Here at INHAILER we listen to a lot of music. It's kind of what we do. So much so that everything we love doesn't always fit into our AAA format. So, with the year already, incredibly, halfway over; we've decided to share with you some of our individual favorite discoveries from the year thus far. Some of them you will have heard, some not, but they all represent the kind of incredible music you can discover is you are invested enough to dig for it. So, without further ado, here is INHAILER's favorite music discoveries of 2018 (so far):
Belly - Dove
I guess that by now we’ve established that the 90’s rock revival has no chance of stopping anytime soon. Most of the alt/indie rock bands from that era that you can imagine reforming (and some that you can’t) have done so. I’m an unabashed fan of these sorts of endeavors. I know it’s nostalgia and I’m totally good with that. I’ve accepted it. One of the bands that had resisted (until now) this trend is Belly. Here we are in 2018 and there is a new Belly record. It’s self-released with the original line-up and it’s really good. I mean it’s REALLY good. While I’d never tell you not to go back and explore their back catalog, you don’t have to in order to really enjoy this record. It’s shimmery, guitar based, dream-pop that doesn’t rest on the past accomplishments of the band. The song structure is a little looser than their older work and the band vamps a little more. Not bad things by any stretch, just different things. That’s okay. I wouldn’t like this record nearly as much as I do if it didn’t showcase growth by the band. I haven’t heard another new release in 2018 that is as easy for me to get lost in as Dove. It sounds like the past, but doesn’t sound like a retread. I don’t think there’s been another major release quite like it this year, and with the constant tidal wave of new music that we get every Friday, that’s really saying something.
Rodney Bowcock, D.J.
Against All Logic - 2012 - 2017
Nicholas Jaar is an experimental Chilean-American composer, DJ and recording artist. His music is psychedelic, yet it’s incredibly dancy. Some of his songs can have very slow builds but they’re always worth sticking around until the end. He’s most well known for his collaborative project with guitarist Dave Harrington known as DARKSIDE, which spurned one of my favorite albums of all time, if not my #1, Psychic. While Jaar typically uses unconventional sounds and methods to build his songs, his other alias Against All Logic or A.A.L is a more straightforward approach to dance and house music. He recently released his debut collection under this moniker, which is works he’s made from 2012 - 2017 and fittingly that’s what it’s called. These songs are sample heavy, pulling mainly from old funk and soul songs, and in “Such a Bad Way” he even slips in a sample from Kanye West’s Yeezus. This is the kind of dance music I want to hear blasting from hi-end speakers at a futuristic yet grungy dance bar. I could settle for dancing at Tokyo Kitty too. This is the dance music of the future, there aren’t any huge drops here, there isn’t an insane amount of bass shaking you to your core, these are well crafted beats, full of samples and left turns and psychedelic moments that will blow you away.
Nis Illokken, Music Director
Lord Huron - Vide Noir
I know I'm totally stealing this album from Sam, but here goes anyways. In a year of off-the-mark new albums from artists we thought could do no wrong, it's the underdogs who, to me, have been turning out 2018's best work. So far, this year has proven to be a sort of transitional point in my life, and over the last couple months, the soundtrack to this period has been Lord Huron's Vide Noir. I actually discovered all of Lord Huron's albums this year (I still can't understand how I missed them), but Vide Noir's approach to a dark and existential truth through late-night-drive sadboi rock strikes a chord with me more than either Strange Trails or Lonesome Dreams.
A.J. Kmetz, News and Content Director
Marc O'Reilly - L'etre Politique
Marc O’Reilly is often referred to as an Irish “blues” or “roots” artist, simplistic labels for music that defies pigeon-holing. When his latest, L'etre Politique, came out in March it pretty much ripped my face off with its blistering fretwork and brutal lyrics about the universal issues of politics. Little wonder, really, when the album title translates as “political being.” O’Reilly immerses the listener into the politics of human interactions - from one-on-one friendships to global themes of capitalism, war and globalization – no more so than with the album’s final cut, “Shadows,” a song which begins with the wry observation “piece by piece, somebody take over” and bubbles into molten lava that scorches everything it touches by song’s end. Epic.
Luann Gibbs, D.J.
Loona - "Heart Attack"
If you’re active on twitter, you’re probably familiar with the wild world of K-pop stans and for that reason you may have been avoiding K-pop (as I have been). In a moment of intrigue and googling, I stumbled upon fresh off the presses 12-girl group Loona. Each member of the group has released a single and b-side in their own sound and aesthetic. Their songs are anthemic, fun, undeniably dancy, and are accompanied by equally exciting videos. The video for “Heart Attack” by member Chuu has received high praise with it’s feature of a same-sex crush. The girls of Loona produce pure, sugary crystalline pop without the things that, in my opinion, pollute and dilute American pop. They’re not intertwined with the web of American pop culture and, in a way, it makes them untouchable pop idols. What draws me to K-pop is how it transcends language. Music is so boundless, that even though I have absolutely no idea what’s being said, I can still feel that light, happy, makes-you-want-to-choreograph feeling of pop.
Megan Magisa, Assistant Content Director
Soft Kill - Savior
Lately I’ve been really getting into the sound of the 80's. There is a certain aesthetic to 80's music that reminds me of neon colors, the birth of “punk” and “goth”, and the kind of airbrush writing that seemed to be everywhere during that decade. Soft Kill’s new album Savior exemplifies that 80's style of goth new wave and is my favorite of the year. The album captures the 80's goth aesthetic from the sound all the way down to the album cover. When listening to the album you will notice a heavy influence from bands like The Cure, early New Order, and Joy Division. The band uses a heavy dose of reverb on the vocals as well as on all their guitar riffs, that feels like it has come from a gothic post punk powered time machine back to the year 1984. Take the song “Bunny Room.” The track starts out with a haunting synth riff, then slams you with a giant wall of heavy reverb guitars and drums. Once the vocals come in you are hit by the singer's deep haunting voice (which is reminiscent of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis). All combined, these elements create a sound that hits the post punk sweet spot that the 80's has been come to be known for.
Micheal Perkins, Staff Writer
Beloved Youth - Beloved Youth
My favorite music discovery of the year is local band Beloved Youth. Beloved Youth made their way into the Cincinnati music scene with their Teeth EP and self titled album. The band will catch your ear live with their relatable and amazing vocals, bass arrangements, powerful energetic drumming and highlighted guitar solos. The band is no stranger to popular music venues and stages such as Urban Artifact and MOTR. You will want this group of guys to be your best friends with their fun, creative and outgoing personalities. Listen to Beloved Youth on Spotify and add them to your jam session playlist. You wont be disappointed. I highly recommend checking them out this summer around Cincinnati
Meg Schott, Street Team Coordinator
Catholic Action - In Memory Of
2018 has been one musical disappointment after another for me. Thee of my all time favorite bands released highly anticipated follow ups to great albums, all of which were varying degrees of let down. And then, when something I did really like came around, A.J. decided to write about it before I could. Figures. So instead I'm going to write about a group I had never heard of before this week, Catholic Action. With interest in all things 80's and synthisizered the highest they've been since, well, 1989, Catholic Action is a welcome respite. A blast of hook driven guitar rock that provides the dancable college rock kick I didn't realize I missing, In Memory Of has quickly become the album that I reach for when i want the feeling that the Fratellis gave me years ago. Even when our favorite bands let us down, there is always someone new out there putting a different twist on the things that make us love music. So far for me in 2018, Catholic Action is that band.
Sam Banasek, Assistant News Director