Posted by: cousinbrandon | December 26, 2018

The “Mixes” Series: Sober and Drunk, 2018

Because I liked the freedom it gave me last year, I’m sticking with the same “Best of…” format for 2018. That’s right: two playlists that no longer conform to the length of a compact disc, because who in the hell listens to CDs anymore anyway?! (Incidentally, I have a boom box and a huge CD collection at home, so I guess I’ve answered my own question.)

So, again, rather than creating two CD-length mixes, I’ve curated two long-play Spotify playlists representing the best “fast” and “slow” tracks of 2018. There is no intentional transition from song to song; rather, they’re simply alphabetized. (I should once again note that they are alphabetized by an artists for name, because Spotify is Spotify. Therefore, artists like Kristin Hersh are alphabetized by “K.”) I did, however, make sure to include no more than a single song by an artist on each playlist.

In general, I’m not sure how I would classify the music I most enjoyed in 2018. I listened to so many songs by so many bands that I couldn’t keep it straight at times. A lot of records just sort of blended into the next. And while there were some albums that I loved instantly, many didn’t hit me quite as hard after a single listen. Slow burns, I suppose.

Also, the best record I heard in 2018? It was released in 2017. Fuck. But I’ll get to that…

Album Cover of the Year:

Heart Bones – “Little Dancer” (single)


Record I Think I Like Despite Having No Idea What to Make of It Because It’s Raucous as All Hell:

The ArmedOnly Love (Throat Ruiner)


Top 20 Records of 2018:

20. DoeGrow Into It (Topshelf Records)
19. Pllush Stranger to the Pain (Father/Daughter Records)
18. Say Sue Me Where We Were Together (Damnably)
17. Camp Cope How to Socialise & Make Friends (Run for Cover)
16. SuperchunkWhat a Tine to Be Alive (Merge)
15. The Beths Future Me Hates Me (Carpark)
14. MitskiBe the Cowboy (Dead Oceans)
13. Hop AlongBark Your Head Off, Dog (Saddle Creek)
12. Weakened Friends – Common Blah (Don Giovanni)
11. The Breeders All Nerve (4AD)

10. Forth Wanderers Forth Wanderers (Sub Pop)


9. Remember Sports – Slow Buzz (Father/Daughter Records)


8. Frankie Cosmos Vessel (Sub Pop)


7. Swearin’ Fall into the Sun (Merge)


6. gobbinjr – ocala wick (Topshelf Records)


5. Car Seat Headrest – Twin Fantasy (Matador)


4. Connections Foreign Affairs (Trouble In Mind Records)


3. SlothrustThe Pact (Dangerbird Records)


2. Kal Marks – Universal Care (Exploding In Sound Records)


1. En Attendant Ana – Lost and Found (Trouble In Mind Records)


I listened to Lost and Found over and over and over again. I simply couldn’t get enough of it. A perfect, beautiful album from a Parisian band. Every listen felt fresh and new. Before 2018, I had never even heard of En Attendant Ana, and now I couldn’t imagine not gobbling up everything they put out. This 10-song collection is pretty much perfect, from its opening track (fittingly titled “Intro”) to album closer “I Don’t Even Know Your Name.” In the middle of the record stands what is arguably my favorite song of the year (if not for Connections’ “Cynthia Ann”), “Why Is Your Body So Hard to Carry?” The back-and-forth male/female vocals over a steady guitar riff and the cymbal crash at the two-minute mark is both sweet and exciting all at once. Maybe it makes the most sense of all that my favorite record of 2018 was released by a non-American band, and it stands as a reminder of what a shitshow this country has become, while beauty thrives elsewhere.

Album that Would Have Been “Album of the Year,” Hands Down, Had It Been Released in 2018 (Rather Than 2017):

SurrounderSurrpiounder (Crash Ride Records)


Surrpiounder was, by far, the best record I listened to this year. (Shout out to Steven from Heartbreaking Bravery for drawing this band to my attention.) I interacted with them several times via Facebook to extend my praise, only to (sadly) discover that they have since broken up. What a goddamn shame. They ripped it up but good. Political, smart, catchy, fun. This record has everything.

Again, there are no CDs (hard copies) this year. Your best bets are to a) listen to the Spotify playlist, or b) curate the playlists yourself in iTunes, Spotify, or some other type of music app. There are entirely too many songs below for me to link to all of them, so do yourselves a favor and listen to the playlists. Put the work in yourselves.

