No time like the present to start compiling the best albums of the year. Stay tuned to this space as this list will be constantly updating.
001. The Delines – The Imperial
Every song could be an episode of True Detective on this one. The songwriting is living on the edge middle America Noir with every character seemingly living on the razor’s edge. Brooding Country-Soul courtesy of Willy Vlautin and his muse Amy Boone.
002. Trapper Schoepp – Primetime Illusion
When you listen to Trapper Schoepp for the first time you will reminisce back to the first time you heard Whiskeytown, Wilco, or The Old ’97s in their prime. Enough gloss to keep the toes tapping but just enough ramshackle to keep things interesting. The Gram Parsons comparisons might not be exactly on the mark, but not far off either. There is a bit of a replacements vibe in the mix as well.
003. Red Rum Club – Matador
With Matador, as debut albums go, Liverpool sextet The Rum Club has delivered a record that is sure to be on most of the Best-Of lists once the end of the year rolls around. With a distinct gumbo of a sound that is part 80’s Brit-Rock, part Psychedelic Rock, Part 60’s Surf-Garage, part Tarantino-Noir, and all cool, the texture of the album changes from track to track with even more influences filtering through the ears upon multiple listens.
004. The Twilight Sad – It Won’t Be Like This All the Time
Given the dark often gloomy tenor of this record it should come as no surprise that Robert Smith of the Cure is a big fan of this Scottish four-piece band. In fact, he was sort of a musical muse on this record. A grower of an album, after a few listens of this you will definitely feel alive.
005. Maggie Rogers – Heard It In A Past Life
It is her singing voice that carries the day here as Maggie Rogers moves effortlessly between singer-songwriter fare and electronic pop. Fully prepared not to enjoy this album, the jaunty 80’s Olivia Newton-John vibe of “Give a Little” and the more folk-centric jam of her debut single “Alaska” made a believer out of these ears.
006. The Steel Woods – Old Woods
This Americana and Outlaw Country by way of Southern Rock band is the real deal. An opening couple of riffs on the lead off song, “All of These Years” will have you digging out your old Lynyrd Skynyrd records, and if that’s not enough, their cover versions of “Whipping Post” along with Petty’s ” Southern Accents” will direct your attention to the music that these guys discovered when they were growing up.
007. Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow
The consistent tone and perspective change on this, Sharon Van Etten’s fifth album, makes this one an extremely enjoyable listen. “Seventeen” is likely to be on many best songs of the year listings.
008. Rival Sons – Feral Roots
Before Greta Van Fleet stole a lot of the buzz Rival Sons were the latest band that was going to save Rock and Roll. Our money is on these guys. With a lead singer that soars somewhere between Jim Morrison and Paul Rodgers and a rhythm section that is Double Trouble worthy, this is the Rock and Roll record of the year. We are calling our shot now.
009. Liz Brasher – Painted Image
This one is likely to be on the list of best debut albums of the year. With vintage Dusty Springfield old school grooves mixed with contemporary Blues swirling throughout there is a definite new age feel to the record to complement the vintage sounds. “Cold” baby sounds like Otis Redding’s long lost sister.
010. Rosie Carney – Bare
This one goes from a really pleasant listening to stunning with multiple listens. With a voice that brings to mind the late Eva Cassidy and songs that will make you forget that she is barely 20, this one is headed to chart-topping territory come to the end of the year. Just let this one envelope your soul.
011. Better Oblivion Community Center – Better Oblivion Community Center
You probably know these guys better by their real names, Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers. Oberst’s boyish croon meets Phoebe’s anguished ethereal vocals for a listen that will bring you back to the Bright Eyes Days. Bridgers is pretty much everywhere these days with her Boygenius record with Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker having been released only a few months ago. Coming a bit out of the blue the band announced themselves on the late show with Stephen Colbert.
012. Frances Cone – Late Riser
013. Night Beats – Myth Of A Man
014. Neyla Pekarek – Rattlesnake