Genre/Style: Hip Hop
FFO: Oddisee, Lando Chill, Bishop Nehru
Summary: Producer L’Orange and rapper Solemn Brigham formed Marlowe to deliver a fresh and inventive album rooted in hip hop tradition. L’Orange produces some of his most potent concoctions as a canvas for Brigham to paint with thoughtfully crafted sentiments delivered with palpable energy . This veteran producer and hungry, young vocalist are a match made in hip hop heaven.
Listen: Lost Arts (Official Video)
Genre/Style: Indie Rock, Indie Pop
FFO: St. Vincent, Snail Mail, Half Waif
Summary: The debut of the LA singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist is one of the most eclectic, inventive albums of the year. Folick achieves a full pop sound using only organic instruments, no small feat in 2018.
Listen: Stop Talking (Official Video)
ROOM INSIDE THE WORLD
Genre/Style: Post-Punk, Indie Rock, Art Punk
FFO: Parquet Courts, Preoccupations, Protomartyr
Summary: The Canadian post-punk band polishes some edges of their sound to deliver a beautiful yet bracing album, led by Tim Darcy’s unmistakeable howl.
Listen: Desire (Official Video)
Genre/Style: Synthpop, Alt-R&B, House
FFO: Blood Orange, Girlpool, The Knife
Summary: Aaron Maine started out making indie-rock under the name Porches and now on his third album, his musical abilities have evolved immensely. Incorporating elements of house music into his lush synth-scapes, Maine turns what is essentially a breakup record into an absorbing exhibition about isolation and connection.
Listen: Goodbye (Official Video)
Genre/Style: R&B, Pop
FFO: FKA Twigs, Mariah Carey, Frank Ocean
Summary: On her sophomore album the British singer tops her incredible debut with anthemic hooks, oozy grooves, and earth-shattering vocal performances.
Genre/Style: Indie Rock, Ragtime Rock, Soul
FFO: The Black Keys, The Shins, Kyle Craft
Summary: Singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Richard Swift was a legend in the world of indie-rock. He had a prolific solo career, he was a member of The Shins, and he produce some of the greatest indie albums of the 21st Century, working with the likes of Foxygen, Nathaniel Rateliff, and Damien Jurado. This year Richard passed away at the age of 41 and he completed this record just a month before his death. Saying this album is a masterpiece is an understatement, it is a timeless talent at peak performance leaving a precious parting gift.
Listen: Broken Finger Blues
Let’s Eat Grandma
I’m All Ears
Genre/Style: Synthpop, Experimental Pop
FFO: CVRCHES, CocoRosie, The Horrors
Summary: British teenage weirdo-rockers and childhood friends Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth made their debut in 2016 and immediately established themselves as indie-rock innovators. On their sophomore album they turn their sights to pop: polishing up their sound, saturating it with synths, while keeping their experimental spirit. With the help of super-producer SOPHIE and The Horrors’ Faris Badwan, they deliver some catchy, quirky, expertly crafted jams.
Watch: It’s Not Just Me (Official Video)
Genre/Style: Post-Punk, Indie Rock, Dance-Punk
FFO: Protomartyr, Ought, Gil-Scott Heron, Talking Heads
Summary: Art Rock kings Parquet Courts return with a politically charged record expanding their sound with more elaborate instrumentations. A. Savage rambles and croons covering every subject from Tom Brady to dysfunctional families to the need for human connection.
Watch: Wide Awake (Official Video)
Genre/Style: Art-Rap, Experimental Pop, Alt-R&B
FFO: Beyonce, Vince Staples, Jamila Woods
Summary: The debut of art rapper Tierra Whack displays her incredible artistic range. She presents her work in a groundbreaking format: 15 songs, 1 minute each = 15 minute album. Over such a short time she covers so much ground, slipping in and out of different sounds and styles. Walking the line between silly and poignant (sometimes both at the same time) each track is more unforgettable than the last.
Watch: Whack World
Genre/Style: Synthpop, R&B, Hip Hop, Funk
FFO: Prince, Grimes, Outkast
Summary: You can’t touch the queen! This album is pure Black Girl Magic, social statements, sexual declarations, and hopeful motivation.