This award started long before the site was even a thought, in one publication, radio show or another. Since 2000, I have handed out a "League of Their Own" Award to an album that is made by an artist who is the most forward thinking, open minded, revolutionary musician out there today. Their accomplishments in the past 12 months have either resurrected a sound, broke down walls and created new frontiers or have totally reinvented a genre all together. The choices for "League of Their Own" have become more than just the best album of the year but the most important record to be released at that time.
In the past winners have included:
2000 - Radiohead - Kid A
2001 - The Strokes - Is This It?
2002 - NERD - In Search of...
2003 - The White Stripes - Elephant
2004 - The Killers - Hot Fuss
2005 - The Mars Volta - Francis the Mute
2006 - TV On The Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
2007 - Kanye West - Graduation
2008 - Santogold / Santigold
2009 - Mastodon - Crack the Skye
2010 - Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
2011 - Bjork - Biophilia
2012 - Flying Lotus - Until The Quiet Comes
2013 - Arcade Fire - Reflektor
2014 - Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2
2015 - Kamasi Washington - The Epic
2016 - David Bowie - Blackstar
2017 - Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.
...and know to add to this growing list of talent is someone who stepped out from the business office and the decks to fully assemble himself as an artist on his own. The man behind the signings of one of the greatest and most influential indie labels in music history picked 2018 to flex his own muscle and prove that he not only has a great ear for talent but is also talented enough to craft one of the best albums of the year. Ladies and Gentlemen, the 2018 League of Their Own winner is...
Richard Russell - Everything is Recorded
Russell, the head of Britain's XL Records, the label responsible for discovering Adele and releasing records from Thom Yorke, The xx, Frank Ocean, Sigur Ros, King Krule, The White Stripes, FKA Twigs, MIA, among others, turned heads with his solo debut. "Everything is Recorded" is a record that took many by surprise as the producer and label head has dabbled working with icons like Gil Scott-Heron and Bobby Womack along with others from XL but never put anything out on his own. "Everything is Recorded" is a statement record that takes a subtle jab at what music will look like in years to come. XL has always been a label full of taste makers so it shouldn't be that alarming that the label head would craft a delicacy of sound alone and with some friends. Calling in help from Sampha, Kamasi Washington, Ibeyi, Russell takes the subdue and relaxed sounds coming from younger artists today and injects them with the maturity and craftsmanship that an architect would when building a high rise.