Posted in Listed

10 Favourite Songs of 2018

10. G Flip – About You:  One of the earliest songs that caught our ear in 2018, this Australian released “About You” in February. The DIY esthetic was not just in the music but in the music video as well. The beat doesn’t drop until the chorus while a synth makes thunder like noises in the background. Sounding not too dissimilar from Grimes, “About You” announced a brilliant new talent.

9. Cherry Glazerr – Daddi:  Recording under the Cherry Glazerr moniker, Los Angelino Clementine Creevy delivers a wallop of defiance in just over three minutes. Asking “Daddi” what she should be doing, where she should be going and who to be f*cking but never wanting to actually hear the answer.  The verses are breathless before she shouts the chorus. This fiery track was a late entry into our top ten.

8. U.S. Girls – Rosebud:  Meghan Remy put out her second album on 4AD in March of 2018 and found quite a bit of critical acclaim. This single is memorable right from the first-string sounds before it falls into an up tempo lounge track. In typical U.S. Girls fashion, the great sound bed covers up that Remy is digging deep into lyrics about the government while using Citizen Kane as a jumping off point. One of the groovier tracks of the year.

7. Vital Idles – Solid States:  This minimal track from Glasgow’s Vital Idles hardly set the world on fire in 2018 but it certainly grabbed our attention. The simple guitar melody and deadpan vocals recall post punk records from the early 80s. “It won’t do, it won’t do” but somehow this track does and does.

6. SL – Genes (Feat. Chip):  “I’m flexing in my 20s, I was flexing in my teens” is my most quoted lyric from 2018. With his “Gentleman” track from 2017 having over 23 million views on YouTube, SL was picked by factmag.com to be one of the UK rappers to keep an eye on. While the rest of the lyrics on “Gene” are harder to follow for these 40+ year old ears, the chorus is pure fire.

5. Robyn – Missing U:  Released in September, “Missing U” was the lead single from the Honey album and it was a banger. In an interview with Time magazine, Robyn has said this is the track she spent the most time on over than any other, and it shows. Everything fits together perfectly. The cascading synths are propelled forward through the beat of the chorus in this perfect pop song.

4. Playboi Carti – Shoota (Feat. Lil Uzi Vert):  I’m not sure what it is about this single from Playboi’s fifth album but the piano at the start sounds like a call to arms for having a great time for two minutes. The music really kicks in just over a minute for the Playboi verse while the beat takes forever to finally drop. The “pecan drop” and “bestie” are ridiculous but add to the infectious fun of this track.

3. Courtney Barnett – Sunday Roast:  The melancholy track sounds like Courtney talking to herself. The fourth single from Barnett’s excellent sophomore album, suddenly takes an uplifting turn in the second half of the chorus when she sings “I know you’re doing your best, I think you’re doing just fine” and features a pep talk in the outro. It’s the sound of hanging out with friends, enjoying the quiet times and not just the nights out on the tiles.

2. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Talking Straight:  The Melbourne group’s debut LP featured several terrific guitar rock songs, none were better than this. The guitar melodies all meld together while vocalist Joe White nails the kick-ass chorus. This is the kind of thing you want blasting out of the car on road trips to the beach.

1. Otha – One Of The Girls:  If you base your track of the year just based on listens, this is the one for me. Otha quietly sings over a bed of electronic beats and synths. It’s a downcast track, sounding both defiant and sad at the same time. I came across it on Pitchfork then never heard or saw it anywhere else. It mysteriously appeared and disappeared that one day but got played endlessly in basement parties at home, by myself.

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Posted in Album Reviews

U.S. Girls – In A Poem Unlimited (2018)

61nIMBK62dL._AA327_QL65_On various message boards, one constant thread is the struggle to follow new music while keeping up with ever growing physical and digital collections. It’s easier to keep up with a sliver of a niche than try to be everywhere but what fun is that? Meghan Remy’s cleverly named U.S Girls project is one of those that passed us by when she signed to 4AD in 2015 after 4 studio albums. The Illinois born, Toronto based artist’s second release on that prestige label caught our ear after hearing the excellent  Citizen Kane inspired single “Rosebud” and In A Poem Unlimited started getting rave reviews.

Third track on the album, “M.A.H” (Mad As Hell) is a mix of 70s Blondie disco with Gwen Stefani vocals. A closer listen to the lyrics reveal a critical look at Barack Obama’s presidency. In this time of the left railing against Trump, it’s a curious throw back look to the Democratic hero. The aforementioned “Rosebud” is laid back R&B dance music with electronic strings striking throughout. “Incidental Boogie” is a vicious track about an abusive relationship set to distorted guitar over a terrific groove. “Poem” maybe the catchiest techno dance track about capitalism to come out this year.

The music that Remy creates on In A Poem Unlimited is extraordinary and the lyrics are uncompromising. “Pearly Gates” describes seducing St Peter “I opened my gates wide and St Peter came inside” and wonders how heaven can be safe if it’s run by men…? “Rage of Plastics” is about becoming infertile while working in a manufacturing plant. The pop sheen throughout gives a door to the political lyrics and while these will be anthems to some, it will make a hard listen for others.

7.5/10