As I was putting together last year’s ‘best of’ list of most engaging and surprising records I came across a number of opinions claiming that such wrap-ups and, perish the thought, rankings are foolish and discriminatory. In fact, since it’s impossible to hear every single piece of music that was released over the year, no fancy magazine has the knowledge to proclaim anything as the year’s best releases. Given this limitation, we gave up trying to pick IDIOTEQ’s best and asked a number of bands and labels to contribute and let us now about their perspective. The outcome was incrdible and so much more well-rounded and complete. This year, we’re expanding the idea with a follow-up series that gathers loads of new inspirations, undiscovered releases and worthy art from multi-dimensional artists from all over the world. Today, we’re teaming up with Denver dreamy post punk act LOWFAITH to give you another solid portion of recommendations, featuring some of the previous mentions and some unheard pears wirth a solid check. We’d love to hear your thoughts on their picks. Let us know what records have turned your crank this year in the comments below.
LOWFAITH’s “On Loss” is out now on CD and cassette via Sore Ear Collective.
2018 was one of the most polarizing years we have collectively experienced. We released our first full length, On Loss, followed by a tour to the other side of the country. We spent time with old friends and made even more new ones, and began laying the groundwork for more tours and releases in 2019. This was all paired with some of the scariest moments in our personal lives, ranging from shootings to seizures to car wrecks. Ultimately we’re thankful to be making it out alive, and appreciative that the hardest thing we had to deal with recently was narrowing down the list of our favorite releases from this year (in no particular order).
Iceage – Beyondless
This is one of the records that got a lot of play time in our van on tour, and a band that has definitely influenced us all around. Iceage is great at capturing a sound that feels like everything is coming undone yet still holding together as it all falls. ~ Cole // Vocals
Daughters – You Won’t Get What You Want
When we started talking about making this list, there was a little debate over whether or not we should put albums that qualify as “the best art made this year,” or stuff we enjoyed the most. This album definitely falls in the first category. It’s crushing and haunting, filled with wild noises and textures. This record is extremely inspiring to us, even prompting Danny to buy a new guitar pedal. ~ Derek // Guitar
Grouper – Grid of Points
I was very late to finding Grouper, but last year I was turned on to Dragging A Dead Deer and they became a staple in my listening ever since. Grid of Points is a hauntingly dreamy set of songs that totally envelopes me with each listen. ~ Cole
Elle – She
Elle consists of members of Loma Prieta and Beau Navire (my favorite screamo band) and this release certainly reflects that. While screamo is definitely an important part of its DNA, it reads more like an emo record. The guitars go from clean to just barely breaking up, playing catchy riffs, some of which are just periods of pleasant sounding feedback, and there isn’t a blast-beat in sight. The warmth and care put into this record makes it my personal record. ~ Derek
This Will Destroy You – New Others pt. I&II
It’s always refreshing when a band you’ve loved for years manages to totally surprise and excite you all over again. The first New Others did all that, and then the surprise release of part II managed to double it completely. These are great albums to just get lost in. ~ Cole
Sonnets – Of Wrath and Sorrow
I’ve been aware of this band for some time, but when they asked us to play a one-off in their hometown of Salt Lake City, I really dug deep into their releases. Their newest record is carefully crafted and definitely harkens back to classic screamo bands like Pg. 99 or City of Caterpillar. What blew me away was their intensity in a live setting, specifically their lyrical content which often deals with themes such as gender-identity. There’s an element of poppiness in their songs that I find infectious. ~ Derek
Portrayal of Guilt – Let Pain Be Your Guide
This record came out the day after I was in what could have very easily been a life altering (if not ending) car wreck, and these songs proved to be even more crushing than that experience. PoG really excels in embodying pain and misery through their writing, carrying a weight that I think so many heavier bands miss. ~ Cole
Earl Sweatshirt – Some Rap Songs
I’m convinced the most difficult feeling to elicit from a recording is one of slow but imminent collapse, an utter amazement that a record hasn’t melted your fucking life right before your eyes. Some Rap Songs makes me think my headphones are about to short circuit, the axle of my Volvo is about to snap in half, that my heart is about to slow to some unsustainable BPM. It’s an affront to convention, an affront to ascetic, an affront to everything a hype-y album is supposed to be in the information age. It’s fucking beautiful. ~ Collin // Bass
Sorrytown – Too
Sorrytown are some of our closest friends but more importantly they are one of my favorite bands of all time.I was in love with this record all year, and getting to see some of these songs lives when we toured with them in September solidified it as one of my tops. ~ Cole
Now, Now – Saved
This record surprised me, as the singles were so much different than the old Now, Now sound that I loved so much. It took a few listens but I ended up totally enthralled by it, and it’s one of my favorite pop records of late. ~ Cole