February 2019 Alt Col Picks – MILKK, Set It Off, Emarosa, & More

Plenty of great records were released in February, so here are our favorite albums and EPs of the month! (In no particular order.) Want a Spotify playlist of our favorite tunes? Click here!

Before we jump into the list proper, I wanted to give a special top feature to two EPs from a couple shining acts, both of which hail from my hometown.

  • Dream Jacuzzi – Out with the Moon

The duo Dream Jacuzzi delivers their debut EP Out with the Moon, showcasing modern indie rock with a classic tinge. Members Lucas Jackson and Josh Pastor are quite the talented musicians, both specializing in brass instruments and of course guitar. Their stellar guitar work radiates on the latest EP, taking influence from sounds of older decades and melding them with a fresh touch. Out with the Moon is sure to capture listeners of Atlas Genius, Divine Fits, and The Noise FM. Click here to listen.

  • Jules Smith – Until I’m Needed Again, I’ll Be Patient

With 6 songs each clocking in under the 3-minute mark, Jules Smith’s new EP is an easy listen but packs a punch with its emotive lyricism. The intelligent, clever, and unabashed songwriting is paired with intricate acoustic assonance; the minimalistic instrumentation allows the lyrics and vocal performance room to breathe, as well as forcing the listener to remain fixated on their own contemplation throughout the poignant experience. Until I’m Needed Again, I’ll Be Patient is bound to please followers of Casey Bolles, Lizzy Farrall, and Worst Party Ever. Click here to listen.

Also, if you would like to give my own latest EP a listen and get a free download, you can click here. It’s pretty dope. I really appreciate it. :)


  • MILKK – HEADRUSH

After releasing a couple EPs in 2018, indie pop band MILKK finally provides their debut full-length titled HEADRUSH, and it’s some of their best material to date. HEADRUSH explores topics ranging from love and heartbreak to mental health and personal struggles. MILKK offers up an intriguing mixture of musical styles—from sugary wide-eyed pop jams to rough-around-the-edges rock anthems to soulful R&B-inspired ballads, there’s something for everybody on this record. Standout tracks include “Unsaid,” “Mean to You,” “Stupid,” and “Honest.” HEADRUSH will appeal to fans of LANY, joan, and Real Cool. Click here to listen.

  • Emarosa – Peach Club

Emarosa further expands their sound on their latest project Peach Club. Peach Club displays Emarosa stepping outside their typical boundaries and into a refreshing new sound. While this slicker direction might be new for them, it certainly harkens back retrospectively to sonic tones of the ’80s. This crisp brand of glistening pop rock is one that the formerly post-hardcore band pulls off incredibly well. Standout tracks include “Cautious,” “Givin’ Up,” “Comfortable,” and “Get Back Up.” Peach Club will attract listeners of Anarbor, Honest Men, and Fickle Friends. Click here to listen.

  • Badflower – OK, I’M SICK

OK, I’M SICK, the most recent LP from Badflower, is a visceral look into frontman John Katz’s anxiety and mental health struggles. The ardent lyricism, guttural vocal delivery, and hard-hitting guitar timbre combine to craft an exuberant contemporary rock album with influences varying from ’90s grunge to Eminem to, well, Xanax. Standout tracks include “Heroin,” “x ANA x,” “Ghost,” and “Wide Eyes.” OK, I’M SICK is sure to capture fans of cleopatrick, Bleeker, and Royal Tusk. Click here to listen.

  • Set It Off – Midnight

After their underwhelming previous record Upside Down (read our full review here), Set It Off has further refined their sound for a more pleasing style of pop rock. Midnight will remind fans of their second studio album Duality, which offered a spot-on balance of pop and rock, but it’s more cultivated this time around. Buoyant guitar riffs, catchy choruses, and a bright horn section dominate Midnight, as well as the undeniable pop direction. Standout tracks include “For You Forever,” “Killer in the Mirror,” “Go to Bed Angry (feat. Wayfarers),” and “Lonely Dance.” Midnight is bound to satisfy followers of The Summer Set, All Time Low, and The Ready Set. Click here to listen.

