Ever wonder what the folks who run your favorite record label listen to, watch, and think (and drink) about in their free time? Wonder no more!!
Another calendar year is just about in the books, so it's time to look back on our highlights and milestones of the year, as well as look back on the art, music, literature, food, and other things that helped us escape, cope, and march forward. And maybe point out some of the shitty things we didn't like about this year, too. Balance is integral to this fleeting life.
Bloodshot Co-Honcho Rob Miller
Favorite show you saw in 2018 (non-Bloodshot division): Caroline Rose at Brooklyn Country Cantina at SXSW in Austin TX. The energy, edginess, weirdness, and pure joy of a mid-60s garage punk version of DEVO. Charmed me from the top of my energy dome right down to my striped socks.
Favorite song of 2018 (non-Bloodshot division) “Could You Wait Til I’ve Had My Coffee” —Lisa LeBlanc An exhaustedly defiant kiss off song with a guitar tone that would make Poison Ivy proud. “And you’re kind of a dick when you’re drunk and you owe me 200 bucks and your band kind of sucks….”
Favorite 2018 album: An album + EP that perfectly captures the fraught times we live in... wicked smart songs with thrilling, white-knuckle music about police brutality, endless wars in Afghanistan, rampant wealth privilege, corporate greed and irresponsibility, religious hypocrisy, fascist dickheads and ineffectual liberals. They’re called Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables and In God We Trust, Inc by the Dead Kennedys.
Oh wait...that was released in 1980. Why is it the best, most relevant, and righteously angry music out there is almost 40 fucking years old? C’mon, you millennial and post-millennial-whatevers, get on it! Where are the pissed off bands called Covfefe or Smocking Gun or Mother Pence? Zinke’s been pissing in your drinking water and filling your air with burning tires for two years, and NOTHING?! Is finding a pair of Post Malone’s Crocs more urgent than knowing you will be the last generation to see a polar bear outside of an animated Coke commercial? Arrgghghghghghgh.
Ok fine, here’s my “real” answer:
JD McPherson Socks
Yes, it’s a Christmas album, and it pisses me off that I’ll have to put the album away for 10 months (lest ye think I’ve lost my mind).
Favorite 2018 TV or web series: Barry
Favorite book you read in 2018: Fiction: The Sellout by Paul Beatty. Savagely hilarious, or is that hilariously savage? The Confederacy of Dunces wrapped in a copy of Swift’s Tale of the Tub and jammed home with ample doses of the Autobiography of Malcolm X. A book I had to frequently put down when I laughed too hard to continue, as well as a book for which I had slack-jawed admiration, for its sheer fearlessness and audacity.
Non-Fiction: George Orwell’s 1984. Fiction, you say? Ignorance is strength.
Favorite online video of 2018:
Yes, the internet is usually a sinkhole, swallowing joy and leaving only regret and sadness, but every once in a while:
Last year, my friends at Shake It Records in Cincinnati sent me the complete Stax/Volt singles collection and I spent months feasting upon its ample treasures. This led me to watch the 1972 WattStax concert—the Woodstock of soul music (which, as you can well imagine, had FAR superior music and apparel…). The highlight I could not get enough of was Rufus Thomas’ “Do The Funky Chicken.”
It is a riot of dances I can never do, styles I can never pull off and a sense of communal joy my tightly wound Midwestern prissery will never let me feel comfortable in. Dang.
At 1:28, that little girl evinces more cool-as-ice bad-ass determination in 3 seconds than I ever will. I hope she rules the world one day. And SOON.
A perpetually colorful character, Rufus takes the cake. At 2:24, the camera pans down behind him for a sartorial reveal for the ages. I mean, JEZUS Christ, I hope one day to give so little of a fuck of what the world thinks that I can get on a stage in tangerine knee shorts and silver spaceman boots. Double dang.
Favorite new trend of 2018: These newfangled LP thingys seem kinda neat. I hope they stick around.
Least favorite trend of 2018: The acceptance of the death of objective reality at the hands of a few impossibly wealthy, powerful and depraved individuals, and the swath of people participating, both wittingly and unwittingly, as pallbearers.
