Another year has brought some exciting returns, introduced loads of incredible new talent, proved the ethos of DIY and allowed vets to justify their longevity. Over the next 7 weeks, we’ll be bringing you the highlights of the year in music, created by our friendly artists and labels. Today, we’re giving you ‘best of 2018’ list from Tobias Grave of Portland’s atmopsheric alt dark wave / post punk act SOFT KILL (Profound Lore Records)!
2018 was a strange year. Saw a record of music created to cope with the hardest moments of my life released to the scrutiny of the world. “Savior” came and took Soft Kill to new corners of the Earth, sharing these emotions with strangers in real time. I was naive to think it would be easy to offer this to the world, and found myself turning to a lot of music, film and art far removed from our sound and aesthetic to process these feelings. I can’t list everything but here’s a selection of what got me through these past months.
Freddie Gibbs – “Freddie” LP (ESGN/Empire)
Definitely my album of the year. Gibbs has offered pure magic up before in the form of the celebrated “Piñata” LP produced by Madlib. Here he offers a barrage of violently rhythmic music to compliment Gary, Indiana’s reputation. The Midwest is home, and while Chicago has defined the sound I love, “Freddie” is Drill meets Atlanta trap at it’s absolute finest. Instant classic.
City Hunter – “Deep Blood” LP (Youth Attack)
I’m obsessed with James Trejo’s entire trajectory, but this was the record I’ve been waiting to drop for years. I can’t even call this hardcore. It’s more vile than 99% of what’s passed off as black metal, vocals that actually sound like they’re spewing from the mouth of the figure on the cover. Maniacal murder music, further proof that Denver has the greatest circle of bands on this sick planet.
Lycia – “In Flickers” LP (Projekt)
The most misunderstood, captivating and influential band of the American “dark wave” scene. Now I have to wash my mouth out with soap. A truly perfect return, silencing imitators and leaving their devotees in awe. Some of the greatest people on Earth too, do not mistake this for goth, please don’t call it anything. Just listen to and love these songs.
Roddy Ricch – “Feed Tha Streets 2” Mixtape (Self Released)
Compton created gangster rap. YG has been holding the torch but out of left field comes Mr. Riich with one of the greatest mixtapes I’ve heard in years. “Die Young” is my song of the year and “Every Season” combines all that I adore about Lil Baby and Durkio into a perfect sound.
Harms Way – “Posthuman” LP (Metal Blade)
Whereas “Deep Blood” makes me want to run for my life, “Posthuman” makes me want to kill the world. Not only does it feature the heaviest opening riff imaginable but they incorporate 90’s industrial elements without it sounding cheesy or forced. I absolutely hate looking at the album cover for all the right reasons.
03 Greedo – “The Wolf of Grape Street” Mixtape (Self Released)
“Mafia Business” was my favorite song last year and left me wondering if my favorite LA rapper could create a solid enough project to play from front to back. This is all that and then some. Such a creative voice and song writer, his whole camp pushed Los Angeles to a new level. Sadly he’s a couple months into a twenty year sentence but apparently has a pile of music in the vault to keep us afloat till he comes home better than ever.
Trashlight – “Honey Insulation” Cassette (Cercle Social)
Everytime we tour I find a band that leaves me stunned. Human Leather and Way Out changed my life. Trashlight emerged from smoke and shadow to offer up the most convincing take on death rock since Cemetery’s drunken chaos a few years back.
Pusha T – “Daytona” LP (G.O.O.D. Music)
The best true to form hip hop record of 2018. So many gutter ass bars you’re left looking at whoever you’re with to see if they grasp what they’re hearing and they look back at you like “please stop staring at me, I’m trying to listen to this sick ass record.” Best album cover too.
Oneohtrix Point Never – “Age Of” LP (Warp)
The CD packaging for this was so insane I had to cop. “Black Snow” killed me. This entire record is one huge clusterfuck of synthetic bliss and blooming filth that has you waiting for the beat that never truly drops.
I love Clipping and respect anyone who’s able to transform an incredibly heavy and poignant message into something that’s somehow fun as fuck to watch. One of the only movies that dropped this year that floored me.