Albums of the Year

A review of the year's best new music releases, curated by Anxious Sound, a music zine aimed at sharing essential noise.

2018
Sitting quietly in scorching reimagined suburbia
Deafheaven

15

LP, Kranky

Upon the Break Arch

14

LP, Domino

How Long?

13

LP, Thrill Jockey

Weather Vane

12

LP, Sinderlyn

Tall Mountains

11

LP, Deathwish

Net Gain

10

LP, Anti-

Luna

09

LP, Domino

Lonely Wanderer

08

LP, Heavenly

07

LP, Constellation

Beautiful Blue Sky

06

LP, Profound Lore

Hollow King

05

LP, Deathwish

How Deep It Runs

04

EP, Sacred Bones

Love (Montreal)

03

LP, Hardly Art

Dope Cloud

02

LP, Jagjaguwar

Continental Shelf

01

LP, Morr Music

Noyaux

Great new music was so abundant in 2015 that nearly half of the albums listed above were considered the favorite at one time or another. Then, on November 6, Noyaux by Benoit Pioulard was released; one of two new albums released by the Seattle-based musician in 2015 (the other, Sonnet, also made this list).

Noyaux came out of nowhere. Its sudden existence was one of those rare and thrilling surprises that are sadly infrequent in a digital, news-breaking culture that does its best to make surprises obsolete. I had heard no mention of the album before its release. I wasn't expecting it. Nor could I have expected its visceral impact, which, for me, was swift and profound.

Noyaux is a work of ethereal, wordless soundscapes, in a vein similar to Olan Mill or Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, but with slightly more space for the listener to dissolve into meditation. I find it unbelievably moving and yet near-impossible to describe. Possibly, it is the sound of the universe expanding. Or the sound of loss. Or perhaps it is the sound of the unconscious slowly, deliberately, unfolding itself.

However one might interpret it, Noyaux is pure sonic, cinematic transport. It's a powerful and hauntingly beautiful experience that elicits emotions that are seldom felt, or that maybe were never before known. That, I feel, is the purpose of all art, and here Pioulard has done it, and with only four tracks and twenty five minutes, and without words.

Other albums I liked:

Barrow — Cemeteries

The Original Faces — Helen

I Could Have Sworn — Hamilton Leithauser and Paul Maroon

The Evil Has Landed Pt. II — Holy Wave

Trading Basics — Palm

A Year With 13 Moons — Jefre Cantu-Ledesma

Hypnophobia — Jacco Gardner



Fading Frontier — Deerhunter

W-X — W-X

Lo — Crosss

Empire — Unwound

Spider Tracks — Cave Story

Mutilator Defeated At Last — Thee Oh Sees