2019: Album by Album (August)

As we come into Autumn, I’ve found my mission to document everything I listen to this year, with emphasis on checking out things I hadn’t listened to before, gradually being lead more and more by listening to this year’s new releases. There have been so many great records released this year already which have passed me by. I currently have a list of about 50 to check out and there’s still some big records to be released this year as it is. I’m not sure I will get through all of them, but I’m giving it a good go. I will post my ‘Top Albums of 2019’ list at the end of the year.

If you have Spotify, you can follow my ‘2019: Album by Album’ playlist, which includes a random track from every album and EP, or individual song I’ve listened to since January 1st (apart from ones which I disliked or the track was unavailable), and which I’ll keep adding to.

    Albums and EPs

Mates of State, ‘Our Constant Concern’ – Husband and wife, synth and drums, indie pop duo with lots of feel-good vibes. Highlight: ‘Uber Legitimate’.

Ada Lea, ‘what we say in private’ – Cool art pop which indie rock sensibilities. Bat to Lashes comes to mind. Highlight: ‘what makes me sad’.

Planes Mistaken For Stars, ‘Prey’ – Post hardcore that sounds like it’s had gasoline poured over it and been set alight. Highlight: ‘Fucking Tenderness’.

Mini Mansions, ‘Guy Walks Into A Bar…’ – They mix psychadelic pop, indie, glam rock, new wave, post punk, and art rock, and it sounds awesome. A strong follow up to 2015’s ‘The Great Pretenders’. Highlight: ‘GummyBear’.

Blood Orange, ‘Angel’s Pulse’ – Picking up from where 2018’s ‘Negro Swan’ left off, but I don’t feel there’s that much memorable about this one. I’m generally a big fan of Devonte Hynes, so hopefully this will grow on me. Highlight: ‘Benzo’.

Holding Patterns, ‘Endless’ – A bold post hardcore/punk rock record but just failed to have that ‘lift off’ moment for me. Highlight: ‘At Speed’.

Nirvana, ‘Nevermind’ – My daughter often asks me to put on something heavy. She had yet to hear to Nirvana, so ‘Nevermind’ felt like a good entry point. Highlight: ‘In Bloom’.

Emmy The Great, ‘Virtue’ – A more electric, and more eclectic folk-pop record than her, with themes of existence and being. Highlight: ‘Iris’.

Cultdreams, ‘Things That Hurt’ -Under a new moniker, the band formerly known as Kamikaze Girls retain their riot grrrl influences but invite in some shoegaze and dream pop to add more dynamics to their sound. Highlight: ‘Born an Underdog, Still Living One’.

Lou Reed, ‘Lou Reed’ – Oddly, his debut album has more in common with his post-Transformer and Berlin output with those rock and roll, blues, and soul influences more at the forefront. Highlight: ‘Ride Into the Sun’ (the lyric ‘…but if you’re tired and you’re sick of the city, remember that it’s just a flower made out of clay’ is perfect).

Lou Reed, ‘Transformer’ – Both a blessing and a curse, ‘Transformer’ is the album that was never meant to be an album, but the soundtrack to a musical that never made it to the stage. As a result, putting the songs out as an album with David Bowie producing ended up pigeon-holing Lou, and his output thereafter was constantly criticised. Highlight: ‘Andy’s Chest’.

Lou Reed, ‘Berlin’ – The album that Lou really wanted to make. About a couple destroyed by drugs and violence. Highlight: ‘Sad Song’.

Lou Reed, ‘Sally Can’t Dance’ – This fourth album sounds like a culmination of the first three. Fusing rock and roll, soul, jazz, blues, and grit. Highlight: ‘Kill Your Sons’.

Cave In, ‘Final Transmission’ – Of the little bits of Cave In I’ve heard in the past, I’ve never been drawn to check out more, but seeing as everyone has been raving about this new release I thought I would give it ago – perhaps I had missed something. Alas, it’s just not my cup of tea. Highlight: ‘All Illusion’.

where is my spaceship, ‘Never Unhappy’ – Chaotic, noisy, rowdy pop punk with a touch of ’emo revival’. Highlight: ‘okay’.

