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END OF THE YEAR LISTS: BEST ROCK OF 2018 (CHART + PLAYLIST)

Rock never disappoints. It may seem like a miracle that in the age of trap and Autotune we can still enjoy beautiful records of pure and healthy rock and roll, but that’s fortunately the case. This year, in particular, we had so many good albums that I felt the need to extend the list to the best fifteen records instead of the classical Top Ten chart. Nonetheless, in the end there were still a number of good LPs that didn’t enter the chart, and I had to mention them in a small appendix that you can find at the bottom of this long article.

There is so much good music in this post that it makes no sense to waste your time with other introductory notes. Before you jump into the list, however, let me just say that there’s now a special playlist on Spotify where I have put together all the best songs from the albums that are presented in this article: 40 songs in total, for more than two hours and thirty minutes of exciting music.

Enjoy the reading, listen to the music, and spread the word!



#15) Alien Sex Fiend, “Possessed”

(Gothic Rock / Deathrock)
Alien Sex Fiend are an English gothic rock band, formed in London, England in 1982. The current lineup of the band consists of Nik Fiend and Mrs. Fiend.

Visionary and experimental music, when it brings inside the spark of innovation, becomes a timeless work of art and, consequently, it’s always actual and contemporary. It’s now more than 35 years than Nik Fiend and Mrs. Fiend started playing their unique recipe of dark and industrial gothic rock under the name of Alien Sex Fiend, but the music of their last album is still fresh and communicative as few other things that we’ve heard this year. Possessed, their new LP, arrived eight years after their previous publication, but we’re evidently in the presence of that special and precious category of artists who enter the recording studio only when they have 
in their hands first-class material to manipulate.

For those who aren’t familiar with the music of Alien Sex Fiend, we’re talking about a band that has published so far something like 13 studio LPs, 6 live records, and that have been included in more than fifteen compilations. Surely their fame reached its peak back in the 80s, but their influence is still present in modern music through many followers.

It was about 25 years ago when Alien Sex Fiend has definitely taken the shape of a duo, but today Possessed still features all the basic elements of their particular approach to gothic rock. The new album, in particular, shows a special attention of the two musicians towards obsessive rhythms and hypnotic repetitions. The simplicity but the effectiveness of the rhythmic component is probably the aspect that impressed me the most in their new LP. In many parts of the album you feel like being in a dark and isolated hall of a disco pub, with pulses and beats arriving muffled by layers of walls, while disturbing sounds, distorted guitars and pieces of phrases fill the space around you. Something like a discomforting nightmare that however has something absolutely fascinating.

In short: that’s an impressive and brilliant collection of music that proves once more how true class never ages. Not suitable for all tastes, but absolutely unique and intriguing.



#14) Modern Space, “Flip for It”

(Indie Rock / Alt Rock)
Modern Space is a five piece band out of Toronto, Canada. They play fast, fun, energetic indie alternative rock.

The world of indie rock is characterized by talented bands who struggle to find the limelight and other formations, much more fortunate, that are able, or lucky, to intercept the magic mixture of creativity and taste for the melody that meets the taste of large masses of listeners. Modern Space, from Canada, seem to belong to this second group of bands if we consider that in the relatively short time span of only 4 years they have already gained a good recognition both in their Country and abroad.

Their style may be described as a light and melodic version of indie with influences from alternative rock: one of the most immediate references for their sound is given by The Strokes, from which they managed to imitate the ability to compose sticky, catchy and “pop banging” riffs and choruses.

Modern Space’s new album, called Flip For It, offers an absolutely enjoyable collection of songs that are made to dance, to have fun outside or to shake your head while driving the car. This is “cheerful rock and roll”, without any desire to reach particular depths of expression or to use the music for transmitting any universal message. But when the premises are so clear and the music is so catchy, you can easily forget to search for any element of innovation, even because the absence of any tangible deviation from the canons doesn’t mean that the music of Modern Space is flat and anonymous. On the contrary, the band shows an impressive ability to vary rhythms, melodies and themes among the different songs of the LP, whilst maintaining the same level of enjoyability and catchyness across the whole record. And sometimes is definitely healthy and liberating to leave aside all the complicated things and indulge in pure and simple catchy rock.



