Favorite Music of 2019

In no particular order, I present my favorite albums of 2019! For a mix of my favorite tracks, check out my playlist over at Spotify.

  • SPC ECO – Fifteen Dean Garcia of Curve’s current electro/gloom pop outfit. Spooky, ethereal stuff.
  • Melanie SandfordWonderland If you’re nostalgic for the heyday of ’90s Boston girl power, this album is for you.
  • Ladytron – Ladytron It took me a while to enjoy this album after the clusterfuck that was PledgeMusic. I lost money. Ladytron lost money. Ken Andrews lost money. Once I got past that sting, I found myself reveling in another synth-pop masterpiece from these Liverpudlians.
  • Wallows – Nothing Happens Sunny alt-rock from California. The best band with actors in it since Phantom Planet.
  • Piroshka – Brickbat Piroshka is a ’90s dream come true: Miki Berenyi (Lush), Justin Welch (Elastica), KJ McKillop (Moose), and Mick Conroy (Modern English) make up this supergroup.
  • Billie Eilish – When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? I’m dumbfounded by how much I love this album. My musical taste doesn’t usually stray so far into the mainstream. She’s worth all of the hype.
  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen Another glorious, haunting release from The Bad Seeds.
  • Ex:Re – Ex:Re Ex:Re (pronounced ex-ray) is Elena Tonra of Daughter. I cannot express how much I love this album. It reaches every part of my being in a way I haven’t felt since Lisa Germano’s Happiness. This was the album I played the most this past year.
  • Sleater-Kinney – The Center Won’t Hold It received mixed reviews, but I dug this album. The Center Won’t Hold feels like the trio was into Nine Inch Nails’ The Fragile when they created it. Conversely, Ex Hex’s It’s Real was the best Sleater-Kinney album of the year that wasn’t by Sleater-Kinney.
  • Letters to Cleo – OK Christmas A truly excellent EP of Christmas tunes! (Disclaimer: I moonlight as their hometown merch girl.)

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    Greg Hawkes of The Cars, Diane Dupuis, Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz, and Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo in November 2019. Photo by Amy Lordan
  • Harry Styles – Fine Line Go listen to “She” and tell me that you don’t like it.
  • Morrissey – California Son I feel so much conflict in my soul over Morrissey! Up until 2019, he’d been my church; my untouchable favorite! But then he wore that For Britain badge on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and he crushed my spirit. I’d love to chalk it up to Moz being contrary and “Morrissey being Morrissey,” but I just don’t know if I can. Can one separate an artist from the artist’s politics in order to still love their music? California Son, a slightly uneven covers album, didn’t help settle this quandary.
  • Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Watchmen (Music from the HBO Series) Ah, sweet score work from this Oscar-winning duo. Thanks for making me forget about my Morrissey heartbreak. Initially, I felt weird about watching Watchmen because I interviewed Alan Moore in 2016 and he was an absolute delight. But once I heard these two were on board, I was all in.
  • The Darkness – Easter Is Cancelled Riffs! Glorious riffs!
  • White Lies – Five Interpol, if they were British. There’s no hiding that White Lies was heavily influenced by Joy Division, but I am still a sucker for their brooding yet poppy tunes.
  • The Chemical Brothers – No Geography My dance party album of the year.
  • Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow Both Barack Obama and I approve.

JC Is My Co-Pilot

One of last year’s more remarkable collaborations came from Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker and Canadian pianist Chilly Gonzales. Their Room 29 was released on the consummate classical  label Deutsche Grammophon. Cocker’s witty and droll lyrics were inspired by room 29 at the infamous Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles.

The following video is a live recording of one of my favorite tracks from the album. To dive deep into the lyrics, check out this Chilly Gonzales fan site.

In True Love with Charlotte Hatherley

Here’s a taste of my favorite albums of 2017. True Love, by Charlotte Hatherley, is definitely at the top of my list. Some may know Hatherley as the former guitarist of Ash. Currently, she plays guitar for Birdy.

On the side, Hatherley has created a lush, gem of an album. And I can’t get enough of it! Here’s “A Sign” from True Love. You can learn about the inspiration behind the song here.

Stay tuned to this blog for more of my top albums of 2017!

Top Ten Albums of 2016

Once upon a time, I worked in the music industry. Newbury Comics, WFNX, Harborlights, Paradise Rock Club, Warner/Electra/Atlantic, Maverick Records, and last, but not least, Ryko Distribution. Remember Rykodisc? Their CDs had green jewel cases? Those guys. In the past few years, I have dipped my toe back in a wee bit as a merch girl for friends’ bands.

So, obviously, you should take great stock in my Top Ten List. No one else is writing Top Ten Lists at this time of year! Also, I am sarcastic.

10. David Bowie – Blackstar

9. Deftones – Gore

8. Butch WalkerStay Gold 

7. Joy FormidableHitch

6. SavagesAdore Life

5. PhantogramIII

4. DaughterNot to Disappear 

3. Deap VallyFemijism I am obsessed with this album. I saw this duo open for DFA and BRMC and they killed it. That’s them in the photo up top.

2. GarbageStrange Little Birds 

1. Nick Cave and the Bad SeedsSkeleton Tree
And my favorite EPs of 2016 are ..

LushBlind Spot

Miki Berenyi of Lush at Royale in Boston. Photo by Amy Galante

Letters to CleoBack to Nebraska

Letters to Cleo at the Rickshaw in San Francisco. Photo by Amy Galante

Best Split 7″

Julee Cruise and King DudeJulee Cruise and King Dude Sing Each Other’s Songs

Of course, as soon as I publish this list, I’ll realize that I’ve forgotten an album or two. On December 23, I hope that I will be impressed with Not the Actual Events EP by Nine Inch Nails. On the Nine Inch Nails website, there’s a quote from Trent Reznor:

“IT’S AN UNFRIENDLY, FAIRLY IMPENETRABLE RECORD THAT WE NEEDED TO MAKE.”

That sounds pretty, pretty, pretty delicious to me.