as this album.

2. The Republic of Wolves – Shrine

Earlier this year, I got home from work and went on a 15 mile bike ride solely to listen to this album (and Animal Flag’s when it finished) while feeling the warmth and wind of spring air against my face to fully understand this albums emotion. From the moment I first heard this album, I knew I was in love with it because of how much it reminded me of Moving Mountains and Animal Flag with the reverby guitars, cathartic vocals, intricate lyricism, and overall “full” sound each song had from layers of various instruments. Birdless Cage I feel captures all of those elements in its five and a half minute long time frame and if you love Moving Mountains as much as I do, I encourage to give this full album a listen.

3. The 1975 – A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships


Much like most people my age, I spend my free time aimlessly flirting and posting memes online and The 1975’s new album is a call out to people who participate in these activities along with the culture and current state of the world. While The 1975 have never been afraid to drastically change their sound album to album (even in their pre – 1975 days as Drive Like I Do, BIGSLEEP, The Slowdown, and every other name they changed themselves to in an attempt to avoid popularity), this album was definitely them branching even further away from let alone their debut album but their sophomore pop masterpiece I Like It When You Sleep… as well. Matty’s vocal effects on multiple tracks are reminiscent of Bon Iver’s 22, A Million and features lyrics spanning from love and breakups to his dark battle with heroin addiction. Adam fills every nearly every track on this album with his powerful pop leads and solos, George with his intricate drum patterns and rhythms, and Ross with his groovy bass lines to make this The 1975 record like no other.

4. Teenage Wrist – Chrome Neon Jesus 

Back in 2013, Superheaven (Daylight) released their album Jar which was my album of the year that year because I loved the “grunge” style riffs and dedication to actual new age rock without the attitude and ego I see in bands that present themselves as a “rock” band (Greta Van Fleet I’m looking at you). Teenage Wrist does the same thing Superheaven did for me and delivers an album of grunge and rock that nails a sound similar to the late 90’s band, Failure. I spent my breaks at work walking around the mall this spring and summer listening to this album wishing someone would start a grunge rock band with me and I hope this album does the same for everyone else.

5. Vein – Errorzone

As someone who grew up playing Need for Speed and Tony Hawk religiously, it makes sense why I would love this album. From start to finish, this album is packed with Nu-Metal/2000’s Hardcore riffs that are empowered by Anthony’s screaming that make  you feel like you’re in an early 2000’s horror movie modernized to be the best hardcore album of 2018. Seeing Vein grow from their early days of starting in a shared apartment with my brother to opening for Thursday has been amazing to watch and this album shows they’ve put hard work, time, and effort into writing, producing, and growing their sound continuously.

 6. Sentenced to Burn – 7 Layers of Skin


As mentioned in my Vein listing, playing Need for Speed and Tony Hawk as much as I did growing up and being indulged in the soundtracks really sparked an interest in hardcore/post hardcore/metal for me. I always loved bands like Slipknot, System of a Down, and AFI as a kid and grew up to like “true” hardcore bands such as Mindset, Champion, and Drown. I mention Drown because before Sentenced to Burn was Sentenced to Burn, they were called Drown and put out an album called Dispossession. I thoroughly enjoyed that album and was shocked when they suddenly removed Dispossession from their personal Bandcamp and basically restarted their band. Having this be their first release since that sudden change of the band, I’m more than impressed with their work. This album, much like Errorzone, is reminiscent of early 2000’s post hardcore and nu-metal with songs that are in the same vein (get it?) as Slipknot’s All Hope is Gone. 

 7. Gatherers – We Are Alive Beyond Repair


Gatherers is the best band doing straight post hardcore right now, period. Their leads and rhythms are straight to the point by being heavy and engaging, their screams are powerful, and listening to their songs gives the feeling of being in a chase dream with how the energy does not stop. Seeing them perform with Animal Flag over the summer gave listening to this album a whole other experience with their sampling, loudness, and full force energy set. If you love DECEMBERUNDERGROUND and Alexisonfire as much as I do/did growing up, this album is for you.

  8. Boston Manor – Welcome to the Neighbourhood

Everyone has a band that they write off for no real reason without listening to them fully and whether that’s something you want to admit or not, this band was unfortunately mine. I say unfortunately because this album is honestly one of the best albums to come out of the pop punk genre in the last ten years and I always wrote them off for being a pop punk band so late in the scene. The only downfall to this album is that when I listen to it, I end up listening to it on repeat at least three times and hog up listening time from other albums! I wish I was kidding with that last statement but the first time I listened to this album, I was sitting in a hospital waiting room for seven hours and became so hooked on it that I stopped working on my final project for school and just walked around Boston for three hours listening to it on repeat. It’s catchy, angsty, and full of energy to be your go to album this fall and winter.

