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Favorite Albums of 2018 – Staff Picks!



Princess Nokia “A Girl Cried Red” ~ MORE INFO> ​

Forth Wanderers s/t ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Snail Mail “Lush” ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Guerilla Toss “Twisted Crystal” ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Mitski “Be The Cowboy” ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Kasey Musgraves “Golden Hour” ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Black Belt Eagle Scout “Mother Of My Children” ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Spirit Of The Beehive “Hypnic Jerks” ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Ian Sweet “Crush Crusher” ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Blood Orange “Negro Swan” ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Low “Double Negative” ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Charli XCX “Pop 2” ~ MORE INFO> ​​




20. Robyn “Honey” ~ MORE INFO>

19. DUSK s/t ~ MORE INFO>

18. William Elliott Whitmore “Kilonova” ~MORE INFO>

17. Seasaw “Big Dogs” ~MORE INFO>

16. Neil Young & Promise Of The Real “Paradox” ~ MORE INFO>

15. Buffalo Gospel “On The First Bell” ~ MORE INFO>

14. Kari Arnett “When The Dust Settles” ~ MORE INFO>

13. Driveway Thriftdwellers s/t ~ MORE INFO>

12. John Prine “The Tree Of Forgiveness” ~ MORE INFO>

11. Kamasi Washington “Heaven and Earth” ~ MORE INFO>

10. Marlena Shaw “The Spice Of Life” ~ MORE INFO>

9. Greta Van Fleet “Anthem Of The Peaceful Army” ~MORE INFO>

8. Glorietta s/t ~ MORE INFO>

7. Phil Cook “People Are My Drug” ~ MORE INFO>

6. John Coltrane “Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album” ~ MORE INFO>

5. Courtney Marie Andrews “May Your Kindness Remain” ~ MORE INFO>

4. Neko Case “Hell On” ~ MORE INFO>

3. Prince “Piano & A Microphone 1983” ~ MORE INFO>

2. Glen Campbell “Songs For The King” ~ MORE INFO>

1. Charles Bradley “Black Velvet” ~ MORE INFO>



Spiritualized “And Nothing Hurt”
J. Spaceman returns with his first record in years. This one is home recorded and is a true gem. My favorite record of the year. ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Lavender Flu “Mow The Glass”
Members of The Hunches make atmospheric garage-indie in excellent fashion! ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Donkey Bugs “Ancient Chinese Secrets”
Whacked out and weirdo punk sounds. ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Digital Leather “Pink Thunder”
Another year. Another fantastic Digital Leather record. Foree never ceases to amaze me. ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Vacation “Mouth Sounds”
Cincinnati treasure! Punk that pops. Indie that rocks. Every record is a maze of incredible production and lo-fi sensibility. ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Bonny Doon “Longwave”
Slacker indie that hits all the right Neil Young points. Equally as impressive is last year’s self titled debut LP. ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Mind Spiders “Furies”
Synth punk expertly crafted and executed. One of my most played records this year. ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Wire Reissues

Laughing Hyennas Reissues
Excellent Midwestern punk. Essential reissues. ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Bad Times Reissue
Short-lived classic Memphis punk trio featuring Eric Oblivian (The Oblivians, Goner Records), Jay Reatard, and King Louie (Exploding Hearts). Jay was basically a kid when they did this and it stands as some of his most savage moments on tape. ~ MORE INFO> ​​



Amyl And The Sniffers “Big Attraction/Giddy Up” ~ MORE INFO> 

Superchunk “What A Time To Be Alive” ~ MORE INFO> 

Orchestra Akokan s/t ~ MORE INFO> 

Yo La Tengo “There’s A Riot Going On” ~ MORE INFO> 

No Hoax “Black Out Tapes” ~ MORE INFO> 

Courtney Barnett “Tell Me How You Really Feel” ~ MORE INFO> 

Lucy Dacus “Historian” ~ MORE INFO> 

Swearin’ “Fall Into The Sun” ~ MORE INFO> 

Mind Spiders “Furies” ~ MORE INFO> 

 Reissues/Archival Releases

John Coltrane “Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album” ~ MORE INFO> 

v/a “Basement Beehive: The Girl Group Underground” ~ MORE INFO> 

Bob Dylan “More Blood, More Tracks” ~ MORE INFO> 



Parquet Courts “Wide Awake!” ~ MORE INFO> 

Fucked Up “Dose Your Dreams” ~ MORE INFO> 

First Base “Not That Bad” ~ MORE INFO> 

Maniac “Dead Dance Club” ~ MORE INFO> 

Hot Snakes “Jericho Sirens” ~ MORE INFO>

Honey Bucket “Furniture Days” ~ MORE INFO>

Terry “I’m Terry” ~ MORE INFO>


Future Virgins “Doomsday Raga” ~ MORE INFO>

Night Birds “Roll Credits” ~ MORE INFO>



1. Daughters “You Won’t Get What You Want”
I was listening to this while walking home from MadCity. In the freezing cold, I stumbled across a dead squirrel spotlighted by a blaring florescent street light. As I was marveling at it, a dog comes charging from behind, barking with such ferocity that I couldn’t help but scream at the possibility of getting my face chewed off. There was no better moment to capture the absolute dread and terror that this album conveys. Albums deserve a special commendation for being able to convey specific emotions through sound alone. Through dissonant and distorted guitars, frantic drumming, pained and wailing vocals and backed by a wall of incredibly eerie synths, you are transported into a mental breakdown brought on by the feeling that the world is caving in on you as you realize the existentialist nightmare we all inhabit. Frankly, I think it’s in the top three albums of the decade. This is truly a masterpiece of dread that helps illustrate the pain of mental illness. Standout track: “The Flammable Man” ~ MORE INFO> ​​

2. JPEGMAFIA “Veteran”
“Veteran” is an absolute work of art. It is one of the most creative and original albums released this year. It’s slathered in personality with funny song titles and hilarious lines like, “I shop at Whole Foods like I’m bougie!” Or, “All your yuppie purses getting swiped like Tinder.” The music is equally brilliant with incredibly clever uses of samples such as an ODB vocal quirk used as the base of a beat. Peggy also deserves recognition for being the first to reference internet gaming culture and use video game samples in a non-gimmicky manner.
Standout track: “Baby I’m bleeding” ~ MORE INFO> ​​

3. Yves Tumor “Safe In The Hands Of Love”
It’s pretty impossible to put “Safe In The Hands Of Love” into one genre. And it’s not just that one song is one genre and the next is another but rather each song is a menagerie of sounds that create this strange world. It very much conjures this dream world that has this certain disconcerting sense to it. It has a lot of hip-hop influence with samples and has a lot of R&B in it too but it’s something unlike I have ever heard before. Standout track: “Noid” ~ MORE INFO> ​​

4. Current 93 “The Light Is Leaving Us All”
David Tibet of Current 93 has continually released albums since he started in the early 80’s. And while there a couple that stand out above the rest, there’s been a remarkable lack of outright bummers in his long, prolific discography. “The Light Is Leaving Us All” is no exception. From my perspective, he doesn’t do anything that he hasn’t before but it’s still an incredibly engaging album. Like all of his works, both the music and lyrics have an incredible depth. The lyrics are buried beneath illustrative metaphors and esoteric mystical references. The music has typical neo-folk instrumentation featuring wood flutes and violins along with acoustic guitars, all crafting an ornamental world. I highly recommend it for both fans of David Tibet’s work and those that have never heard his genius before. Standout track: “The Policeman Is Dead” ~ MORE INFO> ​​

5. Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet “Landfall”
This was a surprise to me. The collaboration between Laurie Anderson and Kronos Quartet is a really a match made in heaven. Landfall is a collection of thoughts of Laurie Anderson’s experience of riding out Hurricane Sandy with her husband, Lou Reed. It’s a sublime and beautiful album with funny and thoughtful lyrics and supremely serene and elegant music by the Kronos Quartet. Standout track: “Dreams” ~ MORE INFO> ​​

