Best Albums of 2018
selected by Jort Laagland



RIMON flew from Eritrea to Europe on a young age and build up her life in Amsterdam. Her music sounds more global than anything else in the current music scene of The Netherlands. While she mentioned to draw inspiration from Nina Simone and Erykah Badu, we hear touches of Jorja Smith and Amy Winehouse too.

Her debut is full of captivating soul music that seems made to dance and feel sad at the same time. One of her ambitions is to play at Coachella, and we won’t be surprised if she manages to do it soon.

♪♫ Listen: “sugar coated love” + album stream

RIMON on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Johan <BR> “Pull Up”

“Pull Up”

Back in 2009 the all praised indie band Johan split up, because the band felt they rain out of inspiration. Ten years later the writer block seemed solved by, instead of focusing on innovating their sound, go back to what made them so good in the first place.

And so they released another stellar record full of indie pop gems. “Pull Up” deals with dark times, but manages to sound uplifting and bright. Fans of Real Estate, Beach Fossils and Wild Nothing shouldn’t miss this.

♪♫ Listen: “It’s About Time” + album stream

Johan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.

S10 <BR> “Lithium”


Although Dutch hiphop (“nederhop”) is bigger than ever, we’re glad to finally see some female rappers getting (deserved) attention. S10 is a 18 year old rapper from Hoorn. She debuted with the stunning and revealing EP “Antipsychotica” in 2017.

In 2018, she released the stunning follow up “Lithium”. Again S10 manages to combine painfully honest raps about her mental health with beautifully produced, dark beats. Truly impressive.

♪♫ Listen: “Topsport / Moskou” + album stream

S10 on www.

Ghost Bag & Tine Fetz <BR> “Ghost Bag & Tine Fetz”

Ghost Bag & Tine Fetz
“Ghost Bag & Tine Fetz”

This is a special project. Nick Jongen wrote the music, while being inspired by drawings of Berlin-based artist Tine Fetz (and vice versa). The result is a wonderful, intimate record accompanied by an illustrated book.

The songs sound atmospheric and dreamy. Jongen lays his pensive vocals over drawling guitar lines. You won’t find uplifting radio hits on this record, this is an album to drown yourself in on a cold Sunday morning. As we like it.

♪♫ Listen: “Friendly Ghost” + album stream

Ghost Bag & Tine Fetz on Soundcloud, www.

Palmbomen II <BR> “Memories Of Cindy”

Palmbomen II
“Memories Of Cindy”

Memories Of Cindy is a proper concept album. It consists of sketches inspired by the fictive life of Cindy, a character from cult series The X-Files. With this impressionistic and pulsating record, Palmbomen II manages to give Cindy a legacy comparable to Twin Peak’s Laura Palmer.

It’s easy to imagine these psychedelic yet often danceable tracks soundtrack an X-files spinoff about the girl. If the 22 tracks of Memories Of Cindy do not satisfy you enough yet, you’ll be pleased to hear that Palmbomen II released another record in 2018: Center Parks LP, a collaborative album with Betonkust.

♪♫ Listen: “Memories Of Cindy Pt. 1” + album stream

Palbomen II on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Sofie Winterson <BR> “Sophia Electric”

Sofie Winterson
“Sophia Electric”

Dutch-born Sofie Winterson has spend a lot of time in Los Angeles the last couple of years, where she found inspiration for her dreamy and touching music. However, for her latest record the singer decided to write her songs in a home build studio in Lissabon.

In 2018 her second album, which is called “Sophia Electric”, was released. It comes as no surprise that Winterson is influenced by acts like Beach House, Big Thief and Alvvays; the record feels more organic and tangible than her previous material. Fragile singles “Time” and “Lost Souls” are just two of the many highlights of “Sophia Electric”.

♪♫ Listen: “Time” + album stream

Sofie Winterson on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.

Ray Fuego <BR> “Zwart”

Ray Fuego

Ray Feugo is the front man of Amsterdam South East rap collective SMIB. This year he released his first solo offering “Zwart” (“Black”). Fuego tackles heavy topics as depression and racism, but leaved enough space for more optimistic songs too.

Production-wise Fuego cleverly switches between oozing trap beats (“Kut”), surprisingly uplifting soul (“Ik Leen Niet”) and even some rock (“Houthakker”). 2018 turned out to be quite a productive year for Ray Fuego: last October he already put out his next album FUE.

♪♫ Listen: “DOEKOEDOEKOE” + album stream

Ray Fuego on Soundcloud, Facebook, Instagram, www.

Sevdaliza <BR> “The Calling”

“The Calling”

Rotterdam-based artist Sevdaliza made it number two at our Best of 2017 list for the Netherlands. Apparently after releasing her debut “ISON” – which had no less than seventeen tracks on it – Sevdaliza still had lots of inspiration. So this year she released the beautiful mini album called “The Calling”.

It’s a wonderful collection of intimate, cinematic songs. The splendid production brings to mind the likes of Massive Attack and FKA twigs, while Sevdaliza cleverly interweaves sounds from the Middle East. Oh, and while we have your attention Sevdaliza also released a bone-chilling video for “Shahmaran” last year which you shouldn’t miss either.

♪♫ Listen: “Soul Syncable” + album stream

Sevdaliza on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.

Amber Arcades <BR> “European Heartbreak”

Amber Arcades
“European Heartbreak”

Only two years after her stunning debut “Fading Lines” the Utrecht based artist Amber Arcades is back with a wonderful new record. It tells the story of a generation attached to their phones trying to stay connected while in fact losing grip of reality, also perfectly pictured in the artwork.

Luckily the record doesn’t always sound as heavy as its topics. The record offers a lot of playful guitar melodies and dreamy vocals by Annelotte. Impressive how Amber Arcades made “European Heartbreak” sounds thoughtful and impressionistic at the same time.

♪♫ Listen: “Simple Song” + album stream

Amber Arcades on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.

Pitou <BR> “I Fall Asleep So Fast”

“I Fall Asleep So Fast”

Wonderfully quiet and intense at the same time. Drift away while Amsterdam singer Pitou spreads out her sharp (self) observations on her second release “I Fall Asleep So Fast”.

Whether it’s the a capella “Be Delicate” or the rhythm driven “Problems”, Pitou manages to capture us with her magnificent voice and thrilling melodies.

With not a single weak track on “I Fall Asleep So Fast”, the only minus of this beautiful record is that it only lasts seven songs.

♪♫ Listen: “Give Me A Glass” + album stream

Pitou on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.