2018 End Of Year Lists: Albums Of The Year

  • Posted on
  • 17.12.18



The year’s paramount list, a record of our favorite full length releases of the year, is once more comprised by albums that are sure to prove their worth with time. Some of these entries, like usual, they are snubbed by the larger part of this unfair world, with the exception of a few counter-culture publications and the nonconforming music enthusiasts who keep the hope for a better future alive.

These are D//E’s Albums of the Year…





30. Terra Pines: Terra Pines



On their debut self-titled full length Australian trio, Terra Pines, actualize the self defined terms, "sludgepop" and "grungegaze", blending shoegaze, dreampop and post punk in an enjoyable mixture, with an approach quite heavier than what other hybrids of those styles usually result in. Fuzzy, hazy and potent, Terra Pines' debut plays with the contrasts of its sounds and moods, while staying solid and confident all the way through.



29. Adult.: This Behavior



It's been a good year for dark music and Detroit's experienced darkwave act, ADULT., offered their own contribution to the genre's prosperity with their latest LP, their first on Dais Records, a fine combination of nihilistic post punk and forceful electronics. Twenty years into their career Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller are tireless, productive and efficient enough to deliver one of their greatest albums thus far.



28. The KVB: Only Now Forever



It's not a surprise how well produced the new album by British duo, The KVB, sounds, recorded in Bristol at the Invada Studios owned by Geoff Barrow. Only Now Forever is unexpectedly heavy in luxuriant synth, a little more approachable that some of their previous albums, but always indicative of the duo's exploratory, dark artistry which consistently leads to a fine compound of post-punk, shoegaze and electronics.



27. Uniform: The Long Walk



As a trio, after the addition of Greg Fox (Liturgy, Zs) on their roster, New York's Uniform sound more organic. They are fearless, an invigorating live act and a creative force of heaviness, among the first-rate underground acts in the world at the moment. The dystopian themed latest album of theirs, reaffirms that notion through its dark sophistication, the skillfully laid out concept, and its fiery intensity.



26. Bloody Knives: White Light Black Moon



Austin, TX, dark shoegazers, Bloody Knives, have been around for a while and already have four full lengths behind them, but their reputation will always deserve to reach higher levels of appreciation. Their latest album, White Light Black Moon, is a harrowing and noisy fusion of shoegaze, post-punk and dark electronic sounds, flexibly chaotic and with a great ear for production.



25. Daughters: You Won't Get What You Want



For the first time in eight years, Daughters came up with their anticipated new LP, a forward-thinking record that fits perfectly the roster of a label run by Mike Patton. You Won’t Get What You Want channels equal amounts of the avant-garde theatricality of Faith No More, and the noise rocking spirit of bands, like Melvins and Fugazi, an overall paradigmatic, broad-minded hardcore album which was worth the long wait.



24. Thou: Magus



The amount of music Thou released in 2018 became a little overwhelming to follow, but the band did not disappoint on any of their more than a few releases. Their predominantly doom metal, proper full length record, Magus, naturally became the centerpiece of their creative flow, an album soaked in sludge rocking heaviness, and resonant of the band's dark weight which is currently at its finest.



23. Vowws: Under The World



Pop music pairs with darkness often, yet, it's not always certain that the union will result in something particularly commendable. On their sophomore and most consistent album, Under The World, dark pop up and comers Vowws expand on a slightly more accessible sound and style of songwriting, which keeps a lot from their post-punk and industrial rock groundwork.



22. Hilary Woods: Colt



Although a much experienced musician, Hilary Woods presented her breakthrough album, Colt, in 2018, three decades into her career. It is a splendid work of art created with a completely DIY mindset, recorded on an eight-track in an abandoned flat. Drawing elements and inspiration from her previous experiences with horror scores, Woods delivered a very emotional and promising record whose surreal and minimal sound is full of dark character.



21. Iceage: Beyondless



Iceage have just had the strongest year in their existence as a group, sounding firm, and presenting themselves with more confidence than ever, earning accolades from Richard Hell who became the second punk veteran to express his respect for them, after Iggy Pop. The rest of the underground music world, fans and critics, acknowledged the band too, as one of the finest in art punk today, and received Beyondless with the respect and amazement it deserves for its quality and punchy spirit.



20. Emma Ruth Rundle: On Dark Horses



Prone toward the artist's previous experiences with post rock, and evocative of the more cinematic aspect of her intricate musicianship, On Dark Horses is Emma Ruth Rundle at her finest songwriting, taking her dark Americana to a higher level, and experimenting with multifarious, yet, down to earth sounds that vary from homely folk to mounting industrial, and add up to a compelling and memorable listen.



19. Gouge Away: Burnt Sugar



A heavy load of talent has been involved in the technical parts of Burnt Sugar, the new album by hardcore band, Gouge Away, who step a little further from the more furious sound of their 2016 debut, and come up with something more melodious, yet, reminiscent of past noise rock greatness and significant acts, like Fugazi and Unwound. The album is mixed and mastered by Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Oathbreaker) and co-produced by Touché Amoré's Jeremy Bolm.



