Best Albums of 2018
picked by 3 Lithuanian music critics

Alina Orlova <BR> “Daybreak”

Alina Orlova

Singer & songwriter Alina Orlova has won her audience in Lithuania 10 years ago or so. Her matured melodies, bluesy singing manner and melancholic voice that belongs to the past century more than to modern world haven’t changed much in all these years. It’s her biggest accomplishment and curse at once.

With the album „Daybreak“, written in three languages (Lithuanian, Russian and English), Alina just confirms she’s not searching for anything – she has found everything long time ago. Now, the artist invites you try 10 of her compositions for your own self-discovery trips.

♪♫ Listen: “Daybreak” + album stream

Alina Orlova on Facebook, Instagram.

Crucial Features <BR> “Kaprizai”

Crucial Features

There are never enough all-girl punk rock bands.

Crucial Features started their music career with a provocation – they called their debut song “The Sovietism is Dying” (“Miršta sovietynas”). The band’s debut album (“Whims”), however, proved that Crucial Features have a serious attitude to back up their passionate, raw music.

Inspired by the 90s Riot grrrl movement, they shout out ideas about social alienation, patriarchalism, and abuse. All of their lyrics are in Lithuanian – which also deserves a praise – but their angsty punk rock power is universal.

♪♫ Listen: “Muštynės” + album stream

Crucial Features on Facebook, Instagram.

Domantas Razauskas & Vos Vos <BR> “Vos Vos”

Domantas Razauskas & Vos Vos
“Vos Vos”

Domantas Razauskas has been present in an underground rock circles since his late teens. While being famous for dressing his unique, poetic lyrical journeys in acoustic robes, this time Domantas does something quite different. In his latest album, Domantas is joined by three other musicians and forms a hard-rock band of drums, bass and distorted guitars. This band is names Vos Vos (“A Little Bit” in Lithuanian) and offers the listener eight sharp compositions.

All lyrics, the most charming aspect of Domantas’ music, are in Lithuanian, but the foreign-speaking listeners can enjoy the tunes just as well and find something for themselves in the melodies. The album offers a plethora of styles, ranging from The Lizard King Jim Morrison-inspired blues rock („Raganų kraujo“), to nostalgic, electronic drum beat-based tracks (“Lopšinė”) to dreamy ballads (“Budėjimas”). In fact, in every song of “Vos Vos” the music is just as touching as the lyrics are. The only problem with this album is that it is too short. Eight compositions clock just above half hour and leaves you wanting more. But hey, “too short” is always better than “too long”.

♪♫ Listen: “Raganų kraujo” + album stream

Domantas Razauskas on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.

Fume <BR> “Luminance”


If Denis Villeneuve’s 2016 movie “Arrival” has captivated you with its languages, you probably remember its stunning soundtrack recorded by Jóhann Jóhannsson and Max Richter (here’s a Spotify link if you need a reminder).

If this is right, you will also love this cold, experimental electronic album from Fume. Maksimilianas Opriška has been making drum N bass and garage music for quite some time now, but this project is different from his usual stuff.

On “Luminance”, he has created a set of urban, ambient stories about math, nature, physics, artificial intelligence, and light. There are no words here but after listening you might be able to communicate with aliens.

♪♫ Listen: “Ark” + album stream

Fume Name on Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud.

Garbanotas  <BR> “Paskutinė saulė”

“Paskutinė saulė”

Garbanotas (ex. Garbanotas Bosistas) has been playing music under this name for almost 10 years now. “Paskutinė saulė” is their third studio album and the first album written entirely in the Lithuanian language.

As Šarukas Joneikis, the band’s main singer, exaplains: “I’ve been listening to classic Lithuanian musicals & old pop songs and came up with the idea to create a musical. It turned out we did not create a musical in the end, but an album which is written on one subject and the influence of the music that I was listening at that time can be strongly felt there“.

Free your inner romantic, give it a try!

“♪♫ Listen: “Liūdnos akys” + album stream

Garbanotas on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

Girių Dvasios <BR> “Gaja”

Girių Dvasios

Evaldas Azbukauskas, known in Lithuanian electronic music scene by his moniker Girių Dvasios (as well as by his new, dark underground techno outfit Tamsis), is one of the most prolific and productive artists in this field. He is constantly producing new tracks and releasing new music on a yearly and sometimes even monthly basis. Lithuanian forests and ancient Baltic culture serve as an inspiration for his consistent, yet eclectic sound. In his latest album “Gaja” Girių Dvasios further explore the direction of his previous material.

