Our Favourite Albums of 2018

Our Favourite Albums of 2018

Jennie Malone Mon Dec 17th

2018 is nearly over and it's time for the yearly wrap up of albums released this year!

Many of our hosts have put together lists of their favourite albums of 2018, so check it out and maybe find some gems that you missed!


Gina Farrugia - host of Vitamin G, Mondays 12pm-2pm

In no particular order:

Laila Biali

Laila Biali - Self Titled
Vitamin G listeners have probably heard every track on the show over the year - with George Koller on bass, Larnell Lewis and Ben Wittman on drums and a host of other talented musicians including Laila’s backup sisters from her Sting days, Lisa Fischer and Jo Lawry, this album recorded in Toronto and former home of Brooklyn is beautifully written, performed and produced.  Her cover of Yellow (Coldplay) is a fan fave but I just love her version of Bowie’s Let’s Dance and her composition Serenbe.

Ernesto Cervini

Ernesto Cervini’s Turboprop - Abundance
We were so lucky to have this supergroup come to Aeolian Hall this fall!  Last album REV was up against some tough competition at the Junos last year, but I’m putting my money on Abundance for Junos 2019 London ON!  It’s hard for the gal to pick a fave tune, but I’m partial to Tadd’s Delight.

The band: Joel Frahm on tenor sax, Adrean Farrugia on piano, Dan Loomis on bass and Cervini on drums, plus Tara Davidson on alto sax and William Carn on trombone.

Xavier Davis

Xavier Davis - Rise Up Detroit (Detroit Music Factory)
Maybe it’s because of the gorgeous string arrangements led by Regina Carter (I was a violinist first, after all!) or my love affair with all things Detroit, or just the fact that it’s beautifully conceived and produced - this album gets a lot of spins at my house.

Marie Goudy

Marie Goudy 12tet with Jocelyn Barth - The Bitter Suite
Two extremely talented young women, well thought out tunes and lyrics, a great band - this nightingale can’t stop singing it’s praises! If this album doesn’t get nominated for a Juno, then the nomination committee has tin ears.  My favourite thing about the recording is the album’s cohesiveness as a whole despite the contrast in styles (Latin son to big band) - and the playing is so darn good!  Jocelyn is a star just waiting to be discovered by a greater audience - the Toronto jazz community knows how special she is!


Leon Bridges

Leon BridgesGood Thing
I know, I know - he’s mainstream, but I just can’t help it - I mean, come on, you can dance to it for goodness sake!  So tight, yet just so loose in the groove at the same time.  Jazz-like sounding anything on commercial radio is a good thing for the genre, so I’m not going to apologize for my choice.  This one stays in the nest!

Collective Order

Collective Order - Vol. 3
There’s a little bit of ‘double dipping’ here — some musician sharing between this innovative group of young musicians and The Bitter Suite project, but, hey - young musicians, with an equal gender balance doing great work can never be over rewarded!

Let’s give the whole gang a shout out!
Chris Adriaanse - Bass, Julian Anderson-Bowes - Bass, Jocelyn Barth - Vocals, Mike Campbell - Drums, Belinda Corpuz - Vocals, Ewen Farncombe - Keys, Jon Foster - Drums, Marie Goudy - Trumpet, Murray Heaton - Saxophone, Joanna Majoko - Vocals, Andrew McAnsh - Trumpet
Andrew Miller - Drums, Liam Stanley - Guitar, Emily Steinwall - Saxophone, Laura Swankey - Vocals, Colin Story - Guitar, Sarah Thawer - Drums, Ethan Tilbury - Bass, Joel Visentin - Keys
Connor Walsh - Bass, Nebyu Yohannes - Trombone


Judith Owen

Judith Owen - redisCOVERed
This album makes programming Blurred Lines segments a breeze - every cover is hip, slick and skillfully delivered.  Look into Judith Owen’s own tunes too.  

Charles Lloyd

Charles Lloyd & The Marvels + Lucinda Williams - Vanished Gardens

This one came by me via a disgruntled country fan/friend that was expecting more Dirt Wheels on a Gravel Road and less Monk’s Mood, which is one of a few standards on this steel pedal tinged, bonafide jazz album.  I love it - but y’all know the Nightingale loves her country!  


Julian Lage

Julian Lage - Modern Lore (Mack Avenue)
I’ve always thought that being a child prodigy would be a curse, but Julian Lage, who performed at the Grammy’s at the tender age of 12 and a faculty member at Stanford Jazz Workshop at 15 clearly keeps getting better and better.  This album is so much fun to listen to and every tune a little gem.


