Getintothis’ Top 100 Albums of 2018 – A Year in Review


Getintothis’ top 100 albums of 2018

As 2018 draws to a close, Getintothis presents its top 100 albums of the year.

Back in the days when Melody Maker was still being published and the NME was still worth reading, the end of year lists fascinated me.

I would pore through them, seeing how many of the records listed I had bought that year, whether I agreed with their placings and bemoaning those that were left out.  As well as the year’s best albums, there were also categories for best single, best band, natty dresser (this was the 80s after all), gig of the year that kind of thing, and I found all of these endlessly entertaining.

Looking back at these lists via the power of Google, it is easy to see that they are now less of a list of the great and good of any particular year, and more a barometer for marking the cultural climate. For example, 20 years ago, Morrissey won 1988’s Most Wonderful Human Being award, a prize even his most ardent admirers would be hard pressed to pass on to him in 2018.

Our Creep of the Year was, unsurprisingly, Margaret Thatcher. It seems some things never change, meaning the Bad News of the Year winner was the US Election Result, this time  returning George W Bush to the White House.

Fast forward ten years and 1998 saw Liam Gallagher take the hotly contended title of Dickhead of the Year, The Full Monty take Film of the Year and Mark & Lard awarded Best Radio Show.

So as I say, looking back at lists like this can tell us a lot about what was going on, what we were doing and what was considered cool back then.

What then, we wonder, will our top 100 records tell future generations about what was going on in 2018?

Well for a starter, we are living in an age where one of the biggest bands around can throw their fans a creative curve ball, as Arctic Monkeys have done with their Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. There is no need for them to have done so, but it speaks volumes about them as artists that they have chosen to do so.

It would also seem we are witnessing the creation of a new superstar, as Christine and the Queens and her second album Chris attest to. The recent live shows caused one of the Getintothis staffers to wonder if this is what it was like seeing Madonna when she first started to take over the pop world. Great things are predicted for Christine and the Queens, maybe superstar is too small a word.

Elsewhere, drum and bass wunderkind Etherwood has delivered an album that further confirms his status as one of the most inventive and refined producers the world currently has to offer. His In Stillness album is a thing of shimmering beauty that we cannot recommend highly enough and we wonder where his inventive muse will take him next.

But this is just picking records from our top 100 at random. The quality of these albums is evident, and we are firmly of the opinion that you could pick any one of these records and hear a record that will move, impress or amaze you.

In fact, we recommend that you do pretty much that. Browse through our albums of the year, play through the Spotify lists (and then buy the albums you like!) we have provided and journey back through an amazing, wide-ranging, fascinating and absorbing 12 months in music. And may your look back through 2018 contain many happy memories bound up in the music you hear.

Now, before we delve in to our top 100, we would first like to say something. We at Getintothis do what we do out of our love of music and our desire to get some of the bands we love out there into the world. We are a non profit magazine and none of our writers or photographers are paid, everything we do is voluntary.

Of course, running a site like this has costs, and we try to cover that cost with (a few) adverts. There is, however, still a shortfall each month. So we need to reach out to our readers and supporters and ask that, if you like what we do here at Getintothis, we would appreciate it enormously if you could help us to keep going.

All of our content is, and will remain, free to read, but if you could occasionally donate a few pounds, maybe the equivalent of buying us a pint once in a while, then this will help us continue to bring you the best in new music, support local artists and review the gigs you go to and the records you are looking to buy.

Thank you for being part of our story so far.  We hope you find lots to love in our best of 2018 and in all we plan to bring you in the future. – Banjo


Getintothis’ top 100 albums of 2018

100. Arctic Monkeys: Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino


 ‘If Alex Turner farted into a bucket you’d still love it,’ a mate once told me. They’ve been my favourite band ever since I got the bus down to the ASDA after school to buy their first album.  Flash forward to 2018 and they return five years after AM with their sixth studio album – Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino.

This is such a big leap forward that previous records are just spots in the distance.  There’s been an air of mystery surrounding this record with no single release ahead of it and now it is clear why.  There are no singles on it. No anthems. No festival bangers. No big choruses.

It’s an album of slow-burning, piano-based lounge crooning. It’s Turner turned up to 11. As close to a solo album as we’ve come.  Apparently Turner wrote it all on his piano in LA with guitarist Jamie Cook giving the okay to turn it into an Arctic Monkeys record.

The first listen was utterly overwhelming, but completely engrossing.

Lyrically Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino finds Turner in a reflective and somber mood. ‘I just wanted to be one of the Strokes’ is the first line on the album while ‘I never thought, not in a million years, that I’d meet so many lovers’ sounds almost like a regret than any sense of achievement.

It wouldn’t surprise us if this was Arctic Monkeys last album. It’s a truly astonishing, beautiful, divisive piece of work that demands multiple listens.

If this is indeed the end it would be a great one to bow out on. Maybe my mate was right about me. – Dan Hewitson

Getintothis on Arctic Monkeys

99. Villagers: The Art of Pretending to Swim


On The Art Of Pretending To Swim, Villagers’ fourth album, the band dip their toes into deeper, darker waters. The album bolsters singer and songwriter Conor O’Brien’s nu-folk writing style with a much more electronic feel than the band is used to. Synth glitches, sampled vocals, and background noise feature prominently across all tracks. Despite maybe being one of the darkest Villagers albums, it is certainly the grooviest, with strong pulsing drumbeats forming the backbone of most songs.

We’re eased into the new sound with album opener, Again, through the use of a sampled and pitch-shifted O’Brien answering his own melody. The song also features one of three synth solos across the whole nine-track album, which is certainly new ground for a band that strongly relied on not much more than a finger-picked guitar line and a catchy melody in the past. Album track Love Came With All That It Brings features Moby-esque gospel samples and rhythmic sax parts, making it a standout track on the album, and definitely one to listen to to get a sense of how Villagers have progressed.

It’s important to note that the new sound certainly doesn’t come at a detriment to the songmanship of Villagers. Both singles, A Trick Of The Light and Fool, are some of the strongest that O’Brien has written. A Trick of the Light particularly manages to capture the plaintive pop of Villagers past, while still maintaining a groove. Fool is the closest we get to a Villagers-by-numbers hit. We still get the emotionally reaching, earnest melody in the bridge that O’Brien does so well, which will surely be a singalong moment live.

With songs often ending as if they’ve glitched out, or we’ve slipped into a remix of the very song we were just listening to, it’s clear that Villagers have moved into a new chapter, and it’s a strong one. – Will Truby

Getintothis on Villagers

98. Fliptrix: Inexhale

High Focus Records

Fliptrix never stops. After his stellar outing as one quarter of The Four Owls, and amidst managing his label, UK hip-hop flagship High Focus, he released a solo album earlier this year.

Inexhale is chock full of familiar voices, like the stunning technical delivery of Ocean Wisdom and star grime MC Jammz. Along with Fliptrix, they ensure that the instrumentals are bursting with bars. It’s an album for rap diehards, that’s for sure; despite the name of the album, the beats barely have room to breathe. Instead, Fliptrix energetic flow spits out poetic lyrics detailing aspirations, motivation, elevation and meditation.

Some tracks are absolute killers: the boom-bap of Inhale is gripping, hooking listeners from the moment the Chemo-produced beat kicks the album’s door down. Fliptrix duly proceeds to ‘crush you like a bear-hug’ and Coops’ verse doesn’t let down either.

Other songs, especially towards the album’s final Exhale, are reflective and enlightening. There’s the gorgeous instrumental backdrop of Locked Down and the magical Flying, which comes complete with a sweetly-sang chorus from Carmody.

Then there’s the most unorthodox track of the album, Catch Banter, which replaces the rapper’s usual fare for a beat that feels more suited to the dance floor. Produced by Molotov, it’s the perfect setting for linking up UK hip-hop and grime in one place – when Fliptrix finishes his verse and Jammz jumps in, it feels entirely natural.

So there’s a respectable amount of variation here: bangers, relaxing introspective verses, interesting features… while some tracks do begin to sound slightly samey, there are more than enough cerebral lyrics to let your mind chew on. Albums like this, as well as those from Fliptrix’ label-mates, might just help UK hip-hop achieve the cultural significance that grime has. The talent is certainly there. – Dominic Finlay

Getintothis on Fliptrix

97. Neotropic: The Absolute Elsewhere

Slowcraft Records

Neotropic is the artist name of Riz Maslen, a maverick figure in the UK electronic music scene since the 90s. Collaborations and remixes with Future Sound of London, Ntone and Ninja Tunes set the tone back then, but her own music stretches into areas unexplored by her more illustrious fellow travellers. This seven track album is her first since 2009 – and the development over those nine years is clear. This is filmic in all senses: story telling, complex, rich and varied. In the vocal virtuosity and aesthetic the album is in many ways nearer to classical music than the psychedelic folk and post techno mentioned in the press release. And if this was to be film music, the film is dark – at times, very dark…

This is a beautiful album showing real narrative skill and a complex and clever sound world, effortlessly bringing sea shanties, ethereal choirs, synthetic texture and minimal patterning all into service of her voice. The last line of the album tells us ‘She was a worker, working her bones’. Damn right. This doesn’t happen overnight. – Jono Podmore

Getintothis on Neotropic

96. Saba: Care For Me

Saba Pivot, LLC

In his newest project, Chicago based rapper Tahj Malik Chandler, otherwise known as ‘Saba’, flawlessly fuses trap and jazz production into a beautiful collision of worlds that perfectly soundtracks his lyrical sensibility and storytelling.

Though he has gained much attention just from his artistic parallels and collaborations with close friend Chance The Rapper, Saba makes the music his own from the very start.  The very first words being ‘I’m so alone’ not only stresses his own outright individuality, but also establishes isolation as a key theme of the record.

Interestingly, Saba’s individualism inverts the typical rap formula as egocentric defiance makes way for pitiable solipsism. The death and subsequent grief of his cousin John Walt permeates the record, with any other vulnerabilities either relating to or peeling off from his passing.

Here, Saba finds himself stuck on an almost paradoxical focus, as an absence has the greatest presence on the album. However, the fixed attention breeds a plurality of feelings and is gracefully self-acknowledging of mental health issues. It is refreshing to hear anxiety and depression acknowledged honestly with instrumental elements that match the emotional tone.

The mismatch between the traditional Jazz-orientated keys with the modern skittering trap beats only serve to reiterate Saba’s struggle with his relationship between past and present. The keys create an air of sentimentality for his memories to unravel, whilst the percussion persistently pushes his feelings of present, keeping the music and its content undeniably contemporary.

As a result, Saba’s primary triumph is matching, or rather tasteful mismatching, of music to lyrical content. The purely instrumental anachronisms and contradictions make for a beautiful canvas for which he paints his emotional confusions so suitably upon. – Matty Lear

Getintothis on Saba

95. Evil Blizzard: The Worst Show On Earth

Cracked Ankles

There’s a standing joke among Evil Blizzard fans that requires them to declare the band a massive disappointment at every available opportunity.

The band is used to walking on stage to cries of “You’re shit” and their Facebook page is full of disparaging comments about the poor quality of band merch and the like. Recent single Fast Forward Rewind didn’t have an A and a B side. It just had two B sides.

The band love it though and actively encourage the abuse, sneering at a Liverpool gig a while back: “Here’s a new one. You don’t deserve it, but we’re gonna do it anyway”.

But the joke only works because they are actually a good band. If they really were shit, then people would just stop going to their gigs. And that shows no signs of letting up any time soon.

The Worst Show on Earth is the third long player from a line up that was surely conceived after way too many in the pub one night. Four (or sometimes more) bassists, a singing drummer and no guitars. Recent synth addition was perhaps a more sober decision.

Oh, yeah, and we all dress up wearing jump suits, kimonos and rubber masks. Should we have a guy wearing a pig’s head on stage? Yup – that sounds like a good idea.

It shouldn’t work. Other bands have tried and failed at this kind of shock theatre, where the look is the thing rather than the music. Yeah, Dirt Box Disco, we’re thinking of you. But for all the antics, Evil Blizzard take this thing seriously. They can play their instruments and they can write the songs.

The Worst Show on Earth is a sophisticated, thoughtful piece. Eight songs, of which the last two span 20 minutes of pummelling beats and distorted vocals. Mark Whiteside’s voice is haunting and threatening, always making you feel a little uncomfortable with its slightly edgy delivery.

The album closers – Pull God From The Sky and The Worst Show On Earth are both heavy prog classics that seem to finish the album all too soon. We’re left wanting more, but as the band would likely say – tough shit, you don’t deserve it. – Peter Goodbody

Getintothis on Evil Blizzard

94. Go-Kart Mozart: Mozart’s Mini-Mart

Cherry Red

The best artists, the most important ones, are those who progress and keep moving, not relying on back catalogues and past glories.

It’s to Lawrence’s credit – he formerly of Felt and Denim, no surname necessary –  he’s done precisely that throughout his career. The Felt Lawrence was a dreamy, wistful figure in 1980s to match dreamy, wistful songs.  Denim Lawrence was different again, shifting into bubblegum glam rock.

Then, we had Go-Kart Mozart LawrenceGo-Kart Mozart have been a contradiction since their conception in 1998; and the new album even more so than preceding ones. Lyrically we get stark vulgarity but with often laugh out loud hilarity. But this isn’t comedy. It’s pop all right, and twisted with it.

Mozart’s Mini-Mart, released this month along with reissuing of the first five Felt albums is, in my opinion, Lawrence’s most ambitious and telling work to date. The seventeen songs, together lasting thirty-four minutes, paint a bleak but technicolour picture of 2018.

When You’re Depressed portrays poor mental health in starker and in real life detail than Lawrence may perhaps have done in his Felt days, any romantic, poetic notions stripped away to sharp, splintered bones. When You’re Depressed isn’t an aural Facebook meme with Robin Williams looking a bit sad with a comforting inspirational quote. It’s an unavoidable list of facts.

Relative Poverty is an appropriate song to follow on with, reflecting Lawrence period of homelessness and the indignity of living on ‘a tenner a day’ with a snippet of added Gene Vincent to detract from the pain. But in the end he pleads, ‘please don’t take my tenner away’ and if that doesn’t get to you, nothing will.

There’s a sense of confidence in vulnerability in Mozart’s Mini-Mart; in Zelda’s Hit The Spotlight he’s the passive sexual partner, albeit one getting digs in, and frequently with it.

True and more predictably to form, Go-Kart Mozart will be no more soon; in a recent interview he claims to be eyeing up the name Mozart Estate, to see how it fits for size. Lawrence of Belgravia twists and turns, no resting on his laurels here; and we should be ever grateful for that. – Cath Holland

Getintothis on Go-Kart Mozart

93. Her’s: Invitation to Her’s

Heist or Hit

From the opener, Harvey, which is for all intent and purpose, a paean to the James Stewart film of the same name, Cumbrian, Stephen Fitzpatrick and Norwegian, Audun Laading, introduce us to their world of melancholia, sex workers and boy racers.

Summoning up the ghosts of 80s intelligent pop purveyors such as Scritti Politti, Aztec Camera and Prefab Sprout, Her’s seamlessly weave a melange of funk-driven bass lines, lush guitar melodies and swooping vocal delivery.

On Low Beam, Fitzpatrick voices the gentle side of the biker in the gang, ‘Keeping my lights on soft beam, thinking of different thrills’, using bold baritone vocals to a backdrop of sparkling synths and a driving drum beat. In fact, the drum machine could almost be the third member of the band, so much is it in use. And on the album as a whole, it’s not a bad thing at all.

A sex line operator on Love On The Line (Call Now) coos, ‘Buttercup, call me up, Saturday night….I’ll be waiting on the end of the line’, showing how a seedy subject can be infused with the musical equivalent of Angel Delight.

Invitation To Her’s is cheeky, playful and wistful in equal measures. Merging doo-wop, shimmering melodies, skittish riffs, and enough hooks to hang a wardrobe of parkas on, Her’s have further cemented their reputation of today’s equivalent of perfect student bedsit connoisseurs. – Mark Flannery

Getintothis on Her’s

92. Suuns: Felt

Secretly Canadian

Tricksy fuckers, Suuns.

Having formed just over a decade ago in Montreal, such was their lascivious, creeping malevolence, it wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination if you’d learnt they crawled out from the sticky stench of a steamy Canadian drain.

Over the course of three albums they’ve melded sinewy rhythms with spindly guitar melodies and Ben Shemie‘s disarmingly sinister vocal to create a sound which is (with the obvious exception of Clinic!) almost entirely their own; haunting, intense and thrillingly claustrophobic.

On Felt, album number four, they once again reveal their hand decidedly slowly with a set of tracks which is wilfully anti-melody and devilishly obtuse. It is far from an easy listen. But persevere and dark riches are to be mined.

Much like their live shows, Felt has the power to suck you into the maelstrom before unleashing taut, frightening industrial pangs of noise. Take the slithering grind of After The Fall – for three minutes, Shemie repeats the refrain ‘in you‘ amid sheet white noise and reverberating grinds before shuddering to a deadened sudden stop. The almost balladic keys-led Control serves as a momentary respite.

