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SDE’s favourite new albums of 2019

Michael Kiwanuka / KIWANUKA

It’s hard to express just how great this album is. With its background chatter, sublime backing vocals, intros, interludes – linking together wonderful songs –  it plays like some kind of cross between Marvin Gaye‘s What’s Going On and The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. It has been a while since I’ve played a record that so obviously sounds  like a ‘classic’ from the get go.

‘Piano Joint (This Kind Of Love)’ is typical of the quality. After an atmospheric two minute intro, the song begins with stark piano, kick-drum/heartbeat and Michael Kiwanuka‘s wonderful vocals before winding its way towards a lushly orchestrated chorus. The simplicity here is beguiling, with ‘Hero’ based around a simple four-chord acoustic guitar progression and a shuffling drum beat and ‘Solid Ground’ rooted to an electric piano accompaniment. Danger Mouse and Inflo’s production should not be underestimated, but this record feels perfect. Everything an album should be. Extraordinary.


Bat For Lashes / Lost Girls

A brilliant return to form for Natasha Khan’s alter ego Bat For Lashes. I’ve played Lost Girls to death since it’s release in September, and continue to do so. This wonderfully warm record bathes in 1980s sunshine and goes off on adventures as the sun sets and darkness falls. The album celebrates 80s pop but the squidgy synth sounds would mean nothing without great songs. And they are great. Hunger is a real epic (and probably the most traditional sounding Bat For Lashes song on Lost Girls) – just when you think it can’t get any better Khan delivers a wonderful outro (“‘Cause we can make it love again /And it’s time to start things over…). So Good is just a brilliant bouncy pop song, while ‘Mountains’ is a heartfelt closer. Lost Girls has almost immediately leapt to second place in the BFL canon, behind Two Suns.


Beck / Hyperspace

Beck / Hyperspace

A new Beck long-player is always cause to celebrate and as usual Mr Hansen doesn’t rest on his laurels and simply repeat what he did on the last record; even one as good as Colors. Largely co-produced and co-written with with Pharrell Williams, Hyperspace doesn’t go for the pop jugular in the way its predecessor did, but rather opts for a languid synth-pop pallet typified by songs like the shoulder-shrugging ‘Uneventful Days’, a mournful ‘Chemical’ and the mid-paced reflection of ‘Dark Places’. The endless hooks and pop genius of Colors isn’t bettered here, but Hyperspace is still a great record, that successful evokes a mood.


Lloyd Cole / Guesswork

I’m a big Lloyd Cole fan and he rarely delivers a bad album. He likes to give the impression he’s one flop away from giving it all up and just retiring to the golf course which puts a certain amount of pressure on his fanbase to make the effort to give ‘the new record’ a proper chance to succeed! Thankfully, it’s hard to ignore the brilliance of ‘Violins’ the song that LC issued as the lead ‘single’ to promote Guesswork, his eleventh studio album. I was initially expecting an long-player full of electronics but it’s more varied than that. ‘The Afterlife’ is brilliant and hypnotic and ‘Night Sweats’ also impresses with a classic Cole delivery (and lyric). Not everything is quite as immediate and longish songs like ‘Remains’ and ‘The Over Under’ see Lloyd take his time over some fairly slow melodies, but it gives him and the listener a breather and offers Guesswork some vital light and shade. The wonderfully titled ‘The Loudness Wars’ brings things to a satisfying conclusion. Cole sings beautifully throughout. Buy this record and keep him away off the golf course!


Lana Del Rey / Norman Fucking Rockwell

A modern dreamy pop album that is satisfyingly downbeat. The nine-minute ‘Venice Bitch’ is surely Lana Del Rey‘s shimmery version of Suede‘s ‘The Asphalt World’ – with summer and sand replacing pylons and nuclear skies. This record sounds fantastic, very smooth and really well produced but never synthesised and harsh as can be the way with modern pop. There’s plenty of name-checks and references to the past in the lyrics, including ‘Candle in the Wind’, ‘I’m Your Man’, ‘Cinnamon Girl’ and ‘Doin’ Time’ goes further basically nicking chunks of ‘Summertime’ – but that all adds texture to this pop tapestry. The overuse of the word ‘fuck’ is rather tiresome, bordering on the immature – ‘Fuck it, I Love You’, being a perfect case in point – but that’s just a small blemish on a wonderful album that really does take you on a journey with aural twists and turns and great melodies throughout.


