Rob Vera's Top 20 Albums of 2018

Dec 28, 2018

Turn of the Century host Rob Vera shares his 20 favorite albums of 2018:

20. Interpol - Marauder

The sound of a band loosening up a bit—with some really good results. Some style/genre diversity integrated to the reliable Interpol template here and it works.

19. Mr Twin Sister - Salt

Jazzy, sexy, cool electronic cotton candy for your headspace.

18. Khruangbin - Con Todo El Mundo

A soulful (and mostly instrumental) spiritual chillout album that doubles as a remedy for the effects of living in such a hot world.

17. Parquet Courts - Wide Awake!

There’s nothing quite like being bowled over by an album from a band you weren’t always convinced of—it feels like the musical equivalent of someone actually swaying your political opinion with an argument. Wide Awake! is full of the kind of swagger and adventure that changes minds.

16. Johnny Jewel - Digital Rain

Listen to the first track and the title is truly crystallized. A hypnotic and dreamy listen.

15. Harlan T. Bobo - A History of Violence

One of America’s most under the radar, under-heralded songwriters explores the emotional rollercoaster of post-divorce life—but manages to do so with music that never stops twisting and turning in intriguing directions. Bobo’s band is exceptional.

14. IDLES - Joy as an Act of Resistance.

The sound of counter-revolutionary catharsis in 2018–all done with an elite wit and ability.

13. Spider Bags - Someday Everything Will Be Fine

Triumphant, country-ish rock music about some of the least triumphant moments in life.

12. Iceage - Beyondless

A rock album with snarl and style in spades.

11. Ravyn Lenae - Crush (EP)

Five space-aged and addictive R&B jams by an artist full of creativity and confidence. Ravyn Lenae’s music oozes golden grooves.

10. Arctic Monkeys - Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

A divisive and endlessly fascinating departure for Arctic Monkeys. It is a high concept but ultimately enjoyable listen that is a quintessential “grower”. Come for the trademark Alex Turner lyrical wizardry. Stay for the unexpected instrumental jewels found around each corner.

9. Restorations - LP5000

As a friend who recommended this to me said, “This album goes hard.” It indeed goes hard, but in the way that makes you turn it up as an act of reverence. This is a purity of rock that soars and steamrolls through the ill winds we deal with every day. Seven songs and twenty-five minutes are all Restorations need to make you a believer.

8. Robyn - Honey

Robyn makes perfect pop albums that validate her quality over quantity approach to making music. Hooks and heart all over the place.

7. Jeff Rosenstock - POST-

Punk rock songs in slightly longer form with so many added layers—an album that’s clever, unafraid, ambitious and absolutely JAMS with the kind of depth that hits you squarely in the chest.

6. Beak> - >>>

If Portishead’s Third and The Budos Band had a beautiful baby, this would be it. Beak> is the brainchild of Portishead’s Geoff Barrow and you never escape the sense that the restless soul of his most notable band is lurking.

5. Wild Pink - Yolk in the Fur

Last use of the baby metaphor, I swear! Like a 90’s WB Network Soundtrack/The OC Soundtrack had a child with The War On Drugs. What great songs. What great sounds.

4. H.E.R. - I Used to Know Her: Part 2 (EP)

A stellar collection of hip hop gems by an acolyte of the Lauryn Hill school of stylistic and substantive ambition.

3. Amen Dunes - Freedom

The sound of taking a long, hard look at the past and acknowledging the ugly and uncomfortable parts to see what’s left and—just as importantly—how to move forward.

2. Nothing - Dance On the Blacktop

Would slide seamlessly into the very best of your late 90’s alternative rock albums. The sheer sound of this thing will generate nostalgia in many of you—but nostalgia isn’t its sole aim. Nothing uses this sound to such tremendous effect because the songs themselves are great. Hard not to admire a band that hasn’t relegated a great style of rock music to the dustbin because of some misguided notion that certain sounds must forever be trapped in a particular time capsule. More great guitar albums like Dance On the Blacktop, please.

1. Spiritualized - And Nothing Hurt

An album driven by imagination, innovation, and a desire to say goodbye in a meaningful and unforgettable way. This feels like Jason Pierce means it when he says this is the final Spiritualized record. But this collection of songs are tied together as one overarching piece of music meant to make you feel your soul being taken on a journey. A worthy, moving conclusion for one of the most unique and affecting artists of the TOTC era.