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.
10. “In A Poem Unlimited,” U.S. Girls, released by 4AD Released back in February, Meghan Remy and company made an album of addictive absurdist dance-pop. Seeing her/them live at Sister Bar solidified the record and her place on this list.
9. “Heaven and Earth,” Kamasi Washington, released by Young Turks The preeminent modern jazz man delivered the goods on this highly anticipated double LP. This one was played over and over again in many different settings.
8. “No More Songs About Wildflowers,” Snakes, self released George Cessna is the son of Auto Club frontman Slim Cessna. Fans of SCAC will appreciate George’s take on gothic desert noir country, and will certainly dig this second full-length from Snakes.
7. “C’est La Vie,” Phosphorescent, released by Dead Oceans Not going to lie to you – this album surprised me. I joked about Matthew Houck’s shift away from straightforward Americana, though some of that sound is still in there on this album.
6. “The Hex,” Richard Swift, released by Secretly Canadian Perhaps best known as a producer and collaborator, Swift nails a stunning album of intense indie pop, which was sadly his last proper album. Swift passed away in July from complications related to alcoholism.
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, 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. Lynch[email protected]