The Who / WHO

I’ve never bought a brand new Who album on – or near to – the day of release, which is a strange thing to consider. 2006’s Endless Wire passed me by – the hideous artwork not exactly helping – but this new record ticks every box, including the evocative Peter Blake cover. The simplicity of the title tells you everything you need to know. It’s short, direct and elemental, like the songs on the album. If this was a perfume it would be called Essence of Who. Opener ‘All This Music Must Fade’ sounds like what you’d get if you asked a computer create a new Who song based on analysis of their previous output, and I mean that in a good way. The lyrics are all thoughtful (Grenfell, #metoo, getting old, Guantanamo Bay) but never get in the way of a good tune, including ‘Detour’, ‘Street Song’ and ‘Break The News’. A massive and very pleasant surprise.


The Divine Comedy / Office Poltics

Neil Hannon denied that The Divine Comedy‘s Office Politics was a concept album when I spoke to him about the release back in June, but it does have that vibe. The double album certainly offers opportunity to include what he described  “odder stuff” and that undoubtedly includes the vocoder/spoken voice exercise that is ‘Psychological Evaluation’ and the tongue-tripping ‘The Synthesizer Service Centre Super Summer Sale’. These quirky diversions sit alongside ‘proper’ songs like the funky ‘Absolutely Obsolete’, the cinematic ‘You’ll Never Work In This Town Again’, the quaint ‘Norman and Norma’ and the rousing ‘After The Lord Mayor’s Show’. Lyrically stimulating and musically varied Office Politics is a wonderful record, despite that cover.

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[…] SDE is a big fan of Lana Del Rey’s 2019 album Norman Fucking Rockwell (it was in our ‘best new albums‘ list for 2019) and therefore thought this was worth a […]

Simon

Nocturne: The Piano Album by Vangelis.

For 2020; Tubular Bells IV by Mike Oldfield.

David Elliott

My list of favs for the year:
1. Bruce Springsteen – Western Stars
2. Liam Gallagher – Why Me, Why Not
3. Bat for Lashes – Lost Girls
4. Loyle Carner – Not Waving but Drowning
5. The Twilight Sad – It Wont Be Like This All the Time
6. Craig Finn – I Need A New War
7. Nick Cave – Ghosteen
8. Sam Fender – Hypersonic Missiles
9. Sleater Kinney – The Centre Won’t Hold
10. The National – I Am Easy to Find

Michael

1. Michael Kiwanuka – KIWANUKA
2. Dido – Still On My Mind (one of the year’s best surprises and that beautiful deluxe edition made it even better)
3. The National – I Am Easy To Find
4. Madonna – Madame X (get rid of those awful duets and the dreadful Funana and you’ve got a really interesting, solid piece of work)
5. Elbow – Giants Of All Sizes
6. M83 – DSVII
7. Floating Points – Late Night Tales
8. Lamb – The Secret of Letting Go
9. UNKLE – The Road Part II
10. Angel Olssen – All Mirrors
11. Max Richter – Ad Astra O.S.R.
12. Burial – Tunes 2011 – 2019

[…] has explored the best reissues and favourite albums of 2019 but hey, what about the not-quite-so-good things that happened (or good things that […]

Pier M

My favourite albums of 2019 come from Ireland
1) Fontaines DC “Dogrel”
2)Van Morrison “Three Chords and the truth”

Alan Mitchell

How about all the new old music i constantly find whilst crate digging? It may be 30, 40 or 50 years old but if I’ve never heard it before then it’s new to me.

Bob and Earl, Supertramp, Lenny White, Vashti Bunyan, Jefferson Starship, The Electric Flag, Neil Young, Sergio Mendes, Lonnie Liston Smith, Earl Klugh, Sparks, the list goes on. I’ve bought used albums of all these artists and many more and am hearing these for the first time. That’s the great thing about our time… availability.

