Jean Grae x Quelle Chris - Everything's Fine is super bawpy, but super funny and well put together.
Phonte - No News Is Good News is kinda dated-sounding, soulful conscious rap, but really fucking good.
Hermit & the Recluse - Orpheus vs. the Sirens is dark, minimalist New York revivalism with lofty literary ambitions.
Roc Marciano - Behold a Dark Horse is psychedelic, outsized New York revivalism with scumbag comedy ambitions.
Payroll Giovanni & Cardo - Big Bossin Vol. 2 is less bawpy, but is super luxurious West Coast production meets super unpretentious gangster rap.
Slightly less under the radar that you have a chance of liking:
Noname - Room 25 is sexy poetry slam rap over swampy, live, jazz rap beats.
Earl Sweatshirt - Some Rap Songs is soulful, lo-fi neurotica.
jpegmafia - Veteran is glitchy, noisy, kitchen sink rap with a funny provocative streak.
Thanks, yeah the Hermit and the Recluse album was really phat, and c'mon you should know I don't be slacking on the Roc. But yeah if there are anymore perhaps non-BAWPy hip-hop albums that are vital, love to hear it too, as well as any more obscure UK contributions. Looking for that special 2018 master-stroke.
Kodak Black - Dying to Live is introspective, melodic, airy, codeine-haze rap made by a bad person.
03 Greedo - God Level is sprawling, lo-fi, heartfelt, post-Young Thug spontaneous shit that really hits my pleasure centre.
Boosie Badazz - Boosie Blues Cafe is lecherous, laughable, but ultimately hugely likeable wannabe jazz-bar R'n'B with a big heart.
E-40 - Gift of Gab is no nonsense, Bay Area party shit.
Maxo Kream - Punken is hard-nosed, economic storytelling Houston rap.
Manga Saint Hilaire - Outsiders Live Forever is skippy, inclusive, forward-thinking grime with a lot of charm and energy. (UK)
Novelist - Novelist Guy is pitch-perfect, mantra-heavy, grime revivalism. (UK)
MIST - Diamond in the Dirt is muscular, charisma-driven, luxurious, weed-addled road rap from my home city. (UK)
Playboi Carti - Die Lit is ad-libbed, 8-bit, sugar rush, party trap that I might be too old for.
YoungBoy Never Broke Again - Until Death Call My Name is cathartic, sinewy, heart-on-sleeve trap made by another bad person.
Hope that helps. Merry Christmas! Check out MIST first, because Birmingham. _________________ 2016 in full effect.
Time for my 2018 round-up and I already say sorry for this long post
I already stated this again and again: 2018 was one of the greatest years in music ever. There was plenty of choice for any taste in my opinion and to some people this might be daunting but to me this was the absolute quality of this year.
When I stick to what I appreciate: this year was a fantastic one for rock/guitar/indie music both coming from older established artists and from newbies. And on top of that there was plenty of opportunity to look up music outside my comfort zone, maybe not yet enough but I tried.
For one, this is the only year in which I have 100 albums in my year chart and even more I had a choice out of 124 albums I found good enough to score them. Of course this is linked to the fact that music is so available now via Apple Music but anyway the choice was there.
First there were a number of established artist who issued (one of) their best album(s): Spiritualized, Marianne Faithful, The Bevis Frond (although I only got to know them via this year’s album), Ovlov, J Mascis, Grant Lee Philips, Paul Weller, La Muerte (a Belgian band)
And some of those also issued better than expected albums: Mudhoney, Uriah Heep Judas Priest, Calexico, The Breeders, Lush, Elvis Costello, Buffalo Tom and even f..ing Smashing Pumpkins.
And then good artists from the 2010’s which issued magnificant albums: Howlin Rain, Chris Richards, Salad Boys, Deaf Wish, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Shame, etc etc
Which means that albums that some very much hyped albums end up fairly low in my year chart but are still very good: the best example of this is Idles (only ranked at 62, Kamasi Washington (67), Lucy Dacus (76), Jeff Rosenstock (95), Iceage (101), Deafheaven (105), Tropical Fuck Storm (111) and Daughters (123).
And I couldn’t really agree with the love for Beach House, Mgmt and Parquet Courts.
So finally this is my top 25 (of course can still change over time).
