This is part 2 of my best music discoveries of 2018. Earlier editions are here: 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 (part 1).
Hands down my favorite tracks of 2018 are still One. Sentence Supervisor with Yelena, and City Calm Down with Blood. I have played these tracks more than any other. Both were featured in part 1. But, make no mistake, the second part of 2018 also presented some amazing discoveries.
In no particular order.
Sam Fender has the looks and the licks. Seemingly brimming with talent, this young gun already dropped a handful of shiners. But this track especially jumped from my screen. It’s easy to see where he gets his inspiration and that is not a bad thing. Not at all. I hope to hear a lot more from this guy.
This video from Castle Pines is one of my favorite, clever, visuals of 2018 (just watch it). But above all, this is a killer track! I can not believe it only has 242 views on Youtube!! That is just wrong.
The best EP from 2018 came from Australia. They’re called the Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. Quite a mouthful, but what a band. And this track in particular, Talking Straight, is different. On first listen it didn’t click. But a couple of listens in, this is a mesmerizing song. If you don’t like it: you’re not talking straight.
You can’t really discuss 2018 without at least mentioning Greta van Vleet. The multi Grammy nominated band made quite a splash in 2018. A classic rock band setup, three brothers and a real screamer. Sure, we’ve all seen the long read think pieces discussing their sound. It’s tiring. Fact is, I’d rather listen to this SG than a lot of other things out there now.
Ok, we need to talk about Idles. As punk as they come. But there is substance there too. And they’re probably the best live ticket in town at the moment. I mean, just look at this. The music seems to suffer by the performance, but overall it does not take anything away from what they’re trying to say. If anything, it adds to it.
Kurt Vile has been on my list before. The former founding member of The War on Drugs does his own thing and I love him for it. Listen to his singing lines. He does not follow usual singing conventions nor timing and makes lazy ears work. I park for free!
They’re called The Horrors for a reason, so you shouldn’t be surprised that this is a rather unsettling video. But at the core this is actually just a tender love song. I say this, because I think this track would also work well acoustic. But the futuristic synth sound they’ve chosen here, works equally well.
If my taste was expressed by an algorithm which you could feed videos to calculate the probability of what I like, this next song would score very high. Maybe it’s the name, maybe it’s the tense intro, maybe it’s the chorus, maybe it’s the rolling R’s. Maybe it’s all of that. The Twilight Sad.
The Decemberists is one of those bands I always thought I should pay closer attention to. This next gorgeous track underscores that thought most definitely.
Amen Dunes. Fragile sounding voice, heartfelt lyrics. Can you feel it, tonight?
I don’t know where the drums come from and I think that this is probably not a real live take, even though it’s made to look like it. But I’m game. You can never have enough violins. Darlingside with Hold Your Head Up High.
What, no shirt and only a leather vest? I am intrigued. Tell me more. The main melody is straight from Fleetwood Mac, and the guitar solo is one of the worst that I have ever heard. But this song has a certain honesty to it, and that goes a long way.
I don’t know anything about Linn Koch Emmery, but if I had to guess I think she probably owns a few Dinosaur Jr. records. And that is just fine! Videos that subtitle the lyrics need special attention. Attention well deserved in this case.
Bonus. Since it is 2019 already, here is a brand new track from Death Cab for Cutie. Laden with 80s nostalgia and keyboards, melancholy lyrics and a lot of guitar delay. Yes! I think I will probably listen to this song a lot in 2019. I must admit I think the mix on this song could be better. Why? Just listen to this live performance.