I hope you have been following my favorite indie albums countdown for 2018. I am getting down to the nitty gritty, the top ten. I have found a new appreciation for the bands that entered the arena early in the year. Looking back, they still remain strong. These bands made an impact on me and maybe you might find a new favorite among the awe-inspiring talent. It has been an incredible journey for me. Come ride along.
10. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Sparkle Hard
Malkmus cranks out lyrically witty songs with exceptional panache. For a guy with such a following (Pavement’s front guy and six + albums since), he has the difficult task of proving continued creativity without chasing long past glory. I expected Sparkle Hard to fall short because of his vast musical contributions, but this album cleverly captures what makes him so poignant without feeling like old replicated material. With a comforting familiar voice, he confidently remains present and masterfully innovative. He hits on #me too, black lives matter, and even references Facebook. Without sounding forced, he captures today with a comforting, cunning delivery. Adventurous yet sorta therapeutic in a rock and roll way.
9. Jeff Rosenstock – POST-
Post- is an album full of anthems and power pop-rock. It helps to make sense of the crazy world we find ourselves in and pointedly helps us deal with the anxiety of it all. Despite its early January release it has remained strong on my favorites list and seems to never grow old. The last song, Let Them Win, should be the anthem of our times. “We’re not gonna let them win, oh no!” To yell this, live in a show of his, would be my joyous crazy release. But since I have missed his tour and will have to wait until 2019, I just have to appreciate this jam in the privacy of my own little house. If you have a bit of anxiety about our future and love pure rock and roll, this is a must listen.
8. The Beths – Future Me Hates Me
The Beths from New Zealand are my new favorite band this year. I have been playing their music on repeat since their first single release. For a debut, this album rocks. Every song has merit, is played masterfully, and exudes serious attitude and freshness the indie rock world needs now. They are a “high energy indie pop with a lyrical bite”, full of confidence about their personal insecurities. Everything I can relate to. The album cover even has the female subject shy away from her own reflection. Popping hooks and strong songwriting, this album is pure from start to finish and should get serious nods from the pundits.
7. Lucy Dacus – Historian
A heartwarming story filled album, full of characters and the emotionally deep attachments to those stories over time. I saw Dacus perform years ago in an empty bar where the bartenders almost outnumbered the patrons. She was shy and honest in her delivery, learning the ropes. This album shows her growth and maturity well, while remaining open, sincere, and talented. She has a way of lyrically digging deep and moving from a breakup, to the loss of a loved one, while shedding a warm light on the characters that make up her emotional world. Worth multiple listens and with each one you may have a different interpretation which might subtly suggest a songwriting genius. Yes, this is one artist to carefully watch and hold dear.
6. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Hope Downs
RBCF is another of my favorite breakout bands this year (yep have you noticed, they seem to all be across the Pacific). Every song on the album is a jangly, anxious panic of guitars and beats. The vocals rip in fragments, providing a warm nostalgic hop to a time and place where dancing and jamming to the unpredictable twists and turns of the beat meant everything. It still means a great deal today. They have blazed a crazy path across the states and garnished a huge following even though this is a foreign arena. If you haven’t taken a moment to listen….what is taking you so long to come on board this joyous revival of 80’s indie rock soft punk?
Here’s my updated Spotify playlist so you can follow each of these artists. Maybe you will find one that resonates with you.