So that was 2018 eh? An interesting year in many ways as the world seems to become increasingly surreal. In a world where a company can get a government ferry contract without having to own a boat, or a vegan sausage roll causes controversy it is good to have an anchor or a constant. Just something that makes sense. 2018’s music has done that – it’s been a good year with some cracking gigs and important new releases. So, let’s do this, here is CG Music’s 2018 Music Review. I’m very glad I don’t do politics….
This year’s competition is definitely strong. Our day out at Liverpool Sound City brings another festival aside from Neighbourhood into the mix, and we’ve seen some exceptionally strong bills throughout the year.
So, after much deliberation….the winner is…..
Ah, it’s Neighbourhood again. It’s just so….good. The Husky Loops and Blinders sets are still wedged into my memory, as is seeing the Ritz bounce to No Hot Ashes. But it as much the experience as the music with Neighbo’. With the venues being in such a vibrant urban environment (Sound City is very cool but is removed from the City Centre) you can be ‘festival’ but escape the trappings of venue prices and trailer cooked food. It is Gig Xmas and it retains the crown for 2018.
It’s been a strong year. There are full reviews on the blog of all of our main nights out (I missed out Frank Turner for some reason, but he was very….Frank Turner….so not too much to say).
Wolf Alice – Victoria Warehouse
Look, they’re the best live band in the world at the moment. They couldn’t not feature. Catch them when you can. They are amazing…man.
Liverpool Sound City – Baltic Triangle
Another urban festival, but it feels more ‘festivaly’ than Neighbo’ as it’s set out of the city centre in an area that is essentially an arts village. It is quirky and a ball of fun. We had such a blast we’re going again in 2019.
Jesse Malin – Night and Day Cafe
Not even the headline act. And given that the headline that night was Craig Finn AND he brought on Tad Kubler for acoustic Hold Steady songs, Jesse getting the nod just shows how good he was. A perfect acoustic set full of humour, stage craft and excellent musicianship. I may have scared him afterwards as I cornered him to tell him this, I was very enthusiastic, but hopefully he won’t hold that against me.
It is always said that times of political or social uncertainty create great music. I don’t think its unreasonable to suggest that we currently live in such uncertain terms. I also don’t think it unreasonable to suggest that there’s been some great new music this year which is borne from our current environment. And it’s reflected in my two choices for album of the year. Two angry, loud albums that I can’t separate.
Columbia – The Blinders
I’m a big fan of their live sets, and even more so of their first full long player. It can be difficult to translate the sort of performance the Blinders excel at onto a recording but kudos to Producer Gavin Monaghan. You get the same sense of the upcoming apocalypse listening on your earphones as you do when aurally assaulted at one of their incendiary gigs. The bass sound is truly terrifying. This is an album of it’s time and if we do have to go through this nonsense at least we get glorious work like this as a by product. It’s a stunner.
Songs of Praise – Shame
I missed them live in Manchester in November. Gutted isn’t strong enough. But the album is another bleak but brilliant commentary on the world. Lyrics spat, not sung. Rhythms section attacking not keeping time. Astonishing that this is a first album such is the sheer quality and depth in the song writing. It’s a dirty angry record that doesn’t slip from the first bars of Dust on Trial to the final fuzzy chord of Angie. Incredible stuff.
Black Honey – Black Honey
I wasn’t that keen when we saw them at Neighbo’ in 2017 but the album is a well crafted piece of poppy indie. ‘Dig’ is a standout song of the year. They got it right.
Cave Song EP – Pretty Vicious
A further slice of very loud young people making a terrifically exciting racket. Very excited about where this lot might go. If the Arctic Monkeys had listened to thrash metal before they released “Whatever people say….”. Crack headlong into ‘Ambien’.
Endless Scroll – Bodega
Came to this late, via my compadre ‘Getting Near Dawn’. He knows the sort of shizzle I like. It’s Television and the Strokes for the new age. In contrast to the very rock heavy previous entries it sounds almost non-human. If Siri did a record. That’s unfair as Siri would make it rubbish – Bodega make it their own. Intrigued about the live set in February…
I decided that when writing this I couldn’t include songs from the best albums. Self imposed rules, I’m sort of a masochistic fascist. So none of the above here.
Skint Kids Disco – No Hot Ashes
A perfectly crafted funk rock mash up from Manchester’s favourite new band. Love it.
Bonfire of the City Boys – Drenge
The new single from the Drenge boys and it’s a stormer. A relentless beat, so much so that you reverberate for three minutes after its finished. It’s sort of confusing and intimidating. And brilliant.
Death Rattle – Nightflight
A change in mood, but everyone needs some light and shade. Nightflight are like Coldplay if they’d stayed cool and not got all fruit/child obsessed. Death Rattle is an astonishing song. One of those beautiful anthems that builds and builds and makes you cry a bit. In a just world this lot will be soundtracking every box set and be bigger than Jesus.
Seafoam Islands – Peaness
This is a cheat as officially this is a 2017 song. But it’s my review. So there. A few minutes of glorious loveliness from Chester’s favourite band and I’ll count is as this year as I first heard it in the summer. Listen to it and you won’t get it out of your head for a least a month. It’s ace to have such talent in your town.
And with that, and with no Peaness based euphemisms, we draw 2018 to a close. A few days later than the calendar, but that’s man flu for you. It’s been a really cracking musical year that I’ve enjoyed immensely. I hope you have too. May 2019 bring you joy, peace and loads and loads and loads of amazing music.
Have a playlist HERE