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Best Music of 2018


I listen to a lot of music. Basically, I listen to music every second I am at my desk or in my car. I also don’t listen to the same album very often. In March, I had to wipe my computer after the software went on the fritz. The most plays for any song in the last nearly 9 months is 13. But as hard as one tries, you can only listen to so much new music. I heard 54 albums made in 2018 this year, which is up from 46 last year. Not too bad, considering I am still listening to albums of my 2016 and 2017 lists for the first time, as you can see through the occasional music notes posts. But I didn’t get to the new albums by a lot of people I like or at least need to hear: Courtney Barnett, Parquet Courts, Julia Holter, Cat Power, Richard Thompson, Robbie Fulks & Linda Gayle Lewis, Amanda Shires, Rodney Crowell, Willie Nelson, Leon Bridges, Kamasi Washington, Mary Lattimore, Janelle Monae, Kacey Musgraves, and so many more. But I did listen widely and here are the top 10 new albums I heard in 2018, more or less in order.

1) U.S. Girls, In a Poem Unlimited

2) Mary Gauthier, Rifles and Rosemary Beads

3) Superchunk, What a Time to Be Alive

4) Screaming Females, All at Once

5) Laura Gibson, Goners

6) Aruan Ortiz Trio with Brad Jones and Chad Taylor, Live in Zurich

7) Blood Orange, Negro Swan

8) Soccer Mommy, Soccer Mommy

9) Speedy Ortiz, Twerp Verse

10) Tal National, Tantabara

10 more that were pretty good:

11) Cupcakke, Ephorize
12) Snail Mail, Lush
13) Melissa Laveaux, Radyo Siwel
14) Brandi Carlile, By the Way I Forgive You
15) Dilly Dally, Heaven
16) Rosalia, El Mal Querer
17) Laura Veirs, The Lookout
18) The Internet, Hive Mind
19) Tropical Fuck Storm, A Laughing Death in Meat Space
20) Imarahan, Tenet

Two albums where I really did not get why everyone raved over them are Mitski’s Be the Cowboy and especially Beach House’s 7. The Mitski album seems pretty fine, but Beach House, what am I missing here?

This wasn’t my peak year for going to shows because I was in very rural Pennsylvania for most of it, but I saw pretty excellent shows by Tal National, Bomba Estereo, Jason Isbell (night after he won the Grammy and the first time Amanda Shires had joined him on that tour), Margo Price, Mourn, Yo La Tengo, Drive-By Truckers, DBT’s Mike Cooley solo, Algiers, and probably a few more I am not remembering now. First show for 2019 is on 1/2, so looking forward to a good solid year of live music.

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