The Best Albums and EPs of 2018

by Darrell Smith

28th December, 2018

Well my friends, its almost here. The end of 2018 is almost upon us, and what a year it’s been.

It has been a hell of a year for new music, with some genuinely fantastic releases. Some were very surprising and have managed to stick with me. These are the albums and EPs that are going to be making this list. These are the albums that are truly worthy and deserving of being part of my 2018 playlist. So Let us begin my top 8 albums and EPs of the year.

Why eight?
Because I like to be different.

8. Loom:ngs – “Chapter One”
What started as an album I wasn’t sure about, quickly turned into one that I grew to love and admire. “Chapter One” is a very different album, and not typically found on my Spotify.
That is one of the reasons I love working here at Neon though.
“Chapter One” is a complex and textured offering, with each track changing style and pace. It is a haunting album full of beautiful melodic harmonies which will make your spine tingle.
“Sullenblue” and “Make This More” are standout tracks

7. Frank Turner – “Be More Kind”
I have always loved Frank’s studio work, and his latest was no different. He has always been an ever-evolving songwriter and “Be More Kind” could be his most different to date. Each tracks transitions somewhat and keeps things from getting stagnant or boring.
While being a more pop-styled album this time around, this album features great melodies and a certain honesty to his lyrics. It is a very relevant album and gets even better each time.

6. Bastian Baker
This album is a fantastic full-length offering, with each track showcasing a tremendous songwriting and storytelling ability. Each track encapsulates a different relatable situation, the listener will no doubt have faced, or will one day. “Stay” is one of the many great highlights of this memorable album, and features many thought-provoking concepts.
A great rock album, and one to check out if you haven’t already.

5. Evan Myall – “Basic Gardening”
“Basic Gardening” is a somewhat surprising EP, full of guitar-based experimentation and cleverly written melodies. It is full of little details that don’t come around twice and leaves the listener guessing the direction the track will go next. Something amazingly intricate and contemporary. His fantastic voice adds a great deal to the tracks on “Basic Gardening,”
And I found it to be an excellent listen. Check it out.

4. Softer Still – “Nuances”
I love this album. I love the eighties “Cure” like vibe and the way everything pieces together beautifully. Certain albums manage to grab you from the first listen, and this was one of those albums to me. Technically, the production is fantastic, and I love the choice to keep the bass forward in the mix. It brilliantly adds to the dreamlike feel these tracks convey.
“Nuances” is an album I still come back to, especially the track “Wishing Well.”
Truly fantastic.

3. TruStony – “Escapism”
“Escapism” from Brooklyn’s TruStony is a barrier-breaking album, full of complex overtones and deep lyrics. It’s this depth that makes this album so breath-taking, and worth multiple listens. The wide variety of social topics covered across these tracks is astounding and extremely thought-provoking. The closing track “Gone” is by far the stand out point, and the genius choice of implementing Carl Sagen’s “Pale Blue Dot” makes this track so much more poignant and vital. Brilliant.

2. Innes Wilson – “Seaview EP”
“Seaview EP” is a brilliantly written EP which manages to take you a deep and meaningful journey.
It is a journey of heartbreak and longing, something that everyone has faced at some point in their lives, or will eventually. Innes Wilson manages to tell the story of this journey with grace and sophistication, while at times being haunting and beautifully devastating.
The EP finale, “The Ballad of Earl Rowe” manages to bring the journey to a close and fills the listener with hope and optimism that everything will somehow be ok.
A fantastically written EP, full of brilliant musicianship.

1. FERGUS- “Purple Road”
Number One, with no shadow of a doubt. Everything about this EP is mesmerising, haunting, uplifting and unforgettable all at the same time.
To me, I love music like this. I said in my review that I love the band Mono, and perhaps that is why “Purple Road” tops the list. His guitar style and effects honestly remind me of them, but I enjoy FERGUS’s songwriting style much more. Since my review, I have probably listened to this EP thirty times, and it never gets dull.
All the tracks that makeup “Purple Road” are exquisite, and I want to hear these tracks live. Remarkable. FERGUS will do well in 2019.

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