It's a new year, music has slowly begun to trickle in, and 2018 looks like it will be a great year for music. On this mini jams you'll find some musical staples as well as some newcomers. So let's take a look at some of the best new music of 2018.
DIY punk master Jeff Rosenstock's fourth solo album was a New Year's Day surprise, earning the obligatory title of "The First Great Album of 2018." Following up his sarcastic, self-deprecating 2016 album Worry, Jeff ventures into political territory. Though many of the lyrics are melancholic and powerful, it plays like a dark comedy when paired with infectious guitar riffs and Jeff's frenzied vocals.
Last year Daniel Romano released Modern Pressure, one of my favorite albums of 2017. Four days into 2018 he released two albums. This first new album could not be more different than it's predecessor. Modern Pressure channeled 70's rock and Human Touch channels 60's folk, driven by Daniel's creaky voice and an expertly picked acoustic guitar, and outfitted with gorgeous orchestration and glorious harmonies. He tells beautiful, sometimes brutal stories that feel like echoes of Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash.
The Canadian singer/songwriter's second album of 2018 finds Daniel shifting from the bare folk of Human Touch to bigger folk-rock anthems. The title track opener "Nerveless" is my favorite song out of all songs on both albums, yet Human Touch is a stronger albums overall. I'm just excited to have so much Daniel Romano music to get to know throughout the year. His album helped me get through last year so I think I'm set for 2018.
Chicago native Elizabeth Eden Harris has been making music under the name cupcakke for the past few years, garnering some recognition via YouTube and World Star for her lightning-fast, hyper-sexual, sharp-witted brand of hip hop. On her new album she reaches a new level, with killer wordplay and references delivered with exceptional speed and confidence. She's only 20 years old but has handful of mixtapes under her belt. This rook could rap circles around most of the rappers out there.
Francis and the Lights
Just For Us
Francis Farewell Starlite earns the obligatory title of "Last Great Album of 2017." Though this album does feature any big names like Bon Iver or Chance The Rapper, Francis delivers his signature brand of heartfelt pop, with epic athems full of big shiny synths and warm ballads. This album is so bouncy and danceable, you can't help but feel good while listening.
A Productive Cough
The first single from the New Jersey punk band's fifth album, A Productive Cough, promises their best album since their groundbreaking 2010 album The Monitor. Where the band would usually come in guns blazing, this song sustains it's greatness over 8 minutes, led by an infectious piano part this song rises and falls with epic swells of strings, sleigh bells, flutes, and more. Patrick Stickles opens a vein, venting about the political climate and the "obnoxious process" that we're all trapped in, while pushing his voice to it's brink to convey our anxiety and frustration. His own personal struggles are inseparable from the political insights, with each line bleeding into the next yet forming a consistent and relatable stream of consiousness. This song feels like the modern punk equivalent of American Pie. It's a goddamn masterpiece. A Productive Cough is out March 2nd on Merge
Everybody Wants To BE Famous
Superorganism is a many limbed beast, with eight members in both London and Maine. Last January the group debuted their amazing song, "Something For Your M.I.N.D." and this January they've delivered another great single. The style they've established is in full force, teenage frontwoman Orono delivers some delightfully deadpan vocals, commenting on social media sensasionalization, over some very interesting compositions with gurgling synths, pitch shifts, and audio samples. The self-titled debut is out March 2nd on Domino Recording Co.
The Go! Team
All the way live
The Go! Team is a sort of superorganism itself, with many members coming and going over the years. Their sound has always been big and bright and fun, but on the new album they attempt to capture the energy of a marching band and condense it for an indie-rock project. This new single does not disappoint, with big horns, schoolyard chants, and a poppy chorus. This is some feel good music to make you pumped for the coming year. Semicircle is out January 19th on Memphis Industries.
Hand it over
It's been 5 years since MGMT's last release and these new songs find the duo venturing into interesting new territory. They delivered eerily unsettling yet unescapable catchy indie-pop with "Little Dark Age" and "When You Die." This new song is more a spacious ballad, with instrumentals reminiscent of 70's pop. The orchestration on all of these new songs is equal parts comforting nostalgia and innovative experimentation.
What began as a college art school project has developed into one of the most exciting new punk bands. They comment on social and feminist issues with killer guitar riffs and clever lyricism. They channel Le Tigre on this new single, full with handclaps and "hey hey"s. The band's self-titled debut is out January 26th on Lucky Number.