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 day by day over the coming week right here on upsetmagazine.com. Today, it's numbers 30 to 21. If you missed the first instalment, you can find it here, and the second here.
A four-part collection of three-track movements based around a singular central figure (‘The Poet’), there’s a sense of the theatrical running through ‘The Great Depression’. Whether observant, erudite, compassionate or philosophical, such descriptions are effectively moot: As It Is aren't prepared to sit back and ride the wave anymore. Are you? Dan Harrison
Life can feel ‘a bit much’, especially for a generation becoming ‘adults’ in a world that feels helplessly unstable and beyond their reach. However, by embracing and addressing the confusion of existence, itoldyou provide the perfect antidote. 'oh dearism' teaches us to be ambitious and to learn to love ourselves and those around us. Katie Pilbeam
From the moment ‘Gatekeeper’ comes hulking out of the traps, ‘The Spark That Moves’ combines everything Cancer Bats have aced up to this point – transcending hardcore, punk rock, doom and groove-laden metal. On what is arguably their best album in a decade, Cancer Bats take the criteria for what an outstanding heavy band should be, and tick every box. Danny Randon
‘Underworld’ sees Tonight Alive constantly change colour and shape. Empowering realisations and small epiphanies still litter the record, but the band aren’t weighing themselves down with constant resolution. Instead of trying to balance every moment of dark with a light, they accept the flickering uncertainty and dance in the strobe. Ali Shutler
Nearly a decade on from cementing their reputation for massive heartstring-yanking choruses, The Xcerts have crafted a sound which is unmistakably their own - and after attaining the level of power-pop perfection on 'Hold On...', they deserve to be one of the biggest bands in the world right now. Try with all your might; there’s no use holding on to your heart – The Xcerts will only steal it. Danny Randon
Dilly Dally’s ‘Sore’ was a raging burst of frustration and desire. It was on fire, and it was brilliant. Follow-up ‘Heaven’ is more centred. Self-help and radical realisations, the band don’t just find their voice, they want to scream from the mountaintop. From the breaking dawn snarl of ‘I Feel Free’, it’s an album full of spray paint love. Big, bold declarations erupt from within, repeated until they’re believed and held aloft for the whole world to see. Ali Shutler
Rarely has the drama of heartache or the struggle to find your place in the world sounded so palpable as it does on Snail Mail’s ‘Lush’. The product of 18-year-old Lindsey Jordan, ‘Lush’ brims with angst and broken hearts. There’s no distance of time to soften the pain, just raw and honest lyrics that pull on heartstrings with all of the power of a seasoned crooner. In this adolescent twilight, truths are precocious and profound – and the results are enchanting. Rob Mair
Littered with wry lyricism, musically Courtney Barnett has stuck with what she knows; her grungy guitars and occasional punk thrash don’t tread new ground, but then Courtney has always been more of a storyteller - and, judging by this latest effort, there are currently few songwriters who can match her. Alex Thorp
Teenage Wrist have channelled the ghosts of yesteryear for their otherworldly debut, ‘Chrome Neon Jesus’ - a tour de force of shoegaze-addled grunge, soaked in emo-pop. The band ride a wave of influences that radiate rainbows as much as they illuminate the darkness. Their adoration for the 90s darker sonic territories and masterful command of distortion, fuzz, and crossover bravado has left Teenage Wrist riding off into the distance with a sound so powerful we may be seeing a post-grunge revival. Jack Press
If 2015’s ‘Ire’ was the crack in the ice, then Australia’s heavy metal flag-bearers Parkway Drive’s sixth album, ‘Reverence’ is the floodgates opening and drowning everything in sight, their new-found ability to write arena metal anthems dialled up a dozen. Much like Avenged Sevenfold and Architects before them, Parkway Drive have staked their claim for heavy metal ascendancy, and if the cycle for ‘Reverence’ doesn’t end with festival headline slots and arena tours, then there’s something very wrong with this world. Jack Press
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.