50. ROLLING BLACKOUTS COASTAL FEVER- HOPE DOWNS
Full-length debut by Melbourne, Australia quintet is a rock solid album where all ten tracks are winners. The group brings to mind late 80’s jangle pop and early 90’s alt-rock- think Feelies, R.E.M. & the Go-Betweens. RBCF consists of three rotating singer/guitarists which keep the songs from sounding alike. They also move quickly from slashing rock tracks to more melodic pop driven ballads. I didn’t hear this album until the very end of 2018 so it has barely set in but on my first few listens it sounds like one of the more replayable rock albums in recent years and a breath of fresh air.
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49. CUPCAKKE- EUPHORIZE
Most high profile album release by twenty year old, Chicago underground rapper Cupcakke. It’s probably the filthiest album by a female rapper since Lil Kim’s debut in 1996- her punchlines are over-the-top, outrageous and outright hilarious while being sex positive and all inclusive. Her beats are upbeat and club-ready with the biggest highlights being “Crayons” and “Duck Duck Goose”.
48. ARCTIC MONKEYS- TRANQUILITY BASE HOTEL + CASINO
After Arctic Monkeys fifth album “AM” broke through in America, threatening to make the British indie-rock band one of the biggest rock n’ roll bands on the planet, the band’s sixth album “Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino” shows them taking a sharp left turn toward lounge-lizard spacey synth and piano based esoteric singer-songwriter music heavily influenced by early seventies Bowie. Though the album takes awhile to grab onto, it reveals itself more with each listen, enriching the band’s already solid catalog. It also seems to free the group up to do whatever it wants next. Choice cut is the awesome “Four Out Of Five”.
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47. SHAME- SONGS OF PRAISE
Debut albums from South London post-punk band, who is indebted to Joy Division Gang Of Four & Interpol. While Shame’s sound is certainly nothing new, their passionate, raw, intense, pissed off and political songs play well against the backdrop of Trump and Brexit and the band ramp’s down the experimentation of their influences creating an album of muscular, hard-charging, anthemic rock.
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46. FRANKIE COSMOS- VESSEL
3rd full-length album by Frankie Cosmos, AKA Great Kline, the NYC-bred daughter of actors Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates. Kline plays a short & simple, but hooky hybrid of indie-rock and twee pop. “Vessel” is 18 songs in under 35 minutes, blunt but often profound musings on life and love in the big city. Not every song is perfect, but she never leaves you time to get bored. The track “Duet” melts my heart and songs like “Same Thing” and “Apathy” are some of her best work yet.
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45. MOUNT EERIE- NOW ONLY
“Now Only” is the companion album to Phil Elverum’s beautiful and haunting “A Crow Looked At Me”, made in the shadow of the death of his beloved wife to cancer. Where “Crow” moved chronologically through a brief but harrowing and intense period of time, “Now Only” takes a more non-linear approach, reaching back to Elverum’s childhood and up to the present, where he has to reconcile how to move forward in his life with a young daughter and without the love of his life.
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44. FLASHER- CONSTANT IMAGE
Debut album from political D.C. punk band who sound more like a blend of early 80’s post punk & new wave. “Constant Image” is a short album, all killer & no filler with punchy hooks. Philosophically taking stabs at an array of social injustices, Flasher’s anger is palpable but it goes down smoothly. One of the best debuts of the year and though its sound is nothing new, Flasher also sounds like nothing else now.
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43. OUGHT- ROOM INSIDE THE WORLD
Third album by experimental post-punk Montreal band Ought takes the group in a slightly more commercial direction to solid results. Ought has a decidedly eighties post-punk sound- think post-“Entertainment”-era Gang Of Four, a slightly less gloomy Joy Division and mid-eighties The Fall. Singer Tim Darcy sounds even more like The Fall’s Mark E. Smith than James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem does. Each of Ought’s previous albums has contained a few absolute gems and “Room Inside the World” is no different. “Desire” and “Disgraced In America” are two absolute standouts here, but while it is very unlikely you’ll start hearing Ought on the radio anytime soon, “Room” could end up opening up the band to a wider audience.
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42. JOEY PURP- QUARTERTHING
Underrated Chicago rapper Joey Purp delivers a worthy follow-up to 2016’s excellent mixtape “iiiDrops”. Purp toes the line between conscious rap and hard, street tough modern gangsta rap. “Quarterthing” contains bangers that will also make you think and the dextrous Purp is able to dance around among styles and voices, creating an exciting, varied album. Standout tracks are “Hallelujah”, “Godbody” and “Lebron James”.
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41. BOYGENIUS- EP
Boygenius is an exciting all female indie-rock supergroup consisting of Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus & Julien Baker. Each individual brings their outsize talents to the 6 song EP creating a whole equal to the sum of its amazing parts. If this project is a one off, it’s a pretty great one. If it ends up bearing more fruit then it will be exciting to see where they go next. It’s also well worth checking out each musician’s music on its own.
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