Monthly Archives: December 2018

2018 Albums: ‘…And the Same Thing Goes for Christmas!’

So, in past years I’ve carefully gone over potential top-album selections, relistening to them, trying to figure which ones ranked in which tier, etc…. This year, I realized…you know, all such tierings end up changing three months later anyway, so if I haven’t listened to some record enough to really get a read on it, well, that’s just the way it is.

So I just went with my first impressions.

I made a playlist representing the top 30 such albums…and again, I made things easier on myself: when no one song leapt out at me as the best choice, I chose either the album’s opening track or its most-played track on Spotify.

Here’s the (unranked, ordered instead by musical flow) songpile for those 30 albums:

part one:

  1. Paul Smith “Hollywood Hills” Diagrams (0:00)
  2. The Dodos “Forum” Certainty Waves (3:43)
  3. Preoccupations “Espionage” New Material (7:10)
  4. Jorge Elbrecht feat. Tamaryn “Here Lies” Here Lies (11:34)
  5. The Joy Formidable “Y Bluen Eira” Aaaarth (15:48)
  6. Kristin Hersh “LAX” Possible Dust Clouds (18:50)
  7. The Black Watch “Dances for Sad Footsteps Slow” Witches! (22:34)
  8. Superchunk “What a Time to Be Alive” What a Time to Be Alive (30:26)
  9. Guided by Voices “Ark Technician” Space Gun (34:11)
  10. The Spires “Stereo Images” Obscured View (36:27)
  11. Amy Rigby “Playing Pittsburgh” The Old Guys (39:09)
  12. Richard Thompson “The Storm Won’t Come” 13 Rivers (42:44)
  13. Jonathan Wilson “Trafalgar Square” Rare Birds (48:44)
  14. Elvis Costello & the Imposters “Mr. & Mrs. Hush” Look Now (55:06)
  15. Courtney Barnett “Crippling Self Doubt and a General Lack of Self Confidence” Tell Me How You Really Feel (58:50)

part two:

  1. Thom Yorke “Suspirium” Suspiria: Music for the Luca Guadagnino Film (0:00)
  2. Mitski “Geyser” Be the Cowboy (3:19)
  3. Lucy Dacus “Night Shift” Historian (5:39)
  4. The Rock*a*Teens “Billy Really” Sixth House (12:08)
  5. Suuns “Watch You, Watch Me” Felt (17:01)
  6. Miss Rayon “Red Plum” Eclipse (22:54)
  7. Mike Viola “King Kong Hand” The American Egypt (28:21)
  8. Father John Misty “Hangout at the Gallows” God’s Favorite Customer (33:39)
  9. Dirty Projectors “That’s a Lifestyle” Lamp Lit Prose (38:34)
  10. Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks “Solid Silk” Sparkle Hard (42:56)
  11. Wye Oak “It Was Not Natural” The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs (47:29)
  12. Yo La Tengo “You Are Here” There’s a Riot Going On (51:29)
  13. Lake Ruth “VV” Birds of America (57:05)
  14. Speedy Ortiz “Lucky 88” Twerp Verse (1:01:20)
  15. Neko Case “Last Lion of Albion” Hell-On (1:04:27)

The next tier of albums (sorry no playlist…):

  • The Breeders All Nerve
  • Hop Along Bark Your Head Off, Dog
  • Gretchen’s Wheel Black Box Theory
  • Melody’s Echo Chamber Bon Voyage
  • Peter Holsapple Game Day
  • Gwenno Le Kov (probably the only record on this list sung entirely in Cornish…)
  • Caroline Says No Fool Like an Old Fool
  • Field Music Open Here
  • The Goon Sax We’re Not Talking

Another batch of still really good records (many of which might score higher if I redid this list in a month):

  • Franz Ferdinand Always Ascending
  • Menace Beach Black Rainbow Sound
  • Johnny Marr Call the Comet
  • The Moles Code Word
  • Crystales Crystales
  • Low Double Negative
  • Paul McCartney Egypt Station
  • Albert Hammond Jr. Francis Trouble
  • The Beths Future Me Hates Me
  • The Decemberists I’ll Be Your Girl
  • Interpol Marauder
  • Anton Barbeau Natural Causes
  • Necessary Animals Necessary Animals
  • Momus Pantaloon
  • Unknown Mortal Orchestra Sex & Food
  • The Chills Snow Bound
  • The Orange Peels Trespassing
  • Of Montreal White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood
  • Sam Phillips World on Sticks

Some fine EPs/singles (which I rank separately):

  • Andy Partridge Apples & Oranges
  • Boygenius Boygenius
  • Wussy Getting Better
  • New Boss No Breeze
  • The Black Watch Paper Boats
  • The Spires To Complicate Matters

Stuff that arrived too late for me to really have an opinion on:

Gold Connections Popular Fiction; They Might Be Giants My Murdered Remains; The Monkees Christmas Party; Cary Grace Covers Volume 1.

Even looking at the remaining 2018 titles I acquired, I see a few that might end up making a stronger impression…along with a few disappointments. There were also some fun reissues, compilations, live albums…the ongoing Residents reissues, the first three Wire albums, the Posies’ Geffen albums, and of course another in the ongoing series of David Bowie box sets…







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Answers Are a Prison for Oneself (covers mix 2, 2018)

Twenty-five of the more interesting covers that came my way during the second half of 2018. Some of them are new, some of them are elderly but had not yet introduced themselves to me until this year.

