Albums of the Year… So Far – 2018
Presenting Louder Than War’s Annual mid-year round-up of just SOME of the great albums released thus far in 2018... there will be loads we have missed – and our research has not been scientific and extensive – just the choices from some of the editors and regular contributors to Louder Than War Website. (We are a different team to the Print Mag) As we all like many and varied genres there is no real consensus – so the list is in NO PARTICULAR ORDER but, albums with more than one vote and bands LTW have followed from the start, and albums which are particularly exceptional in their genre make up the first half… but the rest are all bloody brilliant as well. It’s a mixed selection so something for everyone … and we’ve still got The Blinders debut and Idles second album to come before the year end.….
ILL : We Are ILL
All-woman five-piece… currently based in Manchester, who highlight that quality music does not have to mean an emulation of that which has gone before. This is acidly fresh, it gets under your skin and stings: the type of music which fizzes with energy…taking chunks out of the patriarchy…wonky pop with a raw, resonant edge… Music which makes a point, and makes it in the sharpest, most stunning sense…. ‘We Are ILL’ isn’t just expression, it’s an angry articulation – and a triumph, Said Emily Oldfield here.
Liines : Stop-Start
From the outset Stop-Start grabs the listener by the scruff of the neck and demands attention, there’s no hanging about while they slowly introduce you to their work, no, it starts like a pistol and doesn’t let up. At all. Everything is immediate, don’t even bother trying to catch a breath during this aural assault as it’ll be snatched away from you every time. (reviewed here by Amy Tweddle)
Cabbage : Nihilistic Glamour Shots
Yeah, yeah, yeah Louder Than War favourites... The dirty side of Greater Manchester has reared its ugly head with this band of misfits who don’t want to conform to the colour by numbers indie state of the norm we have had for years. Cruising away from the Manc swagger of the you know who’s they ramp up the odds with a dirty sound that still captures the anthems inbetween the mess of lovely noise. Said Wayne Carey here, back in March.
Anna Von Hauswolff : Dead Magic
… 5 tracks that takes the Swans magnificent trip deeper into the heart of darkness but never loses sight of the melodic touch that has been part of her DNA from the start. This is a thrilling artful spooked and dangerous sound. Swirling songs build around a huge drone with all the dark colours of palette painted into a perfection. Never has an organ sounded damn dark and the deep shuddering notes sounded so gothic providing a foundation for her swooping voice. John Robb said in February
Evil Blizzard : The Worst Show On Earth
…they glam up in their weird costumes and masks, play fucked up bass driven tunes and just wanna rock like fuck for their own pleasure and our displeasure. They write great tunes that worm their way into your head and batter your senses. It’s all about the stomp rock that drags you in. Another album of the year by a mile! Said the shy and retiring Wayne Carey here back in May.
Tax The Heat : Change Your Position
… back, on Nuclear Blast, with another British hard-rock-drenched modern classic. Fusing classic riffs with catchy hooks gives us another gorgeous set of ear-worms to enjoy. A fun, uncomplicated and compelling rock record. Said Neil Johnson here
The Lovely Eggs : This is Eggland
Lovely Eggs have without doubt created one of the stand out albums of 2018; the antidote to the utter dross clogging up the radio stations; these are giant climactic songs, complete with arching melodies and born bad bass that rattles in your chest – its only two months in, but This Is Eggland really is that good. Said Phil Newall here
Death Grips: Year of the Snitch
A return to form for the American noise-rap group. It may take a while to settle in, but once it gets you, it will not let you go! (Simon Tucker)
Shame : Songs of Praise
Released in January John Robb said here; Shame are a snapshot of the now. It’s abrasive, it’s not compromising and yet it still manages to be a kind of pop music. This is the reflection of grating modern life. Guitars not quite making sense is always a glorious sound and these songs of love and fury are delivered with this kind of venom and snarky wit are always compulsive and propulsive.