#13) Basement, “Beside Myself”

(Alt Rock / Melodic Hardcore)
Basement are an English rock band formed in 2009 in Ipswich, Suffolk, England. They have released to date four full-lenght LPs.

In the last ten years, British rock band Basement has gained increased attention for having released a bunch of interesting records, and it’s no secret that these guys candidated themselves to become the European representatives of that kind of melodic rock that is played by many famous formations on the other side of the Atlantic ocean. This is why the announcement of a new album by the band, on August 2018, was received with great attention. And when their new LP, named Beside Myself, was released on last October, all the expectations were definitely confirmed.

One of the elements that has been always remarkable in Basement’s music is the brilliant balance that they manage to keep between anger and melancholy. This characteristic seems further enhanced in their new work and in fact most of the songs result at the same time energetic and deeply intimate. The rhythms are generally high and the songs are short and compact: you won’t find in their songs any accessory element that’s been introduced for the sake of prolonging the running time. Incipit, melodic section, catchy riff with anthemic chorus, bridge, and conclusion. Nothing more than that, but extremely effective and enjoyable to hear.

Beside Myself signs also the passage of the band to a major record label. With their new LP, Basement have left formally the world of independent music and this has certainly given more brilliance to their work, making every individual song of the new record a sort of masterpieces of “communicative effectiveness”. Probably something has been lost in terms of originality and spirit of experimentation, but the overall balance, in my opionion, is positive. Many years and tours have passed from their impressive first two albums (2011′ I Wish I Could Stay Here and 2012’s Colourmeinkindness) and today, as a matter of fact, these guys look for confirmations rather than surprises.



#12) Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, “Hope Downs”

(Indie Rock)
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever (often summarized as RBCF) is an Australian indie rock band, formed in Melbourne in 2013. After two EPs they have published in 2018 their first full-lenght studio LP.

After a couple of really interesting EPs, Australian indie rock band Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever arrived this year to the release of their first LP, named Hope Downs, which is an extremely promising work from the Melbourne quintet. The release notes say that many of the band members had played so far in a number of local garage and rock bands, garning a relatively good reputation in the Australian underground scene. And it’s not by chance, therefore, that Hope Downs shows a band which is fully aware of their possibilities and surprisingly (given their age) characterized by with a mature and well-defined musical style.

The genre of music played by RCBF is not particularly original or innovative, but the band has undoubtedly the gift of knowing how to instill interest and enjoyability in all of their songs. The tracks of Hope Downs arrive one after the other like a single flow of simple but effective indie rock tunes. There are no avant-garde ambitions in their music, rather we enjoy a solid collection of genuine and catchy songs, with the minimum necessary quantity of distortions to get the interest of indie music fans, but which never result so heavy and introspective to keep away the casual listener.

Many have compared RCBF to a softer and more commercial version of the early years of R.E.M., and the comparison if far from being wrong. These guys, however, seem to have all what’s necessary to develop and consolidate a style of music that won’t require, in the future, too many comparisons with the sacred monsters of rock.



#11) Alkaline Trio, “Is This Thing Cursed?”

(Punk Rock)
Alkaline Trio (sometimes abbreviated in Alk3) is an American rock band from McHenry, Illinois. Formed in 1996, they have released so far nine full-lenght records.

With the exception of a few but still relevant cases, traditionally American punk bands have always favored the melodic and popular aspects of this genre of music compared to the more controversial and rebellious ones. In this context the American rock band Alkaline Trio, from Illinois, represents another important member of that large family of bands which have contributed to the success of the so called “pop-punk”, a special version of rock that has become universally known mostly thanks to bands like Green Day and Blink-182.

Alkaline Trio’s last album, named Is This Thing Cursed?, is the ninth of their discography and it interrupts a five-year gap since their previous studio LP. The first impact of the album is absolutely positive if you like glossy rock with catchy choruses, and in this respect the new material is definitely reminiscent of what the band has done in the last twenty years, which is definitely a good thing if you don’t look for innovation but you just look for a new collection of good pop-punk melodic rock songs.

