|The Best Records of 2018 by Lucman|
It's been a rather slow year on my end of the globe but to counter that this has been one of my favourite years for music in a long time.
My Mind Makes Noises
Before I begin with the list proper here are a few honourable in no particular order.
I can admit that this one is plagued with problems but the music here is so wonderfully infectious I cannot say that I care.
|40||Fit for a King|
This is fairly generic metalcore, granted, but it's well done and great for a quick headbang without sounding like nails on a chalkboard.
|39||Twenty One Pilots|
The duo's most consistent and mature record to date.
|38||The Republic of Wolves|
Another dark indie rock album that's good? No surprises there.
|37||Count Me In|
How's Your Heart, Kid?
Coastal pop/punk doesn't get much better than this.
Look Up Child
A worship artist crossing over to mainstream? Not unheard of except this time the music is actually pretty good.
*List proper begins
Thrice has once again proven to be a real grower of a band for me. What was at first a rather mediocre attempt at branching outside of the alt-rock sound of To Be Everything Is To Be Nowhere and Major / Minor, started to become something great as Palms’ gentler side started to win me over.
Jord may mirror the sound of Deafheaven a little too closely but when the music is this good who’s complaining? Some might even say it's the proper Deafheaven record of 2018.
|33||The Bell Jar|
I Infest, Therefore I Am
Josh Dies continues to be his eccentric, quirky self on this spiritual successor to the raw-rock legends, Showbread. If you know how Josh writes you already know this is top-tier stuff.
Although this doesn’t quite hold its own against something from, say, Jimmy Eat World, it's still a mighty solid throwback to mid-2000s emo infused pop/punk.
On Good News, the collective has finally managed to craft something excellent from beginning to end. In a sea of vague truths and forced positivity, it’s so good to hear something genuinely inspirational for a change.
Is This Thing Cursed?
Is This Thing Cursed? sees Alk-Trio at the top of their game once again. It’s a real treat.
This Time Around
What started as a slightly above average country record slowly started to morph into something quite spectacular. By the time the gorgeous “Accident” rolled around, I found myself completely entranced.
|28||The Summer Kills|
Last Night We Became Swans
Last Night We Became Swans gives listeners a wonderfully euphoric mixture of early U2 and Explosions in the Sky. If gritty, breathy vocals and post-rock slow burners sound appealing to you, this will be right up your alley.
|27||Matthew Perryman Jones|
The Waking Hours
Matthew Perryman Jones is a one-of-a-kind singer/songwriter who sadly continues to be unnoticed by the music-loving community at large. The Waking Hours offers some of his strongest, most evocative work to date.
Frankly, I Mutate
On Frankly, I Mutate, Paddy Hanna channels the spirit of Elvis Presley and mixes it with his own groovy trademark. “All I Can Say Is I Love You” is one of the best songs of the year hands-down. Give it a listen. Right now.
Emo has had a bit of an underwhelming run this year but Elder Brother’s sophomore record, Stay Inside, gave listeners a much-needed reprieve from the seemingly endless dim-a-dozen emo bands that flood Bandcamp on the daily.
Nearer My God
Boasting larger than life production with eccentric melodies that recall Modest Mouse’s most offbeat moments, this 2018 gem never ceases to surprise and enthral.
From the Gallery of Sleep
What makes this record truly incredible is the way the band pieces everything together. The music sounds like a living, breathing entity that’s always morphing from one form into another without ever sounding like something else entirely. It’s easily one of 2018’s most electrifying experiences.
|22||Blurred City Lights|
Volker can sound a little menacing at first due to its near industrial textures and heavy atmosphere, but as the dark moments give way to the beautiful and serene, it’s impossible not to be swept up and enchanted by it all.
Not since The Ugly Organ has Cursive sounded this revitalized and creatively unhinged.
They Are the Shield
Driver delivers an exquisite chamer-pop record that sounds like a historical piece written for medieval times and it's all utterly beautiful.
|19||The Innocence Mission|
Sun on the Square
This is like the audio equivalent of a deeply heartfelt and romantic animated film set in France or Venice and I couldn’t love it more.
Inspired by drone and noise-rock and drenched with distortion and reverb, Double Negative is a different beast altogether for the legendary slowcore group. Yet, despite the sea of electronic fuzz layering these songs, Double Negative is undoubtedly a Low album from beginning to end.
