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Best of 2018: Staff Picks

best of 2018 staff picks
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As you might expect from listening to the radio station, the FUV crew fell head over heels with a lot of songs and albums in 2018. And although we couldn't list all of our favorites, we managed to winnow down the way-too-long list to some of our standout picks.

We also want to know what you, our listeners, loved this year. So head to FUV's 2018 Listener Poll and vote for your choices for album, song, and musical discovery. The deadline is Monday, December 10, at midnight. Even better? One winner chosen at random will receive a Crosley turntable with 10 of the "Best of 2018" albums on vinyl. Then the week before Christmas, we'll be counting down the Top 90 songs as chosen by you, followed by sets from the top albums.

Want to see what we liked? Follow along below.

Skip to: Alisa Ali | Russ Borris | Paul Cavalconte | Darren DeVivo | Dennis Elsas | Eric Gottlieb | Eric Holland | Carmel Holt | Rita Houston | Kara Manning | Corny O'Connell | Sarah Wardrop | Laura Fedele


 

Alisa Ali

Top 10 Songs (in no particular order)

1. Adrianne Lenker, "Symbol"
2. Ty Segall, "Every 1's a Winner"
3. Christine and the Queens (featuring Dâm-Funk), "Damn, dis-moi"
4. Parquet Courts, "Wide Awake!"
5. Caroline Rose, "Jeannie Becomes a Mom"
6. Hop Along, "Somewhere a Judge"
7. Arctic Monkeys, "Four Out of Five"
8. Kamasi Washington, "Fists of Fury"
9. Hozier, "Nina Cried Power"
10. Childish Gambino, "This is America"

Top 10 Albums (in no particular order)

1. Snail Mail, Lush
2. Hop Along, Bark Your Head Off, Dog
3. Mitski, Be the Cowboy
4. Kurt Vile, Bottle It In
5. Boygenius, Boygenius
6. Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer
7. Caroline Rose, LONER
8. Kali Uchis, Isolation
9. Arctic Monkeys, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
10. Ty Segall, Freedom's Goblin

Discovery of the Year
Snail Mail


 

Russ Borris

Top 10 Songs (alphabetical)

1. Childish Gambino, "This is America"
2. Father John Misty, "Mr. Tillman"
3. Hobo Johnson & the Lovemakers, "Peach Scone"
4. Jealous of the Birds, "Plastic Skeletons"
5. Kamasi Washington, "Fists of Fury"
6. Kurt Vile, "Rolling With the Flow"
7. Mormor, "Waiting on the Warmth"
8. Neko Case, "Curse of the I-5 Corridor"
9. Okkervil River, "Famous Tracheotomies"
10. Underworld and Iggy Pop, "I'll See Big"

Top 10 Albums (alphabetical)

1. Brian Fallon, Sleepwalkers
2. Caroline Rose, LONER
3. Joshua Hedley, Mr. Jukebox
4. Mitski, Be the Cowboy
5. Natalie Prass, The Future and the Past
6. Phosphorescent, C'est La Vie
7. Richard Swift, The Hex
8. Superorganism, Superorganism
9. The Decemberists, I'll Be Your Girl
10. Tracey Thorn, Record

Discovery of the Year
Hatchie
 


 

Paul Cavalconte

Top 10 Songs

1. Leon Bridges, "Beyond"
2. Hozier, "Nina Cried Power"
3. Caroline Rose, "Jeannie Becomes a Mom"
4. Mt. Joy, "Silver Lining"
5. Sunflower Bean, "I Was a Fool"
6. Low Cut Connie, "Beverly"
7. John Prine, "Summer's End"
8. Jim James, "Throwback"
9. Gorillaz (feat. George Benson), "Humility"
10. Neko Case, "Last Lion Of Albion"

Top 10 Albums

1. Paul Simon, In the Blue Light
2. Leon Bridges, Good Thing
3. Shannon Shaw, Shannon in Nashville
4. Amanda Shires, To the Sunset
5. The War and Treaty, Healing Tide
6. Elvis Costello & the Imposters, Look Now
7. Neko Case, Hell-On
8. John Prine, The Tree of Forgiveness
9. Death Cab For Cutie, Thank You for Today
10. Tracey Thorn, Record

Discovery of the Year
Caroline Rose


 

