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As is now a Now Then tradition, we're sending 2018 on its merry way by asking our writers to tell us about their favourite releases of the year.

Akeem opts for a slice of elegant hip-hop, while Sam VL heralds the return of indie rock darlings Low. Bubblegum pop earns a critical re-evaluation from Andrew, while Sarah embraces DIY chaos. Find out what you've been missing.

Bas Jan - Yes I Jan

The joyous debut from rambunctious London trio Bas Jan is exactly the tonic we need at the end of this dismal car-crash of a year. Folk? Punk? Folk-pop-punk? Impossible to do it justice in a word. Irrepressible and magnificent with just a hint of DIY chaos, Yes I Jan gives me hope that all is not lost. Yes I Jan. We ALL Jan. Sarah Sharp

Low - Double Negative

Low's Double Negative is an atmospheric, glitch-laden trip through the dark recesses of the heart and soul. When you're done with the abyss, soar high with Wye Oak's The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs, a joyous romp of unadulterated loveliness. Sam J. Valdés López

Dizzle AP - 'Unruly Flow'

Dizzle AP's 'Unruly Flow' is an elegant track that I've had on constant repeat since his mixtape 11 was released earlier in 2018. The song is a flawless combination of slick production, charming sounds and confident lyrics delivered in Dizzle's distinctively cool manner. It's an endlessly satisfying listen and one that'll remain so even after the year is out. Akeem Balogun

Daphne & Celeste - Daphne & Celeste Save the World

The smirking figures of Daphne & Celeste, facing a bottling at 2000's Reading Festival, might be the image of punk rock defiance. In 2018's unlikeliest comeback, Daphne & Celeste Save the World, the 'Ooh Stick You' singers retain this attitude, even as their music becomes unrecognisable. The songs are prog-pop mini-epics, traversing dramatic tempo and harmonic shifts as lyrical themes span maths, science and mythology. Max Tundra's production, a digital blend of computerised vocals and dance beats, recalls the work of Yasutaka Nakata. Andrew Trayford

Underworld & Iggy Pop - 'Bells & Circles'

This year I kept returning to the endlessly quotable 'Bells & Circles', a new Underworld track featuring a sprechgesang vocal from Iggy Pop. In the eight-minute epic, Pop reminisces about smoking on the airplane ("Those were the golden days of air travel!"), before recalling a narcotics fuelled faux-pas with a flight attendant, and warning that "It's over for the liberal democracies." Sam Gregory

Hundred Year Old Man - Breaching

Taking in both crushing weight and widescreen, atmospheric beauty, this long-awaited full-length finally puts on record the cinematic power of the sensory overload that is Hundred Year Old Man's live show. Emotions run high on this journey through weighty riffs and lush textures, and with more layers than several onions, Breaching solidifies HYOM as one of the absolute best UK heavy bands. Richard Spencer

Mitski - Be The Cowboy

On Be The Cowboy, Mitski adds country, disco and cabaret influences to her signature whirring grunge guitars. She distils isolation and loneliness into a series of short, mostly two-minute songs while upping the harmonic and structural experimentation and confusion. Her intensely controlled delivery and artful compositions only add to the manic energy flowing just beneath the surface. Jack Buckley

Father John Misty - God's Favorite Customer

Josh Tillman shoved himself far up his arse around the time he adopted the moniker Father John Misty, but thankfully for us most of the material he lets seep downstream is still pretty solid, and not just in the context of this metaphor. His latest, God's Favorite Customer, was an eclectic, streamlined concept album, equal parts light and bitter, and something that's not only a best for Tillman but also for 2018. Máté Mohos

Next article in issue 130

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