Posts Tagged ‘Best Albums Of 2019’

Frankie Cosmos is the musical pseudonym for Greta Kline, the daughter of Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates. Since 2012, Kline has been releasing an impressive catalogue of lo-fi, often endearing indie-rock songs. “Close it Quietly” is her second full-length to be released by celebrated label Sub Pop and it marks a huge step forward. Indeed, these 21 songs in just under 40 minutes make up her most substantial offering to date, without losing the original homespun appeal of her early records. Her quirky, conversational style is fully on display on “Cosmic Shop,” the sunny “Windows,” the tender and intimate “Marbles” and the key-standout closer, “This Swirling.” Kline possesses a quiet, unique cleverness that is worth finding.

Close it Quietly (Release day: September 6th, 2019)

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Charly Bliss Frontwoman Eva Hendricks’ voice glimmers and chimes like a power-pop cheerleader on  her sophomore record: it’s bubble-gummy, slightly nasal, all girlish spirit and vigor. The Brooklyn foursome’s “Young Enough” is a collection of dark lyrics, poppy melodies, and hooks so murderously catchy they could be used to fish for Moby Dick. Most songs tell of an abusive relationship Eva has since escaped from, and her three bandmates—drummer Sam Hendricks, guitarist Spencer Fox, and bassist Dan Shure harmonize around her pain like buzzing, sympathetic bees.

The record kicks off with synth-fizzled “Blown to Bits,” a track about our ever-present contemporary anxieties over nuclear war and the planet’s looming demise, whose chorus pounds, “It’s gonna break my heart to see it blown to bits.” Closer “The Truth” is no less of a dizzying earworm, though it has also collected an album’s worth of yearning: “Kissing babies / I’m alive, but I’m dead inside / burying my face against the wall,” Eva caterwauls on a song so hyper-specific, I’m not entirely sure what it’s about.

Elsewhere, you get the adolescent ache of teen love on title track “Young Enough,” a slow-burn centerpiece beginning with the thrum of a single guitar note and gathering into a full-blown anthem about what it’s like to have your identity tangled up in another person worse than earbuds in your pocket. On “Hard to Believe,” Hendricks reclaims her life for her own, bursting to leave a bad partner; “I’m wide awake, he’s asleep,” she crows of the mismatch. She grapples with a past sexual assault on “Chatroom” (“I am trusting, well-adjusted / Marked me dormant, I erupted”) and enters the recent emotional labor debate with the prescient “Capacity,” a lesson learner in which she announces, “I used to think I should do right by everyone / now I know I was wrong.”

Young Enough is poppier than Charly Bliss’ debut Guppy, and it’s not hard to understand why: keep those mellifluous riffs flowing, spark-fueled as electricity across power lines, and trauma will have a hard time keeping up with you. And if it does—bouncing as high as Eva Hendricks is clearly able—you’ll leapfrog straight over it.

Like many important bands, Seattle quartet Versing got their start in college radio—Tacoma’s KUPS. The group’s main songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Daniel Salas served as alternative music director there, where he met guitarist Graham Baker, drummer Max Keyes, and bassist Kirby Lochner. Now Versing are poised to spread their coolly combustible brand of rock on those said airwaves…and beyond if the world knows what’s good for it.

Baker, Keyes, Lochner, and Salas have risen through Seattle’s competitive rock ecosphere with nonchalant élan. They cheekily titled a previous album Nirvana, but never mind the bleach: Versing isn’t emulating Sub Pop’s most famous artist. Rather, these four twenty-something aesthetes are forging an exciting sound that finds a golden mean between lustrous noise and ebullient melody.

“Tethered” is the lead-off single from Versing’s full-length album “10000”, out May 3rd 2019 on Hardly Art records.

With Versing, songwriting is obviously crucial, but much of the pleasure in 10000 comes from its guitar textures. They’re swarming, yet also spiky and agile. Gently chiding the Seattle music scene’s self-seriousness while acknowledging Versing’s playfulness and irony, Salas says, “There’s a ‘let’s just fuck around and see what comes out,’ aspect of what we do, which I think is uncommon for Seattle bands.”


Versing’s freewheeling attitude has paradoxically resulted in 10000, an engrossing album that’s impossible to feel ambivalent about.

Released May 3rd, 2019

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The California band returns with a fifth album also with a sound that navigates between the garage and the psychedelia, which will transport you to a B movie on a disc full of speed and distortion.

