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Album of The 1st Quarter

It’s been a pretty terrible year for music so far, I feel like nothing has been released of any significance yet – bar the odd few – and there’s been quite a lot of disappointment as well. Nonetheless, music will always be there and there’s still been some crackers released in this calendar year. So what better way to celebrate those braving an album release in the winter months than to list out which of them have been the best so far. I usually do these in no particular order but I thought it’d be more interesting to see for those that make it to the end of the year list, whether or not they would rise up the ranks or drop out entirely. There’s a decent mixture of music here so I’m hoping there’s something for everyone and if your list varies then let me know what has been your favourite of 2018 so far on all my social medias!

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To be fair you could swap 1st and 2nd place on this list around and I’d be more than happy with it. However, Shame just pips Rae Morris to the post purely on how many times I’ve listened to each album and with Shame’s album it’s been a borderline addiction. This is just non-stop post-punk big-tune fun from start to finish. There’s the unique voice from frontman Charlie Steen, the explicitly dirty guitars and the genuine bangers that are on this album from “Angie” to “The Lick” and from “Tasteless” to “Concrete” this is pure perfection, and a future classic. I can’t wait to see them live at The Cookie on their upcoming tour as it promises to be a sweaty madness from start to finish. These lads are gaining so much credit from music fans and critics alike and I still don’t believe it’s as much as they deserve. Future stadium fillers for sure.

This is as close to a perfect pop album as you’re ever going to get. What Rae Morris has managed to encapsulate here is truly something beautiful. With her knack for creating a catchy tune without having to use a house track or a dance beat she is fast becoming one of my favourite pop artists. Not to mention, I went to see her perform the new songs stripped back to just her and a keyboard at Rough Trade, Bristol and it was invigorating and impassioned something a lot of artists strive for but just can’t naturally create. Not to mention, she was both charismatic and genuinely warm when I met her as well. With tracks like “Atletico” and “Someone Out There” how could she ever fail?

This album astounds me, the sheer amount of genres that are blended into this record is crazy. Ranging from heavy rock all the way down to dreamy pop music and everything in between as well. Ultimately it can only be defined as excellent. One of those rare times I put an album on for review purposes and haven’t been able to pull myself away from it since. Rakel Mjoll’s lead vocasls really are a thing of beauty, they almost deserve their own art exhibits which is fitting as they met as a trio of art students. The way she pronounces some of the words as she sings is so abnormal and abstract that it just makes the music infinitely more listenable. I feel like I’ve been waiting for this album my whole life and I only knew it existed a week after it was released. The ultimate highlight lies within the opener “Let’s Make Out” but that’s not to take anything away from tracks such as “Kids”, “Somebody” and the big single “Hey Heartbreaker”. Get your ears onto this big meaty pile of power pop immediately.

This trio from Halifax produced an absolute godlike single with “Sugar Tastes Like Salt” and it didn’t even make the album. THAT is how good this album is! There are points on the album where it just feels like you’re listening to 3 friends jamming and that just adds to the charm for me, not to mention that lead vocalist, Esme’s voice is so enticing and listenable throughout this whole project. And as soon as I heard “Blue Suitcase (Disco Wrist)” I feel in love with the drumming and that only gets better on the deeper cuts on the album which is surprising considering how good that single was. And if you get chance to go and see these three live then don’t pass up on that opportunity because they’re madly watchable, and they fill the room with psychedelic, funk-induced, stadium-filling goodness for however long they will be on stage. I claimed in a recent post that The Orielles were one of the artists of tomorrow, scratch that they’re the artists of today! 

5. Cabbage - Nihilistic Glamour Shots

This album has only been out for ONE day. And it sits at number 5. There's just no way that Cabbage were never going to make this list with how infinitely creative and progressive this band are. I've been following this band for so long and it's so great to see them finally release their debut album and for it to be as good as it is. The first single from the album "Arms of Pleonexia" is a stand out, call to arms (Or not as the case may be). With heavy bass and loud guitars, it perfectly intertwines their lead singers with their polarising and yet captivating differences. I can't wait to have this album sink in abit more. REVIEW COMING SOON!

I was admittedly quite harsh on this album in my review, but that’s only because you expect the best from your favourite bands don’t you? Not to mention I was expecting something a little different to what we got, I was expecting something a little darker, more grungier going off the album title alone. Moving back towards the sounds of “Moving To New York” but what we got instead was a shift in the other direction and it was quite the shock to me. This is essentially a pop album, but at its core it’s not a bad one at all. I’m a huge fan of the track “White Eyes” that’s a real grower from within the first half of the album, and not to mention all of the singles are excellent. It’s a good album, it’s just not great.

7. Typhoon - Offerings

This is one of the more obscure and less approachable albums on the list, but it's also one of the more artistic. The album fits together into one and is more of a sonic concept album than anything I've ever heard, when I put this album on I genuinely could not turn it off until I'd listened to it all. This American band deserve to be on this list and they probably will make my end of the year list as well. It's hard to pick a favourite track purely because I feel that the album should be listened to as a whole - so go check it out.

8. Sunflower Bean - Twenty Two In Blue

I can't really say that I'm a Sunflower Bean fan, I find them kind of uninspiring and devout of anything that makes them really stand out. However, I did enjoy bopping along to this album, it had some funky grooves in it and some moments of genius - like the track "I Was A Fool" which was the stand out of their support act for Wolf Alice. The album is practically a carbon copy of Fleetwood Mac though and I'm not a fan of copying sounds, although I do like Fleetwood Mac so it's kind of a catch 22 (Get it?). I'm not expecting this to be sitting top 10 at the end of the year.

9. The Weeknd - My Dear Melancholy,

I'm in the process of listening to this for review purposes as I write this and I have to say... it's not that progressive really. I feel there's more of a hark back to the sounds of those early mixtapes (Which isn't necessarily a bad thing). After reverting to the mainstream I was expecting, and hoping, for a continuation of the loud, funky, catchy goodness of Starboy's success which is more akin to the song "I Was Never There" which is on here. But considering this only came out yesterday it's safe to say that it's not been the best year for albums so far. 

10. Rejjie Snow - Lil Annie

One of the more innovative and open rap albums I've heard in a while. It's a more emotional and yet more tough affair - which seems like a huge oxymoron and yet this album explores the contrasting feelings of being a young black person trying to make their way in the world whilst dealing with loads of stuff like love. Which seems cliche and overused but I don't think it is. He's been getting huge praise for this album and it's fully deserved. This is the new school of hip hop that we want and need.

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