Top Tunes ’18: Andrew Lampela< < Back to
Wow! 2018 has come and gone, and it’s about time we reflect on our favorite sounds of the past year. Leading up through the end of the year, WOUB Culture will be spotlighting what various music-centric people throughout the region have been enjoying the most for the past 12 months.
It feels particularly awkward compiling a year end list for 2018. After nearly two decades keeping up on trends being a necessity, this past year was completely untethered to anything remotely resembling popular culture. Jamming to the Country Legends playlist at work with Noah and Seymour in the mornings was just as fun as finding new artists. Two years ago me would disintegrate with rage at the mere thought, but here we are. So, aside from my eternally patient and forgiving girlfriend and a soul-replenishing text thread I’m in with Scotty and van Dorn, these are the things that kept me going this year.
Little Professor Books – Little Professor shaped a huuuuge chunk of my yearly listening. I went through some great books on ’60s/’70s free jazz, got pretty deep into the Muscle Shoals/Fame/Stax thing, thoroughly enjoyed revisiting my grunge-y college years through an oral history, and even dallied in a variety of classic country eras. Not to mention all the other great books I scored there. You know those sneaky people that take pictures so they can get it cheap and easy on Amazon? I’m the opposite. I’ve been shopping here for 30 or so years, and I can’t imagine buying books anywhere else.
Skeletonwitch – Devouring Radiant Light
I mean, of course my dudes were going to hit this list. However, they really hit it hard with their latest, easily their most dynamic album yet. ‘Am-I-your-dude?’ Adam Clemens assimilates in a big way, and the band takes a wild left turn into decidedly different territory with crazy long songs that show they can do much, much more than just three minute bangers (which they also still do really well!). It’s really great to see some of my buds getting the recognition they deserve for such a bold step forward. “Temple Of The Sun” is and forever shall be my jam!
This past year also marked my surrender to the powers of the algorithm. Spotify tells me that Max Richter is who I listened to the most. By an embarrassing large margin. Not wrong. I realize he’s pretty much the muzak of the ambient world, but damn, some of it is soooo good, and it led me down an incredibly fulfilling year of ambient and soundtracky stuff, so kudos to you Max.
Daniel Bachman – The Morning Star
My dude Daniel just keeps coming with the hits! This one is less about the American Primitive guitar song and more about the sprawling, subsuming mind of Daniel himself. It probably isn’t where I would tell people to start in his catalog (that would be the flawless double whammy of River and Orange Co. Serenade), but for anyone already acclimated to his world, The Morning Star is of a singular vision that really hits at what Daniel has been reaching for. One of my favorites in an already stacked discography.
Numero’s Basement Beehive playlist
I got super into the ’50s/’60s Girl Group thing early this past year, and Numero read my mind. While they made a more compact version available in their usually elaborate packaging, the Spotify playlist is where it is at. This thing is packed with cool songs I’d never heard before. I enjoy most of what they do, but this one was a timely addition to my listening habits.
Akula – Akula
This was actually the first new thing I listened to this past year, about six or seven times in a row on a flight back home from California. Bunch of Columbus dudes from other bands I like playing extended, progressive metal jams? Sign me up. There are some absolutely crushing parts to air-drum to on this thing, which I do every time I listen to it.
Pale Grey Lore – Pale Grey Lore
Another Columbus band that really nailed me this year. I’m very leery of the word ‘doom’ these days, as it more often than not means long two riff songs about weed and aliens and boy howdy is that shit played out, but these dudes come at it from the Nuggets-era and hone in on actual songs. I’ve had this record on pretty regular rotation, and am pretty excited to hear what comes next.
Poppy Ackroyd – Resolve
Just to show how out of touch I’ve been, I just found out one of my favorite artists put out this record. In February. Ugh, I’m the worst. This album, however, is fantastic. It’s her first album to feature other musicians, but it is unmistakably her. Great contemporary classical leaning compositions.
Athena Headache podcast – Full disclosure, I put together the last episode of this podcast. It involved digging out dusty old CDrs of mid-2000s noise music from Athens and beyond that featured, you guessed it, me and my friends gettin’ weird. The Aquabear Legion has always been super awesome about representing Athens music, but this spin-off really brought back the memories of such a great time with great people. It was fantastic to put together, and it’s pretty fantastic to listen to. Athens was a very strange place back then.
Träden – Träden
With several of the original members passing away in recent years, I really didn’t expect much, if any, new music from Träd Gräs och Stenar after 2017’s exceptional Tack För Kaffet. The Träden announcement was a pleasant surprise. Adding Hills rippers Reine Fiske and Hanna Österberg to the fold, Bo Anders Perrson continues to mine deeply immersive psych territory with sublimely satisfying results. One of my favorite albums and one of my favorite shows of the past year.