Albums // 2018

Here are my favorite records of the past 12 or so crazy, messed-up, not very good months here in the good ol' USA.  From the Top 10, Tirzah has been a slow-burner over the past few weeks and with more time might've found itself higher on this list. Parquet Courts is one of the best indie-rock bands of the decade and Wide Awake! is right there with their best albums. Daytona is just dizzying and has a few of my favorite songs of the year. Like Tirzah, Flasher was a grower as the year went along., and like Daytona, Snail Mail's Lush has some of the best singles of the year - nothing consistently moved me as much as the chorus of "Full Control".  

My first listen to Amen Dunes soundtracked a drunken 2-mile stumble from the train to my front door some time last spring and was one of the most transcendent first listens I've ever had. I love that Low, a band I've known and followed forever, completely inverted themselves after 25 years and dropped an album that somehow tops Things We Lost In The Fire. Ordinary Corrupt Human Love is a huge leap for Deafheaven - still devastatingly heavy as fuck but so, so beautiful.  And Iceage just keeps getting better as they draw from a larger and larger palette.  But for me the most surprising, interesting, and un-categorizable record of the year was Cocoa Sugar by Young Fathers.  Their disparate mix of hip-hop, soul, dub, experimental, club, and rock music somehow gels into a stunningly perfect pop album.       

1.  Young Fathers / Cocoa Sugar
2.  Iceage / Beyondless
3.  Deafheaven / Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
4.  Low / Double Negative
5.  Amen Dunes / Freedom
6.  Snail Mail / Lush
7.  Flasher / Constant Image
8.  Pusha T / Daytona
9.  Parquet Courts / Wide Awake!
10.  Tirzah / Devotion

11.  Beach House / 7
12.  Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever / Hope Downs
13.  Mitski / Be the Cowboy
14.  Spiritualized / … And Nothing Hurt
15.  Jeff Tweedy / WARM
16.  Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus / boygenius EP
17.  Earl Sweatshirt / Some Rap Songs
18.  Big Red Machine
19.  Father John Misty / God’s Favourite Customer
20.  John Prine / The Tree of Forgiveness

2017 // Albums

1.     WaxahatcheeOut in the Storm
2.     The War On DrugsA Deeper Understanding
3.     Bed Wettin’ Bad BoysRot
4.     Big ThiefCapacity
5.     The NationalSleep Well Beast
6.     King KruleThe OOZ
7.     Kendrick LamarDAMN.
8.     The New PornographersWhiteout Conditions
9.     Craig FinnWe All Want the Same Things
10.   Allison CrutchfieldTourist in this Town

11.    Fleet FoxesCrack-Up
12.    Iron & WineBeast Epic
13.    Alvvays - Antisocialites
14.    Kelly Lee Owens – s/t
15.    Destroyerken
16.    Sandy (Alex G) - Rocket
17.    ProtomartyrRelatives in Descent
18.    HaterYou Tried
19.    SpoonHot Thoughts
20.    The Rural Alberta AdvantageThe Wild

Favorite Albums of 2015 / 2016

2015 - Albums

1.  Waxahatchee // Ivy Tripp

After that awesome album the rest are in no particular order: 

The Tallest Man on Earth // Dark Bird  is Home
Sufjan Stevens // Carrie & Lowell
Viet Cong // s/t
Thee Oh Sees //  Mutilator Defeated at Last
Courtney Barnett // Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit
Father John Misty // I Love You, Honeybear
Protomartyr // The Agent Intellect
Roadside Graves // Acne/Ears
Salad Boys // Metalmania

2016 - Albums

1.  Pinegrove  //  Cardinal
2.  Angel Olsen  //  My Woman
3.  Car Seat Headrest  //  Teens of Denial
4.  Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam  //  I Had A Dream That You Were Mine
5.  Hallelujah the Hills  //  A Band Is Something to Figure Out
6.  Mitski  //  Puberty 2
7.  Bon Iver  //  22, A Million
8.  Cymbals Eat Guitars  //  Pretty Years
9.  Dinosaur Jr.  //  Give A Glimpse of What Yer Not
10.  Parquet Courts  //  Human Performance

