Here is our top 40 records of 2018.
Some are reissues, some are compilations. No rules just great records, records that defined our year and opened our eyes to new exciting sounds.
This list isn't designed to sell you records, stock we over ordered throughout the year. We have no Forever Record exclusives just a list of the best music we discovered this year, hopefully you might check some of these out and fall in love with some new music too.
No.1 – Crack Cloud – Crack Cloud – Tin Angel Records
Ok, so our Number One record of the year is a single compilation of two 7"s from 2016/2017 - This record summed up our year better than anyone other, I played it so much it actually became my soundtrack, I can't stop hearing it, even in my dreams. A near perfect band for me, the sound and the look, those amazing videos, the mystery, the energy. I LOVE this band. They remind me of early Brian Eno meets Gang Of Four, I got to see them earlier this month and it was perfect. What a stunning live band. Their next album is supposed to be a move away from Post-Punk and a step towards Hip Hop, I can't wait. Also check out Nov3l the guitarists other band and our tip for 2019.
No.2 – Anna St Louis – If Only There Was A River – Woodsist
Joe at Bear Tree Records knows my tastes, he suggested I play this one after he heard it and he was so right. This is Anna's proper debut after a tape release last year, I have totally fallen in love with this album. It's one of those albums where each track is better than the last until you reach the end and have to put it back on again. Its magical country tinged folk, highly recommended if you love Townes Van Zandt and Loretta Lynn. Sometimes an album gets you and won't let go. This is that album.
Free Love are just about the best thing around in the UK at the moment, constantly surprising and always fun. This new 8 track album (E.P?) has some of their greatest pop hits on it, "Pushing Too Hard" is an instant classic where "Playing As Punks" has wormed its way into my brain. If Free Love continue to experiment with intelligent pop and Kraut Ashram jams 2019 is going to be their year.
No.4 – Brigid Mae Power – The Two Worlds – Tompkins Square
This record instantly blew me away. I had never heard of Brigid Mae Power before and I couldn't believe what I was hearing the first time I played it. It's both comforting and oppressive, sparse, dark and emotional. I think "Don't Shut Me Up (Politely)" could be my track of the year. 2018 has been a year that has seen my tastes change, I think Brigid opened a door for me early on in 2018 which has gotten me into so many great things.
No.5 - U.S Girls - In A Poem Unlimited – 4AD
If you had told me that U.S Girls would release the best Roxy Music record that the band never made I would not have believed you. This album is SO SO SO good, I don't understand why everyone isn't raving about this. I find it hard to separate the album from her live show which could be my gig of the year.
This album sounds like the smokiest, saxiest, filithiest 70s New York loft party ever. Funky, seductive and lush.
No.6 - Ancient Methods – The Jericho Records – Ancient Methods
MIND BLOWN! What a record. It's pure evil. Heavy dark Industrial electronics - its relentless.
Ancient Methods long awaited debut is all killer. It also features Regis and Prurient, what more could you want?
No.7 - Flasher – Constant Image – Domino
Hello world, Flasher released one the greatest debut records this year and no one noticed. I really don't know what Domino were playing at with this release but Flasher should be massive. I really don't get it.
Perfect catchy melodic dream pop. It's got so many sunny hooks on every song, It can only be defined as a total banger.
No.8 – Head Technician – Profane Architecture – Ecstatic
No end of year chart should be missing a slice of Pye Corner Audio - This time under his Head Technician moniker. If there was one artist who you could safely buy everything that they release then it would be Martin Jenkins. Head Technician is more dancier than Pye Corner Audio, early Detroit Techno and Acid made exclusively with a Roland TR-606, MC-202 and TB-303 boxes plus the Roland System 100 modular synth. Perfection.
No.9 – Sons Of Kemet – Your Queen Is A Reptile – Impulse
Ok, this is a late addition to my top 10. I sleep on loads of albums throughout the year, it's hard to listen to everything. So many people were buzzing about this album but I still didn't get around to playing it, so Its only been in my life for a couple of months. The thing that cemented this album in my brain was seeing the band play live with 4 drummers. There is no going back now, I need them in my life. Cosmic Afrofuturism, energetic, angry and so powerful.
No. 10 - The Green Child – The Green Child – Upset The Rhythm
A lovely understated electronic album from Mr Mikey Young, here in collaboration with Ravon Mahon. Its synth pop via folk horror. It;s an album that I often play at home if people come round, it sounds so familiar but also other worldly. A slow burner of an album that won't leave you alone. If I was being lazy I would say they sound like Broadcast.
No.11 – Kate NV – для =For – RVNG Intl.
Kate NV was beamed down from Mars to record this album.