Top personal victory of 2018: Several months of intense sleep therapy to overcome a lifetime of rather debilitating insomnia and sticking with the program. Let me tell ya, there were times when it was really hard and….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…..
Use an SAT word to describe 2018: Untergang, or, perhaps, mephitic.
2019 New Year Resolution and % chance of success: Don’t be so quick to viciously condemn people using their cellphones while driving. Take a moment to consider THEIR side of it. It might be important. 0%
Bloodshot Co-Honcho Nan Warshaw
Best thing you drank in 2018: The last of the FEW Spirits Bloodshot InsurGINt gin
Best thing you ate in 2018: My meal at Mana Food Bar in the week before it closed.
Favorite 2018 TV or web series: Reuters news on demand [got rid of cable!]
Least favorite trend of 2018: Unashamed racism.
Favorite Movie in 2018: RBG documentary
Favorite new trend of 2018: 1. More women and people of color holding elected offices.
2. Charity fundraising for birthdays and at parties
Favorite book you read in 2018: Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock's Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout by Laura Jane Grace
Favorite thing from the past that you finally got around to in 2018: 1. Cutting my hair dramatically for the first time in 20 years.
2. Eating arugula (aka Rocket), love it!
Top personal victory of 2018: Daily exercise (keep pain away!)
Best new place you visited in 2018: Vancouver and Whistler BC – plus the drive between them is breathtaking.
Best neighborhood discoveries: Kabobi Persian and Mediterranean Grill and Kim’s Home Cooking
Best beverage value: Winking Owl Moscato and Shiraz at Aldi
Best growth investment: Each year I’ve planted perennial seeds and plants in my yard—this year many interesting flowers finally bloomed!
Publicity Pirate Josh Zanger
Favorite show you saw in 2018:
Sons of Kemet at Schubas
Daughters at Beat Kitchen
Why? playing Alopecia at Bottom Lounge
Favorite song of 2018: While there are songs that are more personal favorites that I’ll listen to more often, “This is America” by Childish Gambino has to be one of the most important songs of the year from a socially-aware, timely, creative, communicative aspect.
Favorite 2018 album: Whack World by Tierra Whack
You Won’t Get What You Want by Daughters
Favorite 2018 TV or web series: Haunting of Hill House
The Good Place
Favorite book you read in 2018: Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
Favorite online video of 2018: Conan visiting a Japanese etiquette teacher:
Favorite thing from the past that you finally got around to in 2018: Voting again
Best thing you drank in 2018: Apple juice
Best new place you visited in 2018: Harpers Ferry, West Virginia in the light rain and fog just before sundown in the late summer
Favorite new trend of 2018: Being optimistic
Least favorite trend of 2018: Reality denying
Top personal victory of 2018: Running a combined 100 miles this summer. Fitness!
Use an SAT word to describe 2018: Anarchic but propitious
What are you most looking forward to in 2019? More apple juice
2019 New Year Resolution and % chance of success: Fighting the good fight, 97%. The missing 3% is when I’m asleep.
Digital Diva Nina Stiener
Favorite song of 2018:
(not including songs on my favorite albums of 2018)
"Take on the Dark" by Amanda Shires
"Havana" by Camila Cabello
"People Get Old" by Lorie McKenna
Favorite 2018 album: I don’t know why we don’t change this question to “top 5 albums of 2018” because it’s criminal to ask me to pick one. On that note, in no particular order…
Brandi Carlile - By The Way, I Forgive You
Janelle Monáe - Dirty Computer
Pistol Annies - Interstate Gospel
Courtney Barnett - Tell Me How you Really Feel
Cardi B - Invasion of Privacy
Favorite 2018 TV or web series: It’s not a new show but Chuck was my favorite show I binged this year.
Favorite book you read in 2018: The easiest question for me to answer every year… The Stand by Stephen King
Best thing you drank in 2018: The cocktail flight at Cosmic Coffee & Beer Garden in Austin, Texas
Best new place you visited in 2018: A tie between Asheville and Atlanta
Best bad decision you made in 2018: Buying an adult tricycle. It was just a bad decision until I sold it to a lady off of Craigslist who was going to use it in a clown parade. Really had to swallow my pride on that one but I’m glad it will ride on somewhere completely ridiculous.
