As another year filled with great music comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on albums that really stood out to me. 2019 was the year I got into the trendy lo-fi bedroom pop, jazz inspired sounds of Crumb and Men I Trust, while also exploring noise acts like Metz, Show Me The Body and Girl Band. As one might expect, the list is predominantly “indie rock,” with most acts falling into the post-punk category. If that’s your thing, check out the individual albums and the playlist below.
Thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!
30. Homeshake – Helium
I’ve heard from some that this album “puts them to sleep,” but maybe I like sleep?! A strong effort from one of my favorite artists.
29. Moon Duo – Stars Are the Light
As one might expect from Moon Duo, this album is a mellow, psychedelic journey through time and space.
28. Surf Curse – Heaven Surrounds You
Another solid album from the LA outfit. “Labyrinth” and “Disco” are favorites that allow Nick Rattigan’s voice to shine.
27. Show Me The Body – Dog Whistle
Thoughtful hardcore straight out of New York. Dog Whistle is frighteningly masterful. Songs like “Drought” and the haunting “Arcanum” are favorites. Plus banjo! What the heck.
26. Metz – Automat
This album engages right off the bat with the noisy “Soft Whiteout” and doesn’t relent throughout the album. “Pure Auto” is a favorite.
25. No Swoon
I heard this Brooklyn trio open for Nothing and it was love at first sight. Likely a hidden shoegaze gem, songs like “Saturn Ring” and “Faces” are favorites.
24. XO – Wonder
A truly wonderful album from Long Beach Shoegaze, ex-Say Anything-ers. Songs like “Light” glisten.
23. Black Marble
Bigger Than Life doesn’t stray from their original dreamy, post-punk sound. Songs like “One Eye Open” and “Private Show” are absolutely driven.
22. Sasami – Sasami
The ex-Cherry Glazerr and Froth frontman sister’s solo project has started on a strong note. Her live performance is something to behold, and collabs with Dustin Payseur and Devendra Banhart are solid. “Jealousy” is a favorite.
21. A Beacon School – Cola
Stunningly ambient, Cola brings to mind Death Cab and chill-wave of the modern day. “It’s Late” and “Algernon” are favorites.
20. Cate le Bon – Reward
A beautiful, catchy album with folk-driven melodies and minimal instrumentation. “Home To You” is a favorite.
19. Clinic – Wheeltappers and Shunters
An echoing, pummeling sound drives this album forward. “Flying Fish” is always getting stuck in my head.
18. Wand – Laughing Matter
A highly involved and complex listen, LA’s Wand evoke the sounds of Radiohead for this stunning album.
17. Ride – This is Not a Safe Place
The UK shoegaze legends returned with an accessibly heavy album, with catchy songs like “Kill Switch” and “End Game” as solid contributions. “Thin Air” unfolds with incredible intensity.
16. Jay Som – Anak Ko
A beautiful homage to her mother, Melina Duterte’s soft bedroom pop album is thoughtful, with songs like “Anak Ko” unfolding beautifully.
15. Toro Y Moi – Outer Peace
Toro Y Moi is my most listened-to artist of the decade, so it’s no surprise his latest album would make the list. Songs like “Ordinary Pleasure” and “Freelance” will have anyone dancing.
14. Girl Band – The Talkies
I’m usually not one for noise rock, but this album is hard yet accessible. “Going Norway” is a favorite. The singer has incredible range and makes incredibly bold choices.
13. Automatic – Signal
the debut album from one of the Bauhua member’s daughters is a post-punk hit! “Calling It” belongs in the goth clubs.
12. Horse Jumper of Love – So Divine
There’s something hauntingly beautiful about this album. “Poison” is a heart-wrenching, slow but screeching song with jabbing lyrics.
11. Fat White Family – Serfs Up!
This is such a fun listen! It’s hard to place in just one genre, but it’s whimsical and thoughtful. Songs like “Kim’s Sunsets” and “Rock Fishes” shine.
10. Toy – Happy In The Hollow
Toy released not one but two solid albums this year! Happy in the Hollow was a favorite, with songs like the dark “Last Warmth of the Day” standing out as a shoegaze masterpiece.
9. (Sandy) Alex G – House of Sugar
Another great album delivered from Alex G! “Cow” is a delicate favorite on this amazing album.
8. Versing – 10000
A great, jangly indie rock album. It’s everything a modern-day indie fan could ask for. “Offering” bends to the likes of MBV. “Tethered” is a favorite on this one.
7. Helado Negro – This is How You Smile
Simply beautiful songwriting is served, with several songs in Spanish. “Fantasma Vaga” is one of my most played songs of the year.
6. Drahla – Useless Coordinates
Another favorite post-punk album of the year! “Stimulus for Living” had me instantly hooked.
5. Men I Trust – Oncle Jazz
Their highly anticipated debut album is out, and it’s a 24-track masterpiece. In the vein of Crumb, songs like “Tailwhip” and “Seven” bring a retro, soulful feel to the present.
4. Corridor – Junior
My favorite post-punk album of the year is from this French indie outfit. I was hooked on first listen, with songs like the driving title track “Junior” and the upbeat “Domino” leading the way for some seriously enjoyable listens.
3. Froth – Duress
The LA shoegaze trio are back at it with a stunning album. Duress is shimmering, dreamy and expansive with dongs like “Slow Chamber” and “Department Head” taking you on a wavy, droning journey.
2. DIIV – Deceiver
A solid second favorite, DIIV’s third studio album veered towards the dreamy, shoegaze sound to the likes of Slowdive. Songs like “Taker” are deep and thoughtful, while “Blankenship” picks up the pace, giving a brief nod to their earlier recordings.
1. Crumb – Jinx
This album got the most playtime from me this year, whether I was listening on Spotify or playing my record on repeat. This album is incredible from front to back, with each song contributing to its overall strength. It’s jazzy, catchy, indie bedroom pop that has delighted just about everyone’s ears it’s touched, regardless of what they typically listen to. Songs like “Ghostride” and “Part III” are repeat worthy. Singer Lila Ramani’s vocals lay ethereally atop expert arrangements and lo-fi mixing. Listen below:
For a more digestable playlist, listen here: