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The best punk rock albums of 2018 so far

The underground scenes remain as strong as ever, with both classic and innovative sounds coming from everywhere.

We’re already halfway through 2018 and it’s been yet another year of solid punk rock releases locally and abroad. While the year hasn’t seen many big name bands in the game release huge albums, the underground scenes remain as strong as ever, with both classic and innovative sounds coming from everywhere. We did a list earlier in the year of some solid gems, but with the pace that things are moving I figured it was time for some more. First of all, however, I’d like to give a special shout out to the newly released Bad Religion single ‘The Kids Are Alt-Right’, which might just go down as one of the most embarrassingly bad things that the once solid band has ever released. Anyway, let’s get into some records with actual relevance and listenability.

Tropical Fuck Storm - A Laughing Death In Meatspace

The hotly anticipated debut full-length from Gareth Liddiard-fronted TFS had a lot to live up to given the inevitable comparisons to critic darlings The Drones, yet the sound found here is significantly more refined and concise than Liddiard’s previous work. The record is still filled with the expected rambling lyrics and wirey guitar work, yet a lot of the mundane and indulgent wankery that plagues this kind of post-punk is wisely avoided. Grab a copy before pretentious indie-rock nerd demand makes it more expensive than a new LP already is.

Screaming Females - All At Once

Following up 2015’s decent but inconsistent Ripe, the New Jersey cult favourites have returned to form with their best album to date. With one of the most furiously shredding guitarists and one of the best rhythm sections in modern rock, over a decade of constant touring and recording have put the band at the top of their game. Album closer ‘Step Outside’is every bedroom air-guitar fantasy come to life.

Baptists - Beacon Of Faith

I’m admittedly late to the game with this Canadian hardcore outfit, but I’ve been spinning the hell out of their recently released third LP. Fast and aggressive hardcore with a solid metal foundation, yet refreshingly free of the boring clichés of so much modern metalcore and crossover. Chuck in some sludge and crust elements and you’ve got a solid modern hardcore album. With so much hardcore in 2018 being absolute garbage, it’s great to hear a band doing it with actual energy and enthusiasm.

Shannon and the Clams - Onion

One of the most powerful vocalists in the garage-punk realm, Shannon Shaw has returned with her outfit The Clams with another solid entry into their canon. Sticking to the band’s established themes and image of a John Waters film turned into a punk band, the tape and reverb-saturated old-school revival sound overflows with campy charm and fun. Shaw has also just released an excellent solo album entitled Shannon In Nashville, featuring a departure from her usual garage punk into a more refined soul and R&B sound.