Kate actually comes from Moscow but produces weird Japanese sounding ambient electronics, kind of of like Midori Takada or Hiroshi Yoshimura but totally unique and modern at the same time. It's a real fun sounding album too.
No. 12 – Happy Rhodes – Ectorophia – Numero Group
If you love Kate Bush then just give this a play. I had never heard of Happy Rhodes (she claims to have never heard Kate Bush) and this compilation from the ever amazing Numero Group was a revelation. Gorgeous chamber dream pop, Rhodes has a 4-octave vocal range which adds to this collections other worldly vibe.
No. 13 – Saada Bonaire – Saada Bonaire – Captured Tracks
Yeah its a reissue and its a compilation but a record this good needs shouting about. Disco/World Pop weirdness produced by Dennis Bovell in Kraftwerk's studio.
You need to know nothing else.
No. 14 – Hank Wood & The Hammerheads – S/T – Toxic State
Hank Wood, not only are one of the best named bands ever they are also one of the best (Egg?) punk bands in the world ever. This 3rd album is kind of more straight forward and garagey than their first two albums but its still a total rager.
No.15 – Constant Mongrel – Living In Excellence – La Vida Es Un Mus
For anyone having Total Control / Diat withdrawl symptoms (maybe just me) pop this one and everything will feel better. Why do Australian Punk bands all sound amazing? (maybe just me again?)
No.16 – Szun Waves – New Hymn To Freedom – Leaf
Anyone with a James Holden shaped hole in their life needs to stick this one on.
Sax, drums and synth playing Cosmic Jazz, coming on like Alice Coltrane meets Can. Seriously good.
No.17 – Serpentwithfeet – Soil – Secretly Canadian
Beautiful fragile electronic R&B Pop from Sepentwithfeet. Hints of Bjork maybe due to Haxan Cloak's work on the album, the album feels intimate and deeply personal.
No.18 – Lonnie Holley – Mith – Jagjaguwar
This record pummels you with raw emotion. Heavy, political and angry, It comes off a little like Gill Scott Heron meets Tom Waits. Easily one of the most powerful records I have heard this year.
No.19 – The Lemon Twigs - Go To School - 4AD
The Marmite album, well I say Marmite but not everyone hates Marmite.
I think at best this album sounds like Tommy at worst it sounds like a school production of Bugsy Malone. It's so out of time and fashion that you have applaud the band for trying to do something with some ambition. I love it and I feel alone with that...I do come from a theatre background though.
No.20 – Ancient Shapes – Silent Rave – You’ve Changed
Yesssss! Banging Power Pop from Daniel Ramano. I had never heard of him before and it appears that he is 10 albums into his career with a new LP coming out this Friday. Ancient Shapes is his New York Dolls / Ramones tribute band, every song is so catchy that by the 2nd listen they feel like songs you have grown up with. 10 tracks in 19 mins, job done.
No.21 – Amyl & The Sniffers – Big Attraction/Giddy up – Homeless Records
No.22 – Gazelle Twin – Pastrol – Anti-Ghost Moon Ray Records
No.23 – Rattle – Sequence – Upset The Rhythm
No.24 – Vintage Crop – New Age – Anti Fade
No.25 – Terry – I’m Terry – Upset The Rhythm
No. 26 – Beak - >>> - Invada
No. 27 – Iceage – Beyondless – Matador
No. 28 – Bas Jan – Yes I Jan – Lost Map
No. 29 – Kikagaku Moyo – Masana Temples – Guruguru Brain
No.30 – Tess Roby – Beacon – Italians Do It Better
No.31 – Uniform – The Long Walk – Sacred Bones
No.32 – Nils Frahm – All Melody – Erased Tapes
No.31 – Exploded View – Obey – Sacred Bones
No.32 – Daniel Brandt – Channels – Erased Tapes
No. 33 – Oliver Coates – Shelley’s On Zenn-La – RVNG Intl.
No. 34 – Hailu Mergia – Lala Bleu – Awesome Tapes From Africa
No.35 – Rival Consoles – Persona – Erased Tapes
No. 36 – Etienne Jaumet – 8 Regards Obliques – Versatile Records
No. 37 – Special Interest – Spiraling – Raw Sugar Records
No. 38 – Heather Leigh – Throne – Editions Mego
No. 39 – Arp – Zebra – Mexican Summer
No.40 – Michele Mercure – Beside Herself – RVNG Intl.
Soundtrack Of The Year
Various Artists - Manhunter - Waxwork Records
Top 3 Singles of the year
Ossia - Dub Hell / Devil's Dance - Blackest Ever Black
Civic - New Vietnam - Anti Fade
Pineapple RNR - Pinapple Rik n Roll EP - Lumpy Records