Six 2019 records you may have missed out on
At the beginning of each year, I am filled FOMO with the fear of having missed out, or, if you enjoy that socmed acronym. The fear is of having missed out on good music published during the year that just ended. Paradoxically, even as record sales have declined steadily over the last few years, more so with the rise of music streaming services, the number of albums released each year has burgeoned, which makes it humanly impossible to check out everything you may want to.
So every time a year winds down and a new one begins, I try to rewind through the weeks gone by to see what I might have missed.
It is by no means an exercise, although it can be exhausting. However, it always throws up. Here are six records (caveat: one of them is not a true full size ) of 2019 which you may have missed but that are worth checking out:
Oh Sees are an band. However, over 20 albums have been released by the San Francisco-based band. Their sound is a hybrid of grunge rock and psychedelic rock. They experiment a great deal but their identifying guitar riffs that are unfettered make their music unique. For constant, Frank Zappa-esque lead solos and long, trippy songs, check out their newest full-length, Face Stabber, especially the track Scutum & Scorpius. At minutes, it’s a guitar enthusiast’s delight.
Born in Alaska, Quinn Christopherson, 27, came out as transgender two decades ago and his 2019 tune about that adventure, Erase Me, is the single that drew critics’ notice. He has fractured vocals and profoundly intimate lyrics (I got so used to pulling the brief stick/ I do not know what to do with all this privilege/ Cause I got a voice today / I got electricity and I can’t stand itAnd nobody interrupts me/ And nobody second guesses my opinions/ And nobody tells me I can’t do it). Christopherson is yet to launch a full-length album but his singles-besides Erase Me, there is Raedeen, about a sister who died presumably of drug-related causes, and Mary Alee, about his grandmother who had been his pillar of strength when he transitioned-are tracks that shouldn’t to be missed. Christopherson is the man, if downtempo melancholia is the thing .
Melina Duterte, born to immigrants in America, performs as Jay Som. A multi-instrumentalist who records her songs at home, Som is able to craft dreamy pop songs that she sings soothingly, against a rich multilayered sonic background, all of it generated by her. It’s a DIY technique raised to perfection. Although just 25, she’s released three albums and 2019’s Anak Ko (“my child” in Tagalog) is one that wafts soothingly over you with its approachable lyrics and low-fi tapestry of instrumentation. Som says she makes “headphone music”. And she is pretty darn right.
1 phenomenon in music is. Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin combines alternative country music with indie pop and delivers her songs unfiltered-sometimes ambient sounds are left in on her recordings; and her own sighs and breaths sometimes surface in her songs. But her songs are narratives that are intimate. Her sophomore album, Crushing, is themed on breakups-but though it has its darker moments, it is never sad. It’s hopeful yet also confessional. On Stress To Party, Jacklin sings about the strain of getting back to normalcy after a relationship ends but makes it so lively and amusing it is, in fact, not stressful.
The audio of Hiss Golden Messenger, a band driven by the creative force of its leader, M.C. Taylor, has elements of blues, folk and great old-fashioned rock. The group has released eight albums over the last decade, and the newest, Terms Of Surrender, is a. It’s almost a cliché that creative artists often do their very best work in the wake (or in the throes) of personal emergencies but this one, composed following the loss of a loved parent and the recurrence of Taylor’s depression, is really a hidden gem. It is not, however, the typical set of mopey songs you would expect. Taylor also talks of love and of psychological healing although true, there are the moments. On days that you’ve got more than only a touch of the blues, this is what the doctor ordered.
Amanda Palmer, singer-songwriter, pianist and performance artist, spent time busking as a living statue in many regions of the world. She identifies as bisexual and is married to the writer and graphic novelist Neil Gaiman. Her solo work is theatrical.
Her most recent album, There Will Be No Intermission, is piano-driven, long (78 minutes; 20 songs) and personal, taking a look at the tumultuous year that 2019 was-but from an intimate perspective. So her struggles as a woman, and themes such as #MeToo, are dealt with in lyrics that can at times seem like poetry that was abstract. It’s not an easy hook-filled set of tunes; the words deserve attention in the song A Mother’s Confession, for instance, where she bares all about her own weaknesses as a parent.