Repetition plays a key part throughout Felt, building tension and disorientation – the sparse plucked chords of Peace and Love all seasick woozy contrasts with the preceding echo-laden fuzz of Daydream while Look No Further is classic Suuns all spidery and murderous.

While Felt perhaps lacks the catastrophic hit of earlier singles 2020 or Arena, what it does is cement their status as a consistent force of otherworldly oddities. – Peter Guy

Getintothis on Suuns

91. Audrey Chen: Runt Vigor 


There’s a tension between two extremes that keeps this album constantly fascinating and engaging. It is at once challenging, extreme and downright weird while simultaneously managing to be so familiar and mundane as to be almost comforting.

The focus of all four tracks is on the voice – solo on tracks 1 and 2 with cello providing drones and pizzicato on 3 and 4. But this is not singing or speaking in any traditional sense, these are the sounds of the human voice between the words, between the notes: the primordial sound of the body in action. Sounds we all know, that we hear every day going on in our own heads but in a context and arrangement that forces us to hear them completely differently – lending the music a powerfully emotive quality.

This is not completely uncharted territory – think Diamanda Galas, Phil Minton or even Giacinto Scelsi, but Chen has taken another step and managed to achieve what only the best music of this type can do: opening up your perception of the soundworld you inhabit (and in this case generate) to hear it as music, and expressive music too.

Despite the extended and inherent vocabularies of the voice and cello with the help of sparse analogue electronic treatment, the result is strangely harmonious, particularly towards the end of the album as Chen reaches for a singularity of voice and cello and evokes supernatural environments and primeval ritual. – Jono Podmore

Getintothis on Audrey Chen

90. Ross From Friends: Family Portrait


The dreadfully named Ross From Friends is a key player in the Lo-Fi House scene, which is a reaction against the current high sheen glossy productions and a desire to look back at the early dance scene. But far from creating an old school sound, Ross From Friends’ debut album is a trip through a calmingly modern sound.

Known to friends as Felix Weatherall, Ross From Friends has apparently used looking back to create a forward looking album. There are nods to modern production, with time-stretched vocals and skittering drums over simple but effective riffs. Disclosure may be one point of reference, as may Aphex Twin.

The album’s title is pertinent, as Weatherall’s dad toured Europe with his own sound system, creating parties as he went. He must have passed his enthusiasm for dance along to his son, and Family Portrait is a testament to a love of dance music. So the backward looking influences of Weatherall’s Lo-Fi House have a personal slant, it’s akin to looking through his family’s photo album.

Album opener Happy Birthday Nick is a brief introduction to the album proper, clocking in at just over a minute and a half. Follow on track Thank God I’m a Lizard is one of the album’s highlights, with hints of Autechre’s Warp glitch sound running through it.

Wear Me Down sees Weatherall enter the 21st Century, with disembodied vocals that stop frustratingly short of actually saying anything. It is astounding how a snatch of a human voice can add emotion to a song, despite the lack of anything actually being verbally communicated. Clever stuff.

The pace is varied, but never gets intense. Repeated listens to Family Portrait reveal an album that is well crafted and cleverly put together. – Banjo

Getintothis on Ross From Friends

89. Keiji Haino & SUMAC: American Dollar Bill

Thrill Jockey

Japan’s Keiji Haino has carved out a career in oddball free-form improvisation, collaborating with the likes of Jim O’Rourke, Oren Ambarchi and Boris along the way. Haino’s cathartic explorations have been the source of delight for crate diggers and experimental aficionados alike.

Then there’s SUMAC, led by Aaron Turner. For the last twenty years, he has held the torch as a purveyor of progressive and heavy sounds, most notably with post-metal titans, ISIS.

Turner, though, has always looked to stretch his sonic boundaries post-ISIS, with acts such as Jodis, House of Low Culture, Old Man Gloom and Mammifer. That’s just to name a few, too. Like Haino, staying idle is failure in Turner’s eyes and American Dollar Bill is a collaboration between the two which continues the theme that gratification is found outside the boundaries.

An album which bears title lengths that rival Godspeed You! Black Emperors (the best, although not the longest, being I’m Over 137% A Love Junkie and Still It’s Not Enough), American Dollar Bill is five songs containing free-form improvisation that are a withering demonstration of sonic terrorism.

SUMAC’s bludgeoning tones are just as instant as Haino’s murderous shrieks. Together they forge something that feels tribal, like listening to the latest incarnation of Swans. That’s why it’s disingenuous to pinpoint any particular song as a highlight because each cut drips into the next.

It’s a headphones listen from front to back and one not for the faint hearted. For those who like their sounds to steamroll and provoke thought, it’s an essential listen. – Simon Kirk

Getintothis on Keiji Haino & SUMAC

88. Lonnie HolleyMITH


It feels everywhere you turn at the minute you’re hearing new, politically channelled, or protest music. In the UK it’s now entirely common for large numbers of younger bands and artists to release songs, or even full albums dedicated to the sub-genre, evidently typifying the current political climate.

But when a 68 year old artist, sculpture, and experimental musician from Birmingham, Alabama has something to say on the topic it makes you sit up and take note. Released on Jagjaguwar, it’s the third album from Lonnie Holley, a somewhat late-comer to releasing music, his two previous LPs were only delivered in 2012 and 2013.

The making of MITH has been a prolonged simmer for the artist, recordings spanning over the past 5 years, and recorded in various locations across the globe. The wait has been most definitely worth it.  Only 10 songs in full, although racking up a lengthy 1 hour 17 minutes, it’s is a rollercoaster of emotion; inspirationally heartbreaking, joyfully optimistic, deeply haunting and equivocally wonderful.

The voice is raw, gravel filed tones are filled with poetic realism, backed by evocative piano playing, delicate percussion, and big woozy trombones, it’s unconventional jazz-rock that works extremely well. Musical comparisons can be made to Anohni or Benjamin Clementine, but influencers lean more toward Bob Dylan or Gill Scott Heron.

Holley is using this stage to purvey a powerful message, subjects covered in the album are as important as any that he would have encountered throughout his own long and extraordinarily  colourful lifetime.

The Black Lives Matter movement is the reference within the album’s opener I’m a Suspect, Standing Rock is accentuated in Copying the Rock, while the highlight of the record is the brilliant I Woke Up in a Fucked-Up America, a true to life account of the country’s current ills and turbulence. – Kevin Barrett

Getintothis on Lonnie Holley

87. Melody’s Echo ChamberBon Voyage


Melody Prochet’s much delayed 2nd album is well worth the wait, and a bold step forward.  Fans of her previous outing will find much to admire here too, but it’s a very different record. Building on the neo-psych and dream pop of her 2012 debut, this album throws everything but the kitchen sink into the mix with impressive and frequently unexpected results. Fewer, but longer tracks are the order of the day this time round.

There is a wealth of influences and the record invites multiple comparisons drawn from across the spectrum of both guitar-based and electronic psychedelia, notably including Pond, Stereolab, Broadcast,  Amorphous Androgynous and others. It’s an album that never sits still for a moment, with constant, unpredictable shifts in rhythm and tempo, recalling the irregular, staccato beats of Flying Lotus.

Should the music settle momentarily, then it won’t be for long before another sudden gear change sends it spinning in a new direction.

It’s a rewarding listen that still offers up surprises after multiple spins, such is the complexity and wealth of variety here. There are nods back to obscure late 60s acid folk (Linda Perhacs), 70s Krautrock and 90s acid jazz, just on the opening track alone.

Such a record might sound disjointed but the song-writing and Prochet’s tastefully considered vocals provide a centre around which this multi-layered and ambitious music can orbit without drifting off into space. Highly recommended; another non-English language, female-led slice of contemporary psychedelia that will delight established fans alongside those impressed, for example, by Gwenno’s recent efforts. – Gary Aster

Getintothis on Melody’s Echo Chamber

86. Holy: All These Worlds Are Yours


We first encountered Holy at Psych Fest in 2015 in a packed-out Blade Factory doing a surprisingly early slot. We were smitten from the off.

The combination of trebly guitars and a very distorted high-pitched vocal seemed to fit the ethos of the festival perfectly. Here was a band that meant business and knew only too well how to do it.

This is the second album from Stockholm-based Haynes Ferm’s Holy project and apparently, it had a gestation period that would make a blue whale blush. There are stories he would record a track during the day and then return at night, in the absence of the engineer, to deconstruct, re-assemble and generally fuck about with what had gone on previously. Nobody knew how this album would turn out.

In the end, it’s sophisticated, varied, powerful, yet the style is unmistakeable. There are echoes of psych era Beatles, Bjork, perhaps. Mogwai even in places. Ferm’s vocals are always the mainstay of the album, providing a constant near falsetto throughout and a contrast to the violence (at times) of the guitar and drum mayhem going on behind.

This is an album that seems to look both backwards and forwards at the same time. There are glam rock references all over the place – not the foot stomping T-Rex kind – more the Eno and Roxy Music kind. But its themes of science fiction and a search for alien life give it a feel of the soundtrack to an as yet undiscovered galaxy.

If an alien UFO were to land anywhere near to the Getintothis HQ, this is the cd we’d be reaching for as a welcome Hurrah! And that’s worth a tenner, we reckon, just in case. – Peter Goodbody

Getintothis on Holy

85. Superorganism: Superorganism


The enigmatic sixteen-legged hit machine delivered one of this year’s biggest surprises. Comprising space-whale visuals and synchronised dance moves, Superorganism deal in technicolour tunes without ever feeling twee or contrived.

Their self-titled debut is a punchy distillation of their maximalist, super-cool and hyper-connected HTML pop, and it’s all held together and grounded by the so-laid-back-it’s-almost-horizontal delivery of singer Orono.  – Matthew Eland

Getintothis on Superorganism

84. Jhelisa Anderson: 7 Keys


This eight-track album is based on seven different drones, each one representing one of the Chakras on the human body: energetic focal points derived from Indian religions and central in the practice of Yoga. Here, each Chakra is given a pitch, so the 7 Chakras produce a scale and each note of the scale has been expanded upon to create a complete track.

Drones are at the heart of classical Indian music, most noticeably with the Tanpura, a 3 stringed instrument designed to produce a drone that forms the tonal centre of the Raga.

But the idea has caught on in the West, from the overture of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, through the hippy years of Terry Riley and The Beatles, on to the drone rock of Oren Ambarchi, Sonic Youth, Glenn Branca, and reaching its zenith with the very Bodhisattva of drone music, Giacinto Scelsi.

So far, so meditation CD.

Bu tthen, something remarkable happens. As if out of the Mississippi mud Jhelisa’s voice soars.  This is built upon in the next track and continues throughout the album. Despite the thematic restrictions of these pieces, that unmistakeable crowning aesthetic of African-America shines through.

It can be called Soul, the Funk, or as Rahsaan Roland Kirk would have it, Blacknuss. But these definitions are too simple, tempting us to think this quality is somehow genetic: glib and in the final analysis, racist.

Anderson reaches across the seven drones, bringing in complex harmonies and pitch relationships rather than the stasis of the previous seven pieces. Bitonality, exquisite tensions and dissonances resolving into warm baths of sound.  And throughout it all – that voice.

That most rich and chastised of cultures shines through, demonstrating once again that if there’s one unifying force that African Americans feel, it’s the urge to overcome through the voice – to find harmony in the dissonance. – Jono Podmore

Getintothis on Jhelisa Anderson

83. IDLES: Joy as an Act of Resistance


Back in 2017, if you’d have been told that a band’s second album released in 2018 would be praised as Album of the Year by many critics, with some even claiming it to be the ‘most important album of this generation’, that it would enter the charts at number five despite the debut not having charted and that it would be so well-received that there would be numerous social media posts of people buying multiple copies of it just because it resonates so much with them, then you would have got pretty big odds against it being the less than cuddly and chart-friendly IDLES.

Their debut, Brutalism, was critically acclaimed, with the band’s live performances even more lauded, yet the building of expectations prior to this second release were as unexpected as they were pleasing. With each of the pre-album single releases, the noise around the record increased.

This album, in a nutshell, is Power and Message. The first time I heard it, I felt I’d been hit repeatedly over the head with a baseball bat. In a good way. The sound IDLES make is in no way saturated, bog-standard Radio X indie-lite. The comedian Stewart Lee has described them perfectly, as he does most things, as “Snowflake Oi”.

This is impassioned stuff, the vocals are bombastic, shouted rather than sung. Drums never let up, tribal in nature on pretty much all 12 tracks. Howling guitars, impossible to ignore. A relentless, powerful noise. It’s all well and good something to say and a unique way of saying it, but it won’t find a big enough audience if the tunes are lacking (hello, Sleaford Mods). The two things are entwined perfectly here.

There’s not one ounce of fat on this record, not one second of music more than what is needed, not a wasted moment. Alongside the power comes the words, where this album comes into its own, its simply put, yet powerfully effective message, the reason that people have taken it so much to their hearts.

These are confusing, horrible times and this is a record for these times. At points, it’s cynical, euphoric and exhausted, it’ll make you want to laugh and cry, hug someone or punch a wall, but beneath all the terrible, terrible things that are happening to individuals, couples, outsider groups, nations, there can be hope.

IDLES may not have all the answers, but by God, they are going to find a solution or die trying.

They sound like they will not be denied. If the world was a better place, then there would be no need for a band like IDLES. Sadly that is not the case. We are all in this together and we need albums such as this to get us out of it.  – Steven Doherty

Getintothis on IDLES

82. Bonnacons of Doom: Bonnacons of Doom

Rocket Recordings

It’s odd to finally have an album from Bonnacons of Doom. For years we have found them in the spaces where the fabric of reality is thin and warm Red Stripe is plentiful. Now we must confront them sans mirror masks and robes: in our homes and vehicles, on public transport, or even just on the street, where we must hope their ritualsitic invocations don’t cause that thin film to break and allow whatever’s behind to take us away.

The record starts with Solus, which sounds like a line of hooded figures (perhaps the Bonnacons themselves) marching towards total chaos and certain destruction, their orgiastic shrieks and calmly measured chanting belying the terrors about to confront them. When it does kick off, one guitar breaks free from the wall to twitch and dance like a snapped electricity cable, and it takes a couple of breakdowns to wrestle it to the ground.

Argenta, by contrast, is a swaying wash of clean, shimmering guitars and delayed vocals that builds and builds but favours poise and restraint at the precipice over more turmoil. Next is Industria, a droning soundscape of Eraserhead noise, punctuated by the subtle gonging of terracota pots, but it suffers from not being a prelude to full-band assault. It also illustrates that it’s the vocals that pushes this band through termination shock and into the heliosheath, setting them apart in a crowded post-rock marketplace even more so than the masks and robes.

Normal service is resumed on Rhizome, a noisy death samba that sounds like Mudhoney battling with those octopus monsters out of the Matrix and finally succumbing in a splintering hail of feedback. On Plantae the vocals return to the fore, and not before time. It’s the swaggering finale to a revenge story, with our bloodied and dirty hero dropping her lighter onto the trail of petrol that leads back to her overturned car and the villian trapped inside.

If there’s one critisism, it’s that the album isn’t long enough: at only five tracks, the malevolence doesn’t fully take hold, and only one song breaks the 10 minute mark. But that doesn’t mean you’re safe. Bonnacons of Doom are still out there, their faces reflecting ours but seeing into our souls. – Matthew Eland

Getintothis on Bonnacons of Doom

81. Gwenno: Le Kov


Le Kov (The Place of Memory) is the second solo album by Gwenno Saunders.  The follow up to the Welsh Music Prize-winning Y Dydd Olaf (The Final Day), written in Welsh, Le Kov is pennd and sung entirel in Cornish.

Saunders spoke both languages at home growing up, English being the third.

Le Kov, sea-warped psychedelia being an apt description, feels like a concept record, though we’re told it’s no such thing. Cornish myths and folklore are explored here, and the history of the Cornish language’s struggle for survival.

The record is gorgeous from start to finish, dreamy pop synths, a piano sounding a bit lonely at times, and that clear, sweet voice offering reassurance. On it, Gwenno works with long term collaborator Rhys Edwards on Le Kov, Gorwel Owen (Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, Super Furry Animals) had a hand in engineering the drums and David Wrench was installed on mixing duties.

Don’t believe for one moment Le Kov is a dust covered parchment of tales from long ago because of its historical themes, ones relayed in a fading but stubborn tongue. And let’s not fool ourselves; isolation and loneliness are two major tragedies of our time.

There’s fun on Le Kov too. Has there ever been a pop song written about cheese before? Eus Keus? (Is There Cheese?) is exactly that, an almost-chant in tribute to the finest of all the dairy products.

Daromres Y’n Howl (Traffic In The Sun) flags up into 21st Century proper, a jolly tribute to the almost party atmosphere on Cornwall’s clogged roads in the summertime, featuring the unmistakeable Gruff Rhys’ warm words amid dissonant brass and jaunty piano.

There are fewer than a thousand speakers of the Cornish language around now, and it’s very appropriate that Gwenno, as one of them, breathes life into it, by linking the past with the present, not only with sadness, but a sense of real optimism too, and warm engaging humour.  – Cath Holland

Getintothis on Gwenno

80. Beak>>>>

Invada Records/Temporary Residence

Beak> return with their first full length studio album since 2012’s >> with the aptly titled latest release >>>.