Darren DeVivo

Top 10 Songs

1. Belly, "Shiny One," Dove
2. Johnny Irion, "Salvage The Day," Driving Friend
3. Byron Isaacs, "Gypsy Wind," Disappearing Man
4. Jim James, "Throwback," Uniform Distortion
5. The Lemon Twigs, "Small Victories," Go To School - A Musical By The Lemon Twigs
6. Nick Lowe, "Crying Inside," Tokyo Bay single/EP
7. Israel Nash, "Lucky Ones," Lifted
8. Natalie Prass, "Short Court Style," The Future and the Past
9. Ty Segall & Freedom Band, "Every 1’s A Winner," Freedom’s Goblin
10. Tracey Thorn, "Queen," Record
(tie)   Bob Mould, "Sunshine Rock," Sunshine Rock  (to be released in 2019)
(tie)   Sunflower Bean, "Come For Me," King Of The Dudes EP  (to be released in 2019)

Top 15 Albums

1. Tony Bennett and Diana Krall (with the Bill Charlap Trio), Love Is Here to Stay
2. The Stanley Clarke Band, The Message
3. The Decemberists, I’ll Be Your Girl
4. Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, No Mercy In This Land
5. Amy Helm, This Too Shall Light
6a. King Crimson, Live In Vienna  December 1, 2016
6b. King Crimson, Meltdown - King Crimson Live In Mexico
7. Richard Lloyd, The Countdown
8. Paul McCartney, Egypt Station
9. Van Morrison and Joey DeFrancesco, You’re Driving Me Crazy - also The Prophet Speaks by Van Morrison
10. John Scofield, Combo 66
11. Paul Simon, In the Blue Light
12. Matthew Sweet, Tomorrow’s Daughter - also Wicked System Of Things
13. Richard Thompson, 13 Rivers
14. Ryley Walker, Deafman Glance
15. Kamasi Washington, Heaven And Earth

Discovery of the Year
Snail Mail


 

Dennis Elsas

Top 10 Songs (in no particular order)

1. Phosphorescent, "C'est La Vie No. 2"
2. Jade Bird, "Lottery"
3. Superorganism, "Everybody Wants to be Famous"
4. Maggie Rogers, "Light On"
5. Sunflower Bean, "Twentytwo"
6. Paul McCartney, "Come On to Me"
7. Caroline Rose, "Soul No. 5"
8. Aloe Blacc, "Brooklyn in the Summer"
9. Al Green, "Before the Next Teardrop Falls"
10. Amy Helm, "The Stones I Throw"

Top 10 Albums (in no particular order)

1. Paul McCartney, Egypt Station
2. Tom Petty, An American Treasure
3. Neko Case, Hell-On
4. Rosanne Cash, She Remembers Everything
5. Elvis Costello & the Imposters, Look Now
6. Bruce Springsteen, Springsteen on Broadway
7. Willie Nile, Children of Paradise
8. Florence and the Machine, High As Hope
9. Death Cab for Cutie, Thank You for Today
10. The Record Company, All of this Life

Discovery of the Year
Caroline Rose


 

Eric Gottlieb

Top 10 Songs

1. Caroline Rose, "Jeanie Becomes a Mom"
2. Jungle, "Heavy, California"
3. Sunflower Bean, "Twentytwo"
4. Childish Gambino, "This Is America"
5. Mitski, "Nobody"
6. Natalie Prass, "The Fire"
7. Rayland Baxter, "Casanova"
8. Phosphorescent, "New Birth in New England"
9. D'Angelo, "Unshaken"
10. Adia Victoria, "Dope Queen Blues"

Top 10 Albums

1. Caroline Rose, LONER
2. Natalie Prass, The Future and the Past
3. Jungle, For Ever
4. The Internet, Hive Mind
5. Anderson .Paak, Oxnard
6. Phosphorescent, C'est La Vie
7. Woody Jackson and various, Red Dead Redemption 2 (soundtrack)
8. Rayland Baxter, Wide Awake
9. Mitski, Be The Cowboy
10. Cardi B., Invasion of Privacy

Discovery of the Year
Caroline Rose - She put out a prior album, but it's a complete 180 of a person


 

Eric Holland

Top 10 Songs

1. Parquet Courts, "Wide Awake!"
2. Jungle, "Happy Man"
3. Cigarettes After Sex, "Crush"
4. Hozier, "Nina Cried Power"
5. Childish Gambino, "This is America"
6. Belly, "Shiny One"
7. Father John Misty, "Mr. Tillman"
8. Nick Lowe, "Tokyo Bay"
9. Underworld and Iggy Pop, "I'll See Big"
10. Janelle Monáe, "Make Me Feel"

Top 10 Albums

1. Courtney Barnett, Tell Me How You Really Feel
2. Glen Hansard, Between Two Shores
3. Elvis Costello & the Imposters, Look Now
4. Paul Simon, In the Blue Light
5. Caroline Rose, LONER
6. Kamasi Washington, Heaven and Earth
7. Kurt Vile, Bottle It In
8. Arctic Monkeys, Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino
9. Bettye Lavette, Things Have Changed
10. John Hiatt, The Eclipse Sessions

Discovery of the Year
Bodega


 

Carmel Holt

Top 10 Songs

1. Janelle Monáe, "Make Me Feel"
2. Big Red Machine, "Hymnostic"
3. Neko Case, "Curse of the I-5 Corridor"
4. Bodega, "How Did This Happen?!"
5. Cat Power (feat. Lana Del Rey), "Woman"
6. Childish Gambino, "This Is America"
7. Father John Misty, "Mr. Tillman"
8. Death Cab For Cutie, "60 and Punk"
9. Courtney Barnett, "Nameless Faceless"
10. Parquet Courts, "Wide Awake!"