The music of Girių Dvasios is best to be experienced live. The way it vibrates through the air varies from one location to another, and it may sound different in a small, dark club than in an open-air psychedelic festival, however if you are unable to catch a live glimpse of this unique Lithuanian performer, his latest album “Gaja” you should not miss.

♪♫ Listen: “Tamsu” + album stream

Girių Dvasios on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud.

Remis Rančys <BR> “Soundtracks”

Remis Rančys

Realeased in mid-November, “Soundtracks“ is the first solo album of a Lithuanian multi-instrumentalist and composer Remis Rančys, based in Vilnius.

Over its 11 tracks, it includes anything from exotic folk tunes and pure world music examples to wavy jazzy lullabies.

And yes, as you could guess from the title, the album is very cinematic. But not only movie lover will find something in it for themselves.

♪♫ Listen: “Mąslus” + album stream

Remis Rančys on Soundcloud, Facebook.

Saulius Spindi / Petras Zalanskas <BR> “Vai tu girala”

Saulius Spindi / Petras Zalanskas
“Vai tu girala”

Lithuanian folk songs with a modern twist probably aren’t your first choice of music. But this fusion of archaic voice and minimal contemporary electronic music sounds truly organic.

Saulius Spindi, who’s primarily known for his gothic metal and new wave bands, was born in 1980. The same year that folk singer and storyteller Petras Zalanskas died. Petras never left his native village, but they met in this hypnotic, shamanistic music beyond time and space.

♪♫ Listen: “Jau vakaras, rūta žalioj” + album stream

Saulius Spindi on Facebook.

shishi <BR> “NA x 80“

“NA x 80“

Powerful vocal harmonies and danceable tunes is killing softly almost everyone who gives it a try.

“NA x 80” is the first album of all-girl band “shishi“. As the band says, it’s about all of us – the city, life, dragons of nowadays, about everything that is forever. It’s about joys and movements straight to the core, no matter what.

Thoughtful compositions perfectly fit the careless band’s attitude they are demonstrating on the stage. They have fun while doing it and that’s the main impression that you are left with after listening to “NA x 80”.

♪♫ Listen: “Çavasara” + album stream

shishi on Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud.

Sraigės Efektas <BR> “Snaigės Defektas”

Sraigės Efektas
“Snaigės Defektas”

Sraigės Efektas might be the most interesting heavy, experimental music outfit in Lithuania. Between noise, alternative rock and psychedelia, they take their guitar-driven music to unexpected directions from quiet moments to distorted explosions. Their sound is a harmonious cacophony – spontaneous, yet carefully mastered, experimental, but direct and precise.

On the second album,  their sound has notably matured since their great 2015 offering “Monotonijos Anatomija“. The compositions are ripe with new explorations, and the band seems to really grasp the strong effect their indescribable music has on the audience and exploit it well.

On several tracks Sraigės Efektas is joined by members of mysterious neofolk outfit OBŠRR, primordial hardcore band Erdve and post-black metal band Extravaganza. Imagine the damage.

♪♫ Listen: “Auksiniai Saulės Obuoliai” + album stream

Sraigės Efektas on Facebook, Soundcloud.

Timid Kooky <BR> “Tanzen”

Timid Kooky

This crazy boy trio won two most important contests for new Lithuanian bands – Garažas and Novus. And if you see them live, you’ll know why.

For now, the least you can do is listen to their debut album. Nobody can tell what style of music they’re playing. To make matters worse, the band members say they like techno and Black Sabbath.

They sing together, they kiss on stage, and they like to get their photos taken while chilling in a bath filled with chocolate. Or a kiddie pool with champagne. According to the guys themselves, ‘timid kooky’ means feeling awkward and stupid.

♪♫ Listen: “Tanzen” + album stream

Timid Kooky on Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud.

Vėlių Namai <BR> “Kúrir”

Vėlių Namai

The third album of Lithuanian dark ambient project Vėlių Namai surpassed high expectations held by many. The sound of “Kúrir” (or “Curonians”, the fearless Baltic warriors) is highly eclectic, but at the same time, the tracks transit well from one to another. Abundant elements of Lithuanian folklore and ghostly, ancient Baltic spirit strings nine tracks together really well. Likewise, each track stands alone well as a separate soundtrack to an ancient ritual.

It is difficult to name a particular genre the album owes to the most. Sometimes the sound of “Kúrir” alludes to dark, dreamy ambient, other times it punches the listener in the gut with deep, post-industrial beats. “Kúrir” might not be an easy record for some, but it grows on you with every spin.

♪♫ Listen: “Opium” + album stream

Vėlių Namai on Facebook, Soundcloud.