Anyway, when the recipe is simple and the ingredients are always the same, finding the way to compose and offer another set of exciting songs requires  a big dose of creative skills and inspiration, something that the American band has never struggled to find. In this respect, the collateral experiences that some of the members of the band have tried in the last few years may have contributed to give new life to their creative vein. But whatever the reason, the only thing that matters is that the Alkaline guys are back on track, with the same feeling and energy of the past.



#10) Audrey Horne, “Blackout”

(Hard Rock / Heavy Metal)
Audrey Horne is a hard rock band from Bergen, Norway. The band took its name from Sherilyn Fenn’s character in the cult TV series Twin Peaks.

Norwegian band Audrey Horne is one of those formations that have clearly established what their models are, what music they want to play, and they just continue to refine and improve their style album after album. With their last LP, named Blackout, they arrived to the remarkable result of six albums in thirtheen years of career, all of them dedicated to carrying forward the banner of their special style of hard rock.

The music played by Audrey Horne is deeply rooted into the legacy of 70s classic rock, enriched with the insertion of melodic elements of heavy-metal derivation. The songs are generally enjoyable and also extremely accessible, plenty of anthemic choruses, catchy riffs and triumphant guitars. There’s nothing original and innovative in Blackout, but for those looking for a good and healty dose of rocking energy the album gives absolutely satisfaction. It’s really like being in a rock’n’roll party: at some point it’s no longer important if you’re listening to trendy and modern music or rather old-school heavy rock, what really matters is the pulsating rhythm in your head and the electricity that runs through your veins.

Sometimes it’s nice to let ourselves be carried away by such retro music as Audrey Horne’s. We can forget that we have grown up, that our kids polarize our spare time and that there are a couple of bills on the table that must be still paid. In these moments, if there’s the right song and we close our eyes, we may find ourselves running again with our small cars along the streets of the city, at night, with rock music playing loud from our low-fi stereo systems and the wind blowing our hairs.



#9) Cancer Bats, “The Spark That Moves”

(Hardcore Punk)
Cancer Bats are a Canadian hardcore punk band from Toronto, Ontario. They are active since 2003 and have released six studio albums.

The heaviest entry of this chart is one of those album which lays on the thin border between rock and metal. The spirit with which it was recorded and published, however, is definitely “rock” and that’s is one of the reasons why, in the end, the LP by Cancer Bats has found its place in this chart. The Spark That Moves arrived absolutely by surprise and without any warning on April 2018; the band later explained that they were tired of waiting and decided at one point to drop the LP all at once, deliberatly choosing to skip the traditional lead ups and teaser singles.

Cancer Bats are a well-known Canadian band that have achieved a certain notoriety during the last fifteen years thanks to their intriguing and effective mix of hardcore punk and crossover. Since the beginning of their career the group has released their LPs with a good regularity and in 2018, three years from the previous album, they released the sixth record of their interesting discography.

Cancer Bats owe much of their success to the particular style of music that they managed to craft and refine with the years, which consists of a base of hardcore enriched with many elements of southern rock and metalcore. The band, however, has always shown the ability and the willingness to evolve their sound and keep it fresh at each stage of their career. In this respect, one of the key elements of The Spark That Moves is how it’s founded on vast and caried catalogue of musical expressions and the songs, although marked by and equal and impressive level of sonic violence, result so varied and also different one from the other that the experience of going through the record in one single shot is definitely rewarding and exciting.

The music of Cancer Bats doesn’t want to be cool or trendy and it’s not surprising that their videos show random people eating pizza or cars drifting in the snow. But the beauty and violence of their riffs is so genuine and visceral that their songs never disappoint.



#8) Ash, “Islands”

(Indie Rock / Pop Rock)
Ash are a Northern Irish rock band, formed in Downpatrick in 1992. They have released so far eight full-lenght studio albums.

Northern Irish band Ash has been around for over 25 years in the world of rock. Between highs and lows, the band has released so far 8 full-lenght albums spanning through alternative, punk and britpop (even if the band, for obvious reasons, han never felt comfortable with this last association). Their last LP, Islands, aims without any hesitation towards the direction of an easy to listen version of indie rock, enriched here and there by splashes of pop music.

Beyond the relative and physiological variations of style from album to album, however, in its essence their music has been extremely consistent across their releases: quick-setting and catchy rock and roll. Accordingly, Ash’s new work features a new enjoyable collection of songs that are extremely engaging and funny to listen to.

If their sound is substantially a consolidation of what we heard from them to date, there are also a few elements of innovation that allow their music to remain sufficiently modern and appreciable. Compared to their previous works, today the band lingers a little more on intimate and introspective pieces, but we still have in the LP a good handful of those ferocious and happy songs from which we can extract our daily dose of rock energy.



#7) Tonight Alive, “Underworld”

(Alt Rock / Pop Rock)
Tonight Alive is an Australian rock band from Sydney, Australia. In January 2018 Tonight Alive have releases their fourth LP, “Underworld”

Remained only four members after that guitarist Whakaio Taahi quit on October 2’17, the Australians alternative rockers Tonight Alive went quickly back to the studio to compose and publish a new LP, Underworld. The new album follows the three previous good records that the band from Sidney released since their formation, approximately ten years ago. And despite it was published at the very beginning of the year, Underworld has resisted many fierce contenders and it eventually maintained his position within the best rock records of 2018.

The music played by Tonight Alive demonstrates that it’s absolutely possible to play simple and catchy rock, which may still result exciting and interesting. The songs of Underworld are in fact clearly oriented to mainstream radio and big audiences, but without necessarily having to compromise the quality of the songs.

From a musical point of view, because of their style of music Tonight Alive have been often compared to tAmerican pop-rock band Paramore, although with their latest works the Australian band has tried, and somehow succeeded, to develop their own and unique sound. This is particulary evident from the relevant use of the electronic inserts, which have acquired an important role in the development of Tonight Alive’s new songs.

The presence of this record in the final chart at the end of the year thus testifies that alongside conceptual and articulated albums, occasionally it is absolutely healthy to launch in the music player a sequence of easygoing, direct and energetic songs like those offered today by Tonight Alive, provided that the quality of the music is of the same level of the adrenaline that you want to get trhough it.



#6) Titus Andronicus, “A Productive Cough”

(Folk Rock, Indie Rock)
Singer and guitarist Patrick Stickles, leader and founder of American indie rock band Titus Andronicus. Since their formation in 2005, the band has released 5 LPs.

There are times when you need to change, restarting from the scratch. For indie rock band Titus Andronicus this moment coincided with the writing and publication of their fifth studio album, A Productive Cough. Started as an irriverent, raw and genuine punk rock act, Patrick Stickles has guided his band through many different areas of the indie rock world and today, after the last sharp turn, they started playing what we could actually define as folk-rock or “bar-room rock”, as it was also said by someone. The rusult, however, is extremely good.

A Productive Cough reminds us how beautiful are folk acoustic ballads, and how exciting is pure and simple rock music, without too many embellishments or refinements. Two guitars, one bass, drums, simple and cantabile melodies, nice and catchy choruses inspired by popular and street music. This music was stripped down of all that’s superfluous and brought back to its primordial significance: an element of communion and sharing of emotions among different people.

The abum never exceeds in any direction: seven songs – one is a Bob Dylan’s cover – for a little more than 45 minutes of total duration. Fast, simple, essential to the bone, and extremely enjoyable to listen in many different occasions.

On the other hand it’s clear that an album like A Productive Cough can’t leave everyone equally convinced, especially those who were expecting a much more complex and articulated record. But the fans of the band know that beyond the punk and rough surface of their music, Titus Andronicus have always concealed a second level of interpretation. Today, with their new album, they have clearly decided to take a beneficial break and abandom themselves to the desire of playing music and give emotions in the most direct way possible, like a rolling stone.



#5) Jeff Rosenstock, “POST-“

(Punk Rock / Indie Rock)
Jeff Rosenstock  is an American musician and songwriter from Long Island, United States. He was the lead singer of the ska punk band The Arrogant Sons of Bitches, the musical collective Bomb the Music Industry! and the indie rock band Kudrow. After the breakup of Bomb the Music Industry!, he began a solo career.

Let’s start with a recommendation: if you have never listened to POST-, which is the latest album by American rocker Jeff Rosenstock, you should go immediately to the album’s bandcamp page and download it for free (or maybe make a donation). The album was in fact produced by Rosenstock’s free/donation-based digital label called Quote Unquote Records. Go and take it, and then come back here for the review.

