2018 was the year of the surprise. I never expected some of these releases to show up on this list, but I’m very happy they did.
These are the fifteen albums I have enjoyed and recommended the most to family, friends, readers, and complete strangers over the year…basically anybody that will entertain my musical musings.
My number one album of the year? I honestly don’t know. I can’t decide between Andrew W.K.’s uplifting You’re Not Alone, Beach House’s gorgeous 7, and Rhye’s intimate Blood. All three are worth of the number one spot and have been on constant rotation all year.
So without further ado, please enjoy my favorite LPs of 2018 (in alphabetical order) below. And if you haven’t done so already, be sure to take a look at my favorite EPs of 2018 when you’re done here.
Andrew W.K.//You’re Not Alone
Cardi B//Invasion of Privacy
Dark Times//Tell Me What I Need
The Go! Team//SEMICIRCLE
Quivers//We’ll Go Riding On The Hearses
Wye Oak//The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs
Here you go, my top 10 albums of 2012. I went back and forth on this up until the last minute. But alas, there’s no going back now. My picks are official and floating around the world wide web for everyone to scrutinize. And speaking of scrutiny, I would love some feedback. Do you agree/disagree with my picks? What were your favorites this year? Heck, what were your least favorites? Leave a comment below and keep the conversation going.
[p.s. see how my final top 10 compared to my favorites back in June and July]
10. Sigur Rós//Valtari
Scratched them off my concert bucket list this year and totally lived up to my expectations. I have no idea what Jonsi and company are singing about and I really don’t care. Beautiful music is beautiful music. Period.
9. Sleigh Bells//Reign of Terror
I can’t get enough of this duo. My favorite driving music. Turn it up, roll down the windows, drive fast. Noise pop at it’s best.
An amazing and emotionally charged record that I seem to enjoy more with every listen. If Beach House were to team up with Sigur Rós, I imagine it would sound like this.
7. Blackbird Blackbird//Boracay Planet
If you haven’t already, you need to give Blackbird Blackbird a proper listen. This guy is amazing and he just keeps getting better. Boracay Planet is his best yet.
6. Kishi Bashi//151a
This record makes me happy. Smart lyrics, beautiful vocals, imaginative arrangements, and quite the impressive violin work. Kishi Bashi’s debut album 151a is all of these things and more. Kishi Bashi is my favorite new artist of 2012 and it’s no surprise he’s on so many year end lists.
5. Crystal Castles//Crystal Castles (III)
My favorite Crystal Castles release to date. With every new track the Canadian experimental/electronic duo dropped, the more and more my excitement and anticipation grew.
4. Lost In The Trees//A Church That Fits Your Needs
One of the most personal, and beautiful, records i’ve fallen in love with (probably since The Antlers’ Hospice in 2009). Lead singer/guitarist based the record largely around his mother’s suicide, stating that — “I wanted to give my mother a space to become all the things I think she deserved to be and wanted to be, and all the beautiful things in her that didn’t quite shine while she was alive.”
3. Porcelain Raft//Strange Weekend
Mauro Remiddi, as Porcelain Raft, has crafted a dreamy and visceral sound unlike no other. One of the most impressive debut albums since The xx’s xx in 2009.
2. Beach House//Bloom
Baltimore’s Beach House continue to set a high standard for dream pop with each and every release. This year’s Bloom might be their best yet. It’s definitely my personal favorite from the duo.
1. The xx//Coexist
Easily my favorite album of the year. Totally exceeded my expectations. Like their debut, I can listen to this record, from start to finish, over and over again.
2012 had more than a handful of impressive debut full-lengths, including Alabama Shakes’ Boys & Girls, Porcelain Raft’s Strange Weekend, and Jack White’s Blunderbuss. The tracks below don’t even begin to scratch the surface of debuts this year, but these are a few of my favorites.
The buzz band of 2011 did not disappoint. If you have yet to give this record a chance, you’re only hurting yourself. It’s more than just “Southern rock”. It’s rock and soul at it’s best, due in large part to Brittany Howard’s incredible voice.
Chilean indie-pop at it’s best. I have no idea what they are singing about, but I love it. This particular track sounds like M83 in Spanish.
Bright Moments is the brain child of multi-instrumentalist Kelly Pratt (best known for his work with Beirut and Arcade Fire). Natives is a very uplifting record (i’ve heard it described as “sunny-pop”). Whenever I listen, I feel like going on adventures. With tracks like “Tourists”, “Travelers”, and “Drifters”, maybe adventures is exactly what Pratt had in mind.
Critics shat all over Clock Opera’s debut full-length, but I enjoyed it immensely. Was it perfect? No, but how many perfect albums are there? Ways To Forget has a handful of fantastic tracks, including “Let Go The Lifeboats”, “11th Hour”, “Belongings”, “Move To The Mountain”, and best of all, the lead-off track “Once And For All”.
Exitmusic’s (Brooklyn husband-wife duo Devon Church and Aleksa Palladino) Passage was one of my top 10 albums of 2012. An amazing and emotionally charged record that I seem to enjoy more with every listen. If Beach House were to team up with Sigur Rós, I imagine it would sound like this.
J. Tillman (former drummer for Fleet Foxes) released his debut solo album as Father John Misty this year. I’m still a bit surprised with how much I like Fear Fun. I’m generally not a fan of freak-folk/jam-band music, but there’s something about Father John Misty’s sound that I like. I should also add that this was one of my highlights at this year’s Outside Lands. One of the best set’s I caught and it was totally on accident.
Jack White is one of God’s gifts to rock music. Easily one of the most prolific rock musicians of my generation. Now, after music slutting it up in so many great bands over the years, White released his first solo record this year, Blunderbuss. If you’re not hooked on this record after you listen to “Sixteen Saltines”, there’s something wrong with you. Robin Hilton (NPR: All Songs Considered) puts it best — “White writes better about youth and the teen years, the school years, better than anybody.” Mr. White totally blew me away at this year’s Outside Lands. If you get the chance, you MUST see him live.
The Lumineers debut is folk-rock at it’s best — gritty, raw, and heartfelt. I’m very interested to see what’s next for this Denver trio.
Porcelain Raft is the brain child of Italian born Mauro Remiddi. Over the last couple of years, Remiddi has teased us with some impressive EPs and singles and toured extensively, with the likes of The Antlers, Youth Lagoon, and M83. His debut LP, Strange Weekend, is one of my favorites. Definitely in my top 10 of the year. With so many great tracks to pull from, i’ll make it easy on myself and go with the first track I ever heard.
Purity Ring is an indie-electronic duo from Canada. I’ve heard them compared to The Knife, which is a bit of a stretch in my opinion. If I were to compare them to anybody, you could find some production similarities with Crystal Castles. With that said, they have a really cool, very synth heavy, sound that they’ve made their own.
Tanlines are an electronic, indie-pop duo from Brooklyn. Mixed Emotions was a strong debut and an undeniably fun record. Bummed I missed them out Outside Lands this year.
When I listen to the experimental and up-beat sounds on Vacationer’s debut album, Gone, I go on adventures in my memories. I can’t help but picture myself as a carefree kid at the lake every summer, crushing on girls i’ll never see again. Gone is childhood memories and chill-wave music wrapped into one and I love it.
This video is about 5 months old, but i’m quite obsessed with this track right now and the video is really well done (director Will Joines is also responsible for “The Night” music video). “Passage” is from the album of the same name (one of my favorites of 2012…so far), available now on Secretly Canadian.