This year brought so much good music that I couldn’t keep up with it and making this list was hell on earth.
10) Mitski, Be the Cowboy, Dead Oceans
A slight sonic departure from Puberty 2, but a welcome one. Mitski shows off some of her most vulnerable songwriting and it came just in time for the “They always tell me ‘Yee-haw,’ but never ask me ‘Haw-yee?'” and related memes.
9) Noname, Room 25, Self-Released
A practice in self-awareness and transcendence. An honest self-portrait of a young artist who proves to be one of the most gifted rappers going into 2019.
8) Onyx Collective, Lower East Suite Part Three, Big Dada
Like Standing on the Corner before it, and Earl Sweatshirt’s latest after it, the torch in jazz has been passed from the young beatmakers of Los Angeles’ Stones Throw and Brainfeeder to these new experimentalists. Much like Standing on the Corner’s Red Burns of last year, this album paints a portrait of New York through fleeting sounds and experiences.
7) JPEGMAFIA, Veteran, Peggy/Death Bomb Arc
Glitchy, experimental production with lyrical content firing shots at everyone, Baltimore’s JPEGMAFIA really came to play with songs such as “I Cannot Fucking Wait Until Morissey Dies.”
6) Frankie Cosmos, Vessel, Sub Pop
Yet some more fantastic minute acts of songwriting from Greta Kline. This album makes me want to cry. lol. I’m not crying, you are.
5) Pusha T, DAYTONA, G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam
What I believe to be the best to be put out of what has become known as Kanye West’s “Wyoming Sessions.” It’s airtight and concise, and has paved the way for more cutting edge, minimalistic expressions in rap music.
4) Daughters, You Won’t Get What You Want, Ipecac
Eight years later and twice the size of their previous releases, the Providence band has released an epic, hypnotizing new album full of chaos and entropy.
3) U.S. Girls, In a Poem Unlimited, 4AD
It’s funky with the anthem-like art-pop cry of Kate Bush with the eccentricity and uniqueness of Zappa made for the 21st Century.
2) Snail Mail, Lush, Matador
Lindsey Jordan is a year younger than me and I already believe her to be the Liz Phair of our generation. I want her to be my best friend. This album delivered intimate lines on coming of age, love, and heartbreak, over some of the butteriest, lush 90s-inspired guitar riffs.
1) Earl Sweatshirt, Some Rap Songs, Tan Cressida/Columbia
My experimental pipe dream is what it is. I truly believe the legacy of avant-garde jazz lives on through the cutting-edge of hip-hop. This is an album so surreal and so cerebral, it quickly became my most listened to album of the year since its release a month ago.
Because I’m indecisive, here are some honorable mentions:
Vince Staples, FUN!, Def Jam; Death Grips, Year of the Snitch, Third Worlds/Harvest; Parquet Courts, Wide Awake!, Rough Trade; Iceage, Beyondless, Matador; Beach House, 7, Sub Pop; Teyana Taylor, K.T.S.E., G.O.O.D. Music; Yves Tumor, Safe in the Hands of Love, Warp; Low, Double Negative, Sub Pop; ROSALÍA, El Mal Querer, Sony Music; SOPHIE, Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides, Transgressive/Future Classic; Cupcakke, Ephorize, Self-Released; Tierra Whack, Whack World, Self-Released; Julia Holter, Aviary, Domino; boygenius, boygenius EP, Matador; Spiritualized, And Nothing Hurt, Fat Possum; John Maus, Addendum, Ribbon Music; Ambrose Akinmusire, Origami Harvest, UMG; Various Artists, Brainfeeder X, Brainfeeder
DJ Hari hosted Parts Unheard, Wednesdays, 10pm-midnight.
Read our Earl Review.