I had to straaaaain a bit to make twenty albums (the problem with doing a best-of list in a year’s second month), and I can see a couple that will not make the 2018 Top 40 cut, but…I can stand by these.
Among the obsessives who make these kinds of lists, quibbling abounds regarding what belongs to a “year,” arbitrary as that concept is on its own. I give myself the right to count anything from November and December 2017, since a) it often takes time to find these slabs, then b) when you find them, you need time to absorb them, and c) many such items don’t make the big shots’ 2017 list for that very reason, so…it ain’t effin’ fair. I am designating those below with an asterisk. Also, we have the issue of new releases of old material that are significantly different from the original package; my top item is a long-recognized masterpiece, but its 2018 incarnation has enhanced sound, a second LP of alternate takes and chatter that matter, and both original and new notes. Finally–believe it or not–we have releases that might be a bit old, or might not, but that are hard as hell to get a hold of, to the extent that you might have to write the artist to get one (I’ve marked those with a #, but the case in point is really my #13, which was “released,” apparently only to the jazz press, in spring of 2017). So there, I’ve covered my ass.
Also, I haven’t listened to everything, so don’t yell if your favorite is missing (examples: new Migos, Fever Ray, Amy Rigby and so many things I don’t even know about).
- Sonny Rollins: Way Out West—Deluxe Edition
- Nona Hendryx and Gary Lucas: The World of Captain Beefheart*
- Princess Nokia: 1992*
- Joe McPhee: Imaginary Numbers
- Berry: Everything, Compromised
- CupcaKe: Ephora
- No Age: Snares Like a Haircut
- Superchunk: What A Time to Be Alive
- Halu Mergia: Lalu Balu
- Various Artists/Sahel Sounds: Field Recordings from the Sahel
- Camarao: The Imaginary Soundtrack to a Brzailian Western Movie
- The Revelators: “In which The Revelators play live versions of selections from the Billy Childish songbook”
- Ernest Dawkins: Transient Takes#
- Kris Davis and Craig Taborn: Octopus
- Tal National: Tantabara
- Ty Segall: Freedom’s Goblin
- David Murray (featuring Saul Williams): Blues for Memo
- Rich Krueger: Life Ain’t That Long#
- Various Artists: Black Panther–The Album
- Gorbza: Ain’t That The Way
A playlist of the above, with some albums not represented because there ain’t nothing with which to do it and some albums strangely represented because either there was barely anything to do it with or I was feeling mischievous or piqued: