The Best Albums of March 2018

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Treble took a couple months off from highlighting the best music of the month, though not intentionally. It’s not as if January and February were short on great albums—quite the contrary, 2018 started off pretty strong. But we’ve recalibrated, settled in and gotten our bearings, which means we’re ready to survey the best music released in the past 31 days. March had lots of strong albums to offer, from the emotionally bare pop of Amen Dunes to the sprawling doom metal of Mournful Congregation, with some dream pop, noise rock and Afro-Caribbean jazz in between. So if anyone missed out on some of the great music released in the past month, here are the 10 best albums of March 2018.

Amen Dunes Freedom reviewAmen Dunes – Freedom

(Sacred Bones)

What We Said: The people that populate Freedom are both vague amalgamations of self and specific characters from McMahon’s life. The mother with terminal cancer occupies her space right alongside vampires and ghosts. All of these figures, fading in and out of focus, speak to a new humanity that Amen Dunes is chasing. Vacant is one word for it but perhaps another is pure. Freedom is a blank canvas of identity that creates space for the breadth of human experience. – Wesley Whitacre

Lucy Dacus historian review album of the week

Lucy Dacus – Historian


What We SaidHistorian is, much like No Burden, relatively light on exclamatory outbursts and noisy eruptions. It is, however, rich in heavy and complex emotions, and is on the whole a much bigger statement than Dacus’ debut album. The 22-year-old Richmond, Virginia singer/songwriter has a sophistication and soulfulness well beyond her youth, and thoughHistorian is steeped in anguish and heartbreak, it shows a great deal of growth, both in a personal sense and as an artist. – Jeff Terich

Jean Grae Quelle Chris album streamJean Grae and Quelle Chris – Everything’s Fine


Everything’s Fine is a funny album—it’d be hard not for it to be, considering it features guest appearances by John Hodgman, Nick Offerman and Hannibal Buress. That’s not to take anything away from the spectacular wordplay of Jean and Chris, whose own wordplay holds its own as far as zingers-per-verse are concerned. Though there’s an underlying anxiety and panic beneath it all—the title does kind of give it away. Everything’s Fine navigates our problematic present landscape with humor and biting social commentary, taking on privilege, complacency, racism and the general absurdity of the world (and country) we live in over a kaleidoscopic array of outstanding musical backings. Sure, things look grim, but the good-humored, quick-witted and sonically stunning hip-hop of Everything’s Fine is the best kind of self-care. – Jeff Terich

Hot Snakes Jericho Sirens reviewHot Snakes – Jericho Sirens

(Sub Pop)

What We Said: This is a band at the apex of their sound. Engineered to sound complex, yet unabashedly chaotic with darkly mesmerizing choruses of spittle-laced shouts and growls, dueling tones and crunching rhythms, Jericho Sirens is a deeply physical work. It’s a suplex to your ears, a fire in your spirit, a get-up-and-go, absolutely run-wild affair. It’s what Hot Snakes has always been, and always will be: masters of primal, visceral aesthetics. – Brian Roesler

best albums of March KrausKraus – Path


Kraus is the dinning shoegaze project of Dallas-by-New York artist Will Kraus. The NYU graduate crafts pop-leaning noise numbers sonically akin to A Place to Bury Strangers and early M83, bearing melodic resemblance to bands such as Nothing and Youth Lagoon. Path, Kraus’ sophomore LP, hammers through twelve raucously upbeat tracks, each composed with distinct chaotic focus, balancing fuzz-flooded racket with dreamily detached melodies. The result is an intense and disorienting listen, bursting at the seams with blown out drum fills, static-hushed vocals and a dominating wall of hyper-produced sound. – Patrick Pilch

Mount Eerie Now only review Album of the WeekMount Eerie – Now Only

(PW Elverum and Sun)

What We Said: There is a comfort to be found, though, in Elverum’s tenacity, in his ability to shape his loss into something beautiful. He doesn’t undermine or sugarcoat his devastation. There isn’t any forced catharsis or moral takeaway. But there is something comforting, something deeply human, about putting on the record and sharing in his grief. Elverum doesn’t have to overtly remind us that each other’s all we’ve got—the experience of listening and empathizing with his sorrow makes that point for him. – Sam Prickett

best albums of March Mournful CongregationMournful Congregation – The Incubus of Karma

(20 Buck Spin)

Adelaide, Australia funeral doom masters Mournful Congregation aren’t unknown quantities in the world of heavy music. In their 25 years together, they’d released several full-lengths, splits and EPs, establishing a slow-moving and graceful form of doom that’s as affecting as it is awe-inspiring. The Incubus of Karma, arriving seven years after its predecessor The Book of Kings, immediately stands out for its beauty and majesty, showcasing the breadth of the band’s abilities across four massive epics. They’re cinematic and graceful in “The Rubaiyat,” dense and brawny in “The Scripture of Exaltation and Punishment,” and gorgeously spacious in “A Picture of the Devouring Gloom of the Spheres of Being.” Their compositions are long—and with titles that come awfully close—but the patience pays off with an emotionally profound experience in metal. – Jeff Terich

best albums of March Soccer MommySoccer Mommy – Clean

(Fat Possum)

Indie rock records by young singer/songwriters with guitars are a dime a dozen. So it feels almost miraculous when someone like 20-year-old Sophie Allison comes along with an album as fully realized and impeccably written as Clean. Her third release as Soccer Mommy, Clean is a 10-song collection of concise, intricate and hook-laden pop songs that benefit not only from Allison’s own knack for stellar songwriting but a gorgeous production aesthetic as well, which turns each three-minute pop gem into something so much bigger and grander. It’s only 34 minutes long, but it feels like a huge statement. – Jeff Terich

Sons of Kemet Your Queen Is A Reptile reviewSons of Kemet – Your Queen is a Reptile


What We Said: There isn’t that much about Sons of Kemet that’s traditional, outside of the Black activist tradition they honor and build on—as well as the Impulse! Records lineage they’re now a part of. Yet outside of some key moments of Shabaka Hutchings’ other releases, Your Queen Is a Reptile has a unique sound built on contrasts and counterpoint, one whose influences are transparent but by no means cliche or obvious. It’s angry and inspirational, funky and furious, a jazz album that not only sounds of its time but reflects and blows back at the tumult in the world surrounding it. – Jeff Terich

Yo La Tengo There's a Riot Going On reviewYo La Tengo – There’s a Riot Going On


What We Said: As a full project, There’s a Riot Going On is one of Yo La Tengo’s richest and wisest releases yet. It takes a special band to inadvertently pen an album as naturally excellent as Yo La Tengo’s latest. In a world constantly filled with turmoil, there’s an essence of reliability in the Hoboken trio’s incomparable output. – Patrick Pilch



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