Tag Archives: Best of 2018

Artist Reflections: Witch Prophet on the Toils and Triumphs of Being an Independent Artist in 2018

witchprophet 2018For our “Artist Reflections” series, we asked artists responsible for some of the year’s best records to discuss a topic that’s been close to their hearts over the last 12 months. In this piece, Canadian vocalist Ayo Leilani—aka Witch Prophet—to discuss the long journey leading up to this year’s emotional debut album, The Golden Octaveher upcoming anniversary plans for 88 Days of Fortune, the Toronto-based collective she co-founded in 2009; the importance of raising up women, queer, and non-binary-identifying artists in her hometown and beyond; and more. Continue reading

2018: The Year in Photos & Illustrations

bestofphotos1244Images are integral to the way we appreciate sound; a great cover sets a mood, and puts you in the right headspace to appreciate the sonics behind the sleeve. We approach the illustration and photography we publish from the same angle: How well does it communicate the sound of the music? Does it convey something about this artist, or this scene, that enhances the way we understand it?

One of the best parts of my job is the chance to work with people who explore different ways of looking at the world—who can listen to a record and translate it into pictures. Our illustrators approach their work from a dizzying array of viewpoints, but they all share the same ideal: trying to communicate something unique about music. My favorite visuals this year have been the illustrations that come at the topic from an unexpected angle. Annu Kilpeläinen’s artwork captured the psychedelia of the Colombian electronica scene by channeling René Magritte; Sophie Hollington’s lino cuts captured the mood of dark ambient in a way that no other medium could have.

All artwork is collaborative, but our photography is overtly so. The best photographs are a conversation between the people on either side of the lens, and I often envy our photographers for the chance to spend time with and work with my favorite musicians. The selections we’ve chosen here either reveal something about their subjects, as with Sarah Bernhardt’s incredible images of Helena Hauff, or challenge our preconceptions, like Jun Yokoyama’s funny but melancholy shoot with Emamouse on the streets of Tokyo. As these images add context to the music, we wanted to complete the circle by asking their makers to reveal how they were made.

-Emma Shore, Editorial Art Director

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The Best Contemporary Classical Albums of 2018

2018-best-of-classical-1244The taxonomy of contemporary classical music—new music, contemporary music, whatever you want to call it—is a thorny issue. That ambiguity makes rating the year’s best offerings difficult, if not impossible, but embracing the big picture of musical diversity these 10 albums, listed alphabetically, have delivered all year long—they provided excitement, asked questions, and delivered disparate sorts of beauty. These are the best contemporary classical albums of 2018. 

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The Best Electronic Albums of 2018

2018-Best-of-Electronic2018 has been a year of extraordinary flux in electronic club music. While the upper reaches of the DJ heirarchies continued to be dominated by maxed-out EDM and trance, with techno and tech-house jostling just beneath them, in the real world, genres and ideas seemed to be intermingling, exploring new evolutionary niches. Faithful old musical styles—jungle, disco, acid, electro—continued to prove themselves viable, but all around them, hybridity was the name of the game. Perhaps it has something to do with the rapid social and political shifts; perhaps musical and social homogeneity are being washed away and replaced by something more interesting; perhaps it’s just a patch of turbulence. Whatever the case, these certainly are “interesting times.” And while that can be seen as a curse in political and social terms, in music and culture, sometimes “interesting” is genuinely interesting. These are the Best Electronic Albums of 2018.

View the Best Electronic Music on Bandcamp archives.

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The Best Punk Albums of 2018

2018-best-of-punk-1244Bandcamp has long been a home for DIY punk and hardcore from around the world, touching all of the myriad subgenre styles and helping to translate the simple effectiveness of cut-and-paste to the digital age. For December’s edition of the best punk releases on Bandcamp, Kerry Cardoza recaps the records that made the most lasting impressions in 2018.

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The Best Soul Albums of 2018

2018-best-of-soul-1244It was a fabulous year for soul.  It took us from the streets to the heart, from the political to the personal. Without further adieu, here are the best soul albums of 2018.

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Artist Reflections: Jean Grae & Quelle Chris on Marriage and Creativity in 2018

artist-reflections-Jean-Grae-Quelle-ChrisFor our “Artist Reflections” series, we asked artists responsible for some of the year’s best records to discuss a topic that’s been close to their hearts over the last 12 months. In this piece, Jean Grae & Quelle Chris discuss Everything’s Fine, marriage, and what’s in store for 2019.

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Artist Reflections: Alan Sparhawk of Low on Taking Chances in 2018

artist-reflections-alan-sparhawkFor our “Artist Reflections” series, we asked artists responsible for some of the year’s best records to discuss a topic that’s been close to their hearts over the last 12 months. In this piece, Alan Sparhawk discusses a life-threatening injury and how that impacted the making of Low’s most adventurous record yet.

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