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!


August 2018 Alt Col Picks – lovelytheband, With Confidence, As It Is, & More

Plenty of great records were released in August, so here are our favorite albums, EPs, and singles of the month! (In no particular order.)

This month’s list will be heavily abbreviated. I apologize in advance.

  • With Confidence – Love & Loathing

A fabulous pop punk record filled to the brim with energy and emotion. Standout tracks include “That Something,” “Spinning,” “Moving Boxes,” and “Jaded.” Love & Loathing will capture listeners of All Time Low, State Champs, and Broadside. Click here to listen.

  • Trophy Eyes – The American Dream

Quite a stylistic transition from their previous outing, The American Dream offers a brighter, more upbeat display of Trophy Eyes. Standout tracks include “Friday Forever,” “You Can Count On Me,” “Lavender Bay,” and “Autumn.” The American Dream will appeal to fans of Like Pacific, Grayscale, and Homesafe. Click here to listen.

  • As It Is – The Great Depression

Just about a year and a half after their 2017 record, As It Is delivers a refreshingly dark album, a haunting commentary on mental health, interpersonal struggles, and social norms. Standout tracks include “The Wounded World,” “The Truth I’ll Never Tell,” “The Stigma (Boys Don’t Cry),” and “The Fire, the Dark.” The Great Depression is bound to satisfy followers of Oh, Weatherly, Story Untold, and WSTR. Click here to listen.

