As Autumn settles in, I realise that despite how many 2019 releases are mentioned in this blog alone, just how many more great 2019 releases there are still to listen to before the year is out. I’ve also been listening to some of my favourite records from my collection. There’s not much more to say this month, other than it’s been a month packed full of amazing albums which have come to soundtrack my REM sleep.
If you like Spotify playlists, you might like my ‘2019: Album By Album’ playlist. It contains at least one song from every album I’ve enjoyed listening to this year, as well as individual tracks I’ve been digging. I’m continuously updating it too, so why not give it a ‘follow’ and join me on my journey.
Here’s everything I listened to in September.
Albums and EPs:
beabadoobee, ‘Loveworm’ – Sweet, folky indie pop. Highlight: ‘Apple Cider’.
Guided By Voices, ‘Warp and Woof’ – Arty indie rock. There are a lot of cool moments on this album, but as there are so many songs, I feel those cool moments get a bit lost and forgotten about. Highlight: ‘Cohesive Scoops’.
Avey Tare, ‘Cows On Hourglass Pond’ – Subtle, chilled out, yet experimental and electronic arty stuff. So easy to sit back and listen to. Highlight: ‘HORS_’.
Bars of Gold, ‘Shelters’ – Ex Bear Vs. Shark. The singer’s signature growl is still there and so are the post hardcore/punk roots, but now they are fusing them with indie, experimental rock, and rock and roll. All killer, no filler. Highlight: ‘G’.
Remo Drive, ‘Natural, Everyday Degradation’ – Their debut, self-released album ‘Greatest Hits’ was a solid album in my humble opinion, but on their follow up, and debut for Epitaph Records, they manage to take their immediate brand of emo rock up a level, maturing their sound and drawing on new influences and dynamics. Like Bars of Gold’s output this year, this is another one where it’s really tough to pick just one song as a highlight. Highlight: ‘Around the Sun’ (there’s a reason it was picked as a single).
Drab Majesty, ‘Modern Mirror’ – Drawing on the electronics and new wave that made Gary Numan such a force, but lacking in the memorable songs that Numan had. Highlight: ‘The Other Side’.
Deep Elm Records, ‘Cover Your Tracks’ – Some of the best bands from the Deep Elm roster covering their favourite songs the label has put out. Plus an exclusive original song from Sounds Like Violence. What more could you want? Highlight: ‘Clair De Lune – ‘Angel on Hiatus (originally by Benton Falls)’.
Rust Ring, ‘Genuine Me’ – There’s something really interesting going on here with their grungey, indie punk, and the singer has a really unique voice, but unfortunately the more the album went on, the more I realised every song had the same formula and it got boring very quickly. Highlight: ‘Haircuts’.
Panda Bear, ‘Buoys’ – Another subtle yet arty electronic album from another third of Animal Collective. On this one the vocals are a bit bolder and more upfront in the mix, and the tracks use acoustic guitar loops as a base for experimentation and electronics. Highlight: ‘Master’.
Slaughter Beach, Dog, ‘Safe and Also No Fear’ – My first foray into this indie-folk project which lies somewhere between Pedro The Lion and Onelinedrawing, and I’m wishing I’d done it sooner. Tnere’s something very understated about these songs and his voice is an absolute pleasure to listen to. Highlight: ‘Tangerine’.
Bill Callahan, ‘Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest’ – Another first, and another regret of not listening to someone much sooner. These folk songs are beautifully sparse, giving Bill’s rich voice space to round out them out. Highlight: ‘The Ballad of the Hulk’.
Lambchop, ‘This (Is What I Wanted to Tell You)’ – A unique mix of alt. country, chamber pop, indie, ambient, and electronic music. Highlight: ‘The New Isn’t so You Anymore’.
Metronomy, ‘Metronomy Forever’ – The new Metronomy album talks a lot about love. Instrumentally, there’s something quite nostalgic about these songs but I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly, perhaps it’s the 90s sounding guitars that appear every so often. Great album. Highlight: ‘Insecurity’.
Beirut, ‘Gallipoli’ – This is the first full album I’ve heard from Beirut and I’m in a love with it. A glorious mix of indie, folk, world music, and so much more, and their music has that cunning ability to make you feel euphoric melancholy and joy at the exact same time. Highlight: ‘When I Die’.
Stef Chura, ‘Midnight’ – A really strong album. Stef Chura fuses indie and garage rock with a singer-songwriter sensibility, with vocals that packed with passion. Highlight: ‘Degrees’.
Marika Hackman, ‘any human friend’ – I listened to this a few times, and when the songs hit they really do hit, but a great chunk of it didn’t make any impression on me – hopefully those songs will be growers, because there’s something very cool about Marika Hackman’s arty approach to indie pop. Highlight: ‘come undone’.
