My Top Five Albums of 2018

1 – Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel

I’m nostalgic for the mood the Pacific Northwest sound of the mid-90s evokes, and I’m always, secretly, mostly sub-consciously, searching for it. It’s like chasing my youth, I suppose — always further out of reach and slowly fading. And although she’s from Australia, Courtney Barnett’s album Tell Me How You Really Feel triggered this feeling in me the first time I put it on. It transported me back to the fleeting moments I initially heard Sleater-Kinney’s Dig Me Out and Elliot Smith’s Either/Or. They are experiences that are impossible to recreate, and when an album comes close, it’s always unforgettably unexpected. From the first chord to the last snare, Tell Me How You Really Feel is the best record of the year.

2 – Jeff Tweedy – WARM

I know, it isn’t fashionable to say so, but I never really fell in love with Wilco. Yes, I’m stubborn and insufferable. We went on a few dates but just didn’t connect. I don’t know if I was just being standoffish and unwilling to open up, or what. I’m positive I will not revisit that time in my life, but I’m open to new things, like WARM by Wilco’s frontman Jeff Tweedy, which is exceptional. It resonates innocence and brings a semblance of folky balance to a world filled with fear, chaos, anxiety and MAGA a-holes. I have no idea if countering this reality was Tweedy’s intention with WARM, but fuck intention, it’s what it does for me and I’m selfish like that.

3 – Mudhoney – Digital Garbage

Mudhoney’s Digital Garbage is straight up gritty, anti-establishment political rock. Something about Mudhoney never gets old. Digital Garbage is the perfect antidote to Trump madness.

4 – Dean Wareham vs Cheval Sombre: Dean Wareham vs. Cheval Sombre

Dean Wareham (Galaxie 500, Luna, Dean & Britta) doesn’t follow trends, he creates them. His latest project Dean Wareham vs Cheval Sombre is an easy, blissful listen. It’s been on heavy rotation in our house for months and it should be in yours as well. He also graciously donated a wonderful track for our 25th-anniversary benefit album, Defend the Scoundrels.

5 – The Skiffle Players – Skiff

The Skiffle Players is an all-star band with an all-star album. Do yourself a favor and take a bite out of Skiff.

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JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book, co-authored with Jeffrey St. Clair, is Big Heat: Earth on the Brink. He can be reached at joshua@counterpunch.org. You can troll him on Twitter @joshua__frank.

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