Best over­looked al­bums of 2018

Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow - - MUSIC - BY ALAN SCULLEY COR­RE­SPON­DENT Email Alan Sculley at alan­last­[email protected]

One of the ironies of the dig­i­tal age is while al­bums sell fewer copies, it feels like more and more acts re­lease al­bums. What’s more, only a lim­ited num­ber of acts man­age to fit with ra­dio’s nar­row for­mats, which makes it eas­ier than ever for al­bums to fall through the cracks – and harder to pick a year’s best al­bums that flew un­der the main­stream radar.

Hope you sam­ple a few of these and find a new fa­vorite al­bum or two along the way.

1) Kyle Craft: “Full Cir­cle Night­mare” This sec­ond al­bum from Craft is a rous­ing col­lec­tion of songs built around Craft’s strong vo­cal melodies, rol­lick­ing pi­ano and jan­gly gui­tars. Craft can get rowdy, as on “Bel­mont (One Trick Pony),” while “Ex­ile Rag” has a Dy­lan-es­que qual­ity. Bal­lads such as “The Rager” and “Slick & Delta Queen” are sturdy, and like vir­tu­ally all of the songs here, tell in­ci­sive, finely de­tailed sto­ries. Don’t be sur­prised, if af­ter an­other cou­ple of al­bums, Craft is hailed as one of rock’s best song­writ­ers.

2) Aaron Lee Tas­jan: “Karma For Cheap” If you’re pin­ing for some late-era Bea­tle-es­que pop, look no fur­ther than “Karma For Cheap.” Songs like “The Rest Is Yet To Come,” “The Truth Is So Hard To Be­lieve” and “If Not Now When” blend the kind of in­deli­ble melodies and some pleas­antly fuzzed-out gui­tars with­out sound­ing like warmed-over im­i­ta­tions of any artist.

3) Bird Streets: “Bird Streets” The name Bird Streets may be new, but you may rec­og­nize the names of the two prin­ci­ples in this col­lab­o­ra­tion. Ja­son Falkner was a key mem­ber of power pop band Jel­ly­fish, while John Brodeur is a solo artist and pro­ducer whose stu­dio cred­its in­clude work with Paul McCart­ney and Noel Gal­lagher. The melodies are more than enough to sell this al­bum, but the lyrics are pretty smart, too, mak­ing for a gem of a pop al­bum.

4) Idles: “Joy as an Act of Re­sis­tance” If this sec­ond al­bum from Idles is the sound of a new gen­er­a­tion of punk, there may be hope for real rock ‘n’ roll again. The songs are smart, some­times stri­dent, some­times funny, at times chaotic, but also catchy, re­call­ing the spirit of reck­less­ness (not to men­tion the in­ten­sity and qual­ity) of Iggy Pop and the Stooges, the MC-5 and the Clash.

5) Nicki Bluhm: “To Rise You Gotta Fall” Writ­ten in the af­ter­math of her di­vorce, the songs on “To Rise You Gotta Fall” chronicle a range of emo­tions, hard ques­tions pon­dered and lessons learned through this ma­jor life change. The mu­sic matches the power of the lyrics, whether it’s with the smoky ti­tle track, the gritty and hooky rocker “Things I’ve Done” or the aching beauty of the bal­lads “You Stopped Lov­ing Me” and “Star­ing at the Sun.”

6) Rock *A* Teens: “Sixth House” Re­united 16 years af­ter their 2002 breakup, the Teens’ “Sixth House” may be their best al­bum yet. It’s filled with hearty gui­tar rock songs like “Clos­est to Heaven,” “Baby’s On To Me” or “Crys­tal Skies” that pos­sess a knack for catchy gui­tar parts and a real gift for pop melody.

7) Ruby Boots: “Don’t Talk About It” It’s hard to stay silent about this al­bum, not the way Bex Chilcott makes her pres­ence felt with her ring­ing, slightly twangy vo­cals. And not when she’s singing songs as good as the driv­ing rock­ers “It’s So Cruel” and “Some­body Else” or the Tom Petty-ish rock of “Easy Way Out.”

8) Ash­ley McBryde: “Girl Go­ing Nowhere” Split­ting the dif­fer­ence be­tween aching bal­lads such as “Andy (I Can’t Live With­out You)” and “A Lit­tle Dive Bar in Dahlonega” and tune­ful rock­ers like “Ra­di­oland,” “El Do­rado” and “Livin’ Next To Leroy,” McBryde’s sec­ond al­bum is one of this year’s best main­stream coun­try al­bums.

9) Tex­tones: “Old Stone Gang” This group re­leased a pair of un­der-ap­pre­ci­ated al­bums in the 1980s, and singer Carla Olsen went on to put out sev­eral solo al­bums and col­lab­o­rate with the likes of Gene Clark of the Byrds and Percy Sledge. Now, af­ter an un­likely re­u­nion, the Tex­tones have re­leased their best al­bum yet in “Old Stone Gang.” There’s noth­ing gim­micky here, just good rock songs with an Amer­i­cana edge, sturdy melodies and lyri­cal in­tel­li­gence.

