The Fashionably Late Top 101 of 2018: A Place to Bury Strangers

2018. What is there to say? It was another year full of terrible, horrible things on a grand scale. But as with 2017, which was also a year full of terrible, horrible things, there seemed to be an abundance of really, really good music. And thank the heavens for that.

This year I had an even harder time coming up with my list than I did for the 2017 version of the list, which is probably obvious given there's 101 records in this year's batch (and that's after whittling about 30 off that total). But I just couldn't leave any of these hundred and one records off my list.

As with my 2017 picks, I've gone in alpha order from A-Z and nothing has a number ranking. Partially, that's because I'm pretty indecisive and it also just feels wrong to do anything other than just share the love equally. 101 ways. As always, the list ended up surprising me. Some records I thought might end up on my list are absent, and happily there were quite a few previously unknown bands that ended up stealing my heart and getting themselves in on the list. I truly hope you'll be reminded of some music you enjoyed last year, and I also hope you'll perhaps find new favorites to swoon over from here on out. My sincere and endless thanks to each and every band/artist on the list, because thanks to them 2018 was a little less insane.

Who: A Place to Bury Strangers

What: Pinned

When: April 2018

Where: Dead Oceans

Why: Sure, I'm a longtime APTBS fan, and therefore predisposed to love Pinned. But this is justified love. On Pinned, the band continued to challenge themselves, harnessing their collective ability to melt minds and speakers with blazing sunspots of sound and add layers of nuanced noise that have the tendency to surprise. The dozen songs on this record aren't just loud for the sake of being loud, they're powerful, with depth and strength. The primary vocal interplay - between Lia's haunted, wraithlike tones and Oliver's smoky, searching sounds - works to perfect effect. Of course, my most favorite favorites are the songs where things almost go off the rails, such as "Look Me In The Eye" and "Attitude," songs with a tension that's almost at the breaking point. Another killer LP from this magnificent three-headed monster.  

[posted 2.22.19]


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