BBC Radio 6 Music: Albums of the Year 2018


The UK station’s 21 presenters selected their top 2018 album choices which were collated to create a final Top 10. The list represents the wealth of music that can be found on BBC Radio 6 Music from an eclectic range of artists and genres.

IDLES say: “Being included in the list is obviously humbling but more so the recognition from an institution that represents a huge portion of what we love in music: hard work and vibrancy towards new ideas and creative thinking. Thank you to all at BBC 6 Music for helping us build our careers and our faith in the music industry.”

Jeff Smith, 6 Music’s Head of Music, says: “This Top 10 for 6 Music Recommends: Albums of the Year is a great snapshot of the range of artists and bands played across the station this year. These are all fantastic albums, all worthy of their inclusion on the list – great choices by our brilliant, music-loving presenters!”

And from 1-21 December, 6 Music will be celebrating the best albums released this year with the station featuring a different presenter’s Album of the Year choice each day live on air.

Released on 31 August 2018, the British rock band’s Joy as an Act of Resistance was produced by Space and mixed by Adam Greenspan and Nick Launay. The record explores a diverse range of themes from toxic masculinity and nationalism to immigration and class inequality.

The Top 10 6 Music Recommends: Albums of the Year 2018 are:

1. IDLES – Joy as an Act Of Resistance

Steve Lamacq, says: “To me, I think the IDLES album is what I want to remember from 2018. It’s a really powerful record but it’s still quite sly. It’s articulate but it’s quite acerbic. It’s understanding, it’s witty, it’s got fury and it’s got frustration. The fact that this album went to number five in the proper chart shows just how much it has resonated with so many people; people who were waiting for a band like this to come along to somehow vocalise what they were feeling.”

2. Khruangbin – Con Todo El Mundo

Don Letts, says: “Beneath this tongue-twisting moniker lies a beautifully executed collection of what are essentially soulful and somewhat funky psychedelic instrumentals. This album is one of those rare things in the 21st century in that it really is a complete body of work and best enjoyed that way. Even though it was released way back in January, it’s an excellent soundtrack for these short winter days and these long winter nights.”

3. Kamasi Washington – Heaven And Earth

Mary Anne Hobbs, says: “Kamasi Washington is the man who led the way in terms of turning a whole new generation onto jazz. This is a wild journey into the modern spiritual jazz sound, made with virtuoso band members that Kamasi has been playing with in Los Angeles since he was born. I invented a new word this year to describe the joy of his live show and everyone who’s seen him play gets it, because once you’ve been ‘Kamasi’d’ you’ll never be the same again.”

4. Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

Stuart Maconie says: “Brimming with ideas, wit and a hint of menace, this album is Arctic Monkeys’ Diamond Dogs; Sheffield steel running through a sci-fi satire on politics, stardom and the modern craziness. Dark, smart, sexy and hugely accomplished, this is a masterpiece by the last, great, ambitious proletarian band of their kind.”

5. Low – Double Negative

Iggy Pop says: “What really gets to me about this band and the recordings they make is the incredible confidence with which they are able to let their music unfold at a very, very measured, almost a stately pace, that’s really hard to do in music, and still maintain the vibe. When I’m listening to them I always notice that there’s an incredible mood, but there’s nothing I can point to; there’s no trick, there’s no incredible virtuosity or obvious overdub to which you can attribute it, it’s just the whole is very fine.”

6. Gabe Gurnsey – Physical

Nemone says: “This record made my ears prick up as soon as I heard the opening bars to ‘Eyes Over’; it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It feels like a shot across the electronic landscape from someone who, although has been producing and known to us for years, this really felt like a coming of age: emphatic, confident, menacing, yet really warm throughout, and bringing synths to the fore in such a lovely way. It’s a brilliant record for this year taking in the socio-political landscape it was produced in.”

7. Beak> – >>>

Marc Riley says: “I love their slightly sinister krautrock leanings… and I love equally their sense of mischief. Their >>> album is a sinewy masterpiece. When they came in to play a few songs from it on our show they brought with them (as usual) a light show and their own PA. They won’t wear headphones; they play in a mini gig style. A Brilliant Band. A Brilliant Album.”

8. Sons Of Kemet – Your Queen Is A Reptile

Gideon Coe says: “Each title refers to an influential black woman from history and each tune is searingly good. The instrumentation may lead this to be classified as a Jazz album and there are, of course, elements of that. However, such is the dexterity of the musicians involved that the record moves seamlessly through all manner of sounds, influences and beats. They made one of the best records of the year, one that I’ll return to time and time again.”

9. The Orielles – Silver Dollar Moment

Lauren Laverne says: “I love that they’re doing things that other people aren’t. They try things that sound really fresh and different. Flanger on a guitar? Haven’t heard one of those for about 20 years, but it sounds so good again. Their song writing is sweet, funny and charming and they have a special, unique perspective on the world.”

10. She Drew The Gun – Revolution of Mind

Liz Kershaw says: “The front person is Louisa Roach and I am a sucker for girls with guitars, especially dirty, loud guitars, so it was going to be a win-win situation even before I heard it. And it’s just a great collection of pop songs: full volume, in the car, in the home, in the studios here, up to 11 with the walls wobbling. So apart from just enjoying it for its own value, I think it’s a great thing that they’re role models in 2018.”

The 21 6 Music presenters who took part are: Cerys Matthews, Chris Hawkins, Craig Charles, Don Letts, Gideon Coe, Gilles Peterson, Guy Garvey, Huey Morgan, Iggy Pop, Amy Lamé, Lauren Laverne, Liz Kershaw, Marc Riley, Mark Radcliffe, Mary Anne Hobbs, Nemone, Shaun Keaveny, Steve Lamacq, Stuart Maconie, Tom Ravenscroft and Tom Robinson.

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