|StaffReviews 529Soundoffs 104News Articles 81Band Edits + Tags 203Album Edits 1,060Album Ratings 1997Objectivity 75%Last Active 12-03-20 3:02 amJoined 07-07-08Forum Posts 4,061Review Comments 36,303
I deleted all 125 of my lists and am now archiving my favorite albums from each year of the previous decade. Just my way of trimming my profile and making it a bit leaner/meaner. List is straightforward; these are my 20 favorite releases from 2018.
|20||Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks|
An intriguing blend of guitar rock, psychedelia, funk, and classic rock. The album is very much driven by Malkmus and his electric guitar, but it's the softer moments that sparkle the hardest so to speak - like the shimmering acoustic ballad "Solid Silk".
|19||The Wonder Years|
Somehow this was my first Wonder Years album, which makes no sense as one of the site's bigger pop-punk fans. This is more mature and emotionally intense than I'm used to hearing from the genre, and I fell in love right away. "Pyramids of Salt" and the title track reign supreme.
I Need to Start a Garden
A bustling and experimental indie-folk record. It's very subtle and understated except for when it isn't, like the hoarsely shouted titular refrain on "Oom Sha La La", which remains one of the decade's most inspiring songs.
A solid collection of indie-folk/country gems. The smooth production and lush atmospheres are lit up by gorgeous pianos and outstanding vocals. A very consistent batch of songs with nary a weak track.
|16||A Perfect Circle|
Eat the Elephant
Politically motivated rock always scores big with me, and this one covers very relevant themes of corruption and abuse of power. One of my favorite moments comes on 'TalkTalk', where Maynard shouts "Try walkin' your talk or get the fuck out of my way", seemingly at the broad population of internet debaters and religious fanatics who don't practice what they preach.
Yolk in the Fur
This is an absolutely beautiful experience. Lavish indie-rock crosses paths with Americana in a way reminiscent of The War On Drugs at their very best. This is a warm, inviting, breezy listen that can be enjoyed in just about any setting.
A lot of the songs here are peculiar, lengthy, and dauntingly inharmonious - but when this thing hits like it does on 'I Shall Love 2', for instance, it is monumental. There's a very autumn-y feel to this, like Holter's voice is at one with the clattering chimes and wispy strings that surround her, her voice going wherever the wind carries.
This is an absolutely miserable album. It's sort of like a much better-done version of Eat The Elephant thematically - it covers a lot of the same ideas - corruption, abuse of power, etc. - but in greater detail and with an anger that actually reflects the issues at hand. 'Noble Soldier/Dystopian Lament' is one of the greatest songs about disillusionment with the world/society/politics that I've ever heard.
Love in the Time of E-Mail
Chris Farren and Jeff Rosenstock create pop-punk magic here. Lyrically vulnerable and insanely catchy, this thing should do for modern teens what Ocean Avenue and blink-182's self-titled did for me. It's a throwback pop-punk album in all the best ways.
|11||William Ryan Key|
Want to hear Yellowcard's former front man do his best Elliott Smith impression? Perhaps the most surprising thing about Thirteen is that is actually works. Devoid of pop-punk energy, Key hasn't lost any of his lyrical or melodic prowess. This is a stunning acoustic EP with immersive atmospheres, haunting choruses, and memorable hooks. If he continues down this path, his solo career could be just as fruitful as his one with Yellowcard.
|10||Let's Eat Grandma|
I'm All Ears
And the award for most uncomfortable band name goes to...but yeah, this experimental indie-pop/electronic release blends the best traits of Chvrches and Lorde. While the entire thing is very memorable, three towering "epics" are the cornerstones that make this a top-10 LP for 2018: "Snakes & Ladders", "Cool & Collected", and "Donnie Darko". All clocking in between 6-11 minutes, they wind, progress within themselves, and arrive at some spectacularly unanticipated peaks.
Can't Wake Up
Shifting from strictly indie-folk/Americana to more of a dark, mysterious alt-rock sound, Can't Wake Up is the fullest-sounding and most rewarding album in Shakey Graves' discography. "Counting Sheep" is an eerie lullabye-like opener that will make you want to lurk in dark alleys. "Dining Alone" has some of the most pristine acoustic guitars you'll hear. "Big Bad Wolf" is simultaneously welcoming and ominous. The aura here is very strange and diverse, making it difficult to pinpoint in a blurb. You're better off just checking it out.
|8||Florence and the Machine|
High as Hope
There are times where I seriously think this could be her best album, even over Ceremonials. Even if it isn't, it's damn close. The production is flawless, and the overall smoothness and lush strings/synths recall Radiohead's A Moon Shaped Pool, which is very much a new aesthetic for Florence. Closer 'No Choir' is as minimal and barely exposed as I've ever heard her. Make no mistake though, this still thumps when it wants to - see "Patricia" and "100 Years". This album is a clear 2018 standout and obvious top 10.