Jeff Rosenstock is an american rocker from Long Island who’s playing punk since a couple of decades. He started singing in a few relatively influential local bands such as The Arrogant Sons of Bitches, Bomb the Music Industry!and Kudrow. After the breakup of Bomb the Music Industry!, in 2013, Rosenstock eventually embarked in a solo career and released to date three full-length albums. The last one, POST-, was published on January 1st, 2018 and – as arleady highlighted – it was made available for free download.

There could be many ways to describe Rosenstock’s music and his latest album. Surely we could start mentioning the punk roots of his sound and then continue with the description of the individual pieces. We could focus in particular on the track called USA, which is undoubtedly the most important and significantof the album, with its 7 and a half minutes of pure rage and despair. But what I will say, instead, is that POST- is an album full of contradictions, definitely not homogeneous, but really because of these inconsistencies it looks the best representation of the world in which we live today. It didn’t happen to me since a long time to listen to an album and feel like being a part of it. POST- is genuine, raw, contradictory, but this is music that speaks to you as a friend, with songs that become more engaging each time you listen to them.

There are highs and lows among the ten tracks of the record. The structure of the LP is also completely out of the standard: there are two masterpieces that open and close the album, which are also the longests tracks of the record. And in the middle we can enjoy an handful of quick and effective sketches of punk rock, flowing fluidly one after the other. Crazy? Brilliant? It’s up to you to decide, anyway it works.

I believe that the music produced by Jeff Rosenstock is the truest version of punk rock that is in circulation today. This is not the kind of street punk which tries to imitate the atmospheres of the 70s, and not even the ska-punk which has been so succesful in the last years. But this music speaks from the heart. Compliments.



#4) Starcrawler, “Starcrawler”

(Hard Rock)
Starcrawler is an American rock band formed in 2015. They have released their debut and self-titled LP in January 2018.

The moment I started to assemble this final chart for 2018 I realized that the very first positions were all occupied by famous groups with already many albums and many successes behind them. I was starting to worry about the fact that there were no emerging groups in the top positions, but then I rememberd of Starcrawler and their impressive debut album.

Starcrawler is a band of very young rockers from California who met and started playing music in High School. In an extremely short time – at least compared to what’s generally the case for every rock band – they managed to polarize the attention of fans, critics and even a number of old glories of rock of the caliber of Ryan Adams and Elthon John, who also contributed to promote their music. When a band reaches fame and attention in this explosive way there is always the risk that the musical aspect remains in the background. And in this case it would be really a shame because this self-title debut LP provides the listener with an impressive sequence of solid and exciting rock songs.

From a musical point of view, much of the beauty of the record comes from the natural way in which multiple influences were blended together to form something definitely new, and fresh. There is also a persistent flavour of garage rock that permeates the LP, and this provides a nice feeling of immediacy and roughness to many of the tracks of the album.

Coming back to the overall phenomenon that has been generated around Starcrawler, it’s evident that this kind of success can not be for pure chance. The turning point will be given by the forthcoming works. We will understand if the creativity and the special touch that these young rockers demonstrated in their debut album were only the result of a quick sparkling of fire or, on the contrary, they will become one of the most important rock groups of the next decades.



#3) Hot Snakes, “Jericho Sirens”

(Post Hardcore / Garage Rock / Indie Rock)
Guitarist and singer John Reis formed the Hot Snakes in 1999 in San Diego, California, together with guitarist Rick Froberg. The band released three albums between 2000 and 2004, and then a fourth LP in 2018.

There is a particular emotion every time we come across to the new album from a band that has spent so much time in silence. Jericho Sirens, the fourth and latest LP by Hot Snakes, arrives fourteen years after their previous release. And as only the exceptional records can do, the new album looks so strong and vigorous that it has really the capacity to excite both the old fans of the Californian band and also those new generation of listeners who just got in touch with the scratchy sounds of indie rock and post-hardcore.

