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!


January 2018 Alt Col Picks

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

  • The Dangerous Summer – The Dangerous Summer

The Dangerous Summer returns from their nearly 5-year-long hiatus to unleash their fiery self-titled record, proving they still have the poignancy and musicianship to deliver another outstanding full-length. The Dangerous Summer is intense, emotional, and hard-hitting, both lyrically and musically. Standout tracks include “Fire,” “Ghosts,” and “When I Get Home.” The Dangerous Summer will appeal to fans of The Wonder Years, Sorority Noise, and The Gaslight Anthem. Click here to listen.

  • Waterparks – Entertainment

Waterparks’ unique blend of pop punk and electronic power pop is expanded upon and further refined on their sophomore effort Entertainment. Entertainment 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 sure to attract followers of As It Is, Against the Current, and PVRIS. Click here to listen.

  • Dream Wife – Dream Wife

Raucous guitar work, blazing vocal performances, and punchy lyricism define the debut long-player from the genre-fusing band Dream Wife. Dream Wife amalgamates garage rock, pop, and punk with their riot-inducing songwriting to create a fierce mixture of empowering attitude and kickass stamina. Standout tracks include “Let’s Make Out,” “Hey Heartbreaker,” and “Somebody.” Dream Wife is sure to satisfy followers of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, girlpool, and The Sounds. Click here to listen.

  • Tonight Alive – Underworld

Tonight Alive recrudesces with their trademark variety of heavy pop rock and powerful vocals, and Underworld captures their strengths better than ever before. Bombastic anthems and searing slow burners give Underworld diversity, and the real spotlight goes to Jenna McDougall’s stellar choral abilities. Standout tracks include “Disappear (feat. Lynn Gunn of PVRIS),” “Temple,” and “Crack My Heart.” Underworld will capture listeners of Mallory Knox, Deaf Havana, and PVRIS. Click here to listen.

  • Phillip Phillips – Collateral

American Idol winner Phillip Phillips cemented himself as one of the few musicians who really “makes it” post-Idol by scoring big radio hits through his authentic brand of folk pop with inflections of rock sprinkled throughout. On Collateral, Phillips flexes his rock edge to the fullest extent and crafts a solid pop rock record bound to interest a wide array of audiences. Standout tracks include “Miles,” “Magnetic,” “My Name,” and “Sand Castles.” Collateral is sure to interest fans of Daughtry, The Fray, and Pearl Jam. Click here to listen.

  • EDEN – vertigo

The organic instrumentation combined with electronic elements elevates EDEN’s debut full-length vertigo to exciting and refreshing heights. With catchy synth hooks and mellow acoustic guitar timbres, vertigo offers something new and yet something for everyone on each track. Standout tracks include “gold,” “crash,” “take care,” and “start//end.” vertigo will appeal to listeners of Lauv, gnash, and FAMY. Click here to listen.

  • The Academic – Tales From the Backseat

Colorful guitar melodies and vibrant production melds with passionate lyricism and infectious vocal hooks to craft The Academic’s indie rock freshman release Tales From the Backseat. Tales has a youthful attitude about it, offering up carefree anthems ready for summer drives with the windows down. Standout tracks include “Different,” “Bear Claws,” and “Fake ID.” Tales From the Backseat is bound to attract listeners of Walk the Moon, Grouplove, and WATERS. Click here to listen.

  • BØRNS – Blue Madonna

Smooth electro-pop artist BØRNS cultivates another outstanding record filled to the brim with energy and style. Blue Madonna showcases the singer exercising his slick falsetto and pop sensibility in a daydreamy soundscape composed of electrifying synths and saccharine guitar work. Standout tracks include “Faded Heart,” “God Save Our Young Blood,” and “Sweet Dreams.” Blue Madonna will capture fans of Saint Motel, Broods, and MisterWives. Click here to listen.

