Beau Brady of Excuse Me shares his 10 favorite albums of 2018:
10. HOLY - All These Worlds Are Yours
Might as well kick things off with something you likely never heard this year. Released way back in January, I found myself revisiting this dense album and continually finding melodies that wouldn’t leave my head for days. All These Worlds Are Yours wastes no time kicking off instantly with “Night on Earth” but really hits its stride in the midsection when it rolls into the title track. Easily my favorite new band discovery this year.
9. Travis Scott - ASTROWORLD
Conversely, here’s an album that was seemingly everywhere since it debuted at #1 in mid August. I had never dug into Travis Scott’s previous albums, but after seeing him open for Kendrick Lamar in 2017, I realized he was a much bigger deal than I ever realized. ASTROWORLD gave me the perfect entry point by mixing in so many artists I already loved: Frank Ocean, Swae Lee, James Blake, Drake, Tame Impala, The Weeknd, Migos, and the list goes on. Travis managed to cook up an album that is very much of this time and decade. Whether you rocked out to this album or not, 2018 will go down as the year Travis Scott rose above the rap pack.
8. Jon Hopkins - Singularity
Jon Hopkins has been making music this whole century, but it’s a rarity when he releases a full length. Singularity arrives five years after Immunity and builds on a lot of sounds that he explored back in 2013. Singularity lived up to its name by standing as one unified piece of music that I found myself revisiting often throughout the year.
7. The Field - Infinite Moment
So long as Axel Willner continues to release albums as The Field, I will continue putting them in my Top 10 Albums of the year.
6. Parquet Courts - WIDE AWAKE!
Parquet Courts brought in Danger Mouse to help produce this new album, even though I can’t quite tell what his contributions would have been. Maybe he helped with the transitions, because it’s the first Parquet Courts album I’ve heard where every track flows into the next in creative ways. Even though I’m tempted to single out “Freebird II” that closes out the A-side, the album’s ending track “Tenderness” is far and away the stand out. A lovely reward for staying awake through the whole album.
5. Beach House - 7
It can’t be understated that seven albums in, Beach House know damn well how to make a Beach House album. Multiple songs were turned into music videos and to pick just one favorite from 7 feels like an impossible task. From the start, “Dark Spring” seamlessly flows into “Pay No Mind” with a transition that feels like entering the Upside Down world in Stranger Things. “Lemon Glow” is instantly one of Beach House’s best singles while “Dive” and “Black Car” both compete for best album centerpiece. It’s an album full of fresh ideas from a band whose biggest complaint is that all their albums sound the same. Yet, when you do a certain sound just right, why bother reinventing the wheel?
4. MGMT - Little Dark Age
For a band that famously followed up their super popular debut album with a hard left turn, I’m sort of shocked MGMT managed to circle back around to something that sounds like what people initially loved about their band. That’s not to say it’s all groovy electric feels again. One of the catchiest songs on the album is called “When You Die” and really digs into the idea. But coming off their 2013 self-titled that felt like an even stranger musical approach than 2010’s Congratulations, it’s sort of amazing to behold MGMT sounding as pristine as when they first showed up. MGMT manage to prove their popularity was never misplaced. They just had to come back around to their winning formula on their own terms.
3. Spiritualized - And Nothing Hurt
It’s tough to say how many more Spiritualized albums J Spaceman has left in him. 2012’s Sweet Heart Sweet Light proved he still had the magic that caused his first three albums to be instant masterpieces. Six years later he may have found an even better way to get his message through with And Nothing Hurt. Condensed to just nine songs in 48 minutes, And Nothing Hurt is absent of filler and instrumentals to the point that it’s nearly overwhelming to hear so many potent Spiritualized songs back to back. If this truly ends up being Spaceman’s last Spiritualized album, there will be no complaints from this super fan.
2. Deafheaven - Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
Deafheaven’s lead vocalist George Clarke has a divisive voice. He’s been classified as a black metal vocalist, but the music he screams over is often dismissed by metal fans. Either it’s too pretty, sounds too much like classic rock, or the lyrical subject matter is too filled with sunshine. Their sophomore album Sunbather taunted metal purists with its pink album cover, but it had the added benefit of appealing to a wider audience. It would seem they felt the need to return to their metal roots with New Bermuda, a much darker album that the band themselves admitted was spawned from a dark period in their history. Ordinary Corrupt Human Love seemingly came from an attempt to move away from their bad habits and embrace one of the most un-metal things a metal band could embrace: human love. I have no clue where Deafheaven will go from here. In just four albums they’ve displayed four distinct sounds. They may not be for everyone, but that’s only because they’re not like anything else out there in music. Deafheaven are in a lane of their own and Ordinary Corrupt Human Love is the proof that being truly unique reaps nothing but rewards in the long run.
1. Iceage - Beyondless
Even though I’ve been listening to Iceage since their 2011 debut, I would’ve never guessed at the start of 2018 that they would make my favorite album of the year. I’m unsure how they will ever top Beyondless. It’s all here. The raw sounding rock songs juxtaposed with pristine shoegaze. Even the country sounding tendencies first exhibited with “The Lord’s Favorite” from their previous album return with refinement on “Thieves like us”. Sky Ferreira even shows up to duet with Elias on “Pain Killer”. All bases they could possibly want to cover are accomplished with flying colors. The four years they took off between albums were well spent as Beyondless is their tightest composition to date. Advance single “Catch it” spells it all out outlining the importance of seizing new ideas. This band has come a long way in seven years and I was about to write them off with this new album. I’ve never been happier to be so wrong.