Best Albums of 2018: 20-11

Over the last twelve months, we seem to have bought more vinyl, made more playlists, and recommended more new music to our mates than ever before. In fact, when predicted what we’d see in 2018, little did we realise how many great records we’d be unexpectedly treated to.

So, as the year comes to a close, we have collated a list that we feel reflects the wide range of records that we’ve loved this year.

Here it is- (20-11) of Secret Meeting’s Best Albums Of 2018.

(Click album covers to read full reviews)

20. Bill Ryder Jones – Yawn

‘Drenched in lo-fi melancholy, Yawn is typical of the ex-Coral guitar virtuoso but yet a huge step forward. His struggles with anxiety are well documented and each track here lays his emotions stitched into his sleeve, ranging from uncharacteristic sprawling soundscapes to the tender, up close and personal.’

19. Courtney Marie Andrews – May Your Kindness Remain

‘Returning with her eighth studio album, May Your Kindness Remain, Courtney Marie Andrews produces a splash of Americana and country fused gospel, with her focus honed in on the touching tales of solitude, love and strife. Here, her progression as an artist from country, to rock and gospel, has allowed her to musically evolve, but without losing the majestic sound of her previous works. Perhaps she’s still not made the commercial breakthrough she deserves, but one feels it isn’t far around the corner.’

18. Innocence Mission – Sun On The Square

‘Sun on The Square has the instant feel of The Innocence Mission at their very finest: stripped back, beautifully simple, elegant and enchanting folk. Karen Peris’ ability to question, create and explore with her dexterity and expansive written word and vocal is enchanting, and complimented beautifully by the soft, whimsical soundscapes of her husband Don, and bassist Mike Bitts. There are not many bands that make music this great three decades into their career.’

17. Snail Mail – Lush

‘From the word go, Lush is everything we expect to hear from Greta Kline on her Frankie Cosmos records – shimmering guitars, love-torn lyrics and a gloriously catchy chorus. But unlike Kline, 19-year-old Lindsey Jordan is happy to let her songs hang around, so as to ensure that the clarity of her message comes through. While her ear for an arrangement may suggest a songwriter beyond her years, her lyrics provide the naivety of her youth.’

16. Connan Mockasin – Jassbusters

‘Billed as a soundtrack to Mockasin’s upcoming self-directed movie, Bostyn ’n’ Dobsyn – a five part melodrama that documents the relationship between a music teacher and his student – Jassbusters is a bit of a strange beast. But while initially the takeaway is a lack of narrative across the record’s eight tracks, set against the film’s plot, all begins to fall into place.’

15. Marianne Faithfull – Negative Capability

‘At 71 years of age, Faithfull delivers a wise, weary and at times knowingly humorous reflection on love and life on Negative Capability, while also staring down the realities of old age, waning heath and death. Her 21st studio album – a mammoth 54 years after her debut release – delivers an elegant charm throughout, which contrasts wonderfully with its often-heavy themes of loss and loneliness.’

14. Big Red Machine – Big Red Machine

‘Whether through artist preference or industry heavy hand, music is infrequently built on collaboration in the way it’s presented here. In Big Red Machine’s self-titled debut, here lies an example of how breaking down structure and smashing different influences and thought processes together can create something endearing and progressive. There’s a clear continuity from Vernon and Dessner’s last records as Bon Iver and The National, but it’s clear they’ve both found a kindred spirit which feels far more than just a side project.’

13. Spiritualized –  And Nothing Hurt

‘Jason Pierce aka J. Spaceman has been making intergalactic sounding rock under the Spiritualized banner for nigh on three decades. Six years on from last record, And Nothing Hurt, sees him put down the final piece of the jigsaw before he hangs up his spacesuit. In A Perfect Miracle, I’m Your Man, Sail on Through and Let’s Dance, he’s produced some of the finest work of his career in all their soft-rock, melodic brilliance.’

12. Julia Holter – Aviary

‘Los Angeles-based avant-garde composer/songwriter, Julia Holter, launched herself into many an album-of-the-year list in 2015, with her imaginative yet easily accessible Have You in My Wilderness. Returning three years later, Aviary marks a step back to her roots with a musical novel of incredible depth and detail, bustling with complex, haunting arrangements, rather startling turns, vocal mantras and a plethora of ideas and lyrical concepts.’

11. Adrianne Lenker – abysskiss

‘Recorded in just a week with her friend Luke Temple, abysskiss sees Big Thief frontwoman Adrienne Lenker completely own the vulnerability bestowed on somebody stepping into the limelight alone. While not her first solo record, she’s risen to the higher stakes and produced ten tracks with a simple blend of voice, finger-picked guitar and a few flourishes of strings that underline just how talented a songwriter she is.’

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