Best of 2018: Individual Ballots

2018 individual ballots

We’ve already shared our consensus lists of the Best Albums of 2018 and the Best Songs of 2018. Now here’s each writer’s individual top 10, along with some commentary where provided.

Adam Blyweiss:

1. John Coltrane – Both Directions at Once
2. Aphex Twin – Collapse EP
3. Meat Beat Manifesto – Impossible Star
4. Robyn – Honey
5. Sons of Kemet – Your Queen is a Reptile
6. Orbital – Monsters Exist
7. Nine Inch Nails – Bad Witch
8. Underworld & Iggy Pop – Teatime Dub Encounters EP
9. The Soft Moon – Criminal
10. Noname – Room 25

Ben Cohn:

1. Julia Holter – Aviary
2. Beach House – 7
3. Thou – Magus
4. Low – Double Negative
5. Deafheaven – Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
6. Daughters – You Won’t Get What You Want
7. Noname – Room 25
8. Robyn – Honey
9. Tim Hecker – Konoyo
10. Milo – Budding Ornithologists

Virginia Croft:

1) Golden Hour – Kacey Musgraves
2) Boygenius EP – Boygenius
3) Sex & Food – Unknown Mortal Orchestra
4) Be The Cowboy – Mitsuki
5) Astroworld – Travis Scott
6) Tell Me How You Really Feel – Courtney Barnett
7) Thank you for today – Death Cab For Cutie
8) Clean – Soccer Mommy
9) Bottle It In – Kurt Vile
10) Sparkle Hard – Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks

Ben Dickerson:

1. Saba – Care for Me
2. Petal – Magic Gone
3. Brockhampton – Iridescence
4. Snail Mail – Lush
5. Sidney Gish – No Dogs Allowed
6. Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour
7. Noname – Room 25
8. Mitski – Be the Cowboy
9. Pinegrove – Skylight
10. Jpegmafia – Veteran

Liam Green:

1. Nine inch Nails – Bad Witch
2. Pusha T – Daytona
3. Gas – Rausch
4. Emma Ruth Rundle – On Dark Horses
5. Thought Gang – s/t
6. Vince Staples – FM!
7. Deafheaven – Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
8. Robyn – Honey
9. Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour
10. Father John Misty – God’s Favorite Customer

Langdon Hickman:

1. Tribulation – Down Below
2. Emma Ruth Rundle – On Dark Horses
3. The Body – I Have Fought Against It
4. Low – Double Negative
5. Sumac – Love in Shadow
6. Mitski – Be the Cowboy
7. Pusha T – Daytona
8. Voivod – The Wake
9. Deafheaven – Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
10. Fieldworks – Metaphonics

Wil Lewellyn:

1. Strvngers – Amor/Noir
2. Pale Waves – My Mind Makes Noises
3. Emma Ruth Rundle – On Dark Horses
4. Evoken – Hypnagogia
5. Ministry – Amerikkkant
6. Voices – Frightened
7. Manes – Slow Motion Death Sequence
8. Chvrches – Love Is Dead
9. Twin Shadow – Caer
10. Post Malone – Beerbongs and Bentley

William Lewis: This year, as with many years, restraint and beauty lay within the music I was drawn to. I’m a sucker for the blatantly sad or unashamedly pretty, but these sounds are easy enough to make and can rapidly become self-indulgent and boring. It’s a fine line, but it takes something special to avoid rolling eyes and be noticed within the ever rising floodwaters of music to wallow in. That was the thin thread that ran through my top ten. Whether it was the prevailing sense of triumph in Kamasi’s lovely jazz-fusion epic, the sense of loss in the gorgeous sonic immersion of Dedekind Cut’s Tahoe or the heartfelt sorrow in the Lost Brothers’ gentle Irish ballads that comprised Halfway Towards a Healing. Beach House raised their customary lush dream-pop to new levels while Hookworms elevated Microshift above the great guitar music of 2018 with intricately layered songs brimming with sincerity. More impressive were Ben Howard’s surprising continued metamorphosis from young indie-pop crooner to master of mood and texture within his wistful folk origins and Low’s incredible return of bone and mind shattering quiet intensity with Double Negative. But it was relative newcomer Marlon Williams and his dedication to the traditions of songwriting that kept bringing me back. Make Way for Love is an album of love and loss, but it’s also a celebration of music over the ages and Williams’ remarkable voice managed to capture so many, while still sounding utterly unique. Lovely stuff.

