We're not quite halfway through 2018, but here's our annual recap of the albums + songs of the first half of the year anyway. I’ve excluded any records that we’ve released on our new label Luminelle Recordings; otherwise, the stellar new ones from Helena Deland, Anemone, and Hana Vu would have all figured prominently into both of these lists. Also, I guess a few of these aren’t officially out yet. Sorry!
Before we even have time to second guess our albums of the year list, here are our favorite songs of 2017. While plenty of our old favorites are well repped -- including TOPS, Burial, Shabazz Palaces, SZA, Sufjan, Laurel Halo, et al. -- it was an exceptionally great year for exciting new artists, with Men I Trust, Yaeji, Playboi Carti, Kelly Lee Owens, Aldous Harding, Bernache, and so many more dropping some of the most essential songs of the year. Hit play on that 5+ hour Spotify playlist, and follow along with the list below:
As the internet's collective attention span continues to dwindle away and the clickbait economy slowly ruins everything good, we made a conscious effort this year to spend more time listening to fewer things. Discovering new favorites will always remain a priority around here, but it felt good to devote more quality time to absorbing ambitious, flawed, elaborately nuanced and layered masterpieces like Dust, Quazarz, Party, and The OOZ. And the more immediate records that we fell in love with at first listen -- TOPS’ Sugar at the Gate, the super charismatic Carti mixtape, and Kelly Lee Owens’ enveloping debut full-length, to name a few -- felt more like all-time favorites with each spin. While anyone in our top 5 could have staked a legit Album of the Year claim depending on the day, we had to put the two EPs that announced the arrival of dance music's brightest new star in their rightful spot at the top of our list. Here are our favorite records of 2017:
As we approach the halfway point of 2017, here are our favorite albums + songs from what is shaping up to be a frenetic, kind of convoluted (we are not on board with the teaser trend, just drop the jams), and overwhelmingly great year for new music:
Today we follow up our albums of 2016 list with the much more interesting list of our 101 favorite songs of the year. Featuring a couple of inventive flips of Shangaan Electro and Tropicália samples in the top 3, the powerful opening missive from A Tribe Called Quest's first album in nearly 20 years, an old Radiohead love song, multiple jams each from Frank Ocean, Danny Brown, and Carly Rae, undeniable breakthrough singles from Whitney, Mitski, Maggie Rogers, and The Homie, another strong showing from TX's own S U R V I V E boys (whose massive year culminated this morning in 2 Grammy noms in the same category), and many more incredible and essential tracks that helped us all make it through this pathetic excuse for a year. Hit play on that 6 hour spotify playlist + check the full list below:
It may or may not be that time yet, but here is the highly subjective list of our 60 favorite albums -- too long, I know, but we could have gone much deeper -- from an unfathomably weird, incredible, terrifying 2016. It was a year marked by loss and uncertainty, and that might be why music felt more monumental to us than ever. Thanks for sticking with us for another year. Check the full list + a lovingly curated four-hour Spotify playlist below, and as always, we'd love to hear about your favorites that we might have missed.
As we approach the midway point of what has been an overwhelming year for new music, here's the ever-evolving list of our favorite records of (roughly) the first half of 2016. Favorite songs of the year (SO FAR) coming later this week:
As our lists grow more and more arbitrary, we present our favorite remixes of 2015. Increasingly rare is the remix that adds to and/or outshines the original, becoming its own essential jam in the process, as opposed to just another fleeting and ultimately forgettable PR gimmick. We feel like these accomplished that:
No one cares about your label's video budget in 2015. The music vids that we found most moving and memorable this year were, in most cases, simple (with a few glossy and/or cinematic exceptions), powerful, often self-directed visual interpretations of our favorite songs. Also featuring one brilliant video made of found footage that seems to have been effectively scrubbed from the internet forever. Here are our favorite music videos of the year: