January 4, 2019

QuickCrit's Top 16 Albums of 2018

1. Blood Orange - Negro Swan  

I learned about both Janet Mock and A$AP Rocky via this album. It's simply incredible. – Larson

If Janet Mock's gorgeous take on family doesn't get you, then maybe a Puff Daddy spoken word track? How about a gospel song? This album crosses genres, talks about being different, and is cool as hell. – Serena

2. Lykke Li - So Sad So Sexy          
I made a slow-motion video of my kids frolicking outside to the song “Hard Rain”. Hit me up and I’ll send it to you. – Larson

3. Wye Oak - The Louder I call The Faster It Runs    
So stoked that every album that these guys (or singer Jenn Wassner) puts out ends up on a top ten of the year list for me.  There's so many bands in the last 20 years that have started out great and fizzled into caricatures of themselves that it's just refreshing to have a fave put out consistently great material. – Tex

When I wanted the feels I reached for this album. – Larson

4. Alice Ivy - I'm Dreaming
Avalanches comparisons are fair, but damn if the album doesn't reveal new details to love with each listen. – Jesse

Like movies from the 50's mixed with some mellow sweet beats, relaxation, nostalgia. – Graham

5. The Bones of J.R. Jones - Ones of Keep Close 

A one stop shop for a some good shot poundin' and knee slappin' jams. – Nesto

Not quite a one-man band, but pretty close. He plays raw, bluesy, backwoods rock and roll mostly consisting of fuzzy, wavering vocals over distorted guitar… and it is awesome. This album is his best and perhaps most rounded, with more percussion, guest vocalists, and horns. – NightraiN

6. Flasher - Constant Image       

Is this post punk? New Wave? The best of both? It toys with jagged riffs, repetition, harmonies, and so many barbed hooks. Plus, they look 10. – Jesse

YES!! – sharon

7. Cardi B - Invasion Of Privacy 

When I needed something over the top this spring. This was the answer. – Larson

8. The Carters - Everything is Love          

Some days I don’t feel cool enough to listen to this album. Fuck that inner dialogue. – sharon

Someone described this as a Beyonce album featuring Jay Z, and I think that's both accurate and not a problem. – Serena

9. Spiritualized - And Nothing Hurt         

I didn't realize that I needed Spiritualized back into my life. Such a fantastic sleepy time album that I usually don't make it past track 4 or 5! – sharon

10. Paul Cauthen - Have Mercy 

Minutes away from a full length album, so it counts! Have mercy! – Nesto

This dude is classic. Deep Cash-esque baritone, outlaw country style and themes, and an ability to sound like those that came before but still feel original. This is my road-trippin' album of the year because all the tracks have a ramblin’ man/woman aura about them, especially my favorites “Tumbleweed” and “My Cadillac”. This is deep throated, singalong country. – NightraiN

11. Black Panther Soundtrack   

Wakanda forever. – Serena

Feels weird to put a soundtrack to a Marvel movie on my top album list but maybe that’s a weird hangup that I need to get over. I built a set of dresser drawers for my wife and I this year. I clocked a lot of hours with sandpaper a nail gun and this album on rotation. – Larson

12. Kurt Vile - Bottle In It            

Let's road trip through America with Kurt Vile as our tour guide. – Nesto

Vile is a songsmith – writing poems over music and music around scenes from everyday life. It many ways his music feels throwback with hints of Tom Petty and Bob Dylan, but between the slithering guitar on the up-tempo tracks, he mixes in his meandering train-of-thought tracks that in my mind are all his own. – NightraiN
13. Chemtrails - Calf Of The Sacred Cow

Discovered these gender-bending psych pop masters off a 2017 label sampler and fell in love with their previous two psych pop EPs. My Johnny-come-lately status payed off with an album released just weeks later and that I’ve rocked ever since. – Jesse

14. Lord Huron - Vide Noir

Makes me want to go on a road trip. – Graham

First introduced to this band off one of these lists back in 2011 and they’ve been a mainstay on the radio since then. Another family favorite. – Jesse

15. Murder By Death – The Other Shore

Probably their most poetic album to date. Less straight-up drinking anthems and darker and more complicated, cello-laced tales of western life that parallel Ben Nichols leveraging Blood Meridian characters and storylines from Blood Meridian. If you are craving some folksy, Americana from 2018, I think this is the album for you.   – NightraiN

Propelled by a baritone vocals and bold drum beats, these country gothic anthems ride the line between dark and celebratory. – Jesse

16. The Record Company – All Of This Life

These guys have filled the hole in my music life that was left behind by the absence of The Black Keys, as both are dedicated to churning out some catchy blues rockers. “Life To Fix” stands out with the sing-along refrain and hand-clapping, head-nodding rhythm. Of course, it also helps that their live performance rips. – NightraiN

They keep it simple – three guys, a couple chords, minimal lyrics – but when they find a rhythm, they work it, wringing out each sweaty riff. Hey! Whoa oh oh oh. – Jesse


awmercy said...

Kind of an odd year. Even with a decent number of survey responses (14), there were not as many albums showing up on multiple lists. That's the main criteria for making the list, it has to be loved by at least two people. Then its rank is determined by where it showed up on each person's list.

My take away, we have to do a better job telling each other about our absolute favorite albums earlier. Maybe a warm up list of three albums you think others will dig in October, just to get the juices flowing.

Rain Hiawatha Kernytsky said...

Hit me up anytime you need a list. Damn. I can do it on a monthly or quarterly basis. Whatevs. You know me, I obsessively cull continuously. My stuff (as usual) was a bit off the beaten path but there's some material in there that really should be heard and I think almost anyone would dig (especially the easy going stony music of Khruangbin and the feel good hits of the Summer put out by Shannon & the Clams).

Looking forward to diving in deep to others' lists.

Again, thank you for this service....

Rain Hiawatha Kernytsky said...

...also, in my alternate reality, I've built a secret tree house, obscured by witches broom and bramble, in Larson's backyard. He knows the secret multi-knock password and often joins me to listen to records over tinned cans of Dinty Moore beef stew "Real Meat. Real Potatoes. Real Value" and gin cocktails.

I bet then we'd like, at least, 4 of the same albums over the course of a year.

We'd also come up with complicated handshakes...

Nightrain said...

Eclectic AF.

awmercy said...

Eclectic, as expected.

Rain, I love your alternate reality. In these days where very few of our all on the same social media platform, how do find that virtual backyard tree house?

Ben said...

Lol... I don't even know three quarters of this list.! Getting it going early is a good idea. Next year I still won't be voting for Jayz.

Jeremy said...

Agreed - every year i find albums from this list that would've made mine had i been hip enough to know of them. A Facebook group or something of that ilk would be cool, or just an old-fashioned email chain with periodic calls for recommendations

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