The Year in Music 2018

Songs of the Year 2018

Listen to the full Experience – playlist on TIDAL

10 Great Ones

FIDLAR: Too Real

Dawn Landes: Traveling

Sudan Archives: Nont For Sale

Courtney Barnett: Need a Little Time

Buddy: Trouble on Central

Chastity: Children

AJ Tracey: Doing It

Amanda Shires: Parking Lot Pirouette

Childish Gambino: This is America

Brandi Carlile: The Joke

Albums of the Year – top 10:

Turnstile: Time & Space

Sons of Kemet: Your Queen Is a Reptile

Kacey Musgraves: Golden Hour
(MCA Nashville)

Brandi Carlile: By The Way, I Forgive You

Low: Double Negative
(Sub Pop)

(G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam)

Rosalía: El Mal Querer

IDLES: Joy As An Act Of Resistance

Jon Hopkins: Singularity

Janelle Monae: Dirty Computer

≈≈≈Bubbling Below≈≈≈


Khruangbin: Con Todo El Mundo
Rolling Blackout Coastal Fever: Hope Downs
Parquet Courts: Wide Awake
Lucy Dacus: Historian
Nothing: Dance on the Blacktop
John Prine: The Tree of Forgiveness
Tony Molina: Kill the Lights
Kali Uchis: Isolation
DJ Koze: Knock Knock
Caitlyn Smith: Starfire

Amanda Shires

Amanda Shire: To the Sunset
U.S. Girls: In Poem Unlimited
Tribulation: Down Below
The Decemberists: I’ll Be Your Girl
Noname: Room 25
Shame: Songs of Praise
Natalie Prass: The Future and the Past
Ben Howard: Noonday Dream
Charles Lloyd & The Marvels + Lucinda Williams: Vanished Gardens
Courtney Barnett: Tell Me How You Really Feel

Fatoumata Diawara

A$ap Rocky: TESTING
Fatoumata Diawara: Fenfo
Mary Gauthier: Rifles & Rosary Beads
Car Seat Headrest: Twin Fantasy (Face to Face)
Kamasi Washington: Heaven and Earth
Ruby Boots: Don’t Talk About It
Ought: Room Inside the World
Ambrose Akinmusire: Origami Harvest
Vince Staples: FM!
Park Jiha: Communion

Amgala Temple

Mitski: Be the Cowboy
Cardi B: Invasion of Privacy
Jonathan Wilson: Rare Birds
Amgala Temple: Invisible Airships
Superchunk: What a Time to Be Alive
Frøkedal: How We Made It
George FitzGerald: All That Must Be
Crippled Black Phoenix: Great Escape
Ashley McBryde: Girl Going Nowhere
Ben Lamar Gay: Downtown Castles Can Never Block the Sun

Israel Nash

Geir Sundstøl: Brødløs
Nils Frahm: All Melody
Hop Along: Bark Your Head Off, Dog
Courtney Marie Andrews: May Your Kindness Remain
Yo La Tengo: There’s A Riot Going On
Laura Gibson: Goners
Israel Nash: Rolling On
Snail Mail: Lush
Kurt Vile: Bottle It In
King Tuff: The Other

Haley Heynderickx

Soccer Mommy: Clean
Blood Orange: Negro Swan
Father John Misty: God’s Favorite Customer
SOPHIE: Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides
Haley Heynderickx: I Need to Start a Garden
Tierra Whack: Whack World
Hailu Mergia: Lala Belu
Marie Davidson: Working Class Woman
Yves Tumor: Safe In The Hands Of Love
Alejandro Escovedo: The Crossing

Caroline Rose

The Beths: Future Me Hates Me
Møster!: States of Minds
Caroline Rose: LONER
Damagers: s/t
Boygenius: s/t
Leon Vynehall: Nothing Is Still
Hookworms: Microshift
Windhand: Eternal Return
Thou: Magus
Hot Snakes: Jericho Sirens

Jess Williamson

All Them Witches: ATW
The Internet: Hive Mind
YOB: Our Raw Heart
Cecile McLorin Salvant: The Window
KEN Mode: Loved
Daniel Bachman: The Morning Star
Jess Williamson: Cosmic Wink
Sleep: The Sciences
The Nude Party: s/t

Daniel Avery: Songs For Alpha
Preoccupations: New Material
Young Fathers: Cocoa Sugar
Buddy: Harlan & Alondra
Jeff Rosenstock: -POST
Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks: Sparkle Hard
cupcakKE: Ephorize
Anbessa Orchestra: Negestat
iceage: Beyondless
Ryley Walker: Deafman Glance


Songs: Ohia: Love & Work: The Lioness Sessions
(Secretly Canadian)