10) Rolling Black­outs Coastal Fever: “Hope Downs” Ini­tially, the songs on “Hope Downs” seem a bit too much the same, re­call­ing the nervy jan­gle of the Feel­ies. But with fur­ther lis­tens, the hooks start to sep­a­rate the songs from each other and sub­tle el­e­ments emerge that help fur­ther en­rich the lis­ten­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

with mu­si­cal guests and per­form­ers from the au­di­ence who want to join the jam, 8-10 p. m. Tues­days; doors open at 7: 30 p. m. $ 5. www. gran­fal­loon­chat­tanooga.com. MEMO­RIAL AU­DI­TO­RIUM CON­CERT TOURS — 399 McCal­lie Ave. 423-757-5580, www.tivolichat­tanooga. com. New Year’s Eve with Black­berry Smoke, with Brent Cobb and Chan­ning Wil­son, 8 p. m. Mon­day, Dec. 31; doors open at 7 p. m. $24.50, $29.50, $ 39.50, $ 49.50 and $69.50. MOUN­TAIN OPRY — Walden’s Ridge Civic Cen­ter, 2501 Fair­mount Pike, Sig­nal Moun­tain. Blue­grass and moun­tain mu­sic, 8-11 p. m. Fri­day. Free. 423- 886-3252. MU­SIC AT THE WIN­ERY — Carte­cay Vine­yards, 5704 Clear Creek Road, El­li­jay, Ga. Week of live per­for­mances con­tin­ues. Free. 706- 6989463, www.carte­cay vine­yards.com.

Thurs­day, Dec. 27: Go­pher Broke, 1: 30 p. m.

Fri­day, Dec. 28: Ken­dall Levesque, 1: 30 p. m.

Satur­day, Dec. 29: Joseph Er­win, 1: 30 p. m.

Sun­day, Dec. 30: Travis Bowlin, 1 p. m.

Mon­day, Dec. 31: Stephen Mabe, 1: 30 p. m.

Tues­day, Jan. 1: Rusted Melody fea­tur­ing Kate­lyn Reece, 1: 30 p. m. NEW YEAR’S EVE GOSPEL MU­SIC JU­BILEE — Colon­nade, 264 Ca­toosa Cir­cle, Ring­gold, Ga. Sev­enth an­nual event fea­tures Kings­men Quar­tet, Chil­dren of the Prom­ise, Chatta Val­ley and host group Ap­pointed Quar­tet, 6: 30-10: 30 p. m. Mon­day, Dec. 31. $ 17 artists cir­cle, $ 15 adults, $ 10 stu­dents, free for chil­dren un­der 4. 423-718- 4682, 706935- 9000, colon­nade­cen­ter. tix.com. RED BANK BLUE­GRASS JAM — Grace Nazarene Church, 6310 Day­ton Blvd. Jam ses­sion for all lev­els of blue­grass and coun­try mu­si­cians, 6: 30- 9 p. m. each Thurs­day. Play or lis­ten. 423877- 9948. SALE CREEK OPRY — Sale Creek Lions Club, 15222 Cop­pinger Road. Old-time coun­try and gospel mu­sic, 6: 30 p. m. each Satur­day. $ 5 cou­ples, $ 3 sin­gles; free for kids 12 and younger. floy­d­bled­[email protected] com. SE­NIORS DANCE — Team­sters Union Hall, 4431 Bonny Oaks Drive. Band plays line dance, slow coun­try and ’ 50s rock mu­sic, 7-10 p. m. each Satur­day. $ 5 do­na­tion. 423867-7185. SNOW HILL BLUE­GRASS JAM­BOREE — High­way 58 Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment Train­ing Cen­ter, 9100 Snow Hill Road, Har­ri­son. Vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers spon­sor jam­boree by area bands, 5:45-10 p. m. Satur­day, Jan. 5. Free. 423529- 8009. SODDY- DAISY JAM­BOREE — Soddy- Daisy Com­mu­nity Cen­ter, 190 De­pot St. Pick­ers and lis­ten­ers gather, 7-10 p. m. Thurs­day, Dec. 27. Free. 423332-3654. TIVOLI THEATRE CON­CERT TOURS — 709 Broad St. 423757-5580, www.tivoli chattanooga.com.

Fri­day, Dec. 28: Black Jacket Sym­phony presents Tom Petty and the Heart­break­ers’ “Damn the Tor­pe­does,” 8 p. m. Fri­day, Dec. 28; doors open at 7 p. m. $25 and $ 35.

Mon­day, Jan. 7: Wil­lie Nel­son & Fam­ily, with Madi­son Kozak, 8 p. m.; doors open at 7 p. m. $79, $99, $ 125 and $ 175.

“Bird Streets,” left, and “Full Cir­cle Night­mare” by Kyle Craft.

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