Favorite new trend of 2018: The term “big-dick energy”
Least favorite trend of 2018: Men
Top personal victory of 2018: Cleaning out a closet at Bloodshot that had yet to be cleaned this century
Use an SAT word to describe 2018: rutilant
What are you most looking forward to in 2019? All the fun and secret things we are planning for Bloodshot’s 25th anniversary…
2019 New Year Resolution and % chance of success: To get no more than 2 Chicago parking tickets: 10%
Retail Ranger Alex Bender
Favorite show you saw in 2018: Jonathan Richman at Union Transfer, The Sea and Cake at Boot & Saddle
Favorite song of 2018: Bardo Pond "Cud"
Superorganism "Something for your M.I.N.D."
Favorite 2018 album:
Yo La Tengo – There’s a Riot Going On
The Sea and Cake – Any Day
Favorite 2018 TV or web series:
Joe Pera Talks with You
Seinfeld Season 3
Best thing you ate in 2018: Wawa Gobbler (November 21st Melbourne, Florida)
Mack & Manco Pizza (September 21st Ocean City, New Jersey)
Best thing you drank in 2018: All of the Tired Hands beers. Ultimo Coffee.
Best new place you visited in 2018: Havana, Cuba
Top personal victory of 2018: Deciding to work in music full time
Best bad decision you made in 2018: Deciding to work in music full time (kidding, right?)
What are you most looking forward to in 2019? The Phillies possibly being good for once
Best Moment of 2018: The one and only BDN dominating the Patriots and bringing home the first Super Bowl win for the Eagles! / Gritty being born!
Marketing Maven Mike Smith
Favorite show you saw in 2018: Willie Nelson at Luck Reunion in Texas in March. Willie was in top form, pickin' away and playin' the hits. I will never be able to repay Ruby Boots enough for giving me her artist pass to I could get a sidestage spot to see the legend.
Also, Gorillaz with a 13-piece band at United Center in Chicago. Not only a fantastically entertaining show about the end of the world, but refreshing to see a diverse crowd actually excited to be at a concert.
Favorite Song of 2018: "Night Shift" by Lucy Dacus
Favorite 2018 TV or web series: The Good Place
Favorite book you read in 2018: Fat Chance: Misfits, Rejects, and Ne'er-Do-Wells Running a Radio Station. My dad gave me this book about KFAT, his favorite radio station in the Bay Area in the mid-70s. Fascinating, reckless, hilarious, heartfelt. Little did my dad know that KFAT was responsible for some of this "Americana" racket we're involved in here at Bloodshot. KFAT was using the term "alternative country" long before the journalists of the late '80s and early '90s.
Also, the Smugglers Cove cocktail bible my wife gave me for my birthday. Our apartment is now a makeshift rum bar.
Favorite online video of 2018: Still can't believe SNL's writers were eavesdropping on my conversations in college.
Favorite thing from the past that you finally got around to in 2018: Mr. Robot
Best Thing You Ate in 2018: Sea bass casado plate at Restaurante Los Crocodilos in Carara National Park, Costa Rica. The restaurant's name is inspired by the live crocodiles that live underneath it. Those things make American alligators look like iguanas.
Best thing you drank in 2018: 18-year Flor de Cana rum at Gaia, Costa Rica
Favorite new place you visited in 2018: Take a guess ^^^ (though New Orleans is a close second)
Best Bad Decision You Made in 2018: Got married?! (Zing!!)
Favorite New Trend of 2018: Breweries making more beers that are not IPAs
Least Favorite New Trend of 2018: For the second year running...fascism!! Tell them what they've won, Johnny!
Top Personal Victory of 2018: Got married?! (Ok this is a real answer. But perhaps the biggest actual victory was successfully pulling off planning a wedding from afar and it going off without a hitch (no pun intended).)
Use an SAT word to describe 2018: Weltschmerz
What are you looking forward to in 2019: The world to hear debut albums Jason Hawk Harris and Vandoliers, and the year-long blowout for our 25th anniversary. And maybe the Bulls firing their entire front office (fingers crossed!!).
