FEATURE: I Can’t Get No (Satisfaction): The Most Underrated and Overlooked Albums of 2018




I Can’t Get No (Satisfaction)


IN THIS PHOTO: The Lemon Twigs/PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images 

The Most Underrated and Overlooked Albums of 2018


IT is important to clarify...


 IN THIS PHOTO: Goat Girl/PHOTO CREDIT: Phil Smithies for DIY

that by ‘underrated’ and ‘overlooked’; I am referring to the end-of-year lists that have their top-tens and top-twenties. I have seen a lot of polls that have the same albums riding high but, in many cases, I feel there are some notable omissions that need to be redressed. Maybe it is my personal taste but there have been a lot of stellar albums released this year – many have not gained the same sort of celebration and attention as others. It is hard to celebrate all the really good albums and critics are likely to have very similar opinions. It is good to have a look at the polls and see what is making the cut. Make sure you check out the recommended albums but here, as an alternative top-twelve (why not?!), are albums that either didn’t feature in all the year’s-best polls or missed out entirely. These records warrant more focus and exposure so, without further ado, here are twelve albums that helped make 2018...


 IN THIS PHOTO: Superorgamism/PHOTO CREDIT: Max Hirschberger for Interview

A wonderful time for music.



Unknown Mortal OrchestraSex & Food


Release Date: 6th April, 2018

Label: Jagjaguwar

Producer: Ruban Nielson


Unknown Mortal Orchestra majordomo Ruban Nielson took a global approach to his band’s fourth full-length, Sex & Food: He recorded the album in Seoul, Hanoi, Reykjavik, Mexico City, Auckland, and Portland. Accordingly, the music is a colorful pastiche of eras and approaches, including gooey psychedelic rock with grimy guitars (“Major League Chemicals”), gleaming Steely Dan homages (the falsetto-driven “Hunnybee”), zoned-out stoner-pop sprawls (“Ministry Of Alienation”), and blurry blues-rock (“American Guilt”). Although Sex & Food’s heavy-lidded moments can occasionally meander too far afield into somnolence, the record’s sharp observations about life, politics, and society are focused. On the poignant “If You’re Going To Break Yourself,” which seems to address the painful experience of losing a friend group after getting clean, Nielson sings wearily about missing “the secret loser language” and says, “You blocked my number just because I stayed alive” – The AV Club

Download/Stream: Hunnybee; Everyone Acts Crazy Nowadays; How Many Zeros

Stream here: https://open.spotify.com/album/7c2Xfq7aQKzs0KdSI3K7Rc?si=Paa9N-N2RgeGsn_5mqFdrg

Standout Track: American Guilt

Kali UchisIsolation


Release Date: 6th April, 2018

Labels: Rinse/Virgin/Universal

Producers: Various


Tyler and Bootsy add sympathetic humor to the drifting BadBadNotGood groove "After the Storm," while GorillazDamon Albarn lays out some festive Suicide synth pop for "In My Dreams." Elsewhere, numerous West Coast associates -- SounwaveLarrance DopsonDJ DahiOm'Mas Keith, and Thundercat among them -- add to the set's prevailing dazed, dreamlike feel. Uchisis never obscured by the productions, coolly expressive while casually threading clever imagery from song to song. Her writing is most vivid in one of the delightfully bent retro-soul numbers, "Feel Like a Fool": "My heart went through a shredder the day I learned about your baby mothers/'Cause you're a grown-ass man, now you should know better/But I still run all my errands in your sweater." For all its entertaining art-pop feats, Isolation is just as remarkable for serious moments like "Killer," in which Uchis reaches a high degree of anguish that only real-life experience can arouse” – AllMusic

Download/Stream: Miami; Just a Stranger; Tyrant  

Stream here: https://open.spotify.com/album/4EPQtdq6vvwxuYeQTrwDVY?si=D2MfHNwUTtS-_CClYX55Rw

Standout Track: After the Storm



Release Date: 26th October, 2018 

Labels: Konichiwa/Interscope

Producers: Joseph Mount; Mr. Tophat; Adam Bainbridge; Robyn; Klas Åhlund


Honey’s centrepiece may be Because It’s in the Music, a track that feels like the inverse image of Dancing on My Own, in which music offers no sense of escape or release: “I’m right back in that moment and it makes me want to cry,” she sings. The melody has the potential to feel anthemic, but it doesn’t, because the sound is weirdly fractured. The signifiers of euphoria – disco strings, tingle-inducing electronic shimmers, a lovely synth motif not a million miles removed from Ryuichi Sakamoto’s Forbidden Colours – never quite connect with each other: they’re scattered throughout the track and feel oddly lonely” – The Guardian

Download/Stream: Missing U; Baby Forgive Me; Between the Lines  

Stream here: https://open.spotify.com/album/0CQ68SLY0B5e6L1rn8jfkc?si=ZiGp5eXxRA-ZGhjwg8mlbg

Standout Track: Honey

The Lemon TwigsGo to School


Release Date: 24th August, 2018 

Label: 4AD


Go to School is an artistic statement on a grand scale, and it cements their reputation as world-class songwriters. It’s a once-in-a-generation epic that, unfortunately, The Lemon Twigs will never be able to do again, owing to the purity of concept and execution here.

