It’s that time of year. Again. ‘Best of’ lists can beat it, though. Music rated behind a glass case? This means more. Oh, and they’re all from Merseyside this year. The music, then, 2018. By Alan O’Hare.

“Musical content remains the driving force online. Music is everywhere, still… but is it any good? Yes. Especially if you know where to look and listen.” I said that. It was the end of 2017 and time to look back on the year in the rear view mirror. Twelve months on and nothing has changed – we’ve just had more of everything. It was ‘Frasier Crane’ who delivered the immortal line “ah, but if less is more, then just think how much more more will be.” He was right (or the writers who wrote it were right). Disagree? Get your ears around this lot. Some have sold millions, some have sold buttons and some would sell their soul for that all elusive next step… but all have created very good or great music in 2018. It’s the hardest part, that, and why making great music remains the noblest activity of them all. Enjoy…

Elvis Costello
‘Unwanted Number’
– taken from the LP ‘Look Now’
“‘Unwanted Number’ opens with the promise of Motown. It’s Smokey Robinson born in Birkenhead… ”
Further reading

Lo Five
– Emotion Wave LP
“A beating heart all of its own… ”
Further reading

‘Sturm and Drang’
– taken from the LP ‘Sample Size’
“Nuanced noisescapes, beefy bass lines and superb singing… ”
Further reading

Xam Volo
‘Lose Love’
– taken from the LP ‘All The Sweetness On The Surface’
“Slow jams that sound like summer tunes shaking the floor as cars pass you by… ”
Further reading

She Drew The Gun
‘Revolution Of Mind’
– Skeleton Key LP
“Music’s resisters have never shouted louder… ”
Further reading

Ian Prowse
‘Don’t Worship Me’
– taken from Pele’s remastered ‘Sport Of Kings’ LP
“A rabble rouser and one of Liverpool’s favourite performers… ”
Further reading

Maddie Stenberg
‘Take Me Home’
– digital single
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step… ”
Further reading

Katie Mac
‘Eye To Eye’
– taken from the ‘Believe’ EP
“The singer from two dogs is coming out fighting… ”
Further reading

The Tea Street Band
– Modern Sky LP
“They sound like the future, whilst making fans feel like the past… ”
Further reading


Nick Ellis
‘Speakers’ Corner’
– Mellowtone LP
“Some sharks need to stay moving in order to breathe. Some songwriters are the same… ”
Further reading

Mersey Wylie
‘Giving Myself Away’
– taken from ‘The Skin I Live In’ EP
“In this darkness hidden gems are shining… ”
Further reading

Queen Zee
‘Sass Or Die’
– 2018 video reissue
“The songs invite you along for the ride, but you’re going to have to hold on tight… “
Further reading

Lizzie Nunnery and Vidar Norheim
‘To Have To Shoot Irishmen’
– songs from the Almanac Arts play
“A peace which can often end in violence and tragedy… ”
Further reading

The Shipbuilders
‘Stranger’s Lament’
– digital single
“Their recorded output so far sounds like it’s been exhumed from under miles of Mersey mud…. ”
Further reading

White Little Lies
– video single
“The producers of ‘Nashville’ will be kicking themselves for killing the series so soon… ”
Further reading

Simon Herron
‘For A Minute’
– AntiFragile Music single
“A melody that builds to something very special… ”
Further reading

Marc Vormawah
‘Goodbye To Yesterday’
– 2018 LP
“This is the work of a superb craftsman… ”
Further reading

The Folk Doctors
‘We Were Soldiers’
– taken from the ‘Silent Shores’ LP
“A Merseyside/Irish duo specialising in levity and laments… ”
Further reading

Graphic courtesy The Hand That Feeds Me