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Tony Breed writesCHIRP Radio Best of 2018: Tony Breed

CHIRP Radio Best of 2018

Throughout December, CHIRP Radio presents its volunteers’ top albums of 2018. Our next list is from DJ and Board Member Emeritus Tony Breed.

Song of the year Every year I pick a track that is completely arresting, that makes to stop what you’re doing an listen. This year is the gorgeous and sad Neko Case/Eric Bachmann duet “Sleep All Summer” from Neko Case’s Hell On.Honorable mentions to Dream Version’s single “Something Teenage”, Noname’s “Blaxploitation”, and Chance the Rapper’s “Work Out”. I’ve been putting together top-ten lists for more than a decade now, and I’ve come to realize how much they are a reflection of me and where I am that year. A favorite artists puts out an album, and it doesn’t make my top ten… was it the album, or was it me? It’s probably just me. So here’s where my head was in 2018:


#1   Look Now by Elvis Costello & The Imposters (Concord)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Elvis Costello & The Imposters Look NowA truly masterful pop album. Costello explores the pop styles that were popular when he was a kid and a young punk. He’s done it before, but I think he does it best here; maybe it’s the quaver of his aging voice that gives this its elegiac depth, but whatever it is, I am SOLD.



#2   Record by Tracey Thorn (Merge)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Tracey Thorn RecordRecord wins the award for best-sequenced album of 2018. Thorn takes you on a journey, bringing you in and dropping you off with dance-pop, and stepping through other styles along the way, in a series of deeply personal songs. I listened to this on repeat at work in June.



#3   Honey by Robyn (Konnichiwa/Interscope)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Robyn HoneyThis one’s a little controversial—some people love it, and others were disappointed. The complaints are valid—not enough bangers, too loungey—but I will counter that this is Robyn’s best album yet. It’s got a relaxed cool, like she’s not trying so hard, she’s got this, she knows exactly what she’s doing.



#4   Remain in Light by Angélique Kidjo (Kravenworks)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Angélique Kidjo Remains in LightA homecoming of sorts—Talking Heads’ masterwork inspired by the afropop of Fela Kuti, covered by one of the best-known afropop stars internationally. Kidjo fills these songs with even more joy and energy than the originals had.



#5   The Now Now by Gorillaz (Parlophone/Warner Bros.)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Gorillaz The Now NowGorillaz 6th album is a bit mellowed-out compared to the over-the-top hypercool of the earlier albums, with Damon Albarn’s pop sensibilities showing through.



#6   Big Dogs by Seasaw (Self-Released)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Seasaw Big DogsI caught this duo opening for Dream Version and fell in love. A little bit rock and a little bit new wave, a little bit tongue-in-cheek but serious at the same time, and having so much fun while they do it!



#7   Broken Politics by Neneh Cherry (Smalltown Supersound)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Neneh Cherry Broken PoliticsFusing the pop swagger of her early work with the cool spaciousness of 2014’s jazzy and experimental Blank Project, Neneh Cherry hit the sweet spot with this album.



#8   Akinetic by In Tall Buildings (Western Vinyl)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

In Tall Buildings AkineticIn Tall Buildings is back with more mesmerizing head music to get lost in.



#9   Tearing at the Seams by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats (Stax)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats Tearing at the Seams2018 is the year I got into Nathaniel Rateliff. This is solid party blues, good music I will listen to again and again.



#10   The High Hat Club by Mike Maimone (Self-Released)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Mike Maimone The High Hat ClubMike Maimone created this EP to explore New Orleans blues with an explicitly gay perspective. Mike’s high-energy piano and growling voice make him a thrilling presence in the Chicago music scene.


Honorable mentions

John Grant, Love Is Magic

Lily Allen, No Shame

Neko Case, Hell-On

Kronos Quartet & Laurie Anderson, Landfall




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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2018

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