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Shawn Campbell writesCHIRP Radio Best of 2018: Shawn Campbell

CHIRP Radio Best of 2018

Throughout December, CHIRP Radio presents its volunteers’ top albums of 2018. Our next list is from Founder and General Manager, Saturday 12-2pm DJ Shawn Campbell.

I tried to put these albums in order, but honestly, with the exception of #1, all of these changed places throughout the year. No doubt about #1, though -- without question, the album I listened to more than any other this year, and a great reminder that sometimes it's enough for music to simply make you happy.


#1   Bat Fangs by Bat Fangs (Don Giovanni)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Bat Fangs Bat FangsThis big, catchy, smartly dumb rock record from Betsy Wright (Ex-Hex) and Laura King (Flesh Wounds) is the most fun I had with an album all year. The sound of two women who are well aware that the tropes of 80s rock are simultaneously ridiculous and undeniable. Roll the windows down in your IROC-Z and blast this one all summer long.



#2   Prom Queen EP by Beach Bunny (Self-Released)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Beach Bunny Prom Queen EPI love Lili Trifilio's voice. I love timeless pop songs of high school heartbreak. I love the fact that, two years in, some members of this band still aren't old enough to play the 21+ bars that want to book them.



#3   Historian by Lucy Dacus (Matador)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Lucy Dacus HistorianAnother young talent wise beyond her years, Lucy Dacus delivers as her sophomore release a treasure trove of songs that reward multiple listens, revealing an array subtle pleasures (among many other things, I really enjoy the arrangements on this album). The slow burn of "Night Shift" is one of my favorite musical moments of 2018.



#4   What A Time to Be Alive by Superchunk (Merge)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Superchunk What A Time to Be AliveIt seems the least we can ask for from this excruciating political moment is some great protest music, and the best I've heard on that front comes from a band that can refer to "Reagan Youth" from first hand experience. 30 year indie vets Superchunk deliver a set full of legitimate anger and frustration, but also thoughtful (yet no less energetic) ruminations what it means to be an engaged citizen in difficult times.



#5   Parades by Longshot and Lazerbeak (Doomtree)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Longshot and Lazerbeak ParadesThis collaboration between Chicago emcee Longshot and Doomtree co-founder Lazerbeak is an old school pleasure, alternating summertime party jams and thoughtful social commentary with aplomb. "Just Dance" may be my song of the year.



#6   Be the Cowboy by Mitski (Dead Oceans)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Mitski Be the CowboyEven though I didn't love Be the Cowboy as much as I did Puberty 2, I admire the fact that Mitski is taking chances and expanding her musical palette rather than resting on her laurels. She also is one of the most compelling live performers I've seen in the last decade.



#7   Blood by Rhye (Loma Vista)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Rhye BloodSometimes what you need is a record that makes you relax, and that's what this one does. Just a gorgeous, chill affair. Spare, but with an appealing warmth. I'd forget about this one for awhile, then always be happy when I found my way back to it.



#8   Blueprint by Alice Bag (Don Giovanni)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Alice Bag BlueprintAnother smart, catchy, angry record from a punk elder statesman, Alice Bag returned in 2018 with her second solo album in three years after a long absence, making it clear that she still has plenty to say. Bag's voice is strong and powerful, and her songs are stylistically varied and consistently tuneful. A pleasant surprise when she resurfaced in 2016, and even more gratifying to see that she's sticking around.



#9   Room 25 by Noname (Self-Released)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Noname Room 25Warm, organic, sometimes with the intimacy of a bedroom recording, Noname's official debut can stir memories of the conscious hip hop of the early 1990s while still maintaining a fully 21st century sensibility. And I love the collaborative spirit of this scene, with plenty of guest appearances by friends like Smino, Saba and Ravyn Lenae.



#10   Lush by Snail Mail (Merge)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Snail Mail LushI could not be happier about the number of young women with guitars and Things to Say (or Questions to Ask) who got record deals this year. Lindsey Jordan scored hers when she was just 18, and shows herself to be supremely confident on her debut full-length, world weary and done in on one track, then cautiously hopeful on the next.






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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2018

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