These posts will never happen if I don’t make it fuss free. So here is it! With little introduction or fanfare, the ‘stuff’ that made up my year. My favorite albums, live shows, apps, and ‘things’ of 2018.
First up, albums!
Favorite Albums of 2018
Johann Sebastian Bach - Vinkingur Ólafsson
Ólafsson breathes new life into the essentials.
Time - Louis Cole
What a way to close the summer! Addictive, savvy, electro pop from a master technician (both instrumentally and as a producer.)
All Ashore - Punch Brothers
For reasons that will be detailed in a Favorite Live Music of 2018 post, this album will forever be associated with an amazing summer of travel with my wife, including seeing Punch Brothers debut this album in its entirety at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. This is an album made for the political landscape of our current time but that can be enjoyed for the beauty of its timbre, texture, and harmony alone.
Hawktail - Unless
My favorite bluegrass album in a while and my favorite bluegrass band discovery of the year. We have seen these guys a few times live this year and appreciate the relationships we have developed with the band members. If I were doing a favorite songs of 2018, the title track ‘Unless’ would be on it.
Book of Travelers - Gabriele Kahane
Around the time of the 2016 election, Gabriele Kahane took a trip all over the country by train on a search for empathy. This album features the songs inspired by this journey.
Heaven and Earth - Kamasi Washington
It would be easy to characterize this album as excessive but I see it differently. Even though many of the tracks have a similar contour, each one of them is its own epic. In combination, I am never exhausted by the result as I might expect to be, but instead rightly satisfied.
EP - The Fearless Flyers
Members of Vulpeck team up with Nate Smith on drums to create the “too-short-est” record I have ever heard. The dry texture of all three varieties of electric guitar on this record leave nothing to be desired. And Nate Smith can do more with a snare drum, bass drum, and hi hat than most drummers can do with a nine piece kit and plethora of cymbals.
Kids See Ghosts - Kanye West and Kid Cudi
I’d like to file this one under “listen to this if you don’t think hip hop is interesting.”
Dirty Computer - Janelle Monáe
If anyone wanted to argue that this is the most profound (and catchy) album of the year, I would hand it to them immediately.
See You Around - I’m With Her
Try to not enjoy listening to these sounds, even if you don’t like folk music.
Sampha - Process
Cerebral, groove centered, and colorful. One of my favorites of the favorites.