IBG CONTRIBUTOR JAMES WILSON’S TOP 5 RELEASES OF 2018

James Wilson's Top 5 2018

It is that time again when we get ready to say goodbye to another year. It’s been another music-filled year for me. However, I feel I have not been as spoilt as in previous years, but it still delivered some epic tunage.

Like many other sites, I have been busy compiling my top 5 independent and unsigned releases of the year. Even if I were to add music from the big record labels, this list would remain the same. Why? If I am honest, nothing much has grabbed my attention due to most of it sounding ….safe. But, this is my opinion.

Anyway, time to show some love for the music that has stood out the most for me.

5) The Lyrical with his album Remember The Roots


This album has gatecrashed the party, as I have only recently checked it out. It made an impact due to its vibrant and free-flowing nature. This artist has assembled a collection of songs that range from rap, surf rock, beatboxing, acoustic folk, reggae, soul and much more.

On the surface, it may seem erratic. However, this is music created without restrictions. It is upbeat, crazy with more emotions to boot. This wildcard know as The Lyrical had to make it onto this list.

No review YET, but there will be one very soon!


4) Tim De Graaw with his EP Serenade


Last year saw Tim De Graaw entered my top 5 list with his dark horse of an EP called Three Black Roses. He then announced that he was busy working on the follow-up. This made me think “Could he make my 2018 end of year list?”

As you can see, he did indeed. So much has changed over a year. His vocals have become even stronger and his lyrical talents have moved to another level. There is more emotion within his work and results in songs that you feel as well as hear.

Read more at Serenade by Tim De Graaw


3) 7kingZ with their EP My World Now.


When it comes to hip-hop or rap, I am selective. But my ears know what they like. One group of this genre which stole most of my attention this year was 7kingZ. Unlike most music of this genre that is about, this has more of a positive and motivating feel about it.

Each of their releases has foundations built on their upbeat and driven sound. Their new EP does not break this tradition, but their skills have been honed to create their best work to date. These new songs are so good that they have been welcomed additions to my running mix. I rate this band so highly that according to Spotify, they are my most listened artist of the year.

Read more at My World Now by 7kingZ


2) Rainy with his album Fell to the World


The musician known as Rainy had over a decade gap between his previous and new album Fell to the World. Could it capture the same magic as before or would we get something completely different? I’ll be honest, I didn’t know what to expect and wasn’t sure it would make this list.

He has put together a collection of songs that are soothing, makes you smile and on occasions makes you think. I am not sure what happened between albums, but I don’t care either as this is much more than I expected. It has an irresistible soul that is so beautiful on the ears.

Read more at Fell for the World by Rainy


1) Brother Dege and his album Farmer’s Almanac


As soon as Brother Dege announced that he was working on a new album, my expectation was high. As a fan, I am always eager to hear new music from a man who embodies the traditional soul of the blues but creates in the modern day.

It’s rare for a musician who has released more than three albums to create something that takes their talents to a new level. Brother Dege has proven he still got a lot to offer by creating his best work to date. He has assembled something which blends a cinematic sound that paints the scene for his stories. His vocals draw you in with its storytelling quality and are used to bring his words to life.

For me, no other album comes close to this as it is an exceptional listening experience.

Read more at Farmers Almanac by Brother Dege


Congratulations to all who made my list and I hope you will give them all a listen. 2019 is already shaping up to be an exciting year as some releases in January have already caught my attention. Already some contenders for next years Top 5. Who they are, you will have to keep checking into IndieBandGuru.com to find out.

See you all in 2019!