Album of the Year, 2019

At the beginning of 2019 I decided to blog every album I listened to this year, whatever year it was released. As the year got underway, I was checking out the odd 2019 release, but it was at the beginning of summer that I really got obsessed with just listening to albums released this year, and as such, on top of everything else I listened to in January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December, I also listened to 97 albums released in 2019. When I got to no. 90, I admit I tried to push it to get to a nice round 100, however, with having a 7 year old child and Christmas approaching, it didn’t happen. So, to keep things rounded, here’s my top 90. My picks range from folk, to indie, to math rock, to hip hop, to electronic, and so it goes on. So hopefully you’ll find something you like here. I listened to every album at least three times and based my rankings mainly on which record I would most like to hear again.

I would love to know what your Album of the Year lists look like, post them in the comments!

If you like Album of the Year Spotify playlists, you may enjoy my top 20 playlist here.

90. Guided By Voices, ‘Sweating the Plague’

89. Kindness, ‘Something Like A War’

88. Solange, ‘When I Get Home’

87. Snoop Dogg, ‘I Wanna Thank Me’

86. Fresh, ‘Withdraw’

85. Rust Ring, ‘Genuine Me’

84. The Natural 20s, ‘Everyone Will Fall’

83. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Bryce Dessner, eighth blackbird, ‘When We Are Inhuman’

82. Erland Cooper, ‘Sule Skerry’

81. French Vanilla, ‘How Am I Not Myself?’

80. Thurston Moore, ‘Spirit Counsel’

79. Anna Flyaway, ‘Tomorrow I Will Take a Knife to Your Confidence’

78. Cassels, ‘The Perfect Ending’

77. Holding Patterns, ‘Endless’

76. Guided By Voices, ‘Warp and Woof’

75. PUP, ‘Morbid Stuff’

74. Mac Demarco, ‘Here Comes the Cowboy’

73. Narco Debut, ‘Strange & Ever-Changing Depths’

72. Mattiel, ‘Satis Factory’

71. Pixies, ‘Beneath the Eyrie’

70. Pond, ‘Tasmania’

69. Horse Jumper of Love, ‘So Divine’

68. Alcest, ‘Spiritual Instinct’

67. Maricka Hackman, ‘Any Human Friend’

66. where is my spaceship, ‘never unhappy’

65. Blood Orange, ‘Angel’s Pulse’

64. Homeshake, ‘Helium’

63. Refused, ‘War Music’

62. The Glow, ‘Am I’

61. Leonard Cohen, ‘Thanks for the Dance’

60. Lambchop, ‘This (is what I wanted to tell you)’

59. Mark Kozelek With Petra Haden, ‘Joey Always Smiled’

58. Vampire Weekend, ‘Father of the Bride’

57. Oso Oso, ‘basking in the glow’

56. Weyes Blood, ‘Titanic Rising’

55. Otoboke Beaver, ‘Itekoma Hits’

54. Better Oblivion Community Center, ‘Better Oblivion Community Center’

53. Bat For Lashes, ‘Lost Girls’

52. Long Hallways, ‘Close Your Eyes to Travel’

51. J. Robbins, ‘Un-Becoming’

50. Astronoid, ‘Astronoid’

49. Jimmy Eat World, ‘Surviving’

48. Metronomy, ‘Metronomy Forever’

47. Foals, ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, Part 1’

46. Foals, ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, Part 2’

45. Panda Bear, ‘Buoys’

44. Sun Kil Moon, ‘And I Also Want to Die in New Orleans’

43. MONO, ‘Nowhere Now Here’

42. Old Solar, ‘SEE’

41. The Messthetics, ‘Anthropocosmic Nest’

40. Kim Gordon, ‘No Home Record’

39. glass beach, ‘the first glass beach album’

38. Halls, ‘Infinite Loss’

37. Jenny Hval, ‘The Practice of Love’

36. Bill Callahan, ‘Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest’

35. Jenny Lewis, ‘On The Line’

34. Ada Lea, ‘what we say in private’

33. Cultdreams, ‘Things That Hurt’

32. Steve Strong, ‘Turbo Island’

31. Woahnows, ‘Young and Cool’

30. Battles, ‘Juice B Crypts’

29. Cursive, ‘Get Fixed’

28. Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, ‘Suffer On’

27. Neil Young with Crazy Horse, ‘Colorado’

26. Anamanaguchi, ‘[USA]’

25. Big Thief, ‘Two Hands’

24. Stef Chura, ‘Midnight’

23. La Dispute, ‘Panorama’

22. Strange Ranger, ‘Remembering the Rocket’

21. Avey Tare, ‘Cows on Hourglass Pond’

20. Beirut, ‘Gallipoli’

19. Slaughter Beach, Dog, ‘Safe and Also No Fear’

18. Snooze, ‘Familiaris’

17. Unwed Sailor, ‘Heavy Age’

16. John Vanderslice, ‘The Cedars’

15. Danny Brown, ‘uknowwhatimsayin?’

14. Big Thief, ‘U.F.O.F’

13. Black Midi, ‘Shlagenheim’

12. Mini Mansions, ‘Guy Walks Into A Bar’

11. Pedro The Lion, ‘Phoenix’

10. Pile, ‘Green and Gray’

9. One True Pairing, ‘One True Pairing’

8. The Get Up Kids, ‘Problems’

7. Remo Drive, ‘Natural, Everyday Degradation’

6. Outer Spaces, ‘Gazing Globe’

5. Heartscape Landbreak, ‘The Remedy’

4. Prince Daddy & the Hyena, ‘Cosmic Thrill Seekers’

3. Bars of Gold, ‘Shelters’

2. American Football, ‘American Football’

1. The Appleseed Cast, ‘The Fleeting Light of Impermanence’

2019: Album by Album (November)

From chiptune-inspired rock to Mark Kozelek talking for 19.5 minutes, here’s everything I listened to in November (that I haven’t already blogged), in one neat and tidy list for your perusal.

You can scroll through my blog to see what else I’ve been listening to this year, and if you like, you can follow my Spotify playlist, in which you will find an ever-expanding selection of songs that I’ve enjoyed listening to over the course of 2019.

    Albums and EPs

John Vanderslice, ‘The Cedars’ – John Vanderslice said ‘Dagger Beach’ would be his last album and over the years got lost in his depression. With the encouragement of his label and producers we went back into the studio and worked on this album from the ground up, experimenting with noise and electronics to create something more experimental than his previous work. Highlight: ‘I’ll Wait For You’.