With that, I give you the 148 songs (yes, 148 songs!) that comprise my 2018 playlists…

Sober (The Best “Slow” Tracks of 2018):

1. Adrian Teacher and the Subs – “Anxious Love” (Anxious Love)
2. Bent Denim – “Downtown el Fenix” (Town & Country)
3. Bodies Be Rivers – “You Couldn’t Tell” (Things I’ll Tell You When You’re Older)
4. Bonny Doon – “A Lotta Things” (Longwave)
5. Born Ruffians – “Forget Me” (Uncle, Duck & The Chief)
6. The Breeders – “Blues at the Acropolis” (All Nerve)
7. Camp Cope – “The Opener” (How to Socialise & Make Friends)
8. Car Seat Headrest – “Stop Smoking (We Love You)” (Twin Fantasy)
9. Connections – “Something Else” (Foreign Affairs)
10. Cool American – “Happy You Said It” (Better Luck Next Year, Vol 3 EP)
11. Courtney Barnett – “Need a Little Time” (Tell Me How You Really Feel)
12. Dear Nora – “Creature of Habit” (Skulls Example)
13. didi – “moon jelly” (Like Memory Foam)
14. Dilly Dally – “Sober Motel” (Heaven)
15. Doe – “Even Fiction” (Grow Into It)
16. Dr. Dog – “Critical Equation” (Critical Equation)
17. Dusk – “Leaf” (Dusk)
18. Dusted – “Dead Eyes” (Blackout Summer)
19. Eleanor Friedberger – “Rule of Action” (Rebound)
20. En Attendant Ana – “The Violence Inside” (Lost and Found)
21. Ex-Vöid – “Boyfriend” (Ex-Vöid single)
22. Fenne Lily – “On Hold” (On Hold)
23. Fog Lake – “Dinosaur” (Captain)
24. Forth Wanderers – “Temporary” (Forth Wanderers)
25. Frankie Cosmos – “Vessel” (Vessel)
26. Fucked Up – “Normal People” (Dose Your Dreams)
27. Gabby’s World – “Eyes for You” (Beast on Beast)
28. Girlpool – “Hire” (Hire)
29. gobbinjr – “Sorry Charlie” (ocala wick)
30. Grandaddy – “Bison on the Plains” (Bison on the Plains single)
31. Haley Heynderickx – “Jo” (I Need to Start a Garden)
32. Heart Bones – “Disappearer” (Disappearer single)
33. Holy Motors – “Silently for Me” (Slow Sundown)
34. Hop Along – “How Simple” (Bark Your Head Off, Dog)
35. Hovvdy – “Petal” (Cranberry)
36. Illuminati Hotties – “For Cheez (My Friend, Not the Food)” (Kiss Yr Frenemies)
37. Interbellum – “Another Day” (Dead Pets, Old Griefs)
38. Jogging House – “Eyes” (Would)
39. Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridges, Lucy Dacus* – “Bite the Hand” (boygenius EP)
40. Kal Marks – “Today I Walked Down to the Tree, Read a Book, and When I Was Done, I Went Back Inside” (Universal Care)
41. Katie Ellen – “Still Life” (Still Life EP)
42. Kississippi – “Once Good” (Sunset Blush)
43. Long Neck – “Matriarch” (Will This Do?)
44. Lucy Dacus – “Nonbeliever” (Historian)
45. Mitski – “Old Friend” (Be the Cowboy)
46. Momma – “Belong on the Bed” (Interloper)
47. Mount Eerie – “Tintin in Tibet” (Now Only EP)
48. Mutual Benefit – “No Dominion” (Thunder Follows the Light)
49. Nap Eyes – “I’m Bad” (I’m Bad Now)
50. Neko Case – “Winnie” (Hell-On)
51. Nothing – “Zero Day” (Dance on the Blacktop)
52. The Ophelias – “Fog” (Almost)
53. Options – “Wash” (Vivid Trace)
54. Ovlov – “Spright” (TRU)
55. Palehound – “YMCA Pool” (YMCA Pool single)
56. Peach Kelli Pop – “Honey” (Gentle Leader)
57. Pedro the Lion – “Yellow Bike” (Yellow Bike single)
58. Pipsy – “Geek” (Users)
59. Pllush – “Elliot” (Stranger to the Pain)
60. Puppy Problems – “Comfortable” (Sunday Feeling)
61. Remember Sports – “Unwell” (Slow Buzz)
62. Sam Evian – “Now I Feel It” (You, Forever)
63. Say Sue Me – “Let It Begin” (Where We Were Together)
64. Slothrust – “Birthday Cake” (The Pact)
65. Snail Mail – “Stick” (Lush)
66. So Stressed – “Onion Paper” (Pale Lemon)
67. Soccer Mommy – “Last Girl” (Clean)
68. Special Explosion – “Fire” (To Infinity)
69. Squirrel Flower – “Not Your Prey” (Contact Sports)
70. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – “Middle America” (Sparkle Hard)
71. Superchunk – “Erasure” (What a Time to Be Alive)
72. Surrounder – “Spent” (Lawn Chairs // Surrounder split)
73. Swearin’ – “Treading” (Fall into the Sun)
74. They Might Be Giants – “The Greatest” (I Like Fun)
75. Tomberlin – “Untitled 1” (At Weddings)
76. Trace Mountains – “A Partner to Lean On” (A Partner to Lean On)
77. Weakened Friends – “Not Doing Good” (Common Blah)
78. Yo La Tengo – “You Are Here” (There’s a Riot Going On)
79. Yowler – “Petals” (Black Dog in My Path)