As usual, the links are to the giant, carefully segued songfiles, much preferred over Sporkifying it track by track…

Here, the listing o’ the tracks:

part one:

  1. Andy Partridge “Humanoid Boogie” (‘Apples & Oranges’ double single, 2018—Bonzo Dog Band cover) (0:00)
  2. Plainfield “I Feel Love” (demo, 2018—Donna Summer/Giorgio Moroder cover) (3:57)
  3. Joaquín Pardinilla “The Inner Light” (Homenaje 50 Aniversario: The Beatles, 2010—Beatles cover) (9:52)
  4. Morrissey “Back on the Chain Gang” (single, 2018—The Pretenders cover) (14:40)
  5. Love Spit Love “How Soon Is Now” (The Craft: Music from the Motion Picture, 1996—The Smiths cover) (18:29)
  6. Esperanza Spalding “If You Can See Me” (Spotify Singles, 2018—David Bowie cover) (22:50)
  7. Jonathan Wilson “La Isla Bonita” (Through the Wilderness: A Tribute to Madonna, 2007—Madonna cover) (25:34)
  8. Beth Orton, with the Chemical Brothers “I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain” (single, 2018: recorded late ’90s and unreleased—Tim Buckley cover) (30:09)
  9. Wussy “Ceremony” (single, 2018—New Order cover) (33:41)
  10. Fight Amp “Too Much Paranoias” (split single with Black Tusk, 2012—Devo cover) (37:55)
  11. The Meatmen “My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama” (Dr. Demento Covered in Punk, 2018—Frank Zappa cover) (39:45)
  12. The Mountain Goats “Bridge of Sighs” (Aquarium Drunkard Lagniappe Session, 2018—Robin Trower cover) (43:18)
  13. Father John Misty “Everything Is Free” (Spotify Singles, 2018—Gillian Welch cover) (47:04)

part two:

  1. They Might Be Giants “Starry Eyes” (‘Dial-a-Song’ series, 2015; reissued on My Murdered Remains, 2018—The Records cover) (0:00)
  2. Velvet Chain “Sour Times” (Warm, 1997—Portishead cover) (3:23)
  3. The Hot Rats “Bike” (Turn Ons, 2010—Pink Floyd cover) (6:02)
  4. Elvis Costello “Someone Else’s Heart” (single, 2018—Squeeze cover) (8:43)
  5. Nightmare and the Cat “Baby’s on Fire” (video for Keith magazine, filmed 2011—Brian Eno cover) (12:15)
  6. Superchunk “Total Eclipse” (‘Our Work Is Done’ single, 2018—Klaus Nomi cover) (17:08)
  7. Jorge Elbrecht “Almost” (single, 2017—Orchestral Manœuvres in the Dark cover) (20:06)
  8. Lena Hall “Exit Music (For a Film)” (Obsessed, 2018—Radiohead cover) (23:43)
  9. The Band Geeks with Tom Brislin “South Side of the Sky” (YouTube video, 2017—Yes cover) (27:54)
  10. Kiah Victoria and Postmodern Jukebox “Such Great Heights” (YouTube video, 2015—The Postal Service cover) (36:22)
  11. Slings & Arrows “The Model” (Marry the Disparate Parts, 2018—Kraftwerk cover) (40:18)
  12. Johnny Cash “No Expectations” (Gone Girl, 1978—The Rolling Stones cover) (43:40)

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Plant Ice, Harvest Wind (2018 Winter Songpile)

Once again it’s time for a collection of most-liked songs that have come my way in the last few months… This one’s called Plant Ice, Harvest Wind:

part one:

  1. The Caribbean “The Seventeenth Century” (single, 2018) (0:00)
  2. Brian Eno with Kevin Shields “The Weight of History” (single, 2018) (4:03)
  3. Rachel Eckroth “Strangest Dream” (When It Falls, 2018)(12:35)
  4. Courtney Barnett “Charity” (Spotify Singles, 2018) (19:16)
  5. Viv Albertine “Confessions of a MILF” (The Vermilion Border, 2012) (23:14)
  6. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever “Talking Straight” (Hope Downs, 2018) (28:43)
  7. Jess Ribeiro “Love Is the Score of Nothing” (single, 2018) (32:23)
  8. Crepes “As You Go” (In Cahoots, 2018) (36:05)
  9. Le SuperHomard “Dry Salt in Our Hair” (Maple Key, 2016) (40:05)
  10. Alex Lilly “Pornographic Mind” (2% Milk, 2018) (42:59)
  11. Royal Canoe “Peep This” (Waver, 2018) (46:30)
  12. Lost Cousins “Stay” (single, 2018) (50:45)
  13. Fawns of Love “Mournful Eyes” (single, 2019) (53:58)

part two:

  1. Dollshot “Swan Gone” (single, 2018) (0:00)
  2. Boygenius “Salt in the Wound” (Boygenius, 2018) (3:51)
  3. Swervedriver “Drone Lover” (single, 2018) (7:59)
  4. Tears for Fears “Call Me Mellow” (Everybody Loves a Happy Ending, 2004) (12:14)
  5. The Wheel Workers “Desire” (Post Truth, 2018) (15:48)
  6. Hen Ogledd “Problem Child” (single, 2018) (20:18)
  7. Illiterate Light “Growin’ Down” (single, 2018) (25:25)
  8. Karla Kane “Goodguy Sun” (single, 2018) (29:36)
  9. Ian Sweet “Question It” (Crush Crusher, 2018) (33:42)
  10. Magic Potion “Shock Proof” (Endless Graffiti, 2018) (37:39)
  11. The Wild Swans “English Electric Lightning” (The Coldest Winter for a Hundred Years, 2011) (40:46)
  12. Amy Rigby “Tom Petty Karaoke” (single, 2018) (46:37)

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