No, not a lost song from Wire, but my list of my favorite records from 2018. Across the genres, across the ages, all very Arpad.
18. Bob Dylan - More Blood, More Tracks
The box set might be overly exhaustive even for Dylan fans, but the cherry-picked single album release is delightful. Stripped down, melancholy recordings of one of Robert’s greatest records.
An interesting Alex Ross article from the New Yorker on the history lost inside the sprawl of More Blood, More Tracks
17. Smino - blkswn
Creative, soulful rap in the vein of Chance the Rapper or Andre 3000. Sunny beats, catchy hooks, skits; it isn’t a throwback, modern as fuck, but all the same OG.
Video for my favorite song off of blkswn, “Anita”
16. Various Artists - Grid City
Love Lion, one of the great underrated labels of the modern era, put together a genre-busting compilation of contemporary electronic, heavy metal, no-wave, and indie rock groups. The link between bands is outstanding quality.
You can stream the whole of Grid City on Love Lion’s bandcamp page
15. Jean Grae & Quelle Chris - Everything’s Fine
Jean Grae is one of the best rappers you’ve never heard of. Everything’s Fine has a solid MF Doom vibe: deadpan delivery, odd time signatures, genius-level rhymes.
Throughly bizarre yet oddly compelling video for “Gold Purple Orange”
14. Superchunk - What A Time To Be Alive
What A Time To Be Alive is the perfect synthesis of 90s alternative and 70s punk. Sugary energy screaming bloody indictments. It’s fun.
Superchunk has What A Time To Be Alive streaming on their bandcamp page
13. Against All Logic - 2012 - 2017
Low key, sample heavy dance music. Secret side project of Darkside’s Nicolas Jaar. Part RJD2, part Hackers, slightest touch of jungle, solid grooves.
Check out “City Fade” from my nonexistent dream JSRF sequel soundtrack
12. Jeff Rosenstock - POST-
90s punk throwback record. Snotty, smart graduate from the J Church School Of Sounds That I Like.
POST- is streaming on Jeff Rosenstock’s bandcamp page
11. Shinichi Atobe - Heat
A techno record as beautiful and simple as deep house can possibly get.
So much from so little, “So Good, So Right” from Heat
10. Kacey Musgraves - Golden Hour
Dreamy country music just on the right side of pop. It’s refreshing to hear something country and great without being insurgent and purposefully old, and pop and country without being some boot scootin’ garbage.
9. Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers - Bought To Rot
The shape of punk to come. Brutally honest. Catchy. Venomous. The singer of Against Me ventures into Mountain Goats territory. Sometimes Mission of Burma. Sometimes heavy metal. Tiny touch of Alice Cooper. Song stories about personal experience.
“Reality Bites” from Bought To Rot
8. Various Artists - The Black Panther OST
Pulitzer Prize winning musician Kendrick Lamar curated this collection of songs musing on what it means to be African, inspired by (and a part of) the rising wave that is Black Panther. Rap, R&B, very danceable with attitude to spare.
The video for “All the Stars” is a Jodorowskian vision of Black Panther aesthetics
7. Kali Uchis - Isolation
Uchis has a murderers’ row of producers on Isolation including the king of the Dap-Kings, Damon Albarn, Dave Sitek, Thundercat, and one track with Bootsy Collins and Tyler the Creator. That said, all these dudes? Worshippers at the feet of a queen. From Winehouse to Selena to Beyoncé, this girl can get it.
Sultry South American vibes to be found in the video for “Nuestro Planeta”
6. Daedelus - Taut
19th album from the Willy Wonka of dance music. Daedelus is the master of the Monome, which gives his music a bizarre, push-button sound. Film scores and classical music- not chopped and screwed, but booped and zooped.
Stream Taut on the DOMEOFDOOM bandcamp page
5. Caroline Rose - Loner
Caroline Rose has so much charisma, no restraints, and talent like crazy. Rockabilly a little, some Le Tigre moments, big sounds, big smiles, real pure rock and roll.
My favorite cut from Loner: “Animal”
4. Superorganism - Superorganism
Disaffected youth. Silly sound effects. Catchy sing alongs. Yes.
Superorganism’s Tiny Desk Concert will have you falling in love
3. David Bowie - Glastonbury 2000
Career-spanning set by one of the greatest musicians to ever walk the face of/fall to Earth. Hits a nice middle ground, sounding enough like the studio recordings to be satisfyingly familiar, but different enough to warrant interest. Bowie is in a great mood, and his enthusiasm shows through. Energy. Love. Bowie.
“Heroes” from Glastonbury 2000
2. Equip - Synthetic Core 88
A 16 bit RPG soundtrack for a game that was never made. Equip’s first one was full of menu sounds, encounters, tactile play stuff; SC88 sheds the ephemera and dives straight into its imagined world. This album has grown on me more and more since its release. Nothing else quite like it. Sublime, soothing, exciting, and- most of all- dreamy.
Equip’s Synthetic Core 88 is streaming on his bandcamp page
1. Hop Along - Bark Your Head Off, Dog
Gentle, then sharp. Critical but sweet. Riffs and claps. Paints a picture in my mind, one of natural things that stand as metaphors, of man’s abuse of power, sun and asphalt and speedy travel and youth and experience. Even at its quietest, Bark Your Head Off, Dog is drenched in emotion. If you like 90s indie rock, this as much for you as it is for me. I wanted to grow up into this record and here we are.
Stream select tracks from Bark Your Head Off, Dog on the Hop Along bandcamp page
RIP Pete Shelley