December 30, 2018

HCTF's best of 2018 (10-6)

HCTF's annual list of the 20 albums that will be in regular rotation for many years to come. As per usual many genres are represented. This blog covers a lot of ground and it shows in this eclectic, final tally.

Today: countdown from number 10 to 6.

Please shop at your local record store, buy directly from the artist, attend live shows. Don't block anyone's view with with your phone (better still, switch it off altogether). Shut the fuck up while the band is playing. Educate your friends. Word-of-mouth can't be beat as the prime source to discover new music.

10 Sabatta: Misfit Music

It's about fucking time that a band brings back rawk into rock.

Singer and guitarist Yinka Oyewole is one of those rare musicians who conjure up different moods and tempos at the same time, playing catch with his vocals and instrument. Being and outsider by way of rock is almost a lost art nowadays, but Misfit Music is a call to arms for rawkers of all ages. It's melodic, in-your-face, and filled to the rafters with riffs and hooks. Sabatta makes being angry fun again.

» Full review

9 Port Almond: Port Almond

Make a post-rock jazz noise and capture it old-school on analog equipment.

Norwegian musician Rune Simonsen (..) incorporates bits of jazz, post-rock and ambient - dreamy with an edge. Simonsen doesn't shun noise, besides going for muffled trumpet and brushes. Take note of Oli Bott laying down lazy textures with his vibraphone, an instrument that isn't played that much nowadays, which is s shame really. It's the most melodic member of the percussion family.

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8 Moonchy & Tobias; Moonchy & Tobias

Avant-garde collaboration puts up a challenge for the listener.

Moonchy & Tobias is an intense listening experience and untrained ears will have trouble withe the dissonance and dark mood that lays like a heavy blanket on top of the tracks. The music buzzes and crackles (not to mention that it can be a bit frightening as well). The duo might have invented a whole new genre with this album: operatic post-psychedelic avant-garde that needs be explored more often in the near future.

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7 STASJ: Soft Forces

Electronic art-rock meets classically trained singer to create a singular sounding album.

Dutch multi-instrumentalist and singer Stefanie Janssen has adopted the stage name STASJ for her new album Soft Forces. With electronics and classically trained vocals at the foundations for her music she goes for abstract, surrealistic lyrics, populating her world with kids, commuters and an aloof feline. It is not a pop record as such, neither is it a (modern) classical one. If anything it is a collection of highly personal stories and fairy tales, meandering travelogues and observations.

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6 The Fierce & The Dead: The Euphoric

Underground prog instrumentalists are on the brink of long overdue wider recognition.

When the band locks into a groove they can transcendent, trippy, pastoral and - yes - metal. The Fierce And The Dead have found a middle way between sounding spontaneous and in control simultaneously. In their world robots can truly dance, a Truck thunders down the motorway, and Robert Fripp can meet Mike Oldfield for tea and biscuits in Dug town. Vintage technolooy gets a nod with Joe Public's favourite means of transport, the Cadet Opal, and the Soviet clone of the ZX Spectrum home computer, the 48K.

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