It’s been a good year for debut albums in our latest Best Albums list.
Politics has also loomed large, with a number of releases, including our top placed album, trying to make sense of the chaos of Brexit.
We have also included a special focus on acts from one of our bases – the South West of England, which continues to produce some of the UK’s most best music.
16. Nicholson Heal –Big Jupe
Bristol based Nicholson Heal impresses with his debut album, with a keen focus on melody and featuring a wonderful brass section. Deservedly one of our Glastonbury Festival emerging talent competition longlist entries back in 2017. Full review.
15. Tigercats- Pig City
Tigercats are back, bigger, brassier and they’ve brought the party with them, careering round the capital on this gem of a third album, which makes great use of their new horn section and African influences. A deserved spot in our best albums of 2018 list. Full review.
14. The Billy Shinbone Show – The Billy Shinbone Show
Jesse Budd from Glastonbury based psychedelic popsters Flipron becomes Billy Shinbone for this eclectic solo album that blends 1960s psychedelia with country and Cajun music. Fans of Robyn Hitchcock’s recent albums will find a lot to like here. Full review.
13. Superorganism – Superorganism
This global octet, with members from the UK, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, have impressed us greatly with their stunning debut, which is packed with a range of styles, big choruses and delicious hooks.
12. Okkervil River – In the Rainbow Rain
In the Rainbow Rain is Okkervil River at their best, featuring great tunes in the likes of Love Somebody and Pulled Up The Ribbon as well as some of the strongest personal writing yet from their leader Will Sheff. Full review.
11. Guided by Voices – Space Gun
Space Gun may well be the best album that Robert Pollard has recorded under the Guided By Voices moniker since he resurrected the band back in 2012. Full review.
10. Papernut Cambridge – Outstairs Instairs
Former Death in Vegas man Ian Button and his crew continue to reinvent 1970s pop, this time covering themes of grief and loss as he reflects on the passing of his father, whose words of wisdom on No Pressure are among many, many highlights. Full review.
9. Alex Highton – Welcome to Happiness
For his third album Liverpudlian Alex Highton has turned up the synths and 1980/90s influences to great effect. This is particular notable on opener Benny Is a Heartbreaker, an Ultravox-esque thriller of a song. Full review.
8. Front Person – Front Runner
Canadian singer songwriters Kathryn Calder (The New Pornographers) and Mark Hamilton (Woodpigeon) come together produce one of the best albums of 2018. Their trademark passionate lyrics and beautiful vocal delivery combine perfectly on this debut, which features some smart use of vintage electronica. Full review.
7. Neko Case- Hell On
The world’s best female vocalist? We certainly think so, especially after hearing this latest highly charged release. She certainly has a lot to be emotional about this time around with this album arriving after her house burnt down and amid a battle with stalkers. Yet another career highpoint and a worthy entry in our best albums of 2018 list.
6. Jack Hayter – Abbey Wood
A derelict children’s home provides the inspiration for former Hefner man Jack Hayter’s latest, where everything falls into place. It has a strong back story, some moments of genuine drama, great music and above all sincerity. Full review.
5. Robert Rotifer – They Don’t Love You Back
The Austrian musician, broadcaster and Kent resident has created an epic stream of folk, psychedelic consciousness that perfectly encapsulates the senseless chaos of Brexit. Recorded as a 77 minute track as part of a Wiaiwya Records project to raise money for Médecins Sans Frontières. Full review.
4. The Go! Team- Semicircle
Eu-bleedin’-phoric! There’s no other word combo to sum up the sheer exhilarating joy of this Go! Team latest. Full review.
3. Parquet Courts Wide Awake
Parquet Courts had already done their bit for guitar rock on their first three albums. Now they expertly take their music into new directions, thanks to Danger Mouse on production duties.
2. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Hope Downs
Melbourne band’s three guitars pack a punch, especially on this album’s fantastic opening featuring An Air Conditioned Man, Talking Straight and Mainland. Full review.
1. Field Music – Open Here
From its chamber pop gems to pop-tastic foot stompers, this latest from Britain’s most interesting act continues to delight. There are serious messages too, as the band eloquently express their fears around parenthood in post-Brexit Britain. A deserved top spot in our Best albums of 2018 list. Full review.
Compiled by Joe Lepper and Dorian Rogers