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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Death in the World

I’m reading tomorrow at Off Square Books in Oxford. Signing starts at 5, reading at 5:30. I won’t go long and then we can head to the bar and get hammered flat as elephant shit. Folks who aren’t in Oxford: You can also get Death Don’t Have No Mercy online via Square Books.

Thanks to Lori Jakiela for inviting me to read at the Pitt-Greensburg Writers Festival and to Lori and Dave Newman for setting up the East End Book Exchange event. I had the best damn time. Hung out with and met some great folks and was honored as hell to read with Stewart O’Nan, Lori, Dave, and Bob Pajich. I’m sure folks had a swell time at AWP, but I was really glad to be in Pittsburgh with new pals.

Also, Record Store Day is Saturday. We’ve got a lot of great stuff going on at The End of All Music (where I work part-time). Don’t miss it.

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Journey On

1. The Oxford Conference for the Book starts today. Some good stuff lined up as usual. Especially pumped for Kevin Young on Thacker Mountain Radio tomorrow night.

Here’s Kevin Young talking about Book of Hours on NPR recently.

And here’s his “Ode to Ol’ Dirty Bastard,” one of my favorite poems of his.

 

2. The Southern Literary Festival starts tomorrow. Lots of good stuff lined up for that, too. I’m teaching a fiction master class on Saturday morning at 9. I’ll be talking about writing advice from Richard Price, David Milch, Don Carpenter, Flannery O’Connor, Nelson Algren, and a bunch of other stuff. The Isom Student Gender Conference is happening simultaneously, and I can’t wait for Laura Lippman’s Friday keynote: “When Harriet the Spy Grew up: Feminism and the Second Golden Age of American Crime Fiction.” And the great Megan Abbott is giving the Southern Literary Festival’s keynote right after that.

3. Here’s a damn good profile of Killer Mike from The Bitter Southerner. He has a son named Pony Boy – that’s just the best.

4. That ’80s Dylan tribute is out. Hit or miss but worth it for these tracks: Craig Finn, “Sweetheart Like You”; Built to Spill, “Jokerman”; Hannah Cohen, “Covenant Woman”; and Elvis Perkins, “Congratulations.”

5. Angel Olsen – Live on KEXP. Man.

6. Spent Saturday at The End of All Music spinning the Merge reissue of one of my all-time favorite records, Richard Buckner’s Bloomed.bloomed

7. Clay Jones made a mix for Lent Magazine.

8. Download this: The War on Drugs at the Bowery Ballroom on 3/19/14 via NYC Taper.

9. Joe Hill said this about The Fall on Twitter the other day: “In a golden age of TV, Gillian Anderson drops a steely, quietly commanding performance [. . .] to match the very best of the day.” Completely agree. Easily one of the best things I’ve watched lately. Anderson is fucking incredible. It’s streaming on Netflix.

10. Rectify is also streaming on Netflix now. One of my top two or three shows from the last few years. Ray McKinnon rules.

11. Haven’t read much Harlan Coben – this Times By the Book feature really makes me like him.

12. Shailene Woodley was goddamn brilliant in The Spectacular Now, but holy shit, this is the funniest thing I’ve read this year.

13. Got to see David Gordon-Green’s Joe at a screening here in Oxford last week. Thought it was top-notch. His best movie since George Washington. Nic Cage and Tye Sheridan were damn good, but the non-actors stole it. Just a great take on one of my favorite books.

14. Tracklist for Songs: Ohia’s Journey On: Collected Singles.

15. Tumblr bullshit.

16. Other things I’m listening to: New one from The Hold Steady, Teeth Dreams, is killer. I was pretty lukewarm on Heaven is Whenever, so I’m glad to have them back.  Paradise of Bachelors just reissued Lavender Country – So damn good. Can’t stop spinning Bob Mould’s Workbook 25 from Omnivore. Got it on CD for the bonus stuff on the second disc. Been listening to Crooked Fingers’s Dignity and Shame for the first time in a long time. Almost forgot how goddamn perfect this song is:

17. Finally watched The Counselor last night. Thought it was way better than most folks said but also felt pretty let down. Couldn’t sleep and watched West of Memphis, too. A brutal and beautiful documentary. Finished it around 3 in the morning and got into bed next to my wife and son and just held them.

 

 

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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.