Nine Inch Nails : Bad Witch
John Robb said here : This is a varied and engrossing adventure. A trip into the compulsive heart of darkness and a landmark release in a year that is a challenge for any musicians to soundtrack .
Geniuser: I Am
I Am is not a great album, it is truly a masterpiece, one of those albums that you never tire of hearing, a breath of fresh air, a genuine inspiration. (said Paul Scott Bates)
Johnny Marr : Call The Comet
His third solo album is a melancholic tinged and thrilling affair that deals with the ghosts of the past but still attempts to move forward…. there is a freshness and urgency of sound to the record with great crisp vocals and, of course, an endless collections of great guitar lines and brisk energetic playing from the band that makes the record feel contemporary. Said John Robb here
Lucy Ward : Pretty Warnings
Sublime …. said Mike Ainscoe here, reviewing the folk singers album…taking up the gauntlet and delivering a transcendent and enthralling experience. Not a wasted note, not a dull moment. It’s not often you can say that.
Lippy Kid: Thought Forms
One of the most exciting new voices to emerge in the electronic music scene. Though Forms is the sound of the classics (Underworld, Orbital) brought back through the brain of an artist who knows his history and uses it to forge a new future. (Simon Tucker)
Hookworms – Microshift With Microshift, Hookworms have definitely got their teeth into 2018 and the burdensome psyche of modern living. Said Jon Kean here
When ‘Airy Met Fairy: Glow
It is, quite simply, a work of art and a feather pillowed blow to the face should there ever be one. Adorable. (said Paul Scott Bates)
Interrobang‽ : Interrobang‽ This really is a fantastic album… an emotional, funny, stark, honest work that succeeds as a stand alone work of autobiographical rage and self-analysis…. that you can dance to. Said Ged Babey here.
Janelle Monae : Dirty Computer
Dirty Computer is more a piece of art than just an album. Immerse yourself in Dirty Computer; you won’t regret it. If you don’t like it, appreciate it…it’s one of the year’s most important albums from one of the world’s most important artist. Said Dom Walsh here.
La Luz : Floating Features
… the whole album is a joy. Perfect in every way, from every angle, at any time of day, rain or shine, but possibly at its best speeding down a highway at night, high as a kite, heartbroken into little pieces, being chased by nightmarish creatures with the body of a lizard and the head of your ex. Phantasmagorical and just plain fantastic. (Ged Babey reviewed here)
Archie And The Bunkers: Songs From The Lodge
(Dirty Water Records) Ohio teen tearaway siblings once again unleash a blistering organ-drum attack full of the wild rage of youth…. pushed to the max they have produced a cracking eleven tracks that make you want to smash it up and not look back. Step into their world if you dare. Says Nathan Whittle here
The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing: Double Negative
Forget ‘Steampunk’… this is a real Horrorpunk Horrorshow! Brutal, blacker than black historical humour for sick metalheads and history nerd gorehounds…. .Double Negative sees the Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing making a thoroughly kick-ass rock album. Short, sharp, shocking and still retaining their uniqueness and wickedly dark sense of humour borne out of confronting the horrors of the past. Said Ged Babey here.
Let’s Eat Grandma : I’m All Ears
LEG enter the next phase of their life as a brilliant curiosity, a schizophrenic marvel split between a yearning for pop perfection and a natural touch for constructing cutting edge dark sparse introspective piece – it didn’t do The Cure any harm back in the day! Said John Robb in a live review (we haven’t reviewed the album???)