18. Super Unison: Stella



Stella finds dynamic hardcore trio, Super Unison, returning even more passionate and forceful than their 2016 breakthrough, Auto. Their latest album is a result of the band's consistent songwriting, their rousing execution, as well as the work of a team comprised of masterful producers, since it was recorded by the legend, Steve Albini, produced by Don Devore (Ink & Dagger) and mastered by Jack Shirley (Oathbreaker, Deafheaven, and tons more).



17. The Body: I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer.



The Body thrive on all of their collaborative works, with their  joint effort with Uniform being the latest record on which they exhibit their symbiotic characteristics as a profound heavy act, but they have never shined more than how they did with their most recent individual album, I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer, a smashing LP full of madness and bleakness, whose overpowering aftertaste will stay for you for a long while after each listen.



16. Turnstile: Time & Space



It was about time Baltimore, Maryland hardcore punk hopefuls, Turnstile, pushed through to wider audiences. On their first release for a major label, the band, which has been around since 2010, sounds poignant and strong, and seems to be looking forward with much enthusiasm. Time & Space, impeccably produced by Will Yip, is one of heavy music's most successful albums for 2018, and despite its brevity, it's been a notable, crowning accomplishment for the eager five-piece act.



15. Jesus Piece: Only Self



Philadelphia heavy hitters, Jesus Piece, built their name slowly, yet, consistently through their live presence and sporadic releases since 2015. This year saw the band erupting like a vigorous and organic voice in hardcore metal with a record full of fury that goes way beyond the hardcore stereotypes. Only Self is cuttingly authentic and evokes a lot from the band's impressive live presence, as Jesus Piece have cut their teeth playing live alongside bands like Ceremony, Turnstile, and Nothing. With the latter they happen to share a common member in Aaron Heard whose vocal ferocity is one of the album's strongest points.



14. Ceremony: East Coast



To avoid being confused with the few other bands that use the same name, most prominently the Californian hardcore punk band, John Fedowitz started using his latest album's title next to his act's name. It seems rightful, since East Coast has been one the strongest records Ceremony have ever released, an act with a rich background that goes as far back as the late nineties and the legendary Skywave, comprised by Fedowitz, Paul Baker who was also part of the early Ceremony records, and Oliver Ackermann from A Place To Bury Strangers. There's a lot of shoegaze weightiness right there, in both the band's history and their latest album's gritty perfection.



13. Jaye Jayle: No Trail and Other Unholy Paths



Produced by David Lynch’s music supervisor of the last twelve years, Dean Hurley, and featuring some of the finest dark Americana we've heard in a while, as well as the most imposing songwriting Evan Patterson has had to offer thus far, No Trail and Other Unholy Paths is an engaging listen that bears no specific beginning or ending, since its songs are designed to be experienced in any sequence the listener chooses. Progressing from the firm foundations they established through their earlier records, through their admirable Americana-noir sound, Jaye Jayle  created an album that could become a future reference point to those willing to study more of the style's depth and artistic complexity.



12. Street Sects: The Kicking Mule



A fine connection between the toughness of 2016's brilliant End Position and the more approachable sound of the Rat Jacket EP, The Kicking Mule dares to draw elements from elegant sources like Roxy Music, Brian Eno, Bowie and even Elton John for its title, to expand Street Sects' ever growing industrial sound into something unmistakably original. Mental illness, addiction, alienation and more themes of introversion presented through the duo's unique lens that utilizes early darkwave and industrial, post punk, and other exploratory sounds, to present a work of excellence which feels like the epitome of genre fusion.



11. The Black Queen: Infinite Games



With an all star lineup comprised of Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan), Joshua Eustis (Telefon Tel Aviv, Sons of Magdalene, Nine Inch Nails), and Steven Alexander (former tech for The Dillinger Escape Plan, Nine Inch Nails, and pop star, Kesha), L.A.'s The Black Queen followed their well received debut album, Fever Daydream, with an even more competent and confident set of songs that presents the band as one of the finest interpreters of the synthpop elegance of acts like Depeche Mode and The Human League, rendering the style with an even darker, contemporary spin.



10. Nothing: Dance On The Blacktop



Although Dance On The Blacktop is the first Nothing album that doesn't top our annual AOTY list, it's still a fine, first-rate record that leaves its mark on the year. Nothing still sound distinctively melancholic, heavy as hell, capable of turning the bleakness of their souls into unforgettable art, and masters at pairing shoegaze with grunge, doing it better than anyone's ever done it.



9. Numb.er: Goodbye



Formed by photographer and visual artist, Jeff Fribourg (previously of Froth), LA's Numb.er (pronounced nŭm -ə(r), as in "more numb") delivered a gem of an album which infused its post punk core with an eclectic array of styles, like shoegaze, direct, nervy punk rock and more avant-garde sounds, playing with anarchy and structure. The result is completely unconfined, forward-thinking and free from anything expected and conventional.