Top 10 Albums

1. Cat Power, Wanderer
2. Father John Misty, God's Favorite Customer
3. Neko Case, Hell-On
4. Big Red Machine, Big Red Machine
5. The Breeders, All Nerve
6. Khruangbin, Con Todo El Mundo
7. Boygenius, Boygenius
8. Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer
9. Wye Oak, The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs
10. Mitski, Be the Cowboy

Discovery of the Year
Loma


 

Rita Houston

Top 10 Songs

1. Christine and the Queens, "Girlfriend"
2. John Prine, "Summer's End"
3. Brandi Carlile, "The Joke"
4. Hozier, "Nina Cried Power"
5. Rex Orange County, "Loving Is Easy"
6. Rosanne Cash, "Not Many Miles to Go"
7. Caroline Rose, "Soul No. 5"
8. Van Morrison, "Got To Go Where the Love Is"
9. Jade Bird, "Lottery"
10. Emily King, "Remind Me"

Top 10 Albums

1. John Prine, The Tree of Forgiveness
2. Brandi Carlile, By the Way, I Forgive You
3. Jonathan Wilson, Rare Birds
4. Shannon Shaw, Shannon in Nashville
5. Amos Lee, My New Moon
6. Christine and the Queens, Chris
7. Anqelique Kidjo, Remain in Light
8. Elvis Costello & the Imposters, Look Now
9. David Byrne, American Utopia
10. Neko Case, Hell-On

Discovery of the Year
The War and Treaty


 

Kara Manning

Top 10 Songs

1. Childish Gambino, "This is America" – No other song, especially its video which is a masterful, intricately layered work of art, captured the agony of contemporary America quite like Donald Glover's devastating cri de coeur.
2. Hatchie, "Sure" – As billowy and lush as shoegazing clouds.
3. Underworld with Iggy Pop, "Bells & Circles" – Smith, Hyde, and Pop's surprise Teatime Dub Encounters EP erupts with this chortling, surreal aero-odyssey; big beats and cheek entwined.
4. Young Fathers, "In My View" – A darkly beautiful incantation from the Scottish trio's prickly and bold third album, Cocoa Sugar.
5. Let's Eat Grandma, "Donnie Darko" – A meandering, arresting epic from the innovative Norwich duo.
6. The Orielles, "Old Stuff, New Glass" – The Halifax, Yorkshire band released one of the best debut albums of 2018, sparked by irrepressible gems like this one.
7. Pip Blom, "Come Home" – Amsterdam band fronted by Blom resurrects what was good about '90s music, but reexamines it with a contemporary cocktail of ardor and dread.
8. Fontaines D.C., "Chequeless Reckless" – A cracking indictment from the arresting Irish post-punk rockers. They have a mighty future ahead.
9. Little Dragon, "Lover Chanting" – Swedish bliss-makers always know how to make us dance.
10. Anchorsong, "Ancestors" – Masaaki Yoshida's delectable, danceable single that cleverly uses vintage Bollywood influences. It's found on his excellent album, Cohesion.

Top 11 Albums (no particular order)

1. Tracey Thorn, Record – Brilliant. A testament to the power of women's voices, perspectives, and resistance.
2. IDLES, Joy as an Act of Resistance – The Bristol band's second album is achingly personal and propulsive, with a lot to say about global chaos too.
3. Simian Mobile Disco,  Murmurations – James Ford and Jas Shaw's collaboration with London's Deep Throat Choir is transcendent and intuitive.
4. Our Girl, Stranger Today – The Brighton/London trio's hazy, gritty, dreamy debut album, produced by the savvy Bill Ryder-Jones, is a revelation. Our Girl's Soph Nathan, also of the Big Moon, is such a formidable guitarist and rivals Justine Frischmann for incandescent cool.
5. Neneh Cherry, Broken Politics – Cherry's fifth album (and her second working with Four Tet) tackles an incoherent world with measured fury, insight, and anguish.
6. Natalie Prass, The Future and the Past – Sugar-spun vocals delivered with ferocious empowerment and insight. And a crafty homage to Janet Jackson too.,
7. Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer – As much as Prince is missed, the endlessly inventive Monáe takes his influence and reinvents it with feminist savvy.
8. Courtney Barnett, Tell Me How You Really Feel – Barnett always casts a fearless, observant eye on the world around her; a perfect storm of her deft lyricism and fiery guitar playing.
9. Boy Azooga, 1,2 Kung Fu! – An effervescent debut by the Cardiff quartet, spearheaded by Davey Newington, that coolly zigzags between multiple ideas.
10. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Hope Downs – A dazzling first full album from the buzzy Aussie quintet. Hope Downs zips by in 35 breathless minutes, littering the road with sleek motorik grooves and jangling guitar.
11. Erland Cooper, Solan Goose – Gorgeous compositions, adrift in recollections of Orkney, the sea, and birds. Delicate but powerful, like a dewdrop-spun spider's web.

