This year has been one hell of a puke-covered roller coaster ride, but it wasn’t just Baby Yoda that was the best part of the year; some really great music came out that deserves some (more) recognition.
In high school, there were only a handful of bands I gave a shit about: Blink-182, Alkaline Trio, Bloc Party, Weezer, The Misfits, and Motion City Soundtrack. Now, 10-plus years later, I listen to more bands than I can count, with my list of new favorite bands constantly growing. A few years ago, I made it a goal to listen to at least ten new records a year. So far, I’ve been successful. This year was especially tough. There were so many releases that I enjoyed and some of the bands I’d hoped would release music unfortunately did not. But, hey… there’s always next year!
Anyways, here are my top 10 favorite music releases of 2019 (in no particular order):
Jake Ewald is one of my absolute favorite songwriters on the planet and this record reminded me why. He’s got such a way with imagery and storytelling, which is what I love most about his other band Modern Baseball. His ability to put you into the songs and become part of the story is incredible. This is a really good go-to record for a rainy day or if you just wanna sit around and do a whole bunch of nothing. It’s just a really pretty, really well-written record.
My favorite songs: “One Down” and “Heart Attack”
2. Tyler, The Creator – Igor (via Columbia Records)
His last release, Flower Boy, was one of my top 10 favorite records of 2017. I got the chance to see him on the Flower Boy tour and he put on one of the sickest live shows I’ve ever seen. If you’ve been listening to Tyler’s music since Goblin or Wolf, then you know that it’s changed quite a bit. His last two records are more up my alley, and this one is hands-down my favorite of the two. This was one of my go-to records to blast when I was driving home from work at night.
My favorite songs: “I THINK” and “WHAT’S GOOD”
I’d be a total bozo not to put this record on here. This was probably my most anticipated record of the year, and if you listen to this band at all then you should know why. Sometimes, the singles end up being the best tracks on a record. But the deep cuts on this record ended up being some of my favorite songs. About half of this record still sneaks into my head from time to time, and I’m not even mad about it. This record was a perfect follow-up to After The Party and another perfect record from a perfect band.
My favorite songs: “Strain Your Memory” and “Portland”
4. White Reaper – You Deserve Love (via Elektra)
This band fucking shreds, plain and simple. This entire record is just one shred fest after another. I found out about this band last year and I haven’t stopped listening to ’em since. One of the things that pulled me in was the guitars and how tight the harmonies are. This band puts out one fire record after another, and I’m already excited for whatever they do next.
My favorite songs: “Real Long Time” and “Eggplant”
There’s nothing I can say about this band that hasn’t been said already. There’s probably not a whole lot else I can say about this record either, but I’m gonna try anyways. As soon as I heard the first single, I knew this record was gonna kick some serious fuckin’ ass. Every show I’ve seen them play is seriously such a good time. There’s never a soul not screaming their lungs out or dancing their little heart to pieces. This is one of those bands which just keeps getting better with age, and this record will be just as rad ten years from now.
My favorite songs: “Break” and “Duckets Is Tight”
This record is a really good. Like, really fucking good, and it’s fun as hell! One thing I love about this band (besides the name) is how unique and different their sound is. Honestly, I’d never even heard of PUP until earlier this year, but one listen into this record had me hooked.
My favorite songs: “Bare Hands” and “Scorpion Hill”
One thing I’m a sucker for is a solid opening and closing song on a record. Everything else in between is kinda important too, I guess. The opener, “Dreamcatcher, Pt. II,” couldn’t be a more perfect way to start off the record. The last song on this album, “Cemetery Lights,” is also fucking perfect and my favorite on the entire record. I saw State Faults in Arizona a few months back and not only are they one of the raddest bands on No Sleep’s lineup, but they’re also one of the most fun bands to watch live. Another thing that I love about this record was how incredible the guitar and bass tones are. If you haven’t heard of this band, definitely give them a listen and don’t sleep on ’em.
My favorite songs: “Dreamcatcher Pt. II,” “Olive Tree” and “Cemetery Lights”
If this Top 10 list was in order of favorites, Patience would easily be at #2 or #3 or maybe even my top pick. I love everything about this record. A bunch of my friends were posting about it for a good few months before I finally got curious enough to listen to it. You’d think with a name like Mannequin Pussy that would catch someone’s attention sooner. As soon as I listened to the first couple of songs, I could see why people loved this band so much. This record has a little something for everyone. Almost every song is different than the last and that was my favorite part about it; I didn’t know what to expect next.
My favorite songs: “Drunk II,” “Who You Are” and “In Love Again”
Oso Oso is another one of those bands I discovered on Spotify and became an instant fan. I love about 90% of this album. My only complaint is that it’s not a few songs longer. It’s such a feel good record and its end of summer release couldn’t have been better. The guitar tones and songwriting are two things about Oso Oso that I fell in love with. They’re one of those bands whose lyrics are of stuff you would’ve never thought of yourself.
My favorite songs : “the view” and “wake up next to god”
This EP is only four songs long and about 20 songs too short, but it rips. If the name rings a bell, that’s because Justin Courtney Pierre has spent the past 20+ years fronting bands like Motion City Soundtrack and Farewell Continental as well as a couple of other smaller projects. Since high school Mr. Pierre has been on my Mount Rushmore of all-time favorite singers and songwriters, and he has remained a continuous source of inspiration when it comes to my own attempts at songwriting.
When Motion City Soundtrack broke up a couple years ago I was super bummed out. It felt like a childhood friend moving across the country and not knowing if you’d ever see them again. They’d been one of the most important bands to me growing up, and one of those bands that I felt like I also watched grow. With his solo stuff, Justin’s songwriting has remained nothing short of extraordinary, and he still continues to surprise me. One thing I love most about his solo stuff is it’s so familiar but also unlike anything I’ve heard before. I think what I thought I’d miss most about MCS breaking up was that Justin Pierre songwriting charm. From the sound of it, his charm didn’t go anywhere.
My favorite song: “My Girl Margot”