Bark Your Head Off, Dog
Bark Your Head Off, Dog has a deceptively dense sound for a record that aims to lighthearted, cheerful, and bouncy. The songs boast unconventional structures and a sporadic delivery. And it’s all so, so nice.
On his debut full-length, Novo Amor walks deep into the misty, overcast forest that birthed Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago and adds his own touch of majesty to the gloomy backdrop. Amor’s breathy falsetto croons over solemn horns and the plucking of guitar strings and as the music grows and swells so does the world the record abides in reveals its grandeur.
|15||John Van Deusen|
(I Am) Origami Pt. 2 Every Power Wide Awake
John Van Deusen delivers a collection of gorgeous and intimate songs inspired by the words of theologian Oswald Chambers.
By the Way, I Forgive You
Sometimes the difference between a good record and a remarkable one is an incredible voice and country/folk singer Brandi Carlile delivers such in spades on her latest record. When her voice isn’t leaving you speechless the songwriting will have you reaching for the tissues.
|13||The Joy Formidable|
As the opener to The Joy Formidable’s latest record explodes into a ferocious display of riffs and metallic shrieks it’s difficult not to feel a sense of awe at the auditory spectacle. Similar in style and sound to mewithoutYou’s latest behemoth, Aaarth is a portrait of The Joy Formidable at the peak of their craft.
This thing is balls-to-the-wall insane. In fact, it’s so unrelentingly chaotic that at first glance it all sounds a bit like a blur of indistinguishable noise. And I flipping love it.
|11||William Ryan Key|
Key’s solo venture has, thus far, been just as special as his days fronted Yellowcard were. These two eps represent some of the best material Key has ever penned and having the chance to experience him bloom as a singer/songwriter is truly exciting.
|10||Rivers and Robots|
Behind the scenes, Rivers and Robots has been casually tinkering away and crafting some of CCM’s most innovative and soulful music. On Discovery, the group explores an intoxicating and delightfully warm blend of lush, dream-pop numbers and vulnerable, slow-burning ballads.
Arbiter arrives ten years after Hopesfall's initial disbandment and it is everything a fan could have asked for. Its spacey textures, reminiscent of the band’s earlier works, are soaked in mid-2000s nostalgia without falling into the trap of sounding dated or uninspired.
A heartbreaking lament on the subject of divorce delivered beautifully by The Choir's signature melancholic aesthetic and shoegaze-inspired pop/rock.
Resurrection Letters: Vol.1
You can trust Andrew Peterson to release the best CCM record of the year. Resurrection Letters Vol. 1 is a profound remembrance of the Easter story and one that will continue to impact my faith and the faith of whoever listens for years to come.
Art of Doubt
Art of Doubt shows Metric going back to their roots while subtly mixing in the styles they were dabbling in on prior records. Revelling in spunk, groove, and a surprising amount of musical grit, Art of Doubt is one of the best pop/rock records I’ve heard in a long time.
On their stunning sophomore record, Vansire craft a warm and subtle lo-fi bedroom-pop album that erupts with young adult sentimentalism, melancholy, and childhood nostalgia. All of this is wrapped up in a cosy and intimate aesthetic that sounds and feels like an early morning by the coast. I cannot get enough of it.
The on-the-nose style of music that made Howard famous has been stripped away in favour of more nuanced, exploratory songwriting with an atmosphere that is heavy and otherworldly. You can almost feel the intense heat radiating off the ground as you trudge through the album’s desolate landscape and sense the eyes of the vultures as they wait for you to breathe your last. And yet, as you walk on, you feel a sense of peace and comfort in the isolation. This is how it feels to listen to Noonday Dream.
[Untitled] is the embodiment of an anguished and confused cry, reaching for something stable to grasp onto to just to get over the next wave. For Aaron Weiss and co, the light that guides them through comes in the form of their family, their faith, and the reassurance that their journey is far from over. “Someday,” Aaron sings faithfully on the closing track, “I will find me.” Musically? This could very well be mewithoutYou's best project to date.
Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It
On Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It, Rolo Tomassi have fine-tuned their sound to perfection. And perfect it is as the result of their hard work over the course of five records is one of the most exhilarating, unpredictable, and utterly beautiful metal albums I have heard in years, quite possibly this decade.
You Won't Get What You Want
After eight long years of silence, the noise-rock group known as Daughters come screaming back with their most fleshed out and horrifying record to date. You Won’t Get What You Want is a deeply affecting portrait of paranoia and existential dread wrapped up in one of the most visceral listening experiences you’re likely to hear this whole decade.