Livewire's Top Albums of 2019
It's been a busy year for Livewire but an even busier year for music and, once again, we feel the obligation as music journalists to give our favourite artists some recognition. Here are Livewire's Top 5 albums of the year as voted for by our members, as well as some of their individual picks:
FKA Twigs - Magdalene
By far one of the most emotionally taxing and conceptually fascinating albums of the year, FKA Twigs' Magdalene combines the glitchy, art-pop aesthetic of her previous work, with an intoxicating aura of biblical references. Funneling a lot of her energy into songwriting, Magdalene boasts some of the most impactful lyrical content of Twigs' career with tracks like 'mirrored heart' and 'cellophane' providing an aural uppercut when combined with her overwhelming vocal performances that range from fragile to punchy at a second's notice.
Magdalene, much like FKA Twigs, is a difficult album to describe. It verges on concept album but remains firmly a piece of artistry direct from the soul. As a genre-bending artist, Twigs has yet again defied expectations and has created a pulsating album that has a life of its own. Give it a listen, you will not regret it.
Slowthai - Nothing Great About Britain
Slowthai ignited the United Kingdom in 2019. Providing just the amount of petrol and alcohol-soaked rags to start revolution, Nothing Great About Britain is a hard-hitting, lyrically dense and politically launched molotov to 10 Downing Street and the love he has received for this album has given me hope for political music.
Opening with the title track, Slowthai sets up the album with fast bars, grime-inspired instrumentals and fantastic one-liners, something that would become a trend that continues across the whole album. Tracks like 'Inglorious' and 'Doorman' are ridiculously good and provided the UK with some of it's highest energy hip-hop since JME stepped away from the mic. Slowthai has something to say on every single track and doesn't pad out the tracklist with any 'easy' or 'safe' songs. After putting him in Livewire's 'ones to watch' last year, we feel extremely satisfied that he's blown up the way he has, as this is the music the UK needs right now, and certainly what UK hip-hop needs right now.
The Comet Is Coming - Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery
'Ya like space jazz?' - Barry B. Benson
Mystical sax and whirling synths make up the most of The Comet is Coming's Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery but the album ends up being so much more than that at its core. It represents a collective idea that the every member of the London three-piece strives to achieve, an album full of bouncy, cosmic bops that create one of the most unique listening experiences I've had all year.
The album jumps from more low-key and mesmerising tracks like 'Unity' to outright modern-jazz bangers like 'Super Zodiac' and the incredible 'Summon the Fire' all of which contribute to the psychedelic, Kenny G in orbit, aesthetic. With this album, The Comet Is Coming place themselves on the very cutting edge of modern jazz, combining it with elements of krautrock and electronica to bring jazz not really into the modern day, but more or less into the future.
Fontaines D.C - Dogrel
Fontaines D.C have had a remarkable start to their career, storming onto stages across the country, rapidly building a fanbase, and capturing the adulation of Steve Lemacq. They have the quality of 5-star performers and the song writing to carry it.
Dogrel opens raucously. Grian Chatten’s intimidatingly cool drone drives ‘Big’ while the bass and drums pound away in the background – it’s a war cry of a track. The album is a flurry of screeching guitar and commanding percussion. When combined with Chatten’s lyrical content, it is potent. Dogrel offers a comfortable unpredictability, walking the line carefully between commerciality and more experimental punk.
Despite the intensity, the LP still has moments of tenderness with ‘Roy’s Tune’ and ‘Dublin City Sky’. The latter features a cut down instrumental fronted by Chatten delivering a beautiful drawl: “hurry now you will, to know you is to love you and I love you even still” – an excellent closing track evoking traditional Irish melody as well as imagery of a city they all clearly love. The album is one of the best offerings of the year so far. Sonic roughhousing with charm and beauty; an air of youthfulness with a healthy dose of maturity.
Little Simz - Grey Area
To set the tone I had to have Little Simz at the number 1 spot with her third full length album Grey Area released on the 1st March 2019. I think it's fair to say that this Album has no weaknesses from the 1st track; ‘Offence’ all the way through to the final track; ‘flowers’ featuring Michael Kiwanuka. Every song has a unique tone; for example ‘Boss’ can be described as a stripped back yet aggressive hype track, with her aggressive tone and lyrics coupled with the shouted ‘hook’ makes for a track that is empowering, This song as well as 'Venom' were definitely made with Females as the primary demographic however, I think more credit to Simz if even I felt empowered when listening to it.
