Graphic by Stephanie Prior.

2018 has come and gone and another year of killer music was released. There were super stars putting out critical albums and artists who became super stars in the process. There were hidden gems across every genre and wildly praised records that had the world’s attention. As music editor I did my best to listen to just about every record I could this year, backed up by the fact that I listened to 531 albums, mixtapes, EP’s and soundtracks. In order to qualify for the album’s of the year there is a vote threshold that a staggering 114 projects were in contention. To show that my thumb wasn’t on the scale too much the following albums didn’t garner enough votes despite being some of the best releases of the year for me: Saba – Care for Me, Iceage – Beyondless, Justin Nozuka – Run to Waters, Liza Anne – Fine But Dying, Kali Uchis – Isolation, Sons of Kemet – Your Queen is a Reptile, Against All Logic – 2012-2017 and St. Paul and the Broken Bones – Young Sick Camilla. As a Canadian site I like to acknowledge all the great artists we have in our artistic country, as such those releases are noted. I’m also extremely proud to note that 24 albums are either fronted or co-fronted by women and many artists of colour and from the LGBTQ community. Live in Limbo strongly believes in highlighting everyone’s voices.

I want to give a huge thank you to everyone on staff who listened to countless albums to help curate this list and extra special thank you to everyone that contributed to this beast of a post. Without Brooklyn Doran, Cole Leuthel, Connor Beck, Gemma Mastroianni, Hannah Coe, Jess Desaulniers-Lea, Joshua Chia, Josh Rosen, Matt Forsythe, Mike Gallagher, Randall Vasquez, Ruth Binns, Ryan O’Shaughnessy, Sammy Feilchenfeld and Sean Chin’s words this wouldn’t have been possible. Please enjoy LiL’s top 50 albums of 2018!

50. Charlotte Day Wilson – Stone Woman (Canadian)

Calm, cool, and collected is the effect this EP has on listener’s ears. It touches on some personal topics and includes elements of Hip-Hop, Jazz, and Psychedelica. Her vocal capabilities have been further demonstrated in other tracks, but her range utilized goes perfectly with the vibe of this EP. – Gemma Mastroianni

49. Ralph – A Good Girl (Canadian)

Last year Toronto’s own Ralph made our Top 50 list with her debut EP. She was back this year with a full length project. In the year leading up, multiple singles were released showing that she was leaving the throwback disco style of yore and morphed into a more futuristic synth pop queen. The album is filled with catchy hooks and some serious back handed compliments making you giggle while you groove. A Good Girl shows how Ralph makes the world revolve but throws in a M. Knight Shyamalan twist at the end by getting an epic verse from TOBi and duet from Milk & Bone, showing she really does play well with others. – Dakota Arsenault

48. MGMT – Little Dark Age

After their incredible debut back in 2007 MGMT has done their best to run away from the synth pop sounds that dominated that record. Their following three albums have gotten weirder and weirder to the delight of fans that stuck around. Little Dark Age manages to mix very literal story telling with songs that are utterly baffling upon first listen, encouraging people to re-listen countless times. The album ends with a beautiful song called “Hand it Over” that sounds like a reworking of George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord, which is a fitting comparison as the Beatle would have loved Little Dark Age. 

47. Mount Eerie – Now Only

This album is a companion piece to 2017’s A Crow Looked at Me. Now Only is an emotional, raw, and personal album about the tragic death of a loved one and the mess it creates after. Phil Elverum incorporates the swirling thoughts of a man who is grieving, as if the diary Phil has been writing in was incorporated into a song of sorrow and agony. It is in no way an uplifting album, but there is a sort of beauty to the reality that Phil brings forth. It’s a haunting yet enthralling, hard-hitting album. – Cole Leuthel

