My 40 favorite albums of 2018


My annual list of favorite recordings comes with the usual caveats—I haven’t heard everything, I haven’t listened to some recordings enough to get my head around them, decisions are arbitrary depending on the day, etc. This is the first time I’ve compiled the list for my own blog rather than the Chicago Reader, which is partly why the list isn’t annotated as in previous years—that shit takes up time, and I can’t afford to spend it right now. But I still wanted to get this out there (and outta my hair). Naturally, I’ve discovered some fantastic music since nailing down this list and I hope to write about it some of it soon, but for now—here we go.

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1. Tyshawn Sorey, Pillars (Firehouse 12)

2. Quatuor Bozzini, Cassandra Miller: Just So (Another Timbre)

3. Julia Holter, Aviary (Domino)

4. Christian Lillinger Grund, COR (Plaist)

5. JD Allen, Love Stone (Savant)

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6. Nathan Bowles, Plainly Mistaken (Paradise of Bachelors)

7. Yarn/Wire, Alex Mincek: Images of Duration (Northern Spy)

8. Sylvie Courvoisier Trio, D’Agala (Intakt)

9. Adam O’Farrill Strange Days, El Maquech (Biophilia)

10. Eiko Ishibashi, The Dream My Bones Dream (Drag City)

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11. Ryley Walker, Deafman Glance (Dead Oceans)

12. Orquesta Akokán, Orquesta Akokán (Daptone)

13. Andrew Cyrille, Lebroba (ECM)

14. Henry Threadgill 14 or 15 Kestra: Agg, Dirt.., and More Dirt (Pi)

15. Chris Corsano & Bill Orcutt, Brace Up! (Palilalia)

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16. Apartment House, Linda Catlin Smith: Wanderer (Another Timbre)

17. Josephine Foster, Faithful Fairy Harmony (Fire)

18. Thrainn Hjalmarsson, Influence of Buildings on Musical Tone (Carrier)

19. Jeff Tweedy, WARM (dBpm)

20. Sarah Davachi, Gave in Rest (Ba Da Bing)

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21. Myra Melford’s Snowy Egret, The Other Side of Air (Firehouse 12)

22. Stine Janvin, Fake Synthetic Music (PAN)

23. Ohmme, Parts (Joyful Noise)

24. Endangered Blood, Don’t Freak Out (Skirl)

25. Streifenjunko, Like Driving (Sofa)

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26. Mary Halvorson, The Maid With the Flaxen Hair (Tzadik)

27. Ondrej Adámek, Sinuous Voices (Aeon)

28. Ashley Monroe, Sparrow (Warner Bros. Nashville)

29. Kukuruz Quartet, Julius Eastman Piano Interpretations (Intakt)

30. Muddersten, Playmates (Sofa)

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31. Honest John with Ab Baars, Treem (Clean Feed)

32. John McCowen, Mudanas I-V (Edition Wandelweiser)

33. Rosalía, El Mal Querer (Sony)

34. Ambrose Akinmusire, Origami Harvest (Blue Note)

35. Hilde Marie Holsen, Lazuli (Hubro)

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36. James Brandon Lewis & Chad Taylor, Radiant Imprints (Off)

37. Fatoumata Diawara, Fenfo (Shanachie)

38. Ingrid Laubrock, Contemporary Chaos Practices—Two Works for Orchestra With Soloists (Intakt)

39. Matchess, Sacracorpa (Trouble in Mind)

40. Lisa O’Neill, Heard a Long Gone Song (River Lea)

Today’s playlist: 

David Binney, The Time Verses (Criss Cross)

Plastic Palace People, From the Host of Late-Comers (Streamline)

Sabine Liebner, Mauricio Kagel: Mimetics (Wergo)

Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan, Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan (Fantôme Phonographique)

Christoph Irniger Trio, Octopus (Intakt)

Peter Margasak