The first of our three top 10 lists comes from London based writer Curt Downs. Curt’s passions are alternative and indie rock including shoegaze and dream pop. Curt also dabbles in electronic, folk and pop music. If this sounds your style read on to see what he played relentlessly this year…
10) Ex:Re – Ex:Re (Solo project of Elena Tonra from Daughter)
Elena Tonra’s solo project is a harsh, brutal and frank reflection of how she sees today’s world. At the core of this album is Elena’s fallout with love and her inability to trust anymore. “Romance is dead and done. And it hits between the eyes.” An expectedly sad album, but one which is delivered with the beauty and sincerity you’d expect.
9) Dream Wife – Dream Wife
This electrifying and exceedingly fun Brighton Uni trio burst on to the scene in early 2018 with their self titled debut. The energy rips throughout this record and it’s relentlessly enjoyable. Vocally off-piste but perfectly mixed, this album is pure indie singalong pop with the added ingredient of rebellion and anarchy.
8) The Orielles- Silver Dollar Moment
2 minutes and 36 seconds in to ‘Old Stuff, New Glass’ and The Orielles present exactly what makes their sound distinctive and refreshing in 2018 indie music. This percussion breakdown of punchy bass, looping whistles, subtle maracas and jangling keys blended with the soothing tones of Esmé is testament to a band not afraid to spread it on thick and do it well.
7) Florence & The Machine – High As Hope
Florence Welch opens out on ‘High as Hope’ as she never has before. The result is a record of self pity and self failings, but also of self recognition. This is a brave record and a bold statement on how to hold the ones you love the most close to you – and how to recognise when you’re not.
6) Father John Misty – God’s Favourite Customer
On ‘God’s Favourite Customer’, Josh Tillman continues to carefully balance the wit with the weariness. An album which essentially describes his own downward spiral yet is doused in satire and the ability to laugh at yourself. Expect to hear tales of leaving hotel mattresses in the rain, side by side with his wife pleading with him not to commit suicide.
5) Shame – Songs Of Praise
The cliché is that guitar music is dead and then there’s the cliché that there’s always a ‘saviour’ who then goes on to relative obscurity. Shame are a genuine force that could ride the waves of the UK punk rock music scene for years to come. Rarely has a buzz about a new kid on the block been so strong alongside fellow musicians. ‘Songs of Praise’ is frantic and furious, yet excellently crafted.
4) Soccer Mommy – Clean
Sophie Allison isn’t afraid to say it how it is on ‘Clean’. “I don’t want to be your fucking dog” on the smooth ‘Your Dog’ is a typical theme of Sophie’s lack of patience for the modern man. But Sophie is able to capture a vulnerable side too, reflecting on topics of jealousy and imperfection. This balance coupled with catchy hooks and bass rolls makes for a hugely captivating listen.
3) Our Girl – Stranger Today
The second of our debut efforts from Brighton trios, Our Girl are a band years ahead of their musical existence. ‘Stranger Today’ is a hugely mature album of shredding guitars, soothing vocals but perhaps most impressively, astonishing production. As fierce and savage as some of the guitar work is, there is often a sensitivity and subtlety about Soph Nathan’s vocal delivery. Our Girl know how to change it up but stay true to themselves.
2) Hookworms – Microshift
‘Microshift’ is the most musically innovative album of 2018. This is an album of gorgeous, full throttled layers of psychedelic synths and beats. The wails and howls of Matthew Johnson have the same sense of urgency as the music which surrounds them. For a band which throws a lot of elements in to the musical pot, Hookworms come out intense but with clarity and conviction.
Note: Hookworms have recently split due to some serious allegations against frontman Matthew Johnson.
1) Snail Mail – Lush
It’s hard to forget that Lindsey Jordan is 19 years old. ‘Lush’ is an incredibly honest album about being a teenager, growing up and relationships past and new. Lindsey displays songwriting abilities beyond her years, with the ability to speak sincerely and genuinely about millennial romance. ‘Lush’ is a lo-fi indie classic and a triumph in capturing modern day teenage angst in a highly personal and inward looking way.
Click the links for our other writers top 10s