  • Fall Out Boy – M A  N   I    A

Standout tracks include “The Last of the Real Ones,” “Heaven’s Gate,” and “Hold Me Tight or Don’t.” M A  N   I    A is for fans of Panic! at the Disco, Set It Off, and New Politics. Click here to listen.

  • Tiny Moving Parts – Swell

Standout tracks include “Caution,” “Applause,” and “Wildfire.” Swell is for fans of Seaway, Modern Baseball, and Knuckle Puck. Click here to listen.

  • Porches – The House

Standout tracks include “Find Me,” “W Longing,” and “Leave the House.” The House is for fans of LANY, Wild Ones, and Heart of Gold. Click here to listen.

  • Super Whatevr – Never Nothing

Standout tracks include “For You,” “Telelelevision,” and “Bloomfield.” Never Nothing is for fans of The Technicolors, Vinyl Theatre, and Catfish & the Bottlemen. Click here to listen.

  • Speak Low If You Speak Love – Nearsighted

Standout tracks include “Enough,” “Contrasting Colors,” and “Cannot Have It All.” Nearsighted is for fans of The Middle Ground, Hussey, and Faces Like Flint. Click here to listen.

  • First Aid Kit – Ruins

Standout tracks include “Fireworks,” “It’s a Shame,” and “Ruins.” Ruins is for fans of Great Lake Swimmers, The Head and the Heart, and Chris DuPont. Click here to listen.

  • Into the Great Divide – Into the Great Divide

Standout tracks include “Chapter 4: Tests & Enemies,” “Chapter 5: Challenge Accepted,” and “Chapter 2: A Call to Adventure.” Into the Great Divide is for fans of Saor, Kauan, and Nechochwen. Click here to listen.

  • Anderson East – Encore

Standout tracks include “All On My Mind,” “Girlfriend,” and “Cabinet Door.” Encore is for fans of St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Muddy Magnolias, and Hozier. Click here to listen.

  • Young Dreams – Waves 2 You

Standout tracks include “Wildwind,” “My Brain On Love,” and “Somebody Else.” Waves 2 You is for fans of Passion Pit, Mutemath, and Bloody Beach. Click here to listen.

  • Moon Taxi – Let the Record Play

Standout tracks include “Two High,” “Not Too Late,” and “Keep Me Coming.” Let the Record Play is for fans of The Colourist, COIN, and The Mowgli’s. Click here to listen.

  • Django Django – Marble Skies

Image result for django django marble skies

Standout tracks include “Beam Me Up,” “Tic Tac Toe,” and “Marble Skies.” Marble Skies is for fans of Young Dreams, Franz Ferdinand, and Chairlift. Click here to listen.

  • Of Mice & Men – Defy

Standout tracks include “Defy,” “Back to Me,” and “Warzone.”  Defy is for fans of Crown the Empire, Memphis May Fire, and We As Human. Click here to listen.

  • They Might Be Giants – I Like Fun

Standout tracks include “I Left My Body,” “Let’s Get This Over With,” and “Push Back the Hands.” I Like Fun is for fans of The Long Winters, Ok Go, and The Mountain Goats. Click here to listen.

  • Cane Hill – Too Far Gone

Standout tracks include “Lord of Flies,” “Too Far Gone,” and “It Follows.” Too Far Gone is for fans of Beartooth, Sworn In, and Of Mice & Men. Click here to listen.


Extended Plays
  • Zoology – Bloom

Chill, guitar-driven indie pop. (DEFINITELY worth your time.) Standout tracks include “100°,” “Portland,” and “Waterfalls.” Bloom is for fans of pineview, Petit Biscuit, and Anna of the North. Click here to listen.

  • The Neighbourhood – To Imagine

Standout tracks include “Scary Love” and “Compass.” To Imagine is for fans of Lauv, LANY, and, like, blackbear…? Click here to listen.

  • Lizzy Farrall – All I Said Was Never Heard

Standout tracks include “Broken Toy and “Better With.” All I Said Was Never Heard is for fans of Gardenhead, Julien Baker, and The Accidentals. Click here to listen.

