It’s strange to think that, amongst the ten highest-selling vinyl records of 2018, six of them were by artists that are either disbanded or deceased.

The likes of Nevermind and Dark Side of the Moon will probably still be raking in the cash for years to come, but Silent Radio writers and contributors tell us below about some of the more modest releases that nevertheless captured their hearts during the year, along with the gigs, stories and interviews that will live long in the memory.

2018 was also a year when music lovers said goodbye to legends like Aretha Franklin, Pete Shelley, Mark E Smith and Scott Hutchison (three of our writers pay tribute here to Scott, who died in May).

As well as the reflections of 2018, now feels like the time to look ahead too, and some of our contributors share their excitement below for what the rest of 2019 might bring.

Albums, EPs and Singles

Mastersystem – Dance Music

Artist: Mastersystem
Title: Dance Music, released 06/04/2018
Recommended by: Ben Forrester (@BenGFoz)

The British supergroup’s debut was a huge fuzz rock record with solid tunes and inspiringly sincere vocals. What makes the record so poignant in hindsight is the tragic loss of the band’s uniquely talented vocalist Scott Hutchison a month after the album’s release.

Key track: ‘Old Team’


The Mountain Goats – Hex of Infinite Binding EP

Artist: The Mountain Goats
Title: Hex of Infinite Binding EP, released 07/09/2018
Recommended by: Steve Jones

Working ever closer these days with Matt Douglas, a relatively recent addition to the band, songwriter John Darnielle, now back to playing guitars on record following the guitar-free Goths, emphasised Douglas’s woodwind and keyboard playing on this EP, providing a level of instrumental sophistication that matches his own peerless lyrics.


Sibille Attar

Artist: Sibille Attar
Track Title: ‘I Don’t Have To’, released 27/04/2018 on Paloma’s Hand EP
Recommended by: Ian Burke (@TalkingTurkeyWB)

It is, without any hyperbole whatsoever, the best pop song written since ‘Crazy in Love’. There’s the clanking, cockney knees-up piano chords, the rattling drums and the piercing “Eeeeeevery niiiii-iii-iiii-eee-iiight…” opening couple of words which set the tone. The chorus is immense with its flagrant note bending, there’s a bass line straight out of the Destroyer playbook, and there’s even a bit of mild swearing for our (Silent Radio Director) Vic…


Yves Tumor – Safe in the Hands of Love

Artist: Yves Tumor
Title: Safe in the Hands of Love, released 05/09/2018
Recommended by: Rich Walker (@dickiewalker)

Best album of the year hands down, for me. It’s experimental and unsettling, but there are a couple of massive bangers on there too, and it bears many repeat listens.

Key track: ‘Noid’


Bill Ryder-Jones – Yawn

Artist: Bill Ryder-Jones
Title: Yawn, released 02/11/2018
Recommended by: Sarah Starkey (@starkey2002)

It’s an album packed with raw emotion – a beautiful insight into the workings of his mind. It swallows you up in all its melancholy glory.

Key track: ‘And Then There’s You’


Bodega – Endless Scroll

Artist: Bodega
Title: Endless Scroll, released 06/07/2018
Recommended by: Paula Farr (@paulainthenorth)

It’s just a great album, full of astute lyrical musings on everyday life and vibrant guitar tunes. Album of the summer!

Key track: ‘How Did This Happen?!’



Track Title: ‘Man Down (King Kong Shake)’, released 27/09/2018
Recommended by: Vic Turnbull (@SilentVic)

I first heard this track when I put it on our weekly gig guide mixtape back in October. It’s an antithesis of a macho, rallying cry to ‘man up’ and encourages blokes not to be afraid to be sensitive, open and to ‘moisturise your knuckles’.

CHILDCARE nail the laid-back vibe whilst delivering some pretty sobering lyrics, which are at the core about men’s mental health. A top tune, with a top message – I can get down with that.


Mini Skirt

Artist: Mini Skirt
Title: 7 Inch EP, released 30/11/2017
Recommended by: Ian Burke (@TalkingTurkeyWB)

There’s been a renaissance of Aussie rock ‘n’ roll & punk in recent years, with Royal Headache leading the charge. West Thebarton are ace, The Chats are loads of fun, but Mini Skirt are the seething underbelly. Their lyrics aren’t wrapped in riddles, it’s just honest to goodness disbelief at the bullshit people come out with.

‘Holiday’ is my favourite track on the EP, but ‘Dying Majority’ – with its dig at xenophobia and unconcealed racism (“I drink the same beer as him, but I don’t think new Australians are second-class citizens”) – pretty much sums up 2018. Even though it was released in 2017…


Spiritualized – And Nothing Hurt

Artist: Spiritualized
Title: And Nothing Hurt, released 07/09/2018
Recommended by: Paula Farr (@paulainthenorth)

A beautiful break-up and redemption album full of epic songs and heartfelt lyrics. No one does this kind of stuff like J. Spaceman. Utter genius!

Key track: ‘I’m Your Man’




Artist: IDLES
Venue: Knust, Hamburg, 09/11/2018
Attended by: Ben Forrester (@BenGFoz)

IDLES is probably the most important indie band in the UK right now. It was so inspiring to see a bunch of Bristol lads tearing it up in Germany and spreading such a forward-thinking and open-minded message to the masses.

You couldn’t tell that the band was in the middle of a mammoth three-month world tour – they played like it was their first show with heaps of energy and conviction.


Frightened Rabbit

Artist: Frightened Rabbit
Venue: Ritz, Manchester, 15/03/2018
Attended by: Vic Turnbull (@SilentVic) / Rich Walker (@dickiewalker)

This gig was in my Silent Radio things to look forward to in 2018 and has taken on a sad level of poignancy that I can still not believe as I sit here writing this as my ‘highlight’ of the last year.