Narco Debut, ‘Strange & Ever-Changing Depths’ – I enjoyed the odd song on their last EP which I checked out earlier this year, so thought I’d give the album go. It fuses prog, pop, rock, indie, math rock, and post rock, and like the EP I found I enjoyed about 50% of it. Highlight: ‘Yukon’.

Prince Daddy & the Hyena, ‘Cosmic Thrill Seekers’
– I’ve been keeping a list of all the 2019 releases I’ve listened to. Up until this month the top 10 had been impenetrable. Along with the Cultdreams record, this album finally changed that. I can’t get enough of this epic record documenting the cycle of the singer’s mental health. Each song rolls into the other, with the album ending on the same palm-muted notes it started on, emphasising that cycle. A fusion of punk, indie, emo, and theatrics. Highlight: ‘Breather’.

Otoboke Beaver, ‘Itekoma Hits’
– I love stuff like this. Music that sounds naive, but is actually really well crafted, stuff that’s bonkers and makes me laugh, but yet despite sounding like it’s going to fall part, keeps itself together. This band fuse garage rock, math rock, noise rock, pop, girl power, and madness. Highlight: ‘6 day working week is a pain’.

Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, ‘Suffer On’
– Mixing folk, indie, and electronic, with earnest and on-the-sleeve lyrics, this record is brooding, moody, and moving. Highlight: ‘Together’.

French Vanilla, ‘How Am I Not Myself?’
– Fun and energetic Talking heads-esque art pop. Highlight: ‘Real or Not’.

Alien Ant Farm, ‘truANT’
– Alien Ant Farm got lumped into the nu-metal cannon, which had it’s inevitable curfew. However, of all those bands, if you listen to a full album, it feels like they outgrew their contemporaries pretty quickly. By the time this second album hit, nu-metal was wringing out its last dregs, and so it didn’t get the time and attention it deserved. Highlight: ‘These Days’.

    Individual songs I hadn’t heard before

Broker, ‘Big Storm Coming’, ‘Heaven’s Gunships’ – These initial offerings from Broker are both captivating and brooding, yet immediately accessible, finding their own place amidst the art rock genre. I can’t wait to hear more.

Jack Stauber, ‘Cupid’, ‘Out of the Box’, ‘Hope’, ‘Coffee’, ‘I Hope You Miss Me in Heaven’, ‘Love Cookie’, and ‘Everything Bagel’ – I can’t get enough of Jack Stauber’s idiosyncratic micropop. Recommended if you like The Mighty Boosh, Luxury Comedy, Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared, and things like that.

Mates of State, ‘Uber Legitimate (original 2001 version)’ – As you can see above, ‘Uber Legitimate’ is my favourite song from their album ‘Our Constant Concern’. When I was looking it up on Youtube to post here, I found this original version of the song played on the piano which I was unaware of.

Haim, ‘Summer Girl’ – There’s definitely a summery vibe to the new Haim single, with some jazz influence, and a Lou Reed-esque chorus. Fitting, seeing as I’ve been listening to a lot of Lou Reed this month.

On The Might Of Princes, ‘For Meg’ – An awesome, powerful post hardcore track with some cool chanting at the beginning.

Shield Your Eyes, ‘Drill Your Heavy Heart – Shield Your Eyes mix blues with noise, math rock, and heavy spasming. There are few bands quite like this.

Guided By Voices, ‘Bury the Mouse’ – Extremely catchy, idiosyncratic indie rock. Will be checking out the new album.

Knapsack, ‘Katherine The Grateful’ – More of that 90s emo you’ll keep finding me listening to. Great song.

Marika Hackman, ‘wanderlust’ – A chilled indie song. I will be checking out her new album as well.

Pixvae, ‘La Fuga’ – Fancy some traditional South Colombian music fused with math rock? No problem.

Blink 182, ‘Darkside’ – I have yet to make up mind about post-Tom Blink 182 but I do feel they are undercutting themselves in terms of what they’re all capable of writing in order to remain relevant to the younger fans.

And lastly, whatever THIS is.

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