Lee's Top 10 Albums of 2018

Lee Musgraves has shared their Top 10 Albums of 2018 with us, so check it out below!


David Byrne - American Utopia

Best album of the year, in my opinion. Songs are truly unique compared to what else was released this year. My favorite track off of the album is “I Dance Like This.”

Goodbye & Good Riddance.jpg

Juice WRLD - Goodbye and Good Riddance

Emo trap music with really nice beats. Hit me with the same feels that Dashboard Confessional did when I was younger. A really solid record.


Nine Inch Nails - Bad Witch

An exciting EP with plenty of different emotions going through it. The instrumentals on “God Break Down The Door” is one of my most favorite tracks the band has ever completed.


George Ezra - Staying At Tamara's

You rarely hear deep baritone vocals over pop music, and this whole album has that in spades. Favorite tracks off of the album are “Shotgun” and “Paradise.”


Hawthorne Heights - Bad Frequencies

This album shows the band maturing as they get older. Evolving their sound and lyrics without getting rid of what I, and many others, love about Hawthorne Heights.


Ice Nine Kills - The Silver Scream

A horror movie focused concept album that brings what we already love into a conceptual movement. Very loud, intense vocals that truly bring Halloween classics to life for listeners.


Post Malone - Beerbongs & Bentleys

Beerbongs & Bentleys is, arguably, way better than his debut. All of these songs are truly memorable, clearly rocketing Postie onto a huge stage. This has been my most played album of the year.


Eric Church - Desperate Man

This is a great follow up to 2015's Mr. Misunderstood, bringing that same great music without the same conceptual elements.


Kero Kero Bonito - Time ‘n’ Place

Truly, a different sound that breathes fresh air into Pop music. It's like bubblegum Death Grips. The rock influenced sound is a nice touch as well to what their truly unique style!


Dance Gavin Dance - Artificial Selection

If you like DGD, and their last few albums, this is a good addition. They have their sound down, and while I'd like to see them try something new, this is still an album I keep coming back to.

Rowan's Top 10 Albums of 2018


A writer for The Hook for nearly 2 years, Rowan continues to contribute sound music reviews & opinions. We love & miss her dearly.

Below are her Top Albums of 2018!

Hayley Kiyoko – Expectations

This year has been a thriving time for LGBTQ+ artists. Hayley Kiyoko is our queen and we should all bow down. “Wanna Be Missed” is my favorite song off this album, but the rest are just as good, and the album art? Wow. Hayley out here telling us it’s okay to be as gay as possible. She really wasn’t lying when she said it was 20gayteen.


Florence and The Machine – High As Hope

Florence, Florence, Florence. This woman has a voice that makes me believe the sirens of Greek myth are real, and she is one of them. She can lure me to my death anytime. I will go willingly as soon as I hear her voice on the horizon.


Panic! At The Disco – Pray For The Wicked

Any time Panic! At the Disco releases new music is a good time for the world. Is this one of their best albums? No, but it’s still one of the best albums of the year, because Brendon Urie is still Brendon Urie.

Beach House – 7

My favorite band releasing a new album automatically makes it one of my favorite albums of the year. I’ll just add this to the discography I’m slowly building in my music library.


Years and Years – Palo Santo

Another success for LGBTQ+ musicians! If Years and Years and Hayley Kiyoko want to do a collaborate any time soon, I wouldn’t be mad.

Nicki Minaj – Queen

The album title says it all. Really. In a choice between this album and Cardi B’s, I gotta go with Nicki. The beef between them is tragic because we all know they could’ve made a collab to end the world. Though I love Cardi’s I Like It (and listen to it on repeat) and I love her personality, Nicki’s music is still my first choice. Chun Li!


Ariana Grande – Sweetener

Was there even a question that this would be a Top 10 album of the year? For anyone? I’ll be shocked if it’s not on anyone’s list but mine. Come on now. Ariana stays slaying us all. Thank u, next.

Death Cab For Cutie – Thank You For Today

I love Death Cab & I love this album. The songs take me away. “Northern Lights” is my favorite above all. The moment I first heard it on the radio, I stood there just listening to it until it was over, totally absorbed. And then I went and immediately listened to the rest of the album.