Now with a rejigged line up of Geoff Barrow, Billy Fuller and Will Young (replacing Matt Williams), the band are producing arguably their best work to date, with an undeniably added dimension to their new stuff evident in >>>.

The album is heavily, yet delightfully cinematic throughout, gritty, esoteric, evocative, and layered with sci-fi stimulated retro-electronic storytelling. If Stanley Kubrick were around today this would be his next soundtrack.

The Brazilian drags you straight in with a breaking base, there’s an added unsettling intensity in the hook, although the looping synth balances the track well. A woozy bassy prowess to get the album started.
Brean Down feels more sleek, subtle vocals with electronic sharpness, and tempo raising to crescendo are the pull here.

Working through >>>, it’s sonically intriguing in its entirety.  The album’s questionability works extremely well, each track has its own individual stamp of complexity. Allé Sauvage is a notable stand out, a complete sci-fi instrumental. Choose any futuristic film or TV series from history and this song would have been the sound for the year 2000 and beyond.

Another highlight is Abbot’s Leigh, a wall of reverb and collision, it’s cinematic perfection, you can almost see the lead star stood battered and bruised coming to the end of the films journey, before getting to the closing credits with the albums finale playing When We Fall, an edgy yet delicately written ballad, this is the band’s latest release from the LP, and like nothing else prior.  – Kevin Barrett

Getintothis on Beak>

79. Jeff Rosenstock: POST-

Quote Unquote Records

Averaging almost an album per year is no mean feat, but Long Island punk rocker Jeff Rosenstock is managing it with aplomb on his latest album POST-. His strongest and most hook-laden whilst also being his most cogent and timely collection of songs to date, Rosenstock surprise-dropped his third solo offering on January 1. Happy New Year.

Rosenstock wrote what would become POST- as a response to the 2016 US presidential election, holing himself up in the Catskill Mountains to do so, just as we all wish we could have. So it’s not surprising that the resulting album explores themes of alienation and is “chiefly concerned with losing hope in your country, yourself, and those around you”.

We could studiously dissect the album at this point, and to be clear there’s something to love about every track on POST-, from the thumped-out solo of Yr Throat, the convulsive, collapsing drum fills of All This Useless Energy or the lounge-punk vibes of 9/10. But you really can’t ignore the album’s showpiece opener, the blistering, thundering protest anthem USA, which storms in and takes over from the outset. It’s the kind of song you’re still singing the chorus to after the record stops 30 minutes later, it’s really that exhilarating.

What could be a mutter of apathy, “we’re tired and bored,” becomes USA‘s mantra, Rosenstock frothing into a fury of indignant rage as the song rises to crescendo. When that comes, it peaks into a confetti cannon of whooped gang vocals, delirious handclaps and screeching guitar chords. The fact that the lyric “Et tu, USA” is a near-perfect aural approximation of “F U, USA” can’t be a coincidence; it’s an admission of unexpected betrayal and the emotional fallout from this, ingeniously packaged as a fist-raising anthem.

USA, just like its parent album as a whole, is a punkish power pop riot in which Jeff Rosenstock manages the neat trick of making playful, joyous and immediate music whilst also displaying a disarming social consciousness. Both track and album respectively stand as one of this year’s best already. – David Hall

Getintothis on Jeff Rosenstock

78. She Drew the GunRevolution of Mind

Skeleton Key Records

GIT Award Winners 2017, She Drew the Gun return with the follow up to 2016’s Memories of a Distant Future with Revolution of Mind. Produced by The Coral’s James Skelly at Parr Street Studios, this second offering offers their trusted recipe of a fair smattering of ballads contrasted with some sturdy protest songs.

Not surprisingly we find SDTG talking about a revolution .  Of course we would expect nothing less from them. This time it’s about a Revolution of the Mind rather than taking to the streets and when we are told to  “Arm yourself”, it’s purely in the metaphorical  sense.

Resister, the first single from the album which has already occupied a spot on the Radio 6 playlist  demonstrates a shift in tempo in that it absolutely races along and with a heavier keyboard contribution than we’re accustomed to which is also equally apparent in Wolf and Bird.  Something for the Pain opens with a decidedly Merseybeat  , 60s feel,  which is not unusual since lead singer, Louisa Roach is a big Beatles fan.

Between Stars is   an effective mix of spoken and sung word jangles along with an extra helping of fuzzy guitar to boot.  The title track will be familiar to anyone who has seen the band play live in the past 12 months and is fashioned in the form of spoken word, much in the same vein as the highly acclaimed Poem from their first album.

Paradise reminiscent of Pit Pony as it rocks along is contrasted by the more suitably sedate Dopamine.  A remixed, re-worked  version of Resistor races in as Resistor Reprise and the acoustic ballad Human calls the album to a gentle close.

Second albums can be notoriously tricky, but She Drew the Gun have taken the firm foundations of first album to build something equally as impressive and possibly more appealing to the commercial ear. – Jane Davies

Getintothis on She Drew the Gun

77. Efrim Manuel Menuck: Pissing Stars


Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s music, or as they call it, the “beautiful noise”, has always provided the perfect backdrop for post-apocalyptic scenes.

With Efrim Manuel Menuck’s second solo album, Pissing Stars, the Godspeed ‘frontman’ seems to hit the rewind button, providing a snapshot of the lead-up to the inevitable disaster, where dark clouds hover amid the eerie hum.

Despite the impending doom and front-to-back dead-eyed black pits of sound, surprisingly Pissing Stars contains an accessible sensibility that Menuck flirted with during A Silver Mt Zion’s 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons. In summary, it works.

While the first side of Pissing Stars is dotted with that Godspeed-esque dystopian drone and distortion, it’s the second side that demonstrates Menuck’s sonic shift, almost conjuring up a pop utopian of sorts. Whilst sporadically easier on the ear than a lot of his other works, Menuck has still managed to carve out a lonely album with Pissing Stars.

Filled with gloom, some have suggested a Springsteen Nebraska vibe and we would totally go along with that, particularly on the album’s finest track, A Lamb in the Land of Payday Loans which even has Menuck yelping like Bruce did during Atlantic City!

‘Put the kids in the car/the cops have way too many guns/darlin’ let’s just run,’ are a clear and venomous message to law enforcement and America’s incomprehensible view on firearms. The sequence contains some of Menuck’s finest lyrics, thus far. Then there’s the title track which ends the album. Filled with a buckling lo-fi hum, it’s a glorious accompanying piece to A Lamb…, and together are the greatest moments Menuck has experienced since GY!BE’s Yanqui U.X.O.

Some may see this observation as a stretch, but Pissing Stars can arguably be mentioned in the same breath as Josh T Pearson’s Last of the Country Gentlemen, Gareth Liddiard’s Strange Tourist and, yes, even Nebraska.

Dark albums constructed in dark corners of the world in isolation. Albums that demand attention and are ultimately works of art with no currency. The best albums, really, and although you wouldn’t normally associate Menuck in this kind of company, Pissing Stars has the ability to hold a similar line. Only time will tell. – Simon Kirk

Getintothis on Efrim Manuel Menuck

76. Imarhan: Temet

City Slang

Desert Blues maybe something of a cliché and a lazy way to describe the genre, but it does fit well to give an idea of what we’re talking about.

Perhaps Tinariwen are the best-known exponents outside Africa, with lazy guitars and languid vocals being their trademark. But Imarhan is the perhaps closest thing you’ll get to an African-style Jimi Hendrix.

The band has more of a pace and the quicker rhythms from the guitars and drums possibly makes the sound easier on a Western ear. New album, Temet, doesn’t exactly break new ground, but it cements Imarhan’s place as masters of the style.

There is a connection with Tinariwen, though as Imarhan frontman Sadam sometimes tours with Tinariwen when their infamously difficult main man, Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, decides he doesn’t feel like going out on the road.

This album is, for the most part, an upbeat thing of style and skill.

The classy Stones-sounding guitars of Ehad wa dagh are infectious. There’s an almost disco feel to half way tune Tumast – thumping bass lines until that guitar can’t resist making another appearance. It carries on throughout until we get to Ma S-Abok, the final track on the album. It reminds us of Bob Marley’s Redemption Song – one man, one guitar, singing about politics.

After all, these are political songs. These are political people. They have to be. The world they see is very different from ours. – Peter Goodbody

Getintothis on Imarhan

75. Bellini: Before The Day is Gone

 Temporary Residence

After a nine year absence, math-rock quartet, Bellini, return with their fifth album, Before The Day is Gone. Worth the wait? Quite possibly.

With Steve Albini once again resuming recording duties, Before The Day Has Gone has the trademark razor wire guitars, blistering drum mixes and that raw quiet/loud openness in sound we have all come to know from his work behind the glass.

There’s a real nexus here between husband and wife duo, Agostino Tilotta (guitar) and Giovanna Cacciola (vocals). The rhythm section comprising of bassist, Matthew Taylor and drummer Alexis Fleisig (of the brilliant Girls Against Boys), provides a rollicking backdrop for the skewed time signatures ricocheting off Tilotta’s guitar and Cacciola’s rigid spoken word-vocal delivery.

While Clementine Peels is the out and out standout track, the album as a whole doesn’t quite recapture this moment. It’s no bad thing, though, with the nine remaining tracks happy to play the proverbial bridesmaid, bleeding into one another as one big mind-bending math-rock opera.

Before The Day Has Gone is not an instant hit of a record, but there’s something here that makes you keep going back. It’s one for the old brigade missing their dose of Slint, Rodan and Shipping News and while younger audiences could do far worse by indulging in this.  Sadly they probably won’t. – Simon Kirk

Getintothis on Bellini

74. SOPHIE: Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides

PC Music

SOPHIE has been on the scene for a while now, producing with the likes of Madonna and Charli XCX, creating challenging and innovative music along the way. But Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides marks the first time she has broken cover and headed for the mainstream.

The music here is angular, clever and unconventional. Huge beats fight with industrial sounds and chest-thumping bass, discord and surprise await around every corner. And yet the sound these noises make when they come together is a cool ultramodern pop music.

Is it Cold in the Water sees SOPHIE coming across as an experimental Florence and the Machine, while Infatuation performs the same magic on This Mortal Coil. The nine minute closing track Whole New World/Pretend World sees SOPHIE go Industrial.

Every track here holds a surprise of some kind and in SOPHIE we have an artist it is impossible to catagorise, her creativity taking the form of a restless spirit looking for the best way to express all her feelings and refusing to be tied down to one particular sound or category.

An album of wonders, to journey through Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides is to take a trip through one of the most inventive and original voices on modern music. – Banjo

Getintothis on SOPHIE

73. Erland Cooper: Solan Goose


How many more watered-down mid-sixties psychedelic bands must we endure in 2018? Aren’t you really sick of hearing sub-Nuggets guitar combos thrash their way haplessly through what is laughingly termed ‘challenging’ or God forbid, ‘innovative’ songs? How many more times must we hear of the legacy of punk or disco or folk or…whatever…you know the score. We all do. We’re all going through the same stuff over and over and over again. It never ends.

And we’re all complicit in this. Artists, consumers, fans, record labels. We’re all doing it and we’re all doing it all the time. Just make the ‘music’ stop. Give us a break. Let’s hear something different. Let music do what it can and should do.

I got to thinking about this when I started listening to Erland Cooper’s Solan Goose album.

I started listening to it this last month and I’ve kept going back to it again and again, to the exclusion of nearly everything else. Yes, there were times when I’d pick something else; when something else would come up on Spotify or I’d pull a CD from the shelf, but they’d only last a few minutes before I’d revert back.

And the reason why is that Solan Goose is everything music should be. Everything music must be.

A largely instrumental record from the Orcadian Cooper, Solan Goose celebrates (and that is the right word, celebrates) the beauty inherent in the Orkney archipelago, the space and freedom of a world apart and in particular, the birdlife.

Each track is named after the Orcadian dialect word for the birds in Erland Coopers’ home; the Solan Goose is the gannet, the Maalie is the fulmar, the Whitemaa is the herring gull and so on. So far removed from the tired rock clichés, Solan Goose (the album) is a joy to listen to.

Sometimes- in fact now more than ever- we need music to do something different. Solan Goose does just that. This is a simply an astonishing record. – Rick Leach

Getintothis on Erland Cooper

72. Agrimonia: Awaken

Southern Lord

Ten years on from their blood-curdling debut, Agrimonia released their fourth studio album, Awaken – a sledgehammer of aural beauty. Fusing prog, white-hot thrash metal and dense battering-ram percussion it’ll pummel you into a state of buzzsaw bliss. – Peter Guy

Getintothis on Agrimonia

71. Loma: Loma

Sub Pop

Loma’s history so far reads like a complete and complex story.

Shearwater main man Jonathan Meiburg invited husband and wife duo Cross Record to support them on tour. Watching them perform and spending time with them on the road, Meiburg fell in love with Cross Record’s music and invited Emily Cross and husband Dan Duszynski to form a new band, Loma.

Loma’s lyrics had such an impact on Cross and Duszynski that it forced them to put their own relationship under intense scrutiny. One song especially resonated with them when Meiburg’s lyrics to I Don’t Want Children obliged Cross Loma s to sing ‘I don’t want children, even though if I did I would want them from you’

This started a line of thought and self-examination that led to Cross and Duszynski to divorce. While both are still committed to Loma, Duszynski has since left Cross Record. This makes Loma seem as fragile a band as the music they make. The songs are often sparse in terms of instrumentation but lush with atmosphere.

The music here is often unconventional, both in terms of the instruments/sounds and the song structure, although Loma are more than capable of creating a folky, haunting ballad when they choose to.

Cross’ vocals float on top of noir-ish noise that it is easy to imagine soundtracking a David Lynch film. Standout track Black Willow in particular is crying out for moody visuals to match the song’s cinematic scope.

If Loma never make another album, it will be an enormous but understandable shame. In the meantime they have left us this stunning, beautiful, shy gem of an album. And that will always be with us. – Banjo

Getintothis on Loma

70.Sudakistan: Swedish Cobra

Sudakistan burst into our lives back in 2015 with the Latino infused psych-punk of their Caballo Negro album.   New album Swedish Cobra picks up from this and adds a bit more sheen to their sound.

The Sudakistan  of 2018 have grown, their rawness now sounding more channeled or focused.  Lyrically, Sudakistan travel from introspection to extrovertist thought with ease, which s perhaps another sign that of maturity.

With whip smart songs, clever lyrics and a good pinch of punk attitude, Swedish Cobra is a compelling listen.  Seek it out if you like your rock hard but not dumb. – Banjo

Getintothis on Sudakistan

69. Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Sex and Food


Unknown Mortal Orchestra‘sSex and Food is a bold release. With song titles worthy of a novel chapter status, it is all edgy beats and sycophantic nods to cut and paste, genre hopping that is evidently driving music forward.

An equal blend on funk inspired jams with the odd strong hook, it’s certainly deserves an ear-burial opportunity. – Howard Doupé

Getintothis on Unknown Mortal Orchestra

68. BC Camplight: Deportation Blues 

Bella Union

Manchester based multi-instrumentalist BC Camplight brings us his fourth instalment with Deportation Blues via Bella Union. From the onset the whole album is a car crash of sound, at times difficult to absorb, taking the listener to places of the unknown, unorthodox, and uncertainty. But that’s what makes this album so fucking good.

Recorded here in Liverpool’s Whitewood Studios, it’s born from a culmination of anger and frustration within his own life events of being deported from adopted home of Manchester back to the US. This just days following the release of previous album How To Die In The North.

A drawn out process ensued whilst back living with parents to finally allow him to return when granted Italian citizenship through Grandparents heritage, albeit to then get smacked in the face with Brexit. This portrayal is embedded throughout the songwriting.

There is absolutely nowhere to pigeonhole the record, collectively it’s a creative explosion of rule breaking, with wrong turns throughout, although the musical discomfort is what makes it work so well given the narrative.

Starting with the album title track, we’re right in with a pounding electronic percussion, combined with cutting synths. Subtle vocals are overlaid but it’s the backing harmonies that hold it all together. There’s a real 1980’s Miami feel to the song, but with punchy overdubs and a commanding base.

Other notable tracks include the truly disturbing Am I Dead Yet?, and Hell or Pennsylvania, which throws the listener deep into a harrowing film noir set. Evocative piano loops are mixed with smokey jazz sections and a 1950’s diner-like chorus just to complicate everything.

Only later in the album are we brought back to BC Camplight‘s familiar work with Midnight Ease providing an undemanding ballad. Likewise with the final track Until you Kiss Me.

This album certainly pushes the boundaries for BC Camplight, and will open doors that may not have been considered beforehand. – Kev Barrett

Getintothis on BC Camplight

67.  HeliosVeriditas

Republic of Music

Music’s capacity to heal can be both understood and experienced with one listen of Helios‘ sublime ambient album VeriditasKieth Keniff‘s creations feel like infinite expanses – gazing out across an ocean or into the night sky – here and there speckled with synth, strings or delicate piano, drawing the listener along the ebb and flow of musical tides. Dominic Findlay

Getintothis in Helios

66. Anna von Hausswolff: Dead Magic

City Slang

It’s a lamentable journalistic cliché that any female musician with a taste for the dramatic should automatically be compared to Kate Bush, and yet, here, it’s inescapable: if Kate Bush was Swedish and into SunnO))), this is what she’d sound like.

Listening to Anna von Hausswolff‘s latest album, Dead Magic, is like dreaming about the room in your flat that’s always locked and the landlord’s told you never to go into. During the day you just leave it alone and assume there’s only mops and lightbulbs inside.

But in the dream, you go in and find a whole other dimension filled with non-Euclidian geometry and other impossible things, and it’s soundtracked by ancient pipe-organ music that’s by turns both melodic and atonal, with a feral feminine howling as accompaniment.

The Mysterious Vanishing of Electra is as close as you’ll get to a pop song, with its stabbing bass beat and mid-paced poise; Ugly and Vengeful is, by contrast, a 16-minute odyssey filled with bombast and desolate, Lovecraftian awe. Consolation comes in the form of The Marble Eye; an organ solo played by the bringer of dawn himself.

Källans återuppståndelse is the wide, immaculate beach you find yourself on at the end, wondering why the dream couldn’t have been longer, or indeed if it ever ended. – Matthew Eland

Getintothis on Anna von Hausswolff

65. Vive la Void: Vive la Void

This album is a Krautrock motorway extending into infinite space.

A solo project of Sanae Yamada from psych-rock stalwarts Moon Duo, this retro-futurist LP is a spacious, meditative work – it floats, it flows, it pulsates. Robotic whispers hover over motorik groves. Vive la Void is the sound of consciousness beholding itself. – Roy Bayfield

Getintothis on Vive la Void

64. Our Girl: Stranger Today

Cannibal Hymns

Brighton trio Our Girl’s debut album Stranger Today came highly anticipated off the back of support slots with the likes of Pale Waves, their own headline tour and this album being produced by Bill Ryder-Jones.

From the beginning on Our Girl we get a blissed out wall of intertwining guitar fuzz plus a gorgeous dragged out instrumental fog near the end of Really Like ItJosephine stands out with its layers and layers of overdriven feedback whilst singer Soph Nathan’s dreamy 90s sounding nonchalant vocal float above the melee of sound, whilst ‘I Wish It Was Sunday’ sounds like it could have been an Elastica b-side.

We’re expecting a lot more noise to come from these in the coming year. – Lucy McLachlan

Getintothis on Our Girl

63. Alexander TuckerDon’t Look Away

Thrill Jockey

With Don’t Look Away, Alexander Tucker completes the trilogy he started with Dorwytch back in 2011.   Seven years on, Tucker has stripped back his sound to a more organic mix of acoustic guitars, electronics and his own honey rich baritone voice.

Even on the most natural sounding songs, there is technology whirring or ticking away in the background, as if Tucker’s has tried to retreat from the modern world but has not been fully able to.  The effect is not unlike a pastoral John Grant.

There is a sense here that Tucker has found himself on Don’t Look Away and achieved the perfect balance of the old and the new, of subtlety and depth and of light and shade.

The exception here is Gloops Void (Give It Up), where the electronics that have lurked in the background finally take over.  The effect is deliberately jarring, making the point that technology will find a way to disrupt or impeded into our lives.

Things are soon back on track, and the overall effect of Don’t Look away is calming and impressive.

Where Tucker will go from here is anyone’s guess, but I think we can count on it being both interesting and rewarding. – Banjo

Getintothis on Alexander Tucker

62.  Anthroprophh: Omegaville

Rocket Recordings

For the uninitiated, Anthrorophh is the solo outlet for Paul Allen, guitarist for psych-rock behemoths, The Heads. If this provides certain clues as to what can be expected from Omegaville nothing quite prepares you for its visceral and pummelling onslaught.

This album is highly politicised, a state-of-the-nation rage through a whirlwind of frenetic and often deliberately conflicting styles.

This is at times a heavy and oppressive listen as its sheer brute force presents an unsettling image of a dystopian, apocalyptic future that offers only a thinly disguised reflection of our troubled present. Paul Higham

Getintothis on Anthroprophh

61. Adwaith: Melyn

Libertino Records

Discovering Adwaith these last twelve months has been a tantalising tease of a journey. The delicious drip-drip of singles from the Welsh trio, it’s fair to say, has enticed a wider audience than Welsh language music is accustomed to outside the country itself. The reason for that is because – and I don’t want to sound like a bloody sentimental hippie here, but if I have to, I jolly well will – music can speak in a way mere words cannot.

Proudly feminist and political, Melyn (Welsh for yellow), their post punk-esque debut album, performed entirely in the Welsh language, is a brave unashamed trawl through a love of a wide expanse of genres – from the confrontational punk of Lipstick Coch (Red Lipstick) to the reggae swagger of Colli Golwg.

There are three short, weird instrumentals to refresh the palate, and the gorgeous bold Fel iFod captured the imagination widely in 2018, becoming one of the most streamed Welsh language songs ever, capturing 300k listens. The magnificent Newid (Change) is a stirring call to arms.

The Manic Street PreachersJames Dean Bradfield remixed Gartref for Adwaith as he’s a fan of the band, but the album version of the song carries its own weight, in a slow, eerie build.

Adwaith have been called the future of Welsh music, the future of music full stop and all manner of wonderful things. One thing is for sure. They are so GOOD.

Each song on Melyn is inspiring and kicks ass, the dreamier carrying a punch of their own. whether post punk is an accurate way of describing Adwaith is up for discussion. I myself would argue there’s far more to Hollie Singer, Gwenllian Anthony and Heledd Owen’s songwriting chops than past eras long gone can boast of.

Y Diweddaraf is the first Welsh language song to be included on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist a couple of weeks back. To give a wider sense of perspective on how ground breaking this is, consider that Spotify launched in the UK 10 years ago this month. Things are changing, people. And Adwaith are leading that change. Be part of it. – Cath Holland

Getintothis on Adwaith

60. Ocean Districts: Doomtowns


An end of year albums list wouldn’t be complete without some Estonian post-metal – so here’s ours. Tallinn quartet, Ocean Districts are all cinematic widescreen epicness with crunching guitars and propulsive percussion drones

This five tracker packs a sizeable sonic weight from the outset with the zombie apocalypse soundtracker Doom Town; all sludgy riffs married to genuinely terrifying atmospherics.

Recalling the likes of Red Sparrowes and Oceansize, there’s a balance of brutality and elegant beauty aligned to elaborate production with the record inspired by the very literal Doomtowns left following nuclear tests conducted by the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War-era. Centrepiece Survival City typifies the album best with a cyclical stunning instrumental motif before white-hot sheet metal noise cascades tearing down the senses – progressive, pulverising and pretty damn great. – Peter Guy

Getintothis on Ocean Districts

59. Nils Frahm: All Melody

Erased Tapes

To say the release of a new album is highly anticipated is a phrase that been used so often it counts for nothing.

It’s that sort of off-the-peg line that gets thrown into nearly every press release that’s ever been written. In fact, if you type the words “new album” then with the beauty of predictive text the words “highly anticipated” pop up as if by magic. You can throw it in every single type of music. Susan Boyle’s new album might be highly anticipated as Muse’s.

It stands alongside the overuse of the word ‘genius’ to describe anyone who can belt out a half decent original tune as something that should be banned. At the very least.

Having said that, for this writer, as well as many other people, the news at the end of 2017 of a new Nils Frahm album dropping in January 2018 was like an early Christmas present. One that we’d have to wait for until just after Christmas and with, to be honest, a heightened sense of anticipation.

There you go. Irony.

But exactly why was this album something to look forward to? What is so special about Nils Frahm and the music he makes?

It was with his first album for Erased Tapes back in 2011, Felt, that his innovative melding of classical and electronic music made people stop and realise that something different was going on.

Since then, using vintage electronic instruments alongside pianos, Frahm has created music of such beauty and originality that it takes your breath away. Spaces, his album of live recordings from 2013, really took things to another level, with gentle gossamer-thin piano melodies drifting like mist on an early summer morning alternating with and hardened by subtle use of electronics. It was music like no other and won him a whole new legion of fans.

And Frahm hasn’t put a foot wrong since; headlining the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, being a driving forces behind Piano Day, playing at the Louvre, recording soundtracks and collaborating with the likes of Olafaur Arnalds and DJ Shadow. He also reunited with two old schoolfriends as Nonkeen in 2016 to record one of our albums of the year, The Gamble.

Frenetic activity has been the order of the day then for Frahm. But since Spaces, he’s not released a pure solo album. And because Spaces is so, so good we wondered how on earth could he follow it up?

All Melody is an incredible record. Beyond outstanding. Highly anticipated? You bet. – Rick Leach

Getintothis on Nils Frahm


58. The Blinders: Columbia

Modern Sky UK

We first caught Doncaster trio, The Blinders in Portmeirion in 2017.  

Anyone who’s been to Festival No. 6 knows it’s a more fantastical affair aligned to wistful psychedelia, cosmic disco and lo-fi guitar heroics. So it was pretty refreshing to see three lads in corpse paint being carried over a ferocious moshpit in a real ale tent.

Powered by naughty axe licks, political lyrical verbosity and old fashioned rock and roll attitude, this was exactly what we were in need of. ‘Dance, dance, dance to the hate song’ isn’t likely to be in Chic’s next set list.

It seemed Liverpool-based Modern Sky records were suitably impressed too, snapping them up soon after and all roads have led to Columbia, their debut album. Which for the most part is a rip-snorting, bone-rattling experience.

Aligned to the likes of Shame, The Wytches and (whisper it) Kasabian, much of Columbia is positively  HUGE. Indeed, the colossal I Can’t Breathe Blues could have dropped straight off the Leicester jesters 2004 debut album.  They were good back then.

For what the record expertly captures the band’s incendiary live appeal. Which is really something and testament to the production by Gavin Monaghan at Magic Studios.

Early single l Etat Cest Moi sets the scene for a rampaging listen while the metaphorical Roman empire epic Brutus is a snarling seven minute Nick Cave-like centre-piece on a record which pushes them to the forefront of new UK rock n’ rollers. – Peter Guy

Getintothis on The Blinders

57. Crippled Black Phoenix: Great Escape

Season of Mist

With the revolving door of band members seemingly incessant, it was getting to a stage where you thought that Crippled Black Phoenix would be best served drawing the curtains. However, some bands prosper when the chips are down, and with their music fully immersed in the current political climate, Great Escape sees the band blow out the cobwebs and produce their finest album in years.

Since the departure of CPB’s initial frontman, Joe Volk, in truth things have plateaued and have been underwhelming for the most part. Volk’s eventual replacement, Daniel Änghede (who followed John E. Vistic’s brief appearance in the band) possesses a similar vocal range, but apart from fleeting moments, has failed to capture the imagination of the band’s earlier incarnations.

Until now. Änghede’s performance on Great Escape is his moment and sees CPB return to those end-time ballads which made their first two albums, A Love of Shared Disasters and 200 Tons of Bad Luck, such a defining period for the band.

The thinly veiled spoken word denunciation during You Brought It Upon Yourselves sets the tone for Great Escape and from there, the album is filled with drawn-out rockers that amalgamate post-rock, psychedelia and ‘70s hard-rock.

The album ends with Great Escape (Pt I) and Great Escape (Pt II) and if both tracks don’t reduce you to tears then I’m afraid you’re dead inside. It’s fitting that Justin Greaves, the band’s constant flame, has the last say on this album. His floating ‘Floyd-esque riffs conclude the album in striking, cinematic fashion.

Quite simply, Crippled Black Phoenix have defied the odds with Great Escape. It’s great to have them back. – Simon Kirk

Getintothis on Crippled Black Phoenix

56. White Denim: Performance

City Slang

Since releasing their debut album back in 2008, White Denim have been both unrelenting and prolific. Their new record Performance, the bands eighth release, is certainly no exception to that.

Considerable upheaval has surrounded the band over the last few years. They lost two original members to Leon Bridges before the recording of 2016’s album Stiff and made further amendments to the line-up for Performance, having drafted in Michael Hunter on keyboards and Conrad Choucroun on drums. Many bands would find these regular changes unsettling but thankfully White Denim have excelled, producing an album that encapsulates everything that has made them so interesting on the ear for the last ten years whilst incorporating new elements into their sound to keep it fresh and exciting.

This is evident from the off, in opener Magazin. With a sultry saxophone accompanying the big, customary White Denim riffs, they set their stall out early for what we can expect from the record, an urgency that hardly ever wavers as they sprint through the album in just over 30 minutes.

The funky Double Death is a gem. It oozes intrigue, and fully highlights the prowess of vocalist James Petralli. As a unit it is a fitting example of how tight the band are, with musicianship of the highest order to create this undeniable ear worm.

The grizzly Moves On adds another welcome dimension. Dipping their toes into the psychedelic, the track careers along with high-octane guitar and synth, whilst It Might Get Dark does nothing that the title may suggest, a real fun T-Rex-y rocker.

We only see a noticeable change in tempo with the final track Good News. With shimmering guitars at its core it contains a warm, country-fuzz that gently quells the unrelenting pace of eight tracks before it, bringing this well-crafted, interesting record to a beautifully melodic close. – Luke Burrowes

Getintothis on White Denim

55. SUMAC: Love In Shadow

Thrill Jockey

Aaron Turner writing love songs? Yes, you read correctly.

SUMAC’s latest offering, Love In Shadow, strikes a balance with obscure beauty and ugly brutality. It’s a challenging listen, with quiet-loud build-ups that form a new hybrid of avant-metal. Since his days of fronting the genre-defining post-metal titans, ISIS, Turner has always pushed the boundaries of experimentalism under other acts such as Old Man Gloom and Jodis just to name a few.

With Love In Shadow, he’s just about reached the summit of all things nonconformist. – Simon Kirk

Getintothis on SUMAC

54.  Connan Mockasin: Jassbusters

Mexican Summer

New Zealand’s eccentric Connan Mockasin returns with his third album, Jassbusters and true to form, it’s more odd-ball pop from an equally peculiar fellow.

Largely based around a relationship with his teacher (alarm bells?), it’s a skewed pop journey with hints of doo wop and soul. If anything, it feels like Mockasin is in a direct shootout with Alex Cameron in the stakes of creepiness. If anything, what Jassbusters emphasises is that both Mockasin and Cameron should just get into the studio and make an album together! – Simon Kirk

Getintothis on Connan Mockasin

53. Deafheaven: Ordinary Corrupt Human Love


Four albums in and Ordinary Corrupt Human Love is Deafheaven‘s most eclectic yet. It’s also the album which they seem most at ease with themselves, and where many artists stumble at this juncture, Deafheaven seem to revel, finding an inner strength, growing stronger as a band.

As individuals. The fierce collision between crystallised beauty and poignant brutality hasn’t sounded so majestic for years. It proves that Deafheaven are one of the finest architects of illuminating even the darkest corners this world has to offer. There simply is no other band out there like them. – Simon Kirk

Getintothis on Deafheaven

52. Baloji: 137 Avenue Kaniama

Bella Union

Growing up in Belgium, Congolese-born, Baloji describes his world as ‘a land of surrealism and multiple identities‘ – and on 137 Avenue Kaniama it’s easy to see what he means.

For this is a record rich in kaleidoscopic colour and a myriad of stylistic fusions. Throughout it’s expansive 80 minute running time, the music positively radiates with vivid sonic brush strokes and all manner of exotic instrumentation. Melding Nigerian, Zimbabwean and Ghanaian influences with club-heavy 808 beats and space-age funk it’s a heady concoction fit for a sweltering summer.

Soleil de Voltleads the charge with an impossibly funky groove slicing guitar chops, disco harmonies and Baloji‘s stabbing flow. Bipolaire/Les Noirs, meanwhile conjours up images of a Congolese beach party replete with samba rhythms, afrobeat gospel singalongs and a shimmy-shimmy-yah swagger.

Yet what makes 137 Avenue Kaniama such a fine listen is Baloji‘s strident vocal delivery – thrust to the fore, he’s at times raging; all bullish and cocksure (see the feisty Spotlight or the Beck meets Fela Kuti stomp of Tropisme/Start-Up)  while he’s also able to slow it down with a beatnik street rap on the electronica-infused Passat & Bovary. Elsewhere, the sprightly Afro-disco brew of L’hiver indien masks the disconnect of migrant communities in larger society as he sings, ‘we are together…your issues are mine.

However, at it’s heart, 137 Avenue Kaniama is a sublime feel-good album which implores you to get up, get down and luxuriate in it’s dancing beat. – Peter Guy

Getintothis on Baloji

51. Prince: Piano & A Microphone 1983

NPG / Warners

The first fruits from Prince‘s legendary vaults are a simple one take, nine track package from Prince‘s Kiowa Trail home studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

The listener acts as a ‘fly-on-the-wall’ observer as Prince segues rough drafts (Strange Relationship), future classics (Purple Rain) and b-sides (17 Days) with previously unreleased demos and rarities (Cold Coffee and Cocaine) plus a cover of Joni Mitchell‘s A Case Of You. The stand out centre piece remains Mary Don’t Weep – a soaring blues-infused ballad released to promo the LP but there’s much for the completest to pour over.

