Another year, another list. 2019 did not stand out as anything special musically until I spent some time going through my lists. Much of what I was drawn to required repeated listens. And then, after a few listens, the cream rose to the top. I listened to a lot of different (for me) music this year. But that is how you find new stuff and new genres. Remember, the music on this playlist always features music that came out this year. A few old favorites and a lot of new artists that I am just learning about. Enjoy!
Link to Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6fal6WD6EGBS0piW6qNRak
- EDWYN COLLINS “In the Morning” (from BADBEA). Since 2005 when Edwyn suffered two cerebral haemorrhages resulting in aphasia requriing him to learn to speak and play music again, he has put out three wonderful albums that have showcased his great songwriting. His songs feature sharp observations, emotional honesty and a strong undercurrent of an appreciation for life, which is understandable given what he has gone through. This is classic Edwyn.
2. MICHAEL KIWANUKA “Rolling” (from KIWANUKA). This album is amazing. Hard to pick one.
3. HAIM “Summer Girl” (single). Produced by ROSTAM, this is a total earworm. I love that sax hook.
4. NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS “Bright Horses” (from GHOSTEEN). Sombre album but beautiful and intense. That can be expected from NICK CAVE.
5. NILÜFER YANYA “Heat Rises” (H34TRISES). Catchy debut album with lots of good guitar.
6. ALDOUS HARDING “Designer” (from DESIGNER) New Zealand singer songwriter whose music I had not heard before. Produced by frequent PJ HARVEY collaborator JOHN PARRISH, who I have heard of before.
7. JESCA HOOP “Shoulder Charge” (from STONECHILD). I discovered a lot of JESCA HOOP this year. She sang on ELBOW‘s new album, a friend turned me onto her album with SAM BEAM of IRON AND WINE from few years back. Incredible voice and beautiful songs.
8. CALEXICO, IRON AND WINE “Follow the Water” (from YEARS TO BURN). Speaking of SAM BEAM, here he is. His latest is a collaboration with JOEY BURNS from CALEXICO. Ok, remember I mentioned how some songs reveal themselves with repeated listens earlier? This one really gets to you when you listen a few times.
9. ELBOW “White Noise, White Heat” (from GIANTS OF ALL SIZES) ELBOW returns with another stellar collection. It ranks with their best and it was hard to select just one from this. Alice helped.
10. THE COMET IS COMING “Summon the Fire” (from TRUST IN THE LIFEFORCE OF THE DEEP MYSTERY). That’s quite an album title but I think the music lives up to it.
11. ALTIN GÜN “Vay Dünya” (from GECE). That keyboard is the sound I imagine my dog hears when I talk. Even though my dog is not Danish and Turkish like ALTIN GÜN is.
12. FEMINA “Perlas” (from PERLAS AND CONCHAS). Mixing Latin American folk and hip hop, FEMINA are from Argentina. On their latest they worked with British DJ QUANTIC who is featured next. See how small the world is?
13. QUANTIC, DENITIA “You Used to Love Me” (from ATLANTIC OSCILLATIONS). British electronic artist collaborates with NY based singer DENITIA, who should be on this list too but I need to learn to set limits and say no.
14. MOON BOOTS, BLACK GASPY “Whisper in the Wind” (from BIMINI ROAD). You just know you like it when you like it. Some people don’t listen to the words.
15. ROBERT FONSECA “Aggua” (from YESUN). I really like OO from this album but here is another great song. Fonseca says he wants his music to be like water, which can change form, become solid or liquid. I get that.
16. LIZZO “Cuz I Love You” (from CUZ I LOVE YOU). I include the whole “tiny ass desk concert”. Words cannot…
17. FONTAINES D.C. “Boys in the Better Land” (from DOGREL). BBC 6 chose this as their best album of 2019. The D.C stands for Dublin City, where they come from. I think Iggy likes this too.
18. JULIA JACKLIN “Pressure to Party” (from CRUSHING). From Australia, the penal colony.
19. MARIKA HACKMAN “I’m Not Where You Are” (from ANY HUMAN FRIEND). Poor Marika at the beginning of this video. I like this album. It has a bit more muscle and production than previous and that suits the songs well.
20. JARVIS COCKER and the KAISER QUARTET “Running the World” (single). Ok, this song is from 2006 but this version is brand new. I am just doing my part to support the campaign to make this the first no. 1 song of 2020 in England. No one really reads this blog, but if you do read this blog, and you are offended by these lyrics, remember the word is used all the time over there. But, just like here, the word perfectly describes who is still, unfortunately, running the world.
21. STELLA DONNELLY “Old Man” (from BEWARE OF THE DOGS). Good lyricist and very catchy songs. This was a very late, welcome, addition to this list. Another Australian.
22. STEVE GUNN “New Moon” (from THE UNSEEN IN BETWEEN). New to me but he has been around for a while. Now I have a whole discography to discover.
23. MIKE AND THE MOONPIES “Cheap Silver” (from CHEAP SILVER AND SOLID COUNTRY GOLD). New to me, I found this on someone else’s year-end best of list. It occurs to me there is not much country on the list this year. Well here is some fine countrypolitan to make up for that.
24. NICK LOWE and LOS STRAIGHTJACKETS “Raincoat in the River” (from LOVE STARVATION/TROMBONE EP). Nick continues to make great music with the masked men from… Mexico? I don’t know. This is a cover of an old AARON SCHROEDER and CHUCK KAYE song from the 60s recorded by SAMMY TURNER , produced by PHIL SPECTOR, then later covered by RICKY NELSON. But it sure sounds like a song that NICK LOWE would have written.
25. THE RAILS “Save the Planet” (from CANCEL THE SUN). This has to be about Trump. More good stuff from James and Kami.
26. WEYES BLOOD “Everyday” (from TITANIC RISING). I love this album. I really really love this song.
27. THE JAPANESE HOUSE “You Seemed So Happy” (from GOOD AT FAILING). Whoa check it out, AMBER BAIN is playing the guitar upside down! How do you do that? It doesn’t matter, this is so good.
28. THE LAST DETAIL “You’re Not Mine” (from THE LAST DETAIL). In 2004, A GIRL CALLED EDDY (ERIN MORAN) put out one of my favorite albums. Produced by RICHARD HAWLEY, it’s a sophisticated collection of (mostly) ballads that was kind of retro but has passed the test of time and gained appreciation along the way. But then Erin disappeared. In 2019 when she re-emerged with french artist MEHDI ZANNED to create this perfect piece of pop. And there is more good news! A new A GIRL CALLED EDDY album is coming in 2020. We had to wait 17 years but it was worth it.
29. RICHARD HAWLEY “My Little Treasures” (from FURTHER). RICHARD HAWLEY is so criminally under the radar here North America. Yeah, that’s right. I might be in Canada. I have not connected with this album as much as previous albums by Hawley but this song is gorgeous. The dog theme video is gorgeous too.
30. ROBERET FORSTER “One Bird in the Sky” (from INFERNO). Talk about under-rated, the former GO-BETWEENS is a master songwriter and this is one his best. Another wonderful album too.