Molly Johnson

Molly Johnson - Meaning To Tell Ya (Universal)

Soul, funk and jazz - produced by Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock, Tracy Chapman), it’s how I’ve always wanted to hear this woman sing. It’s the album she’s wanted to make for years, and I’m so very glad it finally happened.  It’s hard to choose a favourite tune, so I’ll just say that L.O.V.E. always gets me off my seat and on my feet in the studio - I’ve managed to get tangled up in my earphone cords more then once!

There are some honourable mentions:

Adrean Farrugia/Joel Frahm - Blued Dharma
Andrea Superstein - Worlds Apart
Kurt Elling - The Question
Sons of Kemet - Your Queen is a Reptile (the only time I’ve ever had to your the ‘curse’ button on my daytime jazz show!)
Diana Panton: Equinox/Solstice
Robi Botos - Old Souls
John Coltrane - Both Directions at Once:  The Lost Album

…and just under the 2018 wire, Allison Au Quartet - Wander Wonder

Clara Benedek - host of Kill Your Idols, Mondays 2pm-4pm

La Luz - Floating Features
Broncho - Bad Behavior
John Maus - Addendum 
U.S. Girls - A Poem Unlimited 
Yess Woah/Shhh - Quiet Beasts/32 Original Drawings
Kurt Vile - Bottle It In
Spiritualized - And Nothing Hurt
MGMT - Little Dark Age
Cold Cave - You + Me + Infinity


Filip Bachorz - host of Your Favourite Worst Radio Show, Tuesdays 7am-9am

10. Against All Logic - 2012-2017
9. Sons of KemetYour Queen Is A Reptile
8. Parquet Courts - Wide Awake!
7. Mid-Air Thief - Crumbling 
6. Hop AlongBark Your Head Off Dog
5. Anna von HauswolffDead Magic
4. Julia HolterAviary
3. Dirty ProjectorsLamp Lit Prose
2. IDLESJoy As An Act Of Resistance
1. Natalia Lafourcade - Musas Vol. 2


Emily Chiarvesio - host of Wake Up Western, Tuesdays 9am-11am

Shakey GravesCan't Wake Up
Dan ManganMore or Less
Valley QueenSupergiant
Neko CaseHell-On

Chase March - host of Word is Bond, Tuesdays 10pm-12am

Chris Orrick

18. Chris Orrick - Portraits

You may not be familiar with the name Chris Orrick, but you have probably heard his music under the name of Red Pill. This year. he retired the moniker and decided to release music under his own name. As usual, his music is thought-provoking and he reps the Detroit hip-hop scene with pride.

OC & PF Cuttin

17. OC & PF Cuttin - Opium

O.C. is a legend who has been dropping quality hip-hop since his debut appearance on an Organized Konfusion album in 1991. This year, he teamed up with producer, PF Cuttin, to drop another gem in an already stellar discography.

Gabriel Teodos

16. Gabriel Teodros - History Rhymes If It Doesn't Repeat

Gabriel Teodros drops positive music chopped full of messages that not only get your head nodding, but also make you think. This one has a Canadian connection too. It was entirely produced by Moka Only.


15. E-turn - Young World

E-turn is a name to look out for. She has quietly been dropping projects for the past six years. This year, she got signed to Fake Four Inc and dropped this amazing project full of Swamburger production.

More or Les

14. More or Les - Nerd Love

Sometimes, nerd rap can get a little bit too nerdy. More or Les doesn't fall pray to that at all in his raps. He always manages to bring the funk and celebrate the pop culture he loves including Star Trek, Doctor Who, giant robots, comic books and more.

Solar C

13. Solar C - Access to All Lanes

Solar C enlists the help of Rel McCoy to produce this album that "is a nod to the many directions that we can go in order to arrive at our destination. The many vehicles we choose to use to get to where we’re going and the sites that we encounter along the way."

DJ Hullewud & Chase March

12. DJ Hullewud & Chase March - The MIX(ed)TAPE 2

I know it's a little self-serving to put my own project in the year-end list, but I am every proud of The MIX(ed)TAPE 2 and how it turned out. And truthfully, only half of this is mine. Side B, this time around, is held down by the one and only DJ Hullewud. We hadn't planned for this to become a series, but are already looking ahead to a third volume. It's brand new and exclusive hip-hop tracks mixed by two deejays. What can be better than that?

Buck N Nice

11. Buck-N-Nice - Emag

This is the sophomore album from the Ottawa duo and it bangs from beginning to end. It's a shame that it just slightly missed the Top 10.

