Posts Tagged ‘Best Albums Of 2018’

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TFS is the new band formed by Gareth Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin (from Australia’s epic art punk psych maniacs The Drones) with Lauren Hammel (High Tension) on drums, and Erica Dunn (Harmony / Palm Springs) playing guitars, keys and other gadgets.

We’re not sure why so many Aussies got bit by the bad-band-name-bug, but Tropical Fuck Storm were certainly not exempt from the plague. If you can pardon their unfortunate moniker, however, and focus on their music, you just might find yourself smitten with their manic psych-rock.

from TFS album A Laughing Death In Meatspace and available on TFS Records/Mistletone

They released a totally bonkers-in-all-the-right-ways record in 2018, the weird and wild A Laughing Death in Meatspace. Fans of the now-defunct The Drones might recognize Tropical Fuck Storm’s lead singer, Gareth Liddiard, who was a founding member of the former band back in 1997. Liddiard is still working with Drones mate Fiona Kitschin for this new project TFS, but it’s a completely different animal. They recruited two Melbourne vets,  and now it seems like the four of them might be Australia’s version of Diarrhea Planet, a kind of mythical live act and purveyor of noisy pop-punk. TFS aren’t for everyone, but if they’re for you, we’re pretty sure it won’t take you long to get on board.

Tropical Fuck Storm You Let My Tyres Down Recorded Live – Paste Studios – New York, NY

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Two years after delivering the astonishing “Some Things Last Longer than You,” London based trio Doe returns with “Grow Into It,” in which Nicola Leel, Jake Popyura and Dean Smithers drop another set of Breeders/Weezer-influenced rock. They still don’t have a bassist and don’t seem to need one, as their double-guitar attack really does the job. The surprising sonic explosions and fits of chaos suggest that they may be taking cues from “Pinkerton,” and yet songs like the bouncy “Labour Like I Do,” the pensive “Team Spirit,” and single-ready fuzz-ballad, “Cathy” rank among their best work.

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Band Members
Nicola // vocals, guitar
Jake // drums, vocals
Dean // guitar

released September 28th, 2018

On their fourth LP, The PactSlothrust released what very may well be their best record. Led by human force of nature, vocalist and guitarist Leah Wellbaum, and an incomparable rhythm section of bassist Kyle Bann and drummer Will Gorin, Slothrust created their most diverse album to date.

Right from the first track, “Double Down”, anyone familiar with the band will notice something is different. It has some electronic drums and bass, and the additions of both take the song into another dimension. “Peach” has a sound reminiscent of the early Slothrust records. “Planetarium” is a frenetically paced track with Gorin and Bann proving once again why there is no more solid bassist-drummer duo in rock music. Everyone gets some time to shine, too. There are bass solos, drum solos, guitar solos, and even a nonsensical vocal solo that rules so hard.

After “Planetarium”, however, the album takes an abrupt change of direction with “Walk Away”. It is a flat out stunner of a track, and it’s heart wrenching. It’s the first of a few slower paced tracks that sound amazing, includng “The Haunting”“New Red Pants”“Some Kind of Cowgirl”, and “On My Mind”. Each of those songs are truly amazing. “On My Mind” has this layer of saxophone that takes it out of this world. “Some Kind of Cowgirl” has an ending that is breathtaking.

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With The Pact, Slothrust has shattered classification once again. They’re more than trio of gritty jazz students who happen to like grunge. They’ve become way more than that. Lots of different styles of rock on display here but somehow it’s cohesive… A great album. From start to finish.

The Pact is out now on Dangerbird Records.

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A band of 19-year-olds from Australia who have a knack for incredibly thoughtful and structured indie pop, the Goon Sax’s second album is a tremendous reflection of the leaps and bounds the band has taken over its short life. They fall very easily into the grand tradition of Australian and New Zealand indie bands without batting an eye, which is both to be expected considering member Louis Forster is the son of Robert Forster of the Go-Betweens, but also a bit of a surprise since his reported musical awakening was not his dad’s band, but Green Day’s American Idiot. “We Can’t Win” is the album’s understated masterpiece, something that both evokes and transcends its teenage story and authors, much like the album as a whole.

Named after Australian bagged wine, the Goon Sax travel in teenage ennui, that era of your life where the possibilities are endless and your ability to do anything — or even know which movie to watch — feels infinitesimal. Their sophomore album, We’re Not Talking is full of e•mo•tion and teenage malaise, and “Make Time 4 Life” might be the band’s masterpiece so far: It’s a song full of tiny moments of young love, both flourishing and dissipating. This was the best album to overthink your life to this year.