When you move on to songs like 'Selfish', 'Pressure' and 'Sherbet Sunshine'; all of which are beautiful layered compositions utilising different samples to complement Simz’ bars. My personal favourite track 101 FM, the whole song is a narrative about where Simz is from and where she is going, I think it resonates because it is relatable for me as well as giving the album direction. It also as a song defies convention by bridging the ‘East and West’ divide, we hear an oriental melody with the familiar sounds of North London in the background something not really seen since Skepta’s ‘Konichiwa’.
There isn't a single flaw I can pick in this album. It might just be the perfect UK hip-hop album. Consistent bars, phenomenal flows and catchy beats in a succinct and tight 11-song tracklist make up just a small portion of the greatness Simz achieves on Grey Area as she proves she's better than anybody else in the scene right now and she knows it.
Now onto some of our music and online team's favourite albums for your reading pleasure:
Little Simz - Grey Area
Every year my music taste shifts and these kind of lists are perfect for charting that change. This year there’s a clear change from me as I delve deeper into the little art-pop boy I know I am. However, there’s nothing that will stop my deep-rooted love of UK hip-hop coming through as the triumphant return of the UK’s best lyricist Little Simz makes my #5 spot with the excellent and touching Grey Area. Little Simz has consistently been responsible for shaping the UK hip-hop sound from its earliest days and her latest album sees her refining and perfecting it, distilling it down to 11 near-perfect tracks that accurately allow her to become the incredible lyricist and songwriter that her previous work set her up to be.
James Blake - Assume Form
Next up is James Blake’s Assume Form that secures a spot simply for it’s longevity and the lasting power of this album. Assume Form came out in January which on university time feels like around 4 years ago, so the fact that this album still makes its way into my showers or bus rides cements it’s quality. Blake paints a romantic and rich tapestry of alien synths and overwhelming melodies that never stop impressing me. Every single song on here has its own goosebump-worthy moment and a lot of them come from the absolutely stellar features as James’ pairings with Rosalía and André 3000 remain as some of my most listened to of the year.
FKA Twigs - Magdalene
Continuing the art-pop trend, of course my #3 spot goes to the lord and saviour of the genre, FKA Twigs, who’s 2nd full-length album Magdalene blew all my expectations out of the water. With the release of 'cellophane' earlier this summer, I knew I was done. That song finished me. There was no way I was going to be able to finish this album, considering the state that track left me in. But, 6 months later, I grew up and gave Magdalene a listen and every single track evoked a similar response, as Twigs explores vulnerability and femininity in a way that is endlessly listenable and heartbreaking.
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Bandana
I wrestled between my number 1 and 2 spots endlessly and while my number 1 album definitely affected me more, I cannot deny the extent to which Freddie Gibbs & Madlib’s Bandana dominated my life. It’s very rare for a 15-track album to slap this hard as every single note and crackle shows off Madlib’s astounding talent when paired up with a rapper this clinical. If it weren’t for the dodgy anti-vax bar on the sensational track 'Palmolive', this album would easily in the running for the best hip-hop album of the decade.
Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising
And yet, Weyes Blood’s Titanic Rising hasn’t left my mind since I first heard it back in April. Maybe it’s the excitement of finding a new artist, but nothing this year has given me such a nostalgic and warm feeling. The way Natalie uses and flexes her voice amongst swooning orchestral instrumentals takes me back to my kitchen when I was 6 and my mum force fed me Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love, and for that, Weyes Blood’s Titanic Rising has a special place in my heart.
Callum 'Flamin' McWilliams
Toro Y Moi - Outer Peace
Barely squeezing into the start of January 2019 this half hour of pure sauce has been stuck in my head every month since. Some (aka Danny Dodds) have said that the rest of the album isn’t as strong as the singles. I beg him (and you if you’re a hater as well) to listen to 'Laws of the Universe' when you’re cooking and TRY to keep everything in the pan because the groove will be strong and that’s factually correct.
The Murder Capital - When I Have Fears
One of the seemingly endless wave of incredible Irish artists emerging this year. This album feels so complete and well-rounded. These 5 boys take it to so many captivating places from start to finish, it starts strong (first 3 songs are world-beaters) and keeps getting stronger with every track & every listen.
