First, eighteen or thereabouts albums that won’t disappoint.
18. (tie) Old 97s – Hate The Holidays // David Bowie – Live at Glastonbury
An Old 97s holiday album? You had me at Old 97s. And then a pleasant run through of Bowie’s hits? Ok.
17. Courtney Marie Andrews - May Your Kindness Remain
16. Kamasi Washington – Heaven and Earth
Some jazz …
15. Courtney Barnett - Tell Me How You Really Feel
Some indy …
14. Lone Justice – The Western Tapes
I buy a Lone Justice album and - somehow - it’s not my eighth copy of their debut (it’s the demo that came before the debut).
13. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Hope Downs
Technically, their debut LP. But there’s two EPs out there that preceded it. Jangly, meandering. REM ish.
12. Janelle Monae – Dirty Computer
Not typically my groove – but quite groovy, indeed.
11. Georgia Anne Muldrow – Overload
Her 17th album.
10. Snail Mail – Lush
9. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Live From the Ryman
Basically, it makes you sad you don’t live in Nashville.
8. Brandi Carlile – By The Way, I Forgive You
Noticed … pretty late in the year cause I ain’t too quick bout noticing …
7. (tie) Florence + the Machine – High As Hope
… that most of the albums I bought this year were …
6. Amanda Shires – To The Sunset
… by women. And of them, this one was on the turntable the most.
5. (tie) Various – 10 Years of Mom + Pop // Brian Fallon - Sleepwalkers
Since You Been Gone by Toyko Police Club is almost worth the price of ownership alone. Add Sunflower Bean’s Infinity Guitars and the rest and this may be the best value in 2018 music. If not, Brian Fallon’s Sleepwalkers definitely is.
4. Bruce Springsteen – Springsteen on Broadway
How far can introspection, work ethic and showmanship take you? Pretty damn far.
3. The Regrettes – Attention Seeker
An EP slots in at #3 because, pound for pound, there were only two better albums in 2018.
2. John Prine - Tree of Forgiveness
A wry Steinbeck, with a six-string.
1. Jeff Goldblum & The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra – The Capitol Studio Sessions
No kidding – the most fun you can have with a turntable in 2018.
Now, eighteen songs that landed on the iPod which I happen to like at least a little bit more than the other thousand or so of the year. The normal rules apply – mostly (but not necessarily) from 2018, not necessarily the best songs (just ones that amuse me for one reason or another), probably not on the list if they’re from a band that’s huge and – just to spread the love – not on the list if they were on any of the albums above.
18. Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas – Sparrow Sleeps
Let’s start with a lullaby, simply because the title of the album (The Sleep We Lose For People Who Look Like Us) is a fantastic Bleach Slang joke. Not that Beach Slang jokes are widespread.
17. What a Time to Be Alive – Superchunk
Not so lullabyly.
16. Tough Folks – American Aquariam
15. Something Good – Modern Monet
Kind of sleepy. Very nice.
14. Fine Line – Parker Milsap
Then, the Americana kicks in.
13. In Spite of Ourselves – John Prine & Iris DeMent
And continues. Reminding everyone John Prine’s been doing this for a while.
12. Roll On Slow – Glen Hansard
11. Guiding Light – Mumford & Sons
Not technically Americana, but in the same ballpark.
10. Found the One – Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite
9. Entitlement Crew – The Hold Steady
Close to 2018.
8. Head Over Heels – The Go-Gos
Not at all close, but one of my favorite music memories of 2018 – the iPod shuffles to the song just as I cross the Los Angeles city border near midnight as the traffic clears and the speed picks up on a weekend run to Phoenix. Uptempo just when you need it, and of the place you’re passing through. Also … if it’s Jane Wiedlin’s fave Go-Go’s song, it should be yours too.
7. See You On the Other Side – Brian Fallon
Ok, I lied. The album’s on the list above. It’s a darn good album, not least of which because of this darn good song.
6. Mistake – Middle Kids
The album’s pretty good, too.
5. In My Way – The Belligerents
The loudness starts, in a Cult-like way.
4. For The Lonely Ones – Lucero
The loudness continues.
3. All We Want, Baby, Is Everything – Handsome Furs
And becomes anthemic.
2. My Kind of Town (Live At The Sands) – Frank Sinatra
Speaking of anthems.
1. Helpless – The Regrettes
A pop-punk cover of a multi-cultural rap about the founding of America. 2018 did not completely suck.