Alt Revue Top 25 Albums of the Year
It's time for the annual Top 25 albums of the year! This year was an extremely difficult year to decide on the Top 25 as there were many deserving albums. However, after much discussion, anguish, and jamming we were able to get our list down to what you'll find below. Did we get it right? Let us know your top albums of the year! - Alt Revue
25. LOUTS! - Curveball EP - In every little bar venue in every little sleepy town, their are artist and bands just trying to stay true to themselves and put out music that makes them proud. That’s probably why it took this little Mid-Ohio Valley band so long to finally put out an EP, and they absolutely nailed it. This fiery little six song EP down right rocks.
24. TV Girl - Death of a Party Girl - This third album from west coast synth-pop trio TV Girl is one of the most underrated albums that came out this year. Lyrics dissecting every kind of human interaction set to pop-culture selections overlaid with cowbell and tambourine, you can’t go wrong! If you like to dance to nonsense, this is the album for you.
23. Camp Cope - How to Socialise & Make Friends - We love girls that rock! These down under darlings stunned with their sophomore album featuring the forever important song The Opener calling out the patriarchal tendencies of the music industry. Girl power!
22. Pinegrove - Skylight - With an incredibly rocky end to 2017 for Pinegrove, this indie-folk group had an uphill battle of repentance before this album could show it’s face. Almost unbelievable that it was written and recorded pre-turmoil, the album speaks of forgiveness and introspection. Quite an emotional listen, especially for those following the events since last November.
21. Greta Van Fleet - Anthem of the Peaceful Army - Greta Van Fleet did not quietly creep onto this list; in fact, they brought the house down at every opportunity and slingshotted themselves into our top favorites. Soulful bluesy rock n’ roll, these boys are the definition of old souls. The musical capabilities of these small town boys is not to be underestimated.
20. Hozier - Nina Cried Power - It’s been four long years since Take Me To Church took over the radio by storm, and the new EP from Hozier had nearly the same call to arms effect as its predecessor. Invoking his blues background, Hozier once more turns heads with his explosive baritone voice and impressive musicianship.
19. Jeff Tweedy - WARM - With his release of WARM, Jeff Tweedy took a hard turn back to his alt country roots that we haven’t seen since Wilco’s Being There. For those that have missed that sound on the alt scene Tweedy brought it back in spades with this release. True to his form this album is simply fantastic and begs to be replayed.
18. IAN SWEET - Crush Crusher - IAN SWEET is an artist that finds inspiration from everywhere and comes away with amazing songs. One of her tracks on this album was about holographic Jesus posters she used to collect and it totally works! There’s great guitar and synth melodies present throughout the album and IAN SWEET’s vocals are totally underrated.
17. Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats - Tearing at the Seams - Nathaniel Rateliff is another of alt music’s breakout stars this year and god damn can the man write a hook. If you don’t at least tap a toe while listening to the songs on Tearing at the Seams, you might want to have your pulse checked. It’s packed to the brim with straight jams!
16. Gorillaz - The Now Now - Not only are Gorillaz putting out unmatched musical content, they have also cemented themselves as pioneers of the virtual world. To put out albums that are not about the human realm, but in fact a virtual world also entirely created by the band is the mark of true genius. Gorillaz music has always taken us to somewhere else, and The Now Now is no exception.
15. Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin' Stones - Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin' Stones - Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin' Stones absolutely kick ass with a style of alt rock that kicks the door in and commands your attention. With namesake Hannah Wicklund, a guitar virtuoso at the helm she is heading places. Not to mention she has a voice that has fire to it unlike anything we heard this year. If you haven't been paying attention to Hannah Wicklund, you need to start now.
14. Mt. Joy - Mt. Joy - Mt. Joy have emerged this year as one of the breakout groups of 2018 and for good reason. Their politically infused flavor of Americana comes at a time when its needed and at a time when people want to hear a message in their music. However, Mt. Joy is more than just a political message, their album is just downright good music, simply put.
13. Lucy Dacus - Historian - Lucy Dacus gets to be the only person to tout that they are on this list twice (as you’ll read soon)! Her album is full of lofi music that features masterful lyric work that is hard to parallel. Her vocals harken back to a different time as it is light and clean, she could go pound for pound with other vocalists on this list and put up a challenge for best vocals. Her album is full of her vocals, you just need to put it on and let it carry you away.