  • Broods – Don’t Feed the Pop Monster

Indie pop brother-sister duo Broods unleashes their third long-player release, interestingly titled Don’t Feed the Pop Monster. Filled to the brim with gleaming synths, syrupy hooks, and jaunty musicality, Don’t Feed the Pop Monster is a joyous mixture of spirited indie pop and soulful songwriting. Standout tracks include “Falling Apart,” “Dust,” “Peach,” and “Hospitalized.” Don’t Feed the Pop Monster will please fans of Ryn Weaver, Maggie Rogers, and EXES. Click here to listen.

  • SWMRS – Berkeley’s on Fire

Meshing indie rock, new wave, post-punk, and pop rock all together, the latest full-length from SWMRS is certainly an intriguing listen. Berkeley’s on Fire references the 2017 Berkeley protests, giving the band a political edge and attesting to their punk roots. The album is consistently animated and there is never a dull moment to be heard. Standout tracks include “Berkeley’s on Fire,” “Trashbag Baby,” “IKEA Date,” and “Too Much Coffee.” Berkeley’s on Fire will attract followers of Remo Drive, The Frights, and Destroy Boys. Click here to listen.


MORE GREAT ALBUMS
  • ONE OK ROCK – Eye of the Storm

Standout tracks include “Stand Out Fit In,” “Wasted Nights,” and “Worst In Me.” Eye of the Storm is for fans of Set It Off, All Time Low, and 5 Seconds of Summer. Click here to listen.

  • As December Falls – As December Falls

Standout tracks include “Ride,” “One More Night,” and “I Don’t Mind.” As December Falls is for fans of Courage My Love, Mayday Parade, and Forever Starts Today. Click here to listen.

  • American Authors – Seasons

Standout tracks include “Deep Water,” “Neighborhood (feat. Bear Rinehart of NEEDTOBREATHE),” and “Bring It on Home.” Seasons is for fans of Colony House, X Ambassadors, and The Mowgli’s. Click here to listen.

  • Girlpool – What Chaos Is Imaginary

Standout tracks include “Pretty,” “Minute in Your Mind,” and “Hire.” What Chaos Is Imaginary is for fans of Diet Cig, Cherry Glazerr, and Soccer Mommy. Click here to listen.

  • Youngest of Elders – Nothing Is Wonderful

Standout tracks include “Metaphors & Maps,” “Shame Spiral,” and “Cause to Harm.” Nothing Is Wonderful is for fans of The Dangerous Summer, Driver Friendly, and Green Day. Click here to listen.

  • Threatmantics – Shadow on Your Heart

Standout tracks include “Shadow on Your Heart,” “Krystal Pystol,” and “First Things.” Shadow on Your Heart is for fans of Ought, Estrons, and Howl Griff. Click here to listen.

  • Sean McConnell – Secondhand Smoke

Standout tracks include “Here We Go,” “Rest My Head,” and “I Could Have Been an Angel.” Secondhand Smoke is for fans of Noah Guthrie, Chris DuPont, and Drew Holcomb. Click here to listen.

  • Wicca Phase Springs Eternal – Suffer On

Standout tracks include “Contact,” “Just One Thing,” and “Crushed.” Suffer On is for fans of Smrtdeath, Cold Hart, and Lil Lotus. Click here to listen.

 


Extended Plays
  • Calling All Captains – Nothing Grows Here

Standout tracks include “Chasing Ghosts” and “Out of My Head.” Nothing Grows Here is for fans of The Story So Far, Youth Fountain, and Gold Route. Click here to listen.

  • Carried Away – Start Over

Standout tracks include “Start Over” and “Whispered Riots.” Start Over is for fans of Young Culture, Gold Steps, and Bearings. Click here to listen.

  • Valensole – Imposter

Yes, purposely misspelled. Standout tracks include “Imposter” and “To the Sea.” Imposter is for fans of Foo Fighters, Hemingway, and Teenage Wrist. Click here to listen.

  • Broken Social Scene – Let’s Try the After (Vol. 1)

Standout tracks include “Boyfriends” and “Remember Me Young.” Let’s Try the After (Vol. 1) is for fans of Wolf Parade, Animal Collective, and Deerhunter. Click here to listen.

