Our Favorite Albums of 2018

Post by
December 17, 2018

At OLG, there’s one rule—don’t let the Sonos stop playing music.

Okay, just kidding. But it really is weird for all of us when there’s nothing on. The point is, we take our albums and playlists seriously, and we love exploring new music (and guessing who put what on the office-wide sound system).

As 2018 comes to a close, we’re excited to reflect on our favorites of the year, many of which have been played within OLG walls (maybe even on repeat). We took a more free-for-all approach putting this list together, so there are A LOT of albums, and A LOT of diversity in music.

So, sit back, put on your headphones, and venture through the list!

Bad Shadows,
Voices in the Dark

“This was a random Bandcamp find that I kept coming back to. These fellas made a great, dreamy garage rock album that’s good most of the way through.” — Jake

Bob Dylan,
More Blood, More Tracks box

“November 2 saw the release of two amazing archival box sets. The most-anticipated release in Bob’s Bootleg Series, this set chronicles the sessions for the unbelievably brilliant 1975 album Blood on the Tracks. (Best album ever, tonight?) The day after this set was released, my band started tracking our new album, in a basement an hour north of Fort Wayne. I drove through a snowstorm to the studio listening to this music, its wildness, its ache, its overwhelmingness, its quicksilver, as the sun tried to peek through the drifting flurries and all the gravity in the world fought to keep life from just floating lightly, slowly into the sky.” — Matt K

The Buttertones,

“Whatever, this came out in 2017 but was new to me. Gravedigging is an album I have trouble comparing to other stuff because it’s so unique to me—surfy, gothy, rock ’n’ roll with a Southwest US flair.” — Jake

Boys (Side A and B)

“As recommended by my bandmate Phil Potts. We tried to get ‘em to come to Fort Wayne to play with us, then the rest of the world caught on and they blew up. If we make it happen, we’re gonna need to change that show from The B-Side over to The Clyde. (But will it still be as good?)” — Matt K

“Cuz good times and good jams.” — Matt T

Camp Cope,
How to Socialise & Make Friends

“This album has to be the bravest one I’ve heard this year. Camp Cope is raw, and they don’t hold back. The opening song, The Opener, really rips into what it’s been like for them as women in the music industry.” Jasmine

Caroline Rose,

“Pure musical confections, laced with wit and vulnerability and confidence. LONER is like being an an all-night caper, not a wink of sleep in sight. I’m figuring that stack of Replacements albums I gave my daughter will be a good gateway to her falling in love with this record.” — Matt K

Courtney Barnett,
Tell Me How You Really Feel

“You can always count on Courtney to do just that, can’t you? She’s an all-around badass—and how can you not love the upbeat tunes matched with sharp-witted lyrics?” — Jasmine

The Dangerous Summer,

“One of my favorite bands in high school got back together this year, and put out this album, and I got to see them live THREE TIMES. I also got to hang out with them pre- and post-show a couple of times and blubber about how much I love them (thanks, Nick Ferran!). My emo heart can hardly handle it.” — Jasmine

Death Cab for Cutie,
Thank you for Today

“I’ve liked this band for a long time, so I approached this release with equal parts excitement and trepidation. Sure, it was a little more electronic, and a little more upbeat than much of the back catalogue, but I found myself hitting play again and again. And the song 60 & Punk made it’s way to the tippy top of my most played list this year (give it a listen when you get a few minutes).

“I (finally) got to see these guys live this month in Indy, with my 9-year-old son. Which was an all-round rad experience—especially for a school night. And the new songs could hang with the classics, so I guess that’s all I’ve got to say about it.” — Jonathan


“I really like everything they put out. I dig their style and mix of loud and soft songs. Got to see these songs live in November.” — Beth

Geoff Palmer,
All the Hits and Some Other Shit

“Geoff has been a member of a lot of cool punk/rock bands over the years and just recently started putting out singles now and then. This was a physical collection of this year’s songs, some original, some covers, but all pretty good.” — Jake

String Theory

“Cue the jokes and eye rolls! But seriously, the men of Hanson rounded up some big names (Oscar winning composer, David Campbell—Beck’s dad) to put an orchestra behind existing songs in their catalog, along with some new. There’s a reason these guys are still making albums and selling out shows after twenty-five years, they are true artists—singers, songwriters and instrumentalists. And if you can’t get beyond ‘MMMbop,’ well they put that to strings on this album!” — Annie

Hiss Golden Messenger,
Devotion Box

“The other archival release from November 2—HGM has been my favorite active band for a couple years now; the DEVOTION box set collects remastered editions of their first three albums (Bad Debt, Poor Moon, HAW, originally released in 2010, 2012 and 2013) and adds a fourth record—the brilliant Virgo Moon—which collects various outtakes and b-sides from the time. I hadn’t deeply delved into this era of the band, so it’s been an incredible and inspiring and soul-rattling experience to surround myself in the brilliance of these recordings. HGM’s M.C. Taylor is around my age, and writes about the topics that rattle around my brain and my heart and my soul day and night, with insight and incisiveness that fills me with weathered hope, or takes away my breath, or, most times, both. A poet for the times.” — Matt K

Joy as an Act of Resistance.

