30. Drenge – Strange Creatures
Fuzzy and funky rock with a hint of new-wave and post-rock see the long awaited third album by Drenge collide back into rock world a lot more maturer and refined. You still get the jangly guitars and fuzzy distorted chords with chunky bass guitar, but it’s the descriptive lyrics and narrative singing from frontman Eoin that grab my attention here. Slower cuts and and further experimentation make me excited for Drenge’s next project when you have tracks like ‘Prom Night’ and ‘No Flesh Road’, they could make a really special noise/jazz record.
29. Jenny Hval – The Practice Of Love
A mixture of Pop and 90’s trance mixed with Hval’s electronic ambience create a haunting display of music. Chilling and yet intriguing with wonderful guest vocals. Her most accessible album, but still a brilliant addition to electronic music. Really an album to zone out to and quite the euphoric experience. One I recommend late at night and worth a few spins as well.
28. Better Oblivion Community Center – Better Oblivion Community Center
Cosy, cute and warm are just some of the words I would use to describe this new and exciting indie rock effort. The collaborative vocals from Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridges are a delight the whole way through the album. Their pair’s debut highlights a dystopia wellness centre which encompasses light indie acoustic tracks, folk and emo styling, as well as raunchy more distorted numbers. One to keep an eye on that captures the warmth of Los Angeles.
27. Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part. 2
Foals are a very consistent band in terms of sound and playing style and their upbeat songs are what’s kept them so attractive to me over the years. Their second release of 2019 captured my attention with its heavier and more experimental sound focus mashing together distorted guitars with smooth synths. You still get the roaring vocals and loud choruses, but this album felt a little darker than others and tracks like ‘Black Bull’ have become instant favourites. They’re a band I have to see live.
26. Fontaines DC – Dogrel
Punk and post-punk with the tenderness of a Dublin accent and words with attitude. The gentle guitar work and balance of punchy and tender vocals provide a personal touch to the album which feels homely, and also laments whilst capturing the sound of the late 70’s. You can picture the bleakness and the Irish picture that Fontaines DC talk about and the descriptive lyric structure entices me from the get go. This album is their baby and Dublin is their city.
25. Wilco – Ode To Joy
Delicate instrumentation with the thumping of drums to lightly played acoustics and droaning vocals – this wishy washy Wilco album makes me feel at such an ease. Dashes of alt-rock, folk and indie rock blend together the perfect Autumnal album. Its simplicity is what makes it so engaging and hushed vocals send shivers down my spine, but in a good way. I feel like the album is telling us a story and we’re sitting back and experiencing it.
24. Helado Negro – This Is How You Smile
A chilled out aura with soft drum beats and synths set out one of the smoothest and most enjoyable albums of the year. Helado Negro embraces his culture and himself and lays out his talent with his silky smooth voice. Closing my eyes to the sounds of the slow jazzy piano and voice of Helado Negro is bliss and the kind of chilled out album that warms the soul. Sometimes all you need is a stripped back and simple instrumentation for you to let your words do the talking in a way that comforts the listener.
23. Fieh – Cold Water Burning Skin
There are bands with talent and then there’s Fieh. An 8-piece Norwegian group who encompass everything that makes music great and time is taken to highlight the skills each member contributes. Whether that is the soft and delightful vocals, upbeat drums, funky bass or rhythmic keys, I’m taken back to the past where musicians worked their hardest to master their craft. The soul and funk sounds are so tantalisingly good.
22. Jay Som – Anak Ko
Who knew a bass guitar could be so attractive? The driving bass in a lot of these tracks really caught my attention, but the jangly 90’s-like indie rhythms (reminiscent of artists like Suede) really fill out the tracks nicely. On top of that there’s dreamy vocals and pretty acoustics that showcase ‘Anak Ko’ as a laid back album. Each track brings something new, but sounds so smooth and relaxing and the transcending synths are so nostalgic. This album should have released years ago but it is still a fresh listen now.
21. Billy Woods – Hiding Places
Some of the hottest beats this year and some of the sweetest bass licks I’ve heard from an experimental rap album. Billy Woods is slick and straight to the point when it comes to spitting on the mic. Serious words whilst smooth rhythms carry him along. One of the best rap albums I’ve heard in ages.