46. Kamasi Washington – Heaven and Earth

Another Kamasi Washington album with an ambitious title that is a mind-boggling understatement. On the heels of The EpicHeaven and Earth is a freewheeling, maximalist treatment of new school jazz with the split premise of the world Washington is a part of, and the world that is a part of him. Blending elements of old and new school jazz, hip-hop and R&B, the result is a modern fusion of sound that has earned Washington acclaim and entrenched his status as a key figure in the genre’s renaissance. – Josh Rosen

45. Born Ruffians – Uncle, Duke & the Chief (Canadian) 

In their 5th full-length album, it can sometimes feel like the 10 years since Born Ruffian’s first album has barely passed – in the best possible way! Uncle, Duke & The Chief is an honest yet light hearted look at the world that doesn’t take itself too seriously with simple production and spot-on writing. Look to “Side Tracked” and “Love Too Soon” for fantastic examples of where this band is today and where it’s going for the next 10 years and beyond. – Sammy Feilchenfeld

44. Ty Segall – Freedom’s Goblin

Ty Segall was involved in no less than seven albums in 2018, but Freedom’s Goblin is the one. His longest album to date is packed with solos, fuzzed-out and not, but also keys, horns, his wife and Fred Armisen. It wraps up with Ty covering himself on the 12-minute epic, “And, Goodnight”. Ah yes, that’s where all the guitars went this year. – Matt Forsythe 

43. Logic – Bobby Tarantino II

After Logic released his album Everybody, he wanted to make something a little more fun and careless that his fans could blast wherever they want, so he gave us Bobby Tarantino II. When he made the song “44 More” as a single before the release of his mixtape everyone knew they were in for something special. The introduction to the album is hilarious and sets the tone for the rest of the tracks, with characters Rick and Morty from the popular TV show fighting over what to listen too. This mixtape by Logic is a mix of random topics and also a great sequel to his mixtape from 2016, Bobby Tarantino. – Hannah Coe

42. Natalie Prass – The Future and the Past

I’ll be the first to admit that I was a little obsessed with Natalie Prass’ first self-titled LP a few years ago. Now Natalie Prass is back with an even better brassy pop album that lets her voice, a mix of Feist, Kate Bush and Jenny Lewis, truly shine. Standouts include “Nothing to Say” and “The Fire” and of course my new obsession “Short Court Style.” – Sammy Feilchenfeld

41. Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel

An eagerly anticipated second album, following the lyrically masterful Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometime I Just Sit, sees more of Barnett’s reflective, existential side. Lead single “Nameless Faceless” quotes the ineffable Margaret Atwood: “Men are scared that women will laugh at them/Women are scared that men will kill them.” Along with “I’m Not Your Mother, I’m Not Your Bitch”, Barnett expresses the exhaustion of misogyny. “City Looks Pretty” and “Need a Little Time” are gentle songs with driving guitar that allow you to bop along and have your heart lurch in the same moment. But it’s “Charity’s” sarcasm and empathy that really hit you in the feels. Bloody lovely. – Ruth Binns 

40. Lord Huron – Vide Noir

The third release from these Folk Rockers is all about heartbreak. Although most of their albums are very folk-rock inspired, this is a little less folk, and a bit more rock. I would say this album is more of an alternative rock album with a folk sounding voice, and I like this turn they took.  – Gemma Mastroianni

39. Ariana Grande – Sweetener

Riding off 2016’s wildly successful Dangerous Woman, Arianna Grande is back with Sweetener and takes things to a whole new level. Maybe she was influenced by the tragic 2017 Manchester concert bombings and her courageous star-studded One Love Manchester event. Sweetener is full of great tracks like “R.E.M” and “get well soon”. This is definitely Grande’s best album to date. – Sean Chin

38. Bahamas – Earthtones (Canadian) 

It’s hard to believe a man born in Toronto can produce something so astonishingly tropical, but few albums this year will put you more squarely on a beach with a Corona in hand than Earthtones. Bahamas’ new record finds him at his rawest, mixing his classic chill, relaxed vibes with some surprisingly heavy topics, including white privilege and depression. And yet, despite hometown weather and a little melancholy, it feels like the sun never stops shining on Afie Jurvanen. – Connor Beck

