Photo credit: Kirsten Smith
AuxCordFM is proud to present the first installment in our ‘Best of 2018’ albums countdown. The ten albums selected by Editor James Shotwell will be announced and celebrated through a series of essays. Click here to review the full list and follow us on Twitter for additional updates.
If 2018 proved anything, it’s that rock and roll is far from dead. It’s hard to remember any other year in recent memory that made a more convincing argument for this being true, as artists at every level made it a point to push themselves into new territory, and in doing so challenged genre fans everywhere to open their minds to the possibilities of what rock could become. Michigan based newcomers Southpaw is among those leading this charge, and their Sophomore album, White Lighter Myth, has helped quickly establish the band as one to watch in the years to come.
Named after an urban legend tied to the deaths of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Kurt Cobain, White Lighter Myth delivers a bracing and cathartic collection of modern rock genius. The sound of the record combines classic punk angst, hard rock vitriol, and alternative nostalgia. Southpaw never linger on one influence for longer than a song or two before seamlessly transitioning to another. The resulting effort is one that keeps you on your toes almost as well as it keeps your ears pressed to the speaker. The lyrics are just as important as the music, and that comes across with each track.
“Lately,” the record’s standout single, epitomizes everything that makes Southpaw great. The lyrics grapple with the understanding
Southpaw spent much of 2018 on the road opening for a variety of alternative and mainstream rock headliners. Anyone fortunate enough to catch their live show knows the promise of quality made on White Lighter Myth is confirmed whenever the band graces a stage. Still, the record stands on its own as something wholly unique in a genre more crowded than most. The band will have to fight tooth and nail to reach each new fan, but with this material, the group has an advantage over virtually every other new artist in their field. White Lighter Myth is unforgettable. It speaks to the pains of adulthood with youthful vigor, and it urges listeners to care about themselves as much as they care about the music they love. It demands action over acceptance, suggesting we are all destined for greatness if we can only get out of our way.