[…] Great price for Beck‘s new album on vinyl. Hyperspace was one of SDE’s favourite albums of 2019. […]

Wolfgang

Agree with LDR, overuse of Fuck on a great album. The Specials “Encore” was also great, and I don’t remember them using that word, with the exception of one song, which fits the song rather well.

Lestat

Having read Paul and all the comments: Paul really voiced what I am thinking for many years now. And I don’t want to believe that it’s got anything to do with my age (52). All the NEW stuff that I have checked this last decade (and that’s a lot), does not give me goose bumps. So I ask me why? Was the past better than the future? I hate to see it that way. But I’m afraid it is what is. I like reissues, because I like the “new”, not before issued tracks better than actually new music. For instance: Coltrane, Beatles, U2, etc. But I also hate that. Would love to hear a new band like Coldplay, Blur or Radiohead. I recognize Billie Eilish, Lana Del Rey etc. Good music, I’m open for good music. But it’s not really great, and unfortunately, like Paul wrote, it’s not like 1993, when about every two weeks a new great album was coming out (and he even forget a number of my favourites, like Depeche Mode). I think that the real reason of this is not listeners getting older, but, because of slipping in the age of streaming, “new bands/artists” are not able to develop themselves by lack of money, radio stations are not playing “good music” and record companies are not longer willing to invest in and promote talent. So I’m left with the hope that 2020 will give us great new albums by very old favourites like Duran, Cure, Tears for Fears, dEUS, Crowded House, Pearl Jam and perhaps Kate Bush. But what I really hope is a new revolution like when Nirvana came along.

Phil Morris

A disappointing year for me. Only just over 50 new release acquisitions. Usually it would be around 100. And the quality similarly matched. Where I would normally find it difficult to whittle down to 10, I can only bring myself to list 9. In *chronological* order:

Steve Hackett – At The Edge Of Light
You Tell Me – You Tell Me
Tim Bowness – Flowers At The Scene
Craig Armstrong – Mrs Lowry & Son
Elbow – Giants Of All Sizes
Joseph Arthur – Come Back World
Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost part 2
Anthony Phillips – Strings Of Light
No-Man – Love You To Bits

RJS

Kit Sebastian – Mantra Moderne
Cigarettes After Sex – Cry
Unloved – Heartbreak

Nelson Lee

Kiwanuka cd 4.99 in hmv store. Took a chance at that price but no idea what to expect !

Jan Gotz

Something like this
1 The Specials – Encore
2 Lana Del Rey – Norman fucking Rockwell
3 Isabelle A – Sjokola
4 Saro – Die alone (digital EP)
5 Prince – Originals
6 Mahmood – Gioventù bruciata
7 SuRie – [ˈdʌz(ə)n]
8 Aurora – A different kind of human (Step 2)
9 Angelique Kidjo – Celia
10 Pixies – Beneath the eyrie

Peter

I so wanted to like the Lana Del Ray album, but I couldn’t get passed her poor enunciation. I just couldn’t understand what she was singing about at times, because of it. Clearly, her lyrics are important and integral to her muse, defining her as an interesting and original artist, but I found her singing style stifling my enjoyment so much that it was difficult to appreciate the end product. Maybe her vocal should have been higher in the mix. It’s probably just me, but I thought I would share my thoughts with the group.

andrew balls

Of the literal hundreds of records and boxsets i bought this year, i cannot even begin to tell you how much music, new and old i discovered and loved. My thirst for artists and bands etc of any era is insatiable.

I will admit that i am becoming harder to please with new music, im guessing this is purely down to me exposing myself to so much material that boxes get ticked early, and subsequent artists therefore need to work harder to tick said boxes. But nothing stops me looking for new sounds and artists. But i respect thos who truly cannot find anything exciting anout new music, but what i will say is this… maybe youre looking down the wrong avenues, or at worst even expecting to have broadcast media ‘drop’ new exciting artists into your lap like years gone by.
The thing i love now, is how self directed research and hunting around gets you rewards.

Have a great new year everyone

Mike Pendlebury

New albums I’ve enjoyed the most this year –

Ride – This Is Not A Safe Place
Lloyd Cole – Guesswork
Tank and the Bangas – Green Balloon
Joe Jackson – Fool
Swervedriver – Future Ruins

My favourite tracks that are old but were new to me were the songs from the vault from Prince’s “1999” super deluxe. I’ve been playing them repeatedly ever since I bought the box set with Marillion’s “Clutching At Straws” the only other album to get a look in recently (another set of songs that are old but are new to me – incredible music!).

