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2018 in Review | Tinnitist’s Top Alternative Albums

Australian art-punks Tropical Fuck Storm are as good as their name is awful

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Top Pick: Tropical Fuck Storm | A Laughing Death in Meatspace

Just like Smucker’s, Monkey Pus and Painful Rectal Itch, Tropical Fuck Storm have a name so awful they’ve got to be good. And oh man, are they ever. Formed by Drones singer-guitarist Gareth Liddiard and bassist Fiona Kitschin — and if you don’t know who The Drones are, stop reading right now and go track down a copy of their grandly titled 2005 gem Wait Long By The River And The Bodies Of Your Enemies Will Float By — TFS quite naturally pick up where the deservedly acclaimed Australian art-punks left off. In other words: They’re superbly off-kilter and outrageous. The ringleader, of course, is the iconoclastic and idiosyncratic Liddiard. Equipped with a pointed wit, a mischievous attitude and a jaundiced eye — not to mention a voice that veers from a lazy drawl to a full-throated, unhinged wail faster than you can ask, ‘Did you remember to take your meds?’ All of which he uses to regale us with freaky, freewheeling treatises on everything from romantic betrayal and societal ills to diseased cannibals, petty criminals, Kasparov’s match against Deep Blue and, um, goats with human faces that roam the fourth dimension. Meanwhile, his female bandmates hold up their end of the bargain, underpinning Liddiard’s spindly, staccato guitar licks and whammy-bar wooziness with no-frills, loose-limbed indie-rock that twists and turns with nimble muscularity (and the occasional spike of Beefhearty angularity) The result: A debut album with just the right combo platter of brawn, brain and brattiness. They keep this up, they’re going to have to change their name to something even worse.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS (in alphabetical order)

• Baba Commandant & The Mandingo Band | Siri Ba Kele
• The Callas With Lee Ranaldo | Trouble And Desire
• Evil Blizzard | Worst Show on Earth
• Ghostland Observatory | See You Later Simulator
• Guerilla Toss | Twisted Crystal
• Idles | Joy as an Act of Resistance
• Nude Party | Nude Party
• oh800 | Character Building
• Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs | King of Cowards
• Slaves | Acts of Fear and Love
• Sons of Kemet | Your Queen is a Reptile
• Sophie | Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides
• Zapruder | Zapruder

** NOTE: Because Tinnitist has only been around since mid-September, this list features albums released and reviewed since then — along with whatever else I heard and remembered from the rest of the year. If you can’t find a review by clicking on the entry or searching the site — or you spot an obvious oversight in this list — the album you’re looking for probably came out too early for me to review it. Or I just didn’t have time. Either way, my bad.