From dropping their ripping sixth album, July's Devouring Radiant Light, to playing high-profile shows with System of a Down, Skeletonwitch had a big year. Guitarist Scott Hedrick (pictured above, second from the right) made his mark on 2018, and 2018 made a mark on him, too. We asked the extreme-metal musician to share some of his favorite music (excluding his own) from the last 11 months and counting. Here is what he offered up.
Easily the most beautiful record I came across this year and probably my favorite if you're forcing me to choose. It's the only record this year that made me openly cry, and it has done so multiple times. Excellent pacing and sequencing. It was brilliant to open with that simple piano piece. It enhances every other piece on the record. I tend to frown on the idea of giving awards for art, but, fuck me, someone give Mr. Howard SOMETHING for that orchestral version of "Hymn."
These Swedish hippies are the OG DIY dudes. Back in the Sixties they would play pop-up shows out in a field with a generator and then cook food for everyone after the gig!! They're still releasing albums and those albums are excellent. They smoke bands half their age (and would probably smoke up the band's weed, too, if they weren't so damn nice). Their trance-like jamming is the aural version of a warm blanket. Cover me up and let me zone out!!
I'm a massive Talking Heads fan and, until recently, had largely overlooked David Byrne's solo output. That was definitely a mistake! Because he is such a risk-taker his catalog and this album, IMO, can be a bit spotty. However, I wouldn't prefer that he play it safe.
I was able to catch him twice on the world tour he did for this record and it was utterly mind-blowing. Every aspect of the show was choreographed/synced up. A staggering amount of thought, intent and skill went into that show. Easily in my top five live shows of all time and probably No. 1. Byrne is a true artist and if you haven't yet, now is a great time to delve into his back catalog. There is a lot to discover. "The pope don't mean shit, to a dog!"
A reissue of a 1985 album from the West African country of Côte d'Ivoire. A beautiful and interesting mix of African/Americana/folk and even country music! The lyrics are sung in French, Gouro and English and I can't get enough of those the vocal harmonies. The subject matter deals with the political turmoil of the time, but aesthetically the music is airy and breezy. A friend turned me on to this (hi Aaron!!) and I'm grateful. So let me do the same for your readers out there. Trust me, this record will enhance your life.