Best of 2018 - Samantha Barrett's Picks (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Best of 2018

Samantha Barrett's Picks (2018)

Staff Picks

Hi there,

Every year, I sit here and I go through this terribly difficult process reflecting on the good and the bad of each year. As I go through the process of doing this for 2018, all I can say is that this year have been absolutely nuts with new jams and new bands that have found their way to my headphones.

This year, I interviewed a few cool people, wrote a whole heck of a lot of news articles and found myself in a few sleepy sessions of podcasting. I really enjoy contributing to this weird place known as the Org and feel grateful every day I get to do this. I look forward to another year of this madness.

On a personal level, I am trying to live my best life. I ended up traveling to the other side of this country to surprise my two favorite little girls for Lunar New Year and finally met a Tricky Ricky, traveled to my favorite city in North America again for 77 Montreal. Went to Brussels and Copenhagen for summer vacation and brought back a new found love for Waffles and Vanilla Custard. Plus I saw my favorite band, The Bouncing Souls a few times this year in a few different locations.

Another year, another end of year playlist of all my favorite tracks from this year to share with you. Click here to listen. Thank you for reading… and see you near the pit in 2019. <

Top 3 EP’s

3. Minus The Bear: Fair Enough

Suicide Squeeze Records

Is it really the end?­ Yes, it is. Fair Enough is Minus The Bear’s final release. This EP feels like a short and sweet taste of the expansive career of sounds in a four song EP. Each one of the 4 tracks has a particular feels that is like one of their pre-existing LPs. Listening to the EP as a whole does in fact feel like they are presenting their thanks and gratitude to their loyal fan base.

2. Forever Unclean: WOOF

Disconnect Disconnect Records

Danish melodic skatepunkers, Forever Unclean continue their reign as the hardest working punks from their region. Having spent the last year since their 2017 EP Float touring the UK, Europe, and Australia extensively. Somehow this band managed to put out a new EP, Woof this year. Woof sounds like a continuation of their high paced, screamy vocals as before but with more focus

1. Awkwafina: In Fina We Trust

Self -released

In the midst of being an acting powerhouse, New York native Awkwafina threw out a new EP. In Fina We Trust is a great pairing of her humor and some skillful rhyming.

Top 10 LPs

10. Second Letter: Cicatrix

Arctic Rodeo Recording

Second Letter may be a fairly new band but they come with extensive roots in the hardcore genre. Containing members of Farside, Government Issue, Burning Airlines and much more. They put out their debut full-length this year. Far from what we may expect from these key members. Cicatrix is a beautiful composition of an emotive alt-rock album.

9. The Dirty Nil: Master Volume

Dine Alone Records

Coming off of the high of 2016’s Higher Power, Canada’s The Dirty Nil came back at us this year with a massive sounding and super fun new record titled Master Volume. Master Volume fused together influences from the punk with classic rock and roll riffs.

8. Alkaline Trio: Is This Thing Cursed?

Epitaph Records

Has it been 5 years since an Alkaline Trio album? As we waited 5 long years for a new Alkaline Trio album, they guys have been busy on other projects. Is This Thing Cursed? seems more focused in honing into their own vintage sound than in the more recent albums. They seemed to nail carrying a nostalgic feeling throughout the record that is reminiscent of older Alkaline Trio albums while still remaining new and fresh.

7. Krimewatch: Krimewatch

Lockin’ Out Records

Krimewatch dropped their self-titled release this year. The release clocks in at a quick twelve minute, but boy was that twelve minutes such a treat. Singer Rhylli Ogiura blends the manic immediacy of Japanese hardcore with the gritty swagger of New York hardcore. Her vocals are strong and in your face that delivers a powerful delivery of sometimes English, sometimes Japanese lyrics.

6. Fiddlehead: Springtime and Blind

Run For Cover Records

Fiddlehead is a fairly new indie rock band. The five-piece band features members of Have Heart and Basement. The album lyrically explores the feelings of loss and grief of vocalist Patrick Flynn’s father passing and how his mother is coping with the loss. The album as a whole harks a vibe from the mid-90’s and early 2000’s post-hardcore sounds.

5. Culture Abuse: Bay Dreams

Epitaph Records

Over at my house, Culture Abuse’s Bay Dreams has become the soundtrack to the summer (partial thanks to my husband). This album is incredibly poppy, catchy and full of PMA. Singer David Kellings, has a way with emoting the feeling of good vibes with his lyrics. Bay Dreams is a great album to jam out to at any summer BBQ or cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway.

4. Light This City: Terminal Bloom

Creator-Destructor Records

After the demise of Light This City in 2008, drummer Ben Murray and Laura Nichols formed a punk project, Heartsounds. After years of inactivity, the death metal five-piece have been resurrected and released their first album in over a decade. Terminal Bloom might be the best blend of old Light This City and their punk project Heartsounds. Where melodic punk meets death metal.

3. Restorations: LP 5000

Tiny Engines

It has been 4 years since Philly punks Restorations released the celebrated LP3. This year they released my most anticipated album of the year and did not disappoint one bit. LP 5000 is truly a great addition to their already very cohesive collection of albums. The album screams the things I think about as an aging soul. The album is a breath of fresh air, filled with carefully placed noises that balance out the howls of John Loudon's expansive voice. LP500 is incredibly melodic and catchy and simply accessible.

2. Nothing: Dance On The Blacktop

Relapse Records

Philly’s Nothing has musically transcended across sub-genres with their third full length Dance On The Blacktop. The album feels anywhere from dream pop to shoegaze to 90s alt-rock/post-rock. Launching the band to more than just a typical shoegaze band. Nothing stays true to form, in mixing the dark lyrical content of singer/guitarist Dominic Palermo's life with the artfully composed heavy but atmospheric music that whisks you away to a different haze like feelings as you bob along.

1. Caravela: Ski

Self -released

New York-based two-piece indie rock band Caravela has created a gem of an album for me this year. Caravela has been playing in these parts for a bit and has recorded three full-length albums thus far. Ski shimmers with a playful tone. Singer Frank Graniero’s lyrically packs this album with bursts of energy and emotions. As an album as a whole, Ski is an incredibly solid album front to back.