Friday, January 3, 2020

Shanies: Album of the Year

Well, after the actions of the past 24h, 2019 may be my last top 10, so let's make it a good one. Here's to still having good music, a music scene at all, venues, and you know... a globe in 2020.

10. Brittany Howard - Jaime
Much more raw and introspective than anything she's done with the Shakes, Jaime is lyrically far more vulnerable and sonically much more experimental. Stay High is a chill masterpiece and the opener, History Repeats, grooves deep.

9. The Raconteurs - Help Us Stranger
Round 3 from my favourite JW3 project continues to impress. The album wasn't necessarily that progressive, but White's & Benson's songwriting always gives me hope and love for rock n roll. The title track and Now That You're Gone left a great mark on my mind.

8. Tim Baker - Forever Overhead
As a long lover of Hey Rosetta!, I'd always been curious to see what front man Tim Baker would do on his own. This album showed that what he really wanted to do was something far more delicate, open, and heartfelt... and for my money, few better songs than Dance were released this year.

7.Ian Blurton's Future Now - Signal Through the Flames
Yup. Blurton released anything... so it's on this list. Channeling his inner Sabbath, this album gives a much faster, more metal drive than I'm used to our of Sir Ian... all while keeping that signature tone. That said, my favourite track of this recording session was actually not on the album, but released as a single, Space is Forever.

6. Cinematic Orchestra - To Believe
I have long love for this band and finally had the chance to see them live this year. In addition to being in my top 3 live shows of the year, this album was another piece of emotional outpouring. The hypnotic, trance-like beat of Lessons defines this band's mantra-esque musical quality.

5. White Denim - In Person
I didn't like this album the first time I listened to it. It's a live album, and something was weird about it. Then I saw White Denim live for the first time this year (which was the best show of 2019 if not the past decade) and it immediately made sense. The live album sounded strange because it was too perfect. This album sounds like a studio album because this band is THAT tight live. The whole thing is a masterpiece, but getting to hear them play Farm live was out of this world.

4. Kaytranada - BUBBA
Just when you thought 99.9% couldn't be topped... he found 100%. This album is so fucking ass-shakingly, head-bobblingly incredible and made all the more better by being straight out of MTL. Listen to the whole thing, but if you ever want to get a group of people moving, throw on Go DJ.

3. Michael Kiwanuka - KIWANUKA
Watching Kiwanuka's sound evolve each album has been incredible and the bold statement that is KIWANUKA seems to indicate that he's finally found a confident stride and sound that he considers his own. The album is all over the genre-map, but to me, Rolling, defines this album and man.

2. Moon Tooth - Crux
I haven't fallen hard for a really heavy album in a while. Moon Tooth's Chomaparagon was what drew me into this band, but the release of Crux solidified them as one of my favourite bands. Intricate musicianship meets catchy hooks alongside scathing lyrics... what more could you want? Just listen to Rhythm & Roar or Musketeers and thank me later.

1. Sturgill Simpson - Sound & Fury
I had only heard mutterings of this country artist named Sturgill, so when I saw something called 'Sound & Fury' on netflix, I decided to give it a whirl. This album / samurai anime was one of the most unique album experiences of recent memory and made all the better by Simpson's genre-bending masterpiece. Play Remember to Breathe when you want to feel like the coolest motherfucker in the world and play A Good Look at my funeral, please. And you'd better be dancing.