John Coltrane: Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album

The Beatles: The Beatles And Esher Demos: 50th Anniversary Edition

Giant Sand: Returns to Valley of Rain

VA: Basement Beehive: The Girl Group Underground

Bobbie Gentry: The Girl From Chickasaw County – The Complete Capitol Masters

Prince: Piano and a Microphone1983

Ruby Force: Liberty, Love and Evolutionary War

Los-Angeles based Ruby Force is the musical brainchild of Erin McLaughin, who’s just dropped her debut album Evolutionary War. A stunning collection of tunes transcending country and Americana, indie and pop, the LP is a rather flawless and personal journey that takes its listener from the vast fields of her Southwestern upbringing to the fluorescent streets of urban cityscapes.

Ruby Force has a gift for storytelling — one in which, in the case of Evolutionary War, she enlists a great cast of characters such as Elijah Thomson (Everest, Delta Spirit, Father John Misty), Richard Swift (The Black Keys, The Shins, Foxygen), Frank Lenz (Pedro The Lion) and Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek) to help tell. She’s gained favorable comparisons to Nikki Lane, Jenny Lewis and Kacey Musgraves – and, of course, does a wonderful rendition of Blur’s “Tender” and nods to a late great singer-songwriter in her “Ode to Vic Chesnutt.”

Ruby Force is, without question, a name to watch.

We had the pleasure of catching up with Ms. Force recently. Read below as she talks liberty, love and Evolutionary War.


First off, who is Ruby Force?
Ruby Force is a strong and capable woman who draws on the spirit of liberty and love to express human experiences in song, dance and the written word with the hope that what she creates will spread joy and or resonance of belonging and being within others.

Congratulations with your debut album. What do we get and what’s it about?
Thank you! You will be getting the digital or 12″ vinyl culmination of several years of the hardest won battles in my life to date. Sonically you will, should you choose to accept, embark upon an adventure spinning through dimensions of excellence; sub bass, spacey synth, stacked harmonies, thoughtful mixing and mastering, etc. You will hold in your hands (if you nab a physical copy) the artwork and photography of friends who’ve joined me in the emotional trenches of life. You will be holding a portal through my love so to speak, a piece of my soul.

What was your initial idea for Evolutionary War, and what inspired you the most while writing songs for the album?
Expression was my initial idea. I was just writing and collecting songs, I didn’t have any idea where that would lead, but I wanted to do my best every step of the way. Love is the strongest theme inside Evolutionary War but that was somewhat incidental. I wrote what I needed to in order to be okay.

How was the recording process?
Studios give me the shivers. There’s no sunshine, and I’m still fairly intimidated inside of them, but they light me up. I feel like I’m in the right place. And I got to be in several of them for this project. I’d have to say, though, my favorites were La Casina and National Freedom — private or home-type studios curated as art spaces with the souls of sounds haunted into almost every object and instrument in their rooms.

What would be your preferred setting to ultimately enjoy the LP?
Through capable outdoor speakers with a bottle of wine and a cheese plate in the late spring dusk, turned up.

One of the songs of the LP is entitled “Ode to Vic Chesnutt.” Care to elaborate a little extra about that one?
A trusted friend of mine showed me “Flirted With You All my Life” when were driving in in his truck one night not a year after my little brother had passed. When my friend shared about Mr. Chesnutt [passing], my heart sunk further. I had this reaction. I wanted to talk to him. I wanted to change what happened but I couldn’t, so I wrote that song as my best effort at a response for myself or anybody else listening who might be able to get it stuck in their head and remember. It’s about acknowledging that, on a bad day, life may feel similar to the plight of Sisyphus, like a trap mangled in pain and struggle. But at the very least, if we keep going, we may be able to find some comfort in the simple inverse of those heavy truths.

How would you pair Evolutionary War with a meal or beverage?
Sonoma Cab, sliced Humboldt Fog, chestnut honey comb, olive tapenade, Marcona almonds, smoked salmon, rosemary ciabatta… You bring the fruit and dark chocolate.

What’s in your opinion is the most perfect album ever made and why?
[Fleetwood Mac’s] Rumors. It has everything.

Cool, so what’s your next moves?
Prolly some dancey ones. Then lots of writing (songs and more), touring, more chilly studios. Fog and laser lights? We’ll see.

And finally, if your music was a car what would it be?
If my music were a car it’d be a 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am with the “T” top cutaway; black with a gold Phoenix on the hood.
Just cuz.