If there’s one takeaway from this release it’s that the Prince estate seemingly know what they’re doing: this is a fascinating first insight into what else is due to come – far from essential but a beautifully delivered slice into a magnificent musical world yet to be truly mined. – Peter Guy

Getintothis on Prince

50. Half Man Half Biscuit: No-One Cares About Your Creative Hub So Get Your Fuckin’ Hedge Cut

The Arctic Monkeys aren’t the only band releasing an album in May 2018 to have taken a left-field, fanbase-splitting detour into new musical territory.

Nah, only kidding. Half Man Half Biscuit’s new album, No-One Cares About Your Creative Hub So Get Your Fuckin’ Hedge Cut, sounds exactly the same as the preceding thirteen. Indeed, the tune to Man of Constant Sorrow (With A Garage In Constant Use) is almost identical to that of My Outstretched Arms from 2014’s Urge For Offal.

However, it isn’t musical innovation that accounts for their long career and fervent fanbase; the ire and wit of Nigel Blackwell is the reason we keep listening. Here, it’s directed at people who “worship at the altar of Wiggo and Froome-dog” and spend their Sundays clad head to toe in full Team Sky cycling regalia; embezzelling football stewards who spend their ill-gotten gains on hair transplants up on Rodney Street; and the organisers of guided bat walks. Then there’s the self-explanatory Knobheads On Quiz Shows.

Bladderwrack Allowance (the start of which is the spit of Letters Sent from 2005’s Achtung Bono) seems to be about those poor women who’ve been dragged to HMHB gigs by their partners only to find themselves surrounded by intense men of a certain age and bearing shouting things like “play the one about the Zuider Zee” (Moody Chops from Four Lads Who Shook The Wirral, I think you’ll find; *pushes glass up nose*). Swerving The Checkatrade, meanwhile, is as close as HMHB come to writing a love song, although it does contain the line “Let me gaze upon your curves/Instead of Ipswich Town reserves”.

Overall, it’s another solid effort from HMHB, who seemed to have a dip with Urge For Offal. The songs are tighter and more focused, and while this means that there aren’t any longer tracks with Blackwellian stream-of-consciousness narratives (such as on National Shite Day and Rock and Roll is Full of Bad Wools), we do get an album of solid pop songs where the melody is as important as the lyrics, such as on the curiously plaintive Every Time A Bell Rings (curiously plaintive because the vocal reprise is “get your fucking hedge cut”).

Ultimately, the real test of a new HMHB album is how many of its songs can stand alongside the trusty standards in a live setting; on this basis, I can confidently assert we’ll be shouting lines like “Ground Control to Monty Don/The testimonial silver’s gone” for years to come. – Matthew Eland

Getintothis on Half Man Half Biscuit

49. Dead Meadow: The Nothing They Need


Dead Meadow return with their 8th full length album The Nothing They Need. It’s a shimmering 8 songs of pure desert overdriven psych rock.  From fuzzed out bluesy rolling beats on Here With The Hawk and I’m So Glad to slow n sleazy, lazy hazy grooves on This Shaky Hand Is Not Mine and Keep Your Head

We hope you like your fuzz glittering in the Unsettled Dust. – Lucy McLachlan

Getintothis on Dead Meadow

48.  Boy Azooga: 1, 2, Kung Fu

The star for Boy Azooga is very much in the ascendancy, having played the festival circuit in the summer, there seems to be no wrong footing this lot. Starting off fairly slowly and almost mellow, this cd hides the bands strengths at first. But then we get to Walking Thompson’s Park with it’s uncompromising Sabbath-esque finale – proper rock. Fan fave, Jerry, is a 60s Small Faces throwback done smartly and right up to date.

Taxi to your Head will funk you out and should be added to our In Defence of the Cowbell feature.  It’s a joyous 5 minutes of dance groove.

Our pick of the album is Hangover Squareafter drinks on Sunday, you give the world a rest’ We wish, but we do empathise. It’s the kind of thing we feel may have resonated with Leonard Cohen, were he still with us. – Peter Goodbody

Getintothis on Boy Azooga

47. Kikagaku Moyo: Masana Temples

Guruguru Brain

Multiple genres are mutated in the fourth album from Japanese psych-rockers Kikagaku Moyo.

Inspired by the touring life of a five-piece band whose perspectives collide and intersect, it’s a beautifully destabilising experience, the kind of ride you just have to go along with. From the sitar intro Entrance to the psych-lullaby finisher Blanket Song this eclectic odyssey lurches beautifully through modes including porn-funk, acid folk, kosmische and more in a colourful, optimistic trip. – Roy Bayfield

Getintothis on Kikagaku Moyo

46. Mogwai: Kin

Temporary Residence Limited

You don’t have to wait long for new Mogwai

Less than a year after their (possibly career-best) album Every Country’s Sun and they’re back, with the soundtrack to sci-fi action movie Kin. Anyone who followed their work on Les Revenants and Atomic will know that the distortion is turned down on these occasions, and that mood takes precedence over volume. One result is the intriguing Funeral Pyre, which channels Stars of the Lid and the ‘Gwai’s own Music for a Forgotten Future score. It’s a moving and elagic foray into ambience that’s over far too quickly.

Single Donuts comes closest to their studio album work, with shimmering, hymnal delay over arpeggiating piano notes. Title track Kin starts with a typical minor-key scorched-earth prelude before Barry Burns’ piano kicks in to introduce a hovering, prowling grind through decimated cityscapes. This builds in tempo and urgency, and seems the track most likely to develop into a burnt-eyebrows wig-out in the hands of a fully armed and operational Mogwai.

There are a few moments where the influence of John Carpenter comes to the fore, not least on the popping synths of Flee. Scrap is a nicely downbeat dirge with some unsettling atonal moments that the Master of Horror himself would be proud of. The album ends with We’re Not Done, a track more anthemic than usual from the Glaswegians, and one in which their love of The Cure is apparent.

There are few surprises here, in what is overall a fairly standard – if solid – record. One would have liked more of the experimentation of the Earth Division EP, or some of the electronics of Rave Tapes. But if you want to feel like a drunk, depressed Batman on your journey into work then look no further. – Matthew Eland

Getintothis on Mogwai

45. Sleep: The Sciences

Third Man Records

The masters of tone. The masters of drone. The masters of doom. The masters of Bolivia’s finest.

If you imagine Matt Pike occupying the top of a mountain, shirtless, guitar intact and just ripping out riffs so hot that his tattoos almost peel from his body. This is The SciencesSleep’s first record since Dopesmoker and arguably their greatest feat yet. It’s been a long time coming but what a return it is. – Simon Kirk

Getintothis on Sleep

44. Treetop Flyers: Treetop Flyers

Loose Music

Is there a jazz rock revival going on right now? There certainly is in our city of Liverpool. The badlands of L Town are awash with collections of cork-screw-haired kids melding all manner of synths and brass; Samurai Kip and Blurred Sun Band are two of particular, ahem, note, you should be paying attention to.

I mention this as Treetop Flyers were a band who we’d always previously associated with brushed Autumnal Americana yet their eponymous third studio album ditches their tendency for melancholic folk and amps up the coffee house soul – and it’s all the better for it.

Sweet honeyed vocals courtesy of Reid Morrison provides the easy-steady backbone but elsewhere there’s choppy guitars, breezy percussion, modulated synths trading with swelling Hammond organs all set to a brisk jazzy pace which is decidedly easy on the ear.

When they do slow it down on the waltzing piano and trumpeting ballad Needle its to beautiful effect. But for the most part, Treetop Flyers is a joyful, exquisite listen which takes on a newfound glory with centre-piece, the eight minute fuzz-drenched Art of Deception which reimagines Steely Dan jamming with My Morning Jacket. Tremendous. – Peter Guy

Getintothis on Treetop Flyers

43. Phosphorescent: C’est La Vie

Dead Oceans

Phosphorescent‘s Matthew Houk has given us a reflective album with C’est La Vie.

It’s less about Houk as a lonesome road troubadour living out of a suitcase, partying excessively and more about finding love, settling down and having kids. While substance abuse can sometimes the best fuel for art Houk finds a seamless transition here on C’est La Vie. – Simon Kirk

Getintothis on Phosphorescent

42. Carlton Melton: Mind Minerals


It’s so easy for some of the earliest releases of the year to get overlooked when it comes to the end of the year. As winter threatens, we’re often asked to pick our top five or top ten and too often such lists are heavily skewed towards later in the year releases. It speaks volumes therefore of Carlton Melton‘s career defining Mind Minerals that it makes the cut here.

Yet in truth there was little chance of us forgetting about February’s double album release such its monolithic power and sheer single-mindedness. The Californian psychedelic rockers have long been on our radar as long-established Psych Fest veterans while pursuing innovative production techniques to hone their sound. The effect here is startling. Slabs of urgently repetitive and mind-bendingly prolonged psych workouts compete with layers of ambient drone that seem to lead the band in a different direction than before.

More than just a competent workaday psych rock outfit, Mind Minerals marks Carlton Melton out as serious players and genuine innovators exploring new corners of a well-populated field. Paul Higham 

Getintothis on Carlton Melton

41. Courtney Barnett: tell Me How You really Feel

Marathon Artists

Tell Me How You Really Feel is the bittersweet second album from Courtney Barnett.

With the sparkling guitar pop of tracks such as Charity and Help Yourself, the album also delves into grungier sounds on opening track Hopefulessness and goes even deeper on the raspy, Nirvana-esque I’m Not Your Mother, I’m Not Your Bitch.

A louder offering than 2015’s Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, but Barnett proves she can still punch you right in the feels on heavier material. – Alice McLachlan

Getintothis on Courtney Barnett

40. High On Fire – Electric Messiah

Entertainment One Music

What a year it’s been for Matt Pike. First Sleep unleash a beast that is The Sciences, then High On Fire release Electric Messiah – an album that makes all the senses in your brain go crazy.

Since their partnership with producer, Kurt Ballou (Converge), High On Fire have gone from a stock standard sludgy thrash metal act, to this bile disgorging primal force pissing unbridled inventiveness.

2012 De Vermis Mysteriis was a reset of sorts, while 2015’s Luminiferous refined the inner-workings of its predecessor and with it, many suggested Pike himself was the new Lemmy (never, but still…). That notion won’t abate with Electric Messiah, High On Fire’s latest opus, rounding off this Berlin trilogy, if you will.

As for highlights. How’s about we start from the opening riffs of Spewn from the Earth to the closing biker dirge that is Drowning Dog? In-between, Electric Messiah is unrelenting and there are not enough column inches to elaborate. It’s riffs to the sky (thank you, Matt Pike). It’s slam dancing circle-pit mad (thank you, Des Kensal). It’s tongue out and shake your head uncontrollably near the jukebox in some fleapit boozer (thank you, Kurt Ballou).

Electric Messiah is the best bits of crust punk. It’s the best bits of hardcore. It’s the best bits of metal. It’s the best bits of stoner. It’s the best bits of sludge. And it’s the best bits of doom. Matt Pike is no Lemmy. Matt Pike is, indeed, Matt Pike and that’s just fine. – Simon Kirk

Getintothis on High on Fire

39. MamuthonesFear On The Corner

Rocket Recordings

Italian outfit Mamuthones love a beat. And their album, Fear On The Corner is a riot.

Taking their name from the death-masked incarnations that have walked the processions and haunted the imaginations of the Sardinian locals in the traditions of their carnivals for centuries, the band live very much up to their namesake with a tribal monstrous concoction.

Melding post-punk, Afrobeat and voodoo-swamp boogie, there’s barely a pause for breath throughout the 45 minutes of this relentless record. Squalling guitar freakouts vie for position with wah-dissonance and frenetic tablas (The Wrong Side), verbose fuzz-drenched vocals collide with percussion which sounds like it is being pushed downstairs (Cars) and LCD Soundsystem jamming with Talking Heads (Show Me) are but a few of the sonic headfucks on offer on their ferocious rhythmic rollercoaster.

The eight minute Alone is a labyrinthine attack of distorted snaking guitars, bleached percussive drones and jazz time signatures almost so overwhelming you may need a lie down after it. And that’s just half the album covered. Fear On The Corner is a brutal listen – but one which demands repeated listen. – Peter Guy

Getintothis on Mamuthones

38. Young Fathers: Cocoa Sugar

Young Fathers’ are back with their third album, and it’s been a long time coming. If 2015’s White Men Are Black Men Too was a statement from the Edinburgh trio, then Cocoa Sugar is the band banging on every door throughout the land get them to stand up and take note. This is progressive art done properly, and the result is the best record to date from Young Fathers.

Lyrically it’s a lot more dynamic than anything they done previously, outwardly religious references throughout, entwined with deep soulful vocals and intense cutting rap sections provide an inquisitive, yet mass appealing direction to this genre hopping collation.

The ever experimentalists break every code of musical practice for this record, instrumental harmonies are slain by penetrating overdubs and wave crashing base, but this is what makes the album so so good. – Kev Barrett

Getintothis on Young Fathers

37. Snail Mail: Lush

Matador records

If this album had to be described with a singular word, had its title been concealed, ‘Lush’ certainly would have to spring to mind. The word encapsulates all that this record is; the guitars are rich and profuse, complimenting the tender words carried by Lindsey Jordan’s lavish vocal delivery.

But perhaps what makes this so remarkable is the maturity of the record – it is a debut record released under the Snail Mail moniker by the aforementioned Lindsey Jordan, who clocks in at an impressive 19 years old. We are so used to teen frustrations being conveyed by either overly sombre acoustic performances or pedal-to-the-metal sonics, that Jordan’s balanced clarity is startling.

It is the stark clearness of the album that stands out the most. Disregarding the hipster trend for indie artists to make deliberately low-fi records to shroud itself in mystery and confusion, this record is instead so clear in its sound and sentiments that even the confusion of her growing up suddenly makes sense.

The clean guitar tones brushed with reverb, allows no hiding for her confessions and complaints. Even when the instruments get marginally heavier, everything is still well-defined and in control – the beautiful glossy fuzz lick a minute into Heatwave demonstrating as such.

Some tracks definitely have a Jeff Buckley feel to them; the tone and pace particularly – both of which suit her warm vocal melodies perfectly, are just asking for soft lyrics of love and loss.

Jordan utilizes this not with bad teen poetry, but emotionally mature lyricism perhaps best shown on Pristine.

The guitar, however, retains its merit even away from the vocals. Its rhythmic ebb and flow on the track Speaking Terms makes the riff sound like it is in fact breathing – like the instrument has come alive – and this idea of life and everything being alive is heard throughout the record. Though perhaps not explicitly in the lyrical content, Lindsey Jordan’s enthusiasm and youth is a staple, permeating each and every track on the album. It is an album not to feel old about, but to feel alive to. – Matty Lear

Getintothis on Snail Mail

36. Ryley Walker: Deafman Glance

Dead Oceans

Ryley Walker’s 4th long player distances itself somewhat from the sounds and inspiration of previous outings, which owed much to UK folk revival artists like John Martyn and Bert Jansch, the latter of whom declared himself a fan of Walker – praise indeed. Those influences are still (just about) apparent, but this is a move into new territory.

Taking its title from a piece of experimental theatre from the 70s, the record has a more contemporary feel, with fleeting melodies even occasionally reminiscent of Radiohead and other alt/indie mainstays. The arrangements are still rooted in the folk stylings of before, but there’s a greater complexity, at times knocking on the door of prog and woozy psychedelia. No changes in personnel mean that the songs benefit greatly from this tight group of musicians who have cut their teeth with extensive touring in recent years. The itinerant life of a band on the road informs many of the lyrics and the music has the feel of landscapes glimpsed through the window on a long journey.

Walker’s vocals have a new confidence of delivery here – clearer, more precise and self-assured, and the lyrics more direct. The sonic palette too is broader, introducing new colours to the overall sound and feel. This a collection of songs with a quiet, understated beauty and probably Walker’s best effort so far. The album manages the delicate balancing act of pleasing but also challenging the existing fan base; a triumphant return sure to feature on many ‘best of year’ lists. – Gary Aster

Getintothis on Ryley Walker

35. Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs: King of Cowards

Rocket Recordings

It all started at Psych Fest last year. We’d heard good things about this lot and figured they were worth checking out over in District. And we weren’t the only ones. There was a one-out-one-in policy at the door well before they were due on stage.

What followed was one of the most extraordinary gigs we have ever seen. Mild mannered Matt Baty, the band’s lead, was dressed in a black jacket, black trousers and a white shirt as though he was going out for the night for a couple of Mojitos before heading off to swallow a fillet steak, cooked medium rare, somewhere upmarket. In Shoreditch, perhaps.

He was the essence of politeness to the sound guy, thanking him many times and being appreciative. He was concerned about the 3 second reverb on his vocals he’d asked for wasn’t coming through. ‘Don’t worry’, said the sound guy, ‘It’ll happen’. ‘Thank you very much’, said Matt.

And then the onslaught started. Baty kicked off a gig that will be seared into the mind for a Very Long Time as the band played the three songs that comprise debut album Feed The Rats in order and with a passion and an energy that will ever be one of those ‘were you there?’ moments.

Baty’s transformation from the smart gent wearing a nice suit to the crazed topless screaming maniac, microphone swallowing nutter, was the most amazing thing to see. It was impossible to understand how this seemingly random mayhem could be repeated either before or after. It was nuts.

