BIG EARS

Big Ears’ Favorite Albums of 2018

We’re days away from the end of 2018 and the start of 2019, a moment that makes us remember those busy moments a decade ago when we were in the throes of planning the Big Ears debut. So much has changed in music at large and within the festival itself that it’s surreal to remember that period. But what hasn’t changed is our commitment to listening widely and deeply and building a festival every year that we think captures the essence of modern innovators and influential legends in one long weekend.

And it’s been an incredible year of listening, from the fleet of jazz innovators shaping new frontiers to the way politics have infiltrated music on very personal levels. We’re happy to share top 10 (or so!) lists from much of our staff—brief little surveys of the state of sound in 2018.

 

Ashley Capps – Executive Director 

  • Sons of Kemet – Your Queen Is A Reptile (Impulse!)
  • The Necks – Body (Northern Spy)
  • Richard Thompson – 13 Rivers (New West)
  • Andrew Cyrille / Bill Frisell / Wadada Leo Smith – Lebroba (ECM)
  • Anna Thorvaldsdottir/ ICE – Aequa (Sono Luminus)
  • Makaya McCraven – Universal Beings (International Anthem)
  • Kim Kashkashian – J.S. Bach: Six Suites for Viola Solo (ECM)
  • Mary Halvorson – Code Girl (Firehouse 12)
  • Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour (MCA)
  • Nils Frahm – All Melody (Erased Tapes)

 

Carissa Stolting  – Managing Director

  • Clarice Jensen – For this from that will be filled (Miasmah)
  • Sons of Kemet – Your Queen is a Reptile (Impulse!)
  • Young Fathers – Cocoa Sugar (Ninja Tune)
  • 700 Bliss – Spa 700 (Halcyon Veil)
  • Carla Bozulich – Quieter (Constellation)
  • Anna & Elizabeth – The Invisible Comes to Us (Smithsonian Folkways)
  • Nils Frahm – All Melody (Erased Tapes)
  • The Body – I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer (Thrill Jockey)
  • Rafiq Bhatia – Breaking English (ANTI-)
  • Makaya McCraven – Universal Beings (International Anthem)

 

Steve Green – Booking, Co-Curator

  • Sons of Kemet –  Your Queen is a Reptile (Impulse!)
  • Makaya McCraven – Universal Beings (International Anthem)
  • Thou – Let our Our Names Be Forgotten (An Out)
  • Thou – Magus (An Out)
  • Thou – Inconsolable (An Out)
  • Phospherecent – C’est La Vie (Dead Oceans)
  • Kim Kashkashian – J.S. Bach: Six Suites for Viola Solo (ECM)

 

Bryan Crow – Booking Manager 
  • Les Big Byrd – Iran Iraq IKEA (PNKSLM)
  • Petite Noir – La Maison Noir / The Black House (Roya)
  • George Clanton – Slide (100% Electronica)
  • Yves Tumor – Safe in the Hands of Love (Warp)
  • Khraungbin – Con Todo El Mundo (Nite Time Stories)
  • Pusha T – DAYTONA (Def Jam)
  • SOPHIE – OIL OF EVERY PEARL’S UN-INSIDES (Future Classic)
  • Leikeli47 – Acrylic (Hardcover / RCA)
  • Sons of Kemet – Your Queen is a Reptile (Impulse!)
  • Dos Santos – Logos (International Anthem)

 

Ben Smith, Drone + Special Programs  

  • Altin Gün – On (Les Disques Bongo Joe)
  • Black Moth Super Rainbow – Panic Blooms (Rad Cult)
  • Daughters – You Won’t Get What You Want (Ipecac)
  • Daysee – Airbag
  • Freddie Gibbs – Freddie (ESGN / Empire)
  • Jerusalem In My Heart – Daqa’iq Tudaiq (Constellation)
  • Kikagaku Moyo – Masana Temples (Guruguru Brain)
  • Melody’s Echo Chamber – Bon Voyage (Fat Possum)
  • The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices w/ Lisa Gerrard – BooCheeMish (Prophecy Productions)
  • Rafiq Bhatia – Breaking English (ANTI-)
  • Young Fathers – Cocoa Sugar (Ninja Tune)