Battles, ‘Juice B Crypts’ – The new album feels like the most difficult listen of their discography, but after a few listens, it doesn’t feel all that far away from ‘La Di Da Di’. Highlight: ‘Last Supper On Shasta Pt. 1’.

Various Artists, ‘Let’s Just Do It And Be Legends’ – A strong compliation from Big Scary Monsters of punk, indie, post hardcore, post rock, math rock, and more from some of the label’s best bands on their current roster. Highlight: mewithoutYou – ‘Kirsty w/ the Sparkling Teeth’.

Pile, ‘Green and Gray’ – Pile mix indie rock with post hardcore and post punk, swinging from big ballsy riffs to sweet melodies. This is my first foray into Pile, and this album currently stands at no. 10 on my AOTY list. Highlight: ‘Lord of Calendars’.

Mark Kozelek With Petra Haden, ‘Joey Always Smiled’ – As ever Mark Kozelek isn’t happy with putting out one album in a year, so along with this year’s Sun Kil Moon effort which you can find in June’s blog post, this record expands on his ever-more-talky output with some really beautiful songs. Highlight: ‘1983 Era MTV Music is the Soundtrack to Outcasts Being Bullied By Jocks’ and I’ve got to give a nod to this heart-tugging cover of ‘The Power of Love’.

Big Thief, ‘U.F.O.F’ – A stunning album of folk and indie, with some incrediblly intricate yet catchy songs, and a whole host of dreaminess to boot. Highlight: ‘Cattails’.

Pixies, ‘Beneath the Eyrie’ – Having listened to the last two albums in April, and having enjoyed ‘Indie Cindy’ but not so much ‘Head Carrier, I was looking forward to checking this new one out to see if the band would redeem themselves. I liked a handful of these songs, but overall it felt like it was lacking some oomph. Highlight: ‘On Graveyard Hill’.

Halls, ‘Infinite Loss’ – Originally put out in instalments, I blogged about the first two parts last month. Now we have the full body of work, in which Halls takes more experimental pop approach to his unique brand of brooding indie on an album which mourns the loss of his dad and losing himself in the process. Highlight: ‘Hallelujah’.

Snooze, ‘Familiaris’ – This album manages to be mental and melodic at the same time. It’s math rock brushed with a pop glaze. Highlight: ‘Dig Doug’.

The Appleseed Cast, ‘Two Conversations’ – With recent repress of this album on vinyl, it brought me back to an Appleseed Cast record that I hadn’t listened to in a while and I was instantly reminded of how good it is. Arguably their most accessible album and one that brought them as close to a mainstream audience as they will ever get, it borrows indie rock and pop sensibilities to mix with their unforgettable emo/post-rock sound. Highlight: ‘Hello Dearest Love’.

Anamanaguchi, [USA] – An exciting fusion of chiptune and rock music. This album powerful, energetic, and vibrant. Highlight: ‘On My Own’.

glass beach, ‘the first glass beach album’ – On the basis that I liked the new Anamanaguchi record, it was recommended that I check out glass beach. This is another fun, idiosyncratic, and experimental album that fuses so many genres I struggled to keep count. Highlight: ‘classic j dies and goes to hell part 1’.

Erland Cooper, ‘Sule Skerry’ – A moving album which draws on modern classical and alternative music alike. The second album in a triptych that sets out to capture the spirit and the soul of the Orkney Islands. Highlight: ‘Spoot Ebb’.

Leonard Cohen, ‘Thanks for the Dance’ – Having partly recorded these songs that didn’t make ‘You Want It Darker’ before his passing, he left them to his son to complete with the help of friends. The vocals, which at this point in his life, his Leonard talking rather than singing, are very much the centre-point of each track, and hark back to his poetry-reading days. Highlight: ‘Happens to the Heart’.

Mattiel, ‘Satis Factory’ – For the most part this is a solid album of indie, pop, garage rock, and blues. I did however feel there were a few cliches and over-borrowing of ideas in parts. Highlight: ‘Keep The Change’.

Anna Flyaway, ‘Tomorrow I Will Take a Knife to Your Confidence’ – Before Empire! Empire! I Was A Lonely Estate, Keith Latinen was making music under the name Anna Flyaway, and recently went back to complete and release the album that had been shelved, in which you can hear the groundwork being laid for his musical output to come. Highlight: ‘The Low Light Before Dawn’.

Guided By Voices, ‘Sweating the Plague’ – I had mixed feelings about their other album this year, ‘Warp and Woof’, when I listened to it back in September. Of the two though, that is the one I definitely prefer. There was the odd moment on this new one that I enjoyed, but overall, I found it pretty boring. Highlight: ‘Downer’.

    Individual songs I hadn’t heard before

John Vanderslice, ‘Exodus Damage’ – A catchy, arty, indie song. John Vanderslice always delivers.

Hiss Golden Messenger, ‘Happy Birthday, Baby’ – Indie-folk. A massive earworm burrowing it’s way through this one.

Scott Walker, ‘Jackie’, ‘When Joanna Loved Me’ – Classic crooning pop but with something just slightly ‘off’ about it, which makes it way more interesting.

The Walker Brothers, ‘No Regrets’, ‘The Electrician’ – ‘No Regrets’ is a classic pop song from the band that started Scott Walker off. ‘The Electrician’ is brooding and idiosyncratic. Both are great in their own way.

Tindersticks, ‘Pinky in the daylight’ – I’m not sure how, but instead of listening to ‘The Electrician’ by Scott Walker, I ended up listening to this (all the whilst thinking I was listening to ‘The Electrician’). It wasn’t until I went to listen to ‘The Electrician’ again and discovered a song completely different to this one that I realised what I had done, although not before completely tripping out. Both are great songs, so I got two for the price of one I guess.

Haim, ‘Hallelujah’ – The opening part of this song reminded me a lot of Danielle Haim’s songs on the new Vampire Weekend record. I’m quite into this. I picked ‘Hallelujah’ as the highlight on Halls’ new album, and Leonard Cohen is on this list too. I think I have entered the Twilight Zone.

Neil Young with Crazy Horse, ‘Shut It Down’ – This is a solid track, with everything you want from Crazy Horse. I can’t wait to check out the whole album.

The Modern Lovers, ‘Pablo Picasso’ – This song came on Spotify after I was listening to Leonard Cohen’s new album. Sometimes Spotify throws on something completely unexpected and my ears prick up. This was one of those times.

2019: Album By Album (October)

Just when I think there can’t possibly be any more great 2019 releases to come out this year, I discover more. There were some really strong albums that I checked out this month, and as always there’s a few albums in here which are favourites from my collection.