But here we are and the band has a second album, King of Cowards. It’s calmed them down a tad, perhaps. It’s an easier listen than the earlier stuff. They even got a play on Radio 6 by Mary Ann Hobbs, with Cake of Light being perhaps one of the more radio friendly tracks on the album, if only because it comes in at less than four minutes.

Maybe that’s required for the exposure, but it’s the eight minutes plus of the other songs on the album that grab the best. The fact this band dares to explore the various avenues available – the psych, the punk, the heavy rock – and that they refuse to be just like anything else you’ve heard marks them out as special.  – Peter Goodbody

Getintothis on Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs

34. Daniel Avery: Song for Alpha


On Drone Logic, Daniel Avery‘s incredible 2013 album, he skilfully melded music which recreated the euphoria of the club dance-floor while also making a record which was as intense to listen to at home.

Five years later and Song for Alpha is an altogether different electronic experience. It’s more sensual than the at times, frenetic surges of its predecessor, instead gliding in and out of focus with undulating metallic sheens. For here is a record which nods towards dance producer masters like Aphex Twin‘s Selected Ambient Works yet applying a fresh, bold beauty to completely get lost within.

The seven-minute Sensation is a remarkable rush of vibrating silvery pulses while stand out track Clear screams in and out of focus with fizzing beats and sonic laser stabs. Diminuendo, meanwhile, feels like you’re listening in on the alien in Predator’s headset; all rapid vibrations and pounding deep rumbles.

What makes the album so compelling is the change of pace on the likes of minimalist twinkling of Days From Now or the cinematic celestial glide of the aptly named Slow Fade. While it’s too early to reflect on whether Songs for Alpha betters Drone Logic there’s simply no denying that Daniel Avery is once again at the peak of hs powers as one of the world’s forefront electronic pioneers. – Peter Guy

Getintothis on Daniel Avery

33. Kurt Vile: Bottle It In


Kurt Vile comes across as your stereotypical slacker but that’s far from the truth, over the past ten years he’s released eight albums not including his work with The War On Drugs and last year’s collaboration with Courtney Barnett.

Kurt doesn’t seem to be one rushing through life and with his latest album Bottle It In clocking in at nearly an hour and a half neither should you. The album unravels like a drug-fogged story that goes around the houses and ultimately ends up being not about much, but that’s the beauty of it.

Opener, Loading Zones sees us take a tour of Kurt’s Philadelphia while he parks in the aforementioned loading zones to do his daily rounds and imagines becoming mayor and making them ‘all free by mayoral degree’.

One Trick Ponies has guitars bouncing along while Kurt recalls all the people in his life that have come, gone and the ones that are still around, some of them are ‘weird as hell’ while others ‘are one trick ponies.’

Mutinies provides the album with a quiet moment of reflection where Kurt murmurs over a finger-picked guitar and background distortion about trying to silence the voices in your head (the background distortion is provided by Kim Gordon, just one of a number of guest musicians on the record).

Bottle It In features three songs that clock in near to ten minutes and while these can at times feel too drawn out they do allow Kurt to do what he does best. Bassackwards, the best of the three long pieces is a loopy, psych-folk piece that recalls a radio interview while under the influence, title track Bottle It In see Kurt lose focus and in Skinny Mini we get some blown out grizzly guitar solos after a quiet slow build. Kurt Vile’s Bottle It In is an album to savour and sip, not downed in one and those that do will be rewarded for it. – Michael Maloney

Getintothis on Kurt Vile

32.Slowly Rolling Camera: Juniper

Edition Records

Cardiff-based trio, Slowly Rolling Camera know their way around a groove. And on their third album Juniper it’s evident from the get-go that you’re gonna be taken on a wild trip.

Melding Elliot Bennett‘s expansive percussion, Belgian Nicolas Kummert‘s labyrinthine saxophone, Deri Roberts‘ subtle breaks of electronic sound collages and Dave Stapleton‘s progressive synths, the band specialise in gradual reveals and intricate unravelling of deep sonic tapestries.

They’ve been likened to Slowly Rolling Camera and the dub-heavy Bristol trip-hop masters, but on Juniper there’s such scope at work the virtuoso thrills of Slowly Rolling Camera or Slowly Rolling Camera can’t help be brought to mind; see Hyperloop with its crescendos of drums, warm organ caboodles and high octane brass – your head is positively spiralling by close of its five manic minutes.

The title track, meanwhile, begins all plaintive piano before stirring from its slumber with undulating modulations and a searing guitar solo straight from the Michael Rother handbook. Heavier still is The Outlier a triumphant riff-laden brew mixing magical rhythms, head-thumping keys and strident jazz-funk. It’s incredible.

Slowly Rolling Camera are new to these ears, but theirs is a trip we’ll be taken on many more times in the future. – Peter Guy

Getintothis on Slowly Rolling Camera

31. Underworld and Iggy Pop: Teatime Dub Encounters

Caroline International

It’s not often music has the power to shock. But the first time we heard the lead track of this quite remarkable collaboration between Underworld and Iggy on the radio – we aren’t afraid to admit it, we were quite taken aback.

Bells and Circles acts as a kinda twisted bastard cousin of Iggy‘s hook up with Death In VegasAisha. Where that particular track centres around a Patrick Bateman style serial killer, this latest narrative is more akin to Kill Your Friends‘ Steven Stelfox – a rampant beak-sniffing misogynist decrying liberalism and the fact he can no longer smoke on an aeroplane; it’s a hilarious, obnoxious, smutty binge ride set to the tune of a thousand drums and propulsive rhythms.

The real craft at work is that nothing is shocking anymore – yet Iggy‘s matter-of-fact delivery is so at odds with today’s OTT shock culture that this comes off as understated making it all the more repulsive.

Elsewhere, the EP melds frenetic psycho-disco, glam pop and a quite beautiful Eno-style ambient pop number which sees Iggy reflecting on being a ‘nerd’, a freak and what it means to be on the outside.

It’s the kinda jam James Murphy pens so well. Empathetic, sensual and a pondering on growing old and what all this life thing means. A stunning listen, a curio which will probably vanish into the ether – you should grasp it before it’s too late. Peter Guy

Getintothis on Underworld and Iggy Pop

30. Etherwood: In Stillness


After 2015’s epic Blue Leaves, Etherwood  has stepped back from its stadium drum & bass sounds and has instead come up with a more mellow, introspective album.  As a huge fan of Blue Leaves, In Stillness at first sounded a little underwhelming.  But, with repeated plays, the cleverness and thought of In Stillness worms its way under your skin and you find yourself returning to it more and more as you unwrap its many layers.

At first, it seems like Etherwood is toning down the drum & bass aspects of his music and bringing a more pop sensibility into his songs.  But as the songs here work their magic on you it becomes apparent that all the energy and pace of Hospital Record’s brand of drum & bass is still there, but it’s been given a polish and sheen that makes it sound somehow at once minimal and expansive.

The opening title track brings all these elements together skilfully and, although we have said this before, could at last see Etherwood and Hospital finally manage to cross over into the same market that sees Rudimental headline festivals and have number 1 albums.

Next track A Hundred Oceans sees chill out drum & bass float by, while You’re Missing Life features a beautiful acoustic guitar riff.  The album is not all chilled, as tracks like Climbing prove, with the rhythms skittering across an upbeat dance floor friendly stormer, but still with the catchiness that characterises Etherwood ’s sound in 2018.

Etherwood ’s inventiveness and refusal to merely replicate past triumphs is proof of drum & bass’ continued evolution and marks him out as one of its consistently excellent key players. – Banjo

Getintothis on Etherwood


Rocket Recordings

If Carlsberg did psychedelic supergroups… Forget that, Carlsberg is shite – and Rocket Recordings know exactly what they’re doing and that’s why MIEN are worth more of your time than crap lager.

The culmination of whacked out sitar-infused jams and interstellar supersonics by various heads from The Black Angels, The Horrors, Elephant Stone and The Earlies – which should have you salivating into your sandwiches such is the heady brew that lot can conjure up.

By turns Nugget era poppy (Odessey), riff-infused stoner drone (Black Habit) and muggy, swamp outrock last heard on the Primals’ Vanishing Point. Transcendental. – Peter Guy

Getintothis on MIEN

28. The Orielles: Silver Dollar Moment

Heavenly Recordings

The Silver Dollar Rooms is a venue in Toronto. According to The Orielles, a Silver Dollar Moment is when things turn out much better than expected, despite all indications; like turning up to a venue at 2am jetlagged, tired, and playing one of the finest shows of your career.

This sunny optimism runs throughout the album, in which the group incorporate woozy nineties shoegaze and funky seventies disco into a new indie template for the twenty-first century. – Matthew Eland

Getintothis on The Orielles

27. Here Lies ManYou Will Know Nothing

RidingEasy Records

LA grinders Here Lies Man burst out of the blocks in 2017 with their eponymous debut which re-imagined Black Sabbath jamming with Fela Kuti – with that incredible album cover. It was quite the statement.

And on their follow-up, You Will Know Nothing, the quintet are showing little sign of easing up. Indeed, if there’s a band penning better riffs than this lot, please do stand up. Self-confessed lovers of Tony Iommi and co. the boulder-crunching guitar licks are all over the proverbial shop kicking off with the one-two jab of Animal Noises and Summon Fire – the guitars on the former resembling a dragon’s cough, with the latter drenching more fug to the mix as vocals trade with what sound like chainsaws.

Yet what makes Here Lies Man such a vital listen is that aforementioned Afrobeat flavouring without which it minute rampage of Memory Games complete with swamp-boogie organ or the glam-bongo chug of Taking The Blame.

Elsewhere there’s a distinct 70s prog flavour at work with That Much Closer To Nothing akin to the Dutch masters Golden Earring (if you’ve yet to check out their seminal 1973 album Moontan, stop reading this bullshit and investigate forthwith). However, where the band have taken a mini leap forward since their debut, is the moments of languid disquiet, see You Ought To Know with it’s hypnotic dreamlike swirls, the beautifully off-kilter guitar sway of Voices At The Window or the aptly named Floating On Water which sounds exactly that.  – Peter Guy

Getintothis on Here Lies Man

26. Cat Power: Wanderer

One of the highlights of the musical year has been the return of Chan Marshall, otherwise known as Cat Power.

Wanderer is her first album in six years and is assured, restrained, yet unmistakably her own. Its skill lies in its subtle evocations of mood and environment, shrouded in a production of impossible delicacy and fragility which serves to create an almost timeless atmosphere, infused with a smoky haze.

Title track Wanderer bookends the album, its perfect classical arrangement leads you to think it’s a cover, yet it’s not. Elsewhere there is a surprising reinterpretation of Rhianna‘s Stay while Woman sees a collaboration with Lana Del Rey that is at times a defiant statement while also offering dollops of nuance that remind that life and our attitudes and perspectives rarely exist in black and white.

Indeed the overall impression that Wanderer creates is through its sparse yet honeyed folk-blues arrangements. A blurred view of the world in which shapes emerge and then fade into the background. It is a record best enjoyed late in the night, its sultry mood and slower deliberate pace making it the perfect fireside companion. – Paul Higham

Getintothis on Cat Power

25. Gaz Coombes: World’s Strongest Man

Hot Fruit

Building upon the previous two solo outings, Gaz Coombes embraces a wider palette of influences to deliver a modern-day mixed bag of musical goodness. It’s silky and sassy offering up the unexpected- a departure from previous efforts. It’s the sound of exploration and rejuvenated passion.

Coupled with a mightily remarkable live re-imagining, 2018 has been the year to get re-acquainted with the Supergrass front man. – Howard Doupé

Getintothis on Gaz Coombes

24. Spiritualized: And Nothing Hurt

Bella Union

It’s been a long six years since the last release from Jason Pierce, aka J. Spaceman. 2012’s Sweet Heart Sweet Light marked a somewhat return to vibrant form. The lengthy break and recent teasing in interviews that this may be his last, ensures the new album arrives somewhat under anxious and intrepid scrutiny. Will it be worthy of its place among the catalogue, or a swan song footnote?

Well, from lead single I’m Your Man it’s clear the key elements remain but with a new sense of maturity, comfortably fitting into the well-worn glove of acceptance and appreciation. This theme continues through the nine track offering. There’s strings a-plenty, swooning gospel backing and driving guitars underpinning the elaborate and intrinsically woven tapestry which is the Spiritualized sound.

Opening with simple ukulele chords dancing around a determined declaration of love. ‘I’d like to dream you up a perfect miracle’ is the opening statement. Here y’go Jason take this canvas from our hands and paint us a picture .

By the time you reach third track Here It Comes (The Road), positivity is written all over our faces. It’s impossible to resist. The choir floats away into a saxophone playing us out in perfect timing.

Fans need not worry, those all too familiar themes still weigh heavy on Spaceman’s mind: love, loss, self-deprecation, mortality and eternal life. The differences this time around – there’s the absence of desperation and pleading that’s been there since the breakthrough Ladies and Gentlemen… the raw heartache echoes but no longer dictates.

The comfortable slippers of gratitude, contentment and a realisation of the preciousness of fragility is ultimately what’s celebrated here. On Let’s Dance, Spaceman concurs, ‘Although I’m tired of sitting here falling for you, there’s better things y’know a lonely boy and girl can do.’ Of course, in the most beautifully decorated way that only Pierce knows.

The final coda of the album, its dying embers come with a promise, ‘If I could hold it down, I’ll sail on through for you.’ Spaceman, keep on loving, keep on feeling, the world needs to hear emotion that’s delicately brittle, heart-yearningly beautiful. – Howard Doupé

Getintothis on Spiritualized

23. Wooden Shjips: V

CRC Records

Wooden Shjips have a habit of making it look easy. From their 2007 debut to this year’s V (yep, it’s the fifth studio album), Ripley Johnson and co. have specialised in rollicking cyclonic jams infused with magnetic rhythms and catchy-as-hell hooks. This one’s little different.

If anything, V finds the Portland heads revelling in their relaxed meditative status. Sun-kissed, breathing steadily and lollopping along in third gear, theirs is a sound which beckons you over with a sunny shrug and you’re not gonna turn ’em down.

While there’s little new ground covered here, V does contain two of their finest tracks to date – Staring at the Sun is perhaps the best psychedelic jam of the summer you’re going to hear while Golden Flower is quite simply a monolithic slab of glorious chugging wah-infused grooves. It’s impossible to resist. – Peter Guy

Getintothis on Wooden Shjips

22. Whyte HorsesEmpty Words

CRC Music Group

Dominic Thomas is one of contemporary pop’s most beguiling characters. It is just a shame so few know who he, and his band Whyte Horses, are.

They caught our attention back in 2014 with the iridescent single Snowfalls which became characteristic of their timeless psychedelic pop drenched in colourful instrumentation and blossoming vocal harmonies. It was perfect pop. Four years later, and following on from their debut Pop or Not, they’re back repeating the trick on Empty Words, an album which is anything utilises more tricks and layers it’s melodies with even more instrumentation.

When Dominic says he’s drawn inspiration from everything from Warhol to Twin Peaks and Brazil’s tropicalia movement, he’s not kidding – there’s so much at work on this record it warrants deep investigation. The production itself is scintillating with sitars, multi-part harmonies, lashings of strings, a La Roux cameo and all manner of percussion peeping through the mix.

The title track has received much airplay thanks to it’s instantly catchy chorus and big bass drum opening but our pick is the jaw-droppingly complex harmonics on offer during Any Day Now which sees Audrey Pic and Leonore Wheatley marry their vocals and extend them in some kind of exotic widescreen symphony which doesn’t seem quite possible. It is one of the songs of the year.

Rest assured Empty Words should see a few more fans flock to Whyte Horses‘ stable. – Peter Guy

Getintothis on Whyte Horses

21. The Vryll Society: Course Of The Satellite

Deltasonic Records

One thing The Vryll Society aren’t short of is admirers. Lauded at just about every turn by press and public alike, the release of their debut LP for Deltasonic is hotly anticipated thanks to the promise this band have shown through their live sets and recent single releases.

Picked up by the late and much missed Deltasonic founder Alan Wills in 2012, they fitted the type for him perfectly. He instantly saw in them similar attributes he’d previously found in the early days of The Coral and The Zutons. The confident swagger, the solid union formed by their band-of-brothers gang mentality, their willingness to stand outside the conventional and often stifling jangly Liverpool scene, and the work ethic. Always the work ethic.

They’ve taken their time to get to this point, sure, but the city’s favourite space cadets have more than delivered with this blissful and madly infectious record. This isn’t pop frippery, these aren’t throwaway cheap thrills for our disposable times. No, this is heavier. Music to feed your head.

Course Of The Satellite is a dizzying eclectic palette of everything from deep funk to Krautrock, electronica and prog. They’ve created a heady, intoxicating, pin sharp, and tightly wound mellifluous groove, washed over with cyclical motifs, acres of effects laden guitar hooks, and shimmering, textural technicolour soundscapes forming the deep layers around Michael Ellis’ graceful and elegant vocals.

Simply put, there are no low points to this record, from the opening spaced out strains of the title track, to the haunted beauty in the album’s final delicious moment Give It To Me, this is work of impressive confidence and stature. Alan Wills would be rightly proud. – Paul Fitzgerald

Getintothis on The Vryll Society

20. Gabe Gurnsey: Physical


There’s a turning point most people experience on a night out when you know you should go home – but you step over the line and things get messy.

