2018: Tom's Top Ten

by Tom Haugen



10. Porcupine – What You've Heard Isn't Real (EP)

Porcupine have been a great, though overlooked, band for awhile now, but they're even better now that Greg Norton (Husker Du) is on board. And not so surprisingly, they're seeing more visibility. This EP of smart alt-rock and dreamy post-punk is some of the best in recent history.


9. Tres Oui – Poised To Flourish

Jangly pop and post-punk vibes truly do flourish on this '80s-esque album that's made for fans of The Smiths, The Cure, or even Dinosaur Jr.


8. The Persian Leaps – Pop That Goes Crunch

The second outfit of Twin Cities residents on my list (and this is setting aside any geographical bias), these St. Paul rockers are knee deep in power pop and alt-rock with plenty of guitar melodies and crunchy fun. Great artwork to boot.


7. Erika Wennerstrom – Sweet Unknown

The front woman of The Heartless Bastards goes solo for the first time and doles out some fantastic blues, rock, and her lovable yet gravelly singing. “Time” might just be the best song of 2018.


6. Refrigerator – High Desert Lows

An obscure outfit that have been together for 2.5 decades now, there's plenty of slow burning brilliance in these Americana, folk, and waltz ballads.


5. Poster Children – Grand Bargain!

A triumphant return for the pioneers of the college rock scene, who after 14 years of silence dropped this charged, bold protest album full of crunchy post-punk and intelligent protest.


4. The Hasbros – Cart Before The Horse

Another reunion album, only this time it's a debut LP from a trio that disbanded in 1991. With a wealth of talent on board, including Joe Gorelick (Garden Variety, Red Hare, Bluetip), this fine album reminds us of all the things we love about The Replacements, Dinosaur Jr., and the early days of alt-rock.


3. Sarah Shook & The Disarmers – Shook

The Bloodshot label released a stack of great albums this year, but this one is right at the top. Honky tonk, alt-country, and melodic Americana all meet here with a punky spirit and a brazen attitude. This album is worth it alone for the sublime “Good As Gold.”


2. Breakers – Rewrite

This is the band for people who just can't find much interest in The Strokes but wish they did. Somewhere between garage rock, alt-rock, and post-punk, these Virginians have their NYC influences perfectly aligned for maximum rock and memorability.


1. Territories – Territories

Anthemic, energetic, and ultra-melodic punk rock from Canada. This first LP is a smart and muscular listen of sincere and genuine working class sounds. The raspy vocals work well with the powerful song craft, and each tune somehow seems to be better than the one before it.


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