We know 2018 is over and done with, and although many consider 2018 just another shit parade, new music releases saved the day (or year). Charlotte’s rising crust metal trio Funeral Chic are no strangers of using music to break through the sludge of dark times and we are honored to host Funeral Chic’s Robbie Stroud’s Best of 2018 list on Nü Sound. From soul to black metal, Stroud does a lovely job painting interesting photos of his thoughts on these top 10 musical gems.
- Carpenter Brut – Leather Teeth
I didn’t think the retrowave sound could really change or progress all that much, given that it’s based on capturing a sound and mood that existed in a specified period of time, but Carpenter Brut really forged ahead with this record and created something that stands out in a sort of one-dimensional genre with Leather Teeth. Also, it sounds like the kind of music that plays in the sketchy drug club from the movies, where the Euro crime boss sits at a table and just watches a whole room of leather-clad weirdos dance and be gratuitously sexual until a massive gunfight breaks out. And there’s like one bodyguard who’s just wearing a gas mask and a thong and holding an Uzi. Somebody make that fucking movie and have Carpenter Brut score it, please and thank you.
2. Turnstile – Time and Space
This was the record that made me do a complete 180 on this band. I wasn’t really into their first couple releases, mainly because I thought it felt unfocused, like people who know they want these few disparate genres to blend into one sound but spend a few clumsy E.P.’s and a full-length experimenting with the possibilities to mixed results. Time and Space is where all those possibilities started working together as intended, in my opinion. And fucking how. Turnstile are now one of those bands where I will know if I like you based on your comments about them.
3. Robyn – Honey
My first love will always be pop music. I have a lifelong and momentum-building crush on every 80s and 90s pop starlet, from Debbie Harry and Madonna to Liz Phair and Pink. That being said, the inheritors of that genre – starting with Fergie and all the way through Gaga – do absolutely nothing for me. The one exception is Robyn, with her sort of glimmering euro pop aesthetic that sounds like it never went anywhere near a modern producer, to the benefit of everyone involved. Robyn’s music belongs in the same movie as Carpenter Brut, during the more tender moments where the main character has stolen the heart of the drug lord’s wife and they waste no time having loud, unprotected sex in a garage full of mint condition Lamborghinis.
4. Zeke – Hellbender
Boy, did this album get slept on. Zeke are apart of a small group of bands who inherited the particular brand of booze-soaked, drug-fueled, ethos-less punk rock that took the torch passed down by Motorhead and the Stooges and used it to freebase something that was never meant to be freebased. This also happens to be my favorite genre of music, bar none. Zeke have been fighting the good fight since I was a kid, and their sound has more or less remained constant during that entire span of time. Which is exactly what you want from this kind of music. Experimentation is for fucking losers. Let’s get drugs and try to play faster.
5. Daughters – You Won’t Get What You Want
Speaking of experimentation, and how when it’s done right it’s fucking mind blowing…
Daughters are one of my all-time favorite bands, period. And every time they’ve put out a record, my immediate reaction to hearing it is “What in the actual fuck?” It’s sonic claustrophobia. People tend to overuse this word, but…it’s unnerving. Any other bands that try to make intentionally uncomfortable music, you can always see the seams. You understand that the whole thing is a trick and they’re probably just normal people. Daughters isn’t like that. There’s no Scooby Doo villain under the mask, they might actually just be the dreadful ghoul their music paints them to be. I hope so, because normal people and normal bands are fucking boring.
6. Candy – Good to Feel
I don’t have much to say about this one; it’s pretty much THE universally liked hardcore album of the year. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t fuck with Candy right now, and they deserve that level of attention from Good To Feel. In a sense, hardcore music is about being new and fresh and pissed off, and this album checks all those boxes in permanent fucking marker. I think everyone in the community is waiting to see where this band goes from here, and my guess is up. Way up.
7. Charles Bradley – Black Velvet
I’m listening to this album now as I write this and I’m on verge of tears. It’s not just that he passed away and this will be the last thing we get to hear from him, but Charles Bradley was a remarkable human being. His music belongs in the world, and the world could not be rid of it. Soul music has always exemplified genuine artists – that’s a staple of the genre. False acts don’t last. And this sentiment was best displayed in Charles Bradley. What an honest man, and what a rare thing that is on its own. And from a purely musical point of view, Black Velvet is all over the place with its flourishes of other music styles and little nods to other artists. And it’s fun to listen to – not something I was expecting to say about the last album from a great artist who doesn’t live on this planet anymore.
8. Craft – White Noise and Black Metal
Black metal is changing, and that’s a good thing and a bad thing all at once. Craft are a part of the good part of that change. There is SO MUCH going on in this record that it would be really impossible to sum it up in a few dumb sentences, but what struck me so profoundly the first time I listened to it this year was that this sounds like classic black metal and some of the newer hybridizations that have evolved out of the genre. It’s a perfect blend of old and new is what I mean. I hear Emperor and Thantifaxath. Bathory and MGLA. Old Darkthrone and new Darkthrone. It’s a great example of how the genre could move forward while retaining its connection to its roots, but also…it just fucking rips. Craft wrote eight incredible songs with zero bullshit filler.
9. Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats – The Wasteland
There are few things I love more than when a band follows their own weird interests and breaks with their fanbase. The word “self-indulgent” cracks me the fuck up. Of course they’re indulging themselves, why else would ANYONE choose a career in music? In 2018, there are so many easier ways to both make money and be famous than being a musician. And that brings us to this weird ass, late 70s sci-fi inspired, melodic cluster fuck of influence that is The Wasteland. They broke with their tried-and-true recipe of combining 60s satanism and serial killer mythology with garage-fuzz riffs, and the result is honestly a better version of this band. Plus, I got an immediate Road Warrior vibe off of this, which I’m sure was intentional, and if you can’t get down with that aesthetic then you’re a fucking cop.
10. Gunship – Dark All Day
On that same theme of self-indulgence, Gunship have made a brief but successful career based on it. They popped up on my radar when they got the lord our god, JOHN MOTHERUCKING CARPENTER to do a spoken word intro on their last album. That’s the best guest spot since Lemmy was on that Warriors track. So when Dark All Day dropped a few months ago I was all over it, and truthfully I haven’t stopped listening ever since. This album has all the best qualities from the aforementioned records on this list and synthesizes them in a way that seems like it was catered personally for me. There’s a Cyndi Lauper cover. There’s Cronenberg references. Dance beats. Dark and foreboding textures. Soulful instrumentation. Classic meets future. Tim (google it) Cappello. This thing has everything. A perfect musical speedball for me to get out all my guilty pleasures in one place.