Top 60 Albums of the Year 2018 – Part Two 45-31

Part one
Part three
Part four

This is the second chapter of this megalong year-end list. To be continued tomorrow and I will then link them together for easier browsing.

45. Marie/Lepanto – Tenkiller (Big Legal Mess)

This Marie/Lepanto album came out very early in the year, but managed to keep its charm throughout 2018. It’s a collaboration project between two of my heroes. Will Johnson (Centro-Matic, South San Gabriel, solo etc) and Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster (Water Liars). I’m not sure was this just a one-off side project, but the quality is first-class.

44. Joel Henry Little – Spuyten Duyvil (Life is a Minestrone)

And then something completely different. Spuyten Duyvil is the debut album from NY-based songwriter Joel Henry Little. He operates somewhere between classic pop compositions and broadway musicals and delivers some breathtaking songs at such a young age. This song Arms Akimbo in particular is phenomenal.

43. Robbie Fulks & Linda Gail Lewis – Wild! Wild! Wild! (Bloodshot Records)

Next up is another collaboration. This one is between the folk/bluegrass wizard Robbie Fulks and rock’n’roll queen Linda Gail Lewis. Wild! Wild! Wild is a glorious rock’n’roll meets country extravaganza and listening to is a whole lot fun. Ok, judging by the lyrics, maybe it shouldn’t always be as fun as it is to me. Hardluck Louisiana by Linda Gail Lewis and I Just Lived a Country Song by Robbie Fulks are both among my favourite songs of the year.

42. Adam Remnant – Sourwood (Anyway Records)

The former Southeast Engine frontman Adam Remnant released a gorgeous EP a few years back and now followed with a debut solo album. Sourwood feels very relatable for anyone who has stepped into the adulthood realities and while still being fairly content and appreciative about it all, also has the longing to pursue additional dreams as long as they don’t break that core that matters the most. It’s a true and honest reflection that comes in a shape of a beautiful folk/rock album.

41. Kristina Murray – Southern Ambrosia (Loud Magnolia)

Nashville-based country/americana songwriter Kristina Murray was one of the new finds of the year for me, because somehow I’ve managed to miss her music before. Thankfully I finally did find her music, because Southern Ambrosia is a gorgeous album. I dig both the catchy countrified rock’n’roll songs and the beautiful ballads.

40. JP Harris – Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing (Free Dirt Records)

Next up is long time favourite JP Harris from, not so surprisingly, Nashville Tennessee. Carpenter by day, honky tonk hero by night. Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing is a damn fine album. Sometimes very moving, sometimes a whole lot of fun and all the time really awesome.

39. Adeline Hotel – Away Together (Ruination Record Co)

Dan Knishkowy (and friends) from New York release music under the name Adeline Hotel. It’s been fun following Adeline Hotel over the years and seeing them getting better and better with each release. That will get difficult from now on, because this reached a really high level on this 2018 album Away Together. It’s lyrically strong and sounds so warm and charming. What a beautiful album.

38. Adrianne Lenker – abysskiss (Saddle Creek)

I think I actually love this solo album from Adrianne Lenker more than the Big Thief albums. Which is a lot said, but there’s something here that really hits me to the core. It’s both vulnerable and powerful. Especially that trio blue and red horses, abyss kiss and what can you say close to the end really floors me.

37. Buffalo Gospel – On the First Bell

Moving to Milwaukee, because Ryan Necci’s magnificent country band Buffalo Gospel dropped a long-waited new album On The First Bell. It doesn’t have anything as great as the single/ep Waiting For The Lights To Go Out, but I can’t blame them for that. After all, it’s probably one of my favourite songs of this current decade. So it’s kind of difficult to live up to that. And yeah, I love this new album too and the band is amazing and criminally unknown. At least, in this corner of the world. Whole catalogue is pure gold. Get on it.

36. Anna St. Louis – If Only There Was a River (Mare/Woodsist)

For the next selection, it’s time to travel to Los Angeles. Anna St. Louis released his proper debut album If Only There Was a River and it’s an exceptional collection of songs. Definitely something rather unique and inspiring in her music.

35. Mitski – Be The Cowboy (Dead Oceans)

This is probably a little unexpected off the chart pick for me. It’s definitely a bit out of my comfort zone, but there’s just no way anyone could deny the greatness of this Mitski album. Definitely deserves all possible hype and I’ve loved seeing it ruling the year-end lists. The whole thing is awesome and then the ending song Two Slow Dancers really does that push us down the stairs routine that I read on some legendary tweet around the time of the release.