Frankie and the Witch Fingers’ latest LP, “ZAM”, bleeds beyond borders and boundaries. Its opening preternatural sounds bubble up out of the primordial soup, spilling into our world, invading the inner recesses of the listener’s mind. Like a two-headed snake wrapped around the skull, the album pendulates between winding instrumentals and dancey riffs that pop like supernovas out of the black void. Just when a song goes one way, it propels another through long stretches of a cosmic inferno.

Bringing glimmers of krautrock and funk, its eleven tracks unleash a versatile and tenacious weight, slithering between the sexy, the aggressive, the vivacious, and the disorienting—until the living invasion is felt—ZAM—a supernatural entity summoned by four madmen obsessed with tearing open a gateway to dark space. After being pulled apart atom-by-atom, the listener is reconfigured on the other side, born unto starry wasteland. Where head is separated from body. Where music is seen and apocalyptic soundscapes flow to revelation. A funhouse undercurrent pulses through the album’s epoch, reflecting a carnival mosaic shrewdly lulling and doggedly brutal. As one track bleeds into the next, that hour of running time becomes wormhole travel, until the listener returns earthbound, transmuted, craving more odyssey.

ZAM is out now via NYC’s Greenway Records

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Sometimes you need an amazingly crafted Swedegaze pop album, and sometimes that album will kick in your door, shower you with kisses, then proceed to back its time capsule steamroller over your face. The band’s debut album “Last Forever” from 2015 was a surprise to many, not just because of its shoegaze influences but because of the depth and maturity of the songwriting. Unlike many Swedish bands Westkust didn’t fit the framework of the indie rock or the indie pop that have engulfed the guitar based music scene in Sweden . Instead they walked down their own road and followed the same path like shoegaze guitar heroes such as The Jesus and Mary Chain and that kind of patented quiet-loud dynamic that have inspired many bands.

Four years after they released their debut album Westkust are back with their sophomore self-titled record, but it’s a band that experience transitional times. First, original members Gustav and Hugo left the band to focus on other projects, but with the new line-up entailing Brian Cukrowski and Pär Carlsson added to Julia Bjernelind and Philip Söderlind, there’s greater focus on Westkust; second on Luxury Records,


released March 1st, 2019

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The spectre of violence pushed Lillie West towards something life-affirming. Threats loom around every corner on The Lamb, her sophomore record as Lala Lala: burglars, car crashes, one too many drinks. Inspired by the aftermath of a home invasion West experienced as well as her newfound sobriety, The Lamb is a dark, impressionistic vignette of someone trying to find control in a life marred by chaos that traces a bracing emotional arc from fear through to hope. Simultaneously battered and dreamy, The Lamb has one of the more distinct sonic palettes to be found in 2019 indie rock, recalling the cathartic heat of Car Seat Headrest and Molly Nilsson’s romantic, twinkling reveries in equal measure.

The Lamb’s tearstained, post-midnight sheen also recalls Sky Ferreira’s Night Time, My Time — another album about reclaiming your life in the wake of alienation. But unlike that album’s discomfiting open end, The Lamb closes with West reciting a mantra to live by: “Turn the lights off, keep the bills low / Keep my friends safe, keep my friends close.”

“Copycat” from Lala Lala’s 2018 album The Lamb

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In which indie rock’s king of sleaze drops the character of his two previous albums and makes an album devoted to his new girlfriend, delivering warped tales of love, ass-eating, and debauchery in Miami. It feels like the response to Miami Memory was muted, and that’s understandable: People are cynical toward other people’s new loves. But here Cameron takes great strides with his songwriting, delivering his best album yet.

This year Australia’s Alex Cameron shared a new song, “Miami Memory,” via a video for the track. The video stars actress Jemima Kirke (Girls) and sax player Roy Molloy. The song is his first new music since his 2017 album Forced Witness. Kirke is Cameron’s real life romantic partner and he has dedicated the song to her. Perhaps the explicit lyrics are about their sex life? “Eating your ass like an oyster/The way you came like a tsunami,” sings Cameron at one point. Earlier in the song he sings: “Making love in your momma’s bed/Making love on the floor/Making love in the hotel room/We forgot to shut the door.” If it is about Kirke, let’s hope her mom doesn’t hear it!

