Andrew Stewart Poop 2018


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1. Amen Dunes/Freedom: Damon McMahon came oh-so-close a few years ago with his brilliant-but-flawed Love, but here he’s finally found the beautiful form. Where there once was smoky darkness, a brilliant light now shimmers, his intense and intensely emotional songs comprising a mesmerizing, psychedelic confession. (playlist: “Believe”)

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2. Snail Mail/Lush: Sounding perfect from the minute the needle drops, this gorgeous, swaggering set of indie rock songs is full of heartache, aching vocals and mind-bending guitar work – but the real magic lies in the quiet, and the control. (playlist: “Heat Wave”)

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3. Ty Segall/Freedom’s Goblin: A banquet-table feast of throwback sounds and future thoughts; Segall is exploding with creativity, and no one in music is more exciting right now. In any other year, an easy number one. Just…wow. (playlist: “And, Goodnight”)

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4. The Beths/Future Me Hates Me: Pure power-pop, and flat-out irresistible. These New Zealanders somehow solve it over and over, every song a thumping, buzzy nugget of sweet harmonies and heart-pumping chords. More, please. (playlist: “Happy Unhappy”)

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5. Parquet Courts/Wide Awake!: Sloppy-smart four-piece delivers another sharp, confidently weird set of pleasingly-distorted punk-rock songs, each of them calling out the bullshit for what it is. (playlist: “Almost Had to Start a Fight/In and Out of Patience”)

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6. U.S. Girls/In A Poem Unlimited: This majestic, haunting, futuristic album pulls off a real magic trick, making you think hard while also shaking your ass. This is unique, intermittently stunning and absolutely worth hearing. (playlist: “Pearly Gates”)

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7. Various Artists/Black Panther – The Album: Kendrick conflates his own myth with that of the superhero, serving as curator, master of ceremonies and star – and carrying the weight of leadership like a king of the past, present, future. Indeed. (playlist: “X”)

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8. Lucy Dacus/Historian: Among an impressive group of female singer-songwriters with albums out this year, Dacus does it best, her powerful, resonant vocals communicating a deep sadness, her lyrics at once both epic and exact. (playlist: “Pillar of Truth”)

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9. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever/Hope Downs: What’s the Aussie term for “grower?” More than it seemed at first listen, this album kept dealing out aces all year. Turns out this loose, happy jangle is actually sneaky-complicated. (playlist: “Talking Straight”)

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10. Caroline Rose/LONER: Remade and fully-formed, this awesome party-punker kicks down some doors here. Doubt her? Just cue up the video for “Soul No. 5” and bear witness to a fun, aggressive, inspired artist coming into her own. (playlist: “Soul No. 5”)

11. Bat Fangs/Bat Fangs: Boom! Sounding mostly like a lost Joan Jett album, this one calls out Green Day and Sabbath, and is just a pure ripping delight. (playlist: “Bad Astrology”)
12. Vince Staples/FM!: Who’s got swagger? Vince Staples fucking owns on this short, punchy faux radio-play. Listen: it’s summer, and you’re invincible. (playlist: “FUN!”)
13. Young Jesus/The Whole Thing Is Just There: This mad-genius shit sounds like a weirder, proggier Dismemberment Plan, maybe. (playlist: “Saganism vs. Buddhism”)
14. Forth Wanderers/Forth Wanderers: Just kids, sounding like heroes. Her voice recalls Liz Phair, but this emo packs a punch, all minor-key muscle. (playlist: “Not For Me”)
15. Nap Eyes/I’m Bad Now: Nova Scotian fuzz-rock band is in no rush but eventually arrives, building up and letting loose like a loop-de-loop Lou Reed. (playlist: “I’m Bad”)
16. Foxwarren/Foxwarren: Andy Shauf is back with a full band, his weird warble wrapped in a soft rock sound, his thoughts circling back to the ice storm ahead. (playlist: “Everything Apart”)
17. Courtney Barnett/Tell Me How You Really Feel: Hm. She’s plateaued, and sounds jaded and tired – but she’s still a serious superstar. (playlist: “Nameless, Faceless”)
18. Flasher/Constant Image: A super-clean energy propels this insanely talented trio, riding the neo-90’s wave to perfection, and having fun doing it. (playlist: “Skim Milk”)
19. Frankie Cosmos/Vessel: Delicate but not brittle, these are the songs you should listen to when you realize the Soccer Mommy album is just. plain. boring. (playlist: “Jesse”)
20. Buck Meek/Buck Meek: The “other guy” in Big Thief steals the solo-album prize from Adrianne Lenker with this wonderful, witty and weird album. (playlist: “Cannonball”)
21. Doug Paisley/Starter Home: This long-time country-folk favorite adds another great album to his flawless catalog. Serious, deep and lovely. Oh, Canada. (playlist: “Dreamin’”)
22. Tony Molina/Kill the Lights: Short but not slight, this surprisingly beautiful gem of an album sounds almost like a lost demo for Rubber Soul. Almost. (playlist:”When She Leaves”)
23. Porches/The House: This underrated synth-heavy indie-rock album is flawed, undone by a few bad choices – but the highs are so high, it can’t be ignored. (playlist: “Country”)
24. Wooden Shjips/V.: Like an encyclopedia entry for “psychedelic rock,” every song here soars and stretches for the sky. If you’re in the mood, it kills. (playlist: “Already Gone”)
25. Kali Uchis/Isolation: In a crowded field of latin R&B contenders – including Rosalía and Camila Cabello – this one is elevated by complexity and craft. (playlist: “Tyrant”)