34. Sloan – 12 (Yep Roc)

There aren’t many pop records on this list, or melodic rock records or whatever, but hey a site with this name has to include a new Sloan album. Not that I have to do it out of courtesy (and I even wouldn’t do it because of that). These all-time greats are still in wonderful form and 12 is the 12th excellent Sloan album.

33. Amanda Shires – To The Sunset (Silver Knife Records)

Next up is the wonderful new Amanda Shires album To The Sunset. Kinda difficult to chain this to any specific genre, but in the end that’s rather pointless anyway and this would bust right through them if I tried it. So let’s just celebrate this wonderful album. Why isn’t this any higher on the list though? Beats me.

32. Caleb Caudle – Crushed Coins (Cornelius Chapel Records)

It looks like this latest Caleb Caudle album Crushed Coins has been temporarily taken away at least from the Finnish Spotify. Which might mean that there is a Europe release coming in 2019 to go with his tour here or something. Nevertheless, I have the backer download so I will definitely include this on the list. Caleb Caudle is a magnificent americana songwriter from North Carolina and this again a really beautiful record from him. Shame that the Stockholm date seem to fall mid-week, so can’t even dream of going there to catch the concert.

31. Turner Cody – The Duke of Decline (Boy Scout Recordings)

One of my favorite songwriters and storytellers, Turner Cody from New York can close the second chapter in this way too long list. Maybe Turner still hasn’t written his masterwork where every song is a winner. But it don’t really matter as long as every album has a 5 or so fantastic songs. Such a special talent and another one that is way too unknown at least in this corner of the world.

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Top 60 Albums of the Year 2018 – Part One: 60-46

Part two
Part three
Part four

What a year it has been. I really struggled putting this list together, because there’s just so much great music. I get that you think picking 60 might be a little bit silly, but I feel like it could have been twice as long without any drop in quality. I had to leave out so many great albums and every cut broke my heart. Making of the weekly playlist sure changed my listening habits, because I tried to at least quickly listen all interesting albums every week to find songs for the list. That’s why I also fell for even more albums than during previous years. I will have even bigger struggles next year, if I keep it up for a full year. Now I started it in the summer. Let’s see if I manage to do it every week for a full year. At the moment, it still feels fun to do it every week, even though I’m not really sure does anyone actually listen to it (other than myself on my work commute).

That’s enough of pointless rambling and it’s time to get on with the list. It almost feels like I should make another pop list, because this will be pretty heavy on folk/americana/country. Again the order is pretty insignificant. It’s just 60 great albums that mattered to me during the year 2018. Music is life, not a competition.

Note: Twain’s masterwork Rare Feeling was my #3 last year, so it’s not included this year even though BB*Island released it in Europe during 2018.

Top 60 Albums of the Year 2018:

60. Scott Hirsch – Lost Time Behind the Moon (Scissor Tail Records)

We shall begin our year end journey with the absolute latest entry to the list. This Scott Hirsch album came out a week ago and therefore I haven’t spent a whole lot of time with it yet. Nevertheless, it’s already clear that it has to be on the list and could also be way up, if I had listened to it more. The numbering isn’t all that important, so I just drop this here on the last spot. Scott Hirsch is a former Hiss Golden Messenger member, but is nowadays making his own music. Add a little cosmic american groove to your life and introduce your heart to this album. I already love this song so much.

59. Mariel Buckley – Driving in the Dark

One of the new finds of the year was Canadian songwriter Mariel Buckley. Her album Driving in the Dark is full of beautiful country songs delivered with grit and honesty.

58. Jerry David DeCicca – Time The Teacher (Impossible Ark)

Jerry David DeCicca from Bulverde, TX delivered two really good albums this year. It’s pretty much a coin flip, which one makes the list. Tonight the light, gentle charm of Time the Teacher takes slight edge over its classic rock brother Burning Daylight. I fully recommend investigating both of these fine albums.

57. Jake Nicoll – Stone Arch

This album lives in a land unknown to everyday stress. Listening to it is almost meditative and resting on its shoulders is a perfect way to ease into the night. Jake Nicoll and Kira Sheppard created a really beautiful stripped-down album. Just two lovely voices with a guitar and a harp, but sometimes that’s everything I need.

