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.