1. Marlon Williams – Make Way for Love
2. Low – Double Negative
3. Ben Howard – Noonday Dream
4. Hookworms – Microshift
5. Beach House – 7
6. Lost Brothers – Halfway Towards a Healing
7. Dedekind Cut – Tahoe
8. Gruff Rhys – Babelsberg
9. Nils Frahm – All Melody
10. Kamasi Washington – Heaven and Earth

Timothy Michalik:

1. Lala Lala – The Lamb
2. Viagra Boys – Street Worms
3. Khruangbin – Con Todo el Mundo
4. Shopping – The Official Body
5. Noname – Room 25
6. Prince – Piano & A microphone 1983
7. Kurt Vile – Bottle It In
8. Glenn Jones – Giant Who Ate Himself
9. Father John Misty – God’s Favorite Customer
10. Camp Cope – How to Socialise

Patrick Pilch:
Adrienne Lenker – abysskiss
The Cradle – Bag of Holding
Earl Sweatshirt – Some Rap Songs
Doffing – Tower of Ten Thousand Miles
Fond Han – Wronked
Human People – Butterflies Drink Turtle Tears
Palberta – Roach Goin’ Down
Palm – Rock Island
Spirit of the Beehive – Hypnic Jerks
Yves Tumor – Safe in the Hands of Love

Honorable Mentions:
Miranda Winters – Xobeci, What Grows Here?
Sediment Club – Stucco Thieves
Famous Laughs – Sad Test 2018
Cindy Lee – Act of Tenderness
Public Practice – Distance is a Mirror
Hatchie – Sugar and Spice
Mono No Aware – S/T

Max Pilley:

1. Hookworms – Microshift
2. Let’s Eat Grandma – I’m All Ears
3. Kali Uchis – Isolation
4. Idles – Joy as an act of resistance
5. LUMP – LUMP
6. Insecure Men- s/t
7. BC Camplight – Deportation Blues
8. Idris Ackamoor/Pyramids – An Angel Fell
9. Parquet Courts – Wide Awake
10. Helena Hauff – Qualm

Sam Prickett:

1. Serpentwithfeet – soil
2. Mitski – Be the Cowboy
3. Fucked Up – Dose Your Dreams
4. Saba – Care for Me
5. Pusha T – Daytona
6. Parquet Courts – Wide Awake
7. Deafheaven – Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
8. Father John Misty – God’s Favorite Customer
9. Bambara – Shadow on Everything
10. Of Montreal – White is Relic/Irrealis Mood

Brian Roesler:

1. Pusha T – Daytona
2. Nine inch Nails – Bad Witch
3. Foxing – Nearer My God
4. Respire – Denouement
5. Deafheaven – Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
6. Daughters – You Won’t Get What You Want
7. Dance Gavin Dance – Artificial Selection
8. Beach House – 7
9. Death Grips – Year of the Snitch
10. Jeff Rosenstock – POST

John-Paul Shiver: It always seems when things are haywire in the world, people are more open to non-linear creativity. There is something to be said about this new popular fascination with Jazz. And yes, frontline smaller sites have written about it for two years previous to the overflow of press coverage that hit this year. But to have Coltrane, Monk, and Mingus re-issues in the same year, and be lauded as they should be, speaks to something else hovering in the cultural zeitgeist. We saw The New York Times cover the incredible producer and artist Ras-G. That’s a seminal moment for NYT. Getting in the beatscene. Wow. OK. Great for Ras-G, who’s been killing it for a sec. And on Waajeed’s From The Dirt, we get an honorable nod to the foundation of producers who created and built that original House and Techno sound. Dirt in fact shares the spirit of Lumberjacks in Hell compilation from Marcel Vogel, where a contemporary vision of that ’80s essence is most certainly alive. Both records slap the silly outta of that Big Box EDM fuckery that seems to get pimped out at raves in the Vegas desert. Records from Yazmin Lacey and Georgia Anne Muldrow stretched the idea of what 2018 R&B is, without blemishing one iota of integrity.

Kadja Bonet – Childqueen
Ryan Porter – The Optimist
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Sex and Food
Yazmin Lacey – When the Sun Dips 90 Degrees
Khruangbin – Con Todo el Mundo
Mildlife – Phase
Georgia Anne Muldrow – Overload
Idris Ackamoor/Pyramids  – An Angel Fell
Julian Dyne – Teal
Marcel Vogel – Lumberjacks in Hell

Jeff Terich: This was a weird year for music, but also a phenomenal one, and those aren’t contradictory statements. What made it great was, in part, a lack of a defining zeitgeist musical phenomenon. In terms of the way Treble’s writers voted, Mitski, Kacey Musgraves and Pusha T all had great years, as did Emma Ruth Rundle, a much deeper underground artist who deserves every last bit of accolades she gets for new album On Dark Horses. Likewise, most of the albums that resonated deepest with me were those that had little in common with each other, whether it was Sons of Kemet’s protest jazz, Yves Tumor’s dark, topical art pop, Thou’s majestic sludge or Daughters’ stunning return with added industrial menace. So no, this year wasn’t dominated by a personality like Kendrick Lamar or Beyoncé, which in some ways made it feel a little less grounded. But the free-for-all was thrilling nonetheless.

1. Iceage – Beyondless
2. Thou – Magus
3. Emma Ruth Rundle – On Dark Horses
4. YOB – Our Raw Heart
5. Sons of Kemet – Your Queen is a Reptile
6. Mitski – Be the Cowboy
7. Tribulation – Down Below
8. Sumac – Love in Shadow
9. Daughters – You Won’t Get What You Want
10. Yves Tumor – Safe in the Hands of Love

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