Kate tempest - The Book of Traps and Lessons
I wrote a longer review of the album on our blog but the jist was that you should listen, then send it to everyone you love, and everyone you hate, and your MP. Some of the actual poetry on this album is a few years old but the new production just goes so well with tracks like 'Firesmoke' and 'All Humans Too Late'. Definitely one to try and listen to in full if you can, it should also be dark and raining.
Resavoir - Resavoir
Just after 16 minutes into the album has one of the nicest song transitions I’ve ever heard. It’s the first full project from the Chicago jazz collective, if you don’t have time to check out the whole album give the 'Plantasy' video a watch on YouTube, it’s just as tasty as the album art and it will NOT disappoint! Once you watch that you’ll listen to the album anyway so it’s a win win for me. Incredible album that I just haven’t been able to stop listening to.
The Comet is Coming - Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery
Can’t remember a jazz album coming out in recent years and getting everyone so excited like this did when it hit our ears back in March. I can remember the first time I walked down the road with summon the fire grabbed my face and made it do all sorts of hideous things. Seeing them live at Norwich Arts Centre this year only cemented them in my mind as one of the best jazz groups around these days.
Injury Reserve – Injury Reserve The Phoenix trio returned this year with their much-anticipated self-titled album. The anarchic production on this bad boy makes it a rollercoaster from start to finish. From the industrial scrapyard soundscape of 'Jailbreak The Tesla', to the playfully bouncy 'Gravy and Biscuits', this album finds a perfect mixture of catchy, pop melodies with strobing, glitchy mayhem.
Whitney – Forever Turned Around My summer was defined by Whitney’s Forever Turned Around with its sun-soaked melancholy carrying you through 10 tracks of bliss. A bittersweet calmness melts out of each song and the result is an album which is beautifully inescapable.
Better Oblivion Community Centre - Better Oblivion Community Centre When I first heard Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst were teaming up on a project I was more than excited. This excitement was justified after I got through the 10 tracks of folk-rock goodness. Despite the calm atmosphere throughout the album, the lyrics delve into a dystopian wellness facility with the focus on the characters enduring feelings of alienation, isolation and acceptance. This might be Better Oblivion’s first ever release but it certainly packed the emotional punch which will make it a timeless classic.
Resavoir – Resavoir Have you ever wondered what dreaming sounds like? The answer is Resavoir’s self-titled album. The Chicago based ensemble take you on a heartfelt journey of mystery and discovery. Sprinkled with chaotic saxophone madness and emotionally sobering melodies, this album is a masterclass in genre-defying instrumentation.
Great Grandpa – Four of Arrows Great Grandpa delivered an absolute masterpiece this year with Four of Arrows. Whilst retaining their indie pop/rock sensibilities, the band leant into uncharted waters with adventurous concepts and audacious arrangements. This album deals with aspects of the human condition with such a fresh outlook, it really sets Great Grandpa apart from their counterparts. The vocal delivery from Alex Menne holds a desperate urgency making every line hit just that bit deeper. The accompaniment of violins and cellos bring this record to life as it pierces through the indie-rock landscape. Great Grandpa are certainly on track for big things.
Kanye West - Jesus is King It’s very difficult to comprehend Kanye West. He’s a very deep man. Release the album we’ve been waiting a year for? Nah. Release a gospel album with a Kenny G feature? Yes. Jesus is King is a genuinely good gospel rap album with some fantastic songs ('God Is', 'Selah', amongst them), some great use of Pusha T and No Malice, and as always, it’s interesting to see where the greatest rapper ever goes next. I’m back to waiting.
Side story: when I was waiting for the album to come out, I was rapidly refreshing Spotify, and was so distracted I walked into a low bush and face planted.
Thom Yorke - Anima Best enjoyed as the Netflix short film, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, Anima is a truly insane project, wildly out there, electronic beats smashing, synthesisers rocking, at times a constant flurry of notes, at others a slow, almost unencumbered piece. Yorke manages to escape all sense, but makes a hauntingly beautiful, incisive, and brilliant meditation on modern life, speaking a lot about technology, but always utterly human. It’s difficult to understand, I’m not quite sure I do, but it’s worth trying.
Kevin Abstract - Arizona Baby Coming from the leader of one of the most creative and interesting hip-hop groups out there, Brockhampton, Kevin Abstract’s album, a follow up to the brilliant American Boyfriend, is a fantastically experimental and introspective piece which uses the medium to its best. Never boring and always as naked as he is on the album cover, Arizona Baby is a master work from an artist who understands the form and knows exactly how to use it.
