Top 5 Albums of 2018
5) Beach House – 7
Beach House has really grown into the sound over the years. Earlier albums seem to lack identity – filtering in and out of dream pop and psychedelia. This album is the perfect mix of both but added in a haunting feel to it. The key to the entire record is the added deep percussion. It’s really just about a band that has hit their groove at an exact time. This is also a masterfully edited album. It isn’t often where you’ll notice the sounds working perfectly together that are not always a standard instrument. The deep heavy keyboards create the haunting sound that perfectly sets the mood of “7”. Top song of this record is “Black Car”.
4) Ryley Walker – Deafman Glance
This dude can pump out music. With a mix of acid jazz, rock, and a Cornell style voice. It’s a weird mix but works extremely well on this record. Walker seems to be some type of musical madman with the types of sounds he makes. Not afraid to test the boundaries of any type of instrument. There is flute, saxophone, tall bass, and recorder on top of the standard drums and guitar. It’s poetry in motion as his voice finds the niche of the sound. When asked to describe his sound I can’t do it. It doesn’t sound like anything I’ve heard. There are points where I feel like I’m in a car chase and then others where I’m having a hot chocolate around a campfire. This is the draw of Ryley Walker. The top song on the album is “Telluride Speed”. (couldn’t find a good live feed of this tune – this concert is solid though)
3) Kurt Vile – Bottle It In
My boy has done it again. This album took a solid 5 or 6 listens before I really got into it. It’s really a mashup between his previous two albums with a bit of Courtney Barnett mixed in there. At the end of the day, Vile is trying to get you to have the feel of a long hair dude wearing a leather jacket with headphones in, head bobbing in a downtown area. The entire record has a coolness to it. It never really steps on the gas at any point, but you feel accomplished once through it. Of course, Vile’s guitar skills are on center stage as always. His sound comes so naturally out of him that would be impossible for another artist to attempt it. The top song on the record is “Check Baby”.
2) Wild Pink – Yolk In The Fur
Opened up Pitchfork on a random day in June and read a review on this album. Seemed to be right up my alley in regards to sound. Slow burn rock with an unassuming lead singer that had a bit of a Built to Spill vibe. One of the best parts of this record is how it flows from one song into another. In the days of Spotify, this is a rarity. This is supposed to be listened to from start to finish. Wild Pink does a phenomenal job of taking you to one part of your senses and then turning on a dime to another part. Soft vocals with a mild guitar straight to a solo. This is a bit of a throwback album to the early 2000s. They have minimal use of keyboards and mixers. This is an album that tells a rock story. Soft Grandaddy to hard Built to Spill. It mixes everything in. “The Séance on St. Augustine St.” is the tune to check out.
1) Khruangbin – Con Todo El Mundo
I’m sure you’ve heard me speak about this band. One of the coolest fu**ing bands that I’ve seen/heard over the past decade. The guitarist is a wonderfully talented musician – one of the best currently. Underrated is the supporting instruments. The drums and bass all revolve around the lead guitar. Creating a nest to support any unique sound that comes out of his mind. From top to bottom this album will make you feel fantastic. It’s meant to be thrown on while sitting on the dock at the water of your cottage. It’s nearly impossible to not be in a good mood or be put at ease when Khruangbin has been thrown onto the stereo. This record has been on my heavy rotation for the entire year. Best album of the year with a bullet. Song to check out is “Maria Tambien”.