As always, be sure to scroll through my blog to see what else I’ve been listening to this year, and if you like following good playlists on Spotify you can follow mine here, and a enjoy a an ever-growing selection of songs that I’ve enjoyed listening to this year.

    Albums and EPs

Jenny Lewis, ‘On The Line’ – With references to Red Bull and Candy Crush, Jenny Lewis takes that old school country sound and brings it in to 2019. Ear worms galore. Highlight: ‘Wasted Youth’.

Pond, ‘Tasmania’ – Psychedelic rock/pop from Australia, a bit like MGMT when they’re at their most space rock. Highlight: ‘Daisy’.

Strange Ranger, ‘Remembering the Rocket’ – On their new album, Strange Ranger have matured and added new dynamics to their indie rock sound, with more synths and the inclusion of female vocals. Highlight: ‘Living Free’.

The Drink, ‘Company’ – This was the album that got me into The Drink having pleasantly stumbled upon them when looking for new bands to feature in a web-magazine I used to work for. Their sound fuses indie, folk, math rock, and pop to create a noodly yet organic backdrop for Dearhbla Minogue’s haunting falsetto. Highlight: ‘Demo Love’.

Cursive, ‘Get Fixed’ – Having only come back with Vitriola last year, Cursive aren’t wasting any of their time producing this follow up, and they’re not wasting ours either, as it hits hard. Highlight: ‘Horror is a Human Being’.

The Get Up Kids, ‘Something to Write Home About’ – Listening to this album again recently, I realised it was the first second wave emo album I heard, picking it up on CD off the back of one song, ‘Ten Minutes’. Second wave emo quickly became an obsession. Highlight: ‘I’m a Loner Dottie, a Rebel’.

Joey Fourr, ‘Velvet Realness’ = On this second album, Joey Fourr retains his lo-fi odd pop qualities but directs them towards more soulful and r&b-inspired vistas, with added sexual-feel good vibes (although they would have me spelling that ‘vibez’). Highlight: ‘Bath Tiem’.

Danny Brown, ‘uknowwhatimsayin?’ – I’ve been meaning to check out a Danny Brown album in full for a while now. A unique force in hip-hop right now. From what I have heard previously, this new album feel’s like an effort to strip things back a bit, creating something a little more mature. Highlight: (Honestly, every track is a highlight, which is a real credit to the songs Danny Brown is putting forward here ‘Dirty Laundry’.

Laverne, ‘Yarrow’ – Punk rock with a twist of indie. If old Parquet Courts had a baby with Idles. Steve Doesn’t recommended this to me, which is also his no. 1 album of 2018. Check out his website for loads of new music you didn’t know about here. Highlight: ‘Evil Thoughts’.

Mac Demarco, ‘Another One’ – ‘Another One’ feels like the point in Mac’s discography where he hit upon the laid back slacker pop sound he’s known for more recently, as opposed to the noodly indie awash with chorus pedals that he was known for previously. Highlight: ‘Another One’.

Foals, ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, Part 2’ – The more rockier counterpart to their two-album-output this year. It’s not quite as ballsy as I’d anticipated given the build up, but there’s some solid songs on here, and right now I’m preferring it to Part 1. ‘Dreaming Of’ harks back to the staccato math-pop that won me over back in the day. Highlight: ‘Dreaming Of’.

Jimmy Eat World, ‘Surviving’ – I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this new record from Jimmy Eat World as much as I did. It ventures into a new territory a lot, but there are also songs that retain their signature emo rock sound which was a pleasant surprise. Highlight: ‘Recommit’.

Refused, ‘War Music’ – I hadn’t heard any of Refused’s music beyond ‘New Noise’ before going into this album, so I can’t really compare it to their previous releases, so taking this album on complete face value, it’s a solid post hardcore record with a lot to offer. Highlight: ‘Malfire’.

Dry Cleaning, ‘Sweet Princess EP’ – Lofi indie with slight garage tendencies, whilst vocally made up of beautifully un-enthused, conversational, spoken lyrics, as if the vocalist is talking to herself. Highlight: ‘Phone Scam’.

Halls, ‘Infinite Loss, Pt. 1’ – On the first of two new EPs which seemed to have come out of the blue having thought that the chance of new Halls music was off the cards, so a pleasant surprise, the euphoric melancholy is retained as well as the experimental chamber vibes, whilst adding pop sensibilities. Highlight: ‘The Gift’.

Halls, ‘Infinite Loss, Pt. 2’ – I feel like these two new EPs will make up a complete album upon release as they are so undoubtedly tied together in their sound and lyrical themes. At the moment, the first part is the stronger of the two for me, but that’s not to take away from the fact this is a great selection of songs too. Highlight: ‘Face to Face’.

Remo Drive, ‘Natural, Everyday Extended Play’ – Straight off the back of ‘Natural, Everyday Degradation’, this cunningly titled EP sees the band continuing to mature with a sound that is very flattering on them. Highlight: ‘Nearly Perfect’.

    Individual songs I hadn’t heard before

Jenny Lewis, ‘The Voyager’ – An older song from Jenny Lewis, again with that country vibe, but maybe a little more indie-pop influence than her latest album.

Phoebe Bridgers, ‘Motion Sickness’ – Nice indie/singer-songwriter pop with very sweet vocals.

Jack Stauber, ‘Able’ – A song about being able in a grand total of 27 seconds.

Spaceships, ‘Tiny Fires’ – Dreamy metal-enthused post rock.

Horse Jumper of Love, ‘Volcano’ – Somewhere between slowcore and indie rock with a slight grunge undertone.

Grubs, ‘Dec. 15’ – Lofi, jangly, indie pop-rock with plenty of 90s influence.

Little Blue Thula, ‘I Could Never Understand’ – Emo/indie-tinged folk in the vein of Bright Eyes, et al.

Kitten, ‘Memphis’ Very 90s-inspired alt. pop, with added dial-up internet sound, for additional nostalgic effect. Very catchy.

Against Me!, ‘Spanish Moss’ – Unrelenting punk rock with a pinch of Americana.

White Reaper, ‘Might Be Right’ – Indie with saccharine melodies and plenty of hooks.

Wavves, ‘King of the Beach’ A mix of indie and garage rock, with some surf rock vibes to boot.

Signals Midwest, ‘A Glowing Light, An Impending Dawn’ – A healthy dose of emo revival, with those really nice ebbing guitar sounds.