Drunk (The Best “Fast” Tracks of 2018):

1. Adrian Teacher and the Subs – “Pop Medicine” (Anxious Love)
2. The Armed – “Witness” (Only Love)
3. The Beths – “Great No One” (Future Me Hates Me)
4. Born Ruffians – “Miss You” (Uncle, Duck & The Chief)
6. The Breeders – “Wait in the Car” (All Nerve)
7. Camp Cope – “How to Socialise & Make Friends” (How to Socialise & Make Friends)
8. Car Seat Headrest – “Bodys” (Twin Fantasy)
9. Connections – “Cynthia Ann” (Foreign Affairs)
10. Cool American – “Every Little Favor” (Better Luck Next Year, Vol 3 EP)
11. Courtney Barnett – “Crippling Self Doubt and a General Lack of Self Confidence” (Tell Me How You Really Feel)
12. didi – “haru” (Like Memory Foam)
13. The Dodos – “Forum” (Certainly Waves)
14. Doe – “Labour Like I Do” (Grow Into It)
15. Dream Wife – “Somebody” (Dream Wife)
16. Dusted – “Five Hundred and Four” (Blackout Summer)
17. Eleanor Friedberger – “Make Me a Song” (Rebound)
18. En Attendant Ana – “Why Is Your Body So Hard to Carry?” (Lost and Found)
19. Ex-Vöid – “(Angry at You) Baby” (Ex-Vöid single)
20. Forth Wanderers – “Not for Me” (Forth Wanderers)
21. Frankie Cosmos – “Being Alive” (Vessel)
22. Fucked Up – “None of Your Business Man” (Dose Your Dreams)
23. GRLwood – “Wet” (Daddy)
24. Gulfer – “Secret Stuff” (Dog Bless)
25. HAVVK – “Always the Same” (Always the Same)
26. Heart Bones – “Little Dancer” (Little Dancersingle)
27. Hit Bargain – “Capitulate” (Potential Maximizer)
28. Hop Along – “What the Writer Meant” (Bark Your Head Off, Dog)
29. Hot Snakes – “I Need a Doctor” (Jericho Sirens)
30. Illuminati Hotties – “Shape of My Hands” (Kiss Yr Frenemies)
31. Jeff Rosenstock – “Yr Throat” (Post-)
32. Kal Marks – “Universal Care” (Universal Care)
33. Katie Ellen – “Adaptation of Para Todos” (Still Life EP)
34. Kississippi – “Rinse, Repeat” (Sunset Blush)
35. Liza Anne – “Small Talks” (Fine But Dying)
36. Lonely Parade – “Not Nice” (The Pits)
37. Long Neck – “Mine/Yours” (Will This Do?)
38. LOOSE – “Bruce” (Haircut EP)
39. Mike Krol – “An Ambulance” (An Ambulance/Never Know single)
40. Mitski – “A Pearl” (Be the Cowboy)
41. Mourn – “Epilogue” (Sorpresa Familia)
42. Muncie Girls – “Jeremy” (Fixed Ideals EP)
43. No Age – “Tidal” (Snares Like a Haircut)
44. Nothing – “You Wind Me Up” (Dance on the Blacktop)
45. Options – “Knocked” (Vivid Trace)
46. Ovlov – “Stick” (TRU)
47. Palehound – “Sea of Blood” (YMCA Pool single)
48. Parquet Courts – “Almost Had to Start a Fight/In and Out of Patience” (Wide Awake!)
49. Peach Kelli Pop – “Black Magic” (Gentle Leader)
50. Pipsy – “Whatever (If It’s Going to Come to This)” (Users)
51. Pllush – “Big Train” (Stranger to the Pain)
52. Remember Sports – “Up From Below” (Slow Buzz)
53. Retirement Party – “Are You My Mother?” (Somewhat Literate)
54. Ruler – “Keep Moving” (Winning Star Champion)
55. Salad Boys – “Psych Slasher” (This Is Glue)
56. Say Sue Me – “I Just Wanna Dance” (Where We Were Together)
57. Slothrust – “Planetarium” (The Pact)
58. So Stressed – “Very Long Cloth” (Pale Lemon)
59. Spider Bags – “Burning Sand” (Someday Everything Will Be Fine)
60. Stef Chura – “Degrees” (Degreessingle)
61. Superchunk – “What a Time to Be Alive” (What a Time to Be Alive)
62. Surrounder – “Immediation” (Lawn Chairs // Surrounder split)
63. Swearin’ – “Grow into a Ghost” (Fall into the Sun)
64. They Might Be Giants – “Let’s Get This Over With” (I Like Fun)
65. THICK – “Lyfe” (Would You Rather?EP)
66. Washer – “Super Pop” (Bethlehem Steel/Washersplit)
67. Weakened Friends – “Waste” (Common Blah)
68. Yo La Tengo – “Shades of Blue” (There’s a Riot Going On)
69. YOWL – “Warm (in the Soft White Fire of Modern Living)” (Warm (in the Soft White Fire of Modern Living)single)

