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On record(s)

Local musicians on their favorite albums of 2018

We asked some of the artists who appeared in the pages of our music section this year to pick their favorite album of 2018. Here’s what they chose.

Bad Behavior
Because it’s sexy and funny and it never stops. They keep reinventing what a band can be for themselves. Is it music? Is it an art project? Catchy as hell.
Scott Bell, Lead Audio Visual Technician at Gathering Place and Guthrie Green, “Tune in
” engineer

Heavy and aggressive in all the right ways and moments while still taking time to gently tell you a story and make you think. It features attention-grabbing guitar solos on several of the tracks that I find important components in the album’s storytelling. This record is everything any mwY fan could want.
—Susie McCombs, singer/songwriter, Brother Rabbit

Born on Black Wall Street
Steph Simon
Album of the year would have to be Steph Simon’s Born on Black Wall Street. I feel like it was just the right balance of emotions and storytelling. It just felt relatable.
—Shakera Simmons a.k.a. Bambi, rapper

Burnt Sugar | Gouge Away
Friendship Music | Surfbort

It’s hard to choose between these albums. While the two are not comparable, each is powerful in its own regard. Gouge Away took a step back from their metal riffs, keeping the driving and intense vocal style and politically charged lyrics. Surfbort’s album is fun, intense, hyper, and REAL AS HELL. I’m a lyricist so I love interesting subject matter with driving meaning and purpose.
—Allison Ward, Tom Boil

Keep the Dream Alive
Chaz Hofler

Chaz Hofler is an artist that I know from college. He’s originally from New York, currently resides in Virginia, but lived in Tulsa some time ago. Essentially for me I think any good project carries longevity. The positive social impact that his album put forth speaks volumes and is very inspirational.
—DaVonte Suarez a.k.a iamDES, rapper

Judas Priest

Forty-four years after their debut, the Metal Gods have unleashed their best album since Painkiller (1990). Andy Sneap brings modern metal production while the songwriting shines in classic Priest form. The ferocity of Richie Faulkner and Glenn Tipton’s riffs coupled with Rob Halford’s never-diminishing vocals hold on to you for the entire 58 minutes of this 14-track slab of classic metal.
—Trent Schoenhals, co-host Thunder Underground podcast

No News is Good News

I’ve been listening to it over and over since I interviewed him. It’s very reflective; I like how he talks about health and trying to eat better, his dad dying. There were a lot of things that I related to on that level. His overall lyricism and delivery is just flawless to me. People out there saying real hip-hop doesn’t live anymore: You’re just not looking hard enough.
—Ali Shaw, 105.3 KJamz host

Born on Black Wall Street | Steph Simon
Saturday Morning Cartoons & A Box of Cereal, Vol.1
 | iamDES
It’s a two-way tie. Both projects inspired me musically. A reminder to tell stories within your music and how powerful words are.
—Sarah Short a.k.a. Ayilla, rapper

Lady Lady

Masego is a very young, creative, and talented artist who plays multiple instruments. His album this year was super fire. He produced the majority of the songs himself. It’s really classical with an R&B style to it. It’s the type of music that will last for a while—that good throwback music.
—TaNesha Rushing a.k.a. Tea Rush, rapper

Bad Behavior
As a longtime Ryan Lindsey fan, I am digging the new compositions and arrangements with this band. Very groovy from start to finish.
—Mike Gilliland, Cucumber and the Suntans, The Dull Drums, Who & The Fucks, Auggy Reed Studios

Tell Me How You Really Feel
Courtney Barnett

I’ve always been a sucker for a surprising turn of phrase, and Courtney pulls me back into her lyrics over and over whenever I get distracted by that delicious, crunchy, screaming guitar. They’re so conversational, like she’s sitting next to me, talking cynically about my life’s decisions while the band wails in the background.
—Rachel Bachman, singer/songwriter, Echoes & Copycats

A Laughing Death in Meatspace​
Tropical Fuck Storm

The Australian supergroup kept it as safe as an Irish Catholic on their wedding night with their 2018 release. This ADHD funhouse mirror reflects the mad genius of lead vocalist Gareth Liddiard. A textual perverse attack of off-kilter rhythms and sloppy, out-of-tune guitars creates a soundtrack perfect for communicating with dolphins high on PCP.
—Andrew Noga, DüClaü

