Wednesday 4 July 2018

Albums of the year (so far)

Between working in a music store, curating a playlist and generally making more time to listen to new music, I've been really impressed by lots of incredible albums so far this year. As we've passed the half way point of 2018 I've decided to do a post bringing together ten of my favourite records of the year so far. It's difficult to narrow them down, and the likes of Dawes, Ben Howard, Christof van der Ven, Geowulf, George Ezra, Nathaniel Rateliff and Django Django just missed out, but their recent records are all certainly worth checking out! (The list is in order of release, rather than preference.) 

Rae Morris - Someone Out There

Probably my most listened to record of the year so far, it very quickly became a favourite and an early shout for my album of the year, a title that it would be pretty difficult to lose. I have so much love for this record. What first really struck me about the record was the lyrics, it felt as if Rae was really opening up to the audience, the songs are incredibly personal but at the same time relatable. The progression in the sound from her first record Unguarded is another huge plus for me. Favourite track: Dip My Toe.

The Wombats Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life

It's always exciting when a favourite band of several years releases a new record, and this was the case for the new Wombats record earlier this year, as I've been a fan of the band through much of secondary school and university. Back at it with the inventive and often quite amusing lyrics, my favourite is probably "You could give an aspirin the headache of it's life." Genius. Favourite track: Turn.

Superorganism Superorganism

Aside from the radio hit Everybody Wants To Be Famous, I hadn't listened to anything from this group until we tried the album in the store I work in, and I really liked what I was hearing. Many, many listens later and I caught them at The Great Escape, where they brought everything fun and inventive that I loved from the record into the live environment. Favourite track: Night Time.

Gengahr Where Wildness Grows

One of my favourite things about this record from Gengahr is the fact that you received a pack of seeds if you pre-ordered the album through the band's site. Lead singer Felix's beautiful falsetto beautifully compliments the music and the record is a strong follow-up to their 2015 release A Dream Outside. Favourite track: Before Sunrise.

Ady Suleiman Memories

Since catching him live at my first Bushstock back in 2015 I've been eagerly awaiting a record from Nottingham's Ady Suleiman. Memories is a mix of singles from the past few years and some new tracks and it's a brilliant collection, showing off his incredible voice. If you ever get the chance to see him play live, take it. Favourite track: Serious.

The Magic Gang The Magic Gang

I adore this record from start to finish. I've been aware of the band for years but didn't get around to taking a listen until I saw that they had released their debut record earlier in the year. It's been in my headphones a lot since, and their set at The Great Escape was a big highlight of the weekend. Favourite track: Getting Along.

The Vaccines Combat Sports

Similarly to The Wombats, it's always a total joy to hear a new The Vaccines album, as they've been a favourite band of mine since the release of What Did You Expect back in 2011. Those riffs. Mmm. They're another band whose clever lyrics can often be quite amusing, with a couple of highlights from this record being: "How many lightbulbs does it take to change the mood? If that's how many, dude I think I'm screwed." and"I wanna fly you to the moon but I don't wanna pay for gas." Favourite track: Your Love Is My Favourite Band.

Cosmo Sheldrake The Much Much How How & I

From the moment I caught him supporting Johnny Flynn towards the end of 2017 I've been fairly mesmerised by Cosmo's work, and just in time, as he's released his debut record this year. In it's sound and musical process it's quite unique from the rest of the albums on the list - a whimsical, utterly joyful piece of work pulling together sounds from various areas of the natural world, sampled together alongside his vocals. Favourite track: Wriggle.

Boy Azooga 1, 2, Kung Fu!

It's only been out for a few weeks, but the debut record from Cardiff's Boy Azooga has quickly become a big favourite of mine for the year, and I've been listening to it almost daily. My first introduction was to Jerry, a track about a dog from the local dog rescue centre - consider some major brownie points earned for that. If you like the records from Gengahr and The Magic Gang, this is worth a listen. Favourite track: Loner Boogie.

Evergreen Overseas

Last up, I've been waiting for the follow-up to the band's debut album Towards for what feels like an age (I managed to get a degree in the time between records...) but Overseas is proving to be entirely worth the wait. A little more electro than it's predecessor, the album feels almost grown up, and makes use of the band's native tongue, French, far more. I'm really enjoying The Foreigner, Gemini and Bloom. Favourite track: Aux Echos.

Be sure to follow my 2018 playlist on Spotify to keep up to date with all the new music I'm listening to and enjoying. Recent additions come from the likes of Seramic, Florence + The Machine, PD Liddle, Dawes and Panic! At The Disco.

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