37. Leon Bridges – Good Thing

Pre-release hype of Leon Bridges’ sophomore album really hammered down the 80s vibe, which got my back up recalling the horrors of skinny ties and neon pants.  Thankfully, Good Thing is no sophomore slump and avoids the stereotypes. Not too far off the template set by his sublime debut, Good Thing shows depth, growth and a variety of soul sounds to get lost in, and how can you not be swept up by his voice. – Mike Gallagher 

36. Mitski – Be the Cowboy

2018 was Mitski’s year.  She started the year off playing North American arenas opening for Lorde, released her breakthrough Be the Cowboy at the mid-point and looks to be ending the year on many year-end Best Of lists and for good reason.  From the cinematic swoop of album opener “Geyser”, Mitski sets the bar high and never stumbles.  Be the Cowboy is as varied as it is fantastic and one of the year’s most compelling albums.  At this rate she’ll be headlining those arenas soon.

35. boygenius – boygenius

The collaboration between alternative folk badasses Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers in boygenius is nothing short of incredible. Their self-titled 6-song EP is equal parts moody, lyrical and perfect. This is the record that we never knew we needed, but now can’t live without. Take a listen for a collection of songs that will stab you in the heart and turn the knife. – Brooklyn Doran

34. Kurt Vile – Bottle It In

Philadelphia’s Kurt Vile dropped his seventh album this year and continued his solid albums streak.  Bottle It In expands on the psychedelics but never over does it.  The epic tracks soar, the shorter tracks feature impressive driving guitars and Vile sounds like he had a blast making the album. – Mike Gallagher 

33. Shame – Songs of Praise

Shame’s debut record smashed the post-punk scene this year, easily sliding in as a contender for post-punk album best of the year. Whether effortlessly stepping between time signatures on “Dust on Trial” or blending rap, slam poetry, and punk influences on the vocals of “The Lick”, Shame unveil themselves as dudes with a whole lot of attitude and a destiny of success. – Connor Beck

32. The Carters – EVERYTHING IS LOVE

The Carters released their surprise album, EVERYTHING IS LOVE after Beyoncé’s empowering album, Lemonade in 2016 as well as Jay-Z’s apologetic album 4:44 back in 2017. This is the album to complete the trilogy. It touches on love, family, Black Lives Matter, legacies, and more. This power couple has never been more in sync with each other, for example, on tracks like “Apeshit” and “Nice”. As many know, The Carters were going through a rough time in their marriage. However, nothing could have demonstrated how strong they really are and how much love they have for each other, then this album. – Hannah Coe

31. Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Based Hotel and Casino

The band took an entirely new sound with this album, which was a huge risk. With that being said, they pulled it off. There was a lot of controversy over this, with a lot of people either loving or hating it. This album is atmospheric, psychedelic and moody. – Gemma Mastroianni

30. Kendrick Lamar and Various Artists – Black Panther: The Album

On Kendrick Lamar’s last few albums, features have become increasingly rare. Sure he has some uncredited performances usually helping out on hooks but we don’t know what he sounds like next to the biggest acts in the game while under his direction. Enter Black Panther: The Album, which contains guest turns from TDE regulars Sza, ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and Jay Rock but also from superstars Travis Scott, The Weeknd, 2 Chainz, Khlaid and many, many more. This isn’t just another super star laden rap project though as both thematically and sonically it echoes the film perfectly. The films composer Ludwig Göransson makes an appearance and so do the talking drums of T’Challa’s theme music. Most impressively was direction of connecting American hip-hop with African hip-hop and putting artists like Babes Wodumo, Sjava, Yugen Blakrok, and Saudi in the public eye. This is a truly global project and every song is a banger. 

