The honourable mentions category is one that often gets a little misunderstood. When an album gets placed as an honourable mention it, understandably, gives the impression that the record in question was solid enough to be mentioned but not strong enough to make the cut for the top ten or twenty. For a number of albums here, that is indeed the case, but this over-looked category goes much deeper than that. Some of these albums are just as memorable as those in my up-coming top twenty-five and they deserve their own place in the spotlight. Rather than note these records in the footnote of a year-end countdown I present to you A Diverse Sound’s Honourable Mentions of 2018. This list is in no particular order.
Count Me In: How’s Your Heart, Kid?
Fans of Yellowcard, Blink 182, and Sum 41 will find this pop/punk gem by newcomers Count Me In to be an absolute treat to the ears.
Rend Collective: Good News
On previous records, Rend Collective’s potential was always in reach but never fully realized. On Good News, the group has finally managed to craft something excellent from beginning to end. In a sea of vague truths and forced positivity, it’s so good to hear something genuinely inspirational for a change.
Basement: Beside Myself
I’m a massive Jimmy Eat World fan so when I first heard the lead single off of Basement’s newest project, “Disconnect,” and how much it resembled the beloved emo group, I knew this had the potential to be something special. Although it doesn’t quite hold its own against the best Jimmy has to offer, if you’re looking for a nostalgic throwback to mid-2000s emo infused pop/punk Basement has you covered.
The Bell Jar: I Infest, Therefore I Am
Josh Dies continues to be his eccentric, quirky self on this spiritual successor to the raw-rock legends, Showbread. If you know how Josh writes you already know this is top-tier stuff.
Talkie: Fundamental Things
Following-up the superb and eclectic Hablas was never going to be an easy task. Rather than attempt to recreate the magic of that 70s inspired masterpiece, Talkie decided to dial back the off-the-wall approach to songwriting with this chill and breezy effort and I love it all the same.
Fit For A King: Dark Skies
Fit For A King is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the metalcore community. I truly wasn’t expecting this to surpass the latest Silent Planet record by leaps and bounds but it did exactly that. Well done lads, keep powering on!
Speaking of metal, if you were disappointed by Deafheaven’s latest project this year then fear not, Møl is here to satisfy your black-gaze cravings with their excellent full-length debut. Jord may mirror the sound of Deafheaven’s Sunbather a little too closely but when the music is this good who’s complaining?
Twenty-One Pilots: Trench
Trench is undoubtedly the duo’s strongest and most mature project to date. The hooks are aplenty and the styles are as diverse as ever.
Paddy Hanna: Frankly, I Mutate
On Frankly, I Mutate, Paddy Hanna channels the spirit of Elvis Presley and mixes it with his own groovy trademark. “All I Can Say Is I Love You” is one of the best songs of the year hands-down. Give it a listen. Right now.
Alkaline Trio: Is This Thing Cursed?
Alk-Trio came roaring back this year with a superb pop/punk jam. After a rough couple of past releases, Is This Thing Cursed? sees the band at the top of their game once again. It’s a real treat.
Matthew Perryman Jones: The Waking Hours
Matthew Perryman Jones is a one-of-a-kind singer/songwriter who sadly continues to be unnoticed by the music-loving community at large. The Waking Hours offers some of his strongest, most evocative work to date. “Carousel,” in particular, is an absolute treasure.
Lauren Daigle: Look Up Child
Daigle’s massive crossover hit is the record that singlehandedly launched her into the mainstream spotlight and for once I actually think the hype of the populace at large is warranted.
The Summer Kills: Last Night We Became Swans
The Summer Kills is the brainchild of ambient masters Hammock and singer/songwriter Matthew Ryan. Last Night We Became Swans gives listeners a wonderfully euphoric mixture of early U2 and Explosions in the Sky. If gritty, breathy vocals and post-rock slow burners sound appealing to you, this will be right up your alley.
Lovelite: Apocalypse Hymnal
Lovelite’s latest project dives even deeper into the experimental waters that they were only dipping toes in on the previous record. And they manage to pull it off beautifully.
Lauren Balthrop: This Time Around
What started as a slightly above average country record slowly started to morph into something quite spectacular. By the time the gorgeous “Accident” rolled around, I found myself completely entranced. The lesson to be learned from this is to not let initial impressions fool you because you might end up missing one of the best records of the year.
Thrice has once again proven to be a real grower of a band for me. What was at first a rather mediocre attempt at branching outside of the alt-rock sound of To Be Everything Is To Be Nowhere and Major / Minor, Palms’ gentler side soon started to win me over. The heavier moments could definitely use some improvements but, in my opinion, Thrice hasn’t done heavy music well since Vheissu or even The Artist and the Ambulance so there’s no real disappointment there. It’s a mighty fine record and one Thrice fans should be pleased with.
The Republic of Wolves: Shrine
And the final record that I believe to be worthy of an honourable mention is the latest project by indie-rockers The Republic of Wolves. Featuring influences from Brand New and early Manchester Orchestra (think Simple Math era), TROW is well on its way to becoming a staple in the indie scene.
Additional records worthy of note include Matt Maltese’s Bad Contestant, MxPx’s self-titled reunion record, and Sleeping Giants’ final surge of hardcore bliss, I Am.