Your body, mind and soul tell you it’s a bad idea but a certain predilection for hedonism kicks in and all sensibility goes careering out the window and proceedings inevitably turn fuzzy. Neon lights blur with foggy floors. Senses are heightened yet dulled all the same. A lack of control takes over. A third eye seems to hover over your physical self – watching from above with a knowing that all stability has gone and a new ego presides.

Gabe Gurnsey creates music which regularly seems to fit this neverland of club culture. An audio bath of extremities which is taut and fraught with edgy danger – yet compellingly seductive all the same.

As founding member of post-industrial London dance outfit, Factory Floor, he’s already adept at minimal repetitious beat-making, however on Physical, his first solo outing, he’s colouring their breeze block greys with a slightly more pop filter.

Indebted to Chicago house, Hacienda rave culture and Detroit techno, there’s oodles of tight hooks perfect for those late, late nights which stretch into mid-morning affairs while the likes of Heavy Rubber provide a sexual militant funk more aligned to Fever Ray than anything he’s released previously.

Much of Physical could soundtrack a Nicolas Refn flick – with its vivid stabbing beats (Ultra Clear Sound), modulated mechanical textures (Harder Rhythm) and slinky perversion (I Get).

But ultimately, underneath it’s warped dynamics, Gursney has created a pop disco record which while malevolent captures the reckless abandon and carnal pleasures of the night. – Peter Guy

Getintothis on Gabe Gurnsey

19Janelle Monae: Dirty Computer

Bad Boy Records

Janelle Monae’s visions of the future are not rosy.  Dystopia and technology are recurring themes in her work and the title of her 3rd album, Dirty Computer refers to that, to being a broken machine or, as Monae explains ‘feeling the sting of being called nigger for the first time by a white person. Feeling the sting of being called bitch by a man for the first time. Feeling the sting of being called queer or a faggot by homophobic people. It’s reckoning and dealing with what it means to be called a Dirty Computer’

The album shows the breadth of Monae’s musical ambition whilst also being her most straightforward album yet.   There is a solidifying of her previous work here, with Dirty Computer sounding more whole than her previous albums.

Sex, race and authority are explored here, Monae’s mind bringing to life her tales of how she feels she fits into the world, and when she feels she doesn’t.

There have been many comparisons to Prince with this album, and god knows nobody else seems able to fill that gap.  Monae may be more qualified than most here, as she was working with him on Make Me Feel shortly before his death, and the song then turned into a tribute to the much missed star.

Dirty Computer is unquestionably one of the year’s greatest triumphs.  It is difficult to categorise Janelle Monae, but she is edging closer to one label that may well sum things up; genius. – Banjo

Getintothis on Janelle Monae

18. Grouper: Grid Of Points


Harold Pinter famously used space to create dramatic tension or the sense of unease and dread. And while Liz Harris aka Grouper doesn’t employ the violence you’d associate in the likes of Pinter‘s The Homecoming or The Birthday Party, the empty silences and pauses within her music are equally as affecting.

Such is the stillness at work in Grid Of Points you can literally hear every stroke on the piano, air circulating in the recording room or on the shimmeringly beautiful Driving Harris‘ first breath eases the music to life.

Notes are often left hanging in the air as you are transported into a world of static emptiness or iridescent tranquility. While Harris suggests the inspiration was drawn from ‘the space left after matter has departed, a stage after the characters have gone…’ this mini 39 minute collection are more comforting than you’d first imagine.

None more so than on the quite beautiful Parking Lot which utilises layered vocals atop of the hymnal piano gently building to a cushioned crescendo. Elsewhere, the voice and piano work as one – almost ambient in unison like on the celestial calm of Blouse.

While Grid of Points may be Grouper‘s most minimal effort to date, it’s also one which warrants repeated visits – let it consume you. – Peter Guy

Getintothis on Grouper

17. Oh Sees: Smote Reverser


John Dwyer’s seemingly endless banquet of sonic goodness is once again overflowing on Oh Sees‘ (or whatever you wanna call ’em) 20th studio album.

Once again, they’ve ramped up the effects pedals and continuing where predecessor Orc left off, Smote Reverser is heavy on the heavy jams.

However, this isn’t an exercise in repetition, with masses of experimentation at work. See Tom Dolas’ ecstatic swamp organ frenzy on Enrique El Cobrador, Last Peace doles out an inebriated wheezing hysteria and the blissed-out country-metal of Nail House Needle Boys. Overthrown, meanwhile, is simply all-out punk delirium.

The centre-piece is the 12-minute beast Anthemic Aggressor which shows off the band’s duel drumming might of Dan Rincon and Paul Quattrone as they hold court amid a cacophony of skronking organ and Dwyer‘s permanently on the brink of collapse guitar histrionics. It’s the kind of jam that have made Oh Sees one of the world’s best live bands – and while it’s loose it’s also preposterously great – and shows a fearless band at the peak of their powers.

If there’s a criticism, you wonder whether a careful edit could have made Smote Reverser a seriously great album however, Dwyer and indeed the band’s enduring appeal is the cavalier, yet superbly crafted, albums seemingly tossed out at will. You have to sit back and simply encourage it. – Peter Guy

Getintothis on Oh Sees

16. Szun Waves: New Hymn To Freedom

The Leaf Label

Much like fellow UK independents Rocket Recordings, Heavenly Recordings and Full Time Hobby – you can always depend upon Yorkshire based, The Leaf Label to throw up one sure-fire belter each year.

For 2018, New Hymn To Freedom is that record.

Formed amid London’s improv jazz scene, the trio of saxophonist Jack Wyllie, synth experimentalist Luke Abbott (readers will be familiar with Abbott‘s frequent trips to Liverpool) and drummer Laurence Pike have concocted a six part suite of blossoming ambience which is both subtle and rather explosive.

Tracks frequently begin around minimal drum textures or barely there electronic sequences, gradually unwinding like metal coils falling down a staircase amid deeper layers of sax and glistening synthesizers – the latter taking on extraterrestrial life forms of their own seemingly ready to pollinate your speakers. All bubbles of light and drone.

It’s rarely, if ever, an easy listen – moods shift from the mournful 12 minute title track which is akin to Miles Davis fronting a downbeat Goat to the restless beat-fest of opener Constellation. It’d work wonders as a film score – and we’d urge you to watch the Sam Wiehl directed Moon Runes video – complete with collapsing in upon itself worlds. It’s fitting imagery, for a record which is cosmic and quite unlike any other. – Peter Guy

Getintothis on Szun Waves

15.  Parquet Courts: Wide Awake!

Rough Trade

Brooklyn’s indie art punk maestros Parquet Courts return with album number six in Wide Awake!. For the ever evolving quartet, this record is the one that will pose to break down boundaries otherwise unexplored. This LP is a lot more progressive, experimental, complex, and ultimately a marginal stretch better than anything they’ve released previously. Production on the record adds another dimension, this coming from the unlikely source of Brian Joseph Burton, aka Danger Mouse.

Current societal topics come to the fore in the lyricism with; Before the Water Gets Too High tackling climate change, added with Violence ranking as one of this years finest protest songs, dealing with America’s rising street temperamental  and street violence struggles, plus the impact of political upheaval , with influences taken from the Black Lives Matter movement.

Brooklyn’s indie art punk maestros Parquet Courts return with album number six in Wide Awake!. For the ever evolving quartet, this record is the one that will pose to break down boundaries otherwise unexplored. This LP is a lot more progressive, experimental, complex, and ultimately a marginal stretch better than anything they’ve released previously. Production on the record adds another dimension, this coming from the unlikely source of Brian Joseph Burton, aka Dangermouse.

Current societal topics come to the fore in the lyricism with; Before the Water Gets Too High tackling climate change, added with Violence ranking as one of this years finest protest songs, dealing with America’s rising street temperamental  and street violence struggles, plus the impact of political upheaval , with influences taken from the Black Lives Matter movement. – Kev Barrett

Getintothis on Parquet Courts

14. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: Hope Downs

Sub Pop

The debut album from Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever is an immaculate plunge into summery pop-jangle with a dark undertow.

A five-piece featuring no less than three guitarist-vocalists, RBCF effortlessly conjure a sprawling, mesmeric sound, not so much multilayered as interwoven – it chimes, it cascades, it unreels in unexpected ways. Hope Downs is a concise package – 10 songs that come at us in an intense 35 minutes – but it feels like an emotional epic.

There’s an urgency and energy to what they’re bringing but they don’t need to be manic about it. Fractured, yearning narratives unfold with some unexpected imagery – ‘electricity illuminates the rain’ – ‘river of brakelights’ – ‘do you ever, ever dream about a patch of dirt?’ – and occasional subtle pointers towards a darkening world of closing borders and privilege built on poverty.

After two well-received EPs and time spent honing their live act with extensive touring this is a band confidently setting out its stall in album form. The Melbourne-based outfit are playing around within the well-established ‘indie guitar band space’ rather than breaking the genre apart or birthing something new. Some of the songs sound as if we’ve known them forever – in a good way.

They’ve been compared with bands like the Go-Betweens and Ride, and described as 120 Minutes revivalists, which is fair enough but doesn’t quite encompass what they’re doing. Sometimes they echo the hallucinatory poetics of Television for instance – RBCF are charting some interesting territory for themselves.

Hope Downs is brimful with melodic energy and it sounds like they mean it. – Roy Bayfield

Getintothis on Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

13. Hookworms: Microshift

Domino Records

Editorial comment: While acknowledging the recent allegations made against Hookworms frontman MJ, we have decided to include the album in our top 100 listing based solely on its artistic merit and have applied no other criteria. The below is a reproduction of our review of the album originally published on its initial release.

Four years on from their last album and Leeds’ Hookworms have delivered a record which charts significant, if somewhat expected changes in sound from the primal ferocity of their opening two albums Pearl Mystic (our album of 2013) and The Hum.

Microshift, borne out of the 2015 flood which devastated the band’s Suburban Home Studio, sees frontman MJ and his cohorts realign their focus towards the music’s production and with it a heavier emphasis on the synthetics which drive Hookworm‘s sound – moving somewhat away from their characteristic live fury into a steely, modulating mechanical wonder.

For committed fans of the band this should come as little surprise given MJ‘s long-time production nous and MB‘s (Matthew Benn to his ma) side project, the superlative Xam, who, teaming up with Christopher Duffin created the kraut-fueled electro-prog of 2016’s Xam Duo for Sonic Cathedral; a record which delighted in beautifully languid washes of warm electronica.

Indeed, Duffin appears as one of the co-writers on the track Boxing Day – a track which is indicative of Microshift‘s switch of direction – an undulating robotic march broken up with squalling jazz honks and brutal dissonance. It’s a mere two minutes in length but it packs a mighty punch and is immediately followed up by the ambient bath of Reunion which serves as a meditative aural calm after the previous sensory battering.

Elsewhere, there’s a sequence of electronic rock n’ rollers imbued with metallic, serrated edges which will satiate Hookworms devotees. Ullswater is a pacy riot which builds to a mesmeric climax with MJ in searching reflective mode amid a blistering harmonica squall, opening single Negative Space grooves and funks in triumphant fashion while the eight-minute Opener emerges from a cloud of noise before blossoming into a quite beautiful plea for help amid a drenching of humming organs.

The oldest song on the album, Static Resistance which was in the band’s live sets around 2016, finds them struggling to ‘escape the life they’ve built’; this maybe the case, but on Microshift Hookworms are continuing to explore fascinating sonic terrain – and while there may well be continuing battles with mental health, depression and the constant battle of this thing we call life, they do so with music which is both life-affirming and hugely uplifting. – Peter Guy

Getintothis on Hookworms

12. Low: Double Negative

Sub Pop

After The Invisible Way and Sixes and Ones I did fear that Low were on the slow decline, merely re-treading old ground. When one of your favourite bands is seemingly on the wane, it’s a difficult thing to contemplate. The fears quickly recede where Low’s new album, Double Negative, is concerned.

It’s why they are in the pantheon of modern age prominence. Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker enhance the notion that they are indie rock’s steady hand. As husband and wife, as parents, as a musical group, for years they’ve appeared unflustered. Until now.

Double Negative is Low at their most pissed off. Low in a complete shit-storm and while their listeners have spent over twenty-five years seeking a safe haven in their music, it seems that Low themselves have jacked it in and joined us in the mire. While far removed from Low’s signature slow-core blueprint, Double Negative is still very much a Low album. With the assistance of BJ Burton (Bon Iver), this could well be one of the greatest re-sets in modern times.

The album moves from sleepy town narratives to something larger in the way of Disarray. The lead single and closing track. Its chaotic themes illuminate our times and along with the sprawling twists and turns throughout Double Negative, it’s hardly surprising that this track concludes the album.

With Double Negative never have this band sounded so revitalised. Sure, Drums and Guns was seen as the black sheep of Low’s body-of-work at the time, however this album has a dark political undercurrent which in many ways is as equally uncharted territory for Duluth’s finest band. It’s a terrain that could swiftly become their natural habitat. – Simon Kirk

Getintothis on Low

11. All Them Witches: ATW

New West

All Them Witches are this writer’s new obsession. We only discovered them late last year with the superlative Sleeping Through the War and ever since we’ve been playing catch up with their six year career.

That was until the Nashville heads dropped their fifth studio album ATW last month. And it drops like a grand piano – heavy, loud and clattering all over the place.

The tone is set from the get-go with Fishbelly 86 Onions living up to it’s batshit crazy title – all rollicking vocals, warlord guitar soloing and percussion rolls John Bonham would be proud of.

Indeed, drummer Robby Staebler weighs in heavily all over ATW for it’s a distinctly heavier, meatier album than its predecessor. Not necessarily in terms of riffs (there were loads of them before, and there’s loads of them once again) – but in mood.

This is a supremely brutal listen. Not just in terms of sonic pounding, take the repetitive stomp of HJTC a track which, like a Terminator, refuses to relent.

Similarly, closer (and finest track) Rob’s Dream is a languid bath of Led Zep Houses of the Holy era rock mysticism gliding amid Charles Michael Parks, Jr‘s wounded stoner vocals – it’s a positively drug-induced trip trudging it’s way to the frenzied finale – a masterclass in colossal noise.

However, what makes ATW such an ecstatic listen is in it’s subtlety; Diamond is a grinding malevolent slither which barely gets out of second gear, Harvest Feast straddles bountiful blues and windswept post-rock and in between there’s a multitude of production tricks which reveal the depth of a marvellous album over time.

But, yeah, those riffs – there’s simply no escaping them – see Workhorse‘s wild slide guitar, or 1st vs. 2nd which free-forms into a Sabbath style jam. This is a band at the peak of their powers – and, fuck, do they pack a punch. – Peter Guy

Getintothis on All Them Witches

10. Kamasi WashingtonHeaven and Earth

If you have the time to find a comfy chair and listen to Kamasi Washington’s Heaven and Earth in one in session, without distraction, then you certainly have more time on your hands than most. But, if you do get this chance, the rewards are bliss.

Racking up at an almightily impressive 2 hours 25 minutes, the result is a modern day work of art. Kamasi Washington is currently putting modern jazz back and firmly on the agenda, whilst paving the way for an incumbent jazz renaissance, with others such as Sons of Kemet and Go Go Penguin reaping the rewards and breaking to a much wider field. – Kev Barrett

Getintothis on Kamasai Washington

9. Robyn: Honey


A passionate, emotional voice laced through perfect dance floor pop: the Swedish synth songstress returns, eight years after her last LP, with an album to move your body and soul. Expect to feel pretty funky while you wrestle with sadness and heartbreak. – Dominic Findlay

Getintothis on Robyn

8. Shame: Songs of Praise

Dead Oceans

There’s a cock-sure confidence to Shame that emanates from emphatic, anti-hero front man Charlie Steen which is both captivating and curiously endearing. His menacing nature is, of course, all an act, as off-stage he is a pleasant and genial guy.

With biblical references to ‘the helpless and needy‘, ‘sodomy’, ‘a christening’, ‘angels’ and ‘the promised land’, Songs Of Praise is clearly a very apt title for the album. It’s also perfect for a spot of early Sunday evening listening!

Taking time out from a heavy touring schedule to record the 10 songs (in just 10 days), a decision to play it safe and include all previous single releases is the only criticism that can be levelled at the band for this product.

There are numerous high points in what is mostly a seething, simmering and at times raging beast of an album. Songs we know, such as the snarling Tasteless and the enraged Concrete are tempered by newer tunes such as the self-deprecating, One Rizla and the beautifully hypnotic Angie.

Josh Finerty (bass) and Charlie Forbes (drums) provide a propulsive beat and driving rhythm throughout, whilst the soaring riffs of Sean Coyle-Smith and Eddie Green complement the band’s sound and Steen’s vocal onslaughts perfectly, to create a cacophonous anarchic discord.

Whilst a few old-era punks are shaking heads wondering what all the fuss is about, new generation punks are enjoying a blistering debut from this contemporary and especially relevant South London outfit. – Mark Rowley

Getintothis on Shame

7. Sobrenadar: y

Sonic Cathedral

Does the album review matter anymore?‘ came the cry from one dope recently.

