20. SCREAMING FEMALES- ALL AT ONCE
I have been hearing about Screaming Females for years and finally decided to take the plunge and listen to them on their seventh album “All At Once”. I am damn glad I did and I definitely see what all of the fuss was about. The band is led by singer and lead guitarist Marissa Paternoster who delivers distinct, impassioned vocals and muscular guitar riffs. Apparently the group has tightened up its songwriting and taken its sound to a more radio-ready, pop-punk place. What I hear is a kick-ass, solid rock band with tons of hooks and I am excited to explore them more.
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19. FATHER JOHN MISTY- GOD’S FAVORITE CUSTOMER
Father John Misty’s fourth full-length, “God’s Favorite Customer” is a much briefer and more pleasurable effort than the epic but execessive “Pure Comedy”. As per usual Misty matches melody with wit and sings like a 1970’s golden-voiced God. He comes off here as more empathetic than on the often hopeless and dire “Comedy”. Standouts include lead single “Mr. Tillman”, “Hangout At The Gallows” and “Disappointing Diamonds Are the Rarest Of Them All” on a remarkably consistent album and are all among FJM’s best songs in an increasingly impressive body of work.
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18. TIRZAH- DEVOTION
“Devotion: is the debut album by British singer/songwriter Tirzah, which veers away from the electronic indie-dance pop of her past singles, and delivers a beautiful and hypnotic 11 love songs. She takes her cues from the best of mid to late nineties R&B and adds modern electronic beats, but slowed way down giving out a raw and spare vibe. “Gladly”, “Fine Again” and “Affection” are three highlights of an album which reveals greater depth which each listen.
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17. PARQUET COURTS- WIDE AWAKE!
Fourth album by Brooklyn-based, smart and sardonic punk band Parquet Courts continues their winning streak with their most diverse offering yet. Produced by Danger Mouse, “Wide Awake” alternates between some of the groups loudest and angriest music yet like “Almost Had To Start A Fight”, “Violence”, “Total Football” and the title track with warmer, mellower tracks like “Mardis Gras Beads” and “Tenderness”. This music nods back to NYC art-punk but is lyrically of the moment and feels brand new.
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16. U.S. GIRLS- IN A POEM UNLIMITED
U.S. Girls have gained indie-rock credibility and stature slowly over the past decade, but “In a Poem Unlimited”, the group’s latest release, represents a great leap forward for them. Meg Remy, the group’s main creative force, combines her experimental inclinations with synth-pop and disco to create the group’s most pop and accessible music yet, while also its most pissed off and political. It is a diatribe against male violence presented in danceable, pleasant earworms. “Rosebud” and “Pearly Gates”, especially, are two of the better tracks of 2018 so far.
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15. PUSHA-T- DAYTONA EP
A near perfect EP produced by Kanye West in the midst of his epic political Trump-suck up meltdown. Luckily Kanye still knows his way around top-shelf beats and Pusha’s raps are his most satisfying since Clipse/Hell Hath No Fury way back in 2006. All seven tracks are bangers and this doesn’t even include the single track Drake-diss “The Story Of Aldidon” which was released a few weeks later.
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14. ROBYN- HONEY
First album in eight years, the the beloved Swedish alternative pop chanteuse is a very welcome return and one of the better albums of the year. No one does downbeat dance pop like Robyn, combining groove with heartfelt lyrics. In the last eight years Robyn dealt with a breakup of her longtime boyfriend (they have since gotten back together) as well as the death of her longtime producer and friend Christian Falk and “Honey” reflects that. “Honey” works as a whole, there are no weak tracks but especially the title track, “Missing U”, “Ever Again” and “Between The Lines” should go down as instant Robyn classics in her incredible discography.
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13. DJ KOZE- KNOCK KNOCK
Most high profile album yet from one of the the millennium’s best DJ’s and techno artists. DJ Koze if a German producer whose “Knock Knock” is a nearly 80 minute album encompassing nearly every type of electronic music imaginable, including minimalist techno associated with the Kompakt label, trip-hop, danceable club music with 70’s soul samples & balearic-style dream pop . The album features a slew of guest vocalists including Roisin Murphy, Jose Gonzalez and Kurt Wagner, and many of the tracks are warm, melodic and even summery. The album contains music to chew on but three obvious highlights include Gladys Knight sampling “Pick Up”, Bon Iver sampling “Bonfire” and the deeply groove oriented “Illumination”.
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12. YVES TUMOR- SAFE IN THE HANDS OF LOVE
A great leap forward for genre-bending group who hugs the line between experimental music and pop music in most of its forms. This is only Yves Tumor’s second full length and it’s surprisingly accessible tracks like “Licking An Orchid”, “Lifetime”, and the standout “Noid”. “Safe In The Hands Of Love” contains elements of noise-rock, 90’s R&B & alternative rock, dream-pop, glitchy electronic music & ambient and it’s one of the year’s better and certainly most unique albums.
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11. DEAFHEAVEN- ORDINARY CORRUPT HUMAN LOVE
My favorite current metal band just keeps getting better with every album. “Ordinary Corrupt Human Love”, Deafheaven’s fourth album, is its third classic in a row. The group continues to tweak its singular sound of Death Metal, Thrash & Shoegaze by adding more moments of quiet & beauty; repetitive piano lines and ambient ocean swells, which make the juxtaposition of their thunderous guitar riffs and demonic vocals that much more powerful. The entire album is a thing of beauty but “Glint”, “Canary Yellow” and “Honeycomb” are three of Deafheaven’s very best songs yet.
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