Last year, new releases made up 7 percent of my music purchases. This year, that number ticks up to … 8 percent. For a while there, I didn’t know if I would find enough titles to make a Favorite 10, but I did.
- Parquet Courts, Wide Awake!: When you visit multiple record stores and ask what is playing, you probably ought to buy that album if the answer is the same at each store.
- Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer: I also liked the Emotion Picture that accompanied the release of this album.
- Christine and the Queens, Chris: Those dance moves!
- Various Artists, Adam to Eve no Ringo: I didn’t realize the cover of “Sid to Hakuchuumu” was by MIKA, the singer “discovered” by Perez Hilton. MIKA’s circumspection about his sexuality drew a lot of attention and some controversy. I checked out his music as a result of the brouhaha and found little that was remarkable. That said, he nails the French interpretation of this very Ringo track.
- Steve Grand, Not the End of Me: I don’t know if it’s intentional, but I hear a bit of Matt Alber’s swoon on some of the quieter moments on this album.
- Kronos Quartet and Laurie Anderson, Landfall: Take all the swagger and posturing out of hip-hop, and it would probably sound a lot like Laurie Anderson.
- Seattle Symphony with Roomful of Teeth, Berio: Sinfonia: This piece was awesome to hear live.
- Nico Muhly & Thomas Bartlett, Peter Pears: Ceremonial Balinese Music: Oddly enough, I found a recording of Colin McPhee performing his gamelan transcriptions with Benjamin Britten, and I kind of wish Muhly and Bartlett had also done the unpublished scores.
- Yore, EP1: Recent press seems to obscure the fact Yore released music under his own name, so we’ll stick with that preference and just mention this EP finds him moving in a direction more akin to Cocteau Twins or even Utada Hikaru.
- Utada Hikaru, Hatsukoi:Her sound has gotten darker since her comeback.
Other favorites from the year:
- John Coltrane, Both Directions at Once
- Leo Imai, VLP
- Mikami Chisako, I AM Ready!
- Craig Armstrong, Sun on You
- Tracey Thorn, Record
- Renee Fleming, Broadway
- Igor Stravisnky, Chant Funebre / Le Sacre du Printemps
- Eponymous 4, Travis
OK, I’m being a bit cheeky including my own album, Travis, on this list. I finished recording it in 2016, so I’d been sitting on it for more than a year. In all that time, I’ve not gotten sick of hearing it day in and day out, and when I compare it with other albums I’ve recorded, it sounds like a proper, professional work.
So yeah, I think my album is one of the best to be released in 2018. You can check it out at the Eponymous 4 Bandcamp store.
Tags: christine and the queens, craig armstrong, eponymous 4, favorite edition, igor stravinsky, janelle monae, john coltrane, kronos quartet, laurie anderson, leo imai, mikami chisako, nico muhly, parquet courts, renee fleming, roomful of teeth, seattle symphony, shiina ringo, steve grand, thomas bartlett, tracey thorn, utada hikaru, various artists, yore