Insecure Men : Insecure Men
(On Fat Possum Records) – A Fat White Family album you can relax to, tap your feet to and hum along the street in the mornings. A great debut featuring Saul Adamczewski from said band and Childhood’s Ben Romans-Hopcraft. (Keith Goldhanger)
Go-Kart Mozart – Mozart’s Mini Mart
Though concealed in plain sight beneath the purposefully gaudy surface presentation and style-over-substance camouflage, there are songs here that no-one else would be able to write, real insights into aspects of life not usually examined in “Pop”…. A triumphant return. Said Ian Canty here
Team Picture : Recital
(Big Dumb Music Ltd) – A selection of tunes that each sound different, each featuring different combinations of personnel singing and each tune capable of being a stand alone single. (Keith Goldhanger)
The Amorettes : Born To Break
Of which Neil Johnson said in his review here: …their best record to date. It’s not sophisticated or fancy, it’s not pretentious and it’s definitely not boring, This is honest to goodness spit and sawdust rock and roll. The Amorettes bring comfort food for your soul and everyone needs some of that every now and then.
Courtney Barnett : Tell Me How You Really Feel
…takes us into more new territory. It’s heavier and more musically diverse, but the most notable difference is that where once she half-spoke her stories of everyday events and irritations, now she’s singing them. Apart from that, it’s exactly what we want… a set of reflective songs about the people closest to her and the struggles they were facing. Or, as she puts it: “Communication, vulnerability, and a whole lot of general human behavioral traits.” Review by Tim Cooper here.
Parquet Courts : Wide Awake!
… it’s also their most groundbreaking. It’s an album about independence and individuality but also about collectivity and communitarianism. Love is at its centre. …. ambitious, diverse, one of those ‘you can’t pigeonhole’ bands that keep on amazing me. Probably their most accessible effort to date. Said Wayne Carey here.
Dirtmusic: Bu Bir Ruya
Four years in the making but worth every second.(said Paul Scott-Bates)
Rash Decision : Karoshi
Rash Decision meld together skate thrash, full on hardcore and some serious metal licks … Back in the late 80s they would have sat firmly in the no-man’s land of “crossover” (remember that?) Cro-Mags, , DRI, Suicidal Tendencies… Throughout this LP you get pained guttural vocals, crew choruses, chunky bass, chuggy guitars, blistering solos and break neck drums propelling the whole thing along…. wrote Nathan Brown here.
Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage : Awake
Mike Ainscoe said here that … their songs may be being heralded as Folk Award nominees/winners. Watch this space for an “I old you so” if they do. In the meantime, just wallow in the simple pleasure of listening to two musicians in harmonic empathy.
Flux Capacitors : Courtesan
Against all the odds, despite breaking every rule in the book, even though they are weird, wired, loopy, mis-matched, wonky and strange – this is probably the best combination of wit, poetry, surf-punk, feminine post-punk blues and existential angst with added sarcasm and feedback that you will hear, this or any year. Said Ged Babey here.
Kamasai Washington: Heaven and Earth
An epic LP overflowing with blood sweat tears and genius. The true heir to Coltrane delivers an extraordinary album. (Simon Tucker)
The Filthy Tongues – Back to Hell,
Listening to this album is an emotionally engaging and exhilarating experience. It ensnares you from those first words “My name is Alexander…” seducing you with the lyrical imagery and accomplished musicianship. A striking album. (Neil Hodge’s full review will be up soon)
Chris Carter: Chemistry Lessons Vol 1
“A sensational all encompassing collection of sometimes ethereal, sometimes disturbing electronic vignettes from the TG, Chris and Cosey genius. The sound of an artist displaying every aspect of his psyche into one, huge album” (Simon Tucker)
Buzzbomb – 60 Miles of Bad Road
A high-octane thrill ride that doesn’t let up for a second for a breath. I don’t know if anyone recently watched the B-movie style TV series “Blood Drive” (a futuristic schlock horror blood and guts TV series with a murderous race involving cars that are powered by blood – you get the picture). Maybe it’s a combination of the music and the cover art, but I could easily visualise the high-adrenaline psychobilly/punkabilly music of “Buzzbomb” sound-tracking the series. (Neil Hodge)
Mono Club : Sky High and Submarine
(LGM Records) – A breathtaking beautiful debut release by the band that were once Goldheart Assembly. An album that for some of us will be an often played piece of music to complement lying on the sofa on a Sunday lunchtime. (Keith Goldhanger)
(Fierce Panda) By the time this band release their 3rd or 4th album there’ll be people looking back on this debut as a selection of music that will have sound tracked a large part of their young lives. It’s a grower, the tunes sound as appealing as some of the early Suede singles in the early 90’s. One of the most refreshing albums of the year. Not an album to be overlooked. (Keith Goldhanger)
Lark: The Last Woman
The Last Woman reminds us that there is still exciting and adventurous artists out there screaming to be heard. (said Paul Scott Bates)
Xqui are proving themselves to be a class act…..They are free to experiment and release output in several different ways and this surely must be incredibly empowering. It definitely shows in their impressive releases so far. (said Ioan Humphreys)
KiDD: You And I
Each and every track will undoubtedly strike a chord with you. Each melody will resonate and affect you in a way that writers of perfect-pop do. Each bridge, each chorus, each step up from one scale to the next adds up to create quite incredible musical experiences.(said Paul Scott Bates)
and all of these which you can google the reviews for ….
