2018 was another year.
Burst & Bloom was busy, with the following seven releases in 2018:
Late Lights Late Lights, Guy Capecelatro III Splintering, Songs for Pam compilation, The Eastern Sleds There’s No Place Left To Go, Cape Breton Poems book + CD by Guy Capecelatro III, Tangle of Bone book by Rebecca Hennessy, Jim Rioux yes I will Yes.
We encourage you to seek them out if you haven’t already. As we do each year, we solicited “top ten” lists from some Burst & Bloom artists, friends, and family, and we present them here for you.
Guy Capecelatro III
Top tens in no particular order
- Ex: Re “s/t”
- Valley Maker “Rhododendron”
- Trace Mountains “A Partner to Lean On”
- Jenn Champion “Single Rider”
- Cade “s/t”
- Goodbye Max “s/t”
- Gabby’s World “Beast on Beast”
- Cinder Well “The Unconscious Echo”
- Damien Jurado “The Horizon Just Laughed”
- Spring Onion “I Did My Taxes for Free Online”
- Anna & Elizabeth “The Invisible Comes to Us”
- Sorry “Home Demos Volume II”
- Sam Moss “Neon”
- Kid Coyote “On Borrowed Lawns”
- Typhoon “Offerings”
- Sam Buck “Borderline”
- Advance Base “Animal Companionship”
- Saccharine “Hollow Space”
- Footings “s/t”
- Adrianne Lenker “I Still Hear You”
- Foxwarren “s/t”
- Rick Rude “Verb For Dreaming”
- Pinegrove “Skylight”
- Yowler “Black Dog in my Path”
- Won’t You Be My Neighbor
- The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
- Lean on Pete
- The Endless
- Juliet, Naked
- Sorry to Bother You
- Leave No Trace
- You Were Never Really Here
- Deadpool 2
- Free Solo
- Who are We Now
- Better Call Saul
- The Americans
- The Deuce
- The End of the Fucking World
- Sharp Objects
- Mr. Inbetween
- High Maintenance
- Get Shorty
My Top 10 Favorite Songs of 2018
- Lemon Twigs “Home Of A Heart (The Woods)”
- Soccer Mommy “Your Dog”
- Iceage “Pain Killer”
- Mitski “Why Didn’t You Stop Me?”
- Migos “Stir Fry”
- Thom Yorke “Suspirium”
- Unknown Mortal Orchestra “Not In Love We’re Just High”
- Kyle Craft “Gold Calf Moan”
- Drake “Nice For What”
- Cardi B “I Like It”
- Snail Mail “Heatwave”
- Zhu “Still Want You”
- Lemon Twigs “If You Give Enough”
- Jungle Green “Why Do You Treat Me Like You Do?”
- Travis Scott “Sicko Mode”
Sean Hood (Eastern Mountain Time)
Top 10 Albums of the Year
- Kacey Musgraves “Golden Hour”
- Sam Buck “Borderline”
- Neko Case “Hell-On”
- Mitski “Be The Cowboy”
- Brent Cobb “Providence Canyon”
- Will Oldham “Songs of Love and Horror”
- Jeff Tweedy “WARM”
- boygenius “boygenius” EP
- Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit “Live at the Ryman”
- Iron & Wine “Weed Garden” EP
Top 10 Reissues / RSD Releases / Rarities / etc.