Incubus, ‘The Warmth’ – What do you say about Incubus that hasn’t already been said? A nice looping guitar part in this.

Eliza & The Delusionals, ‘Just Exist’ – Summery indie. An absolute ear worm of a chorus.

Codes In The Clouds, ‘About Your Etiquette…’ – Twinkly, spacious post rock.

Portugal. The Man, ‘People Say’ – Noodly indie with pop sensibilities and The-Beatles-at-their-psych-pop-best vibes.

Short Fictions, ‘Really Like You’ – A mix of punk, emo, indie, and pop. Great song.

Iron & Wine, ‘Passing Afternoon – Demo’ – Forgive me, this is the first Iron & Wine song I’ve heard, and damn, it’s so good. What have I been doing?!

The Ataris, ‘Losing Streak’ – Pop punk that is totally true to its roots.

Spoon, ‘The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine’ – Alt. rock/indie. Hadn’t heard these guys before.

Stick To Your Guns, ‘Amber’ – Crushing metalcore/post hardcore with a huge melodic chorus.

Yukon Blonde, ‘Stairway’ – Uplifting, anthemic indie-pop.

Beans On Toast, ‘M.D.M Amazing’ – A goofy folk song about being at a festival on drugs.

The Drink, ‘Roller (Marc Riley Session)’ – An amazing song with their signature idiosyncratic mix of indie with folk sensibilities. This live version is also great.

El Ten Eleven, ‘You Are Enough’ – Joyous and playful post rock with electronic elements. I really need to listen to more of this band now. So so good.

2019: Album By Album (September)

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.

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.

2019: Album by Album (July)

In terms of listening to things I hadn’t heard before, July was quite a slow month. My health hasn’t been too kind to me, so I mostly stuck to things I was familiar with for comfort, and what I did listen to for the first time this year I drew from my collection. So, to make this a more worthy blog post, as well as those albums I listened to for the first time this year, I’ve also included all the repeat listens I made, and have included a new highlight track to check out.

If you have Spotify, you can follow my 2019 playlist here, where I’m continually adding a track from every album I’ve enjoyed this year (the ones I can find on Spotify, at least), as well as the individual songs I’ve liked.

    Albums I hadn’t listened to this yet this year:

Outer Spaces, ‘Gazing Globe’
– Dreamy singer-songwriter style indie rock. Definitely one of the best albums to come out this year. Highlight: ‘I See Her Face’.

Friends, ‘Manifest’ – Hook-laden pop music. Fun, playful, summery, and indulgent. Highlight: ‘A Thing Like This’.

Arctic Monkeys, ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ – When I heard the cosmic lounge rock of this record last year, it quickly became my favourite AM release. I love how much grows on you with every listen, and how off the beaten Arctic Monkeys track the band went with this one. Highlight: ‘American Sports’.

Semifinalists, ‘Semifinalists’ – Indie rock/pop that draws heavily on 70s and 80s influences, joyous and undeniably catchy. This band were way too underrated and everybody needs to hear them. Highlight: ‘You Said’.

David Bowie, ‘The Next Day’ – The first album of new material Bowie put out in ten years and deserved all the praise it got on release. Highlight: ‘The Next Day’.

Last Days of April, ‘Might As Well Live’ – On this album LDOA bring a more slightly more saccharine flavour to the indie-emo table they’ve laid for fans in the past. This album is second to none, as you’d expect. Highlight: ‘Melbourne’.

British Sea Power, ‘Do You Like Rock Music?’ – It took me years to start listening to British Sea Power, purely because I didn’t like their name. As soon as my friend played this to me I was sold. It’s rich, climatic, and lifts you off your feet. Highlight: ‘No Lucifer’.

The Kinison, ‘What Are You Listening To?’ – A post hardcore/punk band that exist somewhere between the brashness of The Blood Brothers and the kookiness of Les Savy Fav. Coming up during the Myspace explosion, they were unfortunately overlooked. Highlight: ‘You’ll Never Guess Who Died’.

    Albums I’d already listened to this year:

Pedro the Lion, ‘Phoenix’ – Emotional steady-rocking indie. Highlight: ‘Powerful Taboo’.

Sun Kil Moon, ‘I Also Want to Die in New Orleans’ – I listened to this again whilst in the bath dying with the flu. I’ve been getting more and more into this. Highlight: ‘Day in America’.

Parquet Courts, ‘Wide Awake’ – Bridging the gap between punk and indie. My highlight this time around is appropriately one of their more tender tracks. Highlight: ‘Tenderness’.

Haim, ‘Days Are Gone’ – Pop rock to not feel guilty about. My daughter loves this album at the moment, so it’s been played a lot this month. Highlight: ‘If I Could Change Your Mind’.

The Appleseed Cast, ‘The Fleeting Light of Impermanence’ – Another fine album by one of the finest bands going. Blending post rock, emo, indie, and experimental. Highlight: ‘Last Words and Final Celebrations’.

Settlefish, ‘The Plural of the Choir’ – Italian indie-emo with plenty of art rock and continental influence. Highlight: ‘The Marriage Funeral Man’.

Forth Wanderers, ‘Forth Wanderers’ – Slacker indie with vocals that soar over the top of the instrumentation. Highlight: ‘Temporary’.

Sunny Day Real Estate, ‘How It Feels To Be Something On’ – 90s emo. A must-hear album. Highlight: ‘Guitar And Video Games’.

The Appleseed Cast, ‘Sagarmatha’ – This album grows on me more the more I listen to it. I feel it’s underrated amidst their incredible discography. Highlight: ‘Raise the Sails’.

    Individual songs I hadn’t heard before:

Land of Talk, ‘Heartcore’ – Luscious. The vocal melodies here are pure pop brilliance. My mate pointed out a similarity to Fleetwood Mac which I can’t stop hearing now he’s said it.

Gemma Hayes, ‘Out Of Our Hands’ – More great pop music.

Tennis System, ‘Turn’ – They’ve been touring the US with The Appleseed Cast, so I thought I should check them out. A three piece rock band with a huge sound, and touches of post-punk and shoegaze.

Penelope Isles, ‘Leipzig’ – Indie rock. A really nice song.

Maricka Hackman, ‘the one’ – Funky indie with a hint of Blondie peeking through.

Metronomy, ‘Walking In The Dark’, ‘Salted Caramel Ice Cream’, ‘Lately’ – Based on these three playful and summery singles, the new Metronomy album is shaping up to be a good one. The videos are worth a watch on their own merit too.