Bon Iver – I,I Bon Iver (or Bon Iver if you’re a hipster) has always been something special. They’re always changing things up, from the folk setting of For Emma, Forever Ago, to the hip-hop, electronic infused 22, a million, this feels like the summation of what they’ve done so far, using all styles to create a special kind of sound, one that feels like it looks right into Justin Vernon’s soul and lays him bare. Not a note out of place or a word misused, I, I is just a powerful album which allows you to just listen and be entranced. Mesmerising.
Loyle Carner - Not Waving, But Drowning A poignant and heartfelt album which reflects on so much of life, Not Waving but Drowning is a masterpiece, dripping with melancholy, yet never devoid of hope. It uses features as well as they could with Jorja Smith, Sampha, and Tom Misch among those enlivening the album with fantastic bars and beats. It’s so innately intimate, as Carner talks earnestly about loss, friendship, love, always vulnerable, yet in a way which almost warms you, like a musical hug that comforts you and lets you believe it’s all going to be alright.
Vampire Weekend - Father of the Bride
One of the shiniest, and brightest records out this year. Vampire Weekend’s double LP is striking. The rhythm bounces energetically to tight spanky guitar rhythms. Recognizably Vampire Weekend, it is a potent pop performance. Every track is charming, spirited and addictive. Keeping up the Vampire Weekend pattern of including one fantastic fast track on every album, is perhaps a bit irritating. Leaving you wanting more, but maybe that’s for the better?
Fontaines D.C - Dogrel
Fontaines D.C. are probably one of the most prominent buzz bands at the moment. Their lead singles created a scenario where they risked outpacing themselves, but they delivered. While the production on the record kills some of the energy that was on their Darklands releases, the songwriting is fantastic. The songs have an energy which creates excitement in a way only a few bands manage to achieve.
Big Thief - Two Hands
Big Thief did something special with Two Hands, it feels closer, and more intimate than U.F.O.F and the consequence is a stunning combination of folk, grunge and pop. If you haven’t listened to Big Thief’s Two Hands, then make sure you do, preferably in the evening, with a hot drink and a warm fire. With highlights like ‘Forgotten Eyes’ where crackly guitars pool around the inventive vocals and ‘Those Girls’, which is crafted excellently, with production as impressive as the songwriting. The motifs on every track rarely feel predictable, but they still feel natural – like a river stream. It’s articulated extraordinarily, one to carry you through the winter months. It’s hard to pick-out a weak spot in this uncompromising and heartfelt effort.
The Comet is Coming - Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery
The Comet is Coming’s album is coherent from start to finish, it has a clear purpose, it is confident and is one of the best fusions of genres on offer this year. Not only is the construction and instrumentation perfect, the musicianship is astounding. The Saxophone work of Shabaka Hutchings is unbelievably raw, matching the setting, the feel and overall sound of the album. Combining hip-hop, jazz, psych-rock, drum ‘n’ bass and techno, the whole album is a masterclass in every aspect of music writing. The overblown chamber sax matches perfectly with the bassy, bulbous synth on ‘Summon the Fire’, and ‘Super Zodiac’s climax is incomparable, intricate obscure time signature drumming makes the frantic sax solo and wide-open synth work otherworldly.
The Murder Capital - When I Have Fears
Visceral yet tender, The Murder Capital’s debut album is a sobering 45 minutes – all tracks relate in some way back to the suicide of the band’s close friend, and the circumstances of that journey throughout the album create an album which takes you into the eye of the storm and back out. This record is a great demonstration of new punk-music and is criminally underrated. The icy guitars slice their way through the mix and the dynamic changes crash in like a tidal wave on ‘For Everything’, one of the best openers of the year. Theatric and threatening, The Murder Capital’s menacing debut is a force to be reckoned with. 2019 has been a year filled with post-punk bands, and the Murder Capital must top the bill for this album.
Ed Sheeran - No.6 Collaborations Project
Okay okay so yeah maybe it’s basic and mainstream but this album was way better than I thought it would be and who doesn’t love a good collaboration? Are all the songs original and gobsmacking? Nope, but there is something special about hearing Ed Sheeran collaborate with huge artists in order to create what is basically a tribute to the current music industry, and it is a pretty impressive achievement. My personal favourites are ‘South of the Border’, ‘Beautiful People’ and ‘Way to Break my Heart’ but ‘Take me Back to London’ has also proved to be a very popular top pick for many pop lovers. Don’t judge this one too harshly before you give it a listen!