The Orielles : Silver Dollar Moment
Corduroy : Return of the Fabric Four
The Breeders – All Nerve
Maker : Dead Ends & Avenues
Skating Polly : The Make It All Show
The Slow Readers Club : Build A Tower
New York Junk : 7 Train
Table Scraps : Autonomy
Boss Keloid – Melted on the Inch
Winterfylleth – Hallowing of Heirdom.
David Byrne – American Utopia
Dead Hero – La Vida Continua
Constant Fear/Frenetix: Media Loves A Revolution/Extinction
Benin City – ‘Last Night’
Moon Gangs : Earth Loop.
Kaleb McKane – The Universe In Reverse
Massive Wagons – Full Nelson
Between The Buried and Me – Automata I.
Haley Heynderickx – I Need To Start A Garden
Forth Wanderers – Forth Wanderers
Wasuremono – Something Left Behind
Night Flowers – Wild Notion
Soccer Mommy – Clean
MGMT – Little Dark Age
Eels – The Deconstruction,
Fur Dixon – Return 2 Sender
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers – Years
Nosebleed : Scratching Circles on the Dancefloor
The Longshot : Love is for Losers
The Scaners: s/t
Amyl and the Sniffers – Cup of Destiny
The Charlemagnes – Three Chords and a Half Truth
Jon Langford’s Four Lost Souls – s/t
Bromide : I Woke Up
War on Women : Capture The Flag
Tara Milton : Serpentine Waltz
Torpedoes : Black Museum
Magnus Carlson : A Nordic Soul
Boy Azooga : 1,2, Kung Fu!
Pellethead : Best of a Bad Bunch
REISSUES OF THE YEAR so far…
Various Artists – How Is The Air Up There
The Residents – Meet The Residents
Maytals – Monkey Man/From The Roots
Lalomie Washburn – My Music Is Hot
New York Dolls – Personality Crisis chosen by Ian Canty whos reviews archive is here
Heresy – Face Up To It! (30th anniversary reissue. One of the most vital UK hardcore thrash LPs finally mixed as it should have been in 1988. In. Your. Face. says Nathan Brown -his HC/DIY/anarcho archive is here)
Compiled by Ged Babey from votes from John Robb, Nigel Carr, Mike Ainscoe, Neil Hodge, Gus Ironside, Paul Scott Bates, Simon Tucker, Matt Mead, Cassie Fox, Ian Canty, Nathan Brown, Tim Cooper, Keith Goldhanger, Neil Johnson, Samuel Lambeth, Nathan Whittle, John Kean, Wayne Carey and Ged Babey . Features the work of Emily Oldfield , Amy Tweddle, Phil Newall, Dom Walsh and Ioan Humphreys. (Google writers name and Louder Than War author for their archive of reviews)