George's Albums of the Year 2018
1. Yo La Tengo - There’s A Riot Going On
YLT had such a big impact on me with certain albums in the past that I always feel obligated to have them as favorites when they release a new album, but truth be told it’s been a hot minute since there’s been an album of theirs that has stayed on high rotation after the initial release. That’s why it was so fantastic to see them deliver one of their best albums ever with their latest. It didn’t hurt to see them preview the album at National Sawdust a week before it came out to a very intimate room. Seeing how they made this beautiful set of songs segue into each other live really reminded me of how unique and expansive these guys can be. Meditative, melodic adventures from indie rock legends.
2. Homeboy Sandman and Edan - Humble Pi
I always dug Homeboy Sandman’s flow, but Edan’s production is the revelation here. Thick beats, analog retro samples, and a dirtiness that lends itself to Homeboy Sandman’s darker rhymes. My favorite hip hop album this year by a longshot.
3. Wild Nothing - Indigo
It’s strange how I really like every other Wild Nothing album. I guess Jack Tatum’s brand of chimy guitar synth pop is so dependent on the songs and hooks in order to lock me in, and with this album they’re bountiful. The opener “Letting Go” is a sing along favorite in my household, and “Through Windows” is one of those songs that should’ve been a Top 40 hit.
4. Ovlov - TRU
These guys are doing something new within the framework of a dare I say grunge sound. The guitars are huge and gorgeously fuzzy, the song structures keep you on your toes, and the melodies became ear worms within the first couple listens.
5. Kali Uchis - Isolation
This would be my guilty pleasure pop album of the year if I felt guilty about it, but how could I? This album’s slick and danceable production also manages to be contemplative and languid at the same time.
6. Various Artists - Technicolor Paradise - Rhum Rhapsodies and Other Exotic Delights
I love it when Numero Group veers away from obscure soul to dig into a random sub-genre of music and this collection of lot-fi exotica is killer. I used to obsessively visit a music blog called Office Naps to find stuff like this- unknown surf instrumentals, tropical splashed jazz, and slightly off kilter exotica so you can imagine how thrilled I was to see many of those songs collected here in a polished package courtesy of Numero.
7. L’Rain - L’Rain
I guess this album dropped in 2017, but it didn’t see a distributed pressing until this year. At any rate, L’Rain is one of my favorite new artist discoveries of the year. She mixes ethereal synths, Fripp-esque guitar noodling and washed out beats into a very cool sound. Can’t wait to see what she does next.
8. Nadine - oh my
A late entry into my Top 10 even though it came out in January. I love how this album lingers around 70’s soft rock smoothness while also being complex and edgy. Nadia’s voice is lovely, but it’s the clever instrumentation of Carlos and Julian from Ava Luna that cements this smoky record as a truly memorable debut.
9. Peel Dream Magazine - Modern Meta Physic
Any album that mixes a little shoe gaze with a little psychedelia and puts it in a mod looking aesthetic is gonna garner my interest, but not all of them do it as well as Peel Dream Magazine. This is an album for spacing out and forgetting where you are.
10. The Sylvers - ii
I try and refrain from putting reissues in my Top 10, but when the album is as solid as this I can’t resist. Originally released in 1973, this album from the family band of the Sylvers sounds like a co-ed Jackson 5, but never reached the same level of fame. These songs became my summer jams and I played the shit out of this album so for me it’s gotta make the Top 10. A funk soul masterpiece, just be sure to skip the last track- a saccharine acapella cover of The Beatles “Yesterday”.