2018 has been one heck of a year for music, and it’s amazing that we’ve even managed to whittle it down to just 5. Here are the albums that came out on top.
#1 RÜFÜS DU SOL // Solace
It’s been a huge year for our homegrown trio, and long overdue too. The guys have been living and recording in LA, taking a step back after some intense world tours. And boy, are we glad that they did. Whilst we did miss the damn good music, they utterly smashed their comeback with Solace. Although a slightly darker album than their others, it produces, in ways, more sophistication and demonstrates how the boys have matured over the past few years.
The quintessential sound of Rufus still sits there, making the album perfect for those chilled vibes. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed they don’t venture too far and start playing festivals once more come 2019.
#2 Ocean Alley // Chiaroscuro
Ocean Alley really cannot put a foot wrong this year. Merging rock and reggae vibes, this one is perfect for the upcoming summer days. We first got a glimpse of The Comedown in 2017, which, after listening to the remainder of the album, gave us a rounded feel as to what was to come.
As for the rest of the album, Confidence brings us some strong soul and fulfills those bass slapping dreams. Of which the album is full. Knees and Man You Were Looking For gave us a slower feel, which along with the rest of the album, brought Chiaroscuro together. A laid-back, beachy vibe with vocals that absolutely kill the game.
#3 Anderson .Paak // Oxnard
It was highly, highly anticipated. Dr Dre was on the production, and we even saw Pharrell in the studio at one point. It was delayed, and the previous record was an absolute hit. So Anderson .Paak was copping some serious heat before we had even heard a single. But when we did get that first drop of Tints, boy oh boy didn’t that just make it all fabulously worth it. Kung Fu Kenny made a delightful appearance on that track, and the rest of the album features a star-studded list of past and present influences on .Paak and the wider hip hop and rap genre.
You can tell that the production was on another level, with a much crisper overall sound and feeling to the tracks – this was no rushed job at all. And while the music is infectiously funky as expected, what stands out the most on this record in the main man’s ability to shine. Amidst all the big cameos, no one ever really takes the spotlight away from Californian, as he sings out a swagger that only he can produce. A stunning record and boy has he made all those New Year appearances in Oz just skyrocket in anticipation.
#4 The Presets // Hi Viz
This was a damn good year for Aussie music, you just need to take a look at all the unlucky honourable mentions at the end of this article to see that. But this iconic return by one of the pioneering dance acts this country has ever produced, just couldn’t be overlooked. We got a little peak in 2017 when they released the single Do What You Want, and well we knew from there this was going to be a banging bloody album. And it was just that.
The lads told us this record would be an ode to their rave nights and it’s that, plus so much more. From the absolute belter 14U+14ME, to the funk-filled Downtown Shutdown, and the party floor filler Martini, that album had some pretty remarkable range. It was capped by a HUUUGE Aussie tour, with a filthy set at Splendour confirming that this legendary Aussie duo can still mix it with the very best.
#5 Confidence Man // Confident Music For Confident People
Oh, Confidence Man. Our favourite weird and wonderful Aussie four-piece. Through the lows of this year, Confident Songs For Confident People has truly brought us back up to where we need to be. And Janet Planet along with her fellow eccentric band members have done what they do best and really raised the roof with this one.
Perfect for their crazy festival performances, songs like Boyfriend (Repeat) and Out The Window maintain their upbeat sound and keep us on our toes ready for the upcoming season. And to top it off, they’re rounding 2018 off with a bang (along with The Presets) at NYE in the Park. There’s no stopping this lot.