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Best of 2018 - round up of the year

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    Best of 2018 - round up of the year

    I'm not overly convinced that this year is as strong as last year for album releases. Still some really good stuff around but a couple of bigger acts disappointed me a little.

    My favourite this year was Cusp by Alela Diane. Her voice has never sounded better and her songwriting on the album has a really intense emotional power.

    Other strong albums this year:

    Anna Burch - Quit The Curse, The Beths - Future Me Hates Me, Courtney Barnett - Tell Me How You Really Feel, Goat Girl - Goat Girl, Mattiel - Mattiel, The Orielles - Silver Dollar Moment, Snail Mail - Lush and Soccer Mommy - Clean

    From an americana and alt folk perspective I'd also add:

    Carter Sampson - Lucky, Colter Wall - Songs of the Plains, Courtney Marie Andrews - May Your Kindness Remain, Dawn Landes - Meet Me At The River, Dean Owens - Southern Wind, Erin Rae - Puttin' On Airs, I'm With Her - See You Around, Jess Williamson - Cosmic Wink, Laura Veirs - The Lookout, Lera Lynn - Plays Well With Others, Lindsay Lou and the Flat Bellys - Southland, Nathan Bell - Loves Bones and Stars, Sam Morrow - Concrete and Mud and Sarah Shook and the Disarmers - Years.

    I thought that The Beeders album 'All Nerve' was decent enough but it isnt up there with their strongest. Same for 'Dove' by Belly - there's nothing on that album that stands up to the best tracks on either Star or King. The Decemberists' latest is a good album but it isnt a Decemberists album for me. Stand alone it's a good listen but it doesnt stand up to their back catalogue because it's a bit of a change from those albums. Cat Power's album 'Wanderer' is also decent, as was Eleanor Friedberger's album but I didn't enjoy it as much as her other solo efforts.

    A couple of real disappointments this year. Lindi Ortega's album 'Liberty' just doesnt do it for me. I saw her live earlier in the year and it was just horrible hearing her struggling to hit strong top notes in her singing. Maybe an off night but the album doesnt really gave me hope that she's still got enough about her. I'm also a bit underwhelmed by the Neko Case album. I'm pissed off with Neko in general given her lack of Scottish gigs for a good number of years now. I just don't think the new album stands up compared to how good she can be. I know I'm in the minority in that opinion as she's done really well in the music press end of year lists. First couple of listens didnt really grab me.

    I'm sure Milk Carton Kids would be on the best of list but I won't get the album until Christmas.

    Re-issue of the year has to be Liz Phair. I'm getting the Girlysound to Guyville box set for Christmas. The box set itself isnt the best of packages. The album covers aren't particularly well printed or finished and the book is really poorly printed. It's basically the print quality of Private Eye or the old non-glossy issues of Viz. I expected something with a glossy cover and better printing/proper binding. That said, the album is outstanding and the demos are worth having. Whip Smart is also excellent and deserves as much praise as her debut.

    Breeders re-issues are also great. I'd like to pick up the Bobbi Gentry box set at some point but that'll be a 2019 purchase.

    Live shows? Best I've seen this year - and also one of the best I've ever seen - was Molly Tuttle playing the Mitchell Theatre for Celtic Connections. It was a late announcement so all my mates went to Shelby Lynne and Alison Moorer. They missed a genuinely prodigious talent. Tuttle's guitar playing is exceptional and she matches that with a very good voice and solid song writing. I also thought that the Belly gig was really excellent. 24 hours after the O2 fire and after frantically searching for another venue, the band treated us to an absolutely storming show at The Garage. Gail Greenwood is a force of nature on bass. Breeders in Edinburgh didnt disappoint, even if I hate the venue, and Pip Blom in support was a great find. Add in fantastic gigs by Mandolin Orange, Kathryn Williams, Lindsay Lou, Caroline Spence, Handsome Family, Damien Jurado, Courtney Marie Andrews, Anna Burch, Carter Sampson, Erin Rae, Joan Shelley and Ian Felice . It's been a good year for live music. I had tickets for a couple of gigs I didnt make in the end - JD McPherson would have been good and I regret missing Laura Veirs to try to recover from a cold enough to attend Lindi Ortega (who was terrible). I also wish I'd got tickets for The Orielles and for Jess Williamson. I was seriously disappointed with Jessica Lea Mayfield live. I actually worried about her mental health given how erratic she was on stage. Given that she's coming out of a physically abusive relationship she's understandably messed up a bit but that live performance wasn't great and she looked pretty manic on stage.

    Roll on 2019, although I'm already pissed off with how unambitious and unimaginative the Celtic Connections line up is.

