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Listen To Our 2018 New Zealand Album Highlights

Listen To Our 2018 New Zealand Album Highlights

Wednesday 19th December, 2018 1:47PM

There's no denying 2018 has been flat out amazing for crucial releases emanating from Aotearoa, and today we're thrilled to present ten New Zealand albums that made serious waves over the past twelve months. While this list is just the tip of the iceberg for some of the best local long-players of the year (see below for more highlights), consider it to be your handy guide to some of the most significant records to emerge from our incredibly fertile music community in 2018. Dive into our mighty 2018 End Of Year Playlist showcasing 100 of our favourite songs from this year, and explore the excellent collections below...

Avantdale Bowling Club - self-titled (Cosmic Compositions)

The new hip hop / jazz project from Auckland's Tom Scott (Home Brew, @Peace), Avantdale Bowling Club's self titled album felt like an event when it dropped in August. The ambitious eight track collection features a who's-who of local talent who threw their weight behind Scott's reflection on gentrification in his home suburb of Avondale, including Julien Dyne, Guy Harrison, Tom Dennison, Mara TK, Ben McNicoll, JY Jong-Yun Lee, Christoph El Truento, Haz Beats, Teeks, Finn Scholes, Cory Champion, Isaac Aesili, John Bell, Jeremy Toy and more. Check out a selection of records that inspired the album here, and listen up below...

Bad Sav - self-titled (Fishrider Records)

Dunedin's noise-rockers Bad Sav finally dropped their self-titled debut album in September, and it was worth the nine year wait since the release of their head-turning first single 'Ruiners' back in 2009. The songwriting team of Hope Robertson and Lucinda King (with Mike McLeod on drums) also released an equally captivating new album titled Wisteria by their guitar-driven, gothic dance project Death and the Maiden (with Danny Brady), we recommend exploring the haunted sonics of both records.

The Beths - Future Me Hates Me (Carpark Records)

The debut album from Auckland guitar-pop group The Beths was definitely one of the breakout releases of 2018. The band whipped up anticipation at home and abroad to fever pitch with a string of impossibly catchy singles (and stylish videos) in the lead-up to the release, and followed through with a superb collection highlighting the next-level songwriting talents of bandleader Elizabeth Stokes. They attracted praise from the likes of Pitchfork, NPR, triple j, Noisey, Stereogum and Rolling Stone, who named the band's 'Happy Unhappy' a Song of the Summer.

Fanau Spa - self-titled

The debut collection from nine piece "family rap ensemble" Fanau Spa delivered on the stellar promise of attention-grabbing singles 'River', 'Glitch' and 'Leather and Wood' when it dropped in November. Laid down at Fanau Spa Studios in Auckland's Karangahape road, the hugely impactful mixtape showcases the combined talents of Queen Kapussi, Joe Kori, Big Fat Raro, Coco Solid, Xamiishi, Manu, Brown Boy Magik, TH1R§T3EN and Yumgod in various creative combinations and permutations, many of whom also contributed to Coco Solid's killer mixtape Cokesreleased earlier in the year.

P.H.F. - I Hate Myself (Danger Collective)

Emotionally raw, endearingly catchy and sometimes super hostile, the latest album from Auckland punk innovator P.H.F. followed a killer run of singles, and is arguably the prolific and adventurous artist's most accessible long-player in a string of winners. The heartbreaking 'Tru' was a local radio highlight of 2018, but there's a tonne of hook-packed, biting tunes to dig into on I Hate Myself...

Princess Chelsea - The Loneliest Girl (Lil' Chief Records)

Auckland cyber pop star Princess Chelsea aka Chelsea Nikkel returned with her third studio album The Loneliest Girl in September, following a scintillating run of singles and videos. The artist's twelve track collection overflows with infectious melodies and probing lyricism, you can check out an insightful conversation with Princess Chelsea and her creative collaborator Kermath exploring the themes of The Loneliest Girl here.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Sex & Food (Jagjaguwar / Rhythmethod)

Ruban Nielson's internationally revered psychedelic project Unknown Mortal Orchestra were charging hard this year, releasing not one but two full-length studio albums - Sex & Food and IC-01 Hanoi. The former is a richly diverse blend of hook-packed psych-rock / funk / soul numbers featuring such singalong radio hits as 'Honeybee' and 'Not In Love We're Just High', while the latter sees the unstoppable team of Nielson and bandmates Kody Neilson and Jake Portrait dive into a psychedelic, deeply vibey whirlpool of sound.

Wax Chattels - self-titled (Flying Nun Records / Captured Tracks)

Already a must-see live band, Wax Chattels threw down the gauntlet with their scorching debut collection of 'guitarless guitar music' in March. Gathering together previously-released winning singles 'Gillian' and 'In My Mouth' alongside a raft of electrifying new material, the rapturous reception to their self-titled album has compelled the Auckland trio to embark on a relentless run of international shows in celebration of its release.

Marlon Williams - Make Way For Love (Universal Music)

To say it's been a commanding year for Marlon Williams is putting it mildly. His second studio album Make Way For Love topped the NZ album charts and garnered acclaim worldwide, he was presented the 2018 APRA Silver Scroll Award for his heartbreaking song with Aldous Harding 'Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore', and even made moves to conquer Hollywood via his appearance in Bradley Cooper’s blockbuster film A Star Is Born. Williams' upcoming tour of Aotearoa includes a headline performance with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in February, 2019 is sure to be an amazing year for the Lyttelton heartthrob.

Womb - Like Splitting the Head From the Body (Sonorous Circle / Arcade Recordings)

The debut album from Wellington psychedelic trio Womb leads listeners on a journey from gorgeously recorded alt-folk soundscapes to the outer limits of dream-pop. Swirling synthesisers intersect with tenderly plucked guitars and otherworldly singing, creating oceans of sound for minds to lose themselves inside on the assured collection, which followed through on a tantalising run of mind-expanding single releases.

It'd be a straight up crime to leave it there though, so here's 10 more excellent local collections that dropped in 2018 for you to explore - click the titles to listen...

Alien Weaponry - (Napalm Records)

Jonathan Bree - Sleepwalking (Lil' Chief Records)

Carb on Carb - for ages (Papaiti Records / Black Wire / Flying Out)

DOG Power - self-titled (Flying Nun Records)  

Julien Dyne - Teal (Soundway / Wonderful Noise)

Michael James Keane - The Cascade

Kody Nielson - Birthday Suite (Flying Nun Records) 

Polyester - self-titled

Stef Animal - Top Gear (Fishrider Records)

Unsanitary Napkin - Orgasmic Capitalism


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