So yeah, as the world spins further and further towards being consumed by the fires of war that will end human civilisation as we know it, we've been granted some...pretty fucking great albums lads. They've come from all over the spectrum when it comes to music, from smooth sophisticated hip hop to vicious hardcore. Here y'all have it, in no order because fuck that noise but 6 great albums that came out this year ye should listen to.
Rejjie had been knocking about the hip hop scene for quite a while, first as Lecs Luther, then realising a string of EPs, singles, videos and a full length tape in 2017's The Moon & You, but not the debut album, until this year with Dear Annie. It's an hour long, it covers a lot of sonic ground from witty synthpop to smooth disco to muky trap, you've got some lovely singing from the man himself, a hape of great guest spots, one of the best rap albums of this year. I wasn't aware of him from the off so the hype around the debut finally coming out isn't gonna be as present for me, but I think it lives up to expectations.
On their fifth album, Sheffield's Rolo Tomassi have perhaps delivered the best album of their career. The violent, juddering mathcore and beautiful soundscapes that characterise their sound are still intact, but this time around, not only is it the smoothest integration of both those conflicting elements, but they're delivering beauty and brutality on par with the finest bands doing those things. It's perhaps my favourite heavy album of the year so far, and honestly I'm not sure if much could possibly top it.
JPEGMAFIA's been at the cutting edge of the underground for quite a while now, taking the street level approach of trap but adding a lofi approach, an experimental, disorienting, jarring flair with the production and lyrics that are outlandish, political and hilarious all at the same time. His style has the confrontational nature of Ice Cube in his prime, yet he's been raised by and with the internet, the glitchy, punishing beats and wide eyed intensity helping make this perhaps the perfect album for the times we're in, heavily online, cynical yet very much angry with the state of things and always with our tongues firmly in our cheeks.
The XCERTS are a Scottish band that've been around for a while, developing from scrappy fuzz pop into a far more sophisticated outfit with some of the best songwriting in the game. With this album they're fully channeling their inner John Hughes. A brighter, more bittersweet affair than the darkness of There Is Only You, it's a truly lovely slice of melodic alt rock, taking in heartland rock, new wave, the beauty of The Cure at their nicest and the sheer gift for songcraft of fellow Scots Belle And Sebastian. If you like any music that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, get this into ya.
Chicago's Harms Way have evolved from the feral powerviolence/death metal hybrid of their past into a lean, mean devastating metallic hardcore group, building on their past with flourishes of industrial and 1990s Roadrunner bands. This puts them in similar territory to last year's Forever by Code Orange, but this is a less wildlly experimental record, more one that adds flair to an already very solid backbone and tightens up every element. It's brutish, nasty, really heavy, the perfect blend of pace, punch, groove and breakdowns to make you spinkick your dad to.