A legend once said that if you gave an infinite number of chimpanzees an infinite number of typewriters, they’d eventually reproduce the works of Shakespeare. If you gave an infinite number of chimpanzees an infinite number of guitars, would they eventually write Go to School? Probably not” – The Line of Best Fit

Download/Stream: Rock Dreams; Small Victories; Go to School  

Stream here: https://open.spotify.com/album/5c42OLUNIZldeqhSSOER8d?si=_vnlDDPJQzymh7qDjTqxYQ

Standout Track: Never in My Arms, Always in My Heart

Kamasi WashingtonHeaven & Earth


Release Date: 22nd June, 2018

Label: Young Turks

Producer: Kamasi Washington


The album hits its full, glorious stride during its last several tracks. “The Psalmnist,” a taut, unassailable post-bop theme by trombonist Ryan Porter, sparks one of the sharpest Washington solos on the album, before a virtuoso battle royal between drummers Tony Austin and Ronald Bruner, Jr. The next tune, “Show Us the Way,” opens with a modal crush of piano chords that recalls “Change of the Guard,” from The Epic. It culminates, after a rafters-raising Washington solo, in a refrain by the choir: “Dear Lord,” they sing, invoking John Coltrane, “Show us the way.”

The power of that moment, which carries through the final track, “Will You Sing,” lies in a vibrational parallel to the black church, and all the momentous weight that comes with it. Washington is flagrant in aligning his music with a tradition of transcendent struggle. The feeling he’s chasing is the feeling of someone who’s been to the mountaintop and come back with an urgent story to tell” – Pitchfork

Download/Stream: Testify; The Psalmist; Will You Sing  

Stream here: https://open.spotify.com/album/5mG7tl4EW2xrTy5rI8BgGL?si=PU6gdsCITTCmgghLjVf_5g

Standout Track: Fists of Fury

Soccer MommyClean


Release Date: 3rd March, 2018

Label: Fat Possum Records

Producer: Gabe Wax


And the plaintive ‘Scorpio Rising’ - taking its name from either astronomy, or a 1969 film about gay Nazi bikers (we’re guessing it’s the former, tbh) - starts out hushed but grows and grows by stealth; a fearsome shadow extinguishing the streetlights. And ‘Cool’ meanwhile is privy to her wittiest writing to date as she warns somebody off a girl named Mary in cutting verses: “Mary has a heart of coal / She’ll break you down and eat you whole / I saw her do it after school / She’s an animal.”

In typical Soccer Mommy fashion, there’s little flashy footwork to be found here; only expertly-shaped understated songs that give more with every listen. Stepping beyond the groundwork of her debut collection, and sounding all the more confident for it, Sophie Allison shoots, and she scores” – DIY

Download/Stream: Still Clean; Last Girl; Scorpion Rising

Stream here: https://open.spotify.com/album/36NLDBi2kX7XRHnyLzLOS8?si=F9CafaEhQNquus3Nk220mQ

Standout Track: Your Dog

Goat GirlGoat Girl


Release Date: 6th April, 2018

Label: Rough Trade Records


If you’re thinking, though, that the naturally bucolic nature of country music doesn’t quite fit in with the hustle and bustle of lights-out London, then you’d be very wrong indeed. Goat Girl’s gritty take makes their message even more potent. ‘Creep’ relays a tale that most can relate to; that of a public transport pervert who won’t let up or put his dick away. Pogues-worthy strings add an odd wistfulness to the sound of Clottie singing about how she’d like to smash the head in of a man who’s filming her on the train. We know how you feel, Clottie.

Things get murkier with ‘The Man’, which recalls fellow south London reprobates Fat White Family thanks to eager kick drum, hollered lyrics and their rowdy, everyone-in-the-back-room-of-the-pub-singing-along delivery. A cover of Bugsy Malone ballad ‘Tomorrow’ closes Goat Girl’s debut with a sultry torch-song feeling – proof that these guys are far from a one-trick pony. Or goat, for that matter” – NME

Download/Stream: Viper Fish; Cracker Drool; Lay Down

Stream here: https://open.spotify.com/album/3jDJ8KuleRVdhS2DJKFEW2?si=RdzI0Zt2SLmX8lCyKomARw

Standout Track: The Man

The InternetHive Mind


Release Date: 20th July, 2018

Label: Columbia Records

Producers: The Internet


On “Look What You Started” Syd’s voice is simultaneously threatening and dismissive, singing: “You blame it on your problems but it’s no excuse/You can’t keep playing innocent – I know the truth.” “Bravo” misleads with its basic stomp beat on the intro before the bass kicks in on a different beat to the vocals. Alternatively, the infectious groove of the bass on “Burbank Funk” is tight as anything, as Lacy instructs the listener: “Listen to your heart/What’s it saying?”

