Here it is… my Top Ten of ’18, starting with 10 and working up to the top spot. I’ll also list my favorite track from the album, that way you can try to get a glimpse into what sounds I truly like.
10. Kero Kero Bonito – “Time ‘n’ Place”
Sugary goodness that you can stick right into your veins.
Stand-out track: Dear Future Self
9. Kanye West – “ye”
A mixed bag with incredible highs. (Am I talking album or artist?)
Stand-out track: Ghost Town
8. Death Grips – “Year of the Snitch”
Do they suffer from having too many great albums? This LP was consistent, but didn’t have the typical standout tracks, in my mind.
Stand-out track: Black Paint
7. Let’s Eat Grandma – “I’m All Ears”
Possibly the standout track of the year, Hot Pink crushes! The album runs a little long, but the talent is undeniable.
Stand-out track: Hot Pink
6. Bongripper – “Terminal”
Like getting a musical deep tissue massage, Bongripper always goes deep and heavy and never cuts it short.
Stand-out track: Slow
5. Justin Courtney Pierre – “In The Drink”
Welcome back, Justin! A bit more punk rock, Justin proves (yet again) that he is the king at crafting catchy pop-rock songs. This time he is solo and keeps the album under 30 minutes.
Stand-out track: Shoulder The Weight
4. Albert Hammond Jr. – “Francis Trouble”
Never has AHJ put together a collection of songs so tight and well-flowing from start to finish. Albert has gone from crafting some great songs into a great album with Francis.
Stand-out track: Muted Beatings
3. Young Fathers – “Cocoa Sugar”
In my head, this is the Young Fathers going “acoustic”. By no means is this album actually acoustic, but it definitely shows off the group’s softer/slower side.
Stand-out track: Tremolo
2. Low – “Double Negative”
I was worried when I heard the singles, but Low is a band where you need to hear the whole piece of art to “get it”. How does a band this established find a way to get better with age? To me, they are Minnesota’s Flaming Lips.
Stand-out track: Always Trying To Work It Out
1. Frank Turner – “Be More Kind”
The perfect album for the times. The years of 2017-2018 felt like everything flipped upside down and turned evil. But rather than coming off preachy, corny, or insincere, Frank’s honest songs feel like they come from a place of true compassion and from a human who is imperfect but trying their best.
Stand-out track: Be More Kind
In addition to these albums, I also got into some specific artists and genres this year – ones that I should have already been listening to, but they were not on my radar for some reason or maybe they went under-appreciated until reexamination.
- Death Cab For Cutie – I fell back into Transatlanticism like a warm, comforting blanket. But while Death Cab’s music is not new to me, and I am stuck in their 2003-2008 era, I found a renewed love for “I Will Possess Your Heart“. This song, combined with the music video propels me to go forth and have adventures. My dream would be to capture nearly 9 minutes of perfection in moving pictures.
- Kero Kero Bonito – Where was I when Bonito Generation dropped?! Flamingo won me over, even if I was incredibly late to the party. Their lighthearted, playful blend of dream-pop and J-pop has shifted into some more abrasive indie rock and noise elements on Time ‘n’ Place, but they still ooze poppy goodness.
- Local Music – Not just Minnesota, but from every stop on my adventures, I try to support regional music by going to a small, local record stores and asking for their recommendations on a few artists from that area. I was able to hit up LA, San Diego, Phoenix, Denver, Toronto, Cleveland, and Detroit; while finding artists I would have never come across had I not asked and done some digging. Take a chance, if you can, you might just find a new favorite band/album/song.
And If You’d Like To Listen To Some Of My Favorites…