MID YEAR ROUND UP: 2018'S BEST ALBUMS SO FAR
We are already halfway through 2018. Let that sink in. Where has all the time gone? If you've been like us, you've probably managed to cram a whole lot into the past 6 months of life, and when things get hectic, other important things tend to slip by the wayside. That can often include keeping up with the best new music releases. But have no fear! Here is our guide to the best of what 2018 has offered us so far, for your discretion. Maybe you'll see a familiar name in this list, or maybe you'll be inspired to try something entirely new. Whatever you decide, we are sure you'll find something to love right here.
Beach House - 7: is it too early to call album of the year? Because this new Beach House album is a real contender. The duo push their iconic magic-hour dream pop into new psychedelic and experimental territories to make a product that will leave your head spinning. Do you want to feel real love? Then, listen to this album.
Tinashe - Joyride: Full disclosure: this is not one of the best albums of 2018, but it is worth talking about. Her efforts at creating a long-player are commendable, but I see through it Tinashe!!! This album is comprised of two great singles, and a couple of above average interludes for good measure. ‘Stuck with Me’ featuring Little Dragon is a very fun track, perfect for Sunday drives to Bunnings. The second is the magnum opus ‘Me So Bad’ featuring the inimitable Ty Dolla $ign who has appeared on every decent 'urban' (lol) track of 2018. Real talk though, this album is totally made by the geniuses who directed the music video for 'Me So Bad'. Ty rapping in a GOLF buggy, in the middle of a tennis court at night. Outrageous - I could go on, but you can see for yourself. Since we aren’t doing a list for music video of the year, I have no choice but to slot this one in. Pure genius. I’m done.
Onra - Nobody Has To Know: Onra has returned with sleek LP which is perfect to play at your house warming.
Ady Suleiman - Memories: The long-awaited debut album is a wild collection of uninhibited songs about mental health, love and family. Ady Suleiman has developed a timelessly classic yet modern sound that mixes R&B, Soul, Pop, Hip Hop et all.
JPEGMAFIA - Veteran: the subversive rapper’s entirely self-produced debut is as incendiary as it is smart.
Em Burrows - Invisible Seams: The latest record from this talented local artist is a dreamy affair of synth-and-sax-heavy singer-songwriter glory, and should not be overlooked. Check it out on Bandcamp HERE.
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - Hope Downs: The debut album from the Melbourne five-piece is a sprawling jam of high energy and calibre. The tight interplay between the three guitars and the rhythm section perfectly compliments the anxious lyrics that reflect a microcosm of the modern Australian life.
Okay Kaya - Both: Underneath the relatively simple exterior lies a record full of complexity and conflict, brought to life by Kaya Wilkins’ raw vocals and uncompromising lyrics.
SOPHIE - OIL OF EVERY PEARL'S UN-INSIDES: The second record from the always-polarising would-be pop star SOPHIE sees her playing with her identity as much as she plays with her music. As adventurous and boundary-pushing as her early material was, it was never as genuinely affecting as the material on this record, where we really get to know at least a bit about the face behind the name.
Paul White - Returning: Rumour has it Paul White has done away with sampling and all of the tunes on this LP are O.G. Respect to that my brother. Title track is absolutely heart breaking:
Pianos Become the Teeth - Wait for Love: Acclaimed post-hardcore band release a more positively-minded record, losing none of their power. Kyle Durfey has never sounded more assured as a vocalist, and David Haik's drumming is something to behold the entire way through.
Tory Lanez - Memories Don’t Die: This album is a solid contender for one of the best RnB albums of the year. Stacked with guestos including the likes of 50 cent, Mansa and Future, the producers did an excellent job of gathering the troops. Favourite songs include 4 Me, B.I.D and Real Thing. 48 Floors is incredibly smooth with good production, and a bit of a wild outro avec Mansa. The stand out on this LP by far is Hillside feat Wiz Khalifa and a very autouned Mansa. (I’m not complaining). A super fun driving track that will not disappoint Wiz fans.
