It’s the time of year when established media outlets and blog boys alike put out their “Best ____ of 2018 so far” lists. Ya know I’m no different. However, I don’t make money off of my last name dot com, so I don’t need 50 different lists to appease my advertisers. I limited myself to five of each. If you don’t see your favorite album/film/goldfish, it was probably 6th on my list. Or I haven’t encountered it yet.
Gimme 5: albums from the first half of 2018
One Stone by Trixie Mattel (self-released) March
A drag queen superstar goes against making EDM club music in favor of earnest Americana. Must listens are “Little Sister” and “Red Side of the Moon.”
Clean by Soccer Mommy (Fat Possum) March
The cream of the crop when it comes to college-aged people mastering their feelings with a guitar. Must listens are “Your Dog” and “Scorpio Rising.”
Saved by Now, Now (Trans-) May
These high school besties turned pop power duo didn’t disappoint after it took five years to make this album. Must listens are “SGL” and “Holy Water.”
Nightstand by Tancred (Polyvinyl) June
Jess Abbott could have written the soundtrack to any angsty teen movie from the late-90s. Must listens are “Apple Tree Girl” and “Underwear.”
Verdugo by Richard Edwards (Joyful Noise) June
The result happens when your life and health go to shit but so you write two albums – the bummer one and this one. Must listens are “A Woman Who Can’t Say No” and “Olive Oyl.”
Gimme 5: books from the first half of 2018
The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara (Ecco)
Before RuPaul made drag mainstream, there was the queer community of NYC in the late ’80s struggling to find acceptance. This is their story. [My interview with the author can be found here.]
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi (Grove)
Modern-day Nigerian folklore crossed with a sincere coming-of-age story is perhaps the best way to describe this novel.
Look Alive Out There by Sloane Crosley (MCD)
Essays about topics ranging from porn to volcanoes to personal musing. Expect to laugh, cry, and dry heave.
The Pisces by Melissa Broder (Hogarth)
A woman in the midst of an existential crisis mixed with a cocktail of depression and anxiety has a sexual relationship with a merman. Or does she?
Florida by Lauren Groff (Riverhead)
A collection from one of the best writers out there. She explores different characteristics of the state through time and location with such emotional precision. [My interview with the author can be found here.]
Gimme 5: returning TV shows from the first half of 2018
The Americans (FX)
A final season about Cold War Russian spies in America that wasn’t watched or respected by nearly enough people. Standout episode: “START.”
Completely different, yet somehow exactly the same from the first season. Auteur television perfected. Standout episode: “Teddy Perkins.”
Baseball is America’s pastime. Hank Azaria is America’s future. Minor league baseball has never been so fun. And that’s saying something considering how fun MiLB is already. Standout episode: “Knuckleball.”
Santa Clarita Diet (Netflix)
It never takes itself too seriously and is lighthearted and hefty throughout. Sometimes even in the same scene. Standout episode: “Suspicious Objects.”
Well, well, well. If there was a show I turned sour on, it’s this one. Still, I can’t stop thinking about it week in and week out. Standout episode: “Kiksuya.”
Gimme 5: new TV shows from the first half of 2018
Bill Hader proves he’s more than a funny man in this dark hitman comedy.
The End of the F*ing World (Netflix)
Two disturbed teens go on a dangerous roadtrip across England that is filled with drugs, sex, and murder.
Queer Eye (Netflix)
Five men so fabulous a second season came out less than half a year later.
The Looming Tower (Hulu)
Problematic, sure, but an honest retelling of America’s darkest hour.
Killing Eve (BBC America)
A twisty murder mystery that avoids the typical tropes and has stand out performances lead by Sandra Oh.
Gimme 5: films from the first half of 2018
A Quiet Place by John Krasinski, Bryan Woods and Scott Beck (Paramount)
It took 90 minutes to explore the themes The Walking Dead still hasn’t figured out.
Black Panther by Ryan Coogler(Marvel)
The best(?) superhero flick since The Dark Knight. Wakanda forever.
Isle of Dogs by Wes Anderson(Fox Searchlight)
The film auteur returns to stop motion and surpassed all expectation.
Love, Simon by Greg Berlanti, Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger(20th Century Fox)
Queer stories are more important than ever; especially for teens.
You Were Never Really Here by Lynne Ramsay (Amazon Studios)
Joaquin Phoenix returns to form and might as well be nominated for Best Actor right now.
Gimme 5: podcasts from the first half of 2018
Keep It with Ira Madison, Karen Brown, Louis Vitrell (Crooked Media)
Pop culture commentary with a political twist.
Homophilia with Dave Holes and Matt McConkey (Earwolf)
One of the best podcasts on queer culture other than Nancy.
Nancy with Tobin Low and Kathy (WNYC)
Speaking of Nancy. The best podcast from 2017 is back and better than ever!
Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo (CBC)
Canadian true crime about indigenous women. More light needs to be shed on this.
I Think You’re Interesting with Todd VanDerWerff (Vox)
One of my favorite critics chatting with people he thinks is interesting. VDW has great views on culture and is a must read.