Albums of 2018

It's that time of year! My top 10 albums of 2018.

1. Blackout Summer, by Dusted

This album is my calm in the storm. When everything in our society feels like it’s going to shit I can put Blackout Summer on the virtual turntable, lean back, close my eyes, and get lost for an hour.

2. Layers of Us, by Mimicking Birds

Looking back my prior years favorite albums, 2013 included the band Midlake. Mimicking Birds’ vocals feature the same easy flowing waves of harmony and obscure lyrics on top.

3. Olden Yolk, by Olden Yolk

The band Quilt’s 2014 album Held in Splendor was my #3 album that year, so it’s no surprise to find  Olden Yolk here in 2018. The band frontman is Shane Butler of Quilt, and he partners here with Caity Shaffer to create an album that reflects the best psychedelic vibe that Quilt had to offer. Cut to the Quick, Gamblers on a Dime, and Espirit de Corps are the standout tracks.

4. Harder Love, by Strand of Oak

What a diverse album. Opening track Harder Love has a clear psychedelic sound but then the subsequent track sounds more like something Bryan Adams would’ve released in the early 90s, and then another echoes Chris De Burgh. The album wraps up with two lengthy tracks (12 and 19 minutes) that are sure to send you into a spacey trip — with or without medicinal assistance.

5. Offerings, by Typhoon

Another chill album, also featuring poetic lyrics that offer a lot to contemplate if you’re so inclined. Empiricist is the standout track for me.

6. Lo Moon, by Lo Moon

Heavy on synth pop that harkens back to the 1980s, Lo Moon is a carefully crafted album with more than a few ear worms, such as Real Love and Thorns.

7. Well Hell, by Lauren Ruth Ward

Even as a guy there’s something engaging about a woman raging against the men who disrespected her. Lauren delivers these songs with a passion and ferocity that forces you to listen.

8. Lifer, by Cody Jinks

As bro country continues to play on mainstream country music stations, authentic musicians like Cody Jinks carry on the sounds of traditional country music.

9. Interstate Gospel, by Pistol Annies

While we’re in the country genre, let’s talk about the Pistol Annies. While their lyrics aren't the deepest and most profound — arguably relying too much on puns better suited to Brad Paisley — I’ve always enjoyed what Miranda, Ashley, and Angaleena do every few years. You could say that too many of the songs reflect Miranda Lambert’s breakup with Blake Shelton, and you’d probably be right, but the trio does their best work with tracks that have introspection such as Best Years of My Life.

10. Dance on the Blacktop, by nothing

nothing’s 2014 album Guilt of Everything was my #8 choice that year, and this year they’re back with more of the same, guitar-heavy shoegaze that appeals to me once in a while.

Runners Up

Hell On an Angel, by Dillon Carmichael
Bed Scene, by Bed Scene
Mr Honky Tonk, by Dallas Moore
Xxx, by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Lord of the Desert, by 3hattrio
Visitors, by Riptides
Isolation, by Kali Uchis
No. 1, by Major Murphy
Randall King, by Randall King
Starfire, by Caitlyn Smith
The Underdog, by Gum
Whale City, by Warmduscher
My Head Is Going Round, by Mysterious Clouds
Phantastic Ferniture, by Phantastic Ferniture

Overlooked in 2017

I overlooked a lot of good albums in 2017! Here are a few that might have been contenders.

Gliding, by Emily Herring - What an incredible voice, arrangements, and sound. Authentic Texas country at its best.

Straw in the Wind, by The Steel Woods - Authentic, hard rocking country in the same line as Chris Stapleton. 

The Acrobat, by Death of Lovers

The Demonstration, by Drab Majesty

Once Upon a Time in the West, by Gwen Sebastian

Family Hangover, by Walrus

Tuscumbia, by Belle Adair

The Day We Had, by Day Wave

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