Black Thought

10. Black Thought and 9th Wonder - Streams of Thought Vol. 1

Black Thought is one of the best lyricists hip-hop has ever seen. It was really nice to finally get a solo project from him. This one is way too short though. I think he should have waited and released both volumes at the same time. That being said, this one is slightly better than Volume 2, in my humble opinion.

Torae and Praise

9. Torae and Praise - All Praises Due

This was the year of seven track album. I am not sure why this became the trend in 2018. Anything this short used to be called an E.P. Maybe, it is the sound-bite culture we live in. People seem to prefer singles, playlists, and short albums. Whatever the case, the last two entries in this list prove that sometimes the length doesn't matter. Great music is great music.


8. Czarface Meets Metal Face

Inspectah Deck of the Wu-Tang Clan and Boston duo 7L & Esoteric form the super-group Czarface. When they team-up with the mysterious MF Doom, it's like a comic book on record and a lot of fun for the listener. This was one of the clear winners in Chase March Madness earlier this year.

Apollo Brown

7. Apollo Brown & Locksmith - No Question

Apollo Brown is a wizard and one of the best producers hip-hop has ever seen. This is the latest in a set of collaborations that sees him teaming up with some of the best wordsmiths in the game. Locksmith sounds great over these beats. There was no question, that this would be in the Top 10.


6. Waterparks - Entertainment 

The only non-hip-hop offering this year goes to the Houston rock band, Waterparks. I had the fortune of seeing them play live last year and they absolutely blew me away. This sophomore album is just as good as their debut and shows that this band has what it takes to entertain the masses.

DJ Filthy Rich

5. DJ Filthy Rich - A Clan Called Wu: Enter The Marauders

25 years ago, on the same day, Wu-Tang Clan dropped its debut album and A Tribe Called Quest release it's third. To celebrate these two classic and iconic records, DJ Filthy Rich mashed them together and created magic a third time. Wu-Tang rhymes over Tribe beats with cutting, scratching, and mixing. It's absolutely incredible how well this works.


Del & Amp

4. Del & Amp Live - Gate 13 

Del the Funky Homosapien teams up with Amp Live to create one of the best albums of the year. This was in heavy rotation for months this year.


Masta Ace & Marco Polo

3. Masta Ace & Marco Polo - A Breukelen Story

Masta Ace is a veteran in the game and one of my all-time favs. I love the story-concept albums that he has been dropping for the past ten years. This one focuses on the producer, Canadian veteran, Marco Polo. That was really cool to see. It shows how moving to New York has actually helped a few people in getting a music career going.



2. Evidence - Weather or Not

Evidence loves having weather related themes in his music. He has a laid back flow and is nice with the beats. This time, however, he hands over the production to the likes of Alchemist, Budgie, DJ Babu, DJ Premier, Nottz, Samiyam, and Twiz the Beat Pro. But he doesn't let them do it all. He produces a few joints on the album too. This is sure to be a future classic. It bangs from beginning to end.


Sadat X & El Da Sensai

1. Sadat X & El Da Sensei - XL

Sadat X and El Da Sensei have been creating great music since the 1990s with their groups Brand Nubian and The Artifacts, respectfully. They have collaborated plenty of times over the years as well. But they finally decided to form a group and named it XL. This project lives up to the name. It is extra-large with great beats and hard rhymes. Definitely my favourite album of the year!

A Great Year for Music

2018 was a great year for music. Here are a few albums that I really liked this year that didn't quite make the cut but are, nonetheless, worth checking out.

Honourable Mentions

Sareem Poems & Ess Be - Mind Over Matter
OKnice - imherebutimnot
Artson - Bravestar
Kool G. Rap x 38 SPESH - Son Of G Rap
Moses Rockwell - Subterranean Sweatpants
Skyzoo - In Celebration of Us
Dirt Disciples - Stand for Something


Cameron MacDonald - host of DBG Radio, Wednesdays 7am-9am

ACTORS - It Will Come To You
Shame - Songs Of Praise
Yonatan Gat - Universalists
Wardruna - Skald
IDLES - Joy As An Act Of Resistance


Matt Bernardinis - host of The Far Side, Wednesdays 2pm-4pm

Unknown Mortal OrchestraSex and Food
Beach House7
Parquet CourtsWide Awake!
IdlesJoy as an Act of Resistance
Melody’s Echo ChamberBon Voyage
DaughtersYou Won’t Get What You Want
Julia HolterAviary
Dead Can DanceDionysus 