    Top Five albums:

    Suede - The Blue Hour

    Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - Hope Downs

    Dream Wife - Dream Wife

    She Drew The Gun - Revolution of Mind

    Shame - Songs of Praise

    Top Five Songs:

    Danny Nedelko - Idles

    Twentytwo - Sunflower Bean

    Life is Golden - Suede

    L’Etat C’est Moi - The Blinders

    Mainland - Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever


      My favourite new albums this year have been:

      We Are Ill - Ill
      Sink Ya Teeth - Sink Ya Teeth
      Wanderer - Cat Power
      İstikrarlı Hayal Hakikattir - Gaye Su Akyol
      Big Attraction/Giddy Up - Amyl & The Sniffers

      Amid stiff competition from New Order, DAF, ACR, Giuda, Amyl & The Sniffers, Ladytron and others, Soft Cell's farewell show at the O2 was the standout concert for me.


        Olafur Arnauds "Re:member" album is the one this year if vocalists get in the way for you.


          Originally posted by BallochSonsFan View Post
          My favourite this year was Cusp by Alela Diane. Her voice has never sounded better and her songwriting on the album has a really intense emotional power.
          Yes! I've been touting this view in the 'New Music in 2018' thread all year. And that in a year I feel has been the best in a while (currently working on my list - this perception of quality may only be because I've been paying a bit more attention this year). The track 'Emigrι' is also a deeply moving and poetically stunning song about refugees stranded at sea. And yet I haven't seen 'Cusp' mentioned in any of the end-of-year lists I've seen so far.


            Favourite albums the year:

            "Addendum", John Maus
            "Grind Show", North Atlantic Oscillation
            "When I Shoot At You With Arrows, I Will Shoot To Destroy You", Micah P Hinson
            "Family of Aliens", Teleman


              I'm very mainstream compared to you lot.

              Breakfast at Tamara's by George Ezra

              I really love 'the beautiful dream' off the George Ezra album. I thought 'Life's too Short' by Darius Rucker was a 2018 song but it's from last year. But I really like it.


                Originally posted by Crusoe View Post
                Favourite albums the year:

                "Addendum", John Maus
                "Grind Show", North Atlantic Oscillation
                "When I Shoot At You With Arrows, I Will Shoot To Destroy You", Micah P Hinson
                "Family of Aliens", Teleman
                My favourite tracks of the year:



                  I can't normally do this as I am so out of date with the beat groups you kids listen to but my recent DJing stint has thrown up "Like Sugar" by Chaka Khan which I love.


                    The Top 40 albums of the year. No other list will have been as carefully and objectively compiled after considering thousands of releases, but finally settling on the ones I've actually heard.


                      NIN - Bad Witch -- I quite like 'God Break Down the Door' even if he's obviously going for a Bowie-esque sound (which tbh is a bit of an improvement on his usual vocal stylings, so why all the complaints?) and he plays the sax bits live as well.
                      Idles - Joy as an Act of Resistance -- Great album and 'Never Fight a Man with a Perm' is the song title of the year.
                      Thomas Fehlmann - Los Lagos -- Probably best known for his work with The Orb, this is a great piece of electronica, highly recommended to anybody into Berlin techno/ambient dub.
                      The House in the Woods - Paralysis: Live at Silent Night #8 -- This is a side project of Pye Corner Audio and is more moody and atmospheric. A live album with two thirty-minute tracks is perfect.
                      Young Fathers - Cocoa Sugar -- Really, really good album and an even more incredible live show. Would describe them as a 'hipster boy band' which sounds a billion times worse than they actually are. It's brilliant.


                        I'm usually hopeless at this kind of thing, but I think that I successfully shared a 2018 playlist via Twitter. Though I did it on iTunes through Applemusic, so that probably excludes a large number of listeners on here.

                        Here's a link that comes up when you click on the tweet, so maybe that'll work. [Shuffles off to read print version of his daily newspaper.]


                          I've been rubbish at listening to new albums this year. I really liked the Denzel Curry one though.


                            Most of my purchases in 2018 have been reggae reissues from the 70s and early 80s. For me the song of the year is Lana Del Rey's "Mariners Apartment Complex" with a very nice Mazzy Star vibe:

                            I think Pheobe Bridger's record came out in 2018 (also has a little bit of a Mazzy Star vibe with a Bright Eyes/Ryan Adams feel):

                            From a punk perspective, I just bought this CD from Flag of Democracy at All Ages Records when I was in London; it's a really great hardcore record by an old band:


                              I quite enjoy going through the Quietus' end of the year list. Most of it is usually bands that don't actually exist, and the one that do are just three men banging on an oil drum with pipe-wrenches.


                                Twenty Two - Sunflower Bean
                                Before Sunrise - Gengahr
                                In The Summertime - The Gooch Palms


                                  Originally posted by danielmak View Post

                                  I think Pheobe Bridger's record came out in 2018 (also has a little bit of a Mazzy Star vibe with a Bright Eyes/Ryan Adams feel):
                                  Yeh, I love that album too. I think it came out at the tail end of 2017, but she's one of the sounds of now.

