Uniform’s Michael Berdan lists his favorite albums & films of 2018
Uniform had a very busy year, releasing their own new album The Long Walk (their first with a drummer, Greg Fox) and a collaborative album with The Body, Mental Wounds Not Healing. They also did plenty of touring (both on their own and with The Body), and they’ll hit the road again in 2019 opening for Dillinger Escape Plan/Telefon Tel Aviv offshoot The Black Queen (including a hometown show at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg on 3/8).
Now that the year is coming to a close, we asked Uniform vocalist Michael Berdan for a year-end list, and he sent his top 10 albums of 2018 (with thoughtful commentary on each pick) and his top 10 films of 2018. Check out his list below.
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Michael Berdan’s (Uniform) Top Albums and Films of 2018
1. Low – Double Negative (Sub Pop)
I never thought that Low would be responsible for the most damaged electronics I’ve heard all year, but this is 2018 and everything is upside down yet should have been expected in one way or another so here we are. Understated in all of the ways Low is known for, the additional processing and sonic elements coupled with themes of profound loss and personal spirituality make this the most emotionally charged, devastating record I’ve heard in a long time.
2. Unholy Two – The Pleasure To End All Pleasures (12XU)
The best rock & roll band in America came back this year with their harshest work to date. They’ve all but eliminated all hooks, melodies, or discernible rhythm for something that would fit as comfortably in the mid period of the Broken Flag catalog as it does on 12XU. Absolutely hideous in the best of all ways. I will try to rip this record off left and right in my next recordings and fail miserably at it.
3. Vile Gash – Nightmare In A Damaged Brain (Youth Attack!)
Sometimes I wonder why I bother with hardcore, but then a record like this comes along and reminds me of why I got into this garbage in the first place. The Vile Gash LP had been anticipated for something like 75 years and proved to be worth every second of the wait. It is like a perfect crystallization of every negative human emotion harnessed into a ten minute punk record. Nothing this powerful has come out in a long time. Bonus points for naming your record after one of the sleaziest psycho killer flicks of them all.
4. Demdike Stare – Passion (Modern Love)
Fuck… they just keep on getting better and better, don’t they? Every record Demdike Stare make is a near masterpiece and with each release they seem to inch further towards the ultimate state of dance and noise synergy. I would say that this is perfect but two years from now they’ll come out with something even better so I’ll just save it for later.
5. Hiro Kone – Pure Expenditure (Dais)
Nicky has had a banner year for sure, playing all over the world and releasing her strongest, most emotionally compelling work to date. From the finest moments of deconstructed industrial to the overall thesis of acknowledging the human costs of capitalism and therefore trying to consciously subvert it, everything about this record serves as an inspiration and a testament to the power of abstract communication inherently present in electronic music.
6. Adam X – Recon Mission (Sonic Groove)
The master never sleeps. Adam X has never been responsible for a bad track up to this point and there are no exceptions here. This is EBM for the end of the world. Everything heavy, oppressive, and frightening that has ever drawn me to dance music is present here in droves. The perfect soundtrack to societal collapse and life among the ashes.
7. Sissy Spacek – Ways Of Confusion (Nuclear War Now!)
All killer and no filler. Basically, the record starts with a blast beat that doesn’t end until the final moment of the final song. Sissy Spacek have seen many incarnations over the years and right now is probably my favorite era. Best noisecore album I’ve heard in a long, long time.
8. GAS – Rausch (Kompakt)
A beautiful excursion into existential horror, Rausch oscillates between moments of meditative bliss to absolute cataclysm. Eerily poignant and unnerving in the best of ways. While stunning as always, Wolfgang Voight brings an ever budding sense of desperation not present in his previous work under the GAS moniker. He’s on some next level shit and I’m totally here for it.
9. Burmese – Privileged (Fuck Yoga)
The first Burmese record in seven years is just as disgusting as one could ever hope from the project. Inching away from the door and death metal elements of previous work, Privileged seems to exist in a world somewhere in between the best moments of Man Is The Bastard and Masonna. Burmese has never been for the faint of heart and Privileged is no exception. Repulsive, blunt force anti-music.
10. Ron Morelli – Disappearer (Hospital Productions)
The Falcon is back with his most cohesive, focused work yet. Tunes equally suited for the club or or staring in the mirror. This has been on repeat for months and it doesn’t seem to be leaving anytime soon. Ron is an old, dear friend and a testament to the grind. Been watching this fool building and mastering his craft bit by bit for longer than I can recall. With this release I feel like he’s reached a whole new level. I’m beyond excited to see where he takes it from here.
1. You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay)
2. Suspiria (Luca Guadagnino)
3. The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)
4. BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee)
5. Hereditary (Ari Aster)
6. The House That Jack Built (Lars Von Trier)
7. Won’t You Be My Neighbor (Morgan Neville)
8. Upgrade (Leigh Whannell)
9. Widows (Steve McQueen)
10. Ghost Stories (Jeremy Dyson & Andy Nyman)
Uniform — 2019 Tour Dates
Feb 22, 2019: San Diego, CA Brick by Brick*
Feb 23, 2019: Las Vegas, NV DB172*
Feb 24, 2019: Phoenix, AZ The Rebel Lounge*
Feb 26, 2019: Austin, TX Barracuda*
Feb 27, 2019: Dallas, TX Curtain Club*
Mar 1, 2019: Atlanta, GA The Masquerade (Hell)*
Mar 2, 2019: Ybor City, FL Crowbar*
Mar 3, 2019: Orlando, FL The Abbey*
Mar 5, 2019: Charlotte, NC Amos Southend*
Mar 6, 2019: Washington, DC Union Stage*
Mar 8, 2019: Brooklyn, NY Music Hall of Williamsburg*
Mar 9, 2019: Philadelphia, PA Underground Arts*
Mar 11, 2019: Cambridge, MA The Sinclair*
Mar 12, 2019: Montreal, QB Le Ministere*
Mar 13, 2019: Toronto, ON Velvet Underground*
Mar 15, 2019: Detroit, MI The Shelter*
Mar 16, 2019: Chicago, IL Subterranean*
Mar 17, 2019: Minneapolis, MN Studio B @ Skyway Theatre*
Mar 19, 2019: Denver, CO Marquis Theatre*
Mar 20, 2019: Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge*
Mar 22, 2019: Seattle, WA Chop Suey*
Mar 23, 2019: Portland, OR Star Theater*
Mar 25, 2019: San Francisco, CA Slim’s*
Mar 26, 2019: Sacramento, CA Holy Diver*
Mar 28, 2019: Los Angeles, CA The Echoplex*
* – w/ The Black Queen