  • Persei – 117 Whatever Street

Standout tracks include “Sanity and “Mess.” 117 Whatever Street is for fans of Welman, LEDGES, and First Time In Color. Click here to listen.

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

2017 Year-End Roundup

Alright, so the big album-related lists from 2017 are out of the way (Best Albums & “Worst” Albums), so let’s jump into some more year-end lists! Let’s start with best songs. We’re gonna blow through the majority of these and then talk about the list-toppers a bit more in detail. Keep in mind this is all my personal opinion and you’re free to disagree! Let me know your favorite songs of 2017 down in the comments below.

Best Songs of 2017

  1. “All the Land Glimmered” by Julie Byrne
  2. “No Halo” by Sorority Noise
  3. “Main Attraction” by Sincerely, Me
  4. “Hiccups” by WATERS
  5. “Get By” by Real Friends
  6. “All” by Joseph
  7. “Better Off” by 7 Minutes in Heaven
  8. “Cannot Do This Alone” by Colony House
  9. “New York” by LEDGES
  10. “Take What You Want (feat. 5 Seconds of Summer)” by ONE OK ROCK
  11. “Feel Good” by Neon Trees
  12. “Apartment” by Seaway
  13. “The Last of the Real Ones” by Fall Out Boy
  14. “Paradise” by Broadside
  15. “Okay” by As It Is
  16. “Certainty” by Seasonal
  17. “What’s Wrong” by PVRIS
  18. “Sold” by Heavy Things
  19. “Caroline” by A Will Away
  20. “Everything You Want Me to Be” by Coldfront
  21. “Young for the Summer” by DALES
  22. “Celebrate the Reckless” by Magic Giant
  23. “The Fog” by LAYNE
  24. “Kids” by The Gospel Youth
  25. “Feelings” by Hayley Kiyoko
  26. “Don’t Take the Money” by Bleachers
  27. “Last Young Renegade” by All Time Low
  28. “The Breakup” by LANY
  29. “Slow Burn” by State Champs
  30. “Lookers” by The Menzingers
  31. “Fire” by The Dangerous Summer
  32. “In the Middle of It All” by Citizen
  33. “Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles
  34. “Tiger Teeth” by Walk the Moon
  35. “Daylily” by Movements
  36. “Hiding With Boys” by Creeper
  37. “Liability” by Lorde
  38. “Beautiful Things” by Grayscale
  39. “Black Butterflies & Déjà Vu” by The Maine
  40. “Fake Happy” by Paramore

That’s it! My top choice is “Fake Happy” by Paramore because I found myself constantly coming back to this song and loving it more and more every time. The lyrics are amazingly well-written and give such an awesome commentary, and the melodies in this song are absolutely stellar. “Black Butterflies & Déjà Vu” is my second pick because this song is so emotionally-charged and “gives me all the feels,” if you will. The instrumental is fantastic and the guitar melody is always stuck in my head on repeat. “Beautiful Things” by Grayscale is next on the list due to its heartfelt lyrics and spectacular vocal performance, along with that catchy hook! “Liability” by Lorde is a song that I can personally relate to and is such a moving piano ballad, which is quite out-of-the-ordinary for Lorde. “Hiding With Boys” is an epic rock tune outlined by smoky nostalgia and heart-rending lyrics that makes me feel some type of way. “Daylily” by Movements also makes me … feel something … and is such a poignant song between its raspy, impassioned vocals and raw instrumentals. I’ve been waiting for a studio version of “Tiger Teeth” by Walk the Moon for AGES and we finally got it! It definitely lives up to and even surpasses the live recordings of this atmospheric, emotional tune. “Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles isn’t what most fans expected from him, but my God, this monumental power ballad the best thing we could’ve ever dreamed of getting from this former boy band member. All of my top picks have something in common: they all made me feel. I don’t mean to get sappy, but that’s why I love music, it makes me feel things.