29. BROCKHAMPTON – Saturation III

Part 3 of the Saturation album series is potentially one of the best. The collection of tracks is up-beat and intense. Although subject matter of psychological distress continues into this album, this isn’t something that brings weakness to the collection of albums, as just about every song on this album is strong. The highlight of the album is definitely SISTER/NATION due to the variation of tempo and vocal intensity. – Gemma Mastroianni

28. Kimbra – Primal Heart

The long awaited and slightly delayed third album from Kiwi singer Kimbra packs an avante garde punch. There’s a sprinkling of lighter Vows-era Kimbra, but the album really shines with moody, atmospheric, RnB-tinged bangers. It peaks with Skrillex-powered “Top of the World” and “Human” – both bass fuelled killers. Bittersweet love songs “Past Love” and “Version of Me” provide balance and emotional gut punches. This is a well-rounded pop album that was well worth the wait. – Ruth Bins 

27. tUnE-yArDs – i feel you creep into my private life

private life is everything and more we’ve come to expect from tUnE-yArDs: delicious bass lines, eclectic and capricious percussion, and singer Merrill Garbus’ outstanding ability to layer and modulate her voice to create vast arrays of emotions and soundscapes. The hidden gem of this album is definitely “Colonizer”, a 4-minute electro-funk montage that finds singer Merrill Garbus reflecting on her privilege and how it has shaped her perspectives and experiences. – Connor Beck

26. Noname – Room 25

After Telefone a very impressive debut mixtape in 2016, Fatimah Warner returned with a full length record that was very grown up. With a soft and smooth voice you can’t help but perk your ears up and listen very closely to the words she is saying. The fact that she raps over insanely smooth jazz hip-hop beats doesn’t hurt. Tracks like “Blaxplotation” where she talks about being a modern black woman and “Ace” with killer features from Saba and Smino this album has everything for the modern conscious hip-hop fan. – Dakota Arsenault

25. Car Seat Headrest – Twin Fantasy (Face to Face)

This re-working of his album from 2011 is a reflection of singer Will Toledo’s adolescence. It talks about drug experimentation and abuse, sexual identity, and a realm of emotions, giving every listener something to connect with. It’s not entirely different, stylistically speaking, than the prior album- I actually see it as more of a continuation. The interludes are great, production is on point, and its epic. – Gemma Mastroianni

24. Kids See Ghosts – Kid See Ghosts

Kids See Ghosts is a unique and captivating collaboration between Kanye West, and Kid Cudi. The album feels simultaneously similar and yet stands out above a lot of other Hip-Hop albums released in 2018. The strange and effective uses of samples, instruments, and themes of vulnerability have created a very catchy and replayable album. – Cole Leuthel

23. The Breeders – All Nerve

As a fan of Last Splash, the first thing you notice is that All Nerve sounds like The Breeders. 25 years and two albums removed from their ’93 chart-topper, the familiar line-up reunites and it works. They still managed to move forward with their guitar-focused sound without being a rehash of what was. But damn, that warm blanket of familiarity feels good… – Matt Forsythe 

22. Mac Miller – Swimming

This is one of the darker Miller albums. There are a few up-beat tracks such as “What’s the Use?” but most take a slower pace. The beats in this collection contain sounds of R&B, groove, and even a bit psychedelic, sometimes sounding similar to Tyler, the Creator. It features themes of grief, heartbreak, hopelessness, and vulnerability. There is definitely less rapping in comparison to his past albums, but he pulls it off. Rest in Peace, Mac. – Gemma Mastroianni 

21. Christine and the Queens – Chris

My personal favourite album of 2018, Chris’ self-penned and self-produced 80s beats hook your ears from the THX blast of “Comme Si” to the ambitious, baroque harpsichord of “The Stranger”. Chris, formerly Christine and the Queens, is reborn a muscular, macho, sexual being who’s redefining what it is to be a woman and smashing the patriarchy while she’s at it. “Dam (What Must A Woman Do)” yells this mission statement at the listener, while the thrumming beats of “Doesn’t Matter” share the vulnerable, wounded heart within. This is an album with two souls written in both French and English: a refined poet and an impassioned teenager. Chris makes you feel like both. – Ruth Binns