Bjørn Hammershaug

Kacey Musgraves: Jenta fra Trailerparken

kacey_musgraves_1Før Kacey Musgraves ga oss Same Trailer Different Park (2013) hadde hun tre selvutgitte album bak seg, vært deltaker i talentkonkurransen Nashville Star (en country-variant av Idol), og skrevet låter for Miranda Lambert og Martina McBride.

kacey_trailerMen det var først med major label debuten Same Trailer Different Park at det virkelig tok av for supertalentet fra Sulphur Springs, Texas. 12 glitrende countrylåter og et sett vittige, rørende og ikke minst skarpe observasjoner sentrert rundt småbylivets gode og dårligere sider er nøkkelen til at Kacey Musgraves kan regnes blant dagens store countrystemmer. Skiva gikk rett inn på andreplass på Billboard (#1 på countrylistene), er nominert til det som er av countrypriser i hjemlandet og med en påfølgende turné på begge sider av havet.

– The last few months and even year has been such a beautiful whirlwind. So many things have happened that have already blown my mind. I can’t wait to keep going on this journey I’m on. Det sier Musgraves da jeg spør henne hvordan hun selv har opplevd den siste tidens plutselige opptur.

Det er helt naturlig å plassere henne som en streit countryartist. Men hun trekker også mot andre uttrykk, og toucher innom både singer/songwriter, klassisk pop og rockabilly. Hun sier da også selv at hun lar seg inspirere av musikk fra alle steder og alle genre, men nevner spesielt Glen Campbell, Loretta Lynn, John Prine, Willie Nelson og Ryan Adams som viktige for henne – samt, kanskje noe uventet, band som Cake og Weezer.

Selv om musikken til Musgraves er iørefallende nok, er det særlig tekstene som skiller henne ut fra mange av sine samtidige. Hun åpner med å våkne opp ’on the wrong side of rock bottom’ og penser innom referanser til dop, drikking og tilfeldig sex i sine betraktninger der småbyen er bakteppe og dens innbyggere spiller hovedrollene. Kritikernestor Robert Christagu mente at Musgraves er ’the finest lyricist to rise up out of conscious country since Miranda Lambert, if not Bobby Pinson himself’.

Det kan være relevant å nevne Loretta Lynn i den sammenheng. Hun ankom Nashville på 60-tallet og ble berømt for tekster som for mange var uhørt på den tiden. Når Musgraves dro til countryhovedstaden noen tiår senere fikk hun oppmerksomhet for å ta opp lignende tematikk.

– I really respect Loretta Lynn for having the courage to come out with controversial songs when she did. She pulled it off in a sassy, intelligent way and has paved the way for artists and writers like me to say what we wanna say. I’m proud to be a part of that mentality – blending elements of traditional country and modern ideas, sier Musgraves da jeg trekker opp denne parallellen.


Det ser likevel ut til å være et mer tolerant miljø i dag, mens country-radio fremdeles er mer konservative i forhold til hva de spiller?

– Country radio’s conservatism, thankfully, hasn’t affected the message that I want to put out in the world. It excites me that so many people are open to my music.

’Water and electric and a place to drain the septic / Any KOA is A-OK as long as I’m with you’
(”My House”)

Dine observasjoner og beskrivelser av livene til ordinære folk fra små steder ser ut til å falle deg naturlig. Hvordan arbeider du fram dine historier, og hva hvor kommer de fra?

– I find inspiration in almost everything. Conversations, things I see, things other people I know have gone through or things that I have gone through. It starts with something simple and then the idea – if it’s a good one – builds and builds. Most of my messages are observational, I feel.

Du kommer fra østlige Texas, en region som har gitt oss så mange store artister, fra George Jones, Johnny Horton og Lee Ann Womack til Miranda Lambert. Hva er det i vannet der borte, egentlig?

– It might be because there’s nothing else to do! Haha, I’m not quite sure but it’s cool.

Det er det, og Kacey Musgraves er en naturlig del av denne rike tradisjonen. Vi gleder oss til å oppleve henne her i Norge, noe Musgraves selv gjengjelder:

– I’m excited to see the beautiful nature that Norway has to offer. Meet the people, eat the food, or at that point maybe just sleep, ler hun.

Beste låt du har hørt live:
“Ghost In This House” – Alison Krauss

En låt du selv skulle ønske at du hadde skrevet:
“You Were Always On My Mind” – Willie Nelson

Beste låta å bli forelsket til:
“At Last” – Etta James

En perfekt låt for en perfekt lørdagskveld:
“Southern Nights” med Glen Campbell — eller “Royals” av Lorde

Dette intervjuet ble foretatt i september 2013, og ble opprinnelig publisert på WiMPbloggen i forbindelse med hennes første konsert i Norge (John Dee, 3. oktober 2013).


Bjørn Hammershaug