Unequivocally ‘yes‘, we replied. Where would we be without tips, trusted sources and more importantly writers who imbue a sense of passion, humour and intelligence into another art form and lead us into a sonic wonderland through their prose. Getting people to write reviews, is however, a trial and a half. And even harder for those putting out music in these days of overkill and an oceanic, never ending wave of music. How frustrating it must be though for a record label – and indeed the artist to see criticism diminishing. How to be heard is the hardest battle of all.

This month we saw Sonic Cathedral boss Nathaniel Cramp bemoaning the fact that Argentinian songwriter and producer Sobrenadar had barely received a review for her new album. It’s a crying shame for like contemporary independent labels Rocket Recordings or Ghostly International, Sonic Cathedral have a coherent and hugely dependable output and are loyal to both writers and fans alike.

Which brings us on to Sobrenadar – or Paula Garcia to her mates – and her quite stunning album y. We happened upon this album two months ago when a promo landed on our doormat; and it has barely been off rotation since. The reason is simple – it’s a beautiful, comforting aural blanket of a record ideal for late nights and easing off into dreamland. That’s not to say it’s a background album – far from it, we’ve found ourselves listening intently and just lying back at it’s glorious textures and her bewitching vocal.

It’s a futile task dissecting each track as it works as a perfect whole from opener Inhabil (which would work perfectly as an end credits piece for Twin Peaks The Return) through to Del Tiempo‘s finger-picked guitar ambience rush and the Cocteau Twins-esque finale of Habita. Imagine College jamming Grouper and you’re not too far off.

A stunning album – and one that deserves not just to be written about – but heard by many. – Peter Guy

Getintothis on Sobrenadar

6. Let’s Eat Grandma: I’m All Ears


To be quite frank, Let’s Eat Grandma are a band best consumed live. Or on video. Because they deliver a performance first and the songs can be just a soundtrack. That’s not to say there’s no pleasure to be derived from this album, quite the contrary, but having seen them live, we are left feeling there’s a missing link when we listen to this new release. That said, I’m All Ears is a fine piece of work, that’s almost a given – the pair’s talent is immense and this is yet another marker they have few peers.

Eleven tracks of glorious electronica, ranging from the pizzicato 37 second long Missed Call to the 11 minute prog-like Donnie Darko this is an album that follows no rules and lays down challenges along the way. It’s an easy enough listen, but on a first hearing, we’re not quite sure what’s coming up next. Is it going to be a slow burn or a full on jumping disco? Who knows? It’s all there, though and maybe that’s the beauty of what they do. The element of surprise is key it seems.

Take The Cat’s Pyjamas for example. Sounding like it’s played on a wind up organ with a background of a burbling scratched vinyl record type thing. Or is it a cat drinking water? We have no idea and probably never will. Nor do we have much clue as to what it means or why it gets a place on this album. It’s only 1’08” long, but it kind of typifies the mindset of the band. This sounds cool and weird, yup, it’s included.

Cool & Collected is one of the long ones and (perhaps with a different mix or production) could have been on a Yes or a Rush album from the seventies. It has that feel about it, switching from slow and quiet guitar riffs to full on rock and then back again.

But it’s the closer that makes the album for us. Donnie Darko is a magnificent opus and a kind of love letter to the film – ‘And honestly some people are so committed to honesty but I don’t know if these could face that, but I couldn’t find my receipt’. The song finishes with some of the catchiest rhythms heard outside Ibiza on a summer bender. What finer way to close an album? – Peter Goodbody

Getintothis on Let’s Eat Grandma

5. Bill Ryder-Jones: Yawn

Bill Ryder-Jones delivers his third instalment in a solo capacity with Yawn and, Bill being Bill, naturally Yawn doesn’t disappoint.

The songs remain as weighty and forlorn as ever, however sonically, the former Coral man has introduced a slow-core meets shoegaze framework to these songs. At times, it feels like we’re listening to a Red House Painters record and with Mark Kozelek currently immersed in downright self-indulgence, Ryder-Jones seems to have unintentionally filled the void.

Yawn is sometimes sad, sometimes funny, but distinctively always Bill Ryder-Jones. – Simon Kirk

Getintothis on Bill Ryder-Jones

4. Fenne Lily: On Hold


It’s always a joy to discover a new artist as part of the support bill at a gig. And something extra special seemed in the air when precocious Bristol songwriter Fenne Lily played Buyers Club last October.

Juxtaposing self-deprecating cutting humour with heart-on-the-sleeve, raw lyricism and quite beautiful odes to growing up and falling in and out of love, Fenne Lily was as endearing as she was captivating. It was impossible not to be bowled over by her charisma as it was to be blown away by her understated balladry.

On Hold, her debut, builds on these first impressions with an 11-track songbook which is both delicate yet punches you in the gut repeatedly with it’s powerfully evocative tales. The ever constant is her wondrous vocal which is often pressed right up against the mic, so close you can hear the breathy pauses and enunciation catching over the words. It’s deeply affecting.

What’s Good is perhaps the standout – a track symptomatic of the entire piece – a young woman seemingly battling with a lover; perpetually caught between doing the right thing (walking away) or persisting with what could only cause more hurt. What’s clever about this track, and indeed the album as a whole, is that there’s an understated orchestration tenderly added a backbone alongside the stripped back centre-piece of the songs – here there’s double-tracked harmonies, reverberating guitar and barely-there electronic textured swells. It is both intimate and yet dramatic.

Top To Toe continues the theme of reluctant love with finger-picking melancholy, opener Car Park is a darker thrum through a relationship destined for disaster while Bud could sit beautifully on Nick Drake‘s Pink Moon such is its faraway romanticism, exquisite composition and embattled philosophising – “You’re all that I want and more, I’d say but I know you’re sort, I wish I could be someone you need…

Elsewhere, Three Oh Nine trades a thudding electric guitar against her haunting vocal which speaks of someone on the brink of leaving. While On Hold finds Fenne Lily in deeply contemplative form, we’re pretty convinced things are looking up for this quite startling new talent. – Peter Guy

Getintothis on Fenne Lily

3. Jon Hopkins: Singularity


In a broad field, perhaps where music has been devalued more than any other, dance music producer, Jon Hopkins is unequivocally always focused on producing music which stands as a truly remarkable artistic statement. His widening catalogue is barely blemished with a dud note, and on Singularity – the follow up to 2013’s quite extraordinary Immunity – he’s produced another work of near flawless beauty.

Like Immunity, his fourth studio album, plays out like one complete vision – 62 minutes of cinematic transcendence capable of shimmering minimal tranquility or mind-altering pummeling techno rushes. Singularity reflects the different psychological states Hopkins experienced while writing and recording. Or as he states, the album is a “transformative trip of defiance at the state of the contemporary world to the ultimate conclusion that a true sense of peace and belonging can only come from nature.

From the stark glacial propulsion of the opening title track through to the redemptive relaxation of Recovery‘s finale, to dissect Singularity would be criminal, this a record which deserves your full attention. You can’t dip in and out of it. This isn’t background musik. This isn’t a record just for today. This is an album which grips you tight, releasing you when it chooses. An album which hurtles you into the distance before easing you into calm. It’s a masterclass – one of this year, and any year’s best. – Peter Guy

Getintothis on Jon Hopkins

2. DomadoraLacuna


The year’s served us well thus far for riffs – Wooden Shjips, Here Lies Man, MIEN and Anthroprophh have all served up seismic dollops of noise – but few come close to Parisian titans, Domadora.

Four tracks of desert rock breezeblocks makes up Lacuna each with enough power to put an elephant to sleep. Seriously on seven minutes when second track Gengis Khan hits its stride it’s enough to give you an asthma attack. Enduring all 14 minutes is akin to falling down Rapunzel’s staircase; check Karim Bouazza‘s battering-ram drumming as Belwil (just Belwil, no idea if that’s his name or a medieval potion) lays waste to a series of snarling guitars.

Yet there’s more to Domadora than simply primal ferocity. Standout track Vacuum Density (the album’s shortest track, clocking in at a modest six minutes) is a soulful succession of building cyclical riffs aligned to hook-laden rhythms, however, when it kicks in you’re whisked down a vortex of sand-swept melodic nirvana. Much credit must go to Brice Chandler for his engineering skills – capturing the live essence of a band of this nature can be lost in the recording process, and here it is as solid as rock.

Opener Lacuna Jam sets the scene beautifully melding their Kyuss-meets-Sabbath whirl while the epic 16-minute closer Tierra Last Homage slows proceedings down to a sludgy drool before blasting off into unbridled carnage complete with a Bouazza drum solo.

If anything this lack of control is perhaps their only undoing, for when the album concentrates on hypnotic relentless psychedelia they’re near unstoppable. Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia bookers – if you’re reading, snap this lot up now. – Peter Guy

Getintothis on Domadora

1. Christine and the Queens: Chris

Because Music

In a world where every album release seemingly comes with a back story or contrived concept it’s refreshing to focus purely on the music.

We could focus on gender, sexuality or various other themes connected with Héloïse Letissier aka Christine and the Queens‘ second album – but to be quite frank, it doesn’t matter. The quality of the music and the way it is delivered overshadows all by virtue of being quite simply one of the best pop albums we’ve ever heard.

Sound over the top? Perhaps. But we’re pretty sure Chris is the kind of album we’ll be playing in ten years time. And ten years after that. It’s of a similar calibre to Hounds of Love, from 1979, Like A Prayer, and Back To Black from 1999.

And like these albums it’s hugely concerned with sex, identity and delivered by a commanding lead singer.

Of course, Christine showed glimpses of this on her debut eponymous record Chaleur Humaine. Released in 2014 and subsequently re-released in 2016, the album blended minimal funk, steely rhythms, her native French dialogue and English twinned with at times flashes of superlative dance-floor filling, radio-smashing pop music.

Break out single Tilted being the best. Aligned to her incredible Michael Jackson styled dance choreography, here was a star who had it all. We were lucky to catch her in the Kazimier Garden for Sound City among just 40 stunned onlookers as she blitzed a 30 minute set amid the wood chipped floor on a mild May evening dressed in a brown suit laced with gold leaf performing like she was playing to a packed house in Madison Square Garden.

Push forward to 2018, and she’s shed ‘the Queens’ element and almost Camille-era Prince-like remoulded herself as Chris while upping the ante considerably in the music department. From the kick off Chris is a relentless conveyor belt of classics in waiting.

Comme Si opens with what sounds like a door unlocking and a radiating dazzle giving way to some kind of grand unveiling – it’s exactly what it is – a start to something magnificent; an unravelling of a magnetic body-crunching electro-pop. It’s a thrilling opening akin to Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough. ‘Focus on my voice’ she coos before emitting ‘uh-huhs’ and vocal rasps; a motif she uses repeatedly provocatively teasing throughout.

Similarly to her debut, Chris is an expert at minimalism yielding maximum results and that’s evident in lead single Girlfriend – as a robotic funk gyrates in tandem with naughty synths and a cool-as-fuck cameo by Dâm-Funk. The trick is repeated on a brace of tracks – Feel So Good and Goya Soda which are so ridiculously groove-laden you can’t help but body-pop in time with it’s chrome-like funk.

Yet, Chris is far from a one-trick pony. It’s very often in the slower, richer tracks that Letissier holds most power. 5 dollars is reminiscent of Madonna‘s Dear Jessie a twinkling lullaby with a faerytale vibe which rushes you off you feet with the ever-marching piano stamp and multi-tracked vocal.

Better still is break-up ballad Make Some Sense – again she strips everything back, with barely any instrumentation, a drum pad here, a synth there and a bristlingly tender vocal which is full of yearning and sadness. Best of all – and surely a single in waiting – is The Walker. A song this writer has played more than any other this year. A stark tear-jerker that’ll have you singing your heart out.

Much credit must also go to co-producer Cole M.G.N. (Beck, Anderson.Paak, Ariel Pink) for helping craft such a taut and tightly moulded pop classic which allows Chris to imbue with so much passionate outpouring not least on Doesn’t Matter which quietly builds into some mid-track crescendo as she sings of stinging nettles and hands on her thighs before exploding into some kind of orgasmic splurge of strident emotion.

Blending filth with tenderness, powerful masculinity with sensual femininity and deft imagery with magnificent music Chris is without doubt one of contemporary pop’s greatest talents – and Chris is her defining statement yet.  – Peter Guy

Getintothis on Christine and the Queens

Getintothis’ Albums of the Year 2018

1. Christine and the Queens: Chris
2. Domadora: Lacuna
3. John Hopkins: Singularity
4. Bill Ryder-Jones: Yawn
5. Fenne Lily: On Hold
6. Let’s Eat Grandma: I’m All Ears
7. Sobrenadar: y
8. Shame: Songs Of Praise
9. Robyn: Honey
10. Kamasi Washington: Heaven & Earth
11. All Them Witches: ATW
12. Low: Double Negative
13. Hookworms: Microshift
14. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: Hope Downs
15. Parquet Courts: Wide Awake!
16. Szun Waves: New Hymn To Freedom
17. Oh Sees: Smote Reverser
18. Grouper: Grid Of Points
19. Janelle Monae: Dirty Computer
20. Gabe Gurnsey: Physical
21. The Vryll Society – Course Of The Satellite
22. Whyte Horses: Empty Words
23. Wooden Shjips: V
24. Spiritualized:  And Nothing Hurt
25. Gaz Coombes: World’s Strongest Man
26. Cat Power: Wanderer
27. Here Lies Man: You Will Know Nothing
28. The Orielles: Silver Dollar Moment
30. Etherwood: In Stillness
31. Underworld and Iggy Pop: Teatime Dub Encounters
32. Slowly Rolling Camera: Juniper
33. Kurt Vile: Bottle It In
34. Daniel Avery: Song for Alpha
35. Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs: King of Cowards
36. Ryley Walker: Deafman Glance
37. Snail Mail – Lush
38. Young Fathers: Cocoa Sugar
39. Mamuthones: Fear On The Corner
40. High on Fire: Electric Messiah
41. Courtney Barnett: Tell Me How You Really Feel
42. Carlton Melton: Mind Minerals
43. Phosphorescent: C’est La Vie
44. Treetop Flyers: Treetop Flyers
45. Sleep: The Sciences
46. Mogwai: Kin
47. Kikagaku Moyo: Masana Temples
48. Boy Azooga: 1, 2, Kung Fu!
49. Dead Meadow: The Nothing They Need
50. Half Man Half Biscuit: No-One Cares About Your Creative Hub So Get Your Fuckin’ Hedge Cut
51. Prince: Piano & A Microphone 1983
52. Baloji: 137 Avenue Kaniama
53. Deafheaven: Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
54. Connan Mockasin: Jassbusters
55. SUMAC: Love In Shadow
56. White Denim: Performance
57. Crippled Black Phoenix: Great Escape
58. The Blinders: Columbia
59. Nils Frahm: All Melody
60. Ocean Districts: Doomtowns
61. Adwaith: Melyn
62. Anthroprophh: Omegaville
63. Alexander Tucker: Don’t Look Away
64. Our Girl: Stranger Today
65. Vive la Void: Vive la Void
66. Anna von Hausswolff: Dead Magic
67. Helios: Veriditas
68. BC Camplight: Deportation Blues
69. Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Sex and Food
70. Sudakistan: Swedish Cobra
71. Loma: Loma
72. Agrimonia: Awaken
73. Erland Cooper: Solan Goose
74. SOPHIE: Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides
75. Bellini: Before The Day is Gone
76. Imarhan: Temet
77. Efrim Manuel Menuck: Pissing Stars
78. She Drew the Gun:  Revolution of Mind
79. Jeff Rosenstock: POST-
80. Beak>: >>>
81. Gwenno: Le Kov
82. Bonnacons of Doom: Bonnacons of Doom
83. Idles: Joy As An Act Of Resistance
84. Jhelisa Anderson: 7 Keys
85. Superorganism: Superorganism
86. Holy: All These Worlds Are Yours
87. Melody’s Echo Chamber: Bon Voyage
88. Lonnie Holley: MITH
89. Keiji Haino & SUMAC: American Dollar Bill
90. Ross From Friends: Family Portrait
91. Audrey Chen: Runt Vigor
92. Suuns: Felt
93. Her’s: Invitation to Her’s
94. Go-Kart Mozart: Mozart’s Mini-Mart
95. Evil Blizzard: The Worst Show On Earth
96. Saba: Care For Me
97. Neotropic: The Absolute Elsewhere
98. Fliptrix: Inexhale
99. Villagers: The Art of Pretending to Swim
100. Arctic Monkeys: Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino

Previous Getintothis End of Year Album Polls

Getintothis’ Top 100 Albums of 2017

Getintothis Top 100 Albums of 2016

Getintothis‘ Top 100 Albums of 2015

Getintothis‘ Top 100 Albums of 2014

Getintothis‘ Top 100 Albums of 2013

Getintothis’ Top 100 Albums of 2012

Getintothis‘ Top 100 Albums of 2011

Getintothis Top 100 Albums of 2010

Getintothis Top 100 Albums of 2009

Getintothis Top 100 Albums of 2008

Getintothis Top 50 Albums of 2007