- Prince “Nothing Compares 2 U” 7” (Ltd. Vinyl Release)
- Gillian Welch “Soul Journey” (First Vinyl Pressing)
- The Promise Ring “Wood / Water” (Vinyl Reissue)
- Crooked Fingers “Red Devil Dawn” (Vinyl Reissue)
- Neil Young “Roxy (Tonight’s The Night Live)” (RSD)
- Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band “Live at the Roxy (July 7, 1978)” (Download)
- Songs: Ohia “Love & Work: The Lioness Sessions”
- Wilco “Live at the Troubadour L.A. 1996” (RSD)
- Bob Dylan “More Blood, More Tracks: The Bootleg Series Vol. 14”
- The Beatles “The Beatles (White Album)” (Deluxe Reissue)
Top 10 Concerts of the Year (Chronologically)
- Phoebe Bridgers & Francesca Blanchard @ Higher Ground in Burlington, VT (February 25th)
- Richard Buckner @ The Study Hall in Burlington, VT (March 6th)
- Brent Cobb & Savannah Conley @ Higher Ground in Burlington VT (April 6th)
- Jeff Tweedy & Ohmme @ The Corona in Montreal (April 12th)
- Margo Price & Aaron Lee Tasjan @ Higher Ground in Burlington, VT (April 22nd)
- Yonatan Gat @ Waking Windows Winooski in Winooski, VT (May 6th)
- Sturgill Simpson @ The Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, VT (June 14th)
- Alex Cameron & Jackie Cohen @ ArtsRiot in Burlington, VT (August 4th)
- Mitski & Sidney Gish @ Higher Ground in Burlington, VT (August 15th)
- Neko Case & Thao (of the Get Down Stay Down) @ Fuller Hall in St. Johnsbury, VT (September 27th)
Chris Locke (Late Lights)
The TEN BEST Books of Poetry I Read In 2018
As the title suggests, these are the ten best books of poetry I read this past year. Granted, some of these titles may have been published in 2017, but I was only able to get around to them now.
What can I say; I pretend to be a busy guy. In any event, here are the books, in no particular order:
- THE ABRIDGED HISTORY OF RAINFALL by JAY HOPLER (McSweeney’s Poetry Series)
- THE CARRYING: POEMS by ADA LIMON (Milkweed Editions)
- RAIL by KAI CARLSON-WEE (BOA Editions)
- EARTHLING: POEMS by JAMES LONGENBACH (W.W. Norton)
- NIGHT SKY WITH EXIT WOUNDS by OCEAN VOUNG (Copper Canyon Press)
- CAPTIVE IN THE HERE by GARY METRAS (Cervena Barva Press)
- CAPE BRETON POEMS by GUY CAPECELATRO III (Burst & Bloom)
- CALLING A WOLF A WOLF by KAVEH AKBAR
- A CRUELTY SPECIAL TO OUR SPECIES by EMILY YUNGMAN YOON (ECCO Press)
- PRIEST TURNED THERAPIST TREATS FEAR OF GOD by TONY HOAGLAND (Milkweed)
Dylan Metrano (Tiger Saw, Cape Snow)
Well, I’m not the first to note that it was Donald Glover’s year; between “This is America” (Song of the Year! Video of the Year!) and Atlanta (TV Show of the Year!- this can’t be overstated. Best show on television.) and his performance as Lando in Star Wars and even his unused Deadpool script… I missed the Boston date on the Gambino tour, but I’m sure it was awesome.
- Leon Bridges “Good Thing” A seamless blend of classic and modern r&b sounds. Great songs.
- Damien Jurado “The Horizon Just Laughed” His best record to date. Gorgeous melodies / harmonies.
- Mary Lattimore “Hundreds of Days” So much feeling in this music. HARP.
- Rosalía “El Mal Querer” Innovative rhythms, grooves and innovation.
- Dylan Earl and the Reasons Why “New Country To Be” Timeless country.
- Rhye “Blood” Rhye keeps doing their thing. Still sounds great.
- Sean Kuti & Egypt 80 LEGACY. “Black Times” see also Femi Kuti “One People One World”
- boygenius “boygenius” EP These three are on fire. “Ketchum, ID” is a classic already.
- Sam Buck “Borderline” EP MORE COUNTRY on my list. What?
- Soggy Po’ Boys “Smoke” Classy boys on the dance floor.
- Childish Gambino “This is America” Feels like a whole album’s worth of ideas in 3:46.
- Sade “The Big Unknown” and “Flower of the Universe” NEW SADE! Then MORE NEW SADE!
- Camila Cabello “Havana” This groove.
- Janelle Monae “The Way You Make Me Feel” Hi, Prince.
- Cardi B “I Like It” Not sold on the entire album, but I do love this song.
- Prince “Nothing Compares 2 U” So good. Weird that he sat on this for so long, and even previously released a far inferior live take. Looking forward to more gems from the vault.
Honorable mention: Elvis Costello, Blood Orange, Songs: Ohia, Lucy Dacus, Jim Rioux, Nina Simone / Lauryn Hill mashup… Bonnie “Prince” Billy live at One Longfellow Square in Portland, Maine…
Top 10 lists for me have always been hard.
I rarely have true favorites as that I can find something beautiful in so many things. In fact I hate password drop downs on most sites, What’s your favorite movie, who was your favorite teacher, where’s your favorite place, etc. There just so much I love about so many things. Beyond that particular aperture that make Top 10 Lists hard, I also am not a massive consumer these last years. I guess that I am in the world but not really of the world, not in a religious way, but in a more personal way. I want to experience and know about things I haven’t experienced yet, but I am not compelled to seek them out. Instead I prefer life or fate to expose them to me. In our current Amazon abundant life where everything can be ordered and delivered in less than two days, I find myself clinging ever more doggedly to the serendipity of exposure or re-finding things anew. So instead the best of 2018, here are the Top 10 things (beyond my daughter) that I found or re-found or that found me which touched my life, made me happy, or I obsessed over for long periods of time:
(in approximately serendipitously chronological order):
- Magnolia Electric Co. “Almost was Good Enough”
- The Sea and Cake “Any Day”
- Black Panther — For the same reasons as everyone else, but especially because going through customs my whole life with the name Jesse Wakanda Poe was always a pain in the ass until 2018, now it’s high-fives and fist-bumps which is a lot more fun and faster.
- Lament For Epirus — Amazing Odyssey of a book into Europe’s Oldest Surviving Folk Music, by my lifelong dear friend Chris King
- Phosphorescent – I knew them before 2018 and loved “Song for Zulu” but didn’t really get to know them until this summer/fall and they really really really really filled up my life
- Just Kids — Patti Smith, way late to this gem, but so great, sometimes you just need the right person to put it in your hands
- The Animals – “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue”
- Andy Shauf – particularly “The Party” but all of his stuff, including his new band Foxwarren, but definitely “The Party”
- Riga Tiger’s “Fuck you New York”
Looking forward to 2019 being an even better year than 2018!
I basically liked the same records and movies everyone else did this year, but here’s four things I loved that I haven’t seen mentioned on most / any year end lists:
1) “Humble Pi” by Edan & Homeboy Sandman – Edan put out a note-for-note perfect psych-rap album called “Beauty and the Beat” in 2005, followed by thirteen years of nothing, just one impossible-to-find mixtape and a fistful of DJ sets, like this dude was the Jeff Mangum of hip hop or something. And then, with no fanfare whatsoever, this collaborative mini-LP came out this year. Homeboy Sandman is whatever, like he’s a totally sufficient MC who is smart enough to keep a low profile here; the magic is all Edan’s. Time has dulled nothing – he’s still one of the world’s best producers and weirdest rappers. My only complaint is that it’s too short.
2) “Give Out But Don’t Give Up: Original Memphis Recordings” by Primal Scream – They rolled out the red carpet for this one in the UK, but nary a peep stateside, and it isn’t even on Spotify for whatever dumb reason. The 1994 version of this album was the worst piece of sub-Black Crowes dogshit they ever did. This, on the other hand, is probably their third or fourth best record – no small feat, considering this is the band that made “Screamadelica” and “Xtrmntr.” The ballads are what shine this time around, and the high profile collaborations with southern soul legends (Muscle Shoals rhythm section, Memphis Horns, Jim Dickinson, Tom Dowd) are finally given room to breathe.
3) “MITH” by Lonnie Holley – Most Trump-era “political” music has been, you know, not that good. Like, most political music sucks, period, but then on top of that, how could anyone possibly hope respond to all this brutality and pain in any sort of sensitive way? Until late 2018, the only thing I really liked in that department was Vince Staples saying “tell the President to suck a dick” – that seemed like the appropriate level of discourse, you know? But Holley nailed the slow, weird dread of being an American in 2018. It’s hard to want to listen to, but once you do it haunts you. Every bit as disorienting and potent as that Low record that got (rightfully) heralded.