Bahamas/Earthtones: this reliable, familiar voice exits his comfort zone, and sounds edgy
Beach House/7: takes so long to develop that it’s hard not to lose interest, but it sounds great
Big Red Machine/Big Red Machine: Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner have a Big Idea
Bombino/Deran: This bluesman from Niger continues to astound with his soulful, complex sound
Bonny Doon/Longwave: time is a long wave, it turns out, and this band is 20 years too late
Born Ruffians/Uncle, Duke & The Chief: every song’s great; and this band should be bigger
Leon Bridges/Good Thing: young retro-soul singer surprises with a modern R&B twist
Brockhampton/Iridescence: a force of nature that can’t be ignored; load up “San Marcos”
Molly Burch/First Flower: in a year without a new Angel Olsen album, this’ll scratch that itch
Camp Cope/How To Socialise & Make Friends: this year, in this house, Australia rules
S. Carey/Hundred Acres: don’t miss this exceptional – and sorely underrated – folk album
Dirty Projectors/Lamp Lit Prose: even a near-miss from Longstreth is worth your time
Father John Misty/God’s Favorite Customer: less self-absorbed, hence more interesting
Future/Beastmode2: Future wakes up from the drank and sounds…different. Better.
Haley Heynderickx/I Need To Start A Garden: her voice grates, but her songs are beautiful
Hinds/I Don’t Run: all-female fuzz-rockers from Spain are indebted to Casablancas & Co.
Scott Hirsch/Lost Time Behind The Moon: Hirsch Golden Messenger, a Tweedy-ish sound
Hollow Hand/Star Chamber: modern-folk outfit from England sounds pretty Kinky
Iceage/Beyondless: Danish band dials back the metal in favor of a complex, powerful rock sound
Khruangbin/Con Todo El Mundo: Texas band with a Thai name plays songs with Spanish titles
Let’s Eat Grandma/I’m All Ears: either I’m crazy, or they are, or both; but I love this shit
Lucero/Among The Ghosts: a solid offering from these raw-voiced blues-rock veterans
Stephen Malkmus/Sparkle Hard: not his most inspired solo work, but still entertaining
J Mascis/Elastic Days: familiar but formless, releasing endorphins dormant for decades
Kevin Morby/Harlem River Dub (Peaking Lights Remix): don’t ask; just listen, late and loud
Night Shop/In The Break: Kevin Morby’s side-man goes solo, and it’s something special
Oh Sees/Smote Reverser: accessible (possibly tongue-in-cheek) prog-metal, well-crafted
Phosphorescent/C’est La Vie: a nice return to form, but this sound has really passed us by
Pusha T/Daytona: Kanye the man is troubled and unstable; but Kanye the producer? Got beats.
Shopping/The Official Body: the B-52’s comeback tour never sounded so good
Sudan Archives/Sink EP: tough to categorize, it’s a hybrid-soul sound with shades of Badu
Richard Swift/The Hex: this posthumous album is an experimental soul-blues patchwork
Tierra Whack/Whack World: if rap songs were food, this album would be tapas – and tasty
Ultimate Painting/Up!: a cousin to Foxwarren and Nap Eyes, happy slack-rock harmonies
Unknown Mortal Orchestra/Sex & Food: a perennial favorite doesn’t quite stick the landing
Kurt Vile/Bottle It In: either he’s in a rut or I am, it’s confusing; this is pretty good…I think.
Waxahatchee/Great Thunder EP: here her songwriting shines quietly, like stones in the stream
Westerman/”Confirmation”: single of the year, and a herald of something very special to come
Van William/Countries: Port O’Brien front man goes straight with some beautiful pop-rock tunes
Young Thug/Slime Language: as always, Thug Rules

Car Seat Headrest/Twin Fantasy
Neko Case/Hell-On
Fred Thomas/Aftering
Tune-Yards/I can feel you creep into my private life
Jeff Tweedy/Warm

Arctic Monkeys/Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino
Low/Double Negative
Janelle Monae/Dirty Computer
Mitski/Be The Cowboy
Donald J. Trump/H.A.L.T.

Andrew Stewart
Rhinebeck, NY