Posted in Listed

Favourite Albums of 2018

51k7S8+kLDL._AA327_QL65_5. Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour: Arguably the biggest country crossover into the indie rock world of 2018. Musgraves’ fourth major album release was as slick as they come but hard not to appreciate the quality of the songs. “Lonely Weekend”, “Space Cowboy” and album standout “High Horse” are the touchstones. But those are accompanied by opener “Slow Burn” and “Velvet Elvis”. While many of these songs could easily be featured in almost every commercial on TV, it doesn’t take away from the fact that virtually every one is a winner.

Mitski4. Mitski – Be The Cowboy : The first vocal on Mitski’s fifth album claims “you’re my number 1” which is fitting as this is topping album polls across the world. Clocking in at just over 33 minutes with most songs around the two-minute mark, it is easy to leave this one on repeat for a few hours. First single “Nobody” provides the longing that is at the heart of this album. The hard rocking “Remember My Name” is followed by the defiant “Me and My Husband”. There is a reason people keep talking about this album, the quick snapshots of music cut across numerous styles but most of all, it does them expertly.

trcy3. Tracyanne & Danny – Tracyanne & Danny : Quietly one of the most welcome returns to music was from Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell. Her voice is like a warm fire on a cold winter night. Here she appears with Danny Coughlan and together they create one of the best runs of music in 2018 from first track “Home & Dry” to infectious single “Alabama”. Second half highlight belongs to Coughlan with his 50s style “Anybody Else”. Overshadowed by bigger releases, this Merge Records release is an easy album to fall in love with.

41M5dXB2SNL._AA327_QL65_2. Courtney Barnett –  Tell Me How You Really Feel: In the disposable world of streaming and downloads, it’s rare that an album is a grower but Tell Me How You Really Feel did just that. Hard to get into at first, it feels disjointed and a bit of a downer album about touring but repeated listens prove that is not true. “City Looks Pretty” and “Nameless, Faceless” are dynamite indie rock songs. “Need A Little Time” features a pretty melody in the chorus and it’s all closed down with the melancholic uplift of “Sunday Roast”. Barnett tore the Winnipeg Folk Fest down on the Friday night this past summer. Too hard rocking for a lot of the crowd but was a glorious racket for the rest of us.

61KEfYl6iVL._AA327_QL65_1. Beach House – 7: When reviewing the latest Beach House on the Celebration Rock Podcast, critic Steve Hyden talked about how 7 does exactly what he wants from a BH album. This is pretty much bang on. “Pay No Mind”, “Lemon Glow and “Dive” standout and the rest of the album does a very good job of being atmospheric and ethereal. “Lose Yourself” is beautiful as is “Woo” but with an 80s synth feel. 7 glides along on its rails and is happy to take the listener to the next station for its duration.

Posted in Album Reviews

Tracyanne & Danny – Tracyanne & Danny (2018)

trcyLead by Tracyanne Campbell, it’s been five years since the last release from Glasgow’s much-loved Camera Obscura.  Sadly, two years after recording their last album, Desire Lines, keyboardist Carey Lander past away.  After being away for so long, it is an absolute treat that this album came out earlier in 2018 on Merge records. Teaming up with Crybaby’s Danny Coughlan, the duo strikes up what is probably the best band you’d ever hear if you stumbled across them in a random pub on a cold winter’s night.

With an autumnal warmth, the album mentions the US several times, especially in the infectious single “Alabama”.  A joyous, upbeat track, Campbell sings of “when I’m an old lady, I still miss you like crazy”. The duo trade verses on “Deep In The Night” before a soft Campbell vocal appears at the tail end. Subtle horns give a bit of swing to “Home & Dry” before the charming country of “It Can’t Be Love Unless It Hurts”.

The album is let down slightly in the middle where “Jacqueline” brings the mood down before a couple of forgettable tracks get trotted out. Things rebound towards the end with the Belle and Sebastian 90s indie rock of Danny’s “Cellophane Girl” complete with handclaps and closes with a Georgia O’Keefe tribute in “O’Keeffe”.  The album really shines with the first four tracks which are some of the classiest indie rock moments of 2018.  A winning duo that would be a joy to hear more from in the future.