01. South of the River - TOM MISCH
Breakout artist of the year. Tom Misch might make you feel inadequate. Not only does he write and sing his own tunes, he performs virtually every instrument and serves as producer and engineer on the recordings. What can’t this young gun do? (He’s 23!) After seeing him bring the goods live (with brass section and two drummers), I’m a true believer. A blend of Jazz, Hip Hop, Pop, Rock... Geography is a killer LP, front to back.
02. Blame Fire PETITE NOIR
Our digital overlords aren’t all that bad, right? I doff my cap to Spotify’s machine learning tools that inform the Discover Weekly. It brought this treat to my attention mid-year - I was immediately hooked! Less than 250k streams to date. Will the fire spread?
03. Bubblin’ ANDERSON .PAAK
What more can I say about .Paak? I seem to love everything he touches. This one turned up on Dre-produced album, Oxnard but if you like this, just seek out some of the other non-album gems that we were treated to this year. May we all be Bubblin’ in 2019. P.S. Aviva learned all the words. It’s one of her favorites.
04. If You Know You Know PUSHA T
Equal parts threat and celebration. King Push is one of the GOATs. Watch the video on the youtube playlist.
05. Harlem Anthem A$AP FERG
NYC, Harlem/Uptown in particular, is having a moment - this one is triumphant (more horns!). Dedicating this one to my man, JPo, who was repping Ferg when he was still lurking in the shadow of Rocky.
06. Toy YOUNG FATHERS
Holy hell, this Scottish trio killed it at new(ish) Brooklyn venue, Elsewhere. Percussive. Sonically and visually. More like this, please. Had the energy and swagger of the earliest TV on the Radio shows.
07. A$AP Forever A$AP ROCKY
You might need to start with the video. It’s a mind-bender. First L$D, now this. A$AP + Moby is an unusual but extremely welcomed mashup. Contemporary classic. It’s soo 2018.
08. Stay Woke MEEK MILL
Meek is out of jail; he’s got perspective, insight, a voice and an audience. Team him with Miguel (greatest R&B act on stage today) and you’ve got an impactful slow banger.
09. FLIGHT HOME SHIRT
Representing Queens, SHIRT is the first rap artist signed to Jack White’s Third Man Records. That fact certainly piqued my interest. The vocal tenor brings to mind another rough-edged New Yorker, Aesop Rock. Come to think of it, SHIRT would have been right at home on Def Jux.
10. Teenage Fantasy JORJA SMITH
Like a modern day Morcheeba, but a bit more sultry. I’m in.
11. After the Storm KALI UCHIS
Wow. Another one with a crazy cool video. What a fun groove. Of course Bootsy makes it better.
12. Girls on the TV LAURA JEAN
Something about this song is perfect. Can’t quite pinpoint it. She’s not popular yet. Let’s see what happens.
13. High SIR SLY
OK - This one didn’t come out in 2018. But, that’s when it took over my summer. Watch out, it might get you too! Remember Foster The People? These guys do.
14. Star Stuff CHAZ BUNDICK MEETS THE MATTSON 2
Where did Chaz + Mattson 2 come from!? I. Love. This. Shit. The album is… cosmic in scope. DIG IT!
15. Maria También KHRUANGBIN
Great soundtrack for long distance driving, which I did quite a bit of with Aviva this past year.
16. Sophie Calle Private Game… OF MONTREAL
… Every person is a pussy, every pussy is a star. The back-half of this song flips my lid, yo. Headphone music from one of the most prolific indie one-man-bands.
17. I’m A Kid JADU HEART
Groove. Yeah, I’m A Kid.
18. Virginia Please DR DOG
Long time favorites, Dr. Dog’s 2018 record, Critical Equation is a high water mark for the scruffy dudes with great tones.
19. Easy Money WESTERMAN
Easily the quietest show that I saw this year. Westerman is even better live. Woah. What a voice. This one will get stuck in your noggin.
20. Steady On TEEN RAVINE
Winter, in a song. Discovery credit due to the king of Spotify playlists, Mr. Matt Jennings. In fact, what are you still doing here? Go explore his TODAYSMX universe. It’s got what you need. That is, if what you need is more music!