This is a time of looking forward. To the familiar artists that will return. To the new artists that will be discovered. This year, like any other, comes with a wish list. Some albums will never materialise. Others will slightly disappoint. A few will remain life-long friends. Fingers crossed for the latter. In no particular order, apart from alphabetical, my 2018 wish list includes new releases by Alela Diane, Anäis Mitchell, Bill Callahan, Caitlin Harnett, Cat Power, East River Pipe, Field Report, First Aid Kit, Jacob Golden, Jenny Lewis, Jessica Pratt, Jim White, Jonathan Wilson, Laura Veirs, Lewis & Clarke, Pearl Charles, Phosphorescent, Pinegrove, Richard Edwards, The Delines, Vetiver, Wooden Shjips, Wye Oak and the artist formerly known as Young Man.

And yet, there is a special place in the 2018 wish list for a new album by Kramies (pronunciation to be determined). With rumours going back at least a couple of decades, there are unconfirmed reports that an album is finally on its way and that Ireland had some part to play in it. We wait with fingers crossed, though we have learned not to hold our breath. The hard way. In the meantime, here’s a wonderful feature by Shon Cobbs and his Behind The Scenes colleagues from Denver. It features Kramies answering questions and sometimes asking them too. Plus a lot of laughing.

With only so many hours in the day and with so many albums being released, sometimes a stable equilibrium is difficult to achieve. But that’s no excuse. Here are five great albums that should have been reviewed.

Various Artists – Remembering Mountains : Unheard Songs By Karen Dalton

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Like sad songs? Like Karen Dalton? Then love this album. Some of the finest women performers take unheard Karen Dalton lyrics and put them to music. The only thing better than the idea is the delivery itself. With contributions from no lesser artists than Lucinda Williams, Sharon Van Etten, Patty Griffin, and Julia Holter, the quality is very high. And what’s really nice is that some of the best performances are by the not-quite-so-well-known figures. Diane Cluck’s offering is a particular favourite.

Pitchfork review

Consequence of Sound review

The Quietus review

Tomás Pagán Motta

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Tomás Pagán Motta is either a hard-bitten Mexican-Irish revolutionary leader with plenty of years of action behind him, or a fey folk singer who’s likely to be blown away by the merest breath of wind. Listen to only a few chords of his new album and the puzzle is solved. Channelling Nick Drake, Tomás Pagán Motta delivers a set of fragile and quite beautiful songs. They’re hardly rousing campfire songs for budding revolutionaries, but they’re affecting all the same.

Pop Matters review

Glide Magazine review

Sóley – Ask the Deep

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Another gem from the land of Eyjafjallajökull. Previously a member of Seabear, Sóley Stefánsdóttir sounds like Emiliana Torrini’s evil twin sister. The melodies are just as catchy and the phrasing on a song like ‘Ævintýr’ is very similar to her Emilananess. But there’s more of a creepiness to Sóley. On Ask The Deep, she shows us the dark underbelly of Icelandic pop. And it’s still very pretty.

The Line of Best Fit review

Consequence of Sound review

Pop Matters review

Little Wings – Explains

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Kyle Field, the brains behind Little Wings, is now on the excellent Woodsist label. Seems like a liberating experience. The musical palette appears bigger. Though these things are relative. The overall tone is still hushed. But the words just flow out. And on a song like ‘Fat Chance’ there’s just no stopping them. No idea what they mean, but totally compelling nonetheless.

Stereogum review

Consequence of Sound review

Dusted review

Vetiver – Complete Strangers

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Andy Cabic is Vetiver. And Vetiver are masters of gentle, catchy, folky, poppy melodiousness. Even though they’ve left Sub Pop label, Complete Strangers picks up where its predecessor, The Errant Charm, left off. Great production. The songs get stuck in your head in that good way that songs do.

Pop Matters review

Consequence of Sound review

Music OMH review