Staff Albums of the Year 2018
Sophie (Rough Trade Nottingham)
1. Viagra Boys - Street Worms
Such a chaotic and fierce debut befitting 2018. There's a deliciously thick bass-line coursing through a collection of gritty surrealism and social commentary. Listen to Viagra Boys, play sports on the beach and face your inevitable demise buried deep underground eaten by worms. Get in the van.
2. John Grant - Love Is Magic
Get ready to be hauled into John's innermost frantic psyche from the very beginning, and just go with it. Let John take you. There are layers of irony and humour, glittering Love is Magic's electro-backbone balanced with tender ballads laced with his signature syrupy vocals. John Grant is king. All hail JG.
3. Lump - LUMP
The most reliable album of 2018. Don't know what to listen to? This will always be here for you. There's something sinister and misaligned hiding behind Laura Marling's angelic melodies. A partnership worth celebrating.
4. Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Hanoi IC-01
My biggest surprise of the year. A jazz-infused, avant-garde album birthed from a jam session in Vietnam. This is so different from their previous work and stands out as a cosmic, psychedelic odyssey; it's planets, galaxies, light-years away from their other stuff.
5. Hilary Woods - Colt
Intimate, complex and quietly dark. Colt is a mood of deep contemplation wrapped within dense atmospheric melodies. Intensely beautiful.
6. Simian Mobile Disco - Murmurations
When Simian Mobile Disco team up with The Deep Throat Choir, great things will happen. A unique concept delivered with the immediacy of a dance record and with the warmth only achieved by the collective human voice.
7. Haley - Pleasureland
A captivating morsel from the artist formally known as Haley Bonar. Twenty-seven minutes of fragile minimalism entwined with soaring instrumentals worthy of a post-rock epic.
8. Brigid Mae Power - The Two Worlds
Tender, folk-infused vocals sung through gritted teeth. Brigid blends delicacy and vulnerability with a raw, incomparable assertiveness. Don't Shut Me Up (Politely) stands as a fine example of rage delivered oh so sweetly.
9. Gazelle Twin - Pastoral
An unsettling commentary on the English idyll. Elizabeth Bernholz's enviable witchcraft with samples and reverb grates against the traditional to reveal the sinister underbelly of our green and pleasant land. This is tea and crumpets laced with poison. Tuck in.
10. Goat Girl - Goat Girl
Reality bites hard in this nineteen-track forty-minute debut. Here's a collection of astute observations delivered with a maturity way beyond their years. An album of stark, drawling realism and an envious melding of influences.