The line-up of the band is basically the same of their early works, and this for sure helps. But what’s really remained unchanged is their rebellious spirit and also the musical creativity they manifest with their songs. To some extent one could feel that all the time which separates their two last records has passed – musically speaking – in a flash. And that’s for sure the result of all the effort and committment that the band has dedicated to the making of Jericho Sirens. Nothing here is improvised, there are no gap fillers and we don’t have the impression to be in front of a mere commercial operation. I feel here the genuine desire to switch on for one more time that spark of light that illuminated the rock scene during a few, but intense, years at the beginning of the new century.

The ten tracks of Jericho Sirens are strongly based on that intriguing mix of garage rock, post-hardcore and indie rock that the band consolidated with their first three albums. The rhythms are always sustained, John Reis and Rick Froberg hit hard on their guitars from the first to the last minute of the album. Such blast of energy, however, is not a barrage fire. The shots are chirurgical: all the instruments play strong and compact, the energy is directed in one single direction and the balance between dissonance and melody reaches in some passages the absolute perfection. As expected the lyrics are generally polemical and negative: the guys from San Diego are not here to tell us that life is easy and beautiful. But what we hear is not a cry of abandonment and despair, it is rather a scream of rage and disgust towards mediocrity, something that pushes you to react rather than to give up.

This is perhaps the secret of Hot Snakes: they have the ability to combine a genuine protest towards the system with a sharp, essential and effective musical assault, something which goes straight to the point without dispersing any beat with unnecessary nuances or music frills.



#2) Cloud Nothings, Last Building Burning

(Indie Rock / Post Hardcore)
Dylan Baldi is the singer, guitarist and leader of indie rock masters Cloud Nothings. The band started in 2009 as Baldi’s solo project but it soon became a full formation with other permanent members.

There are bands that represent the essence and the spirit of rock. Among these I surely include Cloud Nothings, the spectacular indie rock from Ohio. I follow this band with particular attention since their 2014 album, Here and Nowhere Else, and from then I’ve always felt a natural attraction for their music and I’ve literally fallen in love with many of the intense and profound songs they wrote. I’ve always found their approach to music as the perfect paradigm and synthesis of rock and roll in modern times. Their songs manifest the urgency of communicating something strong, and the musical language they’ve built in order to transmit their feelings is raw, immediate, dissonant and full of contradictions as is our life nowadays. No frills, no masks, a kind of music that is stripped of all what’s superfluous but that, in doing so, shows a monstrous and impressive substance. I feel that Cloud Nothings have achieved the perfect synthesis between the immediacy of punk, the aggressiveness of alternative rock, the melodies of power pop, the research and experimentation of avant-garde music, and the the angularities of noise rock. Their sound is the point where all these different ways of interpreting modern rock eventually meet together, and their albums are gifted by a sense of spontaneity and naturalness that makes everything alive and exciting.

Last Building Burning is the new LP released by Cloud Nothings, the fifth of their discography. The publication notes say that the album was recorded in only eight days in a studio located in a border town of Texas. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the album offers such intense feelings of immediacy and spontaneity. Don’t expect the balance and the crystalline perfection of those over-produced albums where clear sounds and catchy melodies are tuned and refined up to the smallest details. Instead, prepare yourself for rough sounds and a genuine flow of electric anger, with songs that point straight and without hesitations at the heart of music, at the essence of rock.

Last Building Burning is yet another great record by a fantastic band. The album has no false steps and every song is a little gem. There are of course some tracks that shine with a particular light of beauty. I can mention the song In Shame, perhaps the most melodic, fast and accessible song of the LP, one of those tracks that you want to listen again and again everytime it ends. On the other end of the music spectrum there is Dissolution, a song that produces in my mind the image of Dylan Baldi and his bandmates that are hitting hard on their instruments with rage, fury and passion, until at some point they find themselves blocked on a single note, a chord that they cannot leave for some magic spell, and they are unable to move forward into the song until the drums eventually arrive to wake them up and then, as a response, they embark on a three minutes psychedelic trip which results in one of the most exciting song finals that the band has ever composed to date.

In more general terms, if we compare Last Building Burning with the band’s more recent releases we see many confirmations and a few elements of difference. The confirmations mainly regard their general approach to music and songwriting, which includes the immediate and “urgent” style that I mentioned above. Among the differences we can highlight a more evident recourse to gloomy and disheartened tones, both for the music and the lyrics. But, in the end, this is just another evidence that their music doesn’t only reflect the current state of rock music, but the more general situation of our society.



