Sunday, December 29, 2019

Top 50 Albums of 2019

With only a couple of days left on the calendar for the end of the year and the decade, Cool Music Central closes 2019 with the list of our Albums of the Year, while lists of our favorite tracks of 2019 and our Albums of the Decade are under preparation and will follow in the New Year. As I have already hinted in our previous post, 2020 will bring changes for this blog as I feel that a fresh start is needed, but we will get into the details after we conclude our 2019 review.

2019 has been excellent for rock music, despite the fact that in terms of popularity guitar music has been in decline for the whole of this decade. However, in the last few years we have seen a new generation of young musicians turning to the raw power of rock 'n' roll to express themselves and I truly believe there is no better way to channel youthful energy and rebellion. A prime example is the Dublin band that tops our "Best Albums" list this year, the great Fontaines D.C., who nailed it in their first try with their excellent debut "Dogrel", a bold post-punk statement that takes its musical inspiration from the greats of the past, but it is all about the issues and concerns of the here and now.

Elsewhere in our Top 50 list (actually a top 52, as we had a couple of bands releasing two equally fine records this year, which we decided to group together), you will a few more great debuts from guitar bands, with black midi, The Murder Capital, Amyl And The Sniffers and Wives giving us further evidence of the enduring power of rock 'n' roll. Among the new (or relatively new) artists that stood out in 2019, perhaps the most impressive feat came from Big Thief, a band that had already turned heads with previous releases, but thanks to their two wonderful records of this year, "U.F.O.F" and "Two Hands", they have truly reached another level of excellence.

Among the more experienced practitioners of the rock arts who graced 2019 with their latest efforts, we were particularly impressed with The National and the way they enriched their sound and perspective by collaborating with a fine group of women vocalists for "I Am Easy to Find",  their best album since "High Violet" from the start of this decade, while Michael Gira's Swans delivered another awesome chapter to their unique body of work with "Leaving Meaning". The swan song of David Berman with "Purple Mountains" was both beautiful and heartbreaking, while Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen cemented their place among the best women voices of this decade, with albums that expanded their sound to new directions.

Here is the full list of all of our favorite albums of the past twelve months, based on what we were able to listen to so far, and to say goodbye to 2019 in style, press play to our "Best of the Year" playlist below:

Top 50 Albums of 2019

1.   Dogrel - FONTAINES D.C.

2.   I am easy to find - THE NATIONAL 

3.   U.F.O.F. / Two hands - BIG THIEF 


4.   Schlagenheim - BLACK MIDI 

5.   Leaving meaning - SWANS 

6.   Purple Mountains - PURPLE MOUNTAINS 

7.   Remind me tomorrow - SHARON VAN ETTEN 

8.   All mirrors - ANGEL OLSEN 

9.   Why hasn't everything already disappeared? - DEERHUNTER 

10. Stunning luxury - SNAPPED ANKLES 

11. White stuff - ROYAL TRUX
12. Somebody's knocking - MARK LANEGAN BAND
13. Sunshine rock - BOB MOULD
14. No home record - KIM GORDON
15. Designer - ALDOUS HARDING
16. When I have fears - THE MURDER CAPITAL
17. Amyl And The Sniffers - AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS
18. First taste - TY SEGALL
19. Deceiver - DIIV
20. The practice of love - JENNY HVAL
21. Anima - THOM YORKE
22. Serfs up! - FAT WHITE FAMILY
23. So removed - WIVES
24. The seduction of Kansas - PRIESTS
25. The center won't hold - SLEATER-KINNEY
26. Father of the bride - VAMPIRE WEEKEND
27. Humanworld - PETER PERRETT
29. Ex:Re - EX:RE
30. Lost girls - BAT FOR LASHES
31. Any human friend - MARIKA HACKMAN
32. Close it quietly - FRANKIE COSMOS
33. Boat - PIP BLOM
34. Everything not saved will be lost part 1 / Everything not saved will be lost part 2 - FOALS
35. Lux Prima - KAREN O & DANGER MOUSE
36. Ladytron - LADYTRON
37. This is not a safe place - RIDE
38. It's real - EX HEX
39. Help us stranger - THE RACONTEURS
40. These times - THE DREAM SYNDICATE
41. Dusty notes - MEAT PUPPETS
42. Trust in the lifeforce of the deep mystery - THE COMET IS COMING
44. Venus in Leo - HTRK
45. Birth of violence - CHELSEA WOLFE
46. Stuffed & ready - CHERRY GLAZERR
47. Beneath the eyrie - PIXIES
48. Psychedelic country soul - THE LONG RYDERS
49. Destroyer - BLACK MOUNTAIN
50. Act surprised - SEBADOH

Also recommended:

In the Morse code of break lights - THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS, Stars are the light - MOON DUO, Patience - MANNEQUIN PUSSY, Eton alive - SLEAFORD MODS, About the light - STEVE MASON, The unseen in between - STEVE GUNN, Shepherd in a sheepskin vest - BILL CALLAHAN, Inside the rose - THESE NEW PURITANS, On the line - JENNY LEWIS, Let’s rock - THE BLACK KEYS, De facto - LORELLE MEETS THE OBSOLETE, The magical record of Blue Orchids - BLUE ORCHIDS, I used to be pretty - THE FLESH EATERS, Years to burn - CALEXICO / IRON AND WINE

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