12. Kurt Vile and the Violators - Bottle It In - The APB on Kurt Vile has been answered! He hadn’t released a record with the Violators since 2015 and damn did we miss him. Don’t get us wrong, his release with Courtney Barnett was absolutely astounding and was one of the albums of the year in 2017, but it’s good to see him get the bad back together. We constantly comp Kurt Vile to Tom Petty (which isn’t done lightly) but he carries that weight, he’s just that talented. When he releases an album, you gotta listen.
11. Soccer Mommy - Clean - Able to play it cool with tracks like “Still Clean” or to kick the damn door in with tracks like “Your Dog”. Soccer Mommy’s versatility is a strong part of her appeal. Another part is her ability to play with musical convention and twist it, particularly in her melodies. Her album is full of great melodies and fantastic vocals that live in a lofi sort of arena but have more getup than most lofi music. Check it out.
10. Mitsky - Be The Cowboy - Just when we were feeling exhausted by the political climate, Mitski gives a break from the heavy with her broadly conceptual fifth album. It was a step away from the personal content of previous album, but in a good way, as more listeners could find themselves in the songs.
09. Courtney Barnett - Tell Me How You Really Feel - Courtney Barnett’s songwriting ability is just so true and honest. That is again the case on Tell Me How You Really Feel which dropped in May to critical acclaim. She’ll casually drop a quote from a famous author into a song and call no attention to it. It’s like the ultimate easter egg hunt dissecting Barnett’s lyrics. She’s incomparable.
08. Shakey Graves - Can’t Wake Up - The Austin, Texas native kicked his sound up a notch by adding the backing of a full band to great success. It changed up his sound a bit sure, but the roots of his music are still there and artists experimenting is a good thing. Shakey Graves is sure of himself and his sound.
07. Car Seat Headrest - Twin Fantasy (Face to Face) - Car Seat Headrest proves you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you put out a new album. In fact, for their impressive eleventh album, they chose to simply re-work and re-record their sixth album of the same name from 2011. They took the old lo-fi content and revamped it into the modern day hi-fi masterpiece that it became.
06. The Wombats - Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life - The Wombats return with another album chock full of fun indie goodness. Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life is one of those albums where you can sing and dance to every song and listen to it again and again. High playability and high visibility for The Wombats in 2018, these guys are going places.
05. The 1975 - A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships - The much anticipated third album from UK sweethearts The 1975 was a late entry for Album of the Year, absolutely. Frontman Matty Healy draws inspiration from his own traumatic year for lyrics, and sets it to a dancing dark disco synth-pop soundtrack. With moments of pure vulnerability hidden by a sarcastic tone, this album is incredibly relatable and quotable.
04. Father John Misty - God’s Favorite Customer - What can we say, Josh Tillman does it again. It seems as if every year he comes out with another fantastic album that at this point it is almost old hat. But we need to be careful to not take it for granted. His lyrical mastery and musical poignancy is not lost on God’s Favorite Customer, he continues to show musical growth and development as he develops in his role as Father John Misty.
03. Boygenius - Boygenius EP - This album absolutely captured our hearts. With the combined powers of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus you could simply do no wrong. Every track on this album was absolutely sensational and the home-made harmonies were damn near tear jerking. The reason it likely falls short of a higher spot (or the top spot) on this list? There were only six songs.
02. Foxing - Nearer My God - Foxing killed it the third time around with Nearer My God. The album is packed full of anxiety and dark humor about the end of the world. Synth and raging guitar make this album dangerously danceable, and the lyricism is out of this world. Foxing really took a leap of faith on this experimental piece, and hit it out of the park!
01. Snail Mail - Lush - The debut LP of Lindsey Jordan absolutely smashed expectations and set the alt world ablaze. Making it’s creator an alt all-star virtually overnight, Jordan has toured extensively to support the lofi masterpiece. All the while, packing venues full of eager fans to see alt music’s newest young star. Lush perfectly captures struggles of insecurity and self-doubt and struggles of interpersonal relationships with some dynamic musicianship. If you haven’t gotten on the Snail Mail Train yet, do it now!