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Old 12-12-2018, 04:24 PM   #31 (permalink)
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^ Yeah I hear a bit of that, those Lemmings are more stripped down ofc.


19. Red Sun Rising - Thread


Genre(s): Psychedelic Rock, Grunge, Alternative

Sounds Like: The Wildhearts, early Foo Fighters, Mansun, Soundgarden


Ohio might be a ****hole, but if it can produce a band as good as Red Sun Rising maybe there's more than meets the eye out there. Distilling the best ideas and essence of grunge and mid 90's alternative rock into new forms circa 2018 wasn't what I was expecting in this particular era we live in, but they pull it off with a surprising dose of that oh-so-rare thing in an LP experience: variety.

Opener 'Fascination' is a groovy early Alice In Chains meets Zeppelin barnstormer, but when they turn up the tempo on 'Veins' you see more of their range. Puts me right back into my favorite era of radio-oriented rock and nothing gets to my sweet spot faster than some nostalgia criss-crossed with above average (and even excellent) songwriting. 'El Lazo' is probably my favorite cut overall, featuring a soaring hook and smile-inducding melodic progression straight out of Superunknown-era Soundgraden with a touch of Vertical Horizon.

For those of you that appreciate some of the 90's, this will induce some fuzzies. The rest of you might like it too!



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Old 12-13-2018, 09:56 PM   #32 (permalink)
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18. Soft Machine - Hidden Details


Genre(s): U.K. Jazz Fusion

Sounds Like: Miles Davis, Return To Forever, Allan Holdsworth, Lloyd McNeill


Now here's a fun one: Hidden Details is a new outing, built from the ground up by a mix of older members (AKA the classic era) and a host of others led by flute & sax heavyweight Theo Travis. Whilst lacking some of the psychedelic, mind bending charm of their late 60's through mid 70's period, where Hidden Details really succeeds is in its unique atmosphere (which has a lot of great flute) and its subtle adventurous inclination that border on the free jazz sounds of groups like Tipographica.

This is a case where the new tracks actually stand up to the older cuts covered by this particular lineup. The opening title piece in particular comes at you right away with a capering groove, punctuated by blasts of sax moving further and further away from the central bassline but really selling the improvisations. Another big highlight is 'Heart Of Guard' which features prominent acoustic guitar and woodwinds that lends it a certain moodiness. Just wonderful material, really, and it's been a bright spot in 2018 for sure.



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Old 12-13-2018, 11:11 PM   #33 (permalink)
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I forgot that Softs album even came out lmao
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Old 12-14-2018, 02:50 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Rivers Of Nihil - Where Owls Know My Name
What a fun fun record!

It reminds me of The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out Wait for Something Wild by Sikth
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Old 12-14-2018, 05:51 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Soft Machine? Wow. Still going eh?
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Old 12-14-2018, 05:54 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Soft Machine? Wow. Still going eh?
Kinda. I don't think there's any original members still in the lineup. Most of them joined in the early 70's though so it's not like their going the Guess Who route and touting their original name despite it basically being "Gary Peterson and The Bunch of Dudes Who Joined During the 80's and Played on Critically Panned Albums Nobody Gives a **** About".
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Old 12-14-2018, 07:23 PM   #37 (permalink)
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This is by far the biggest year of jazz discoveries for me overall: I've got more jazz-oriented albums in my top releases this year than previous ones. Speaking of which...

17. Avantdale Bowling Club - Avantdale Bowling Club


Genre(s): Hip-Hop, Jazz Rap, Experimental

Sounds Like: A Tribe Called Quest, Kendrick Lamar, Nujabes, Madlib, Miles Davis


Tom Scott isn't a household name yet in the rap game, but this album might just make him one. The live instrumentation and In A Silent Way-esque jazz atmosphere crossed with Scott's snappy flow is infectious (to put it mildly). Whilst coming across as autobiographical to an extent, the lofty synthesis of Avantdale Bowling Club's approach is reminiscent of Kendrick Lamar's efforts around To Pimp A Butterfly...but honestly, I think this album crushes that lauded release where it counts. Personally affecting yet socially observant, this may be (in Tom's own words) "irrelevant jazz from an island nation off the coast of Antarctica.", but that doesn't mean it isn't damn good. Keep your ears on New Zealand my friends: there's some serious lyrical and compositional powers beginning to stir there.



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Old 12-15-2018, 04:12 PM   #38 (permalink)
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The Manhattan Transfer - The Junction
Undeniably well-done but it just felt so corny. This is the first one I didn’t really enjoy. Lovin’ the **** out of this list though!
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Old 12-16-2018, 08:32 PM   #39 (permalink)
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^ What's wrong with some corndogs?

16. Mitch Murder - Selection 5


Genre(s): Synthwave, J-Pop, Chiptune

Sounds Like: Sega Genesis game soundtracks, she, Tangerine Dream, 80's soundtracks


More than one synthwave album made my top 30 this year, but this one has the most "retro" charm of the bunch, especially in regards to classic video game soundtracks. More cohensive and fun to listen to than a lot of his actual albums, Mitch Murder has synthesized the perfect crossover experience for this particular style: a lineup with variety with a mix of vocal and instrumental stuff, and some absolutely inspired melodies to boot. He has an obvious love for Japan's City Pop era as well, seeing as Satellite Young guests on 'Time Paradox'. 'The Line' has a juicy AOR bounce to it whilst 'Refresh' and 'Rad Flute' take me back to the mid 80's vaguely tropical sounding electronica era where Paul Hardcastle ruled the dancefloor.

Not a game changer by any stretch of the imagination, but easily the best BGM I've pocketed this year by a country mile. Nostalgia doesn't solve all the world's woes, but it'll definitely get you on my good side!



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Old 12-17-2018, 09:50 PM   #40 (permalink)
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15. Miracle - The Strife Of Love In A Dream


Genre(s): Industrial, Synthwave, Darkwave, Ethereal Wave, Avant-garde

Sounds Like: early 90's Swans, Delerium, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Enigma


Gloriously morbid and evil sounding synthpop for the modern era. A duo made out of Steve Moore (Zombi) and Daniel O’Sullivan (Sunn O))), Ulver), Miracle take my favorite things about classic John Carpenter soundtracks and the vast umbrella of 80's/90's dark ambiance and bring it all together into a manifold outing that somehow manages to disturb and move despite the familiarity most likely have of the era it draws from.

The album hits a massive peak about midway through on the medieval-sounding 'The Seventeen Nineties' where every cliche is turned on its head into something amazing that might have ruled the charts as a single on Depeche Mode's Violator LP back in 1990. There's nary a weak moment to be found though, with the militant opening cut 'The Parsifal Gate' being particularly fun and the Orbital-esque closer 'Angelix' serving as a great ambient showcase of Moore's keyboard prowess, like going from the Tower Of London to Ibiza in one fell swoop of the time machine.

There were a number of industrial-tinged albums this year that really caught me for one reason or another, but Miracle's material was especially sumptuous and highly replayable. Grab it if you haven't.



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