Vampire Weekend - Father of the Bride
Vampire Weekend have gone through a lot of sound changes. From songs like ‘A-Punk’ and ‘Oxford Comma’ to wonderful new songs such as ‘Harmony Hall’, ‘Sunflower’ and ‘This Life’, this album is perfect for a long reflective train journey, an early morning jog or drinks with friends. The sound is folky, features some cool electric guitar solos and makes use of lead singer Ezra Koenig’s vocal talent. Definitely a worthy listen for the end of your 2019 if you haven’t yet heard it!
Kishi Bashi - Omoiyari
Okay so hear me out, I’ve been a fan of Kishi Bashi since Sonderlust (I’m a sucker for a good violin) and this album is so cool and interesting. I like using it as study music because the songs are calming and really cheery, but that doesn’t mean to say it’s a boring listen. Songs like ‘Annie, Heart Thief of the Sea’ play with the juxtapositions of upbeat melody with woeful lyrics and ‘Marigolds’ has even been featured as an instrumental for season three of Netflix’s Atypical.
BROCKHAMPTON - GINGER
So your friend recommended you the BROCKHAMPTON album and you weren’t sure you would like them. You added it to that recommended list you never listen to and forgot about them. But this album is so enjoyable and maybe it’s time you should give it a listen! The upbeat songs are catchy and quirky, getting you feeling great and ready to take on your deadlines; the more chilled out tunes like the title track ‘GINGER’ are relaxing and unique and fun to hum along to. My favourites off of this album are ‘GINGER’ and ‘BOY BYE’. If you’re into more popular music or less mainstream, less radio-friendly stuff, this is the one for you.
OMAM - Fever Dream
I have been waiting for this album for forEVER and the payoff was amazing. I may be incredibly biased (OMAM are my all time favourite band!) but I can honestly say that the songs on this one are beautiful, folky and synth-y enough to interest anyone into the modern indie music scene out there. ‘Alligator’ (“wake me up, I’m fever dreaming”) and ‘Sleepwalker’ (“I start a war, no time to think about it, it might blow over soon”) are probably my top picks of the album but all the songs on this one are beautiful and worth a listen.
Slowthai – Nothing Great About Britain
2019 has been Slowthai’s year. Collaborations with top artists, Denzel Curry, Skepta and Mura Masa, and a debut album with critical acclaim. Nothing Great About Britain is a hot take on the current UK political and social climate through the eyes of a man who has a lot to get off his chest. Slowthai delivers verses in his own way, flickering with rage and angst but also vulnerability. The beats hit incredibly hard without being obnoxious and the frequent use of violins create a beautifully sinister atmosphere.
Peter Cat Recording Co - Bismillah
Until this year I hadn’t heard of them either, but New Delhi based indie-jazz band Peter Cat Recording Co’s album Bismillah is a beautifully crafted project that has universal appeal. The production and instrumentals feel slightly hazy, providing the album with a beautifully raw and dream like aesthetic perfect for collapsing in a field on a hot summer’s day. Band founder and singer Suryakant Sawhney has an enchanting voice, embracing you from the opener and gently leaving you to rest in the closing track. Most underrated/unspoken release of 2019.
James Blake – Assume Form
Assume Form his hard to describe. The partnership between James Blake’s vocals and the stripped back instrumentals creates a haunting yet beautiful and immersive experience. The features from Travis Scott, Rosalía and André 3000 are all fantastic additions to their respective tracks. Assume Form is an entrancing listening experience, one of this year’s earliest releases, and remaining one of the strongest after all this time.
BROCKHAMPTON – GINGER
Having dropped Ameer Vann, one of the boyband’s strongest members in 2018, the disparity was clear with their consequent project Iridescence not receiving the same love as the SATURATION Trilogy. With GINGER I believe BROCKHAMPTON are building back to their best. GINGER sounds much more like SATURATION, much cleaner, with a clear pop influence and a real injection of fun and energy, but still allowing for emotion and reflection at the right times, which is a balance I believe Iridescence misjudged.
Little Simz – Grey Area
This project catapults Little Simz right to the forefront of the UK hip hop scene. Fantastic flows, personal and captivating lyrics, plus instrumentals that hit the spot in terms of conveying the topics discussed within the songs. Everything about this record is crisp and clean and makes you view the world through Simz’s eyes with pure clarity. This record doesn’t mess about, it’s incredibly concise. As am I. Best album of 2019.