Discovery of the Year
Pip Blom, Fontaines D.C., and Eliza Shaddad  - Three bands and artists from three cities: Amsterdam (Pip Blom), Dublin (Fontaines D.C.), and London (Eliza Shaddad). They all need to come Stateside soon.


 

Corny O'Connell

Top 10 Songs

1. Caroline Rose, "Jeannie Becomes a Mom"
2. Christine and the Queens, "Girlfriend"
3. Cigarettes After Sex, "Crush"
4. Florence and the Machine, "Hunger"
5. Hozier, "Nina Cried Power"
6. Jungle, "Happy Man"
7. Leon Bridges, "Good Thing"
8. Nick Lowe, "Tokyo Bay"
9. Shannon Shaw, "Broke My Own"
10. Your Smith, "The Spot"

Top 10 Albums

1. Amos Lee, My New Moon
2. Caroline Rose, LONER
3. Death Cab for Cutie, Thank You For Today
4. Elvis Costello & the Imposters, Look Now
5. Florence and the Machine, High As Hope
6. Glen Hansard, Between Two Shores
7. Jungle, For Ever
8. Leon Bridges, Good Thing
9. The Record Company, All of This Life
10. Tracey Thorn, Record

Discovery of the Year
Rex Orange County


 

Sarah Wardrop

Top 10 Songs (in alphabetical order)

1. Courtney Barnett, "Sunday Roast"
2. Leon Bridges, "If It Feels Good (Then It Must Be)"
3. Neko Case, "Halls of Sarah"
4. Childish Gambino, "This Is America"
5. The Decemberists, "Once In My Life"
6. Amy Helm, "This Too Shall Light"
7. Janelle Monáe, "I Like That"
8. St. Vincent, "Fast Slow Disco"
9. Superorganism, "Everybody Wants To Be Famous"
10. Sylvan Esso, "PARAD(w/m)E"

Top 10 Albums

1. Courtney Barnett, Tell Me How You Really Feel
2. Jon Batiste, Hollywood Africans
3. Calexico, The Thread That Keeps Us
4. Neko Case, Hell-On
5. Amy Helm, This Too Shall Light
6. Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer
7. Natalie Prass, The Future and the Past
8. Amy Ray, Holler
9. Caroline Rose, LONER
10. Amanda Shires, To the Sunset

Discovery of the Year
Jealous of the Birds


 

Laura Fedele

Top 10 Songs (not including those on the Top 10 albums)

1. Hozier, "Nina Cried Power"
2. Iron & Wine, "What Hurts Worse"
3. Janelle Monáe, "Make Me Feel"
4. Jade Bird, "Lottery"
5. Lo Moon, "Real Love"
6. Phosphorescent, "New Birth in New England"
7. Cat Power (feat. Lana Del Rey), "Woman"
8. The War and Treaty, "Healing Tide"
9. Dawes, "Feed the Fire"
10. Father John Misty, "Mr. Tillman"

Top 10 Albums

1. Amos Lee, My New Moon
2. Brandi Carlile, By The Way, I Forgive You
3. John Prine, The Tree of Forgiveness
4. Neko Case, Hell-On
5. Calexico, The Thread That Keeps Us
6. Leon Bridges, Good Thing
7. Courtney Barnett, Tell Me How You Really Feel
8. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Tearing At The Seams
9. The Decemberists, I'll Be Your Girl
10. The Record Company, All of This Life

Discovery of the Year
Shannon Shaw

Long-term Love:
The music industry has changed so much since they started, I'm thrilled these artists haven't given up on releasing new albums:

1. Rosanne Cash, She Remembers Everything
2. Van Morrison, The Prophet Speaks
3. Paul Simon, In the Blue Light
4. David Byrne, American Utopia
5. Angélique Kidjo, Remain In Light