Best Music of 2018
2018 has come to a close and oh what a weird year it was! This has been the driest year for music that we can remember. Usually we listen to about 20 new LPs a month and find 1 good one. This year we had to increase our sampling to 100! Is this potentially the biting effect of Spotify and Apple Music paying artists nothing so nobody good can afford to be a full time musician??
As always, support what you love directly with $, whether it’s a local stereo store or by buying an artist’s LP.
Courtney Barnett - Tell Me How You Really Feel
Probably not quite as consistent as her last album but there are a couple songs on here that are just fantastic.
Cardi B - Invasion Of Privacy
This record had such huge pop singles that it’s easy to forget about all the other songs on it and how good they are as album tracks. It’s the perfect length, everything works as an album and the lyrics are fierce.
Kamasi Washington - Heaven And Earth
Compared to the Epic, this album is equally robust in length and in theme but it’s also a little more playful and lighthearted. It’s clear Kamasi Washington is the single best jazz artist of today. Hopefully people will give him the time required to digest this kind of monumental work.
Pusha T - Daytona
There should be a law that hip hop albums aren’t longer than 40 minutes. Pusha T manages to get the job done in 20. Fabulous old-school base tracks with modern style rhymes, Pusha T is one of the leading rappers today.
Marisa Anderson - Cloud Corner
A beautiful instrumental guitar album with completely original song and playing style. This is what the word “artist” has traditionally described. One part Kentucky “holler” folk style, one part Brian Eno “ambient”. Very special.
Bahamas - Earthtones
Bahamas’ best record yet. Wonderful recording quality. Big warm sound and songwriting to match. The mastering on the LP is even better.
John Coltrane - Both Directions at Once
It’s hard to fathom how this album was “lost” given how good it is in both sound and perfromance. More likely it just wasn’t considered as good as Coltrane’s other releases at the time and was shelved. Funny then that it blows the doors off anything new today.
Low - Double Negative
Low have been around for almost 3 decades making quiet minimalist indie music and lately they’ve embraced electronic sounds and noise. This is an aural adventure with both musical cohesiveness and great creativity.
Parquet Courts - Wide Awake!
Parquet Courts are one of the only recent garage rock bands that have reached any popularity. Is rock dead? Mostly! Good thing there are still these guys belting their hearts out and learning their instruments as they go. No ego, just great bare bones rock tunes!
Josh Rouse - Love in the Modern Age
Josh Rouse has been around a long time and cornered the kind of smooth California pop/rock sound. Love in the modern Age is probably his best all-round album so far. Lovely soft AOR rock sound with quite underrated lyrics make for the best feeling of driving down the coast at Malibu.
Rural Alberta Advantage - The Wild
Local band makes good! If you like what the Tragically Hip do for Canadian Music, up the hooks, the rawness and the fun and you’ve got RAA. Solid rock record.
Träden - Träden
Swedish prog rock legends are back after 40 years with something entirely equal to the energy of any young band today. Hypnotic, ballsy, metally, and lyrical all at the same time. Instrumental stoner/prog doesn’t get better than this in 2018.
Mouse on Mars - Dimensional People
Electronic and beat feast. A multitude of guest artists lends variety to the signature MOM sound. Full range recording needs to be heard on a big system!
Ty Segall - Freedom’s Goblin
On of Ty Segall’s 3! Albums released this year. Like some hip hop artists, he’s too prolific, but there are bursts of brilliance on all his albums. Overall this is probably the strongest he’s ever done. Mixed of uptempo and quieter stuff. He might become the Neil Young of our time.
Okkervil River - In the Rainbow Rain
One part Smiths, one part Annie Lennox but it works!
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Sparkle Hard
A solid album from legendary Pavement front man Stephen Malkmus. Albums like this show how the craft of songwriting has meaningful methods that can be learned and applied in an infinite variety. Younger bands would do well to go back and listen to what is actually happening on the pavement records and this one.
Charles Lloyd & The Marvels + Lucinda Williams - Vanished Gardens
Americana at its best. Big warm sound with influences of jazz, blues, folk and surf.
Nile Rodgers & Chic - It’s About Time
One of the funnest records of the year. This is an unabashed party album and it comes with the prerequisite dance beats, and lyrics about love and dancing. Listen to it expecting it to be what it is and you’ll be fine, also it has Nile rogers excellent guitar licks and some fat bass lines. Retro party time.
David Byrne - American Utopia
Leave it to a New Yorker to nail the sentiment of the year way back in March. Incredibly creative art rock in the best Talking Heads vein. The witty lyrics and striking truths are matched with wonderful melodies and hooks. If rock stars could be president…