Cameron had this to say about the song in a press release: “‘Miami Memory’ is a story about how we audition in the present for our future selves to enjoy in retrospect. In that way, tender memories that we share together are captured in thought and stored with the same electricity that keeps our heart beating. It’s a gift for my girlfriend Jemima, and it is dedicated to the artist Greer Lankton and her partner Paul Monroe. I am lucky to have learned that a group of people can be a shining light.”

Alex Cameron new single titled “Miami Memory,” a steamy bit of baroque pop that explores Cameron’s relationship with the city of Miami and his girlfriend Jemima Kirke. It comes with a vibrant, lustful new video directed by Cameron himself that also stars Kirke and Cameron’s sax player Roy Molloy.

Alex Cameron new single titled “Miami Memory,” a steamy bit of baroque pop that explores Cameron’s relationship with the city of Miami and his girlfriend Jemima Kirke. It comes with a vibrant, lustful new video directed by Cameron himself that also stars Kirke and Cameron’s sax player Roy Molloy.

‘Miami Memory’ by Alex Cameron, out now on Secretly Canadian Records.

Elizabeth’s debut solo album, “The Wonderful World Of Nature”, is everything. It. Is. Everything. She sings of desire, infatuation, and heartache with unnerving honesty and openness. The language Elizabeth uses is straight-forward and unembellished, and it’s exactly this which makes her songs so poetic and affecting.

The first time I heard Elizabeth sing “I want you in every way. You don’t treat me nicely and I’m scared I’m gonna stay,” on “I Want You,” I doubled over, both physically and emotionally. In 2018, the frontwoman of Australian rock outlet Totally Mild released Her, an album that brilliantly unpacks the bittersweet, socially convoluted journey of domesticity and the lack of a blueprint for it within the context of queerness.

Her debut solo album, The Wonderful World of Nature, is its crushingly honest divorce counterpart. In a world that’s lacking many queer divorce albums at all, to hear one as honest and mind-bogglingly raw as this is a transformative treasure everyone should experience.

The Wonderful World Of Nature plays like a 11-stage gauntlet of post-breakup emotional grief; the path to moving on isn’t a straight line and might never end. Song-to-song, and often verse to verse, the winding line of grief makes its presence felt. “If not with you, then with who?” Elizabeth nearly howls on “Beautiful Baby,” the gently rocking first track, which gives way to “Parties,” a song about how distracting yourself with partying leads you to wondering if your ex is out doing the same, which, in turn, makes you miss them more. “Death Toll” is a slow march about the ways a break-up can leave you devastated, but also finds Elizabeth lamenting, “I will never be the same happy” after saying “It’s over baby, there’s nothing more to say.” The next track, “I Want You,” has Elizabeth softly singing over a piano, “You don’t treat me nicely, and I’m scared I’m gonna stay,” capturing layers of self-loathing, lust, and regret in a single line. The Wonderful World isn’t a bible for how to get over a breakup, but it feels more honest than breakup albums usually are; it’s never just a “fuck you” and it’s never just an “I wish we were still together.” When two people collide, they break up in unpredictable, awful, restorative ways.

The Wonderful World of Nature released Universal Music Australia

The debut album from The Murder Capital in a the rather nice looking rust marbles vinyl pressing. ‘When I Have Fears’ .There’s a whole raft of very decent bands heading over from Ireland at the moment who are, we hate to pun ‘gonna be big’. Dublin’s The Murder Capital are, at the moment in the same whisper as Fontaine’s DCJust MustardThumper and Inhaler.

But they’re by no means all the same in sound. We first saw The Murder Capital on a very cold night at The End Of The Road Festival in September, not knowing what the band were about. They instantly resonated, coming on to sirens blaring and the audience didn’t know what hit them. Live, their sound is big, it’s captivating and it stays with you. And we weren’t disappointed

We eagerly looked forward to their debut “When I Have Fears”. Even though we’d discovered them in January, by August there were still only a couple of songs on Spotify to listen to so an air of mystery remained.

The result has been just as huge as the hype surrounding Fontaine’s DC’s Dogrel. But this isn’t about all these Irish bands sounding the same.  The Murder Capital have made something much more dark, harrowing and passionate. More Is Less begins like Sonic Youth’s Tom Violence.Not a bad thing indeed.

