Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 20 years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, and B-movies. Part time ninja. Kicked cancer’s ass. My memoir, ChemBro, is out now!
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Wondering how awesome the year in music was? Well wonder no more, because it’s time for my top albums, live performances, and interviews of 2018! Here we go!
Top Ten Albums of 2018
There was no shortage of great albums released in 2018. In fact, there were over 50 albums that I considered for my list at various times during the year. The following are my top ten, the absolute best of the best, and I start at #1, because I know that’s what you want to know first.
1. Larkin Poe – Venom & Faith
Back-to-back years at #1 (a feat no other artist has accomplished here), and a third consecutive year in my Top 3, Blues/Roots Rock 'n' Roll sister duo Larkin Poe are undeniably one of the best acts in music today. Every time I think they can’t possibly get better, they somehow find a way to. Venom & Faith is the latest pinnacle in their career.
2. Oddnote – Oddnote
A Nashville-based grunge band, Oddnote could melt faces in just about any era of music, and their debut album is a welcome addition to any modern rock playlist.
3. Lucy and the Rats – Lucy and the Rats
When you mix an Aussie rocker frontwman with a bunch of veterans from the London punk scene you get Lucy and the Rats, a band that sounds like they’d be right at home doing shots with The Go-Go’s.
4. CHVRCHES – Love Is Dead
Synth-pop at its finest, Love Is Dead is a fantastic album, and the single “Miracle” may very well be one of the best pop songs of the decade.
5. Hayley Coupon – Wire and Rope
If you combined the best qualities of every adult-contemporary singer of all-time you’d get Hayley Coupon. I’ve admired her music for years, and her full length debut does not disappoint.
6. Donna Missal – This Time
A soulful songstress with powerful vocals, and personal lyrics, Donna Missal’s This Time feels like a grown up version of an Ariana Grande album, and that’s a very beautiful thing.
7. The Prettybads – Meet The Prettybads
With their unique brand of blistering punk rock that features an occasional infusion of ’60 pop, I was more than happy to Meet The Prettybads, and rock out to them on a regular basis.
8. Fjer – You Again
I’ve been a fan of Fjer’s music for a quite a while. A Danish pop artist with an angelic voice and deep ‘90s R&B influences, with her full length debut, You Again, she created a fantastic album that appeals to both old school, and new school music fans alike.
9. Lily Allen – No Shame
Lily Allen returned this year with a bang (that’s a pun for folks who’ve heard the album). No Shame is by far her most deeply personal album to date, and as she dug deep into her emotions she created some of her best work yet.
10. The Interrupters – Fight The Good Fight
Ska-punk rockers The Interrupters are here to Fight The Good Fight, and with Aimee Interrupter’s gravely voice leading the way, a battle has never sounded so good.
Top Ten Live Shows of 2018
If you’ve read this site for any length of time you already know I’m a huge fan of live music. During the course of a year I’ll see anywhere from 50 to 100 acts live. Heck, if you’ve ever met me I’ve probably invited you to a show.
Of all the shows I attended in 2018, the following ten are the ones that stood out most, with the date of each show in parenthesis.
Tragedy: All Metal Tribute to the Bee Gees & Beyond at The Acoustic (6/8)
Larkin Poe at Bowery Ballroom (11/19)
The Interrupters at Warped Tour L.I. (7/28)
LTrain, and J & the 9s at Otto’s Shrunken Head (7/16)
JOATA and Better Royals at The Acoustic (9/8)
Gin Blossoms, Vertical Horizon, and Tonic at Alive@Five (7/19)
Lily Allen at Terminal 5 (10/20)
Jocelyn & Chris Arndt at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 (6/2)
Anna Rose at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 (4/12)
Hayley Coupon at The Standard Hotel (2/2)
Top Five Interviews of 2018
I interview A LOT of artists over the course of a year, and I like to think each feature provides unique insight into the subject’s life. Of course, there are also interviews that go completely off the rails, and end up an unbelievably good time. When putting together my Top 5 Interviews of 2018 I chose a little bit of column A, and a little bit of column B.
The Nectars – This one started off with a wild story about the first concert one of The Nectars attended, and closed with a hilarious in-depth debate about theme parks. It was quickly revealed not every member of the band would be interested in a lifetime pass to Six Flags. – Read the feature at Stacking The Deck with The Nectars
Better Royals – This was an interview that actually took place in my living room, as I’m old friends with Better Royals’ founder Klokwize, and we all drove back to my place after their show at The Acoustic, which I happen to live around the corner from. A relaxed mood set the tone for the band to discuss their amazing origin story that involves everything from hair metal to misinterpreted hugs. – Read the feature at Stacking The Deck with Better Royals
Scott Waldman – Artist, manager, and industry insider, Scott Waldman dropped some knowledge in this interview, while also having a lot of fun. To cap it all off he shared a story about the time he met pro wrestling legend Bret The Hitman Hart. – Read the feature at Stacking The Deck with Scott Waldman
Wordburglar – Discussions about everything from Blockbuster Video, to the concept of nostalgia in modern times, made this interview great. – Read the feature at Vid Pick: Wordburglar – Rental Patient
Tatiana DeMaria – This interview featured talk of skipping school to watch MTV, nearly performing with Ozzy, and nearly meeting the Queen of England TWICE … and that’s just in the first half of the conversation! – Read the feature at Stacking The Deck with Tatiana DeMaria
That’s a wrap for my Best of 2018. I hope you enjoyed it! Here’s to more great albums, concerts, and interviews in the year ahead!