8. Ganser: Odd Talk



The darker side of art punk found a new champion this year in Chicago's Ganser and their solid debut LP, Odd Talk, which presented a goth-inclined mixture of post punk and noise rock, enhanced with nihilistic poetry and instrumental strength which is not very easy to match in today's terms. Like all good punk records, Odd Talk produced a few mind-bending singles, but as an undivided, thorough listen, it can be even more compelling and resonant of the band's effectiveness and definite potentiality.



7. Low: Double Negative



2018 was one of the strongest years for veteran alternative/slowcore act, Low, who managed to make their twelfth album one of their very best, a not so easy task, since the bar was already pretty high. Double Negative revealed Low's fresh take on a more minimal electronic approach, produced a handful of singles and exceptionally artistic accompanying visuals, and displayed an experienced and confident band continuing to push ahead and defy expectations like the have always done.



6. A Place To Bury Strangers: Pinned



One of the greatest and heaviest shoegaze bands of the last couple of decades has come a very long way since their early days. Oliver Ackermann, Dion Lunadon (if you're not aware of The D4, go listen!) and newest member Lia Simone Braswell, as power trio delivered the best APTBS album since the band's first two; brief, full, playfully heavy and representative of the band's potency and reinvigorated frame of mind.



5. HIDE: Castration Anxiety



Castration Anxiety is a punch in the gut, an utterly dark masterwork that could have easily stand next to any eighties darkwave classic. HIDE, a duo of talented, eccentric individuals, are currently the most deft purveyors of noise out there, with an idiosyncratic sound that draws from seductive electronica, angst-ridden post-punk and fearless gothic rock, that demands to be heard next to the work of the genre's most prolific acts.



4. Anna Von Hausswolff: Dead Magic



Dead Magic is Anna von Hausswolff's fourth album already, and the one that brought her closer to finally being appreciated by a sort of a larger and more inclusive audience. Following the impressive, The Miraculous, from 2015, Dead Magic took the artist's dark artistry to an even higher lever, touching gothic perfection, and showcasing an astounding knack for experimentation, which in her skillful hands seemed like an easy and inherent thing to do.



3. Air Formation: Near Miss



Recorded in only two days by Pat Collier (The House of Love, Primal Scream, Jesus and Mary Chain), the latest album by English shoegazers, Air Formation, sounds as natural and candid as possible, a result of its producer's cunning technical work and the band's fervent and poignant creativity. Near Miss, their first album in eight years, effectually combines shoegaze ethereality, with post rock grandeur, space rock, and often a stripped-down dreampop sound, into an overall perfectly balanced blend, and marks the great band's eminent and most welcome return to the full length format.



2. The Soft Moon: Criminal



Criminal is the fourth album Luis Vasquez put together as The Soft Moon, and it is a fully realized work which sounds as memorable, as dark, as technically sharp and as innovative as Deeper did back in 2015. Still, on this one Vasquez's songwriting is more courageous than ever before, as the artist seems to be enjoying the risks he playfully runs and go naturally with the flow of his creativity. Despite the inevitable comparisons to the finest industrial rock and electronica have had to offer, Criminal is all the way original, and an audacious testimony of personal messiness translated into astonishing art.




1. Beach House: 7



It's not common for a band's seventh album to be not only the best of their career, but also something so complete and well constructed that leaves a mark on its genre and kind from the moment it's being released. In the case of Baltimore duo, Beach House, 7 became for them a play on numerology, hands down their best record yet, and consequently, the Album of the Year. The LP's profound dreampop draws from everything it dares to experiment with, from shoegaze and psychedelia, to film music to synthpop to even noise. The album grows with every listen, and expands within its listener's consciousness, like a classic record ought to do, presenting Beach House at the top of their fine artistry.






1. Beach House: 7
2. The Soft Moon: Criminal
3. Air Formation: Near Miss
4. Anna Von Hausswolff: Dead Magic
5. HIDE: Castration Anxiety
6. A Place To Bury Strangers: Pinned
7. Low: Double Negative
8. Ganser: Odd Talk
9. Numb.er: Goodbye
10. Nothing: Dance On The Blacktop
11. The Black Queen: Infinite Games
12. Street Sects: The Kicking Mule
13. Jaye Jayle: No Trail and Other Unholy Paths
14. Ceremony: East Coast
15. Jesus Piece: Only Self
16. Turnstile: Time & Space
17. The Body: I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer.
18. Super Unison: Stella
19. Gouge Away: Burnt Sugar
20. Emma Ruth Rundle: On Dark Horses
21. Iceage: Beyondless
22. Hilary Woods: Colt
23. Vowws: Under The World
24. Thou: Magus
25. Daughters: You Won't Get What You Want
26. Bloody Knives: White Light Black Moon
27. Uniform: The Long Walk
28. The KVB: Only Now Forever
29. Adult.: This Behavior
30. Terra Pines: Terra Pines



ZR

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