56. Riley Pinkerton – Nothing Ever Is

Next up is Riley Pinkerton from New York and her captivating debut full-length Nothing Ever Is. Maybe some more consistently great albums didn’t make the cut, but there’s 4-5 songs on this album that I love madly and therefore this has to be on the list.

55. John Cathal O’Brien – These Borders

Staying in NY for the next selection. John Cathal O’Brien is Irish-born, but he currently lives in New York. His latest album These Borders is mesmerizing collection of haunting and melancholic folk songs.

54. Anna Burch – Quit the Curse (Polyvinyl)

Moving on to Detroit to meet up with Anna Burch and her magnificent debut album Quit the Curse. It reminds me a bit of Rose Melberg, The Softies and all that greatness. This is something that I maybe don’t listen to that much these days, but thankfully sometimes I still see the light.

53. T. Hardy Morris – Dude, The Obscure (New West Records)

Even though I liked it, I wasn’t a super fan of the previous T.Hardy Morris album. This new album Dude, The Obscure is right up my alley. I really dig the sort of hauntingly beautiful side of his music and there’s a lot of that here. So damn good.

52. The Other Years – The Other Years (No Quarter)

The Other Years are Anna Krippenstapel and Heather Summers from Louisville, Kentucky. Their self-titled debut album has beautiful lead vocals, surrounded by lovely harmonies and accompanied by fiddle, banjo and guitar. Old-timey vibe, brand new love. The song Talkeetna is incredible.

51. Nap Eyes – I’m Bad Now (Paradise of Bachelors / You’ve Changed Records)

Canadian Nap Eyes continues to write unique, literate and blissfully weird indie rock songs. Not always the catchiest and might need a few spins, but eventually these songs will find a home in your heart.

50. Aaron Lee Tasjan – Karma For Cheap (New West Records)

Aaron Lee Tasjan delivers again. This time he has written a damn enjoyable rock album. A bit of 70s, glam, psych and Petty and a whole lot of greatness.

49. Harrison Whitford – Afraid of Everything

Harrison Whitford has played a lot with Phoebe Bridgers, but he also quietly released a remarkable album called Afraid of Everything. I actually found him thanks to that guy above him, Aaron Lee Tasjan. The album is definitely sad and almost devastating, but it’s never an issue for me. My moderate happiness is built on devastatingly sad songs.

48. John R. Miller & The Engine Lights – The Trouble You Follow (Emperor)

Next one comes from West Virginia where John R. Miller & The Engine Lights gave birth to a beautiful country folk album The Trouble You Follow. Red Eyes is such a magnificent song. Well they all are.

47. I’m Kingfisher – Transit (Fading Trails)

The lone Nordic selection on this list comes from Swedish I’m Kingfisher. I caught a small part of his set at STHLM Americana and loved it so much that I knew I had to buy this album. The opening song What Good Would Loving Do Me Now? is one of the songs of the year. If you dig the Molina and Jurado songbooks for example, give this album a spin. Of course nobody is that good, but this guy is still pretty damn good.

46. Philippe Bronchtein – Me and the Moon

Closing the first chapter of this year end list is Philippe Bronchtein. If the name doesn’t bring a bell, he used to operate under the moniker Hip Hatchet. Philippe relocated from Portland to Nashville and self-released a beautiful new folk album Me and the Moon. The highlight of the new album for me is this beautiful title song about the road-weary life of a musician.

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Top 50 Finnish Songs of the Year 2018

If the ranking of albums is a bit silly, then this ranking of songs is absolutely ridiculous. So don’t pay much attention to the numbers side of this. It’s pretty random after the first 10-15 songs. This is just list of 50 great songs from 50 different Finnish artists. It’s a bit too long for a year end list too, because I wanted to make a playlist to go with it. This was actually just as important and to be honest the flow of the playlist had a little bit to do with the order here and there. So that’s one reason why the numbers are useless. Music is life, not a competition.

I’m sure there’s again some that I forgot (and of course lot that I haven’t even heard), because it’s difficult to find enough time push these list through while working the day job too. The real monster lists. International albums and songs still to come. That’s why I also kept my ramblings to a minimum. Not that those would be interesting anyway. There’s a Spotify below, if you are into that sort of thing.

