The weekend has arrived and there are two roundups left before I put together my best of the year list. So I'm trying to listen to a bunch of remaining 2018 albums that I have in the que. This week I bring my thoughts on seven releases from this year, some are in definite consideration for the best of list, others not, but definitely worthy of a listen. Hopefully there's something on here for you to discover before the end of the year. Enjoy.
Bill Ryder-Jones - Yawn: The latest solo record from former member and founding guitarist of The Coral is another beautifully crafted indie singer songwriter album in the style of Nick Drake with shoegaze guitar breaking through every now an again. Over the past decade he has consistently released these quiet wonderful albums, and this might be the best yet. One great line sums up his style for me, when he sings, "there's a fortune to be had in telling everyone your sad." Lots of great songs on here, including "There's Something on Your Mind," "Time Will be the Only Savior," "And Then There's You," and "No One's Trying to Kill You."
The Good, The Bad, and the Queen - Merrie Land: It's been 11 years since the Damon Albarn project released it's last (and only) album. Of course, he's been busy with Gorillaz, Blur and six million other things he's always doing, but I'm definitely glad this is a project he returned to. Like the s/t debut, this is a record lovely surreal record that blends dark cabaret with elements of art pop to create something poignant and special. "Gun to the Head," "Ribbons," "The Poison Tree," and the title track are my personal favorites.
She Makes War - Brace for Impact: The fifth album from the London singer songwriter Laura Kidd has a 90's rock feel, with influences from grunge, The Breeders, and rrriot grrrl bands, but fused with a pop rock sensibility that makes it sound current. I definitely enjoyed this record and feel confident that a lot of her favorite artists are also mine. "Devastate Me," "Hold On," "Undone," and "Let Me Down," are personal favorites for me.
The Myrrors - Borderlands: The sixth album in 10 years from the Arizona psych band is one of those albums the mixes psychedelic folk with drone to create lengthy soundscapes. I listened to this one while driving through the autumn rain and it made a great soundtrack for that experience. It's probably the kind of album that won't get a ton of listens in my world, mostly because it demands some time and attention to fully appreciate the world it creates. Certainly worth exploring if drone psych is your thing.
Plastic Tears - Angels with Attitude: This glam band from Finland has been around for a long time, but has released only three albums, each nine years apart. This is the newest one, released this year and it reminds me a lot of the only other Finnish glam band that I know, Hanoi Rocks. This is definitely a throwback to 80's glam metal, and it succeeds at times at capturing the best of that genre, though it also falls into some of the traps that represent the aspects of the genre that people despise. Interesting for those who are curious to hear what's happening in the revived world of what is referred to as "hair metal."
Tina Dickow - Fastland: This is the tenth album from the Danish folk pop artist (also known as Tina Dico). I was first turned on to her work with her 2010 release, four albums ago. She's got an amazing voice that fluctuates easily between pop and folk, as does the music on her albums, enough so that I don't mind the more pop elements that otherwise would not interest me. "Parked Car," "Not Even Close," and "People are Strange" are my personal favorites.
Weedcamp - Weedcamp: The debut record from the German stoner rock band is six instrumental grooves that kind of get everything right. A lot of times, at least for me, a lot of stoner rock bands kind of get the levels wrong, or go too heavy on the drums, or loose focus...hence the pitfalls hinted at in the genre name. This is nice short album that doesn't stray from what it's best at and I found myself feeling it throughout. You can check it out on their Bandcamp page linked above.