                                  That's an interesting point about Ryan Adams. They were an item at one time, and I recall reading somewhere that he is the protagonist of that song Motion Sickness.


                                    This is my first attempt at a spotify playlist (Spotify only made Romania in 2018). There is no particular order to this, since that's somewhat beyond my capabilities at this stage.

                                    Thanks to BSF and imp for adding a late entry of Alela Diane



                                      I enjoyed LP's by Beak, La Luz, Gwenno, Goat Girl and BC Camplight.

                                      Flatworms, Pigsx7, Shadracks, Black Midi, Duds, Exit Group, Pip Blom, Bill Ryder Jones all made other agreeable rackets.


                                        I continued throughout 2018 my previous habit of posting three pieces of music (Youtube, Bandcamp or Soundcloud) per week to my Tumblr blog. Inevitably it's a mixed bag, but people interested in any of indiepop, synthpop, electronics, ambient, folk or modern classical might find something in the year's end post that pulls everything together into a single list - it's here.


                                          BTW, two more that I think are from 2018:
                                          Snail Mail cover of the Courtney Love (band, not the person/singer) song "The Second Most Beautiful Girl in the World". Lo-fi indie pop but this version is much faster and I like it a lot more than the original.

                                          And this Rosalia track is from late 2017 but I didn't find out about her until 2018. Flamenco for the youth:


                                            Am late to the party, but the Kamasi Washington album 'Heaven and Earth' is absolutely wonderful.


                                              Jah's 2018 Top 60

                                              Probably not definitive (and one or two tracks released late 2017), but the best I can do...

                                              01 Heavy Eyes – Basement Revolver
                                              02 Total Football – Parquet Courts
                                              03 Breathe In, Breathe Out – Melody’s Echo Chamber
                                              04 Blaxploitation – Noname
                                              05 Lux Prima – Karen O & Danger Mouse
                                              06 Colors – Beck
                                              07 Poem About Death – Agnes Obel
                                              08 Psychic Data – TVAM
                                              09 In My View – Young Fathers
                                              10 Trip II Eclipse – Dead Man’s Chest
                                              11 Loading Zones – Kurt Vile
                                              12 Bone Meal – Lower Slaughter
                                              13 Finally Floating – Hinds
                                              14 Bardo – GoGo Penguin
                                              15 Millennial Trash Blues – Jo Passed
                                              16 How Did This Happen?! – Bodega
                                              17 It Was Not Natural – Wye Oak
                                              18 I Got Clothes (ACR remix) – Barry Adamson
                                              19 American Guilt – Unknown Mortal Orchestra
                                              20 Cross My Heart – Melody’s Echo Chamber
                                              21 Old Poisons – Mogwai
                                              22 Twelve Divisions of the Day – Drahla
                                              23 Everybody Needs You – Laura Veirs
                                              24 Priceless Flow – Nujericans
                                              25 If the Car Beside You Moves Ahead – James Blake
                                              26 Nervous Mary – The Breeders
                                              27 Question Everything – (Miss) Kittin
                                              28 Yo! My Saint – Karen O feat Michael Kiwanuka
                                              29 We’re Not Done – Mogwai
                                              30 Loner Boogie – Boy Azooga
                                              31 Brean Down – BEAK>
                                              32 Freebird II – Parquet Courts
                                              33 Take Shelter – Palace Winter
                                              34 Don’t Go – Moaning
                                              35 Unmade – Thom Yorke
                                              36 Work My Mind – Cut Chemist feat Chali 2na & Hymnal
                                              37 The Club – Gruff Rhys
                                              38 Oriole – Afghan Whigs
                                              39 Rang Tang Ring Toon – Mountain Man
                                              40 Make Me Feel – Janelle Monae
                                              41 And Then There’s You – Bill Ryder-Jones
                                              42 Wide Awake – Parquet Courts
                                              43 Honest Living – Marlowe
                                              44 Solara – Smashing Pumpkins
                                              45 God Break Down the Door – Nine Inch Nails
                                              46 Many Moods at Midnight – Ghostpoet
                                              47 Slow Fade – Daniel Avery
                                              48 Toy – Young Fathers
                                              49 Wiggy Giggy – The Lovely Eggs
                                              50 The Vast and Vague Extravagance That Lies at the Bottom of the Celtic Heart – Brona McVittie
                                              51 Tints – Anderson Paak feat Kendrick Lamar
                                              52 Narcissus – TVAM
                                              53 Everybody is Falling – Vessels
                                              54 VHS Forever – Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly
                                              55 Eus Keus? – Gwenno
                                              56 This Dance – Drenge
                                              57 Staring at the Sun – Wooden Shjips
                                              58 Fill It Up – liι
                                              59 Singularity – Jon Hopkins
                                              60 Too Real – Fontaines DC