2019: Album by Album (June)

June was a great month for new music because the new Appleseed Cast record came out at the end of the month, and so that automatically tops everything. I also checked out a full album by Red Animal War which instantly became one of my favourite albums ever. How has it taken me so long to listen a full album by that band?

I’ve been doing a lot of listening on my itunes recently, so there was a lot of listening to albums that I hadn’t heard in a while, whilst the rest of my listening was generally taken up with checking out some new releases from this year.

If you’re curious to know what else I’ve listened to so far this year, you can scroll through my previous posts. Otherwise, here’s everything I listened to in June which I haven’t already blogged about.

    Albums and EPs

The War On Drugs, ‘Lost In The Dream’ – Somewhere between Dylan, Springsteen, and the syncopation of krautrock stands The War on Drugs with a euphoric infectiousness that will make you laugh and cry at the same time. Highlight: ‘An Ocean Between the Waves’.

Connan Mockasin and Devonte Hynes, ‘Myths 001’ – As part of a recording residency at Marfa Myths festival, Mexican Summer have been putting a couple of artists together each time to record a limited edition EP. This one fuses the pair’s individual influences of R&B, funk, soul, indie, psychadelic pop, post punk, and more to produce three varied tracks that just begs for them to produce a full length together. Highlight: ‘La Fat Fur’.

Woahnows, ‘Young and Cool’ – A whirlwind of indie, punk, and pop. As with previous albums, there’s a lot of fun to be had on this 2019 release. Highlight: ‘I Know I Knooow’.

Sun Kil Moon, ‘I Also Want to Die in New Orleans’ – Mark Kozelek’s trajectory seems to be about making his lengthy, talky Americana more and more inaccessible. Thankfully, this doesn’t apply to everyone, and this album currently stands at No. 10 in my top ten of 2019 releases. Against the odds, ‘Couch Potato’ manages to be one of his catchiest songs since his ‘Benji’ output. Highlight: ‘Couch Potato’.

The White Octave, ‘Style No. 6312’ – Amidst leaving Cursive, going to law school, and starting Criteria, Steve Pedersen founded The White Octave, playing ballsy emo that cried out for a place on the Deep Elm roster. Highlight: ‘Appeals for Insertion’.

J. Robbins, ‘Un-Becoming’ – The debut solo album from ex Jawbox and Burning Airlines frontman is punchy and full of hooks. Highlight: ‘Un-Becoming’.

Owls, ‘Two’ – Their second album, some thirteen years after their debut, brings the same scatty math rock to the table, as if they had never the left, with the only acception of these songs being a little more focused and polished. Highlight: ‘Ancient Star Seed…’.

The Mountain Goats, ‘In League With Dragons’ – I’d heard the Mountain Goats mentioned a lot, so thought I’d check them out but I really don’t get it. This album was inspired by Dungeons and Dragons apparently. I can’t find a highlight as such, but this song is the closest to going anywhere: ‘Cadaver Sniffing Dog’.

Everything In Waves, ‘Echoes’ – ‘Emotronic’. I didn’t like it. No highlights, but here’s a taster: ‘Looper’.

Red Animal War, ‘Black Phantom Crusades’ – I loved the few RAW songs I heard on Deep Elm compilations back in the day. I am so upset with myself that I slept on this incredible album for so long. Every song’s a hit. Highlight: ‘Mouse’.

Astronoid, ‘Astronoid’ – Post-metal enthused with dream pop, with beautiful, ethereal vocals. Highlight: ‘I Dream in Lines’.

Old Solar, ‘SEE’ – Everything you want from a instrumental post rock record. Highlight: ‘Summer Solstice: Dancing Days in the Garden Well-Watered’.

American Football, ‘LP2’ – Coming seventeen years after their debut, LP2 brings a more mature bite to the twinkly emo that built them a cult following after splitting up. Highlight: ‘My Instincts Are The Enemy’.

Modest Mouse, ‘Strangers to Ourselves’ – Increasingly criticised with every album by OG fans for straying from their more lo-fi roots, personally I love both eras of Modest Mouse, and this album is no exception. Highlight: ‘The Best Room’.

Fresh, ‘Withdraw’ – I really enjoyed the title track on this indie-punk record, but the rest didn’t do it for me. Highlight: ‘Withdraw’.

Dark Blue, ‘Pure Reality’ – I thought I’d check this out based on the one track I’d heard. They’ve got a really cool post punk sound, but theirs not enough dynamics between the songs to really tell them apart. Highlight: ‘Never Afraid / Never Alone’.

Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson, ‘Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson’ – Delicate and dreamy post-rock from Norway that’s not afraid to go into bolder territory when needed. I really liked this. Highlight: ‘Puzzle: I’d Rather Listen to Weston’.

Haim, ‘Days Are Gone’ – Unabashed pop rock with an undeniable penchant for a great pop hook. Highlight: ‘Don’t Save Me’.

The Appleseed Cast, ‘The Fleeting Light of Impermanence’ – On their new synth-heavy record, there’s elements of their previous albums ‘Two Conversations’, ‘Sagarmartha’, and ‘Peregrine’ all wrapped into one. Clearly a contender for album of the year. Highlight: ‘Reaching the Forest’.

Coheed and Cambria, ‘Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness’ – A few years ago I realised that I still love the first few Coheed records and only owned one of them, so I bought the other two. Prog rock for pop fans/pop for prog rock fans. Highlight: ‘The Willing Well III: Apollo II: The Telling Truth’.

A Classic Education, ‘Hey There, Stranger’ – 3/5s of Settlefish went on to form this more chilled indie band, still retaining a continental and organic influence. Highlight: ‘Devilish Coast Sway’.

    Individual songs I hadn’t heard before

Brandtson, ‘Nobody Dances Anymore’ – Nobody told me Brandtson did dance punk.

Viagra Boys, ‘Sports’ – I enjoyed the novelty of this, but not sure I’d listen to a full album.

Ada Lea, ‘Mercury’ – Very cool, brooding indie rock.

Pixies, ‘On Graveyard Hill’ – Picking up from where ‘Head Carrier’ left off, with a touch of goth on this one.

Lightspeed Champion, ‘Waiting Game’ – As someone who was sure he’d heard every Lightspeed Champion song, I’m not sure how this one eluded me for so long.

The 1975, ‘Love It If We Made It’ – Sometimes you just have to scratch that itch for some pop jams.

The 1975, ‘I Like America & America Likes Me’ – And again.

Black Midi, ‘Talking Heads’ – Insane post punk put through an odd pop blender.

Blink 182, ‘Generational Divide’ – Frantic, and I was going to say relentless, but it ends after 50 seconds.

