Cinderblock’s 2018 Music Picks

And just like that another year is coming to an end. 2018 was filled with its fair share of highs, such as the world rallying together to rescue the trapped soccer team in Thailand, and the lows, like the soccer team in Thailand getting stuck in a cave in the first place... 2018 was a big year for many artists and there were some pretty iconic songs (and videos) released. Just like last year, our team decided to throw together our list of favorites. Unfortunately, we were limited to two albums and one single, and trust us this was a VERY hard decision for almost every member on our team. This is by no means a de facto ranking - there were a LOT of amazing albums released this year that are not featured. Hit us up on social media if you want to talk more music, we are always down.  Alas, we are excited to share with you our top music picks for a very difficult year! Make sure to check out our playlist of highlight tracks here on Spotify. Cheers to 2019!

 

The Albums:

 

RAINBOW VALLEY  by Matt Corby

Matt Corby has been in the airwaves for many years now. He has crossed genres and styles both in his singles and within this album alone. It has an outstanding production backed with lo-fi textures throughout. Somehow Corby knows how to create orchestral sounds with unique instruments you’d never think to use. My suggestion is to listen to this album straight through in one listen. Then rinse and repeat.

Standout track: Miracle Love

- Jake Ryan Hull

 



 

MALIBU NIGHTS by LANY

Synth-pop trio LANY’s second record album was a WINNER. Frontman Paul Klein’s split from Dua Lipa meant we were going get some EMOTIONAL AF songs, but what we were not prepared for was the catchy beats paired with literally the story of Paul’s broken heart healing. If you pay attention, you could categorize each of the nine tracks into one of the stages of grief. The best way to listen to this album is with it turned all the way up and your windows all the way down as you relive your last heartbreak and slowly let Paul’s dreamy voice heal your soul.

Standout track: If You See Her

- Shabby Talebi

 

 

SWIMMING by Mac Miller

For as long as I’d been aware of Mac Miller, I was one of many who had written his music off as “frat rap.” I had liked a few songs in college, some of which had some real depth despite my shallow perception, but overall, I’d never considered him as a true musical force. When Mac died in September of a drug overdose, I was in the midst of my own struggle with suicidal thoughts. Suddenly, Mac and I were the same. It wasn’t until I watched his NPR Tiny Desk performance that I got a taste of the music that Mac had released just a few months before his death and now - I was devastated. In Swimming, I found the thoughtful musings of a young man that had achieved fame at a young age and had learned that celebrity was hollow. I found an earnest, honest voice searching for truth. I found melodies that were a diverse mix of funky, groovy, trappy, upbeat, laid-back and introspective. Most of all, I found the spirit of man that could see a world where everything was okay, but it always seems just beyond reach, which is an all-too-familiar feeling.

Standout track(s): 2009, Small Worlds, Ladders

- Nick Melita

GOOD THING by Leon Bridges

Leon Bridges topped the year as my most listened to on Spotify so it was only right that I continue here with the shoutouts. Good Thing graced our headspace at just the right time making the wait well worth it. From the, what we all need to do more of opening lyrics, “I better slow down,” to the genre nonconforming style of Lions, it’s evident that Leon will continue to be the old soul we all love while also keeping us hungry for more timeless grooves. Thank you to all the hands on this album. You’ve given us the ultimate gift that will never, can never, and should never be forgotten.

- Conner Key

 

UNTITLED (AITAOA #2) by Portico Quartet

What a confluence of energy and purpose these lads have constructed here. Hooks and melodies so addictive you almost miss the undercurrent of sadness and loss present in almost every stanza.

Standout track(s): Index, Unrest

- James Trammell

 

GUMBO UNPLUGGED by PJ Morton

Gumbo was great, but this unplugged version really brings the album to life. The grooves are infectious and the arrangements and guest features are fantastic. A lovely live album, this one. “How Deep is Your Love” is a standout here.

Standout track: How Deep Is Your Love

- Brandon Henry

 

RVLTN (Chapter 1) - THE DIVIDED STATES OF AMERIKKKA by Bobby Sessions

As the most recent hometown hero to achieve a major label signing, I imagine many people shared my high anticipation for Bobby Sessions’ first release with major label backing. To me, what makes Bobby Sessions stand out from his contemporaries is his laser-like focus. He has a distinct ability to relay his message with a masterful level of poetic clarity. This is especially evident in “RVLTN (Chapter 1) - The Divided States of AmeriKKKa” where Bobby raps about the black experience, political hypocrisy, and explores the difficulties of making a political change from multiple perspectives. All at once, this EP makes me confront my privilege, gives me great hope and makes me want to be a better ally to everyone that's not a cis straight white male.

- Nick Melita

 

FOR EVER by Jungle

Everyday is Friday when listening to the synth and sample jams Jungle gave us this year, but I wouldn’t recommend holding them to just your morning commutes. The visual vibes you get from the Heavy California video add a completely new canopy to why I love this group. If new to you, start with their video catalog, just be prepared to immediately feel the need to dance like no one’s watching.

- Conner Key

 

 

 

GLORIETTA by Glorietta

The supergroup everyone is talking about. Band leader, Matthew Logan Vasquez, along with Noah Gundersen, David Ramirez, Kelly Wilson, Adrian Quesada, Jason Robert Blum (also featuring Nathaniel Rateliff), have figured out how to piece together their unique style and voices into one new fusion sound unlike any of them can accomplish apart. I might be biased because of the band lineup alone but this album is definitely one of my favorites of the year.

Standout track: Someday

- Jake Ryan Hull

 

 

EX:RE by EX:RE

A work written about the time just after a breakup, Ex:Re (pronounced X-Ray) structures her solo debut as a collection of letters beautifully confessing the most vulnerable places. In spite being the lead singer of Daughter, nothing about this release is deductive or unoriginal. It’s a must for anyone that has feelings; let the electric darkness bring clarity and parity and relief.

Standout track(s): Crushing, Too Sad

- James Trammell

 

I MET YOU WHEN I WAS 18. by Lauv

I realize that I tend to gravitate towards music about heartbreak but is that a bad thing? I think NOT. I met you when I was 18 is beautiful and I am SO excited to see what the future has in store for this new artist. Almost every single track is a standout for me in it’s own way but if I HAD to pick ONE (and I do), it would be “Breathe”.

Standout track: Breathe

- Shabby Talebi

 


 

JOY AS AN ACT OF RESISTANCE by IDLES

This one manages to be ferocious and poignant while delivering some of the funniest lines of the year. It’s an urgent and vital record. The abrasive opener “Colossus” sets the tone for the album perfectly with its mix of fury and humor. Buckle up.

Standout track: Colossus

- Brandon Henry


 

The Singles:

ROSE OF SHARON by Mumford and Sons

This song off their new record, Delta, is interesting. It combines the Mumford that you remember from ‘Babel’ combined with aspects from ‘Wilder Mind’ all in a refreshing new production style.

- Jake Ryan Hull

WHEN THE PARTY’S OVER by Billie Eilish

The second single released from Billie’s long-awaited debut album is definitely “a mood”. This song makes you feel things. At first, it seems like a sad song but then you realize it’s kind of a big F YOU to someone that you just need to let go of. All I gotta say is SIS LET HIM GO.

- Shabby Talebi

THIS IS AMERICA by Childish Gambino

Donnie G is forever my dude and every 2018 list should include this iconic track.

- Nick Melita

COLD WAR by Cautious Clay

- Conner Key

MAKE ME FEEL by Janelle Monáe

- Brandon Henry

RUNAWAY by Anchor North

- James Trammell

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