OK, here’s the thing about compiling a year-in-review or Best Of list: If I write this article next week...well, shit. If I write this article later tonight or even tomorrow, it could likely – nay, certainly – look different than it does today. Not all of it would change, mind you. Seven or eight of these records are the best thing I’ve heard all year (wink, wink). The order is arbitrary. The list itself is for the benefit of you, the list reader, to aggregate and visualize a beginning, middle, and end. This list was compiled purposefully and without perusing any other lists.
I did discuss with Bryant Liggett the position of an album.
Honorable Mentions: “Floating Features” La Luz; “Freedom,” Amen Dunes; “Smote Reverser,” Oh Sees; “Hell-On,” Neko Case; “Digital Garbage,” Mudhoney; “The Creation Factory,” The Creation Factory; “The Other,” King Tuff; “Jericho Sirens,” Hot Snakes.
5. “God’s Favorite Customer,” Father John Misty, released by Sub Pop
Father John Misty - God’s Favorite Customer - Sub Pop - Joshua Tillman, aka Father John Misty, is the only artist in this years Top Ten that has been on my year end retrospective before (with 2015’s “I Love You, Honeybear”). Given his public persona, the snark, and seeming disaffected ironic cool, I wanted to not love this most recent album as much as I do. It’s a nearly perfect album without a bad track on it. His brand of orchestral indie rock is so well executed, keeping him off this list would be a disservice to you, the reader.
4. “Garbage People,” Wimps, released by Kill Rock Stars
I cannot remember the last time, if ever, a record seemed to speak so perfectly to me and my current head space and place in time. Their brand of off kilter garage pop punk stuck with me for months and months. I often find myself humming tracks “Garbage Brain”, “Procrastination”, or “Wanna Go Out” over and over again.
3. “Down in Pancake Valley,” The Sons Of Rainier, self released
If you saw The Sons of Rainer’s performance this year in Durango at The Mervery, and you purchased this album, you will very likely agree that Down In Pancake Valley deserves a firm, firm place on this list. Their particular brand of stripped down country and Americana was moving, enthralling even and the recorded album was nothing short of infectious. The record stayed in my player, without exaggeration, for at least threes consecutive months and yet I still look forward to hearing it.
2. “Con Todo El Mundo,” Khruangbin, released by Dead Oceans
Another album that I returned to over and over again over the last eleven months. This talented trio from Houston made a record that I reviewed back in January that seamlessly blends world, neo-soul, psych, and dub. I assumed this record would be just as relevant at years end, and lo and behold, it is. This is the rare record that will likely please music fans regardless of their preference.
1. “Songs of Praise,” Shame, released by Dead Oceans
This is the second album from my Most Anticipated Records of 2018 article to make this list. The South London five piece made a record of jagged, disruptive post-punk that sounds as fresh now as it did upon first listen this past January. As I said of the album then: “All the callings of straight-forward post-punk are there: the angular guitars, the rawness of punk but with an approach more nuanced and artful, biting lyrics and witticisms, and a focused yet unkempt energy that can only come with youthful exuberance and angst. This is the first great record of the year that will garner many spins in the months to come.”
As a side note: I have a request of you, dear reader. It’s fairly simple, so I’ll get right to it. If you dig the above list and plan on buying any of my suggestions from this week or last week, please take the extra effort to purchase the music ethically. That means different things to different people, but to me it means buying directly from the band, straight from the record label, and finally – this one is my most preferred – buy the music from your favorite local independent record store.
Don’t have one? Call any of mine! Love Garden in Lawrence, Kansas, can be reached by phone at 785-843-1551. Wax Trax in Denver is stellar, and can be reached at 303-860-0127. You can also call Homers in Omaha at 402-346-0264. Wherever you’re from, or wherever you’ve been, work a little harder and maybe pay a few bucks more, but most importantly, do the right thing and buy the music from any of the aforementioned sources. Please and thanks.
Jon E. LynchKDUR_PD@fortlewis.edu