Apt613 has a unique take on the “best” albums of 2018. We look to the charts published by CHUO 89.1FM to see which records made the most/highest weekly appearances. Campus and community radio stations send play logs to !earshot, a website where you’ll find the national Top 50 reported weekly.
Not every album was released during the 2018 calendar year. In several instances, you’ll see a 2017 release which stayed in the charts. There are one or two much older releases.
All of the Top 50 records are streaming for free—enjoy listening! A great deal are available online and at local record shops. Paying for a download or dropping $ on vinyl and concert tickets is still the number one way to support local music today. ✌️
- Top local releases of 2018: #50–41
- Top local releases of 2018: #40–31
- Top local releases of 2018: #30–21
- Top local releases of 2018: #20–11
|Title: Hate Me/Hate You (Single)||Weeks: 8|
|Artist: Holy Christopher||Peak: #2|
|Label: Independent||Avg: 14.50|
The lead single from Holy Christopher’s only 2018 release, Land vs Sea, charted for eight consecutive weeks in the spring. The band’s power pop tune “Hate You/Hate Me” was one of only four local records to run for at least two months in the CHUO Top 30. Coming up on January 11, the Hull four-piece is playing Pressed with synthpop band Valois and Tina Wallace. Show details on Facebook.
|Title: I Was A Blank Canvas||Weeks: 9|
|Artist: Adam Blasl||Peak: #1|
|Label: Independent||Avg: 15.89|
What Adam Blasl describes as “overly pretentious emotional indie folk” is actually really nice, hooky bedroom pop. It’s him, an acoustic guitar and a couple effects pedals the whole way through this five-track EP, a short collection of songs about relationships and friendship.
|Title: Tired of Waiting||Weeks: 6|
|Artist: Jim Bryson||Peak: #1|
|Label: Coax||Avg: 7.83|
The format of our list—we’re looking at the 2018 calendar year, and not only 2018 releases—is not so favourable to late-2018 releases. Take for example Jim Bryson’s Tired of Waiting, which dropped in September and shot up in the charts. Despite Bryson’s indie folk album making the most #1 appearances, Tired of Waiting will not go down as 2018’s most-played local record on CHUO 89.1FM. This album has the highest average of all Top 10 records. Tired of Waiting charted at eleven Canadian radio stations and spent six weeks in the national Top 50.
|Title: Even This Glow EP||Weeks: 8|
|Artist: Galapagos||Peak: #3|
|Label: Independent||Avg: 13.50|
That’s two years straight and three releases in the Apt613 x CHUO Top 50 for Galapagos. Their Potential Space EP was #33 in 2017. Here we see the indie rock band appearing twice in our 2018 list. First with the lead single “Wall”, which charted for two weeks in winter 2018, followed by Even This Glow, which went on an eight-week spree this year.
|Title: Lonely (Single)||Weeks: 10|
|Artist: Rommel Ribeiro||Peak: #3|
|Label: Independent||Avg: 14.10|
Rommel Ribeiro’s single, “Lonely”, has actually beat out Ribeiro’s full-length album in CHUO’s charts. Caminho de Vento was released in October and charted for four consecutive weeks in November, however this “Lonely” single was the album’s early hit. A promo copy sent to CHUO got consistent play and charted for a remarkable ten weeks in summer 2018 following Ribeiro’s concert at the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival.
|Title: Illuminati Knights (Single)||Weeks: 10|
|Artist: New Swears||Peak: #4|
|Label: Independent||Avg: 12.60|
As Pitchfork describes the Ottawa punks, New Swears are “like a lot of low-budget exploitation films… this thing is fun.” Their celebrated live shows are an experience you simply won’t forget, and since signing to Dine Alone Records (Tokyo Police Club, New Pornographers, Dirty Nil…) we’re all just waiting for the local boys to blow up on the national stage. Their live shows are a good time, no doubt. Probably one of the most memorable rock shows you can see; for all their stupid antics, stunt acrobatics and crowd-surfing. Their “Illuminati Knights” single went on Bandcamp around Christmastime in 2017 and all proceeds from digital downloads were donated to Girls+ Skate 613 and For Pivots Sake.