The Smoke of Atavistic Fires
Project of site user lalchimiste, this gorgeous blend of black metal and folk immediately ensnared my attention. The atmospheres are as chilling as they are epic, and the atmosphere swings seamlessly between storms of riffs, battle-ready chaos, and lush, intimate acoustic gardens. I'm not even a fan of metal broadly speaking; for many this could rank higher.
The calm before the storm. This EP is like discussing the end of the world over tea. In blending acoustic and ambient styles, it's very spacious and open. As usual, Aaron Weiss' lyrics are of immense importance, and a lot of them are even better than they are on the LP. As per usual mwY standards, there are no bad songs here - just better ones like "Bethlehem, WV", "Cities of the Plain", "August 6th", and "Kristy W/ The Sparkling Teeth".
Musgraves emits a certain warmth here, as if she's trying to suppress a smile but just can't. Each song’s atmosphere possesses a wistful forlornness, but also this sly, knowing optimism that paints each verse a silver lining. It's very intimate songwriting that seems in no hurry, and it encourages listeners to slow down and look at the world around them as well. Beautiful and accessible, Golden Hour is a huge album for modern country.
|4||The Republic of Wolves|
Everyone's favorite Brand New disciples come through with their very own version of The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. This is their magnum opus, combining all their greatest strengths into one album. The intensity can get downright frightening ("Bask", "Mitama"), while the beauty can also be breathtaking ("Birdless Cage", "Worry If You Want"). Fans of dark, heavy alt-rock with mysterious atmospheres and themes based in folklore, spirituality, and existentialism should make this a priority immediately.
I've rarely seen an album cover/title combination so aptly define the music it contains. Noonday Dream is a spellbinding collage of hazy, dry afternoon heat. It's a very ambient experience, relying on instrumental atmospheres to transport the listener. The record deftly yet unpredictably weaves between all things earthly and ethereal, resulting in everything from the cutting electric guitars of 'A Boat to an Island on the Wall' to 'Murmurations' - a song about isolation that retreats so far inward that it practically emerges into another realm. To see him go from Starbucks art like Every Kingdom to something like this is almost unbelievable.
Nearer My God
On the heels of the very understated Dealer, Nearer My God sees Foxing go all-out. This is grandiosity and epicness thrown into a blender with influences ranging from Brand New/Modest Mouse/Band of Horses to Muse, and rather surprisingly, it actually works. Themes of the end of the world abound, the record is driven by an intense urgency, and the near-maniacal vocal delivery helps to sell it - as do the incredible guitar solos on "Lich Prince" and "Lambert". This album is a soundtrack to the sinking titanic that is our modern society.
mewithoutYou's greatest album - yep, even better than Brother, Sister. This takes the intensity that was displayed during certain moments of Pale Horses, corrects the foggy production, and blasts it across an entire album. Weiss' lyrics are more cryptic than ever, but also better. The melodies are as catchy as they've ever been, even amidst the mayhem. mewithoutYou ultimately close out their careers with the downright frightening "Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore" - a glimpse into the mind of someone actively having a mental breakdown. This swept away 2018's top spot, and it was never even really close.
|Another really great year. Not quite on par with 2017, but in close quarters with 2010/2012 for my second favorite year of music.|
|*sees title of list* mewithoutyou is definitely 1|
I was not disappointed
|I am still utterly confounded at how impressed I was with 10. Consistent appreciation for both the smaller punchier tracks and those long sprawling epics which is something I never thought I’d say about an indie pop / electronic album.|
|Yeah mwY ran away with 2018. This entire rest of the top 20 is in the 4.5 range though...consistently excellent year.|
|MwY, Foxing, Replublic, Pinegrove and TWY yes yes yes.|
Notable mentions that could have made my 2018 list:
Spanish love songs, hot mulligan, night verses, father john misty, Emery
|Spanish Love Songs didn't catch my attention until this year with their latest LP. Heard of Hot Mulligan but never listened (will check). Never even heard of Night Verses. FJM has dropped off slightly with every album after Honeybear. Emery I'm not big on in general. |
|Shit I've heard 16 of these I'm finally catching up!|
3 is 1 but good stuff (;
|“Never heard of Night Verses”|
Get on that as quickly as you can, their album from 2018 is one of the best instrumental metal albums I’ve heard, period.
|I thought Schmaltz was much stronger than SLS release this year. Hot Mulligan may not be up your alley, but I would check some of their bigger hits, may be a little to "run of the mill pop punk for you". FJM take I understand. Emery's 2018 release was stellar and I feel like you would like it, I feel like a Brand New fan should like it. I dont know any of their past stuff.|
Tyman did Night Verses justification justice haha.
|I just saw the album cover for Night Verses and I remember listening to it and thinking it was good, although it was a casualty of one of my several recent rating wipes and I never remembered to re-rate it. I'll listen again :-)|
|When you gonna hop on the new Shakey Graves EP?|