Rock Insider: Best releases of 2018 by hometown acts

It’s unlikely local music fans will soon enjoy another bountiful 12 months of releases like we did in 2018. There were, of course, high profile offerings like “All Nerve” from the Breeders, Guided By Voices’ “Space Gun,” “Zapp VII: Roger and Friends” from Zapp and Hawthorne Heights’ “Bad Frequencies.”

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An even bigger story was the more than two dozen stellar releases from other hometown acts, ranging from roots rock and rap to punk and R&B. Here’s a look at how some of the notable albums and EPs from 2018 stack up.

In most years, the next handful of releases would easily make my Top 20 but the field was so loaded they finished lower. Looking backward, there’s (30) “Love’s Holiday” from Touch (R&B), (29) RIND’s “Strange Birds” (hard rock), (28) Brooks Daugherty’s “The Dakota Hill” (Americana), (27) the self-titled debut from Second Best (indie rock), (26) Viceroy Kings’ self-titled EP (cow-punk), (25) “In Other Words” from the Typical Johnsons (roots rock), (24) Goodnight Goodnight’s “Control” (shoegaze), (23) McGuff & the Dumpster Fires’ “Trip Gone Wrong” (rock), (22) “Vines on the Line” from A Voice of Your Own (indie rock) and (21) Dark Backward’s “Machine: Part II (Correct)” (punk).

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There was a rise in Americana in 2018 but no single genre dominated the 2018 release schedule. This diversity was reflected in top releases like (20) the Nautical Theme’s “Float” (folk), (19) the self-titled debut from Charlie Jackson & the Heartland Railway (Americana), (18) Far From Eden’s “Time for A Falling Sky” (hard rock), (17) Picket Fence’s “Flight from Chicago” (rap), (16) “Space Cadet” from Paige Beller (folk), (15) Ward Son’s “Mental Luggage” (rock), (14) “Real Nice Crisis” from Manray (indie rock), (13) Kyleen Downes’ “Friends” (folk rock), (12) Village Fam’s “Taste of Victory II” (rap) and (11) “Sourwood” from Adam Remnant (Americana).

While I spent a lot of time with all the releases on this list, these next five remained in heavy rotation: (10) Neo-American Pioneers’ “Beginning to Unfold” (Americana), (9) “Cheap Fame” from the Raging Nathans (punk), (8) M. Ross Perkins’ “What Did You Do for Summer Break” (rock), (7) Tino’s “From Ohio With Love” (rap) and (6) “This Way Out” from This Pine Box (rock).

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It’s always open to debate but my tops of the top for 2018 were (5) the New Old-Fashioned’s “Smalltown, Midwest USA” (roots rock), (4) “Midnight Savings Time” from Harold Hensley (Americana), (3) Andy Gabbard’s “Strawberry Tapes” (indie rock), (2) “Makes Good Choices” from the 1984 Draft (indie rock) and (1) the Boxcar Suite’s “Farther In and Further Out” (rock).

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