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Best of 2018 – Local EP’s

There were so many albums that I listened to in 2018 that I broke them out into two lists for the Locals. On this one you will find my top ten favorite EP’s that Phoenix local bands put out over the course of the year

10. FoL – Therapy

Probably was not a surprise to find FoL on this list once again. They only build on the quality of that last album with this one. Seven more great tracks to get stuck in your head. My only sour grapes about this album is that “Sour Grapes” never is the Descendents cover song my head associates it to.

9. T.O.S.O. – The Cleanse

It isn’t just the entertaining theatrics of a T.O.S.O. set that make them standout. As shown on this album, they can write great music. The album brings in a little bit of that old school rock, funk, and punk rock. There is a solid breadth of the genres to their music revealing the scope of their talent. It was the faster pace of the tracks on this album put it above their other release in the year, but only by a little.

8. Skeleton Army – Demo of Doom

Another 2018 discovery was Skeleton Army. The album is what I most closely associate to what I think of when you tell me you play punk rock. Their music sounds like it takes influences from that of Guttermouth and Screeching Weasel. Even more impressive is the quality of the recording for their first go. Between that and the tracks, it was easy to move them up the list to number 8.

7. Madd Dog Tannen – You Know That New Sound You Are Looking For? Well Listen to This!

I am excited to finally have recorded Madd Dog Tannen in my hands. Their performances have continued to stand out, from the tight sound and great interactions with crowds. This record is no different, bringing the sound quality to excellent studio versions. The album is mostly punk rock. You can hear a little bit of a Green Day influence in there if you try. They do a good job capturing that Ska sound on their simply titled “Ska-Song.” Let me refer you to the title of the album for what you need to do on Madd Dog Tannen’s latest.

6. Moment of Ruin – Hidden Agenda

When you think of what pure rock is, it probably is what is epitomized on this album. Moment of Ruin continues their streak of quality music. It is melodic, fantastic vocals and excellent guitar riffs. Plus you have to give praise to the fantastic recording mix on this. Probably not surprising, Moment of Ruin continues to only get better with this album.

5. Exxxtra Crispy – Endlessly Devastating

The thing about Exxxtra Crispy that continued my love for them is represented on this album. They are raw, they are not afraid, and tell you whatever they want to in their music. It is high energy punk rock with a few hip hop influences intertwined. They said goodbye in 2018, but they left a strong, albeit short, legacy of music.

4. Kill Your TV – Castle Bravo

Following up one of my favorite local albums of last year, Kill Your TV was back at it with another one. This one builds on that fantastic album only bringing more of that intense vocals and sound infused into a hardcore punk rock. Since the release, they have announced they are taking a break. After this and the prior release, it would be a shame if we don’t hear from Kill Your TV again.

3. Weird Radicals – Bangers Ball

Holy crap, this album is rocking. There is stuff in these songs that make me reminisce of alternative from the 90’s, like Harvey Danger. Then there are other parts that make me think of bands like the the Strokes and Ok Go. This is a love letter to the rock inspirations of the band while clearly putting their own stamp on the genre.

2. Black Paw – Black Paw

With this release from Black Paw, from the get go I was impressed. This is high energy. Listening to it makes me just want to bounce around a pit. It is more along the lines of punk rock that you get from Jeff Rosenstock. The recording is superb. This one I think is floating under radars, when it clearly should not.

1. Audrey Heartburn – Dressing Room

This is a set of recordings I didn’t expect at all this year. Audrey Heartburn is showcasing their talents in songwriting, not adhering to any specific music genre. Though for a genre through line it would have to lean punk rock in a Jeff Rosenstock way.  It is masterfully done on these three tracks with such a clean recording mix. It is the exclamation point on discovering them in 2018.

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