Gazelle

My favourite twenty albums are as follows:
01. Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising
02. Purple Mountains – Purple Mountains
03. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen
04. Fontaines DC – Dogrel
05. Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka
06. Solange – When I Get Home
07. Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow
08. Ezra Furman – Twelve Nudes
09. Angel Olsen – All Mirrors
10. Lloyd Cole – Guesswork
11. Deerhunter – Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?
12. Big Thief – Two Hands
13. Better Oblivion Community Center – Better Oblivion Community Center
14. Robert Forster – Inferno
15. Aldous Harding – Designer
16. Stella Donnelly – Beware Of The Dogs
17. Pixies – Beneath The Eyrie
18. LIFE – A Picture Of Good Health
19. Julia Jacklin – Crushing
20. Bon Iver – i,i

SimonH

I totally understand this view, although haven’t quite reached this position.
A gem from years ago that I’ve just discovered is ‘new’ music for me.
Much in the world of music depends on constantly raving about great new artists even when the available candidates aren’t really that geat:)

Chris Squires

A mixed post that should probably go under the Saturday Deluxe thread from yesterday.

I really cannot be bothered to even try and break down the barrier to new music. I can honestly say that I haven’t heard anything remotely of interest, I cannot find a hook of any description in a beat or rhythm. My experience of snippets would have been from TV, or from accidentally leaving my daughter’s choice of radio station on in the car and nothing has even made me think of wanting to explore more. I have heard nothing to make me even the slightest bit curious. I know there are people out there who will say I am missing out or I should try this or that but I genuinely care little about new music.
There is so much older music that I haven’t listened to or have not listened to enough that I don’t want to invest the time in trying to discover something new. There are enough 1970s and 1980s albums that I have not heard that they are my “new”.
It’s rather like going to a restaurant. You get those who always want to try something new, for an experience. But I am of the other persuasion. I tend to have the same thing every time, maybe with a slight variation on a theme, but ostensibly I really don’t want to risk not enjoying my meal or the occasion because I chose something new and ultimately horrible.
So if it comes to a toss up between listening to a new album by a new band or revisiting Gentlemen take Polaroids or The Ups and Downs I will stick with what I know and find something new in that. If I am feeling experimental there are albums I missed by bands I trust. There is so much Nick Cave or Leonard Cohen that I haven’t heard as yet and so little time to explore what I half know. So give me Abba over Billie Eilish (had to google it), give me Stephen Duffy over “Somebody I haven’t heard of featuring somebody else I haven’t heard of”.

As I say I know many of you have found wonderful new bands this year and I am pleased for you but I will stick with my tried and trusted Rogan Josh for fear that I won’t like the alternative chef’s special and waste an hour of un-reclaimable life.

Like many here I have discovered new music though, but mostly from the 1970s and 1980s. I have fallen in love with Osamu Kitajima through experimenting with Kankyo Ongaku (from these pages). I will leave the really new to the younger and the bolder than I am.

The saying of you can’t say you don’t like it until you have tried it doesn’t really hold. I know I won’t like jumping out of a plane, I don’t need to try it to find out.

Leemer

I am sad to say that I generally share this sentiment for most new music I hear these days. Maybe it’s just old folks syndrome. I do have a special place in my heart for new music from Lloyd Cole, Iron and Wine and some other established artists. I have taken a liking to various newer artists such as Cornelius (Mellow Waves was fantastic), Cigarettes After Sex. But generally, I find most new music just plain sonically unlistenable.
If we’re talking 2019 some of my favorite releases were:
The Who – WHO
Cigarettes After Sex – Cry
Calexico/Iron & Wine – Years to burn
Sigrid – Sucker Punch
And of course the Abbey Road reissue.
Leemer

Inner Space

Completely agree with you on this…..but I am staying firmly in the 80s by choice, because there are so many obscure releases, some of those real undiscovered gems that really deserve my full attention.
Just downloaded hundreds of those from “the usual suspect” blogs out there and I am eager to give them all a listen.