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Band Members
James Harrison, Louis Forster, Riley Jones

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May 10th, 2018 is a date that many indie music fans will never forget. It is the day we learned that Frightened Rabbit front man Scott Hutchison said goodbye to the world. Unfortunately, we never got the opportunity to say thank you for being the best friend we needed in our most difficult times. He did, however, leave one last parting gift, which he crafted with his brother and fellow Frightened Rabbit Grant Hutchison and siblings Justin Lockey of Editors and James Lockey of Minor Victories. Together, the four formed the super-sibling rock band mastersystem. Their one album, Dance Music, is, well, a modern-rock masterpiece.

Opener “Proper Home” leaves no doubt that Dance Music is meant for cavernous rock halls. The stormy fervor of “Notes on a Life Not Quite Lived” is the closest thing to a Frightened Rabbit track on the record. It roars like a full-throttle engine that spews reverb-heavy dueling guitars and propulsive percussion. Scott’s lyrics are poignant and heavy, as he sings of “lessons learned”, being “lost in a deep abyss”, and finding “hope in hopelessness”.

The final album by the late, great Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison, this side-project with members of Editors, Minor Victories  took his brutal and introspective poetry into gnarlier terrain to create something much like its Sega console namesake: simple, free of frills, nostalgic, and yet weirdly futuristic at the same time.

Frightened Rabbit, Editors and Minor Victories combine for maximum heavy riffage. For more: Debut album released 6th April 2018 on Physical Education Recordings

Mastersystem go full bore The Pogues with a heavy dose of A Place To Bury Strangers on “The Enlightenment”. As Grant’s militaristic drumming leads the way, Scott poignantly tackles his own existence and purpose. A similar introspective tone percolates on “Must Try Harder”, which wails with the ferocity of Smashing Pumpkins in their prime. A moment of brief reprieve occurs on the pulsating, politically-driven “Teething”. Meanwhile, a more melodic approach is adopted on the grungy “Bird is Bored of Flying”, which highlights Scott’s philosophical songwriting style. As his band mates quietly rage, he smartly confronts people’s obsession with wealth. He hollers, “We all want fire until it starts to burn”.

The album’s peak, though, is “Old Team”. It is a song for the underdog and all seeking to “get it right”. The Hutchisons’ trademark fervor is brilliantly meshed with the signature Lockey scorching depth, resulting in an epic anthem. It’s a fist-pounding, tear-down-the-walls number that will have people yelling, “Nobody fuck with me!”. These words seem apropos for Mastersystem, who unleash a sonic fury reminiscent of the great alt-rock bands of the past. It’s an LP that is among the very best rock outputs of the year and one that rivals the very best of the ’90s.

Dance Music is out April 6th via Physical Education Recordings,

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Typhoon’s “Offerings” was released way back in January, and nearly 12 months later, it is still one of the year’s finest records. Musically and lyrically, Offerings carries a heft that very few albums can do without feeling overwhelming. In making the record, Typhoon’s creative source Kyle Morton asked himself, “What does a person become if they don’t know where they came from? What is the essential quality of the person if you strip away all memory?”

The tracks on Offerings range from huge epics to spoken word to ambient journeys and many places in between. It’s impossible to go through the whole album and tell its story, and there’s no way a couple of paragraphs on this list will come close to doing it justice. However, there are some truly important tracks on it, such as the immense sound of “Rorschach”, the beautiful orchestration of “Empiricist”, and the unnerving hypnoticism of “Unusual”.

Offerings is an immersive, intense record that will define Typhoon’s career. It’s important, and it’s groundbreaking. They’ve broken out of a crowded indie folk scene and have truly created something to behold. In the process, they’ve told a story that no else can nor will do.

Typhoon’s full-length album, Offerings, out now on Roll Call Records

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Julia Holter has described Aviary as “the cacophony of the mind in a melting world”, and it’s easy to feel that mania in its erratic structures and fleeting absurdity. But very often those segments bloom into long and sustained areas of beauty. The thing is, neither the harmony nor the ugliness is given more prominence – they are both valid states and one will always lead to the other.

Aviary is an epic journey through what Julia Holter describes as “the cacophony of the mind in a melting world.” Out on October 26th via Domino Recordings, it’s the Los Angeles composer’s most breathtakingly expansive album yet, full of startling turns and dazzling instrumental arrangements.