Phoenix – ‘Entertainment’ – Great indie pop song with Japanese vibes. Need to listen to more of this band.

2019: Album by Album (May)

The spectrum was broad for May’s listening and there were a lot cool albums that I hadn’t before. It included a bunch of new releases too. 2019 is shaping up to be an impressive year for new music. If you’re inclined, you can check out what I listened to in January, February, March and April. Otherwise, here’s everything that I listened to in May (excluding the albums that I’ve already blogged).

Christie Front Drive, ‘S/T’ – Subtle, driving second wave emo. Highlight: Radio.

Heartscape Landbreak, ‘The Remedy’ – Pummeling, chaotic, visceral, experimental rock with an underlying pop fluidity. Highlight: ‘Now When It Rains’.

Theophilus London, ‘Vibes’ – Less immediate and more chilled than his debut, which I checked out in April. Some great songs here nonetheless. Highlight: ‘Neu Law’.

Hot Chip, ‘Coming On Strong’ – Playful, electronic indie packed with hooks and a summery vibe. Highlight: ‘Beach Party’.

Unwed Sailor, ‘Heavy Age’ – Instrumental post-rock packed with emotion and a pace that carries you through the album. Highlight: ‘Moon Coin’.

Vampire Weekend, ‘Father of the Bride’ – An epic pop album for modern times, with a very Paul Simon feel. Highlight: ‘Sunflower (feat. Steve Lacy)’ and ‘Flower Moon (feat. Steve Lacy)’ (I can’t decide between them).

Tim Kinsella Sings the Songs of Marvin Tate By Leroy Bach Featuring Angel Olsen – A unique project in which the aforementioned translate the poems and stories of Marvin Tate into minimal, playful and cheery singalong-style tunes. Highlght: ‘The Crossing Gaurd’.

The Appleseed Cast, ‘Low Level Owl, Vol. 2’ – The second installment in their seminal opus that bridges the gap between second wave emo and space rock. Highlight: ‘Rooms and Gardens’.

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, ‘Dirt’ – A mix of noise and metal with aspects of J-pop and C-pop, and much more. I heard a snippet of the chorus in ‘Yandere’ and was compelled to check out the whole album as something that’s generally out of my comfort zone. Can’t say I got into the rest of it. Highlight: ‘Yandere’.

Cursive, ‘The Ugly Organ’ – An unrelenting and hard-hitting canivalesque commentary on the writer, their audience, and their industry. Highlight: ‘Some Red-Handed Sleight of Hand’.

The Get Up Kids, ‘Problems’ – Their recent ‘return’ with their EP ‘Kicker’ suggested this new album was going to be something to get excited about. It hadn’t dissapointed. All killer no filler. Highlight: ‘Common Ground’.

Prawn, ‘Run’ – Upbeat, melodic, catchy revival-era emo. Highlight: Greyhound (but I had that in February’s blog post), so here’s ‘Hunter’.

Les Savy Fav, ‘Inches’ – A collection of songs previously only released on vinyl, fusing their usual rainbow of post punk, art rock, post hardcore, and indie. Oodles of fun. Highlight: ‘Fading Vibes’.

The Fire Theft, ‘The Fire Theft’ – When Sunny Day Real Estate split up, 3/4 of the band formed The Fire Theft, drawing on prog and classic rock to expand upon their emo roots. Highlight: ‘Waste Time’.

Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man, ‘The Lay of the Land; the Turn of the Tide’ – Having not heard of this band before, when I saw them as openers on Lightspeed Champion’s 2008 (?) tour, I was expecting some sort of indie pop fare and wasn’t that excited. Instead, I got this, a mix of prog and goth with indie sensibilities. They were hypnotic to watch and I went straight out and bought this EP off the back of that show. Highlight: ‘Where Dead Voices Gather’.

Solange, ‘A Seat At The Table’ – Easily one of the best albums of 2016. This record combines neo soul, funk, and R&B to discuss experiences of black culture and identity, independence, despair, and empowerment. Highlight: ‘Don’t You

Weyes Blood, ‘Titanic Rising’ – I wasn’t sure on the first listen. It all felt a bit dreary. On my second listen it grew on me slightly and I could appreciate the ephemeral nature of it a little more. Highlight: ‘Something to Believe’.

Solange, ‘When I Get Home’ – Given how much I enjoyed her last album and EP, I really wanted to like this one, and there are some great moments, but overall its heavy focus on repetition and the general uneasiness of the vocals and instrumentation grated on me. Highlight: ‘Way to the Show’.

Mac Demarco, ‘Here Comes the Cowboy’ – For someone who essentially writes pop songs, here Mac gives the listener way more work to do than necessary. After a few listens, a few songs begin to stand out, but there’s also a good handful that are just filler (I’m looking at you ‘Choo Choo’) and this feels so far from the quality of his previous work (sigh). Highlight: ‘Heart to Heart’.

Homeshake, ‘Helium’ – The fourth album Mac Demarco’s ex band mate Peter Sagar, and it offers exactly the slice of chilled, lo-fi, R&B enthused bedroom pop you’ve come to expect from him. Highlight: ‘Anything at All’.

Sun Kil Moon, ‘Universal Themes’ – Not as well received as his previous record ‘Benji’ but in my opinion, another really great album that deserves just as much attention. Mark Kozelek’s matter-of-fact ramblings over ever-shifting backdrops of Americana, folk, and slowcore, all hit the mark again. Highlight: ‘This is My First Day and I’m Indian and I Work at a Gas Station’.

Foals, ‘Antidotes’ – The kinetic jerk-pop of the debut album, for me, still holds up as their best album. Understandably, they couldn’t repeat this formula for future albums to come without it growing it old quick, and as it stands I never tire of going back to this one. Highlight: ‘Electric Bloom’.

The Appleseed Cast, ‘Illumination Ritual’ – Euphoric, heady, experimental. Underrated Appleseed Cast. Highlight: ‘Barrier Islands (Do We Remain).

    Individual songs I hadn’t heard before

The Appleseed Cast, ‘Time The Destroyer’ – I cannot emphasise enough how excited I am for the new Appleseed Cast record. This is hands down the best song to come out in 2019 so far.

Modest Mouse, ‘Poison the Well’ – This new Modest Mouse track is punchy, to the point, and leans slightly towards the punkier end of the scale. I love it.

Modest Mouse, ‘I’m Still Here’ – Another punchy new track, this one’s not quite so in-your-face, but clocking in at a whopping 1min 33seconds.

