Pre- (r)amble: Hey, it’s time for another year-end list. There was a lot of good music in 2019, therefore I’m upping this to a Top 30. Let’s jump right in.
- Ty Segall – First Taste (Drag City)
This is Ty’s second consecutive album-of-the-year title on this site. First Taste was for the most part, Ty’s typical mix of punk, classic rock, metal, and other more esoteric flavors, but this time out he recorded without using any guitars. Different attack, same deadly impact.
- Mark Lanegan Band – Somebody’s Knocking (Heavenly)
Lanegan goes full on early-‘80s UK post-punk on this one. Never before have I been more surprised that Peter Hook didn’t contribute to an album. At the center of all the Joy Division, Cure and New Order-ism, Lanegan’s voice and lyrics are as wonderfully dark and powerful as ever.
- Gnoomes – Mu! (Rocket Recordings)
Simply the most intoxicating psychedelic record of the year. Nobody deployed more twisted and contorted sounds in 2019 than the ones you hear on Mu! By the time “Progulka” kicks in, it sounds like Gnoomes have left earth altogether.
- L’Epee – Diabolique (A Recordings)
A super-group of sorts, made up of Emmanuelle Seigner, Anton Newcombe, and The Liminanas, L’Epee’s songs switch back and forth between French and English but the strength of their narco-pop grooves is a constant.
- Hammered Hulls – S/T 7” (Dischord)
Didn’t see this coming at all. Alec MacKaye’s first new release in over 20 years is an as-sharp-as-ever mix of post-punk and older-but-wiser hardcore. The world is a better place with the MacKayes (older brother Ian has started playing out with a new band) out there railing against ignorance and injustice.
- King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard – Infest The Rats’ Nest (Flightless/ATO)
I was never a big fan of King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, nor do I listen to much ‘80s thrash; yet somehow I love this album of King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard playing it fast and heavy. The album’s eco/sci-fi concept works too.
- The Brian Jonestown Massacre – S/T (A Recordings)
There’s always a Brian Jonestown Massacre album somewhere on my year-end lists, and here we have their self-titled album, coming almost 30 years into their career. I like it all, but “We Never Had a Chance” is probably their best song in at least fifteen years.
- Velveteen Rabbit – S/T (Hozac Records)
Cool album that combines the best parts of glam, power-pop and sexxxy funk from the ‘70s. Probably the only album in my collection that can remind me of Alice Cooper AND Prince.
- Fontaines D.C. – Dogrel (Partisan Records)
These guys are a next-gen Dublin-based version of early-‘00s NYC rock, with a smart Mark E. Smith-style vocal twist.
- Wand – Laughing Matter (Drag City)
Laughing Matter is long. Maybe too long, at over an hour, but the highlights are tremendous. Opener “Scarecrow” is probably my favorite song from 2019, and closer “Jennifer’s Gone” is the best Lou Reed song since 1973.
- Fleeting Joys – Speeding Away To Someday (Only Forever)
- Czarface – Czarface Meets Ghostface (Space Age)
- Dream Syndicate – These Times (Anti-)
- Acquaintances – 8 ½ Lives (File 13 Records)
- Oh Sees – Face Stabber (Castle Face)
- Frankie and The Witch Fingers – Zam (Greenway Records) Full Review
- Flat Worms – Into The Iris E.P. (Drag City)
- KRGA – Mysterious Lady/Don’t Ask Don’t Tell 7” (Hoser Records) Full Review
- Guided By Voices – Zeppelin Over China (Rockathon Records)
- Ecstatic Vision – For The Masses (Heavy Psych Sounds)
- Iggy Pop – Free (Loma Vista)
- Clinic – Wheeltappers and Shunters (Domino)
- Guided By Voices – Sweating The Plague (Rockathon Records)
- Stag – Electric Mistress (Self Released) Full Review
- Des Demonas – The Hyena/Flowers from Hell 7” (Trick Bag) Full Review
- Disco Junk – Underage Punk (Hozac) Full Review
- The Galileo 7 – Too Late/The World Looks Different Today 7” (State Records) Full Review
- Peter Perrett – Humanworld (Domino)
- Martin Karlsson’s Degradation – Too Far Gone/Barbwire (Couldn’t Keep Me Away) 7” (Latta Bordor Records) Full Review
- The Night Times – Watch Your Step/I Got My Mind On You (State Records) Full Review