The holiday season is upon us, which means that millions of people are looking for the best gifts for the music fans in their lives. For the vinyl-inclined, you can find a quick guide to Record Store Day’s Black Friday selections here. For less exclusive picks for audiophiles, new music is always a great gift. These ten new indie albums will make great Christmas gifts in 2018. There is something for everyone, including R&B, psychedelic rock, and French pop.
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10 New Indie Albums That Are Great Christmas Gifts In 2018
Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links for each record. All posts on The Flat Circle contain objective reviews regardless of a relationship with an affiliate.
Gretta Van Fleet, Anthem of the Peaceful Army – This is a good gift idea for Classic Rock fans who are looking for something new. Gretta Van Fleet are a Led Zeppelin clone who have drawn attention for their similarities to the British band. This is the first album from the Michigan group, who broke out with their song “Highway Tune” last year.
Jonathan Wilson, Rare Birds – Another consideration for Classic Rock fans, Wilson’s third album is a trippy journey through his genius mind. At one hour, nineteen minutes long, Rare Birds is not a crisp pop album, but a relaxing collection with a psychedelic tinge.
The 43-year-old Wilson has worked with veteran musicians like Roger Waters and Jackson Browne. He is also associated with younger indie acts like Dawes and Father John Misty.
Kurt Vile, Bottle It In – Searching for a gift for someone who is stressed this Christmas? Look no further. Another brilliant album from Philadelphia’s Kurt Vile is perfect for the stoner/psychedelic rock fans in your life. The laid back Vile knows how to pen witty lyrics as well as any of his indie contemporaries. He can also extend a mellow jam as well as anyone. There are three songs over nine minutes long in Bottle It In.
Courtney Barnett, Tell Me How You Really Feel – Odds are in your favor that the indie listener you are shopping for this Christmas loves Courtney Barnett. She is one of the premiere songwriters in contemporary music. Barnett has an observational style of writing lyrics that is easy to fall for. She can also tear up a stage too. She has as a couple of songs on the new record that are vintage garage rock.
Leon Bridges, Good Thing – The catchiest indie album of 2018 is a result of growth from Leon Bridges. The Texan updated his style of neo-soul from Sixties R&B to a pop-friendly Seventies sound. The transformation resulted in music that appeals to a much broader audience. Songs like “Bad Bad News” and “If It Feels Good (Then It Must Be)” are instant pop classics that R&B fans will love.
Christine and the Queens, Chris – The French group does not have a Classic Rock sound, although they draw inspiration from Michael Jackson. Singer Héloïse Letissier writes music in French and English, but their discothèque-style pop is accessible in any language. Christine and the Queens are also great live, as their performances combine a theatrical blend of artistry and energy.
Various Artists, A Star Is Born Soundtrack – Lady Gaga’s discography may not profile alongside other indie albums, but the soundtrack to her 2018 film is a fit for her “little monsters” and the adult alternative crowd. Both the pop star and Bradley Cooper sing all of the lyrics, but much of the music was cut live by Lukas Nelson. Songwriter Jason Isbell contributed the lyrics to “Maybe Its Time,” one of the signature songs in A Star Is Born.
Sunflower Bean, Twentytwo In Blue – One of my favorite discoveries of the year, I became aware of Sunflower Bean through their song “I Was A Fool.” A single with an instantly recognizable Fleetwood Mac-ish sound, the track is the best song on the glam rock album. The Brooklyn trio also has an EP, From The Basement, that is worth a listen due to a terrific cover of Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon.”
Kacey Musgraves, Golden Hour – The country singer has a few gems in her fourth record. Songs like “Slow Burn,” “Oh What A World,” and “Lonely Weekend” relay a pleasant solitude. The feeling comes from Musgrave’s reflective lyrics, as Golden Hour is a fairly bare record musically. Mugraves also released the holiday album A Very Kacey Christmas in 2016.
Florence + the Machine, High As Hope – Florence + the Machine records are always filled with amazing vocals, beautiful imagery, and a lush sound. This continues with the band’s fourth record. Singer Florence Welch has defiant vocals on the album, whose best song is the single “Hunger.” This is a good gift idea for fans of Adele.