Anderson .Paak - Ventura
Soul and funk are genres that few artists dare to double down on anymore. Like most genres now, many artists choose to combine them with a safer option in the hope of success. Ventura is different, Anderson .Paak embraces soul so much that without the context of knowing his previous stuff you could have easily convinced me that this album was filled with progressive soul tracks from a couple decades ago. This is completely refreshing and would fully recommend for someone looking to branch out away from some more mainstream music.
Lizzo - Cuz I Love You
Pop music has been getting bolder and bolder recently, but Lizzo is something more. Most were already aware of her amazing voice, but this album cements Lizzo as a force in pop music. It’s difficult to argue that her music isn’t empowering, with female empowerment being a central theme of the album. The album's production mixes many genres and is an entertaining ride whether you listen to one song or all of them. Lyrically impressive, musically it is completely and utterly entertaining. The personality Lizzo puts across within the album is intoxicatingly fun and smile-inducing. If you ever need an album to just make you smile from ear to ear, this is a must.
Denzel Curry - ZUU
Denzel Curry was an artist who was not on my radar for most of 2019, but then he did a cover of Rage Against the Machine. By this point I was sold, so when ZUU dropped I was quick to listen to it. Denzel’s unique and aggressive vocal style is where this album shines, especially in the final track “P.A.T” where his power is matched by PlayThatBoiZay’s vocals. The production on this album is heavy and at times feels like the tendencies of metal songs have been placed in a hip-hop context and work brilliantly. With a driving bass and clever melodies, the production saves the album from its, at times, mediocre lyrics, which is unfortunate to say as his prior album was lyrically impressive.
FEVER 333 - Strength in Numb333rs
This bands unapologetically aggressive sound may not be wholly original, clearly taking aspects from nu-metals better history and unexpectedly even Twenty-One Pilots on 1 track. The metal supergroups debut album is anthemic and a joy to listen to. Dirty and get-you-angry production, as well as a brilliant vocal performance from Jason Aalon Butler. Although they show their influences like a tattoo on their faces, the combination of such a weird and unusual mix of artists creates and exciting metal sound with brilliant political themes.
Billie Eilish - When We Fall Asleep Where Do We Go?
Eilish's meteoric rise to stardom left some questioning whether her debut album would allow her to keep her momentum. In case you missed it, it did. One of the most interesting and fun debut albums in pop and although sometimes getting distracted by its own edge, the horror-esque production and haunting vocals sell this album as one of the best of the year.
Brazilian Marcos Valle - Sempre
Sempre by Brazilian Marcos Valle is an unexpected release by a great guitarist who has worked with my favorite jazz singer, Stacey Kent. In his traditional style, Marcos gives a fun and groovy mix of slow and upbeat tracks that any listener will find engaging. I particularly liked, “E Voce”, “Minha Roma”, and “Olha Quem Ta Chengando”.
Sarah McKenzie - Secrets of My Heart
Not previously knowing Miss McKenzie, I was astounded by her versatility as a musician. Her voice flows and swells with maturity that makes her songs standout all the more. “Till the End of Time” is my favorite song (playing it on repeat its enough!), but “You Only Live Twice” and “De Nada” also showoff the way Jazz is still swinging along.
Kate Rusby - Holly Head
Holly Head by Kate Rusby is as I expected it to be: alluring and sincere. Hailing from a UK folk tradition, Rusby reworks old tunes, but also composes some of her own. There is an eerily beautiful style that comes through the combination of her shimmering vocals and the precise backing instrumentals. I really enjoyed, “Christmas is Merry”, “Mistletoe Bough” and ‘Celestial Hearts”.
Barrie - Happy To Be Here
Happy To Be Here by Barrie lounges about in dream pop with Indie influences that pick up the pace nicely. This being their debut album, I was very impressed with the technical abilities and the imaginative originality. “Darjeeling” and “Geology” are standout tracks, though the rest are also fun, hypnotic ear-food.
Catherine Russell - Alone Together
Alone Together by jazz singer Catherine Russell took the cake in terms of best Jazz (even best music) of 2019. Not only is her voice wild and warm and wonderful, but the song arrangements are unique and possess a sparkle that captures the ear like a diamond the ear. ‘Errand Girl for Rhythm” was superb with “Is You or Is Ain’t You My Baby” and “Alone Together” being standout as well, though really, the whole album worked for well that it is hard not to include every other track, too.