Top 50 albums of 2019

1: Pip Blom – Boat

It’s the catchy indie pop of the debut album from Dutch four piece Pip Blom that takes the top slot in The Album Review’s top albums of 2019. Despite it being a little lighter in style for my generally beefier tastes in music, Boat’s charms are simply irresistible.

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2: Fews – Into Red

I can’t begin to describe how close this came to being album of the year. It literally could have been on the toss of a coin but just because it sits at number two don’t let that detract from the brilliance of Into Red.

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3: Fontaines D.C. – Dogrel

At the forefront of the burgeoning Dublin punk scene, Fontaines D.C. have been one of the big success stories of 2019. Nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and awarded 6 Music’s Album of the Year, Dogrel is an essential album to listen to, and listen to.

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4: Underworld – Drift Series 1

Yet another of the classic 90s dance acts enjoying a particularly purple patch. And when your creative juices are really flowing, why limit yourself to a traditional album? Instead Karl Hyde and Rick Smith from Underworld committed themselves to producing a piece of work every week for a year, putting it online for their eager followers to consume.

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5: The Chemical Brothers – No Geography

Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, a.k.a The Chemical Brothers have been producing fantastic electronic dance music since the early 90s but rarely have they achieved the giddy heights that took them to superstardom in their heyday. Yet, with No Geography they have produced an album of consistently high quality tracks to rival anything they’ve done since Surrender 20 years ago.

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6: The Murder Capital – When I Have Fears

A brilliant post-punk debut album with an occasional whiff of early U2 to it, only let down on occasion by a slightly strained vocal.

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7: Snapped Ankles – Stunning Luxury

An fantastically bonkers blend of dance, psych, post-punk and avent garde that almost always hits the spot.

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8: JOHN – Out Here on the Fringes

Brash, boisterous guitar noise that’s just too much fun to ignore.

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9: Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1

Shockingly good first half of a two-part album by a band truly comfortable in their own skin. A masterful display of how to build up songs. A crying shame that part 2 wasn’t up to the same standard.

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10: Little Simz – GREY Area

An uplifting and powerful rap album. Little Simz manages to find optimism among hardship, while calling out some of the stereotypes found in rap culture.

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11: black midi – Schlagenheim

Sometimes bizarre, but utterly rewarding post-punk. An album that requires active listening.

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12: Warmduscher – Tainted Lunch

Fun and sleazy rock ‘n roll. A fantastic follow up to last year’s Whale City. Guest contribution from Iggy Pop too.

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13: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Infest The Rats’ Nest

The band’s tribute to 80s Bay-area thrash metal and one of their most enjoyable works. Like slipping on an old pair of comfy slippers for me.

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14: W.H. Lung – Incidental Music

Electronic-heavy indie pop that fans of last year’s storming TVAM album will most certainly enjoy.

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15: The St Pierre Snake Invasion – Caprice Enchanté

Riotous, affecting and heavy as hell punk that pounds you into joyous submission.

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16: Balthazar – Fever

Funky, melodic guitar pop that nuzzles it’s way into your brain.

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17: The Twilight Sad – It Won/t Be Like This All The Time

An emotive indie-rock post-punk opus dipped in a good helping of 80s synth.

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18: DiiV – Deceiver

Classic, sumptuous shoegaze from this Brooklyn band. Something to shake your curtain hairstyle to.

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19: slowthai – Nothing Great About Britain

Punky grime from Northampton’s finest Tyron Frampton. This debut fulfills the promise shown in earlier EPs

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20: Sarathy Korwar – More Arriving

Thought-provoking, jazzy dub and electronica with a distinct Asian flavour.

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21: Christian Fitness – You are the Ambulance

The sixth solo/not solo album from Mclusky and Future of the Left genius Andrew Falkous. As edgy, noisy and witty as ever.

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22: Portico Quartet – Memory Streams

Jazzy trip-hop and electronica that’s perfect for chilling out to.

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23: Here Lies Man – No Ground To Walk Upon

More 60’s laden heavy grooves from the LA four-piece. It’s not a divergence from their previous two albums but they’ve certainly nailed this unique sound.