Parquet Courts, ‘Sunbathing Animal’ – I bought this album after seeing them play ‘Bodies Made Of’ on David Letterman (I think), and was compelled by their performance and their slacker take on punk and indie rock. Highlight: ‘Bodies Made Of’.
Jenny Hval, ‘The Practice of Love’ – Jenny Hval is a unique voice. On her 2019 release, she explores our relationship with each other, with ourselves, with the earth, and growing older. Highlight: ‘Lions’.
Snoop Dogg, ‘I Wanna Thank Me’ – ‘I Wanna Thank Me’ retains a lot of the G-funk roots that brought Snoop Dogg into the limelight, and bringing it up to speed with a more contemporary hip hop influence. At 22 tracks/1 hour 15 minutes, I do feel this album could have been condensed to half the size to retain my consistent quality throughout. Highlight: ‘What U Talkin’ Bout’.
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Bryce Dessner, eighth blackbird – When We Are Inhuman – A collection of traditional folk songs and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy songs, arranged for eighth blackbird’s modern classical spin on them. I didn’t hate it, but it didn’t quite hit the spot for me. Highlight: ‘Beast For Thee’.
Weezer, ‘Weezer (Black Album)’ – Curiosity got the better of me. I caved. I’m sorry. I needed to know what the new Weezer album sounded like in full. I was largely disappointed, as I expected. ‘High As A Kite’ is an amazing song though. Highlight: ‘High As A Kite’.
The Messthetics, ‘Anthropocosmic Nest’ – Featuring Brendan Canty and Joe Lally from Fugazi, aka one of the best rhythm sections to ever exist. In this new project, instrumental punk meets jazz, post rock, math rock, electronics, and a healthy dose of experimental-ism. Highlight: ‘Scrawler’.
Father John Misty, ‘I Love You, Honeybear’ – A witty, satirical, self-deprecating album of love for his partner and despair for society. Highlight: ‘The Ideal Husband’.
Kindness, ‘Something Like A War’ – I really enjoyed Kindness’ debut album. I’m still to get around to checking out his second album, but on this third album, it feels like the funkiness and immediacy that drew me to Kindness originally isn’t here, at least, not in the same way. ‘Raise Up’ feels like the exception to this rule. Highlight: ‘Raise Up’.
Oso Oso, ‘basking in the glow’ – Oso Oso mix emo with indie rock, pop punk, and unabashed pop hooks. I didn’t like it at all on my first listen because it felt too corny. Before I knew it I realised I was on my fourth listen in a row. Highlight: ‘Dig’.
LVL UP, ‘Return to Love’ – Indie rock on the slacker side, with some grunge moments thrown in for good measure. What I also love about this band, is that their are three lead singers, and their vocal styles are so sync you wouldn’t know the singer changes from one song to the next. Highlight: ‘Five Men on the Ridge’.
Black Midi, ‘Schlagenheim’ – They should have won the Mercury Prize this year. Although you could pull apart their sound and list their influences if you really wanted to, their schizophrenic art rock, which chaotically swings between spasm-ing, stuttering, and brooding, and how in one song the listener is pulled in a thousand directions, is so smart – it’s great to see a band like this getting Mercury Prize nominee-level exposure. Highlight: ‘bmbmbm’.
One True Pairing, ‘One True Pairing’
– I’m in love with this new project from Tom Fleming of Wild Beasts fame. In One True Pairing he applies his arthouse-operatic thespian croon to a landscape of alternative electronic music, with steady guitars and syncopated drum beats steering the way. This is going to land high in my top releases of 2019. Highlight: ‘Zero Summer’.
- Individual songs I hadn’t heard before
The 1975, ‘People’ – I was curious as to the heavy direction they had gone in with this new single. It’s quite a turn, although a little formulaic.
Weezer, ‘The End Of The Game’ – It had to better than the ‘Black Album’, and in many ways it is. It’s an improvement, at least.
Panda Bear, ‘Jabberwocky’ – Spotify put this on for me after listening to his ‘Buoys’ album. A similar fare, but less acoustic based, and much punchier.
Jenny Hval, ‘Why This?’ – Spotify put this on for me after listening to her ‘The Practice of Love’ album. Very nice. Very ethereal.
Purple Mountain, ‘That’s Just The Way That I Feel’ – I hear Bob Dylan and ‘Death of a Ladies Man’-era Leonard Cohen here. I’ll be checking out the full album.
Brightside, ‘Just Like Dancing’ – Indie rockers Brightside are back with this belter, rammed with hooks – the type of indie you want to dance to, funnily enough.