Our top 10 Milwaukee albums of 2018
10. Amanda Huff – “Hemiptera”
The diversity of sounds on this album is outstanding. Amanda Huff took home three Radio Milwaukee Music Awards this year and she deserved each one for best album, artwork and music video. Her creativity is unmatched in her genre.
9. Ceiling Spirits – “Ceiling Spirits”
We’re not sure this was in many people’s rotation this year (mostly because it came out a month ago), but the instrumental electronic post-rock project from guitarist Mario Quadracci deserves the recognition. The recording of Ceiling Spirits’ self-titled debut LP spanned two years and three countries, included production by Gareth Jones (Depeche Mode, Nick Cave) and finished with mastering at Abbey Road Studios in early 2018. It’s vast, stunning and worth many more plays into 2019 if you missed it in 2018.
8. Genesis Renji – “S.I.N.S: Stories I Never Shared”
Genesis Renji is one of the most prolific rappers in Milwaukee. From intimacy to heartbreak, “S.I.N.S” is full of beautiful storytelling and beautiful sounds to match, thanks in part to the many featured artists from the House of Renji collective.
7. Versio Curs – “How Are You”
Versio Curs made its debut early on in the year with this full length album and it’s stuck with us for the rest of 2018. It’s mature indie rock is catchy, poetic and very memorable.
6. Greatest Lakes – “Divisions”
We love everything about Greatest Lakes. The band has really arrived with this album. It’s the kind of music that makes you think and the kind of album you can listen to again and again and realize something new each time.
5. Dead Horses – “My Mother the Moon”
This is a beautiful album about hardship that just gives us hope—something that we all needed this year. Thanks Dead Horses.
4. Lex Allen – “Table 7: Sinners & Saints”
Lex Allen had one hell of a successful year. This album shows his incredible ability to do it all. There are songs about joy, pain, triumph and turning up.
3. Lorde Fredd33 – “NORF: The Legend of Hotboy Ronald”
“NORF” is an album that unravels new mysteries and perspectives every time you listen to it. It is layered and versatile with profound commentary.
2. Paper Holland – “Galápagos”
The richness and skillfulness of “Galápagos” makes this one of our top albums. With elegant arrangements and memorable hooks, Paper Holland have gotten its pop sensibility down to a science this year.
1. Field Report – “Summertime Songs”
This probably comes as no surprise. We’ve talked a lot about Field Report in 2018. “Summertime Songs” shows the band becoming the master of its domain. The magic of Christopher Porterfield is in his vivid writing and his voice, both packed full of feeling. Here, he is both at his most polished and his most raw, making for a perfect record.
In 2018, we think we’ve listened to more local music than ever before. While that certainly says something about national artists’ (often disappointing) releases this year, we think it says even more about the quality of music coming from our city.
Each Thursday morning on Radio Milwaukee, the Journal Sentinel’s Piet Levy and 88Nine’s Jordan Lee talk about the music coming into Milwaukee and the music coming out of Milwaukee on Tap’d In.
Read more and listen to the podcast episode below for more about our favorite Milwaukee music of the year and the bands to watch in 2019.