20. First Aid Kit – Ruins

First Aid Kit’s highly anticipated Ruins was surprisingly cathartic compared to their previous albums, unpacking of the often-fleeting nature of the modern relationship as we follow the emotional trajectory of a breakup. Both Klara and Johanna Söderberg also allowed each other to showcase their solo appeal vocally and instrumentally and their maturity as musicians and singers on Ruins is palpable; maybe Ruins is foreshadowing what is to come for FAK in the future. For newcomers to FAK or fans that have been listening to them since they released their music on Youtube as young teens, Ruins, is sonically their most diverse and personal record yet. – Jess Desaulniers-Lea 

19. MONOWHALES – Control Freak (Canadian)

Toronto darlings MONOWHALES have done it again. Their 2018 release Control Freak has dominated the airwaves with single after single of energetic anthems. While every song off of this 6-song record could be considered a single in its own right, “Real Love,” “Let it Go,” & “Take it Back” were the three released alongside bright quirky videos that managed to be the perfect eye candy to match these earworms. They’re high energy performers with an unmistakeable it-factor round out this record with live performances that rival that of any top touring band in North America. Make sure to check out this band before they completely take over the world. – Brooklyn Doran

18. Parquet Courts – Wide Awake!

Parquet Courts have gone pop, reads the headline with multiple exclamation marks. How dare they, Danger Mouse must have ruined them like he (supposedly) has with every other act he worked with for the last five years. What’s that? This record is a total blast and you can’t stop smiling from how much fun it is to throw your body around? Huh, maybe the change of pace totally works for the Brooklyn band. From classic dance jams like “Freebird II” and “Wide Awake” to more protest oriented tracks like “Violence”, this has everything you want from a Parquet Courts album and gasp, it might be their best work yet. – Dakota Arsenault

17. Rhye – Blood (Canadian)

It has been five long years since the success of Rhye’s previous album Woman. Mike Milosh’s Blood came out earlier this year and he brings back his signature soft smooth bedroom jazz. The tracks feature love notes spoken in a tone that barley seems to gain and grow any higher then a whisper but still manages to captivate and paint a vivid picture of his love story. – Joshua Chia

16. Janelle Monae – Dirty Computer

Janelle Monae has been speaking truth to power since she released her Metropolis EP in 2007. Over a decade into her career and a growing legion of fans are perking up their ears. And not a moment too soon as Monae is sharing more of herself and loosening her tight concepts with great aplomb. The first time I heard “Django Jane”, I cried; the pride and strength that Janelle exudes is beautiful. The album is soaked in it. “Make Me Feel” revels in her newfound freedom – to see and hear a political, intelligent, brave, strong, young queer African American stand up to defend the freedoms of her country…it’s the most important thing in the world. – Ruth Binns

15. Pusha T – DAYTONA

The first album released from Kanye’s Wyoming session albums (and by far, the finest), DAYTONA features Pusha T’s best solo work to date. At 7 songs, and just north of 20 minutes it cuts out any filler and focuses on what he does best: telling stories about dealing drugs. Pusha’s signature brash delivery over Kanye’s top-notch production makes for a laser-focused effort, particularly on tracks like “The Games We Play”, and opener “If You Know You Know”. – Ryan O’Shaughnessy 

14. St. Vincent – MassEducation

Last year St. Vincent (Annie Clark) brought us Masseduction, which IMHO was one of the records of the year. But did we really need a re-working of the album a year later? Even after we got Fast Slow Disco somewhere in between? All questions to that effect are in effect silenced with the first listen to the piano version of “Saviour”. Working with producer/pianist Thomas Bartlett, Clark not only stripped down this collection of songs, but added another dimension of tenderness and vulnerability. A clever reworking of the track listing also benefits the songs that are better suited to the new treatment. – Randall Vasquez

