So much has happened in music during the last 12 months! We chose our top ten international albums of 2019. These are our favorite albums, albums we consider the most interesting, the records we listened to the most.
10. N0V3L – NOVEL
In mid-February, the friends of Crack Clound have released their debut EP. It is a much engaging and energetic blend of post-punk and new wave. Clearly inspired by bands like DEVO and Public Enemy, N0V3L have as much potential for their music to sound relatively fresh and interesting. The songs on NOVEL have a very expressive, danceable nature (one could hear traces of g-funk or disco in songs like Will to Power and Natural), which stands out contrasting the dissonant and raw post-punk sound. The socially engaged lyrics completes the overall good reception of the album.
9. (Sandy) Alex G – House of Sugar
The album sounds surprisingly fresh, even without comparing it to the earlier works of (Sandy) Alex G, especially Rocket. The seemingly easy compositions are charming and, as always, heavy with emotions and unaffected honesty. Although House of Sugar is not a concept album, the songs are somewhat conceptually intertwined on the lyrical level. The themes of addiction and self-destructive behaviour reappear in the lyrics throughout the album. And Into My Arms is such a gem alone.It is good to know that (Sandy) Alex G can still surprise a listener.
8. FKA Twigs – Magdalene
As FKA Twigs’ voice echoes Kate Bush, she sounds firmly, assured in what she’s doing. Tahliah Debrett Barnett has grown as a vocalist, and Magdalene represents the maturity. It is a well- ballanced, mellow melancholy, cohesive and coherentsound scape. The softness intertwines with fine production and heavy beats.
7. 33EMYBW – Arthropods
Fresh and stimulating sound of deconstructed club/experimental electronic. It is Wu Shanmin’s second album as 33EMYBW, and music full of rather strange energy which creates a mysterious atmosphere. As the music plays, one can be easily hypnotized by the seemingly random (although finely thought out) samples, sounds and beats of the instrumental compositions. The sound is as stimulating, as it is compelling, which, eventually, can render some difficulties when it comes to the overall reception of the album.
6. 長谷川白紙 (Hakushi Hasegawa) – エアにに (Air Ni Ni)
The debut album of a young japanese producer. When it comes to the sound and the arrangement, a lot is happening on the album. A great and intense sound – a characteristic mix of free jazz, jazz funk, jazz fusion, avant-garde i jazz pop with elements of electronic and IDM – is fascinating. It is a brilliantly arranged work full of well-knit songs. Using ASMR effects, エアにに (Air Ni Ni) often creates a rather strange atmosphere. It is surely an intense sound experience.
Live instruments finely chime with Little Simz’ expressive voice and greatly produced beats. When it comes to the arrangements, the songs are rather simple, but terrific in the way how they incorporate much energy. Grey Area is also a great lyrical statement. Little Simz has much to say, she knows how to say it and her rap creates a compelling story. A story of a confident woman, of being aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses and trying to find their way in the modern world.
4. Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising
The lyrical beauty of Weyes Blood’s songs is very captivating. It is an ambitious album, but she does not tend to exaggerate. The seemingly plain songs on Titanic Rising create, through a soothing yet emotive voice of Natalie Mering, an atmosphere of a wonderful melancholy. Lyrically, the musician deals with loneliness, love and mortality in an uncertain times.
3. Nivhek – After its own death / Walking in a spiral towards the house
New project of Grouper’s Liz Harris, and definitely an album to cry to. Atmospheric music fills one with sadness, melancholy, uncertainty and uneasiness. It is a complementative work, even a soundtrack to watch the end of the world to, seeing everything falling apart from a distance. The compositions can serve as a definitions of sadness and create a cold and dreamy climate. A mature, compelling and quite cerebral work of a self-conscious musician.
2. DIIV – Deceiver
Zachary Cole Smith’s characteristic vocals, shoegazeing guitars and a cold atmosphere full of melancholy: although the new DIIV’s album is not as good as its predecessor, the band still represents a high level songwriting. All the songs on Deceiver are full of a rather strange energy, which accumulates throughout the album, and have the potential to become the next shoegaze hits.
1. Weatherday – Come in
Definitely a gem! Come in brilliantly mixes lo-fi emo with noise pop. The rawness, harshness of the music and a nonideal sound characteristic to lo-fi music make Weatherday’s fantastic songs unique in their own way. The songs on the album are emotionally charged. One can hear it both in music and lyrics, a cutting statement and story of love, making choices, maturation, facing one’s true nature, , their past, their fears and inner demons. Come in perfectly captures Emotive and expressive vocals perfectly capture the heavy charge. Yet the sound is very melodic and, at times, soothing. Incredibly enough, the album was recorded by one person, mostly in their bedroom, on their home-audio. Quite similar to Car Seat Headrest’ early albums. Weatherday brilliantly transforms their inspirations and creates a unique sound. Their own sound.