Nine Best Overlooked Albums From 2018

As the best of 2018 lists roll out starts dwindling, I was left with a list of my own favourite albums of the year that have appeared on none of them:

Phantastic Ferniture – Phantastic Ferniture

Julia Jacklin may have received a relatively huge amount of international success as a solo folk rock artist, but she also has a more laid back indie sounding alter ego that fronts the band Phantastic Ferniture. For years they operated underground in Sydney, but earlier in 2018 they decided to re-work some old home recordings, pull an album together, and have since delivered what was one of my most anticipated releases of the year. Phantastic Ferniture doesn’t ask much of an investment from the listener, but it is a very fun album, especially live.

Avantdale Bowling Club – Avantdale Bowling Club

Avantdale Bowling Club is the newest and most ambitious project from Tom Scott, an internationally unknown MC from New Zealand. Jazz rap has been around for over 30 years, but still it feels rare to find a good Hip-Hop album that sits on top of an instrumental that would make solid jazz by itself, this is a great example.

Morcheeba – Blaze Away

Probably the most popular on this list, Blaze Away may not be as overlooked as some of the others, but I’m still yet to encounter any hype for it in the wild. Personal turmoil in the band has always separated their best releases from anything else they’ve put out in the last 15 years, but Blaze Away is a very strong post reunion release, and a nice return to chilled downtempo form.

Sarah Blasko – Depth Of Field

Sarah Blasko has mixed it up a little for this year, a bit of groove combined with her usual chamber pop sets this broader reaching album apart from her rest. Released early on in the year, Depth Of Field has seemingly been forgotten in the last 10 months and is well worth a revisit before moving on from 2018 completely in favor of next years releases.

Emily Wurramara – Milyakburra

Even while scoring respectable radio play across the Triple J, Double J and Unearthed trifecta; Milyakburra feels like it still should have reached further. A smoother bare interpretation of folk, it shares a lot of style and content with more traditional sounding indigenous Australian music in a unique mix that will remain timeless but hopefully not underappreciated.

ORB – The Space Between

ORB are at their most refined, with a steady three album rise in just two years, The Space Between is their best attempt yet at what is turning out to be a signature blend of energetic Psychedelic Rock tinged with Sludgy Metal. They’ve picked up influences from Sleep to Syd Barrett in one of 2018’s best Psych Rock releases.

Jacob Diamond – Goodbye Gondwana

The smallest release on this list, Goodbye Gondwana boasts its most popular track ‘Blue Begets Blue’, a relative hit with no more than 6,300 Spotify Streams while the rest trail behind. A very literal hidden gem, Diamond has crafted an unusual sound, there are definitely elements of a very common indie/folk rock release here, but throughout the album is interspersed this ballady big piano sound. If you’re looking to show someone up with your eclectic and uncommon tastes, Goodbye Gondwana is very much worth its time and stands among its peers regardless.

Fight Ibis – Maddie had a Caravan

The liveliest band no one is listening to. Fight Ibis delivered a couple of extremely promising singles but remained so small they could have easily vanished while a debut album still hung in the balance. Luckily its here and they have proven themselves one of Australia’s more diverse party bands, injecting a lot more swing than the typical chilled dub rock vibe you would usually find in a release like this.

Gurrumul –  Djarimirri

He may be the most popular indigenous Australian musician, but internationally this album is comparatively obscure. Completed just weeks before his death, Gurrumul’s Djarimirri is high among my favorite albums of the year, overlooked or not. Djarimirri is the final effort and greatest delivery of his iconic vocal talent and technique, with sublime arrangement alongside more traditional western orchestration. Beautiful and haunting, a great amount is expressed for having no English lyrics; this album is a landmark blend of genres and aesthetic that should be remembered.