6. Sons Of Kemet “Your Queen Is A Reptile”
It seems like there’s been quite a resurgence of exciting jazz music. While Kamasi Washington has been the biggest face, it’s the London jazz scene that has been pumping out the best work. From Sons of Kemet to Kamaal Williams and beyond, the releases from that scene have been trailblazing. “Your Queen Is A Reptile” by Sons of Kemet is a great example of why we’ll be talking about all those musicians for years to come. Its root are in spiritual jazz and jazz-funk but it’s hard to find a specific parallel to compare them to. They utilize two drummers a saxophonist and a tuba player to create a very unique sound. They also had a blistering performance this year at The Sett in Union South that really demonstrated what really good and talented sound like. Standout track: “My Queen Is Harriet Tubman” ~ MORE INFO> ​​

7. Parquet Courts “Wide Awake!”
“Wide Awake” finds Parquet Courts continuing to evolve by incorporating all sorts of genres and sounds that the band hasn’t explored before but all the while keeping the cool aloof edge that made them so fun and engaging to listen to in the first place. Unlike on “Human Performance,” the experiments on here fell like they justify themselves more instead of sounding like they wanted to make one of their songs sound more country. As far as I’m concerned, it’s their best album since “Light Up Gold.” Standout track: “Freebird II” ~ MORE INFO> ​​

8. Guerilla Toss “Twisted Crystal”
Even though I have this all the way down at 8th, I love this even more than their last year effort, “GT Ultra.” (This goes to show how incredible this year has been for music considering I had GT Ultra at 2nd last year.) They still exhibit the frenetic yet groovy art-punk that they have been known for but much more polished and sophisticted than on their previous efforts. Standout track: “Meteorological” ~ MORE INFO> ​​

9. Idles “Joy”
Follow up albums are hard but Idles beautifully eats the sophomore slump. The core of Idles formula that brought them to the spotlight with “Brutalism” is not shaken here. They are still angry at the oppression that exists around them all to a churning mechanical yet frenzied beat. Standout track: “Danny Nedelko” ~ MORE INFO> ​​

10. Dead Can Dance “Dionysus”
I’ll admit, if you don’t like the pretense that Dead Can Dance albums are covered in, you won’t like this. That said, I do. It’s this elaborate two act concept album about going from the sea to the mountains or something. It really doesn’t matter. What does matter is Lisa Gerrard’s powerful performance, solidifying her as one of the most talented female singers of all time (as if that was really a question anyway) as well as the wonderful worldly instrumentation that has come to characterize their best work. If you like Dead Can Dance at all, this is definitely an album to check out. Standout track: “ACT II: The Forest” ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Honorable Mentions

The Garden “Mirror Might Steal Your Charm”
I will always have a preference for acts that transcend trditional genre boundaries. “Mirror Might Steal Your Charm” weaves from hip-hop to hardcore to post-punk to the type of drum and bass you haven’t heard since you played that crappy racing game on your Gamecube in 2002. It is a frenzy of an album.  ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Kamaal Williams “The Return”
Because I don’t have a big music theory vocabulary, I’m not good at describing why I really love certain jazz records but what I can say is that this is so goddamn funky and groovy that it’s pretty hard not to love this album. “Salaam” might be the grooviest and smoothest jazz-funk track I’ve ever heard. ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Favorite Reissues

The Haruomi Hosono Reissues by Light In The Attic
Whether you know him or not, it’s incredibly likely that everything you listen to is somehow indebted to Haruomi Hosono. Whether it’s hip-hop or MacDeMarco, Hosono’s pioneering work both with Yellow Magic Orchestra and on his solo albums have changed the course of popular music. Long unavailable to American audiences, his solo albums have been reissued by Light In The Attic in spectacular packaging. “Phuilharmony” or “Paraiso are great places to start at when diving into his massive catalog. “Sports Men,” off of “Philharmony,” might be one of the greatest pop songs ever written. ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Unwound “Leaves Turn Inside You”
This may be one of the most overlooked and underappreciated records of all time. “Leaves Turn Inside You” deserves to have its name canonized up with the best albums of all time. The feeling of overwhelming sadness and despair is unparalleled. This is an album I always turn to at the end of November. ~ MORE INFO> ​​


