Best Albums of 2018: 30-21

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- (30-21) of Secret Meeting’s Best Albums Of 2018.

(Click album covers to read full reviews)

30. Jeff Rosenstock – POST

‘POST- is a magnificent album. Rosenstock is at his absolute peak – disgorging venom from his unruly pulpit of wrath. He has created a collection of songs that can’t help but encourage a reaction, chanting, singing, dancing, jumping around without a care in the world, while showing that he is a valid contender for leader of the rebellious counter culture. And based on what’s on show here, he’d certainly get my vote.’

29. Haley Heynderickx – I Need To Start A Garden

‘I Need to Start a Garden from promising Portland songstress, Haley Heynderickx, is one of the most intriguing and encompassing debuts of the year. An album drawing on spirituality, existence and life’s intricacies, she floats effortlessly through the 31 minutes, displaying beautiful melodies intertwined with tenacious vocal bursts of passion. Heynderickx describes her own songs as ‘doom folk’ and gently fluctuates between musings over the most insignificant detail, before suddenly wrestling with the biggest questions – life’s meaning, God’s existence and the purpose of mankind.’

28. The Good, The Bad & The Queen – Merrie Land

‘Despite his eye for social observation, Albarn has always been a writer whose work is seeped in melody and Merrie Land is no different. However, only Gun To The Head and closer, The Poison Tree, have what you may call a traditional chorus. Instead, the musicality falls somewhere between his solo album, Everyday Robots, and the theatrical soundtrack for Dr Dee, rather than The Good, The Bad & The Queen. As where producer, Danger Mouse, layered a hazy, cinematic sheen over the debut, Tony Visconti (David Bowie, T Rex, Morrissey) hasn’t interfered too much. The recordings, on the whole, bar a smattering of strings and ‘primary school’ recorders, are stripped back – the glitter instead replaced by a truer representation of the band’s natural live sound.’

27. Nas – Nasir

‘This record is probably the most vital and best work Nas has done since his era-defining debut, Illmatic. The heavy subject matter addressing society as a whole plays like a conflict Nas is fighting within himself against his own personal issues. This is something that most of us feel at some point. While we care about the world at large with poverty, famine, disease, inequality, war and religious tension, we also have our own personal issues we have to deal with. Sometimes it is easy to be aware of the world’s issues, but having enough of your own to deal with to be able to focus on them. This inner turmoil permeates through, and displays a stark vulnerability within him. As with Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 masterpiece – To Pimp A Butterfly, you connect with the artist because of this vulnerability.’

26. Kathryn Joseph – From When I Wake The Want Is

‘Texturally, Grouper and JDFR feel like reference points. The repetitive, murmuring chords of Safe and the excellent title track evoke much of Liz Harris’ works, while Mouths Full Of Blood would slot uncomfortably onto the young Icelandic songwriter’s wondrous Brazil LP. This is a challenging record, and one senses Joseph would not want it any other way. And definitely one that should have seen her retain her SOY crown, as there won’t be many better records to come out of Caledonia this year.’

25. Grouper – Grid Of Points

‘After a week and a half of writing and recording, she fell ill and the production ceased. But the record was complete. Grid Of Points: a series of sketched poetic ideas, encapsulated a week-long series of soul searching moments. At just 22 minutes long, her record label, Kranky, deemed it too short, and before listening to the record you can understand their concerns. At just seven songs long, it does seemingly fall into the EP category. But that’s most certainly not how the visionary Harris saw things.’

24. Low- Double Negative

‘Over the last decade, the dream pop genre has been one of the most naturally evolving movements in alternative music. But after two minutes of stuttering noise on Quorum, the opening track of Low’s twelfth album, Double Negative, the first semi-audible words break through the pulsating ripples – ‘I’m tired of seeing things… what are you waiting for?’ – and it seems Low have taken the dream pop blueprint, chewed it up and spat it out as something far more intentionally ugly.’

23. Soccer Mommy – Clean

‘There is stiff competition to capture attention within the field of female singer song-writing right now, but with the passion and drive delivered through Clean, one would expect Soccer Mommy to increase in both significance and influence in the coming years.’

22. US Girls – In A Poem Unlimited

‘On In A Poem Unlimited, Remy’s strong creative vision, ruthless artistic integrity and deep quest for social equilibrium are magnified by the carefully selected entourage of producers, writers and performers that have helped usher U.S. Girls out of a darkened bedroom and into a secret nightclub- one that is a vital underground haven in complex and unsure times.’

21. Will Oldham – Songs of Love And Horror

‘Oldham’s self-penned work places him firmly in the bracket alongside modern greats and these updates do nothing but strengthen the case. The Way must go down as one of his all time great pieces of writing. But in reference to this collection’s title, the horror of the original makes way for a romanticism that wasn’t previously evident; the slightly quicker tempo completely transforms it and the new melodic phrasings bring with them an airy lightness. While, with his voice firmly up front, New Partner’s repetitive chorus’– ‘You were always on my mind’ – again is revitalised and has never sounded as fresh.’



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