James Gagnon - host of Small Starts & Big Names, Thursdays 7am-9am

Kurt Vile - Bottle it In
Mother Mother - Dance & Cry 
Shakey Graves - Can't Wake Up
Preoccupations - New Material
Jeff Rosenstock - POST-
Frank Turner - Be More Kind
Basement Revolver - Heavy Eyes
Greta Van Fleet - Anthem of the Peaceful Party
Jesney - Yesterday's Memories
Okkervil River - In the Rainbow Rain


Ian Doig Phaneuf - Radio Western Music Director and host of A Person Disguised as People, Thursdays 2pm-4pm

Arp - Zebra

Astronauts, Etc - Living In Symbol

Autechre - NTS Sessions

The Caretaker - Everywhere At The End Of Time Stages 1 - 3

Jeremy Dutcher - Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa 

Rachel Grimes - The Doctor From India

Khotin - Beautiful You

Low - Double Negative

Melody’s Echo Chamber - Bon Voyage

Chris Reimer - Hello People


Michelle Balderston - Radio Western Live to Air Coordinator and former host of Wake Up Western

For those who know me, this list will totally not come as a surprise, but hey. What am I if not consistent! In no particular oder, here are some of my favourite albums of 2018! 

boygenius - boygenius
Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus probably harmonize better than angels, but you already knew that.

abysskiss - Adrianne Lenker 
Holy moly, this album hits my heart! It's so simple and raw. I only started listening to Big Thief earlier this year (and liiiiikkkke, so good), so this album was a treat!

Songs of Praise - Shame
Apparently, I got pretty into Brit punk this year. Songs of Praise was my most listened to album on Spotify, and it is FUN! RIYL car head banging. 

Silent Rave - Ancient Shapes
I'm not the most *punk* gal, but this album made me start a playlist on Spotify devoted to songs that make me feel like a punk.

Foxwarren - Foxwarren
Andy Shauf is one of the sweetest Canadian music makers, and this debut by his new band Foxwarren definitely holds up! It's still undeniably Shauf-sounding, but that sound is just as infectious as always!

Telemetry at Howe Bridge - Preoccupations/Protomartyr
Okay, not an album. But look at these two bands! And they're covering each other! How can you not! 

Be the Cowboy - Mitski
Mitski is a heartbreaker, and so is this album. It should really be on everyone's top albums list this year.

First Collection 2006-2009 - Fleet Foxes
It's not necessarily new, but it reminded me how fantastic the first FF album is. And EP. The whole thing! Everything is fantastic!

God's Favorite Customer - Father John Misty
Yes, it's Father John Misty. Are you surprised? J boy can do no wrong. Argue with me about it.

Wide Awake - Parquet Courts
Holy crap. Absolute banger of an album. So funky fresh! The sole reason that my new year's resolution this year is learning how to play the bass. 


Pam Haasen - Radio Western Program Director and host of Radio Face, every other Friday 7am-9am

1. Kikagaku Moyo / 幾何学模様 - Masana Temples
According to Spotify, this is the album I listened to the most in 2018, as far as contemporary music goes, that makes me quite happy. This album was one of those that you just insert into conversation any time, no matter what the topic is.

“Are you aware of the amount of landfill mass created by improperly or thoughtlessly drying our hands using 2 paper towels when the US alone could eliminate over 5 million pounds of waste if we simply used a technique of shaking our hands and folding one paper towel once? It’s actually maddening to think how rushed we think our lives are when the more habitual our ignorance becomes the less time we have on this earth with air we can breathe and water we can drink.”

“Mm hmm, mmm hmm, I CANNOT stop listening to Masana Temples. It’s sooooo good! Let me play it for you one more time."

KM are from Tokyo Japan. Their sound is mathy, gentle, up beat, avant-pop and drone rock. From song to song on Masana Temples they fluidly morph between genres with the common thread being quirky rhythms, beautiful guitar tones and soft, Seteolab-esque vocals sung in Japanese. Seriously! What doesn’t sound amazing about that?

Stand out tracks:

Nazo Nazo
Orange Peel

2. Unknown Mortal Orchestra - BOTH IC-01 Hanoi and Sex & Food
Before Sex & Food I really didn’t know who UMO was. Unknown Mortal Orchestra is Ruban Nielson, who, like any good weirdo, recorded his music alone in his bedroom in Auckland New Zealand and posted songs anonymously online.

Fat possum signed him in 2011 and he released his first self titled album under the name UMO.