  9. Lord Huron – Vide Noir

I love the concept of being an outlaw in the Wild West times and Lord Huron gives the perfect soundtrack to that idea. Their entire discography has been this western theme and singer/songwriter Ben Schneider excels at making you feel like you’re a part of his story while listening. Vide Noir, while following the same themes, ventures out from their typical sound to continue the story Ben in trying to tell. If their first two albums were albums were about love, romance, and seeking out a greater cause, then this album is about being on the run and escaping your past while getting lost under an open night sky somewhere in the desert. If you are like me and have been playing endlessly Red Dead Redemption 2 over the last few weeks, then give this record a spin while you act like an outlaw throughout New Hanover.

10. The Story So Far – Proper Dose


To conclude my top 10 albums list, we have The Story So Far’s new album, Proper Dose. I spent my freshman year of high school listening to Under Soil and Dirt and sophomore year listening to What You Don’t See and loved The Story So Far throughout my entire pop punk phase no matter how “entry level” it was to me. While I grew away from that scene and music, I always had a soft spot for them and a few others. This album is some of their best work and shows maturity from their earlier releases and provides an easier listening experience with tracks such as Take Me As You Please. The album has typical pop punk themes in it but the majority of it is Parker opening up about his opioid addiction. The  break they took from writing just another angsty record is noticed and much appreciated.

Honorable Mentions:

11: Hippo Campus – Bambi
12: The Midnight – Kids
13: LANY – Malibu Nights
14: Now Now – Saved
15: 6LACK – East Atlanta Love Letter
17: Failure – In the Future Your Body Will Be the Furthest Thing From Your Mind
18: Dem Yuit – Liberator
19: Portrayal of Guilt – Let Pain Be Your Guide
20: Death Cab for Cutie – Thank You for Today



1. Remo Drive – Pop Music 

Remo Drive’s three song follow up to their 2017 album Greatest Hits shows just how much they’ve improved and polished their sound in such a short time. Powered by brothers Erik and Stephan Paulson, Remo Drive are leading the pop rock game currently and with songs like Blue Ribbon, they are on the path to quickly becoming a huge hit to everyone’s ears. Keep an eye out for their album coming next year, you won’t want to miss it.

2. FV – Phantom Dance Department

Much like everyone has a band they write off without reason, everyone has a band they never got to see live. FV is that band for me. FV was a band from Pennsylvania that thrived at writing pop rock songs. They started their band off by releasing four singles titled Fake Love, Moth, 19, and SOHO before releasing their brand new EP filled with all new songs titled Phantom Dance Department. P.D.D. is a six song masterpiece that recreates the sound of The 1975’s first album with its own spin to give off the same vibe as similar band HUNNY. While FV is no longer, guitarist Sean McCall is working on his own solo project now titled twentythreenineteen (xxiiixix) and you should listen to his single Losing Touch  as well.

3. First Ghost – This Place is a Movie 

I first heard the single Burnt Out by First Ghost in spring and was immediately hooked. It was the sound of something fresh in the emo scene and I couldn’t wait for more. Well more finally came at the very end of September just in time for me to have this on repeat during the fall time. It has twinkly parts you would expect from an emo band but gives us more than the typical sound with their heavier chords in their songs and less than typical vocals. It’s a well written EP and I’m excited to see what they will deliver in the future on a full length.

4. Terrible Love – Doubt Mines

Much like I said I listened to Superheaven’s Jar in 2013 a lot, I also spent a majority of 2013 listening to Touche Amore’s Is Survived By. That polished post hardcore sound is one of my favorite types of music to listen to and Terrible Love delivers that same punch with their EP Doubt Mines. This sound is something that I find hard for a lot of bands to achieve perfectly but Terrible Love does not fail to deliver a punch while showing the listener vulnerability and invoking them to feel emotion for future listens to come.

5. The Candescents – Riverside Dr.


The debut EP Riverside Dr. by The Candescents is a little taste of whats to come from this pop rock group. They share the same label as The 1975, Pale Waves, No Rome and many others and if they’re treated how every other band that shares that label is, they’re going to be huge within the coming year. If you like catchy feel good pop rock songs than this four song EP is just the thing for you.

Honorable Mentions:

6: Chamber – Hatred Spoken Softly
7: Young Statues – Amarillo
8:Curtains – Castellate
9: Vasudeva – 3 Acoustics
10: Reveries – Reveries


Kyle Musser//@godvfwine

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