We’re way past halfway through the year now and it’s been a strange one, England played football, Trump went east and here in Manchester we began to miss the rain. But what’s kept me sane through all of this is the stream of awesome albums that have been pumped out this year already; comebacks, new comers and just straight up instant classics. It’s been impossible to choose but here are the five I’ve enjoyed the most so far in 2018:
5. Song of Praise – Shame
Londoners Shame are undoubtedly going to make it on to most top ten lists by the end of the year, having taking the UK scene by storm this and being every newspaper and magazines’ great white hope for the future of British Indie and still, somehow, managing to miss out on a Mercury Prize nomination. Their debut ‘Songs of Praise’ is a fast-paced, post-punk influenced storm of big guitar riffs and pacing drums with ‘One Rizla’ and ‘Concrete’ being the stand-out tracks, whilst tracks like ‘Gold Hole’ and ‘Tasteless’ give the album an added edge that make those ‘The Fall’ comparisons a little too easy.
4. Somewhat Literate – Retirement Party
Chicago’s Retirement Party dropped their debut LP back in May on the back of a huge wave of praise from online press, and rightly so; ‘Somewhat Literate’ is a fine blend of emo vocals and big 90s guitar riffs that interwind like if J. Mascis had a summer job in Modern Baseball. Energetic from start to finish and undeniably angsty and heartfelt, it drags me back to being a kid at a basement show loosing my shit – I just wish those bands were this good.
3. Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino – Arctic Monkeys
It’s split opinions where ever I ask: the biggest indie band in the world releasing a rock/lounge music concept album about a hotel resort on the moon was never going to please everyone. For me though it was a breath of fresh air, Alex Turner, in parts, seems to fudge the lines between this Sci-fi world and autobiography with his most compelling songwriting to date. Some of the best bass lines on an indie record ever, combined with smooth organs and Turner’s crooning vocal just make this album an absolute dream and people asking where the guitars are just aren’t listening hard enough with tracks like ‘She Looks Like Fun’ meeting somewhere between Humbug and AM. I love it, sue me!
2. Clean – Soccer Mommy
Sophie Alison, aka Soccer Mommy, has made a record that both musically and lyrically epitomise what we’re all thinking and feeling. Tracks like ‘Cool’ and ‘Your Dog’ are relatable, emotional and consuming all at once. Clean is a free-flowing ten tracks of softly stroked guitars that meet hooks and melody that touch on all emotion and a narrative ready to break your heart. Lo-fi in parts with hi-fi production it’s truly a breathtaking listen where I keeping finding something fresh with every play through.
1. Lush – Snail Mail
To release your debut album at 19 years old is pretty impressive but Lindsey Jordan’s debut is so good it’s hard to believe where all this unstoppable force of sound and melody is coming from. ‘Lush’ is an angsty, worked out, riff-driven album that twists and turns between indie ballad and guitar pop, but constantly delivering the same results; heavenly hooks layered on well-written, thought out pieces of music that almost juxtapose the sweet and sour lyrics at times. Lush is a beacon of hope for indie guitar music bringing it back to its roots whilst, at the same time stripping it down, cleaning it up and adding something to it that was lost for a long time before.