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.

116 responses to SDE’s favourite new albums of 2019

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  2. Simon says:

    Nocturne: The Piano Album by Vangelis.

    For 2020; Tubular Bells IV by Mike Oldfield.

  3. David Elliott says:

    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

  4. Michael says:

    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

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  6. Pier M says:

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

  7. Alan Mitchell says:

    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.

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  9. Wolfgang says:

    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.

  10. Lestat says:

    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.

  11. Phil Morris says:

    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

  12. RJS says:

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

  13. Nelson Lee says:

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

  14. Jan Gotz says:

    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

  15. Peter says:

    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.

  16. andrew balls says:

    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

  17. Mike Pendlebury says:

    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!).

  18. Gazelle says:

    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 says:

      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:)

  19. Chris Squires says:

    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 says:

      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.

    • Inner Space says:

      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 says:

      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?

  20. DiscoDave2000 says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

      At last a mention for the Ocean Blue!

  21. Daniel says:

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

    Cigarettes After Sex
    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).

  22. Dennis says:

    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!

  23. Uncle Ru says:

    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.

  24. SimonP says:

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

  25. Jarmo Keranen says:

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

  26. Tcf says:

    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

  27. Larry Davis says:

    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…

  28. Uncle Meat says:

    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

  29. Paul Fraser says:

    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.

  30. Marc says:

    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

  31. Gareth Pugh says:

    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.

  32. Liam says:

    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)

  33. Roland thoms says:

    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

  34. Nico says:

    ‚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

  35. matthew says:

    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.

  36. GoodMelodicSongsRtheBest says:

    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

  37. Mikael says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

        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:)

  38. Miguel Rocha says:

    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!!!)

  39. Miguel Rocha says:

    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!!!).

  40. J says:

    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

  41. phil Burford says:

    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

  42. Michael says:

    My Top 5:

    Purple Mountains
    Robert Forster
    Fontaines D.C.

  43. Prichad says:

    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.

  44. DaveM says:

    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.

  45. Norman Reid says:

    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

  46. SimonH says:

    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.

  47. Timmy the Dog says:

    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.

  48. Alastair says:

    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.

  49. Alan Mitchell says:

    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.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I don’t like Elbow either.

      • SimonP says:

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

        • DiscoDave2000 says:

          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.

  50. Ben says:

    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

  51. Musicmacca says:

    I find part of the problem with trying to listen to new Artists/Albums is the we are often subjected to 12-15 tracks on a new release which inevitably contain 5 or so of “filler” .
    This came about as a result of Compact Disc and the digital age which freed up the limited space vinyl provided.
    I agree the Kiwanuka release is good but even that has some tracks that i would not play twice.
    8 tracks of strong quality controlled output (as vinyl releases Used to restrict to) would greatly enhance a much more concentrated and enjoyable listen in my humble opinion.
    The only exception i could think of this year would be Springsteen’s Western Stars. Every track a winner.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      The Kiwanuka album only has nine proper songs. There is no ‘filler’ just intros and interludes which I love and are different from weak songs.

      • SimonP says:

        Couple of late entries for me:

        Wilco – Ode to Joy. Didn’t really like anything they’ve done since the Whole Love, but this is a good return to form. Gave it a go on the back of Jeff Tweedy’s solo albums, which I thought were great.

        Jordan Rakei – Origin. I’m only listening to this right now, 2 days before 2019 finishes, but it’s great so far.

        Plan to listen to, after reading these posts:

        Lloyd Cole. The track above doesn’t even sound like him, so it has me intrigued as to what the rest is like!

        Jane Weaver. Enjoyed Modern Kosmology, so this will be going on the list.

      • Polar says:

        Just listened to the Kiwanuka album based on your recommendation, Paul. Didn’t like it. To me it doesn’t do anything that hasn’t already been done by stronger artists 40 years ago

  52. James says:

    Wow, I’m quite staggered these two works are yet to be mentioned.

    Nick Cave and the Bad Seed’s ‘Ghosteen’ takes the chequered flag for this year. Pretty much everything else pales into pointlessness. You wonder why so many even bother.

    Leonard Cohen’s finale ‘Thanks for the Dance’ is also quite superb, his son’s work on dad’s final paragraphs and prose deeply affecting.

    Special mention and thanks to Neil for getting back on the Horse, one last time. As always, it’s a ride one hates to see end. But the sun is slowly setting…

  53. Alan Blevin says:

    I guess reissues/archival releases will be a separate list.If not I would place the 10 disc edition of Woodstock Back To The Garden at number 2.New album list
    1 Western Stars -Bruce Springsteen
    2 Patty Griffin- Patty Griffin
    3 I Am Easy To Find – The National
    4 This Wild Willing – Glen Hansard
    5 Anima -Thom Yorke
    6 Ode To Joy -Wilco
    7 Who -The Who
    8 Giants Of All Sizes -Elbow
    9 Norman Fucking Rockwell -Lana Del Rey
    10 Purple Mountains -Purple Mountains

  54. Guido says:

    Calexico/Iron & Wine – Years to burn
    Tool – Fear Inoculum
    Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Colorado
    Marillion – With Friends from the Orchestra
    Thom Yorke – Anima
    and not too bad: The Waterboys – Where the action is

    Not much highlights for a year

  55. Gareth Jones says:

    I never have any trouble finding new music/new releases each year that l love, but l do struggle to find whole new albums l enjoy. I would find it difficult to make a list of albums in 2019 l really liked, yet could easily compile a big list of tracks. In the 90s, particularly albums like Blur’s Parklife or Badly Drawn Boy’s Hour of Bewilderbeast, l’d feel l was being taken on a diverse musical journey which would hold my attention for the whole 45mins+

    But of Paul’s list, only Office Politics feels that way to me. Everything else seems very samey all the way through. The Lana Del Ray album lost my interest after 3 songs, and after hearing the Beck album once, nothing stood out about it for me enough to even give it a second chance.

    Am l wrong, or are albums just not as adventurous or varied as they used to be?!

    • Wes Headley says:

      I think you’re wrong. Stay open and don’t try to compare the present with the past– many of the albums mentioned here are flat out brilliant!

    • Dishy says:

      LDR / NFR – the beauty of Lana Del Rey’s album is how it winds down. Seriousl, give it a solid listen – you won’t regret it!

  56. Giuseppe Francavilla says:

    I just discovered Beck’s Chemical… Thanks Paul, it’s a wonderful song

  57. Francois says:

    As for me
    Lotus by SOEN an excellent rock album yiu should listen urgently
    Pitfalls by LEPROUS, if you don’t k ow it yet, take a listen at the song “Alleviate”
    Fear Inoculum by TOOL, pro ably the most accessible of all their album, yet a chef d’œuvre on its own
    On the more “indie” side Slow Motion Death Sequence by MANES (Check out the song “scion” as a foretaste
    And I really liked The Road part II by Uncle

  58. Timm Davison says:

    Thanks Paul! I’ve been reading a lot of good stuff about Michael Kiwanuka, I think it’s time I checked the album out.

  59. Marcel Rijs says:

    After last week’s piece by Paul about not recognising today’s music anymore as music – and subsequent nods of agreement – I am a bit surprised at the lists here. There’s almost nothing here that I know, although I am certainly willing to try out some of them.

    Meanwhile, my favourite albums of the past year have been:
    Chase the setting sun – Red Box
    Cause and effect – Keane
    Aliens Live – Kim Wilde
    In Stereo – Bananarama
    Transform – Howard Jones
    Life – Culture Club
    Désobéissance – Mylene Farmer

    Yes, I think I am forever lost in the Eighties and I don’t care. These artists still make better music than whatever’s in the charts these days.

    • Alan Mitchell says:

      Better music or simply music you prefer? My folks thought music during the 80s was poor compared to the 60s. I think it’s just you mate as apart from Howard Jones and Gary Numan all the other 80s artists’ new material I’ve heard played has been either prosaic, insipid or both.

      Horses for courses though :)

  60. Oliver says:

    My album of the year was “Matchy Matchy” by The Ballet. For anyone who enjoys late ’70s/early ’80s synthpop and/or the musings of The Magnetic Fields/John Grant, its a blissful and bleepy little electronic odyssey through the anxieties, idiosyncrasies and delicacies of gay dating. A beautiful, clever record in these thoroughly miserable times.

  61. Don says:

    I think my favorite of 2019 was Drab Majesty’s “Modern Mirror”. A fantastic homage to all the post-punk goodness of the early 80s. Other great albums were:
    – “Sunshine Rock” by Bob Mould,
    – “Warmer” by Jeff Tweedy
    – “The Center Won’t Hold” by Sleater-Kinney
    – “This Is Not A Safe Place” by Ride
    – “No Holiday” by The Muffs (RIP Kim Shattuck)

  62. Anthony Loman says:

    Agree re Kiwanuka choice, would also have Sharon Van Etten, Chrissie Hynde, Ricki Lee Jones, Karen O & Danger Mouse, P.P Arnold, Joe Jackson, Patty Griffin, Robbie Robertson amongst others on my favourites list.

  63. Jeremy says:

    Glad to see Weyes Blood’s ‘Titanic Rising’ getting the credit it deserves here. Definitely my number one album of the year. I also liked Liam Gallagher’s new album a lot. Better than his first effort (which was good). Altogether stronger songwriting.

  64. Trash says:

    From your list Paul I have:
    – Hyperspace (good but not as good as Colors)
    – Guesswork (huge Lloyd fan and I love synths but I’m finding it difficult to get into this album)
    – Office Politics (a winner – and I love the 10cc-aping cover)
    – Encore (The Specials – unexpectedly brilliant)
    – Love you to bits (No-Man – liking it so far)

    I will check out the Kiwanuka album based on your recommendation, thanks Paul.

  65. Stephba says:

    Nobody mentioned “Anima” by Thom Yorke ?
    Electro, futuristic, disturbing but yet melodic songs.
    Surely one of the best albums of 2019 !

    “Free” by Iggy Pop = great modern album for an old artist !

    “Why me why not” by Liam Gallagher : classic brit rock, great vocalist , catchy rock songs !

  66. Paul Nesmith says:

    Chrissie Hynde-Valve Bone Woe
    Tindersticks-Treasure But Hope
    Francis Rossi & Hannah Rickard-We Talk Too Much
    Status Quo-Backbone
    808 State- Transmission Suite
    Kim Gordon -No Home Record
    Sigrid- Sucker Punch
    Brix & The Extricated-Super Blood Wolf Moon
    Ride-this is not a safe place
    Pixies-Beneath the Eyrie
    PJ Harvey-All About Eve

    Could go on quoting names/artists nobody has heard of but who wants to read lists that mean nothing to the older demographic that predominates on this site?pointless exercise really so ive named a few new albums by people who most of us might be familiar with

    • Nick Love says:

      Thanks for throwing the old folks a bone young pup. Kind of presumptuous to assume the readers on this site wouldn’t be clued in to your favorite hip new artists but to each their own I guess.

    • Matthew says:

      In the hope some of us might listen to them? I always try to check a few new things others recommend.
      New to me this year Seventeen by Sharon van Etten, never would have discovered but for someone’s post.

  67. Wax Monster X says:

    Piroshka – Brickbat. How the hell did this get past me? It’s really good. I like the Weyes Blood as well. Thank you SDE readers! So much to check out.

  68. Cosmo Castanza says:

    Pixies , Ride and Elbow the best I have heard but……..Pixies and Ride albums are not in the same stratosphere as there 90’s offerings …..says it all.

  69. Enrico G. says:

    IMHO the best albums of the year are Pixies’ “Beneath The Eyre” and Lou Reed’s “Free”.
    James Bond is a killer.
    Happy New Year to all of you from Bologna, Italy.

  70. Pete says:

    I’d add and highly recommend everyone to check out the following

    Everybody One of a Kind by Wild Belle
    On the Line by Jenny Lewis
    Social Cues by Cage the Elephant
    “Let’s Rock” by the Black Keys
    Stranger Songs by Ingrid Michaelson
    Amongst the Chaos – Sara Bareilles
    True Love by Harry Connick Jr.
    Africa Speaks by Santana
    Fear Inoculum by Tool

  71. Nick Love says:

    That Lana Del Rey song “Doin’ Time” is a cover of the ‘97 Sublime single which she covered to almost a fault, failing to change the gender specific lyrics and the personal references that writer Bradley Nowell made to himself, his colleagues and even his pet Lou Dog. Both versions obviously interpolate the standard Summertime, just thought I’d offer some clarification, even as someone who doesn’t get Lana’s appeal whatsoever.

  72. Aubrey says:

    Concise but canny list Paul (although I am yet to try The Who’s return). My list below. But before the new, the old as – like many readers – I spent a lot of 2019 listening to the past…

    This year, the SDE interview with Stephen Duffy got me listening to the reissue of I Love My Friends (which then led me back to Music in Colours and both The Lilac Time and The Devils) while the chat with Neil Hannon prompted an enjoyable time with the new album before going back to discover The Duckworth Lewis Method, which in turn got me to Pugwash. The reissue of the year for me was Bowie’s Conversation Piece (fascinating and strangely moving). Other 2019 deep dives included Guided By Voices, Caravan, Stereolab, Roxy Music, Camera Obscura, the Stones Throw Records label and, er, The Moody Blues (not sure what prompted that… but as I get older I do find analogue recordings more and more appealing. Perhaps it’s a childhood thing.).