Quiet And Peace by Buffalo Tom
They’re back and I liked their new album which is still in the good tradition of their nineties albums and they still know how to write a good melody:
BEA appreciation very low and could be much higher: please Tilly ….
top tracks: All Be Gone, Roman Cars, Freckles
Constant Image by Flasher
very addictive punk
BEA appreciation: very low and incredibly underrated just listen to these two….
top tracks: Harsh Light (every corner that you turn is the key line), Punching Up
Dose Your Dreams by Fucked Up
One of my favorite bands of the 2010's: that growling voice is still one of the most peculiar but most fantastic. The only thing is that the music that accompanies it is not completely as good as their other albums (some of the instrumentation like bagpipes aso are maybe not completely fitting)
BEA appreciation: 150th of 2018 and I understand that it's not everyones cup of tea (+ I would recommend other albums better than this one)
top tracks: Raise Your Voice Joyce, Came Down Wrong and especially I Don't Want To Live In This World Anymore which is one of their typical epics
Widdershins by Grant Lee Phillips
This is an absotely incredible album from this old Grant Lee Buffalo guy. Much better than all his solo album and even better than his albums with Grant Lee Buffalo. A lot of the tracks are very mellow but he can still rock as well
BEA appreciation: very low and maybe the most underrated album of the year. I can't believe that people who love all these Grant Lee albums haven't picked this up: where are you Zdwyatt; do it while you still got the change
top tracks: Walk In Circles, King Of Castrophies (a dream of a song), Great Acceleration
Tell Me How You Really Feel by Courtney Barnett
Another very fine album by Courtney Barnett both when she rock as when she slows down
BEA appreciation: ranked 21st on BEA so nearly exactly how I rank it
top tracks: Charity, Need A Little Time, Nameless Faceless
Future Me Hates Me by The Beths
One of the most promising bands of this year and nearly poppy punk
BEA appreciation: originally fairly high but slumped to no the 137th rank of the year
Top tracks: Happy Unhappy, Whatever, Less Than Thou
Image by Whispering Sons
very eighties post punk and dark album of a Belgian band and they don't even try to sound modern. The very low voice is a woman's voice and even it's for that please check it out: you might like it
BEA appreciation: of course very low
top tracks: Got A Light, Alone, Waste
Last Building Burning by Cloud Nothings
Again one of the best albums of one of my favorite bands of the 2010's: Allmusic says in-the-red guitars and frantic drumming and this combined with the fantastic delivery by Dylan Baldi makes this a great one
BEA appreciation: ranked 94th of the year but could be higher
top tracks: On An Edge, Dissolution (over 10 minutes and great start with a long middle section to end in absolute fury)
Bird Streets by Bird Streets
Very melodic powerpop
BEA appreciation: very low and should be higher of course
top tracks: Carry Me, Betting On The Sun, Same Dream, Bullets
Songs Of Praise by Shame
Good old punk rock with sometimes some B-52's rhythms
BEA appreciation: fairly hyped and 23rd BEA year rank so ok
top tracks: Dust On Trial, One Rizla, Gold Hole, Lampoon
Hope Downs by Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
We start to come at my real favorites, boy how I liked this Australian album this year: a bit War On Drugs on speed (I like my own puns ).
BEA appreciation: ranked 40th but still much too low
top tracks: An Airconditioned Man is the best mesmerizing tranck and then Talking Straight and Mainland
Lithium Zion by Deaf Wish
Sounds like the best Sonic Youth and that is very much a compliment because they still sound like Deaf Wish
BEA appreciation: very low
top tracks: Easy, FFS, Metal Carnage, Ox, Deep Blue Cheated
Sixth House by The Rock*A*Teens
I think I already hyped this much underrated band somewhere here and this is one of their best. Strange voice but you'll get used to it
BEA appreciation: very low and underrated as hell
top tracks: Billy Really, Turn And Smile, Go Tell Everybody, Closest To Heaven,
This Is Glue by Salad Boys
very good Kiwi band in the best jangle pop tradition of the country although they rock out as well
BEA appreciation: very low and should be higher of course
top tracks: Blow Up, Hatred, Psych Slasher, In Heaven, Scenic Route To Nowhere
In The Cold Light Of Monday by Novastar
A very mellow album by a Belgian bad with a singer with an angelic voice and very good pop songs: check it out
BEA appreciation: very low as usual for Belgian bands
top tracks: Life Is All, Holly, Home Is Not Home (their hit in Belgium), Cruel Heart, We Don't Mind
Twin Fantasy (Face To Face) by Car Seat Headrest
I still haven't found the original but this one is very good.
