Top Albums of 2019

Time files and it turns out it’s been several years since I last shared my favorite albums of the year. Despite the lack of posts, I still keep a list every year and decided it’s time once again to highlight some of the albums I’ve enjoyed most:

  1. Oh Sees - Face Stabber Any year that includes an Oh Sees release will find it in my top albums list, so here it is. I also see them anytime their tour comes through town. Again, no exception this year. The band continues its exploration of prog rock while still retaining just enough of their psych rock foundation to sound unmistakably like themselves.
  2. Chris Staples - Holy Moly Not to be confused with the much more country-fied Chris Stapleton, Chris Staples is a new discovery for me this year. I’d describe him as indie singer/songwriter with a strong Wilco sensibility. I’m looking forward to seeing him here in Berlin next month.
  3. Ty Segall - Deforming Lobes (Live), First Taste Similar to the Oh Sees guarantee above, Ty Segall always makes the year’s top albums list as well. This year, the prolific psych rocker gave me two albums to love; a live album and the notably guitarless “First Taste” (although it’s hard to believe some of these sounds aren’t guitars).
  4. Wilco - Ode to Joy Wilco is another perennial favorite of mine. Jeff Tweedy’s songwriting is as strong as ever and this album is one that deepens a bit with each listen.
  5. Versing - 10000 A wonderful recreation of that Pavement and Built to Spill slacker rock sound with a dash of Nirvana style grunge. All the ingredients for a good album.
  6. Spoon - Everything Hits at Once (Best Of) Spoon is another of my favorites that makes any year’s top albums list. This is a “best of” spanning most of their albums, with the disappointing absence of a killer track or two from “Series of Sneaks”. Nevertheless, the track order is great and this collection should serve as a solid introduction for anyone as yet unfamiliar with their greatness.
  7. Khruangbin - Hasta El Cielo Painfully known to me as the band I missed seeing last year due to a calendar time zone mixup, Khruangbin released a dub version of their wonderful “Con Todo El Mundo” album. I love how the different style further mellows what was already a pretty laid back sound. Perfect for a rainy Sunday morning.
  8. Ari Roar - Best Behavior Bouncy guitar and bass lines that remind me of bands like Pinback or Palm paired with breezy vocals. Soundtrack a windows-down-stereo-up car ride with this.
  9. (Sandy) Alex G - House of Sugar Introspective and at times haunting lyrics softened with acoustic guitar & a sprinkle of lo-fi wooze.
  10. Dead Soft - Big Blue I’m a sucker for 90s guitar rock like early Weezer or Matthew Sweet. Dead Soft does this well.

Here’s a playlist with one of my favorite songs from each album. Enjoy!