Julia Holter / Aviary
Honestly, I haven’t even processed all this record yet. One of the most ambitious things I’ve ever heard. Ever. Headphones, time, and patience are required, but the rewards seem endless.
Cardi B / Invasion of Privacy
For me, great rappers are about vocal tone. Think of Rakin, Chuck D, etc. It is the timbre of their voices that give it that power. Cardi has that voice for me, it sounds about as real as you can get. Couple that with the insane shit she says, and I can see how even Entertainment Weekly picked this as top of the year.
Upper Wilds / Guitar Module 2017
Ah yes a guitar-based record to keep things grounded. Except, Upper Wilds record everything peaked out to the max. It makes for a radical sound, that keeps surprising me at every listen.
Meg Baird & Mary Lattimore / Ghost Forests
Delicate and strong at the same time. Sometimes twee, sometimes lush, I’m not even sure I hear the English language in there sometimes. Only 6 songs, but feels like much, much more.
John Prine / The Tree of Forgiveness
This man is a national treasure. Looks like he sounds. Some amazingly simple songs, with covert slices of pure truth inserted. The title cut may be his best yet as he looks forwarding to smoking a “nine-mile cigarette” in heaven…
Sleep / The Sciences
Space, volume and weed are the main components here. Pike and company certainly don’t overthink anything here, and that’s why it sounds so perfect. I listened to this every morning at work really loud for about 3 weeks, and feel like a better human for it…
Eleanor Friedberger / Rebound
Way subtle and all keyboards, this slow-burner slowing wormed its way into my heart, and stayed put for most of the year.
Iceage / Beyondless
Never what you think they’re gonna be, but always surpassing expectations. It growls but not via pure distortion. Horns, piano, etc flesh out this dizzying and intoxicating slab of aural excitement. The risks keep paying off for these guys…