    It was interesting to see the recent SDE article (and responses) on who has time for new music. With the charts being somewhat irrelevant, I normally just read reviews of new releases, dip into anything that sounds interesting and see what sticks. In 2019, this is what stuck with me:

    01. Titanic Rising – Weyes Blood
    02. Norman Fucking Rockwell – Lana Del Rey
    03. U.F.O.F. – Big Thief
    04. Me You They We – Ages and Ages
    05. Reward – Cate Le Bon
    06. Ideal Man – Andrew Combs
    07. Miss Universe – Nilüfer Yanya
    08. Kiwanaku – Michael Kiwanuku
    09. Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest – Bill Callahan
    =10. When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? – Billie Eilish
    =10. Purple Mountains – Purple Mountains
    =10. Weird – Juliana Hatfield
    =10. Guesswork – Lloyd Cole

    Happy holidays to SDE, to all its readers and to Paul (keep up the great work!).

  73. Mister Stick says:

    The most welcome sound from a new record this year was hearing Neil Young’s and Nils Lofgren’s guitars on “Colorado”. But every time I think of picking up a physical copy, I remember I am already giving Neil $20 a year for access to his whole barn, so I don’t.

    Best new record of the year for me was “Beneath The Eyrie” by The Pixies, but if you have not heard the debut release by Black Pumas, then run, do not walk to get next to it. If you worry that there’s nothing fresh left on the shelf, these guys will set you straight. They’re not reinventing any kind of wheel, but their brand of soul music is as clear-eyed and lively as anything since Sharon Jones.

    But let’s get to the feature story:

    I’m a Who loyalist, someone who has put them at numero uno since I was 13. I was hoping to fall hard for WHO, to get the complete, pure, eyes-rolled-back-in-my-head fix, to be rewarded for sticking it out. Certainly, I respect the record, and it’s nice to see it so well reviewed most everywhere. It’s terrifically produced, with layers of sound both brash and subtle. Roger, our favorite sport’s last great ‘gamer’, applies a voice and character to the material that is flawless, even inspiring. And WHO gets off to a fantastic start – “All This Music Must Fade” is now a staple of Who listening, clearly a cousin to “New Song” and “Music Must Change” from Who Are You. It writes an epitaph for the whole last decade of pop music – the first 10-year period of the electric era where nothing new happened. Nothing at all… Why do you think these reissues became our obsession?

    But that frankness and welcome spite (still acidic on the next cut, “Ball And Chain”), drips away over the record, song by song, until all that’s found at the bottom of a beautifully stained wooden box of letters is sentiment in place of snarl. Some embers glow, like “Street Song”, particularly the bridge, though they may be waving the flag a little too long and high on that one. The sum feels like a collection of songs that might be distributed across warm solo records, by both Rog and Pete, instead of needing The Who’s tool chest. The Americana shuffle of “Break The News” just seems a mimic.

    And I’m sorry to see that this release is attached to the gimmick of ‘bonus tracks’, the choices depending on where you bought your CD copy or if you shelled out for the triple vinyl. All of the add-ons are smart, engaging songs, great additions to the listen. But I believe they’re all demos, ranging from as far back as ’66, with some recent studio add-ons to their mixes. Daltrey is not found on any of them and it does seem they don’t belong in this collection, that they deserve their own venue.

    I don’t want to knock the home team, but I wish that I felt more kinship to the fully realized songs offered on WHO. What sold me on The Who was that the songs and the spirit they were presented in clicked in with my own attitudes. That, and the sincerity, the sense that these guys were not lying, not just trying to sell me a girl or a car or a night out that I would probably never have. They were the first band I identified with completely. And I know many, many others felt the same way. The Who connected the dots in a community waiting for that to happen. On this record, though, I hear too much about them, not enough about the people in their constituency. Maybe Pete gave away too much this time around. As he’s said, he was writing songs with the mission of compelling Roger to sing them. And sometimes he’s too universal here. That we all need to ‘get together again’, as Rog preaches on the rollicking “Detour”, is true enough. But where’s the song for those of us who know it’s not going to happen. And the purest of ballads, too… I’m glad Pete loves his wife so much as to promise her a visit in the next life, but I’m not sure how that is of service to the listener.

    The material on WHO is fine, sweet, and polished, with just enough rough edge. But I don’t feel like the album stands up for those of us still out in The Wasteland. It wouldn’t have grabbed me as a teenager, and doesn’t do it at age 55.

    Buy it anyway. Maybe you can still be saved.

    Thanks always, Paul.

  74. shingouz says:

    Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising is hands down my favorite record of the year. The song Movies is pure gold, and the rest of the album is wonderful too.

    I also adore Marina (& The Diamonds) – Love & Fear. Even if it may sound a bit less adventurous than her first two album, the songwriting is top-notch and it’s just a great collection of brilliant pop songs full of heart and soul.

