A few of my favorite things from 2018


As always, thank you to my friends with better taste than me for keeping me in touch with what’s going on and to the invaluable weekly list from Piccadilly Records in Manchester, the best record shop in the world.


There weren’t any absolute jaw dropping, life changing albums this year but looking back on the year there were more good records than I probably gave credit for as I moaned about the state of music.

  1. The Fernweh by The Fernweh
  2. Lump by Mump
  3. Broken Politics by Neneh Cherry
  4. 1, 2, Kung Fu! by Boy Azooga
  5. Physical by Gabe Gurnsey
  6. Je Suis Une Ile by Halo Maud
  7. Songs of Praise by Shame
  8. Persona by Rival Consoles
  9. Hope Downs by Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
  10. Freedom by Amen Dunes
  11. Constant Image by Flasher
  12. Be The Cowboy by Mitski
  13. And Nothing Hurt by Spritualised
  14. Thrush Metal by Stella Donnelly
  15. Qualm by Helena Hauff
  16. Iran Iraq IKEA by Les Big Byrd
  17. Empty Words by Whyte Horses
  18. Little Dark Age by MGMT
  19. Possible Dust Clouds by Kristin Hersh
  20. Wide Awake! by Parquet Courts


Two stellar reissues this year. The first is the lost John Coltrane album, ‘Both Directions At Once’, which is a wonderful reminder of the genius of one of the jazz greats. The second is A Certain Ratio’s ‘acr:set’, a record of one of the most influential but often forgotten Factory Records acts. One of those bands that set a new path for the future that bands like LCD Soundsystem would seize.


I’m not a big fan of compilations. Far too many feel like they’ve been lazily slapped together to make some cash from existing materials. But this year two stood out as they did what a great compilation should do: take you on a journey. I’d urge you to give Agnes Obel’s ‘Late Night Tales’ a spin at night and when you feel like dancing throw on ‘Life and Death on the New York Dancefloor Vol 1’, put together by Tim Lawrence as an audio celebration of the music from The Garage and The Loft in the 80s NYC and is a great accompaniment to his book of the same name.


They’re eclectic, but they’re all good from the effortless GBV/The Fall cool of BODEGA’s ‘Jack In Titanic’ to the brainworm that is Ravyn Lenae’s ‘Closer (Ode 2 U) to Stella Donnelly’s ‘Mechanical Bull’, the year’s stripped back jaw dropper.


Five stellar shows this year:


More non-fiction than fiction this year, but all terrific reads:


Like books, a lot more documentaries this year. The MIA film is brilliant. (Somehow, I think I’ll be adding Spiderverse after I get to see it this afternoon).


Watched less than ever this year, but some great shows. The third episode of Inside №9, the story of a hitman told in reverse, is genius.



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Gareth Kay

Gareth Kay

Lucky to have Clare and Esme in my life. Unhealthily obsessed by music. CMO at Twill after working at, and running, agencies.