The simple fact is that TFN receives hundreds of albums every year for review. In regards to our annual best of list -The Blazing Top 50, TFN follows the rule that for an album to make the Top 50 we had to review it.
With a very small writing group there is never any way to cover every record that is worthy of mention at the end of the year so here are 5 albums that are worth checking out even though we didn’t review them. They are listed in alphabetical order so no ranking here but they potentially could have made the Top 50 list. Enjoy!
This vinyl only release from Robert Pollard’s alter ego Cash Rivers was not only one of the wildest sounding records in 2018 but probably is one of the most unique albums in his vast catalog. With 69 tracks, this album covers every genre you can think of while actually including country music legend Bobby Bare (father of current GBV member Bobby Bare Jr.). It really is an album that should not flow at all but somehow it just works. I will leave you with a suggestion – seek out the tracks “Don’t Mock A Chihuahua” followed by “Blindsiding A Leprechaun.” They will give you a “wtf” moment and be the best 1 minute and 40 seconds you have spent all year.
On his debut album, Ben LaMar Gay showcases why he really is an uncategorizable Chicago musician. Downtown Castles is a collection of music composed, performed & produced by Gay and compiled from 7 albums he made over the last 7 years but never made the effort to actually release. It lands in an experimental jazz genre while containing Brazilian rhythms and plenty of R&B backdrop swagger. This is a record that soars when you put on your headphones, hit play, and then repeat!
Ben LaMar Gay Bandcamp
International Anthem Recording Company
The heaviest Afrobeat champs, Here Lies Man returned with their sophomore album just a year after their debut. With members of Antibalas leading the beats, Here Lies Man shines when the heavy riffs are included. Like their debut, Here Lies Man continues to swirl the world sound and totally stands in their own heavy genre.
Here Lies Man Website
Here Lies Man Facebook
So TFN does not cover many reggae records which is why Jr. Thomas & The Volcanos’ sophomore effort Rockstone has landed in this list. The soulful approach on this record treats every song with a sophisticated care that works easy on the ear and helps carries the listener to their world. With plenty of rocksteady vibes and catchy sounding harmonies, Jr. Thomas & The Volcanos gives us a record that is not a throwback but a solid timeless listen.
Jr. Thomas & The Volcanos Facebook
Rattle is an ongoing musical project concerned with experiments in rhythm, metre and tension. Katharine Eira Brown & Theresa Wrigley make up the Nottingham duo who create a sonic experience with just drums and occasional vocalizations. It is a dynamic listen as Sequence feature just 4 tracks that average around 10 minutes each. On the surface, Rattle seems a bit too one dimensional but the reality is Sequence has so many turns, hills and valleys that each listen offers something a bit different. Rattle are completely off the radar for most but Sequence is a record to seek out if you are looking for something different and new in 2018.
Upset! The Rhythm