Sky Ferreira, ‘Downhill Lullaby’ – An imminent, brooding, and dramatic new song. Definitely a grower.

The Get Up Kids, ‘Close to Me’ – A great cover of a great song by a great band…by a great band.

+/-, ‘Megalomaniac’ – A nice, steady-rolling indie rock song. I enjoyed the instruments more than I did the singing.

Pet Fox, ‘How to Quit’ – The lead guitar on this indie rock track is such an earworm.

2019: Album by Album (April)

April’s listening covered every decade from the 70s, and included stuff I’ve loved for a long time, stuff that I hadn’t checked out in full before now by bands that I love, and stuff that I’d never come across before (thanks for those recommendations!), and it had been a very strong month in terms what I liked – near enough all of it.

If you know of an album, EP, or song that you think I might like, please leave your suggestion in the comments and I will check it out when I can, and follow my blog to stay updated. Here’s what I listened to in April (not including what I’ve already listened to this year – check out January, February, and March’s blog posts for more). Click through to check out my highlights.

    Albums and EPs

The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die, ‘Whenever, If Ever’ – Probably the biggest sound to come out of the emo revival scene. A powerful album and my favourite of theirs. Highlight: ‘Heartbeat in the Brain’.

The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die, ‘Harmlessness’ – Bigger in it’s scope, but well worth sitting with. Highlight: ‘Rage Against the Dying of the Light’.

The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die, ‘Always Foreign’ – This one gives me a more sunshine-y vibe than the others. Not my favourite of their albums, but great none the less. Highlight: ‘Hilltopper’.

Patti Smith Group, ‘Wave’ – Full of hooks, and still retaining her unique punk poet approach to songwriting. Highlight: ‘Frederick’

John Vanderslice, ‘Romanian Names’ – Beautiful, chilled, experimental indie. Highlight: ‘Too Much Time’

Narco Debut, ‘Garden Dreams’ – Polished post hardcore with vocals not dissimilar to Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria. Highlight: ‘Governor Switch’.

Theophilus London, ‘Timez Are Weird These Days’ – Slick hip hop with indie sensibilities. I’d heard half of these songs years ago. Regret sleeping on the full album for so long. Highlight: ‘Why Even Try (feat. Sara Quin)’.

Turbolens, ‘Tro, Håb & Kærlighed’ – Ex Mew guitarist teams up with a bunch of kids to make dreamy indie/avant garde pop (if there is such a thing). Highlight: ‘Rastløse Bevægelser’.

The Human League, ‘Dare!’ – Syncopated synth pop from 1981. Highlight: ‘Seconds’.

Shut Your Eyes And You’ll Burst Into Flames, ‘Drop the Decade’ – Two dance punk songs that sound like the amalgamation of Les Savy Fav, Test Icicles, and The Blood Brothers. Highlight: ‘Drop the Decade’.

Jets To Brazil, ‘Orange Rhyming Dictionary’ – Grainy, gritty indie/emo. Highlight: ‘Starry Configurations’.

ELO, ‘Greatest Hits’ – Each song is an irresistible slice of pop rock. Highlight: ‘Sweet Talkin’ Woman’.

Battles, ‘Mirrored’ – My daughter has a penchant for the album ‘Painting With’ by Animal Collective. She asked me to put something on that was just as, if not more, ‘crazy’. I picked Battles. Emmy’s highlight: ‘Atlas’. My highlight: ‘Race: In’.

Strange Ranger, ‘Daymoon’ – Indie rock with slacker sensibilities. Highlight: ‘House Show’, but I had that in February’s blog post, so here’s ‘Everything All at Once’.

Owls, ‘Owls’ – Wonky math rock from 4/5 of Cap’n Jazz. Highlight: ‘Everyone Is My Friend’.

Cursive, ‘Happy Hollow’ – Loud, anthemic, and taking no prisoners. Highlight: ‘Big Bang’.

Henryk Górecki, ‘Symphony No. 3’ Performed by the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra – A melancholic piece that tells the story of a mother and son separated by the war. Highlight (I can’t really separate the movements of this one, so here’s the whole thing): ‘Symphony No. 3’.

Pixies, ‘Indie Cindy’ – Packed with hooks from start to finish. I really enjoyed this and it’s hard to pick a favourite track. Highlight: ‘What Goes Boom’.

Pixies, ‘Head Carrier’ – I listened a few times, and apart from the odd song, it fell flat and failed to take off for me. I’m hoping it’s a grower. Highlight: ‘Head Carrier’.

PUP, ‘Morbid Stuff’ – Very hook-laden punk rock with an indie tinge. Highlight: ‘Free at Last’.

    Individual songs I hadn’t heard before

Outer Spaces, ‘Teapot #1’ – Singer songwriter indie with hypnotic vocals.

Sissy Bar, ‘Gin & Juice’ – A lo-fi indie-pop of the Snoop Dogg classic. Not really sure what I make of this. It makes me smile though.

Troubled Minds, ‘Birdie’ – Twinkly pop punk with some really nice guitar work.

The Chemical Brothers, ‘Free Me’ – When I found out Diane di Prima’s great, chant-notic ‘Revolutionary Letter #49’ had been sampled here, I had to check it out. I wish they’d sample so much more of it though.

dust from 1000 yrs, ‘order from chaos’ – Experimental, distorted indie-folk track with a bluesy vocal line.

dust from 1000 yrs, ‘bad shit’ – More of the above, but this one goes a little bit harder.

2019: Album by Album (March)

Continuing on with logging every album, EP, and song I’d not heard before that I listen to this year, here’s what I listened to in March (not including stuff that I’d listened to previously this year – check January and February’s blog posts for more). It’s been quite an eclectic month with music ranging from math rock, to hypnogoric pop, to glam, to folk, to classical, and dating back as far as 1937. Click through to check out my highlights. If you have any suggestions for an album or song you think I might enjoy, leave a comment and I’ll add it to my ever-growing list of stuff to listen to.


Long Hallways, ‘Close Your Eyes to Travel’ – Epic, jazzy post rock. Highlight: ‘January’.

Prince, ‘Purple Rain’ – I’ve seen the film. I thought it was about time I listened to the album. Highlight (other than the title track): ‘When Doves Cry’.

Prince, ‘1999’ – More Prince. This one’s a lot heavier on the synths and programmed drums. Highlight (other than the title track): ‘Little Red Corvette’.

R.E.M, ‘Out Of Time’ – Jangly and poppy, occasionally veering into darker waters. Highlight: ‘Low’.