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24: RIDE – This Is Not A Safe Place

The band’s second album since reforming and they’ve certainly got their songwriting boots back on. Some great tracks on here to rival the best of their early work.

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25: Amyl and The Sniffers – Amyl and The Sniffers

Classic punk on show from this female-fronted Aussie five-piece. Powerful, absorbing and a whole lot of fun.

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26: The Comet Is Coming – Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery

Jazz for the dancefloor, featuring the wondrous saxophone and clarinet work of Sons of Kemet’s Shabaka Hutchings. Surprisingly accessible, surprisingly good.

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27: Lower Slaughter – Some Things Take Work

Heavy, raucous, clever. A right rollocking riff-tastic grind and a worthy successor to their brilliant debut ‘What Big Eyes’.

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28: Teeth Of The Sea – Wraith

An absorbing album that mixes electronica, ambient, dance and jazz with a splash of psych rock and even a touch of avent-garde.

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29: LIFE – A Picture Of Good Health

Rousing and angry post-punk for the Hull four-piece. A must for any fans of loud guitars.

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30: Desert Sessions – Vols. 11 & 12

Josh Homme’s collaborative series returns with some cracking tunes. A lot of this sounds suspiciously like classic QOTSA and Them Crooked Vultures but there are a few tracks that surprise along the way too.

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31: Metronomy – Metronomy Forever

Cosy synth pop and some very catchy tunes combine to produce a memorable effort from these veterans of the scene.

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32: Prettiest Eyes – Vol. 3

The third effort from this post-punk trio that uses a dash of psych alongside distortion galore to bring a tasty treat to our turntables.

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33: SPC ECO – Fifteen

An indulgent combination of shoegaze and trip-hop from former Curve member Dean Garcia and his daughter.

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34: The Specials – Encore

The kings of Ska return to put the world to rights – and don’t we just need it.

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335: Julia Kent – Temporal

An achingly beautiful neo-classical work with a smattering of electronica. Kent’s cello work pulls heavily on your heartstrings.

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36: Chali 2na & Krafy Kuts – Adventures Of A Reluctant Superhero

Addictive, superhero-themed hip-hop. What’s not to like?

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37: Chase and Status – RTRN II JUNGLE

Does exactly what it says on the sleeve. The duo’s homage to 90s jungle has some blistering tracks on it

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38: Lorelle Meets the Obsolete – De Facto

A dreamy, scuzzy pop-psych epic from this Mexican duo that grows more pleasing with each listen.

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39: Blanck Mass – Animated Violence Mild

Album three is an intense electronic ride that takes the wall of sound concept to another level. It sometimes feels like you’re listening to two tracks at the same time but if you relax your way into it, it can be very rewarding.

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40: Czarface – Meets Ghostface

A smart hip-hop collaboration between Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah and Czarface.

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41: Battles – Juicy B Crypts

Slightly off-beat synths that can be hard work at times but are ultimately rewarding. Almost dance-able at points.

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42: The Cinematic Orchestra – To Believe

More classy, emotive and enveloping tracks from these damn-fine purveyors of blissful grooves and soundscapes.

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43: Ifriqiyya Electrique – Laylet El Booree

Brilliant blend of traditional African music and metal that leaves you pondering ‘why have I not come across this before?’

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44: Lonesome Shack – Desert Dreams

Edgy country blues and urban folk rock that is a lot kinder on the ears than you might expect from that description.

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45: Petrol Girls – Cut & Stitch

Angry, feminist punk with a powerful message that cries out to be heard.

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46: Boy Harsher – Careful

Strong on ominous, brooding 80’s synth pop. If you liked the music in Stranger Things, you’re on to a winner with this.

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47: Plaid – Polymer

Intelligent techno straight out of the 90s. Reminiscent of Snivilsation/In Sides-era Orbital at points.

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48: Gender Roles – Prang

High octane pop-punk with some seriously catchy hooks that’s just the right side of heavy.

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49: Petbrick – I

Intense, loud and aggressive electronica. Like The Prodigy on steroids. Smashing.

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50: Meatraffle – Bastard Music

Left field indie pop the will have you nodding along and scratching your head at the same time.

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