1. Visions Of A Life – Wolf Alice
This Mercury-award winning album compromises a unique mix of guitar-based tracks from the North London band Wolf Alice. Their recent sold-out Brixton academy show was a truly spectacular showcase of their grungiest, most shoegazey and synthpop tracks. The band’s second album is an album about anxieties, death and falling in love carried forward by frontwoman Ellie Rowsell. The album opens with ‘Heavenward’, with strong resemblances to the 90s shoegaze scene such as Slowdive and sets up the album magnificently. If you were to ask what Wolf Alice sound like, the album title track ‘Visions of life’ is a brave attempt to showcase all the band have to offer in 7 minutes with grungey riffs, hazy vocals and strong builds, creating an intense closure to the album.
2. Lush – Snail Mail
Snail Mail is the project of 19-year-old Lindsey Jordan of Baltimore. A highlight of the album, ‘Pristine’ perfectly encapsulates the intensity of unrequited love against jangly riffs, clearly 90s alt-rock influenced. Jordan has been frequently compared to Liz Phair with her fuzz guitar leads and her debut has shown she is positioned for great things in the future.
3. Clean – Soccer Mommy
Like her contemporary, Lindsey Jordan, Sophie Allison’s specialty is sad songs about love in a minor key. This is the first studio recorded-full length album for 20-year-old Sophie Allison from Nashville. Her hazy singing is accompanied by pop-punk kicks. ‘Your dog’ is a total inversion of Iggy Pop’s: ‘I don’t wanna be your fucking dog’ with punchy vocals and swirly indie riffs.
4. Twentytwo In Blue – Sunflower Bean
Not strictly a female lead guitarist, but frontwoman, singer and bassist Julia Cummings really steals the spotlight even more so than the first on the band’s second album. ‘Memoria’ is a real highlight with its catchy riff and powerful feminine vocals. The album title track ‘Twentytwo’ is something new and fresh for Sunflower Bean with its retro-feel of the simplistic vocals against soft guitar, a really unique track for 2018.
5. Tell Me How You Really Feel – Courtney Barnett
The second album from this Aussie guitar goddess is just as punchy as the first . On the witty and punky ‘Nameless Faceless’ Barnett recalls a quote from an online trolls “He said, ‘I could eat a bowl of alphabet soup and spit out better words than you’” where she responds with “but you didn’t” which is the most Courtney Barnett line on the album.
6. Boygenius – EP
Boygenius is a guitar girl supergroup made up of Julia Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, coming together to create this harmonious and all too brief EP. This project shows how to do a supergoup right: elevate each other’s individual talents. Bridgers brings her soft, intimate folk-rock, Baker enormous minor tones and Dacus, clear and confrontational vocals and fuzzy guitars.
7. Malena Zavala – Aliso
There’s something about the song ‘A Vision That’s Changed’ that totally transfixes you on to Zavala’s voice and the heavy reverbs and fazers create a hyponotizing experience of lush, warm lullabyes and hazy dreams. A perfect introduction to London-based Malena Zavala who explores her Argentinan heritage and diverse musical roots. These 10 songs are the first 10 songs she ever wrote and recorded and her own, a truly golden voice of talent that doesn’t come around often.
Written by Tilda Gratton