Monday, January 14, 2019

Year-end Recommendations 2018

2018 was a rather interesting and bountiful year in terms of good records. In fact, my Top Three albums all came from totally unexpected sources, with two of the bands being totally new to me, and the other not having released a record in five years or so.  Even taking the Top Ten out of matters, there was still a lot of good gear - and especially when you consider some of the releases I still haven't heard like the new albums by both THE DAMNED and THE DWARVES to name but two, and the TOYS THAT KILL/ IRON CHIC split. 
Also discovered Dirt Cult Records this year. The Portland label hasn't put out a bad release from the multitude I've heard and there is great variation among them too. Genuinely inspiring stuff. Great people to deal with too.
There were some stunning compilation boxsets released too with Cherry Red in particular pulling out all the stops on their ever-continuing run of thoroughly enjoyable collections. The Damaged Goods 30th Anniversary double set is also essential - varied sounds, all special.
Live events were restricted to older acts - THE STRANGLERS, RUTS DC, PETE MURPHY playing BAUHAUS and BOB DYLAN! RUTS DC was easily the highlight, although DYLAN was surprisingly satisfying and among the top three times I've seen him (and that's a few!). No apologies for the fact that that's not very 'Punk Rock'; if that's a problem for you then that really is your problem - not mine.
2018 was also the first year in many during which I never made an overseas trip, so no overseas gigs or record cratedigging experienced!
And of course, there were the sad passings of some legends - Pete Shelley and Steve Soto being the two most notable.  Both massive loses from two gents that gave us so much.
Anyway - 2018 Top Sounds as follows...

1. CLEVELAND STEAMERS - Best Record Ever {Smog Veil}
2=. SKEPTIC?- Hornet’s Nest {DIY}
2=. SONGS FOR SNAKES - Crystal Vapour Figure {Timid Crusher}
4. SWINGIN’ UTTERS - Peace And Love {Fat Wreck}
5. NEIGHBORHOOD BRATS - Claw Marks {Dirt Cult}
6. CASTRO - Infidelity {Boss Tuneage}
7. NIGHT BIRDS - Roll Credits {Fat Wreck}
8. FUCKED UP - Dose Your Dreams {Merge}
9. FUTURE VIRGINS - Doomsday Raga {Recess}
10. ABOLITIONIST - The Instant {DIY}
Other contenders: YOUTH AVOIDERS - Relentless {Destructure}, CLOWN SOUNDS - Preacher Maker {Recess}, RUBELLA BALLET - Danger Of Death {Overground}, PRETTY FLOWERS - Why Trains Crash, HARD FEELINGS - Side Ways, RADON - More Of Their Lies {Dirt Cult}, LAST GANG - Keep Them Counting {Fat Wreck}, D.O.A - Fight Back {Sudden Death}, SPOILERS - Roundabouts, NATTERERS - Head In A Threatening Attitude {Boss Tuneage}, BAD SPORTS - Constant Stimulation, MIND SPIDERS - Furies {Dirtnap}, DOWN AND OUTS - Double Negative {DIY}, SHADRACKS - The Shadracks {Damaged Goods}, ADOLESCENTS - Cropduster {Concrete Jungle}, THE HOLDOUT - The Things That Brought Us Here {Grafton}

1. CHARACTER ACTOR - s/t {Dirt Cult}
2. VANILLA POD - Goodbye My Love... {Brassneck}
3. NUMBER ONES, The - Another Side Of The Number Ones {Sorry State}
4. CASTRO - Personal EP {Boss Tuneage}
5. HARD SKIN - Not Messing Around {JT Classics}
6. BLANKZ- White Baby {Slope}
7. CORNER BOYS - Love Tourist {Dirt Cult}
8. ABOLITIONIST - The Pinnacle EP {DIY}
9. CHAIN WHIP - s/t {Dirt Cult}
10. BOMBPOPS - Dear Beer {Fat Wreck}
Other contenders: FAZ WALTZ - Julie {Spaghetty Town}, THE LURKERS - Electrical Guitar {Damaged Goods}

1. VARIOUS - Burning Britain {Cherry Red}
2. PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED - The Public Image Is Rotten {Virgin}
3. NEW YORK DOLLS - Personality Crisis {Cherry Red}
4. THE JAM - 1977 {Polydor}
5. JOE STRUMMER - 001 {Ignition}
6. VARIOUS - Damaged Goods 1988/2018 {Damaged Goods}
7. MARKED MEN - On The Other Side {Dirtnap}
8. REDD KROSS - Hot Issue / Teen Babes From Monsanto {Merge}
9. MOVING TARGETS - The Other Side: Demos And Sessions Expanded {Boss Tuneage}
10. JILTED JOHN - True Love Stories {Boss Tuneage}
Other contenders: HERESY - Face Up To It! {Boss Tuneage}, LAWRENCE ARMS - We Are The Champions Of The World {Fat Wreck}, REVENGE OF THE PSYCHOTRONIC MAN - That Was Just A Noise 2004 - 2018 {TNS}