In place of a more traditional year-end best-of list, Talkhouse has asked some of our favorite artists to choose their favorite album of 2018 and tell us all about it.
—The Talkhouse Team
I picked three artists I’ve been listening to who released something in 2018: the first one is Lily Konigsberg. I found out about her through her band Palberta. She had two releases this year; one of them is a split with this guy Andrea Schiavelli, called Good Time Now, which has some incredible songs on it. The first song I heard was “Good Time.” It’s incredible. The lyrics are so simple. I’ve always been drawn to that, especially in my own work—how deconstructed can you get? How economic can you be? The song is like the most anxious song I’ve ever heard. She sings that she wants to have a good time—”Don’t wanna have to let you know I wanna have a good time now”—and that’s basically the whole song. The chords on the album are kind of traditional, but the timing is really crazy; it’s really organic in the way that it echoes Arthur Russell. It just seems to kind of pour out in a natural way that’s really special to me.
I also got really excited about JPEGMAFIA this year, as it seems a lot of other people did as well. That stuff is the most exciting, energetic chart music I’ve heard in a really long time. I’ve been touring a lot this year, so I’m constantly on my phone trying to think of what to play next, and what I heard when I stumbled upon that was so wild. The production of it is insane—every second is just so tended to and raw and meaningful. There’s not a dull moment. It’s pretty punk in my opinion. “Thug Tears,” “1539 N. Calvert”—they’re all special.
Then, there’s this guy 1010 Benja SL, who just put out his first EP last week. My friend sent it to me and was like, “Why do I recognize this?” and I realized he had two singles that were really popular earlier this year. The first song I heard was “Wind Up Space”; then I just heard the EP, and it’s really beautiful. The first two songs don’t have any drums, and the rest of the production is really sparse, and his voice builds up the whole mix. I think he’s based out of Kansas City, MO. It’s kind of left field—it feels removed from a lot of things, and very unique in the way he sings and in what he sings about. He seems unaffected by the climate of the music scene right now.
This is a totally unformed thought, but I think with Instagram and social media in general, it’s getting easier and easier to replicate a vibe—being cool, or looking a certain way—at least on the surface. It’s kind of shocking how you can dress yourself in this image and have people assume you lead a certain lifestyle. I think the same goes for music; Somehow it’s easier to put on the Thrasher hoodie or the Balenciaga shoes of music, and put out stuff that sounds good on the surface. But I think these are all artists who seem to be unaffected by these trends—they’re operating on their own wavelengths.
As told to Annie Fell.