 


Featured Singles

Let us know what you think of February’s releases down in the comments below!


Our Alt Col Picks are curated lists of the best albums and EPs for each month! We keep a schedule of upcoming releases and pick our favorite ones at the end of the month, giving them a spotlight here and on Twitter. To be featured in one of our lists, hit us up on our contact page or Twitter, though nothing is guaranteed. (We occasionally include past releases, so for instance, if your album came out in June, we might be able to feature it in our post for July or August.)

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January 2019 Alt Col Picks – Bring Me the Horizon, Maggie Rogers, FEVER 333, & More

Lots of great albums were released in January, so here are our favorite records and EPs of the month! (In no particular order.) Want a Spotify playlist of our favorite tunes? Click here!

  • FEVER 333 – STRENGTH IN NUMB333RS

FEVER 333 is a quasi-supergroup. Ex-letlive. member Jason Aalon Butler contributing vocals, Aric Improta of Night Verses on drums, and ex-The Chariot member Stephen Harrison on guitar. Their debut record delivers irrepressible energy, angst, and guts through hard-hitting instrumentals and politically-charged lyricism. This hip-hop-meets-punk amalgamation is exactly the medium for their message. Standout tracks include “BURN IT,” “PREY FOR ME/3,” “OUT OF CONTROL/3,” and “ONE OF US.” STRENGTH IN NUMB333RS will appeal to fans of Dropout Kings, SHVPES, and Linkin Park. Click here to listen.

  • Bring Me the Horizon – amo

Bring Me the Horizon further expands their sound on their latest project titled amo. amo displays the ever-evolving UK rock band stepping into uncharted territories, melding polished electronic elements with gritty guitars, pounding percussion, and visceral vocal performances. Standout tracks include “MANTRA,” “in the dark,” “medicine,” and “why you gotta kick me when i’m down?” amo is sure to attract listeners of blessthefall, I See Stars, and Sleeping With Sirens. Click here to listen.

  • The Lone Ghosts – Skeleton Season

The Lone Ghosts, comprised of Wavelight members Seb and Dan, have released their debut full-length Skeleton Season. With its haunting atmosphere, chilling lyrics, raw vocal delivery, and DIY attitude, Skeleton Season will keep you coming back for repeated listens … and sob sessions. Standout tracks include “Sugar Season,” “Wasteland,” “Sad on Halloween,” and “Skeletons.” Skeleton Season is bound to satisfy followers of Preoccupations, Varsity, and Anna Burch. Click here to listen.

  • Maggie Rogers – Heard It In a Past Life

Alt-pop queen Maggie Rogers offers up her strongest material to date on the debut long-player Heard It In a Past Life, which nearly topped the Billboard charts upon release. Filled to the brim with exuberant choruses, syrupy hooks, and buoyant musicality, Heard It In a Past Life is a joyous mixture of spirited pop and soulful songwriting. Standout tracks include “Light On,” “Give a Little,” “Fallingwater,” and “Burning.” Heard It In a Past Life will please fans of HAIM, Wet, and Broods. Click here to listen.

  • Alice Merton – Mint

After the late success of her 2016 single “No Roots,” Alice Merton finally yields her debut record titled Mint. Cool, refreshing, and smooth, Mint lives up to its name with glossy grooves, velvety vocals, and danceable beats, proving that Alice Merton is here to stay. Standout tracks include “Why So Serious,” “Funny Business,” “Lash Out,” and “No Roots.” Mint will attract followers of Florence + the Machine, Jade Bird, and Jain. Click here to listen.

  • Skyward Story – Reborn

After transitioning from the pop rock/pop punk outfit 3PM to Skyward Story, the Baltimore trio recrudesces to provide Reborn, their full-length (re?)debut that defines their new tone, identity, and commission. The band hasn’t completely dispelled their rough-around-the-edges rock sound, instead blending it with a more polished, pop-centric timbre. Standout tracks include “Trading Secrets,” “Riptide,” “New Beginnings,” and “Hey!” Reborn is sure to capture listeners of All Time Low, The Click Five, and 5 Seconds of Summer. Click here to listen.


