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MUSIC: tec's Top 50 of 2019

I've caught up on everything I think I need from last year, so here are my Top Fifty Albums from 2019, plus five honorable mentions. Descriptions are going to be much shorter than usual, because I've already spent way too much time just compiling this damn thing. Willing to discuss any head-scratching choices (or omissions) in the comments, though!
55American Football
American Football (LP3)

> HONORABLE MENTION: Knee-jerk tendency is to compare this to LP1, which is totally unfair because it's one of the greatest albums of all time. But this is a great release, and a huge step up from the disappointing LP2.
54Taylor Swift

> HONORABLE MENTION: After loving 1989 and aboslutely loathing REPUTATION, this was a welcome return to form. Or at least the form I most prefer her in. Bloated - you could cut about five tracks from this and make it truly great.
53Deathspell Omega
The Furnaces of Palingenesia

> HONORABLE MENTION: These guys continue to remain consistent and solid. Not as boundary-pushing as I'd like, but you can always count on them for a good release.

> HONORABLE MENTION: Messy and all over the place, loaded with lots of simple sounds, slightly rough around the edges...Just as shoegaze should be.

> HONORABLE MENTION: Could do without some of the spoken-word parts, but when this jams, it *jams*. Excited to see where these guys go next.
50Nilufer Yanya
Miss Universe

> Borderline experimental at times. Catchy but never too sweet. Love the unusual vocal register.
49Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds

> One of Nick’s darker records (believe it or not) but incredible cathartic because of it.
48Oso Oso
Basking in the glow

> Surface level pleasures are all over the place. Sometimes you don’t need depth to be enjoyable.
47Serpent Column
Mirror In Darkness

> Probably the most brutal album on this list.
We Are A Team

> Another album loaded with pleasurable ear-worms of the Midwest emo-offshoot variety. I’m okay with that.
45Thom Yorke

> Like KID A, KID OF LIMBS, and A MOON SHAPED POOL had a threesome. Yorke’s best solo album so far.
44Denzel Curry

> Short song length works in its favor; great album to toss on and jam for a little while without committing to much.

> Icy cold riffs for days, a bit traditional for these guys but wonderful nonetheless.

> Surprisingly ethereal and more genuinely touching than I would’ve anticipated from these guys. Well done.
41Epic Beard Men
This Was Supposed To Be Fun

> And it was fun indeed. Most joyous album on the list, I think.
40Chat Pile
Remove Your Skin Please

> Daughters + The Jesus Lizard + ?????? = this bizarrely transfixing pile of abrasive noise. Muah.
39Purple Mountains
Purple Mountains

> Some truly great songwriting here; rest in peace Berman, you magnificent bastard.
38Greet Death
New Hell

> Favorite shoegaze release of the year, wonderful stuff that even approaches slowcore a few times.
37Mannequin Pussy

> Once you get past the stupid band name, you’ll find that they actually make really good music with lots of aggression!
Serotonin II

> Listening to this is like living inside of a dream cloud.
35Quelle Chris

> Has grown on me a lot in the past few months. Great, subtle beats and flows. ‘Obamacare’ is quality.
34Weeping Sores
False Confession

> Never before has the inclusion of melancholy, bellowing strings complimented doom metal so incredibly well. Unique and tasty.
33Danny Brown

> Nothing will ever beat ATROCITY EXHIBITION for me, but *gasp* I do prefer this to XXX. Blasphemous?
32Jamila Woods
Legacy! Legacy!

> Goddamn, you go girl. Fierce and jazzy as fuck.
31Tomb Mold
Planetary Clairvoyance

> Biggest turnaround of the year. Wasn’t a fan on first listen, absolutely adore it now. Beautiful stuff.
30The Comet Is Coming
Trust in the Lifeforce of Deep Mystery

> The soundtrack to 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY if it were made today.
29The Appleseed Cast
The Fleeting Light of Impermanence

> Harks back to the LOW LEVEL OWL days, which I’m totally okay with. Nice blend of emo and post-rock soundscaping.
28Chelsea Wolfe
Birth of Violence

> Somewhere between HISS SPUN and ABYSS, with a bit more folky tendencies. A stunner either way.
27The Great Old Ones

> This came out of nowhere, but my god it’s great if you enjoy being crushed by sludge. (I do.)
26Durand Jones and The Indications
American Love Call

> Funky and catchy and groovy in all the right ways; instantly jammable.
25Carly Rae Jepsen

> Underrated release from Ms. Jepsen. Sure, it’s no E•MO•TION, but what is? Love the synthy/80s vibe this has. ‘Real Love’ is a Year-best track.
24Cult of Luna
A Dawn to Fear

> These guys are so consistent it’s scary. If you tend to enjoy Cult of Luna, you’re gonna love this.
23The National
I Am Easy to Find

> I am biased, perhaps, because I love these guys. But really, this isn’t nearly as bad as people are acting. Overlong, maybe, but painfully beautiful, too.

