My Favorite Music of 2018

 

My Favorite Records of 2018:
Teardrop City – IT’S LATER THAN YOU THINK
Alejandro Escovedo w/ Don Antonio – THE CROSSING
Courtney Marie Andrews – MAY YOUR KINDNESS REMAIN
John Prine – THE TREE OF FORGIVENESS
Mount Eerie – NOW ONLY
Cat Power – WANDERER
Emma Ruth Rundle – ON DARK HORSES
Andrew Bryant – AIN’T IT LIKE THE COSMOS
Charles Bradley – BLACK VELVET
Courtney Barnett – TELL ME HOW YOU REALLY FEEL

Other records I really liked:
Erin Rae – PUTTING ON AIRS; Eric Bachmann – NO RECOVER; Phosphorescent – C’EST LA VIE; Damien Jurado – THE HORIZON JUST LAUGHED; Hop Along – BARK YOUR HEAD OFF, DOG; Lucy Dacus – HISTORIAN; Low – DOUBLE NEGATIVE; J Mascis – ELASTIC DAYS; Advance Base – ANIMAL COMPANIONSHIP; Soccer Mommy – CLEAN; Mitski – BE THE COWBOY; Kell Kellum – ADDING TO THE ASHES; Swamp Dogg – LOVE, LOSS, & AUTO-TUNE; Lonnie Holley – MITH; The Gunshy – UNDEFEATED; Neko Case – HELL-ON; Okkervil River – IN THE RAINBOW RAIN; Janelle Monáe – DIRTY COMPUTER; Haley Heynderickx – I NEED TO START A GARDEN; Rhett Miller – THE MESSENGER; H.C. McEntire – LIONHEART; The Rock*A*Teens – SIXTH HOUSE; Wussy – WHAT HEAVEN IS LIKE; Marie/Lepanto – TENKILLER; First Aid Kit – RUINS; Lindi Ortega – LIBERTY; The Great Dying – BLOODY NOSES & ROSES; Anne Freeman – DAYS GO BY; Molly Burch – FIRST FLOWER; Charles Lloyd & The Marvels + Lucinda Williams, VANISHED GARDENS; The Breeders, ALL NERVE; Ruby Boots – DON’T TALK ABOUT IT; Swearin’ – FALL INTO THE SUN; Marianne Faithfull – NEGATIVE CAPABILITY; Cody Rogers – MY HEART IS THE MOST LONESOME RODEO; Richard Swift – THE HEX; Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers – BOUGHT TO ROT; Jeff Tweedy – WARM; Nathan Salsburg – THIRD; Kamasi Washington – HEAVEN & EARTH; Elephant Micah – Genericana

Favorite EPs:
Tony Molina – KILL THE LIGHTS
boygenius – S/T
Waxahatchee – GREAT THUNDER
Grouper – GRID OF POINTS
Sera Cahoone – THE FLORA STRING SESSIONS
Liz Brasher – OUTCAST

Favorite Reissues/Live Albums, etc:
Bob Dylan – MORE BLOOD, MORE TRACKS
Songs: Ohia – LOVE & WORK: THE LIONESS SESSIONS
Various – BASEMENT BEEHIVE: THE GIRL GROUP UNDERGROUND
Various – BURIED COUNTRY
Various – ALL OF THIS GOES TOO/LOVE YOU SAVE/THE TRUTH IS A LIE: AMERICAN SOUL MUSIC 1955-1972
Neil Young – ROXY: TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT LIVE and SONGS FOR JUDY
James Booker – THE LOST PARAMOUNT TAPES
Prince – PIANO & A MICROPHONE
The Paranoid Style – ROCK & ROLL JUST CAN’T RECALL + 3
Lee Bains III and Glory Fires – LIVE AT THE NICK
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – LIVE FROM THE RYMAN
Bobbie Gentry – THE GIRL FROM CHICKASAW COUNTY and LIVE AT THE BBC
Mount Eerie – (AFTER)

Here’s a playlist I made with some of my favorite songs of the year. (Teardrop City isn’t on Spotify, but you can find their album here.)

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Meet Me Where We Survive

MEC

Hard to believe Jason Molina’s gone two years. No artist matters more to me. Here’s an essay I wrote the week he died.

A lot of people ask me where to start with Molina. Can’t really go wrong, but I usually point folks to the North Star Blues Session, a live set from a radio show in Belgium. It’s Molina at his rawest and most haunting.

Andrew Bryant, who put out one of my favorite records of the year, This is the Life, wrote a tribute to Molina over at Common Folk Music. Damn beautiful piece of writing.

And I just read about this book over on the Magnolia Electric Co. site and ordered it right away: Meet Me Where We Survive: Jason Molina Interviews, 1998-2002. Always good to have Molina’s words. Can’t wait for this to come in the mail. (There’s also info on a new tribute record called Through the Static and Distance.)

