ALBUMS OF THE YEAR 2018 - TOP 10
A reflection of an album’s year within the Rough Trade community. Informed by what you talk to us about, what’s been in most demand across our shops and what we’ve been lusting, loving and lauding throughout 2018. With the ultimate aim of championing the future as well as celebrating the present, our Albums of the Year list comes complete with some collaborative exclusives, some special events and a whole lot of gratitude to everyone who makes this all possible. So go on, have a little scroll.
From Rough Trade Recommends to Rough Trade Album of the Month, through Shoplifting, riotous live in-stores and finally joining us On Tour at End of the Road, Shame have consistently proven to us why they're one of the most exciting bands around. A band that thrives on confrontation, their raw and rollicking debut album and wild accompanying live shows are all fuelled by feeling. A Concrete Album of the Year for 2018, not One Rizla short of perfection.
XL boss Richard Russell's larger than life pan-collaboration effort with his favourite artists worldwide is everything it could and should be. Drawing influences from his fellow contributors, previous encounters and the music scenes he has helped carve out in XL's near 30 year history. The album fulfils it's monstrous potential, effortlessly slaloming between haunting dub, lush neo-soul and glitchy electronica. Global in sound. London in feel. It's like Russell had one big party last February, invited all his friends and recorded the entire thing. Then again, everything is recorded.
IDLES may just be the most important band to come out of Britain right now. Cutting through the bullshit of our modern dystopia. Tackling every cancer of this sceptered isle whether it's toxic masculinity on Samaritans, nationalism on Danny Nedelko and Great, the establishment on Gram Rock, aggressive culture on Never Fight a Man With a Perm, the list goes on. But with earthquake-like subtlety the guitars swirl and scream, the drums explode and the bass throbs, to remind us that the greatest act of resistance is joy.
It was only a matter of time before the 70's Thai funk revivalist movement happened, we all saw this coming a mile off. Wrong. After completely blind siding the entire planet in 2015 (except for Thailand maybe), Khruangbin released their follow-up this year and we can't get enough of this psychedelic trio from, Bangkok, *checks notes*, I mean Houston. Utterly atmospheric, furiously funky and an instant "who the hell is that?" feeling. Who's looking forward to hearing Justin Bieber's 70's Thai funk album due out sometime next year?
Soon our Top 10 will be purely devoted to cool Aussie bands, but for now, we only have 2. Rolling Blackouts Costal Fever's debut is a laidback landscape painting of living on the Victoria Coast. We at Rough Trade haven't heard a debut album so assured, level-headed and true in many years. Perceptive and satirical lyrics ride the swell of jangly surf-rock in beautiful harmony.
Stark, fragile and uncompromising in its pursuit of a feeling, Blumberg stares into the darkness of his soul and is unafraid to delve into it. Laying bare his most challenging emotions, creating sonic portraits of his demons whilst finding the space to write achingly beautiful pieces that you can't help but feel a connection to.
If you haven't heard, South London is where it's at and Goat Girl are another shining example of that. Psych-garage with caustic but sentimental lyrics, bluesy guitars and quivering-climactic crescendos. Their debut album kicks you in the shin, slaps you round the face, then gives you a big hug and we're totally into it. Janis Joplin would be proud.
Rushing, swirling with all the energy of a gale-force wind. Mark Peters' first solo album is a romantic, emotional but real depiction of untamed and natural Britain, reminiscent of an early Turner piece. This not ambient as you know it, it is tempestuous, rugged and wild.
Courtney Barnett is sick of your shit but we're not sick of her's. Tell Me How You Really Feel is more outward looking than her last record, written by someone who is more confident on her platform, understands her reach and the responsibility to tell the world how she really feels. Fortunately for us all, her music is as punchy and self-assured as her new outlook on life.
+ Limited signed album copies (in-store only)
Embracing and satirising prog-rock, Oh Sees continue to apply their magic to everything they touch, and this one fits comfortably like a well worn-in jean jacket. Unapologetically over-the-top from the 12-minute epic Anthemic Aggressor, to the apocalyptic album cover.
+ Oh Sees - Mojo flexi
+ Oh Sees - Smote Reverser - 60 copies only transparent bronze with red splatter (peacock blood) vinyl and Mojo flexi (in store only)
+ Oh Sees - Smote Reverser - 60 copies only clear with blue swirl haze (velvet smoke) vinyl and Mojo flexi (in store only)