Shirley Collins – Cruel Lincoln (Domino)
Shirley Collins’ Lodestar album was released in 2016, however her performance at Supersonic Festival 2018 was one of the most splendid things I saw and brought me on the verge of tears, her talk about the book she released this year on Strange Attractor also moved me. Therefore I felt that when reflecting on my highlights of 2018, including this was a must.
Papa M – Shimmers (Drag City)
One of the best things about the work that I do is getting to know the people behind the music, and often this involves conversing about music and other passions. David Pajo is a really interesting and deeply talented soul, fascinated with composition and trying out different approaches to create a real depth of sound. And that is exactly what we have across his latest album A Broke Moon Rises, Shimmers for me is a great testament to his adventurous spirit and wonderful guitar playing.
Jozef Van Wissem – Once More With Feeling (Crammed Discs)
I’m bending the rules again slightly here, Jozef Van Wissem released a sublime new album of original lute compositions this year on Consouling Sounds, called We Adore You, You Have No Name. My song selection however is actually taken from It Is Time For You To Return (Made To Measure Vol. 40) which has become for me a real live favorite, having had the pleasure of seeing him perform twice this year. The repetition of the melody is beautiful and puts a beam on my face every time I hear it, I’ve loved watching Jozef play it too.
The Primals – Dead Predators (Southern Lord)
The Primals’ debut album All Love Is True Love is another totally infectious album that I played over and over this year. Louder Sound put it best when they said “one of the best power pop records in years…gleeful and brilliant…Channeling Redd Kross’ soaring harmonies, The Posies’ taste for sugary darkness and Kurt Cobain’s ability to disguise an arsenal of irresistible hooks under a barrage of pounding fuzz, the album rips up grunge’s 90s roots and replants them for a modern audience.”. Couldn’t have put it better myself!
Eagle Twin – Heavy Hoof (Southern Lord)
I’ve long been an appreciator of Eagle Twin’s output since their album The Unkindness Of Crows, and The Ballad Of Job Cain Pt1 track which appears on The Feather Tipped The Serpent’s Scale is still a firm favourite of mine. Gentry Densley’s vocals are like an instrument. The duo are supremely heavy with a powerful punch of rhythm from Tyler Smith and monster riffs, but its their heavy blues groove which makes them particularly appealing to me. I’m also really tuned into the folkloric aspect of their lyrics, and deeply appreciate the stories they tell. Heavy Hoof happens to be one of the first songs they wrote yet it didn’t appear on record until this year’s The Thundering Heard (Songs Of Hoof And Horn).
Chrch – Aether (Neurot)
Chrch were another revelation for me, I hadn’t come across them before they signed to Neurot this year. The Sacramento group masterfully balance many shades of dark and light. The songs take me on a journey, packed with a dynamic range of sounds, and the vocals are really powerful too.
Thou – Transcending Dualities (Sacred Bones)
Thou had a very prolific year indeed releasing three EPs and a new full length Magus on which this especially crushing, and expansive song is taken, it was a firm favourite from first listen and remains so even now. Thou can be so transformative both live and on record, and I really look forward to what they do next, and who they collaborate with next.
Lingua Ignota – Woe To All (On The Day Of My Wrath) (Profound Lore)
This totally epic track to me showcases everything that is brilliant about Kristin Hayter / Lingua Ignota. The album All Bitches Die was reissued this year on Profound Lore and it featured heavily on rotation. Kristin produces work that I believe is vital and necessary, and to say Im anticipating the next album in 2019 would be a huge understatement.
Less Bells – Bombardment (Kranky)
Kranky have an absolute knack for discovering real gems, they shine a light on some really interesting artists I’ve never heard of. The sublime debut full length Solifuge by Less Bells continues to intrigue me, and this song Bombardment is the epitome of what I like about nuanced minimalist music, totally beautiful, and with a stirring climax.
Randall Dunn – A True Home (feat. Zola Jesus) (figureight Records)
I’ve known Randall for such a long time now and long admired the music he turns his hands to. Randall is deeply invested in some incredible records as a producer, musician and engineer. The debut solo record Beloved surpassed my high expectations, and this beautiful album closer seemed like a fitting end to this playlist also. If you can, do check out the incredible accompanying video (short film) for the song, directed by Mu Tunc.