It's December, which means it's that time of year where everyone you know thrusts a list of their albums of the year at you and demands instant approval. Your mates at Upset are no different. We've raided the archives, checked out score sheets, and picked out fifty of our favourite records from the past twelve months.
You can find the full run down in our new issue, out now, or check them off right here on upsetmagazine.com. Today, it's numbers 10 to 1. If you missed the first instalment, you can find it here, the second here, the third here and part four here.
IDLES have never minded showing their scars, and on ‘Joy As An Act Of Resistance’, any remaining fourth wall crumbles to dust at their feet as they celebrate their stark intent to thrive, held up by the support of their community. It’s the sound of a band who want to use their voice for a greater good, and if joy is indeed an act of resistance, then this is the band you want at the helm of the new age. Jenessa Williams
From the outside world to the thoughts in our own heads - it can feel like it’s best ignored, at least until it catches up with us. That’s the point we arrive at with Petal’s latest full-length. Split into two sides, the first, ‘Tightrope Walker’, consists of the songs recorded before Kiley Lotz entered treatment for major depressive and panic disorders, while the second, ‘Miracle Clinger’, is comprised of those written in recovery. Across the divide comes everything from defiant anger and determination to the movingly introspective, its ten tracks detailing a journey facing down demons and discovering a hidden strength. It’s a remarkable, personal account of finding a way through. Dan Harrison
As the title suggests, much of ‘Beside Myself’ follows Andrew Fisher searching for purpose and identity, but, actually, Basement’s fourth outing is their most assertive and definitive statement yet.
The album is unmistakably Basement; no one can do raw emotion like this. As always, the centre pieces are Andrew’s vocals and lyrics. The passion is unwavering, and the singer’s ability to dissect his darkest thoughts makes this album their most personal work to date.
Basement have set their sights high in this album. The goal seems to be alongside rock’s elite and, in ‘Beside Myself’, they’re not far off. Alex Bradley
Full of adventure, wildly confident and carefully constructed, ‘Reiði’ dances as Black Foxxes have fun showing off just how far they can explore, making it clear they’re so much more than a fuzzy rock band. Their second record is wild and untamed, swerving in any direction it pleases but at no point does it feel unruly. Black Foxxes know what they’re doing, and they do it well. Ali Shutler
Dream Wife’s eagerly anticipated self-titled debut record is ablaze from start to finish. Mighty in words and music; angular guitars are paired with ethereal dream pop harmonies that create an unmistakable sound. Every track is as big, bold and beautiful as the last; a concoction of high spirited confidence and self-awareness, chock-full of hooks and zealous instrumentation. Jasleen Dhindsa
‘Blurryface’ made Twenty One Pilots one of the biggest bands in the world. Already a cult phenomenon, their unique blend of excess and refrain was a surprise sensation. ‘Trench’ sees them take back control. Refusing to do the expected or the safe, the fourteen tracks rage, snarl, cry, bleed and build. There’s a world to interpret across the album, all secret societies and breaks for freedom, but it’s just a vessel for the band to play. The fire-laced ‘Jumpsuit’ is about pressures, ‘Levitate’ shrugs off expectations while ‘My Blood’ and ‘Smithereens’ pledge mind, body and soul to the connections they’ve made. ‘Daring, fearless and vulnerable, it’s another masterpiece from a band on TOP. Ali Shutler
The Wonder Years have a habit of telling the unflinching truth and from the downpour of ‘Raining In Kyoto’, they’ve gone and done it again. The spirit of The Wonder Years remains unmoved - a celebration of humanity and strength in unity - but ‘Sister Cities’ sees the band invigorated. They plough forward into the big, wide, unforgiving world, bubbling with excitement. Over the past decade-and-a-bit, The Wonder Years have built something special in telling stories and taking chances. ‘Sister Cities’ is their crowning achievement. As all the pieces fall into place, they’ve created something worth following and to believe in. Ali Shutler
‘Holy Hell’ sees Architects pick up the pieces following the death of brother, bandmate and creative driving force Tom Searle. For album eight, not only have the band had to rebuild the way they write music, but they’ve also had to deal with the added pressure of being bigger than they ever dreamed. Rather than echo what’s come before, they’ve taken the baton and run with it. This is the story of what comes next.
‘Holy Hell’ finds the band focused. Rather than toying with sonic flourishes and bending genre lines, the record rages, rallies and cries out at the abyss. A testament to perseverance, an exploration in grief, ‘Holy Hell’ tries to find some sort of sense in suffering. The answer is a hopeful one, but rather than simply showing both sides of the coin, Architects send it spinning.
There are moments of uncomfortable bluntness, terrifying admissions and resolute promises to continue across ‘Holy Hell’. It’s deliberate in everything it does, and everything it shares. In being open, vulnerable and unafraid, Architects haven’t just lived up to their legacy. Forging unity and encouraging power in the absence of any, they’ve taken the difficult next step. Ali Shutler
There’s a bunch of exciting British bands waiting for that moment where it all sparks off. For Boston Manor - that place is here, that time is now. ‘Welcome To The Neighbourhood’ pulls and pushes between ideas and genre, turning the bleak into something more. Not so much a step up but a leap into the unknown, it’s a brutal, difficult and yet endlessly rewarding endeavour. Stephen Ackroyd
From the anxiety riddled opening of ‘Can’t Sleep’, Black Peaks’ second album takes the expected difficulty and toys with it. There are moments of shining, mass hysteria. Big choruses and bigger conviction, but there are also times when the band go fully off the deep end. Weird, wonderful and winding, ‘All That Divides’ manages to feel concise in loads of wondrous chaos. Excitement is king. The band take the loud/quiet dynamic that tumbled through ‘Statues’ and push it to each and every edge. They fill in the blanks with new textures, new colours and reckless adventure. A call to arms entwined, it’s a record of struggle and resistance. It doesn’t have the answers, but it knows they’re out there. It wants to find them together. Ali Shutler
Taken from the December 2018 / January 2019 edition of Upset. Order a copy below.
Featuring Black Peaks, Boston Manor, Creeper, Idles, Dream Wife and loads more.