+ EPs:

    • 700 Bliss – Spa 700 (Halcyon Veil)
    • MUNYA – North Hatley (Luminelle)
    • Ramuh – Glowing Civilization (Nerve Altar)
    • Sudan Archives – Sink (Stones Throw)
    • William Wright – Salt Mass (Gezellig)

 

Boone Vires, Head of Marketing 
  • Earthless – From the West (Live) (Silver Current)
  • Kamasi Washington – Heaven and Earth (Young Turks)
  • Sleep – The Sciences (Third Man)
  • Pusha T – DAYTONA (GOOD; Def Jam)
  • Nils Frahm – All Melody (Erased Tapes)
  • Jon Hopkins – Singularity (Domino)
  • YOB – Our Raw Heart (Relapse)
  • Yves Tumor – Safe In The Hands of Love (WARP)
  • Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats – Wasteland (Rise Above)
  • Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour (MCA)

 

Emily Harenza- Marketing 
  • Rafiq Bhatia – Breaking English (ANTI-)
  • Yves Tumor – Safe In The Hands of Love (WARP)
  • Let’s Eat Grandma – All Ears (Transgressive)
  • Ian William Craig – Thresholder (Fat Cat)
  • Callie Ryan – Health (Outside Insight)
  • SOPHIE – OIL OF EVERY PEARL’S UN-INSIDES
  • Odetta  Hartman – Old Rockhounds Never Die
  • DJ Koze – Knock Knock
  • Jordan Munson – Until My Last
  • Tirzah – Devotion
  • Honorable Mention: Lotic – Power

 

Anna Woodard – Design & Branding 

  • Crack Cloud – Crack Cloud (Tin Angel)
  • Low – Double Negative (Sub Pop)
  • Yves Tumor – Safe in the Hands of Love (Warp)
  • Melody’s Echo Chamber – Bon Voyage (Fat Possum)
  • Blood Orange – Negro Swan (Domino)
  • Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel (Mom + Pop)
  • JPEGMAFIA – Veteran (fatbeats)
  • Eartheater-Irisiri (PAN)
  • Julia Holter – Aviary (Domino)
  • Tirzah -Devotion – (Domino)

 

Rebecca Potzner- Marketing
  • Yves Tumor – Safe in the Hands of Love (Warp)
  • Rafiq Bhatia – Breaking English (ANTI-)
  • Nils Frahm – All Melody (Erased Tapes)
  • A Day in the Life: Impressions of Pepper (Verve)
  • Bill Frisell – Music IS (Okeh)
  • Hanson – String Theory (3CG)
  • Sons of Kemet – Your Queen Is a Reptile (Impulse!)
  • Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour (MCA)
  • The 1975 – An Inquiry Into Online Relationships (Polydor)
  • The New Respects – Before the Sun Goes Down (Capitol)


 

Grayson Currin – Big Ears Writer 

  • Mind Over Mirrors – Bellowing Sun (Paradise of Bachelors)
  • Damien Jurado – The Horizon Just Laughed (Secretly Canadian)
  • Sumac – Love in Shadow (Thrill Jockey)
  • Blake Mills –  Look (Blake Mills 2017 PS)
  • Anna & Elizabeth – The Invisible Comes to Us (Smithsonian Folkways)
  • Yves Tumor – Safe in the Hands of Love (WARP)
  • Lonnie Holley –  MITH (Jagjaguwar)
  • Sons of Kemet – Your Queen Is a Reptile (Impulse!)
  • Mary Lattimore – Hundreds of Days (Ghostly International)
  • Sleep –  The Sciences (Third Man Records)
  • Angélique Kidjo – Remain in Light (Kravenworks)
  • Julia Holter – Aviary (Domino)

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