4) “The Icarus Line Must Die” – Remember the Icarus Line? From 2004? Which was fourteen years ago? They’re still doing it, kinda. This movie was the most painful, accurate, hilarious portrayal of what it’s like to make music that people haven’t really cared about for a long time, but you just keep doing it year after year, long after the magic fades, because you don’t know what else to do with yourself. It resonated with me big time for obvious reasons, but it’s also just a great work of cringe comedy. The ending is absolute genius. Added bonus, it turned me on to Annie Hardy’s “Rules,” a gorgeous record from 2016 that I’d somehow overlooked. Annie Hardy was in that band Giant Drag – remember Giant Drag?
Also just for what it’s worth, I put out two records this year – “The Bitter Tears of Jesse R. Berlin” by Jesse R. Berlin and “8.1 Best New Music” by Mi@mi – that were as good as anything else. Not being conceited, just honest.
2018 Top Ten Albums (in no particular order)
- Khruangbin “Con Todo El Mundo”
- Damien Jurado “The Horizon Just Laughed”
- Gaz Coombes “The World’s Strongest Man”
- Gregory Alan Isakov “Evening Machines”
- Courtney Barnett “Tell me How You Really Feel”
- TT “Lovelaws”
- Richard Swift “The Hex”
- Black Thought and Saalam Remi “Streams of Thought, Vol.2″
- The Sea and Cake “Any Day”
- Marc Ribot “Songs of Resistance 1942-2018”
Eric Schwan (The Orchards)
The Top Ten CDs I checked out of the Portland Public Library in 2018
I have just totally missed the boat on consuming music through streaming (except Bandcamp – I love Bandcamp!). It’s always been CDs, tapes, and records for me. Probably for the best – I’m incredibly indecisive and absolutely paralyzed by too many choices. Having every album ever made at your fingertips and having to choose one to listen to? How??
CDs had been slipping away for me a few years ago, but then I got a 2008 car with a six-disc changer, and bam! – I was waaaaaaaay into them again and started proselytizing about how they are an efficient, aesthetically-pleasing, undervalued commodity these days. And luckily, the Portland Public Library abides. They have an incredible, strangely-varied selection, and I’m always finding interesting stuff there, just slightly out of step with the times. And guess how many you’re allowed to check out at a time? Just the right amount for my car!
Here’s a list of my ten favorite albums I checked out from the PPL this year. (Also, to folks who feel similar about DVDs – you know they have the whole Videoport collection at the library, right?)
Vic Chesnutt “Silver Lake”
An old favorite who I’d lost track of right about when this album came out. What a great rediscovery. I don’t know if there’s another songwriter who has effortlessly written more lines that nobody else could write or sing – Vic’s just being himself. And the band on this record suits him quite fine.
Favorite Track: “In My Way, Yes”
Fela Kuti “The Best of the Black President”
I know, I know – very late to digging into this legend, but this double-disc has put me on the path. Every note jumps right out at you. Hypnotic, charismatic, dynamic. So immediate but in no rush. The call and response vocals get me every time.
Favorite track: “Shakara”
Archie Fisher “Windward Away”
A songwriter at the peak of his powers, making it seem simple. Just words, melody, and elegantly-finger-picked chords. And bonus: contains a lost album from 1980 that’s just as good.
Favorite track: “Ontario Dust”
Caetano Veloso “Livro”
Another gem in a fifty year career full of them. Fitting that I found this title at the library. Thank you PPL!
Favorite Track: “Un Tom”
Neko Case “Fox Confessor Brings the Flood”
I waited way too long to join the Neko fan club, and the only good thing about that is I now get the distinct pleasure of hearing all of her albums for the first time. Totally singular while also sounding incredibly classic and familiar. Detailed writing that reminds me of Guy’s sometimes.
Favorite Track: “Margaret vs. Pauline”
Frank Ocean “Channel Orange”
“Bad Religion” is one of the best-written songs I’ve heard in years. The whole record is great, though. And holy cow, that voice!
Favorite Track: “Bad Religion”
Lou Reed “Magic and Loss”
Every few years I discover a Lou Reed album I didn’t know about and am endlessly fascinated. What an artist. Strange and sad and strangely sad. Hope he and Doc Pomus are cracking jokes and writing tunes in the afterlife.