Top 50 Finnish Songs of the Year 2018

50. Kadonnut Manner – Antroposeeni
49. Petäjä – Fading (Pinetree Music)
48. Sammal – Suuliekki (Svart Records)
47. Matti Jasu – The Money Pit (listen here)
46. Pienet Koirat – Lähehä (listen here)
45. Puunhalaaja – Vanha kettu (Soliti)
44. Pottonen Band – Juggling Eggs (NXVX)
43. Antti Autio – Kallio (Soit se silti)
42. Linkopii – Bedillä (Luova)
41. Pastis – Amazon (Stupido Records)
40. Merries – Starting Over (Royal Mint)
39. Kielo Kärkkäinen – Kuunnelkaa (Texicalli)
38. Havut – Muisteja (Lumpeela julkaisut)
37. Kiki Pau – Leaves (Beyond Beyond is Beyond)
36. Tams – Sori Sori Sori
35. The Handkerchiefs – The Law
34. Lähtevät Kaukojunat – Tyttö tuollainen (Airiston Punk-Levyt)
33. Mara Balls – Maailma Palaa (Stupido Records)
32. Jylhä Yrjö – Miksi me teimme sen (Iso Pinkki)
31. Joonas Holmen + The Lossy Codecs – Launching Down on Tracks (Fuu Recs)
30. Mahonies – Apology (Iso Pinkki)
29. Skip Zone – Nobody Cries
28. Rami Vierula – Pakko liikkua
27. Message Field – Substance (Soit se silti)
26. Klasu – Kultaakin kalliimpaa (Soit se silti)
25. Janne Tapion sisäinen avaruus – Harmaa kivi (Lumpeela julkaisut)
24. Hullu Ruusu – Kun heräät aamulla (Helmi Levyt)
23. Tomi Nordlund & Syvä joki – Olen täällä sinua varten (Soit se silti)
22. Karina – Bambi (Playground)
21. The New Tigers – In the Tall Grass (Soliti)
20. New Silver Girl – Alms (Soliti)
19. J. Karjalainen – Terve, Sirkka Lautamies (Warner)
18. Laura Moisio – Syyt (Texicalli)
17. Kynnet – Mitä muuta (Svart Records)
16. Litku Klemetti – Miksi en lähtisi kaupunkiin (Luova Records)
15. Too Slow – Flairs (Royal Mint)
14. Iron Country Sisters – Go Slow
13. Rosita Luu – Äiti (Helmi Levyt)
12. Vuoret – Mennään rannalle (Soit se silti)
11. Kuumat Siivet – Itke hänet pois (Rhythm Barrel Records)
10. Tuomas Palonen – Hämärä (Palatsi)
9. Jolly Jumpers – Morning Glory (Jukan musiikki)
8. Jukka Nousiainen – Suuret unelmat (Jukan musiikki)
7. Liljankukka – Liverpool L8 (Karhuvaltio Records)
6. Penniless – Dark Room (Soit se silti)
5. Mitä helvettiä nyt taas – Kohta kuollaan kaikki (Nature Sucks Anyway Records)
4. Pää Kii – Sä veit mun levyt kirpparille (Stupido Records)

3. Salaliitto – 29250 (Soit se silti)

If I ever end up on some kind of quiz show, I hope they ask Nakkila’s post code because I think I will remember that for as long as I live. This good kind of earworm 29250 is the first single from the next Salaliitto album. It’s not necessarily even the best new Salaliitto song that I’ve heard during their live concerts, but it’s still absolutely wonderful and insanely catchy. A glorious nostalgic anthem for the small town hearts. It certainly takes me back to the 80s and 90s and my 42700/42560 days.

2. Lac Belot – D ‘n’ A (Solina Records)

It’s pretty much a coin flip with these first two, but Lac Belot has to settle for the second place in this category. We can’t let him run away with all these imaginary awards. Still D ‘n’ A is a song worthy of all hearts. Enchantingly beautiful folk song with rich and thoughtful arrangements.

1. Topi Saha – Valo tulee alhaalta (Warner)

And the song of the year is Valo tulee alhaalta by Topi Saha. This song absolutely floored me on first listen. There are few lines here that capture my daily inner feelings so precisely that it is almost frightening. So there’s a bit of hurt there, but it’s the good kind of hurt. The way song can heal you by first ripping you into pieces and then rebuilding the blocks in a way that you feel more whole than before listening. Topi Saha sure knows how to write a powerful and moving end to his albums.

Playlist Link

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