13. Deafheaven – Ordinary Corrupt Human Love

Pianos!  Duet ballads!  A couple of things not expected when putting on a Deafheaven album, but then again Deafheaven haven’t been the band that delivers what one expects from a Deafheaven album.  The San Francisco album make the new sounds work within the context of their fourth album, fleshing out a journey with perfect flow with moments of beauty that give way to Deafheaven’s monstrous guitars. – Mike Gallagher

12. Beach House – 7

Beach House has created another visceral landscape of sound and surrealism. Aptly named 7 after it being the 7th full length LP released by the band. It’s an album that at times resembles a classic like Slowdive’s Souvlaki. There are even moments that combine synthesizers and atmospheric backgrounds to create a world that sounds like something out of Vangelis’ Blade Runner. This album feels dreamt up, like a Shoegaze and Sci-Fi wet dream with its absolutely gorgeous production. – Cole Leuthel

11. Snail Mail – Lush

A classically trained guitarist who’s been playing since age five, it’s no surprise that Lindsey Jordan is leading the charge in new indie-rock. That she’s only nineteen years old makes it more impressive. With Lush, the debut full length from her band Snail Mail, she’s taken the mid-tempo guitar driven sound of the 90s and given it a fresh new voice; one that’s sharp, vulnerable and relatable, all the while sounding familiar and fresh at the same time. – Ryan O’Shaughnessy 

10. Florence + the Machine – High As Hope

High as Hope was the perfect poetic storm for both a sharp juxtaposition between vulnerable orchestral music to almost punk-inspired rawness at times in her lyrics, especially on songs like “Oh, Patricia” lovingly written about her long-time idol Patti Smith. Memoir-like, this record seamlessly takes us from her hometown in South London singing nostalgically about her youth and then is ever-present with themes of #metoo, inclusivity and modern rebellions against the status quo. Though she’s been compared to music veterans of the sixties and seventies who famously fought for change within the moral compass of the mainstream, there’s modernity in her music that can’t be ignored. – Jess Desaulniers-Lea 

9. U.S. Girls – In a Poem Unlimited (Canadian)

In a Poem Unlimited is Meg Remy’s sharpest album yet. With backup from a laundry list of collaborators, Remy’s fighting words unambiguously go after complex societal issues with anger and defiance wrapped up in the guise of potent, disco-inspired power pop melodies. The danceable record offers a pointed critique of 2018’s political climate and conveys an urgency that makes this Remy’s most timely, important work. – Josh Rosen

8. Robyn – Honey

Robyn’s fans have been saying “Missing U” since her hit triptych Body Talk in 2010, and Honey does not disappoint. The Swedish pop-electronic singer-songwriter has come a long way from “Show Me Love” in the 90s to a near-perfect expression of herself through well-produced, easily-danceable pop mastery. Coming from the 20+ tracks of her last project, the 9 songs on Honey are an encapsulation of a focused, perfectionist-driven songwriting process resulting in every track being worth recommending (but at the same time, “Ever Again” is amazing). – Sammy Feilchenfeld

7. Father John Misty – God’s Favorite Customer

There are no disappointing diamonds on Father John Misty’s fourth studio effort this decade. The prolific Mr. Tillman has followed up his falling in love and political albums with a vulnerable tale of heartache. While the songwriter takes a more sonic approach on singles “Date Night” and “Just Dumb Enough to Try”, listeners hang on to hear Tillman at his rawest and most introspective on “Please Don’t Die” and “The Palace”. Taken as a whole, God’s Favourite Customer is a stark reminder that at the end of the day, we’re only people and there’s not much anyone can do about that. – Josh Rosen

