2018; a year where the conversation was dominated by Brexit and a future of uncertainty, inadvertently causing the current crop of British creative youth to look at themselves, and others, to deconstruct personal and national identity.
A search for clarity has continued to fuel the post-punk revival but has given rise to far more minimalist and experimental results.
Socially and politically conscious the current generation of musicians are bursting with so much creativity they are not only pushing boundaries by blurring the lines between genres but colliding different art forms as well; from spoken word and performance to design, illustration and film. All in search of something new, something real and something now.
Below is part one of a two-part series on what Fred Perry Subculture has crowned 2018’s best musical moments. In no specific order.
Black Midi - bmbmbm (single)
South London’s worst kept secret. The band that Shame keep shouting about this elusive four-piece have had a stellar year and the release of their debut single only fuelled the hype. Highly unpredictable and frenetic, and a fitting support for Shame's SubcultureLive gig back in January and an easy choice to headline All Our Tomorrows in September.
Shame - Songs Of Praise (album)
Shame set the bar very high, very early in 2018, with their critically acclaimed debut album being released in January and immediately following it up with an incredible headline slot at the 100 Club for SubcultureLive. As Cal Cashin said in our review of that show “Shame are quite rightly set for world domination”.
Declan Welsh & The Decadent West - All My Dreams Are Dull (EP)
Glasgow, despite its hardened reputation, has always been one of Scotland’s biggest dens of creativity. Declan Welsh and his band The Decadent West released their debut EP (following a host singles throughout 2017/18) that showcased their creative dexterity and a wide gamut of influences across punk, post-punk and indie rock.
Skinny Pelembe - Spit/Swallow (single)
Abstract genre-bending trip-hop with psychedelic tendencies. Skinny Pelembe’s innovative music combines his skills as singer, MC, guitarist and producer. Signed to Gilles Peterson's Brownswood Recordings Skinny was yet another highlight from All Our Tomorrows.
Dream Wife - Dream Wife (album)
The debut album from London based, Brighton art school graduates, Dream Wife, tackle misogyny and the patriarchy head-on in an all-out glittery punk pop assault. Not shying away from their influences; the glam punk of Karen O and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the electroclash and Riot Grrrl of Kathleen Hanna’s Le Tigre and Bikini Kill are all accounted for and repackaged for a new generation.
Lady Bird - Social Potions (EP)
The debut EP from the inaugural signing to Slaves’ Girl Fight Records. The Tunbridge Wells trio combines intelligent post-punk with witty lyricism and kitchen sink realism; think Ian Dury meets Mike Skinner.
Fontaines D.C. - Chequeless Reckless/Boys In The Better Land (single)
Dublin’s hottest, newest exports play a more melodic brand of post-punk with snarling vocals that owes as much to Shane MacGowan as it does Mark E Smith. With a string of double-AA side singles and tours with the likes of Shame and Idles, they’ve had a momentous 2018 with plenty more to come in 2019.
Miles Kane - Coup De Grace (album)
Kane’s third solo record, primarily written with fellow troubadour Jamie T sees him venture into new musical lands; punk, funk, garage and glam explorations, all held together by Kane’s natural rock 'n' roll crooning and charisma. Miles Kane also found time for some memorable in-store gigs at Fred Perry Shops across Europe and the UK.
Goat Girl - Goat Girl (album)
Goat Girl emerged as one of the front-runners from the close-knit South London scene born out of venues like the Windmill in Brixton. Their highly acclaimed debut album is a quickly recorded yet cohesive set of songs, drawing comparisons to the humour of The Kinks and the anger of The Slits. Goat Girl ended their year with a headline slot at SubcultureLive in London.
Slowthai - Doorman (single)
A couple of tracks on from the Northampton rapper's acclaimed RUNT EP, Slowthai teamed up with electronic producer Mura Masa to deliver his rawest, most punk-imbued track yet. Astutely tackling themes of masculinity, class and race with honesty and utter fervour within his music (and accompanying visuals), Slowthai has been one of the essential voices of 2018.
Sons Of Raphael - A Nation Of Bloodsuckers (EP)
One of the most intriguing guitar-orientated bands to emerge in 2018, Sons Of Raphael managed to surround themselves with an instant rock 'n' roll mythology, albeit a largely fictional one for theatrical purposes, ensuring that they were received as anything but conventional. Another band who included All Our Tomorrows in the gig schedule.
Check out Part Two of Subculture Sound 2018: This Year's Best Music Releases here.