Vundabar “Smell Smoke” 
My favorite record of the year! Quirky and Sassy. Sarcastic and Unpredictable. Grief and death have never sounded this uplifting. ~ MORE INFO> ​​

(The rest in no particular order)
V/A “Basement Beehive: The Girl Group Underground”
A 60’s girl group archival collection from the compilation wizards at Numero Group ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Jeff Rosenstock “POST”
“In certain circles, Jeff Rosenstock is one of the most important figures in modern punk.” ~ MORE INFO > ​​

Parquet Courts “Wide Awake!”
I don’t know if it has anything to do with being produced by Danger Mouse…but I CAN’T STOP LISTENING TO THIS ALBUM! ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Laura Jane Grace and The Devouring Mothers “Bought To Rot”
Laura continues to be a force to be reckoned with! ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Proud Parents s/t
Local power-pop fueled by caffeine and pop rocks. ~ MORE INFO> ​​

DUSK s/t
Charming alt-country from Appleton, WI. ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Kids See Ghosts s/t
Kanye with Kid Cudi > Kanye in “MAGA” hat ~ MORE INFO> ​​



Skull Defekts s/t
Dark, experimental, hypnotic, noisy Swedish rock. Danceable gloom. ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Cevin Key “Back And Forth Vol. 8”
The main composer of legendary industrial band Skinny Puppy, Tear Garden, and more has dug through his old home tapes and put together a great collection of minimalist electronic demos recorded between 1983 and 1988. Perfect for fans of SP’s debut cassette and minimal darkwave. ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Frigs “Basic Behavior”
Female-fronted noisy Canadian band that’s going to get a lot of comparisons to Siouxsie & The Banshees. Some of their slower tunes remind me more of Kim Gordon’s early Sonic Youth.~ MORE INFO> ​​

Wood Chickens “Well Done”
Southern twang punk from Madison. These kids are definitely my favorite locals. Their albums are great but the shows are where you really catch the energy and tightness. ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Renaldo & The Loaf “Long Time Coming”
Weirdo, Ralph Records artists from the late 70’s – 80’s came out of retirement with a great new album in 2016. In 2018 R&TL played live versions of their old and new songs for the first time ever and it was all recorded for this live CD. ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Those Poor Bastards “Inhuman Nature”
Wisconsin recluse Lonesome Wyatt returns with his 9th full length TPB album. Ugly low-fi country doom in very limited edition color vinyl, cassette, and CD. ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Coil “Astral Disaster Sessions”
Rare, unheard dark, abstract, ambient recorded over two days back in 1998. ~ MORE INFO> ​​

Hardy Fox s/t
One of the main anonymous members/composers for The Residents for over 40 years, Hardy retired in 2015 to work on his many solo albums. Mellow electronic with sweet, shy, and uncomfortable vocals about love and sex. His self-titled CD ended up being one of his last releases. H.F. (1945-2018) ~ MORE INFO> ​​

The Residents “Intruders”
The newest studio album from the legendary, anonymous avant garde band. A calmer jazz and blues tinged electronic album with loads of that guitar work that’s been driving the group since 1998. ~ MORE INFO> ​​

The Residents “Loss Of The Lizard Lady”
Between 1994 and 2005 many studio tracks, one-off shows, and all the major tours featured a mysterious costumed female vocalist who often stole the show. LOTLL collects the female-fronted studio and live tracks of this era in a very limited edition, hand-numbered double LP in a gatefold jacket created by artist Steve Cerio. ~ MORE INFO> ​​

The Residents Warner Brothers Album
Cherry Red is in the process of going through all The Residents’ archive tapes and releasing tons of very rare and never released material. They released the original demo album that was sent to Warner back in 1971 and went unreleased in any format until RSD 2018. Weirdo, freak folk for fans of The Fugs and Beefheart. ~ MORE INFO> ​​