BEA appreciation: first and maybe even overrated because there were better albums in 2018
top tracks: The standout is the very long epic Famous Prophets (Stars) but also good are Sober To Death, Bodys, Cute Thing
Birthmarks by Teen Creeps
Another Belgian album: very good sounding punk music
BEA appreciation: very low as usual for Belgian bands
top tracks: Especially Mercury (which ends in a fantastic way) but also Sidenote, Hindsight, Good Intentions and Unravel
Elastic Days by J Mascis
Dinosaur Jr rules but J Mascis know how to make solo albums and he gets better at it. Some of the tracks are very melodic but nearly always interwoven with a very lyric guitar solo
BEA appreciation: much too low
top tracks: standouts are See You At The Movies and Web So Dense but also good are I Went Dust, Drop Me, Sky Is All We Had, Cut Stranger, Sometimes and Everything She Said
This album is also the first album which makes it to my overall top chart at rank 91. Maybe it's a bit early but I listened to these albums already 3 three times so I feel I can already call this a classic
Negative Capability by Marianne Faithfull
What an album, this her best and her voice is unmatched. Especially in her duets with people like Nick Cave she is outstanding and As Tears Go By is even better than the original
BEA appreciation: only 156th in BEA year rank and unbelievably low
top tracks: outstanding tracks are As Tears Go By, Gypsy Fairy Queen (with Nick) and Don't Go but also good are In My Own Particular Way and another cover: It's All Over Now Baby Blue, and No Moon In Paris
This album is the second album of 2018 to make it to my overall top chart at rank 83
TRU by Ovlov
Also a band I fairly recently discovered but hit a weak spot in me because also very much indie guitar based (a bit like Dinosaur Jr). This album is one of their best.
BEA appreciation: only 198th in BEA year rank and much too low
top tracks: outstanding tracks are Baby Alligator, Fast G and Grab It From The Garden but also good are Half Way Fine, Tru Punk and Short Morgan
As AM of 2013 is better and I have this one album per artist policy, this album didn't make it to my overall top chart
Freedom's Goblin by Ty Segall
In my opinion the best Ty Segall album with a lot of spunk and variation.
BEA appreciation: 44th of the year so could be higher
top tracks: And Goodnight has made it to one of my favorite top 1000 tracks and also My Lady's On Fire and Ft. Feet Tall are standouts. The very good tracks are too many to sum up here
As to me this is the best Segall album I have ranked it 75th on my overall top chart
The Alligator Bride by Howlin' Rain
What an album and at first view very classic guitar southern rock but still with some modern elements
BEA appreciation: much too low
top tracks: the title track has made it to my top 1000 classic tracks because of its seering guitar sound and also Missouri and Coming Down are standouts
And this album makes it to the 48th rank on my overall top chart
We're Your Friends, Man by The Bevis Frond
I discovered this band by listening to this album and after listening to this one I decided to listen to almost their entire legacy and I can assure you this band has released many and very long albums and this is their second best with just incredible songs. In my opinion their 2010 albums are their most focused ones although there are many very long tracks on them
BEA appreciation: 260th of the year, can I say again too low?
top tracks: Enjoy and especially the closing You're On Your Own have become classics for me and especially the latter one is 13 minutes long and can in my opinion easily stand next to guitar classics like Free Bird. Also Lead On and Old Wives Tales are outstanding.
As the 2013 album White Numbers is even better this album didn't make it to my overall top 100
And Nothing Hurt by Spiritualized
And to my own utter surprise this album makes it to my number one and I consider it already a classic classic. I wasn't really familiar with the band until fairly recently and while I appreciate their other albums I would never consider them as my favorite albums. But this 2018 one completely took me by surprise. It's a mixture of every possible genre from garage to gospel to blues to jazz everything else. The singing is relatively bland (a bit like Television Personalities who are also able to come up with some fantastic tracks) but surprisingly this adds up to the very orchestral sound of the album.
BEA appreciation: 49th rank of 2018 and should be much higher: just listen to it and include it in your year chart if you like it.
Top tracks: absolute classics are Let's Dance and especially The Morning After which ends in absolute jazz bliss. Also A Perfect Miracle and On the Sunshine are standouts.
And of course also this album made it to my overall top chart at the 39th rank.
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