Nabibhah Iqbal - Weighing of the Heart: Formerly known as Throwing Shade, English multi-instrumentalist Ms Iqbal has returned with a very layered album which continues to develop, listen after listen. This track is massive.
Father John Misty - God's Favourite Customer: Josh Tillman turns inward for his latest offering, crafting his most revealing (and least abrasive) record under this moniker.
Jon Hopkins - Singularity: The insanely talented producer follows up his instant-classic "Immunity" with a record that launches itself into space before coming crashing down again, and it's a wild trip from start to finish.
Dear Nora - Skulls Example: Katy Davidson resurrects their influential project for another observational, poignant singer-songwriter album.
Pusha T - Daytona: King Push's latest outing is a brief, but potent affair of fiery rhymes and minimalist, sample-heavy beats.
Snail Mail - Lush: Lindsey Jordan appropriates the 90s alt-rock aesthetic to deliver a stunningly assured debut.
Sleep - The Sciences: The doom metal titans return for one the strongest releases of their career.
Hinds - I Don’t Run: Look, this is about as punk as I can get, and this is a girl band from Madrid. This is a fabuloso collection of hazy, lo-fi melodic guitar and bass muzak. I love that the gals sing in english with cute-AF Spanish accents. DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES! Respect again.
Car Seat Headrest - Twin Fantasy: Will Toledo looks back on one of his most iconic releases, giving a new sheen to old material. With some enlightening changes to the lyrics and music, it stands as testament to how far he has come as an artist.
Mount Eerie - Now Only: Somewhat of a companion piece to last year's heart-wrenching instant classic A Crow Looked At Me, Now Only sees Phil Elverum looking outwards a bit more, finding some room for other places and people. It's not a light listen, but it is an important one.
Hovvdy - Cranberry: Only while writing this have I realised how often I've come to this album for some lo-fi, slowcore background comfort. That sentence doesn't frame this album in the best of lights; let me emphasise that this is an album that requires some patience, but played at the right time and place and it will work wonders in your life. It's a quiet work built for meditative moods.
War on Women - Capture the Flag: Blazing feminist punk full of razor-sharp guitars and exploding drums.
The Wonder Years - Sister Cities: The Wonder Years have come a long way from their Warped Tour pop-punk angst, formulating their most mature outing yet. The instrumentation is epic, matched by high-minded allusions to distance and breaking relationships. I will admit I was once on the fence about them, but this one has me won over.
Soccer Mommy - Clean: This is an exceptional debut from a very exciting artist. Sophie Allison's presence as a singer and sharp songwriter skills brings new life to old anecdotes, matched by some impressive playing. For fans of both Taylor Swift and Stella Donnelly.
Boat Show - Unbelievable: Another fiery record from the local feminist punk favourites, sure to set your ears on fire.
Porches - The House: Indie pop artist highlights the electronic beats on their latest record, with techno and house influences creeping in. While it's not quite as instantly catchy as previous works and occasionally drags, there are some real gems in this one.
Iceage - Beyondless: Iceage's new record continues on with their brooding, anxious post-punk sound. This time around, they have incorporated some of the most diverse instrumentation of their careers, mixing brass, woodwind and string sections for a high-drama, highly atmospheric product.
Superorganism - Superorganism: The band’s sound is spontaneous and highly energetic, mixing samples and studio trickery with ‘real’ instruments. It’s unpredictable in the best way, rich with details and engaging enough to entertain the whole way through. Despite the consistent energy, Superorganism somehow to make sure the album is never exhausting; every song lasts for the perfect amount of time, and the odd moment of peace becomes a clever curveball to break up the pace rather than a bathroom break. Read our full review here.
Frankie Cosmos - Vessel: Not a whole lot has changed for Frankie Cosmos on her latest outing, but that's just the way it should be. Her observations remain sharp as ever, with plenty of cutting lines about relationships and mid-20s angst. Her hooks are possibly sharper than before, ready for singalongs.