I know you don’t care, but here are
My Favorite Albums of 2018
by Beach HouseIn 7, Beach House keeps their signature shoegaze sound, but expands their palette to make room for a more “live” feel. This record feels darker, more detailed, and more expansive than their last two, and that feeling plays beautifully with the enveloping style of their music. It also brings echos of fellow Baltimoreans Lower Dens, as well as, somewhat oddly, an old favorite, The Secret Machines.Drunk in LA
by Soccer MommySoccer Mommy’s excellent debut is a collection of songs about youth and love, presented by 20 year old Sophie Allison’s appealingly flat affectation. The 4-piece band’s production is clean and simple, but they are also charmingly self-aware with their flourishes, like when Cool subverts its own ending by slowing down the tape.Cool
by Ava LunaAva Luna exists in a slightly different reality than ours — everything they do is a little askew. But the songs on Moon 2 are both extremely fun and extremely propulsive. The drumming in particular moves things along; four on the floor and eighth-note snare fills like Chris Frantz might play. The shared female/male vocals, harmonies, and curious production are engrossing, as they tackle the everyday (Deli Run) and the emotional (Moon 2).Centerline
Sex & Food
by Unknown Mortal OrchestraUnknown Mortal Orchestra returns with another set of songs in their signature sound: psychedelic open-9th chords for miles. The way they take on different styles with the same sonic approach reminds me a bit of Tame Impala — they take a swing towards prog with American Guilt, and bring a little disco-inflected funk to Hunnybee, a stand-out track about the singer’s daughter.Hunnybee
by Stephen Malkmus and the JicksAfter two records that did not stick their landings, Sparkle Hard hits home well. This is the third record with their newest drummer, and he has settled into a groove that suits me, delving into a harder, Sleater-Kinney-esque style on tracks like Shiggy. But Malkmus always shines telling quieter stories like Solid Silk, and brings his trademark irreverence with a warning against marriage on Refute with Kim Gordon.Shiggy
Music for the Long Emergency
by PoliçaThis album is a collaboration with s t a r g a z e, a contemporary-classical ensemble based in Berlin. Combining a chamber music ensemble with the normally aggressive double-dummer approach of Poliça is a study in contrasts, and lends a new depth and natural quality to their sound that works out beautifully.Fake Like
There’s a Riot Going On
by Yo La TengoFrom the quiet and contemplative She May, She Might to the beautiful and solemn instrumental Shortwave, Yo La Tengo’s 15th record is gorgeous and engaging. Besides a few cute interludes, the album stays on the soft, textural side, but never loses its focus.She May, She Might
The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs
by Wye OakWye Oak started off making guitar-driven pop in their first few records, then took a swing towards the electronic in Shriek. This new album finds a more balanced point between the two extremes; but really, I still enjoy when they let a huge guitar solo rip, like in the middle of Lifer.Lifer
Through the Walls
by WhoMadeWhoWhoMadeWho has never stopped transforming their sound, but with this release they have settled into a weird but pop-friendly groove, reminiscent of The Acid. It has enough strange production and good grooves to stay interesting, while layering catchy melodies on top.Neighbourhood
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