The Spring 2018 tour from Frightened Rabbit was to mark the 10-year anniversary of their album The Midnight Organ Fight, which they’d be playing in its entirety.

The LP’s one of my most treasured albums – first and foremost lyrically in that I think every one of Scott Hutchison’s lyrics can be related to at least one aspect of my life to date, and secondly musically of course because the band along with Scott are incredible.

The gig was special. The band and Scott were on top form, and it was the audience that really stood out for me. Mostly made up of blokes, from tracksuits and shaved heads, young indie kids, to the mature dad types – all singing along, some with their arms outstretched, others clapping along, some crying, but all united by their own journeys and stories where Frightened Rabbit have been with them as their soundtrack.

Tragically it was the last time I saw Scott perform before his death in May. I’ve probably not gone two days without listening to The Midnight Organ Fight since.

What a great memory to have of a beautiful man.

Just weeks before the terrible news that front man Scott Hutchison had killed himself, the band played its seminal album The Midnight Organ Fight in full and it was magnificent. I cannot listen to it anymore without crying uncontrollably.

Then, weeks after his death, both the Twilight Sad and The National paid tribute to Scott at Primavera festival, the latter dedicating ‘About Today’ to him, and it took me about 30 minutes to get over it.



Artist: Brockhampton
Venue: KOKO, London, 20/08/2018
Attended by: Nathan Evans (@nayfun_evans)

One of hip-hop’s most tantalising groups made a big introduction to their UK fans in late August. I remember how crazy people went for them. There was sweat dripping from the walls after the gig, it was an incredible gathering of people.


Soccer Mommy

Artist: Soccer Mommy
Venue: Castle Hotel, Manchester, 04/03/2018
Attended by: Sarah Starkey (@starkey2002)

The gig took the audience through Soccer Mommy’s diary of emotions, including ‘Your Dog’, which delivered an instant fierceness. Although there wasn’t one track that stood out above the rest, ‘Still Clean’, the lead track from the album Clean, was so atmospheric live that you saw a wave of effect on the crowd.

Also, journeying back to 2017’s Collection, with songs such as the hazy jangles of ‘Inside Out’ and the sultry sound of ‘Try’, was perfect.


News Stories and Interviews

Deke Duncan’s Shed

Story: DJ Deke Duncan
Loved by: Simon Zaccagni (@SR_Poolie)

After 40 years of doing a radio show from his shed with one listener (his wife), he got to do a show on the BBC – his own one-hour special over Christmas. I love hearing about people who do what they do for nothing else apart from the love of it.

Interview: Joe Talbot and Mark Bowen of IDLES
Suggested by: Simon Zaccagni (@SR_Poolie)

Max Pilley and I got to interview Joe and Bowen from IDLES for Silent Radio. We had a chat with them backstage at Gorilla before their gig back in April, and we really found them to be such a great pair of genuine and funny people.


Stuff to look forward to in 2019


Artist: Careering
Recommended by: Ben Forrester (@BenGFoz)

Careering are an extremely exciting new indie-punk outfit from the North West. They put out a superb EP in the summer which was fierce, catchy and brimming with energy. They’ve just released a new single and are about to head into the studio to work on a full length.

Ones to keep an eye on in 2019 without a shadow of a doubt.


Primavera Sound 2019

Festival: Primavera Sound 2019
Venue: Parc del Forum, Barcelona, 30/05 to 01/06/2019
Recommended by: Rich Walker (@dickiewalker)

Have you seen that line up?! Subtitled ‘the New Normal’, the festival have grabbed the bull by the horns and ensured that there are 50/50 male and female acts on the bill, and it’s incredible.


Frank Ocean

Artist: Frank Ocean
Recommended by: Nathan Evans (@nayfun_evans)

In 2018, Frank released just one song, a cover of the classic ‘Moon River’, and featured on several high-profile releases for other artists. While it satisfied the growing Frank Ocean community, it seems that something big is in the works, and considering his last album is a generation-defining blockbuster of a record, 2019 will be another exciting year for Frank fans.


The Zutons

Artist: The Zutons
Venue: Albert Hall, Manchester, 29/03/2019
Recommended by: Sarah Starkey (@starkey2002)

For nostalgia! To feel like I’m 16 again!



Steve Mason

Artist: Steve Mason
Recommended by: Paula Farr (@paulainthenorth)

His albums are always an absolute treat to the eardrums and I’m looking forward to his new one! I’ve loved everything he’s put out so far. Great songwriter.




Artist: Phobophobes
Venue: Night & Day Cafe, Manchester, 31/01/2019
Recommended by: Simon Zaccagni (@SR_Poolie)

Love this band and it’s gonna be my first gig of the year, with plenty more to follow.




Track List

Mastersystem – Old Team
Mini Skirt – Dying Majority
Sibille Attar – I Don’t Have To
Spiritualized – I’m Your Man
Yves Tumor – Noid
Frightened Rabbit – Heads Roll Off
Soccer Mommy – Your Dog
Idles – Great
Childcare – Man Down (King Kong Shake)
Brockhampton – Boogie
Bodega – How Did This Happen
Bill Ryder-Jones – And Then There’s You
Idles – I’m Scum
Frightened Rabbit – Keep Yourself Warm
Phobophobes – Where Is My Owner?
The Zutons – Pressure Point
Steve Mason – Stars Around My Heart
Frank Ocean – Pink + White
Christine & The Queens – Tilted
Careering – Thigh Slapper