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 two of a two-part series on what Fred Perry Subculture has crowned 2018’s best musical moments. In no specific order.
The Orielles - Silver Dollar Moment (album)
The SubcultureLive alumni released their debut album via Heavenly back in February. A fantastic collection of their dreamy off-kilter indie pop songs; fully realised without losing any character or the DIY aesthetic. Firmly wearing its influences on its sleeve; from shoegaze, surf and C86 era indie to US noise pop/rock acts like Sonic Youth and the Pixies.
Denzel Himself - Baphomet James (EP)
Multi-disciplined artist Denzel Himself (he writes, raps and produces his music as well as directing all his own videos) yet again subverted expectations with his introspective Baphomet James EP. His fierce vocals, this time delivered over mellowed beats that explored the worlds of Jazz, RnB and more. Continually twisting any musical conventions placed on him and progressing conversations in the worlds of Hip-Hop and Punk alike.
Lucia - Melted Ice Cream (single)
Bubblegum punk with Spector-esque production as we described the Glaswegian 4-piece when we listed them as part of our British New Wave for 2018. This single from the start of the year built on the hype generated from 2017’s Best Boy EP and a string of excellently placed tour supports.
Idles - Joy As An Act Of Resistance (album)
Brutal, honest, cathartic and utterly essential. The Bristol 5-piece punk band completely demolished the notion of the difficult second album and opened up conversations on an impressive range of topics like toxic masculinity, grief, love, loss, immigration and abuse.
HMLTD - Hate Music Last Time Delete (EP)
After concluding a breakthrough year with the utter carnage that was ‘Polycephmas’ for SubcultureLive at the end of 2017, HMLTD’s next major move was dropping this, their debut EP. Arguably their most accessible offering yet; they continue to reinvent post-punk, glam, rock & pop whilst colliding the worlds of music, fashion and art.
Puma Blue - Moon Undah Water (single)
Puma Blue, real name Jacob Allen who was part of our British New Wave 2018 and featured at All Our Tomorrows, expanded his already excellent repertoire with this, his second single of 2018. The South London crooner added a groovy yet dark texture to this single, excellently complimenting his customary mix of Jazz and soul infused with electronic elements and lo-fi production.
The Blinders - Columbia (album)
The Doncaster trio delivered an incendiary debut with ‘Columbia’ - a loose concept album permeated by dystopian themes that hits a little too close to reality a la Huxley and Orwell. Musically taking cues from Nick Cave via Alex Turner The Blinders are yet another band at the vanguard of British guitar music who are angry, engaged and educated.
Sports Team - Winter Nets (EP)
The west London based sextet met while studying at Cambridge; their debut EP included both singles previously released and beautifully demonstrates their style, sound and specific brand of lyrical cynicism. All of which comes with a healthy dose of distinctly British humour; imagine if Jarvis Cocker fronted Pavement, with a punk edge.
Kojey Radical - Water (single)
The London poet-turned-rapper released this single in May, collaborating with singer Mahalia, whose voice gives the track its soulful RnB vibe and Swindle, who you can thank for the ethereal production. Kojey’s music is bold and uninhibited, exploring relationships between race, gender roles and black masculinity. The incredible visuals that accompany the track are fundamental viewing too, an 8-minute short that was released a month later, made with film-maker Mos Popular Human.
Boy Azooga - 1, 2 Kung Fu! (album)
A succinct, jovial debut record from Boy Azooga - the project from Cardiff born Davey Newington. Perfectly placed on Heavenly Recordings, it takes you on whirlwind journey coalescing many genres and reference points without ever overindulging; synth-pop, psychedelia, funk, soul, jazz, blues and garage all accounted for on a disparate record that flows like a mixtape.
Dylan Cartlidge - Scratch, Sniff (EP)
Another artist who appeared at All Our Tomorrows, 23-year-old Redcar resident, Dylan Cartlidge, was another success story of 2018 who scored a signing with Glassnote, and two of the most distinctive hip-hop orientated singles of the year.
Check out Part One of Subculture Sound 2018: This Year's Best Music Releases here.