Troye Sivan – Bloom

Another LGBTQ+ artist, and one of my favorites. While I think Blue Neighborhood is still his best work, Bloom is a great album with tracks and lyrics that remind me why I love Troye. The boy’s a romantic and I love it. I practically swoon over the pictures he paints with his songs.


John Legend – A Legendary Christmas

When John Legend dropped a Christmas album out of nowhere at the beginning of November I was shook, but of course I went and streamed it immediately, and I was not disappointed. Christmas is my favorite holiday of all time, and it feels like John Legend should’ve been singing carols long before this. Michael Bublé who? I’ll be listening to John Legend Christmas music and only John Legend Christmas music from now on.

Emily's Top 5 Songs For Crying In The Shower

We need a good cry just as much as the next person - and what better way to get the tears flowing then a playlist to really bring to the surface all of the feelings you’ve been avoiding!

This weeks playlist is an ode to the saddies, the baddies in the shower just trying to get through life - and whether you’re crying in the shower at 7am, 12pm, or 11pm, we’re here to support you!

A Side / B Side - Tipling Rock

While we prefer the Acoustic version, Tipling Rock’s “A Side / B Side” is one of the happiest sad songs we know. If you’re trying to make sure your friends & fam aren’t worried about you, but still hoping to get a good cry in, Tipling Rock makes it easy. The song lends itself to the recently rejected, or the e-crush you haven’t DMed yet. That’s ok, take a walk and put this bad boy on - we won’t judge you!

Heat Wave - Snail

I was recently introduced to Snail Mail via someone I had gone on a few dates with, and when that person ended up to be not the best, Snail Mail was right there to pick me up. Perfect for cool autumn nights, Snail Mail’s album Lush recently dropped & has quickly become a go to sad times album. Check it out!

Upside Down - The Story So Far

The Story So Far lit up 2018 with their latest album Proper Dose. While I had not been a big TSSF fan, this album quickly changed my mind. “Upside Down” especially stuck out to me for lyricism, and also rhyming “It's all love now, upside down” - like, incredible? Also, this song is great for breakups, for being ghosted, for your High School Crush who you haven’t seen in 8 years. Music video below!

Other People - Beach House

Beach House are the OG sad tunes - we’ve all known this. “Other People" is not new, but it remains a stand by song for sadness showers (showers when you’re sad, yanno). While the track is not necessarily sad, Beach House embodies the aesthetic of melancholy in everything they do (for the most part, plz don’t quote us).

Bed Space - Darwin Deez

Ironically enough I found out about Darwin Deez after I had been on a one time date where I never heard from the guy again, so I have only ever known Darwin Deez as that guy, drumming against the wheel in his car, singing to me “Last Cigarette” and “The Bomb Song.” This track specifically makes me feel things because, I personally relate feeling far away from everyone you care about.

So, add these bad boys to your current crying curation, or feel free to hit us up with your favorite songs to shed some tears too! We’ve got Five Songs For Riding In The Car coming up next week, so stay tuned!

Honorable Mentions

The Magdalene - Foxing
Heart Contact - The City View
Just Friends - Pentimento
Apartment - Young The Giant
Charmer - Tigers Jaw
Chanel - Frank Ocean
Summer Depression - girl in red


Emily's Top 5 Songs For Feeling Spooky

It’s important to feel spooky during the spooky season - so we’re here to help.

October is a time for many things - pumpkins, ghosts, saying you like scary movies but still having to sleep with your roommate after watching The Conjuring, and the like! We’ve created a playlist that’s sure to make you feel extra creepy crawly as you go about your day!

Gods & Monsters - Lana Del Rey

An oldie, but a goodie. I included this one for two reasons - Lana Del Rey is one spooky ass bitch who I would like to kiss, and also her voice lends itself to spooky season in basically all of her discography, so if you don’t like this song, feel free to choose any other one and it’ll have the same effect. With a cameo in American Horror Story: Freak Show, the spooky levels are confirmed by Hollywood. With Lana’s vintage style & sultry, pepper voice it’s easy to get lost in “Gods & Monsters.”

