Ray Cobra’s Top EPs of 2018
10. Grasmere – What We left Behind: The band formerly known as Second Story Anthem have been part of the Columbus pop-punk scene for a few years; I would even call them veterans. Last year they announced they were ending. Little did we know they were just rebranding and would come back with a refreshed sound and a new name. It paid off as What We left Behind is hands down the best release of this band’s career. The main aspect that sets it apart is the songwriting of Tyler Cox. He is one of the best songwriters in Columbus. If you don’t believe me, go listen to this EP.
9. Pete Mako – Grim Grimoire Vol. 2: When it comes to good songwriters in Columbus, Pete Mako is one that always comes to mind. Why? He keeps it simple and writes about cartoons, monsters, and things in the dark. All things I like, so yeah, he wins out in my world and always will.
8. Goodfella – We’re All Attached to Something: This EP is four songs of pure, amazing pop-punk. It does what an EP should—leave the listener wanting more, and I am patiently waiting for a full length. Based on these four songs, that full length when it happened is going to be magical. They also released one of my favorite songs in 2018 with “Write It Off.” If you need a place to start, start there.
7. Wandering Stars – Vaudeville in Collage: This a solo release from Derek Christopher, bassist of The Ghost Town Railroad. What Derek did was he had different musicians from the Columbus scene play on every track. And the results are outstanding. No two tracks sound the same, and the dynamics are on point. There should not be so much talent on one release. This not only shows what Derek is capable of but what the city of Columbus has to offer the world. Folks need to stop sleeping on Columbus. This is a music city!
6. Forever Came Calling – Retro Future: I’ll be honest. I didn’t think we would get another release from this pop-punk group from California. But I am so glad we did. This release comes four years after their last album, and they picked right back up were they left off. And they did this without the help of a label. I hope people were listening this time because these guys deserve the world.
5. Action/Adventure – Going Heel: Why and how is this band not signed?! They are hands down one of the best pop-punk bands around today, and this 5-piece from Chicago are only going to get better with time. They do pop-punk right; these songs are so damn catchy. They have always written great hooks and choruses—those kinds that get stuck in your head for days or they pop in your head when you haven’t listened to them in weeks.
4. We Are the Movies – …Or Get Busy Dying: When it comes to local pop-punk these guys released the best pop-punk album of 2018—maybe even in the past few years. I remember my review from their release in 2016 and how I was blown away. Well, they exceeded that with this release. It’s a full package: the songwriting, the music, the dynamics, and the live show all make these hooligans stand out. It scares me how good these guys are.
3. Overgrow – The House You Made: I finally posted my review of this amazing release, and all I’m going to say is when you listen to this EP, make sure you have some tissues or your shirt sleeve close by. It really doesn’t matter. This EP is full of emotions, and I personally can’t get enough of it.
2. Capstan – In the Wake of Our Discord: This up and coming post-hardcore band from Florida are quickly making a name for themselves with this release. Once again, I’m going to mention songwriting. Anthony Demario has such a beautiful way with words, and it is beyond evident on this release. The progress from their last EP to this one is unbelievable, and that release was my top release of 2016. If they keep going at the rate they are, they will be headlining sold-out tours soon.
1. Fever 333 – Made an America: If you follow me on any social media, then you know how much I love this release. There was no better release in 2018 in any format than this EP. From start to finish it is a banger. Every single song is outstanding. A few years ago, when that guy was elected president, one of the first things I said was, “well at least punk rock will get better again, like it did in the 80s with Reagan.” This is a punk album through and through, in every sense of what a punk record should be, and it’s the first in the Trump era. And this is just the start. They recently announced that their debut full-length will be released next month. And if this EP is any indication, then you know what that means. 2019 will be the year that the triple 3s truly takeover the world. I hope you folks are ready for what is coming.