Since then he has continued to create music that is derived from personal experience and human existence on earth. Sex & Food is fun, kinda broken psych-pop music that drags just a little bit but I’d like to compare it to a southern drawl rather than “slow music”. I’d dance my face off to it if a DJ were to play this as the music in between sets at a live show.

IC-01 Hanoi is a slightly different beast. The songs are a bit faster, more erratic and fuzzed out than S&F which produced a sound that leaned closer to a polished sound whereas Hanoi is like jagged and more like a Velvet Underground jam session. Two thumbs up!

Stand out tracks:

A God Called Hubris
American Guilt
Not In Love We’re Just High

IC-01 Hanoi

Hanoi 1
Hanoi 5

3. Gitkin - 5 Star Motel
OK, I thought I liked “rock” music. Apparently not this year!

Gitkin is super-fun, desert road driving music. Stop at a roadside and take a selfie at a phone booth. Try a malted but don’t move too quick, or the heat’ll get cha. Gitkin is label-described as “international twang dub music”. Try not to think too long about the minutia of any of those genres as the melange of Gitkin’s 5 Star Motel certainly will dub your twang, tap your tow, and get the smoke rollin.

This is Gitkin’s bio: Gitkin sold guitars. To be precise, he re-branded, sold and traded knock-off Gibsons. A lone, travelling salesman, he toted his counterfeit wares to guitar stores and music emporiums. His trade took him to most corners of the USA, passing through big, smoggy cities and nowheresville small towns. His nights were spent at not-so-salubrious motels. It was at those nocturnal stop-offs that he’d often cross paths with newcomers to the States. His fellow travellers were mostly immigrants, newly-arrived, from places like Ethiopia, Mexico, Indonesia.

Stand out tracks:

Tail Chaser
Plaid Suit

4. Rosalia - El Mal Querer
Oh me, oh my this album gets a lot of play in my car and apartment. I bring it out to move to. Rosalia is a Spanish singer/songwriter, young poet, and tale-weaver. El Mal Querer (bad loving) Presented as experimental and conceptual, revolving around a toxic relationship, the album was inspired by the anonymous 13th-century Occitan novel Flamenca. (Look ma, I can Wiki things!)

This album flows between flamenco rhythm with AM-radio tinny vocals to angelic dance tunes!

Stand out tracks:

Di Aqui No Salas

5. US Girls - In A Poem Unlimited
Big fan. Huge. Love this album, love everything she’s done up to this point. Everyone should like Meg Remy. She’s political, outspoken, feminist, funny, old fashioned, and makes exciting and beautiful music! In A Poem Unlimited is no different. Listen to this album start to finish while walking briskly or running full tilt while you work out your aggressions from the week.

Stand out tracks:

Incidental Boogie

6. Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer
Let’s dance! Put on your red shows and dance these blues. Or rather, put on your labia pants and dance in a chorus line.

Dirty Computer [An Emotion Picture] is Janelle Monae’s AV opus for 2018 and we, the unwashed masses, lapped it up. If you haven’t watched it, do it! 

7. Sha La Das - Love Is In The Wind

I love me some throw-back 60s pop beach to city sweetness from New York. The Sha La Das are brothers from Brooklyn and revisted (not re-imagined, re-vamped, re-vised) the sounds of the 60s. Daptone Records picked it up and the rest is history!

8. Kali Uchis - Isolation
Oooooh this is album runs me through ALL OF THE EMOTIONS. It’s quite the journey. Kali Uchis will NOT be bound to one genre!

9. Robyn - Honey
A friend of mine said “thank god for this new Robyn album or I wouldn’t have a reason to live this week”. There are like, 3 stinkers on this album (that just come off as lame) but “hey Robyn, how you doin?” No one said you had to bat 1000!

10. Shoobies - Nevermind the Hardcore, Here Comes The Shoobies!
I love the Shoobies. These kooks picked up where Shadowy Men on A Shadowy Planet left off and I tip my hat to them. Catch these locals at any show they play!

DJ Hullewud - host of Break North Radio, Saturday 10pm - 12am

Apathy - The Widow's Son

Branded Moore & DJ Over - Low Fidelity Broadcast (Local, Canadian)

Evidence - Weather Or Not

Fortunato - MDCXVII (Canadian)

Masta Ace & Marco Polo - A Breukelen Story

Mic Bles - AudiovOX

Sadat X & El Da Sensei - XL

Shad - A Short Story About A War (Canadian)

Sum-01 - 2 Dolla Holla 2.0 (Local, Canadian)

Psybo - Wherewithal (Canadian)


Check out the playlist of songs from all the albums our hosts loved this year! More than 7 hours of tunes for your enjoyment!!