The Best Music and Albums of 2018

Female artists again outstripping their male counterparts for imagination, daring, and quality

Dream Wife - the best band of 2018 with the best album of 2018.

Dream Wife - the best band of 2018 with the best album of 2018.

THIS YEAR has seen the emergence of an array of very exciting new indie-rock artists, with female performers - as has been a very noticeable trend in recent years - arguably producing the best music of the last 12 months.

1. Dream Wife - Dream Wife (Lucky Number )

The year's best band, the year's best debut, from three powerful performers who have something to say. "I am not my body/I am somebody." That bravura performance at the Róisín Dubh in October was further testament as to why DW matter.

2. Lala Lala - The Lamb (Hardly Art )

A guitar driven fusion of punk, quite/loud, 1990s American indie, and DIY, Lillie West's second album nonetheless feels very now, and very vital.

3. Villagers - The Art Of Pretending To Swim (Domino )

Conor O'Brien's most experimental album since {Awayland} knocks that 2013 effort out of the park. His finest work to date and by far, the best Irish album of 2018.

4. Courtney Marie Andrews - May Your Kindness Remain (Loose )

A country singer with that recalls Emmylou Harris, with songs, views, and stories from those in the American heartlands and rustbelt who did not vote Trump. A hidden, kinder America emerges.

5. Ezra Furman - Transangelic Exodus (Bella Union )

More expansive, ambitious, and challenging than 2015's Perpetual Motion People, Furman delivers the melodic, the atonal, string quartets, soul, and indie, and in 'I Lost My Innocence', the best song of 2018.

6. Anna Burch - Quit The Curse (Heavenly Recordings )

The debut solo album from the former Frontier Ruckus member was a delight with melodic indie-pop and DIY posited between Julianna Hatfield, Angel Olsen, and late 1950s/early 1960s girl groups.

7. The Magic Numbers - Outsiders (Role Play )

Album number five finds the Numbers at their most inspired and ambitious in years, with invigorating rockers like ‘Shotgun Wedding’, the epic ‘Runaways’, and the poignant, majestic 'Rebel Song'.

8. Father John Misty - God's Favourite Customer (Bella Union )

More focussed lyrically and musically than predecessor Pure Comedy, there is wit and fine songwriting aplenty here. Tillman's music always take a bit of work to get into, but God's Favourite Customer is worth your time.

9. Value Void - Sentimental (Tough Love )

One of those unexpected, near unheralded, albums, this Argentinian/English trio impressed with this stripped down mix of Velvet Underground chord progressions, spiky post-punk riffs, and indie melodies and sensibilities.

10. Kacy & Clayton - The Siren's Song (New West Records )

In Kacy & Clayton's world, every day is somewhere between 1965 and 1972, but Kacy's magnificent voice tells you there is more going on here than just two people ticking off their influences.

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