The 70s will have to wait a bit in my case…..maybe for another lifetime……

Tom Walsh

Chris Squires, you absolutely nailed it here. I discovered lots of truly great music this year but most of it was from the 60s,70s,80s…definitely not 2019. To me, it is ridiculous to say that there is always great music being released but not acknowledge that music goes through ups and downs. Where for example, is the funk artist on a par with James Brown?; The indie band even close to The Smiths or the electronic band to compete with Kraftwerk?

DiscoDave2000

My favorite New Releases in 2019 (in alpha order)…
Lloyd Cole – Guesswork
Coldplay – Everyday Life
The Cranberries – In The End
English Beat featuring Ranking Roger – Public Confidential
Guster – Look Alive
The Head And The Heart – Living Mirage
Calexico/Iron And Wine – Years To Burn
Keane – Cause And Effect
Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka
Madonna – Madame X
The National – I Am Easy To Find
The Ocean Blue – Kings And Queens / Knaves And Thieves
Bruce Springsteen – Western Stars

DiscoDave2000

I forgot one of my other favorites of this past year – Big Big Train – Grand Tour. They really satisfy my mid period Genesis need (from Selling England By The Pound – Duke). One day this past summer while web surfing, I just happened across a link to some UK Prog based internet program and they featured BBT’s song “The Florentine”. I sunk the 6 minutes into the listen and was hooked. Later I listened to the album on Apple Music. Once I decided I really liked the album as a whole, I purchased it to support the artist and because I like having something tangible where I can read lyrics, credits, and notes. I’ve since purchased their prior album The Second Brightest Star and now call myself a fan. Wish they toured the states, I’d definitely attend a concert.

SimonH

At last a mention for the Ocean Blue!

Daniel

Very interesting, diverse choices on this board! My top 2019 albums:

Ride
Cigarettes After Sex
Tindersticks
The Soft Cavalry
Men I Trust

Honorable mention to DMA’s (their MTV Unplugged rivals any Oasis/Noel/Liam acoustic tracks) and Severed Heads (Living Museum gives the 2019 live mixes used for their final US gigs and it’s amazing).

Dennis

My album of the year award goes to… Sweden…
SAFT – Allting Har Ett Slut
If one enjoys synthpop with Italo note (and is up for non-English lyrics), give it a listen!

Uncle Ru

I have to admit that the cover of Kiwanuka put me off so much that I wasn’t interested, even though I was a big fan of his first album. After reading that it’s your album of the year I gave it eventually a go and I have to say it’s fantastic! Definitely one of the best of the year, an instant classic. Wasn’t aware that it was produced by Danger Mouse – if I had known, I had listened to it way earlier!

Great albums in 2019 for me were those by Foals, Madonna, Billie Eilish, Cinematic Orchestra, and the (late) 2018 release El Mal Querer by Rosalía.

SimonP

I’ve a feeling that Lana got some ideas from Phoebe Bridger’s website address. Look it up.

Jarmo Keranen

Just listened first time a few tracks from Kiwanukas album. I think it was also the last. To me it sounds boring!

Tcf

Hi Paul,
just bought the new Kiwanuka after I read your flaming Review. Will give it a listen tomorrow.

Unfortunately I must say that the new Divine Comedy Album is maybe my least favourite album by Neil Hannon. Will try again next year to like this album.

My album of the year is a reissue: I love my friends by Stephen Duffy.

Best wishes for 2020, Thomas

Larry Davis

Highly agree with your pics, yet have not heard the new Lloyd Coke or Divine Comedy albums…all the others I do and love, espesh MK & LDR, Beck to a lesser degree…going over my collection & other lists currently…another title that has my attention is this band Mannequin Pussy…

Uncle Meat

Some good ones in 2019:

Khruangbin – Hasta El Cielo
The Magpie Salute – High Water II
Lightning Dust – Spectre
The Mymmelins – Moxie Bravado
Hawkwind – All Aboard The Skylark

Paul Fraser

Some excellent albums already mentioned.
I’d also throw in Aldous Harding’s third album, ‘Designer’, into the mix.
And ‘Dogrel’ by Fontaine D.C.s.