    Big Thief – U.F.O.F is great too, and I haven’t had the time to listen to Two Hands yet, that they released this year as well. This band has something powerful and magical.

    Though they’re both a bit too recent to really have sunk in, the Coldplay – Everyday Life and Beck – Hyperspace both sound really interesting and fresh.

    Honorable mentions for Divine Comedy – Office Politics (feels a bit like a mixed bag for me, maybe it needs a bit more time) and Hatchie – Keepsake (not very original for a first album, but still really nice to listen to).

  75. Auntie Sabrina says:

    What about Jack Savoretti’s Singing To Strangers then? Special and Deluxe Editions, surely a must have for this site? Merry Christmas and a Happy 2020!

  76. motte says:

    I wonder why nobody has Iggy’s “Free” on the list (also referring to the comments from last Saturday).

  77. Paul Kent says:

    My AOTY is “Renaissance Men” by The Wildhearts. Ginger Wildheart is simply one of the UK’s finest songwriters of any genre: his recent forays include power pop, extreme/noise and even C&W. He’s a hidden jewel, frankly. “Renaissance Men” is the WH’s first album in a decade and they have certainly made up for lost time. This album follows their tried and tested raw/loud, ABBA meets Metallica blueprint. The tunes are pearls and the words are sublime, with Ginger writing extensively and poignantly about mental health – both his own and of the characters in his songs. There dumb rock, prog leanings, poptastic gold and more here. Highly recommended.

    • Tim-Meh says:

      And you may care to mention he’s released two solo albums, two WH deluxe reissues, and an EP. Look in the dictionary for prolific and the definition is Ginger Wildheart.

  78. Roland says:

    My top 3 of 2019:

    Tool – Fear Inoculum
    Marlon Williams – Live at Auckland Town Hall
    Monomyth – Orbis Quadrantis

  79. Mark Causer says:

    For me this year my favourite albums in no specific order were:
    Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising (Can listen over and over to this)
    Honeyblood – In Plain Sight
    Pip Blom – Boat (Great live band as well)
    Olivia Jean – Night Owl
    Shhe – Shhe (Just magical)
    The Waterboys – Where the Action is
    The Cure -40 Live Anniversary (will hold me out until the new album next year – hopefully)
    The Murder Capital – When I have Fears (another great live act)
    Wallows – Spring (Technically an EP but still really good)

  80. Paul Taylor says:

    Got three of them (Who, NFR & Office Politics) and ordered a fourth (Kiwanuka) that should hopefully be with me soon from his official store.
    My additions would be Liam Gallagher, Jenny Lewis, The Specials and Duran Duran ‘As The Lights Go Down’ (yes it was RSD and a 1984 gig but it was still effectively a new release!)

  81. Ollie Carlisle says:

    Nice choices. I’d add Sharon Van Etten’s entrancing ‘Remind Me Tomorrow’, Bruce Springsteen’s majestic return to form ‘Western Stars’, Marillion’s very lovely ‘With Friends from the Orchestra’ and Leonard Cohen’s wisdom from beyond the grave ‘Thanks For The Dance’.

  82. dapaladi69 says:

    Mine are the following, I listen mostly to dark/ghotic and synthwave/EBM new releases with ’80s sound:

    Twin Tribes – Ceremony
    A Projection – Section
    Slow Riot – G.A.D.
    The Ninth Wave – Infancy
    Iris – Six
    Palais Ideal – Pressure Points
    Hapax – Monade
    Rroyce – Patience
    She Past Away – Disko Anksiyete
    Drab Majesty – Modern Mirror

  83. Dirceu Guerra Martins says:

    I agree.

    Kiwanuka is an instant classic. The best album I’ve heard this year.

  84. Branny says:

    Just trawling back through the last 12 months of my iTunes library. My list is also short. Encore by The Specials has been my favourite so far. Liked Dido’s latest offering. Bought Mark Ronson’s late night feelings on the strength of the Miley Cyrus track “Nothing brakes like a heart”. My 12 year old daughter was more impressed with the rest of it than I was. Wife bought me the latest Liam Gallagher and Who albums for Christmas but not listened to them yet.

    The majority of my purchases have been re-issues or old stuff I’ve discovered for the first time. I’m currently working my way through Robert Dimery’s 1001 albums to hear before you die. I’m about half way through and have bought a fair bit off the back of that. The Lana Del Rey looks interesting though so I’ll be buying that.

  85. Steve says:

    Piroshka Brickbat
    I feel I should promote it as much as possible as people have missed it.
    Features Miki from Lush and Justin from Elastica and Mick from Modern English and Moose.
    It’s excellent.

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