  • lovelytheband – Finding It Hard to Smile

~~~cool LA vibes, bro~~~ Standout tracks include “Make Believe,” “Maybe, I’m Afraid,” “Stupid Mistakes,” and “Coachella.” Finding It Hard to Smile is sure to attract listeners of Beach Weather, Tilian, Anarbor’s recent material, and joan. Click here to listen.

  • WSTR – Identity Crisis

Another quick album turnout, WSTR recrudesces on Identity Crisis with more exhilarating pop punk anthems. Standout tracks include “Bad to the Bone,” “Silly Me,” “Crisis,” and “Hide Everything Sharp.” Identity Crisis is for fans of ROAM, Seaway, and Neck Deep. Click here to listen.

  • Vinyl Theatre – Starcruiser

After escaping the neglect of Fueled By Ramen, Vinyl Theatre blows everything out of the water with Starcruiser, an album chocked full of experimental sounds and blazing hooks. Standout tracks include “Feel It All,” “We Make the Music,” “Our Song,” and “Done With These Days.” Starcruiser will attract followers of COIN, twenty one pilots, and Night Riots. Click here to listen.

  • Deaf Havana – Rituals

Yet another fast release and stylistic shift. Deaf Havana’s Rituals steps outside their typical rock boundaries to serve a polished, pop rock sound with electronic elements and poppy hooks. Standout tracks include “Sinner,” “Holy,” “Heaven,” and “Hell.” Rituals is sure to satisfy fans of Anarbor, PVRIS, and LANY. Click here to listen.

  • Belmont – Belmont

Belmont’s debut self-titled record is a hard-hitting pop punk project with a bit of a harsher tone than most. Standout tracks include “Hollowed Out,” “BMC,” “Empty,” and “Pushing Daisies.” Belmont will appeal to followers of Trash Boat, WSTR, and Like Pacific. Click here to listen.


Click to listen.

Extended Plays

Click to listen.

Featured Singles

Click to listen.

Let us know what you think of August’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.)

May 2018 Alt Col Picks – Arctic Monkeys, Parquet Courts, CHVRCHES, & More

A lot of great albums were released in May, so here are our favorite records of the month! (In no particular order.) Want a Spotify playlist? Click here!

  • Lake Street Dive – Free Yourself Up

After issuing a handful of sparkling indie blues rock albums, Lake Street Dive releases another fantastic addition to their victory streak with Free Yourself Up, characterized by soulful vocals and tastefully rough-around-the-edges instrumentals. Standout tracks include “Good Kisser,” “Dude,” “Hang On,” and “Baby, Don’t Leave Me Alone With My Thoughts.” Free Yourself Up will appeal to fans of Muddy Magnolias, Empty Houses, and St. Paul & The Broken Bones. Click here to listen.

  • Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

For their sixth studio record, Arctic Monkeys steps out of their traditional wheelhouse for a lounge-y, nonchalant smooth rock timbre with Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, seasoned with prickly guitar melodies and psychedelic vocal delivery. Standout tracks include “Four Out of Five,” “Star Treatment,” and “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino.” Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino is bound to satisfy followers of The Kooks, The Last Shadow Puppets, and Bloc Party. Click here to listen.

  • Shinedown – Attention Attention

In an era where most popular rock bands aim for a more poppy, mainstream radio-friendly sound, Shinedown turns the other direction and unleashes a ripping, hard-hitting, pure rock record with soaring choruses and granular guitar riffs. Standout tracks include “DEVIL,” “ATTENTION ATTENTION,” “MONSTERS,” and “THE HUMAN RADIO.” Attention Attention is sure to attract listeners of Breaking Benjamin, Daughtry, and Three Days Grace. Click here to listen.

  • Parquet Courts – Wide Awake!

Parquet Courts’ seventh studio record Wide Awake! is nothing short of a dream. With funky melodies, nuanced synths and effects, and a sense of urgency, Wide Awake! will shake you right awake with the first listen. Standout tracks include “Wide Awake,” “Almost Had to Start a Fight/In and Out of Patience,” and “Before the Water Gets Too High.” Wide Awake! will interest fans of Protomartyr, The Vaccines, and The Wombats. Click here to listen.

  • Now, Now – Saved

Six years after their previous full-length Threads, Now, Now returns with Saved, a record that cements their indie rock style through playful tunes like “SGL” and moodier moments like “Can’t Help Myself.” The amalgamation of emo-tinged alt-rock and smooth synth pop makes for a delectable and endlessly replayable album. Standout tracks include “SGL,” “Yours,” “Set It Free,” and “Can’t Help Myself.” Saved will capture followers of Pinkish Blu, Anarbor, and The Aces. Click here to listen.

  • courtship. – Denial in Paradise

courtship.’s debut LP Denial in Paradise is an undeniably fabulous indie pop slice of paradise for the summer. The cascading guitar melodies and glistening synths combine with the unique percussion and hypnotic vocal performances to craft a breezy, sunny record worth countless listens. Standout tracks include “Nice Guy,” “Bad Fun,” “The Kind of Woman,” and “Sunroof.” Denial in Paradise is sure to satisfy listeners of HONNE, Smallpools, and COIN. Click here to listen.

  • CHVRCHES – Love Is Dead

CHVRCHES recrudesces with another dazzling indie pop full-length on Love Is Dead. Between scintillating synth lines and anthemic refrains, Love Is Dead also provides social commentary, self-reflection, and underlying angst to tie the explosive package altogether. Standout tracks include “Get Out,” “Graffiti,” “Miracle,” and “Deliverance.” Love Is Dead will appeal to followers of Broods, Shura, and Purity Ring. Click here to listen.

  • Beach House – 7

Aptly titled 7, Beach House’s seventh record is a hazy listen defined by surging walls of reverb and foggy atmosphere, complemented by meditative lyricism to make for a dreamy indie rock/pop album perfect for a lazy summer afternoon. Standout tracks include “Dark Spring,” “Dive,” “L’Inconnue,” and “Lemon Glow.” 7 will attract fans of Perfume Genius, Real Estate, and Grouper. Click here to listen.