BEST ROCK ALBUM OF 2018

Turbonegro, “Rocknroll Machine”

(Punk Rock / Hard Rock)
Turbonegro is a Norwegian rock band, initially active from 1989 to 1998, and then reformed in 2002. Their style combines glam rock, punk rock and hard rock into a style the band describes as, “deathpunk.”

Given the recent explosion of the rock and metal scene in the Scandinavian countries, today it may seem natural that among the best records that are coming out every year there are lots of bands from Sweden, Finland and Norway. Back in the 90’s, however, there was a relatively unique and exceptional case of a crazy band from Oslo, named Turbonegro, which got the attention of fans and critics with a series of incredible albums. Their style was so special and original that people had to coin a new name for it: “deathpunk”. Surprisingly, however, their fame remained limited to the underground world of punk rock and metal, without reaching that universal celebrity that they would have deserved. From a certain point of view, however, we could be selfishly grateful to the band for not achieving a larger success, because we know how strong can be the process of sterilization that typically occurs with mainstream music. Surely they weren’t facilitated by the exaggerated and extravagant image they gave to themselves, including the crazy titles of their albums. At least for this single aspect, however, the guys from Norway seem to have made some progress and in fact, today, instead of Ass Cobra or Hot Cars and Spent Contraceptives we see them out with a definitely more moderate name for an album: Rocknroll Machine.

Turbonegro’s new LP interrupts a period of silence of six years from their previous record. To be honest, when I became aware of their new publication I had initially mixed reactions. But from the first moment that Rocknroll Machine was launched through the speakers of my music system, I realized that all my concerns were totally unjustified. This is really one of the few bands that gives no attention to trends and fashions, and which still play a straight and genuine version of rock with no needs for additives or unnecessary elements of “modernity”.

Musically speaking, Rocknroll Machine is basic divided in two parts. The first half of the LP looks like a tribute to classic hard rock (think of AC DC), while the second group of songs is more reminescent of the signature “deathpunk” style that the band consolidated in their early years. In both the two sections, however, there is the same impressive charge of musical energy, direct and effective as only the best music can be. This is 
timeless rock and roll, with no frills, easygoing and high voltage. Just play it loudly and enjoy the 40 minutes ride.

But the question is: what’s the difference between a good record and the best rock album of the year? Easy: when you see your whole family (wife, teenage guy plus kid) singing the antemic choruses of a record every single time it runs on the stereo, the answer is there in front of you.



Other notable rock releases of 2018:

  • Tales from the Backseat, the debut studio album by Irish indie rock band The Academic
  • Cleave, the fifteenth studio album by Northern Irish alt rock legends Therapy?
  • [Untitled], the seventh studio album by American post hardcore band mewithoutYou
  • Always Ascending, the fifth studio album by Scottish indie rock band Franz Ferdinand
  • Master Volume, the second studio album by Canadian punk rock band The Dirty Nil
  • Snares Like a Haircut, the fourth studio album by American noise rock duo No Age
  • The Free Life, the third studio album by English hard rock band Turbowolf
  • Peace and Love, the ninth studio album by American punk band Swingin’ Utters
  • Reiði, the second studio album by English indie and grunge band Black Foxxes
  • Vide Noir, the third studio album by American rock band Lord Huron


As already anticipated, you may enjoy all the best songs from these bands in a single and breathtaking compilation: BEST ROCK OF 2018. Now Playing on Spotify!


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S.B.G.

"Don't mistake lack of talent for genius" (Peter Steele, 1962-2010)

MY ROCK MIXTAPES

Welcome to a journey with my favorite rockstars!

Urban Antenna

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What's So Special About Music Anyways?

Witty opinions on great music

E.D.

Music, Movies, Etc.

baddpress

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The Fortnightly Playlist

Sharing music discoveries every 2 weeks

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Encourages all to love their own life...

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... and classic rock too!

Stationary Travels

JOURNEYS IN SOUND & MUSIC

Raffaele Giannetti

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om3ssa

WELCOME TO om3ssa's MUSIC FREAKISHNESS AT THE WORLD WIDE WEB

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