Best Music of 2018

Once again it’s time to list my favourite 10 albums from the past year. I’m keeping it short and sweet this year. Find the full list below.

My brother, Justin, and I also spun some of our favourite 2018 tracks on CKUW 95.9 FM last week. If you missed it, you can download or stream our two-hour Dec. 24 show here.

1. Phosphorescent, C’est La Vie

cestlavie

Wry, wise, world-weary, and immaculately recorded. Dylan’s Time Out of Mind reimagined for a new generation.

2. Father John Misty, God’s Favorite Customer

God_s Favorite Customer

After dissecting 21st century life from his lifeguard chair in the sky, the Reverend climbs down and turns the spotlight on his own failings, to devastating effect.

3. Neko Case, Hell-On

Hell-On

Shot through with her trademark indefatigable spirit, one of rock’s best vocalists makes art out of the trauma of losing her home to fire.

4. Jeff Tweedy, Warm

jeff tweedy_warm

Gen X’s most seasoned songwriter lays aside the oblique poetic style he’s employed since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot to look back, clear-eyed, on lives lived, lessons learned, and loved ones lost. Pair with his new memoir for maximum effect.

5. Eric Bachmann, No Recover

No recover

An indie rock stalwart continues his severely underrated solo career with a batch of finely-picked, and finely rendered, acoustic songs about cutting your losses to find hope amid struggle.

6. Wye Oak, The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs

Wye Oak_ The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs

A haunting, wistful quality imbues the power duo’s latest outing, which see them emerge from an experimental last few years with renewed focus and vigor.

7. First Aid Kit, Ruins

First Aid Kit_Ruins

Unrelenting heartbreak and unceasingly beautiful harmonies fully realized by a terrific group of studio musicians, including Wilco’s Glenn Kotche and Peter Buck of R.E.M., and perfectly arranged by producer Tucker Martine.

8. Yo La Tengo, There’s a Riot Going On

There's A Riot Going On

Three indie rock gods, who also happen to be lifelong friends, deliver the ultimate Sunday afternoon album.

9. Anna St. Louis, If Only There Was a River

river

Womankind’s answer to Kevin Morby. St. Louis’s verdant folk delivers one of the year’s strongest debuts.

10. Foxwarren, Foxwarren

foxwarren_st

Four friends team up to produce a loose, key-drenched collection of songs to showcase another side of Canadian supertalent Andy Shauf.

Honourable Mentions

Mutual Benefit, Thunder Follows the Light

mutual benefit_thunder follows the light

Sparkling, shimmering, layered chamber folk to tide you over until Sufjan’s next album.

Dan Mangan, More or Less

moreorlesscover

Unusual production and a new backing band imbue this earnest singer-songwriter’s latest songs with a delicate, off-kilter quality.

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