Holger Czukay, ‘Movies’ – Highly entertaining avant garde from the ex-Can bassist. Highlight: ‘Cool in the Pool’.

Emmy The Great, ‘Second Love’ – A departure from her folk roots for an alt pop record about love in the technology age. Highlight: ‘Swimming Pool’.

Blondie, ‘Parallel Lines’ – The iconic new wave album. Highlight: ‘Heart of Glass’.

Second Monday, ‘If It Calls Out To You’ – Their insanely tight debut EP (they were only 15/16 when they made this). Highlight: ‘Without Answers’.

Lightspeed Champion, ‘Falling Off The Lavender Bridge’ – Indie pop meets country music and some of the best vocal melodies going. Highlight: ‘No Surprise (For Wendela) / Midnight Surprise’.

Settlefish, ‘The Plural of the Choir’ – A perfect album by a perfect band. Highlight: ‘Oh Well’.

Heavy Vegetable, ‘Frisbie’ – More fun, kinetic odd rock from Rob Crow. Highlight: ‘Cotton Swab’.

Suede, ‘The Blue Hour’ – Dramatic, moody brit rock. Highlight ‘Flytipping’.

Life Without Buildings, ‘Any Other City’ – Infectious, catchy, punky art rock. Highlight: ‘Juno’.

Neutral Milk Hotel, ‘In the Aeroplane Over the Sea’ – Beautifully shambolic folk rock. Highlights: ‘King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 1’ and ‘King of Carrot Flowers Pts. 2 & 3’.

Sparks, ‘Kimono My House’ – They took ‘glam rock’ and ran it through a contorted banshee zoo. Highlight: ‘Hasta Manana, Monsieur’.

Telling The Bees, ‘Untie the Wind’ – ‘Darkly crafted folk’. Highlight: ‘The Worship of Trees’.

Deerhoof, ‘La Isla Bonita’ – Experimental, noisy, and off kilter indie rock. Highlight: ‘Last Fad’.

Lewis, ‘Even So’ – Incredibly moving indie-emo. I love this album so much. Highlight: ‘Bitter Days’.

Steve Strong, ‘Turbo Island’ – Until you see Steve Strong live, you couldn’t guess that he’s a one man post-rock looping and drumming beast. This album is full-bodied and seamless. Highlight: ‘Mirapid’.

Shostakovich, ‘Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, Op. 47’ Performed by The State Symphony Orchestra of the USSR – Under brutal Stalanism came Shostakovich’s response, ‘…a Soviet artist’s creative response to justified criticism.’ Highlight: ‘Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, Op. 47, IV’.

Mayday, ‘Bushido Karaoke’ – Gritty, gutsy, gothic Americana from the Saddle Creek camp. Highlight: ‘Continental Grift’.

Queen, ‘A Night At The Opera’ – Epic and operatic as the name suggests. Highlight: ‘I’m In Love With My Car’.

The Fiery Furnaces, ‘EP’ – Playful, experimental indie rock. Highlight: ‘Tropical Island’.

American Football, ‘American Football’ (or ‘LP3’) – Their third album brings a Steve Reich influence to the table sounds like the like the sun coming up on a winter morning (like the cover implies). Highlight: ‘Every Wave To Ever Rise (ft. Elizabeth Powell)’.

Axes, ‘Glory’ – More math rock madness, and the title ‘Glory’ really captures the triumphant sound of this album. Highlight: ‘Chun Fai Pang’.

Foals, ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1’ – With it’s more funky approach, this feels like the closest they’ve got to the sound of their jerk-pop debut. Highlight: ‘On the Luna’, but I posted that in February, so here’s another highlight: ‘Syrups’.

La Dispute, ‘Panorama’ – A more progressive approach to their spoken-word-post hardcore prowess. Not as immediate as ‘Rooms of the House’. Highlight: ‘VIEW FROM OUR BEDROOM WINDOW’.

Individual songs I listened to

Duck, Little Brother, Duck!, ‘732 Seconds’ – A slow and weary number that bursts open into blast of noisy post hardcore.

Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson, ‘All I Remember is Punk Rock’ – A transcendent blend of indie and post rock from Norway.

Joie De Vivre, ‘April, 2009’ – More glorious emo revival fare from Joie De Vivre. They’re becoming regulars here.

Weezer, I’m Just Being Honest’ – Curiosity and hopefulness keeps getting the better of me, but apart from ‘High As A Kite’, the ‘Black’ album keeps disappointing.

R.E.M, ‘#9 Dream’ – A pretty cool cover of my favourite John Lennon song.

Morrissey, ‘The Boy Racer (Unreleased Demo)’ – An early acoustic version of one of the best songs on ‘Southpaw Grammar’.

The Get Up Kids, ‘Satellite’ – If this lead single is anything to go by, the upcoming album will be awesome.

The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die, ‘January 10th, 2014’ – A euphoric track with some great male/female vocals going back and forth. Emo revival at its most progressive.

Matrix Metals, ‘Flamingo Breeze, part 1’ – A summery slice of hypnogoric pop.

Jack Stauber, ‘Cooking with Abigail’, ‘Good Morning Blondie’, ‘Lima Bean Man’, and ‘ring ring’, ‘Deploy’ – Surreal micropop to put a smile on your face and make you question life. The videos are great too.

Watterson, ‘Talking Shit About A Pretty Sunset (Modest Mouse cover)’ – Noisy indie version of my favourite Modest Mouse song.

Armando Martins, ‘Dirty Fingernails (Modest Mouse cover)’ – Cool, minimal version of this classic MM song, some nice added piano.

Unraveler, ‘Polar Opposites (Modest Mouse cover)’ – Lo fi acoustic cover with some nice female backing vocals.

Jumping Ship For Comfort, ‘Bukowski (Modest Mouse cover)’ – A stripped down version, nice but not bringing anything different to the table.

Prom Kids, ‘Trailer Trash (Modest Mouse cover)’ – Fun midi cover but the vocals are way too high in the mix and over-egged, spoiling it.

Festiva, Dramamine (Modest Mouse cover) – Psychadelic indie pop cover, a pretty fun listen.

Turing Cops, ‘Custom Concern (Modest Mouse cover)’ – A subdued cover that gets old quick.

Jeff Rosenstock, ‘Festival Song’ – Fun-filled indie punk rock.

Logic, ‘Probably Gonna Rock Your World’ – The rapper, with the aid of Mac Demarco’s production, opts for a chilled out R&B/bedroom pop jam with this one.

Shipping News, ‘Untitled w/Drums’ – Tender, moving post rock.