> Is it okay to call this a return to form? Not as groundbreaking as their debut, obviously, but it’s safe to say they’re finally making good metal again.
21Big Thief

> Oddly haunting and galivanting with a strength that isn’t usually found in folk music. And to thing this isn’t even the best thing they released this year!
Ode to Joy

> People who keep expecting/wanting these guys to re-release YANKEE HOTEL FOXTROT year after year are weird. Lovely album.
19Blood Incantation
Hidden History of the Human Race

> Only four songs long and each one of them shreds. The long wait for this was totally worth.
18Have a Nice Life
Sea of Worry

> As with Wilco, people keep hoping for a DEATHCONSCIOUSNESS PART II and I’m not sure why. Look at what else these guys are capable of!
There Existed an Addiction to Blood

> Chilling but well executing concept album (something I normally hate). Some truly nerve-shredding beats and flows and lyrical content here.
16Weyes Blood
Titanic Rising

> Second-half of the album is great, first-half is otherworldly, and ‘Movies’ (in the middle) is the song of the year.
Leaving Meaning

> Doesn’t assume the droning, monolithic form of their previous trilogy of albums, and that’s surprisingly refreshing (despite how much I love those albums). Lots of influence from The Angels of Light here.

> THE ARK WORK was all over the place. This is all over the place, but in a strangely coherent way. That probably doesn’t make sense, but neither does this album. I thought my speakers broke several times while listening. Awesome.
Morbid Stuff

> Hey, a good pop-punk release?! Unheard of! Catchy and aggressive without being mopey and childish. Tough combo, but PUP pulls it off.
Disgorged From Psychotic Depths

> This is the crustiest, most damning thing I’ve heard in a while. Listen and let it suck you into its black hole of slow, crushing distortion.
11Big Thief
Two Hands

> Ever-so-slightly more palpable than U.F.O.F., which gives it the edge for me. More emotionally carving, too, in my opinion. Just listen to ‘Shoulders’ for Christ’s sake.
Age of Excuse

> Pure, unfiltered Mgła at their most Mgła. Some will (and have) complained that they are just releasing the same album over and over. I don’t entirely agree, but said album is fucking fantastic, so maybe I’m just accepting of that fact?
9Black Midi

> Don’t even know how to describe this magnificent beast. Just listen to the opening track and that’ll give you a good idea of what you’re in for.

> Like if Cocteau Twins were catchier and more legible, which is actually kind of a good thing?!
7Kai Whiston
No World As Good As Mine

> Undoubtedly the most undefinable album here. Every song sounds like it was taken from somewhere else, and yet nothing feels out of place.
6Two People
First Body

> Some weird hybrid of Portishead and… I dunno, Mazzy Star? No, that’s not quite right. Very nocturnal and dreamy, though, with a gentle touch of trip hop beats and elementals. Fantastic.
5(Sandy) Alex G
House Of Sugar

> All over the place, but in the best way imaginable. Surprisingly refined, given the sprawling nature of the track list. The best album of Alex’s career thus far, and hopefully a precursor of where he’s headed next.

> Imagine if Deafheaven’s SUNBATHER had a baby with any of Mgła’s albums… It’d be something like this, but with a faster, slightly sharper edge. Fell in love with this on first listen and still jam it regularly.
3Lingua Ignota

> Not everyone is sold on Kristin’s bloody hollering and occasionally atonal chanting. But I am. There’s nothing about this album that is subtle, but that’s part of what makes it so bracing. It beats you over the head with a hammer, grinds your ribcage into a fine powder, and then blows it back into your face. Apparently I’m a masochist???
2Great Grandpa
Four of Arrows

> The jump in quality from Great Grandpa’s previous album to this is unfathomable. Indie rock without pretension, emo without the sappiness, and alt-country sans the overpowering twang. How they managed such a balance is beyond me.
1Fire! Orchestra

> I cannot say enough good things about this record. Fire! Orchestra have continued to release great, avant-garde releases, but this is gonna go down as their crowning achievement, I guarantee it. Perfect cocktail of their jazzy breakdowns and a harnessed, more rock-centric focus on tone and texture and structure. Like a liquid that cannot be contained. Not only the best album of the year, but this is probably somewhere among my 50 or so all time favorite albums ever.
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