Warehouse Wizard Lisa Christensen
Favorite show you saw in 2018: More than one! Many of the musicians who performed at the Nashville Boogie: The Paladins, The Planet Rockers, Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones, McKinley James, Bailey Dee. A tiki show featuring the Martian Denny Orchestra, GBH at Cobra Lounge, Roky Erickson at Lincoln Hall, Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Favorite song of 2018: "The Bottle Never Lets Me Down" by Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
Favorite 2018 album: I'd have to say Years by Sarah Shook. Thanks Bloodshot for introducing me to new music again!
Favorite book you read in 2018: I finally got around to reading Loretta Lynn's Coal Miner's Daughter. That gal has had quite the inspirational journey.
Favorite online video of 2018: Didn't come out in 2018, but I first saw it this year
Favorite thing from the past that you finally got around to in 2018: I have been wanting to try my hand at letterpress for over a decade, so I took a workshop at Hamilton Wood Type in Two Rivers, WI and it was awesome.
Best thing you ate in 2018: A grilled mac'n'cheese sandwich—f*ckin' heavenly, and the only thing better than mac'n'cheese, or a grilled cheese!!
Best thing you drank in 2018: There's been a few delicious tiki libations that I can't even name, from Three Dots and a Dash, Hala Kahiki, and Trader Vic's.
Best new place you visited in 2018: Went to England! That was pretty cool.
Best bad decision you made in 2018: Got a Patsy Cline tattoo. For the record I don't think that's a bad decision, but some people (i.e. my parents) still do. Hey, it's better than doing drugs!
Favorite new trend of 2018: I'm digging the uptick in awareness for planet & wildlife conservation, particularly giving up plastic straws and movements to preserve our national parks.
Least favorite trend of 2018: Can't say. (See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil)
Top personal victory of 2018: Moving yet again, whilst seeking out a job change, and maintaining sanity.
Use an SAT word to describe 2018: Ambivalence.
What are you most looking forward to in 2019? I'm looking forward to popping out a baby in June. I think being a parent will be challenging but extremely rewarding. Also looking forward to putting out a new song or two with the band!
2019 New Year Resolution and % chance of success: Not messing up this kid. I'm giving it a 50/50 chance... More or less hoping they don't hate their parents someday for dressing them in vintage clothes and exposing their ears to loud exhaust pipes.
Inimitable Intern Hannah Douglas
Favorite show you played in 2018: Vinyl Friday DJ Spice Girls remix. I was really feeling the hype from the Bloodshot staff. What a day to be alive.
Favorite show you saw in 2018:
Jeff Lynne's ELO - Allstate Arena
Every show at SXSW
Naked Giants - Schubas
Jack White - Aragon Ballroom
Favorite song of 2018: An Oldie - Frank Sinatra "That's Life." I listened to too many new songs that I liked to decide on one...
BUT I will say my favorite podcast of 2018 is My Favorite Murder
Favorite 2018 album:
The Nude Party - The Nude Party
The End Again - The Evening Attraction
Favorite 2018 TV or web series: Buzzfeed Unsolved, Ozark, Mind Hunter
Favorite online video of 2018:
Favorite thing from the past that you finally got around to in 2018: Booked my first show by myself
Best thing you ate in 2018: Arepas from Bienmisabe
Best thing you drank in 2018: A quality Gin and Tonic
Best new place you visited in 2018: Vegas
Best bad decision you made in 2018: I had a great paying job and hated everything about it so I blindly quit, somehow managed to get myself a part-time job and two internships.
I ended up learning a lot from both internships and love my job. I do not regret that decision one bit!
Favorite new trend of 2018: Everyone coming out of the shadows about their true crime obsessions.
Least favorite trend of 2018: Crop tops
Use an SAT word to describe 2018: burgeon
What are you most looking forward to in 2019? I'm very excited to see Sir Elton on his "Farewell Tour" and the Rolling Stones at Soldier Field will be amazing too.
2019 New Year Resolution and % chance of success: Maybe get my life together? A generous 15% chance of success.. I also want to travel more and push myself out of my comfort zone more.