Marc

Always keen to view other people’s end of year lists..consensus being cream will always rise to top. But also looking out for albums that have passed me by in 2019…..anyway here is my top ten;

01. Kiwanaku – Michael Kiwanuku
02. Norman Fucking Rockwell – Lana Del Rey
03. Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 2 – Foals
04. Ghosteen – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
05. Remind Me Tomorrow- Sharon Van Etten
06. On The Line- Jenny Lewis
07. Anima – Thom Yorke
08. Lost Girls – Bat For Lashes
09. Magdalene – FKA Twigs
10.Titantic Rising- Weyes Blood

Roll on 2019 top ten reissue…expecting Beatles & Prince to feature heavily

Gareth Pugh

Yep, Office Politics was a real gem and really benefitted from some slightly more oddball experimental tracks. Also, you could see Neil Hannon was really enjoying playing it on stage and certainly at the Hammersmith sh0w, lots of the audience seemed to know many of the new songs. A thumbs up from me for the Howard Jones album this year, some real classics on that and the bonus disc on the deluxe 2CD reminded me (as if I needed to be reminded) what a past master he was – and is – at doing a really decent old-school extended mix.

Liam

Can’t argue with most of that list… some of my favourites that haven’t been mentioned

WH Lung – Incedental Music
Cellar Doors – Cellar Doors
Moon Duo – Stars Are The Light
Pernice Brothers – Spread The Feeling
Seablite – Grass Stains and Novocaine (probably my favourite sounds like the lovechild of The Primitives versus Lush)

Roland thoms

Lloyd cole’s latest. Sublime listening. Beautiful
Nick Cave’s Ghosteen – embarrassed you say I barely knew the man before this
Elbow – loving it (and little fictions and ….)
English beat. Or was that last year ?
Jenny Lewis, warerboys, comet is coming , big thief

Nico

‚When I have fears‘ did the trick for me this year. Feel free to check out The Murder Capital: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzsDQCpESeyzs6vLW8vCOww

matthew

M Waves- by Young Gun Silver Fox
If you’re a fan of 70’s pop-rock like Fleetwood Mac or some Dr. Hook or ELO then this is for you. At a summer music festival this year I heard this amazing familiar voice coming from under a tent. Why was it familiar? Because the lead singer also sings lead for one of my fave bands- Mama’s Gun. So right away I went and bought both of their albums. It’s great nostalgia.

Late Night Feelings- Mark Ronson
Him of Amy Winehouse and ‘Uptown Funk’ fame has produced an album of ‘sad bangers’ with only women singers from Alicia Keys to Yebba (check her out) and it’s a great album- especially for that special hour between 2:00-3:00 when those late night feelings come- apparently
Madame X- Madonna
Completely overlooked and undervalued this is essentially a world music album with inspirations from Latin America, Portugal, Cape Verde. It’s completely eclectic and she performed the shit out of this when I saw her live in concert in NY this year.
Real Life- Emeli Sande
A beautiful album of deep lyrics and heavy melodies. She performed some of these songs two years ago when I saw her in concert and I had been waiting to get them in hand- and here they are. Highly recommend.
Taller-Jamie Cullum
Jamie Cullum is the singer I have seen most in concert. That should say something. This year I actually got to meet him and have him sign my vinyl. This a quality jazz pop album that really comes alive when you see him perform it live.
Ventura- Anderson .Paak
Apparently this is the thinking R&B lover’s fave and what a discovery he is. From Smokey Robinson to Lalah Hathaway this album has it all.
Walk Through Fire- Yola
Now this album is absolute fire. Imagine a mix between Chaka Khan, Nina Simone and Rod Stewart and you have Yola. She’s from Bristol in the UK so up the road from my old university town Bath. This is an excellent album- practically perfect and I highly recommend it.

GoodMelodicSongsRtheBest

Well it’s been quite a year for new releases and without a shadow of any doubt I always have and make time to search out, listen and buy on CD new releases by my fav artists and I’m always open to hearing anything new that gets in my ear so to speak…so without further a do my favs this year in no particular order are….
Dido…Still On My Mind
Jack Savoretti…Singing To Strangers
The Script…Sunsets And Full Moons
James Blunt…Once Upon A Mind
Coldplay…Everyday Life

Mikael

Second Lana here, probably her best album so far. Also think Iggy’s Free is fantastic.
Nobody has yet mentioned Fever Ray, so I will, one live album, one remix album, the live one is recommended.
Cigarettes After Sex also released a great follow-up, Cry.
And Who was an unexpected surprise.

