Music listening isn’t a linear activity that starts on January 1 and ends on December 31, and then resets itself the next year.
So for a fun take on an end-of-year list, we reached out to our contributors to find out what records they listened to most in 2018 without the restriction of a date range. The result is a list that spans eras and genres – from mid-1990s hip-hop to Japanese City Pop and feminist punk.
The waves of Japanese reissues keep breaking and scattering untold treasures on the shore. Harry Hosono (the grandson of a Titanic survivor!) is best known for his amazing work with Yellow Magic Orchestra but his prolific solo output is staggering. Pacific came out 40 years ago and was reissued in 2017. His love song to the Pacific Ocean is a sublime example of City Pop with some smooth AOR/soft rock/soul vibes. Solid gold! – Sophie Miles
Before his solo career which produced 2017’s cocksure Forced Witness, Alex Cameron lent his vocals to Seekae, the Sydney based electronic project who made carefully constructed and intelligent electronic music. The band’s 2014 album The Worry was a masterclass in atmospherics, the trio impressively playing with instrumental space to create hypnotic compositions that are striking in their ambience. Album highlights ‘Still Moving’ and ‘Test & Recognise’ are accentuated by Cameron’s delivery, striking the perfect balance between melancholy and impassioned. Seekae might be on the back burner for the time being, but there’s no doubt that their effect still lingers. – Holly Pereira
Big Thief’s debut album first tugged heartstrings upon its release in 2016, cementing songwriter Adrianne Lenker as one of the most emotive storytellers of her generation. The album’s impact can still be felt to this day – just watch the band’s Tiny Desk Concert performed around its release to feel the commanding power of the songs. Largely consisting of reflections on love, Masterpiece looks at its all consuming nature to the intimate moments shared by lovers. Behind Adrianne are a steadfast band who bolster her lyrical prowess with unforgettable instrumental moments – songs like ‘Masterpiece’ and ‘Real Love’ rouse with their energy, while the tender folk of ‘Lorraine’ and ‘Velvet Ring’ serve as examples of perfectly executed restraint. – Holly Pereira
At the end of Back To The Future, Marty comes out of his zany adventure having indirectly benefited from the journey to the past. It’s that consequence that underpins BTTF II, a darker look at the unwitting ramifications of Marty’s initial success. It’s that same spirit that makes Labcabincalifornia The Pharcyde’s best album. Propelled to fame by Bizarre Ride II, The Pharcyde, the group put their considerable charisma to use exploring the loss, alienation, hardship and pitfalls of their fame. A handful of Dilla beats doesn’t hurt, either. – Conor Herbert
Crazy P, formerly known as Crazy Penis, are a British electronic music group and their 2015 album Walk Dance Talk Sing has been my most played album for the past three years. It works for most situations and moods – pre-drinks, afters, the party proper – and is both easy listening and highly danceable. – Annabel Ross
For whatever reason, I find myself circling back to this album every year. I discovered it about eight years ago when Dan toured Australia for the first time, and I find something new to love about it every time I spin it again. It’s a companion when I’m travelling, or just when I’m feeling alone. Whatever context, it works. Dan also put out a really lovely album this year called More Or Less. Love your work, sir. – David James Young
The Warrior’s Spell (2015)
Hobart cult label Heavy Chains specialise in releasing metal of all kinds from around the world, often on cassette. Label founder Will Spectre also plays guitar in Tarot, who revel in the epic, fantasy-steeped, prog-and-folk-licked hard rock of yesteryear. Their 2015 collection The Warrior’s Spell scratches an itch I never knew I had – for crashing drums, subterranean organ, lapsed-choir-boy vocals and deep, dank, triumphant riffing. Please play the mainland more often, Tarot! – Doug Wallen
You can tell a lot about a person by their favourite Beatle – but what about their favourite Eagle? No disrespect to Don Henley or the other guys in The Eagles that aren’t Don Henley but Joe Walsh is my favourite Eagle. And I’m writing this as someone that never really liked The Eagles in the first place. A Spotify algorithm led me to this record via Joe’s equally amazing single ‘A Life Of Illusion’, and I’ve thrashed it relentlessly since. Released a couple years after Joe hopped on The Eagles gravy train, But Seriously, Folks… offers up playful Southern-rock riffery (‘At The Station’), wistful Americana (‘Second Hand Store’), nautical-inspired prog instrumentals (‘Theme from Boat Weirdos’), life-affirming lite reggae (‘Over and Over’), and sardonic reflections on fame (‘Life’s Been Good’). In other words: a bunch of stuff that would never really fly in his main band. – Darren Levin
The egg’s on my face for missing this album a few years back. Clearly a band that can laugh at itself and has a great time, this is fun, feminist punk that doesn’t hold back. The riffs and guitar solos in ‘Joke’ are a particular highlight, charge the song to its conclusion, while other notable tracks include ‘Drone’ and ‘Cool Slut’. – Izzy Tolhurst