Music of 2018

2018 was a great year for new music. Picking 20 was a struggle. Even trying to limit the playlists to a reasonable length was harder than I anticipated.

My top 3 from the list were Low, Medicine Boy and Black Belt Eagle Scout.

A colleague once said that a new album by Bob Dylan or Neil Young was like getting a long letter from an old friend. I feel that way about Low (and countless others…). They’ve been making their particular brand of ‘slowcore’ since 1993 and in 2018, have released a haunting and glitchy set of songs. Medicine Boy’s new collection with familiar layers of moody distortion and electronics was most welcome. Black Belt Eagle Scout was my new find of the year: a young artist who wrote and played most of the album herself showing unexpected depth.

There were many other bands whose EPs or songs I loved, but these 20 albums, for me, were a bodies of work I spent a lot of time with. With the changes streaming has brought with how some now listen to music, the traditional album as we know it may one day be a thing of the past. I guess it depends on one’s relationship with the band where a fixed collection of songs as the artist intended has more value than a playlist of new music or some bespoke version of a ‘Best of’. Sometimes a song will do, but other times being immersed in one complete story is better. Particular obsessions will dictate…

Medicine Boy and Make-Overs are both South African independent bands who have been touring Europe on and off for most of the year to enthusiastic audiences. I stand corrected, but Medicine Boy may even be based in Berlin now.

I’ve inlcuded links to all the albums using iTunes (incl Apple Music), Deezer and Spotify. Two albums are only available on Bandcamp.


Low – Double Negative iTunes, Deezer and Spotify

Low – Double negative

Black Belt Eagle Scout – Mother of my children iTunes, Deezer and Spotify

Black Belt Eagle Scout – Mother of my children

Medicine Boy – Lower iTunes, Deezer and Spotify

Medicine Boy – Lower

With a lot of new music, there was often only one song off the album/EP or various released singles in the year that got me. I’ve mixed these in with tracks from the albums of the year on the playlists. As always, I’ve put together an uptempo and a moody playlist of all the songs. Click the links below for Deezer or Spotify. Both services are free (with some advertising) if you are not already a subscriber. Simply register with an e-mail address. I’ve forgone the usual DJ mixes on Mixcloud as no one listens to them *insert sad face with tears here*

Gyrate pt.1 (the uptempo songs) on Deezer and Spotify

Gyrate – Best of 2018 pt.1

Darkhorse pt.2 (the moody songs) on Deezer and Spotify

Darkhorse – Best of 2018 pt.2


The other 17 albums in no particular order:

Jess Williamson – Cosmic wink iTunes, Deezer and Spotify

Jess Williamson – Cosmic wink

Anna Von Hausswolff – Dead magic iTunes, Deezer and Spotify

Anna von Hausswolf – dead magic

Snail Mail – Lush iTunes, Deezer and Spotify

Snail Mail – Lush

Preoccupations – New material iTunes, Deezer and Spotify

Preoccupations – New material

Cat Power – Wanderer iTunes, Deezer and Spotify

Cat Power – Wanderer

Magic Shoppe – In parallel iTunes, Deezer and Spotify

Magic Shoppe – In parallel

Make-Overs – Safe space Bandcamp

Make-Overs – Safe space

Sea Lion – Moonlight here iTunes, Deezer and Spotify

Sea Lion – Moonlight here

Lubomyr Melnyk – Fallen trees iTunes, Deezer and Spotify

Lubomyr Melnyk – Fallen trees

Interpol – Marauder iTunes, Deezer and Spotify

Interpol – Marauder

Emma Ruth Rundle – On dark horses iTunes, Deezer and Spotify

Emma Ruth Rundle – On dark horses

Blurred City Lights – Volker Bandcamp

Blurred City Lights – Volker

Just Mustard – Wednesday iTunes, Deezer and Spotify

Just Mustard – Wednesday

Breeders – All nerve iTunes, Deezer and Spotify

Breeders – All nerve

Desperate Journalist – You get used to it iTunes, Deezer and Spotify

Desperate Journalist – You get used to it

BOYO – Me, Again iTunes, Deezer and Spotify

BOYO – Me again

Idles – Joy as an act of resistance iTunes, Deezer and Spotify

Idles – Joy as an act of resistance