Fame and Fortune
Mick’s Jaguar

It’s rock ‘n’ roll swagger that’ll have you shaking your booty and pissing in the streets in no time.
—Jack VanBaton, Acid Queen

Negro Swan
Blood Orange

It’s somewhere between Prince, Michael Jackson, and Thundercat. It’s a straight-through listen. Possibly baby-making music. So beware.
—Gabriel Royal, singer/songwriter

Tacoma Night Terror: Part 1
Jackie Cohen

She did a really good job encapsulating the mid- to late-70s LA sound with also adding some really good pop songs throughout it, and I love TASCAM 388 recordings.
—Garon Burch, The Shelter People

Hive Mind
The Internet

Absolutely delivers from top to bottom. The songs are original, soulful, funky, and sexy.
—Dane Arnold, Dane Arnold & The Soup


Judas Priest

When I think of being 70 years old, I think of sitting in an oversized recliner and watching “Jeopardy,” not touring the world in a staple heavy metal band. This album sounds like it came straight out of 1983. I love that in the age of mumble rap, JP is keeping the spirit of OG heavy metal alive.
—Jacob Fuller, Blind Oath, DüClaü

Saturday Morning Cartoons & A Box of Cereal, Vol.1

It’s a great look into the artist as a person who shows vulnerability … a full rap album telling the story of his past and upbringing. If you grew up eating cereal, watching blockbuster movies, going to Toys “R” Us with cousins that wasn’t cousins—or if you were just a kid in the 90s—this album is definitely worth listening to. That’s especially true if you don’t think you can relate, because you may discover you and iamDES have more in common.
—Keenan Lane a.k.a. Keeng Cut, rapper

Northern Chaos Gods

When I first learned founding front man Abbath had been replaced by his co-founder Demonaz, I was a little put off, but it’s incredible! Right from the start, this album hits you like a blizzard blast to the face. It has everything you want from these black metal legends. Soul ripping shreds, blistering blast beats, and melodic, atmospheric segments. You feel like you’re in a demon-infested, battle-scarred, frozen tundra. I’ll be blasting this years from now.
—Eric Miller, Blind Oath

Kill the Lights
Tony Molina

I inherited a deep appreciation for music from my mother. I always felt kind of guilty for never liking The Beatles, who she loved—like I was missing this amazing bonding opportunity with the very person who got me into music. Then along came Tony Molina’s new record. I remember thinking, “This totally reminds me of The Beatles, but I dig it. I bet my mom would love this.” She did and she made a point to tell me numerous times in the weeks after I introduced it to her. She passed away unexpectedly soon after. This is not only my favorite record of 2018 but also the final thing I got to share and enjoy with my mother. I will love this record until I die.
—Brian Troth, The Holy Void, End Timers

Our picks:

Born on Black Wall Street
Steph Simon

This imaginative, polished LP shines a spotlight on black excellence in Tulsa and has further cemented Simon as an innovator within the community. Simon masterfully speaks on Tulsa’s racial wounds under the pseudonym ‘Diamond Dick Roland’ (the elevator operator blamed by whites for instigating the 1921 Massacre) over feel-good, original beats. The music video for the track “Upside,” was shot on the lawn of the Brady Mansion where former KKK member Tate Brady once lived, symbolizing that Tulsa is headed in a new, positive direction.
—Mary Noble

Rae Sremmurd

The 40 best seconds of 2018 begin at the 2:48 mark in “Guatemala.” This specific moment demonstrates the exhilaration underneath these 27 tracks. We see the sparkly glare of the wild ride of fame that Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi are more than enthusiastic to brag about, but we’re warmed by evidence of the raw, rad mystery of happiness we’re all trying to tap into, because it rubs off.
—Brady Whisenhunt

Heaven and Earth
Kamasi Washington

There’s no better place to get lost in thought and groove. The additional hidden record, The Choice, binds the album’s two halves—the enduring and the ephemeral—into a question of will.
—John Langdon