If you’re looking for a CliffNotes version, I opted to make a third playlist comprising only 20 songs, selecting 1 song from each of my top 20 records. The songs act as a countdown of sorts, in that the first track comes from Doe’s Grow Into It, while the last track comes from En Attendant Ana’s Lost and Found. Make sense? Super.

Well, that’ll do it for 2018. With that, I now ask that you do the following four things:

  1. In the comments section, let me know your picks for the best songs, records, and anything else music of 2018. What did I miss? What do you violently disagree with? What are you wholeheartedly in agreement with? What the hell else?
  2. Should you choose to (or if you have already) put together a Best of 2018 playlist of your own, by all means send me a copy, or at the very least a track listing. I’ll do my best to post them on my blog.
  3. If you’re feeling nostalgic, go back and check out my Best of… mixes from years’ past. There’s a shit-ton of them.
  4. You’ve got Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and 7 billion other social media outlets at your disposal. Share this with the world, even if you only have two Twitter followers (and one of them is me).

Until the Best of 2019, have at it, you vultures!



  1. Thanks for putting this together, as always, man. I just tossed a shit ton of records into a playlist to sample stuff. I’ll drop all of the songs into a list as well when I’m not at work and have a bit more time. This is awesome. Thanks so much!
    I did a pretty terrible job of keeping up on stuff this year. I really liked this record by Lucy Arnell that Bob Nastanovich pointed out on the 3 Songs Pod. The Spires put out a really good record. I liked some stuff from the Calexico record a lot. Wye Oak’s had some good highlights. Some others that I liked: Parquet Courts, Richard Edwards, Neko Case, and Dr. Dog.

    Also, what happened to the Decemberists? Man, that record was like Silver Gymnasium levels of boring.

    • Oh, I just noticed the Spotify playlist built in. Awesome! Thanks for doing that as well, man!

  2. […] Last year I awarded the number one slot to An Attendant Ana, and I stand by that choice. The error, however, came in 2017, really, as I hadn’t heard Surrounder’s first record. So, Surrounder’s Surrpiounder got some gloss last year as the record I listened to more than anything else. This year, though, I made good. There is no record I listened to more consistently in 2019 than Surrounder’s Impossible Exchange (shout-out Jean Baudrillard). With their new drummer, Eric Moeller, in tow, Carrie Leigh Rogers and Ty Cummings put out six perfect songs that played over and over and over again on each and every device I owned. Hard to believe that six songs could continuously sound so fresh with each listen, but, alas, they pulled it off. What’s more, I got to put on my first-ever live show this past August, headlined by none other than Surrounder themselves (pics below). The three of them couldn’t have been sweeter, and they couldn’t have kicked more ass. Small-ish band? Maybe. But I implore you to get on board ASA & P. They’re too good, too political, and too important not to support but quick. […]

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