Holding On - Jenn Champion

This is one of the most recent tracks on the list, having been released earlier this year. The track is indie bliss - and Champion’s voice is eerie and soothing all at once. The track is off of her 2018 album Single Rider, and outlines being in a relationship with someone who definitely isn’t the right fit; and, while unlike any of the other tracks on this spooky list, (because it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with anything spooky), the tracks aesthetic and mood fits in perfectly with this list - plus, feelings are pretty scary, so.

Halloween - Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth is, arguably, always creepy. So, we just straight up chose “Halloween” for this playlist because, ha ha, it says Halloween in the name! Of course, we also chose this song simply because it “slaps” as the kids say. The ethereal, ghost-like sound of Sonic Youth lends itself perfectly to prepping for that Haunted House you’re going to, or prepping for trick or treating with friends.

Cannibal - Ke$ha

An old school classic about eating the hearts of men by our Lord & Savior, Ke$ha. A perfect Halloween bop for getting ready for a party, making out with your ‘BOO’ for the night. We love the empowerment of femme folx, and we love pop so what isn’t there to love about “Cannibal.” The track is an easy listen, and a classic from the “Tik ToK” era - and for feeling spooky, this will get you there!

Rattlin’ Bones - Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Do ya like jazz? Well, we’ve got some spooky jazz for you. We feel it’s important to keep the list as objective as possible, and this rendition of “Rattlin’ Bones” is sure to make you feel some type of spooky way.

We want to give a special shout out to literally any song called “Halloween” and also to everyone who said that the list wasn’t valid unless The Misfits were on it (hah, they aren’t).

Emily's Top 5 Songs For Kissing (Right Now)

It’s no secret that, sometimes, people like to kiss and listen to music. It’s even better when the person you’re kissing likes the music you’re kissing to, but how do you guarantee that mid-pause “wow, this playlist is great” validation you’ve been searching for?

Look no further!

We’ve taken it upon ourselves to compile 5 songs to add to your Makeout Playlist that are sure to make your boo (or not so boo) go, “wow, let’s kiss even more!” Of course, this list is yours to mix and match with, because we couldn’t give away all of our secrets now can we?

Check it out!

Redbone - Childish Gambino
Childish Gambino has evolved in many ways since his debut as the musical counterpart of Donald Glover. With his first studio album, Camp, Gambino rocketed into stardom with angry, bent out of shape tracks like “Heartbeat” & “Bonfire.” From there, Because The Internet introduced us to Gambino’s more ethereal side - the side that samples tracks and soothes, tracks like “3005” and “IV. Sweatpants.” In 2016, after 3 years without releasing anything substantial and threatening the end of the Childish Gambino era, Awaken, My Love! was released with a mixed bag of reviews. However, “Redbone” was one of the two featured tracks that Gambino released before the album dropped - an instant classic. With vibes reminiscent of funk, jazz and blues, Gambino hit’s on his ability to smooth over every syllable, every word. It’s sexy, and you can’t deny that - so “Redbone” makes it onto our makeout list because not only will your kissing partner think you’re suave af, who doesn’t want to makeout to this shit?

The Sun - Myd
Have you ever been sitting there, watching the sun set with your boo on the beach thinking, “damn, I really wish we had the perfect song to set the mood.” Well, Myd has provided us with the perfect kissing at dusk song, and aptly named “The Sun” is a groovy, indie little jam that pulls on retro European funk & disco vibes. The french native, Quentin Lepoutre, began their journey in 2008 primarily as a sound engineer. With EP releases happening promptly every two years beginning in 2011, Myd’s latest release, All Inclusive, is the best by far. “The Sun” is one of my favorites off of the release, and has been tested and proven as a great late afternoon, we’re both sweating and at the beach kind of song.

i don’t want to say too much - sagun
Maybe you’re looking for something with a lot less words and a lot more instrumental sounds. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Late night hook up with that boo who’s been incessantly liking your Instagram pics? This slow rolling, careful song is perfect for when things are better when they’re quiet - just without the silence that is. “i don’t want to say too much” is one of many from nepal native sagun. The producer and artist is aptly known for their instrumental work, but they have been known to do remixes and collaborations with other artists. While I specifically love this track for the ukulele chords that hold it down, the sound of water that keeps the tempo, and the gentle knocking - you could choose really any of sagun’s works to add to your makeout playlist.

