2018: Year in review

Christmas has passed and I hope everyone had a great holiday. I wanted to check in on this special post to review some of the great releases (and special anniversary re-releases) that have arrived in 2018. Basically, if you have a bunch of gift cards that you don’t know how to use, these are all solid recommendations to have your head bobbing and toes tapping.

Moorea Masa & The Mood- “Shine A Light”

Moorea Masa & The Mood is the only outfit that I have paid for a full concert ticket solely on the basis of seeing the opening act in 2018. I had to trust that the headliner was going to be as good as Moorea and Portland-based company. She’s the real deal; very gracious and interactive not only with fans and audiences in person, but engaged on social media.  The title track of the album is captivating, but don’t sleep on other hits such as “Ever Moving”, “I Can’t Tell”, “The Garden” and “Don’t Let Me Run (ft. Ural Thomas)”. Find the album on Masa’s site here.

Brandi Carlile- “By the way, I forgive you”

Brandi Carlile has long maintained my respect as a song writer and performer committed to crafting delicate and resounding narratives. Additionally, she throws down on some amazing cover songs every now and again. I was fortunate enough to see her perform at Cullen Hall about a year ago, where with two ensemble members she moved into a full acoustic part of her set, even ditching a mic. She is a performer who commands your attention and rewards audiences with authenticity and angelic tones. You can find her cathartic “By the way, I forgive you” tag in the song “Every Time I Hear That Song”. You can find an exclusive Red Vinyl of Carlile’s latest release, here.

For amazing cover songs, check out this link.

And, if you are interested in seeing Brandi perform, she will featured at The Old Settler’s Music Festival in Tilmon, TX on 4/11-14/2019. Find Tickets here.

Atmosphere- “When Life Gives You Lemons, Paint That Shit Gold” (10-year Anniversary Re-issue)

2018 saw the release of 2 Atmosphere albums, one of which being this 10 year anniversary reissue. While I enjoyed “Mi Vida Local” as a fresh progression for the Hip Hop Duo, I was pleased to be reminded of songs that stand up fittingly to the 10 year mark. This is a great album to relax around the house to and was a bright spot for the year. You can find your copy (either standard or deluxe) here.

The Suffers- “Everything Here”

The Suffers continue to impress me, and I always have to question whether or not I fawn over this Gulf Coast Soul outfit because they represent Houston so well. Yet, time and time again, I return to their wonderful song composition choices and musicianship. Aside from addressing what it’s like to wait through a hurricane, which strikes a chord with this Houstonian, “Everything Here” also has a Mother’s Day anthem for years to come as well as solid tracks “Won’t be Here Tomorrow”, “Do Whatever”, and solid interludes from Houston Rap Royalty Paul Wall and Bun B. Make sure to pick up your copy here.

Additionally, while a quick check of The Suffer’s touring schedule shows it may be awhile before they return to Houston, I highly recommend checking out the band when they make it near your city. They are wonderful live and will put a smile on your face.

Also, a bucket of Mexican beer for the band after the show is never a bad idea. Tell ’em I didn’t buy it, but got you to.

Doomtree- “False Hopes” (10-year Anniversary Re-issue)

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This is the album that was never really an album. This is essentially a glorified mixtape of some amazingly talented MC’s honing their craft. When originally released in 2008, label funds may not have afforded a vinyl release, so I was pleasantly surprised to catch this as an anniversary re-issue preorder as an announcement was made. You can find your copy directly from the label store here.

Wild Child- “Expectations”

Wild Child took me by storm in 2018. The Austin based folk pop outfit is at it again, crafting a concept album that fires on all cylinders. As a whole, this album speaks between Kelsey Wilson’s deeply powerful vocals and Alex Beggins’ smokey accompaniment. I do posit that tracks such as “Think it Over” and “The One” transport me to different times as well as show the versatility of the group. To find “Expectations” you can head here.

As an added bonus, Dualtone Records will be making a Wild Child compilation album of music from the band including some previously unreleased tracks for Magnolia Record Club to be released in January 2019. If you want a good mix of Wild Child through the years as well as the new releases, find that info here and sign up before 12/31/18.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats- “Tearing at the Seams”

After the success of a self titled album in 2016, I didn’t really know what to expect from Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. Sophomore Slump for commercial releases seems to affect most artists. There is a struggle to stay true to the writing process, which could mean that as an artist grows, their sound changes. Sometimes unnoticeably and sometimes drastically. Said activity can deplete the fan base that you have grown by releasing an album so successful and touring the original work. But, I am proud to say that Nathaniel Rateliff continues to deliver. “Tearing at the Seams” picks up on notes of what the self titled hit left off, but also adds depth with tracks “Say It Louder”, “You Worry Me” and “Boiled Over”. This is a great record to have on in the background of a small game night or collection of friends.

Blue October- “I Hope You’re Happy”

This release from Blue October arrives timely as it’s written from a different perspective than many of their others. Same contributors, but something in the way that people embrace growth and change in their personal lives ultimately comes through in the music. If you have payed any attention to frontman Justin Furstenfeld’s story, all of this makes sense. Check out the album and turn up the title track after finding it here.

Amos Lee- “My New Moon”

Amos charmed me with his 2005 self titled release and 2006’s “Supply and Demand” (which I hope gets reissued someday), but 2018 looks really good on Lee. I included the deluxe edition as a B-side vinyl is on the way in 2019. Admittedly, I have a preorder on the B-side portion which coincidently is the extra included in the digital version of the record. It’s no secret that I love a good cover, and Amos Lee has a haunting acoustic cover of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”. Since the download arrived in 2018, I opted to include it in this year’s review. Check it out and preorder yours here.

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