A similarly distorted guitar, dripping with sadness and chilling. Pounding the lyrics ‘more more more, more is less’ give vibes like a protest song but with more amped up romance. Always the song that stood out in live shows, Green and Blue makes an apocalyptic sound of romantic devastation and destruction with Interpol style guitars bass and drums, but darker and more post-punk -if you can imagine that.

It’s as if everything is going on around us but somehow it’ll all be ok. The haunting ‘I failed you’ makes us imagine a camera drawing out of an unlit room as someone is left alone and devastated in the darkness. It all builds up to Slowdance I and Slowdance II. The meat of the album and a duo of songs to get completely lost in. In a live setting these two songs play as one single entity; one half with lyrics (Slowdance I) and one
half instrumental (Slowdance II).

Slowdance II is where it really kicks in. Dark and dreamy, this is the fulcrum where you immerse yourself in layers of sound. The most melancholic memory of romantic fuzz. It’s dramatic and hazy and seductive and epic and takes your breath away. You wonder how on earth they can top it.

Feeling Fades is a track that’s been available to listen to since we first discovered them. It ends with a dry shouted la la la la la la la la la and seems to poke fun at the song as it disintegrates, like light falling into a black star. Final track Love Love Love is already a personal favourite. Dark and moody, lurking and devastating, alarms sirens, cinematic and lush. ‘In the rain the romance lay, maybe in the rain, the romance will say goodbye’

When I Have Fears is such a raw record, both emotionally and sonically that we don’t want to be controversial or opinionated or seen as rooting for the underdog but it’s just knocked Dogrel from among our Album of the Year spot. It really is that good.

With When I Have Fears sees The Murder Capital have released an insane debut album which will only open doors for the band. The Dublin post punks are seriously a band to keep a close eye on, as with the release of their debut album it’s almost certain that 2020 is going to be massive for them.

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At long last, “Night of the Worm Moon”, the highly-anticipated new album from La Luz singer/guitarist Shana Cleveland is out on LP, CD, digital, and cassette. Critics are already calling the album a “miniature masterpiece” (Uncut) and “a triumph entirely of its own kind. It’s like a garden of quiet yet cosmic folk delights with chasers of old west sounds” (The Big Takeover) that “silently explodes and blossoms out like a magical cosmic flower, arriving just in time for the Spring Equinox” (SLUG Magazine). LP copies on “Face of the Sun Yellow” at Shana’s merch table on her upcoming North American tour while supplies last.

Night of the Worm Moon, the new solo album from Shana Cleveland, the singer/guitarist of acclaimed surf rock band La Luz, watch Shana’s music video for album standout “Face of the Sun” . Cleveland directed this homage to ’70s-era anti-drug PSAs herself. Night of the Worm Moon sees Cleveland expanding her sonic palette, incorporating psychedelic folk sounds with out-there subject matter and inspiration including Afro futurism and alternate dimensions.

An idyllic day takes a turn for the surreal in this music video for “Face of the Sun,” from Night of the Worm Moon, the solo album by La Luz’s Shana Cleveland, Also check out the psychedelic music video for Shana Cleveland’s “Don’t Let Me Sleep,” off the solo album from the La Luz singer/guitarist, The video, from director Ryan Daniel Browne, stars Cleveland as an extraterrestrial exploring a woodland environment under a full moon as the landscape transforms around her.

Shana Cleveland is in the middle of a nightmare when Night of the Worm Moon begins, scrambling over a fence with an unnamed threat in pursuit. “They’ll catch me alive / Don’t let me sleep too late,” she begs on the chorus. The half-dreamt plea sets a spooky opening scene for an album of eerie acoustic lullabies that take place in subconscious worlds—ones full of menace, but equally full of love. Accompanied by only the sparest of instrumentation, Cleveland uses the meditative quality of fingerpicked guitar to create moments of heightened perception and thrumming reverie. She isn’t quite a futurist—the alternate dimensions she explores in her music exist alongside our own—but where Cleveland lights up entire galaxies with her rock band, La Luz, the intimate universe she spins as a solo act can fit in the palm of your hand. Full of flickering baroque details and gorgeously arranged melodic passages,

“Don’t Let Me Sleep” is the second single from Night of the Worm Moon.

Night of the Worm Moon was recorded during the 2017 solar eclipse and was inspired by Afrofuturism, science fiction, and the surreality of daily life in Los Angeles.