“I was maybe going to lose it when I heard IDLES was coming to MW2018. Good news, I kept it together. This album helps me cope with the world we live in and reminds me to stop watching so much TV.” — Jasmine

J. Cole,

“Cuz I’m a sucker for any and all things Cole. ” — Matt T

Jeff Tweedy,

“I think the Tweedman is the most brilliant artist I’ve been blessed to follow along, in real time, for his entire career. (I mean, I hopped on board just after Wilco’s A.M. came out, but still.) What a welcome surprise that he can still deliver with something as blindingly real—equal parts hook-filled and heart-breaking—as this record. PS Damon Albarn isn’t so bad himself.” — Matt K

John Prine,
Tree of Forgiveness

“I know John’s albums have been played many times in our office, but for some reason, this album really stood out to me. Not to mention some of those songs are so damn catchy.” — Jake

Kasey Musgraves,
Golden Hour

“Brilliant and progressive. Media says this is a country record, but, genres, really? My daughter Ruby and I went to see Kacey open for some dude named Harry Styles. The disco ball above the stage was a mirror-covered saddle; she owned the entire arena.” — Matt K

“It’s like country disco, and I’m just all about it right now.” — Olivia

King Princess,
Make My Bed

“I couldn’t really tell you how this happened, because it’s entirely out of my go-to genres, but I discovered this EP on Spotify and fell in love with it. (Trust—Spotify told me I listen to non-mainstream music 112% more than the rest of Spotify users. I’m totally outdated on pop culture.) BUT, this is perfect pop. And King Princess uses the platform authentically—vulnerably adventuring into not only what it’s like to be a gay teenager, but one that’s in the spotlight. Especially noteworthy: ‘Talia’ and ‘Make My Bed.’” — Jasmine


“Boom bap forever (and Wu Tang Forever).” — Matt T

Lucy Dacus,

“I heard Lucy play ‘Night Shift’ at Forecastle in July 2017, and I waited a long eight months before the album came out with that track on it. It did not disappoint. Also, it was listed #4 on NPR’s 50 Best Albums of 2018. Lucy is a poet and gets to me every damn time.” — Jasmine

Middle Kids,
Lost Friends

“This album, in my opinion, embodies the essence of being a 20-something stumbling through life and all its triumphs and challenges. Or, maybe that’s just how I interpret it as a stumbling gal in her 20-somethings. Regardless—its vulnerable and honest lyrics paired with its classic indie vibe gives me enough a reason to listen on repeat.” — Jasmine

Molly Burch,
First Flower

“Have you ever heard anything like Molly Burch’s voice? MY GOSH. She somehow manages to be both soft and firm, exuding confidence without being overbearing. Which, really, is what ‘To the Boys’ is all about. Just, amazing.” — Jasmine

Paul McCartney,
Egypt Station

Because, Paul McCartney. No actually, it’s a solid album. I found myself instantly liking the songs. Looking forward to seeing Sir Paul IN FORT WAYNE(!!!) next summer.” — Beth

Pusha T,

“The first album to kick off Kanye’s summer of production, and other notable Kanye moments…” — Matt T

Rayland Baxter,
Wide Awake

“B-Side graduate Raybs is back with this third, and best, album yet, an absolute jam from stem to stern. Tip: Most times I skip “Without You,” because I don’t always have the hours it takes to recover from listening to the song.” — Matt K


“Just, yes. So stoked to see him at The Brass Rail in January!” — Jasmine

Sam Evian,
You, Forever

“Sam lives up to the beautiful promise of his debut with this dream of an album, a wisp, a wonder. Fun fact, on summer vacation my fam and I stumbled upon the precise spot the photograph on the album was taken, in Zion NP.” — Matt K

Sandro Perri,
In Another Life

“Where to begin? How about with the title track, which is 24 minutes long, and somehow feels both like a single, mercurial moment, and a lifetime spent dreaming.” — Matt K

I Don’t Want: The Gold Fire Sessions 

“The summer jam album of the year; euphoric, creative, smart, bold and beautiful. I started a new job at the Y this year where I lead some group exercise classes, and to make it a little different from others, every session we play a different album in its entirety. It’s called Burpees ’n’ Beats. Santigold was my go-to the first week of classes—and is the only album I’ve repeated. Three times, no less!” — Matt K

Shannon and the Clams, Onion

“I’ve been a fan of The Clams for a while, but sometimes when a band tries to reach the masses the album can come out kinda generic, but not in this case. I guess it was produced by a guy from the Black Keys. While there’s a lot of that familiar 60’s garage/50’s pop, it’s all tighter and makes for a great album.” — Jake

“Yes! That dude from The Black Keys, who co-wrote a bunch of songs on that Prine album, and put out one of 2017’s best albums with his solo record Waiting on a Song.” — Matt K

The Venus Flytraps,
Night of the Venus Flytraps

“I’m gonna guess that this band outta Cleveland is influenced by The Cramps. This hard psychedelic blues rock does a good job of bringing the best parts of 60’s garage with a sorta-horror twist.” — Jake

2018 was a year for new music. We can’t wait to see what’s in store in 2019.

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