Best Of 2018

Best Instrumental Message: johnnytwentythree

One of the best music releases of 2017 was the brilliant “comeback” album by instrumental Cincinnati Post Rock/Indie Rock ensemble johnnytwentythree. The Bridge is a fantastically evocative album on its own, but knowing the context makes it all the more genius, and often a more devastating listening experience. The band and its multimedia live show (with a vital film component) was a big club draw in the ’00s, before everything stopped in 2012 when bassist Joe Maier (whose wife and brother are also in J23) committed suicide. The album was written to show the far-reaching effects suicide has on the people around those who reach that ultimate point of desperation, something oftentimes not fully considered by those in that state. It succeeds brilliantly, from the emotive compositional movements to sampled voices of children and poetry. Besides helping people through its art, the band also donated proceeds from the album to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. johnnytwentyhree, johnnytwentythree.bandcamp.com.