Stolen Dance - Milky Chance
Of course I can’t forget all of you lucky fucks in relationships. Milky Chance is one of my favorite bands in the world, and one time I got to watch them play acoustic outside of Reading Terminal Market on the corner of 12th and Filbert here in Philly - but, I digress. “Stolen Dance” is the first single the German group ever put out in April 2013. The folky, indie vibes it gives off is timeless, though. I choose Stolen Dance because, lyrically, it is meaningful. The song lends itself perfectly to showing that person you like/love/care for that you really do like/love/care for them - especially when kissing.

I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend - girl in red
19 year old Norwegian DIY legend, girl in red has taken streaming by storm in the past year. With all of her music produced in her bedroom, she has begun performing festivals in Europe and taking the internet by storm. This song is steamy, guttural, and envelopes everything I love about DIY music.

Well, there ya have it. 5 songs you could sneak into your Makeout Playlist to see how they go - and if you don’t have a Makeout Playlist, then they’re just good songs to listen to. Let us know how they work out, drop us a comment or a message on any of our social media!

Stay tuned for more playlists coming in the future!

H O N O R A B L E ~ M E N T I O N S

* all music listed on this playlist has been personally tested for it’s credibility and accessibility for being made out to *

KnowLove Philly Interview MINKA

Interview By Shane Weller of KnowLove Philly.

It’s 4:30 in the afternoon and Dick Rubin, the front man for Minka, retrieves a bottle from a well-stocked bar in his Olde Kensington home, and begins pouring me a Scotch on the rocks. He’s having his straight. His hand crafted wood table is littered with old Casio keyboards and drum machines that he likes to tinker with these to make new sounds. We sit down with our drinks and start what turns out to be an in depth conversation about living in a simulation, jumping out of cakes completely naked, and the legend that is Minka. 

You can hear the whole interview below, or read the transcripts provided!

KLP: What is the goal for Minka?
DR: As much as there’s a plan for any of us. I always remind the band when were in rehearsal that there’s a really good chance that we are living in a simulation and that none of this matters at all. Taking that in mind, you know, you could get very nihilistic, very quickly, and say, “Well any plan you have is futile because it’s just zeros’ and ones, but you know, I’m not going to take it that far, so I think the goal for Minka is the White House.

KLP: How many albums do you have out right now?
DR: We have two EP’s on Spotify, and then we had two previous EP’s before that, but we destroyed all copies of those.

KLP: Why would you destroy all copies?
DR: Sometimes destruction is a form of creation.

KLP: Alright, so you just decided to get rid of them?
DR: Yeah, it was pretty awkward going into our friends’ houses in the middle of the night and stealing them and destroying them.

KLP: They must have been pissed!
DR: No. They knew what we're about.

KLP: So they just gelled with it.
DR: They had no choice really, they were bound and gagged.

KLP: Jesus Christ you are down for the bound and gagging shit. 
DR: I’m actually a natural submissive, but I don’t think that’s for this podcast.

KLP: When you do the Prince Show are you going to do the whole circus thing?
DP: Well we have the Minkettes coming and we will be Prince and The Revolution, and we’re conducting a séance Thursdayearlier in the day. Were acutally going to resurrect the spirit. Im actually going to lease my body to Prince for about 12 hours.  

For more on MINKA and what they're up to, check out their social media below!

Minka: YouTube // Facebook // Instagram // Twitter

5 Stupid Questions With Backslider

Jake is bassist and lead stud muffin of Philadelphia based powerviolence/grunge outfit Backslider, and we got a chance to talk to him for our 5 stupid questions below!
Gene: Suhhhh duuuuu?
Jake: chillin on an airplane after drinking a bottle of tequila and putting tons of weed in my system in different ways. Backslider's West Coast tour ended yesterday in Portland and then we hung out with some close friends talking about Metallica and Norm Macdonald all day, and then I saw this fucking email after boarding at like 10:30pm.

G: You’re a Philly guy, so I gotta ask, who has better cheesesteaks, McDonalds or Burger King?
J: I guess 5 years makes me a Philly guy now? That's cool. I broke vedge in Philly so this is sort of appropriate. BK has French toast sticks and that's tight. Best cheesesteaks are Cosmi's.....or any cheesesteak that is less than 4 bucks at your nearest corner store.