MORE GREAT ALBUMS
  • Say Anything – Oliver Appropriate

The supposedly final record from this monumental pop rock/pop punk artist. Standout tracks include “Daze,” “Send You Off,” and “Pink Snot.” Oliver Appropriate is for fans of Motion City Soundtrack, The Starting Line, and Bayside. Click here to listen.

  • Born of Osiris – The Simulation

Standout tracks include “The Accursed,” “Under the Gun,” and “Cycles of Tragedy.” The Simulation is for fans of Chelsea Grin, Within the Ruins, and Veil of Maya. Click here to listen.

 

  • CommonWealth – Everyone Around Me

Standout tracks include “Fear,” “Vinyl,” and “Runaway.” Everyone Around Me is for fans of Movements, Glass Tides, and Valleyheart. Click here to listen.

  • Frozen Shores – Haven

Standout tracks include “Blood Box,” “Night Terrors,” and “Senses.” Haven will interest fans of LEDGES, Bombay Bicycle Club, and Crafted. Click here to listen.

 

  • The Twilight Sad – It Won/t Be Like This All the Time

Standout tracks include “VTr,” “Keep It All to Myself,” and “Videograms.” It Won/t Be Like This All the Time is for fans of The Smiths, Frightened Rabbit, and Idlewild. Click here to listen.

  • Afterlife – Breaking Point

Standout tracks include “Throat,” “Giving Back the Pain,” and “Holding On.” Breaking Point is for fans of Cane Hill, Sylar, and My Enemies & I. Click here to listen.

 


Extended Plays
  • dodie – Human

After over four years, singer/songwriter dodie (of YouTube fame) finally blesses us with a studio version of “She.” Standout tracks include “She” and “If I’m Being Honest.” Human is for fans of Julien Baker, Layla, and Fleurie. Click here to listen.

  • Naked Giants – Green Fuzz

Standout tracks include “Green Fuzz” and “That’s Who’s Really Pointing at Me.” Green Fuzz is for fans of Remo Drive, Daddy Issues, and Lady Legs. Click here to listen.

  • Young Culture – (This Is) Heaven

Standout tracks include “Breathe It In” and “Drift.” (This Is) Heaven is for fans of Dear Youth, The Happy Alright, and You vs. Yesterday. Click here to listen.

  • Lostboycrow – Santa Fe…Orange Juice

Standout tracks include “Orange Juice” and “Waste of Time.” Santa Fe…Orange Juice is for fans of Lauv, EXES, and ayokay. Click here to listen.

 


Let us know what you think of January’s releases down in the comments below!


Our Alt Col Picks are curated lists of the best albums and EPs for each month! We keep a schedule of upcoming releases and pick our favorite ones at the end of the month, giving them a spotlight here and on Twitter. To be featured in one of our lists, hit us up on our contact page or Twitter, though nothing is guaranteed. (We rarely make exceptions to include past releases, so if your album came out in June, we might be hesitant to include it in July or August, for instance.)

Best Albums of 2018 – 5 Seconds of Summer, LANY, The Aces, & More

While 2018 offered up a multitude of mediocre and disappointing albums, a few gems shone through the rough. Here are our best albums of 2018!

Honorable Mentions

  • twenty one pilots – Trench
  • Snail Mail – Lush
  • The Dangerous Summer – The Dangerous Summer
  • Boston Manor – Welcome to the Neighbourhood
  • With Confidence – Love & Loathing
  • Now, Now – Saved
  • The Story So Far – Proper Dose
  • As It Is – The Great Depression
  • Mayday Parade – Sunnyland
  • Trophy Eyes – The American Dream

Let’s get into it…

8. Ryan Beatty – Boy in Jeans

Imagine if Lorde’s Pure Heroine was written instead by a gay boy who is slightly horny and possibly high. Yeah, that would be Ryan Beatty’s debut record Boy in Jeans. Mixing carefree pop with soulful R&B, Ryan Beatty crafts an album that speaks volumes of youth, heartbreak, love, and just having some fun. Standout tracks include “Powerslide,” “Haircut,” “Speed,” and “Flash.” Boy in Jeans will capture listeners of Lorde, Daniel Caesar, and Conan Gray. Click here to listen.