|Title: Party Boy Depression (Single)||Weeks: 10|
|Artist: Mark II||Peak: #1|
|Label: Independent||Avg: 11.50|
If I had access to an #ottmusic time machine, I’m thinking I’d stop in on April 5, 2018, when Adam Blasl, Mark II, and Townes shared a bill at Pressed. Tickets cost only $5 at the door. There on stage would be three artists who were slaying the charts in 2018, and I’d be hearing them for the very first time. Before now, I thought I was up to speed on local music. But Mark II put out a #1 single which charted for ten weeks at CHUO 89.1FM and I completely missed it. Apt613’s annual dive into the CHUO charts has never surprised me so much as making a discovery at #4—it’s out of left field.
|Title: Ginny EP||Weeks: 12|
|Artist: Ginny||Peak: #5|
|Label: Independent||Avg: 13.42|
GINNY is the alt-country project of Lesley Marshall (Bonnie Doon), guitarist Catriona Sturton (ex-Plumtree) and bassist Kristy Nease (Area Resident). Recorded by Jared Bartlett, the band’s self-titled EP started out with demos Lesley and Kristy created alongside a drum machine. However, in the studio they were joined by Sturton and drummer Ainsley Lahey. In March 2018, GINNY released their self-titled debut EP at a sweet Vanier haunt, The Concorde Motel.
|Title: Through The Fog||Weeks: 11|
|Artist: Shadowhand||Peak: #1|
|Label: Record Centre Records||Avg: 8.73|
In early 2018, Apt613 contributor Jeff Kingsbury wrote that “Shadowhand’s name has been popping up everywhere in Ottawa’s music listings as a group to watch.” That was right before Shadowhand’s album release show presented by Ottawa Showbox at St. Alban’s Church. The psych-rock band’s frontman Jamieson Mackay fielded a few questions for Apt613 in advance of the show. You can still read that interview here. Through The Fog was one of only seven local records to reach #1 at CHUO.
|Title: No Shame in Letting Go||Weeks: 14|
|Artist: Nighttime in Kansas||Peak: #1|
|Label: Independent||Avg: 9.79|
One of only five local records to chart for 10+ weeks, No Shame in Letting Go was the year’s runaway hit. For fourteen weeks—most of those consecutive—the alt-rock EP was a Top 30 (if not Top 10) record at CHUO 89.1FM. Since their 2016 debut, Nighttime in Kansas grew into a 4-piece project by adding multi-instrumentalist Eric Graham to the lineup. Sax virtuoso Brian Asselin (who co-writes and arranges for Rebecca Noelle as well as The Commotions) features on “4-16”, my favourite track on this record. The band toured Ontario in the summer and played a string of US dates in September, however Nighttime in Kansas have yet to announce an Ottawa show since their recent gig at The 27 Club. I’ll look for them in 2019 summer festival lineups.
#1 chart toppers: Nine local releases reached the #1 spot and an Ottawa release topped the weekly chart 11 times this year. Tired of Waiting — Jim Bryson (3); No Shame In Letting Go — Nighttime in Kansas (1); Through The Fog — Shadowhand (1); Party Boy Depression — Mark II (1); I Was A Blank Canvas — Adam Blasl (1); We’re All In This Together But You — Valois (1); Bad Mantras — Boyhood (1); Go To Sleep — Blve Hills (1); Joy of Joys — Slack Bridges (1);
Best singles: Party Boy Depression — Mark II (#4); Illuminati Knights — New Swears (#5); Lonely — Rommel Ribeiro (#6); Hate Me/Hate You — Holy Christopher (#10); Sprinkle on a Cake — Sparklesaurus (#12). These five singles were played more than most albums in the Top 50
Most prolific artist: Three releases by Expanda Fuzz appeared in the charts. Those are The Last of the Who Heads (#30), Ghosts and Flowers (#39), and Cotton Candy Jet Engine (#42). An honourable mention goes out to Curl, who had Deathland EP (#13) and Curl EP (#24) in the Top 50 most-played this year.
Top label: Record Centre Records released three of this year’s Top 50 most-played records. Through The Fog — Shadowhand (#2); The Silence Came After — Claude Munson (#23); Joy of Joys — Slack Bridges (#30).