  • Honey, Be Well – These Emo Kids and Their Damn Polaroids

Standout tracks include “Secret Agent Michael Scarn,” “I Wanna Go Home,” and “Enough for You.” These Emo Kids and Their Damn Polaroids is for fans of Modern Baseball, Joyce Manor, and The Front Bottoms. Click here to listen.

  • Dream On Dreamer – It Comes and Goes

Standout tracks include “Stay,” “Let It In,” and “Runaway.” It Comes and Goes is for fans of The Word Alive, Hands Like Houses, and I See Stars. Click here to listen.

  • Frank Turner – Be More Kind

Standout tracks include “Be More Kind,” “Blackout,” and “Make America Great Again.” Be More Kind is for fans of Brian Fallon, Dave Hause, and Beans On Toast. Click here to listen.

  • James Bay – Electric Light

Standout tracks include “Pink Lemonade,” “Sugar Drunk High,” and “Wild Love.” Electric Light is for fans of George Ezra, Hozier, and Vance Joy. Click here to listen.

  • Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel

Standout tracks include “Crippling Self-Doubt and a General Lack of Confidence,” “Need a Little Time,” and “City Looks Pretty.” Tell Me How You Really Feel is for fans of Kurt Vile, Soccer Mommy, and Snail Mail. Click here to listen.

  • TT – LoveLaws

Standout tracks include “Love Leaks,” “The Dream,” and “I’ve Been Fine.” LoveLaws is for fans of The Japanese House, Anna Burch, and Sunflower Bean. Click here to listen.

  • The Word Alive – Violent Noise

Standout tracks include “Red Clouds,” “Human (ft. Sincerely Collins),” and “Why Am I Like This?”  Violent Noise is for fans of Miss May I, blessthefall, and The Color Morale. Click here to listen.

  • Remember Sports – Slow Buzz

Standout tracks include “No Going Back,” “Up From Below,” and “Pull Through.” Slow Buzz is for fans of Ratboys, Dude York, and Diet Cig. Click here to listen.

  • The Sidekicks – Happiness Hours

Standout tracks include “Weed Tent,” “Twin’s Twist,” and “Don’t Feel Like Dancing.” Happiness Hours is for fans of Cheap Girls, Wild Nothing, and The Menzingers. Click here to listen.

  • At the Gates – To Drink From the Night Itself

Standout tracks include “Daggers of Black Haze,” “To Drink From the Night Itself,” and “The Mirror Black.” To Drink From the Night Itself is for fans of Dark Tranquility, Hypocrisy, and In Flames. Click here to listen.

  • Elder Brother – Stay Inside

Standout tracks include “Weak Days,” “You & Me Forever,” and “Sway.” Stay Inside is for fans of Daisyhead, Head North, and Chase Huglin. Click here to listen.

  • Chase Huglin – Will the Sun Ever Come Back

Standout tracks include “Pennies,” “Heaven Come My Way,” and “90 Days of Summer.” Will the Sun Ever Come Back is for fans of Mat Kerekes, McCafferty, and Elder Brother. Click here to listen.

  • Middle Kids – Lost Friends

Standout tracks include “Mistake,” “Bought It,” and “On My Knees.” Lost Friends is for fans of Methyl Ethel, Camp Cope, and Varsity. Click here to listen.

  • Parkway Drive – Reverence

Standout tracks include “The Void,” “Prey,” and “Wishing Wells.” Reverence is for fans of Miss May I, The Devil Wears Prada, and Architects. Click here to listen.

  • Strung Out – Black Out the Sky

Standout tracks include “Town of Corazon,” “Requiem,” and “Black Out the Sky.” Black Out the Sky is for fans of Face to Face, Ten Foot Pole, and Good Riddance. Click here to listen.

  • Iceage – Beyondless

Standout tracks include “Catch It,” “Pain Killer (ft. Sky Ferreira),” and “Take It All.” Beyondless is for fans of Ought, Preoccupations, and IDLES. Click here to listen.


Extended Plays
  • Honest Men – Honest Men

Standout tracks include “Mad Love” and “Lose My Head.” Honest Men is for fans of COIN, Bad Suns, and The Ivy. Click here to listen.

  • DALES – Demos

Standout tracks include “Bulletproof” and “Young for the Summer.” Demos is for fans of Go Radio, The Maine, and The Summer Set. Click here to listen.

  • Somme – Somme

Standout tracks include “Holding On to You” and “Ordinary Fools.” Somme is for fans of Clairo, Ally Hills, and LAYNE. Click here to listen.

  • Clairo – diary 001

Standout tracks include “Pretty Girl” and “4EVER.” diary 001 is for fans of Temporex, boy pablo, and SALES. Click here to listen.

  • Jeremy Zucker – glisten

Standout tracks include “all the kids are depressed” and “better off.” glisten is for fans of EDEN, gnash, and nothing,nowhere. Click here to listen.

  • The Front Bottoms – Ann

Standout tracks include “Tie Dye Dragon” and “Somebody Else.” Ann is for fans of Joyce Manor, Tigers Jaw, and Modern Baseball. Click here to listen.

  • Times Like These – Take It or Leave It

Standout tracks include “Pipe Bomb” and “Passing Cars.” Take It or Leave It is for fans of Face Value, The Gospel Youth, and Every Avenue. Click here to listen.

  • HalfNoise – Flowerss

Standout tracks include “All That Love Is” and “Flowerss.” Flowerss is for fans of Now, Now, Beach Weather, and Paramore. Click here to listen.

  • Pridelands – Any Colour You Desire

Standout tracks include “Slowly” and “The Sulfur Inside Your Hell.” Any Colour You Desire is for fans of Belle Haven, Tapestry, and Apate. Click here to listen.

  • Dream State – Recovery

Standout tracks include “White Lies” and “New Waves.” Recovery is for fans of Picturesque, Greywind, and Thousand Below. Click here to listen.

  • emoceans – Lost in Love

Standout tracks include “I Give Myself to You” and “I Swear.” Lost in Love is for fans of blackbear, gnash, and Bazzi. Click here to listen.

  • Late Night Bull Fight – Something Doesn’t Add Up

Standout tracks include “Superhuman” and “Slow Your Roll.” Something Doesn’t Add Up is for fans of Mt. Joy, Pacific Radio, and Naked Giants. Click here to listen.


Featured Singles

Let us know what you think of May’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.)