7. Waterparks – Entertainment

Waterparks’ unique blend of pop punk and electronic power pop is expanded upon and further refined on their sophomore effort EntertainmentEntertainment is undoubtedly entertaining between its anthemic choruses, syrupy synth melodies, and crunchy guitar riffs. Standout tracks include “Blonde,” “Not Warriors,” “We Need to Talk,” and “Rare.” Entertainment is bound to please followers of As It Is, Against the Current, and PVRIS. Click here to listen.

6. Florence + the Machine – High As Hope

Florence Welch provides her most personal and vulnerable material to date on Florence + the Machine’s fourth studio album High As HopeHigh As Hope is outlined by organic instrumentation, luscious background vocals, and the powerhouse delivery of Welch, but the most compelling aspect of this release is her raw, emotional exposition. Standout tracks include “Hunger,” “Sky Full of Song,” “Patricia,” and “Big God.” High As Hope is sure to attract listeners of Alice Merton, London Grammar, and Lily Allen. Click here to listen.

5. Fickle Friends – You Are Someone Else

The colorful, glistening indie pop rock of Fickle Friends’ You Are Someone Else is entrancing and consistently replayable. The band’s debut record is defined by smooth electropop and scintillating guitar melodies, melding contemporary sounds with a throwback attitude. And gosh, the bass grooves will get stuck in your head for days! Standout tracks include “Glue,” “Brooklyn,” “Say No More,” and “Paris.” You Are Someone Else will appeal to fans of The Aces, Paramore’s After Laughter, and The 1975’s I like it when you sleepClick here to listen.

4. Charlie Puth – Voicenotes

Charlie Puth has always displayed an element of retrospective influences in his sound, but Voicenotes is a drastic change from his previous outing. Trading doo-wop harmonies and antiquated piano ballads for uptempo ’80s pop rock jams and dark R&B moments, Voicenotes is a multidimensional pop record with plenty to offer to diverse audiences. Standout tracks include “Empty Cups,” “Somebody Told Me,” “BOY,” and “The Way I Am.” Voicenotes will capture listeners of New Edition, Breakbot, and ZAYN. Click here to listen.

3. The Aces – When My Heart Felt Volcanic

The vibrant, shimmery indie pop rock of The Aces’ When My Heart Felt Volcanic is captivating and undeniably fun. This debut full-length is characterized by ’80s-influenced guitar timbre and catchy songwriting, blending the ever-present throwback elements with fresh, modern-day production. Standout tracks include “Just Like That,” “Strong Enough,” “Last One,” and “Lovin’ Is Bible.” When My Heart Felt Volcanic will appeal to fans of Paramore’s After Laughter, Fickle Friends, and Scavenger Hunt. Click here to listen.

2. LANY – Malibu Nights

LANY’s sophomore record Malibu Nights arrives just one year after their self-titled debut but is decisively more improved. Trimming down the album to just 9 tracks, the album feels more cohesive and refined compared to its 16-track predecessor. Malibu Nights shares a tale of heartbreak and confusion, and while not a single song on this record is totally cheerful, you will be shouting along to the upbeat choruses and crying your eyes out to the gut-wrenching piano ballads after just a couple spins. Standout tracks include “Thick and Thin,” “Taking Me Back,” “Let Me Know,” and “Malibu Nights.” Malibu Nights is bound to interest followers of joan, MILKK, and COIN. Click here to listen.

1. 5 Seconds of Summer – Youngblood

After nearly three years, 5SOS recrudesces to deliver their most experimental and mature record yet. Youngblood is expertly characterized by moody guitar melodies, pensive atmosphere, and stellar vocal performances contributed by all members of the band. Catchy, instantly replayable, and downright interesting, Youngblood is our album of the year. Standout tracks include “Babylon,” “Better Man,” “Midnight,” “Talk Fast,” and “Moving Along,” but every song is amazing! Youngblood will appeal to listeners of All Time Low, The Vamps, Fall Out Boy, and Imagine Dragons. Click here to listen. I mean, was this a surprise to anyone? I literally got a custom necklace made over this album.

 


Let us know your favorite albums of the year in the comments below!