The follow-up to her critically acclaimed 2015 record, Have You in My Wilderness, it takes as its starting point a line from a 2009 short story by writer Etel Adnan: “I found myself in an aviary full of shrieking birds.” It’s a scenario that sounds straight out of a horror movie, but it’s also a pretty good metaphor for life in 2018, with its endless onslaught of political scandals, freakish natural disasters, and voices shouting their desires and resentments into the void

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Aviary, executive produced by Cole MGN and produced by Holter and Kenny Gilmore, combines Holter’s slyly theatrical vocals and Blade Runner-inspired synth work with an enveloping palette of strings and percussion that reveals itself, and the boundless scope of her vision, over the course of fifteen songs. Holter was joined by Corey Fogel (percussion), Devin Hoff (bass), Dina Maccabee (violin, viola, vocals), Sarah Belle Reid (trumpet), Andrew Tholl (violin), and Tashi Wada (synth, bagpipes).

Released October 26th, 2018

Absence sounds like cacophony on Lavender. Nandi Rose Plunkett wrote her third album in the wake of her grandmother’s death. That loss, compacted with a rigorous touring schedule which made it feel like there was no real place she could call home, influences the wandering and foreboding atmosphere that inhabits Lavender. Plunkett utilizes snapping beats and dramatic piano flourishes to ground her celestial pop songs. All of the anger and frustration that simmers beneath the surface makes these songs sound claustrophobic, but also endlessly beautiful and cathartic.

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This album is so lyrically compelling and touching in so many ways. The careful composition of each song is beautifully crated. Every track is unique  ‘Lavender’ really displays Half Waif’s musical talent. This album is also such a treat to see performed live. Nandi Rose Plunkett is an extremely expressive and fun performer it makes you see the songs in a whole new light.

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With Australian garage-psych group The Drones on hiatus, Gareth Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin joined forces with drummer Lauren Hammel (High Tension) and guitarist/keyboardist Erica Dunn (Mod Con, Harmony) to form Tropical Fuck Storm, who had only started to write/practice when invited to tour North America with King Gizzard and Band of Horses. A record born on the road, A Laughing Death in Meatspace picks up where The Drones left off and instantly goes in a dozen new directions. “It sounds like it looks,” Gareth wrote on Facebook when TFS revealed the LP’s vivid, psychedelic cover art. Everyone sings in the band, which gives them a unique energy and, sometimes, a poppier side than The Drones. It’s a big, bold and brash LP, putting a post-apocalyptic spin on politics, our screen obsession, or recounting chessmaster Garry Kasparov’s 1996 match against a computer. Not subtle, but neither are these times.

Just another day at TFS HQ, captured on cellulite by the Fellini of Thornbury, Chris Matthews, AKA Flagz of Defero Productions. You Let My Tyres down is from the soon to be released debut album A LAUGHING DEATH IN MEATSPACE (Released MAY 4th).

Recommended If You Like The Drones, Nick Cave, Dinosaur Jr., Iceage, Protomartyr. The phantasmagorical debut album by Tropical Fuck Storm, A Laughing Death in Meatspace, delivers a fraught vision of algo rhythmic apocalypse. The debut dive-bombs into the realms of mortality and immortality, moralizing and amorality; the passing of time, and how little we have left.These are lurid songs, urgently told through Gareth Liddiard’s barbed and byzantine lyricism, abrasive guitar slashes, drum adrenalin, raunchy bass and electronic undercurrents. They’re raging, rapscallion, and funny, lyrically delving into everything from internet shaming to the kuru “laughing death” disease of the PNG highlands to Russian chess great Gary Kasparov’s portentous loss to an IBM computer. Live, Tropical Fuck Storm are a force of nature, conjuring chaos at every blistering performance, with zero shits to give for corporate music hegemony. “Kneel down by the advertising, don’t you make a single false move” calls out the female chorus of Fiona Kitschin and Erica Dunn echoing the dismay of our time as we bear witness to the sinister seductions which social media surveillance has entangled us. A Laughing Death in Meatspace doesn’t show us the way out of this situation, but it howls along with us as we peer into the maelstrom ahead.

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Sun June shares some commonalities with another Austin, Texas outfit , all the more reason to keep a steadfast ear to the ground for music coming out of that particular city.  on Years, the band’s debut full-length for Keeled Scales, Laura Colwell and company offer up ten spare tracks that synthesize 1960s pop, early-2000s r&b, and country ornamentations, Colwell’s electric piano and the telecaster’s more mellow spectrum teaming up with a tasteful rhythm section for slow-burning standouts like “Johnson City” and the muted gleam of opening number “Discotheque.”

‘Discotheque’ by Sun June From Years, debut LP, Released June 15th, 2018 via Keeled Scales