6. Good Lovelies – Shapeshifters (Canadian)

The Good Lovelies are Canadian folk and vocal harmony mainstays, venturing into pop with fabulous effect on Shapeshifters. Where their last album Burn the Plan was a revelation in folk songwriting, Shapeshifters take the musical and lyrical strengths of the trio to new heights with expert production and a wash of instrumentation not usually found in their work. I’ve listened to “I See Gold” probably a thousand times (and you should too) but don’t miss “Move Away Clouds” and “This Little Heart” as well. – Sammy Feilchenfeld

5. Hubert Lenoir – Darlène (Canadian)

After landing on the Polaris short list, the question most asked outside of Quebec was: who? But Quebec already knew, and it’s up to everyone else to catch up. Opening with the three-song suite, “Fille De Personne 1/2/3”, it’s clear you may not know where this ride is going, but you’re definitely onboard. Slow jams, swinging instrumentals, dance numbers, English laments for the weekend – its all here. He even translates Lennon’s scream on “Si On S’y Mettait”. One to watch. – Matt Forsythe

4. Neko Case – Hell-On

Hot off the musical genius of her collaboration with kd lang and Laura Veirs in 2016, Neko Case’s first solo album in 5 years is a lush, yet intimate portrait of indie-folk singer at her most vulnerable. At the same time, Neko is in full control with breathtaking songwriting on “Curse of the I-5 Corridor,” “Halls of Sarah,” and my favourite track “Gumball Blue.” From album to album, she opens up the doors of her personal life through colourful metaphors and the occasional well-directed burn. Combining this with her constantly evolving songwriting and musicality, Hell-On is possibly Neko Case’s best album. – Sammy Feilchenfeld

3. Jeremy Dutcher – Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa (Canadian)

By now most people are familiar with Jeremy Dutcher’s story. If you aren’t I’ll fill you in. He studied western opera music in university, then found a collection of wax cylinder recordings of his peoples in a museum, which he painstaking re-composed into his own mix of opera, jazz vocal, and chamber pop to create an album so unique and culturally relevant it deservedly won this year’s Polaris Prize for the top album in Canada. When you also learn that only about 600 people speak Maliseet, the language used on the album you learn that not only was this a anthropological experiment to bring lost songs to the populace, but also to keep the language alive you realize just how important Dutcher is to the future of Indigenous people. Woliwon Jeremy. – Dakota Arsenault

2. Fucked Up – Dose Your Dreams (Canadian)

Expanding their sound well beyond Damian’s snarl (which is still intact), Dose Your Dreams is a multi-disc [insert musical genre, it’s in here] opera, connected to the narrative of David Comes To Life. Start off familiar, and then slow down for some shoe-gazing. And then things get industrial. And then Jennifer Castle and J Mascis show up on the same song. And then “Joy Stops Time”, and you want to read every last lyric to make sense of it all. – Matt Forsythe

1. IDLES – Joy as an Act of Resistance

Punk has always been an outlet for great protest records. The raw energy on this record, pummeling dissenters with brutal war cries and razor sharp barbs are on full display. The British members of IDLES know the anxiety felt across the world, seeing countries turn to racism, sexism and phobias against any Other authoritarian leaders will paint as the downfall of society. But they have their own unique issues with Brexit plaguing the once mighty United Kingdom and they let all their anger rush out on this album. In traditional punk fashion the best way to take down a false idol is with humour and on “Never Fight A Man With a Perm” you can’t help but smirk during a verbal beating of upper crust Brits. The best might very well be the soccer chant like “Danny Nedelko”, which goes over the different ways immigrants (especially non-white ones) are just regular people with normal dreams and lives and are nothing to be feared. As a whole this record captures the intense burning sensation in every sane person who looks around not only at the United States and England, but similar movements occurring in Canada, Australia, Brazil, Philippines, Russia, France and more and wonder where has the love gone, where is the unity, why must we still blame others in a pitiful manner for things going wrong, especially when there are some rich people looking quite tasty these days. This record is the collective yelling into the void wondering what the fuck can be done to get the world back on track. – Dakota Arsenault