Fabio Del Riz

I’ve been following Lana since the first album, but for me personally her latest album was indeed blatant disappointment. I had the vinyl on preorder but heard the album on legal pre-release stream and it wasn’t at all my case. I think she is wonderful artist but it just left me cold and something was missing. I had heard the singles before the album and was hyped, but no, the outcome was worse than I had hoped. Not even close to her best album, this is among her worst.

SimonH

I was disappointed as well, I think it has it’s moments but lacks focus. Maybe she needed an editor? Possibly the weakest of her albums but still worthwhile.
I think one review likened it to an ice cream soda laced with Valium:)

Miguel Rocha

I only listed three but I still managed to miss the most affecting one…Purple Mountains. Nights That Will Never Happen is the most heartbreaking moment on record anyone will hear (RIP Mr. Berman).
(On an altogether different note, Jenny Lewis – On The Line was also pretty great…pardon my complete disjointedness!!!)

Miguel Rocha

Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising and Aldous Harding – Designer played on heavy rotation in 2019. Both are lush and gorgeous and magnificently melancholic. I also love Nick Cave – Ghosteen, but it’s more of a private pleasure, while I wash the dishes and the kids aren’t around. Not really a “sit at the dinner table and talk about our day“ kinda record. Favourite reissue by far was Prince – 1999, my favourite from ‘82 and for evermore (even with all it’s youthful lyrical blemishes), but a shout out to Mercury Rev’s majestic All Is Dream. Two brilliantly curated deluxe editions (although Extra Loveable still sorely missed from 1999 – this was, after all, a record with hardly uncontroversial songs like Let’s Pretend We’re Married and Lady Cab Driver!!!).

J

Thank you, everybody, for all of these lists. I made my own list based on your recommendations & look forward to hearing some new music. My second list is things I missed out on in the past:

2019 List of Music I Forgot To Buy Back When
Deacon Blue – When the World Knows Your Name
Steve Earle – Shut Up & Die Like An Aviator
Ashford & Simpson – The Very Best Of
Fabulous Thunderbirds – Hot Stuff
George Thorogood – Move It On Over
Katrina & the Waves – 1st LP
Bob Dylan – Infidels
Happy New Year to All
J

phil Burford

Four standouts for me :
Billie Eilish – When we fall asleep, where do we go?
Neil Young- Colorado
The Watts – Decoherence
Nurse With Wound – Trippin’ Music

Rerelease :Beatles :White Album Deluxe box – bit of a cheat because it was out at end of 2018

Michael

My Top 5:

Purple Mountains
Robert Forster
Diiv
Piroshka
Fontaines D.C.

Prichad

Oh my gosh there’s so much great music out there. I could go on for ages. But, my favourites of my favourites from this year would (at this moment) probably be:
– Native Harrow’s Happier Now. Wistful acoustic folk. I can’t believe this isn’t being heavily pushed by the taste makers. Still it does mean that she’ll still be playing very small venues when she comes over to the UK again in a week or so. Perhaps she’s too trad for the hipsters, but God this album is good. If it had been made in the 70s and just reissued people would be shouting “classic!”
– Aldous Harding’s Designer of course. Saw her live for the first time a few years ago. It was one of those occasions where you instinctively know that you’re in the presence of something very special. And this despite me being at the back door and therefore not even seeing her on-stage antics. This third album is her best so far.
– Jenny Lewis’ On The Line. If you haven’t heard it check ‘Red Bull & Hennessey’ for the Fleetwood Macish LA sound with big Ringo drums, but a pretty solid album throughout.
– Jane Weaver’s Loops In The Secret Society. If you like your sh*t served trippy but with tunes. Includes re-worked and improved versions of songs off her previous lp Modern Kosmology.

Agree about Lana. She really went and did it this time.

I don’t think that 2019 was a particularly stand out year. But aren’t we lucky that there’s so many talented musicians out there, and that it’s so easy to listen to them, what with the internet/streaming.

