[sic] Magazine

Editor’s Albums of 2018.

Hello, welcome and thanks for visiting [sic].

This is not a [sic] Magazine top albums aggregate. We aren’t about consensus here at [sic] Towers. We have a group of wildly talented writers with diverse tastes and opinions. This is to be cherished, I think. Instead this is my own personal list reflecting the albums that I enjoyed over the year. Again I stress the personal aspect. I’m not looking for records which are changing the face of the musical landscape. At least not necessarily. If one comes along and I love it, great. If I don’t love it, I’m sorry but I’m not going to go all Pitchfork about it. Music is music. You listen to it. It’s not an art installation.

What then of 2018? If 2017 was the year of the returning heavyweights, 2018 was much harder to define. Again, I find this healthy. Some good showings from alt rock, singer-songwriters and the IDM world. Perhaps also, some surprises.

Here’s a top ten rundown, followed by some bubbling under. I’ll put some music samples at the foot of the article.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Enjoy the list and happy hols.
Brett Spaceman

10.) HammockUniversalis (Hammock Music)


Late late entry for our beloved Nashville duo. We knew an album was going to drop due to a series of beautiful promotional videos. We didn’t know just how good the whole record might be until we received it. Which we did! Universalis is a continuation of the direction last seen on Mysterium except that it may also mark a turning of the page or a closing of a chapter.

Astonishing ambient dreampop as always.


9.) Young FathersCocoa Sugar Ninja Tune


Simply put, Cocoa Sugar celebrates contrast. Bitterness and sweetness, black and white, stunning music and…. erm, more stunning music. Massive Attack have been an obvious tent peg. TV On The Radio come more to the fore on Cocoa Sugar.

Quality from the Edinburgh trio.


8.) epic45Through Broken Summer (Wayside and Woodland)


Staffordshires purveyors of pastoral pop (I pinched that from them) return and Through Broken Summer is probaby their best collection since the masterful In All The Empty Houses. As our Paul Lockett stated very eloquently in his review, they lean toward fragile understatement and have the ‘ability to create beauty from small places’. I cannot speak highly enough about epic45.

My childhood, distilled into music.


7.) The 1975A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships, (Polydor)


Talk about making an articulate pop statement. Matty Healy and Co lift the indie band lid and throw R&B, funk and house into an already well seasoned stew. Perhaps not my kind of thing, on paper. But it works. It works so well.

Just give in to it.


6.) VillagersThe Art of Pretending to Swim (Domino)


Conor O’Brien feels less constricted and more fulfilled on this fourth solo outing. There’s brass, there’s alt folk and of course that irresistible single. Lyrically the man is as introspective as ever but the songcraft dresses those self-doubts in its Sunday best.

Remarkable writing.


5.) City Calm DownEchoes In Blue. (I OH YOU)


I heard the record on a Saturday and on the Sunday I was interviewing lead singer, Jack Bourke. Something obviously just clicked with me. Was it the somber synthpop or that widescreen Australiana? Bourkes voice plays a significant part, a long, tall drink of water, a thirst-quenching chug of neutrality that never threatens blandness.

Think White Lies, think Chapel Club but if they’d grown up listening to Icehouse instead of New Order.



4.) Boy Is Fiction + Ghosts of Tyto AlbaA Single Beam Of Light (n5MD)


Another late entrant. This is a collaboration of two n5MD alumni, Boy Is Fiction and Chris Schafer from Lights Out Asia. Boy Is Fiction covered Lights Out Asia’s ‘Oh Toronto’ back in 2010 for the labels anniversary celebration ‘The Reconstruction of Fives’. This new, full collaboration has taken over 5 years to complete due to the vast distances the duo live from one another. It was then mixed and mastered in Oakland by n5MD label head Mike Cadoo (Bitcrush). All parties are understandably pleased with the result.

3.) The Boxer RebellionGhost Alive (Absentee)


Understated, raw and emotional. Nathan Nicholson makes his best music when heartbroken or defiantly angry. The former is the case with Ghost Alive which sees Nicholson working through some fairly intimate and painful loss. We wouldn’t wish it upon him, naturally but from an artistic perspective it has pulled The Boxer Rebellion back from the brink of transatlantic blandness. Ghost Alive is a more natural and appropriate successor to The Cold Still than either of the pop-oriented albums which followed.

So good to have them back.


2.) Kathryn JosephFrom When I Wake The Want Is (Rock Action)


Second album from Scottish singer songwriter Kathryn Joseph and no surprise to see her added to ranks of Rock Action. They sure know quality music those Mogwai lads. Debut album Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled won the 2015 Scottish Album of the Year Award. Josephs cherubic quiver elevates the already strong songcraft into something truly outstanding.

A magical recording.

1.) The Summer KillsLast Night We Became Swans (Hammock Music)


Like Boy Is Fiction + Ghosts of Tyto Alba this collaboration has taken several years of craft and refinement before seeing its eventual outing in 2018. Once I heard the finished work in May I knew it would feature in the year end round up. Since then nothing was able to dislodge it from top spot. Now Hammock have worked with singers before. Their entire back-catalogue isn’t 100% instrumental but I don’t recall a full album of songs prior to this. Here, with Pennsylvania rocker Matthew Ryan they nail it. Emotive, expansive, the Nashville duo have gone from sleepover gig to stadium rock with Ryan the perfect foil.

A Walk Across The Rooftops meets The Unforgettable Fire.


Thanks for reading. Hope you found something to enjoy. Here’s what just missed, plus a bunch of videos.

Bubbling under:

Low Double Negative (Sub Pop)
Fall TherapyYou Look Different (n5MD)
My Autumn EmpireOh, Leaking Universe (Wayside and Woodland)
Amen DunesFreedom (Sacred Bones)
The WideParamount (Echozone)
Mark Lanegan & Duke GarwoodWith Animals (Heavenly)
Wild NothingIndigo (SEE MUSIC)
ShameSongs Of Praise (Dead Oceans)
Dirty ProjectorsLamp Lit Prose (Domino)
Whispering SonsImage (Play It Again Sam)

The Sub Eds Albums Of The Year

Editors 2017.