Tampa Bay’s best local music releases of 2018

Louis Junior, DEA & Saint, His Hem and more lead the way.

click to enlarge Josh White (L) and Lynnsey June of DEA & Saint. - Patrick Ryan Deasy
Patrick Ryan Deasy
Josh White (L) and Lynnsey June of DEA & Saint.

Year-end lists are tricky. In a local music scene as rich, active and diverse as Tampa Bay’s there are always local releases that’ll fly under CL’s radar. Like the rest of the country, 2018 saw plenty of great hip-hop (hello Louis Junior, DEA & Saint) move to the forefront of the pack, but there was plenty of pop (Ella Jet), metal (Horsewhip) and experimental or outside of the box sounds (His Hem, Clang!, Nude Tayne) that caught our attention.

Tried and true scene favorites experienced spurts of creativity (Billy Summer’s Luxury Mane and Hotel Life projects), and the young folks continued to impress, too (Poster, Jordan Esker, Sun Signs).

Some artists from 2017’s best-of list showed up again (Hello Joyce, FayRoy, Elizabeth Baker), and the jazz scene showed out, too (James Suggs).

These are some of of the Bay area artists whose albums moved us in 2018. Scroll through a list here, or click through below to read more and listen to the records.

Visit Spotify to check out a mixtape featuring samples of it all, and check out our slideshow of pics of all the artists.

Blake Daniels: Demos


Carrollhood: Carrollhood/Underoath: Erase Me

Career: Structures

Clang!: Clang!

DEA & Saint: T R A P D O O M

Ella Jet: Black Wave Diary

Elizabeth Baker: Quadrivium

Jordan Esker & the Hundred Percent: Fail To Learn

Fay Roy: Oh No, Oh Man

Hello Joyce: Brother Speedo

His Hem: Bishxxp

Horsewhip: Horsewhip

The Jackettes: The Jackettes Live the Endless Bummer

James Suggs: You’re Gonna Hear From Me

Louis Junior: Nothing More, Nothing Greater

Luxury Mane/Hotel Life

John Nowicki: The Holy Terror (And Other Diversions)

Nude Tayne: Everyday Business

Pleasures: Body Pop

Pohgoh: Secret Club

Poster: Crawl

Snacking: Not Here

Soapbox Soliloquy and Sonic Graffiti Ghost A-Go-Go split

Sun Signs: Dopeless Hope Fiend

Team Callahan: Dog Days

They Hate Change: Now & Never Again

WAHH World Fusion Band: Brother Ray

About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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