PLAYLIST: The 30 Best Albums of 2018
What a year it’s been, we thought 2017 might be the peak for Australian music, but things just keep getting better. It really makes for an easy and enjoyable time writing about music when half the talent is making music in your own backyard.
Thankfully for everyone, this also might just be our last appropriate opportunity to bang on about the captivating musical prowess of Damon McMahon aka Amen Dunes. His 2018 album Freedom was released late March and is still heavily on repeat - without any sign of tiring that is. It really is a magical LP, filled with layers of rhythmic depth and an ability to take on new meaning with each additional spin. Okay, now that we have that our of our system, let’s take a look at the other 29 albums that really stood out in the last 12 months too.
While the political climate still remains unstable in nearly every corner of the earth, we’re continuing to hear some profound social commentary across all musical genres. Whether on racism, climate change, feminism, refugee rights, homophobia, Brexit – it’s nice to reflect on the past year and remember the power of music, and its unique ability to empower. A couple of lyrics that really stopped us in our tracks, below:
And know time can’t be bought / By the profits that you make / Before the water gets too high / To float the powers that be / Or is it someone else’s job / Until the rich are refugees?
‘Before The Water Gets Too High’ - Parquet Courts
I am not my body / I am somebody
‘Somebody’ - Dream Wife
War is old, so is sex / Let's play God, you go next / Heads go up, men go down / Try my luck, stand my ground / Die in church, live in jail / Say her name, twice in hell / Uncle Sam kissed a man / Jim Crow Jesus rose again
‘Americans’ - Janelle Monáe
While Parquet Courts set the post-punk bar even higher in 2018, there’s a heap of bands bringing their own twist and personality to the genre. Take Calgary’s Crack Cloud, New York’s BODEGA and Melbourne’s School Damage, all mixing things up in a special way.
In fact, Melbourne is on fire, CIVIC blew us away at The Tote earlier in the year, a live show that always oozes confidence but remains particularly down to earth. Then there’s the forever sweet sounds of Crepes and Good Morning. Brisbane brought the goods again this year too with stunning albums from The Goon Sax and Gabriella Cohen. And when Julia Jacklin isn’t busy taking the world by storm, she’s busy frontin’ the brilliant Phantastic Ferniture. It’s been real good, Australia. Real good.
Over the last few years, we’ve also started to see the music scene transform into something less testosterone-driven. It’s a slow and tiring process, but it does feel like a small shift is taking place. Thanks to talented and empowered women like Miya Folick, Let’s Eat Grandma, U.S. Girls, Perel and Mitski (to name a few).
February saw trusty old favourite Nicolas Jaar release a surprise LP under the moniker Against All Logic, with plenty of other releases from trusty old faves throughout the year too – Blood Orange, Jonathan Wilson, Jon Hopkins, DJ Koze and Preoccupations. The list goes on.
So, with Amen Dunes being number one and the rest following on in no particular order. Please see our ‘Top 30 Albums of 2018’ below:
Amen Dunes – Freedom
Parquet Courts – Wide Awake
Crack Cloud – Crack Cloud
Miya Folick – Premonitions
Wooden Shjips – V
Gabe Gurnsey – Physical
Blood Orange – Negro Swan
Let’s Eat Grandma – I’m All Ears
CIVIC – New Vietnam
Jon Hopkins – Singularity
Dream Wife – Dream Wife
Crepes – In Cahoots
Good Morning – Prize//Reward
Perel – Hermetica
Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer
MIEN – MIEN
Gabriella Cohen – Pink Is The Colour of Unconditional Love
BODEGA – Endless Scroll
Jonathan Wilson – Rare Birds
U.S. Girls – In a Poem Unlimited
Phantastic Ferniture – Phantastic Ferniture
Kamasi Washington – Heaven and Earth
Against All Logic – 2012 – 2017
School Damage – A to X
Preoccupations – New Material
Khruanghbin – Con Todo El Mundo
The Goon Sax – We’re Not Talking
Mitski – Be The Cowboy
DJ Koze – Knock Knock
Young Fathers – Cocoa Sugar