2016 - Songs

1.  Pinegrove - "Old Friends"
2.  Bon Iver - "29 #Stratford APTS"
3.  Dinosaur Jr. - "Knocked Around"
4.  Car Seat Headrest - "Unforgiving Girl (She's Not An)"
5.  Cymbals Eat Guitars - "Finally"
6.  Hallelujah the Hills - "I'm In the Phone Book, I'm On the Planet, I'm Dying Slowly"
7.  Lambchop - "In Care of 8675309"
8.  Angel Olsen - "Not Gonna Kill You"
9.  Mitski - "I Bet On Losing Dogs"
10.  The Avalanches - "Because I'm Me"
11.  Radiohead - "True Love Waits"
12.  Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam - "1000 Times"

2014 // Favorite Records

It’s become way too hard (and not as fulfilling) to try to maintain Pop Headwound as I get older. Music is still there, and it still echoes around my car and my headphones and my living room and it is still affecting me in the same ways it always has. In some ways it affects me even more (there’s nothing like hearing your 3 year old try to sing along to Spoon songs). These are the records released in 2014 that are resonating with me most right now.

1- Hallelujah the Hills // Have You Ever Done Something Evil?
2- The War on Drugs // Lost in the Dream
3- Protomartyr // Under Color of Official Right
4- Spoon // They Want My Soul
5- Parquet Courts // Sunbathing Animal
6- The Hotelier // Home, Like Noplace Is There
7- Sun Kil Moon // Benji
8- Angel Olson // Burn Your Fire for No Witness
9- Future Islands // Singles
10- The Men // Tomorrow’s Hits

11- Ought // More Than Any Other Day
12- Cymbals Eat Guitars // LOSE
13- Alvvays // Alvvays
14- Great Elk // Star Stuff
15- Hamilton Leithauser // Black Hours
16- Spider Bags // Frozen Letter
17- Ty Segall // Manipulator
18- Cloud Nothings // Here and Nowhere Else
19- Bry Webb // Free Will
20- James Vincent McMorrow // Post Tropical

Phosphorescent - "Ya Hey" (Vampire Weekend cover)

Another Phosphorescent cover, this time a stunning version of VW's Modern Vampires of the City standout. This dude could sing a take-out menu and have it break yr heart.

Phosphorescent - "Tomorrow Is A Long Time" (Dylan cover)

Matthew Houck turns in a gorgeously true-to-the-original version of one of Dylan's greatest love songs. To appear on a freakin' Starbucks CD for cryin out loud. --------------------------------------------

The Men - "Pearly Gates"

The Men’s Tomorrow’s Hits will be released February 4th through Sacred Bones Records. It will be the band's 4th record in 4 years, and that doesn't even include their self-released 2010 debut (that I have never heard). Sounds like the boys have discovered saxophones here on "Pearly Gates", but the inclusion of horns does little to keep this one from sounding as if it's about to derail at any moment. --------------------------------

Protomartyr - "Scum, Rise"

Hey so I’ve been spinnin’ the holy hell out of No Passion All Technique, the 2013 record by Detroit garage/punk warriors Protomartyr, since hearing about it a few weeks back.  Hardly Art announced today that the band will soon follow it up with Under Cover of Official Right.  “Scum, Rise” is the typically heavy-hitting first glimpse.

Day Ravies

Day Ravies is a Sydney based band that mix equal parts otherworldly shoegaze with stirring indie-pop. Their debut Tussle is filled with great songs and the long lost art of loud guitars. Here’s the song “Double Act”, go to the band’s bandcamp to hear the rest. One of (the/last) year’s best records. Check it out:

Eat Skull III

Missed out on the super-damaged psyche of Eat Skull and completely regret it now. This is killer. ------------------------------------------------------------------------

ALBUMS of the YEAR - 2013

 In a year that was filled with a multitude of great releases from well-established veterans, my favorite record of the year, by a country mile, is a “best of” collection by Ginnels – the work of a previously unsigned Dublin-based songwriter named Mark Chester.  Ginnels have released a string of worthy albums over the past few years, and Spanish label Tenorio Cotobade collected 14 killer tracks from those and released them as Plumes.  The breezy jangle and unforgettable melodies make it the year’s catchiest record, but the fuzzed-out frayed edges make it relentlessly replayable.  Obviously, I can’t recommend it highly enough. 
Elsewhere:  Justin Vernon has tricks up his sleeve, this time with his terrific Volcano Choir side project.  Reflektor might have been a tad over-praised when it dropped but it’s tremendous nonetheless.  Trouble Will Find Me found The National turning off autopilot (High Violet was kind of a drag, IMO) and churning out some of their best songs since Boxer.  New Moon might not be as loud as previous records from The Men, but it’s every bit as raw and exciting.  And holy crap you guys, Burial just continues to fucking dazzle.
Also, lots of old faves returned to form this year:  Phosphorescent came back with their best since 2007’s Pride, Califone since 2006’s Roots & Crowns, Yo La Tengo since 2000’s And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out, and My Bloody Valentine with their best since 1980-whatever’s Isn’t Anything.  That last one was a joke.  Best ever records from Vampire Weekend, Jason Isbell, and Iceage.  And lots of strong records from bands just getting onto my radar too like Deafheaven, Hiss Golden Messenger, Wooden Shjips, and Majical Cloudz.  2013, you were solid.
1.  Ginnels - Plumes
2.  Volcano Choir - Repave
3.  Phosphorescent - Muchacho
4.  Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City
5.  Deafheaven - Sunbather
6.  Day Ravies - Tussle
7.  Frog Eyes - Carey’s Cold Spring
8.  Iceage - You’re Nothing
9.  Majical Cloudz - Impersonator
10.  Califone - Stitches

11.  Yo La Tengo - Fade
12.  The Men - New Moon
13.  Jason Isbell - Southeastern
14.  Eat Skull - III
15.  Hiss Golden Messenger - Haw
16.  Hookworms – Pearl Mystic
17.  Protomartyr - All Talent No Passion
18.  The Stevens – A History of Hygeine
19.  Burial - Rival Dealer EP
20.  My Bloody Valentine - mbv

21.  Arcade Fire - Reflektor
22.  Connections - Private Airplane
23.  The National - Trouble Will Find Me
24.  Wooden Shjips - Back to Land
25.  Kurt Vile - Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze

SONGS of the YEAR - 2013

1.       Volcano Choir – “Byegone”
2.       Ginnels – “Bateau”
3.       Phosphorescent – “Song for Zula”
4.       The National – “Graceless”
5.       Vampire Weekend – “Step”
6.       Deafheaven – “Dream House”
7.       Autre Ne Veut – “Play by Play”
8.       Youth Lagoon – “Mute”
9.       Beyonce – “XO”
10.     Iceage – “Morals”
11.       Califone – “Movie Music Kills A Kiss”
12.       Yo La Tengo – “Ohm”
13.       Jason Isbell – “Relatively Easy”
14.       Arcade Fire – “Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)”
15.       Hiss Golden Messenger - “What Shall Be (Shall Be Enough)”
16.       Courtney Barnett – “Avant Gardner” 
17.       Earl Sweatshirt – “Chum”
18.       Burial – “Come Down To Us”
19.        Blood Orange – “Time Will Tell”
20.       The Men – “Electric”

21.       Night Beds – “Ramona”
22.       Haim – “The Wire”
23.       California X – “Lemmy’s World”
24.       Deerhunter – “Pensacola”
25.       Kanye West – “New Slaves”
26.       Caitlin Rose – “Only A Clown”
27.       Connections – “On Your Mind”
28.       Mariah Carey/Miguel – “#Beautiful”
29.       Mikal Cronin – “Weight”
30.       Kurt Vile – “Girl Called Alex”
31.       Frog Eyes – “Seven Daughters”
32.       Camera Obscura – “Do It Again”
33.       Chvrches – “Recover”
34.       Rhye – “Open”
35.       My Bloody Valentine – “Who Sees You”
36.       Okkervil River – “White”
37.       Feather Beds – “Airbrushed”
38.       Wooden Shjips – “Back to Land”
39.       Mutual Benefit – “Advanced Falconry”
40.       Gregory Alan Isakov – “St. Valentine”
41.       Neko Case – “City Swans”
42.       No Age – “I Won’t Be Your Generator”
43.       Frightened Rabbit – “Acts of Man”
44.       The Strokes – “Tap Out”
45.       Free Time – “Nothin’ But Nice”
46.       Tim Hecker – “Amps, Drugs, Harmonium”
47.       Theo Verney – “Dead N’ Bones”
48.       The Mantles – Don’t Cross Town”
49.       Scot Drakula – “Ain’t Scared”
50.       Camperdown & Out – “Down and Out”