And where Ego Death seemed led by Syd and Lacy, Hive Mind feels much more collaborative, put together in studios and homes the band rented around the world. It’s undoubtedly one of their best works: the band have a synergy that draws the listener in, allowing you to revel in their irresistible confidence, and hope they might invite you to join the party” – The Independent

Download/Stream: Come Together; Look What U Started; Beat Goes On

Stream here: https://open.spotify.com/album/27ThgFMUAx3MXLQ297DzWF?si=YhpQEJLVTTyaUGtWm_Aryw

Standout Track: Roll (Burbank Funk)

Tommy GenesisTommy Genesis


Release Date: 9th November, 2018

Label: Downtown

Producers: Various


Genesis has clearly grown into her strengths, though, dialing in a murmuring flow perfectly suited to bass-heavy beats and a brash persona unafraid of boasts. Tommy Genesis is a fun, wisely brief ride. You can now imagine Genesis landing one well-placed feature on a big-ticket song and tipping over into the mainstream. More concerned with the here and now, that’s not what she seems to want. Her invitation on the breezy, poppy closer “Miami” renders that mission plainly: “I’m living my best life/Come inside” – Pitchfork

Download/Stream: Bad Boy; 100 Bad; Daddy

Stream here: https://open.spotify.com/album/2OuXxjcDzScqRIWvtR3j5a?si=3d7udzr8QNCLkq97yhIzqw

Standout Track: Tommy

GengahrWhere Wildness Grows


Release Date: 9th March, 2018

Label: Gengahr


The first half of Where Wildness Grows is packed with panoramic indie-psych rock toned to perfection. “Is This How You Love” showcases Gengahr’s trademark love for melody and distortion and is followed by another highlight in the shape of “I’ll Be Waiting”. The track evokes choppy early Maccabees-esque guitars, sealed with the unmistakable sound of frontman Felix Bushe’s vocals lamenting lost love: “Still in love with you, that’s alright I’ll be waiting / Nothing I won’t do’. This tenderness and honesty continues throughout, whether lyrically on “Blind Truth” or in the atmosphere of “Left in Space”. Artistic in every sense, each track adds a splodge of paint or a sweeping stroke to the blank Where Wildness Grows canvas.

Despite coming back refreshed, one thing is for certain; Gengahr haven’t lost the soluble quality of their sound, every intricacy has the ability to melt right in. Elegant and artful to its core, Where Wildness Grows is an impressive step forward from a band who seemingly have more to prove to themselves than anyone else” – The Line of Best Fit

Download/Stream: Before Sunrise; Where Wildness Grows; Left in Space

Stream here: https://open.spotify.com/album/4mJUfanUtn0ymiMLuFZyNV?si=XxxRdQDSQIalu1FH2duhoA

Standout Track: Carrion



Release Date: 2nd March, 2018  

Label: Domino

Producers: Superorganism


The band can do shiny pop ("It's All Good," which has a crazy slowed-down Tony Robbins sample), introspective dream pop ("Reflections on the Screen"), slowly strutting Beck-like hip-hop ("SPRORGNSM"), and melancholy ballads ("Nai's March"), all with equal aplomb. When they kick into second gear, they make modern pop that equals the best around. "Everybody Wants to Be Famous" is a rollicking takedown of D-list culture complete with ringing cash-register percussion and a melt-in-your-mouth sweet vocal by Orono; "Something for Your M.I.N.D." is warped pop gold with subaquatic bass, a naggingly catchy vocal sample, and Orono's second most off-kilter lyrics (after "The Prawn Song"). Despite the somewhat cluttered and freewheeling exterior, it's clear that Superorganism know exactly what they are doing at all times, slicing and dicing like master chefs, then reassembling the bits and bobs of pop ephemera into a concoction that has a sugary kick sweeter and fizzier than an ice-cold cola” – AllMusic  

Download/Stream: Everybody Wants to Be Famous; Nobody Cares; The Prawn Song

Stream here: https://open.spotify.com/album/15TFB6uLZlb3gnCysRrLix?si=rXX-ZXp8QSOj3bIA0-c1fQ

Standout Track: Something for Your M.I.N.D.

Natalie PrassThe Future and the Past


Release Date: 1st June, 2018

Label: ATO Records


If every song here is exceptionally well-written – the songs that address the Trump presidency do so pretty deftly, with only Sisters feeling close to rote tub-thumping – the lengthy Ship Go Down and Hot for the Mountain are the most exploratory, off-beam tracks Prass has written to date, slackening the usual verse-chorus structure. The former shifts from eeriness to a gently insistent defiance – “we can take you on,” it repeats, again and again – while the latter starts out jazzy, and slowly builds into a stunning, cathartic final two minutes, as Prass’s wordless vocal wail swims through a woozy, distorted groove that audibly bears the influence of tropicalia, the Brazilian take on psychedelia that’s another of Spacebomb’s touchstones. It’s magnificent, as is the rest of The Future and the Past. Proof that you can be a member of a loose musical collective and out on your own at the same time” – The Guardian  

Download/Stream: Short Court Style; Lost; Far from You

Stream here: https://open.spotify.com/album/4eaB4Z7pCzLfvgvdbq2mVO?si=eseErzPyQEep0za2iHi3-g

Standout Track: Oh My