G: I bet you I could throw a football over them mountains over there. Wanna put some money on it?
J: I always thought of you as an Uncle Rico. I can throw a football man, tight spiral. Fuck with it. Real talk though, I remember my mom being really supportive of me playing sports n shit....but years later she admitted that she was relieved when I put down the ball and picked up the fuckin axe. My mom shreds harder than Bandit, just sayin. 

G: Your band started as a powerviolence band but recently has shown strong grunge and noise rock influences, what inspired this musical shift? How do you think the band’s sound will develop moving forward?
J: Yea, I remember the first time I saw Backslider. Years before I was in the band, fuckin ding dongs just sounded like Lack Of Interest with jorts on. By the time I joined the band there was a bunch of sludgy crap goin on....like some STP meets Infest type shit. Then Pat bought a bunch of Unsane shirts and we wrote a song with a lot of tom hits and BOOM! The noise rock rumors started. But really, Backslider has been a band way too long to keep doing the same shit, so after awhile you change it up. We just got a new drummer who is famous for blast beats, but we're recording an ep at the end of the month with no blast beats. Just pummeling hardcore punk tunes for full grown adults to wreck their rooms to. You know what I'm talking about, Gene. You're angsty as fuck. 

G: If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, why does my Dad not love me?
J: Just remember, if your dad loves you, you ain't shit. Be grateful he thinks of you as a mistake. You couldn't do stand up comedy or play grind if he cared about you. 

Thanks to Jake and Backslider for slamming these out! To keep up with Backslider, check out their social media below!

Backslider: Facebook // Bandcamp

5 Stupid Questions with Die Choking

We're coming back with our 5 Stupid questions, and today we've spoken with Paul Herzog. The bassist and vocalist of Philadelphia based Technical Death/Grind unit, Die Choking.

Gene: So, when you agreed to do this interview you specifically requested no “Weird Al jokes”. Is this a common occurance in your life, being compared to Weird Al? I personally would love being compared to him, I imagine that would never get old, ever.
Paul: When either Weird Al or Kenny G pop up on the television my 3 kids are immediately like, "Look! It's Daddy!" Like Samson, my hair is the secret to my unholy and hate-filled power.  I too can slay an entire army with only the jawbone of a jackass.  

G: What food makes you fart the most? For me it’s literally anything I eat.
P: Crabs and beer. Hands down. Without question. Eternal pants-shitting frenzy. Most would consider it a shellfish allergy.  Not I. Consumption of sea insects is forever worth this high grade GI upset. Wait, do crustaceans have a nervous system capable of processing the experience of pain?  Fuck it. Ethics be damned. I so deserve to suffer. 

G: If a train is moving west at 78 miles per hour and it hits another train moving east at the same speed, why doesn’t my Dad love me?
P: My Dad will love you. I am a dad. I can love you too. Even the biggest turd on the planet deserves to be loved. 

G: Die Choking is known as one of the most technical bands in Philly, if not the entire East Coast. I’m curious, what is the daily/weekly regiment like in terms of practicing your instrument? Is practicing your instrument a cumulative process or is it about maintaining a certain level of dexterity and fluidity?
P: Die choking rehearsal is like a round table in telling the other band members how much they fucking blow.  We have a guitarist who can't play, a drummer who can't count, and a deaf bassist with awful tone. We're fucked! I do cringe at the "tech" label in metal though. I prefer "text" metal. We text or IM far more than we actually rehearse. 

G: I want to ask you a question, straight out, flat out, and I want you to give me the honest answer. What do you think the chances are of a guy like you and a girl like me ending up together?
P: Hmmmm, your biceps and pecks seem quite splendid and you are getting your masters degree in some socially conscious fucking garbage.  I don't think you have tattoos either so that means you must be rebellious or different than the countless other grindcore cuties voraciously seeking my dong. We could be the ultimate grindcore power couple! Totally down. 

Thanks to Die Choking and Paul for speaking with us, and for more on Die Choking, check out their social media below!

Die Choking: Website // Bandcamp