Best EPs of 2017

  1. Fade by Cold Climb It
  2. Likes Me Like That by Over Atlantic
  3. Aesthetically Pleasing by Sincerely, Me
  4. Do You Feel the Same Way Now? by Forbidden Envy
  5. Best When In Motion by Life Lessons
  6. Bloom by Seasonal
  7. Symmetry by 7 Minutes in Heaven
  8. Hard by The Neighbourhood
  9. Without You by pineview
  10. Wednesday by LAYNE

Click the links to read what we have to say about these EPs!

Best Debut Albums of 2017

  1. Totem by Welman
  2. AM/PM by The White Noise
  3. Lovely Domestic Bliss by Guide Dog
  4. Prosper by Gold Route
  5. Love Jail by Julia Louise
  6. Tasha Sits Close to the Piano by Jaws of Love.
  7. Homecoming by LEDGES
  8. Busybody Lazybones by Woolbright
  9. Landmark by Hippo Campus
  10. Red, Green, or Inbetween by WSTR
  11. Fail You Again by Can’t Swim
  12. Float Around by Coldfront
  13. Overexposed by Sleep On It
  14. Coast Modern by Coast Modern
  15. Always Lose by The Gospel Youth
  16. The Heights by Knox Hamilton
  17. Dreamcar by Dreamcar
  18. Cigarettes After Sex by Cigarettes After Sex
  19. Greatest Hits by Remo Drive
  20. Here Again by A Will Away
  21. In the Wind by Magic Giant
  22. Eternity, In Your Arms by Creeper
  23. LANY by LANY
  24. Feel Something by Movements
  25. Harry Styles by Harry Styles

Click the links to read what we have to say about each of these albums!

Most Underrated/Overlooked Albums of 2017

  1. Apprise. Assemble. Arise. by Concealed in Clouds
  2. Enjoy the Great Outdoors by Spencer Radcliffe & Everyone Else
  3. Odyssey by The Accidentals
  4. Swear I’m Good At This by Diet Cig
  5. Fever Dream by Everything Everything
  6. Sincerely by Dude York
  7. Telephone by Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas
  8. Waiting on the Sun by Jule Vera
  9. Bear Your Mind by Free Throw
  10. come out, you’re hiding by flor
  11. Connect the Dots by MisterWives
  12. Make the Best of It by Have Mercy
  13. For Posterity by Dryjacket
  14. Overexposed by Sleep On It (ironic title)
  15. Vultures by Dead Leaves
  16. Orc by Oh Sees
  17. Chew by Muskets
  18. Hurts So Good by The Polarity
  19. The Same View With a New Light by WATERMEDOWN
  20. Easy by The Weeks
  21. Homecoming by LEDGES
  22. The Love You Let Too Close by Thousand Below
  23. The Good Life by Makeout
  24. Stranger in the Alps by Phoebe Bridgers
  25. Tasha Sits Close to the Piano by Jaws of Love.
  26. Waiting for Morning to Come by Being As An Ocean
  27. Totem by Welman
  28. Not Even Happiness by Julie Byrne
  29. Always Hope by Forever Starts Today
  30. Float Around by Coldfront
  31. Camp Cope by Camp Cope
  32. Busybody Lazybones by Woolbright
  33. Metaphysical by The Technicolors
  34. Landmark by Hippo Campus
  35. Content by Joywave
  36. The Heights by Knox Hamilton
  37. Goner by Heavy Things
  38. Dreamcar by Dreamcar
  39. Volcano by Temples
  40. In the Wind by Magic Giant
  41. Awkward Phase by Eternal Boy
  42. Coast Modern by Coast Modern
  43. Here Again by A Will Away
  44. Back to Beautiful by Picturesque
  45. Diverge by Hawking
  46. Something More! by WATERS
  47. All These Countless Nights by Deaf Havana
  48. Synesthesia by Courage My Love
  49. Origami by Vinyl Theatre
  50. After the Party by The Menzingers

Click the links to read what we have to say about each of these albums!

Those are all the lists we have for 2017! Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below. Thanks for reading!