As you might guess from the above list, I think that as far as rock music is concerned the girls are killing it at the moment. Having said that, I know that I’ll be listening to David Burman’s Purple Mountains album for years to come.

Going back to the theme of Paul’s previous blog post, the trick is finding the best method(s) for you of getting to know the kind of stuff you like.

DaveM

Great write up and appraisal of the two I am familiar with (WHO and KIWANUKA) and agree with every word. I have bought quite a few new albums this year (mostly indy), but the aforementioned along with Leonard Cohen’s Thanks for the Dance, The Flaming Lip’s Kings Head, Neil Young & Crazy Horse’s Colorado and Mercury Rev’s Delta Suite Revisited are the clear stand outs for me.
Amazing really, because during the build up to all of these I thought I would be dissapointed.

Norman Reid

Paul I met Neil Hannon in our local HMV about two years ago and he told me he’s never written a song with Norman in the title. Happy to say I inspired Neil to write Norman and Norma, but I didn’t get any royalties for the new song!!
Norman Reid

SimonH

Always interesting to see what people rate.
Tried Weyes Blood but it did nothing for me, seemed unremarkable but that’s just my reaction of course.
It’s interesting how critical concenus builds behind certain albums. It feels as though this happens much more in the internet age than it did before.

Timmy the Dog

For me the best album of the year is Sharon Von Etten’s “Remind me tomorrow”. I saw her at Glastonbury on the tele doing “Comeback Kid” & she had me. Great songs, singing & stage presence. I’ve also heard the Liam Gallagher album which has 2-3 really good songs. Wouldn’t mind a listen to the Thom Yorke album to be honest. I Would’ve been intrigued by the Lana Del Rey album but ‘Ultra Violence” disappointed me after the brilliance of her debut so I lost interest.

Alastair

The game changer for me this year was Spotify and Chromecast audio. I listen to new music using that setup, then maybe buy a CD of a particular album that has caught me. The ones that have seem to be much the same as many of the posts already here: Kiwanuka, Who, Office Politics etc. But I hadn’t explored the Beck or Lloyd Coles albums, and the videos you posted Paul have made me check them out. Fantastic – thanks!
The big obsession this year, though, has been Bob Dylan, who I didn’t get until I picked up one of the Bootleg series very cheaply, and it suddenly clicked, at an age only about 50 years later than most people got him.
In terms of physical media, it has otherwise been deluxes and superdeluxes of older material. Abbey Road has been the standout so far.

Alan Mitchell

Well i heard Abbey Road this year for the first time. I don’t think anything i could have bought this year could better that for me.

I’ve bought, read about and listened to odd bits of many of the albums mentioned by people here; some I’ve enjoyed, others I’ve not, a few i didn’t bother with and a couple I’ve still to buy.

Albums I’ve really enjoyed this year though are by Warmduscher, TVAM, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Sharon van Etten, Mega Bog, Kacey Musgraves and Olafur Arnalds. Albums I’m looking forward to are by Squid and Black Country,New Road.

Bands I’ve discovered i find really dull are Elbow and, err, Elbow. I have three of theirs. I still don’t know why. Far more enjoyable live.

SimonP

The Elbow album shouldn’t be in any best of lists. It ain’t that great.

DiscoDave2000

Unfortunately I agree with you. The latest Elbow is just not doing it for me. Especially disappointing after the brilliant (IMHO) Build A Rocket Boys, The Take Off And Landing of Everything , and Little Fictions. I guess a drop off was inevitable.

Ben

My personal favs of 2019

1. Elbow – Giants Of All Sizes
2. Die Hoechste Eisenbahn – Ich glaub dir alles
3. Guster – Look Alive
4. Andrew Bird – My Finest Work Yet
5. Opeth – In Cauda Venenum
6. Henrik Lindstrand – Nattresan
7. Billie Eilish – When we fall asleep, where do we go?
8. Florian Ostertag – Flo And The Machine
9. The Divine Comedy – Office Politics
10. Enno Bunger – Was beruehrt, das bleibt
11. Taylor Swift – Lover
12. Julia Huelsmann Quartet – Not Far From Here