Recommended Music

The best music of the year so far as chosen by the writers of A Journal of Musical Things (Part 2)

More best-of-the-year-so-far picks from the people who contribute to this site.

Matthew Kahansky, Curator of Tuesday “New Music from the Inbox” and Occasional Contributor of Articles

1. The Dirty Nil, “Bathed in Light”

The Dirty Nil do modern high octane hard rock like no other band, and “Bathed in Light” is the perfect case in point. Riffs, check. Ragged vocals, check. Catchy as hell, check. This song has been on heavy rotation in my personal playlist and I’m sure the new record will be, too. 



2. The Longshot, “Love is for Losers”

It pains me to say it, but Green Day have really fallen on hard times lately. The pop punk legends raised me and while Revolution Radio is a bit of a return to form, it still can’t quite capture that same feeling that the doomed trilogy of Uno, Dos, and Tre so miserably threw away. But The Longshot? The group’s debut EP Love Is For Losers captures that youthful spark that Billie Joe’s other group have lacked lately – and how. It actually sounds like Armstrong is having fun again!


3. CHVRCHES, “Get Out”

This bittersweet single from CVRCHES’ latest release Love Is Dead cannot leave my head. Uplifting yet melancholic, Lauren Mayberry’s vocals doused in acid and glitter are an absolute standout amongst the track’s infectious synth-pop flair. Every bit as memorable as the Scots’ breakout hit “The Mother We Share” with a few extra years of experience and production value to boot.


4. Pusha-T, “The Story of Adidon”

If you don’t think that the Pusha T vs. Drake beef was one of the most entertaining musical moments of 2018 so far, please tell me what I’ve been missing. Push’s clinical takedown of Drake – devastating enough to be referenced several times in the latter’s Scorpion release a few weeks later – was one of the most satisfying diss tracks this side of the new millennium. Going after Drake’s secret child and parental woe hypocrisy made the 6ix God scurry, and we are all the better for it… especially if that rumoured Adidas collaboration has also been torched in the process. I still haven’t forgiven Drake and the Toronto Raptors for OVO-branded lint rollers.


5. Weezer, “Africa”

No, this isn’t supposed to be an attempt at humour. Weezer’s rendition of the Toto classic is actually really, really well done. Memes and Internet foolishness aside, this is an excellent cover of an equally excellent song that the citizens of 2018 are blessed to receive. 

Nerhys Hall, Curator of Monday’s “New Music from the Inbox”

1. AJR, “Burn the House Down”

I love the horns on this track and the funky, groovy rhythm that they play. Not to mention the deeply political lyrics that juxtapose the song’s fun, upbeat sound.

2. River Whyless, “Van Dyke Brown”

This song sounds so simple, yet there is so much going on with it.

3. Hillsburn, The Wilder Beyond

I saw this band live earlier this year when they were on tour promoting this album and they blew me away with how good of a show they put on. Each song on this album fits together and in true indie, DIY fashion the band recorded it in their guitarist’s bedroom.

4. Popes of Chillitown, “Prang”

Maybe it’s because I was a teen in the mid-2000s, but I have a (possibly unhealthy) love for pop-punk and ska-punk. This song is just plain fun.

5. Peach Kelli Pop, “Black Magic”

I love the punk energy that this trio of ladies has in this song. It’s fun and catchy and not too serious.

If you missed, part 1 of this survey, go here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38061 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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