Favorite Track: “Cremation”
An album as good as advertised. She covers a ton of ground and owns it all. Totally remarkable pop album made by a mass-appeal superstar seemingly without peer. And the video part of the album is incredibly rich and deep, Pipilotti Rist quotes and all.
Favorite Track: “Freedom”
The Shins “Heartworms”
Hey, one of my favorite pop songwriters from last decade has still got it! Nothing that quite reaches their 00’s heights but a record of endlessly listenable, clever, catchy, quietly-moving songs with smart production and lyrics.
Favorite track: “Fantasy Island”
Vince Staples “Big Fish Theory”
Uncompromisingly dark, claustrophobic, and almost experimental, yet such an enjoyable listen. Vince does not stop telling it like it is the whole time, and the guests never overstay their welcome. The synths and bass sound unbelievable and the pacing and hooks start to dig right in after a few listens and this record just stays with you.
Favorite Track: “Rain Come Down”
Peter Squires (The Landladys)
Peter Squires (The Landladys)
- Fatherhood The top thing I did in 2018 was have a baby. Shout out to Leo. Being a dad is awesome and hard and fun and exhausting and amazing. Big up to Anne for doing all the hard stuff (giving birth, being awake, etc.)
- New Job I’ve been visiting Star Island since I was a kid. It’s been my favorite place in the world for 30+ years. It’s what introduced me to the NH Seacoast, to many of my closest friends, and my wife. Now I get to work there again, not just for the summers, but all year round. Kind of a dream come true.
- Music (listening) This year I rediscovered old favorites I’d lost track of over the years, gained new appreciation for a song and artist I’d previously overlooked, stumbled onto a classic I’d somehow previously missed, and embraced some contemporary artists. The old favorite I rediscovered was Girls Against Boys. I liked them in high school, but they were forgotten to history. Thanks for the reminder, Spotify. After hearing the song “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon about 12,000 times in my life, in 2018 I finally realized I love it. I think the issue is, my least favorite part of the song is the chorus. The biggest revelation of 2018 for me was John Cale, who I’d heard of before but admittedly never listened to his work (outside the Velvet Underground). His album “Paris 1919” was my favorite of the year. We also discovered (and got to see live) the Malian group Tinariwen, who have become a favorite in our house. The favorite contemporary artists that came into my life this year were Palehound and Screaming Females. Pretty different sounds, but both really hit the spot.
- Music (making) I wrote and recorded two albums this year during the RPM Challenge. I feel good about both of them. Apocalypse Party is my dispatch from the Trump era – an attempt to personalize some of the issues in America today. Macabre Cadabre is my alter ego – a goth magician. Really proud of that one, and an important reminder that writing funny songs is easier than writing serious songs. I also got to play a gig with Black Norse, which I do once in a while when they feel like having too many guitar players. That’s always the best.
- Music (gear) I go through waves – sometimes I go on a buying spree and overload myself with way more gear than I need – then I inevitably sell it off. This year was a buying year. The standout additions to my collection were a Fender Troy Van Leeuwen Jazzmaster, a Death By Audio Fuzz War, and an Earthquaker Devices Monarch (which I actually previously owned, then sold, and then bought back from the guy I sold it to). Honorable mention to the Way Huge Electronics Pork Loin, the MXR Phase 95, and the Ibanez Analog Chorus Mini. Shout out to Reverb.com, the JHS vlog, and Chappers & the Captain (especially their blindfold challenges).
- Food & Drink Favorites this year were Chapel + Main (especially the Dragon in the Seas IPA), Sonny’s, and Earth’s Harvest in Dover, NH, as well as the welcome return of The Press Room in Portsmouth, NH.
- TV The biggest addition to our TV watching lives this year was the Great British Baking Show, which was the perfect good-feeling and easily binge-able show for late pregnancy and early baby life. So were New Girl, The Good Place, and Disenchantment. On my own, I also really enjoyed Nick Kroll’s “Big Mouth” and Season 2 of Ozark.
- Games In the pregnancy/early baby era we played A LOT of Ticket to Ride (Europe), which is a great game but takes a while to play. Now in the active baby era we play a lot of Yahtzee, which only takes a few minutes but never gets old. Shout out to backgammon, which I haven’t played much lately but is the best game.