Last thing: Another favorite record of the year is Jake Xerxes Fussell’s s/t debut from Paradise of Bachelors. Here’s a profile I wrote of Jake over at No Depression: “The Dave Van Ronk of SEC Country.”

Hammer down, pals.

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All You Folks in Heaven Not Too Busy Ringing the Bell

An incredible oral history of Jason Molina’s masterpiece, The Magnolia Electric Co. My favorite record ever. If you haven’t heard it, please go buy it right now. Here’s my Rumpus essay on the album from right after Molina passed away.

Other big Molina news: Didn’t It Rain is being reissued later this year. I was twenty-three, living in Austin, when I found it at 33 Degrees. It was my first Molina, and it changed things for me. I’d never heard an album that sounded so much like the way I felt. Can’t wait for this. 

Other stuff:

If you’re into e-books and against Amazon, you can now get Gravesend and other Broken River titles here.

My So-Called Life first aired twenty years ago this week. I was fifteen, a week away from being sixteen. I watched that first episode and never missed one the whole run. Taped them on VHS without commercials. I had Claire Danes’s picture up in my locker all junior year. One time my friend told me he was taking me to a party in the city and that she’d be there. I was heartbroken when it turned out to be bullshit. I still cry when I hear that goddamn Buffalo Tom song. I still have Sonnet 130 memorized. This is a good essay revisiting the show.

The entirety of the The Basement Tapes is being released soon.

Scorsese. The Ramones. Yes.

David Lynch does the Ice Bucket thing. Genius.

Here’s an essay I published in Trop back in February about Yusuf Hawkins, who was killed 25 years ago this past Saturday. All this time and the same shit keeps happening over and over in one form or another.

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1. Read at Nightbird Books in Fayetteville last weekend. Hell of a good town. Had a great time. Thanks to Rachael, Cale, Katy, and everyone who came out. Thanks especially to Lisa at Nightbird. Also got to spend a little time at Dickson Street Bookshop. What a bookstore! Only had about fifteen minutes, but I found some great stuff. Impossible not to in that joint. Can’t wait to go back and spend a few hours there.

Reading at Nightbird Books.

Reading at Nightbird Books.

Haul from Dickson Street Bookshop.

Haul from Dickson Street Bookshop.

2. Thanks to John Stonehouse for this review of Gravesend, Gareth Price for this one, and Lee Durkee for this one.

3. My pal Jimmy Cajoleas interviewed Willy Vlautin over at Lent. A couple of choice quotes from Willy:

“You get beat up in life, and you get sucker-punched, and bad things happen. If you keep an open heart and don’t get bitter and you keep trying, then shit will break your way once in a while. I really try to believe that all the time. So I think the characters kind of reflect that.”

“And I tend to try to write as a fan. I’m a firm believer in being a fan of things. I try to write with blood, you know, with the things that haunt me the most.”

4. George Pelecanos is the guest programmer on TCM tonight. Showing two of my favorites, The Seven-Ups and The Outfit.

Here’s a thing I wrote about The Outfit for my ’70s crime movie blog. And here’s a thing I wrote about The Seven-Ups.

5. I’m reading Per Petterson’s I Curse the River of Time. Goddamn.

6. A few things I’m really excited about re: Record Store Day:
a) All that’s happening at The End of All Music here in Oxford (where I work part-time)
b) Songs: Ohia’s Journey On: Collected Singles
c) This 7″ from The Delines, Willy Vlautin’s new band (as well as their forthcoming LP, Colfax)

7. Jason Molina passed away a year ago yesterday. Still tears out my guts that he’s gone. Here’s an essay I wrote for The Rumpus about how much his work has meant to me.

8. Happy St. Paddy’s Day. This is just about my favorite song/poem ever. And this performance drops me every damn time.

9. Recently picked up one of my favorite movies, Rolling Thunder, on Blu-Ray. Watched it with pals Ace Atkins, Jack Pendarvis, and Megan Abbott for our movie night on Saturday. Ace’s wife, Angela, shared some North Carolina moonshine with us. Best thing I’ve ever had. No kidding. Was having some killer wisdom tooth pain and it got cured. After a killer dinner and the moonshine, we rewatched the Root Beer Guy episode of Adventure Time (Jack writes for the show and voices RBG). Then we settled in for Rolling Thunder – I think I was the only one who’d seen it before – and it was goddamn wonderful.  Shout!Factory did a great job with the Blu-Ray. John Flynn is a hell of a good director but there were times when the movie looked as beautiful as a William Eggleston photo. And Linda Haynes, well, we all got a little obsessed with Linda Haynes.

Moonshine.

Moonshine.

Linda Haynes in ROLLING THUNDER.

Linda Haynes and William Devane in ROLLING THUNDER.